Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

Thank you Jesus for being born into this world. I wouldn't want to do this life without you.

Thank you baby for having that dance party at 2am, what a great way to start off Christmas morning. And I agree, Hershey's candy cane kisses are the best.

Miss you Sammy, wish you were here to rip some paper and play with all the fun boxes everyone is getting...

Friday, December 23, 2011

I think about writing here every now and then. I even have a couple posts written up that are just hanging out as drafts. It's been a difficult year...this used to be the place where I could find and leave my feelings. Now, after the Unpleasantness of late 2010, discerning what is causing what feelings and if I should share them has become - complicated.

I've been in counseling all year. It is hard and I know that good things are coming from it. This weeks appointment? Left me AND my counselor in laughter as she asked, cautiously, "Do you think it could be pregnancy hormones causing some of this?" Why yes, I think it could be. That might also be why the Heifers International story on NPR had me in tears. So here at the end of 2011 nothing is simpler, in fact, if life altering events where strands on a rope, pregnancy hormones have become their own strand, woven like camouflage into everything else.

Baby boy does not yet have a name. Which means he inadvertently gets called Sammy from time to time. I'm guessing he won't have a name until we lay eyes on him. Which feels like FOREVER away. It's amazing how quickly and thoroughly I forgot how uncomfortable pregnancy is.

This little guy doesn't seem to have too many likes...or dislikes for that matter. I went through a no sugar phase, a Sprite phase, and now feel like I'm in the "meh" phase. Nothing tastes right, even if I do think I want it. I haven't really gained any weight yet but I'm starting to look pregnant as opposed to just chubby in the middle.

I've started looking at baby gear. I'm trying to figure out what we'll need and the most practical way to get it. A couple people have offered to let me use some of their infant stuff that's in storage, swings, car seat bases, and extra clothes. I've put together some wall hangings and bought crafty stuff to add to the decor. It's hard to imagine how much life will change.

I found myself thinking about the changes on trip #whoknows to the bathroom one night. 'I better enjoy peaceful interruptions while they last, soon enough I'll be tired and caring for this little one at 1:30am'. I had those thoughts with Sammy but there were a lot more "should be's" at the beginning of those thoughts.

Miss you Sammy.

Thanks for all the rockin' and rollin' high kicks little bro :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

a gift

Thursday I came home and found a "missed you!" note from the post office. We had a package waiting for us, from Sammy to Little Bro. *smile* There was a fleet second of worry about something crazy going on but then I realized not that many people have our new address so that means either myself or my mom gave it out to someone.

Dave picked it up and still couldn't figure out who it was from...when he read me the postage mark I was delivered via some of the sweetest little bunnies I ever babysat, who have had everyone they know at their church praying for this little bro.

That's a couple alligator and monkey sleepers (I just happen to know a great song about some monkey's and an alligator too). The teddy bear plays sounds of the womb, a slow gentle mama's heartbeat which seems very fitting since that is one of the things Sammy and this little guy will have in common, listening to their mama's heartbeat.

Sammy, we'll think of you every time we snuggle for bed in those sleepers and every time a heart beats.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's a....

'nother boy!

This pregnancy has been so different I was *convinced* that I was growing a little girly girl in there. No indeed. This little stinker is all boy.

It's been a stressful couple of weeks. 2 weeks ago today someone made a horrible comment about baby 'cido #2 and it basically unleashed all my worst fears about this pregnancy. By the time I returned to school after the Thanksgiving break I could hardly focus on anything...Wednesday I was pretty much unbearable to be around...just ask my kiddos. And the slightest mention of the doctor's appointment had me in tears. Ugh.

We left a little late for the appointment and then there was TRAFFIC. Dave called ahead to the hospital and asked if we could still be seen even if we were 1/2 hour late - essentially showing up after the office had closed. They said yes, but when we got there the lights were all out. It's a wonder I didn't lose it right then. We knocked, someone came out, and we commenced waiting for another 1/2 hour to be seen.

Dave mentioned to the tech that we wanted to know if it was a boy or girl so when she scanned down to that region she told us - our suspicions were correct, it was a girl! Within the minute she had to take it back, with a giggle, "opps, nope, this is a boy". I had the doctor confirm too, because gender neutral is not my deal.

Everything looks good! It was amazing to see...what I could recognize anyway. He's a feisty one. Both the doctor and the tech tried to get good pictures of his face but he was covering it up with his the doctor threatened to get a 3-d picture of his little bum and boy she moved the wand down, his parts disappeared and she took a minute to figure out why. The little stinker had covered them up with his hands! So she went back to the top to get a head shot and we watched as his arm moved up the side of his body to cover up his face. His response then was to curl his knees under him and stick his little booty up in the air, face buried in his hands. Too funny. Seems like he'll be able to give Isabel a run for her money (she is a 1 year old Drama Queen - and it is fantastic).

No name yet, we had a girl name picked out and hadn't talked much about a boy name so we're starting from scratch. I go back and forth on wanting to adopt the Jewish tradition of not buying anything for the baby until after it's born...for superstition's sake...but I'm pretty much itching to get him something. So the deal becomes, once we have a place to *put* some clothes or stuffed animals, we can start buying.

OH - the specialist that I've been seeing also had me tested for MTHFR - the disorder that I found out last November could be to blame for Sammy's anencephaly. Sure enough, I have 2 copies of the C677T mutation...all I know that to mean is that my body doesn't absorb folic acid the way it needs to to produce healthy babies AND that somehow contributes to a clotting disorder. Since I didn't start on the extra folic acid until after I found out I was pregnant with #2 (we really need to pick a name - huh) and I didn't find out until 17 weeks that I need to take an aspirin a day to avoid clots in the umbilical cord and whatnot...this baby is extra miraculous.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

15 weeks

We're expecting! :-) In case you missed it.

I'm 15 weeks this week. We've had 2 ultrasounds and at each everything looked "normal" for the gestational age on that day. Big ol' round head, spine looked good, cord and placenta doing their job.

I think it's a she. Last week at my OB check up he said the heartbeat sounded feminine, for what it's worth.

The pregnancy has been very different so far. I escaped sickness until the last couple of weeks and then all of the sudden *bam* losing my lunch (literally) in front of my students. This baby likes chicken *smile* but doesn't like sweets. This is hard for mama to adjust to. Mama LOVES sweets. I mean, I still eat the occasional piece of chocolate but for the most part I can pass. I am very very very tired and hoping the 2nd trimester will bring some change in that.

Each doctor's appointment gets a little easier. I was pretty stressed about the first one which fell the Monday after Sammy's birthday. Next we had an appointment with a perinatologist to get a level 2 scan and some extra blood work to rule out any open neural tube defects. When the dr walked in while sonographer was scanning she exclaimed "there's a head!" SMH Everything else looked ok too.

I hesitated to tell my kiddo's about it last week...I was losing my lunch and they were concerned I had a "stomach virus" or "head virus". :-) I decided to wait until after today's appointment to tell them. Without movement for proof of life I was just a little nervous to have to explain *again* that sometimes babies die. I told them the next morning and they were excited and over it in about 2.5 seconds. They giggled and said the picture looked like a puppy or kitty. I assured them I have a baby human growing in me, not a puppy or a kitty.

It's harder to plan this time. With Sammy, at this point, I had a list of the necessities and a few different favorites for a boy or girl picked out. This time, I can't imagine actually putting a nursery together or starting to gather all the required baby stuff.

I think I felt a swift kick to the left side early this AM. I rolled over and *jab*. :-) Only 2 weeks until we *hopefully* find out if it's a he or she and get confirmation that all the developing has happened in an orderly fashion.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

the one with a lot of cheese

I found myself dispensing advice this week...and as I said it, I knew it was true but I also knew I struggled to live it. Lately my coping mechanisms seem lame, cheesy, if you will. Wanna know what it is?

My hope is in the Lord. I shouldn't rely on my work, my relationships, or anything around me to give me hope. It's interesting too, when I fix my heart on the Lord, when I look to Him for hope and peace, the craziness of life seems a lot less crazy, a lot more manageable. I find myself reading all kinds of cheesy wall hangings and shaking my head "yeah - it IS thankful people who are happy, not happy people who are thankful". All the stuff I used to cringe at, seems to ring true.


I woke up yesterday with cheesy potatoes on the brain. Looked around the 'net and found a recipe that seemed easy enough. These are reheated, I didn't have the right light (as if I know anything about that) last night so this was my breakfast potatoes.

Cheesy potatoes for supper and breakfast? Yup. Thanks to this little one:


When I get a craving, it's no joke.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's complicated...

Some things happened this week that got me all fired up to start blogging again. And now the ideas, the important things I want people to know, and the release of my own anxiety is all tangled up in a tight, pulsing knot.

My life isn't simple*. It is, in fact, quite complicated. But even in the midst of that I am certain of one thing: Jesus. His blood. His grace. His love. I guess that's more than one thing.

And even as I feel that certainty deep within, today I am struggling with the fact that trust now equals foolishness to me. I'm hoping to share more soon but let me suffice it to say that everything that I have trusted in life has let me down. If I'm completely honest, God has even let me down. But somehow, His good in my life has outweighed the disappointment. I wish I could explain it better but I guess that's why they call it a "personal relationship", ya'll gotta get your own to understand.

*and I'm willing to bet yours isn't either.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct 7, 2011

It wasn't easy.

I got a lot of messages from sweet sweet friends who knew what a hard day it was going to be. Thank you. I didn't respond to many of them...what's a girl to say?

We really didn't do anything on Friday. I spent the day thinking about last year and reading his birth story. I didn't even look at pictures until Sunday morning. Saturday I woke up to a present in the mail for me and Sammy and that seemed to turn my mood right around. Or getting past "the day" helped. I made myself meet a friend for coffee (almost cancelled about 50 times, just wasn't in the mood).

Then Sunday morning before church I started looking at pictures. I think I started this blog post then too and got distracted by the pictures. I cried. I was sad. And then I found myself feeling *bad* for feeling sad. ?? I don't know if it is all the "let go" messages people have been giving me or the "more graceful" way I have judged a few other mama's experience as they pass their babies 1 year anniversary but I felt bad for being sad.


Figuring out feelings is hard work for me. I still don't know how I would classify what I felt on Friday. I have lots of conflicting feelings so I guess it makes sense that it would be difficult to separate them and sort through the reasons why I feel this way or that. And it doesn't stop at sorting, then I have to figure out the legitimacy of the origin of the feeling. No wonder I'm so tired and thank God for my therapist.

So Sunday I figured out some of my thoughts and feelings and was able to see my own folly. Shoot, no one expected me to be happy or unaffected by Sammy's birthday, why did I have that expectation for myself? If every other mother of a dead baby released balloons, sang a song, went through their baby's box of stuff and had a cake for their baby, it still doesn't mean that I have to do any of that. What I did was perfect for me for that day.

Sometimes I wish there was a "right way" to do all this. I wish there was a manual that could help me navigate grief and baby loss.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

on the birthday and letting go

Last week my mom texted that she was sending a package to me and it's going to be delivered on Wednesday. Great timing for your birthday present she said.

I was confused...thinking she was a couple days early for the birthday but early is good for her. Then I realized she meant *my* birthday, not the birthday that has taken over my mind.

It's happening. Even though my baby is gone, I am becoming less selfish and concentrating on my kid. Makes me feel like a real mama.


I have been pondering "letting go" over the last couple of weeks. It sounds incredibly horrible to me but a few people have mentioned it. Most of them are aware of the season too (dead baby anniversary), which perplexes me even more. At least it took a year I guess?

I can't even believe it's been a year. I woke up today shocked that September is already over, October is here. Last year I painted my belly the Sunday before he was born. The weather has changed, cooled down a bit earlier than usual, just like it did last year. Is it weird to wish it was last year again so I could be feeling his kicks and getting ready to meet him?

Anyway - on letting go. I tend to just shut down when people start telling me that. Obviously they have not been through something like this, what is there for me to let go of? HE'S GONE. I fulfill my work duties and almost no one is really aware of the way I'm actually feeling these days, or at least, they pretend not to notice. What more could there be to this "letting go", "moving on"?

The disappointment of losing Sammy feels fresh right now. There have been some other big disappointments in my life in this last year. And today I felt challenged to embrace them, and let go of the plans and dreams that I had for what my life was supposed to be. I don't like these changes, this new reality of mine. But I have to keep moving, keep trusting that the Lord has ordered my steps, that He loves me and has *good things* in store for me.

I'll never let go of Sammy but I do need to let go of what I expected life to be.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

it'll sneak you

Oct 7 2011

Last weekend I noticed my milk at home had the expiration date of Oct 5 and started thinking about how cool it would be to get something with an expiration date of Oct 7...I figured I missed it with the milk and tucked away that random thought.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights were spent in tears just being sad about Sammy. I haven't cried that *hard* in a long time...maybe once since Sammy was born and only a few times right after the diagnosis. And I just let myself do it, hoping it would get out of my system or something.

Friday morning, my co-worker and I were standing in the cafeteria drinking milk and I noticed the date. Oct 7 2011.

me: "awww" - pointing to the date
JM: blank stare
me: "that's sammy's birthday, I'm tearing up" pointing to my eyes
JM: eyes widen

I tried hard to just feel through it, wiped tears as I collected the students trash, getting quizzical looks from a few of them. And then all of the sudden I couldn't stop. My kiddo's went with another teacher for a few minutes while I went and cried in the corner of my classroom until the absurdity of the tears made me laugh. SMH the expiration date made me sob.


I'm thankful for those who have shared their experiences before me so I'm a little less likely to feel bad about this sudden resurgence of grief. 12 months is a hard milestone to pass. I don't know what to do for his birthday. Last year, straight home from the hospital, I started thinking about what we would do to celebrate. This year, I dunno. Nothing seems big enough or small enough.

grief, it'll sneak you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Amos' birthday today. He's in Heaven with my Sammy. He would have been 4 today. I am remembering last year...crying and wondering what it would be like to have witnessed my baby's passing...and then the passing of his birthday...not just once but 3 times? It's amazing how quickly the heart can go back to such a raw place.

I find myself thinking of the oddest moments. The other day when I was laying on my stomach I thought about that first crawl into bed the day after Sammy was born, when I finally laid down to get some sleep. I could lay on my tummy and only needed 2 pillows! And then I remembered waking up. So distraught and so disappointed.

I read Stacy's blog and can totally relate. It's shocking to see the newborn babies around me reach milestones. I can't help but wonder about Sammy's every time. What would his first smiles and giggles have been like? How big would he be? What would that red hair be doing? It really shouldn't surprise me anymore but it always does when those thoughts burst into the forefront of my mind, seemingly out of nowhere.

Happy Birthday Amos. You'll always be apart of my fall 'memberies.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

this is how it goes

Life seems to have settled into a routine. work, sleep, repeat, spend the weekend cleaning and getting settled. This week that was interrupted a bit when I became fixated on my dining room. This is what it looks like right now.

Empty. And I am in the process of planning what I want it to look like. For the longest time I didn't think we needed a dining room, we were gonna have 2 sitting rooms, but then last Sunday we had people over and our 4 chairs didn't fit everyone. The thought of a regular dining set from the furniture store is NOT exciting to me. Plus the cost. Booo. And then! It came to me. Thrift stores. Antique stores. Mismatched chairs. Comfort. Color.

I cannot WAIT to get this dining room put together. We have space, it's 15x20. I measured. Jodie claims she "failed out of design school" - I think she changed her mind, either way, she's got the skills, I have the half baked vision, FUN.

Anything to keep my mind off last year. (what? where'd that come from?)

Which is interesting because in some other areas of life I am all about "feeling" this week. Feel the pain, feel the feeling, go through it, give it to God, grow. Maybe that's the difference. I don't know how I will grow through feeling the pain of my dead's just always there. Or maybe my brain/self/heart can only feel so much pain and it has to be compartmentalized a bit.

My brain is a mess lately. I mean that in the kindest way. I am living life, doing well, and then at brain won't stop and I'm having all these super clear dreams where I process through life the way I won't let myself during the awake hours. Does that make sense to anyone else?

The dining room, it's gonna be cozy, comfortable, and welcoming. I don't know what I'll put in the buffet that I'm picturing but it will be beautiful. With a big crazy mirror hanging above it...I can't wait to see what treasures New Orleans has for my space.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

11 months

Today I would have been sitting you next to some crazy sign that said 11 months and you probably would have been chewing on it before I could get the picture taken. Or the dogs would have been so excited that you were sitting still that they tried to lick your face off and it would have been a blurry furry, ew-face 11 month picture.

Love you and miss you baby

Sunday, August 28, 2011

it's all a matter of perspective really

last weekend as I prayed I felt *led* (or whatever) to ask God to prepare my heart. or when I prayed, that's what was coming out, prepare my heart.

prepare my heart.

I spent this week preparing my heart for more of the worst. this last year and a half have been *rough*. full of the unexpected. so I took that prayer to mean I needed to prepare for more of the that. how does one prepare? well, my first grown up job was rough, 3 years of teaching at a school where anything could happen at any moment...I don't want to go too into it but a crazy glimpse for you? getting ready to go on a field trip to see a show (that in itself hurts my feelings) with 60 four year olds and 50 five year olds...ooooh, fire drill, seriously? wait, it's not a drill, someone started a fire on the other side of campus and we're not allowed to go back in. thankfully it was not my first day *smile* so I had all the $$ and permission slips, the buses showed up and we left for our field trip from where we had been standing on the street.

all that to say, at work, most days, I can handle almost anything. so this week I spent time preparing my *mind* for how to handle more of the worst. my counselor just shook her head when I told her my plan. "That's not very realistic." Ha. I assured her my emotions would follow in a normal fashion but I think it's ok to prepare with an unrealistic initial response. laugh or cry, I choose laughing. crying will always come.

Sometime last weekend it occurred to me that my prayer was "Lord, prepare my heart". Not "melissa, prepare your mind". While I think it was good that I planned, I don't think that was God's point.

I would rather build a protective shelter around my heart, hide it in a cave with a big ol' stone in front of the opening...pick and choose who gets to see it, hold it, who gets in. I feel a constant reminder to let it go, keep it from getting brittle from lack of nutrition, or under developed from lack of use. For me, this boils down to trusting God. Trusting that he is big enough to heal my heart every time it gets hurt. Trusting God to lead me to give my heart to help myself and others, not just on a whim. Trusting God that He will get the glory. Trusting God that this is only the beginning of forever.

If this is the beginning of forever...

she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come
proverbs 31:25

there is no fear in love
1 John 4:18

Friday, August 26, 2011


And so it continues.

my melt down this week? Typing 9-1 on my lesson plans for next week. September? Last September my belly was full of baby. Living baby.

*sigh* so it continues. the roll downhill to October 7...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

it already looks so different...

First days of school! When I think of my class I think of my friend Lindsay's string of gush about cuteness...these are my "angel puff sugarplum babies". Once again I have a fantastic class. Usually I am so over planned on the first days of school we don't have time to get everything done. So far, my kiddos have been so well behaved and full of self determination (ha) to learn how school works that we have cruised through each day and all my activities.

My classroom already looks a lot different than that picture. I've rearranged and changed the wall decor. We painted this week. Paint, kindergarten, 2nd day of school. That's how great they are. Seriously adorable and eager to learn. Looks like this is gonna be a good year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

a struggle, a battle, life is a teeter totter

The Only Exception by Paramore (thought of Sammy when I heard this on Pandora today)

When I was younger I saw my daddy cry
and curse at the wind.
He broke his own heart and I watched as he tried to reassemble it.

And my momma swore
that she would never let herself forget.
And that was the day that I promised
I'd never sing of love if it does not exist.

But darling,
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.

Maybe I know somewhere
deep in my soul
that love never lasts.
And we've got to find other ways
to make it alone.
Or keep a straight face.
And I've always lived like this
keeping a comfortable distance.
And up until now I've sworn to myself
that I'm content with loneliness.


During my melancholy moments, that ^ up there is how I feel.

1 John 3:16-18

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.


And it is all so hard to reconcile. The ache of love for my child and the commission to love those around me. Truly love...not just with words or platitudes but with action. Love with patience (says the kindergarten teacher). Love with kindness. Love with forgiveness. Love. *I* would rather hide it all away in my heart so that *I* don't have to hurt or be disappointed when the love *I* give is not returned. Maybe it's not all about me...

What a hypocrite.

Thank you Jesus for loving me even though. Even though...


School is going well :-) I don't want to jinx myself but it seems I have another great class this year. Only 15 so far, so 3 more will join us in the next few days. Wanna squeeze them all, I'm having a hard time being stern...

Monday, August 8, 2011

*don't you just wanna be thankful for that journal?*

#4 - my fancy new couch bolster

#5 - the book one thousand gifts

#6 - beautiful striped journal

#7 - puppy breath (not pictured here)

10 months...

So I'm a day late this time. I've dropped off the face of the earth a little bit but for good reason this time. We moved on Saturday! (no internet for a while!) And today was the first day of school! Poor planning you say? I agree. But sometimes life just works out that way.

Today was one of the best 1st days in my history of 1st days. I got a thank you note from Laura from String of Pearls and with it a copy of my favorite book One Thousand Gifts and a GENIUS striped notebook for me to start my own list of 1000 things to be grateful for. I left it out today at work so that I would remember to be grateful when I saw it. It worked.

I'm really excited about our new house! It's about twice as big as the last place we lived in and the kitchen! If I made cooking and baking work in that little thing I used to have, I can't wait to see what I can whip up in the new huge one.

10 months was a numb marker for me. Maybe because of the rest of my life craziness...maybe because I had nursery duty and got to hold baby P for a good bit before church...I just love babies. So much. And it's a whole different kind of weird to realize you've been through all the *through* that one needs to go through and should have one...I have always loved babies and now have to get over what I think other people are thinking. Like yesterday I just assumed I was getting the "oh, poor her, loves holding babies and her's died" look. *rolling eyes* I gotta get over this thinking about what other people are thinking junk.

I miss you Sammy. I wish I was watching you crawl after the dogs and keeping you from chewin' on their toys.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

rite of passage and welcome!

Lots of people have asked about the walk and honestly, the first word that comes to mind is weird.

It's weird to go to another state to walk in a fundraiser to honor my baby who's dead. It's awkward to cry on the plane on the way there, listening to my sad music, missing my baby wanting nothing more than to hold him.

I did cry at the walk but not while I was walking and not the *whole* time. I started panicking at one point when I couldn't see Sammy's sign. I paid in advance to make sure I got a sign! It was the closest I've been to a panic attack in a few months (oh - I didn't mention that before? yup, I am now the unproud owner of depression and mild panic attacks, thank you 2010). When I went up to take this picture of the dude talking about his experience with String of Pearls I saw Sammy's sign and was able to relax.

*I liked that the speaker was not white. A little racial diversity, not that you can really tell from this photo.*

I had never done anything like this so that made it a little more uncomfortable for me too. I usually feel uncomfortable trying anything new. As we started walking it took a while to get into a conversation. I mean what do you talk about while you walk? *shrug* Mom, Isabel, and I caught up on life and commented on our surroundings...I guess overall not much was said about Sammy other than that his 1, too-short life will help about 19 other families have keepsakes of their babies.

A couple more donations have been made - so exciting. I talked with Laura Huene the director of String of Pearls and she said if anyone donates and makes note of it being in honor of Sammy they will in turn put little notes in the kits saying "In honor of Sammy" or something to that effect. Love it. If you want to donate, it's not too late! You can go to their website and donate there.

I felt like Sammy went through a rite of passage this weekend :-) He was mistaken for a girl. LOL Ya'll, even the small stuff makes him seem a little bit more real. Just sayin'.

I got to meet 2 new families and wish I had had time to talk to others. We were the only team that tried to wear green, there was a light blue team and a red team...purple...and dark blue. Sammy can have the market on green, we just gotta get on the ball for next years t-shirt.

I will totally raise funds for String of Pearls again next year and participate in the RUN. I have a whole year to get myself ready now. No excuses.


Welcome anyone coming
this way via Kristin's blog!

It was the so fun to hang out with her and have the chance to chat with her in person. She is as amazing in real life as she seems on her blog. Her knowledge of a good tattoo/piercing parlor in the approximate neighborhood we lunched in was what inspired me to finally get it done. Can you even see it in this picture?

I blemish removed the zits and wrinkles, don't be shocked when/if you see me in person. And I worked about 10 hours today so...looking crazy.
And photographic evidence of the day would have been nice *except* it was hot as hades that day and I had to describe myself to Kristin as "the girl right inside the door with big hair who's sweating through her dress"...but that's a story for another day I guess.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

3rd Annual Parker Family 5k!

Some of today's highlights in photo's...

Starting at 12 o'clock: Nana Shelly and Isabel - in the shade, on the walk, by the sign

2 o'clock: Team Sammy! Nanny Shelly, Cody, her daughter A, Linda and Isabel.

3 o'clock: Isabel showing us how to get started in a race (or learning to transition from sitting to crawling position!)

4 o'clock: the crowd, it was hot.

6 o'clock: Team Sammy by the sign! It's good that it's super small because then you can't tell my eyes are closed. Everyone else, looking (at least) and't keep my eyes open in the sun.

7 o'clock: Linda and Isabel soakin' up the sun with Sheryl Crow

9 o'clock: Rachel! Her daisy's anyway...saw them along the walkers route and had to take a picture.

10 o'clock: A posin' like a high school senior in the tree...too cute, love my new camera!

11 o'clock: Cody and A running across the finish line!

yeeeaaaahhhhh buddy

Pre-walk thoughts

yippeee skippy! We made the goal! $1020. Seriously people, I'm not making it up. And that doesn't count my personal donation. No one can tell me God isn't in the details. I swear I did the calculations 2 nights before the last donations rolled in.

17ish (if the rumor was correct, I'll find out today) kits provided for families facing the loss of their baby. My Sammy is helping out 17 families. Love it (and hate it at the same time, ijustwannaholdhim).

Amelia's birthday hit me kinda hard. I blogged about it early before school and spent the evening cuddling baby P and talking to my friend Jessie about her itty bitty E who was born Monday 5 weeks early! 4 itty bitty pounds! And I've been trying to get in touch with Dave's co-worker who lost her precious Jasmine Elizabeth shortly after she was born. I'm excited to be a resource and have someone to "help" if she wants it. Not that I have much to offer except a listening ear...

All that to say, I *may* have been trying to avoid some of the emotional nature of my life these last couple weeks. That ='s one blubbery crying Friday. Talking about Sammy's birthday and heading off to this race to honor my baby (who I wish was alive) had me in tears before work yesterday. SMH and I was that crying lady on the airplane again last night.

So today should be interesting. I wonder if anyone has every walk/cried for 3 miles. I wonder if there are crying mama's at these events. Well. I might be the first (but I'm guessing not).

Oh - I sent every penny of my paypal account to String of Pearls a few minutes ago. If you still want to donate you can go directly to their website and make a donation there. They offer these kits free to anyone who contacts them, such a blessing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HBD Amelia!

It's been back to work this week. I forget (probably on purpose) how all consuming I let my job become and how much it wears me out. We don't even have kiddo's yet! It's just planning and setting up the classroom.

Happy Birthday Amelia! I bet (if they cared) heaven throws the best birthday parties. They have a most beautiful stuffed butterfly toy at one of my favorite boutiques and Sammy would be bringing it to you if he could (and if that made any kind of sense...cause I wouldn't know your mama if it weren't for ya'll being in heaven together). Baby girl, one year ago, my heart broke as your mama was the first one I watched go through birthing and saying good bye to her anen baby. She was so graceful and peaceful I didn't even wanna read her blogs because the place of pain I was in couldn't reconcile grace and peace at such a horrible time. But your mama, you, and your birth, gave me hope. Thank you baby girl.

As of this morning we're at $950!! Totally gonna make the goal. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to every one who has donated and spread the word. About 1/3 of the people that have donated I don't personally (or internetly) know. What a blessing you all will be to String of Pearls and some (wait while I go do the math the spread sheet does the math for me) 16 families. I heard a rumor it costs about $60 to put one of those kits together so $1000 is 16.67 kits. If we just so happen to raise $1020 that is 17 kits. :-) (thank you excel)

Thank you, people like ya'll made a kit possible for me and ya'll are making kits possible for other people to remember their babies who were gone too soon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

woo hoo!


$125 to go to make my goal.

Go String of Pearls! Go Team Sammy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Walk update

Woo hoo!

As of this morning ya'll have donated $775! So exciting. I kept meaning to write that I am hoping to raise $1000 and then a couple more donations came in and we're dangerously close to my goal!

I'm so excited for Saturday! I get to see the family and walk in honor of my baby.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the aquarium is my kryptonite


I really had no idea. This is a trigger I would not have predicted.

Last time I went to the aquarium was on a field trip. One of those days when my co-workers could sense my unease before I did. Babies and families everywhere! Lots of school children too but shoot.

Yesterday I was invited to go to the aquarium with a bunch of my favorite people, Leigh, Jodie, Melissa, and their daughters. First of all, Sammy would have loved being the lone boy in that bunch. Second, I couldn't get over that fact that I *could* have had a stroller to push around (or baby to wear) in an alternate path if this had been a choose your own adventure life. Maybe one day I'll be one of those "spiritually mature" people who can say I would not change a thing but that day.

The aquarium is my kryptonite. I miss my baby.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

his feet

I feel like I might have posted these before but not with my super new camera...that I don't really know how to use here are Sammy's foot molds. You can see the wrinkles that he had on his feet and his tiny toe nails! String of Pearls, the foundation who's 5k I am doing on July 30th, sent me a kit that included the gel to cast his feet and then the compound to put in the cast and make these molds. (I'm just throwing these words around, I have no idea what it's all called really. But that down there is what we made from what they sent.)

I know I've shared the ornament is the photo book we received with ornament and molding kit. That blue clay looking glob is just that. Only you can kinda see his toe prints on it. I think we're supposed to bake it and have a foot print but since it's one of the last things left that we have unchanged since Sammy touched other pictures showed the dust that has accumulated really well.

Ya'll, if it weren't for String of Pearls I would have none of that stuff. They sent me a kit, I gave it to my mom and sister in law to take care of after Sammy was born. Time honestly stopped when Sammy was born. Before his birth I couldn't plan past it and I feel like I'm just coming out of a fog. I love our memento's but my mind could not have planned any of that in its state a year ago. We were so concerned about getting a "hand print" that it didn't occur to us to just dip his little fist (that we couldn't keep straight) in the gel to get a fist print. *sigh* That would have been cool but my mind - wasn't thinking about all that.

It is our first event as Team Sammy. I totally dropped on the ball on t-shirts - next year, I swear, the t-shirts will be amazing. I just booked my ticket to Colorado and then received another donation in the mail today. (In that order, I paid for my own ticket. 100% of donations are going directly to String of Pearls.)

Don't forget to donate - up there on the left, under the CHEEKS! picture if you want to support an amazing organization that helps families remember their babies.

Monday, July 18, 2011

today i wish...

it would stop raining. seriously, this is not monsoon season

the sun would shine so I could play with my new camera and some fantastic natural light

the packing fairy would come pack up my house

this was not my last Monday of summer

life was easier!

I had a picture of Isabel's new teeth and my nose piercing! Our new additions :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

my heart and the bad

Another baby! Baby P was born yesterday at 4:40pm. SHE - *I totally thought she was a he for the last 5 months in utero* - is a big ol' thing with a double chin already. We went to visit last night and I went back today and got to hold her for a bit.

Being around these 2 new babies lately has gotten me thinking...and feeling...pregnant women don't bother me, I can talk with them about pregnancy and birth. Being around new babies and new mama's? Hard. I didn't read up on how to care for a newborn and don't have any practical experience. On some level I want nothing more than to be a mother of my own living baby. But I know that will not provide me the satisfaction that I think it will. It's just an emptiness that I have now...

I've been reading old journals. We're getting ready to move and have unearthed a couple boxes that have been tucked away. I'm tempted to throw them away... The names have changed, the prayers haven't. 7 years ago someone pointed out the issues in my heart, my actions were seemingly negligible but my heart...rotten and threatening to infest my whole being.

My heart. These days I feel like it isn't capable of anything. Constantly filled and emptied. Maybe that means it's capable of a lot. Maybe I'm trying to fill it with the wrong things. What if it has to stay empty of all the bad so that the good can flow through?

The bad...this summer I have been challenged to discern "the bad". Guess what? Often the bad is not something that most people would consider harmful but I'm finding that I place too much importance on innocent things. Translated - the bad is not drugs or alcohol, you know, obvious, the bad is shopping or food. It might even be just spending money, even on other people...I find myself looking for some satisfaction, some way to fill the emptiness. But all of these things provide no satisfaction. They are a finite fix to my infinite empty.

Thus says the LORD, "What injustice did your fathers find in Me,
That they went far from Me and walked after emptiness and became empty?
Jeremiah 2:5

Jesus said to her,
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14

Monday, July 11, 2011

numb again

9 months was a numb milestone. Other people pointed out to me that his time alive was now shorter than the time since he's been gone. It's been such a crazy year.

I put out Thursday's post and didn't think too deeply about it. Today I revisited it and see the conflict that I am facing. Love hurts but it is impossible to fully live without it. I wouldn't trade the love I have for Sammy for anything, even the absence of pain as milestones pass. I guess the love is greater than the pain it causes.

Isabel and I both have additions to announce, I'll have to get her mama to take a picture so I can show them all off. Today is my last day in Colorado! And then it's home to Lindsay having her baby! And packing...we're moving. Just across town but to a little bit bigger place.

I think we have 9ish people racing for Team Sammy! And no t-shirt put together yet *rolling eyes* Sometimes I am a slacker. But sometimes I finish 4 flour sack towels in a week. And sometimes I have a grateful attitude...

Oh Henri

Living gratefully requires practice.
It takes sustained effort to reclaim my whole past
as the concrete way God has led me to this moment.
For in doing so I must face not only today's hurts,
but the past's experiences of rejection or abandonment or failure or fear...
...grateful people learn to celebrate
even amid life's hard and harrowing memories
because they know that pruning is no mere punishment, but preparation.

When our gratitude for the past is only partial,
our hope for the future can likewise never be full.

Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing

What if he's right?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

9 months - love hurts

"Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams."

"love hurts"

Today is nine months in heaven baby boy!

I remembered the morning when I told Sammy about the people he would meet in Heaven. I don't know when his little soul went to heaven but I felt the need immediately to tell him about the man who would hold him first. I just assume Jesus greets everyone upon their entrance to heaven *shrug* It was my first shower after the diagnosis and I washed my belly and cried...I didn't know if Sammy could hear me, if he would ever hear me. But I felt I needed to start telling him about Jesus.

It's oddly reassuring on days like today to know that my boy is chillin' with Jesus and all the people (maybe? who really knows?) that have gone before him. My Grandma Scrabeck, my great uncle Jim, a family friend Jim Brooks, my uncle Steve, my great grandma Culbertson...maybe he's found some of my friends little ones who have gone to heaven recently. I don't really know how it works but sometimes it's helpful to think about.

"What is hell?
I maintain that it is the suffering of being
unable to

The Brothers Karamazov

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

who's that lady?

Talking to the baby in her cart like she's about to answer back? It was me. And I only cared a little that no other mama's seemed to talk to their children...

Target was a success! *sad smile* so much fun with Belle Bell, I saw a double seater cart and almost stuck her in it for a picture to post how I felt about being there. I did try to imagine how I could have jammed 2 chunktastic babies in the seated part of the cart...

And we got home and she napped her heart out while I made baked potato casserole and 2 apple pies. There was only a little fire from where the pie baked over the edge. I made all that yummy food for my BFF from college Terri, who just had her baby boy Caleb! He's a pea-nut. 7 lbs! He's tiny tiny tiny. I only cried a little while I held him. I gave fair warning "I'm gonna cry but I'm ok."

It's that kind of week I guess. I spent some time yesterday crying at a picnic when I talked to a mama who's been so supportive and very involved with String of Pearls. They are Team Larson and she told me about their shirts yesterday.

I got another donation from a sweet coworker on Sunday! And my bro and new-sis-in-law are definitely coming so we're at 7 people on Team Sammy. Kinda of a great number if you ask me *wink*


I wanted to recap the last few days since I'm sure you're all *so* interested in how I spend my time.

I'm in Denver! Drove out Sunday with my brother John, his new wife Lisa, and Ditka, Nola, and Puppy the cat. That's two large dogs and a cat and a car full of wedding gifts and luggage. They bought a new car while they were in to them. *smile* Doesn't much matter about the car for this story...

Herding the Cat, while trying to get a Frisbee away from Ditka while she sat in the front seat
The End.

Details seem a little boring when the title to my story says it all. It will be great story fodder for my kinder babies next year. Shoot - now I gotta figure out how to draw dogs AND cats.

Isabel is so tall! And she tries to laugh at me! Two weeks ago she was an itty bitty (20 lber) who sat up and smiled when you talked to her. Now she's a tall, I-can-pull-myself-up-on-stuff, laughing big girl. SMH

We're off on an adventure today. Can Auntie Sissa wrangle-a-7.5-month-old-while-grocery-shopping,-Targeting,-and-making-a-meal-for-my-BFF-from-college-who-just-had-a-baby-boy-that-I-get-to-see-tonight? Whew - I'll let ya know about that...excited to try for sure.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

grief monster

I'm finally remembering to right, ahem, write (thanks Dave, embarrassing)about least I don't think I've told ya'll this yet. *shrug* Way back in April, when I got to hang on the beach for a week I also got to do some shopping and tv watching.

Leigh (my most fantastic 2010-2011 1st grade teaching partner - I'm teaching Kindergarten next year so I have a new team! I will miss her...) invited me to her parents house in Florida. It was perfect, I think I had to remind myself to breath all week, that was the extent of what I *had* to do. One day we sat and watched an old Oprah on DVR.

The first story was about a grandma who carried her grandchild because her daughter wasn't able. It was interesting...the next story was about an NFL player who's daughter needed a heart and was finally able to get one when another baby boy was not going to live and his mama donated his heart. Leigh totally asked if it was ok to watch and honestly it was. I ended up getting upset at Oprah!

Ya'll she sprung a first time face to face meeting between the parents of the two babies. The baby boy who's heart was donated had an 11 year old sister and she was a wreck. Oprah brought out the NFL player and his family, including the little girl who had the new heart. They had not been allowed to meet or even talk about the actual dates of the heart transplant because that is the protocol or something. I was MAD. That poor 11 year old, still grieving the loss of her baby brother (he was a few months old when he died), had to face the little girl who got to live. Both families were in such shock they didn't say much. I am still mad about it (obviously). But that is not my point. I watched both stories with little to no emotion, Leigh teared up a bit...and it was time for supper.

The next day we went to the mall. Leigh's little girl A is the most perfect shopping 2 year old ever. She's actually 2 1/2 now but ya'll, they got her trained to sit in her stroller and munch and drink while the adults around her shop. Leigh *might* have to raise my children or at least teach me her magic parenting skills. We went to baby Gap or something and it was a little hard...and then right out side Leigh's mom decided to get a pretzel. I almost lost it.

A no-salt pretzel with hot salsa cheese and a Coke was one of the first unnaturally delicious foods that I ate last summer after my sickness was over. I will never forget how much satisfaction I felt in the parking garage outside Macy's when I ate that. MMMMMMm. Marshmallow Dream bars from Starbucks had the same effect. Pregnancy taste buds are crazy.

Grief is a monster that is somewhat unpredictable. Watching a show about a baby donating his heart? All clear. Pretzel stand at the mall? TEARS.

Oh - I don't know if I ever mentioned here that Sammy's heart valves were actually not used. We got a letter sometime last fall that there was no need for them in the time that they were viable in our area. So strange.

:-) I've decided to stop drinking soda so that I can be in better shape for the 5k. I still don't think jogging/running this year will happen, but ? maybe? Still dreaming about the t-shirts but don't have anything in process yet...better get on that. Tomorrow might be the day I get my plane ticket! I've registered myself and have yet to register our team (kinda waiting to see if Dave, Duane, John, and Lisa will be able to join us). So far $325 has been donated and is chillin' in my paypal account. Woohoo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

the weekend

There is this older worship song that I heard twice this weekend. Friday night my cousin Anniee and I went to a prayer meeting at a little old country church in southern Minnesota. It just so happens to the church where my grandpa gave his heart to the Lord 6osomething years ago. It's a prayer center now and the last Friday of every month they have a special speaker come in. Last week it was a "prophetic evangelist". I can't even lie, I made fun of the dude all day Friday before I heard him speak. Semantics. He talked about letting the Holy Spirit lead your conversations and it was a good.

Anyway, during the worship part of the evening we started singing an older worship song, a song that really has grated on my nerves until last Friday.

Over the mountains and the seas
Your river runs with love for me
I will open up my heart and let the healer set me free
I'm happy to be in the truth so I will daily lift my hands
and I will always sing of when you're love come down

I could sing of your love forever..etc x100

The x100 is what really got on my nerves. yeeesh. But as we were singing it Friday night I realized I *could and will* sing of the Lord's love forever AND I got this glimpse of a fat baby in heaven singing of God's love forever.

It happened again on Sunday when the same song was sung during worship and I made a pact to not let my baby to out praise me...although, let's be real, you know he's learned some stuff up there.

I'm tired of trying to fill the voids in my life with temporary junk. Anthropologie (OMG I love that store so much) will not have enough cute clothes, purses, or housewares to make me happy. No relationship can avoid letting me down. Live music at a super cool venue with my fantastic cousins will not sustain my joy (it will however, make my old ears ring).

Today I will rest in the Lord's love. He promises to *never* leave me (or you) and gives us His joy to be our strength...if we accept Him and let Him. He pursues me with just the right amount of pushiness. This is what I was created for, He is the satisfaction of the longing in my soul...I will wait, I will endure, I will see His glory for eternity.

Be strong and of good courage,
do not fear nor be afraid of them;
for the LORD your God,
He is the One who goes with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from
the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

For God did not send his Son
into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
John 3:17