Monday, November 21, 2011

Pink Cookie Day

Last year, I made cupcakes with pink butter frosting on Olivia's birthday. It was supposed to be pink buttercream frosting, but I read the recipe wrong or something, and it just basically ended up tasting like butter. I took them to our annual "Friends Thanksgiving" that evening, and everyone was really nice to me and said they were good, but I know that they absolutely were NOT good. I loved the idea of having a tradition where we bake something pink each year...but I needed something easier that would both look good and not taste like crap. I searched and searched on Pinterest, and finally found this recipe. It was SUPER easy and they were way better than regular chocolate chip cookies. They are more like shortbread.

I really like this tradition of baking something pink on her birthday. I'm hoping to get more creative with it in the years to come. There's only so much you can do for the birthday of a little girl who isn't on earth anymore. I don't want to go over-board, but I don't want her birthday to ever get forgotten either. I love to bake, and sweet treats are easily shared with family and friends. It makes me feel good to be doing something for her birthday other than just bringing flowers to the cemetary.

Recipe via


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter (see directions below for softening)
  • red food coloring gel
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Directions:

    1 - Soften hard butter in microwave at HALF power for 30 seconds just until slightly soft, not at all melted. With a hand mixer, beat the butter just until smooth, being careful not to over-soften it. Using a toothpick, add the food color gel one dab at a time, mixing after each, until the desired pink color is achieved.
    2 - Add the dry cookie mix (do NOT add the other ingredients called for on the cookie mix package). Add the powdered sugar. Beat only until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Dough will be crumbly, not smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
    3 - Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. (1-1/4" cookie scoop works well too.)
    4 - Bake in a preheated 325° F oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven when cookies are slightly brown around the edges and soft but not squishy in the center.
    5 - Cool cookies 1 - 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving. These aren't typical chocolate chip cookies. They aren't cakey -- instead, they are super sweet, slightly crunchy and a bit chewy. A sweet treat with coffee or milk!

    We delivered the cookies to our parents, and then went to the cemetary to visit Livie. A guy on stilts gave me a frog balloon animal at an adoption event for work the day before her birthday, so we brought that for her. Our moms;dads/sisters had already visited that morning and had left some flowers and pinwheels for her also.

    Happy 2nd Birthday, again, sweet love. We miss you every day!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Happy 2nd Birthday Livie Bean.

    Happy second birthday to my sweet girl!!

     I read through several of my old posts this morning... specifically the ones right after Livie was born, and the ones right around her first birthday. I realized that I've never shared any pictures of my favorite thing of hers. The one thing that I would probably grab first if our apartment was on fire.

    The bag of her things that the hospital gave us!

    Before we removed her from the life support, one of her nurses was explaining how everything would happen. She said that after they removed Olivia from all of her leads and cords, we would get to keep them. I remember thinking how nice that was of them, but I had no idea how much effort they would put into putting everything together for us. Each item is wound up perfectly with a little pink tag explaining what it was used for. The nurse even wrote the explanation as if it were Olivia explaining it to us. I remember crying and crying the first time I really looked at everything, which wasn't until we got home from the hospital.

    This is actually the first time I have ever taken any of it out of the bag. I think I was worried that I would mess something up or ruin it before. It felt good to hold the things that touched her and made her feel comfortable. My favorite things are the little diaper and the tiny sunglasses that she wore while she was under the phototherapy light.

    (it says: "phototherapy mask to protect my eyes")

    (Seeing the diaper in my hand puts into perspective how teeny she was. It's a preemie size diaper, but the top of it had to be folded under so that it would fit her, otherwise it would go up past her belly button.)

    I ordered myself a present for Olivia's birthday:




    It's a memory keeper from Paper Coterie. If you haven't seen these before, you should definitely check them out. Their stuff is gorgeous. We have been keeping all of Olivia's things in four flowered boxes that stack up. Honestly, it takes up a lot of room. I was reluctant to put any of her stuff away at first, but lately, I had been thinking about how we should pack everything into a tub, and find some way to keep out only the most important things. I had been seeing other bloggers post about these memory keepers, and decided to just order one and see what it looked like. They are BIGGER than I expected, like 9.75x13 inches. It fit the bag of all of her hospital things, her footprints, lock of hair, and the cards that we received.

    I love that it fits on the bookshelf, and I can order another one for the next little bambino that we might have some day. I think it will be cool to have them all lined up next to each other on a shelf someday.

    I also ordered one for our wedding stuff, but I haven't put anything in it yet.

    We are celebrating in a very small way today, but it feels right. To be honest, so far, this feels like an ordinary weekend morning... but who knows if it will stay that way.

    Can you believe it's been two years? I definitely can't.

    Thanks to all of you for two years of support and love. We couldn't have gotten to this point with out all of you - I'm sure of that.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Veterans Day

    Just wanted to take a quick second to say Happy Veterans Day!

    I will be forever grateful to all those who serve, have served, or will make the choice to serve our country. Without our veterans, who knows what America might be like today.

    I am especially grateful for MY veteran - and grateful that he made it through two tours in Iraq and was able to make it home safe and sound. :)

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Somewhere Over the Rainbow

    It's fall again. The season that makes me think of Olivia more than any other time of the year.
    Now that it's been almost two years since she was born and died, it's become a lot easier than it used to be to just go about my day without really thinking of her. I pass her photos several times each day - especially at work where a framed scrapbook page of her pictures since on my desk - I tell people about her all the time... but I don't even remember the last time I actually sat down and let it completely sink in. Until today.

    This afternoon/tonight after pretty much everyone else was gone from the office, and I was packing up my cubicle (Moving to a different office) and trying to organize everything into several different boxes. I was listening to Pandora on my desk computer, and had it set to the Micheal Buble station.

    Apparently, it could also be called the Somewhere Over the Rainbow station.

    Three different versions by three different artists played within a time period of about 45 minutes. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the Faith Hill version, is the song that we played during the photo slideshow that we made for Olivia's memorial service. I never realized before how common that song is until recently. It's really hard for me to listen to, especially the slower versions of the song.

    For some reason though, I didn't skip the song today. By the third time the song played, I was sitting at my desk staring at the pictures of her in the frame. An awful feeling came over me while I was looking at her. I'm sad about her all the time, but this was the first time in months that I really let myself feel the loss.

    I just kept looking at her face thinking,"holy. crap. that baby in the picture is MY daughter. MY daughter is dead".

    After that, I couldn't really get a whole lot of work done. I moved very slowly, and didn't end up coming home until almost 8:00pm.

    How in the world is it possible that we're coming up on her second birthday? I can't even imagine what it would be like with a 2 year old little girl running around here. I don't really even want to let myself think about it. It's just too hard.

    We miss you, little one.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    I am lame.

    I don't know what my problem has been lately. I feel like I have a thousand things that I want to post about, yet I still haven't posted any of them.

    Thanks for checking up on me to make sure I'm okay!

    I'm still here, I promise. Things are crazy 'round here right now.

    I'll be back! :)

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Illuminate Week #3

    This one will be very short and sweet...
    I am thankful for...

    the ability to see the beauty in the little things in life.
    I am thankful that I've learned the importance of taking nothing for granted
    and always stopping to appreciate what's going on now instead of always planning for the future

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    illuminate, week #2

    The focus of this week's illuminate assignments is "light". As soon as I read the assignment, I thought of a beautiful song that my friend Meredith shared with me a couple of months ago. I'm sure some of you have heard it by now, Christian radio stations play it pretty frequently. She sent the link to the music video to me in a Facebook message, and said that the Livie had been on her heart recently, and that when she heard this song she thought of us. It's sung by Addison Road, whose song "Hope Now" really helped me get through some dark months.

    This Little Light, by Addison Road

    There's a little flame inside us all

    Some shine bright, some shine small
    The rains will come and the waters rise
    But don't you ever lose your light
    In this life you will know
    Love and pain, joy and sorrow
    So when it hurts, when times get hard
    Don't forget whose child you are

    This little light of mine
    I'm gonna let it shine
    This little light of mine
    I'm gonna let it shine, gonna let it shine

    May you live each day with no regret
    Make the most of every chance you get
    Let your eyes get wide when you look at the stars
    With the same sense of wonder as a child's heart

    With the ones you love treasure the time
    And for those who are gone keep their memories alive
    Hold on to your dreams don't ever let go
    There's a fire inside you burning with hope

    This little light of mine
    I'm gonna let it shine
    This little light of mine
    I'm gonna let it shine, gonna let it shine

    There will be days when you want to give up
    When the clouds settle in
    But after the rain comes the sun
    Don't you ever forget

    One day there will be no more pain
    And we will finally see Jesus' face
    So until then I'm gonna try
    To brave the dark and let my little light shine

    This little light of mine
    I'm gonna let it shine
    This little light of mine
    I'm gonna let it shine, gonna let it shine

    There's a little light inside us all

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Illuminate Post #1

    The following post is a part of a self portrait assignment for "Illuminate: Lighting the Path to Photographic Healing" course I'm taking. It's offered by Beryl of Be Young Photography.
    Click the link above if you are interested in learning about the course!

    Sweet Livie,
    It's been a long time since I've written you a letter. I have written about you on this blog so many times, but I guess writing about you is a little bit less emotional than writing directly to you... so maybe that's why I've avoided it. I can tell already that this class is going to break me out of my comfort zone in so many ways - and that's a really good thing.

    I don't even remember the last time I wrote you a letter. I do remember the first time though. Your Grandma and Grandpa told Daddy and I that they each wrote a letter to Katie after she was stillborn to put in her casket at her funeral. We loved that idea, so the night before you funeral, we stayed up late handwriting you letters. I typed them up so that we would have copies to keep for ourselves... but I still haven't been able to look back at them. I don't know if I'll ever be able to, but I like knowing that they're there for someday.

    I remember crying the whole time I was writing. Now that it's been almost 20 months since that day, I am able to write about you and your story without completely losing it... but I remember the days when I could barely say your name without tearing up.  But just because I don't cry as often as I did then doesn't mean I love you any less. I worry that becaue I appear to be "back to my old self" to most people, they will think that I've "gotten over you". I wish everyone could understand that it doesn't work like that. I will never be over you. I might be able to go out and have fun, and wear a smile on my face all day long... but that doesn't mean that my heart isn't still broken. I know it always will be to some extent... and I'm okay with that. I don't want to feel "normal". Or at least, not the old normal... because the way I felt before you was worse than the way I feel now. Because then, I hadn't met you yet. And I wouldn't want to change that for the world.
    I still think of you every day, and I know Daddy does too. Now, instead of being sad every time you cross my mind, most of the time I am happy. Happy that you blessed our lives for the thirty-some weeks that we knew you were in my tummy, and the three days that we knew you "on the outside". But even though I am so happy that I knew you, my heart will always ache. I know that until we meet again someday, a piece of my heart will always be in heaven with you. Someday, you will have siblings who will hold their own pieces of my heart, but there will always be a part of it that is solely and uniquely yours. I am so proud to be able to say that you were our first baby, our first little girl. (Okay, maybe I lied about being able to write without crying).

    Do you know how many gifts you have given me? I don't know if I can even count them all. You made me a mommy, and taught me how to love in a way that I didn't know existed. In my opinion, that is one of the biggest gifts a woman can receive. You taught me to see beauty in the little things, and to cherish every second of life and never let it pass me by. You death was the biggest tragedy of our lives, but because you died, I will never be able to take life, or time, for granted again... like I'm sure I did before you. Because of you, I met some of the most amazing women and formed friendships baby-loss mamas all over the country. They never would have come into my life without you.

    I always knew that Daddy and I would love each other forever, but because of you, we have a closeness and an understanding of each others emotions that probably would have taken years to discover if we hadn't had to deal with losing you so unexpectedly. And on that same note, your Grandma and I were able to grow in our relationship because of you. Two first born daughters, who unexpectedly lost their first born daughters at the very end of their very first pregnancies. My mom and I were always close, but now we understand each other in a completely different way.

    I could go on and on listing the ways you've blessed my life, sweet girl, but I think I've made my point. I hope you know how glad I am to be your mama, and that I as awful as those months after your death were for me and your Dad, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I can still feel the weight of you in my arms, and if I close my eyes and breathe, I can smell your shampoo and the detergent that was used to wash your blankets and little pink sleeper.

    I love you more than the moon and all of the stars in the sky. I miss you every single day.


    The one self portrait that I liked enough to post: This is the pink bear that sat on Olivia's casket in the middle of a huge flower arrangement at her memorial service. The priest handed her to me just before her casket was lowered into the ground. He told me to take her home with me and hug her every time I needed to feel Olivia. It's hard to see in this picture, but her face is kind of smashed up because I slept with her for months after that, and still do sometimes.

    I'm just throwin' this one in for good measure. I sat outside and hand wrote the above letter with a glass of wine the other night.

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    I'm back!!

    Hi friends.

    Sorry for alarming some of you. I've gotten a couple of e mails and comments asking me if I'm doing okay, since I wasn't in the best place at the time of my last post, and I haven't written since then. Thank you all for the sweet messages :).

    I sort of let myself fall away from the blogging world for a few weeks. Kurt and I moved into our new apartment about two weeks ago, so between working and packing and unpacking, and having family in town for the 4th, I haven't had time to even think about writing.

    Also - my computer has a ridiculous virus and my hard drive is completely shot. My laptop is the only computer we have that has Photoshop on it, and since I haven't been able to edit my pictures, I kind of let my photography stuff go by the wayside too!

    Things are good though. I'll post again VERY soon. Sorry for being so lame and boring! Right now, my very tired, sore, sun burned body is going to sleep!

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Where I am...

    Kristin from Dear Stevie recently posted about the Right Where I Am Project, which was started by Angie, another blogger. You write about your grief, and what it's like right now, so that new baby loss mamas who stumble across your blog can get an idea of what the grief experience is like further down the road, and so that people who are further down the road can reflect on how far they've come in their grief. I've been having a difficult time writing about grief related things lately, so I thought maybe this would be a good starting place.
    So, Where am I right now, this very second, in my grief?
    It's been one year, six months and seventeen days. Most days, I really can't believe it's been that long. Other days, it seems like it has been a lifetime since we last held that tiny little girl in the "transition" room at the hospital.

    I definitely still have moments where I think, "this is bullshit, I can't believe it happened to us". But it's in a different way now. Don't get me wrong - I still miss Olivia SO much it hurts. But it's different now, because in the beginning I couldn't even imagine having another baby. I wanted that baby. Now, I'm able to miss her and still be hopeful and excited about having future children. I remember in the beginning, feeling like that day would never come. But it still doesn't feel fair. I guess that's because it isn't, and it never will be... no amount of rationalizing or talking about the positive things that came as a result of losing her will ever make it feel "okay".
    Kurt and I were talking last night about how losing her makes almost everything more difficult and complicated than it should be. We were talking about having kids, and about how scared we are to try again. I have said this before, but because my pregnancy with Olivia wasn't planned, we weren't exactly ready to have a baby - we weren't even living together yet when I got pregnant. If she had never existed, we would have probably not had started "trying" to have kids for another few years. Because we know that's what's smart financially for us {even though our hearts may think otherwise}, we're waiting. It's been unbelievably hard to watch almost of my blog-friends who lost babies right around the same time that we dod go on to have babies. Several of them are pregnant now, and several of them have had babies in the last couple of months. I am SO happy for them, but it's been difficult to find women to relate to. I'm in this weird in-between stage where I want to have another baby more than anything, but I'm not trying to concieve like half of the BLM community, and I haven't had a second baby like the other half of the BLM community. I haven't found anyone else who wants a baby, but isn't trying to have one - and not because of a medical reason, just because it's not practical. We had to scramble {and if you know us in real life, you know that we really were scrambling} to get everything in order for Olivia. We had to find a two bedroom place that we could afford when we weren't really quite ready to move in together anyway, and scrape together as much money as possible to afford all of the things she would need. I never want to do that again. I want to be completely prepared next time. I have said that to a few friends who have had babies in the last year or two, and they all tell me that you're never completely prepared, and that if I were to get pregnant now or whenever, it would be the right time. I agree with that... and obviously I know that anything can happen and we could be pregnant again before we're "ready", but I would like to try and be a little bit more responsible this time.

    And there aren't very many newlyweds who have lost a baby. We don't really fit in with any of our friends, and that's a lot harder than you'd think. On one hand, we sort of fit in with our newly married friends who don't have kids yet. But they either aren't planning on having babies at all, or not for several years. I think both Kurt and I really feel like parents, because pregnancy and especially dealing with our loss made us grow up quite a bit faster than we probably would have otherwise. Lots of newlyweds are still going out to bars and getting drunk on the weekends with their friends... and we really don't do that. And then on the other hand, we don't quite fit in with our friends who have kids either. I've only been pregnant and had a baby for three days... so I don't know what it's like to have a baby at home to take care of. There are two couples that we're really close with. One of them was pregnant while I was, except I was a several months ahead of her. I had Olivia in November, and their baby was born in April. Then, coincidentally, the day their baby was born, the other couple found out that they were pregnant! Their baby was born on Christmas. So for a full year after Livie died, I got to feel like part of the group, talking about pregnancy pains and c-section scars. But now they both have their kids at home. I love their kids, to them we are "Uncle Kurt and Aunt Betsy" - they feel like family, and I can spend time at their houses and play with the babies without getting overwhelmingly sad or upset, but it is still hard to hang out with them without thinking that we should be a group of 9 - three guys who were best friends in high school, and their wives and babies who are all only a few months apart. Our kids should be growing up together, and now they won't.

    So that's where we are. We're stuck here in this kind of limbo area, and it's a very strange feeling.

    I should say though, that for the most part, we're very happy. That's something that I want new BLMs to know. Yes, we are still sad and probably always will be in some way or another, but it really does get better. Despite the hard days, life has already gotten so much better than I ever thought it would be in those first dark weeks and months.

    It does get better.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    The Wall That Heals

    Happy Memorial Day everyone!

    Yesterday afternoon, Kurt and I went to watch the "Wall That Heals" come into town. It's a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that travels around the country, and it was escorted into town by about 300 motorcycles. Almost all of the riders were veterans, and their motorcycles all had American flags on the backs. Their route to Memorial Park, where the wall will be displayed, was published online, so we went to watch it from a pedestrian bridge that goes over one of the streets they rode down. We were actually pretty surprised, there were only about 8 other people watching. Kurt filmed it with his phone, and the motorcycles came continuously 2x2 for over two minutes.

    Kurt was wearing his veterans hat. The yellow letters against the black fabric and the bright ribbons in the middle are pretty recognizable, especially to other vets. Several times just before a bike would pass under the bridge, the driver would look up and salute Kurt and the Vietnam vet who was standing next to us, who was also wearing his hat. By the third or fourth time Kurt saluted back, I was in tears. I was overwhelmed with such a feeling of gratitude. So thankful for those who gave their lives so that we can all know freedom, and so thankful that my husband stayed safe through two deployments to Iraq and was able to stand next to me on that bridge.
    I hope that everyone enjoyed their long weekend resting, spending time with friends and family, and grilling out to kick-off summer! Never forget the reason for Memorial Day!

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Preach it, Oprah!

    I just stayed up way too late watching the last couple of Oprah episodes that I didn't have time to watch this week. I wrote down these two quotes from her final episode that I really wanted to remember, and really wanted to share them here. They are both absolutely beautiful. I love Oprah, but I know that a lot of people don't.... so read them anyway, and if you don't like Oprah, just pretend that they were said by someone else that you really like. I think they're amazing pieces of advice that I never want to forget.

    “We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or worthy. You are worthy because you are born and because you are HERE. Your being here, your being alive, makes worthiness your birth right. You alone, are enough”.

    "I know I’ve never been alone, and you haven’t either. I know that that presence, that flow, some people call it Grace, is working in my life at every single turn. And yours too, if you let it in. It’s closer than your breath, and it is yours for the asking. I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it I could hear a voice bigger than myself speaking to me. All of us have that same voice. Be still, and know it. You can acknowledge it, or not. You can worship it or not, you can praise it, you can ignore it. Or you can know it. KNOW IT. It’s always there speaking to you, and waiting for you to hear it. In every move, in every decision. I wait and I listen, I’m still. I wait and listen for the guidance that’s greater than my meager mind. The only time I’ve made mistakes is when I didn’t listen.

    So what I know is… God Is love. And God is LIFE. And your life is always speaking to you."

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    GTKY Sunday

    I am trying to get back into the swing of blogging regularly. I promise. And by that I mean writing more original posts again. But because I know that isn't going to happen today, I am going to link up again with Keely over on Mannland5 for Getting to Know You Sunday!

    1. what's your favorite rainy day activity?

    I love, love rainy days. When it's icky outside I love to cozy up on the couch with a book/movie/google reader, or catch up on scrapbooking.
    2. what time do you go to bed?
    Well, now that I've had to start getting up SO early to get ready for work and drive all the way downtown, I've been going to bed at about 10:30. I don't even think that's early enough, but I can't force myself to go any earlier!

    3. how many magazines do you subscribe to?
    None. But I used to get Self, Shape and Women's Health and I am thinking about renewing at least one of those.
    4. did you sell all your belongings because you thought the world was ending yesterday?
    Hahaha... No. I have actually been wondering what the heck all of those people did do today though! And what about those people who quit their jobs to "campaign" for the rapture? I feel bad for them.
    5. what's your beauty obssesion?
    I don't really have one. Is that sad? I think it is.
    6. if you could only wear one designer/brand for the rest of your life...what would it be?
    Pretty much all of the clothes I like/wear the most right now are from LOFT. So.... I guess that's what I'd pick right now.

    7. what's your summer must have?
    flip flops.
    8. do you make weekly dinner menus?
    Nope. But, I actually was just thinking today that I should probably start being a little bit better about that... I think it would be much better for our budget!

    I hope everyone has a great week! I have not been very good at reading/commenting on friends' blogs lately.. so I'm going to go try and catch up on that while my husband watches the season finale of Family Guy......

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    James Frey made me cry!

    James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces was on Oprah the other day. And yes - I do DVR Oprah every single day. I love that show and I am not ashamed :).

    Anyway, did any of you guys read that book? I bought it back when it was on the NYT Best Seller list, but never read it, and now I can't find it. If you don't know anything about the controversy surrounding the book, I'll give you a little recap: James Frey wrote a book that he claimed was a completely true memoir about his life as a drug addict/alcoholic, and went on Oprah talking about how it was all true when she made it her book club selection. Countless numbers of people read the book and it's sales skyrocketed. He and Oprah both got tons of letters about how much it was helping former addicts understand themselves, etc. As it turns out, most of the story was NOT true, and he went on the Oprah show again where she called him out for lying to millions of people. Some people got extremely upset about it, others said, if it helped people... who cares if it was true or not? SO, after several years, he went back on Oprah this week. Their conversation was split up between two episodes where they kind of apologized to each other and then talked about how his life has changed since that "scandal" happened.

    Kurt and I were actually watching it together which rarely happens - the whole two day series was amazing, and made me want to order the book again. But the best part, was when James opened up to Oprah about the death of his son Leo, who died in the NICU when he was 12 days old of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It was totally unexpected, and I of course was in tears. Kurt didn't get quite as emotional as I did, but we were definitely both glued to the TV.

    I have always said that I wish more people would talk about their experiences publicly so that the general public who has not lost a baby could have even the smallest understanding of what it's like. I've also posted before about wishing that dads would be more open about it, so that other dads wouldn't feel like it's weird to get emotional.

    My favorite part was when Oprah was trying to talk to James about when he went back to work or something after Leo died, and she said, " after you recovered from that", and he cut her off immediately and said that he still hasn't recovered from it, and that he didn't even think it was possible to recover from it. He will always be sad. While he was talking about this, I was saying "thank you, thank you, thank you" in my head. That's the one thing that I think everyone should know about what it's like to lose a child. There have definitely been times when I've wanted to stand on top of a mountain and scream, "I WILL NEVER BE OVER IT".

    I'm pretty sure that the closest thing to yelling from the top of a mountain... is talking to Oprah on international television.

    He also spoke a lot about how losing a child makes so many other things seem so insignificant and "not matter much", and gives you a completely new perspective on life.

    PLEASE, please click here to watch watch the clip from James Frey's interview with Oprah if you haven't seen the actual episode.

    Also, I did some googling, and found this blog post that James wrote for World Aids Day in 2009 - the first time he wrote/spoke publicly about his son. I think he has an amazing heart.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Ruffled Burlap Table Runner

    My friend Katie has been bugging me to post this for WEEKS now, and I'm finally getting around to it!
    This is the first and only thing I've made with my sewing machine so far. I had such high aspirations of quickly sewing everything that I've spent the last year or so bookmarking the tutorials for... but real life got in the way.

    I made this spring table runner using this tutorial from Tatertots & Jello. It sits on a black, drop-leaf kitchen table that I've turned into a console/sofa table, because we don't have a dining area right now. The table used to be my parents when they first got married, and it was a hand-me-down to them as well, but I can't remember whose it was first. It has been sanded down and re-painted way too many times to count. My mom had it painted an off-white color, and I re-painted it black a couple of years ago, but had no idea what I was doing. I didn't sand it down far enough, and I painted it with a high gloss black paint (why!? I have no idea). Now, if a piece of paper sits on it for too long, it sticks to the table, and glass candle holders or picture frames etc. leave permanent rings/marks. This summer I am going to re-finish it the RIGHT way, but for now, it really needed something to cover up it's ugly-ness.

    I had to improvise a little bit, because I didn't read all of the directions before I went to Joann's for the supplies! Instead of quilt batting, I used a double thickness of really thick white felt that I had left over from making a Valentine's Day wreath (that may or may not still be hanging on the wall in my bedroom...).
     I also didn't have quilt binding, so I just used strips of the same fabric that I used to make the ruffles.

    It might not be professional quality, haha, but think it turned out pretty well for my first sewing machine project ever.


    Wednesday, May 11, 2011


    I am really trying to get back in the habit of more regular posting, I promise!! The past couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy and have really thrown me for a loop! I think I got a little bit too used to having a lot of time to be on the couch with my computer blogging and reading blogs. I'm finally feeling a little bit more adjusted to being a "real" grown up who is out of college with a real job.

    ETA: Someone asked me what my new job is... I don't know if I've ever said it here? I just started on Monday as a Child and Family Services Specialist for the State of Nebraska, Department of Health and Human Services.

    I graduted from college with my Bachelor's degree last Friday. I am SO glad that six years of undergrad FINALLY are over with. We didn't go to the formal graduation ceremony because our student social work organization put together a ceremony for just us in the morning. Also, I didn't feel like sitting through the 4 hour ceremony later in the day.
    Kurt and I

    Me with my mom, grandma, and dad

    My sister Abbie and I

    And because I told Jenna I would post it {Even though I would have anyway :) } a picture of our entire class. We moved through the program together as a "cohort" and got to know each other VERY well. I will really miss seeing these people all the time!

    Out to lunch with the whole fam after the ceremony.

    AND in the evening, Kurt and I went to go look at cars to get an idea of what we wanted to trade mine in for... and came home with a Mazda 3.

    And don't worry, I think I'm done with the extremely picture-heavy posts for a while!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Project Life Tuesday .... Honeymoon Edition!

    We got back from our honeymoon  to the DC area almost two weeks ago, but I haven't posted any of the pictures yet! These aren't even the exact pictures that are going in our album, but I took over 600, and just haven't had the time to go through them yet. These are some of my favorites though.

    Flowers outside Christ Church in Alexandria, VA where we stayed

    This was our last night. We were out to dinner at an AMAZING sea food place in Alexandria. Notice the "Virginia is for Lovers" bumper sticker! haha. We asked our waiter to take this picture.

    On the balcony of our hotel room

    One of the only Cherry Blossom trees still blooming while we were there, and the Capitol.

    Kurt on a paddle boat on the Reflecting Pool in front of the Jefferson Memorial

    On our balcony on our last night in town

    In George Washington's pew at Christ Church, which is now the pew that each president since Woodrow Wilson has sat in during Sunday services, except Nixon, Clinton and Kennedy.

    On the most ridiculously cold and windy ferry ride to Mount Vernon EVER! My hair was really cute in the morning before we left! Haha, needless to say it went straight up into a ponytail when we got off the boat :)

    Hope you all are having a great week!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Happy Mother's Day! To all of my wonderful friends who have lost a baby - or two, or three - I hope you all had a peaceful, relaxing day, remembering and celebrating those little ones who gave you the precious gift of motherhood.

    I have this poem saved on my computer {I didn't save the author, so if you know, let me know!}, and thought it was very fitting for Mother's Day.

    When a baby arrives,
    be it for a day, a month, a year or more,
    or perhaps only a sweet flickering moment-
    the fragile spark of a tender soul
    the secret swell of a new pregnancy
    the goldfish flutter known to only you-
    you are unmistakeningly changed...
    the tiny footprints left behind on your heart
    bespeak your name as Mother.

    I had a nice day today. It wasn't necessarily a difficult day... but I missed Olivia like I always do. I just re-read my post from last year, and I don't think I could write anything better for this year than what I wrote then... "I wish Livie was here to "help" Kurt make me breakfast, and I wish I were able to sit here holding my almost 6-month old little girl instead of writing a post about my first Mother's Day without her... But I am so thankful that I am her mommy, and that I got to do the things that I did get to do with her. I spent three perfect days with her, and today I will choose to celebrate that".

    We slept in this morning instead of going to church, and then got ready and headed to the cemetary.  Instead of flowers this year, we took some little pinwheels and dragonfly garden things that I found at Hobby Lobby.

    Kurt got me a beautiful scarf with dragonflies on it. I'm wearing it in the picture below, although you can't really see the dragonflies. I'll try to remember to take a closer picture sometime soon and post it. We went to brunch with Kurt's family and in the afternoon we went over to my parents to spend some time with my mom, and then drove her to my Grandma's so they could go to a movie. I really wanted to go, because they were seeing Water for Elephants whichis one of my favorite books, but tomorrow is my first day of work and I wanted to get some things done this evening. We had spaghetti for dinner and went and got frozen yogurt for desert. We're watching Band of Brothers now, and I'm in the process of painting my nails for tomorrow :).

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    United we stand

    I don't feel right about posting anything else until I say something about the news that our country received last night - that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I don't ever use this blog as a platform to voice my political opinions... mostly because I usually don't have any... and I know there are all sorts of opinions about why our troops have "really" been in the middle east for the last 10 years, and which president did what, and who deserves credit for certain things. I don't really want to get into the politics of all of this stuff, I just want to talk about the core issue at hand.

    I understand that we have a long way to go and that terrorism did not die along with Osama Bin Laden. I get that. I think everyone gets that, no educated person would think otherwise. But I can't understand why people are missing the point. I have seen so many critical facebook statuses over the past 24 hours, and it makes me sick.

    What this means is that we have taken a huge step TOWARD peace. It means that the hard, HARD work that our troops have been doing for so long has finally payed off. As the wife of a Marine who graduated from high school early to enlist, specifically because of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, I am SO proud of our military and I think everyone should be. I'm not just saying this because I'm biased because I'm the wife of a USMC sgt., I would be feeling this way whether or not I had a Marine for a husband.

    One of my good friends put this as her facebook status today, and I couldn't have said it better myself..
    "Despite strides forward, people feel the need to continue complaining about how things are being run/done. If you don't like it, then run for president. I'm sure people would complain about you too, because that is what we do in America when we have nothing better to talk about. Rather than focusing on the good in our lives, we prefer to be bitter, nasty, and cold to each other."

    It makes me sad that something that should have been a unifying event for our country, if only for a short time, is bringing out the worst in people. I actually heard someone say today that they were ashamed to live in the USA because of what was done to Bin Laden. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but the thing that breaks my heart about it all, is that the very people who are being criticized are the ones who fight each day for the people who are doing the criticizing to be able to freely do so.  I wonder if that has even occured to those who speak hatefully about our troops. Whether you agree with why they're over there or not... they're putting their lives at risk every day FOR. YOU. There's nothing political about that - it shouldn't even be an issue. If someone saved your life on the street by pushing you out of the way of a moving bus, would you not say thank you?

    I also really, really like this statement that the Vatican issued today, which applies to all Christians, not just Catholics...

    "In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred".

    I love those words. Every American who considers themselves to be a Christian should read this statement and truly think and reflect upon what they mean.

    And finally, to close what I thought was going to be a one-paragraph blog post, I want to share a prayer written by a wonderful woman who I am fortunate to know. Because in case you forgot, we are supposed to stand united as one nation, under God, individisble, with liberty and justice for all.

    May civility win out over rhetoric.
    And let us be thankful, but not arrogant...
    Joyful, but not pretentious.
    Let us all be united in our desire to make the world a better, more peaceful place to live.
    Let us be thankful for a military that defends, and pray for political and military leaders to make wise decisions in the days and weeks to come.
    And let us all do our part in our own little corner of the world as we. discuss these events to be careful that dialogue does not lead to divisiveness.
    Let us all do our part to focus on points of unity and move forward with the courage and commitment that makes us uniquely American.

    March for Babies 2011

    Today was our March for Babies! It also happened to be International Babylost Mother's Day, which I think was a wonderful coincidence. I hope all of my BLM friends were able to do something sweet for yourselves today - each and every single one of you totally deserve it.

    MOST of our team members who walked today! My aunt and a few other people had to work this afternoon so they left early, but regardless...this is a HUGE group! So amazing.

    {I also want to say thank you again to for designing our adorable shirts for this year, and to for printing them. You guys are all fantastic :) }
    We had amazing weather this year for the walk. Last year, it was RIDICULOUSLY cold for the end of April, and we were pretty miserable until the end of the walk when it finally warmed up a bit. We had over 30 people actually walking for our team today, plus several littles riding in strollers, and nine dogs. We also had several team members who had to work or had other family obligations and couldn't make it out, so all in all we had a HUGE team! I am almost positive that if there was an award for the team with the most dogs, ours would have won it! I was actually pretty surprised that they all behaved so well! Kurt let our puppies run and run and run in an open field for about an hour this morning while we were passing out shirts and waiting for people to arrive, which was a smart idea because otherwize they would have been ca-razy.

    I want to say a big thank you to anyone who participated this year. Whether you walked, made a donation, purchased a shirt, or just thought of Olivia today, we appreciate you so much. As of right now, our team has raised $550! I have been talking all day about how blessed we are to have so many wonderful friends and family members. I just can't say it enough! We are just blessed beyond belief!

    Here are some pictures from today - Oh, and our shirts made it on the news again! Haha! I didn't want to be interviewed again (I hate talking on camera!) so I avoided the guy but he filmed the back of Kurt's shirt.
    Kurt and I before the walk

    Kurt and our good friends Dave and Lindsay's daughter Bailey Rae - The babies who "walked" got Team Livie Bean onesies that matched our shirts, They were so cute!

    My favorite part - Olivia's sign on the "Miracle Mile". I forgot that I ordered one until someone told me that they saw it on their way in! That was a sweet surpise!
    I was also fortunate enough to meet two women this weekend who have impacted me greatly since Olivia died. I think I've posted about her before, but at that time, Kurt worked with a woman named Madeline. She had lost three babies - Joseph and Gracie, as well as a miscarried baby that she didn't name. Within the last 18 months, she has been blessed with not one, but two sweet litttle girls, Rylie and Halle. She was the only person he worked with that could even begin to understand what he was going through, and she reached out to him and helped him get through those initial few weeks back at work. She and I messaged quite a bit on facebook and exchanged phone numbers, but never met in person, and Kurt quit that job not too long after that. She saw my post about or MOD team on facebook, and asked if she and her family could participate. She stopped by our house yesterday with her girls to pick up their shirts/onesies, and when I met her in the driveway, I felt like we'd known eachother forever! It felt so good to finally give her a hug. After we saw Livie's Miracle Mile sign, she hugged me and we cried together. I have cried with many, many friends and received many, many hugs... but there's nothing quite like crying with someone who understands every single ounce of pain you've felt. I wish it hadn't taken us 17 months to finally get our flipping acts together and get together! haha.

    I also got to meet Lia today, the amazing woman who I was randomly matched with for Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope gift exchange at Christmas time this past year. She and her husband had a stillborn daughter named Sofia Rose, and recently miscarried her little sibling that they named Sam. After the gift exchange we continued to e-mail and comment on each others blogs, but hadn't met until today! While I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get my team together for a group picture, she recognized me and stopped me to say hi! I didn't recognize her at first, but instantly saw her pin with Sofia's picture on it, and there's no way that I could forget that sweet little face! We talked briefly and had her husband take a picture of us together, but I was on a mission to find my team members before a bunch of people had to leave to get to their next commitment of the day. I feel bad because I had to run off, and I hope she didn't think that I didn't want to talk with her... I'm looking forward to hopefully getting to spend some real time together sometime soon! She hasn't sent me the picture yet, but I will post it whenever I get it.

    Again, a HUGE thank you to everyone who supported our team this year! You mean more to us than you know.

    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    Royal Wedding

    To be perfectly honest, I never thought I'd get in to this Royal Wedding thing! I have been mildly interested throughout their engagement, but mostly just because I'm a sucker for anything wedding-related, especially when the wedding is bound to be a real-life fairy tale. I didn't think I'd actually watch the wedding... maybe just see the hilights on E! News.

    BUT then, my Grandma decided to have a "Royal Wedding Viewing Party"! She DVR'd the wedding coverage {because we weren't quite crazy enough to wake up before 4am to watch}, and we watched it together this afternoon. I was kind of up in the air about going at first because I didn't think I really cared about watching the entire ceremony, but decided to go because I thought it would be fun to spend the afternoon with the girls of the family {My grandma, mom, sister and aunt}.

    We had such a fun time. I actually ended up loving watching the wedding. I love that it seemed so much like a real life fairy tale... and I know that fairy tales are often times not at all what they seem to be, but it is kind of fun to imagine William and Kate living happily ever after. And OH my word, that dress. I don't think anyone could have even imagined anything more perfect. I thought she looked exactly like a princess should look.

    Even though I loved the dresses (and hats) and the fairy-tale-ness of the wedding, I think my favorite thing about watching was just knowing that I (and the other 2 billion people who watched the wedding on TV) witnessed something that is going to be a big part of history. I love Royal history, and I think all of the traditions that the British royals have kept alive for hundreds of years are so fascinating.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures of the cute party that my Grandma put together this afternoon. She got so in to it which made it even more fun.

    Lemon cookies and cupcakes...

    Tea and Crumpets!

    She went all out and made chicken salad on croissants and cucumber toasts with fruit for lunch

    She even put pearls around her candles!

    And she broke out the Red Hat Society hats for us to wear! We actually only wore them for this picture though, haha.

    Thank you for having us over Grandma! I had so much fun!