Thursday, January 17, 2013

Putting Forth Hope

I feel like I always debate writing another "down" post.  But I spent last weekend worrying about a really good friend who was going through an ectopic miscarriage and had to have surgery.  I'd like to think that all this pain is of use in situations like that, that my vocalness (is that a word) about our lost babies allows people to talk about theirs.  If my pain can be at least of some use (for background: our most recent lossmy struggle, and where we are).  Then at lunch with friends as I'm talking about that they say they didn't know how to just ignore it or if I wanted to talk.  I have to talk about them.  They're my children.  That they weren't in my arms doesn't make them less real to me.  I will never forget.  I mean, it's been almost a full month now.  I'm just ready to move forward (not move-on, you never move-on) in some ways, but it many ways I never will "move-on" because I have these 4 children no one knew.  And no, the wanting to move forward, that doesn't make me a bad person I think.  Mostly because moving forward is not forgetting.  It's just a lack of lingering... mostly.

Like everyone I guess I struggle with what to share on here and what not to.  With my pregnancy with Lloyd (magic number 3) I decided to share pretty much as soon as we heard his heartbeat.  With this last one I held back because I just wasn't sure.  I think I knew something wasn't right from the beginning (Coach says I'm just always pessimistic, but it was suddenly around 9/10 weeks too different from my pregnancy from Lloyd and it made me nervous from the time it started to change).  I've shared all but one of my grief-stricken miscarriage journeys here, and mostly because I wasn't sure it was even a very early miscarriage until much later.  So that's been 3 times I've divulged the scary inner workings of my mind during such a horrible situation and each time it makes me feel better and reassured.  Then the blog explodes with page views.  Which always kinda freaks me out.

I know most of what I write here goes read solely by close friends and a few family members (maybe even some lurkers), and that's fine.  I write this for myself mostly and to keep everyone far away apprised of our family.  But Chelsea wrote a blog recently documenting the same occurrence with her blog--that those issues we're afraid to write or are gut-wrenching to write, are those that somehow draw people to us across the vastness of the internet.  Perhaps forcing me to realize that what makes people want to read a blog is the items that are hard to read but simultaneously link us with people we may have never met.  

So I guess when the time comes for another internal dilemma maybe I'll hit publish instead of "save to draft" and just put it out there.  Probably also because if we're talking about a 6th pregnancy happening, if I'll write about something as awful as losing a baby maybe I can talk about my overwhelming anxiety (and happiness, it's there even if I'm afraid to feel it every time I get pregnant) and it might make everything a bit less scary.  Ah to be blissfully ignorant without a care in the world.  But then I may not look at my son with such unabashed wonder... so even I wouldn't trade it.  Which surprises me every time.

So the hard stuff, maybe I'll keep it. And perhaps, for the same reason I'm always honest when people ask me if Lloyd is my only child, putting it all out there's might find a person who just needs to know they're not alone. Or need to talk. Or need to go to coffee and just stare at your cup and feel like you don't even remember driving there with this person but you're glad they're there. Or maybe one day I'll be the friend who comes over and lays in bed with them in their sweats and nasty hair and makes them feel like the world might not break them and might actually go on after all (I'm looking at you Tiffany, best friend super hero). Because I sure hope so in that strange way.  No one should go through this without friends that can be there for them.  And not everyone has friends like that in situations like these.

But to, for once lately, not end on a super depressing note: the most viewed page on my blog is this one. Every day at least 15 page views alone. Seriously? Veils? Then closely followed by all my miscarriage posts.  And I love seeing the referring searches to the blog, my favorite recently was: get off my internets.  ?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baby Shower In-a-Box

My sister lives in far-away Seattle (Fort Lewis to be exact, about an hour away, but anyway--far) but I still felt like she should get a fun baby shower from all her Texas family and friends.  So I thought I was genius emailing all her college and high school friends to get them to contribute to this big box, but turns out I'm just copying Martha Stewart (that crafty bitch).  Or this pretty idea. The hometown box was temping, but the original thought was to send primarily a big necessity box: cloth diapers to be exact. 

Although I did love the idea of including a baby photo game and celebrity baby name game in there.  I also love that game of using crape paper to guess how big the belly is, so I thought about trying that.    In the end here's what we ended up with three games: having her guess the baby photos, all using nice fabric ribbon to guess her belly size, and this children's book name guessing game which was surprisingly hard.  Those all went in a small scrapbook attached to the bloods where she started.

We also all wrote her letters and I printed off the following photos--making a little scrapbook for her shower, just as she would have made for an "in person" one.  Overall, it was awesome fun. Albeit a really hard secret to keep!

And packing it up. I would recommending sticking to just mylar balloons.  The other ones were sad and wrinkly upon arrival... although they did provide nice cushion during transit.

my helper.
Caitlin's husband took some photos but I'll let her post those, although the video is pretty hilarious. Her face when the box opens and the balloons fail to come out is pretty funny.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chorizo and Kale Pot Pie

So we get Kale regularly in our produce co-op and.... I'm not a fan.  The taste is too bitter. I've tried a whole host of recipes and meh.  But we get it so often and in such large quantities I just have to figure out how to cook it so we like it.  I found a chorizo and kale frittata recipe that sounded good but Lloyd can't have eggs, and this swiss chard recipe gave me a great idea for a "pot pie" if you will.  It was a huge hit at Friday night dinner with the in-laws.  We all had two pieces. Nothing was left. 

Also, this Crockpot Ham and Potato Soup was SUPER good.  We all had multiple bowls. I made it dairy free and you wouldn't miss the milk.  So I used the leftover soup in here and I'd highly recommend it, plus then you have a two-night dinner plan and use for left-overs.

Gosh this was good.  I'm going to have to make it next time we get Kale for sure.  It was that tasty. So I had to write it down in case I forgot.  And I figured I'd share. I lied, there was one piece left. I had it for lunch. And snapped a quick photo of the offending veggi.

Chorizo and Kale Pot Pie

1 (Full) Pie Crust (Recipe Follows)
1 Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Bunch Fresh Kale (Organic is always best for leafy greens), Removed from Stems and Chopped
1 Tsp Chopped Garlic
5 Oz. Chorizo (approx 1/2 a roll of the grocery store variety) 
2 Cups of Left-Over Ham and Potato Soup
2 Cups Milk (or Unsweetened Original Almond Milk)
5 Tbsp Butter
5 Tbsp Wheat Flour

In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute onion and chorizo together (do not add oil or butter to pan, the chorizo will provide all the fat you need--trust me).  Depending on how fatty your chorizo is, it might take a while for the fat to "cook-off" the actual meat--do not drain fat.  Add the chopped garlic and stir, then add the chopped kale.  You'll have to add the kale in portions (it took me about 3 portions to get it all in without half of it committing mutiny and going overboard), letting it wilt before adding the next portion until all added.  Reduce heat to medium-low once beginning to all wilt.  Stirring regularly. 

If you're not using left-over soup like lazy-me, melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  Add the flour, whisk to combine.  Add milk slowly and stir continually until the mixture thickens and begins to boil.  Do not let it get to a rolling boil or it will curdle and get nasty. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add soup/sauce to pan once kale leaves are beginning to darken and cook (I'd start with at least a cup  of the liquid, and see how it looks before you add more. This part is more personal preference).  Continue to stir the mixture until everything is well combined and bubbling around the edges, stirring occasionally.  Let cook for 5-10 minutes on low.  This is usually when I make my pie crust and get it ready. 

Add mixture to pie crust, add top crust, cutting slits in the center to allow steam to escape.  Cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and crust is beginning to brown.  Allow to cool about 5 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Optional: Serve with fresh parmigiana cheese.  Or, if you're like Coach, "fresh" Tabasco  The extra potatoes and ham from the soup was also a nice addition.  But just a suggestion.

Pie Crust 

(I hate making pie crust, I have a devil of a time doing it, so no judgement if you buy the pre-made kind or use your favorite recipe. This is the one my mom used and I hate making it.)

2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Oil
1/4 Cup Milk

Combine ingredients, divide in half and roll out each crust between two pieces of wax paper.  Good luck.  

Brown Bear, Brown ... UHG not AGAIN!

I love that he loves to read. I am brought books ALL day long. I'm so happy about that. All sorts of books too, long ones, picture books, he'll bring me the kindle to read Marry Poppins, you name it.

But this week... This week I've probably read Brown Bear about 100 times. I CANNOT TAKE IT ANY MORE!!! Ahhhhh!!! He'll read Spot to himself (turning the pages, lifting the flap and saying "noooo"--adorable). But he will not read himself brown bear....

I never even read this book as a kid so I'm not even sick of it from then. Am I the only mom about to hide their kid's favorite book because I can't stand to read it again? Bad mom award?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Subtle Reminders

from here
I'm doing much better. Day by day.  Slowly but surely.  All that.  Then I spent Saturday in the hospital because I couldn't keep any water (much less food) down for over 24 hours (Friday morning was my last full meal, even now I've only eaten two small home-made blueberry muffins and some squash with dinner last night).  Which of course means we had to divulge that we were only 2 weeks post-surgery, so they had to run pregnancy tests and then because they were still barely positive I had to have a sonogram.  

And P.S. why are all sonography technicians men?  And totally socially awkward ones at that? I mean crap.  I realize in a hospital they're doing a lot of gallbladder sonos, but sheesh.

Which was physically painful as he had to do a transvaginal and was pushing pretty hard against my inner lady parts (it's been years since I've had a transvaginal, don't think it was normal or I'm just sore still).  And they did find some tissue that still hasn't made it out, so I had to call today and leave a message and probably fax the reports over.  Which hopefully won't prompt much more than a blood test later this week to make sure my hcg is at zero. But who knows.

Recovering.  Even the physical isn't over.

Then it's like the emotional part is slammed in my face again.  I get on my google reader after finally finishing that grant which had been causing me so much anxiety the last few weeks (don't even go there, not worth the little money I made. It's been an awful process. a learning on, but awful), and blam.  My heart starts leaping in my chest and I just feel..... it all at the surface, all over again.  Because I love Cup of Jo, and she's so fun to read, and now they're due with their second baby the day before we were due with ours.  We were having a July 4th baby.  Our Christmas card had the adorable "big brother" photo (and holy hell was it adorable).  We were supposed to be ... whatever.  We're not. 

Pregnant people are like a physical stab to my soul right now.  No one wants to hear about that part.  How after losing your child you want everyone to suddenly not be pregnant so you don't have to see anyone else have what you don't any more.  Maybe also because we're Catholic, everyone has tons of kids... and we're all the same age.  But we have one.  It's just startlingly obvious during the time when everyone's kids are home from school and it's not just the young ones toddling about, And since they all have so many more than us, we're the ones traveling to them.  Which has never bothered me before, because it really is easier and Lloyd loves playing with the variety of toys, but suddenly it's just another reminder of what we won't have this summer.  How vacant our house is. How large it seems with just the three of us.  

I want these children in my life so much.  I'll just keep praying that in a few months they'll come.  And this time, maybe, they'll live.