Week Four

Tahd left yesterday.  Again.  For the fourth week in a row.  The first three weeks went pretty smooothly, and quickly as well.  I like that.  Gabe and I got along, nothing catastrophic happened, and it didn’t snow too much.  However, I feel like I’ve hit a wall, and the prospect of two more weeks alone seems pretty… well, lonely, for lack of a better word.  Five whole weeks in a row makes me a little sad!

 

But you know what?  <said to myself as much as to anyone else>  I’m lucky.  I have a husband I miss desperately when he goes away, even if we bicker a bit when he comes home.  😉  I have a little boy whose energy I both find inspiration in and envy.  And I get the remote all to myself.  Focus on the positives, right?

 

In the meantime, we try to stay busy with a little fun.  Yesterday, it was a professional indoor soccer game.  Gabe was good for about 2.5 quarters, and then I nearly lost my mind trying to keep him from jamming the plastic horn into the head of the person in front of us.  Thankfully the person in front of us was my brother-in-law, but even though he’s sort of compelled to love his nephew, I can’t imagine it was enjoyable to be poked, prodded, and harrassed from over your shoulder.  He’s a good sport, though!

 

Indoor soccer is not so much my thing.  Let’s face it – sports in general really aren’t my thing.  I fake it reasonably well for things like World Series and Superbowls, but regular sporting events?  I have to work at my focus to stick with it.  Hence this picture…

Because shoes are definitely more of my thing than sports.

 

But making my child’s eyes light up with excitement?  SO my thing!  Is there anything better than seeing a smile spread across your child’s face and knowing that you had a hand in putting it there?  So when he had an opportunity to go to this game, I figured it would be a great way to begin our fourth-in-a-row solo week.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Gabe banged his noisemakers and ate his pretzel and blew his horn like a pro, hooping and hollering at all the right times, at least until the fourth quarter when he’d had enough.

 

Also, he doesn’t like buzzers.

 

 

This – his “buzzer protection move” – has been perfected during his own weekly soccer games in which he spends the last moments of the game ignoring the ball and paying rapt attention to the clock, hands poised to protect his ears as the seconds count down.  It’s really cute, and made me laugh tonight while I watched him cover his ears in lieu of kicking the ball which flew right by his ankles in the last seconds.

 

I think we all need a buzzer protection move!  😉

 

Gabe woke up this morning with a sniffle.  I have crossed every finger and every toe in the hopes that it prevents his third sinus infection in a month.  Thankfully I’m starting to feel better and am just left with a stubborn cough and some lingering fatigue.  Which – let’s face it… I can blame the fatigue on my illnesses but the reality is it preceded the illnesses so I should be thankful it’s improving at all!  But it is, and I’m grateful and have stayed awake for the whole day – sans naps – for FOUR DAYS IN A ROW!  Granted, I slept until noon on Saturday so I’m not sure I should get full credit, but oh well.

 

Actually, strike that.  I dozed on the couch yesterday around noon.  Caught about an hour’s rest between snuggling with Gabe and answering his questions.  So I guess I started my lucky napless stretch today.  One day down, a whole bunch to go!

 

With any luck I plan to fill the rest of my week with photography, exercise, decluttering, writing, and volunteering.  Seriously – I love my life.  Sometimes it’s busy and stressful and it has for sure been painful, especially over the last little bit.  But I was recently reminded that when in the midst of transition, something better almost always steps into the vacuum that’s created by the loss of the familiar.  And that’s what’s happening – goodness is filling the gaps and cracks that plagued me long before Mara.  I like the way things are shaping up.

 

It feels good to write those words!

Weekend Review

We’re nearly all the way through our weekend and Tahd has left again for his next work adventure so it feels like a good time to take stock.

1.  My feet feel happier – and by extension I feel happier – when I am not wading through inches of crumbs.  It’s easy for me to let the vacuuming go.  If you put on socks, you can’t feel the crumbs!  But the feeling of socklessly gliding across a smooth, crumbless floor is good, a small pleasure not to be ignored.  Cheers to clean floors and vacuum cleaners!

2.  I still haven’t finished redecorating from when I undecorated the Christmas stuff.  This fact is getting really old.  Why is it that I can’t look an arrangement-o-crap and decide whether or not I like it?  Or look at an arrangement-o-crap I don’t like and figure out why I don’t like it?  Am I that out of touch with myself?  Apparently, because my dining room table continues to be covered by random home decor items I’ve tried out in a hundred places in a thousand combinations.

For example, here’s my piano.  I hate this arrangement:

Blech.

So I moved things around. I might like this better.  Maybe.

Or not.  But that’s what it looks like right now.

3.  The thing I hate most about Tahd traveling?  If we have a good week while he’s gone, it means there’s going to be an adjustment period when he comes home.  Gabe and I get in a groove of doing things on our own, and sometimes it’s hard to add a third person into a mix.  Tahd has his own solo groove going, and I can only imagine how annoying it is for him to have to account for Gabe’s and my silly antics.   Said adjustment period involves arguments and general irritation until we’ve retooled our expectation of “normal.”   Such was this weekend.  It was fun and I’d far rather have Tahd home than gone, but we also had our share of “adjustment blues.”  Given the fact that Tahd is traveling nearly every week in the near future, I anticipate a lot of “adjustment blues.”  We need to find a way to adjust with smiles instead of frowns.

4.  I’m going into my third week of being sick.  The Infection From The Pit Of Hell is beginning to return from whence it came.  Which would be my lungs. In spite of the fact that I have been on every medication known to man, there seems to be an impressive amount of junk lingering in the recesses of my lungs.  Interestingly, Gabe also seems to be getting sicker rather than better, too.  Do you think they’ll comp our next visit at the walk-in clinic if we go back?

Yeah.  Me neither.

5.  When Gabe was 2 we watched Cars every day.  Sometimes twice a day.  Really, it’s miraculous that he can do anything other than stare at the television in a trance given how much screen time he logged during that year.  He watched the movie so many times we wore it out.  He got a new one for Christmas but hadn’t cracked it out.  Until today.  I’m loving it!  I had forgotten how fun this movie was!

Also – Gabe was a Ninja.

This is important.

6.  I want to make this.  And this.  And this.  I also want to finish painting my kitchen floor.  And Tahd would love me extra if I cleaned up the trash heap that is our basement.  I had better get busy!

7.  And finally, congratulations are in order to Emmy Kay, a fellow infertility and miscarriage sojourner, who delivered twin girls this weekend.  I love me some babies, especially babies who bring hope.  Congrats, E&F!

A History of the Last 36 Hours

I went to bed on Tuesday night to this:

Snow came down so hard it was difficult to see across the street of our front yard  and completely impossible to see out our back windows at all.

We woke up Wednesday morning to this:

The snow was nearly chest high in our back yard

and hip high in our front yard.

So Tahd spent the day doing lots of this:

and Gabe helped, too.

Gabe also caught his fair share of tv shows.

And I?  Well, I can’t lie.  I’m not an outdoor person, especially when things are damp and cold.  Thankfully, my husband loves it and told me to have a fun day inside!  I knew the storm was coming so I had previously made a trip to the video store to rent some games and movies.  And now I have a new love… Wii’s Just Dance 2!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you… I photoshopped my stomach in that picture.  I like it much better that way!

Our cars still happen to be snowed in while we wait for someone to come plow the drifts in our alley.

So for all practical purposes, we’re still snowed in unless we can walk to our destinations or unless someone without snow in their alley picks us up.  It’s making for a few fun quiet days at home!

Happy Snowmageddon!

2010 Year In Review

*~*~the summary~*~*

:: it started with surgery that kicked my butt

:: then a pregnancy that came out of nowhere

:: and a little boy who fell in love with the olympics and canada

:: an unthinkable anxiety became pervasive in my mind

:: until I lost Mara on Mother’s Day

:: we grieved

:: we’re grieving

:: but we’re picking up the pieces

:: and learning that

:: life

:: is

:: good

:: I like being me

:: even though it sucked sometimes

:: and I like taking prozac because it helps me be me

:: it’s bittersweet to leave 2010 behind and start 2011

:: but the good outpaced the bad in 2010

:: and I’m trusting the same of 2011

*~*~the review~*~*

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
:: took my son to Florida
:: accepted help at a deeper level
:: learned to take pictures in manual mode
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
:: I didn’t make any resolutions; my focus for the year was to revel, and I definitely feel I took my reveling to a new level.  I’ll pick a new word for 2011.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
:: lots of people around me gave birth.  Tons!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
:: my baby

5. What countries did you visit?
:: just this one!

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
:: financial stability
:: a new baby
:: energy

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
:: May 9, because that was the day Mara died

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
:: surviving; it sounds sort of pitiful, but I’m very, very proud of it.  It was very, very hard.
9. What was your biggest failure?
:: I can’t think of a giant failure. Maybe there have been some, but I can’t think of any.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
:: sort of, I guess

11. What was the best thing you bought?
:: a trip to Florida and family photos while we were there; hands down one of the best decisions we’ve ever made

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
:: Gabe’s! He started school this fall and is proving to be an amazing little guy!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
:: I saw some pretty appalling online behavior, but thankfully nothing horrific in “real” life

14. Where did most of your money go?
:: medical bills, mortgage, and food.  Did I say medical bills?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
:: being pregnant

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
:: Feels Like Home, by Chantal Kreviazuk

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
a) happier, quite shockingly. When I’m sadder I’m much sadder, but mostly I’m happier.
b) a bit fatter, unfortunately. I picked up about 6 pounds this fall – not a giant deal, but more than what I weighed last New Year’s.
c) mildly richer since I started working a little bit

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
:: the bedtime routine with Gabe

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
:: generally being impatient.  It feels reasonable in the moment, but afterward I always regret it.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
:: with my wonderful family, and it was perfect – just not long enough!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
:: yes, again and again

22. What was your favorite TV program?
:: the office

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
:: no, I don’t think I hate anyone. I don’t even think I strongly dislike anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?
:: Jesus Calling or A Perfectly Kept House Is The Sign of a Misspent Life

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
:: not really a new discovery, but there are some things by Lily Allen I fell in love with

26. What did you want and get?
:: to go to Florida

27. What did you want and not get?
:: to bring my new baby home

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
:: did I even go to the movies this year??

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
:: honestly, that was almost 12 months ago.  I have no clue!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
:: less sickness. The nose surgery was rough, the anxiety was beyond rough, the miscarriage was completely horrific, and the random sinus and strep yuckinesses were more than annoying

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
:: fashion concept??  I buy what looks fun and what I can afford. My favorite fashion “thing” is ruffles. Love me some ruffles!

32. What kept you sane?
:: the love and support of my family and friends

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
:: Bethenny Frankel

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
:: healthcare reform

35. Who did you miss?
:: Mara, my extended family, my grandmothers

36. Who was the best new person you met?
:: the most fascinating person I met this year was Kelle Hampton. I met lots of lovely people, though, so it’s hard to pick a “best.”

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
:: you are stronger than you know

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
:: I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

*~*~completion ritual~*~*

1.  What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in 2010?

strength. strength I never knew I had and strength I never wanted to find.  but strength I’m so glad to know I have. I want to go somewhere with it.

2.  What is there to grieve in 2010?

my baby. everything else was a blip on the radar. in a sense, this is good because it has put things in perspective. in another sense, it’s just sad.

3.  What else do you need to say about 2010 to declare it complete?

2010 was. it was good. it was hard. it was important. and it will be, even after 2011 is.

I declare 2010 complete!

As I stand up, I declare 2011 my year of M | A | G | I | C!

The word I had originally chosen for 2011 several months ago was alchemy, which is much the same idea.  Although I still like it, I was looking for something simple and something I could take in multiple directions.  So “magic” it is!  I want to create more magic in my life – from the little, mundane things like completing my daily chores, to making family dinner a more positive, magical experience, to finding the sparkle in every moment, to creating a spirit-filled home for my family, to inviting more radiance into my life, and to having some big, beautiful experiences that will shine as bright spots in my lifetime of memories.  I like that magic is a little bit earthy and mystical; I’m not quite sure how this is going to unfold.  2011’s magic will show me, step by step as I connect to each moment.

I Love It For

I love the Christmas season.  I really love it!

I love it for this…

two things here – the decorations.  I love them.  There is magic in twinkling lights and evergreen boughs and Christmas crap everywhere your eyes fall.  Second, it makes for fun photography.  I cannot take credit for figuring out anything related to how to take this picture.  I just followed the instructions of a friend who is far more experienced than I.  Shutter speed – 30 seconds (which I think ended up being more like 5 seconds when all was said and done), f stop at about 22.  Thanks, Melissa!

I love it for this…

Reindeer parties, where we invite way too many people and eat boxed lasagnas and bagged salads because all the effort went into preparing oodles of cookies for the kids to decorate and leave for Santa.  This is a tradition we started several years ago, and it’s so much fun!  The premise is this… what do you do the day or two before you’ll be running in a big race?  (If you actually run races, that is.  Which I don’t…)  You carb-load!  We have a high carbohydrate dinner (said boxed lasagnas and bagged salads along with cheesy garlic bread from the freezer section of your local Piggly Wiggly), somehow cramming all 25 of us into two tiny rooms.  It’s loud and chaotic and so much fun.  We try to remember to turn on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (but forgot to do so last night), and we make cookies to leave out for Santa as well as reindeer food for the oft-forgotten but heavily-worked reindeer who fly Santa’s sleigh across the world in a particularly short span of time.

You might think reindeer eat carrots, and some of them do.  But if they really want to fly high, they eat magic reindeer food, which consists of oatmeal, many colors of sugar, and a little magic glitter.  We sprinkle it the snow on Christmas Eve so the reindeer are guided to our house by the shimmer of the glitter.  It’s irresistable.  Santa has never forgotten us once since we started leaving some magic reindeer food!  😉

I love it for this…

Christmas movies!  You can’t tell here because I had a reticent subject, but we were watching Christmas movies – all of us.  Even Rudolph, who was a new addition to our family this morning.  Gabe had received a Build-A-Bear gift card for his birthday, and he adamantly wanted to make  a Rudolph.  I didn’t know how long Rudolph would be in stock, so we braved the mall this morning so he could build his prize.  It was only lucky for us that we had made reindeer food last night, because once Rudolph got home he was very hungry.

I love it for this…

Gifts.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say it.  I love gifts – giving them and getting them and seeing them.  I don’t so much like wrapping them, but it’s a necessary evil if I’m going to get the joy of seeing a tree stuffed with pretty packages.   I think I’m getting some new shoes for Christmas – hence the mug.

But I also love the mug because it reminds me of cozy cups of tea or white hot chocolate or wassail.  Christmas is ripe for these beverages!   I’m not so much one for eggnog or hot spiked drinks, but give me a delicious cup of tea and I’m in heaven.  I love the coziness of Christmas.

I love it for this…

Traditions.  We have a bunch.  One that began when we were children was spending an evening driving around looking at Christmas lights.  It was one of my favorite Christmas events as a child.  We haven’t done it so much with Gabe, but tonight we – Tahd, Gabe and I along with my parents – did just that.  And it was lovely.  There’s a little campground north of us that does a giant light display each year with over a million lights.  It’s gorgeous!  And must represent many, many hours of work!  I love this tradition and hope we do a better job of keeping up with it.

We have other traditions I love, too.  The Reindeer Party is one.  We also dig out special Christmas books that I put away during the rest of the year.  We added a new one to our collection this year – Yes, Virginia, based on the television special that aired last week.  The book is just as sweet as the movie, and it won’t take long before it’s a well-read member of our Christmas book posse.  Along with the reading, we read the Christmas story every year before we open our gifts.  When I was little I used to think of it as “we-have-to-read-the-Christmas-story-before-we’re-allowed-to-open-presents.”  Now that I’m older, it’s a welcome moment to pause with gratitude for the tremendous blessings I’ve enjoyed and to experience Christmas more purposefully.

But the thing I love it for most is this…

Time with my family and friends.  It doesn’t seem to matter how busy people get during December – everyone always tries to cram in at least one get-together here or there.  For us, that means a Christmas party or two along with some special family evenings at home and several days of intensive extended family time.  There are puzzles and games and movies.  When we were younger there were shows concoted in playrooms and forced on our parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents.  I miss those days and would love to do them again!  It is the time with family and friends that speaks a most precious message to me during Christmas, and it is what I wish for you, too.

Merry Christmas!  I hope yours is blessed and beautiful in ways you never expected!

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