Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Black and White

You'll never see one of those photos on Instagram posted by me. And I'll never have another one printed.

We have a large canvas print from our wedding in black and white that I love, but that was before. Before is okay, but this is after. Like two sides of a coin and definitely different people within us.

Before all things I knew were good all of a sudden turned upside-down, black and white photos were modern chic. They had edge to them and provided a sense of mystery to photos that left you wondering.

What color is that shirt?
Is that tulip white or yellow?
What color eyes do they have?

Your brain is left to the intriguing mystery and fantasy that the colors could be anything you want.

Andrew's photos were in black and white. For obvious reasons. And as much as I cherish/adore/love/hoard them, it saddens me that they are black and white. They're gorgeous. Taken by a professional photographer and touched up in probably so many places that it makes you wonder what the real baby looked like. Well, except us. We know exactly what that gorgeous baby looked like.

They do look like him, except the color. Of course the color. It's as though the obvious choice to print in black and white helps conceal imperfect skin coloring... but more vividly adds the mystery of the unknown about a baby sadly unknown. And it's hard to forget the notion that things are quite black and white when it comes to the reality of loss. That things are not colorful or cheery. They're black, white, gray, permanent. Their lack of color somehow symbolizes the permanence of losing him.

In June, he would be blowing out the candles on his half-birthday cake. A boy standing tall at the age of 2.5 years. What a joy that would be to see the boy he should become. At well over 2 years after losing him, it still brings me to my knees. Maybe not so often, but still painfully so.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rainbow Friends & Foodie Resolution #13 of 52: Hummus

We recently had a visit from a fellow BLM to the Chi suburbs. She brought along her daughter and Benjamin had a playdate with a little girl his age! It's not often little girls come around, as our suburb is saturated with little boys Benjamin's age.

I've been totally slacking on my recipes lately and I have about 400 excuses why I haven't posted any, but I still have the desire to complete 52 new recipes this year. We'll see about that when I have more time. This dresser refinishing and traveling paired with the husband being out of town a lot has really cut down on my free time.

But, when Teresa came over, I did make some caramelized onion & Weber BBQ sauce grilled cheese sandwiches with a parmesan crust on French bread. So I mean, I'm still eating well. That's not a concern. Though the stock of frozen pizzas in our freezer is getting dangerously low and that's usually is a tell for how busy we've been.

While Teresa was here, we talked about food because she's also a foodie like me. She mentioned they make hummus frequently. I told her I'd never made hummus. Hours after she left, I was in my kitchen giving it a go.

Success. First pictures of babies, then food. In order of importance and deliciousness, clearly.

Hummus recipe was straight from the Blendtec recipe book. It just so happened that I had all the ingredients!
It was tasty! The consistency was quite thick, which is how I like my hummus. The entire batch had only 1 TBSP of olive oil, so it was quite healthy as well. Next time, I might experiment with roasted red peppers as an addition, and I'll definitely make the tahini first, because I can still see a few sesame seeds that were not ground completely in the blend.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Worst One to Date

And I'm not talking about the weather. Well, that did have something to do with it.

I spent a week with my parents recently and Benjamin slept in a pack 'n' play. Without the Snuza or Angelcare monitor. Just a noise monitor when I was out of the room. We shared a room for sleeping which I don't necessarily recommend if you're a paranoid mom with a kid who rolls around approximately 3,498 times each night. But you know what? Those movements always let me know he's okay, so I am okay with losing sleep.

We came back home and resumed our Angelcare monitoring, as we've been doing since we transitioned him to the crib at 3.5 months. He'll be 14 months this week.

Just two nights ago, my husband mentioned (after a few repeated false alarms) that he might be okay with cutting off the movement monitor and just sticking with sound (of which we turn off anyway because we can hear him just fine in the next room over).

And then it was yesterday. The day of crazy flooding in my town. A town they featured on the news multiple times. My town is very small. It's a huge suburb, sure, but the town itself is not huge. Flooding all over the place and devastation everywhere. We were lucky, but still didn't escape losing sleep over what could have been much more disastrous. If we were not up at crazy hours mitigating the situation, we may have been in way more trouble.

In the midst of it all, I noticed the Angelcare monitor hangy ball (technical term... or pendulum if you want to get all bourgy on me) was gone. Disappeared. Well, so had part of the numbers indicating the temperature in his room. We have two monitors but this one seems to hate us. In that moment, my heart started beating rapidly, despite understanding that even though the display is malfunctioning that the monitor itself was still working.

It was 8:30 a.m. at this point and we were handling buckets and slamming things nonstop to prevent our basement from going under, yet our very light sleeping baby was still not awake from the racket. Worst storm in 16 years. A 24-hour period of nonstop thunderstorms brought down nearly 7 inches on our region and 8 inches is the record of monthly rainfall ever. We nearly got that in one day. To say this was insane is not sugar-coating. People were in boats and swimming in the park across the street, people. I think that Chicago hates us.

My wonderful husband told me that he'd go upstairs with me to check on him. I knew he told me that because we were both afraid that we'd come face-to-face with another tragedy. Seeing another one of our children slip through our fingers. I told him not to come with me because his feet were gross from trudging around outside in the sloshing mud.

I walked in and saw a baby sleeping on his belly, passed out. I can't use the term out cold nonchalantly anymore because omg, I know what it's like to have a child literally out cold. I've touched and held his cold skin. I looked at his face, shook him and saw that his eyes were open and looked glazed. While I never did see Andrew's eyes, I know that people often pass with their eyes open. Or at least that's how television portrays things.

No response. Limp. I shook him some more and then grabbed him. His head went limp and finally he looked at me lethargically and waved.

He waved. He does love to wave.

Then I knew he was alive, but you guys. After 12 hours of sleep, or even 2 hours, this kid usually pops right up from deep sleep and stands in his crib like he's in basic training or something at the sound or sight of any noise or light. Hence the blackout shades.

I know that the crazy storm and our insane lack of sleep contributed to my freakout, but this has to be my worst PTSD moment to date.

I think I'll keep the Angelcare monitor on him until he graduates high school.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Project Dresser

I think it somehow slipped my mind to tell you all that we gave up our dreams of fancy Amish furniture for our bedroom and decided to give our master bedroom some much deserved TLC. The wallpaper was stripped during my pregnancy with Andrew and we sort of left it alone without any furniture except a chair, bedframe and dresser.

When my parents stayed in our room during Benjamin's birthday weekend, I was totally embarrassed that I'm 30 years old, married for almost 5 of that time and we still don't have anything fancy in that room except a couple canvases from our wedding. We got real about things and realized that who were we kidding... we can't front thousands of dollars on Amish furniture because we would rather travel and send our kid to college. So yeah. Reality check.

We bought some fancy stuff that makes the room feel very chic and yet we're under $1,000 on the whole project. We have a couple final touches like adding art to frames that had the same pictures in for like 6 years (I know!), re-hanging our canvases, and refinishing the dresser we bought on Craigslist for $125. Well, $155 if you count the $30 we paid the lady's son for delivering it to our house.

With a little help from Pinterest, tutorials, the awesome people at Wo.odcraft and a speedy phonecall with my friend Caroline, we've removed the hardware and are halfway through the sanding stage and well on our way to staining this new beauty for our bedroom to be complete.

There are gobs of other things rolling around in my head right now, but I think my Instagram peeps know well enough what I've been up to as of late. Lots of family love and attention going on. I'm back for a bit before heading on another adventure next week. The Wilsons are nonstop, I tell ya. And yet the baby didn't get the memo that it's not cool to scream on airplanes. If you are a furniture refinishing guru, feel free to leave your fun stories, advice, or complaints in the comments. I'll appreciate them. Stay tuned for the bedroom reveal that will take place in a month or so.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Foodie Resolution Week #13 of 52: Chickpea Salad

I recently talked about that Starbucks chickpea salad that was amazing, but needless to say, I had no luck finding the recipe. However, I did find another recipe that sounded equally appealing.

Not difficult by any means. I went out and bought the ingredients. I planned to make it last weekend for a healthy lunch. Then I got severely sick Friday night and am finally feeling 95% as of now. Nearly a week later.

Those fresh vegetables were just asking to be used and I hated the thought of wasting them. But honestly, I didn't feel like making a thing! I wanted plain bread and water. Spices? Flavor? omg. no.

But, I made it. And had it a total of twice. As I stare at the leftovers I know I'll never eat despite it being a delicious salad, I just don't know what to think. Being sick kind of ruined it for me. Even though it wasn't the salad that was at fault. But if you were in my fridge during Sickfest 2013, I wanted you gone immediately. The state of my fridge at this current time is barren. Quite like my uterus, ehhhm, Dad. Or whoever else was wondering.

Don't you just want to make this recipe now? I know. Sorry.

I mixed two recipes. I sort of threw in what I wanted and omitted what I didn't. That's how I cook. I added bulgur wheat (which is delicious, btw), omitted dill and cucumber and mint. I followed the general dressing from this recipe and the bulgur addition from this one.

Anyway, that's it. Not the best foodie week, but what are you gonna do?

Monday, April 1, 2013


We waited in a line of 40+ people with their kids to put Benjamin on a complete stranger's lap (in a bunny suit) for approximately 25 seconds.

And this is the result of our wasted time efforts. A kid who could care less about sitting on said stranger's lap.
We felt B would be cheated without a bunny picture or something. And I guess we should be a little festive, right?

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That was last week. This weekend was no. fun. We were all sick and I changed no fewer than 8 vomited-on crib sheets. But somehow, Benjamin managed to be cuter than ever, super snugly  and lots of fun at the first park visit of the season. Between both sets of grandparents and some wonderful local friends (and a thing or two from us... but this kid now officially has more toys than a toy store!), Benjamin had two Easter baskets. The main basket was at home and he took to it quite well. Later in the afternoon, we went over to a friend's house and they gave him a second Easter basket. #spoiledbaby

{This post would be more exciting, except I'm tired, feeling crappy, hungry, and still dealing with ridding my house of the smell of vomit. Also, stressed. Seeing my baby sick is so miserable and hard on my grief.}