Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm not Betty Crocker. I'm the Cake Lady's granddaughter.

The other day, I was telling Jake that I wanted to bake, and I have been having that urge pretty frequently lately. I've been making a lot of soups and such in our crock pot, and not baked much, but I've really had a strong urge to. So, on Saturday, I finally did.

I made soup and some delicious White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies with Almonds.

Generally, I'd say my cooking and baking skills are pretty decent. They're not superb, I'm certain, but on 98% of the time, what I make is edible, and at least somewhat enjoyable. And, for the most part, I've always loved working in the kitchen.

I blame my Grandma. But, I blame her in a great way, of course. As in, I appreciate what she instilled in me oh-so-many years ago. I used to help her bake cakes, cookies, bars, etc. I helped her create suppers and dinners, and even breakfasts. I loved working in the kitchen with her. I thought (and still do) she was the most amazing cook. In a way, I think I idolized her on some levels.

Since my grandma passed in 2007, I haven't been in the mood to bake or cook nearly as frequently. I don't know that it really has anything to do with her death, or more so the fact that on most days and nights, I'm home alone, and it's just not as fun for me to cook or bake for myself. So, I don't do it often.

But, as I mentioned, lately, it's such a strong desire.

I think I miss her more than I let myself believe. Her picture with me from our wedding day overlooks our couch, so I see her daily, but I guess I haven't let myself really miss her and revisit our memories much in a while.

I had a great time creating the bars I mentioned (and linked) above. I love watching all of the ingredients come together before my eyes. I love the smell of things in the oven. I love how when you put a bake-able in the oven, it comes out a different consistency, texture, and even size, sometimes.

I don't love waiting for things to cool so I can sample them. I deal.

When I was done with my creation, and it was cool, and I had it frosted and beautiful, I took a sample, and fell in love with it. I was so excited that I posted it on my blog right away and on Facebook, and text my mom to tell her how good they were.

My mom, my aunt (her sister), and my uncle showed up not long after, and they sampled them too (well, my mom did a while later), and they LOVED them. Jake loved them. My aunt and uncle each had seconds because they loved them so much. And Kat (my aunt), text me on the way home to tell me how much they loved them. And she posted on Facebook, more than once, how amazing and delicious they were.

I'd say they were a hit.

I won't lie, I love hearing that my creations are tasty. But for some reason, when my mom and my aunt and my uncle and my husband were telling me how great these bars were, I was really filled with a sense of pride. Why? I didn't create the recipe or anything. I just followed the instructions, and served.

But, still, I was filled with pride.

I sat and mulled it over for a bit, and I realized why I felt that way.

I felt like their compliments, especially my mom and my aunt, meant more than compliments usually do.

Because they shared my grandma's baked goods too. They grew up with them, too. They enjoyed them for years.

And, I felt that, somewhere deep down, they were probably thinking and reflecting on my grandmother's baked goods.

To me, it felt like they were, in an unspoken and maybe unconscious way, comparing me to the "master" of the kitchen, Grandma Leora. They were saying that I did a great job. And through them, I felt like Gma was telling me "good girl. Great work!"

I might be imagining it, but that's how I felt.

And it felt good.

Ever since Saturday, I've been thinking about those compliments, and my grandma, a lot more than usual. I just can't get her, the memories, and the joy of baking out of my mind.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday! (And also, bedtime wars part 23.3423)

Today is my beloved husband's birthday! I have been making fun of him a little bit for a few weeks, about how he's getting old. Granted, he isnot old. He's one year older than I am, and I'm not old, so... yeah. But, I like to poke fun, all in a good nature, anyway. He takes it like a pro. It's also his twin brother, Jesse's birthday (which I know, sounds obvious, but sometimes...)! Happy birthday, dearests!

Sad story. Jake had to work all day today. In fact, tonight is his overnight route, so he doesn't even come home! Okay, that's only sad for me, because he'll get a peaceful night's sleep tonight, while
there's a 50/50 chance of that at home. More on that soon.

My husband is awesome. This is evident by all these wonderful pictures (courtesy my friend Rena after a wonderful Skype session a month or two ago).

Oh wait, that seems like an odd way to prove his awesomeness. Well, let's see. He works SUPER hard, and long hours, in the crappy weather, and all that, to provide for Spencer and
I. While I complain about him being gone, I know he is doing it to support us. He makes me laugh. He makes Spencer laugh. He gets up with
Spencer at night! He is a fantastic musician. He's a wonderful friend.

And stuff.

Seeing as how I knew I'd only see him for about 23 minutes on his actual birthday, I decided we would celebrate it yesterday instead.

I started off by leaving the house with the baby in the morning. Okay, that wasn't for his sake, but
rather, Spencer and I went to visit the Hedgehogs (that's the name of the room I used to work in before I had Spencer). When we came back, I
brought Jake his favorite Starbucks beverage. That'd be a venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte with extra caramel drizzle on top. It smells, and tastes, like a gooey cinnamon roll, if you're wondering.

Then I made an awesome batch of soup, an original creation (recipe found here, because now I have a food blog), that he downright loved.

Tarah came and took Spencer for six hours, and
Jake and I went to the movies. We saw Breaking Dawn. Yup, we did. And we were the only ones in the theater, so I got to play "Mystery Science
Theater" and Jake let me make any snarky comments I want. And he laughed REALLY loud, because he could. Woot.

Then, I took him for a fancy-pants surprise supper. Well, he knew we were going to eat, but he didn't know where. I'm a really bad liar, so he didn't even guess, because he didn't want to ruin my surprise (for once, haha). I took him to Carnaval Brazillian Grill, which was AMAZING. Robert and Jillian joined us. We spent a good two hours there, enjoying the feast, laughing our buttoxes a size smaller, and having good conversation. Yes, it was fantastic.

After, we went and got our little man, and Jake read him a story or four, before giving him a bath and putting him to bed. Then, we watched a little tv (or TV on DVD) and went to bed.

Oh, and for the record. I wore MAKE-UP yesterday. Full out make-up, even. With foundation and everything. That's special, I tell you. I generally skip all make-up, except maybe mascara (which I accidentally told Jake I would be wearing "Marsala" instead of "mascara" thanks to my phone's auto-correct), because I feel like if I wear full-out make-up, I look almost like a drag queen. Okay, maybe not, but I feel like it looks odd on me. Though, yesterday, I think I actually looked kind of nice.

I asked Jake today, and he said he enjoyed his birthday celebration very much.


But... NOT succesfully... do I... put our son to sleep. Ever. Anymore. It seems.

For the past few weeks, I have been trying anything I can think of (that's sane and reasonable, anyway) to get Spencer to go to sleep with minimal fighting. It's just not working. I don't know what the issue is. Well, sometimes I have a good night and he goes to sleep easily.

The most frustrating part to me is that it seems like what works one night is NEVER the same as what will work another. For example, one night, rocking him to sleep worked. The next, pretending to cry on the floor of his room. Another night, pretending to sleep while he screamed in his crib, eventually falling asleep, too. Jake puts him to sleep by playing guitar and suggested that to me, and I tried, but that just made him even more mad. Some nights, rocking him to sleep torques him off pretty badly. Sometimes, singing "You Are my Sunshine" is the key to getting him to sleep, but other nights, it just fuels his anger.

I'm at such a loss.

Confession: it makes me feel like a bad mom! And, it's making me hate (maybe not quite that strong.. despise) bedtime.


Tonight, it took almost two hours of getting him to wind down and fight him to sleep. What worked? Letting him scream for twenty minutes before laying him face down in his crib and patting his back somewhat hard. Go figure.

And lately, again, he's waking up multiple times a night. And if I go into the room to put him to sleep, he just gets more mad than if Jake does, which is utterly confusing and frustrating to me.

Anyway, so, at night, I find myself feeling like a bad mom, because I can't figure this out. At all. Jake says he thinks I'm a fantastic mom, but he hasn't told me why. Clearly, my "get our son to sleep" skills do not rank that highly, so... there must be something good.

I guess I will go lay in bed now and try to fall asleep. Have I ever confessed that on Jake's overnight routes I have a very difficult time sleeping, because I worry that I will die in my sleep and no one will check up on me and Spencer will go an entire day stuck in his crib, painfully hungry, thirsty, soiled, sad, mad, and lonely. Guh. EVERY WEEK that keeps me up.

Okay, adios for the evening.

Monday, December 5, 2011

To be, or not to be... Mrs. Claus?

(Before I begin, I typed "Mrs. Claus" into Google to find an image to put in my blog (you know, for artsy-fartsy purposes), and the majority of them were pretty skanky. Well, maybe not the majority, but there were way too many.)

I have been dwelling on this question for the majority of the afternoon.

This afternoon, during nap time, when all the kids at work were sleeping, I was checking out my Facebook news feed on my phone. A friend of mine had a status regarding her young son not believing in Santa Claus, and not knowing why people make such a big deal of him (in a nutshell). She went on to explain that neither she, nor her husband, grew up with a Santa Claus belief in their families, so it's natural for them to raise their children to know that Santa is a "fairy tale."

There were a few responses from other people, and most of them mentioned that their families don't "do the Santa thing" either.

My friend had mentioned that it's easy for them to not do it (as I think I already stated), but those who may have grown up believing in Santa and such might have a more difficult time deciding what to do for their children.


Up until that point, I had never really thought about whether or not to do the Santa thing with my children or not. Nope, hadn't really crossed my mind.

Funny enough, a business page that I "like" on Facebook also asked their fans if they do the Santa thing in their families just minutes after I started contemplating. More of them said that they do.

I grew up in a family that did have a Santa tradition. My husband, when I asked him whether or not he did, said "not really" (which he didn't explain, so I hope he will later).

I asked Jillian, and she said that she and Robert both grew up without a real Santa tradition... more or less.

I can't decide, still, "officially," if I want Spencer to have a Santa tradition, or to what extent, if he did.

Here's my thought process, currently (to which I discussed aloud with Jillian during nap):

I feel like he doesn't need one. I had one, but looking back, I don't really see the point. I mean, yes, Santa brings gifts. But why?

We are Christian in this household, and for as long as I can remember, I have known the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus was born! Hallelujah!

So, why celebrate an imaginary character?

The wisemen brought gifts to Jesus. People came to celebrate his arrival. Joy and love abounds.

We can easily recreate those things without Santa. In fact, shouldn't we? I think we should. I know every family feels differently, so by no means am I implying anyone is right or wrong here. But really, we give gifts at Christmas, to show love, or appreciation, and to celebrate the spirit of giving. I love giving gifts. I intend on giving my children gifts for this reason. I have always felt like Christmas was also about family. Relationships. Joy. Love. Spending time together and making memories. Jesus had family with him celebrating these things, right? And we should too. My favorite Christmas memories are related to spending time with family and loved ones.

Yes, I remember trying so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, "knowing" "Santa" was coming overnight with a bunch of loot. It was awesome, because that meant we were "good kids" all year (pfft, what is that?) and so we were being rewarded by this fictitious dude who went down.. chiminies (which I never believed (we didn't have a fireplace)) and drove a flying sled powered by reindeer (seriously?) and visited EVERYONE in the WORLD overnight. BAH! And it was awesome to wake up in the morning and have a bunch of new gifts.

But, why can't Spencer wake up on Christmas morning, and have the excitement of gifting, but have it be for a real, good reason? That reason being that his mom and dad know his interests, work hard to provide for him, love him to pieces, and want to celebrate that love for him by giving him something special?

As Jillian put it (if I can recall almost precisely), we would be giving gifts to Spencer to celebrate our love for him, and the joy we feel having him, because he is our miracle, much like the reasons Jesus was given gifts by the wise men. He was, too, a long awaited miracle worth celebrating.

And, as Jillian also said, why give the "credit" to this dude who doesn't exist? We work hard and spend time planning, preparing, and spending money to provide these tokens for our children, and then they have no idea until they're older that it's really their parents who love them and not some old dude living in the snow.


I suppose we could just tell our children (I am hoping/praying/unsafely assuming we will have more than one someday) the story of St. Nicholas and where the "Santa" story comes from.

But then, I wonder, how do I explain it to my children, the falsity of Santa Claus? What if their friends question them, or bring it up? How do I prepare them for that? And am I "robbing" Spencer of "Santa memories" or the anticipation that I had as a child?

I just don't know.


No, I don't think my son is a divine, heavenly, diety, so I hope you're thinking that's the comparision. It's not, not at all.

(And, in another sidenote, I am guilty of becoming "addicted" (I say that lightly, because I can't think of a "lesser value" synonym) to watching Glee on Netflix. And there's an episode where a high schooler is still TOTALLY on the Santa train. It is absolutely freaking ridiculous, though, kind of amusing, won't lie.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Take these six strings and make them sing.

When I was younger, I wanted a guitar. Badly. I think I asked for one at least four Christmases in a row, before my parents were ultimately amazing and gave me one my junior year (I think) of high school.

Why did I want a guitar? Well, when I was growing up, for Labor Day weekend, every year, we went to my parents' friend's farm, for two or three days, and at night, there was a guy, or two, or three, depending on the night and the year, who had his acoustic guitar and people would gather by the bonfire as he played and others sang along. Every year, he'd play "American Pie" by Don McLean, and every year, there'd be mass confusion as to the verses. (I will admit, I know them all and in order...)

It inspired me. I wanted to be like Mike (that's the main guitarist for the campfires of 'yore.. haha).

So, my parents gave me a guitar, and I took it upon myself to learn to play.

An embarassing tidbit: When I first picked up the lesson book, it told me something to the effect of "place your finger on a string next to the fret, but not touching it." My critical reading skills at the time were... lacking, and I placed my finger between the strings, next to the fret, not touchign them, and would get pretty frustrated when I'd try to pluck a string to get a really "pingy" yet airy noise... but don't worry, I figured it out shortly after.

Over the course of a few months, I taught myself to play guitar.

Fast forward. I met Jake. And he played guitar, too. *swoon*

Playing guitar, whether it'd be me alone, Jake alone and for me, or the two of us together, has been a very substantial part of our relationship (in fact, our first "official" date was at Falls Park with both of our guitars. We took pictures (and I can't find one anywhere to show you, go figure, but they do exist))...

...up until a year or two ago, when I nearly stopped playing altogether while I was pregnant with Spencer.

Yeah. I can't claim that I'm proud of that.

Last night (Sunday), Jake asked me if I would play guitar with him. I said yes, half heartedly, as I have been any time I agree to do so lately (which isn't often). Why halfheartedly? I wish I could pinpoint that and give a precise answer, but, I can't. I think it has something to do with the fact that I can't get my fingers to properly form a bar chord, or an F, or any variation of an F, or a B...

And, honestly, sometimes I get frustrated playing guitar with Jake, because, in my opinion, he is exponentially better at it than I am. Kind of how he would feel about having a mascara application party with me (not that we have ever done that, nor do I believe it would interest him at all...)- a bit inferior, possibly.

Whatever the underlying reason, I haven't been all that "into" playing guitar for quite some time.

But, because I wanted to spend quality time with Jake, and do something he would enjoy, I agreed.

The first half of our playing together was Jake trying to teach me songs that he knew, while I tried to figure out what chords he was playing by watching him, or he occasionally called them out to me. It was alright, but it wasn't the best time I'd ever had. Though, I will admit, any time Jake plays guitar, or I play guitar (I have a few times since SJ was born), it is the CUTEST and most wonderful thing to see Spencer dancing to the music, or "singing" as we play, or even... *gulp*... trying to HELP us play our guitars (and mind you, Spencer has FOUR of his own guitars). I get goosebumps and practically cry every single time.

While Jake was giving Spencer a bath, I pulled up to the computer, opened the "guitar chords" bookmark folder I had compiled before getting pregnant, and opened a few windows to display songs I used to be able to play from memory and have long since forgotten. Truth be told, if you were to ask me which songs I could play from memory now, I think it'd be... "Time of your Life" by Green Day, and "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Yeah, it's that bad.

But, wouldn't you know it, as soon as I saw the chords for "2a.m. (Breathe)" by Anna Nalick, I picked up right where I left off so many months ago, and belted the lyrics out, playing at my original pace, with my original strumming, like I hadn't missed a day playing that song.

Then, I played and belted out a little "One Sweet Love" by Sara Bareilles. Yup, that one was "good as ever," as well. Huh.

I played a few more while waiting for Jake, including learning a new one "Paperweight," by Schuyler Fisk and Joshua Radin, and after Jake put Spencer to bed, he joined me in front of the computer, and we took turns pulling out a song from the folder, playing it together, and singing. Just like old times.

And it was WONDERFUL. I kick myself for taking such a long break in playing with my husband, and for being such a poo about it when I would play.

Truly, the highlight of our "open mic night" in the kitchen, however (and I think he would probably agree) was when we pulled up "Poison and Wine" by the Civil Wars. I don't remember that we'd ever played it together. I know I book marked it when I first heard the song hoping to learn to play it and sing it with Jake (it's a beautiful duet), but I don't know for certain that we ever had before.

But, when Jake started strumming the rhythm, and I joined, and he sang, and I followed... and then we sang the harmony together... it was FANTASTIC. I am not saying we were the best performance anyone could have heard, and we might not have been even "good" in some opinions, but it felt PERFECT. It sounded symphonic, even without other instruments. I felt like we had stopped time and were holding onto an everlasting moment.

I enjoyed it so much, I asked Jake to do it again.

We played a few more songs, until my fingers felt like they might bleed, and my arm was only playing my "wussy version" of a Bm every time it came up in "When You Come Back Down" by Nickel Creek (Jake played everything, and I only strummed the Bm) and I laughed myself to silly tears.

I woke up this morning, though, still giddy about our concert together last night.

I hope I can hold onto that feeling, and get back in the groove of playing again. I wouldn't want to lose that something special that Jake and I have, after all.

Truth be told, an acoustic version of most any song nearly always ends up being my preferred style. Random tidbit for you.

And, here's a few more "guitar-related" significances from my friendship/courtship/marriage with Jake.
- the first time he ever came to my house, he played guitar, and I have pictures
- he learned to play my favorite song "Name" by the Goo Goo Dolls, and performed it when he randomly surprised me at my parents house
- he learned to play my other favorite song "Crash Into Me" and debuted that at the aforementioned Labor Day gathering in 2003 (I think) in front of a ton of people
- he once came to my parents house and played guitar under my window to serenade me (but I wasn't in my room and had actually run up to the post office and then stayed downstairs until I thought I left my radio on and realized he was in my backyard...)
- he and his best friend broke my first guitar wrestling, and so they chipped in and replaced it and gave it to me for a 4th of July present in... 2002 or 2003. I have it on video.
- our first "official" date
- I gave him a 12-string guitar for his 21st birthday
- we used to play guitar and sing in the racquetball courts at SMSU late at night
- he wrote me a song and performed it for me at open mic night on my 21st birthday
- I wrote him a song, and my friend got it on a webcam video
- and others... but my fingers are cramping.

(PS: I took the photos I included in this entry, so please, don't be taking them.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Struggles and Thankfulness.

Last week was hard. It may have been one of, if not, the most tiring and frustrating week I've had as a mother thus far. (I can hope that it'd be the hardest one ever, but let's be realistic...)

Spencer was sick, basically, all week. On Tuesday, he really wasn't eating, and was pretty crabby all day, and a little warm, but I just figured it was teething, and by that evening, his sixth tooth (a top one) had finally popped through. We'd been waiting on that one for weeks!

But, come Wednesday, he was burning up. As in 103.7 degrees at the highest temperature reading I had gotten. Took him to the doctor on Wednesday night and on Thursday, and both times, I was told it's something viral and nothing can be done. Just wait it out.

So, I did. I was home alone with him most of Wednesday and all of Thursday except when Tarah came by in the evening (thank goodness). On Friday, at daycare, he was a little happier and his fever seemed to be gone.

Saturday, though... that was a tough day. Jake was supposed to be home from work as he had the day scheduled off so we could attend a wedding, or my family Thanksgiving. Well, a family emergency happened to the co-worker who was going to replace him, and Jake ended up having to work.

I won't lie, I was really bummed out that Jake wasn't coming home after all, and that I would be missing the wedding and Thanksgiving. But, more than anything, I was tired of dealing with Spencer. I know, it sounds horrible. But, it's true. Jake worked his normal, long (over 12 hour days) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Spencer doesn't do well without Jake having Wednesday off during the week, and last week, due to holiday scheduling, Jake had to work. And so, when Saturday rolled around and SJ was "daddy-less" it was just... the last straw, for both of us, I guess.

It got to the point that Spencer was hanging on my legs screaming every time I would get up, move, or do anything, if I wasn't holding him. But, if I was holding him, he would just scream and writhe until he was free. But, then, he would be screaming and angry because I wasn't holding him. Needless to say, nothing appeased Spencer, and my nerves were shot.

By evening time, Spencer would cry, and I would cry. We just sat around and sobbed together.

I felt like a horrible mother. I know I'm not actually a horrible mother (or at least I pray I'm not), but I felt like it. I couldn't find anything, or there was close to nothing I could find, that would make Spencer happy or content for more than ten minutes. I couldn't get him to nap. I couldn't get him to eat, or drink, or be away from me. I didn't eat until late. I felt like he might be growing to hate me. I know he doesn't, but man, when your wits are ending, you think some pretty dramatic things sometimes.

Sunday, in the church nursery, I was scheduled for an hour. He didn't like me that hour either. He screamed and repeated much of Saturday's behaviors.

Then, Jake saved us. He spent a lot of time with Spencer on Sunday, which rejuvenated my spirit and seemed to bring Spencer pretty much back to his happy little self. For the most part, anyway.

I was very grateful. I still am. I really wasn't sure I'd have the strength to pull through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week before having Jake with us for FOUR FULL DAYS. (Yeah, I'm EXCITED about that!)

Moving on.

I contributed a piece to a blog of a local shoppe, one that specializes a lot in breastfeeding, cloth diapers, and homemade mommy/baby/family/children type items and activities. They are doing a "thankfulness" marathon, as you could say. I chose letter F.

I know, you've heard me talk a lot about those battles and struggles and issues. They're very near and dear to me. They're something I don't think I'll ever forget. I still struggle with them now. But, I am thankful for winning a battle once... even twice.

And I am exceptionally thankful for the blessings and miracles that God has given me along the way, Jake and Spencer, to name a few.

With that, I bid you all adieu, as I am exhausted and my bed seems to be calling my name (or maybe, I'm delusional and it's not really talking at all...).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scared-y-Pants can hit a ball!

Two months, or so, ago, my reproductive endocrinologist told me that I was going to be put on birth control and Metformin for two months, to let my uterus heal, post D&C surgery, before he would feel that we could "safely" start trying for another baby.

Well, two months is almost up.

When he first told me that, it felt like a giant stab in the hope sector of my heart. I felt like birth control was the complete opposite solution to my problem (though, medically, I understood why he was suggesting it, and of course, agreed to take that route), prohibiting us from having another child (temporarily, of course). The past two months, I have struggled with that over and over, each night as I took the tiny pill. I swallowed it hard (literally and figuratively, haha), and what do you know, I made it through it without excessive amounts of emotional baggage. Woohoo.

Now that we're getting closer to "starting over" on our journey to bring a brother or sister for Spencer into this world, I am nervous. More nervous that I was before we conceived Spencer or Sprout, I think. Maybe not more nervous. Maybe different nervous. And somewhat scared. With the potential to be terrified.

I am not necessarily scared that we won't get pregnant. I believe that we will. I hope it is sooner than later, even.

But, I am afraid of being pregnant again. I know that sounds strange, but hear me out.

When I was pregnant with SJ, I was super excited. I was nervous because we found out before I was four weeks pregnant, and cautious about it at first, until we heard the heartbeat. Then, we shared the joy with the world, and a few months later, Spencer was born.

With Sprout, it was the same. I was nervous (more so than with Spencer, looking at the event retrospectively, but we found out just one day earlier than we did with Spencer, too), and when we saw the heartbeat for the first time, we shared our joy publicly again.

Only, of course, we lost Sprout.

So, when we find out we're pregnant again, I'm nervous of how I will feel about it, and how I will react. Will I be invested in it, filled with joy? Or will I be totally detached and terrified to lose another child? I can't know, of course, and I hope it's the first option, but knowing myself, I could see the second coming to fruition just as easily (hey, I'm being honest).

Will I be too nervous to be "normal" feeling about it? Will I be overly-cautious? Will I over analyze every little thing and foresee another miscarriage? I sure hope not. I will try not to. I will pray that I don't become "that kind of woman," but, the possibility is seriously there, and it makes me nervous.

When we see a heartbeat again, will we feel comfortable sharing? I feel like we would, because, following the same path of thought as the first two pregnancies, if we share the news, we enlist countless friends and family as a prayer and support system. So, probably.

But, will I ever feel "at ease" being pregnant again? Or will I just be terrified?

I try not to think about it, but I can't help it.

I know they say that a miscarriage doesn't usually mean and increased risk for another miscarriage. But, you just never know.

So, there you have it. I'm a big scared-y-pants who wants to be pregnant so intensely, but isn't quite sure how to handle herself when that time comes again.

New subject.

Racquetball! Yeah! I never really saw myself being a racquetball player. I won't lie. The most I'd had interest in racquetball courts was in college when Jake and I would sneak our guitars into the racquetball courts at SMSU, turn off the lights, and play guitar and sing in the dark. (If you've never done that, do it, it's a phenomenal experience acoustically.)

But, a few weeks ago, I decided I would like to join Jake at the wellness center, and by golly, he invited me to learn how to play racquetball. Feeling a bit spunky and daring that day, I agreed to do just that.

Now, I won't brag, but I am a great racquetball player.

Haha, no I'm not. I am a great loser though. Meaning I haven't scored more than 6 points total (if I recall correctly) in my entire career (which is about three weeks long now), but I tell you what, I have FUN. Yes, I will admit, I enjoy playing racquetball!

Jake is a really good sport about it. He doesn't play "full force" against me, and he intentionally avoids beaming with the ball, especially in the head (I actually haven't been hit once by Jake, and I have accidentally hit him at least 3 times (which I apologize for repeatedly as he tells me it's his own fault)). He doesn't hit the ball insanely fast either, so I actually have a chance of lugging my slow self toward it and may actually hit it!

I have scored points though (not sure if they were "pity points" or not, but I'll pretend they are legit), and I have caused quite a few (at least 9) side-outs, AND I HIT THE BALL many, many times. I can even serve fairly reliably! Yeah. That's right. I'm a player. (Haha.)

Some day, maybe I'll even start scoring enough points to warrant having my own racquet, and not have to touch the creepy over-used-super-germy-from-tons-of-sweaty-hands racquets at the wellness center. That's my goal. To be good enough I can buy a $30 Wilson Hope Racquet (because it's a girly one that donates to breast cancer research).

And, to note, while I am "not good" at racquetball, I think I might be even worse at Squash, which Jake taught me to play on Sunday. But, again, it was a fun game!

Of course, the extra perk to my new found interest in racquetball is that it is making me go to the wellness center more and utilizing the membership I've been paying for, while also benefiting my health. ;-)

And now, to check on Wendell, who has been whining in the bathroom for about 45 minutes after I gave him a bath because he got sick all over himself in the kennel earlier, and I wouldn't let him tear around the house soaking wet, but didn't feel like wrestling him dry.

Monday, November 7, 2011

All the single Golden Girls...

My dreams aren't always exciting. Sometimes, they're terrifying. Sometimes, they're confusing. Sometimes, I wake up thinking they happened in real life.

And... sometimes, they're just comical.

For instance.

I had a dream...

I see an iPhone text-message conversation going:
Bea Arthur: Now put your hands up, up in the club!
Betty White: Just broke up. Doing my own little thing.
Bea Arthur: You decided to dip? And now you want to trip?!
Betty White: 'Cause another brother noticed me.

And then.........

Bea, Betty, Rue, and Estelle hop into my field of vision. They're in the middle of the local Goodwill, apparently shopping for an ugly sweater party. They're holding a TON of hideous sweaters, kicking their legs, humming, and singing "uh oh-oh, uh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, uh oh-oh."

That's right, these feisty ladies are getting their dance on!

Then then, they throw their sweaters at me, and one hits me in the cheek with the clothes hanger on it, and it hurts, and I yell "NOT NICE!"

And... they start singing, "If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it. If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it. Don't be mad when you see that he want it! If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it."

Oh crikey.

And then Betty gets all up in my face, singing verse two, while the others are doing some sort of geriatric version of Beyonce's famous dance.

Yup. I woke up with "Single Ladies" stuck in my head, and I cannot get it to go away.


Oh, and for those of you who may have imagined those fine females in the really skin-tight black unitard thing that Beyonce sports....

fear not.

They were wearing kelly green stirrup legging pants, and their typical matronly blouse type shirts. It was much less risque.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In honor of my babies.

Many suggested after my miscarriage of Sprout, that perhaps I should buy, find, or do some sort of "memorial" to help with the healing process, and also to hold onto our baby's memory.

I contemplated this for quite some time.

I researched different ideas, and the one I seemed to bond with most was a necklace. I liked the idea of planting a tree, but we rent our place, so it just didn't seem... fitting, to plant a tree here. I didn't want to plant a tree at anyone else's place, though I contemplated that too.

The more I thought about the necklace, though, I just wasn't... sold on the idea. I love necklaces, don't get me wrong, but with Spencer around, and working as a childcare provider, the thought of wearing a necklace all the time that would just get yanked on and choke me wasn't as appealing as I had originally thought.

That's when I decided what I'd do.

However, when I decided what I was going to do for Sprout, part of me felt a little... ashamed, to be blunt, that I wasn't doing something to memorialize Spencer. I mean, sure, I HAVE Spencer with me, and I can see him, hold him, hear him, watch him, smell him... but, it just didn't feel right to not celebrate him in a way that I would Sprout, despite Sprout never being a "full" part of our daily life, I guess.

So, I decided I was going to do something in honor of both of my babies.

Here's what I did in Spencer's honor:

And here's what I did in memory of Sprout:

Yes, that's right. I got tattoos. I decided that it would be perfect to get a tattoo of Spencer's birth footprints (scaled down) on my abdomen, in the place I remember feeling him kick the most often. I had them scaled to about 1 inch.

For Sprout, I drew "generic" footprints, and had them placed near my heart. I had originally wanted to do just an outline of the footprints, because I never "felt" them, so they were kind of "empty" if you will, but the size I had them done (smaller than Spencer's) the artist said that the toes would be filled in, and the smallest, detailed/curvy parts of the prints would look filled in, and the rest wouldn't, and that might look strange, so he filled them all in. I decided on that location, however, because even though I haven't yet met Sprout, he/she definitely left a print, a mark, a lasting encounter, on my heart.

Truthfully, I am pleased with the result. The location of Sprout's is a little higher than I had hoped it would be, but I will deal with it. If it were a necklace I was wearing, it would be noticeable. The tattoo will be visible if I wear lower-cut shirt lines. So, if I "need" my tattoo covered, that's not a real problem. I was afraid it would look "trampish" at first, but, hey, it's baby feet. And, as I said, if it were a piece of jewelry with baby feet on, people wouldn't judge. And, I'm proud that I tried, that I was pregnant, even if I lost the baby.

I know, I know, you can reference the Bible and tell me "tattoos are bad because you're defacing your body." I wish I found myself believing that 100%, but I just don't. In the same reference in the Bible, it tells not to trim your beards, (Leviticus 19:27-28) too. So.... yeah. I won't go into that debate, sorry.

A very deep, heartfelt thanks, to my sister-friend Samantha M., for helping me to attain these memorials this past Wednesday. <3

In totally unrelated news, I am having quite a long night! We are getting new neighbors upstairs, apparently. They're moving in tonight, after Spencer went to bed, naturally, and are very loud, and keep waking him up. Blah.

My friend Ryan fixed our computer! Wahoo! And, in light of that fact, I dumped all the photos I had taken over the last few days onto the computer, which effectively erased them from the memory card, and then I sorted them and such, and somehow in the process completely erased all of Spencer's first Halloween photos. NOOOOOOOOOO! I about broke down sobbing. Though, Melissa, Dez, and Ryan all suggested a recovery program, so I've been working through various free trials to see what I can recover off the memory card and put back on my computer. I know to some it wouldn't be a big deal, but to me, it is. But, it's going to be a long night of clicking through thousands of "possible recovery" files. Hence, my blog post, a much needed break from the stress of that situation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A year ago today.

At 7:34 pm this evening, Spencer turned one year old.

Today has been emotional, though 99% of the emotions were very positive in nature. I just still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that Spencer is one. Though, if I spend too much time trying to, he will be 2 before I know it.

I have yet to write his birthday letter, so I am going to keep this brief. My cousin, Heather, gave me the idea to write him a letter every year on his birthday, and give them to him when he is an adult. I love the idea, so tonight, that is my task.

However, feel free to read about the day our miracle enters our arms the first time...


And, shortly, I will be posting an entry on his blog (link is to the right) so you can read about his day today.

Here's to our beautiful baby boy, and hoping he has many more amazing years on earth.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Confessions (written) from (on) my phone.

Our computer is currently out if commission (again). I am afraid this time we will have lost everything on it for good, though I am keeping my fingers hypothetically crossed. That said, tonight, I am writing my blog on my cell phone. I expect that it will most likely be shorter than average, due to the one finger-letter at a time typing method I am forced to use.

I am happy to report that I went to the gym both days this weekend! Except for family swimming, I haven't really gone in ages. On Saturday, Jillian and I worked out while our sons stayed in the nursery and Jake played racquetball. We had a great laugh when we decided to try some of the weight machines, and after pulling on the levers a few times and staring at them quizzically, we decided they were broken, and moved on. Jake later showed us that we were in fact, just kind of... slow, and they worked fine if you had a clue what you were doing.

On Sunday, Jake taught me to play racquetball before we swam with Spencer. I will admit, my skills are lacking, but I had a blast! I didn't score a single point (which autocorrect had me writing store a dingle point, Haha), but I did have a few side-outs, so that says something I guess. Jake was playing "nice" though, so maybe it doesn't say much.

After the gym on Saturday morning, I read a text from ky mom, saying our long time family friend, Josh, passed away that morning as a result of a car accident. It took my breath away. He was a year younger than me, and one of ky brother's very best friends. The funeral is Wednesday.

Sunday night, Jesse and Samantha made it back to Sioux Falls, and we met them for supper. It was so great to see them again! They moved to Alaska in August. They are here for the next week or so and excited to spend Spencer's birthday with him.

They joined us and some friends for trick-or-treating tonight, where Spencer was dressed as a super cute elephant.

I am having a difficult time wrapping my kind around the fact that tomorrow is Spencer's first birthday. It does not seem like a year since we welcomed him into this world! I mean yes, he is walking and can say "Nicole," but it does not seem like it has been 12 months since I gave birth to him.

It is bittersweet. I am proud, blessed, and excited to know our miracle has been living with us a year already, but its sad to know his tiny, infant days are nearing the end. He is nearly a toddler!

People say time goes fast and to cherish the years you have with your children, because they aren't a baby for long. I always understood that, but feeling the time race by is a completely different story. I mused to jake the other night that I don't think it would seem to have gone so quickly, but he changed in size so fast. Newborn clothes for a month, the next size a few months later... barely holding his head up when we brought him home and now walking... its like his life exists in fast forward!

That said, he is sound asleep in his bed after a very long day, and I have this plaguing urge to go watch him sleep a while, thank God for him again, and pray a prayer for his next year of life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm an emotional lady.

I'm an emotional lady. I think I'm always emotional, to be honest, but sometimes, my emotions are displayed more strongly. I don't say emotional meaning "sad" either. I just... experience emotions very vividly, intensely, however you would prefer to describe it. It's not in a manic-depressive (no offense to any readers) way, either. More that I just embrace whatever emotions I have, usually pretty straight on, and I am not afraid to show them.

That said, I've had an emotional evening.

Yesterday, I decided on my personal memorial for Sprout. I will share more about it at a later date. I have been thinking about it fairly continuously since the idea came to mind. I reworked the idea a time or two since then, but I think I've decided fully.

Thinking about the memorial so often has, of course, caused me to think about Sprout. Sometimes, it seems like a dream, the month and a half of knowing I was pregnant, and then the loss over a month ago already. I find myself, at times, wondering if it really happened or if I'm in some sort of psychologically twisted movie. It's hard to realize I'd be in my second trimester. I could possibly be feeling Sprout move.

Spencer turns 1 in one week, on 11/1/11. How cool a date is that? His golden birthday is nothing but ones.

It's bittersweet, of course. I mean, I am overjoyed that I have had a son for almost a year already! That's so crazy. Another surreal sort of phenomena, I'd say. I have been quite nostalgic the past few days, thinking back to a year ago, when I was pregnant, and called my dad for his birthday (which was two days ago) and his first question was whether I was in labor or not. (Of course, reflecting back to a year ago, being pregnant, does nothing for helping me feel better about not being pregnant still this year when I just was...) I remember sitting at home, having contractions for weeks, not too painful, but wondering when they'd get "bad."

I remember doing a CPR glass at 39 weeks pregnant. That wasn't... fun, by any standard. But, I passed, and did it all on the floor with everyone else in the class. What a rockstar. Haha.

I remember taking Wendell for a walk about this time last year, and he pulled me over a step on the sidewalk I didn't see and I biffed it and told Jake, and he freaked out.

I remember calling Jake from Wal-Mart while I was shopping with Tarah, and I said something like, "I've got sort of a crisis, call me back." He thought, of course, I was having Spencer. Really, I just needed to know which deodorant he'd prefer because the scent he always used for his favorite deodorant was nowhere to be found. Boy, did I get a lecture on using the words "crisis" or "emergency" loosely.

I watch him moving across the room from me at random parts of the day, just in awe of the fact that he is standing. That he's turning from an object he's standing by and taking steps away from it. That he signs for "more" and "milk." That he knows the sign for "bath" and gets super excited. That he says my first name!

He's definitely a dream come true. He is DEFINITELY a miracle.

And then, of course, I go back to knowing that we aren't having a second baby any time "real soon." I haven't even fully finished my first month of birth control plus Metformin. UGH. I feel a small stab in my heart every night when I take those loathed pills. Yes, I know they're supposed to help. It doesn't help me feel better about it sometimes, though it should. It depends on the day, I guess.

I've been struggling with my self-esteem and my hatred toward the PCOS diagnosis I have been given. PCOS is evil. Really. It causes acne, obesity, irregular cycles and infertility, excessive hair growth. Not one of those things is something anyone aspires to having. And, like many with the condition, I have all of those that I just mentioned. And, sadly, sometimes they just continue to get worse with age and time. Not always. I pray mine don't.

And it's even more frustrating because it feels like, especially with the acne and the hair issues, it's going to be a life-long battle. The solutions that they give for those, medically anyway, you can't really DO when you want to have children. You can't take the inhibitor medication for hair growth if you're wanting to have children, not until you're done, I've read, anyway. And with acne, they say birth control can help, but hey, that's not helping with building a family, either. So, I feel like I have to give up on more long-term solutions to those issues and wanting to feel like I look beautiful or even slightly appealing, because I want more children.

So, I deal with temporary fixes and the nuisances those bring.

But, I want children. Jake and I both want children. We have a child, but we hope to bring a sibling for Spencer into our lives, sometime in the next year, if possible.

And, as much as Jake tells me not to worry and stress about it, I am pretty nervous and worried about his upcoming appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to discuss the results of his shoulder and elbow MRI that he had done on Monday following a work-related injury. He doesn't think he'll need surgery. But, if he does, it could be a while before he can work, or work "fully," or whatever.. and, let's face it, the childcare business isn't a money maker.

Well, there you have it. My griping, whining, and emotions for the night. Tomorrow, I'll wake up, and probably feel a bit better about it all. But tonight, I'm kind of in a funk.

In other news, I am really looking forward to the next week or so. On Sunday evening, we're getting to see Jesse (Jake's twin) and Samantha (Jesse's girlfriend, my "sister" and a best friend) for the first time since August! Yeah! They're coming "home" from Alaska for a little over a week. I can't wait! I miss them so very much.

Monday, Spencer's going trick-or-treating. His first Halloween!

Tuesday, it's Spencer's FIRST BIRTHDAY!

Wednesday, we're celebrating Spencer's birthday still/again, and Samantha and I have a date planned.

Thursday... Friday... who knows.

Saturday, I get to see Rena, and Samantha! I think. Right? And Shari and Alyssa. And maybe my family! Who knows! Lots of preparation for Spencer's birthday celebration.

And then that Sunday... Spencer's birthday celebration! Woohoo! There will be quite a few friends and family there. I am very excited to celebrate the joy that Spencer's brought to our lives with them!

There, see, I ended with lots of joy and happiness. Hopefully, that helps offset the stuff at the beginning, especially for those readers who like a "happy ending."


Friday, October 21, 2011

strength and courage

"Perhaps strength doesn't reside in having never been broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places." -unknown

I came across this quotation this evening, in the form of this greeting card someone had pinned on pinterest.com.

I had been browsing pinterest for about half an hour, trying to pass time until the laundry is done and I can fold it and go to sleep. Jake is on his overnight route tonight, and it's hard for me to sleep anyway, so I was hoping to get into a zombie-esque state of mind before I went to bed. I was doing a pretty good job of numbing my thoughts, actually, until I saw that image on my screen.

It stopped me dead in my... right-click-new-tab marathon.

I actually find it a bit amazing that I even noticed the quotation. As much as I love language,

writing, reading, poetry, prose... when it comes to inspirational quotations, I don't generally notice them. If they're sung to me in a song lyric, they stick, but if I see a quotation on a brightly colored square in a lovely accented bold font plastered on a Facebook page or other website, my eyes automatically (it seems) skim over it. I don't know, I guess I prefer to read things in paragraph and standard sentence form? That seems so... unlike me and my love for the arts, visuals, poetry, and such. Ah well, that's how it is. I pretty much skim right over anything of that nature.
For example:

Generally speaking, something even as basic, bold, and punchy as this little ditty wouldn't catch my attention.

I wish I knew why. Hopefully, dwelling on that won't keep me up all night.

But anyway, for some reason, the quotation above caught me, in all it's unlikeliness to have done so.

That's pretty... lucky? Or meant to be?

I think that's a pretty fantastic, and quite fitting, quotation/proverb to relate my current season of life to.

It's been over a month now since we lost Sprout. On the 15th of October, I cried my eyes out to my husband, telling him how I'm just not feeling like I am "over it," yet, and asked him to accept me for that, as I accept him for having moved on.

I still don't think I've moved on. But, I do feel stronger somehow. Until that day, I hadn't really cried about it in over a week, so naturally, that little meltdown caught me off-guard. I shed a few tears on my birthday, thinking about it, and how I was pregnant last year on my birthday and "should have been" this year (in my mindset, of course), and up until this evening when I read of another friend losing an unborn child, I was tear-less again.

I hate to say I'm "proud" of that, because it seems a weird place to issue the term "pride," but I do take some peace in knowing that my heart is mending.

Yes, it was broken. It still aches for my lost child. But, it's healing. Slowly, steadily.

I will admit there have been a few days here and there where I just didn't feel I had the courage to face the fact that I had to get up, go on, knowing I'd lost a child. But, I did it.

I would have been in the second trimester now. I soon would have been feeling my baby move for the first time. Those are moments I am missing, longing and aching for, as I type this.

But, I know that someday I will have those moments again.

I haven't much else to say about it, I guess. I already feel that I've babbled enough.

In perfect timing, the dryer just buzzed.

Godspeed, friends.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I was born on October 17, 1983, to my parents, Richard and Anita. If I recall correctly, my mother went into labor the evening before, at the Lamberton movie theater. It was the last time she and my dad went to that movie theater. She told me once what movie they were seeing, but unfortunately, that information was saved in my old cell phone, and I just can't remember what it was.

I was born at about 10:41 in the morning, I think, and I weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces. I had dark brown hair, and lots of it (kind of like Spencer did). I was the first grandchild on my mother's side.

Today was my 28th birthday. Truth be told, I've always thought birthdays kind of a big deal. I mean, it's a day to remember your birth, the day you entered the world, and reflect on all that you've done or become.

I love my birthday. It's one of my favorite days of the year. I think I appreciate my parents more on my birthday than I do on Mother's Day or Father's Day, even.

It could be 'childish' to some, I guess, to think that a birthday is a big deal as an adult, but I don't care. I don't think my birthday is the only one that's a big deal. I think that for any of my family and friends. I mean, we celebrate our LIFE that day, specifically, although we can/should/do every other day too. But the birthday, well, it's more special, I think.
I woke up this morning not feeling well. I was tired, groggy, sick to my stomach, and had a headache. It was dark and dreary, and I wasn't really looking forward to leaving the house, knowing I might not even see my husband the remainder of the day, unless he somehow got done early and was home before I fell asleep. I tried not to be bummed out as I drove to work.

Luckily, I have a great friend that I work with daily who, right away in the morning when we got an ice cream birthday cake for later, made my birthday feel special. Even the children at work were excited to wish me a happy birthday and celebrate! That was fun. In the afternoon, Jillian put 28 crazy candles on the ice cream cake, they sang to me, I blew them out with one breath (yeah me! I haven't blown out birthday candles in years) and we shared the cake. That was fun, really.

After work, Jillian and I left to meet Robert at Buffalo Wild Wings (with Spencer and Grayson, of course) to further celebrate my birthday. I was thinking on the way there which wings I should order as take-out to bring home for Jake since he wouldn't be there to join us, and I thought it'd be a nice treat for him when he got home from work that night.

We were standing in the foyer area, waiting for our table, and all of a sudden, someone's face was right beside my own, behind me, sort of, and it freaked me out a bit. I turned around to see...



He surprised me!

I was super excited. I mean, I still am! He was home for my birthday supper! He surprised me! And, I didn't have to order him wings for later, because he was going to eat them with us for supper! YEAH!

Seriously, I'm still smiling about it.

And he was dressed all nice, too. In his dark blue jeans and black button-up shirt. I was wearing his hoodie and my baggy jeans. Haha. Like it matters, though, right?

So, Jake, Jillian, and Robert managed to make my birthday special, not only by treating me to supper and giving me some company so I didn't spend my birthday the way I told Jillian I was probably going to spend it when she asked that morning, fighting Spencer to sleep and watching a movie alone on the couch.

Robert, Jillian, and Grayson then came over to our place, where Jake had picked out a variety of my favorite desserts (cheesecake (which was actually from his step-mother, yum!), red velvet cupcakes, champagne cupcake, and tiramisu), and we enjoyed each other's company a while longer. Then, Jake gave me two birthday cards, one super-sweet one, and one that's funny and plays "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Spencer loves that one. He dances to it when we open it for the music.

Currently, Jake is serenading Spencer as he takes his nightly bath, and then I'm going to cuddle with him on the couch and watch a movie... together! It's so simple, but it feels perfect.

I also must thank my... 30+ family and friends who left wonderful messages for me on my Facebook timeline, sent me sweet/funny/thoughtful text messages, left me voicemails, or I was able to talk to on the phone. I know that those are simple gestures, but I really appreciate them and enjoy reading them. (Does that make me an attention-seeker? Hmm. I don't think so, but I hope it doesn't come off that way to others.) It's a blessing to know so many are thinking of me and wishing me wonderful things.

It's funny to me that 10 years ago, I was so excited about becoming a "legal adult" and turning 18. I truthfully like turning 28 better. At 28, I'm married to my best friend, and together, we have the son we'd always dreamed of.

I can't wait to see what comes next.

Here's to my birth, my present, and my future.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Perfect Heart.

Last night was a bit of a scary night for me.

I went to bed around 11, after getting Spencer back to sleep.

Then, I woke up around 12:20 to the strangest, most intense pressure in my chest. It felt like my ribcage might actually shatter if I moved. It wasn't a stabbing pain or shooting pain or anything like that. It hurt, but it was mostly pressure. I tried best I could to wiggle around and change positions, but nothing was helping.

So, I text my husband a handful of times and tried calling, but assuming he was asleep, I got up and started to "research" it online.

Never a good idea, really.

Most things I found were pointing toward a possible heart-attack. I didn't feel like (not that I'd really know, I guess) I was having a heart-attack, but I was definitely concerned because the pressure was relentless. I toyed with the idea of calling the 24 hour nurse hotline for Sanford... and after telling myself it'd be best to have an idea whether or not it was life threatening, especially since I was home alone with my baby, I gave the number a call.

I spoke with the nurse, who was very kind and helpful, for about 20 minutes. Based on my description of the symptoms, and my lack of erratic heart rate, sweats, breathing difficulty, she told me it didn't sound like a heart attack. I was very relieved to hear that from a medical professional. She gave me a few options of what it could have been: heart-burn (weird, right?), a delayed reaction to my D&C, a reaction to the birth control + Metformin regimen I am on currently, or some underlying heart condition that could point toward an oncoming heart attack. She strongly urged I see a doctor within the next 72 hours, the sooner the better, just in case.

I tried to sleep after that, but it was very difficult. I kept thinking, even though I didn't feel like I was at risk of dying last night, that if something did happen, Spencer would be alone, hungry, soiled, upset, and cold. Or if I did need to call 911 due to increased severity, who would take care of him? If I had to drive to work the next morning, what if something happened to me and we got in an accident and he died?

The pressure lasted over an hour and a half.

Yeah. Late nights, as I've mentioned, aren't always my thing.

Jake ended up calling, and I cried my fears to him and talked to him a while, and eventually, around 3, fell asleep until SJ woke me at about 3:45. Then, I had a hard time sleeping again. I am not sure I got more than 3 hours "quality" sleep last night.

This morning, I made an appointment, and this afternoon, visited my doctor. After a review of my night's symptoms, blood draw (which took 3 stabs, because the technician forgot he had to fill two vials, so he switched arms, and couldn't get any blood from that arm, despite probing and moving the needle, so he went back to the first arm), an EKG, and 2 X-rays, it was decided that my heart was in perfect (or near perfect, as close as it can be, I guess, so she explained) condition. My doctor was very impressed, and I was quite relieved.

So, we discussed possibilities. I suggested my thoughts on an anxiety issue, but she said she wasn't certain that was the case, because of my lack of breathing, heart-rate, sweating, and anxious feeling while it was happening. She decided that it would be treated as stress-induced silent (acid) reflux for now. I am told I should take Zantac before bed for the week, but if it bothers me, or gets worse, to come in again next week to revisit other possibilities.

I explained to her the various stressors in my life lately. The miscarriage and emotions dealing with that. The lack of sleep I feel I'm getting. My husband's ever-grueling work schedule and his absence at home. My uncle's passing. Spencer's teething and mommy-neediness. My feelings of lack of safety in Sioux Falls at night lately. Etc. She asked if I felt depressed. I answered "no." I don't feel like I am depressed, clinically, as one would say. I have been emotional lately, but she agreed that is necessary with all that's going on. My sleeping habits haven't really changed much (I haven't been getting much sleep for a year now... haha), my enjoyment in hobbies hasn't. My appetite hasn't. My sense of faith hasn't. Stuff like that.

But, I do agree that I'm stressed out. Probably unhealthily so, lately. I feel like it's hard not to be when I feel like there's so much on my plate.

Either way, reflux or anxiety, I'm stressed.

I understand her concern about putting me on anti-anxiety medication without ruling out other possibilities, especially since in two months or so I hope to be trying for another baby. It makes sense to me. And I don't want to be on them if I don't have to be. So, I appreciate her concern and desire to rule out other options.

But, I will admit, I am not completely sold on the silent reflux diagnosis.

I guess we'll see.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Today, I traveled about two hours to Minnesota, to attend the funeral of my cousins' father, Roger. He passed away early Monday morning, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 52 years, 9 months, and 2 days "young" when he passed.

Roger was married to my aunt Kat for quite a few years. After they split, I will admit, I did not feel close to him. In fact, we were very distant for most of my life.

But, that does not mean that somewhere, deep inside, there wasn't a place for him in my heart. In fact, there's a place in my heart for anyone I have ever loved. That doesn't mean that my childhood wasn't filled with memories that included him. One of my favorite family vacations, actually, was taken in his bus (which was turned into a camper) with my four cousins, Roger, my parents, my three (at the time) siblings and I, to the Black Hills.

I remember vividly such things as climbing sand dunes, and playing cards in the bus as we trekked along. I remember feeling like we weren't going to make it up the big hill to Mount Rushmore. We took lots of photos that vacation on my old 110 Kodak camera. Actually, my dad took most of them, and the majority of them starred his pointer finger! Haha.

Today was very emotional, despite the lack of closeness I felt for Roger at the time of his passing. I think it was so emotional, just because I knew without his existence, my cousins wouldn't exist. I wouldn't have one of my very best friends in my life, if it weren't for him and his relationship with my aunt at one time.

The funeral was wonderful, though too long for Spencer so I spent most of it watching from the foyer of the church.

The burial was the most emotional part for me. I think, simply, because I stood there, across from my four cousins, their significant others, and their children, and watched them cry. It was incredibly difficult to fight back tears (and I lost) as I watched my cousins Christopher and Bradley, especially, cry. Watching men cry always gets me crying too, in chain reaction form. Watching Kat & Roger's grandchildren as they tried to understand what was going on, or as they did understand, depending on the age, broke my heart, as I imagined me and my cousins (including the four of Kat and Roger's children) as little children at the time my cousin Carissa (who was two when she went missing and was found in the river at my aunt and uncle's farm) was being buried.

Watching my father pat Roger's casket as he said his goodbye to his long-time friend also broke my heart further.

Saying "goodbye" to him myself... was almost surreal.

And realizing for a moment at my arrival at church, but really grasping the thought as I drove back home this evening that my father is only a few months older than Roger. I am a few months older than Christopher, and I was suddenly putting myself in his shoes.

I cannot imagine losing my father at this point in my life. I have friends who have lost parents, and I have lost other family members, but there was something about experiencing the funeral today that really drove home the fact that my father (and mother, and family and friends) are mortal, and we are all here for a very short time in the grand scheme of things.

Needless to say, the thought of losing my father like my cousins lost theirs overwhelmed me to the point of sobs as I drove down a lonely Minnesota highway.

My prayers are still being sent to my cousins, and the rest of Roger's family and friends as they learn to cope with the new normal where they know they'll never be in his physical presence on this earth again.

Monday, October 3, 2011

standing three feet in front of square one

This morning, I had my dreaded post D&C appointment. I had been avoiding thinking about it as much as possible, because, frankly, it bummed me out, knowing the reason for my return to the reproductive endocrinologist. If all had gone well, I would have been done seeing him and already seeing my regular doctor for typical OB appointments.

Obviously, that is not the case.

So, I woke early to get ready for my 7:45 appointment, contained my emotions as best I could, and left on my five block journey to the RE's office, not knowing what to expect.

The appointment went well, I suppose, all things considered. Had a consultation to make sure I healed well physically and had seven large vials of blood taken from me for a slew of tests. Truthfully, though, I left feeling discouraged and frustrated.

As I told a few friends (and similarly posted on Facebook), we are back to the beginning- square one, if you will, but instead of actually starting there, we are starting behind square one, looking at it from the outside, waiting to begin where we were.

Let me explain. We had been (for both Spencer and Sprout) taking oral ovulation inducing medications. Specifically, I was taking Letrizole and using an hCG trigger shot to cause my follicles to mature and then release an egg.

Now, instead, I get to take birth control for two cycles. Medically, I understand, as it should regulate my system and prepare it to try again. Emotionally... not so much. I cried at home and on the way to work.

I just feel as if someone took a dagger to my heart. Didn't slay me, but sliced me quite enough.

I went from being pregnant to losing a baby instead of birthing one, and now instead of trying, it feels like we are preventing. I couldn't really get pregnant "on accident" before, and now... yeah.

It hurts. Even knowing the medical logic behind it doesn't make it easy for my heart to handle.

I pray the next two cycles pass quickly so we can be back "to square one."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oh, how the years go by.

This weekend, Jake, Spencer, Wendell, and I packed up and headed to Minnesota, to spend the weekend at Jake's mom's house.

This is an activity that (well, with the exception of with Spencer, and sort of Wendell) is quite familiar to me.

Last night, Jake and I were sitting on his mother's couch, with Spencer playing on the floor (Wendell was outside with Jeb, Mindy's dog), and I had a flashback of this photo:

That photo was taken in 2002. Where we were sitting last night, we were facing that couch.

It dawned on me that I have been visiting Mindy's house for TEN YEARS. That's a decade.

Jake and I met in the summer of 2001. He came to my house the very first time on August 31, 2001. I don't know why I remember that date, but I do.

As we sat there, me staring at this photo (in my mind, of course) of us on the couch across from us, I was hit with so many flashbacks of time spent in that living room. And then, I said to Jake something about me coming to visit and spend the night there for TEN YEARS.

I followed with something like, "and now, we're bringing her GRANDSON with. I never saw that coming!"

It's amazing how time flies. Really. I mean, I sit here now and muse about what the next ten years will hold, and it sounds like a really, really long time, but it's not, at all.

I believe Jake's youngest brother, Josh, was about 12 when I met him the first time. He was at home this weekend too, and when he would walk up the stairs from the basement, I'd have a flashback of him being so young. He was about the same age as my littlest sister is NOW. She was TWO when Jake met her. TWO. That's only a year older than Spencer is! Wow!

The past 10 years really flew by faster than I ever imagined that they would. (Of course, this past year was the quickest flying of them all, if I do say so myself.)

Today, we went on a lunch date, and visited "China" (that's what the name of the restaurant in Windom is, "China," which I think is really... absurd...), and then just drove around town together, passing by old friends' houses. We covered almost the entire town, actually, reminiscing about old times, things we'd done together with our joint friends, and things we'd done separately that stood out to us as strong memories. It sounds kind of "lame" I suppose, but it was really fun, I think. I was silently overwhelmed with the realization of how much time I spent in that town, and at his mother's house, over the last decade, and how many wonderful memories I have with so many friends from the area.

I also decided that I can't wait until Spencer is a few years older, and we can take him back there, and take him on that drive, pointing out important places from the early years of his father and my relationship, as well as our memories with some of his blood and honorary aunts and uncles. I can't wait for him to play at the parks I hung out at, or eat at the McDonald's where his father gave me my first hug (from him, of course) early one summer morning at McPrayer.

I then realized I'd been friends with his best friend for 11 years already. And I met some of my other close friends 15 years ago (they went to my school, but one of them is now married and lives in Windom), which seemed even more insane.

In the evening, one of the friends that I have had since I was a toddler came over to Mindy's and brought her husband and her infant daughter. The six of us sat in the grass talking and watching our babies play, and she said, "this is much different than what we're used to doing when we hang out, isn't it? But it's awesome!" Or something similar. It gave me goosebumps. It was a wonderful moment.

I don't feel that much older than when I started making all of these wonderful friendships and memories with people from Windom, though obviously, I am. That's the crazy part. I guess, some days I feel older, but for the most part, I still feel so... young. But I'm actually closer to 30 than to 20, and I finally have a child that we'd been trying for, for so long.

As I write this, I have "Here's to the Night," by Eve 6 in my head. I had the lyrics to that written on a favorite pair of jeans from the summer prior to my senior year, as well as "icons" I drew of things that reminded me of my friends from that summer. I wore the jeans, actually, for one of my senior photos. Almost all of the memories from that song, that summer, and those jeans, are tied up in Windom, and my mother-in-law's house.

To me, that's pretty stinkin' awesome.

This photo has some of my dearest friends from 2001-2002.

Friday, September 30, 2011

in the middle of the night

It seems to me that my demons are lurking in dark shadows.

Specifically, they're waiting for me in the wee hours of the morning.

Oftentimes, when I wake in the middle of the night after being stressed during the day, I find that I lie awake, my mind teeming with thoughts that aren't necessarily "good." It always seems even worse when Jake isn't home, or is so sound asleep that I can't even wake him for a hug.

Tonight, I woke to Spencer's screaming, with Jake on his overnight route, and after changing a diaper, I headed back to bed, where, out of "nowhere" I find myself thinking about how hard it is to be alone.

That leads to how hard it was to be alone after the miscarriage, which leads to those feelings of abandonment, which I was able to shut out and move on from, but then the next monster lurking in the shadows came to get me.


Yup, it got me. Snatched me right out of an exhausted state of mind and shook me to tears as I replayed the week leading up to the death of our unborn baby.

Now, I know, founded in scripture (which, for the life of me, I cannot quote, but I know it's there... or I feel it is...), that God didn't take my child. And, I know that my child waits for me in Heaven.

I believe that my child doesn't feel blame or animosity toward me, but of course, in the still, lonely, stressed out night, I begin wondering if he or she might.

But the blame game... ack! I can't handle it at night, especially. It's like my intellectual side has taken a nap and left only my overly exhausted emotions to roam free. That's not a good recipe for a tear-free existence, I will admit.

What if I did kill our child?

I didn't. I tell myself that. But then, what if?

What if? That's another wretched game.

I decided I had to get out of bed, and walk around, look at Spencer, pet the dog, and then get these tempting self-blaming ideas out of my head so that I can hope to sleep a little more this evening, between Spencer's abnormal waking every hour or so.

But, let it be known, when I wake in the middle of the night, things always seem so much darker than they really are.

I have a hard time with thoughts like this in the middle of the night. I've had nights sobbing for hours while my thoughts rampage through my mind leaving me feel bitter and scarred. I HATE it.

Hopefully, I will wake in the morning with a sense of renewed peace.