Sunday, November 29, 2009

How many times can a mother’s heart break?

At least once, I’m sure.

Today, when Seth woke from his nap, in usual form, he knocked on his door until I gave him permission to open it.

I was sitting cross-legged just on the other side, ready and braced for what I knew was to come.

“’ere’d Papa go?”  He rubbed his tired eyes.

“Home, buddy.”

***tiny sigh***

“’ere’d ‘amma go?” Furrowed brow.

“With Grandpa.”  A tear slid down my own cheek.

“’ere’d Daddy go?” His bottom lip came out.

“With Gramma and Grandpa, but he’ll come home in two sleeps.”

He turned, and walked to the center window that overlooks our driveway.

“All gone,” he said.

He turned and crawled into my lap, and his tears fell with mine.

Thanksgiving in TN 09 067-1

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We fought the attic, and the attic won

My first casualty of the Christmas season:

misc Nov 022


I think we’ll be storing the wax products elsewhere this year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reflection on shadows

welcome third tri

I came across this picture the other day.  It stirred up a lot of emotions that I haven’t quite sorted through.

But I love it so much, I wanted to share it, despite the lack of “explanation” to go along with it.

(Oh, and just to clarify, I was about 25 weeks pregnant with Seth when I took this.  I’m standing in his nursery at our home in Toledo.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

14w Update

How far along? 14w1d

Total weight gain
: lost another 3; down 7 for pregnancy

Maternity clothes
? only as desired, but not always necessary.

: I'm sleeping through the night, but not resting well.  My dreams have left me exhausted and worn in the mornings.

Best moment this week
: hearing Chicklet's healthy, steady 150 bmp heartbeat on doppler.

: I swore I felt something familiar last night, but even with the baby measuring ahead, I can't believe I'd be feeling anything yet...

: Gut is leaning toward hearing "boy" next week.  But honestly, I just want this baby to stay healthy until May.

Labor Signs
: Nope.

Belly Button
in or out? In.

What I miss
: My appetite. About two or three bites into a meal, I'm done. We're eating a LOT of leftovers around here lately.

What I am looking forward to
: Telling my extended family at the Christmas holiday.  Only 3 weeks to go!

Weekly Wisdom
: Keep taking my folic acid pills, even though I HATE them with  passion.

: Second trimester!!!! And first 24 hour urine collection.  Fun times!

Happy Thanksgiving

pep talk crop 

Happy Thanksgiving.

May your day be full of turkey, football, and all those you love most.

Mine will be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Boys will be boys

And if you leave them unattended, they’ll just find a way to make their own fun:

I don’t get it.

They have an entire room full of any toy imaginable, and what do they want to do?  Jump in the Pack ‘N Play.

I guess it just proves the theory – don’t bother to spend money on toys.  Just had over a cardboard box, or a blanket, or a crib, as the case may be, and let their imaginations run wild.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Uncle Andy

Seth and I recently journeyed to Pensacola, FL to visit some friends, and as a side bonus, we got to hang out at the mall and have lunch at Red Robin with my youngest brother, Andrew, who is stationed at the naval base in Pensacola.

“Yo, dude, let go of my balloon!”

misc Nov 017

Hey, where’d it go?”

misc Nov 018 

And, of course, entertainment for all with the kids’ meal word search. ;)

misc Nov 019

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Meet My Peeps: Heart to Heart with Holley

Holley’s blog falls into my first blogging category: Bloggers Who Blog.  (I know, clever, right?)


I only have three categories in my Google Reader: Bloggers Who Blog; Girlfriends; and Home Blogs.   I don’t know Holley “in real life” and her blog is definitely deeper than some of the home decor blogs that I frequent, so it seemed obvious that she go in the BWB category.

But the longer I’ve been reading her, the closer I get to moving her into the “Girlfriend” category.

Because, really, anyone who is vulnerable and modest enough to admit in her very first blog post that she “put deodorant on my lips instead of chapstick” is someone that you just think “I could be friends with her.  (Or, at least that is what I thought.  Maybe your friends are totally normal.)

Anyway.  Holley works for Dayspring, the Christian division of Hallmark, and she is kind of my hero, the reasons behind which lie in another post altogether.  Her thoughts flow into beautiful words, painting pictures and scenes that take me deep within myself, to the throne room of Heaven, or to a different world altogether.

For example, below are linked some of my favorite Holley posts:

Hope Like A Child

Simply The Best

Where’s God When It Rains

I hope that you’ll find Holley worthy of your blog roll.  I know my daily reading wouldn’t be complete without a visit to her site, to see what has been laid on her heart.  She has never failed to bless me, and I hope the same will hold true for you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Six months

As I write this, I’m caught in a parallel universe.

Circumstance and spontaneity have me out of town on this anniversary of Duncan’s birthday.  Not Toledo, where he was born; not Nashville, where he is missed; but northwest Florida, in a little panhandle city where he was ever only a dream yet to be dreamt.

It is strange, being back in a place where I spent many years, filled almost entirely with only the best of memories.  Yet today, as I walk familiar sidewalks amid palm trees, concrete, and khaki, I feel mostly sadness and sorrow.

It will pass.  Most likely by the time to sun streams onto the Gulf on Friday morning.  But for today, I mourn.

I mourn for the carefree days of a seventeen-year-old whose biggest dilemma was changing her major – not the number of her children.

I mourn for the flippancy with which birth control pills were ordered for acne – not contraception.

I mourn for the naivety of a young woman who thought that only a grown man could break her heart – not a premature one.

I mourn for the girl I was even while embracing the woman I’ve become.

I mourn for my husband – a father with only one of his two sons.

I mourn for my mother – who ordered a monogrammed stocking that will hang empty this Christmas.

I mourn for Seth – who plays so well with others, and yet goes to bed by himself each night.

Today, I mourn.

But in the morning, I will rejoice.

For I know that Duncan has not known a day of mourning in his entire existence.

He can’t miss his father; not in the presence of his Father.

A toy-filled stocking can’t compare to the crowns he casts at Jesus’ feet.

He doesn’t long to play with Seth, for he dances each day with the saints and angels.


Dear Duncan,

Our planet has traveled half-way around the sun since we last saw the sun rise together.   Have you been watching?  I know the Bible tells us that one day in heaven is like a thousand – so I know that when I say I feel like you’ve been gone “forever,” you truly know how that feels, don’t you?  You’ve already been in heaven “forever.”

We miss you here, though, sweet boy.

It’s hard to imagine what you’d be like right now.  If you had lived the day of your birth, you might very well still be in the hospital – not necessarily doing the things that Seth did when he was six months old.  Had you stayed with me until you were due, you’d not even be three months old!   So you see, it’s hard to picture what isn’t, in specifics.  I just know I wish you were here.

Having said that, though, I have to tell you: I wouldn’t change what happened.  Any of it.  I know I said, before you were born, that I’d “undo” you if I could have.  I’m glad I couldn’t.  I’m glad I was your mommy, for however long.

I’m glad you were “made” in Toledo – the same place as your brother.  I’m glad you went to the annual family get together in February.  I’m glad you were with us in our new home in Tennessee.  I’m glad I got to take you swimming in Florida with Nonna and Seth.  I’m glad you sat on the bank of the lake with me when Seth “caught” his first fish.  I’m glad you were born in the same delivery room as I waited for your brother.  I’m glad that you were a “Tuesday’s child” – full of grace.  I’m glad that I “see” you every day in our home.

There were days, earlier this spring, when I wasn’t glad I was your mommy.  But today I am.  And tomorrow I will be.  And every day after that until I see you again.

Love and kisses forever,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Meet My Peeps: Three At Last

I have a handful of friends who only live in my computer.

Oh, I mean, they have lives and they are real and all that.  But I’ve never met them – not in person.  But I’d still place them in my top tier of go-to girls.

Mandie is one of these girls, and you know how we got to where we are?


Yeah, me neither.  Seriously.  I don’t remember the details of how we went from being just screen names on a message board to numbers in one another’s cell phones, and addresses on each other’s Christmas card list, or how she became one of the very first people to know of Duncan’s death in May.

It’s funny – we mostly communicate now through random comments on each other’s blogs, or the occasional email.  Unless of course, she’s holding out on writing me back because she doesn’t want to reveal to me the name of her unborn daughter.  (Ahem.)  But those short, pithy one-liners keep us connected until the day we can actually get together in person (preferably at her parent’s OC beach house) to chat, show off pictures of our children, and talk about being northern gals transplanted to the south.

I can’t promise that you’ll connect with Mandie the way I did.  But I wouldn’t send you over to her home at Three At Last if I didn’t think she was worth your time.  Granted, right now, it’s primarily a mommy/pregnancy blog.  But every once in a while (actually, quite often, really), she writes a witty, clever, sarcastic post that just makes my day.

Maybe she’ll make your day, too.  (And if not, just leave her a comment to tell her she has an adorable son. ;)

mr a

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I know you….

duncan's leaf from Holly

Thank you, Holly, for taking time to remember my son, and blessing my inbox with the sight of his sweet, not-spoken-often-enough name.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

These are the people in my neighborhood

I grew up in a very stable neighborhood.  With few exceptions, I knew the same families in the same houses from the time I was three until the day we moved when I was twenty-four.

There was Dave the funeral director and his wife Julie, across the street to the left.  Their son Chad and I would play with his G. I. Joe action figures in their basement.  There were the Toland’s on the corner – the only two story house on our whole block.  And there was the lesbian couple across the street from them, with the loud dogs in the large fenced-in backyard.

There was a sense of familiarity; a sense of family.  And I hoped that I could convince Jim, my anti-subdivision hubby, that I’d like to raise our family in a similar environment.

And I think we’ve found that in our new Tennessee home.  We have been so blessed in the neighbor department.

Bill is right next door, and from the way Seth adores him, you’d think he hung the moon. Bill is so down to earth and generous.  If you see him firing up his grill, it’s pretty much assumed that you have an invite to dinner.  He has babysat for us, and we absolutely trust him with Seth.

On the other side of Bill are Matt and Christina, and their little girl Mady (Seth’s BFF).  We love to bounce decorating ideas off each other (our homes have the same floor plans), have dinner together when our respective spouses have business dinner plans on the same night, or borrow baking ingredients from one another in a pinch.  Just the other day, Christina showed up on my porch with a container of homemade chicken chowder:

West chicken chowder

It was so good, and just what this sick girl needed.

But more than the soup, I have to say I appreciate the friendships more.  The freedom to call them in a pinch to borrow an onion, a shovel, a car, whatever.  To have them dial your number just so you can find your lost cell phone.  To ask them to mow their lawn so that your toddler is distracted for a hour. ;)  Yes, we have a dream to build a house on some land, someday.  But for now……this is the life.

12w update

How far along? 12w

Total weight gain
: gained back 2; down 4 for pregnancy

clothes? only as desired, but not always necessary.

: The medicine I'm on for my chest congeston and pneumonia has Codene in it; combined with my BP meds and Tylenol PM, I'm barely coherent after 9 pm.

Best moment this week
: hearing Chicklet's healthy, steady 154 bmp heartbeat on doppler.

: Nope.

: Well, some surprising news this week has me unsure of both my gut and my heart's desire.  I found out that my youngest brother and his finacee will make me an aunt just 6 weeks after Chicklet is born.  I'd like our babies to be opposite gender, for reasons I haven't analyzed, and he really, really wants a boy, so.....I want a girl?  I dunno.

Labor Signs:

Belly Button in or out?

What I miss
: My appetite.  About two or three bites into a meal, I'm done.  We're eating a LOT of leftovers around here lately.

What I am looking forward to
: Going public with the pregnancy.  Only 5 1/2 more weeks til the big announcement.

Weekly Wisdom
: Rest when Chicklet's Brother rest. The laundry will get done eventually, but there is only so much longer that I can take advantage of afternoon naps.

: First heart tones on doppler.  Relief.  The last time a doppler was set to my abdomen, it was silent.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fondue Foible


It’s really a shame that I didn’t document this endeavor with photos.  It would have made for a really good blog post.

Instead, you’re getting a mediocre blog post, with only a generic picture, but, per the request of a few, you’re also getting the recipe.

Our small group met on Sunday night for Bible study and a fondue party.  As one of the four couples who own a fondue pot, we (I) were in charge of one of the dessert pots.

So, I Googled a recipe, decided to quadruple it (ahem, NOT necessary!), and proceeded to dirty every plastic and stainless steel item in my kitchen.

To help you grasp the scope of this culinary quest, here is the original recipe:


5 ounces of chocolate, chopped.
1 cup of cocoa powder, sifted.
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar.
1 1/4 cups of water.
3/4 of cup heavy cream, plus.
1/4 of cup corn syrup.
1 tablespoon of heavy cream.


Sift the cocoa into a mixing bowl and then set aside.
Put the water, sugar and corn syrup in a pot and bring to boil.
Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sugar solution has reduced by about 30%.
Pour the cocoa powder into the solution and blend with a whisk until smooth.
Return the chocolate mixture to the stove and continue cooking over a medium heat.
Add the heavy cream; bring to boil and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate.
Pour into a fondue pot and keep warm.

Now, do a quick little math problem in your head, and quadruple that recipe.

Did you do it?

Did you come up with 2.5 cups of chocolate, 4 cups of cocoa, 6 cups of sugar, 5 cups of water, 3+ cups of cream, and a cup of corn syrup?

That’s a LOT of stuff.

And I attempted to cook it in my large saucepan.  Which, of course didn’t work, so I moved it to my 4 qt. Dutch oven.  Which, also, of course, didn’t work.  So I ended up making fondue in my ginormous pasta pot!

And when it was all said and done, I have enough chocolate fondue to feed an army.  Or at least my subdivision.  I have fondue in Tupperware, in Pampered Chef mixing bowls, in fondue pots, in mason jars, in the fridge, in the freezer.  It’s insanity.

And although it’s not quite as thick as I’d anticipated, it is heavenly.  (For at least today.  Something tells me I’ll be sick of chocolate by Wednesday.)

Enjoy!  (But stick with the regular measurements – trust me!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

11w update

How far along? 11w

Total weight gain: lost 6 lbs.

Maternity clothes? the weight loss has affected my waistline, for sure.  I still need some roomier shirts for the "girls" and I can't comfortably wear a belt anymore, but I can still get into regular, non-maternity pants.

Sleep: I've been sick the last week plus, so I've been taking Tylenol Cold & Flu PM.  Due to the sleeping aid in the medicine, I'm sleeping through the night wonderfully.

Best moment this week: Seeing the heartbeat of Chicklet again.  It was a healthy, steady 162 bmp.

Movement: I'm hesitant to say so, because in my head I know it's not possible, but there have been a couple moments where I've thought, "huh, that's a familiar sensation."

Gender: On the fence.  The more I think about it, I don't care -- I just want healthy.  I'm sure there are pros and cons to both genders.

Labor Signs: Nope.

Belly Button in or out?

What I miss: A "pretty" bump.  I've always sported a nice, smooth, round baby bump.  Now, it's smooth and round, but also black and purple (from the injections).  Vanity at it's finest: wanting prettiness where no one sees.

What I am looking forward to: Feeling better.  As I mentioned, I've been sick with waht I thoguth was just a cold.  Turns out, it might be bronchitis or even pneumonia.  I'm on two new prescriptions, and go back to Dr. M in a week for an evaluation and possible chest X-Ray.  (I've either pulled something badly, or cracked a rib.)

Weekly Wisdom: Rest when Chicklet's Brother rest.  The laundry will get done eventually, but there is only so much longer that I can take advantage of afternoon naps.

Milestones: For the first time in any one of my pregnancies, my baby is measuring ahead -- by almost a whole week.  If this continues at my next u/s, my EDD will be changed to -- get this -- 5/19/10.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick or Treat

So, our first Halloween in Tennessee.

The morning after, over breakfast, Jim says to me, “I think it was a success.”

Despite the fact that I’m less than thrilled with the photographic evidence of the night, I’d have to agree.

From the get-go, things were against us.  The Tennessee Vols game was smack dab in the middle of trick-or-treating hours; some of our best friends couldn’t attend our party because they were at the aforementioned ill-timed game; other friends had to cancel at the last minute…

But then we all dove in to the steaming pots of chili and potato soup:

halloween 005

And then Andrea showed up with these:

halloween 006

And the littles decided that grilled cheese wasn’t so bad an idea (except for Seth, of course):

halloween 003

And all was right with the world.

Seth was thrilled to see Strawberry Shortcake (aka his BFF Mady).  (I promise, the feeling is usually mutual, but I think the chaos in our dining room took her a little by surprise.) 

halloween 007

I wasn’t sure that we’d actually manage to get everyone out the door.  All together, there were 7 adults and 7 kids in our group.  Lions and chickens and Dora – oh my!

halloween 008

halloween 010

halloween 013

halloween 014

And here comes the “trick” part of my evening, and also the reason that we weren’t ever able to get one picture of ALL the costumed kiddos together.

Our group has a handful of “little mothers,” and the lure of all the baby paraphernalia in Seth’s room proved to be too great a temptation for them.  Within the first hour, the little girls had bathed, diapered, swaddled, and put to put every stuffed animal and toy in Seth’s entire room, using every blanket and diaper we own.

halloween 015

halloween 017

halloween 016

Poor George.  See his little paw?  He’s trying to surrender, I think.

But even George would have to admit, we laughed a lot, ate a lot, gave away (most of) our candy stash, and had a great time with our friends.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Somebody isn’t happy that it is November

halloween 018

Or maybe he was just throwing a tantrum because Jim had told him he couldn’t get down until he ate a bit of either banana or pineapple.

I was in the bathroom getting ready for church, and could hear the crying from the kitchen.

Jim came up to get in the shower, and I asked him how long he planned to stand his ground.  “Until the last minute,” he answered.  “Okay,” I replied, skeptical.

The crying was getting sporadic, so I went downstairs to investigate.  I snapped this picture right before he curled up in the fetal position on the tray.

Needless to say….Seth won.  It was just too pitiful a sight to bear.  (And after he had diarrhea for the fourth time before noon, we figured he probably knew better than to eat anyways.  Smart kid.)

I, for one, am glad to see November arrive.  Diarrhea, head colds, H1N1 and all.