Monday, February 28, 2011

Balloons from Livie

Do you all believe in signs?

I definitely do.

Yesterday, Ashley wrote about a big sign that she received. Ashley and her husband lost their little Nolan in 2009, and Ashley's brother, who she was very close with, also passed away a few months ago. She feels that she sign she recently received was from her brother, letting her know that "he's okay, Nolan's happy and heaven is beautiful". She wrote that she has always prayed for a sign like that.

After reading her post, I thought about how I've maybe received some little signs, but nothing that's really been noteworthy. I definitely associate dragonflies with Olivia. Seeing them makes my heart happy, but they are so common here in the summer that it's not like it's strange to see them all over the place.

I was kind of struggling this morning. For some reason there are just random days where my heart just hurts more than others. Now that it's been over a year, I wake up feeling good and go to bed feeling good. I used to have days where I woke up feeling depressed and went to bed feeling depressed, but those are far and few between now. Occasionally, someone will say something upsetting or I'll read a blog post that makes me cry and puts me in a sad mood. I don't think anything really happened within the last couple of days, but for some reason this morning I was feeling down. Maybe it's because of the BS dreary weather we've been having for the past couple of days (winter is LONG in Nebraska!). Who knows.

On the treadmill this morning, I thought back to Ashley's blog post and wondered what it felt like to *know* that she was receiving a sign from Nolan, as opposed to just *wondering* if something was a sign from him. Usually, I see something that reminds me of Olivia, but that's not the same thing as a sign. I've never received a sign that I just knew instantly was from Olivia.

Until today!!!

I left the house to quickly go tanning, because it usually makes me feel better when I'm feeling crappy and the weather is gross. I pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of the car, and looked over toward the building to see if it looked busy in there - because I was in no mood to sit around and wait for my turn.

Floating right above the building was a HUGEEEE bunch of pink balloons. I mean huge. I have no idea where they came from... logically, I would assume that some mom was probably picking them up from the nearby grocery store for her daughter's birthday and they got loose. But the second I saw them, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and... almost joy?  I can't really describe the feeling. It was so strange, but in a good way. I'm not naive, I know that she doesn't have super powers and can't send me balloons, but I really do believe she played some kind of part in my decision to go tanning at that exact moment.

As a sidenote, I was just e-mailing this morning with Danielle about our cameras and what kinds of lenses we use. I told her that I have a zoom lens that I never use and that I think was a huge waste of money. I usually carry my Kelly Moore bag everywhere. It has dividers inside for my camera and lenses, but because I don't have a whole lot of equipment, I can use the other half of the bag as a purse. That way I've got my camera stuff with me at all times. But did I have it with me today? OF COURSE NOT! My first instinct when I saw those balloons was to grab my camera and see if I could get a cook picture. but I didn't, I only had my stone age phone. I tried to take a picture but by the time I got it up and running and took the picture, the balloons looked like a tiny gray dot. annoying. If only I had my zoom lens that I was just complaining about today, I would have been able to take a beautiful picture of the balloons. Damnit! I had to find that picture above on Google Images. :(

So, moral of the story, signs DO exist and come at exactly the right time.... and always keep your camera with you, because you never know when you'll need it!

Thank you, Olivia for giving me such a beautiful sign today, and for also providing me with a little bit of photography inspiration :).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seven minutes!

Happy Sunday everybody!

Sundays are my favorite day of the week, now that I no longer have to work all day. Usually, we wake up early and go to chuch, and then I go to Zumba class while Kurt runs, and then we come home and make lunch together.

Today was a little bit different. We slept in and missed church accidentally (although it felt SO good to sleep in a little bit). Zumba was cancelled because the gym was holding a training all day for instructors... so I decided to hop on the treadmill next to Kurt. I completely surprised myself. Brace yourselves... I ran for 7 minutes straight. I know, I know... for any of you who are avid runners, that is definitely laughable. But I have never, EVER been a runner, and I never thought I would be. Every time I try to run on a treadmill I make it for about 2 minutes, feel like I'm going to die or my lungs are going to collapse, and I stop. Usually, I just walk on a high incline at 4mph. For whatever reason, I decided to try today. I think the Zumba classes are really starting to pay off! This week will be my 4th week of doing it 5 times a week. That's a lot more cardio than I've ever done consistently, so I guess it's increased my stamina and is allowing me to run longer distances. Seven minutes isn't a lot, but I left the gym with a renewed confidence and I'm excited to keep going and gradually increasing the time.

Tonight, I'm going over to my parents' house to watch The Oscars with my mom, sister, and grandma. I have only seen a couple of the movies that are nominated this year, so I'm really going just to see all the pretty dresses. That's always been my favorite part of awards season!

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My not so little anymore puppy

Have you guys gotten sick of my dogs yet?

I don't even care if you have.

Because they are just WAY too cute.

How can you resist that face!
He was so happy to be in the car, I thought he was going to pass out from excitement.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another quick note...

Please stop by Kellie's blog tonight to show her some love.
She and her husband lost their little girl, Maddie last week.
She was 4 months old.

If you read what I posted earlier today, you know that the blog community was so helpful to me during my time of need - and still is. I know that when I first started out here, I didn't even know how to begin finding people to identify with. I noticed that Kellie has received TONS of comments on her posts from the last couple of days, but I think it would be great if as many people as possible from this "loss community" could show her some support.

We all know that she is going to need it.

My heart hurts for her - I can't even imagine what it would be like to have brought Olivia home and then lost her.

It is obvious, just from reading the last couple of weeks worth of posts by Kellie, that she was the most wonderful mama to Maddie. She was a very, very lucky little girl.

Another V-day post, 8 days late!

I forgot to post this on Valentine's Day. I meant to publish it late that night, but I spaced it off. Which I tend to do often.

Remember how I wrote about our Valentine's Day plans, and how Kurt and I had decided not to get each other anything. Even the day before, he asked me about it "just to make sure".

I came home from my practicum that afternoon to find this on the coffee table:

I have a pretty smart husband.

{The froggy figurine symbolizes Olivia... we called her "Froggy" while I was pregnant, because Kurt had such big eyes that he looked like a frog when he was born, and I told him that I hoped our future kids would have eyes like he did}

My favorite part, is what he drew on the inside of the card...

He wrote, "I love you too, mommy" and drew a little angel. He also signed the card from himself and Livie.

I absolutely love when he includes her in ways that I hadn't thought of. Usually, it just happens that he does those kinds of things when I am in need of a reminder that she's with us, or a reminder that he thinks about her just as much as I do.



Every month on the 19th {I'm late, as usual!}, Francesca from Small Bird Studios hosts the Small Miracles Blog Hop. Click the image above to hop on over to Francesca's blog and read her post. The entries from other ladies are listed below my post here, and also on Francesca's blog. You can submit your story either here or there.

"Francesca asks, what big or small miracles have brought you hope lately?"

There have been so many things that have brought me hope throughout this journey. I sat here for a few minutes trying to figure out which one has brought me the most hope. I can't do that. What I want to do, is take this opportunity to thank all of the ladies that I've "met" over the past 15 months. The women I have come into contact with since we lost Olivia have transformed me into a new person. The online baby loss community is so fantastic, and I don't know where I'd be if I'd never stumbled across it. This always makes me think about my mom, who lost my older sister almost 25 years ago. In 1986, there was no internet, and no real support for this kind of thing. She had a few books, but that's about it. Even her co-workers were fairly unsupportive. People didn't talk about this kind of thing, even though I'm sure it was just as common then as it in now. There was such a lack of understanding for what she was going through, and my heart hurts for her when I think about it. I know that I am extremely fortunate.

I have been inspired to have more compassion for people.

to be grateful for the life that I've been given.

I have developed a more passionate love for the Lord,

and how to use the love that I receive from Him to affect the lives of others.

I have been inspired to learn photography,

to eat well, to exercise,

and to laugh through the grief.

I have learned how to live with joy again. Something that 15 months ago, I didn't know was possible.

Maybe I would have done some of these things on my own. But the encouragement and inspiration that I have received from the blog community has been so amazing. Even overwhelming at times. It is so wonderful to log into blogger and read posts from women who lost their babies too and are struggling with similar feelings. It is empowering to watch everyone progress through the stages of grief and slowly become an even BETTER version of their former selves.

If you follow my blog and are a baby loss mama, then I follow yours too, and its you that I am talking about.

Thank you for all of the hope you've provided me with over the past 15 months. It means more to me than I can put into words.

And as for miracles... Two of my best blog friends gave birth to their Rainbow Babies within the last couple of months. Meredith had Lauren in December, and Maggie had Lucas yesterday. If those aren't reasons for hope, then I don't know what is :).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Farewell Wedding Shoes....

Farewell wedding shoes....

As I was coming up the stairs this morning, my mother in law said, "You'd better check out your shoes by the back door"...

My doggies chewed up my wedding shoes! They have never really been "shoe chewers". We always leave our shoes laying around!  

I chose them because they were gold and matched the sash on my dress, but also because the center stone is a (fake) citrine... Olivia's birthstone and the birthstone for November, our wedding month.

I've been wearing them pretty much constantly since November. So oh well. I've gotten a lot more use out of them than I ever thought I would!

But they were so pretty! I can't bring myself to throw them away!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

cheater cheater cheeseburger eater!

Eating out is SO totally not worth it.

Or at least, going out to eat NOT very healthy things.

Last night, Kurt and I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends at Cheeseburger in Paradise. We looked up their menu before we left, and because we've been trying so hard to eat well, we decided that their salads looked good and we would stick to that. But after sitting there and listening to everyone talk about what they were ordering, and it smelled SO GOOD in there... we both ordered burgers. I had a gouda and mushroom burger (it was amazing), and Kurt had a guacamole burger or something. We reasoned with ourselves by saying that we hadn't "cheated" in a while so it would be fine to eat something greasy. Plus all of the fries on our plates. Plus some fried pickles.

Ugh. totally, absolutely not worth it! This morning I got up and went to Zumba, and halfway through the class I thought I was going to die. I remember Kurt telling me once that whenever he went running the day after he ate badly, his legs felt heavy and it was so hard to finish the run. I've never experienced that feeling before because I've honestly never done any real intense cardio. Today was my first experience with that, and it was not very fun. I always feel challenged in the class, but at one point, i was seriously contemplating whether or not I should leave after the song ended. I pushed through and finished the class, but wow, I definitely learned my lesson. I made baked chicken and the roasted vegetables for dinner tonight so that today's experience won't be repeated at tomorrow night's class.

Staying on the right track is so much harder than I thought it would be! Hopefully, I'll be able to use the way I felt today as a motivator for the next time I feel like it might be okay to eat something greasy and cheesy. and delicous. Dang it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Roasted Veggies

These are the best vegetables I have EVER eaten. My practicum supervisor is doing a healthy eating challenge at her gym, and she has been passing recipes along to me. She told me that these were good, but I thought "okay, they're vegetables... how awesome can they be?"  -- But seriously, they are AWESOME. I have to admit that I've never done a whole lot with fresh vegetables... we usually do the "steam in the bag" kind. Which is fine, but I'm really trying to lean more toward fresh and organic food as much possible. I could eat these by themselves for an entire meal, they are THAT good. And super easy to make.

1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Bunch of Broccoli
1 Sweet Potato
1 Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Dried Basil
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

{You can also substitute in yellow or green peppers, more squash, red onion, or cauliflower}

Chop each vegetable into two inch chunks. The only thing I peeled was the sweet potato. In a large bowl, place all of the veggie chunks, and toss with 2 (ish) tablespoons of Olive Oil. Add the Oregano and basil, and add salt & pepper to taste and toss again. Place the veggie mixture into a 9x13 pan and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to 425 for another ten minutes or so, or until the sweet potato is easy to fork.

We had these the other night with steak. SO. Good.


More JOY

That is my new mantra.

I was reading my newest Women's Health while on the treadmill the other day, and actually read the letter from the editor in the beginning of the magazine - which I usually just flip past. In the letter, the editor was encouraging the readers to fill their lives with activities that give them joy, and stop letting ourselves feel so insanely guilty for every little mistake or slip up.

After reading that, I realized that this is what my biggest problem has been. After a few days of eating well, we would go out to eat or I'd forget my lunch at home and go through the Runza drive-thru... and an intense wave of guilt would pass over me. I would feel so guilty that I would just jump off of the fitness band wagon and continue to eat like crap. I always had the mentality that if I had already "messed up" that day, eating well for the rest of the day would be pointless, so why not just continue to eat like crap. And not go to the gym.

This cycle would repeat itself for days or sometimes weeks, which would turn into months. Recently, I was flipping through a weight watchers magazine and read a "success story" about a woman who lost a ton of weight when she realized how big she had gotten in the fall of 2009. That really put into perspective for me how much time I've wasted. November of 2009 was when I had Olivia, and while I know it is unrealistic to think that I could have started losing weight immediately after she was born, I definitely could have gotten moving by January. No one wants to be bigger than they were right after having a baby... for most women, that's when they're at their heaviest... and that's where I've ended up.
Just more affirmation that it's time to get the ball rolling. I've never felt more "ready" to get in shape than I do right now. I've always heard that you won't be successful at anything until you're fully ready to be... so maybe I just had to wait for that time to come.

I'm actually pretty proud of myself... I've been to the gym more in the past couple of weeks than I have in a LONG time. One of the things that's really been surprising me is that lately, it's been me asking Kurt when he's going to be ready to leave for the gym, and not the other way around. Before, I felt like he was dragging me there with him when all I wanted to do was lay on the couch.

What's been making me feel so motivated? ZUMBA! Seriously - you have to try it. It is so amazing. We are lucky enough to belong to a HUGE gym, which is awesome for me because we have Zumba 5 times a week. I have been trying to go every time it's offered. The only day I've skipped so far was Valentine's day, because class is always right at dinner time on weeknights. I really despise doing traditional cardio workouts like running - I get so bored and the time always goes by soooo slowly, which tricked me into thinking it was hard, or that I couldn't do it. Zumba has taught me that's not the case at all. It's very intense (for me anyway) and by the end of the class I'm sweating SOO much more than I ever would after an hour on the treadmill.It's fun, and the hour flies by so fast that before I know it we're cooling down already.

I have already begun to notice a change in my attitude and my general mood throughout each day. It's really nice to actually look forward to going to the gym instead of thinking up ways to get around it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

letter writing

This morning while getting ready, I cranked up the Today Show on the living room tv so that I could hear it from the bathroom while I straightened my hair.

Within a few minutes I was crying my eyes out in front of the bathroom mirror!

Regardless of your political opinions, if you are a hopeless romantic like me, you will love this segment...

Click HERE

Jenna Bush Hager interviews her grandparents about the love letters that they've been writing to each other consistently ever since George Sr. was away in WWII. She had them read some of them out loud, and even he was crying by the end of the segment. You can tell just from watching how strong their love for each other is.

I love love.

There is something to be said about written communication - that's for sure. For the beginning of our relationship, Kurt was in Iraq on a 6 month deployment. We started hung out a couple of times before he left... but our relatinoship really blossomed while he was away. We talked almost every day on MSN - he was lucky enough to be an C-130 Mechanic which meant that for the most part, he stayed on base to work and talk to me. Every morning I woke up and checked my computer for an e-mail from him, and waited for him to log on to MSN so that we could chat. We also wrote several real letters just for the fun of it, even though snail mail took weeks to get to Iraq, and it was much easier to just send an e-mail. When writing is all you can do, you look forward to every single exchange of words, and you take advantage of every opportunity that you have to do it. I am positive that we learned more about each other during those months of writing than we would have if we had been "dating" in person during that time. Plus, it heightened the anticipation of seeing each other again. I have all of our letters, printed off e-mails and MSN conversations saved in a file in our fireproof box. That's how important they are to me. I hope that one day, our future grand children will appreciate them just like Jenna Bush Hager appreciates her grandparents' letters to each other.

I love my husband.

Happy Valentine's Day - AGAIN! :)

Happy Day of Love!

Happy Valentine's Day, ya'll!
{I've been reading The Pioneer Woman's new book... can you tell? :)}

Kurt and I don't do a whole lot to celebrate Valentine's day. Mostly because I don't really care about the tacky gifts, and Kurt knows me well enough to know that I will just get frustrated about where to store it. Seriously - what are you supposed to do with a stuffed bear holding a pink heart? We have enough stuffed animals as it is, and if I get any more then our basement will start to look like a kid's room. {Also, I hate writing "our basement". I can't wait until I can finally say "our house"!!!!} On our bed I already keep the yellow stuffed bear wearing an "Al Asad Iraq" t-shirt that Kurt sent me when he was over there, and the pink teddy bear from Olivia's casket. We also have a bear wearing a Broncos t-shirt that Kurt got for me when he went to Denver in January. He lives on a living room shelf. Three is enough for a 23 year old woman. Also, I don't need any more jewelry! I have one necklace that I wear every day, and a ring for each ring finger. I occasionally wear different necklaces from Loft or Target, but I need to pick those out myself. I told Kurt not to buy me any more jewelry until we have another child and I need another charm for my birth stone necklace... and not to buy me flowers until we have a kitchen table for me to set them on.

So, there goes all of the traditional Valentine's day gifts.

Tonight, we are staying in. I went grocery shopping last night to get the ingredients for Pioneer Woman's "Penne a la Betsy" {YES that's what it's really called! Her sister's name is Betsy, and it's my favorite recipe of hers so far. It's fate, I think}. red velvet cake for dessert, and snacks for watching a movie after wards.

{The "eating healthy" thing will be on pause for tonight}.

When we were little my mom used to always get my sister and I little heart-themed gifts to open after we had a "pizza picnic" on a beach towel in front of the TV in the living room. That sounds so funny now, but we used to think it was SUCH a big deal because eating in front of the TV was definitely not allowed in our house.

What are you doing to celebrate? Does your family have any Valentine's traditions?

And so in honor of Valentine's Day, here is our VERY first picture together as a "couple. And another one thrown in for good measure from the same weekend. I can't believe how different we look!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sweet November

The new look is HERE!

{ If you're reading this though google reader, this would be a great time to click and view the blog as a separate page. }

Also, for those of you who have my old button on your page, please grab my new one to replace it! If you don't have it on your page yet... now would be the perfect time to add it :) But no pressure.

And with the new look comes a brand new name for this little blog.

I loved the old name, (Too Beautiful for Earth, Living after Losing Olivia) but as I was working on choosing the new design, I decided that since I was hoping to go in a new direction with the blog and make it more about my life in general, not just the loss related aspects of it, I felt like it needed a new name.

November is a very special month for me. As most of you know, Kurt and I were married this past November of 2010, and of course it's the month that we welcomed Olivia into our lives, and said goodbye to her in 2009. I felt that using November in some way in the title would still keep the blog very much Olivia related, but not necessarily Olivia specific.

And as for the new design..

I love it. I think it's pretty safe to say that I am IN love with it.

I worked with the wonderful and amazing Danielle, The Design Girl, and I could not be more impressed with her work. She worked with me and took every suggestion into account. I did not have a clear vision in mind at all for what I wanted when we started the process. She gave me some direction after I kind of half described what I was looking for, and once I finally figured it out, she put it together SO perfectly.

Lets talk about my favorite things, shall we?

I originally just planned on having the picture of Kurt and I from our wedding in the banner, and no picture of Olivia. I thought she would be represented well enough by the pink angel wings and pink ribbon. Danielle e-mailed me last night and said that she knew that she knew I hadn't asked for it, but she wanted to show me how she had included Livie in the banner. I hadn't noticed that the kit I chose came with the litting gold frame. How perfect. I started crying as soon as I saw it. Seriously awesome. I was also confused because I didn't even send Danielle that picture of Olivia, she took it upon herself to add it after seeing it on my blog. I think that is so sweet, and I love that she took the time to do that for me. She could have just done what I asked and installed it, but she didn't, and I love her for that. :)

I love the pink angel wings, and the ribbon. The black and white image of Olivia wearing the pink bow was at the center of the old blog banner that I made myself, and I have to admit that as much as I was ready for this change, I was feeling some emotional attachment to it (I took a screen shot of it so that I could include it as part of todays POTD for ProjectLife so that I'll always have it to look at). Olivia wore a pink bow in her hair for almost her entire life, at least for the last 2 days of it. I saved that one and it's in her shadow box, but I made her a new one for her to wear for her funeral, and she was buried with it in her hair. I don't think I'll ever be able to see a pink bow without thinking of her. I love that the ribbon is still front and center at the top of the page. The picture that I was referring to is what Danielle used to make my button, which I love also.

I still have some re-organizing to do of the content in the sidebars, but I'm anxious to get to the gym so I'll have to work on that later.

Okay I'll stop now. Please leave some comments and let me know what you think! I'm so proud of it that I wish I could carry my laptop around all day showing it to people. I hope you like it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

getting back in shape.

So it might be the middle of February already, but I'm finally ready to get started on one of our New Year's resolutions.

Kurt and I are embarking on a new journey to get fit, and STAY that way! For the first time ever. If you know me in real life, then you know that my husband is a fitness freak, and I am... not. I wish I was. I really do. But I'm not. At least until now. I'm REALLY going to try this time.

I used to be one of those girls that could eat {almost} whatever I wanted and it didn't matter. I've never been the skinniest girl in the room, but I never really felt too bad about the way I look, and didn't have any trouble finding or fitting into cute clothes. I've had a gym membership since I was 15 or so, and have gone through periods where I worked out every day, and then months where I didn't go at all. And I didn't really care, because I didn't feel fat anyway.

But let me tell ya - after your body goes through a pregnancy, it's like a WHOLE DIFFERENT BODY. Seriously. I feel like a totally different person. And not in a good way!

Well folks, it's time for a change. I don't even remember how much I weighed pre-pregnancy, but it wasn't really that scary of a number. The number I see on the scale these days IS. And lets get real... It's been 14-ish months since I was pregnant, the excuse of "oh but I just had a baby" is real old. I don't really think it works anymore... I'm pretty sure that If/when I use it, people are probably thinking "That girl needs to get a grip, she hasn't been pregnant for over a year now". 

Kurt and I recently started DVRing that new show on MTV, "I Used To Be Fat" ... oh my gosh, it's eye opening. I've watched The Biggest Loser a few times before, and yeah they lose a lot of weight quickly, but it's easy to write that off because you can think, oh well duh, if they basically live in a weight loss laboratory with chefs and trainers watching their every move, OF COURSE they're going to lose weight. But this show follows people over the course of a couple of months, and they have a trainer, but they're living at home and are responsible for getting themselves to the gym and for planning their meals. It totally makes you feel like a lazy POS for watching them lose weight while you're laying on the couch eating cake and Cheetos.

Okay, we weren't really eating cake. Or Cheetos. But it did make us feel gross. We both have gotten pretty lackadaisical with going to the Gym. Kurt still goes on a regular basis, but not like he used to, and because we've had pretty poor eating habits since the beginning of my pregnancy {When I was told that I wasn't gaining enough weight and that I needed to eat more fast food...}, he hasn't been seeing the results that he was used to getting as a lean and mean Marine.

The thing that frustrates me the most, is that I have no excuses. We live less than a 1 minute drive from our gym. I have several healthy eating cookbooks and follow lots of healthy cooking blogs. I have a subscription to Shape, and used to have one to Women's Health... and have literally read entire books on nutrition. I guess it has always interested me, but I've completely lacked the will power to make use of the knowledge that I have.

People, that's pathetic. You don't need to say it. Trust me, I know!

The other day, I talked to several friends about Weight Watchers and thought seriously about joining again (Oh yeah, that's another thing! I've been a member of WW before! I started posting about that last year... and did ONE post. I went to three meetings. Again, pathetic). But then I thought, what a waste of money to pay for a service... if I already know what I'm doing?

I just need to get off my lazy butt and DO IT!

I read an article in a magazine once about a girl who blogged what she ate every single day to hold herself accountable.

That's what I'm going to do. I know that "they" say to keep a food log to hold yourself accountable... but that has never worked for me. I've tried getting a little notebook and keeping it in my purse to write everything down, and soon enough it's at the bottom of my bag underneath a bunch of crap and I've completely forgotten about it.
I think that putting it out there into "blog land" will help me to stick to this goal. I'll be blogging recipes and things about my work outs, and I'll be open to any criticism. I won't be posting about it EVERY single day because I know no one cares that much, and frankly that's pretty boring. But I hope that by blogging about my/our meals and the struggles/challenges/triumphs I have at the gym will help me stay on the right track.
Here we go. Wish me luck. I feel like I'm gonna need it...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

photography frustrations.

I am trying to work on my photography skills.

Well, I don't really have photography skills... so I guess I should say I'm trying to LEARN how to have photography skills. I'm taking a class right now... and would love to share the photos that I've been taking. 

But I'm SOOO Stinkin' frustrated! Because they're not that good. So much of photography revolves around lighting. Half of the time, it's what makes an okay picture into a great one. But guess what? I live in my in-laws basement. I really try hard not to complain about it, because it's a wonderful opportunity for us to save save save our money. We have ONE big source of light, which is the sliding glass doors that open up into the back yard. It's in the corner of our basement - on the completely opposite side of the basement from the living room. It's great for practicing because I can put objects on the floor near the doors... but a lot of our photography assignments involve taking pictures of every day things, or people... and I can't really ask kurt and/or the dogs to go sit on the floor in front of the window CONSTANTLY, and I can't move half of my stuff over in front of the doors either.

Really, I'm just venting right now. And dreaming about our next house which will be made of all floor to ceiling windows.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


{I was going through my posts today and found this draft that I wrote in August. I'm not sure why I never posted it... I read through it again and really liked it ... so here it is. I added the last two paragraphs on today}.

Loss. No one wants to acknowledge it. Our society completely sucks at that. And that sucks. People feel uncomfortable talking about bad things that happen, whether its to themselves or someone else. When people are having a conversation about loss, notice how almost everyone will try to justify it, or turn it into something positive by saying things like "It could have been worse", or, "at least _____ didn't happen", "at least we were able to ________", "... But we're lucky that...". I'm guilty of treating loss this way - I've done it in probably the majority of my posts here on this blog. And in all honesty, these things are usually true. We ARE lucky that we got to spend three days with Olivia, we were told that if we had waited any longer for an ultrasound that she would have been stillborn. So, yes, we are lucky.

But there are times when thinking about the positive is more painful than thinking about the negative. There are times when the loss is so painful that thinking about any of the happy times we had makes it hurt worse - because those happy times that we remember are the only ones we'll ever have with her here.

I have begun to feel like making those "yes it is/was awful, but..." statements is discounting our loss - making it sound like it wasn't - or isn't - as bad as it really is/was. Why do we feel like we need to say things to make OTHERS feel better about OUR pain?

I guess I'm just feeling down today, and frustrated with it. I wish loss was a more comfortable thing to talk about. I think it frustrates me really because I myself am completely comfortable talking about it - those of you who have lost babies know, that you talk about it so much that at some point it isn't hard any more. It's not ME that I'm being positive for. It's the person that I'm talking to. that person, whoever it is, isn't used to dealing with it every living breathing moment of every single day, and so when they ask you "how are you doing?" It totally freaks them out to hear, "Awful. Today sucks, I hate it, I'm very sad and I miss my kid".

This, I think, is why I keep posting things to help raise awareness for infant loss. I know I don't have too many followers compared to some of you guys, but if I can make just one person more comfortable with the idea of loss then that makes me happy. Because when it happens, you NEED a friend that can simply say "I hear ya - it sucks, I hate that you're sad and I'm sad too. I wish I could have known your baby" ... rather than "ohh, isn't that too bad. welp, it'll get better! Time heals all wounds". {do not say this, btw}

Anywho, there's my rant for the day. I'm at work and really should be working :).

Friday, February 4, 2011

{Faces of Loss} february prompt.

If you guys haven't checked out Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, please do. The button is in my sidebar, or you can click *here*. I've talked about them before. They are AMAZING, and I've been an avid fan and supporter since the day they began. They are a non-profit that just started this year, only a few months after Kristen, the co-director lost her little girl Stevie Joy. Kristen's blog is called Dear Stevie, and you can find it *here*. The concept of FOLFOH is extremely simple - it's just a place for women to share their stories of loss, and to connect with other women who experienced something similar. It's a beautiful thing. I know that a lot of my followers are baby loss mamas who have known about this FOLFOH for a while now, but some of you are not...
One of my favorite favorite things about FOLFOH is that they have a page for friends and family members. If you are a friend or a family member to someone who has recently experienced a loss (or even not recently), I encourage you to check it out. They offer amazing advice on what TO say and what NOT to say to someone who has recently lost a baby, and also ideas for how to help. Don't know anyone who has lost a baby? read it anyway. It WILL happen to someone you know. That sounds awful, right? But it's true. Infant loss happened to my mom, it happened to me, and it happened to Kurt's cousin and his wife, twice. It's way too common guys, and speaking as someone who suffered (and is suffering) through it, we need the people that we are close with to be supportive. 
For every wonderful thing that was done for us after Livie died, someone else said or did something that hurt. Most of those things weren't intentional - people just DO NOT know what they are supposed to say or do. So that's why I'm helpin' ya out. You will be VERY glad, and so will your friend/neighbor/sister/daughter/cousin/classmate... whoever it is that may lose a child someday in the future. They will be happy that you said the right thing, and you will feel good knowing that you made a positive difference.
THIS series is my favorite. It's written by Molly Piper, a woman who lost her little girl, Felicity a few years ago. Please, Please read it. It's so amazing. So there's my little lesson for the day. I wasn't planning on posting about this.

Now... Onto the regularly scheduled post. :)

Faces of Loss hosts a writing challenge each month. Sometimes I participate, and sometimes I don't. Here's February's prompt.
"Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Write about something special a friend, family member, or other loved one did for you after your baby(ies) died that really touched your heart".
There are several people that deserve to be written about. All of them already know how thankful Kurt and I are for what they did for us. If you're reading this and I don't mention you, please don't think that it's because we aren't grateful. Trust me, we are. I want to write about two specific people, and thank them for their CONTINUOUS love and support - not just one special thing that they did for us, but for all of it.

I have two girls in my life that I consider to be two of my best friends. Catelyn and Abigail. {oh god. I'm crying already}. I met Cate when we were randomly selected to be room mates freshman year of college. Abigail is her life-long friend, who has become my life-long friend. I met her somewhere along the way... I'm not sure when the first time was. Over the last six years we have drifted apart a couple of times, but have always come back together and each time our friendship is stronger than time time before. I love them. 
I was nervous to tell them that I was pregnant. Kurt and I had JUST gotten engaged and we weren't even living together yet. We had received a lot of mixed reactions from family members and other friends, and I wasn't sure what they'd say. I was so pleasantly surprised when they were EXCITED. They threw my baby shower. 
When Livie was born, they came and visited us in the hospital. I so wish they could have met her. Abigail lived in Nashville at the time and happened to be in town for her birthday. She wasn't able to come to the funeral, because she was either back home already or on her way. She was working for a Christian record label in Nashville, and a couple of weeks after the funeral a HUGE box arrived at our apartment door. It was filled with CDs. I don't know how many, but there were TONS. She wrote the sweetest letter about wishing that she and her husband could have been there with us, but she hoped that the CDs would bring us comfort.

That was an amazing, thoughtful gift that was so different than all of the flowers and cards and "traditional" grief gifts that we had been receiving. {Which doesn't mean that all of the other gifts weren't fabulous and heart warming. Trust me, we loved them}.

Months passed, and the world seemed to be moving on while we were still standing still in our grief. One day, I received this message from Cate. {Catelyn, I hope you don't mind me posting this here. :) }
"I want you to know that I am always here to talk about Livie. I don't know how this experience evolves for you, but I am assuming that slowly the messages stop coming on facebook and sometime you might feel that people are forgetting. I never want you to feel this way. I and I'm sure every other close friend and family member has not forgotten. I don't want to bring it up every time we hang out in case you don't feel like talking through it again, but whenever you want to, I am here too! I know that you and Kurt both have been such positive, strong believers through everything which is VERY inspiring, but if there every comes a time that you feel more sad than usual or begin to feel more angry, I would LOVE to remind you of all the positives that Olivia brought.....because as you know, there are a LOT! "
 It was exactly what I needed. For a long period of time, it felt like every time I logged into facebook there was a comment or a message from someone expressing their sadness about what happened, and every time I checked our mailbox there was a card from a family member. I knew in my heart that no one had forgotten and that no one ever would, but sometimes you REALLY need to hear {or read} those words.

Over the last year, both girls have checked in on me religiously, always asking how I'm doing, randomly commenting on pictures of Olivia and bringing her up in regular conversations when I least expect it. 

And this year, on her birthday, Abigail and Jeremy met us at the Cemetery with this plaque. 

I love them So, so much. I can only hope that someday when they are struggling, I can be as good of a friend to them as they have been to me. Those are some big shoes to fill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Public Service Announcement...

Project Life Tuesday is going to be on hiatus for a few weeks.
My computer is on vacation at the Best Buy service center, and the guy said it would be back within two to three weeks. We have Kurt's computer to use, but mine is the only one with photoshop on it. I had the pictures for this weeks post already edited and organized by date in a folder on my desktop and was so proud of myself for being organized and not having to scramble to put the post together at the last minute. :(
I'll be taking pictures (hopefully) as normal, and will post a bunch when I get my computer back.

On another note. THIS came out today..

I am so excited I can barely stand it! I am in love with The Pioneer Woman.

I have {and love}her cookbook, and was just thinking... wouldn't it be fun to make one of her recipes every day... like Julie did in Julie & Julia {One of my all time favorite movies}?

But then I don't think I would be able to achieve any of my weight loss goals... so we'll have to stick to using it for special occasions.

We have a snow day today, so I am going to spend it cleaning, catching up on some reading and working on a few projects.  I hope everyone who is stuck inside today is taking advantage of this opportunity to relax!

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