2nGjyaM0o1rqhFuD65616DjpVfI Juicebox Confession

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Thankful Announcement

You guys. YOU GUYS!! I barely have words.

And I am a writer.

I apologize for my recent absence, I have been distracted. I have been floating about 12 feet above the ground, trying to make sense of some amazing news, all while battling debilitating sickness.

Morning sickness.

WE ARE HAVING A BABY!!!

Let me catch my breath and I will share the story.

Ok, here it goes. As you know, we have had our share of struggles and losses. After years of trying, we decided it was in the best interest of our family and our collective sanity, to stop trying to have another child. We mourned the baby that would never be and eventually found ourselves coming to terms with what our family was to look like.

One child had it's advantages and we were happy. Isn't that ultimately the goal? Happiness. For us it was and the thought of anymore losses and heartbreaks was unbearable. We had been blessed with a happy, healthy, amazing little girl. We were happy.

By the end of February, I started feeling different. Slightly nauseous and extremely tired. Could it be? Could I be? The test took no time in confirming what I both hoped for and feared. I was pregnant.

This time was different though. My symptoms were intense. Much more so than with any of the pregnancies I had lost. The day of my 7 week ultrasound came. All we need was a heartbeat. There was so much hope in that tiny flicker. I could hear my husband exhale when our smiling doctor said, "There you go! See that? That is a healthy heart."

We were to come back in a month for another scan, to make sure our itty bitty baby was growing.

I held my breath for the next 4 weeks.

And grow s/he did. We have a wriggly baby with arms, legs, spine, and that glorious heartbeat. Hearing that thumping was indescribable.

So here we are. I am finishing up the first trimester. Still nauseous but I find comfort in knowing that it will lead me to our baby. A baby we never expected to happen. A baby we ached for. A baby our daughter has begged us for. A baby that is loved so much already.

*You may only see a grey blob but I see a future that we had given up on. (Baby is looking down, spine along the top, head to the right, chin to chest, star over face to protect their fetal identity, of course.)*

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Less Words Wednesday: Adventure

We celebrate Easter in a wonderful mix of traditional baskets and egg hunts swirled together with our own eccentric beliefs and leanings.

It was a beautiful day so we did what we do best, we adventured. What better way to celebrate Spring and the return of green and lush landscapes?

It was magnificent.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Hope Over Fear


*NOTE: This piece was originally written on April 19, 2013, days after the Boston Marathon bombings. Later that day,  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat in Watertown and arrested. This was published in the Brattleboro Reformer a week later on April 27. 2013.*
_____

I had woken before my daughter. A rarity, but to be expected after a fitful night’s sleep filled with anxiety. Shootings at a Boston area college, officer down, suspect fatally wounded, the other on the run. Morning had seemed unattainable.

A swirl of emotions and exhaustion clouded my brain as I checked my sleeping daughter one last time before heading into the living room. I clicked the power button on the radio. NPR had a special broadcast. “People across Boston and surrounding suburbs have been told to stay indoors amid a massive police manhunt for one of two brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings.....”

I set about my morning routine, listening, thinking. An entire city on lockdown. A 19 year old child, who may have committed crimes beyond my comprehension was seriously wounded and on the run. Somewhere a mother had lost both her sons. One to death and one to today’s events. A manhunt and ultimately, I predict, a long prison sentence. Both gone to her as soon as they made the decision to attack a city. Meanwhile, my child was safe and asleep in our bed, just like every night since her birth 32 months earlier.

I folded laundry and organized my thoughts. Washed the dishes and tried to soothe my swirling mind. Behind me I heard the distinct and light steps of an awake and smiling girl.

“Hi Momma!”

“Good morning, sweetheart! Hungry?”

NPR droned on while I made my daughter pancakes. Speculation flowed from the speakers while I poured maple syrup onto her plate. She thanked me and smiled. Had the grieving mother had these moments, too? My thoughts must have shown on my face or maybe her perception is stronger than I could have imagined. Either way, my daughter looked at me through the steam rising from her breakfast, her big blue eyes sparkling.

“You ok, Momma? What’s happening?”

How was I to explain to her, in words she could understand, if I couldn’t comprehend a bit of it? What do you say to an innocent child? Her world is so happy, so full of goodness, so full of love. Maybe that was the answer. Maybe her question wasn’t so she could have an answer but so I could shift my perspective.

Her world is my world. It is so happy, so full of goodness, so full of love. She is the center of that world and is the shining bright beacon of hope for the future. I sat back for a moment and just watched as she devoured her pancakes. I smiled at her sweetness.

“I am ok, baby. I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Momma!! I go play now.”

And just like that, her question was answered, her world was happy and she was off on another adventure. I picked up her plate and tiny cup and brought them to the sink. Out the kitchen window I could see the many signs of Spring in our yard. Robin’s hopped around in search of worms, the giant maple tree was pregnant with tiny new leaf buds. Our grass was making the shift from brown to green and the air was filled with the sounds of children laughing from the nearby schoolyard.

In the background NPR was still reporting. I chose to fill my heart with love and hope. I saw all the signs that we will be ok. We will grow and even thrive. The world is not a bad place it’s just that people do bad things, sometimes. But, in order for them to truly be a force of evil, we must let them win. We must succumb to their fear. I chose to not let them win. I will not live in fear. I will not live in great sadness. I will live in the knowledge that there is hope and love in every corner of this great big world. I see it in my tiny corner every day.

I put the dish towel down and walk into my studio where my daughter is playing. She sees me and smiles.

“Me and Clover [her doll] are making snow angels on the floor for you, Momma!”

And just like that, I am reassured that yes, there is hope and love and goodness even in these difficult and trying times.

“They are beautiful angels, baby.”

“You happy, Momma?”

“Yes, baby, I am happy. I love you.”

“To the moon and back, right?”

“Right. To the moon and back.”

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Fly On HER Wall

 Every time I sign up for a Fly On The Wall challenge I think to myself, "This time I am going to take
notes throughout the whole month. I will write down all the funny stuff I don't write about and it will be great!!"

This challenge is great. A group of amazing bloggers all write posts made up of snippets of our lives. The end result reads as if you were a fly on our walls. It gives us a chance to share those moments that are worth writing about but may not be long enough to stand on their own. As I said, I go into it excited and motivated to remember every detail.

Then, I find myself sitting here, a day before this post is to go live and I am note-less. Every. Single. Time.

Then I remembered how successful my last writing challenge was when I asked my 3.5 year old daughter to define the words I was supposed to use. I turned to her and asked her what I should write about.

"Me!"

I should have seen that one coming. Hope you all enjoy being a Fly On The Wall of a pretty amazing little girl!!

__________

"Mommy, can we go outside now and play with my new swing?" She was giddy with excitement. GIDDY.

"Yes, as soon as we finish lunch." I was famished and needed at least 2 minutes to eat.

She quickly took a bite and asked through peanut butter coated teeth, "Can we go out now?"

She had been asking since my husband hung the thing at 9am. We had errands to run and a play date to attend. At no point during our morning had she gone more than 20 minutes without asking about her new swing. My left eye was starting to twitch and I knew that I was developing some sort of aversion to the words "new swing."

"We can go outside right after you eat your lunch. Preferably more than one bite," I answered as calmly as possible. I totally understood her excitement and remember how much I used to love running outside to play on my swing set.

My mind wandered back 30 or so years earlier. This same house, the same back yard. My grandparents lived here along with my most favorite and best friend, George. George was a molded plastic horse that swung from my metal framed swing set. I spent hours swinging on him, feeding him, and generally taking the very best care of him. I loved that horse and couldn't imagine how many days I spent begging to go out and play.

I totally understood my daughters excitement.

It was finally time to go outside. She made a beeline for the trapeze style swing while I tied the dogs out. When I turned to watch her, see her little face light up with pure swinging bliss, she was gone. The T-bar was swinging lazily and alone. My excited daughter had swung on it once and abandoned it for her sandbox. The sandbox she had played in all last year.

"Aren't you going to swing on your new swing?"

"I did, mommy. Now I done and playing in my sandbox. Thanks for bringing me out here!"

Four hours of asking to play on her swing for four seconds of swinging. Seemed exactly right.

__________

Earlier this week the temperatures here in NH reached into the mid 70s. It felt luxurious to have ample sunshine and warmth. The kiddo and I took full advantage and headed to a local farm to play on their playground.

Running in front of the play area is a brook, just begging to be waded in. Eventually all the kids migrated to the water.

My daughter only went in up to her ankles but decided to squat down a few times and quickly ended up with a soaking wet backside. The water was cold and we only had one dry pair of pants. I told her I would go get them for her but she needed to stay out of the water. She agreed and I left her in the care of our friends we were with.

Sometime between me walking away and returning, my little girl took advantage of our friends not hearing me ask her to stay out of the water and got back in. She tried to climb a rock and fell. By the time I got back she was screaming and my friends were sprinting to her.

I dropped everything I held and ran to her. She had fallen in up to her neck. Shaking and upset I brought her back to our car and striped her down to nothing. I took full advantage of the greenhouse effect of my car and dried her off in the sweltering heat, trying to warm her up.

While doing so I made sure she was ok. I checked her head to toe. One small bruise. I also took the opportunity to talk to her about listening to me. Explaining that I had asked her to stay out of the water while I was gone for safety reasons, not to be mean.

She apologized for falling. She apologized for scaring me. She apologized for not listening. I apologized for not being there. We both felt awful and so grateful that in the end, we only had apologies and a small bruise.

She learned a valuable lesson and I was reminded, once again, to be grateful for every moment.

__________

For the first time in her memory, our electricity went out and our daughter had questions. Lots of them.

We tried our best to explain everything to her and she seemed pretty content with our answers. Luckily, it all happened 30 minutes before she headed to bed. We figured by morning the power would have been restored and she would have moved on.

We were half right.

She got up to electricity and didn't mention it. We went about our morning routines and said our good-byes to my hubby.

I settled onto the couch to do some work on my computer and she stood next to me, staring at the on but muted television. I was a little curious as to what she was doing but decided to wait it out.

After a few moments she dreamily commented, "I hope the electricity comes back on soon...."

Blinking, I replied that it was on. Had been since right after she went to sleep the night before. Plus, if it were not on, the television wouldn't be working.

"Oh. Right. I am so happy. I missed the electricity." She turned around and smiled at me. Right before she skipped off she pointed to right behind my head at the fabric that covers our couch. "See that? Right there? There is a kid standing with one eye and one leg. Bye mommy!!"

I glanced at the markings on the fabric and could maybe, if I squinted one eye and closed the other, see what she saw. I chuckled and opened my laptop.

I would do anything to live a day in the head of a 3.5 year old.

__________


Please do check out the other participants in this month's Fly On The Wall challenge. And a huge thank you to Karen at Baking In A Tornado for being the host/organizer/brains behind this (and many other) great challenges.

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado
http://www.therowdybaker.com                                  The Rowdy Baker
http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                Just A Little Nutty
http://themomisodes.com                                          The Momisodes
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade
http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                                   The Sadder But Wiser Girl
http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home . . .
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                 Stacy Sews and Schools
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius
http://www.impoverishedvegan.com                                Impoverished Vegan
http://www.gomamao.com                                         Go Mama O

Friday, April 11, 2014

Use HER Words


Welcome one and all to another Use Your Words writing challenge presented by the always amazing Baking In A Tornado.This month 12 bloggers swapped a set of words and challenged each other to write a post
using each and every one of their words.

My words were thoughtfully gifted to me by Confessions Of A Part-Time Working Mom. (Make sure you go check out her contribution as well.)

I love these writing challenges. They make me stretch my grey matter beyond it's comfort zone. Every now and then, though, one will trip me up. Sometimes it is the topic, sometimes the words, sometimes it has nothing to do with the challenge and everything to do with a whole lot going on, consuming my brain, making it hard to write.

Guess which one it was this time?

I couldn't back out of this, that wouldn't be fair to the other11 very talented writers. So, I called in the troops. In this case, the troops is my 3.5 year old daughter. I decided to ask her what these words meant, write down her answers and hopefully end up with something adorable.

I think it worked out just perfectly. But, admittedly, I am extremely biased.

Anyway, here are my kiddo's definitions of my Use Your Words challenge words.

Sugar pie is for eating!!

Rain is what you go around, from the river when it drains. It goes around and makes something else. Rain. Drain rain.

I don't know. What does Curb mean?

YOU'RE MAKING A LINE!!! It's when you trace a line all the way, like a sidewalk as you go, like this (pointing at my desk) is a line. Rhymes with whine. You know, "whaaa whaa whaaa!!" Like that, that is whining. Rhymes with line.

Music is when a radio plays music. *Sings at top of lungs*

A Black Cloud is when it rains. You know, it's, well, black.


Is there no more writings stuff? Mommy? Will you read them to me?

She may be my only kid but I am pretty sure, she is a genius. Seriously. 

Thanks for reading and sticking by me. Fingers crossed for black clouds that will bring the rain and curb this writing drought. The sound of the keyboard clicking, letting out my thoughts in s a semi-coherent manner once again will be music to my ears. When that happens, there will be sugar pie for everyone!!! 

See what I just did there? Yup, I used my words, twice. Did I go to far? Cross a line?

You are welcome.



Please do check out my fellow wordsmiths:

Baking In A Tornado                    
Follow Me Home...              
Stacy Sews And Schools       
Outmanned              
Someone Else's Genius                
Confessions Of A Part-Time Working Mom               
The Momisodes                   
Impoverished Vegan               
Spatulas On Parade              
Battered Hope                     

         

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Life In Music


If a movie were going to be made about your life, what are 7 songs that would be on the soundtrack to that movie and why would you choose those songs?


Music has always played an enormously important role in my life. There have been songs that have gotten me through some dark times and others that have helped me celebrate the good.

Choosing only seven songs to represent my life in a soundtrack is close to impossible. Maybe 70, 700 would be better. Every memory I have has a musical counterpart. Every moment a note worthy tune. So, here are seven of those memory inducing pieces. Sometimes it is the lyrics, sometimes the melody. Whatever it is, these songs never fail to induce memories.

1.     I have to start with the song my husband and I first danced to as husband and wife. Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine as sung by a good friend of ours. You can read the entire story HERE.

2.     Over The Rainbow by Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole always brings me back to my pregnancy with our daughter. She was conceived after a heart breaking loss and a whole lot of time. A successful birth after a loss is referred to as a “rainbow baby.” She is ours and this song summed it all up perfectly for us.

3.     Brave by Sara Bareilles. This song speaks to me loudly and clearly. I stopped writing for a while. When I slowly started to open myself up to it again this song became popular. I found comfort in those words.

4.     Black by Pearl Jam. The memories this song brings back from my earlier years are intense. However, sometimes it is nice to throw open the flood gates and drown in the nostalgia.

5.     Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional.  This would play during the montage that would be the summer my husband and I fell in love.

6.     Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson would play while I went to my first concert (Miss Gibson, of course) and during the subsequent coming-of-age series that would follow.

7.     Anything by the Eagles or Air Supply or Abba would play in the background during my childhood. This was music I remember my mother playing and singing along to in the car.


There are so many more songs I could list. These seven seem like a drop in the musical ocean of my soundtrack.

What song(s) speak to you? Do you have a theme song?




Thank you for reading my contribution to Baking In A Tornado’s Secret Subject Swap. 14 bloggers secretly swapped subjects/writing prompts to interpret into their own style. My prompt was submitted by Climaxed. Please head over and check out their post and all the other brave bloggers!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Littlest Thing


It is truly amazing how big an impact something so tiny can have.  The worry, the anxiety, the
unknown.

I have let my big worry about this tiny thing rule my world. Every step is filled with trepidation. Every turn a “what-if.”

But today, today I am going to enjoy it for what it is. There is nothing I can do to change the outcome. Today, all I can do is enjoy the moment.

Have the best day ever.

If it all ends tomorrow, so be it. What I do today is all that matters. I can’t live for the maybes of tomorrow.

So today I will allow myself to smile. Laughter will erupt spontaneously. I will fall into the arms of faith and blindly allow my own happiness.

The other option is to drive myself insane, to lose grip with reality and live in a world of perceived fears and what-ifs. I could surround myself in the darkness of the unknown and succumb to the anxiety of it all. I could allow it to become all encompassing and eventually consume me.

I won’t do that. I can’t do that.

I have come far too far. I have worked too hard. So, happiness it is. Happiness it will be.

In reality, this tiny thing will end with a very happy ending. It will turn into something big and beautiful. It has the potential to change my life for the very best and bring me more happiness than I could have ever imagined. I chose to focus on that.

And if in the end it all goes wrong, it ends in sadness, at least the journey was happy. At least the path to the outcome I feared was lined with smiles and laughter.

It is truly amazing how big an impact something so tiny can have. The worry, the anxiety, the unknown, I am letting go of. I am shifting my focus onto the happy and that is where I will stay.


Everything deserves happy.  Even the tiniest, unknown things. 

For more Sunday Confessions head over to More Than Cheese and Beer