Friday, February 29, 2008

Yet Another Leap Year Meme

I was tagged by Erica a few weeks ago and just totally forgot to do it, so here it is. Happy Leap Year everyone!

This one consists of 6 statements. 4 are lies and 2 are true. Guess which ones are which.

1). I used to live on a boat.

2). When I was younger, I wanted to be an eye model.

3). I was born with perfect teeth.

4). I love The G.odfather. I've seen the trilogy at least a dozen times.

5). I sucked my thumb til I was 5.

6). I've never gotten a speeding ticket, although I drive like Mario A.ndretti!

I tag Jenna, JGirl, and Virginia. Good luck, it's harder than you think.


I was tagged by Monica. Here it goes.

The rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you (see above).
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Make sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.
Six non-important things about me:

1). I squeeze toothpaste from the middle of the tube.

2). I always sit with one leg folded under me, or one leg crossed.

3). I often have dreams where I am running down a flight of stairs really super fast as if I am chasing someone or being chased.

4). If I'm going to drink out of a plastic cup, I have to have a straw.

5). I am obsessed with penguins. I puffy heart them!

6). I mentally outline people's profiles in my head over and over. It drives me nuts, but I can't stop.

I am tagging Nanny, Christyna, and Becky! Have fun ladies :-)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jack's Birthday In Photos

Jack's birthday was peaceful. Of course there were highs and definitely some lows. The day started out with lows, but it ended up great. My mom ended up showing up for dinner and we all had a pleasant time. I think we honored Jack the best we knew how. We celebrated his life even though he never took a breath. He will always be with us.

These are the favors I made for Jack's birthday. I decorated votives with scrapbook embellishments (dragonflies because they remind me of him). Then we purchased scented votives to put in them. I wrapped them in tissue then placed them in these boxes which I tied with ribbon. Inside the lid of the box, I attached a printed copy of the song I was thinking of the other day.

These are the chocolate ganache cupcakes I made for him. I served these for dessert after we had dinner with some close friends and family. They were wonderful and so easy. I made a couple mini cupcakes to send off with the balloons we released.


Mr. H played Happy Birthday and What a Wonderful World on his trumpet for Jack. He played the birthday song for Sam as well, but the other was a surprise. We had a trumpeter play this at Jack's funeral, so it was nice to hear him play this for his son. He played flawlessly and with such heart.

One of the things Mr. H wrote to Jack was "Thank you for being our son!" That just kills me.

See the cupcake? It made the balloon top heavy and it floated upside down the entire way up :-) We tied the other cupcake to the string and it swayed back and forth like a pendulum. I'm really surprised the cupcakes stayed attached.

Their headstones with fresh flowers, balloons, stones that read HOPE and BELIEVE and Jack's birthday bear. On the headstones is a car for Sam, a bunny for Jack and their footprints.

And lastly this is the sunset in the rear view mirror on the way home from the cemetery.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Yo!

You are morphing into an old man as we speak. I just spoke to your Mother and she said you went to get a haircut. I'm assuming it's to cut off all your sparklies (gray hairs). teehee. I can only hope that this birthday is a little better than the one last year. I know you have to work today and I don't have much planned, but at least you're not making funeral arrangements for your son like you were last year. (I'm sorry for that, by the way). I did manage to get you a couple gifts and now I'm going into the kitchen to make you a birthday cake that you put in a request for. I love you so much and I wish you countless birthday blessings. Happy 28th Birthday, My handsome man!

Your Southwest Skitzo ;-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Day So Far

I am cramping and spotting, so I'm sure AF is coming to Jack's birthday celebration too. Why today? My mother keeps avoiding me when I ask her if she's coming to dinner. I confronted her today, she's not coming because she has to get a haircut. WTF?!? A weedwhacker doesn't take that long. I was searching for a recipe to make chocolate ganache cupcakes and this was the first thing to pop up. Thanks a lot. Really, that made my day.

Jack's Day

I miss you sweet boy, more than ever.

Happy 1st Birthday,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


We had a thunderstorm on Saturday. While I was reading a blog, the power went out. It immediately turned back on throughout the house with the exception of the computer. We have it plugged into a surge protector, but it obviously didn't work. Or maybe it did. Our phone (which is plugged into the same outlet strip) has not been working well lately. I was about to get a new one and when the power went out and turned back on it started working again like new. Go figure. The mother board and the power supply in our computer are completely shot, but the phone works. I don't think that's a fair trade off, do you? D.ell was going to send someone out to today (Tuesday) to replace these parts, but instead they called to say that they are on back order for another week. WTF? So, we have borrowed my in-laws computer since it is essentially the same as ours and because it is imperative to blog to maintain my sanity. You think I'm kidding.

Jack's first birthday is approaching rather quickly. As the day nears (Thursday) I start to miss him even more. I cannot believe it has been a year already. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago, but then again it feels like it has been years with the amount of grief that I have been dealing with. I have been struggling with what to do to honor my dear son for his birthday. For Sam's first birthday, we had a balloon release and invited friends and family. It was exhausting but it was worth it. I loved having everyone there for him. For Jack, I wanted to do something a little different and I couldn't think of anything. I know I want to take some balloons out to him for a private release with just Mr. H and Autumn and me. I am going to make him cupcakes as I did for Sam, although I haven't decided on what yet. My FIL mentioned to my MIL that he has been thinking about it a lot lately and he wants to go to the cemetery. So we will go together as a family then we are going out for a nice quiet dinner.

This morning when I got out of the shower I started singing a song in my head. It was really strange because I haven't thought of this song in over 12 years. The last time I heard/sang this song was when I was in choir in high school. I don't know why, but it was so clear to me. And as I sang it in my head, all I could think about was Jack. I have a feeling that he sent it to me. Mr. H and I had lunch at a local cafe before running errands today and I told him about this song. I just started to cry and the tears began to fall uncontrollably. I guess this happened because I feel so much, but I never let the feelings out. I keep them inside. I always have. When I do let them out, I get completely overwhelmed by the sensations that I feel. All I know is that I love him so incredibly much and I wish he were here. I wish that this feeling of sadness would disappear forever. I wish that I didn't know what grief was.

Speaking of grief... Thursday night is also our support group. I have been going to this group for over a year. I needed this group. I needed the people in it. I felt better when the group ended, but shortly there after I felt like I was in need of 'more'. The facilitator of this group is the chaplain of the hospital where I gave birth to the boys. She is wonderful in so many ways. She really helped us to get where we are now. Which doesn't really look like much, but we've come a long way from where we were. I often feel stuck, but I know we have overcome many obstacles and I think she and that group have helped. I was planning on going to the group, but Mr. H doesn't get as much out of it as he used to. We didn't go last month because we were out of town for Marie's funeral. I really thought we'd go this month because it was Jack's day and I thought we'd need the support. Well, Mr. H is right. The group doesn't offer us what it used to and the dynamics have changed. Everyone in the original group has either quit attending, had a baby or is currently pregnant and since we are no closer to TTC as we were 6 months ago, this can be difficult some days.

Also, he feels pressured into speaking and when he does he just pisses me off. He feels like he doesn't say the "right" things and I'm going to get mad at him. I'd like to say he's wrong, but he's not. He does say the wrong things and I do get mad at him. Maybe I feel that once a month he is supposed to agree with what ever I say. Maybe once a month I want him to say that he wants to try again. Maybe once a month I think he should confess his deepest darkest secrets and confide in me and the group about his desire to be a father. Maybe once a month he should just support me and my decision/need to be a mother. Not going to happen. Maybe that's why once a month, I get so pissed at him that I want to run over his face with a semi. over.and.over. (repeat if necessary). Maybe it's best he doesn't go. But then I'm quite positive I would guilt-trip him into going and he'll f*ck up again. It's a lose-lose situation really.

I don't want you to think that my husband is a complete assh*le, he's not. But I expect so much from him and I feel let down at times. Now I'm making him sound like a failure. He's not. I just wish he could give me a freaking date so we can try again. I just want something to look forward to. Right now, all I look forward to is the anniversaries of my babies' deaths. All I do is think about them. Day in and day out. Every moment of everyday. It gets exhausting. It makes me sad. It wears me out. I want happiness to return to my life. I'm not saying or thinking that everything will be wonderful, and the grief will go away, because I know it won't, but I have to believe that having a (live) baby will change things. I guess the reason I get so upset at him is because he wanted to wait a year. It will be a year Thursday and it doesn't make any difference to him. He could wait another 30 years and not have children and he'd be okay with that (his words). But I am not okay with that. Call me needy but "I just want a family".

Back to the support group...I want to keep going but I know that it will not be the same as it once was. I don't want to go by myself because it's kind of like counseling- both parties need to participate to benefit. When I go to the group and I see new people there, I feel nothing for them. I used to get so involved into their stories and I would start to take on their grief as well. I no longer do that. I can't. I look at these people and I feel sad for them, but I just don't want to hear about their losses. I want it to be about me and my losses. I know that sounds so awfully selfish, but I have enough of my own grief to deal with. Am I alone in feeling this way?

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Valentine- 2008

We didn't do much. I had to work from 1-5, so we just spent the evening in. When I got off work, I picked up dinner, went home picked up Mr. H then went to the cemetery to take the boys some fresh flowers. It was quiet and LOVE-ly.

When I got home from my trip on Sunday, Mr. H and Aaron greeted me at the airport with 2 roses (one pink and one red). Since they are still alive and blooming I didn't need any more. I did get him a yellowish orange one because it reminded me of the sunset and a heart shaped balloon (I also got one for the boys). Mr. H got some chocolate covered strawberries from here. They are so good, but they only make them a few times a year. He likes them because they completely cover them in chocolate and the juices of the berries ferment in the chocolate shell. For dinner I ordered a heart shaped C.hicago style deep dish pizza and a brownie from M.angia P.izza. I had never eaten their pizza before, but I knew they made heart shapes for Valentine's Day and football shapes for S.uperbowl. It was good. Not the best, but good. It's was nice and cheesy (pardon the pun) and that's just how I wanted to spend my evening with the love of my life. We also watched L.icense T.o W.ed (lame, I don't recommend it, but it took my mind off things). All in all, I would say my evening was pleasant. How did you spend your evening?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentine- 2007

This time of year is just depressing for me. Last year we were in "Save Jack Mode". Everyday was a struggle. I would cry often. I was exhausted. I had daily headaches from lying in bed/couch/bed/couch and crying so much. I didn't know what the air smelled/felt like except for the one day a week doctor appointment. That was the highlight of my week. I could go outside AND see my little man on the ultrasound screen. I could see his heart flutter and his tiny legs kick. He was a fighter and he tried. I tried.

Last year, my grandmother was here helping to take care of me. She would help cook and clean. She cleaned the bathtubs every other day, so it would be clean for me. I only took a bath every other day because I didn't want to risk standing up for such a long period of time. If I could avoid the pressure and stress on my pelvis I did. If I was thirsty or needed something, I would do it on the way to the bathroom, so I could limit my walking. It sucked. I was miserable but I did it. I did it to keep my baby from being born too early. It didn't work, but I wonder how things would have been differently if I didn't try.

My in-laws came over with tulips and dinner. Surprisingly they don't visit that often (whew!) but they made it a point to be with us on that day. She made petite bacon wrapped steaks, potatoes and another side dish. I really don't remember as it was a fog. I remember being uncomfortable in my seat, because I felt like my insides were going to fall out. Earlier that day, I made a Valentine card for my honey while laying down on the couch (not an easy task). I even made the envelope with is awfully crooked that I decorated with paper hearts and a silver paint pen. Classy.

The card turned out pretty cute though. I haven't looked at it until today. I forgot what it said. I just read it and it made me sad. It reads as follows:

"Thank you for loving me each and everyday. Thank you for showing me how much you care. I appreciate all the little things you do for me and our family and I'm truly blessed to have you as a husband and now as a father to our babies! I love you more and more everyday. Happy Valentine's Day My Love!"

For Valentine's Day I bought Mr. H a heart locket. I got it from H.allm.ark before I had the cerclage placed in January. At the time I had no idea what it would mean to me today. It is a heart shaped pocket piece that you can put two pictures in. I bought it because I liked it, not because I thought he would actually use it. I actually questioned giving it to him because I thought he'd never carry it. I thought it would sit in his dresser never to see daylight. I was wrong. I couldn't decide what pictures to use, but I decided to use sonogram pictures of the boys since that are our Loves. I gave it to him at dinner and he cried. He loved it. It used to be shiny and pretty and now it's worn and dull. I think I love it more now than I ever anticipated. This heart locket was not intended for me to use, but I held it when we were in the ER as Jack was barely hanging on. It gave me strength. I now sleep with this heart in my hands every night and have done so every night for the last year. I kiss it goodnight and I kiss it in the morning when I place it on my nightstand. I feel close to the boys when I carry it. During the day, Mr. H carries it in his pocket. When I miss them I open it to see their pictures. It's the best Valentine I could have asked for.

Sam (left) and Jack (right)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Failed Attempt

My Grandmothers' surgery went well. She has a one inch horizontal scar on her right breast. They removed a chunk of tissue about the size of a small orange or tangerine (40 grams). The cancer was encapsulated in her milk duct. I was not aware that she had a small mound (1/2 cm) outside the milk duct in her breast tissue. The doctor cut around the cancer in attempts to retrieve it all. He sent the cancerous breast tissue to pathology to have the outer edges tested for cancer. If they came back clean, then that means she is cancer free. If the outer edges came back with cancer cells present, then that means it has spread further into her breast.

Well, you guessed it. She still has cancer. Her nurse called to tell us the news and said the pathology results indicated that her breast tissue looked like someone has "sprinkled" her breast with cancer using a salt shaker. These speckles were not picked up by the mammogram she had.

She has two options. She can have another surgery in attempts to remove the remaining cancerous cells, and have radiation. If they don't remove it all, then they'll have to operate again (!) Or she can have a mastectomy and not have to undergo radiation at all. She has the option of reconstructing her breast at the same time as the mastectomy. She is concerned because she is diabetic, that her recovery time will be a lot longer and she's more at risk for infection. Also, when they reconstruct her breast they have to remove tissue and fat from her hips/thighs. That's another surgery she'll have to recover from.

Right now she is leaning towards a mastectomy without reconstruction. I think this is the route I would take if I were in her shoes. She is feeling loss and sadness towards her breast. She feels inadequate and thinks others will view her in the same way. She's afraid of feeling ugly, not sexy, not feminine, different. She kept saying that her breasts as droopy as they were (her words not mine) were hers for 65 years and they nourished her children. She feels like because she will have one less breast she will not be the same person.

I do not know what it feels like to be in her position. I can not pretend like I do. But I do know that I would rather have her around with one less breast for several more years, than to not have her at all. Her life is more important than what she looks like. The surgery date is not yet scheduled, but her nurse thinks it will be taken care of by the end of the month. I ask you all, if you believe in the power of prayer, to pray for my grandmother. Pray that the next surgery is successful and ALL the cancer is removed from her body. Pray for healing, health, emotional well being. Pray for a cure so your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter or friend doesn't have to go through this.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Deja Vu

This seems all too familiar. I feel like I've been here before. Writing about this exact same topic. Using the same words. Oh, wait I have been here. Silly me.

I am leaving today to go see my grandmother. Only this time I am flying for only 2 hours instead of driving for 9- woohoo! Not that I actually did any of the driving on the last trip and it's not as if I could if I wanted to. I'm pretty sure I'd get lost and it would take me two days to find my way there missing the whole surgery- which is the purpose of this trip. We're all better off with me flying, I think. In less than 24 hours she will be cancer free. I am so excited and proud of/for her. She fought and she's a winner. I know her battle was not as long and difficult as others, but like the snow, it doesn't matter how you get it or how long you have it. I got her a book and I went to the hobby shop to get some pink ribbon for us to wear for her during her lumpectomy. I got her a turquoise kokopelli, which is a native American symbol of strength, protection (and fertility for those of us who need it). I packed my recipe for chicken and dumplins' and chocolate chip cookies and I'm ready to go.

I'll update if/when I can. The only computer I know of is at the public library, so I'll see if I can manage to sneak away for a bit sometime this week. Or like I said I may have Mr. H post an update for me if he's up to it.

One last thing before I go, because it's funny and a link to the recipe for Coconut Shrimp I promised you last week :-) Have a good week everyone and don't miss me too much (Honey, I'm taking to you- ILY)!

Monica: peeling and deveining the shrimp we got from the farmer's market last weekend.

Aaron: "What are you doing?"

Monica: "Deveining the shrimp"

Aaron: (just watching)

Monica: "You know that's not really a 'vein' don't you?"

Aaron: "What is it?"

Monica: "It's the intestinal tract. All the yucky stuff the shrimp eats"

Aaron: "Oh, the poop"

"Well yeah kinda." (Still cleaning several shrimp later...I came across a shrimp with a HUGE 'vein'/ a lot of poop)

"Whoa, that one must have been constipated like me!"

Monica: ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I Miss The Snow

Meg's post got me thinking about snow and how much I miss it. The last time it snowed here was V.alentine's Day, 2005. That's almost 3 years ago. I remember it so well because it was 3am and Mr. H and I were sitting on the couch watching TV and painting my toe nails red. It started to snow and we both ran outside like idiots to take pictures because we knew by morning it would be all gone. I saved a snowball from that night and put it in an old margarine container. It stays in our freezer and every once in awhile, I take a peek at it. When we moved form our apartment into our house (2 years ago) that was the first thing we packed and transported so it wouldn't melt. And please don't give me any crap about our snow, or lack there of. I'm not comparing our 1 inch of snow to the few feet of snow that some of you get months out of the year. Snow is snow and it doesn't matter how much you get as long as you get it. Right?

When it does get cold here, it will just ice over, but it rarely ever snows. It may look like snow but as soon as it hits the ground it melts then turns to ice. Then the weather man will come on and talk about our "Arctic Chill" or "Arctic Blast" when it's barely freezing out. Then the entire town will have a severe weather day because all the idiots here can't drive on normal roads much less icy ones. It's pretty pathetic, but I like when it gets cold because most of the year it's HOT and humid. I wouldn't want to live in a cold climate because I'm a wuss and don't like to be cold, but I like to look at it. I like to take photos of it. I like to sit by the fireplace and drink cocoa. I like to dream about making snowmen, but I don't want to actually do it. I like to vacation in places where it snows, but I don't want to live there. I can't give up the fabulous concept of wearing flip-flops all year round.

Do you have any fond snow stories or are you sick of it already?