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.