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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cute Things My Kids Say

I really am going to attempt to get caught up on blogging about the many events in our lives over the past few weeks, but for the time being, a few nuggets of cuteness:

Several weeks ago, when Shay was babbling up a storm and demanding my attention, and said to her, "Oh, really? That's very interesting." Now every single time Shay starts babbling, Bryn laughs and says, "Oh really Baby Shay!"

Bryn has also learned that it's polite to say "bless you" whenever someone sneezes. Now, whenever she sneezes, she says aloud, "Bless you, Brynna!" (don't really know what's up with the "Brynna"--she only says that in this context.)

Bryn hates to feel left out of anything. Whenever Ben and I try to have a conversation by ourselves, she demands, "You talk-a me!" Likewise, when we are talking about Shay or to Shay, Bryn says, "What 'bout me?"

Whenever she really likes something, Bryn proclaims, "My loves it!"

I realize this has been largely about Bryn because, let's face it, she talks a lot more (at least in words we can understand!) than Shay. However, Shay has said some very wonderful things lately, including both "dada" and "mama" (yay!!). Won't be long before we've got all kinds of cute quotes from her too!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chalk Masterpiece

In keeping with the theme of Magic Marker Monday, here's Bryn's latest chalk masterpiece. The little grin on her face demonstrates how proud she is of herself! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #10

Suggested captions?

Monday, October 20, 2008

One Month Later

Many of you have commented on my recent lack of blog posts. Truth be told, I haven't been blogging because, well, I don't really know what to say.

It has been a month. A whole month since my most recent miscarriage. I still don't really know what to say. It hurts--more than words can say. Dealing with this loss brings back the other two so vividly. It makes me tear up when I look at Shay, wondering if she will be my last baby. It makes me re-evaluate my relationships, my time, my life. And even when I am actively "not dealing with it," trying purposefully to put it all aside and move on with everyday things, it lurks there, this huge hurt that just rises up and swallows me whole the minute that there is a break in conversation or a second where I'm not busy, with my mind actively focused on something else.

The last month has really shown me how many wonderful people I have in my life. Many of my local friends have brought over meals, volunteered to babysit the girls, sent beautiful, handwritten, heartfelt letters expressing their love for me, Ben, and the girls. Emails have flooded in, all expressing our friends' genuine sorrow at our loss. (Side note--I know I haven't written back to most of you. That doesn't mean it isn't deeply appreciated; it just means that it's still a little too hard to put into words. I love you.) One dear lifelong friend even volunteered to drive to Indianapolis just to give me a hug. Countless friends have cried and prayed with us.

I am more grateful than words can say for this outpouring of love. The last month has truly shown me the strength of our relationships. Alternately, it has also shone a spotlight on some relationships in my life where that love, empathy, concern, and support are most definitely lacking.

I manage to stay steady most of the time. I've gotten so used to going about my daily routine that I can block the sad thoughts then. But the smallest things bring it all flooding back. Like the other night, when I was reading Bryn her bedtime Bible story, and I got all choked up and could hardly make it through the story of Hannah. Or when I led my high school small group last week, and couldn't help but notice all the other leaders who were holding their newborns and foster children. Not to mention that five of my dearest local friends are all pregnant right now. I am so incredibly happy for each of them individually, but I can't let myself get too close to the thought that in a few months, they will all have babies and I won't. It's not that I begrudge them their babies in any way; it's just that I wish I was "in the club" too.

On top of all of this, I am busier at work that I have ever been in my life. Teaching three new courses, one of which is an AP, at a rigorous college-prep school, with no time in the summer to have prepared, is really taking its toll on me. It's all I can do to just keep up; getting ahead is laughably out of the question. I do love my job, and overall I would say that I'm glad I went back to work, but my heart just aches for my girls. I miss them so much. Especially in this hard time, I just want to be with them and cuddle and love them, and the fact that the busyness of my everyday life keeps me away from them is almost unbearable. Add to that the intense traveling and over-scheduling of our weekends, and I just feel like I'm being worn very thin.

Reading over this, I'm not even sure if I should post. I didn't mean to complain to all of you; I just meant to explain my absence from this site. It's funny, and kind of sad--I feel guilty for bringing other people down whenever I try to talk about how I'm really feeling. I don't ever know what to do or say anymore. I will try to get back into more regular posting, but you'll have to forgive me if it all continues to be rather surface-level for a while. I certainly don't want every post to be like this one, but I really have very little else to say, as this is all that's in my heart and my mind.

Love you, friends, and thank you for your support and prayers.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #16

1. One of the best concerts/plays/movies I ever saw that I really didn't think I'd like was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Please note that I'm referring to the television series here, as the movie is truly awful. But I made fun of Derek for years for watching the show, but I got hooked on it myself shortly after Bryn was born. We now own all 7 seasons on DVD, plus all 5 seasons of Angel, and we have passed on the joy of Josh Whedon's wittiness to many friends.

2. Enchiladas, most recently chicken ones with salsa verde, is a recipe I recently made (or meal I recently ordered) that was delicious!

3. It's time for excessive grading--reports are due on Monday.

4. Napping while sun comes through the window is quite refreshing.

5. If I never hear the word "miscarriage" again, it'll be too soon.

6. To one side of the curving road was a cornfield, and on the other was a cow (I'm thinking here of my drive to school every day).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to cuddling in bed with Bryn while reading her a bedtimes story, tomorrow my plans include taking the girls to an apple orchard, and Sunday, I want to finish my grading and reports in time to go to bed at a reasonable hour!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #12

This is how I've been feeling lately--stressed out and overwhelmed! Anybody else there? Leave comments and possible captions.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Blast from the Past

Another blog that I enjoy sometimes re-posts old entries as a way of reflecting on where they've been. I thought it would be fun to start going back once a week or so and looking at our past as chronicled by this blog.

I think that Caroline and Andrea will both be particularly interested in this "blast from the past," as it shows how their little girls have grown up as well. Sadly, Caroline is no longer a neighbor who I can share impromtu walks with; she now takes her walks along the beach in Astoria, Oregon. As another interesting side note, the "Brownsburg church" that I mention we were "trying out" in this post is now where we are members, and the Mom to Mom group that I attended for the first time two years ago became a staple of my stay-at-home mom life. Sadly, Bryn does not seem to have advanced quite so far with her social life as we might have hoped, as she is still incredibly clingy with Mommy. :)

So here it is, originally published on two years ago yesterday (October 6, 2006) and then titled "Adventurous Babies."

Bryn has actually gotten in some visits with other babies this week, partially so that Mama gets some socialization too, and partially because we're worried that strangers keep saying to us, "Your baby is so serious!" On Tuesday Brynie and I went for a walk with Caroline and Elaina, featuring the girls in their matching pink Jeep strollers. The weather was gorgeous--82 degrees in October--and I was actually sweating by the time we were done. Caroline was wowed by the "upgrades" on Bryn's stroller, such as the hooks for hanging a diaper bag and the mesh bag on the back, whereas I was impressed that Elaina's sun umbrella was still intact, as ours met an untimely end very shortly after we purchased the stroller. Bryn was very alert and active and kept reaching over to poke Elaina, but I was largely jealous of the fact that Elaina sleeps most of night AND eight hours during the day. I'm lucky if Bryn takes an hour nap!!

Then last night, Rob and Andrea came over with their baby Hannah. Bryn and Hannah look like they're off to go adventuring with their dads in this picture. The evening worked out very nicely, with Andrea and I having some girl time with the babies before the boys arrived from their jobs, then Chinese food and the Buffy musical for all, followed by all 4 girls retiring for nursing and sleep while the boys stayed up way too late playing Hordes. Andrea and I still are hoping that little girls who look just like their dads can still grow up to be beautiful women, as both of our daughters bear uncanny resemblances to their fathers!

Other baby socialization highlights of the week include Bryn's first and second trips to the nursery at church. We've visited a church in Brownsburg for the last 2 weeks instead of attending our usual ZPC. While the drive from Brownsburg to Zionsville wouldn't be unreasonable to make for church every week, we're hoping to meet some people in our new area. Ben almost fell over this past Sunday when I suggested putting Bryn in the nursery at church, as I have been pretty resistant to this idea in the past, but I'm SO tired of hearing strangers tell me how serious Bryn is all the time. (Side note - when she was going to work with me last year and was surrounded by teenagers, she was smiley and outgoing all the time. Clearly staying at home with Mama all day long has stunted her social development and she needs to get out there and meet other babies!!) Our first attempt at the nursery was only mildy successful, as Bryn spent the entire hour cuddled up on the teacher's lap and ignoring the other babies. On Wednesday, I went to a Mom to Mom group at the Brownsburg church and put Bryn in the nursery again. When I went to pick her up, she was playing happily on the floor with a little boy about her age, so I guess that's a sign that we're improving. We'll see what this week holds!

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Flower and Some Cuddling on the Couch

Here's my Magic Marker Monday for this week. Bryn's Nana gave her an Etch-a-Sketch when we were up in Traverse City for cousin Christy's wedding a few weeks ago, and she hasn't stopped playing with it since. Here she is showing off her latest masterpiece, which she tells me is a flower.


If you look closely at the picture above, you will notice part of a small head in the upper left corner. That's her friend Chris, moving in for a cuddle. He saw her all curled up on the couch and decided that he wanted to join. Below is a picture of what ensued. Note his hand on her knee and everything. Ben will be breaking out that barrel in the basement to confine Bryn sooner than expected, it seems.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Baby Picture Sunday

A blog that I enjoy has Baby Picture Sunday every week, each week with a different theme. This past week's theme was "birthdays," which is appropriate, since we are starting to think about what we want to do for Bryn and Shay's birthdays. Here's my favorite picture from Bryn's first birthday. It's also her first cupcake, which was also her first sweet ever. Super cute!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #15

1. October is Melissa's favorite month.

2. Fertility issues scare me! I don't know where to go from here, and every option seems both frightening and depressing.

3. Leaves are falling all around, it's time to teach Bryn the joys of jumping in a big pile.
4. My favorite horror movie is nonexistant because I am far too much of a wuss to watch scary movies. I guess "The Shining" needs to get an honorable mention here, as Jarrod and various other friends forced me to watch it in high school, and it has haunted me ever since.

5. Reunions with high school friends = good memories.

6. It was a dark and stormy night and everyone came over to our house, because we're the only ones on our street with a basement.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Game Night with Kathy, Ryan, Alicia, Suellen, Parker, Cathy, Chris, and Derek, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and playing with Bryn and Shay, and Sunday, I want to work in the church nursery and then at a UHS open house event (or, at least, this is what I will be doing)!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

13 Things I Did Before 7:00 This Morning

Gone are the days when I was a stay-at-home mom and slept in until 8:00 every day. Now that I'm back at work, I struggle to fit everything that I used to do in a day into the few hours that I spend at home. In the evenings, I want to play with the girls and visit with Ben and Kristin, not do chores. Plus I have grading and lesson plans to do every night. Therefore, many things don't get done at night when they're supposed to, and I end up doing them in the morning (often resulting in me eating breakfast in the car) because I am so distressed to find them undone when I come downstairs in the morning. So here's what my morning looked like today:

1. Got up; showered; got ready for work.

2. Did a load of laundry.

3. Sorted through all of Bryn's old 9-12 month long-sleeved clothes and arranged the appropriate ones into Shay's closet and drawers (all while Shay was sleeping).

4. Unloaded the dishwasher.

5. Reloaded the dishwasher with random dirty dishes that were lying around downstairs.

6. Cleaned up all the toys, puzzle pieces, newspapers, etc. that were lying on the living room floor.

7. Scrubbed down the kitchen counters to remove the random stickiness that has built up over the past few days, then did the same to the kitchen table.

8. Collected recycling from various locations around the house and took it out to the bin.

9. Emptied the Diaper Genie and took the (smelly) contents to the outdoors trash.

10. Emptied the kitchen trash, took it out, and replaced the bag.

11. Dug through boxes in the basement to find old English-major textbooks and anthologies to bring to school with me.

12. Loaded up all our cardboard recycling (2 large boxes) into my car, so that I can swing by a recycling center and drop it off on the way home.

13. Got in the car and departed for school.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008