Wednesday, June 26, 2013

And Yet...

So tomorrow we officially begin our family vacation.   We have spent the week cleaning and organizing, so the house is lovely for the amazing Morgan who is house/dog sitting for the week.  We did general car maintenance and took care of the several shopping trips that are always required when you realize you have so much stuff, but not the RIGHT stuff for a week away from home.  The clothes are clean, the bags are being packed, we are ready to go.  And we are so excited to get our feet in the sand and have a family filled week of relaxation and quality time together.

And yet...

I hate that.  The 'and yet' that has to be part of our planning and life and joy since the loss of Missy. It's everywhere.  This underlining 'and yet...' or the 'but still...' or 'even though...' that feels the need to remind me, as if I could forget, that someone is missing. 

This is our family vacation.  My parents Boo, Chris, Darcy... we are going together.  Just like we always do.  Just like so many years since we were little.  Except this year, this time, everything is different.  And it is pulling on my heart like an actual weight.  The worry it will be too hard... and sometimes the worry that it wont be, and that there will be guilt about the fun and sun and relaxation we will enjoy without her with us.

We will miss her.  There is no doubt of that. There will be a constant feeling of incompleteness, which unfortunately our family is becoming familiar with when we are together.  There will be a hole, and I truly have no idea how that will impact this week.  All we knew was that we needed to go; that our family needs this time together.  That living and grieving have to go hand in hand.  So next week we will be at the beach together, and she will be there too, since she is with us always.  But not like she was last year, and not like she should be.  So like with everything  that happens in this life since we lost her, we are left looking forward to our trip, but plagued by the 'and yet...'

Last year's family vacation photo montage:



Monday, June 24, 2013

Sweet Boy, Sweet Dog

Vacation is coming! Vacation is coming!

And I have feeeelings about that (of course I do).  But I am too busy attempting to get the house cleaned up and us packed and ready for 11 days out of town to really delve into those feelings.  So instead, I give you pictures! 
A boy and his dog :)
Just Henry hanging out on the floor with Ms. Ellie girl...
I took about ten pictures trying to get them both to look at me, but sometimes you just can't win. Henry finally gives me the good smile... Ellie hears something on the front porch
And she's gone...
No problem... I'll just practice my know... for the beach...

(I realize this post is thinnly strung together, but it's what I got.)

( And how I could I not include the tub picture?  The boy is SO PROUD that he can float now. Bath time takes an extra fifteen minutes at least. "LOOK MAMA!! LOOK!  I FLOATING!!!!"  What can I say, the boy has skillz)

(We leave in THREE DAYS!)


Friday, June 21, 2013

Gaining Traction

So you know how I am getting my Masters in Public Health? ( I talk about it sometimes...) That is still happening. And the NEXT BIG THING on my graduation to-do list is to decide on my capstone project. which... I don't even know what to compare a capstone too exactly. It's huge. It's a year long project doing research on a topic within pubic health; choosing an area to study, analysing data, forming conclusions, writing a paper, presenting that paper to a panel of extremely intelligent professors in the department, allowing them to point out all the things that are wrong, defend myself...and then (hopefully) pass and graduate.

 It's sorta epic.

 And I swear I feel like I have been trying to think of a topic I want to research for a year.  I know I was thinking about it at the start of the year when I mentioned my capstone goals in my New Years Resolution... so I have FOR SURE been rolling around ideas for six months.  I have no idea what is wrong with me, or why I didn't just buckle down, ask for help and WORK OUT A PLAN, but I didn't. For months I would just randomly think from time to time "I wounder if there is a way to find out the effects of infertility medications on pregnancy outcomes..."  or "I wonder how hard it would be to find the effects of GMOs on early childhood development.." , which, don't get me wrong, aren't bad ideas (at least I think they sound okay) but they had no backing, no data.  They were just thoughts that floated in and out of my head, along with about fifteen other similar thoughts.  Nothing ever taking hold, nothing ever gaining any traction as that one GREAT (researchable) idea. 

Until yesterday.

I finally sent some emails this week.  I contacted my adviser and my practicum instructor, both of whom I adore.  I told them my ideas, told them I feel a little overwhelmed and possibly confused on how you go about finding that ONE BIG IDEA to spend a year of your life working on.  I wanted it to be meaningful, but at the same time, something I could actually complete within a reasonable amount of time.  So I set up some meetings, we emailed about existing data sets, I had a two hour meeting with my practicum instructor and BAM!  Yesterday I picked my capstone project.

Or at least, I kind of did.  I narrowed it down. I have a distinct direction, I have a workable data set, and there is no doubt that I am gaining traction. I am going to hold off on mentioning what the project is, because that seems like a bad idea.  Like, WHAT IF SOMEONE STOLE IT!  (Which wouldn't really be stealing because I would be the fool giving it away for free on my blog)  Plus, it's just the start of the idea, the rough draft of the plan. But I feel really good about it.  Great even. 

It is an amazing feeling to be doing something you are passionate about.  And I find myself extremely passionate about public health.  It feels really good to feel like I may be able to make a difference in people's lives by working in public health research.  This capstone will be the first step. 

So, like every other time I start something big and new, I am going to tell you I am doing it.  Mention that it might reduce the frequency of blogs posts around here, and then basically continue to post something 3-4 times a week, just like I have for the last seven years.  I am not going anywhere, I am just adding one more important thing to my plate.  But this new thing is something I am going to (at least sometimes) enjoy... so it's all good.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So I am Covered in a Mystery Rash... Wanna Hang Out?


So I have this rash.  Let me tell you about it, so you can feel sorry for me... which might make me feel a little better.

I woke up with it last Tuesday, which you may remember was a very stressful day.  Because if that stress, I figured it was a stress induced rash.  They happen, and it seemed logical.  But then, even after the stress of Tuesday went away, the rash has stayed.  Setting up shop, making itself at home, becoming settled in for a nice long stay.  And then, it decided to have a family, spreading itself far and wide.

  It sorta looks like this:
large red itchy/flakey looking splotches.

Unless of course it looks like this:
Almost bite like little pin prick spots that REFUSE to be photographed well, but completely cover my sides and back.  Seriously, there are hundreds of them.

And it is taking over my entire BODY
Which, once again isn't really viewable in this picture but I AM POSTING IT ANYWAY BECAUSE IT IS ANNOYING ME

It goes from my neck to my knees.  It is not on my hands, feet or face.  It itches like a bitch, and it hurts.  I know you are wondering if I have been to the doctor, and OF COURSE I HAVE.  I went last Thursday afternoon once it started spreading all over my stomach and back and I worried it was some sort of bite or something TERRIBLE.  It wasn't.  I mean, it wasn't a bite.  She couldn't really say if it was something TERRIBLE because she just scratched her said, said she had no idea, could be from stress... here are some drugs! 

Nobody else in my house or work has it.  I haven't changed my detergent or been anywhere strange (besides Idaho, but that was a month ago).  I have not rolled naked in poison ivy.  Yesterday I called the doctor again and they called me in a new perscription, this time an oral steroid, since the cream and allergy type medication they said would "CLEAR IT RIGHT UP!" last week were a bust.  I thought the oral steriods were working, but the inch/red factor as the day goes on is having me second guess that assumption.

Soooooo... anybody ever have a mystery rash?  One that nobody else in your house has, that seems to not care about steroid treatments or allergy treatments, that lasts for over a week and has the ability to drive you crazy with the constant itching and general uncomfortableness?  I am up for any crackpot home remedies at this point. 

Also... should I be too embarassed to go to the pool tomorrow? I SWEAR it doesn't seem remotely contagious, but still... a little awkward to get out of the car and look like I am covered in the measles.  (which is what my coworker said they sorta looked like... sounds healthy).

 (for the record I had my vaccine)

I am planning on going, but I did borrow a one piece suit.  Nobody wants to look at this while they enjoy their summer day... 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Papa's Day

There is no place Henry would rather be than as close to his Papa as he can get. 
Parenting: you are doing it right. I am so thankful to be doing it with you.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Post-Birthday Thoughts

Thank you all so much for all of your kind words, thoughts and your prayers for our family this week. Tuesday was harder than I expected.  I planned to go to work, but when I woke up I was just so... overwhelmed. So very heartbroken.  I couldn't seem to get the tears under control.  So I took the day and stayed home with Henry.

The morning saw a lot of tears and the always trusty TV as a babysitter. But around lunch I pulled myself together and suggested we have a picnic, just the two of us, in the back yard.  After that, was each painted a rock to be added to Missy's rock garden and I finally covered all the painted rocks in sealant so they could be left at the cemetery where, hopefully, the paint will stay in place.  We played chase around the yard and we swung on the swing set.  That sweet boy has a way of helping his Mama's heartache.

I always have a hard admitting something is too much for me, that I can't work because I am just so sad, or tired, or whatever it is I am pushing myself to ignore.  But Tuesday afternoon, in a way, I could hear Missy with her exasperated voice "You are too hard on yourself.  Sometimes it's OKAY to take a day off just to be sad.  You aren't superwoman.  JUST RELAX."  So that's what I tried to do.  I tried to listen to what I knew she would be saying. I tried to picture her rolling her eyes at me as I list off all the things I am doing.  I thought of her telling me to slow down.  Feel my feelings.  Take care of myself.

That night we went to my parents house for dinner as a family.  We had one of her favorite soups and her favorite cake.  We were all sad,  but we were okay.  My dad did have to work, and he said he had a good day.  He truly felt her with him the entire day.  And I think that was her too. She knew dad had to work, to be out there in the real world, so she was with him...making it easier. 

After dinner we all went to the cemetery together.  We had each been earlier in the day on our own, but as the sun started to set we each took a balloon and wrote a message on it to her.  We released them together, and watched them until they were gone.  And in a way, it helped to feel connected to her in the moment, on the evening of her birthday.  Henry struggled after the balloon release, but I think it was just his little emotions and exhaustion catching up with him.  It was a hard day in a lot of ways, we all had our breakdowns and tears.  But I think in the end, we all felt closer to her that day. And that's what a birthday should be about.  


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Today is Missy's Birthday...

And I wish I had words to say... but my word-bank is feeling very empty. I usually feel comforted by writing out my heartbreak here, but right now writing doesn't seem like it can help.  I just want to call my baby sister and sing Happy Birthday to her, just like every other year.  I want to hear her laugh as my out of tune voice wobbles at the high part in the song... I want to ask her where she wants to go to dinner, what kind of cake she wants, if she has any gift requests.... I want to celebrate this day, just like we did every June 11th for the last 30 years. 

Instead I will go to the cemetery with my family. We will cry together, and hold each other... we will talk about how much we miss her, how impossible this seems.  That one year ago we were blowing out candles:
MIssy's 30th Birthday

And now we are here.  Without her.

How can a year hold so much heartache?

Happy Birthday, baby sister.  I miss you so much that sometimes its hard to breath.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Father/Daughter Weekend

Friday night after work I kissed my boys goodbye and headed to my parents house for the weekend.  Just me.  Last year when discussing what my dad wanted for his birthday he said "You know, all I really want is some time together.  Can we make that work?"

So we did.  We set aside a (now annual) father/daughter weekend where I come (and a different weekend where Boo goes) and I am not the mama or the wife, I am just the daughter.  We watch movie after movie, him showing me things he has discovered and loves.  We eat good food, we talk a lot.. basically we have a weekend of quality Father/Daughter time.  And it's awesome.

In my currently over-packed life it is pretty rare I am just the daughter... I guess it's mainly just this one weekend a year.  Plus the weekend gives me this quality time with my dad, and my mom too, that is priceless to me. My dad is a pretty smart guy for coming up with this plan... I am a pretty lucky gal.


Me and my dad, spending the weekend together catching up on movies and on each other. 

Movies I have now viewed and loved:

Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
Jack Reacher

And if you were worried about what my boys did this weekend without the Mama, don't fret.  They were just fine.
Father/Son weekends are pretty awesome too.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Here Comes the Sun

Yesterday morning I woke Henry up and said "Hurry hurry! We gotta get moving! We have a big day!"

 "What are we doing?" He asked, his head still on his Papa's pillow, his eyes still closed.

 "You have swim lessons, then gym class, then we are going to have lunch at the park with Hudson and Cici, then we are going to go to the pool with Wesley."

He opened one eye, looked at me for a second and said "That is a LOT of Tings"

 One for three on actually smiling for the camera, but since he's mine I think the picture is a success :)
Yes, yes it is.  And our entire summer sorta feels that way.  Packing in summer classes and picnics, vacations and grilling out, swimming and ball games, camping trips, birthday celebrations and blockbuster movies...we are going to be busy.  We already are. 

And I think it's good for all of us.  And it's hard too, of course.  Everything is hard.  And it's a struggle to know how much to mention that...because I know you know, that all the joy is accompanied by the pain of our loss; the constant grief.  Always.   But it feels like if I don't say it, then maybe it will sound like we are all better.  Moving on and happy with life again. When in reality we are just working hard on finding a new normal.  And not letting the grief take away the happiness that is still an option for us.

So with summer officially here, I feel the sun in my heart as much as I feel it on my shoulders.  We are doing things together as a family.  Fun things.  Memorable things.  And it's good.

At the baseball field


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


So something important has been brought to my attention.  Apparently, SOMEHOW, I guess I have never really told you all about Caterpillar.  I have no idea how this is possible.  I just thought it was common knowledge (Who doesn't know everything about my BOY?!?!)  that Henry has a beloved stuffed caterpillar. But then I posted this picture on facebook:
Brave boy! No cavities :)

and a few very close friends commented on Henry's "worm".
 Excuse me.You have got this all wrong.  This guy is CLEARLY a caterpillar.
 Of the very hungry variety
He was discovered at the height of Henry's Very Hungry Caterpillar book obsession,

 buried in the bottom of Boo's toy chest.  We have no idea where he came from, but Boo says Henry's face lit up as he laid eyes on him.  He grabbed him up and yelled "CATERPILLAR!"
Three Year Pictures
He was already growing in popularity enough at Henry's 3rd birthday to be featured in some of his professional pictures.  Now he goes pretty much everywhere with us.
He hangs out at the park...
Or just around the house in our PJs
He helps when someone doesn't feel well..
Or anytime that someone is expected to sleep

like in his own bed...


Or on vacation
Sometimes he's hiding in the background, but he is almost always there somewhere, even if it's just off camera

Easter 2013
He works his way into family shots
Henry painted his caterpillar
There is even artwork dedicated to him.. some by Henry

Some with a little help from Mama
He is always up for a party

I think it's funny that I used the earlybird filter... since he's a worm (caterpillar) in disguise...

But sometimes the guy just wants a rest.  He is so popular at our house, sometimes he likes to go incognito, just to get a little alone time...  It doesn't work well. This disguise is considered HILARIOUS.

So yeah.  Caterpillar is a beloved member of our household, and I feel as if I have let him down by not discussing his importance up until now.  In my defense, I just thought everyone knew him.  I mean, he is so very important.