Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The end of the story or the beginning?

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, good things and not so good, changes, memories, hardships.  How we work through these things, the perspective we take, the outcomes, all are a part of life's journey.  So, is it the end of a story or the beginning?

When things change, something ends and something begins.  But does that mean the story is over?  Not necessarily.  It's a start of a new chapter...a twist or turn, an up or down.  Just because there is change, doesn't mean the story has to be done, it just means that where we are at in life's journey is going to be different.

We are moving at the end of the next month.  We've been in our current house for 9 years.  A lot has happened in 9 years.  There are many emotions and memories in this place.  We never thought we'd be where we are for this long.  In fact, we figured we would have moved well before now.  But as things go, we stayed and it felt right.

Now, it's time for us to move.  We are a growing family and we are running out of space.  Moving is hard, this will be our third move since we got married 10 years ago.  However, this one, this is the hardest.

Sure, you could say it's because I am pregnant, I am being over emotional.  But, when it comes down to it, I will typically where my emotions on my sleeve.  Those who know me, can read me like a book from a mile away.  Though I may try to cram it all down inside.

I think a hard spot for me is that we've been through some pretty crazy ups and downs...like losing our daughter.  We've had many twists and turns, especially as our son has grown.  There are things about our current house I really like and will miss.  But even more so, my son has started to recognize when we are close to home.  And when we are pulling up, he responds with an enthusiastic "there we are, home".

Yes, I know he will get used to the next house.  But I can't but to help to feel a twinge, a knot, saddened when he says those words.

I find myself repeating the phrase, "change happens, this not the end of the story...it's the end of the chapter".  It's the end of the chapter in this house, but a new chapter will begin.  We will continue to create memories, we will have ups and downs, we will have twists and turns.

So, as we go through the next days filling some of our time packing and getting ready to move, then finally moving, we will also continue to create moments.  Moments that we can take with us, moments that we can recreate where we are going, keep our connections and build new ones.

Don't close the book...turn the page and continue to write the story.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Boat Rides

Ever since I was little, I remember going on boat rides.  Sometimes it was just to get from point A to point B, and sometimes it was to take in the views.

Last Summer we took our son for a ride on grandma and grandpa's boat.  Some of the magic of a boat ride was lost as he was only one.  But every so often a smile would pop up.

This Summer, being a big two year and loving boats (or anything that moves really) boat rides are more fun...especially when grandpa lets you drive.

About a month ago, my son and I went for an extended to weekend to visit the grandparents.  That first evening there, we didn't have much time but went for a boat ride.  The excitement and joy on my son's face was priceless.

He couldn't stop talking about all he was seeing.  When grandpa asked if he want to drive, he was timid.  But with some encouragement and help, he got behind the wheel and helped drive.  He even got to make the boat go really fast.  He was giggling so much from the excitement.

I enjoy going for boat rides.  I find the water to be calming.  Just to be in that type of natural setting is where I feel at my best.  The love of outdoors and what it is all about is something I want to share with my children.  Summer boat rides are a way to see the outdoors in a different way.  One day, I hope my sons will share boat rides and the outdoors with their children.

Monday, June 29, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Popsicle Sharing

This Summer is our third Summer with our son.  Now that he is a little older and can do more, we've been trying new things.  Not only are we finding new activities, but new foods as well.

This Summer is about the cool treats, like popsicles.  They are such a yummy, awesome treat on a hot day or when we come home from playing at the park.

The first time we shared a popsicle with our son, he was hesitant and kind of shivered after taking a lick.  But once he realized how good it was, he dove right in.  He was willing to share with us whenever we had one.

After a few times, it turned into him choosing what color he wanted to eat...as well as what my hubby and I would eat.  Now, he just likes to have his own popsicle.  But he will ask for 'tastes" of the one you are having.  If you ask him to try his, he will let you.  However, he will barely eat his and just keep trying everyone else's popsicle. 

When Summer comes around, so do all the Summer treats.  From watermelons to ice cream trucks, it is time to try them all.  Hopefully, one of these days, we can catch the ice cream truck for that fun experience.

When it comes down to it, Summer is about sharing.  It comes in many forms.  From stories to smiles and laughs.  From the special moments to the food and activities.  Its having your own popsicle, but sharing with others while sitting in the backyard enjoying the evening...enjoying life.

Mom Confessions ~ French Fries and Fast Food

When we had our son, I told myself, we are going to limit the interaction with fast food.  Hmmm...nice try mom.  We did okay when he first starting eating real food.  Sometimes we would get a fast food dinner and share a few bites with him, but he had little interest.  But then softball season started.  We'd meet for dinner before games and my son began to eat more on his own.  Now, this Summer we have softball season, being pregnant, and house showings.  Eating out has become more common than eating in.  To say my son has his fair share of nuggets and fries to this point, is no joke.  I do feel bad that we are eating out so often and it's not something special to look forward.  But in the end, sometimes it's the easy way for us and I am okay with that.  Hopefully, once Summer is over and we've sold our house, we can go back to meals at home and save going out to eat for special times.

Friday, June 26, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Finding New Places to Explore

We are a family who likes to be outdoors.  During the day, we try out new playgrounds to play at and find new places to explore.  That is what SUmmer is all about isn't?  Being outside and finding places to explore.  We often forget, we don't have to always go somewhere or go far to explore.  Sometimes just exploring around in our own back yards or even in the neighborhood is an adventure in itself.



One place we have found to love is Tamarack Nature Center's Discovery Hallow.  As it says in the name, Discovery Hallow, is all about exploring.  They have a stream to play in, rocks to climb, tree stuff to build with, a giant sandbox all in a beautiful outdoor place to be in.  Added bonus, it's free.

My son and I visited there recently for the first time and he had a blast.  I found too, that I could find a rock to sit on, relax a little bit, and watch him delve into his surroundings.  It gave me a chance to take in the nature side as well and also see it through his eyes.

That is what Summer is all about...exploring new places and exploring right in your backyard.  Even more so, it's seeing what is around you in a different light, through a child's eyes, a different perspective.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Mornings



Over a year ago I began reading and hearing more about rising early.  Getting up before the rest of the house, spend the time focused on your needs and what you like to do, connecting where you need to connect.  My husband had been doing that for quite some time and knew the benefits.  I could see it too and wondered if I could rise early as well.

I tried, several times I tried to get into the routine of it.  I did little challenges, a 10 day challenge of rising early or a 30 day of rising early.  I would be fine for a few days, but then would just give in and give up.  Finally, I was able to put together a way to make it work.

I had noticed that with a simple routine for my son's bedtime and a simple morning routine as well to get ready for the day seemed to help him transition.  I thought, why not give it a try myself.  I started a simple night time routine before I went to bed and once it became natural, I created a morning routine for waking early.

That was my key, I needed a routine or better yet a list or ideas of how to spend that time.  With time, I began to wake early easily and felt better prepared for the day.  Of course, as time has gone by I have changed it or tweaked it depending on what season I am in.

Recently, I decided to continue it longer into the morning.  After having the things done we needed to have done for the morning, my son asked to play outside.  A beautiful day, sure why not go outside.  He loves being out doors.  So I figure, with the warmer weather and his love of outside might as well make the most of it.

He grabbed a few toys and I grabbed a few things for myself (my book, a cup of coffee, and paper to write).  I am not sure either of us really had any idea of what direction each of us would go in, but the chance to be in our backyard was such a wonderful invitation.

While my son explored and played, I sat and watched.  I listened, let go, relaxed, and breathed in the moment.  I thought to myself, this is what mornings are about.  Loved ones, being outside, having a good book, paper to write on, and a cup of coffee.

Monday, June 22, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Playground Play

My family and I live in Minnesota.  We have four seasons just like every where else.  However, our Winter lasts twice as long and our Summer is short it seems.  So when it's finally nice enough outside, then we head out doors as well.

We have been blessed with living a block from a school with a playground.  So, in the evenings after dinner if we don't hang out in the back yard, we head to the playground.  As the weeks have gone by, my son's love for playgrounds has grown.  He has alwys enjoyed being outside, no matter the weather.

The introduction to playgrounds has been so much fun for him.  For someone who likes to be a little more independent this Summer, he is testing his skills out on the climbers.  At first the idea of slides didn't interest him, but as soon as we got him to go down one he can't stop.  As for his own skills and confidence, we have seen them grow by leaps and bounds since we started going to the playground.

Summers are filled with exploration and fun.  100 Days of Summer is about slides, tunnels, climbing, and running.


Friday, June 19, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ S'mores

As a kid I remember the Summer days camping and ending the evenings around the fire.  A lot of times it was sitting there, listening, some talking, but relaxing into the night.  But it also meant pudgie pies and s'mores.

I remember sitting around the open bonfire, toasting marshmallows or having flaming torches then squishing all that yumminess out between graham crackers as the chocolate began to melt.  We went through countless chocolate bars and bags of marshmallows each Summer.

While visiting my parents, they asked if my son would enjoy a s'more.  My response, I don't know, as he hadn't had one, let alone a marshmallow yet.  He enjoyed it, sort of.  Not as much as I thought, but it was also shortly after dinner.  And at the point he had a s'more made for him, he had already eaten a plain marshmallow.



Down the road, I am guessing that this will be something he will enjoy again.  I want to fill the Summer with sitting around the fire pit and sticky fingers and faces from eating s'mores.  100 Days of Summer is listening to the fire crackle and toasting a marshmallow or two.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Fishing

We are in a season of change in our lives right now.  In the midst of trying to make some of the projects easier, my son and I took a road trip to visit my parents at their lake house.  Little did I know, that as much as he needed it, so did I.

He had been asking to go to grandma and grandpa's house for weeks, but with all the house stuff going on we just couldn't get over there.  Finally, I made the decision to make it easier and hopefully gain more interest on our house selling, the two of us would go out of town for the weekend.

It was a fun filled, relaxing weekend, filled with many first things. One thing in particular that my son enjoyed, as did the rest of us was fishing.  Sure, he has seen fish, in a tank, but never caught one.  The excitement and joy on his face as he caught that first fish was priceless.  All weekend he kept asking to fish and the following weeks he would turn just about anything into a fishing pole.

The look on his face with a fish hanging on a hook from the rod he was holding on, was like a kid opening the much awaited gift at Christmas.  Summer is about fun, firsts, making memories, and doing what you love.


For me, seeing my son try new things, the love he has for his grandparents, and watching pure joy coming from all of it in a way only a kid can express makes me feel alive, in awe, and almost like a kid again.  Seeing my parents do the things with my son, things that I know they did with my brother and I...like fishing from the end of the dock, brings happiness.  It brings smiles to everyone around.

Monday, June 15, 2015

100 Days of Summer ~ Bubbles

In an effort to slow down, savor the moments more, and fully live the Summer months I am doing 100 days of Summer.

For me 100 days of Summer is...bubbles.  Blowing bubbles, catching bubbles, stomping them with barefeet, and watching them float away into blue skies.

My son loves bubbles, always has.  They bring such excitement, joy, and peace.  This Summer, my son is 2 and to encourage him to try things more on his own we got him his own bucket for bubble blowing.

The bucket is small, spill resistant (so as a mom, I worry less about spills and can relax more), and comes with two wands.  My son always uses the yellow one, but he is willing to share the blue one with anyone else who wants to blow bubbles.

It's so much fun to watch him blow bubbles on his own.  Not that I don't like blowing bubbles myself, I just get out of breath and he still wants to keep going.

The other night, a nice blue sky and light breezy evening my son asked to blow bubbles while outside.  I think that is all we did that night, bubbles.  But he asked his dad to blow them with.  The two had so much fun and I had just as much fun watching them.

From blowing them in all different areas of the backyard, to catching them on the wands or with hands, to stomping in the grass full of un-popped bubbles.  The smiles and giggles are what Summer is all about.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

100 Days of Summer

This Summer my goal is to learn how to slow down, unplug, be present, and give the gift of time.

While we have a lot going on: softball, house for sale, house searching, baby #3 due in October, and normal day to day life I am finding the need to refocus.

So, during this season of change I am doing 100 days of Summer.  It may be more, it may be less, but I am going to make a point, an effort to be more present in the moment, intentionally slow down, do the things I truly enjoy, and give time to family and friends.

Some of our stories I will share through photos and writing, but others it will be saved as a moment and memory within our family.  Won't you join me for the 100 days of Summer?

Come slow down, be present, unplug, and truly live life.

Follow our journey, create your own.

Happy Summer!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Coming to Terms

I knew from the day that we decided to start a family that I wanted to stay home if we could make it happen.  My husband felt the same way too.  However, we both agreed that if it didn't feel right after trying it, I was more than welcome to go back to work if I wanted to.

After loosing our daughter, I wanted to make it possible to stay home no matter what.  Even if it meant not going out to eat as much, getting rid of extras like cable, or not going on vacation for awhile I was okay with that.

After being a teacher and watching kids grow up from infancy to getting ready for Kindergarten, I knew even more that I wanted to stay home if for no other reason than to watch my child grow, help them in that process, and raise my own kids.

So much happens in a child's life the first years, especially the first year has so many changes.  I didn't want to miss that.

I am not saying all our days are perfect and we don't run into snags with staying home.  But the good far outweighs the tougher and not so good.  I am not saying that there aren't times when I need a break, but when given a chance I let it pass me by.  I am not saying that I don't worry, have a hard time giving up control, or letting someone else take the reigns every now and then, but I am working on letting it go and opening up.

Parenting is tough, self care is tough, and change is tough.  So why then do I have a hard time actually staying at home?  Sure, I can come up with a list of places to go, things to see, things I "should do" because that what stay at home moms do.  I can keep us busy for the hours of the morning and afternoon outside the house if I need...even if that means walking around Target.

Even when we do stay at home, I get into fight or flight mode so to speak.  If I feel the constant need to do, do, and do more.  Need to get the house clean, need to meal prep, need to get laundry done, fulfill my son's every need and whim, need to take care of myself, need to have activity ideas planned.  Need, need, need!

Why the constant need?  The need to do, they need to go, the need to overcompensate?  Honestly, I don't really have the answers, at least not yet.  I am coming to terms more each day with be a stay at home mom and the idea of just staying home, while keeping things simple.

I think my years of teaching, combined with my own life, adding in the fact that we lost our first child have all culminated in to me being a control freak, routine driven, overcompensating, over analyzing every detail type of mom who is still trying to do as best as I can for my son.

How do I loosen up, let things go, open up, and slow down?  Not sure yet, but I first need to over come my issue with staying home for the day, not needing to plan a ton of activities.  We can make it simple and just let things see where they go.  I also need to work on taking other's offers up for a time out as a couple and for a time out for me...worry free and letting go of whatever fear is holding me back.

Time to come to terms.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tough week, but not why you would think

This has been a long week.  Yes, I know it is only Tuesday.  But it doesn't change the fact that I am emotionally, spiritually, mentally drained causing me to be physically drained as well.  For me, this long week didn't begin on Sunday.  It began on January 26.  Let me explain.  From the outside, to most of the world we look like a family of three.  But if you listen, get to know, and ask you will find out we are a family of four.

We have a daughter.  Where you might ask?  I don't see her. How old is she? These words cut through me like a knife, even more so now then ever before.  Our daughter is in heaven.  We had a miscarriage four years ago.  Most of the time I am greeted with silence.  This, this is why when people asked me if my son was our first we would just say yes.  For you, it was simpler. For me, it hurt so deeply.

I am not trying to make you uncomfortable.  But you see, by me not saying what I really want to say tears me to pieces every time.  So, instead of making you feel uncomfortable, I let things be torn just a little deeper.  Well, now its time to get uncomfortable.  But instead of being greeted with silence or your opinion, just ask and listen.  We may have more in common than you realize.

We found out on January 26 that our daughter no longer had a heart beat.  She was just 17 weeks old.  That day I was admitted into labor and delivery.  That night was the most hellish night I have ever faced.  Our daughter was born on January 27.  Yes, born.  I had contractions, I delivered her.  The next day we were sent home with a box out onto our own.  While the rest of the world moved on, I was told to do the same.  The day I was discharged, just a mere 24 hours after we said hello and goodbye to our daughter a nurse asked me when we will get back on the horse.  This, was a small taste of what was to come.  But I, being so shell shocked, sat in silence.

The week continued, how I don't know.  All I remember was getting the flu, having no heat, tossing my birthday in the mix, and having a funeral.  Yup, one doozy of week when you think about it.  Since my birthday that year, I don't really look forward to it and most times wish it would just pass by like any other day.  For that year, with every birthday card I opened I opened a sympathy card.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster.  If it were up to me, I would just let the day pass by.  Work my way through the grief of the week and be done with until next year.

To sum up the rest of the week, we buried our daughter on February 5. After which we had to rush home because the furnace guy was coming so we could get a new furnace ordered.

Now sure, there are some good things that have come out of it all.  However, this is the only way I get to talk about the not so good things.  Nobody asks, and I have yet to find someone who I can fully open up to who understands or at least tries to understand.

So you see, my view on parenthood may differ from yours.  We may look like a different family then we really are.  I still grieve, even four years later.  But please, don't be afraid to ask or turn your back at the mere mention that we had a miscarriage.  Our daughter is just as much a part of our family as our son. Instead of running in the other direction, offer to take our hand and help us step forward with strength, faith, and a shoulder for when it just too hard.

This week will come to pass, just like it has in the past.  I will move forward, hopefully stronger, and continue with the day to day stuff as usual as can be.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

4 Years Ago, This Time of Year

It is Winter in the Minnesota.  We are closing in on the middle of it and the deepest part of the cold.  However, for me, this not why I struggle during this time of the year.  January, leading into February is a hard time for me filled with many emotions, what ifs, and trying to continue to move forward.

Four years ago we found out we were pregnant.  Pregnant with our first little one.  We had just made it through the joy of the holidays, only to be, how shall I say it... only to be slapped in the face by life.  We quickly found out that our little one had Turner's Syndrome.

This ultimately turned into finding out that our little one was no longer with us and no longer had a heartbeat.  We had only just found out we were pregnant and now at 17 weeks we were finding out how to be parents, but with a child that wouldn't be coming home with us.

January 27 our daughter Samantha was born.  Yes, at 17 weeks she was born.  I delivered her into this world.  And though she was no longer alive, she stole our hearts and taught us a lot about life.  The weeks to follow were a complete blur.

Somewhere in the middle of it all we tried to celebrate my birthday in the middle of having a funeral for our daughter and dealing with having to buy a new furnace in the dead of the coldest winter because ours was no longer functioning.

Kind of a representation of life.  The heat in our house not functioning and neither was I.  How does one celebrate a birthday of their own when, for every birthday card you open you in turn open a sympathy card.

I am not sure how I made it through those days, but somehow I managed.  And yes, even now I do still have hard days.  I have just learned better how to work through them.  You can read more about that journey on my other site:  www.myinfantloss.com.

So, during this time of year I do a lot of reflection and evaluation.  I sit in the quiet.  I take in the simple moments.  I savor the slow.  I try to remember.  I continue to move forward.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Embrace

At times over the past years I have made resolutions at the start of the new year.  But as the year progressed I would end up forgetting about them or finding that it wasn't a great fit.

Four years ago I came across the idea of choosing a one word motto for the next year.  Mind you, the idea was not my own, but I thought why not give it a try.  My word that year was trust.  Since then, each year I choose a different word.

Most times, I can come up with one easily.  This year, I needed some time.  I kept rattling ideas off in my head.  Sure they sounded okay and could fit, but they all seemed to be part of a bigger picture...a word that was more encompassing.

After some thought, I decided on embrace. Embrace has a lot of strength and meaning behind it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much it was a good fit.

Embrace...embrace a healthier lifestyle.  Filling my diet with healthier foods and more variety.  Doing better at eating my fruits and veggies.  Exercising more often and try out different types, as well as remembering that chasing my toddler around and playing games is good enough sometimes.

Embrace...embrace who I am, who I have become, and what I look like.  Allowing myself to accept how my body looks now and not falling into the trap of what it was like before and what it could be.  Allowing myself to know who I am and not constantly seek the validation that I crave so often sometimes to know I am doing good and where I am supposed to be.

Embrace...embrace the mistakes and failures that occur.  Realizing that sometimes I am too hard on myself and sometimes my own expectations are too high to achieve.  Realizing that there are some things I really have now control over and knowing that sometimes it is not a mistake or failure, but instead just a part of life.

Embrace...embrace the fact that truly I am a good mom.  And deep down, I really do know that.  I just need to push past my fears, worries, and guilt, so that I can take the days happenings in better and for what they are at face value.

Embrace...embrace my emotions.  Recognize them, respect them, work them out, and move forward.

Embrace...embrace the fact that there are some things that in theory I like, but in reality not so much.

Embrace...embrace what I have in front of me every day.  Take in the moments, be present, and simple is okay.

Embrace is my word for the year.  Embrace the day.  The picture above is a little wall decal DIY project.  I wanted to have the reminder of my word where I would see it on a regular basis.  Anytime I go upstairs or come down, it is there.  I put it above the mirror because sometimes I need to look myself in the mirror to embrace and remember.

Happy New Year!  Here is to a year filled with many blessings, lessons learned, lots of fun and special moments, and laughter, stories, and smiles.