Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Letters to Andrew + Invitation

If you will join me, please unite in lighting candles to remember the babies at 7 p.m. this evening.

Small Bird Studio
Dear Andrew,

I almost wrote "sweet" Andrew, but really, who knows who you would have been. You might have been spunky, but I presume more circumspect than your younger brother. I think you would've been an intellect and someone who was easy to please. I guess I can't picture you being anything but wonderful because that's the dream I had for you as a baby growing for those nearly 39 weeks.

One thing is certain; the person you would have been has left a gaping hole in our family. I always said I wanted two children, but missing you makes me sure I want three. Except, I have three and you're not here. If I had one more, I would feel like I want four. I will always want you.

Missing and loving and lighting a candle that is not enough, because we love you.


Monday, October 13, 2014

NILMDTS Featured!

I wrote back in August about winning $1,000 for an organization near and dear to our hearts and the reason we have beautiful photos of our Andrew, NILMDTS.

Well, they're featured this week! It's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day on Wednesday and it's timely to have them at the top of the website with a beautiful photo.

Check it out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No, Benjamin.

He's been hearing that a lot, lately. Followed by an explanation, of course, but I feel like a broken record.

  • No, don't spit on the floor. If we do that, we will have a messy house. 
  • No, don't (insert mean thing here) your sister. We are kind to one another.
  • No, you may not put your sandwich bites in the play cart. It's unsanitary. Food needs to stay in the kitchen and on the table.
  • No, hanging on the spice cabinet will cause it to break. You've already broken two drawers recently and we don't want anymore drawers we cannot use.
  • No, you are not allowed to throw Mommy's phone because it will break.
  • No, you may not take out four pieces of string cheese, chew on them through the wrapper and put them in the pantry because that's wasting food and then they will spoil in there.
  • No, you may not take off the cap to the vinegar and chew on it. We need a cap on the vinegar and chewing on it is unsanitary.
  • No, I can't read you that book right now because I am making breakfast/lunch/dinner. I will read it when I am done, but I must make it now because we are all hungry (to which he replies, "No Benjamin eat breakfast/lunch/dinner." and I reply, "But Mommy and Daddy and Sister are hungry and I need to make us food.")

I could go on. FOR DAYS. Not just that, but other explanations of how leaving his sandwich on the table without eating it for hours will result in flies eating it. So. just. please. eat. the. stupid. sandwich (as I stare at one next to me that he left there and did not eat during lunch with a fly on it).

I have had such a short fuse with him lately. Not-so-lucky for me, Dad has a business dinner tonight and I've had one of those mornings that involved everything going wrong: the neoprene handlebar on my BOB ripped because it was in the trunk and was scraped off somehow, the store was out of most of the things I had on my list, the next store was closed, there was no parking at the next place until I got all the way to the entrance carrying the sleeping baby in the baby carrier that now weighs 25lbs which then woke her up from her useless 10 minute morning nap, thus resulting in me getting little done while Benjamin was at school this morning and a cranky and clingy baby to contend with when we picked up brother. Phew, run-on sentence totally necessary there for effect. Correct use of affect/effect? Oh, I don't care. I'm exhausted and it's my only "free" time until bedtime.

He's jealous of Claire getting lots of attention. It's not that I want to give her more attention, it's just that she's at the stage where she must be held or she will lose her everloving mind and it's all I can do to keep myself from cracking open a beer before dinnertime. She can't crawl yet, so instead she just requires I hold her. I remember Benjamin at this stage and how exhausting that was toting him around all day, but I didn't have an older sibling (insert crying face emoticon here) to manage at the same time.

I've been hearing "put baby down" and "no feed baby" a whole lot lately. But I can't. I kind of have to feed her. She's better than most babies and knocks that business out in about 5 minutes, but asking him to wait that long and denying him the rights to "read airplane book" for the 17th time that day already because of sister's needs starts to wear on him. In that 5-minute time of feeding her, he usually finds me (as I hide lately bc she gets so distracted) and proceeds to pester me which then causes sister to turn away and spray milk everywhere, ruining her feed entirely.

I need to carve out some Benjamin and Mommy time, but I simply have no idea what to do with little sister. She's got minor separation anxiety and she's awake during almost every minute of his waking hours, too. There's that morning nap she takes that he doesn't, but we're usually gallivanting around the children's museum or at storytime or at preschool during that time as she naps on-the-go.

It will get easier as they get older, I'm sure. But right now, it takes everything in me to tolerate his toddler tantrums and nonsense when I know the root cause of some of those things are the very things I can't really fix right now.

#luckymomproblems, I know. But in the midst of this chaos, I will admit defeat. So then, #sendvodka.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Color 5k

I've been itching to get out and go for a family race since Claire was born. Of course, she was too little and born during the longest winter ever, so that couldn't happen right away. Now that we're on the verge of another long winter (snow flurries on Saturday, people!), we definitely needed to make it happen.

We signed up for a local 5k along with about 2,000 other people at the Arboretum in the suburbs. It's one of my favorite places in all of Illinois with so much for kids to explore and nature all around you. We went with friends to a concert night for kids there a couple months ago and it was just so great. Here's a little throwback to December 2012 with pudgy Benjamin at the Arboretum. He was just one month older than Claire there. You almost forget you're in the middle of a populated suburb when you're there. Benjamin loves the tree houses and children's garden and all the offerings for little ones. We don't have a membership, but plan to get one next year for Benjamin and Claire to run and play and explore.
The couple who took this photo ran with their Baby Jogger Citi Mini and kept pace with us the entire time weaving through walkers. Claire's snowsuit is a hand-me-down from Benjamin that was a gift... and it's awesome. And blue. :)
The runners with strollers were sandwiched between the runners and walkers. We were essentially behind the people who were determined to "run" and that often ran the first 1/4 mile and then walked. This is a relatively steep run (for Illinois), but the inclines felt good and made it interesting. Aside from the whining from the toddler to pick him up, it was enjoyable and over before we knew it. Not the fastest time (but we're such slow runners anyway), but considering we were dodging walkers left and right and pushing the kids in the double jogger, we were fine with our 34:00 time. It was for fun, after all. It was one of those days I could've just kept running because it felt so good with the 36-degree weather and was just so pretty. We plan to make this race a tradition for our family.
After our race, we had to get Benjamin all ready for his kid's dash! Check out the video on Instagram of Benjamin not in action. He was cranky all morning to begin with, so I expected nothing more, really. Finally Dad went in there and ran with him after all the other kids had dashed on by and then he melted in the middle of the dash. I then ran with him to the end with Claire in my arms. He wasn't the only crier, but anyway.
Much more content painting a pumpkin (for 2 minutes) than running that dash!
We are headed to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving this year and signed ourselves up for the Turkey Trot that runs us around PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates) and over the Robert Clemente Bridge. We'll be running that with "Aunt Mansa" and her boyfriend while the kiddos are back at the hotel with Gramie & Grandpa. Got to find some way to make up for the sizeable amount of Prantl's Bakery Burnt Almond Torte & Primanti Brothers I plan to eat while there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Same Old {Grief} Story

We're seriously closing in on four years since Andrew died. The quick update?

I'm still sad and angry about him dying. I know sadness is the primary emotion, but anger comes out most often it seems. Acceptance doesn't appear to be near or even possible.

I don't mask anything well, so if you talk to me on a regular basis, you'll likely sense the anger and sadness when I talk about him. I'm just still so beside myself.

I'm mostly busy and super thankful to have his brother and sister to drive me nuts and amaze me everyday, but if you asked if I was happy or content, I would honestly never choose those words.

Someone asked me the other day if everything was going great with us, as if the alternative was something horrific or saddening. And really, things are going as great as can be with two kids. Except, the obvious knowledge of us really having three means that no, everything will never equal going great like, ever. There's always an addendum, it seems, to our happiness. I know we're not the only ones who've experienced tragic loss, and I'm aware that many people live with that similar addendum.

At nearly 4 years out, I'm still angry with God, even though I don't believe he saves us from harm or is the one who inflicts. I think he is supposed to be a comfort, simply put. I do believe God showed up in other people after Andrew died. The nurses who were doing a lot of the dirty work for us, the friends who showed up in such a horrible situation to offer their presence when they probably just wanted to flee the scene, the strangers who sent cards, and the list continues. I think I'm most angry with God because I don't know who else to be angry with.

I rarely cry. The tears are there occasionally and flood like a river. But mostly, they're absent.

Being at home with the kids can make things even harder, ironically. I have my hands full, but my brain is not full of anything but tasks. The intellectual stimulation is lacking because time does not allow for much of that, which then allows for sadness to creep in. This mom job can be really lonely in itself, and then even more lonely when you know you're missing 1/3 of your kids.

It's a cooler fall day here. The grief season is approaching.