Saturday, April 12, 2014

Thoughts on Grief

A beautiful woman at school gave me a book about grief about a month or so ago. She might be a little younger than I am, but if she is, she wears it much more heavily than I do. And as I read through the first couple of pages, I began to see why that might be so. Grief happens. Loss happens. It is unavoidable. It is absolutely an irrevocable intransigent part of life. It cannot be unwound from the fabric of who and what we are as human beings and our experience here on this planet. That being said, it can be the single most heart-wrenching, horrific, unbelievably painful experience known to man. To lose something that we have grown to love, to lose something familiar, constant, expected, counted upon, something to which we have gifted the illusory notion of object permanence.... There is no going back from that; there is only going forward. And as trite as that may seem to the recently afflicted, I say that as one who experiences grief as a nearly constant experience in my life. In fact, every day has become its own sort of grieving in the sense that every day is not what the days before it were, and never shall be again. Every day becomes a sort of grieving ritual, and also a celebration. Because too, in every day, there are beautiful little miracles and pieces of magic that show up and appear as you begin to awaken yourself to their presence. And as you begin that, and whether it is coming out from the loss of a marriage, a loved one, a pet, or a home, or a stage of life, or many altogether, you begin to see that change can be part of the true magic of living. And again, I say that knowing that for many who have experienced recent loss, or who are experiencing loss at this time, that this may be of no comfort to you. You have heard all of the cute little sayings. You have tried to buoy yourself with mantras and affirmations. You have probably read books and paid for time with well-intentioned counselors. I am sure that you have had friends and family “reach out,” in many (although not always helpful) ways and means. I can promise you that you will find balance again if you want to. I can also promise you that you will find joy again; that there is peace and acceptance on the other side of this, and maybe even gratitude. You will find times and places in your life when things will be exactly as you need them to be, and life will flow in beautiful ways for you again, and your faith in life and in the world will be momentarily restored. This is part of an ongoing choice that we all have as mindful, deliberate, conscious beings. We can choose our roles in life. We can choose whether we are the lost and heartbroken grieving wretches that society sometimes paints us as. We can also choose to be beacons of light and joy and gratitude in a world full of magic and blessings. We can choose to start feeding ourselves on the beauty and the love of life, even if it begins by living through others vicariously. We can choose this, and reject the starvation and penitence of misery and grief. We can choose to feed our hungry souls. We can feed ourselves with the nutrients of life and love that will help ease over our hurts and close the holes in our hearts and souls. And to some people in my life apparently, it is a surprise that I still tend to emotionally distance myself so much from the things that I love; the things that I crave to reach out to embrace and adore. But I have known pain, and that becomes like a disease in your life left unchecked. And even as I fight it now, fight back against my defensive propensity to push people and places and communities and opportunities away from my heart because I know at some point that they will be taken away-- that all things are impermanent-- I still long for those deep, meaningful connections. I long to lose myself in loving life and the people and places around me. I long to fall deeply and courageously in love, unflinchingly in love, with all things, beginning first and foremost with myself. And as I begin to become accustomed to my own constancy and continuity of soul, even through all of my revisions of consciousness and physical changes, I begin to learn how to love better the life that I have been gifted with.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Struggling with CPR

--It's been forever.  Too long.  Then again, maybe not long enough.  I struggle with writing this blog.  I've probably thought about it a couple of hundred times since Bren was born last March, five days after the one-year anniversary of her brother's death.  Bren is now (happily!) over a year old.  I still cringe and stress every now and then, but my anxiety has decreased to where it's really just a normal part of life... not unnoticeable, but manageable certainly.  I don't sit huddled over her in agonizing uncertainty through every nap and bedtime.  I don't ignore her during the night for fear of what I might find.  I still go back and forth a little bit between helicoptering over her and an almost heedless laissez faire attitude, but I'm much closer to "normal" than I've been in a very long time.

By in large, we're a happy little family.  We go to church, we have family play days on Saturday going out for hikes or ice cream. We play games occasionally, have our Family Home Evenings, and I bake bread when I remember or get really motivated.  But we still struggle.  We're changed.  We know that nothing is, or ever could be the same.

Some days I hardly think about our little baby Carrick at all.  Then, when I do think about him, I usually feel so unbelievably guilty that I haven't been thinking about him, that I hardly know what to do about it.  Do I sit and stew?  Do I throw myself into depression?  Do I ignore a screaming baby and two squabbling big kids to retreat into my own little morose, and sometimes morbid thinking?  No.  Not usually.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the kiddos keep me pretty well balanced.  By necessity, I really don't have time to focus, obsess, or panic.  Having three busy, running, messy-but-happy children around, keeps me so practical that I hardly can take a shower without planning it.

This week though, this week is hard.  Right after Bren was born, we went to an infant CPR and choking class.  I think I was in a daze the whole time.  I still remember my training, but the class isn't something I like to think about or remember.  The only way I made it through that hour or however long it was, was knowing that my hubby was sitting right next to me and going through the same things that I was.  Well, now in my attempts at masochism / "practicality," I've signed up for a full-length First Aid / CPR class.  All it took last night was a glance at the Infant CPR at a Glance booklet provided with my course workbook to send me into a tailspin.  No freakouts.  No crying.  But definitely no peace for the rest of the night.  How can I rest, when even my faith seems to fail me, and I can't help but to torture myself with "what might have been?"

We're a spiritual / religious family, and we belong to a church with very structured religious beliefs.  Things are well-detailed, and the "plan" is complete; even when it comes to the death of a small child. In our religion, all children under the age of eight are accounted as being innocent in the eyes of the Lord.  They are without guilt and without sin.  When they die, it is essentially a one-way ticket to Heaven, no layovers, detours, or delays.  As part of that, worthy parents who work hard, fulfill the spiritual promises that they have made, and "endure to the end" are promised the opportunity to raise their departed child in the life hereafter.  I don't know whether it's the pseudo-Catholic upbringing I had, or my unrelenting perfectionism that makes it so difficult, but I never seem to actually be able to convince myself that I will ever be worthy of that opportunity.  In fact, most days, it seems almost impossible to believe that I will ever see, let alone hold, my baby boy ever again.  Even during worship at the temple, a place where the veil between this world and the next are thin, I cannot feel him.  He is gone from me.  Maybe not forever, but for now, he is gone.  And sometimes the absence feels so acute, and the tacit lack of recognition from certain family members and friends has been so... complete, that my memories of him seem more a fluke of my imagination than anything concrete.

By the same token, I recently became acquainted with a woman who had a miscarriage several years ago.  For her, the memory and promise of that pregnancy are still so fresh and so raw to her, that she is constantly in tears over it.  Her family talks about it constantly.  She has a child born after her miscarriage that regularly talks about it.  In fact, every time I see this child, he talks about it.  At first, I approached this family, understanding a measure of their grief, and while our circumstances were different, I felt sure that we would understand one another and that maybe I could even help.  But there was no helping.  To them, it appears that their grief is more a badge of honor than anything else.  And while I continue to try and soften my heart towards this individual, I frequently have to stifle errant thoughts of .... well... rage.

I don't understand her.  I don't understand why she is forcing her family to relive the pain over and over again. Her child born afterward, now five, lives constantly in the shadow of the failure of this pregnancy to progress.  The mother herself, appears to bring it up at every possible situation.  And while I understand that all of us grieve differently... certainly I have had my own moments of weirdness, I am having a very hard time understanding this.  Yes, the death of a child hurts, and it hurts forever.  But I do not, and cannot understand those who refuse, years later, to try to find peace with it... especially in our religion.  A dead child is not a fashion statement.  It does not inherently make you more spiritual, cool, or a better person.  Losing my son almost destroyed me and my family, and I have no patience for those who play with fire... even understanding that there are days and times when feeling the pain of loss is greater consolation than feeling nothing at all.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crafty Updates

Well, I admit, I got my hubby to bring by a USB to mini-USB. I have no excuses.  There are several hundred pictures that should probably have made their way onto this blog by now (or at the *very* least somewhere in my photo storage on my laptop). And since I'm up late, with a cold, having fallen asleep even before my kiddos tonight (which, wow fellow moms, how rare is *that*), and now can't fall back asleep, I may actually get to putting on here now that I think of it.  Backtracking.... Anywho, I thought I'd share some of my favorite blogs with you of late.  I was going to do another fabulous round-up (or at least *I* think they're pretty fabulous, or I wouldn't have shared them with you, lol), only to realize that I'm well past Valentine's Day, and that's almost entirely what the crafty and kitchen-y goodness of the blogosphere have been focused on for the past month, I think it would be a little passe for me to post links now.  Hmmm. I must work on my timing.  Or my remembering.  Or my something.

As a segue into our list of crafty blogs, I can now safely divulge that I am in the middle of a project.  Actually, I'm in the middle of about four or five projects, none of which is anywhere near ready to be cataloged, thank you very much, and some of which are very sadly in need of some desperate attention.  I'm also in the market for a new sewing machine, and ironically, happen to be looking at an older, mechanical Bernina.  Wow.  Bet you never saw that coming. I also have plans to go check out the local Pfaff dealership, but there's a fundamental part of me that resists paying full price for something when I can wait, and search out that same something at a significant discount to buy it used.  Strange?  Yes, yes, it is.  But all the same, I'm not entirely sure that a sewing machine, even a really incredible one, should actually cost anywhere near $1000.  But maybe that's just because I'm cheap and slightly delusional (we'll blame the last on the fever, kosher everybody?). 

So, backtracking yet again, I'm in the middle of what I'm calling "The Nesting Quilt."  Which has been strongly influenced by the wonders of Oh, Fransson!, which if you aren't familiar with her work, is pretty darn right inspiring as far as modern quilting goes.  The project I'm working on is about halfway in between her Crazy Nine Patchwork Quilt and her Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow (except in blankety, non-pillow form).  Elizabeth is also the author of an amazing looking book, which I have to admit has been sitting on my wish list for quite some time now.  You can scroll through her other tutorials on her website though, and I guarantee that you'll come away, if not wanting to actually make a quilt, at least wanting someone to make one for you. 

I also have a second quilt I'm working on, which is an attempt at this quilt-a-long run by Stitched in Color.  I have to admit however, that I'm not quite sure how it's going to turn out.  I ordered some fabric bundles from Fabricworm, which has been an interesting process.  I've never worked with fat quarters before, and I've got to say that there's a pretty steep learning curve.  This is the bundle I used on The Nesting Quilt, and it looks like the bundle I found for the Colorbrick quilt is no longer available, but it was largely from the Echino Fall and Winter 2010 lines (which was also really interesting).  I have to say, where I had been avoiding Echino before, mostly because of the price factor, and I wasn't honestly sure how much I liked the big, busy designs, I have completely fallen in love with this fabric line.  The cotton/linen mixes are a *dream* to cut and sew, and the fabric is like a precious jewel for piece work (assuming you ever actually get the guts to cut it, which yes, actually took a couple pep talks on my side).  I think that Hawthorne Threads is definitely my new favorite web haunt for fabric though.  They have an amazing selection, incredible shipping rates, and their store is a breeze to navigate through, which I can't honestly say about either Fabricworm or occasionally has some really good sales though, so if you know exactly which fabric you're looking for, and have more than $35 of fabric needs (which qualifies your order for free shipping), then you're in the right place.  However, fabric goes fast here (I've had fabric disappear from my cart while finishing ordering, because it ran out of stock), so be careful.  On the up side, has a *huge* apparel line of fabric available as well, along with a pretty great selection of patterns. This is actually where I ended up spending my birthday money, getting Oliver + S patterns for Ande.  I am so wildly in love with these patterns that I can't bear to cut the pattern pieces to start her School Photo Dress, and am now in search of a copying store with a big enough machine to be able to copy the pattern  (ummm, which, gosh, I really, really, really hope is legal, now that I think about it... it's for private use though, so that makes it okay, right?).  

And while you're in a sewing mood, go check out Sew, Mama, Sew!, which is featuring a whole month of pillows as part of the multiple month pillow contest going between various different blogs.  If you're really motivated (and maybe slightly less overwhelmed than I am), you can enter for some pretty fun looking prizes too.  Of course, Crafiness is not optional, MADE (which is co-hosting a whole month of boy-inspired crafting), Made by Lex (check out the tutorials section for some fun eye-candy), and Made by Rae (the other co-host of boy month), are all some really great options too.  I've also really been enjoying No Big Dill lately.  Katy's designs are just different enough to keep those creative juices flowing even at your most desperate moments. 

Anywho, I have *loads* of blogs that I switch back and forth on, so I'm sure that you can expect more of these lists over time.  After our move (and probably after baby), I might even start posting links to my favorite craft tutorials *ever*.  Unfortunately, the larger part of my crafty, kitchen-y, DIY-goodness is now hiding in a ubiquitous brown cardboard box, and may very well not see the light of day until May, so, who knows.  I think I'm done making promises for this lovely little blog that I can't keep, so we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed on that one. ; ) 

Have fun and frolic until next time.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hopefully the End... of my seemingly incurable mood swings

So, we have some absolutely wonderful news, which is helping to buoy up the craziness that I know has been lurking randomly inside, waiting for the absolute least opportune moment to attack: we have officially signed a lease!  I am excited beyond words at the prospect of finally being back in our own space.  And again, while I really and truly am incredibly grateful to my MIL for letting us stay with them in their basement until life got figured out, I don't think anyone had any idea whatsoever that it was going to take this long to manage it.  On the plus side, we have found a nice, clean home, in a wonderful ward, with people that we know and love, and there's even a pool close by for the kiddos (my eldest is excited out of her mind, and keeps asking when it's going to be warm enough for the pool to open, which is actually a fairly good question considering the negative temps we've had the past few days).  On the down side, our move in date, March 5th, gives me approximately 15 days to get fully moved in, organized, unpacked, and sanitized before baby Bren comes to join us.  Yikes. 

I have to say, I am definitely feeling the pressure.  I have my fabric for my squares washed (fabric bundles from here, and with any luck, I'll be able to steal the iron and rotary cutter long enough today to get them pressed and cut before my sashing (linen from here) shows up in the mail this week (fingers crossed).  I know that it has to sound absolutely spastic, but I am absolutely panicking about getting the baby quilt done in time.  And the fact that my MIL's Bernina and I seem to have a hate-hate relationship is not exactly helping.  I think a lot of that comes from the fact that the *only* thing that I really didn't have finished and ready before Carrick came to join us last January, was his baby quilt. My visiting teacher later (and very lovingly) finished it for me, but I can't tell you what a *huge* disappointment it was to me that I had never finished it myself.  The blanket that was supposed to love and cuddle him, if not for a lifetime, at least for a couple of years, he never even touched.  It sat, his whole life, in my sewing closet, waiting for me to taken the whole two hours it would have taken to quilt and bind his blanket.  Now that quilt sits in the top drawer of my dresser, and is one of the first things I see every morning (or at least it was before we were living out of laundry baskets, lol).  And yes, I'm sure there's all kinds of horrible, pugilistic, perfectionist nonsense attached to that, but I can't quite seem to get beyond the fact that I was never really ready for him in the way that counted most to *me*. 

Making blankets for my kiddos is how I connect to them.  And yes, I know that in reality it probably serves a very limited function, but I spend a tremendous amount of time during my pregnancy contemplating colors, and design, and do I knit or do I quilt, and if I do either, then which pattern, and on and on and on.  Making a blanket is how I start to connect to their tiny, individual personalities.  I made several blankets for my eldest, and yes, looking back on them, they are all terrible, misshapen, oddities of knitwear, but I loved spending the time thinking about her as I was putting them together.  I made her three or four blankets (at least, there were a couple that got scrapped), and two sweaters.  Kyle I also made several blankets for.  Carrick, I only made the quilt for, and I never even finished that.  So now, in my demented, control-seeking mind, I'm adamant that I not only have to make and finish a quilt, but I have to make baby clothes as well.  Because somehow, somewhere, my logic apparently is that if I make enough for the baby, and complete enough projects, then she will be safe too. 

I think a lot of my hang-up, even having the assurances that I've had through blessings and scripture studies that this baby will be safe, I feel as though all of it depends upon my individual effort to *prepare*.  I *need* to get the CPR certification.  I *need* to decorate the crib.  I *need* to wash, sterilize, organize, etc., etc., etc..  And what's so terrifying to me at this point, is that I'm pretty reasonably sure, that even with the help of the ward in moving, and the help of my husband in all of my crazy projects, there is no real hope in getting it all done before she gets here.  And that is probably more terrifying to me than anything else.  John laughs and says that our late move in date is Heavenly Father trying to keep us from thinking. I told him that I was already going to be busy enough.  And he replied, " No, not just busy.  I mean too busy to even breathe."  And I thought about it, realized how true that probably was, and I'm still not sure that I'm okay about it.  The only thing that I can say is that yes, I will most definitely and assuredly be too busy to breathe once March gets here. 

As an addendum, I am devastated to announce the death of my favorite thrift store.  Savers of Fort Collins is apparently no more, and I am incredibly vexed (and disappointed).  I loved the fact that every time I walked into Savers, I walked into a store that was not only clean (which can be a real rarity in a thrift store), but that I could reasonably count on for a good (sometimes even great) selection of books, clothes, shoes, and sheets for up-cycling.  I think all of my favorite thrift finds have come from that store, and I will be sorely pressed to try and find a replacement.  It's a sad, sad, day in the mommyhoood.  Oh well.  I guess this gives me more reason to go shopping, but I was really, really hoping to try to find some nice, cheap lamps.  After the dark and dismal gray of Seattle, I can't tell you how important lamps are in this little world of ours.  And all the more so since almost all of our lamps were decimated between moves.  Hmmmmm. I will definitely have to put my thinking cap on.  It's not garage sale season yet (and I've honestly never been a garage sale shopper anywho, because who on earth knows what you're going to find, and if it's even going to be worth the effort of dragging the kiddos around), so I have no real idea where else to go.  I checked out the Arc last week to no avail, and the Goodwill in our area is pretty sad usually.  I tried the "Big Thrift Store" on south College today, and while there are a lot of neat, mid-century pieces in there that could be fun to recover and reupholster, I don't think it'll become a new favorite anytime soon.  For one, it's loaded with breakables all over the place, and with no carts to contain the kiddos in, and the lack of real organization in the store, it's a parental nightmare (in my personal, humble opinion).  I know that there are some others available in Fort Collins, but I don't know that anything will measure up to the nicety of Savers.  Hmmmm. Too bad I'm so cheap, or I'd probably just start shopping the TJ Maxx for housewares, but that still wouldn't solve my thrifting dilemma.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Much Ado About... Everything... and Nothing

I am a cheater.  I have selfishly, horribly, terribly neglected this little blog... mostly out of laziness.  I have no idea where my camera cable is, and it's not that I'm not perfectly capable of going out and grabbing one, it's just that the thought really doesn't occur to me that often, or that when it does, I'm so enmeshed in the other junk in my life that I just really don't care.

We are still house-less (though I guess not homeless, because we're still living in my MIL's basement).  We have no idea what's going on with our house that we actually own, but I can tell you that between my renters ripping up all of our landscaping, sodding over beloved vegetable garden, and ripping out the raspberry and blueberry bushes that John planted to celebrate Carrick's (then) upcoming birth, I'm not madly in love with them.  Matter of fact, I have seriously considered setting the house on fire and laughing maniacally watching the last little piece of our lives go down in a glorious burst of flames.  I am not madly in love with the world in general right now, and my faith in the world, as well as my spiritual faith, are so badly tarnished that if I had the power, I think I honestly would just call up the Second Coming today.  None of the rentals that we have looked at have worked out.  Matter of fact, we actually showed up for a rental this week on a very promising looking house, only to have to call when no one showed up and then be told that they had forgotten that we had put in a request for a showing on the property and that the house was now rented.  Lovely. 

My MIL is handling all of this rather stoically however, as she only asks about twice every hour, on the hour, whether or not we are actually going to be leaving her house before another loud, obnoxious child comes into her home to bother her (yes, for those of you who don't know, I'm pregnant again, and expecting a baby girl in March).  I'm sure that my MIL (probably) really doesn't mean it this way, but you know, with us being the giant free-loaders that we obviously are for not having moved into a motel while we figure out our housing situation, who can tell what lowlifes such as ourselves might do? 

And yes, I am pregnant again.  Baby Brendolyn is expected approximately March 20th, and my nesting urge is so strong that I think I might actually start shredding sheets and building a nest in my MIL's backyard if we can't find a home in the next week.  So, yeah, no pressure there hubby (my poor hubs has been my personal beating bag lately).  The good news is that I have the same OB as last time, which is greatly reassuring to me.  I figure that no one else, aside from my husband, would understand my general level of anxiety and spastic-ness nearly as well as he would right now.  On the downside, it looks like I have to use the same hospital that I delivered at last time, which I still largely blame for Carrick getting RSV.  And I will be delivering right in the middle of RSV season in Northern Colorado yet again.  Yippee for me.  If I use the other hospital in my OB's "service area," they don't have a neo-natal unit there, and so I could very well be stuck at the nicer, non-stigmatized hospital, while my poor baby Bren would have to transfer to the yeucky, make-babies-sick-and-kill-them hospital. Again, lovely. 

And my empathy has flown right out the window.  I am so sick and tired of having to emotionally prepare myself to get beaten up, taken advantage of, and generally run over by other people who are "more important" than I am, every day, that I could just roll over and die.  I am especially sick and tired of people "doing us favors."  --Just like the woman who showed up to help me pack, and then asked for all of my baby clothes and cloth diapers because she wanted to get pregnant in a year or two, and really, wouldn't that just be such a great favor to me as I obviously didn't have a use for them anymore (don't worry, she actually broke into our house to steal food from the refrigerator with the help of the past RS President after I said no.  You know, because she's so needy and all).  And the ward members who stole electronic equipment from us on a different "ward service day" helping us pack.  Or the Elders Quorum president who flat-out yelled at my husband and stormed away because we didn't have enough stain to finish staining the fence, even though the store had assured us that it would be more than enough, and then my husband had to finish it completely by himself.  ... My list of hurts is about two miles long right now, and I am so ridiculously sick and tired of everyone coming to me, asking for things, and even flat-out *expecting* things from me, because my family's needs obviously aren't as worthy as theirs are, so I should just give them whatever they want.  --Just like our landlord in Washington who wouldn't fix the mold problem because it was "too much effort" on his part.  Obviously that wasn't important to us at all.  And let me tell you, the prospect of having to rent yet again, for another 18 months until my self-centered, entitled renters "feel like" leaving is not high up on my list at all.  If I have to deal with another rat-infested, leaky-roofed, petri dish of a house in order to make ends meet, I think I'll completely snap.  And heaven only knows what I'd do then. 

Which isn't to say that I'm not close to snapping now.  I am so highly strung, and wound so tight;y, that I honestly feel sorry for the next person who tries to walk all over me.  Which is of course assuming that my rampaging pregnancy hormones don't take over, and then I'll just be lying in a ditch sobbing and praying for a street sweeper to run over me and put me out of my misery (though I can't figure out how I'd simultaneously save the baby, so that plan still needs some work).  But aside from that, the huge level of stress that my children are carrying, and their inordinate concern about my emotional well-being (which I'm sure is just *so* wondrously healthy for them and their development), the lack of separate housing, the huge pressure coming from in-laws to *GET OUT*, and the simultaneous pressure coming from both sides of the family to *FORGET CARRICK* because he's obviously dead, and lost to us, and therefore why keep mentioning his name, or let the children ever talk about him, is about to drive me completely insane.  And that's not even to mention the tremendous stress, fear, and anxiety that we feel about having another newborn come into (our?) house.  And then hoping that it's a safe and clean house.  And, and, and, and, and, and, and....

Is it honestly any wonder at this point that I've put on tremendous weight during this pregnancy?  You know, because stress does a body good... or something.  And poor hubs keeps coming to me and telling me to just put everything out of my mind that I can't control, which is everything.  But what he's only starting to understand is that in my search to find some measure of control somewhere, I *can't* let go.  And so I sit, and stew, and worry, and fret, and plan, and brood, and all to no avail... as of yet.  I keep hoping that somehow, somewhere, I can find a way to make all of this okay.  And it just might be if I could just talk to hubs for a little bit on a regular basis, but forget that with our crazy living situation and my husband's new, and constantly demanding job.  No date nights for mama.  Ha.  We don't even get quiet time to talk.  I honestly think it's a miracle that I can text him on the phone enough times every afternoon to try and figure out what time he's going to be home *that* day, so that I can try and get dinner ready for him in time and not have it sit growing cold on the table for a couple of hours while I wait (not that it hasn't happened several times anyway). 

Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday.  She'll be four.  And I can't paint her room purple, hang up the decoration in her room that we got for her as a birthday present (we have *no* room for presents as it is; Christmas or birthday), plant flowers with her, make cookies with her, or do crafts with her.  I can't make her a cake, I can't put up decorations, I can't sew to make her a present (or the birthday crown that she so desperately wanted me to make --I hate Bernina sewing machines), and I can't get her out any of her "favorites" from the storage unit, all of which she is now convinced have gone away and are never coming back. 

The list of things I can't do, is about as long as my list of hurts, and is having no small impact on my emotional status.  I mentioned nesting... well, I can't clean the baby's clothes, make her blankets, put up the crib, wash and sterilize all of the baby equipment, sanitize the high chair, put in the new car seat (our old one is still with my SIL out in Washington, along with a box of Carrick's clothes), organize the nursery (not that I'd let her out of my sight for two seconds unnecessarily in any case), or do or make anything to make her space feel happy and welcoming (which is how I connect to my children before they're born). So, really, I'm just stuck.  In every conceivable manner, I'm powerless.  I have never felt so bottled up and impotent in my whole life.  And then to have everyone and their momma telling me or showing me just how incredibly unimportant I am (and all of my thoughts, wants, needs, and desires), I don't think I've ever felt so worthless in my whole little miserable life.  What on earth does someone do in a time like that? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Well, it's a full month later and we're still camped out in my in-laws' basement.  Hopefully we'll get out of here before my poor FIL's hair starts falling out.  On the plus side, I don't think my MIL has ever had such an adoring fan club.  From the moment my kiddos wake up in the morning (right at six) until they go to bed at night, they are completely devoted to spending time with their Grandma (which while sometimes annoying, is also completely sweet).

I did get to spend my birthday in CO though, which was fantastic.  We crossed over the the state line at around 10 pm, so it definitely counted in my book.  I joke that it's the most expensive birthday gift I've ever had.  I'm exaggerating slightly though, because it's also the most expensive (and best, but not because of the expense) Christ-mas gift I've ever had.  We are all so incredibly grateful to be back in the sunshine and under an azure sky.  We were a little disappointed to not have snow for Christmas, but after nine months of nearly constant precipitation, I think we can just deal with it.  We'll just have to console ourselves with 50 degree weather and sunny days at the park.

But I digress, I'm deathly short on original material to share with you guys (my camera cable is hiding in a fully-packed storage unit), so instead I'll share some of the truly amazing things I've run across in Blogland over the past month or so.


Christmas Lovelies:

Felted Ball Garland from Say YES! to hoboken

Modern Gingerbread Houses

Christ-mas Ornament Mobile from Not Martha

Snowflake Table Runner from V and Co.

Snowflake Pillows from Noodlehead

Christ-centered Advent-ures from I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar  and Delia Creates

Christ-Centered Christ-mas from A Lemon Squeezy Home

Baby Jesus in a Manger also by A Lemon Squeezy Home

Felt Ruffle Wreath by design*sponge

Oh! Christmas Tweed Wreath  by Spincushion, which if you haven't checked out before, is definitely worth a visit.  I know I'll be putting the Scrubby Buddies on my to-do list.

--There are several others, but maybe I'll get around to posting them tomorrow.  This should get you excited for next year at the very least.  Can you imagine the tweed wreath in pink and red tweeds for St. Valentine's Day?  Mmmmm. Yummy.  I love fabric.  And decorating just makes my heart sing.  I can't wait to try these ideas out in our own house next year.  This year we've been blessed to have some time to just soak up being with family.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Quandaries of Christ-mas

 I have to say, I took a huge sigh of relief this week to see that I'm not the only mommy out there in the world who is having a hard time this year getting the wee ones to differentiate between Xmas and *Christ*mas.  Christmas for us is a little difficult this year.  We're incredibly grateful to be back in Colorado under bright blue skies and a gorgeous sun (Hooray! We can see it now!).  We are also incredibly grateful to my hubby's parents for granting us a place to stay while we try to figure out exactly where we'll be setting up shop.  I'm pretty desperate to get back into my own house right now, but apparently landlord-tenant laws in Colorado don't allow you to oust someone without a little notice (not that I really would anywho... especially during the holiday season. Yeesh people, who do you think I am?).  Aside from that, we have no idea where my husband's permanent position will be coming from yet, so it may not make sense to go back to the northernmost part of Colorado if my hubby ends up working waaaaaaaaaayyy down south. Who knows?

I was lamenting this weekend how little the holiday season felt like ... well... the holiday season this year.  We spent all of Thanksgiving week packing, spent almost a week getting here, and now we're locked down in my in-law's basement (no, not really).  It was hard when my daughter cried as she saw the Christmas tree box go back into a storage unit and not come out for display.  It's hard for my wee ones to understand a lot of things right now. 

"No, no.  We're not going back to the dirty house," I tell them. "Not ever?" my son will ask.  "No, darling, you don't have to go back," I reaffirm.  "But where is our house?" he asks.    "I don't know yet sweetheart.  We have to wait and find that out." 

By the way, I can't tell you how shocking it was to find out that our little ones had been referring to our Washington residence as "the dirty house."  Out of the mouths of babes, I guess. 

I was thinking over these things, while simultaneously trying not to let any of the play dough crumbs from the afternoon's escapades make their way to the bright white linoleum floors of my in-law's kitchen, as I heard my daughter telling my son about Santa Claus, yet another internal debate I'm having with myself. And I realized that we were going to have to start reigning this in quickly.  Almost every toy on the television is now a "gotta have."  Which I mostly find ridiculous, because the last thing my children need is another toy that they won't pick up or play with right now.  If it were humanly possible to get friends and relatives to listen, I would probably ban toys from all birthdays and major holidays (along with candy) for the next five years.  Books are great.  Games are wonderful.  Art supplies are fantastic. --But please, please, please don't give my children any more toys. 

I mean, honestly, can Christ-mas possibly get anymore convoluted and complicated?  As if it isn't difficult enough during a normal year ("No honey, the Christmas wreaths aren't for Jesus, they just put them up to look pretty."), but now we're hunting for a job, homeless, and all but broken in so many ways.  I can't decide if I'm ready to chew nails or break down and weep half the time.  But the simple fact remains that we just aren't home yet, and right now we aren't sure if we ever can be or will be again.  My husband is determined to be within a 15-minute driving distance of home, which is literally impossible with where our house is.  He thinks he might possibly settle for 30 minutes, but it would be cutting it close.  So now every time he talks to me about us moving, it's always to a new house, a new "home," which never was, and probably never will be our "home."  My home is being occupied by strangers, for the lovely benefit of me paying out of pocket every month on top of their rent to cover the mortgage, and my absolute terror that they are destroying my home, which is surrounded by "friends" who came to beg, "borrow," and flat-out steal from us before we moved.  Joy.  Is my home perfect?  No.  Is anything? Absolutely not.  I'm not expecting perfection, but what I desire more than anything right now is to go home and be left alone. 

I want my walls to hang pictures on, my floors to clean, and some space where I'm not constantly being shoved in a corner.  I want my kids to be able to run, play, and laugh, and enjoy the beautiful sunshine that they haven't seen in 9 months.  I want them to enjoy the fresh air that they haven't breathed.  I want to be around family and friends that really and truly appreciate us for who and what we are, not constantly push us away, lock us in separate rooms, or compare us to other family members or friends.  But since that last one is never going to happen, I'm content to let that one go.  I'm beginning to relish the thought of becoming a loner.  Being a hermit has never sounded so good.  Even my husband is seriously tempted at this point.  He keeps talking about compounds with ten-foot walls and shotguns.  I'm not worried quite yet, but if he comes home with a shotgun for Christmas, we'll have to send up some emergency flares.  But honestly people, that's how bad it is.