Tuesday, November 29, 2011

my observations of some people

Some people just can't do ten minute ab workouts.

Some people do side planks that only lift them 1/2 inch off of the carpet and then they are left to fall, panting to the ground.

Some people ironically find the ten minute ab workout link while searching for appetizer recipes that involve cream cheese and bacon.

Some people buy jeans they don't even like just because the tag reads the pre baby years size. . . and they fit. . . is there a way for these people to wear the size tag on the outside?

Some people get exhausted but never actually raise that heart rate in a fat - burnin way.  {Their heart rate gets raised. . . just not in an exercise way.  More in a can't-believe-their-daughter-just markered-on-the-knees-of-each-of-her-five-pairs-of-jeans way.}

Some people keep postponing their Christmas pictures because they keep envisioning losing twenty pounds overnight.

Some people have friends that are such amazing cooks and baby-meal bringers that they weigh more than when they left the hospital with their little punkin. {Blame the friends. Blame the friends.}

Just some observations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

(not) bridging the gap: life after loss

It was a quandary to me as I searched books and articles and blogs and stories of others who lost children why the grief road seemed to stop if they had another child. 

Another book would would be written.  Mourning into Dancing. {or some other beautiful thought}

The focus would change.  My baby is safe in heaven, I'm moving on.

The whole blog would move. Thanks for reading our story; we're so thankful for your support and love.  Visit us over *here* as our life goes on.

I wondered:  did another child fill that immense gap so completely that the need to spill the grief out just. . . ended?

did they just want to set the pain aside for awhile and focus on the joy?

how did they go on?

did they still go lie on the ground in a frozen cemetery and weep?

were birthdays still oh.so.bittersweet?

did they hesitate on sharing the number of children when asked?  did they sometimes say three and sometimes say four?

did they fight the urge to sign every name in a little row at the end of letters?  Or did they, like me, just give up and start signing cards "The Smith's", avoiding the glaring omission of one name from the happy roster?

Why did the story always seem to stop when another child was born?

I won't do it, I vowed.  If we had another child, I had a strong desire to keep writing, to keep spilling out whatever the emotions were, for the sole purpose of letting someone following me on the grief road know what could be ahead.

If it suddenly turned all roses, well then so be it, jump on the baby wagon, my grieving sister, and have another child!

If it was terror and worse than before, well, honesty is helpful and at least I would be honest.

I will keep writing.  I will keep telling the story.  I will keep spilling it out.  And I won't move to another blog!

So now it is my turn.  I have a beautiful son after a horrible tragedy.  I think I understand why some others choose to stop telling the story. . .

. . .I want to cherish every single moment in a way I wouldn't have ever understood before burying one of my children.  And that means that moments are so precious;  sitting at a computer staring at the ceiling composing my life story just doesn't seem like the best use of the time God has given.

. . .of course I'm just busy and sleep deprived (notice how I've worked that into every post lately) and that plays into the lack of public sharing, be it online or in the church or community.

. . .then there is the utter lack of words to describe the juxtaposition of emotion going on in my heart.

But I still have that same burning desire and need, to keep telling the story.  It's not as smooth and not well written and not agonized over like some of the other things I've written.  Just doing some heart dumping here.

So tonight. . . this is for the mammas reading who ache for the little person they lost. 

I lost my little man, too.  My arms are full, but they still ache.

I weep holding Eli.  I weep for how short my time with him may be.  I weep because there are no guarantees. 

I smile to the happy world who rejoices that God has brought joy into our aching family, and I smile into my son's blue eyes, and I try to squash the nagging fear that our time with him is not promised.

I have moments of absolutely irrational fear.  Eli's first little cold last week turned me into a post-partum basket case.  I thought breastfeeding kept newborns from getting sick!  I ranted to the kids' nurse.  She laughed at me and pointed out that he could be much sicker, and I knew she was right, but that night I could feel panic set in as I go the kids ready for bed.

Another mom whose son died from SIDS said it well:  when your child dies while peacefully sleeping, your confidence as a parent is shattered.  So true.  If you can't protect your child from death while everything is fine, then how on earth are you going to protect him if something is wrong?

At eight-thirty I heard a knock on the door and I went to answer it, somehow not surprised to see Deeann standing there, coming to chill out with me and chase my fear away with girl talk and distraction.  Wow, did God know what He was doing when He sent her into my life.  She looked at my sniffling Eli, who, in my mind had a combination of RSV, bronchitis, pneumonia and whooping cough, and pointed out that he was breathing pretty well.  It's true, he was, but fear makes you irrational and irrational I was. 

The kids talk about Gabe now more than ever.  It seems to me that Eli brings memories of Gabe back to their minds more clearly.  They have even more questions (I thought we'd answered them all. . . but no!) and their own fears and worries.

JD: Mom, I just wanna know why I don't cry much about Gabe.  (I explain that emotions manifest themselves in more ways than tears.)

Cambria: Mommy, I was just wondering. . . are we gonna get Gabe presents for his birthday since he isn't here to open them?  Could we get them anyway and we open them?  I choke away the tears and tell her that we'll totally get Gabe presents for his birthday. . . images of a two year old and chocolate cake and little fire trucks flood my mind and I leave the room so that my sorrow won't make my little girl think something was wrong with her idea.

JD, carefully tucking a bear that he's loved for years into his bed:  Hey, Mom, I named this bear Gabe.  And I kinda act like it's Gabe. *lovingly pats bear*  Once again, I'm caught off guard and turn away to hide the tears.  I've learned that the children will shut their feelings away from me if they think that I'll be sad, and I walk a careful line trying to allow them to see my true heart and being a safe place for their own emotion.

Then there is this super ultra protectiveness over Eli.  It freaks us all out a little, I think, to see him sleeping.  Jacob has asked more than once. . . mom. . . is he dead?  It's his reality.  I hate that death is so real to him, but I can't change it and so I choose the privilege of showing my children the reality of this fragile gift of life that we hold so briefly in our hands. 

They've seen death, bitter and cruel and far too soon. 

Now they get to see life, fresh, and new and so full of promise.

That's what it's like, dear mamma of a baby you can't hold anymore.

There's not a careful bridge between the horror and loss and the beauty and joy.  They just kinda intertwine and pop  in and out of each other at odd random times and sometimes the sorrow for the baby you lost is just gut wrenching and sometimes the fear that you'll lose the ones you have is debilitating.  But then you're surprised by the exploding joy you feel rubbing your nose against that fuzzy bit of hair and you're overwhelmed by the assurance that God is still so very good.

And you're super sleep deprived, so you end the post and go to bed.  ZzzZZzzzzZZZzzzzzzzz

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rock Star Granola Bars

I've been meaning to post these granola bars for.ev.er. . . they are so good, but they're always gone before I can take a picture. I like to name stuff, too, so here's your  rhyme and reason for why these should be called Rock Star Granola Bars. . .  it does rhyme. . . and Granola Bars just sounds boring.

Tonight I took the camera out the minute I finished the recipe.

I changed a recipe from Taste of Home. . . you can see the original recipe here. These are chewy, not too sweet, and sooo adaptable.  I've made them without chocolate many times, and I'm sure they are much healthier that way. Wink wink.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oil
1 lb. mini marshmallows
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
dash vanilla

Melt butter, oil, and marshmallows.  Add honey, pb and vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients:

5 cups old fashioned oats
4 cups rice crispies
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed
1 cup coconut

Mix together; with buttered fingertips,  press into greased jelly roll pan.

When slightly cooled, press mini chocolate chips onto the tops.  Lately I've been melting butterscotch and chocolate chips together and drizzling that on top.  I assure you that either way, they are delish.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Autumn Eatin'

Pumpkin Pancakes. . .

Caramel Corn. . .

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls {with cream cheese frosting}

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. . .

Pumpkin Pie. . .


It is hard to think about saying goodbye to baby pounds with all of this yummy stuff going on!

*. . .do not think about the leftover pumpkin cinnamon rolls on the top shelf in the fridge. . .*

If there is one thing I enjoy as much as eating great food, it's planning menus of great food!  I haven't posted menus here in about for.ev.er but I make one out pretty much every week.

Menu planning was new to me three years ago. . . but since then the idea has steadily grown on me and I can't imagine life without it. It is so amazing to have good healthy meals planned;  it saves me so much stinkin' time and energy.

(and I don't have much time *or* energy to spare right now)

(have I mentioned being sleep deprived?)

My family likes different meals and I like cooking them, so we usually have a pretty varied meal schedule with old standbys thrown in here and there.  I usually plan one "breakfast for dinner" night and we religiously eat pizza on Friday, so I only have to come up with five dinner ideas. 

I usually make sure I have ingredients for one weeknight dessert (in case I forget someone's Cubbie treats for unexpected company) and one dessert on Sunday.  Other than that I don't buy stuff for desserts because, miraculously, sugar has a way of showing up in our diet every.single.day.  How is that??

Breakfast meals are pretty much the same;  I rotate the kids favorite hot cereals, baked oatmeal, fresh fruit and toast for weekdays.  Saturday mornings are for pancakes, Sundays are flavored yogurts. (The kids pick out yogurts for each family member every week. It's the highlight of the grocery shopping trip.)

Lunches are super simple and very light.  We don't eat breakfast super early so no one is ever very hungry at lunch anyway.  I don't usually plan anything for lunches. . . leftovers are fine, pb&j, soup and crackers or even raw veggies and dip.

For meal planning inspiration I have about four websites that I always visit.

Kraft Foods is sure to have great, easy ideas.  The recipes are always a hit, but I usually only pick one meal from their site because it tends to be expensive and not super healthy.

You can be sure to find economical food over at the Five Dollar Dinner Mom.  I don't often follow her recipes, but I use her ideas a LOT.

It is definitely hard to beat Taste of Home for amazing, economical, yummy recipes.  I learned to cook using their magazines;  I think the first meal I made for Daniel and his fam was from Taste of Home.  (Ha ha. . . it worked.  He married me. )

My new favorite is definitely Pinterest.  The inspiration is limitless and it compiles the best of the food bloggers in one easy place.

Here's what we're eating over here during the next few days:

Saturday:   Roasted Vegetable Minestrone & 7-Up Biscuits {just been dying to try these}

Sunday:   The Blue Plate Special,  {hot roast beef on white bread topped with mashed potatoes and gravy. . . oh yum. oh comfort food.  oh waistline.} Green Beans,  Seven Layer Salad, and something pumpkin for dessert.   

Monday:  Birthday Party for my mother-in-law.  I'm making this yummy stuff.

Tuesday:  Shredded Beef Sandwiches, Red Cabbage Apple Slaw & Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:  Baked Potatoes, Orange Roughy & Green Salad

Thursday:  Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Bake (the kids and I loooove rice.  We'd eat it all the time, but Daniel isn't a fan.  We schedule the rice around his days at MFD. Ha ha.)

Friday:  Taco Pizza & Green Salad

Speaking of pumpkin stuff. . . you know. . . all roads lead to the newest little pumpkin around here. . .

Oh, squishiness!  Love our little Eli David!