Monday, February 21, 2011

Limitless

Truly, it is daunting, to realize there is no limit to blogging.  I just took 45 minutes, seeking out other blogs for some ideas on how to jazz this one up.  With the season change coming soon, I want to freshen this bugger up.  My motivation for writing/blogging is changing.  I'm so glad about that!  Of course, you are probably aware of how many blogs are out there, but I am just learning. I don't want to be a "Mommy" blog.  As tempting, and as passionate I get about politics, I physically cannot handle the constant rise in blood pressure with our current political climate.  Oh and besides the fact that I think the word "politics" is another word for bologna [oooh...filter is on...interesting sensation]. I also like to think of myself as maturing enough to know that opinions are like butts [that's right, I said butts], everyone has one, debating or arguing different *dimples* of the butt - just really isn't necessary.   ;)  While I love Mary Kay and will gladly help you realize how important it is to invest in caring for the largest, most vulnerable organ on your body - I'm really not a beauty/fashion guru - shocker....I know.  I yearn to know my Creator better.  I want to create.....stuff.....lyrics, poems, songs, books, babies, recipes, curtains, tablecloths, sundresses, scarves, tomatoes, green beans, businesses - to name a few. 
Bear with me.  This blog will be about how I attempt and fail AND attempt and succeed at creating these kind of things and be the best 21st century, old-fashioned wife and mama and woman that I can possibly be.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mercy or Grace - Kindness too

*Keep in mind that my purpose in starting this blog is to process EVERY feeling, thought - good and bad after losing a baby.  There are many, many, many parents out there who have suffered this kind of loss.  There is so little out there to help them feel relatable and identify with others and strengthen each other.  I hope this blog and particular entries, like this will help them not feel alienated and isolated.*


It's weird.  I'm doing two posts today.  Today marks the 22nd week since Levi started to die.  He was to be born at any point this past week.  My water broke 22 weeks ago, after I had given Jacob lunch and put him down for a nap.  As we found out three days later, Levi's head was smaller than it should have been at this point, he had an infection of some sort, hence, my body began rejecting him.  The denial I spoke of in today's earlier post, really applies here.  For about the first six weeks after Levi died, I hated Fridays SO bad.  It was a hard time also for my Hubby.  He never said anything, but those dark weeks - so much hanging over me - I was drunk every Friday by the time he came home.  I waited until about 1:30PM (when my water broke) and would drink until I felt like I wanted to puke.  Poor Hubby, when he'd come home, I was a blubbering mess, like he didn't have enough on his plate.   God, my Creator, my Lifeline brought me through so much.  He will all of us if we're humble enough to let Him.  I was alone, because I didn't know who I could trust other than Him. 

People have called me brave or steadfast in keeping my focus.  I beg to differ.  It was not the right coping mechanism - but it was so dark.  I've experienced several close deaths to me, but nothing like wishing that the impact Levi would make, on this world, would have been made evident by him living.  To the point that I wished I would have died - I would have chose to save him and not me.   Instead, I was left with the feeling that I wanted to die, but what purpose would it serve now?  I'm a big one into exposing the darkness with the LIGHT!   It doesn't allow the darkness to grow or for the shadows to creep.  Somewhere along the line of 6-8 weeks, I didn't want to drink on Fridays anymore.  I sat down to tell you about the Friday after Levi died.....

Hubby went to work that morning.  Jacob wanted to go back to preschool.  I was going to be alone.  The following day is when some family would be arriving for Levi's memorial service, on Sunday.  I don't remember a thing about my time alone that morning.  I went to get Jacob from preschool.  I was standing, in the lobby, with many other parents.  There was another mom, whom I didn't know was pregnant, but she was definitely showing.  She had what looked to be like a 9mo.-1 year old little girl crawling, on the floor.  She was so cute.  I could feel the tears starting to swell and no one knew what I had been through.  I decided to go back to my car and wait until the kids were dismissed.  I had locked the doors, as I sat in my car.  When I saw parents with their children emerging, I went to get out of the car.  The friggin' alarm started blaring! My car is a 2000 Honda and I couldn't get the remote alarm button on my key chain to shut the stupid bugger off!  I was freaking.  Everyone was looking at me.  No one was helping.  I started to sob uncontrollably.  As the stupid car kept squawking, I started to walk up the sidewalk to expose my freaking-out self, in an attempt to ask anyone for help to get the dumb car to shut the hell up.  What was making me so frantic about this, is that it felt like an outward demonstration of what I wanted to do from the inside of me.  I wanted to go off like an alarm and tell everyone that I needed help.  Mostly, the parents moved away from me, like "woah...psycho.." some even gripped their kids closer.  The cute little pregnant mommy looked at me furrowed her eyebrows and said, "It's just an alarm honey, it'll be ok."  She moved on.  There was one mom.  One mom who came running, "It's ok, it's ok Beth.  Why are you so upset?", as she got the stupid frickin' thing to shut off.  She had her arm around me,  I burrowed my face into her neck and said, "We lost our baby Monday."  She was instantly taken aback and so compassionate.  I am so grateful for her kindness.  Even 21 weeks later, on Fridays, as I prepare to leave to get Jacob from preschool, I reflect on her doing a simple thing, which touched a broken heart so much deeper than she will ever understand.  She held me a bit that day, then I got myself together.  I knew I couldn't be freaking out for Jacob to see.  I went to the door, quickly thanked his teacher for getting him ready to come home and we were on our way home. 

I just want to say - if you learn of a woman that has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss - please ask the question, "How can I help you?"  So many of us don't know how to react and we kind of ignore it, because it is such a painful loss to try to fathom.  Don't be afraid of it.  It's a real death too. 

I am at a 95% better place than I was 21 weeks ago.  Truly.  I am reflecting on how far I've come, in this time - since this is the weekend of Levi's due date.  That's all. 

Nothing Bread

Ugh.  So, last night, I was so happy to be making some Everything Bread.  Guess what?  I killed the yeast.  So...making bread is easy...just don't kill the yeast by having your water too hot.  I kinda kept moving along with the process, because I was in denial.  Ya.  See?  I go into denial mode a lot.  Which is why I can be like Mt. Kilamanjaro erupting, when the reality sets in....anywho.  Here's a picture of my heavy, unleavened - as Hubby made the joke about- bread, which I call, Nothing Bread.  It was a bummer because I wanted to have that warm, delicious bread to please Hubby when he came home from a long day.  I guess I did please him, we had a laugh and he finished watching Love Actually with me.  (Awwwwww.....) 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Season

A perfect evening is in the works.  Well, perfect, as in, not ideal, but I will make it perfect and be content.  I have actually out-snuggled myself with my Boy Wonder.  He has been sick since 11:30AM yesterday.  By that time today, he was feeling much better.  I laid with him so much, at his request, also because it just freaks me out when he spikes temperatures.  Believe it or not, I'm good on the snuggling for a day or so now.  Jacob is laying in my bed, watching a Curious George movie and nestled in with his favorite stuffed animals.  I actually lit a fire, in the fire place.  It's 52 degrees outside at 5:30 pm.  That is awesome!  But do you know how, in these season changes, your home can feel colder inside than it is outside?  That's how it feels this evening.  Hubby is at a meeting for the evening.  Therefore, I decided to start a fire.  I plan to journal, read and plan my garden. 

I decided today that I will dedicate my garden, year after year, to my Levi.  It will be something that I can cultivate, plant, nurture, weed and see fruit from each year.  This brings a resolution to my soul this week.  It's interesting how nature, with it's changing seasons, has this pull on me to move along too.  A new season is almost upon us. 

The other thing I'm doing this evening, is making bread.  Hubby loves this bread.  Try it.  Don't be afraid of dough.  It's therapy.  If I can do it, anyone can - of course with my Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook, I can.  ;)  If making bread is old hat to you, try this recipe.  It's a recipe from Oct./Nov. 2010 Taste of Home.  It's called Everything Bread:

1 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 cup warm 2% milk (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 T. sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 t. salt
4-4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg white
2 t. water
1 t. coarse sea or kosher salt
1 t. dried minced onion
1 t. each sesame, caraway, and poppy seeds

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the milk, butter, sugar, egg yolk, salt and 2 cups flour.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. 

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down.  Turn onto a lightly floured sufrace; divide dough into thirds.  Shape each into a 20 inch rope.  Place ropes on a large greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Cover and let rise until doubled about 45 minutes.

Combinge egg white and water; brush over dough.  Combine the salt, onion and seeds; sprinkle over bread.  Bake at 375 degrees for 22-28 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. 

I don't know why...but I want to say, "God bless each of you that is reading this and that has been such an encouragement to me.  I thank God for you and I pray that your weekend is filled with immeasurable joy, peace AND that avenues, of fulfilling your dreams, open wide to you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Here ...and ... gone......

I am too emotional to blog, as I go through what was supposed to be when Levi joined us.  I want to write all I feel.  Instead, I'm going to share my heart's cries, in this moment......

May the wringing of my hands and the gripping of my face, as I rock back and forth, not be for nothing.
May the shredding of my heart and dreams be a wake-up call to get new ones, real ones.
Please don't let me continue on a path that I am unaware of all the colors, all the smells, all the beauty - and the beauty in the pain.
Put a guard at my heart to only invest in that, which is precious, that which endures and has no value that can be tagged for generations to come. 
Give me courage to birth again, to birth from the spiritual, creative and physical dimensions.
Grant me strength and vision only work towards and for... You.
I am your vessel - have your way - purge me of self-pity.  GRACE GRACE from my eyes, from my lips, from my voice to draw those to you. 
I will not bargain with you...it will be how you want it.  Please fill me now - more please.

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 dates IN A ROW!!

Please pardon just how scattered this post may read.  I am SO pumped!!!  We've been talking for months that we'd get away on a real trip, with Levi's due date just hovering over.  However, life and all it's intricacies were getting in the way.  THEN, last night, Steve texts, "We need a vacation!" and then cuz his phone is goofy, it texted it again to me.  What's a good wife to do?  A wife that has been waiting for him to give me the green flag.  A wife that wants to soak up the sun, to the point that she could open her mouth and blow bubbles of glowy warmth from her mouth and watch them sail away from her, and feel meshed with the canvas of nature.  A wife that yearns to never let her marriage feel "old bag".........
Well, I don't know what a good wife would do, but this wife, jumped online and called a friend to ask for validation that it would be ok to present a plan to him.  Five years, into this gig, and I still never feel the initiative to do anything without getting his approval.  It's a self-confidence thing on my end.  Steve is amazing.  Anyway, my dearheart of a friend said, "Beth, you guys deserve this!  No one, who knows you, will look at you and say, 'You guys have had such a fun year - you don't need a vacation.'"  Then, my heart started to beat faster and that resonated.  What do WE need?  WE need a flippin' vacation!  On this high, I see a facebook post from one of my life-long besties and so I call her, just to hear her voice and I know we'll start laughing.  She suggested a cruise.  She said there is karaoke.  OMG!  Karaoke, while we sail on the ocean?!?!?!  Booya!  She said a few other things that were great about the cruise she went on.  Clearly, she lost me at the "k" word. 
I pitched this idea to hubby, when he came home.  Guess what?  He's game y'all!  I called grandma to ask if she'd be willing to watch our punkin while his daddy and I get to have 5 date nights in a row!  She is.  =)  [Thank  you Mom D.]
Now, hubby and I are tired, but we've got a glimmer again.  Something to look forward to...during a time that we are supposed to have the greatest gift to look forward to.  All things considered, we're the nucleus of this cell.  We are going on vacation!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's just how I rolls...

Oh brother.  Last night, I started the cinnamon roll baking process, so that hubby would have rolls to take to his department head meeting, this morning.  Once it's time to put the formed rolls, into a pan, I realize I am out of cooking spray.  So...I figure, oh, I'll use a little olive oil.  Just a little.  Grease up the pan nicely - put the rolls in the pan.  This morning, I get up, put the doughy, cinnamon, brown sugar deliciousness, into my oven.  Fifteen minutes later, they're ready to come out and be put on a cookie sheet.  I do this so that all the sticky goodness, runs back down through the roll again.  It's also easier to frost them this way.  Hmmmm....typically, the rolls are sliding right out of the pan in mid air on their way to the cookie sheet.  Strange.  They're not this morning.  So, I lift the pan back up, directly over the cookie sheet, and the centers of about 8 of the rolls are dangling from the pan.  They are uncoiled..kinda like a fly paper.  A fraction of a second later, "plunk, PLUNK, plop" onto the cookie sheet they go.  I started laughing so hard!  My cinnamon rolls are something I know I do well.  These have never been more unappealing!  I've come a long way to laugh instead of burst into a crying fit.  So...I took pictures.  I thought you'd enjoy my failure which made me giggle hysterically this morning.  =D 




Have a super Tuesday everyone! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

20 weeks

At 20 weeks since losing Levi, I find that the time went too fast.  I still long for the nearness of Sept. 20th when he was alive, inside of me.  Some may find it weird, but I really took advantage of those hours before I knew he'd be leaving my body and going to Heaven.  Levi and I were alone, in the doctor's office.  Those hours, are what I long for.  I believe somehow he knew all that I was saying to him and trying to radiate around him.  I miss the confidence that he definitely knew how I felt about him.  I can say and wish things to him now...but does he hear?  Does he know?  I don't know...but incase he can and does, I do it anyway. 

Last night, Jacob and daddy were snuggling on the sofa.  Jacob is such a delight.  He cracks us up.  He's so animated and full of life and willfulness.  Out of the blue, Jacob says, "Some families are big.  Our family is small.  Some families have 3, some have 5."  Of course, I'm sitting in the recliner, flabbergasted at such a topic, coming up so randomly, without warning - cuz I hurt for how he wants siblings.  He is such a cool kid and he ought to be a big brother.  But I also love that he wants to be a big brother.  Daddy said to Jacob, "We're doing our best to get you a brother or a sister, bud."  Jacob said, "Ya!  But right after my sister, can you get me a brother?"  [I'm all melty and teary, right now typing this out, as well as last night when he was putting in his requests.]  Steve looks at me, I look at him and nothing has to be said...we just feel it all.  Jacob nestles back in, next to his daddy and says, "I love our family." 

Today, we will be making Valentines and we have dentist appointments.  After that, I have a whole list of items to barrel through.  I don't think I'll do any barreling though.  I think I've done enough barreling for today.  A new magazine subscription from my darling SIL arrived today.  The Food Network magazine.  =)  Couldn't have arrived at a better time. 

But I really started this post today with the intention to share a few of my favorite recipes with you: 

Krispy Log
Take a piece of wax paper, lay it in a jelly roll pan, spray with cooking spray.

1/4 c. butter, 1/4 c. peanut butter, 10oz. bag of marshmallows.  Put in the microwave and heat until they mix together smoothly.  Add 8-10 cups of rice krispies and mix well.  Spread out on the jelly roll pan. 

Melt a bag of chocolate chips and spread over top of the rice krispy mixture.  Roll the treat, length-wise to the other side of the pan.  Set in fridge for one hour and ta da!  A krispy log....so yummy!

Taco Bean Dip

Beat together an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and a can of refried beans and a taco seasoning packet.  Fold in a 8oz. container of sour cream. Spread out in a large serving dish, shallow enough to dip chips easily enough.  Top with cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and black olives. You could add jalapeno peppers and onions too.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Then, be prepared to NOT sleep with your spouse.  ;)  Sorry, couldn't resist. 






Saturday, February 5, 2011

Worthy

I am up at 3:15AM because of a couple different reasons.  Hubby came to bed much later than I.  He fell asleep but the TV was left on sleep mode and a stupid, blaring commercial woke me.  So....I laid there and the thoughts and fears descended, just like they were waiting for me to wake up, almost as if they are the guilty party for turning up the volume too loud on the tv and waking me from slumber.  I believe this is a prime example of "Resistance", which Steven Pressfield talks about in the book The War of Art.  I laid there and the thoughts came flying, "You'll never have another baby.  You're not losing weight.  You've become comfortable with not exercising this past week.  You haven't learned guitar or piano yet - then you wouldn't have to rely on karaoke, when you need to outlet singing.  Your hair is turning gray!  You are getting older and what do you have to show for your purpose, on this earth?  You didn't handle stress well this past year.  You can't even sleep, you're a fraud at relaxing and letting peace rule."  Those were just a few of the thoughts, which finally forced me to get up and start writing.  I could list quite a few more - seems that's enough to list before someone tells me to quit waving my "freak flag". 

Almost, all of these accusations are accurate!  These truths, when smeared back at me, are detrimental to me.  I have found, and maybe you do this?  When I don't reach my goals or when I don't get it *perfect*, whatever that is for real, anyway - my tendency is to give up because I'm programmed to not think too highly of myself.  Who am I to think I could actually attain goals and dreams?  What's more...if I actually continue to better myself, will my husband still love me?  Will the rest of family, my side and hubby's, think I've become unbearable?  How will I do so much that I want to, as the authentic me, and as a mom, a wife and not having anyone to help me with my Boy Wonder and more children? 

Relax, breathe.  Keep doing what you know to do, Beth.  One can't plan a whole future out when they're not prepared.  Leave it to God.  I'll be me and let God, be God. 

In the new book I'm reading [thanks to my mom again] - The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron - there is a quote in the margin on p. 16 by Robbie Gass.  It reads, "Like an ability or a muscle, hearing your inner wisdom is strengthened by doing it."  So...it's now 4AM and a new day.  It's February 5, 2011.  I will make this day count by doing the things that I know to do and be open for learning new things to do.  Today, I will be steadfast and whatever I set my hand to, on this day, will be for the glory of my Creator.  Only He will know and that's just how it should be. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

A year

A year ago today, I was working as a dishwasher of a great restaurant, in a small town in NE Iowa.  Well, this particular morning, I was in another zone. Then....my cell phone rang and it was my main squeeze, my Big Red, my baby daddy.  ;)  LOL  He makes me giddy.  Anyway, I answered the phone, trying to not sound anxious, but cool - like everything was normal.  There was a big sigh and then I heard, "I'm calling to tell you, we are moving to Independence."  He was in his office, across the street from the restaurant where I was standing.  By this time, I had moved to the front of the restaurant - it wasn't lunch time yet, so there were no customers yet.  Then, I heard, "I see you."  Our souls were touching through walls, windows and across a street.  We were psyched and terrified at the same time.

Honey - today, I am thinking of how brave you are.  You led our family into the unknown and we are better off for it, in too many ways for me to broadcast, in a blog.  Everything was "comfortable" in Monona.  I am humbled that our lives really are an adventure, intertwined together, to mesh as one, and you saw the importance of taking a huge risk.  I love it.  We are one and I love US!  Thank you for learning a new community, new bosses, new employees, new streets, new policies, new budgets.. but also thank you for realizing new dreams, visions, goals, the needs and wants of awesome people, in our new town. 

YOU are my favorite person on the planet. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chores

It's another snow day here!  My Weather Bug thermometer reads -4 degrees.  Brrrrr!!! 

I have things to do today.  I did yesterday too, but I took a big ole break and played and snuggled with my kiddo.  He cooked all my meals for me for a week, in his kitchen.  We played "get the bad guys" with his wooden cork gun.  We made valentines, though, his way....this time.  [which means they don't look like Valentines but trash, just glued together.  =D  Hey...inspiration comes from all sorts of things...]  We tumbled around on our new sofa.  He insists that I can't get him, but I always do.  I know one day, this will change.  I love making crazy faces for him.  He giggles and snorts with glee and exclaims, "Mama, you're SOOO silly!  We're a silly family!"  Then, he nestled in next to me while I watched Oprah and he played his Leapster Explorer.  Those things are super cool! 

Today - there is lots to do: 
  • I have some thank you notes to write.
  • Ironing to get done
  • Dusting/Vacuuming
  • Filing
  • Laundry
  • Super Bowl menu planning - I believe most of my ideas will come from Paula.  I <3 her.
  • Supper to make.  Tonight, I'm making a thing called Roast Beef Sandwich Roll and I'll make some Cream of Broccoli soup too. 
  • I know there's more to do, this is all I can think of while I'm typing. 
Tomorrow, I'll be busy too!  I get to go to preschool for the first time as a volunteer and help out and visit with the kids for a day.  I kept waiting for the teachers to ask when I could come.  All  year, I've been telling them, "let me know when I can come for a day, when you need me or not, just to participate.."  So, I finally said, " I want to come for a day.  When may I?"  Turns out, one has to do a background check to volunteer at preschool.  So, we did that rigamarole and I get to go tomorrow!  =D  I'm looking forward to it.  Jacob says he is too. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More

Tears.  Tears of gratitude, tears of emptiness, tears of frustration, tears of broken dreams, tears of joy that you joined us at all.

I feel it closing in.  I wish I did not yet I am so glad I do.  I wish there was some warning for when the grief will take over, but instead of trying to plan it all out, I think I'll just live it, endure it, bear it and come through it.  Somehow,  I feel like I get to experience something so special...profound...your presence growing inside and then your absence. 

My arms are empty, but you were too big to hold in my arms anyway.  The way you've touched my life, the way God has touched my life...He gave you to us, to call ours.  Nothing, not even you not being here will take that away.  I know this, and I know there's more to do, more to be, more to experience.  I yearn to make you proud.  I hunger for a breakthrough of epic proportions into the heavenlies, right here where we are.  Until that happens, I will be diligent to do what I know to do and to exercise discipline and to hack the fat and waste in every area of my life.  There is more....there is more.