Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Sharpest Lives

This is the way to wake up on a Tuesday morning.

Give me a shot to remember
And you can take all the pain away from me
A kiss and I will surrender
The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead
A light to burn all the empires
So bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be
In love with all of these vampires
So you can leave like the sane abandoned me

My Chemical Romance

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I don't know why children get sick on holidays. I only know that I love my son more than my own life and his suffering is killing me. I will clean up gallons of vomit and dozens of terrible diapers. I will lay awake at 2 am on Christmas morning listening to his constant whimpering downstairs with his father. And I will never stop hurting until he's well again.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ho fricking ho

I don't know how I feel about Christmas this year. We have an insane schedule as always, and I have a sort of resigned determination to pull it all off -- the tree-decorating, gift-buying, gift-wrapping, card-sending, cookie-baking, tray-making, driving-celebrating-driving-naptime-driving-celebrating nightmare that is this holiday.

It must all be accomplished. In a handful of days. With a toddler.

So far, it's been a bumpy road. I put 1,862 lights on the Christmas tree, plugged it in, and the middle of the tree was dark. (It is no longer a "Christmas tree" but a "Fricking Christmas Tree.") I baked two batches of cookies, decided I need to go on a diet, and gave them all away. Of course, now, Saturday I'm in charge of bringing cookies (as well as sausage, cheese, and crackers) to the first of many Christmas parties to come, and have a window of only a few hours to bake, do laundry, and wrap presents tonight, since tomorrow night is earmarked for light-seeing with grandparents.

Ho fricking ho, everyone!

Diaper tree courtesy of Fletch

Monday, December 5, 2011

Have you ever seen a more photogenic couple?

If the answer is "no," you have my pity.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I won't say goodbye.

Dear Grandma Katie,

What can I give you now that you're gone?

What would you have wanted left behind – what crumbs along the path you walked, for me to pick up as I follow after you?

Your body will be buried tomorrow. Small bird bones, paper skin, you won't take up much space. It isn't you contained in that coffin, anyway. That cruel body with all its limitations... you deserved better. You deserved to sprint and climb and tie a pair of shoelaces on a pair of healthy feet. You deserved a better ending than the prolonged deterioration that stole every good bit of life from you.

You had 86 years, and it still feels like you were robbed.

Our religion would say that we deserve nothing. That death is the price for sin. That it's all in God's hands, and we should be grateful for all that we have. I have much, so it's easy to be grateful. You had much, too, and still I wish I could have fixed you.

Selfishly I worry that the small, vacant place you left behind in that horrible bed will one day be mine.

What can I give you now that you're gone? What did you want for me? I can drink milk. Wear socks and undershirts. Eat vegetables. Stop sitting on my feet. Put meat on my bones.

I can teach my son the way you taught me. Read with him. Sing him "You are my sunshine," and tell him who sang it first.

I can hold my husband's hand, and remember to have fun. I can always have a jar of candy or cookies for visitors. I can love and be honest and try to be a good Christian, while still being true to myself.

Please don't leave me. Don't let me forget how you used to laugh. How your frail hands felt. How you walked without bending your knees. How you folded napkins and washed pink plates by hand and stored faded tupperware in the oven and the microwave. The smell of your pantry closet – I had forgotten all about that closet! The Cheerios would be on the top shelf, the Macaroni and Cheese one shelf down.

I can barely remember your voice. I've forgotten so much already. Don't let the skeleton of you be the last thing to stay with me.

We spent years saying goodbye to you, thinking it would be a blessing when you were finally relieved of your pain, thinking it wouldn't be so hard. But death was the only thing that could open this door to the past and force this longing for something so far gone I can barely remember.

A day with you, 15 years ago. That's what I want. A video of you. Why didn't we record anything? A few poorly lit photographs is what I have left. A necklace, a candy jar, a birthday card with your shaky handwriting. It's so little.

Life is so little. Love is so big. You were big.

I won't say goodbye. It isn't the right word.

*  *  *  *  *

This is something I wrote for the pastor, who wanted information on Kathryn before the funeral.

My grandmother was big. I don't mean her size, as physically she was always a tiny thing. Perhaps that only emphasized her bigness, the way it came in such a small package. Stubborn, loving, opinionated, faithful, concerned, tough and caring, her personality packed the punch her body didn't.

I'm glad there isn't a dictionary definition for a person's life, glad she can't be narrowed down by the tasks that made up her days as a homemaker. But among the washing machine and ironing board, filling the plates and then cleaning them after, wiping dust and making beds, she was the master. Every task had a right way -- her way -- to be done, and woe to those who would do things differently. (You'd get whacked by a very weak, very arthritic arm.)

She'd spent much of her life perfecting these tasks to her liking, and earned the right to wield control in her domestic domain. I think of her when I make my bed with hospital corners, when I note that my creased pants should be ironed, when I make cookies from scratch with "Matlock" or "The Bold and The Beautiful" on TV, when I read a devotion or prayer book, when I wear an undershirt or buy socks or use a hand-stitched coaster. (Prepare for a scolding if you're not wearing an undershirt.)

A deck of playing cards always will remind me of Kathryn and Leo. Before arthritis robbed her of playing cards, there were times when the whole family would get together for a few hands of Spades. When I was small, we would play Old Maid and Grandma sang me songs, pushed me on the swing, and read with me. When I was a little older, we would play Gin and she would worry that I was too thin.

"What's the matter, don't you like it?" is a common dinnertime joke, because if you only ate one helping, that wasn't enough, according to her. Later in life, when she struggled to feed herself, I remember Jeremy exacting his revenge by filling her plate with ten times more food than she could possibly eat, and amid her protests he said, "What's the matter, don't you like it?"

Grandma could take a joke, and she could dish it out. Other running jokes had included her crooked toes and fingers, and her buck teeth (which always showed biggest when she laughed). Andy was twice her size and the two of them mutually picked on each other -- her that she couldn't get her arms around him, and him that he would pick her up. I'm so sad that I can't see her laugh.

She was quirky. One of her more memorable traits was her vocabulary of words and phrases, which we always planned to put into her own dictionary. Words like "futzel" (speck), "globbling" (poking/tickling/grabbing), and "popo" (butt), and phrases like "saint vitus dance," (ants in your pants), "has more [blank] than Carter's got pills," "made in the year one," and "cox's army." Messes were "like Ikey Schotz's closet" (no idea who he is). If she dropped something or lost her balance, you'd hear a fast, high pitched, "Whoop oop oop oop oop."

It's impossible to think of Grandma Katie without also thinking of Grandpa Leo. One was not really whole without the other, at least in my lifetime. In some ways, he was her comic relief. He'd drop something or do something ridiculous, and she'd be there to scold him ("Le-o!"). For every frustration or disagreement, there was twice as much laughter. I remember their hands, his spotted with age and hers bent with arthritis, resting on each others' knees. I know little of their private lives, but what I saw of their long marriage makes me hope for the same.

She knew what a good Christian woman was, and she wanted to be one. She was naturally honest, and she never hesitated in her generosity. She passed these traits to my father, and I hope to me. If my son is ever to know the kind of woman she was, it will have to be through the values and character that continue on in us.

[previous post on Grandma and Grandpa's house]

Monday, November 28, 2011

check up

He's 33 inches and 24 pounds -- the biggest swing upward in a while! Now into the 25th percentile for weight. Well done, chunky monkey! Two shots later, he got his revenge by hiding half of the doctor things he could get his hands on. Good luck finding your crap, medical personnel. Maybe you should lock those drawers?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

18 months old

Happy 18 months, kiddo.

He's always known what he wants. But now he'll throw epic tantrums if we don't genuflect to King Fletcher, Almighty Ruler of Schultz Land.

He moves constantly, climbs everything, runs long distances in an irresistible prance, is getting even more teeth (will have 16 by Christmas), loves pasta and pizza more than any other foods, refuses to subject himself to diaper changes unless he's given an extra special "toy" (must be new with every diaper changing... we're running out of ideas here...), sleeps indefinitely if you don't wake him up, loves being outside, and says "dada" and "momom." We're working on other words too.

two of a kind

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Autumn photos

This morning, Fletcher brought me some of his diapers. I asked him to put them back. He did. It blew me away, only because I have a hard time remembering that he understands us, at least sometimes. He may not be talking (except for some mama's and dada's), but he does communicate when he's in the mood.

While I did take a break from posting here, we did not take a break from photography. Lot's of autumn photos ahead...

Now that's a leaf pile!

Running free at Grandma and Grandpa's

First Spotted Cow.

I like our new refrigerator.


Making Friends With Bella

My Little Pumpkin

The First Snow

Monday, October 31, 2011

13dpo WTF

October 31, 2011

This is an outrageous Twilight-Zone-esque world I've wandered into. Very appropriate for Halloween. I've never seen 13dpo without a positive test before. I hate this. Seriously. I effing hate this.

NOTHING IS HAPPENING. Could something please happen? Please? One way or the other? I won't even be pissed if it's the way of failure, I just need an answer here.

I've consulted this absolutely trustworthy "Are You Pregnant?" test and have concluded that I'm a zombie vampire. So helpful.

Friday, October 28, 2011

10dpo negative

October 28, 2011

Do you know how much I hate myself today?

I'm listening to Enya. That much.

I may now own stock in the pregnancy test company. Not sure how these things work.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

9dpo showing

October 27, 2011

This is completely ridiculous. Tests are showing up negative, but my goodness, do I feel pregnant. Strong cramps, low backache, nausea, fatigue. I had to unbutton my pants. Seriously. These were loose pants.

What is going on here? How can I be so big that these pants -- which I wore WELL into my pregnancy with Fletcher -- don't fit at all? If I am pregnant, I'm only considered 3 weeks and 2 days along!

You don't get symptoms like this before a positive test,  you just don't. Is this a seriously horrible case of PMS? Universe, what the heck? How cruel are you?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

7DPO signs

October 25, 2011

Since 3DPO, I've had nausea on and off. Since 5DPO, I've had that dull, all over cramping that I've associated with pregnancy. All of this is way too early -- like two weeks too early -- to be real. So what's going on here?

All I know is that tomorrow is only 8DPO, but it's my birthday, so dammit I'm peeing on a stick. It's my party and I'll test if I want to.

Yesterday I got a call from the doctor's office reminding me of my prenatal appointment on my birthday, and I had to tell her, "No... that appointment was cancelled... because of a... loss." I didn't want to use the word "miscarriage" while in hearing distance of others. The nurse sounded flustered then, apologetic, and I just felt sad.

Cue the confetti. What a birthday it will be.

Universe, could I please have a baby for my birthday? That would be very nice, thank you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Week of Music: Day Seven

It wasn't a difficult project, but the week inspired by music comes to an end.

In Tori Amos' new album, Night Of Hunters, every song is based on a classical piece. The last on the album, Carry, comes from Debussy's The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.

Love, hold my hand
Help me see with the dawn
That those that have left
Are not gone
But they carry on
As stars looking down
As nature's sons
And daughters of the heavens
You will not ever be forgotten by me
In the procession of the mighty stars
Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart
Here I will carry, carry, carry you


You have touched my life
So that now
Cathedrals of sound are singing, are singing
The waves have come to walk with you
To where you will live in the land of you,
Land of you
You will not ever be forgotten by me
In the procession of the mighty stars
Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart
Here I will carry, carry, carry you
Here I will carry, carry, carry you


Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Week of Music: Day Six

I finally saw the movie Bridesmaids tonight. I recommend it, and not just because it included this song.

"Paper Bag" by Fiona Apple

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Week of Music: Day Five

A couple things that make me smile...

Alanis Morissette spoofs The Blackeyed Peas...

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Week of Music: Day Four

The weather has chilled me and brought on the cravings for the season - pumpkin pie, banana bread, trick or treat, decorated stores, the smell of pine, trays of cookies, the sound of the furnace turning on, mittens, snuggling under blankets, red bows and holly, twinkling lights in the dark, Christmas music (yes!). I've got the fever.

"February" by Dar Williams.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Week of Music: Day Three

All kids go through a phase where they watch the same three (or so) movies ad nauseam until their parents/siblings/mail carriers shout, "ENOUGH ALREADY." At least, I hope so, or I was just a really annoying child.

So far, having been a parent for only 17 months, I've delighted in re-immersing myself in Disney movies and Sesame Street. But this early in, I'm the one pulling the strings.

To what will Fletcher be drawn when he gets older? What will he watch/read/play on repeat? I'm eager to know.

For now, here's a song from Annie, because who can ever have too much of Carol Burnett's brilliance as Miss Hannigan, or Daddy Warbuck's voice, or Grace's charm, or Annie's freckles? Not me, apparently.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Week of Music: Day Two

I'm a sucker for a dramatic violin solo. This also supports our theory that the greatest songs rock a "na na na" or "la la la" element.

"Tragedy" by Christina Perri.

1DPO confidence

October 19, 2011

This is Earth on the day that my second baby was conceived.

I don't want to think about the disappointment I'll feel otherwise, so... I'll just deny that possibility for now. I NEVER FREAKING CHANGE, DO I?

See you in July, Baby Deuce.

Hello, beautiful temperature jump.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Week of Music: Day One

I sang this to Fletcher today when he fell and smashed his face, and it was enough to interrupt his Big Cry.

(stupid slippery socks)

(I'm sure I sounded just like this)

(I can't watch this movie without thinking of the time my mother and I were the only ones in the theater to see it... and we still sat way on the left side)

Friday, October 7, 2011

CD3 strike

October 7, 2011

I keep going back to the puppy dog face the doctor gave me, the way she said, "Mawww, I'm sorrrry," and how I wanted to kick her energetic, fake-tanned head.

Going in to see the doctor wasn't my idea, but I was sure treated as if it was. Instead of having a real discussion, I got a pat on the head like a little girl whose only problem is lack of patience. I'm ignorant of some things, but fertility isn't one of them.

Pointless. It'll probably cost me a small fortune for a trip that served no purpose, a trip that I didn't ask for.

It gives me something outside of myself, my failed body, to be angry about, but more anger isn't helpful.

My favorite part is when I'm told that nothing can be holding me back, because I already have a beautiful healthy boy, and then I'm told not to try to conceive until next month. Guess what, if I took your advice? I wouldn't have my beautiful healthy boy.

I have to strike while the fertility iron is hot.

1 out of 3. My body has contained more death than life. Or so it feels as I walk this walk again.

On repeat. "Nocturne" by The Marquis. Instrumental.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CD1 miscarriage, poem

October 5, 2011


To me, you were born.
Your heart pounded.
You heard my voice.
You opened your eyes

and saw the dawn,
and the moon fading,
and the snow falling.

You stretched and grew,
and ran like a bird flies,
chasing sunshine with
invisible wings.

You sang loudly
off-key, and we
traveled on together.
You skinned your knees.
You laid in the grass
beneath fireworks
and held my hand.
You made me laugh.
Your heart yearned,
and your heart broke.
You ached and cried,
and lost your faith,
and gained it back again.
You let go of my hand,
but kept your wings.
And when the sun finally set,
you sang softly
off-key, and we
traveled on together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4w2d train coming

October 4, 2011

I was feeling really good about this pregnancy today. Lots of nausea and fatigue. A nice high temperature. Oddly, though, the pregnancy test was still faint and I thought it should be a good dark line by now. I decided I would test again tomorrow, and I put it out of my mind.

I pulled out my old pregnancy books and paged through the first two months. I imagined the future. How we would announce the pregnancy. How we would prepare a nursery. What it would be like next June, when I'm the mother of two.

I have no cramps. Nothing menstrual. No warning.

But now I'm spotting.

I had deluded myself into safety, forgetting that I have no control, that believing in a dream doesn't make it last. Today, the reality I'm waking up to caught me completely off guard.

Tied to the train tracks, all I can do is wait and watch the train that's coming to destroy me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

4w1d scared

October 3, 2011

My temperature dropped almost an entire degree. If history is any indication, this means miscarriage. Today.

Today I could lose a baby I barely had.

I saw the warning in Andy's eyes all weekend: Don't get too confident. Don't be too sure. It's too early.

As usual, he was right, but I'm not built for heeding this warning. You are my baby, you are here, you exist. You, the one inside of me, will always be the person I cannot keep at a distance, no matter how smart it would be, no matter how many times I tell myself that you may not survive. That chances are you won't.

Please. I'll beg you. I'll beg the universe. I'll beg God. But it feels like I'm talking in an empty room, standing alone here, with you.

Please don't leave. We only just found each other.

3w6d pregnant

October 1, 2011

I am pregnant.

I am pregnant!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

16 months old

Happy 16 months, little boy. You are my sunshine.

I haven't written in a while. My head has been full, cloudy, sometimes dark. There have been days where nothing at all went wrong, yet at the end of it I feel as if I had a bad day. Every negative thing around me -- news stories, other people's blogs, political rhetoric, a world full of propaganda, other drivers, the way the sun hits my eyes -- every small thing that shouldn't bother me is a heavy weight. I want to shut everything out sometimes, but don't know how or why or what to say. It makes me quiet.

Some days, I think the only reason I speak is to encourage Fletcher to say words, something he continues to have no interest in. It makes it hard to know how to respond to his poor behavior. How do you teach someone who has no verbal communication? Do I have to go all Helen Keller on this boy?

Fortunately for him, he's very cute.

See? I can't really get mad at that face. And when he turns those big eyes on me?

This boy is going to break hearts.

Our only news item is he did finally get his blood drawn and we have his allergy results -- he's badly allergic to peanuts, and mildly allergic to wheat and egg white. How exactly do you keep a toddler away from wheat and egg? How exactly do people pay for things like allergists and epi pens? Screw you, allergies.