Monday, February 13, 2012

Pretty in Pink

My, oh my. It has been a year since my fingers flew into a frenzy on this little blogosphere. And I can't honestly say that it's been time that's lacking and thus the hiding out... I've just been, well... hiding out.

Blogging was something I did when I needed to spew forth my thoughts and although I often blogged whilst happy or sad I didn't quite know what to do when I was feeling despondent and scared half out of my own whits. You see, just a year ago this month I fell pregnant as they used to say. There was no actual falling involved but it felt like a fall on that March 1st morning when in the parking lot of Target I discovered my pregnancy test was positive.

It's been nearly a year since that day and as you can see from my header God gave me the most vivacious sweet little bundle of girly-ness and her name is Leila-Anne. The in-between has been written about in snippets on my Facebook site and right now I don't really care to go repeating those details. It was a very, very, very hard time. And although I can sometimes give the impression that I'm a happy, go-lucky lass, I think part of me is forever changed by the harsh reality of losing one little girl and wondering day and night if I was going to lose another.

So. I think a new dawn has come and I'm ready once again to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly as it relates to every day life as a mother of two girls and wife of one man who has found himself surrounded by lots of female drama.

We are just a few months shy of celebrating four years of marriage. It would be silly to ask "Where has the time gone?" My belly and it's stretch marks could answer that question easily enough. haha

Some things that have been on my mind lately are: How Do You Date Your Husband on a Super Tight Budget? Why Do Toddlers Poop in the Bathtub? and Can an Introvert Become Hospitable? In the days to come I hope I can get back to spewing forth my thoughts on those and maybe even less glamorous topics.

For now, I really need to get my workout in before the bebes arise from their slumbers.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bears, Monkeys, and Bunnies

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Adventure. Suspense. Quality family time. This books is definitely one of our favorites! I don't have it memorized yet (my Down's sister has had it memorized since she was about 8 yrs old) but I know I will soon.

What does Ellie think about it? She doesn't quite sit through the whole thing yet and it's not one that she picks for me to read. I think she likes it though. Time will tell. :)

What does the Mom think about it? :) I love it. The words flow, the vocabulary is excellent, and the story is cute. The illustrations are fantastic. I especially love the second to last picture :)

Excerpt: "Oh-oh! A snowstorm! A swirling, whirling snowstorm. We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh, no! We've got to go through it!"

"Five Little Monkeys jumping on the bed" by Eileen Christelow

This was a 99c special from Goodwill (the Harris family has made quite the contribution to Goodwill and has collected quite the stash of valuable finds from the book section this year). If you're wanting to teach your kid how to count backwards from 5 to 1 then I guess this would be a good way to do that. If you're wanting to teach your kid that disobedience brings about its own consequences then I guess you're also in luck with this book. But if you're wanting to demonstrate the wrong thing to do when Mom or Dad say, "Go to bed," then go find another book =)

That said...

What does Ellie think about it? She loves it! This is a book she brings to me to read aloud. I'm not sure she gets the storyline (actually, I'm sure she doesn't). But the illustrations are cute. Who can resist adorable monkeys??

What does the Mom think about it? It's great. I especially love the last page. And when I read this book, I thank God he did not give me quintuplets. Also, I think the mother monkey needs to think about separating her children so they don't all share one bed. One might wonder where the father monkey is during this story. I think if he were home none of the catastrophes would have taken place. :p

Excerpt: "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

"The Runaway Bunny" by Margaret Wise Brown Pictures by Clement Hurd

We love Margaret Wise Brown. If I could pick anyone to be my nanny, it would probably be Miss Brown. Seeing as she has been deceased for many years, though, I think we shall look elsewhere to fill that position. Or I'll just pretend to be Margaret Wise Brown and read her children's literature. Which I do. Often. Every day. Sometimes twice on Sundays.

What's that? You say you don't know Margaret Wise Brown?? Oh yes you do! She is the author of Goodnight Moon, The Little Island, The Color Kittens, and many, many other wonderful children's books.

The Runaway Bunny is a tale of a bunny who thinks he knows more than his mama. He is older in mind than he is in body. His mama lets him play his own little pretend game, but she is not going to let him play it by himself. I think I will probably be like her when Ellie is old enough to think like baby bunny.

What does Ellie think of it? I'm not sure. I'm usually too wrapped up in the story and pictures to pay much attention to what she thinks. Every other page contains pictures without words so I always pause and talk about the pictures. I'm not sure Ellie cares yet... we'll ask her again in a few years what she thinks.

What does the Mom think of it? I think the baby bunny feels how I felt as a teenager. And I find it very ironic that as an adult I feel like the mother rabbit. I hope my babies always want to come home to me :)

Excerpt: "If you become the wind and blow me," said the little bunny, "I will join a circus and fly away on a flying trapeze."

Side note: If you google The Runaway Bunny tattoo you may find one of the pages to this story tattooed on a woman's arm. Amazing artwork. I can't say I'd want it tattooed on my arm. It does make me smile to think about being 89 years old and in the nursing home and having the nurses smile every time they saw my tattoo though. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

book reading challenge

I'm not sure but I think we own over 200 children's picture books. For Christmas alone I believe Ellie received about a dozen children's books. So I'm excited to join this challenge from

For January my goal will be to read and review at least 20 picture books. Stay tuned... ;)

Here's the rules from There's A Book's site:

* The objective of the Read to Me Challenge is to read with the kiddos in your life and/or enjoy picture books in general.
* Books must be ones written expressly for children ages 9 and under. Board books, early readers, picture books, etc.
* Print or eBook format is acceptable.
* Anyone can join. You don’t have to be a blogger, and you don’t have to live in the United States. Open worldwide.
* You do not have to have an blog to participate.
* You can join at anytime. Deadline to join is November 20, 2011. (not 2010 you still have PLENTY of time to sign up!) The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.

How To Participate:

1. Decide which challenge level you’ll be doing (see below). We're going to shoot for the "Harvesting" level.
2. Decide if you intend to read them with a child or on your own. Sorry, but those who read with a child get twice as many entries each month. Although those that do read with a child need to share their experience with the them in their review.
3. Grab a button. Obviously, I'll be reading with Ellie!
4. Create your own post to let all your readers know you’re taking part in the challenge and at what level. Make sure to link back to this page with either one of the buttons or a text link. done!
5. Use the link form below to enter into the challenge by sharing your challenge post url and your name (either your name, blog name, or both). Please only use the comment section to participate if you do not have a blog. All other participants should use Mr. Linky below with a direct link to your challenge post. and done!
6. Submit your reviews as you complete them on the designated monthly post to be qualified for monthly prize drawings.
7. There will be a “wrap-up” completion link-up at the end of the year to sign up for to share in your successes.

Challenge Levels:

Reading with a Child:

* “Planting” – Read 12 picture books with a child during the year.
* “Watering” – Read 36 picture books with a child during the year.
* “Feeding” – Read 72 picture books with a child during the year.
* “Growing” – Read 120 picture books with a child during the year.
* “Harvesting” – Read 200 picture books with a child during the year.

Reading on Your Own:

* “Board Book” – Read 12 picture books on your own during the year.
* “Unjacketed” – Read 36 picture books on your own during the year.
* “Jacketed“ – Read 72 picture books on your own during the year.
* “Early Reader” – Read 120 picture books on your own during the year.
* “Chapter Reader” – Read 200 picture books on your own during the year.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tea Time

One of the things I've been having to work on lately is relaxing and trying to not get stressed out. My blood pressure has been a little on the high side lately (wonder why? lol). I have been doing yoga semi-faithfully and trying to just find times in the day to calm myself and relax. One of my favorite things to do now is to make a good cup of tea and sit down and drink it slooowly. So delightful!

So when an opportunity came for me to participate in a tea swap with friends, I was giddy with delight. Free tea AND mail from friends!!! ;-)

My friend Christy's package of tea arrived just after Thanksgiving. Although she was the one who actually came up with the rules of the game, she apparently forgot to obey them ;-) We were supposed to send four bags of tea to our tea swapping partners. Well she sent me like a million ;o I'm NOT complaining, though. I will be enjoying Christy's tea from now until Christmas.

Have you ever heard of Eggnogg tea? Neither had I! I'm sure that it must be sensational so I'm saving it for when I'm having a sour day. Mostly I've been having good days so it's still waiting for me. I just get a happy feeling by simply thinking about what it must taste like. Yes, I might be a bit silly.

Green tea has always been a favorite of mine. I used to drink a quart of green tea every day. I have started doing that again (I'm neither pregnant nor breastfeeding... hallelujah!!). I drink green tea cold. With local, organic honey. Yummy!!

Christy also sent me some holiday flavored tea. Mmmm. Sunday morning was the last day of our Thanksgiving activities and I knew I needed a pick-me-up so I sampled some delicious Sugar Plum Spice tea. I felt like a fairy for the rest of the day... Well, that's not actually true ;-) But it was very holidayish and fun to drink!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ten Thankful Things

That last post was more than a little depressing. But it's genuine, folks :)

What's also genuine is that there are GOOD things in my life!! Every time I turn around I may find a reason to cry my eyes out... but I also have things for which I can thank God.

(1) Let's not get too mushy... but I'm thankful for my husband. He is definitely the biggest hero I have on this earth. I have decided to stop asking myself multiple times a day why he likes me and just be glad that he does. Sheesh, the boy has been through a lot lately too but he rarely complains. He's flat out awesomeness defined. (Okay, I promise I'll stop now.)

(2) Kleenex boxes. If you are sent to buy Kleenex boxes in my family, you better not come home with some ugly generic Kleenex box. (Now y'all really think I've lost my mind. haha) My mother knows what I'm talking about :) Happy Kleenex boxes make happy people. Ellie has a Toy Story 3 Kleenex box and I have three or four pretty Kleenex boxes in within ten steps of where I'm sitting right now. If you are not having a good day, go buy yourself a pretty Kleenex box, have a good cry and then thank me. :)

(3) Real Honey. No, I'm not on drugs. (Unless Benadryl counts ;p) I just love me some real genuine local honey. This might have a small bit to do with the fact that Nicholas was a beekeeper when I first met him. Beekeeper suits can be sexy if they're on the right person. Nick was that right person. :) And there's nothing that says, "I reeeeeeaaaaaaallllly like you," more than a delivery of fresh honeycomb. Nick is not a beekeeper now but he did buy me some genuine local pure honey the other day. And it makes me happy.

(4) Tea. I haven't always really LOVED tea. I'm more of a coffee girl actually. But recently I've found tea to be a very soothing friend. No cream. No sugar. Just pure tea.

(5) New Pillows. Our beloved daughter recently vomited several times on our favorite pillows. It's okay. We forgave her because she is just too cute for words. But we were sure missing our pillows until they got replaced by some new, cheaper pillows (I'm thinking that while we have children we will go with Target's $5 version. At least they can easily be replaced.)

Okay, I'm too tired to think of more than 5 things. I'll come back later :)

I'm Not OK, But Thanks For Asking

Is that a really blunt title? :)

I've been asked a lot lately how I'm doing. I'm never quite sure if that question means, "Hey, what's up?" or "I've been thinking/praying for you and am wondering if you need to talk?" :) Since I don't know and I don't want to assume the wrong thing, I usually just say, "I'm fine. Thanks."

When I was giving blood for a bunch of tests (which we're still getting billed for 9 weeks later; thanks for the reminder, St. David's) the day I gave birth, the tech asked me what was going on today. Um, awkward. I kind of chuckled and said, "Well, I'm here to be induced to give birth to my still born child." Silence. "Actually, I was asking about ESPN. I noticed you were watching it." Very awkward chuckle. "Yeah, that's just on to distract me. I really have no idea what's going on." ;) See, I get easily confused.

So if you're asking how am doing regarding Maggie, here's the straight answer: I'm still grieving. I went about 4 or 5 weeks without crying and I thought I was doing tons better. My blood pressure is almost back to normal... Oh, you didn't know anything about that? Well, that's because when you asked "How I was doing?" I wasn't sure if you wanted to know the details :) Now you know.

This past week was very raw for me. I couldn't put a bandaid on the pain I feel as I know that I would be in the final trimester. I know that final trimesters are no fun. I've been there. My final trimester with Ellie lasted longer than I'd hoped. But in the end, I had a baby. At the end of this final trimester it will be the middle of January and I will not have a baby in my arms. To be honest, it scares me half to death. I have no idea how I'm going to get through the month of January.

You may be wondering where the bright and happy "Becca" went. She isn't gone for good, I'm sure of that. But she is grieving. Tomorrow marks 10 weeks from the date when I went in for my ultrasound. I was crying the Sunday before the ultrasound... for no apparent reason. Looking back, it's almost like my body was preparing me for what I didn't know. When all of that was happening, I cried, but I also felt very peaceful. It was easy to place God in complete control because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I couldn't handle any of those difficult moments on my own.

I cry now. And I also question who is in control. It's harder to place God in control of every little detail when dealing with the mundane. When I'm washing dishes and I look over and see Ellie cuddling and loving on her baby dolls, I want to bawl. And when people post or show pictures of babies via ultrasound, I really lose it. I still have sweet Margaret's ultrasound pictures on my fridge. Why? Because she looks perfect. Because she is my daughter. Because I don't want to forget her. For whatever reason, you can't see the deformities in those little ultrasound pictures. I vividly remember her at 7 weeks waving to me as if to say, "I'm OK, mama! And I love you. And I can't wait to meet you!" Little did I know that I would never get to hold her until she was already with Jesus.

I miss my baby. Whenever I'm out and see pregnant mamas I automatically start guessing how far along they are and then am reminded of how far along I would be. It hurts. It's like drinking bitter water. When I see newborn babies (especially girls) I smile but I feel like someone stuck a knife in my heart.

Am I depressed? You bet. Do I have hope? I do. But I have to work a little harder these days to feel that hope. I haven't been to Margaret's grave since the plaque was placed. I will go there on Tuesday. And I know I'll bawl. Psalm 113 is inscribed on her marker. I wanted that reference there in case another grieving parent is visiting and wonders if there is hope. Psalm 113 points to the hope we have in God. It's a chapter that I've started putting to song and singing to Ellie when I feel like my world is falling apart. My world is (seemingly) falling apart. I never dreamed I'd have a perfectly healthy little girl and then have another daughter whose little body was so messed up that she couldn't even survive.

In the midst of this suffering and heartache I have to point back to who God is. He is a God of passionate love and purpose. I don't understand His purpose right this very minute. But I already know there is a plan greater than anything I can comprehend. I have been through difficult times before only to look back on them and see God's signature clearly written across those past chapters of my life. He hasn't signed off on this chapter yet. I think He's still working on my heart. And I believe that in the nights when I can't stop crying He is lovingly singing songs over me.

Someone posted the shortest verse in the Bible on their FB status the other day: Jesus wept. John 11:35. Jesus did weep. He knows the pain I feel.

So when you ask me how I'm doing and I say, "I'm fine" and you are wanting to know something more than that, you'll have to ask. And if you really want to know, be prepared for the blubbering idiot to come out and bawl on your shoulder. Because this is not an easy time in my life. I have no "memories" of Maggie. I'm not sure it would be easier if I did. But I picture her everywhere I go. I picture Ellie with her and I grieve that my sweet girls will never get to hold hands and play together here.

Margaret Jacquelyn, I know that you are with Jesus and that you are painless and free. I love you so much that I'm choosing this time in my life to focus on the pain associated with losing you. When people ask how I'm doing, if you hear me say, "I'm fine" know that the only reason I am able to cope is because I know that one day I will see you again. And I long for that day, sweet baby! I miss you more than words could ever describe!

P.S. - I promise the next post to be more uplifting.... after writing all this out and dabbing my eyes with 10 Kleenex I am feeling much better. God really is SOOO good to me even when I feel like a blubbering idiot 7 days of the week ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday I'm In Love

I'm so happy right now :)

It's not even 9AM and I'm on my second cup of coffee. My heart is never going to be completely over the ache of missing my 2nd born daughter. But I am going about life as I know she would have wanted me to. So I'm embracing LIFE. I can have caffeine without limit. =D

My little heart goes pitter-patter when I'm in the kitchen with a cookbook flipped open to a new recipe. Yes it does! And yesterday I found myself in the kitchen with a Bon Appetit magazine opened to a certain Spiced Cranberry Bundt Cake and my computer screen had a Green Chile Crockpot recipe on it and I had a Maine Cookbook opened to a Little Meatballs recipe. I was DELIGHTED to be back in the kitchen!

Ellie has somehow turned from infant to toddler overnight. Who told her she could do that?!! I took a quick shower (did you know it's possible to get clean in 20 seconds? I will tell my children this when they're older!) and was greated by a precocious child "folding" laundry in the living room. She was doing a great job!

Whenever I'm in the kitchen trying to concoct something fantastic, Ellie must feel the happy vibes because there is NO other place for her to be than at my feet. She has recently discovered how to empty the lower kitchen cabinets and get in them. And since our laundry room is nestled inside the kitchen she has recently discovered the inside of the dryer. So, you see, my heart goes pitter-patter for different reasons. It is partially because I love cooking and it is partially because I am having to keep Ellie from harming herself or my favorite kitchen tools :)

I bring this all on myself; I realize that I could install child proofing locks on all my cabinets. But I have this theory. Nick scoffs at my theory. Here's the idea: If Ellie learns to love being in the kitchen as much as I do then maybe and if she loves folding laundry more than I do (any love at all for that would beat mine) then maybe in another couple of years she will be whipping up her own goodies in the kitchen and I'll sit down sipping coffee while she folds my laundry ;-) Here's hoping :)