Image

Happy Half Birthday Zoe Bear!

One and a half today.  Insane.

I tried writing the post a different way at first–writing a letter to you, talking all about how things are here and what everyone is up to (yourself included).  But that was just too damn hard.  With so many changes it’s nearly impossible to imagine exactly how you would fit in.  Would we have kept the layout the same, with the downstairs master bedroom as the playroom and the tiny Jack and Jill room yours?  Would I be stressing about the deployment as much since I would have a 7, 5 and 2 year old instead of having to go through the birth and the first six months with a newborn alone? How would your being here effect things like going to the pool and beach?  (Although I have a feeling that wouldn’t change anything–I love the beach too much that I’d be more than willing to sacrifice your nap time to do it.  Sorry kid).  Would you have more of your brother’s personality, complete with the ability to play on your own, allowing me to have some sanity or would you be super needy like your sister? Millions and millions of what-ifs that are always there, but triggered even more so by the change of scenery.

In some ways being pregnant makes it easier.  Because if everything would’ve worked out with you, we never would have this baby.  To Jeff’s chagrin, we probably would have completely abstained from any kind of …. extracurricular activity …. once we knew about the possibility of a deployment just because there’s no way in hell I would want to risk even the slightest possibility of being pregnant while he was gone.  And I am so incredibly grateful to be pregnant after it taking so long and being so fearful that it wasn’t ever going to happen again that it helps to overshadow the insignificant detail of doing it alone.  But, because of the circumstances, in some ways it makes it harder…. if you were here with us then there would be no need to be pregnant.  Jeff wouldn’t have to miss out on the birth and the first six months.  (Not that the first six months are all that exciting.  But still).  And with the pregnancy progressing and the deployment looming that single “what if” is beginning to consume all positive thoughts.

It seems like I’ve been wallowing, but I really haven’t been.  This day, unsurprisingly, just brings all of the thoughts to the forefront.  Instead of just brushing away the questions, today I’m taking the time to actually think about how different everything should be (as much as I don’t want to.  And will probably try to stop doing as soon as I’m finished writing.  Because you know, denial/ignoring the issue is obviously the answer).  Compounded with how close to a move this is–and all of the change and loneliness just moving itself comes with–it’s extra hard.  That being said, this transition was still a million times easier than the last move.  I mean, I haven’t cried so that’s got to be progress.  Or, you know, unhealthy.  Potato, po-tah-to.  But I think that on your next big milestone I will be able to write that letter to you.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

In honor of your half birthday, I made you half of a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting.  Beautiful, isn’t it??  Seriously I should decorate cakes for a living.  People would totally pay for that. Typically your sister was full of tact as she proclaimed, “Um Mama?  Maybe I should help you decorate my cake.  So it doesn’t turn out so ….  …. …. …. mushy.”

But (as usual) I digress.  I just know that you’re not allergic to PB–along with hatred of the beach, that’s just not allowed in this household.  It may not look pretty (my MO), but it sure was delicious.  Happy half birthday Zoe Bear.  Love you, today and every day.

Ungrateful.

I really try to appreciate what I have.  To be thankful for the many many blessings in our life, big and small.  Especially the small ones.  But some days are just harder than others, and today is one of those days.  Some days I don’t care about everything I have and can only focus on what I don’t have.  I question the “everything happens for a reason” bullshit.  Although honestly, that part isn’t different from any other day–I always believe it’s a load of crap.  Things don’t “happen for a reason”–they just happen.  Just like the whole “seeing signs” thing.  They’re both just bullshit that people tell themselves to try to get through their tragedy.  Which is fine; I’m glad that coping mechanism works for them.  But that’s not ever been something that I believed in or was able to take comfort from.

We’ve been trying to get pregnant ever since Zoe passed away.  Nine months of trying and nothing.  I try to focus on the fact that for some people that’s a drop in the bucket, and 99.9% of the time that works.  The majority of the time I’m grateful that my other 3 pregnancies were pretty much “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.”  Jordan took 3 months to conceive.  Carter, the longest, was 5.  Zoe was only 2.  And I didn’t do anything special for any of them.  No charting, no ovulation tests, no nothing beyond good old fashioned trying.  After 6 months without results this time around, I started doing everything I could think of.  And, as of last night, still absolutely nothing.

Each month that passes means another month’s difference in ages, which is a gap I never wanted to begin with this time around.  It means another month that I have to go without having a baby.  For awhile I took solace in the fact that if Zoe hadn’t passed, then the next baby wouldn’t exist.  Now with each passing month without results, that becomes less and less true.  Adding to all of that, there’s a very good chance that if we go where we think we’re going next, Jeff will be deploying soon after our arrival.  So each passing month now means one less month he’s going to be around to help.  Soon he won’t even be there for the birth.  And even after he gets home, he’s going to be working 20 hour days so it’s not like he’ll be around then either.  This is the worst possible time we could be trying to have a baby.

All I can focus on right now is how perfect everything should be.  The age difference between Zoe and Carter was exactly what I wanted.  Jeff is home all the time and would be around for the first year and a half of her life to help with everything.  By the time he deployed, everything would be running smoothly.  When he returned it would be great timing to start trying for a fourth, if that’s what we wanted to do.  Or even if we had gotten pregnant immediately this time around.  Then I would be giving birth any day now and we’d have a child cursed with the dreaded Christmas birthday.  We’d have nearly a whole year together.  But that’s not how it is.

For the last 14 hours I’ve been vacillating between sad and angry.  Because you know what?  This is bullshit.  I’m owed.  I deserve a baby.  And fuck you for not letting it happen.

And then while browsing Facebook a little bit ago, I stumbled on a post on one of the military groups I’m in.  A stranger posted that her friend just became a Gold Star wife.  Two kids, a 3 year old and a 5 month old, will now grow up without a father.  And I’m sitting here whining and carrying on because we’ve been trying to get pregnant for 9 months without results?  I already have two healthy children.  A happy marriage.  A good life.  I need to grow up.  I know that tomorrow I will read this post and think about how incredibly selfish I was being.  I’m going to hate that I wasted a whole day wallowing on what I don’t have, instead of focusing on what I do.  I’m sure I’ll regret letting everyone know that we’re trying to get pregnant when I’ve been keeping that under wraps.  I’ll hate that I let everyone know how selfish I truly am.

But that’s tomorrow.  Today I’m going to cry and kick things.  Today I’m going to own the anger and sadness that I never let myself feel.  Today I’m going to wallow and be selfish.  I at least deserve that much.

quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-2
Image

The Original Quiet Book, Part Three

Almost finished with J’s original quiet book, I promise!  Just this post and then one more.  You can check out parts one and two for more ideas!

Super easy one:  bead counting.quiet-book-counting-pageI got the idea from here.  I have a huge thing of beads so this was a great way to use them up.  I also added her name since I have a bunch of letter beads as well.  I don’t think she ever really played with it, but I can’t remember for sure.  Either way she’s been past that one for quite awhile now.  It’ll go into C’s book for sure.

Money page next.  Another one of my favorites!! quiet-book-money-page-3 quiet-book-money-page-2 quiet-book-money-page-1Once again it’s easy to tell that I used this blog for my inspiration, haha.  I really didn’t have any creativity when making this first book!  Although I did add something completely different that I didn’t see anywhere else:  the money sorting pockets at the bottom.  The downside to those, however, is that the money doesn’t actually stay in there.  Yet another time when I should’ve used velcro or snaps or something.  Fortunately it can be stored in the pig instead.  I also should have reinforced the slot where the money goes in.  Like by making it an actual buttonhole!

This is another one that J never really played with and once again I’m not sure why.  I think that I’ll just move it over into a new quiet book for her though.  She’ll start understanding money a lot more in the next couple of years and this would be a great learning tool!  I just need to see if I can hot glue some velcro to the money pockets.

This one makes me shudder every time I look at it.  Great idea in theory but the end result just didn’t turn out well.  A Walk the Dog page.

dog-quiet-book-page

quiet-book-original-dog-page-1I used this post for the idea but made my dog a bit differently, opting for his whole body instead of just his head.  I picked up the leash and collar from the dollar store.  I sewed the collar down so it could still open and close but couldn’t be taken off the whole way.  I trimmed the leash waaaaay down, made a loop for the handle and added velcro to attach it to the page.

This is another one that I don’t think J ever used.  It’s also going in the garbage just because I can’t stand the way it turned out.  I made one for Nolan’s quiet book, modeled to look like their dog Stetson.  I think it turned out much better and would make something similar to go into C’s book.  You can read all about how I made that page here.

quiet-book-dog-page-nolan

Next up:  Goodnight House!  Another one that I really like.  quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-2 quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-1Finally, a completely original idea!  I thought it would be really cute to have a page where she could put everyone in the family “to bed”.  I printed off our heads and attached them to cardstock bodies.  I printed off something similar to our pjs and pasted them on top.  Then I laminated the whole thing.  This is before I got my super cool laminator and was just using those sheets you can buy and just stick together yourself.  Hence why they look a bit funny.  I then glued them onto popsicle sticks.

I cut out 6 rectangles in different fabrics for our beds, folded the raw edges in, sewed the top down and then attached them to the house.  For the house I sewed on a white fabric square and red fabric triangle (obviously my measuring skills were a bit off since the roof is smaller than the house LOL!).  I added a moon and done!  Unfortunately the popsicle sticks never stayed in very well.  The pockets need to be deeper and wider (in order to fit our fat heads).  Either that or they need to be stored in a separate pocket somewhere.  I could probably add a zipper to one of the sides of the house for storage.  I don’t actually have to redo this page yet (since we’ll have three kids but only two dogs so the number of beds is good.  One of us will just have to sleep in the dog print blanket 😉 ), but I do need to update/fix the people.  Poor C doesn’t have a head since he wasn’t even born when I made this page, haha!

Okay, check out Part Four next week for the final installment!

Firsts.

We’re camping. We’re not religious people so Easter obviously isn’t a big deal in our household. Weather permitting, I’d like to make it a family tradition to go camping every Easter weekend. This weekend we’re at a Jellystone in Natural Bridge with plans to hit up some caverns and a drive through safari.

Right now I’m laying in the top bunk next to C, waiting for him to fall asleep. Normally that’s not something I do (lay with him, that is), but not only is this his first time sleeping in the camper since the fall but he’s also still sick. So I figured I’d be a nice mother for once and not traumatize him by leaving him alone in a strange place like I usually do.

Laying next to him with one arm slung over his chest, watching his eyelids slowly drop and then rapidly fly open over and over again, idly thinking of ways to toddler-proof the top bunk so he doesn’t break his neck, tears suddenly started streaming down my cheeks as a thought struck me: this isn’t right. I should be lying up here with a child right now, but not this one. The last time we went camping we hatched out a plan for the following spring/summer:  J would sleep on the pullout couch, C would be in the bottom bunk and I would sleep in the top bunk with Zoe. That way I’d be right there to feed her the eight billion times a night she required while not disturbing everyone else (or at least as little as possible in a camper).

I think subconsciously I knew something wasn’t right. I noticed on the drive out here that I was starting to feel depressed and tired. I just chalked it up to not having slept well for the last week due to two sick children, combined with listening to C cry and whine for the last hour in the car. And then once we got here everything was forgotten as I rushed around trying to get everything unpacked and dinner made before bed. It wasn’t until I stopped moving and my brain started wandering that my subconscious let the rest of me in on its little secret–this is bullshit. Everything is bullshit.

It’s these times that are the hardest. The “first” milestones. The first minute, first hour, first day, first week, first month.  First story time. First time back at the gym. First time seeing someone who knew I was pregnant. And then the firsts I hadn’t considered:  the first drive in a new vehicle and the first camping trip. It makes me wonder how many millions of firsts are going to catch me off guard like this in the future. How I’ll never be prepared for all of them. How it doesn’t matter how well it seems that I’m doing; I’ll never fully be over her death. How it doesn’t matter how many times I repeat “it is what it is” to myself–it still doesn’t make it right. It still hurts. I still don’t want to accept it. I shouldn’t have to accept it. Everything is bullshit.

I hate nighttime. When everything else shuts down except my brain, which never stops. Never gives me a moment of peace. It doesn’t matter how good of a day I had; it all turns to shit when it’s time to go to sleep.

I’m not going to let this ruin our weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and it’s going to be a great one. It may not be complete or what it should be, but it is what it is. And we’re going to make it as good as it can be.

Until it’s time to go to sleep tomorrow.