Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

It’s all good

My original To-Do list of things I wanted and/or needed to accomplish today:

  • Drive to county seat to renew vehicle registration
  • Schedule well baby visit for Erin’s two-month check up
  • Make bank deposit
  • Check with World Market on the status of my last living room curtain to be shipped
  • Wash one load of laundry
  • Tidy pantry (and by tidy, I mean overhaul.  Sorry, Mom, all your hard work last month was for naught – we’ve destroyed the pantry shelves.  Again.)
  • Make grocery list
  • Water indoor and outdoor plants
  • Balance checkbook
  • Write a blog post or two
  • Complete Esther Bible study for the day

What the list actually looked like at 3 pm:

  • Drive to county seat to renew vehicle registration
  • Schedule well baby visit for Erin’s two-month check up
  • Make bank deposit
  • Check with World Market on the status of my last living room curtain to be shipped
  • Wash one load of laundry
  • Tidy pantry (and by tidy, I mean overhaul.  Sorry, Mom, all your hard work last month was for naught – we’ve destroyed the pantry shelves.  Again.)
  • Make grocery list
  • Water indoor and outdoor plants (It rained!)
  • Balance checkbook
  • Write a blog post or two
  • Complete Esther Bible study for the day

HOWEVER, in addition, I was able to add and check off:

  • Watch Cars with Seth – with, not just having it on in the background
  • Play, with zeal, Thomas and friends all over the living room floor
  • Read a few chapters of a just-for-fun book
  • Nurse Erin.  Nurse, not bottle feed. =)  Only my second time.  Go, me!

My house is a “disaster,” I have yet to shower today, and I have no clue what is for dinner tonight.

But both of my babies have been lavishly loved on, played with, and paid attention to all day, and I’m pretty sure that makes the day a success.

june 28

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I love these pictures.  I wish the quality of the one of infant Jim with his grandmother was better, but what can I say?  The photo is 30 years old! ;)

But I love seeing the resemblance between newly born Erin and newly born Jim.  She is definitely taking after Daddy’s side of the family so far!

And as a side note…..I’m really not trying to play favorites here, by having all these posts about Erin, and with pictures of Erin, and not a whole lot to say about or see of Seth.   The explanation is pretty simple: he is too fast to catch anymore – especially on film!  The child is in perpetual movement, and much too busy to pose for Mommy’s camera.  So rest assured – Seth’s place in my heart is still firmly intact….just not so much on the blog!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hangin’ with our peeps

A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Can you tell how this story goes?

june wk2 017
Back off, Pretzel.  Erin Elizabeth is MY BABY.”

june wk2 018

“AP, seriously?  What are you doing to me?  Mom?  Mom, where are you?”

I love these girls and their mommas so much, and it was a blast to hang out with them (sans Beth) last week.  I hope beyond hope that our daughters grow into a friendship like their mommies have.  But in the meantime…we’re content to just watch them make faces at one another.

And not to be outdone:

june wk2 020
Seth and the object of his devoted hero worship, Char-Char, enjoying whatever it is boys enjoy over cheeseburgers and nuggets.

Hangin’ with our peeps and indulging in McDonald’s was a fantastic way to beat the crazy hot temperatures last week….and just may be on the agenda again this week!

How about you?  Do any of you also see burgeoning relationships forming between your and your friends’ little ones?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Somebody needs to convince Seth it’s not strawberry jelly

He keeps trying to lick it off her arm.

june wk2 011
Right after he scolds me that either, “Erin messy, Mommy,” or “Erin’s gotsa boo-boo, Mommy,” as if I’m shirking my duties of tending to her every need.

But alas, it’s not a PBJ gone wayward.

Our little Erin Elizabeth has a strawberry hemangioma, just like her big brother.

The differences?  Erin’s is visible, whereas Seth’s is not.  Also, Seth’s has already begun to heal at an astounding rate – faster than his pediatricians expected and faster than any statistic we’ve come across so far.  Given Erin’s youth, it is too soon to tell if she will follow suit.

I hope so.

Oh, I know that these “birthmarks” are considered to be “harmless.”  If you click on the hyperlink above, it’ll take you to a really easy-to-understand overview of what a hemangioma is and how it progresses.

But after reading the information on the site, I felt worse than before.  All because of this statistic:

Hemangiomas affect about 10% of infants, and the risk is about 5 times higher in females than males. White infants and premature infants are at an increased risk for hemangiomas, as are infants born to mothers with an abnormal placenta.

So, she didn’t really stand a chance, did she?

Female, premature, and a mommy with a broken placenta.

{Insert frowny face here}

I know it could be worse – it could be bigger, near a vital location (such as her genitalia or eyes), or indicative of internal issues.  And it’s none of those things.

But still….  I wonder about the role this mark will play in her future.  I pray that she isn’t as hung up on it as I am.  Maybe she’ll be less vain than her mommy.

In the meantime, we’ll watch it grow; photograph its progress; and keep Seth from trying to eat it off her bicep. ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day

To the wonderful man God blessed me with:

I love you.

And for the wonderful children you’ve given to me:

wildwood 05


erin fd

I thank you.

Happy Father’s Day, Jim.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Not just in Kansas

I’ve only been to five funerals in my life, which, for being almost thirty years old, doesn’t seem like a whole lot.  And for that, I’m grateful.  But here’s the interesting thing:

Of all the funerals I’ve been to – one, for an uncle; three, for grandparents – the first was for a woman I didn’t even know.

But I knew her granddaughter, and once upon a lifetime ago, we were the closest of friends.

chad ambre fam

This is her (the granddaughter, that is), today, all grown up, with a beautiful family.  Isn’t she pretty?

Her name is Ambre, and we were in junior high when her grandmother died unexpectedly.  I remember, through the haze of time and overlapping memories, the questions and fears we had as young teenagers, experiencing death for the first time.

I remember riding in her parents van to the downtown church where the funeral mass was held.  I remember how cold and blistery it was that winter day.  And I remember most of all, coming across this message from Ambre in on of our high school yearbooks, years later:

… and thank you for always being there.  I’ll never forget that you were the one to comfort me when my grandma died…”

Now, I don’t bring that up, at all, to pat myself on the back, but rather, to make a point, in that, sometimes, when the grief is overwhelming, all you can do for someone is just to BE THERE.

This is a picture of Ambre’s husband, Chad, with their nephew Hayden:

chad hayden
And this is a picture of Chad’s sister, Mary, and her daughter Maddie:

mary maddie
And this past Saturday, June 5th, a EF4 tornado ripped through the small Lake Township community where Mary and Hayden lived, and it took their lives.

Is this post voyeuristic in nature?  It’s not my intention.  Not at all.

But for the past week, my heart has been so heavy, and this is how I chose to introduce why.

See, while I’ve laid the foundation for the whole Kevin-Bacon-six-degrees-of-separation-thing with the relationship between my childhood friend Ambre and her sister-in-law Mary, what you may not know is that the Lake Township that Mary and Hayden lived in is also the Lake Township that my inlaw’s live in, and therefore, it is the same Lake Township that I was in on the night of this deadly tornado.

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Saturday night, I was on the phone with my dad, forty miles to my northwest, watching up-to-the-minute television coverage of a line of thunderstorms heading through northwest Ohio.  Even as tornado sirens screamed outside my inlaw’s front door, my father said to me: “…well, I’m sure nothing will happen.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”  And we hung up.

Within a moment of setting down my cell phone, I heard the tornado’s force slam into my husband’s alma mater, a mere mile away.

The photos I’ve included below are used from various public sites, and showcase, in no particular order, only a hint of the destruction I’ve been witness to in the last week.

bildeCAQEU7Z9  28642_400516470255_182959125255_4106134_3295033_n 28642_400516480255_182959125255_4106136_6923843_n  28642_400870115255_182959125255_4114354_2823908_n 28642_400871475255_182959125255_4114407_2159931_n 30689_124019270969965_120283234676902_119175_7771858_n 30689_124019300969962_120283234676902_119176_691031_n 30689_124019330969959_120283234676902_119177_270703_n 30689_124019374303288_120283234676902_119178_6033178_n 30689_124019407636618_120283234676902_119179_5407188_n 30689_124023200969572_120283234676902_119204_550798_n bilde   bilde4 bilde5   

These are not just photos; they are memories.

I remember the taste of the hamburger I ordered when Jim and I last had dinner with his parent’s at this restaurant:


You’ve heard me write on numerous occasions about our friends Doug and Sara.  They hosted their firstborn’s first birthday party at the pavillion and playground that used to be in this photo:


Every time we head out to get ice cream at Paradise, we drive by this cornfield:


A diploma just like this, but with Jim’s name inside, is tucked away in a box in Seth’s closet:


Our friend Rick – a groomsman in our wedding! – and his wife Sarah live with their two young daughters in a neighborhood struck by the twister.  You think it won’t happen to someone you love.  It does:


Yesterday, Mary’s sister Amy walked into the dry cleaner’s where my mother-in-law works, and asked her to clean and preserve the wedding gown they’d found amid the rubble of Mary’s house.  It had belonged to their mother, and Amy wanted to make sure Mary’s daughter Maddie would have it.  When Linda told me this when she came home, my heart broke all over again.

I’ve been trying all week to formulate this post – to put into words the terror of Saturday night, the fatigue of Sunday morning, and the sadness of the days to follow as the death toll rose and the piles of debris grew.  And I can’t.

For all the training of my publishing education; for all the eloquence I’ve been able to put into posts about my own tragedy and loss; for all the vocabulary I’ve built up over the years of reading and writing… words fail me.

So, today, I will let my tears and silence speak for me.

I will change out of my shorts and tank top, and I’ll head up the street to the funeral home, and I’ll put my arms around a girl-turned-woman I’ve known and loved for a lifetime, and I’ll just be there.

I don’t know what else to do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No, not yet!

onesie snap

No matter how hard I willed it to, this Gerber “just born” onesie wouldn’t stay snapped.  That can only mean that she is growing.

Can you hear my tears falling onto the keyboard?

Time, please, please, please slow down.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Reasons why I'm not blogging as much this month:

I'm out of town, and my in-law's internet access is sketchy.

I have a five-week old. 'Nough said.

I have a heavy heart right now, for several reasons, but mostly because of the devastation in our Ohio community from the June 5th tornado, and posting just seems to take a lot of effort.

I hope you'll all stick around until I'm back on my blogging feet again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer + Costco + Linda = Happiness

Because you can get a four-pound flat of strawberries for only $5.99, and you can go home and ask your mother-in-law if she has Bisquik and Cool Whip, and she can read your mind and do this:

misc 008 misc 007
Do you have any favorite recipes for strawberries that just make you happy?

Friday, June 4, 2010

And so it begins

 erin ONE 01Erin, my love, you are already one month old.

Everyone tells you that time moves forward more quickly with each passing day, the older one gets.  If I didn’t believe that before you arrived, I do now.

I’m trying so hard to treasure each moment of your newborn days.  The way you try so hard to focus on my face while you are eating; the flailing movements of your arms as you practice coordination; the way you still try to revert to the fetal position when your diaper needs changing.

At one month of age:

  • You are eating 3 oz of breast milk about every 3.5-4 hours
  • You wear newborn diapers (and mommy has learned the hard way that Pampers Swadlers are worth the extra pennies).
  • You are still in preemie sleepers, but can wear newborn onesies without looking too ridiculous.
  • You can sleep for up to a 5 hour stretch, though you still tend to do this more during the day than during the overnight hours.
  • Your eyes are still deep blue; your hair, shades lighter than your brother’s (though it’s hard to tell in photos).
  • You look so much like your daddy I can hardly stand it; it makes me so happy!
  • You’re not a very big fan of your car seat.  While I can’t say I wouldn’t wish that you were, given how often we travel, I can understand your position, and I promise to do my best to accommodate you.

erin ONE 03

I think I have found my nickname for you – the one that seems to roll most naturally off my tongue.  Lady-Lou.  I have no idea where it originated, or how I came up with it, but in the wee hours of the morning, as we rock, or as I try to console your cries from the drivers’ seat, that is the name I interchange with yours as I whisper lullabies and tell you of my dreams for you.

Erin, I’ll tell you as you grow older that I was so afraid of birthing a girl.  I was so fearful of the mother-daughter relationship that I was sure to mess up.  But now, here you are, and my heart has become so full of you.  If I love you so much after only 31 days, I can’t imagine the love I’ll have for you after 31 weeks; months; years.

You are my shining star; I love you.

erin ONE 02

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome, Summer!

 We have welcomed in the summer season with some of our best friends, as I hope you did, too.

I couldn’t help but think back on Memorial Day 2004.

Jim and I had only had two, maybe three, dates, and he decided it was time for me to meet his best friend (since childhood) Doug and Doug’s wife, Sara.  I was terrified and completely not myself that day, so drugged up was I on Benadryl.  (Sidenote: If you don’t live in northwest Ohio during the last weeks of May, you don’t know the horrors of seasonal cottonwood.  Yuck.)  I was pretty sure that I had made a horrible first impression on them, and would never be welcomed into their home again.

But somehow, they overlooked the antihistamine-induced stupor, I survived that first inspection by Doug and Sara, and here we are, six years (and six kids!!!) later.

Life is good.

There are Slip ‘N Slides to be slid on,



Tonka trucks to be driven,


Naps to be taken,


Free babysitting to take advantage of,


Wonders to be seen,
erin mem day eyes

Love to be shared, all around.

zeke erin mon crop

I hope you have ushered in summer in as joyous a fashion as did we.

Happy June!