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, "...so 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 http://www.danielle-moss.com/ for designing our adorable shirts for this year, and to http://www.maeandpearl.com/ 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.