Hope from a First Time Commenter, EK

Friday, July 30, 2010

I've had so many wonderful comments from first timers lately. I remember, as I've shared recently, commenting for the first time on another blogger's post. I didn't know her, it felt odd, but commenting burst a bubble of anonymity and well, here I am now.

Awkward segue.

The picture and video that I posted last week are wounds that I continue to pick at. The picture gets me every time because I can just see my happiness and it kills me to know that there are no more progressive pictures. The belly picture was supposed to be the beginning. This time would I get stretch marks? Would I be able to discern a difference in how I carried or would it be similar to Isaac? Instead the picture was also the end. I'm so glad that I have it though. It will never be confused with a picture from Baby Bless' development.

The video though . . . oh does that video of sharing with Tony rip me to shreds. I can't help but watch it though. It's like watching a movie, er, I mean it is a movie, but one where you know the accident is just around the bend and you want to tell the joyous couple to slow down a bit, enjoy those last few seconds of naivety. Again, just like the picture, I can't bear the thought of not having it though. We will never again be able to celebrate with such abandonment. Every subsequent pregnancy will be tinged just a bit with the flavor of loss. We will not be able to go back in time and erase these emotions that we are experiencing, so I'm forever grateful that I can at least view us as we were.

Something that I never expected from my first and only picture was hope. I received this comment from EK, a bloggerless commenter who I am forever indebted to for her strong step of faith. She wrote:
EK said...

Leah,

I've never commented before, but I wanted to let you know that I've lifted you up in my prayers.

As I came back to your post today, I took a better look at the pictures you put on. Maybe it is just the way it looks on my screen, but I see a distinct cross on your belly photo of Josiah.

The calm that came over me when I saw that spoke volumes. I can just picture Josiah in heaven walking hand in hand with our Father. I hope you find comfort in your earthly friends and heavenly father as you go through the grieving process.



I'll let you take a look for yourself.
IsaacJuly 045
Do you see it? I do. Obvious as day.

I received the comment just as we were clearing our plates from dinner and didn't know what to expect when I went to review the picture, calling out to Tony, "I just got a comment that there's a cross on my stomach." He came over to the computer just as I pulled the picture up and we both were brought instantly to tears. It doesn't matter that we realize how the cross was produced [the privacy film on the bathroom window we decoratively installed ourselves, debating on simplicity or complexity of the design], because the odds of my taking the picture in the bathroom, as opposed to Tony taking the picture as we did with Isaac, at that time, at that angle, facing the window, on a sunny morning, when we'd been rain-filled? They are overwhelmingly against us. God knew though. He provided us this source of reassurance, in someways a personal rainbow, guaranteeing His guidance in our life. God had marked Josiah as His own from the very beginning. He was truly too special for earth, although we long to join with him in Heaven.

EK, whoever you are and I apologize if I should know, we are truly thankful for your acting on this prompting to share. This touched us profoundly.

Mishmash

Thursday, July 29, 2010

- Tony and I decided to take the plunge and signed up for E-mealz. Let me tell you ladies, this is one area that I am glad to have conceded. We bought sandwich ingredients for Tony's lunches at Target on Sunday and waited it out until the week's meal plan for Aldi came out on Tuesday. There were 5 meals and we will plan to omit one, as it looks like even though it's intended for 2 people that there will still easily be leftovers. This week omitting one meal on the meal plan but purchasing all other ingredients, and buying 3 cans of tuna, 1 can of chicken, 1 lemon and 1 avocado more, our grand total was $30.15. Are you kidding me? I can majorly get used to this. Since it only accounts for dinner and not lunches, we are prepared to spend between $45-50 a week. This will be a significant savings!

- We've made two of the meals now and although the plan that we chose is not weight-loss minded, rather just correlating with Aldi's sale goods, there is so much wiggle room to cut calories. The meals have been delicious too and absolutely filling. Tony and I have joked the last two nights at dinner that we're obviously going to be feeling deprived by doing this meal plan, because it couldn't be further from the truth!

Tuesday night's meal was a Bratwurst Hoagie with Warm Onion Balsamic Reduction Relish. Tony was very leery of the balsamic vinegar reduction due to the smell, but I knew how it ought to taste so I didn't give up hope! It was totally worth it too. To cut calories I served myself an ample portion of the spinach salad and chose to not eat my bratwurst on the hoagie. Last night we had Boneless Honey Mustard Country Style Ribs which I made the night before in the crockpot. This was accompanied by steamed broccoli and a large amount of strawberries. Again, Tony was so surprised by how good the food was! I'm so happy that we decided to try this out.

- Today was Day 2 of Insanity, actually three including the Fit Test [hah!], again this is a choice that I'm so glad that we're moving forward with. I'm loving the workouts and am pushing myself so much more than I was running, even when doing intervals. Tony is absolutely doing craziness while working out. I'm getting up at 5:00am to do them and he is doing them before showering and going to bed. Usually Isaac looks at me with big eyes and says, "What's that?" because he can hear Tony's grunting and movements downstairs.

- Kierstan said it best when I texted her about Insanity.

Me: Started Day 2 of Insanity. Hopefully pregnant by the end! :)
Kier: So lots of Insanity followed by lots of sex . . . you should be in REALLY great shape by the end! :)

Hah! She then proceeded to tell me that Kiera is a great girls name, but thanks to her I all ready knew that. She's kind of pushy.

- Thanks to Daily Plate aka now L I V E S T R O N G.com [jeez louise, where was I when that happened?] I'm also now tracking my calories. Turns out the last two days I haven't been eating enough, even with the bratwurst and ribs!

I do really well, like when I was pregnant with Isaac, when I eat the same thing everyday at the same time throughout the day. So this week has looked like this:

Breaksfast
Wheat Bread + Butter Spray + Polander Sugar Free Raspberry Preserves = 90 Calories

Morning Snack
Egg +
Yoplait Light and Fit Strawberry [4 oz in a reusable container] = 90 Calories

Lunch
Cucumbers + Avocado + Canned Chicken [mash 1/2 avocado into chicken, like you would make chicken salad, place on cucumber like it's a cracker] +
Carrots + Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus = 429.5 Total Calories

Afternoon Snack
Cantaloupe +
Apple = 107 Calories

- On tap for the weekend, I'm shooting a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tomorrow night thanks to Fab.you.lous Events. On Saturday then we'll be traveling down near Marshall, MN to celebrate Tony's Grandma's 90 birthday. The woman has lived such a life, including raising 13 kids on a farm, so there will be much to honor!

- Can you tell that I've totally thrown myself into creating a healthier me, as opposed to dwelling on if's and should have been's? I could be 10 weeks this week. One quarter of the way through my pregnancy, on the upswing just weeks away from sharing the news. Instead I'm now weeks away from a better body. Hah. I'd like to re-trade.

- I can't even begin to tell you all how much your comments, support and prayers have comforted us in the last week. I've gone through and re-read the comments daily and have prayed for those either directly stating they have experienced the same or conveying that they have. It is a sisterhood I had hoped to avoid, although nearly impossible, but I thank you for the reception. Knowing others are crying with you somehow lightens the load.

Isaac | 15 Months

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh my sweet boy. You are so amazing. Each day you seem to pick up something new, whether it be physical or verbal. Not to rain on the sweet parade, but you're definitely a little stinker too. Boy, my Mom did try to warn me how head strong I was, but I definitely wasn't prepared!
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You are such a little boy and seem to have a gravitational pull towards anything dirty, stinky or wet! You love beating on Daddy, although I try not to encourage it, and throwing anything and everything is a favorite hobby.
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We still haven't cut your hair and you are just rocking your curls out. I wouldn't have it any other way. Just check out that look of concentration. We get such a kick out of your antics. This time you though it would be amazing fun to climb into the grass clippings that are decomposing in the trailer. I mean, who wouldn't want to play in them?
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Clearly it was worth it.
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We fall more and more in love with you everyday Mr. Man.
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I know that all too soon you actually will be driving, but we'll stick the McDonald's car for at least a few more months.
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You don't particularly care for peppers or cheese lately. The cheese one has me quite perplexed. We may have od'd you on cheese, just like I was od'd on bananas! You definitely show your displeasure when eating something you don't like. You simply throw it back onto my plate or off of your high chair.
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You're still not sleeping in the crib. The last failed attempt resulted in your crying for 2 hours. Talk about traumatic for all involved. Me, you and Dad don't mind our sleep arrangement, Grandma however could really use for you to start taking a nap.
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We love you little guy!

Ducks in a Row

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My old friend, turned neighbor, turned newlywed was awesome enough to give Tony and me Insanity. I've been very intrigued by it for awhile now, as we just don't have the weight set or door frame necessary for P90X. I've been doing pretty well with running consistently, but took a break while my body was preoccupied with other hard tasks. I've been a little anxious about running due to the fact that the sunrise is all ready starting to get later and I need a specific amount of time to be able to run before I need to get ready for work. This is why Insanity is actually perfect.

I may not love getting older, but for sure one of the nicest aspects is that I understand myself better. What I have a great understanding of right now is that without the baby, I need to be able to focus on something else. Reason #2 I'm loving on Insanity so bad right now. It's also just 60 days, although obviously people continue to cycle through and we're hopeful that at the end of this 60 days we'll be apprehensively pregnant again.

We know that there is no replacing Josiah. It isn't a matter of replacing, but is a matter of wanting our children to grow up with siblings with whom there are just enough similarities and differences. Both Tony and I grew up with siblings almost exactly 2 years apart and think that it was great spacing. Obviously our plans for our family may not coincide with God's and we're accepting of that, but want to move forward, hopefully in accordance with His will, in expanding our family.

Our eyes were opened to many things throughout this trial. The first being communication. Tony and I don't always have open airwaves. About every 6 months to a year Tony and I have to sit down and discuss the fact that I'm no longer really talking to Tony. I will talk at him, about him, about our friends, but I stop sharing what I'm feeling. Of course this also means I by no means even ask Tony what he's thinking! We were right there again, but we are really lucky to have a relationship that we clung together through this trial. I didn't want other sources of support, I only wanted Tony's. The best part was, he brought it, day after day. I was overcome by tears driving on Saturday as I thought of all the sweet gestures, comments and even housework that Tony has showered on me in the past week. We're definitely stronger for this.

We were not necessarily trying for Josiah, while we were neither avoiding either. He was just a bit of a surprise, although I knew about a week before testing. For the duration of one day my sense of taste was completely skewed. Everything tasted so weird! I vaguely remembered the same happening with Isaac. Tony and I know that we don't have the perfect house, vehicle or income, but our thought was that we've always figured it out, with God's blessing. As it turned out though, this just wasn't the right time.

There are still things happening with the landscaping business, but so many unanswered questions. Due the months of low income Tony and I have accumulated a credit card and line of credit debt [not home equity, but overdraft protection]. We were aimlessly paying $50 over minimum on both and not making any headway. We've made a major course correct, as we realized how unprepared we were for an additional head in our household. We did a balance transfer on our credit card to a previous $0 balance card that offered 0% on balance transfers. This month we will also be paying off 1 of Tony's 3 student loans. Now that we've cleared up the credit card payment and will pay off the student loan payment, we're going to get rocking and rolling on the line of credit. After which we will tackle the credit card balance and finally saving for a 2nd vehicle. The 2nd vehicle will be less than $3,000 and will be bought in cash a la Dave Ramsey. Tony's got a small crush going on right now.

Another thing that we've experienced fully due to our situation, how awesome our friends and family are. Between the in person conversations, phone calls, text messages, facebook messages and offers of food, we have been so richly supported. Of course the food part was my favorite. :) Nothing says comfort like a full stomach.

So our ducks are being lined up in a pretty row, from my fitness, our communication, family planning, faith, finances and appreciating support. Good work is happening in our lives.

Ishy Mustache

Friday, July 23, 2010

I totally forgot that I took these! To me, they are both gems, but I especially love when Isaac's eyes get wide in the first one! Too funny!


Please note, the scratches on Tony's arm are from the cat's middle of the night assault. Not me. :)


Don't worry, I also think it's gross that Tony grabbed Isaac's hand and virtually pet his mustache.

I just can't remain sad. It doesn't fit me. Today is the last day that I'm allowing emotional eating. I have big plans and this evening I will be eating an Archer Farm's Sicilian thin crust pizza while watching Return to Me [runners up: Ever After, Happy Gilmore, The Count of Monte Cristo] editing family reunion pictures with both of my boys. It sounds very idealistic minus the loss of Josiah, I hope that it comes to fruition.

Nothing is Appropriate

On June 24th, I wrote this post saved as draft.

Sweet, sweet blessed child. This pregnancy is so completely different all ready. The days are all ready passing quickly and I constantly need to remind myself to pray. I'm so very anxious and yet very aware of the possibility that you may not ever join us. I feel so very lucky to have never experienced a miscarriage before, but with this is the trepidation that my luck may not continue. And I do refer to it as luck, because I know that God's will can determine your healthy development or your early departure. I know that, but it's luck that I can reason with.

Our reception of this pregnancy was decidedly different than of Isaac's. Something felt off. Just off. Tony's sweet comments were met with "Maybe's" and "I hope so's." I wish they had just been unfounded. I only took 1 picture and didn't even note the week, so unlike our first pregnancy, but I anticipated that it would be less frequent. I just didn't think I would only take one.
IsaacJuly 045

Yesterday was probably the worst day of my life. So very dramatic to say, but I will feel it's impact for a very long time. It's funny what I will and will not share on this blog, but the events that occurred yesterday did nothing less than scar my heart and were all completely avoidable.

Tony knew that evasive action must be taken due to the collision course I was currently on, so he came home early. In the mean time, I did take Isaac to the park, as suggested by my boss on Tuesday. He was enthralled by the steps and literally barely took a break from trudging up and down to even throw woodchips!

We went down the slide, which Isaac then proceeded to try to climb back up!
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He threw woodchips which was outrageously funny stuff, especially when I threw them at him.
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I know this is a face that only a mother could love, and I do. I just do. I find this picture so funny!
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Once home, Tony and I packed up Isaac to be watched by Tony's parents. We then went out to Axel's Bonfire in Woodbury. They had a live band and we ate some delicious food, with more beer.

The band didn't start up until we had finished with our food, but was just feet away from Tony and I, hindering conversation. At one point Tony took my hand and we just stared into each other's eyes. "Four years," my internal monologue began, "four years of marriage. I did not see this in our future. Who would have thought of all we've faced? He's such a good man. Do we deserve this?" Tony interrupted my thoughts with a squeeze of my hand, quietly saying as we continued to lock eyes, "We'll be okay. We'll be okay." Such a profound, simple statement. I couldn't handle his gaze at that, only quickly nodding my jutted chin as I tried to hold back the tears. I know we'll be okay. We'll gain strength together, in our family and in our faith in Jesus.

After dinner we went up to Stillwater for Lumberjack Days, but basically only walked a few city streets with a dabbling of people watching. I held my baby's hand, as we remembered our engagement session that took place in many of the places we strode past.

What kids we were.
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Gosh, what experience we have shared.
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We ended the night outside of a German shop and it made me smile just a bit to think of my friend Ashley's obsession with Christmas. Ashley, here's more Christmas in July.
IsaacJuly 070

Life Doesn't Stand Still

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is getting harder than I thought.

I wanted that baby. I longed for that baby. Nothing on this earth matters to me more than raising a Godly family. In having more children. Josiah was a part of that.

I would have named him Josiah if I could have. I would have named him anything.

I bought a book at a book party last week about transitioning the older sibling to accepting their new younger sibling. Man, that's going to hurt when I get it next week.

My pregnancy email from BabyCenter came yesterday, it's bold title: Your pregnancy: 9 weeks. Except I'm not.

Tony was a wealth of information and support the evening after we found out. He was looking different facts up and I'm not even sure what his search words were, but he found a lot of miscarriage grief resources. I think that we'll be planting a tree in memory of Josiah.

Isaac does make it easier, so much easier. I can't imagine enduring this without his smile, crazy antics and slobbery kiss, but then again, because of him, I know what we've lost. Double edged sword. I just compared my son's existence to a sword. I know that those struggling will not see any validity in the additional pain caused by Isaac and I mean no slight by it, but that doesn't diminish it any.

I think that the miscarriage may have finalized yesterday, while at work. I was literally trapped without a bus home. I took ibuprofen but it didn't touch the pain. In several regards I felt like I was experiencing labor again, but tinged with a good dose of fear. It wasn't what I expected, but then again I wasn't prepared, at all. I thought I'd have a few days. I didn't expect to pass my child work. Silent. Waiting out the pain in the bathroom. Immediately after my cramps lessened and I'm quite certain the worst is over.

Even as I typed certain, I faltered because I know I'm not.

I'm scared that this can somehow be worse.

I don't know how I would get through this without being able to type my feelings out. Your support has just overwhelmed both of us. Thank you.

Backwards Announcement | We Were Pregnant

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm a fighter. It's what I do. I fight to win. I fight to care. I fight for those I love. Give me a battle of morality, knowledge or physicality and I will not back down. When push comes to shove, I will escalate and shove.

Right now though, I know there is no fight. Tuesday came and pushed, but I could not shove back.

For about 7 actual weeks, not counting the 2 the medical world gifts when counting gestation that actually bring me to 9 weeks, I've been blessed by the thought of bringing another child into our family. To make Isaac a big brother.

I was able to actually have the foresight to capture telling Tony for the first time in this video:



This morning started slowly with a few text messages to Kierstan bemoaning the need to run before 6:00am. She was snoozing due to a morning storm in IA, but encouraged me to get out the door. Due to my procrastination, I only got a two miler in but felt great until I returned home. It was when home that I realized I was cramping. I am still cramping.

There is blood. Red blood. We've been called in for an ultrasound at 12:15. I'm not hopeful, nor am I sad. I'm simply resigned. God has a plan, which may not include a birthday in February. His ways are perfect. Don't let this resignation fool you. I want this baby. This child is all ready my delight. I want nothing more than for this little scare to make me even more appreciative of this pregnancy. I just happen to be realistic enough in this moment to know that my wants are not always met, but my needs are.

Maybe I'm not taking the right approach. Maybe I'm supposed to be praying fervently. Maybe God's ear will be turned. I just don't know. That's the approach my Mom is taking.

One thing that I know I'm doing well is eating. Man, do I love to emotionally eat. Luckily there's a very short supply as to what I can eat today. It appears granola is about it.

I'm thinking about trivial things right now, like my not taking my prenatal vitamin this weekend and wondering if that beer in the first week somehow didn't cause this. Then there was the x-ray for my knee. Did they not cover me well enough? Did I even know I was pregnant then? What if I hadn't been so concerned about Isaac not being only child or what we would do for a 2nd vehicle? What if I hadn't have been mildly stressed? Did the baby feel that and think that it wasn't the right time? I love irrational thinking.

Less than two hours now.

I'm actually starting to get excited now. The cramps are really concerning me, but they haven't been painful, consistent or much of anything to note. I guess I'm just starting to get hopeful. I don't really want to be though. I'm so much more in control when I remain stoic.

I'm back now from the ultrasound. There will be no February birthday. Baby Bless's successor was stalled in growth at 6w5d. We lost our little one a little over two weeks ago. I knew as soon as my uterus filled the screen. There was no heartbeat. Isaac's heartbeat had been so strong and visible to us instantly at much the same point in time.

We made the decision with this pregnancy to switch practices. This child was to be born at a new hospital with a CNM (certified nurse midwife) who came highly recommended by a friend. The midwife wasn't available when we found out the news, but a doctor was on hand. While I know he must deal with women in all states of mind, I just wanted to shake him and demand that he acknowledge our baby was gone. He kept saying he was really concerned about the pregnancy and that at 6 1/2 weeks there should be a heart beat. I wanted to yell at him that he no longer talk of 6 1/2 weeks! Our baby shouldn't be 6 1/2 weeks, it should be 9 weeks!

That being said, both he and the ultrasound tech seemed to handle delivery the news quite hard, which was very touching to Tony and I. The ultrasound tech kept saying, "I would do anything to make that heart beat for you."

I think that Tony is taking this especially difficult. While I was much more reserved during this pregnancy, I think that Tony couldn't help but jump to imagining Isaac's sibling, forgetting the very real probability that we are now experiencing. He certainly cried harder than I did and prayed the most beautiful prayer, stating that he had no doubt that our child was welcomed into heaven by Jesus. Continuing with irrational thoughts though, I kept having the overwhelming need to apologize to Tony. He recognized this as nonsensical and quickly shot me down, telling me there was nothing to be sorry for.

Both Tony and recognized at the very same moment how blessed we are, as we sat in the ultrasound room, that we got to go home to our little man. We acknowledged and grieved for our family members and friends who have all too often reached the same point or never even been given the opportunity to face what we are. Your pain is all too real now, although we know we have not even tapped into that of those struggling with infertility.

We decided to name the baby Josiah, which was actually a humorous process [I am trying to maintain a sense of humor!]. We have two boy names on our list which I thought for sure Tony would never entertain the thought of using, but he proved me wrong! For one he even said, "Well when we have our 6th son it may be on the table." I don't even think he was joking! Josiah was not a name that I was fond of, but Tony likes it and it gained my vote of approval after Tony revealed it's meaning. Josiah means Jehovah heals, Jehovah helps or the Lord saves. I could think of no better name.

I came back to work after the ultrasound, but my boss sent me home. She told me that I got a gold star for coming back, but that it was the last place I should be. I started to cry when she told me to go pick up Isaac and spend what was left of the afternoon with him at the park. I stopped by the little convenience store and bought one of my favorite candies, Mike n Ike Tropical Fruit. They have tiny little boxes for $.40 which is perfect. I then walked a bit further and bought two cookies from Au Bon Pain. Don't judge. Instead of picking Isaac up and going to the park though, I went to the mall. I couldn't bear the thought of dwelling on the thought of Isaac's sibling while with him. It turned out to be a good choice.

My Mom gave us money to eat dinner out. We went to Acapulco and splurged with both cheese dip and tall beers. The beer didn't change the results of the day, but it sure tasted fantastic, especially since I'd been without a sip for the 4th of July [note to self, don't do that again].

We've been very supported by the few family and friends that we chose to tell. With Isaac we started out telling quite a few friends, but waited to tell family. With Josiah we did the opposite, only sharing with 4 girlfriends, my parents and brother. We have shared with more now about the imminent miscarriage than we told about the pregnancy. I've been so surprised by the depth of love, even from many who have no idea of the range of emotions we are assaulted by. We are so blessed.

A full 24 hours from the initial prick of our dreamy pregnancy bubble and I'm in a much different place. I still know that God is in control and that gives me comfort, even if I'm in pain right now. Tony and I are now experiencing something in which we will be able to relate to more of our friends and family in their time of need. I can't help but this that God's timing is perfect and that only He knows the reason Josiah was not meant to join us, although materialistically I could name a few.

We will not be doing a D&C, a choice which both Tony and are in agreement regarding. We will be waiting this out, but based on the cramps consistency now I don't anticipate that it will be long.


The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge and trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

Monday Glumday

Monday, July 19, 2010

You have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7

I've been feeling very tested lately. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. If feels like I'm going through a bit of an identity crisis, again. Everything appears to have stalled out, except for Isaac's growth and my weight gain. All of my short lived hopes have been dashed and well, to quote a favorite movie "Dreams are what makes life tolerable." I'm trying to pick up the pieces again, but know that I'm not relinquishing my burden to God.

There isn't enough hours in the day to accomplish daily tasks, let alone get ahead. This applies to money as well. When doesn't it? I'm reading Bring Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson right now and a particular chapter and analogy have particularly struck me. An excerpt from the book:

"The great French naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre once conducted a fascinating experiment with processionary caterpillars, so called because they tend to march in unison. He lined them around the inner edge of a flowerpot and then monitored them carefully as they marched in a circle. At the end of the third day, he placed pine needles, which the favorite food of caterpillars, in the center of the pot. They continued walking for four more days without breaking rank. Finally, one at a time, they rolled over and died of starvation, just inches from their ideal food source.

These furry little creatures remind me in some ways of today's moms. Most of them are trudging around in circles from morning to night, exhausted and harried, wondering how in the world they can get everything done. Many are employed full-time while also taking care of families, chauffeuring kids, fixing meals, cleaning the house, and trying desperately to maintain their marriages, friendships, family relationships and spiritual commitments. It is a backbreaking load. Sadly this over-committed and breathless way of life, which I call 'routine panic,' characterizes the vast majority of people in Western nations. "

Now I've never much liked butterflies, but boy, oh boy do I liken myself to a caterpillar today.

Family Reunion and Betrothed

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today's my Friday! I always hate when people have that on their facebook, so I'm trying to not rub it in. It's a beautiful thing though! We're going to be heading up to Alexandria this weekend for my Stepmom's family reunion. It's always a good time, but we're really excited about this year because we will actually be taking time off and staying at a hotel [yay for priceline!]! There will be bean bag tournaments, fishing competitions and a lot of good food! Tony and I are so excited for our little vacation.

Although I love my Barefoot Contessa recipe, it isn't exactly the cheapest salad to make. I'm branching out this time and will be making Baby Red Potato Salad, Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip and Cilantro Jalepeno Hummus. I want to make sure I have some healthier options, as I've been really kicking butt with running lately. I even did sprints in my back yard as my workout yesterday! In college we did 120's, a standard of 10, which consisted of sprinting the length of a 120 yard soccer field [which is both longer and wider than a football field, if you didn't know] in less than 20 seconds. You then had 40 seconds to jog back to the start where you could then rest for 20 minutes before sprinting again. Our yard is quite large, but not 120 yards! Regardless, I'd say I did 80's or 90's? I would sprint down, jog back and rest for 20's but didn't have a stop watch. Even though I wasn't strict with the time, I got quite the workout in! I'm so sore today! I love it!

Tuesday night Tony and I had dinner with Mike and Abby and took the opportunity to take some sweet shots of their little Ms. Brynna. She is definitely a wanted woman, with several boyfriends, but I will still contend that Isaac was one of the first to meet her:
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Anywhoo, we knew he'd have competition, but have always called Brynna and Isaac boyfriend girlfriend. I mean, can you blame me for wanting this sweet girl as my future daughter in law? With those big blue eyes? She's a knockout!
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Little did we know that Brynna was already smitten with Isaac, just check it out. She was all ready putting the moves on Isaac!
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Is this picture sweet or what? As Abby said, "The ones of the two babes will look great in their wedding slideshow :)" I couldn't agree more.
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We had a fabulous summer meal of corn on the cob, broccoli slaw, fresh berries and bratwurst. It honestly doesn't get any better than that when enjoyed with friends! It can be a little bit of a hassle getting together on week nights, but it is so fun to break up the week and do something different than just lounge at home!

The best part was that as we were leaving, I asked Isaac to give Brynna a kiss. And he did! He's never kissed anyone other than family so it was super sweet. Brynna is such a forward girl though and she even turned her head and kissed him right back. Those two, they've all ready got a history!

Daily Dose of Humor

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

These two videos back to back? I can't handle it. Oh to be a parent.

Dad Life from Church on the Move on Vimeo.



30 Day Beard

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finally. Finally. Finally. Praise the Lord it is over!

Tony can officially say that he won the bet. He grew his beard from June 12th to July 12th, with even a few extra hours thrown in.
Beard

Now, I said it before and I'll say it again. I love my husband's face and with a beard was no exception . . . I just wish he'd been able to trim and make it look groomed! If there's a next time, it'll go down with those stipulations. A lot of people gave Tony grief for growing a beard in the middle of summer, but really, he can't grow one in the winter. His officiating duties require that he be clean shaven, so the middle of summer was the only choice.

FYI, this is not the man I married. Run away {screaming} Run away!
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MishMash

Monday, July 12, 2010

- Isaac was bit by our oldest cat last night. I'm really surprised it was Callie! She is the most socialized of the two, doesn't have her front claws and really tolerates Isaac well, considering her first year was spent at my Mom's with the daycare kids.

I was doing the dishes and asked Isaac to get his milk. What I didn't know and didn't watch for was that his milk was out of his reach and right by the cat. I'm not sure what he did to her, but know it had to have been pretty substantial, as I've seen what she's put up with in the past.

Isaac instantly started his hurt cry and I raced over to him, water still running. He just sobbed as I held him, smothered him in kisses and looked him over. I couldn't find a mark, so hoped he was just scared and that she had just batted at him. I finally saw the marks near his elbow. Two puncture marks in the fleshy bend of his arm and two little lines where her top teeth had dragged. :( Sad day.

It took a few minutes, but he calmed down. Thankfully he doesn't seem scared of her, as he didn't avoid her the rest of the night.

- Tony and I will be giving up our smart phones, shortly. As in, we're in agreement, finally, but just need to actually make it to the store. Tony really wanted me to keep my smart phone as he feels it's safer that I have it and all of it's information available, but I think the cost just isn't worth it.

- Also on the front of saving money, Tony is gung-ho about meal planning. I tried it two years ago, maybe, but got hung up on an off week. He's insistent that he'll help, although he's not sure how. :) I've been really proud of him though, he's packed a lunch for himself going on two weeks now!

I came across E-mealz and saw that it was endorsed by Dave Ramsey, another something we're picking up again. I'm really intrigued by the $35/week 2 person meal plan, but really wished that the grocery sale corresponded with our local grocery stores (Kroger and Wal-mart are not options). I'm fully aware that with forethought I could do this myself, but am wondering if anyone has any experience with the site? I'm really interested in it!

- Tony finally gets to shave today after his silly dare with my brother! Gosh, maybe he'll even let me give him a haircut. I love his face no matter what it looks like, but the fact that he hasn't even trimmed his neck . . . um, I'll be greeting him at the door with his clippers! Of course there will be before and afters.

- Last week was terrible for getting up and running! I only managed Tuesday, although the Tuesday after a 3-day weekend holiday was pretty brutal so I think that deserves extra credit! I'm back on track for this week though, up at 5:20 this morning! It really gets me all zesty and peppy. I don't think there's a better way to start the day!

Isaac Updates and Videos

Friday, July 9, 2010

My poor little bub had to go to the Dr.'s yesterday! He received his MMR and Hib last week and we're not sure if this was the result or not. He has had a fever a few days in the past week, but yesterday at my Mom's it got up to 103.9. I left work to bring him in, he just looked so sad. He didn't want to drink anything and only wanted to eat cold watermelon. To top it off he would cry and say "Owie, owie, owie." It just broke my heart.

He slept practically from 5:30 on through this morning, so you know his body has been busy fighting something off, even though the QuickTest came back negative for strep. He slept really well last night though and was cool to the touch this morning.

Although he's on the mend, I thought I would share some recent videos and pictures of happier times! In this video, right away you can hear him say "Where'd it go?" and then right at the end he says "What's that?"


In this one at my Dad's you can hear him say "Where'd it go?" rapid fire like normal lol. I love it!


Here Isaac's having fun with the See n Say that Nadia got him for his birthday. He's just getting the hang of it!


Finally in this one, you can see Isaac eating a banana by himself for the first time. Notice how Allie is very intune with where the food is, she knows Isaac loves to feed her!

A Bit Haywire

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This morning started at 4:00am with our smoke detector on the main level blaring. Tony quickly ran down the stairs to assess, while I gathered Isaac up. After Tony thoroughly inspected every room and level there was no smoke detected. We know it wasn't the battery and it's not an old alarm, so we're pretty perplexed.

Of course due to this uncertainty as I was lying in bed trying to go back to sleep, the incredible thought that someone got into our house, lit a match under the alarm to set it off and ran outside before Tony got down the stairs popped into my head. Oh yes it did. I am my Mother's daughter.

Unfortunately thanks in part to all of this hubbub, I turned my alarm off when it was time to prepare for my morning run with nary a thought. I was so upset to wake up at 6:00 knowing that the opportunity was gone. Tony's quick comfort, "Cuddle your boy, it'll make missing the run worth it."

So I did and continued to sleep, which is exactly the cause for Tony being late . . . well not really, he's late because he can't get himself out of bed when I'm in it, but I digress. So of course I woke up at 6:30, Tony still lying right next to me and I need to get in the shower no later than 6:40 to catch my 7:15 bus. Didn't happen.

But I've been having these thoughts in the middle of pity party moments such as these, which seem to be happening with more recurrence, that I shouldn't be wishing away these annoyances. There is a very real possibility that these are the moments to celebrate. No one knows if their next breath will indeed be drawn, a subsequent exhale. Neither are certainties.

I find myself most annoyed when I'm doing the dishes specifically. As I stand there scrubbing, begrudging Tony whatever it is that he doing when he isn't helping me complete them, I literally daydream about a dishwasher. My mind is filled with what my life will look like with such a novel contraption. And then I pause to think, who am I assume a "better" life? Who am I to think that I could be happier than I am now?

I think it's too often as Christian's we pray and hope and believe that things will turn in our favor, forgetting about Job. Easily forgetting that our purpose on Earth is not to be pleased, but rather to instead glorify God.

I may never have a dishwasher and at this point, I wonder why God would allow me it, when most days I don't truly appreciate the blessings He has already bestowed.

Much Needed!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Following up on my Friday post, this weekend was remarkably needed. There was good food, running, a little sleeping in, a lot of cuddling, giggles and full out laughter. A lot of family and some friends who feel like family.

I'm sure I can't complain, but the weather here has been terribly muggy lately! Although we've barely broken 90's, the dewpoints have just been terrible. Saturday morning, I continued my 5:30am run! I ran 4 days in row, starting with this post, including Saturday and have now continued it this morning to 5 out of 7 days! I'm so glad that I didn't try to sleep in either, because it was already 75* at 5:30 am. If I'd waited until 8:00 or 9:00 I wouldn't have even considered it!

I got to see Abby later on Saturday and we ate at 3 Squares in Maple Grove. It was my first time there and it was so freaking good! The best part is that Abby and I like similar food and she was all for splitting the two dishes I couldn't decide between. So we had the Turkey Burger [this is no ordinary turkey burger, it's description: fresh ground turkey, peanuts, jalapenos, onion, garlic and curry seasonings blended together and topped with pepper jack cheese, poblano peanut pesto aioli and iceberg lettuce] and the Spinach Salad [again, not the typical salad: Spinach, apple, cucumber, Reggiano, pecans and cider vinaigrette with crème coriander, brie & strawberry with grilled ciabatta]. Such great choices!

We then went to go to the new park near the restaurant to take some updated pictures of Brynna. And. I. Forgot. My. SD. Card. I was so upset! So unfortunately, even though Brynna was the picture of cuteness, we have to reschedule. Tear.

After that I went home to prepare my shared dishes for the 4th. I made the Roasted Shrimp Orzo salad and my Herbed Cheese Spread, failing for the 100th time to photograph either. In the middle of their prep we were invited over to my in-laws for dinner, so that rounded out our Saturday!

Isaac made my mother in law laugh to no end with his incessant "Where'd it go?" As pictured here:
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It never gets old though. He's just too cute! Love, love, love his curls.

Sunday, we slept in a little bit before heading to church. We're doing a new series now about Dangerous Anthems. Christian truths that when taken too far are no longer true! It is going to be great! The first was In God We Trust. I can't wait for the others. Next week is Sin is Sin.

We stopped home quick after church and then were on the way to our first of two parties! The Fourth of July has been my hands down most favorite holiday for many years in large part due to the fact that it is spent with friends and not family. I know that it is not always true, but my friend's do not equate with drama. We have spent the last several years at the house of high schools friend's parents' house with several other families and friends. Instead of a BBQ, we have spaghetti and the time is leisurely spent eating, playing in the pool or playing yard games. Then about 9:00 we head to my friend Steve's parents house to trek through neighborhoods and parks to reach the fireworks through the back way. This allows us to enjoy a great walk and avoid the terrible traffic afterward! This day is pure amazingness from start to finish.

Well, this year, as I mentioned we went to two parties, as my Dad has decided to host an annual party as well. I was honestly skeptical at first, because as I mentioned I love the tradition of events of our "normal" day, but we had a great time at my Dad's! Friends and family were there and Isaac was in the first of two pools for the day!

He's getting to be such a big boy now! His shirt says Red, White & Vrooom. I thought it was adorable!
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I mean seriously. Love him.
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We got a good family picture thanks to my brother!
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Oh and remember the little bet that Tony had going with my brother? Still going strong. Only 6 more days, only 6 more days! I've been calling him Grizzly Adams, but I guess Paul Bunyan is the name of choice!
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With how long his hair is I've also taken to calling him by his given name Anthony. Especially when it's slicked back like this!
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Meet the Farmers Tan Mafia. Never heard of them? Gee, that's odd, I wonder why? I just think this picture is hilarious!
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My cousin and his family was in town from Wisconsin. We're so happy to hear that they're planning on movie to Minnesota. This is their oldest Tyson!
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At 4:00 we left my Dad's to go to our friend's house and Isaac was promptly in the pool again! I've never seen him so excited for so long, as he was getting in the pool with Aaron!
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He's played with noodles before, but this time? Oh man, he was practically trying to swim away!

He was just having so much fun that Tony joined him again, with a little prodding by myself! The pool was full of dad's with their sons and there was Isaac with Aaron lol.
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He is just pleased as punch to be in the pool, but you can tell by his coloring he was getting a little cold.
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It seems like in this picture like he's saying, "Mom? Mom? Who is this crazy bearded guy?"
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And then there was a little bit of tossing sons in the air:
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Thankfully they weren't competing!
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It was really important to Tony that Isaac go to the fireworks last year, when he was only 2 months old, so that he can have the chance to say he's gone to fireworks every year of his life. I don't know why this is a big deal . . . but it is to Tony, so of course we went this year!

Isaac was a little undecided and needed some comfort at first:
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But before long . . . he was loving it. Well not emphatically loving it, but chilled out enjoying the show loving it:
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It just doesn't get any sweeter than this for me:
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Monday was a great wrap-up to the weekend! We spent a very relaxing rainy day at home before heading out to quick congratulate some friend's on their weekend wedding on the way to Gina's birthday party. Oh my goodness, her food was so good! She was generous enough to send us along with friend skewers which were eaten this morning and for lunch! It was all super fresh and yummy. I hope that she had as great a time at her birthday party as we did! The girl even had fresh fruit garnishes for her champagne. So cute!

Burying a Dream

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'm not quite sure how much to detail or where to pick up, but I'm a little sad right now. The news that I previously alluded to, but did not share regarding the acquisition of the companies is currently not a nice story.

Basically, we were conned. I want to feel embarrassed, but I can't quite but my finger on what? Embarrassed by our hope? Our desire? We didn't go into it blindly; our lawyers were involved, financial planners. We had access to current financial books . . .

Long story short, Tony contacted a seller who didn't actually own the company that he was selling, anymore, but had previously before the prior owner re-bought the company at a loss. The man who we were dealing with successfully played Tony and Scott off of the current owner so that they would not communicate and realize the deception. He was in it to make a small profit in order to pay back the original owner what he owed him from having to be bought out. He is The Crook.

If only it were that simple. Along the way, in attempts for financing, another company was brought into the picture. This company is the company located over an hour from our home and is where Tony and Scott currently work as contracted owners.

So many legal contracts have been broken it makes my head spin. Have you ever met someone who lies as often as they draw a breath? Who's morals make you queasy? Unfortunately that is the "brother in Christ" we were working with.

I hate that I know what the passenger of every slowly sinking boat feels. The terror, the hope and ultimately the flailing attempts made to dump out water. That was us, for way longer than I am comfortable typing and yet, we just kept trying to make it work. We just didn't understand the depth of the situation.

The lying, corruption and lack of response to our threats all made perfect sense with a sudden phone call. A business partner called Tony and asked that Tony detail his involvement with The Crook and what stories had been told to us. And then the truth came out: The Crook is filing for bankruptcy.

This whole thing? Our small part? Not even the tip of the iceberg that brought down our ship. No wonder he could lie to us with such consistency, his whole entire life was a charade. He was incapable of telling the truth, because everywhere he looked he'd fabricated the view. There are some big names that he owes a lot more, but sadly we may never get our due.

He didn't name us on the bankruptcy schedule as a debt and we've contacted our lawyer on appropriate action for rectification and have been advised to desist. Basically because of the complexity of his case, while we have a valid claim, it would take years of pay garnishing to be paid back. Add to this the price to prosecute and the potential cost of keeping tabs on The Crook to ensure that his pay is garnished? We'd be better off keeping the money we do have.

My Mom and I would like to pursue criminal charges regarding false representation, at least as a starting point, but Tony is just weary of the whole situation. Additionally, there may be lack of paperwork to actually show that the company was bought back from The Crook, which would obviously stop the case. I just don't know enough about our options.

Tony and Scott are currently operating Company #2, which thankfully is a world away and without any ties to the first . . . except that we don't own it. We are running it based on a contract for deed, provided that the financing was coming for the purchase of Company #1 and Company #2. The owner is aware of The Crook's dealings and is willing to work with Tony and Scott. Thankfully they do have options for self financing now and are doing quite well at running the company. There is still hope.

Unfortunately it does not have the cash flow of Company #1. One of Tony's primary goals in self-employment was to allow me to stay home as a work from home mother. And that my friend's is the dream that I'm burying, for now.

Not too deep,
in an easily accessible location,
but burying all the same.

14 Months

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Isaac is now 14 months. Which means he's not close enough to 18 months to say 1 1/2 years, but he's also just far enough from 1 year to no longer feel comfortable saying that either. I must resort to the dreaded months and be that parent. Because those two months are a world of difference!

Isaac's favorites:
"Where'd it go?" - He says this with hands splayed out on either side and it remarkably somehow sounds like "Popsicle."

"What's that?" - Usually said while pointing at a light or fan, but now includes most any object.

Doggie - Refers to any animal, including kitty cats. As long as he doesn't say titty tat like his Mom, I'll take Doggie anyday.

Woof-woof - Again, refers to the sound of any animal, although we're working on meow. Interchangeable with "Bow wow."

Daddy

Ball

Vroom vroom - Refers to cars, trucks, "going" or home.

Numm Numm - What we have called food from day one. Can be said when asking for food or in response to food.

I'm sure that there are more, but that we haven't identified them as repeated words quite yet.

Isaac still loves his hockey stick, but has broadened to baseball bats and golf clubs. His new favorite thing to do with sticks is to make a "swishing" noise when swinging them, seriously, almost like a light saber! Too funny.

He gets no greater enjoyment than from throwing balls. Any size, any color, doesn't matter, he just wants to pick it up and throw it! The look on his face and squeal say everything!

Isaac loves eating with a bowl, spoon or fork and it's just the cutest thing watching him. Amazingly he doesn't seem to get frustrated!

Isaac loves to figure things out and could spend hours trying to snap a buckle. Here he is trying to put the pinecone back on the tree:
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I know I'm biased, but goodness sakes, he's such a cutie!
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He um, still loves dirt too. Based on his Dad, I think it will be a lifelong affair:
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I think he might be leading the way towards a green cell phone. It's the future!
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Hi buddy! I love you!
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You are amazing Mr. Man.
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