Friday, January 28, 2011

some changes...

This little old blog of mine is getting a makeover.
A big one. Name change and everything. {Although, it's not really a very exciting name change.}
But I'm not giving away any details until the new design is installed in a week-ish.

I started blogging because of Olivia, we all know that. For months, She is really all I posted about. If I wasn't writing directly about her, then I was writing about something that was related to infant loss. I was in such a dark place that unless I was absolutely forcing  myself to do my homework, or get up and go to class, I was constantly thinking/writing/scrapbooking about Livie. It probably never even occurred to me that at some point in life, I would want to start talking about other things. Lately, as I'm sure those of you who actually follow on a regular basis have noticed, the content of this blog has changed a little bit.

It's been 14 months since she was born. {I just looked at the Calender on my desk and realized that its the 28th.. I think this is the first month that I didn't actually notice that it was the 20th, and then the 23rd}. But I guess that's what I'm getting at. I have moved forward quite a bit over these 14 months. No - I'm not "over it", nor will I ever be.
I don't want this to JUST be an infant loss blog anymore.  I want to continue blogging about my daughter and about baby loss, but I also want to feel free to write about other subjects. Sometimes I feel kind of awkward writing about other things because the look of this blog is SO Olivia focused. I guess I've felt guilty... like I shouldn't be posting pictures of the wreath that I made for Valentine's day on Olivia's blog. Although I'm sure no one else whose out there reading thinks like that, I do. I'm a freak. I can't help it :)

Some ladies have reached this point and started a new blog, and work hard on maintaining both of them. I thought about that, but then I realized that I want this place to be a representation of ALL aspects of my life, including... but not limited to Olivia.  I'm hoping that the new design will reflect that. I want to be able to blog about crafting, project life, reading, fitness and cooking, my husband, our families etc. I want to be able to comfortably post here whenever we have another baby. I want this to be a place where we can look back on our life and see how we've progressed. In all ways - not just with our grief.

Infant Loss Awareness is extremely important to me, obviously, so it and Olivia herself will be a major part of this blog, always. I'm just ready to branch out.

So, look for that BIG change in a week or two. I can't WAIT to see it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project Life Tuesday, Jan 18-24

January 17th, 2010

I love Audrey Hepburn. My old bedroom at my parents' house was filled with Audrey posters. One of my favorite things is my Audrey book collection. This picture is about half of them, the rest are on a different shelf.  Today, I was at Anthropologie (Another major favorite of mine), and as I was walking past the little section of kids books etc. that they have, I spotted this Audrey children's book and nearly passed out. The illustrations are gorgeous. Obviously,  I had to buy it. It's still sitting on my coffee table because I'm too excited about it to put it on the shelf with the other books!

January 19th -

Hair appointment today! I hadn't gotten my roots touched up since before the wedding so I needed this appointment badly, and decided that I wanted to get back to all dark. I'm really, really happy with it. I asked Kurt to take a picture of me when I got home, and this is what I got. Not the best picture ever, but whatev! I'm sure I'll get some better pictures of myself at some point!

January 20th

I finished my 2010 album tonight! I got way behind on ProjectLife last year. Like, three months behind. October and November were SO busy with wedding stuff, I felt overwhelmed and honestly didn't give the project much thought. After the wedding, I was so exhausted and definitely felt like I needed to take a break from projects for a little bit. The good thing was though, that since there were so many events during those months (wedding and the holidays, etc.), I still took TONS of photos. I took advantage of a deal that snapfish had a couple of weeks ago for 99 prints for 99cents and got caught up. Thanksto my trusty planner [laying on top of the manilla envelope that holds the Veterans Day letters my mom had her 2nd grade class write to Kurt], I was able to take match most of the pictures up with the correct days. Other times, I had empty spaces and extra photos so I just stuck them in. In 40 years are my grandkids REALLY going to care exactly what day something happened on? Probably not. Oh well. My album is full and complete and I'm so happy with it. It gave me even more motivation for this year's project!

January 21

Two pictures for this day. We went out on Friday night with a bunch of friends for Alicia's birthday. We had dinner @ Julios and then went to a bar up the street from our house for a little bit. It was VERY fun and a much needed night out!

January 22, 2010
Kurt working on homework... Molly being VERY impatient because he's not focusing on throwing her ball accross the room for her.

January 23
The doggies have been LOVING playing in the snow, almost to the point of ridiculousness because they want to go in and out in and out in and out in and out
Kurt took this picture and was very proud of it so I told him it could be the POTD {picture of the day}

That's all there is! There isn't... any more!
{Does anyone remember that from the end of each Madeline episode? My sister and i LOVED that show!}
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Project Life Tuesday, January 11-17

Okay, so I was pretty lazy this week.

I spent three of my weeknight evenings working on a felt wreath... so I really didn't take many pictures, except of the wreath, and of the dogs getting into the felt. Looking at my pictures this week made me realize that I have become one of those crazy "dog moms" that takes more pictures of her dogs than anything else.

But I guess if that's what made me happy this week, then who cares, right?
Oh, and if you want to make the "heart felt wreath", I found the tutorial here, at The Idea Room. I made mine a little bit differently than she did, but I love the way it turned out. You guys will learn that I'm a sucker for easy DIY home decor projects... and for some reason lately, those keep turning out to be wreaths? Maybe I need to branch out a bit. I also bought a mini styrofoam wreath that I spotted at Hobby Lobby (my home away from home) to make one to take to Livie's spot on Valentine's Day.

I also had multiple days this week where I didn't take any pictures... and other days where i took several. I was really strict last year about making sure I had ONE picture for each day. This year, I don't care. If we did nothing one day... why would we want to have a picture of... nothing?

So here we go.

Jan 11th
More snow!

Jan 14th
My sister's 19th birthday! We went out for dinner at her favorite Japanese place.My grandma came along, and had just come from the mall where she let the Lancome ladies give her a makeover. She looked gorgeous :)

After dinner, we went back to my parents' house so my sister could open presents. She got the Wii Fit and ad everything to go with it. Even Lucy got in on the Wii action!

January... 14th (again), 15th and 16th.
The felt wreath project was very time consuming.
Jack LOVES crafts. I'm not joking. No matter what project i'm doing, he has to be RIGHT next to me, and he always waits for me to hand him a piece of scrap paper of fabric.... and then he'll just sit with it in his mouth. He's a very good helper!
LOVE the wreath.

January 17th

I didn't have a picture for the 17th... but Kurt decided that wasn't acceptable, so he took one of himself, and told me that's what I should use.

Hopefully you guys did better than I did this week!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Billy Donovan's Secret Sorrow

Just a quick post today to share an article.

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope shared it on their facebook page today. I know that many followers of mine also follow their pages, but for the ones that don't, I want to re-share.

It isn't often that men share about the way they grieve. I know it's really just a "guy thing", and that it is very common... but it doesn't help any of the guys out there. As women, we LOVE to talk and share about our emotions and feelings. We have no problem finding someone who we can connect with - especially in the blog world. I know it's one thing that has helped me feel SO much less alone than I would otherwise. Guys? Not so much! I think that it would be easier for men to cope and grieve if they had more opportunities to read things written by other guys.

Whenever I do come across something like that, which is very rare, I get very excited - it just doesn't happen very often.

Who knew that three Division I basketball coaches had lost babies?

This article was written by Jason King for Click HERE to read it.
Please read it, and maybe share it with your husbands. 

- as a sidenote... I really think it's amazing that more mainstream sites are doing pieces on stillbirth and infant loss. Every time a celebrity of some kind speaks publicly about it, I feel like jumping up and down and cheering - it has been swept under the rug as something too sad to talk about for WAY too long. Every time something like this gets published, we are one step closer to the public actually understanding how common it is. 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project Life Tuesday, January 1-10


Welcome to the first week of Project Life Tuesday 2011... and my first time joining the online Project Life community. I'm hoping that participating each week will keep me on track with my photos and my journaling. You will find that I'm a huge fan of making photo collages on Picasa... 1. because I hate doing them in photo shop, and 2. because I take too many pictures and can never decide on just one. :)

January 1:
On New Year's Day, I spent the entire day organizing my craft area. On the left is the "before" shot. Trust me, the picture doesn't give it justice... it looked MUCH worse than that. I started piling things up everywhere while were were in full-force wedding more, and it just got worse.. and worse.. and worse.  I finally got it organized and it feels SO. GOOD. That's my Project Life kit sitting on the table.

January 2 & 3:

Kurt was in Denver on the 2nd and 3rd for the Broncos and Chargers game. The Broncos lost, but he had a great time with his dad at the game. These are the photos he took with his phone and uploaded to Facebook while he was there.

On the 3rd while Kurt was on his way home,
I worked on these wooden letters that say "CREATE" to hang above my craft area. I don't like them! I painted them black and decorated them with paper flowers and Kurt's Grandma's old button collection. They are okay I guess, but not really what I had in mind and I want to find something else to put in the spot ASAP. Plus, you can't even really tell that they say Create. The squares on either side of the letters are scrapbooking paper on foam board. I think I might make more of those to fill in the middle. Who knows.

January 4:
I did nothing today but lay around and read. I received George W. Bush's book "Decision Points" from Kurt for Christmas. I heard great reviews about it and thought it would be interesting to finally hear, in his own words, about the decisions that Bush had to make during his administration. So far, it has been WONDERFUL.

January 5:
Today, there was a horrible shooting at Millard South High School, which is just a couple of miles from our house. The principal and the assistant principle were both shot - the assistant principal passed away... the day before her birthday. Simply tragic and heart breaking. The student who shot them drove to a parking lot a few blocks away and killed himself. Instead of a picture for the day today, I printed out the news story and folded it to fit in the pocket.

January 6:
We didn't do much today except go grocery shopping. We happened to go to the store that's right near Millard South. There school was closed for the day, and two students were outside selling ribbons in MSHS colors for $1 each. The proceeds went to the families of the victims. Kurt and I each bought one, and I pinned them to the spot where a photo normally goes.

January 7:
The lake near our house has been drained.... apparently because of some Zebra Mussels that were infecting the water. It looks SO weird, so I went down today to take some pictures.

January 8:

I made a Target run this afternoon to get Kurt some medicine for the horrible cold he has, and got stuck in the book aisles. I decied to spend the Target gift card that I got for Christmas on something that I usually only let myself buy one at a time - books! I picked up five of the books that have been on my list for a while now. Now, I just need to work on making more time for reading!

January 9:
SNOW!!! The doggies L.O.V.E it! When we looked out the window, they were eating the snow off of the bird feeder. Perfect height for their little heads!

January 10:

We had a snow day today! Both of us had school cancelled, so we slept late, played with the dogs in the snow, and made pancake, eggs, and bacon for breakfast - which the dogs begged their hardest for. Kurt shoveled/snow-blowed, went to the gym, and I stayed home and organized a cunh of stuff... and now we're laying on the couch watching the football game.

That's it!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, January 10, 2011

Project Life 2011

Last year, I posted HERE about Project Life, a "scrapbooking without the scrapbooking" project that encourages you to take a picture every day. I heard about it a little bit late last year, so my album started in February. If you know me at all, You know that I always have about fifty projects going on at once.  As excited as I was about beginning the project last year, I was really skeptical about actually finishing it. Taking a picture each day is a huge commitment and one that I wasn't sure I was really ready for.

But surprisingly, I did it! Okay, not completely. Half of October, and November and December have no photos yet. Since I got a little bit hehind on printing them, I decided that I didnt' want to waste the money/ink on printing them all at home, so I waited for a great deal on prints. Until yesterday, Snapfish was running a 99 prints for 99cents deal, so I ordered them all yesterday and can't wait for the package to arrive so that I can stick them in.

Last year, I wrote about looking forward to using the project to help our strengthen our relationship. Although I was extremely excited and couldn't wait for Olivia to be born, I was a little bit worried about the fact that our first major priority would be  the baby, instead of having time to spend together as a newly married couple before we began our family. After she died, I knew that I wanted to redirect my focus to making our engagement and then our marriage as strong as possible.

I have to say, that it really, really worked. The project not only encouraged me to take a photo each day, which helped me learn about my then-new camera and motivated me to learn more about photography, but also encouraged us to get out and do more fun things. If we spent too many days laying around, the album was boring and I was ready to get out of the house and find something fun to do.

So many proponents of the project were moms with small children, who wanted to document their daily life at home so that they wouldn't miss a moment of those early years that pass way too quickly. I wasn't sure how the project would work for us, but I am happy to say that I loved it. I'm excited to have a record of almost every single day of our life together as a couple, and hopefully continue the project as we begin to have more children. If our children inherit any of my personality, hopefully they will enjoy having something tangible to look back at. I used to ask my mom a lot of questions about their early married days and about when they were dating - I think it would be so cool to have something like the Project Life album to look through. These albums are definitely going to become family heirlooms that hopefully our future kids will cherish. If we have boys who could care less about this type of thing, hopefully they'll eventually have wives who want them.

I am SUPER excited about doing the project again this year. Becky Higgins released two different versions, a feminine one and a more gender neutral version. Both can be ordered from, HERE, if you are interested. My album arrived last week and I have been having so much fun putting it together.

One thing I didn't participate in last year was Project Life Tuesday, hosted by Jessica Turner at The Mom Creative. Bloggers post their 7 days worth of photos each week, and link up over on The Mom Creative. Jessica is one of my favorite bloggers and one of my scrapbooking inspirations. This year, I'm going to. I think it will encourage me to get my photos uploaded and edited in a more timely fashion, and hopefully printed and into my album a little bit faster. Look for my first post when Project Life Tuesday 2011 kicks off tomorrow!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grief never goes away.

I visited the cemetary today.
This time, it wasn't to visit Olivia. Although I did go visit her grave at the end of my visit.

As I've mentioned before, she is buried at one of Omaha's Catholic Cemetaries. Her spot is right next to the plot my Grandma has purchased for herself, and my Grandpa is already on the other side of that one. Before we had even begun to think about where she should be buried, my Grandma called the cemetary office to see if any of the plots around theirs were still available. When she told us that the one next to hers was free, we jumped at the chance because we loved the idea of her being next to her Great Grandmother, especially because she was able to spend time with Olivia and hold her before she died. My sister Katie is buried at a cemetary in Iowa with my dad's parents, and my mom always said that she found comfort in knowing that she was resting with family... even though I know that neither little girl is "really" in there.
Anyway, When we met with the cemetary guy, he told us that in the other Catholic cemetary across the street is an area just for infants and babies. I liked the idea, but liked the idea of Olivia being with Grandma even better. Since then, I've always meant to go fin the baby area, but never tried until today.

Someone told me recently that the "Infant Serenity" section - i love that name -  has a beautiful statue of an angel holding a little baby in it's arms. Today on my way home, I decided that I wanted to see it. Upon entering the cemetary I saw a section that was decorated with more little Christmas trees etc. than the other areas around it, so I stopped. My mom told me that baby areas are usually the easiest to find around the Holidays because they will be decorated the most. She was VERY right. It was obvious that it was a section for babies or small children because the rows were very close together... clearly because the caskets are so tiny. I remember being shocked, almost to where I felt physically sick, when I saw how teeny tiny Olivia's coffin was. Anyway,  it was a different baby and child section than the one I was looking for, I could tell because it was full.

FULL. The first thing that came to my mind while I was walking through the rows reading the names and dates on the stones was, "There are WAY too many babies here. There are WAY too many parents that have had to do this". I was honestly very surprised at how many graves there were that belonged to babies who died in the 1950s and 1960s that were STILL decorated for Christmas. It really made me realize that this grief never goes away. I already knew that, but this really drove it home for me. There are elderly women who still think about their lost babies on Christmas and come to the cemetary to bring them a Christmas tree and a stocking. How sad. How awful.

Right on the edge of this section I saw a grave stone that had a much larger area in front of it than all the rest. It looked new-ish and it was decorated exactly the same as the tiny one next to it. I walked over for a closer look, and completely broke down into tears as I read the stones. The larger one was the grave of a United States Marine Corps Sergeant who served in the Korean war. I don't remember the dates, but he was a pretty old man when he died. The one next to him was for a little girl with the same last name, who died when she was a day or two old. In 1959.  This obviously made me think of Kurt, who was a Sgt. in the Marine Corps. He won't be able to be buried next to Livie, but I know that he will still be missing her and thinking about her forty years from now. The spot on the opposite side of the baby's grave was completely empty. I really hope that it belongs to her mama.
 I stood there crying and crying, thinking about how sweet it is that he must have purchased the plot right next to hers all those years ago. I also cried because I can only imagine how happy he must have been to finally be reunited with her after forty some years.
Yet another example that the grief never goes away.

I did eventually find the statue I was looking for after I got back in my car and drove around a little bit. The cemetary is HUGE and it was on the other side. I was surprised to immediately see the grave of Sofia, the baby who belongs to Lia, the sweet woman that was my gift exchange partner this Christmas. Of course, I stood there and cried for them too.

I was in a crying mood today, obviously. The section had SO MANY BABIES. It was just ridiculous. I looked at the dates on most of them, and there were so many from 2009 and 2010. I hate that this happens to so many families.

After seeing the graves of all of those babies I felt like I needed to go visit my own. I didn't take anything new with me, but all of these things that we took on Christmas eve are still there. Kurt wanted to take her this puppy that looks like a yellow lab because he said that she would want her own "jack or molly".

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!!

A few days late!

2010 was definitely an interesting one for us. For Kurt and I, and for our family. We have had a lot of ups, and a lot of downs. I like to think that there were more ups than downs, but we certainly came in to 2010 having no idea what to expect. Usually, every new year seems like it's going to be just the same as the last. I've felt like my life is measured by semesters for as long as I can remember, so the new year usually symbolizes another semester beginning. But when 2010 began, not only were we about to start a new semester of classes, but I was also going to have to learn how to be a parent to a baby that is not alive. My whole life had changed, and at that point I did not think it had cganged for the better. It felt like there was a black cloud hanging over our apartment, that followed me wherever I went when I left in the morning, and followed me back home at night. How was I supposed to function in this new skin? I think Kurt felt the same way.

And it has been difficult to say the least. But you know what? I think we've done a pretty good job. If you were to ask me on this day last year, where I thought we'd be on January 4, 2011, I wouldn't have known what to say.... but I know I would have been thinking that I would never feel better, and that the pain would be exactly the same. I am proud to say that it's been a better year than I ever would have expected. I don't want to sum up the bad things that have happened or dwell on the sad feelings that I've had. I think it's more important to focus on the blessings that we received. Over the past year, we memorialized Olivia in beautiful ways. We think about her every day. Losing her has connected me with so many amazing women that I never would have known had she not died. I am extremely thankful for those friendships. They got me through some pretty dark times. Kurt and I both grew up a little bit more over the past year, and I am also thankful for that. Not that we weren't adults before, but seeing the world from a parent's perspective for the first time ever really changes everything you think and feel, even if your child is not living. We had a beautiful wedding, watched wonderful friends as they got married, and helped welcome the beautiful babies of some very dear friends into the world. We've both managed to be extremely successful in school, and we've become closer as a couple.

So, Happy New Year! I hope that the friends I've made who are walking this path of grief along with me are able to continue healing. I hope that the new year brings everyone peace, and all the happiness you deserve. Thanks for reading this little blog for the past year. I have been blessed by so many wonderful readers who make me feel like my little corner of the internet is actually worth something :).

(Out for Sushi on New Year's Eve)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic