Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Today was amazing. Today was Memorial Day and much like many of you, we had a BBQ to celebrate the day. But it was so much more for me than just a BBQ. It was one of the best days I've had in over a year. Nothing fancy happened. Nothing big and spectacular. But it was amazing none the less.

I kind of got the idea to have a BBQ late last night. So last minute I invited my sister (& her 4 kids) and my bestie (& her 2 kids) over. I invited my other besties too but they already made plans. But that's okay. There was no shoratge of kids with there being 9 between all of us!

Since everything was planned last minute there was quite a bit to do. Cleaning, shopping (the two little ones and I took a walk to the store to do our shopping), prepping, and even some yard work! Last year our yard turned into a nightmare. On the list of my husband's priorities taking care of me on bed rest was waaaaay up high...and yard work was waaaaaaay down low. We've been working hard so far this spring to reclaim the front yard and it is looking great if I do say so. But the back yard is a different story. So I set to work cleaning off lawn chairs, pulling weeds, sweeping cob webs off the play ground, and cleaning the grill while the hubby & our 15 year old mowed the lawns and worked on the shed. The 4 year old ran around and played while baby kept me company in the exersaucer. Am I losing you? Hang in there. There's a point to all this.

After hours of work my sister and best friend showed up. We busted out the lawn toys (frisbie, horse shoe, lawn hockey, etc.) and the chalk (for drawing all over the play ground) and turned the kids loose while we started making dinner. My husband & oldest son were busy building the tool shed so it was up to us chicks to build fire and cook meat. After dinner we all gathered around the fire pit and made s'mores. As the sun went down we adorned the kids with glow necklaces and watched them dance around.

I flittered about in almost constant motion juggling the grill, the kids, & my guests all with a baby on my hip. You should have seen me! The energy was endless! This exact thing was what I dreamed of for 23 long weeks last year. I craved busy. I longed for hectic. I desired a full schedule. So now when I was a full day I am just so grateful! I have no desire to complain. I understanbd what a gift it all is.

Today I soaked in the smiles of all of the kids as they ran around the yard, hopped all over the play set, and shoved gooey s'mores in their faces. And I was there for it! I remember last year sitting in a chair looking out my bedroom window just so I could watch my kids play outside. Now I get to join them. I got to serve my friends and cook for them instead of them taking care of me. It was all just an amazing and beautiful gift!

See, nothing spectacular. Just a BBQ like anyone else would have. But for me it was amazing. It was normal. It was just like we used to do before our world changed forever last year. And it felt so good.

Friday, May 27, 2011

When You Live With Boys...

As we all know, I am the undisputed Queen of my castle. I am married to a man and have 3 sons. There is no wondering where my favorite sweater or my make up went, no fighting for bathroom counter space, no talks about tampons vs. pads, no syncing of menstral cycles, and no eye rolling and huffing to accompany a flip of the hair and a "Whatever mom". Yes. Raising boys can be bliss!

Then there are the other things. The things you DO have to live with and learn to accept (or fight forever against)when all of the other people in your house have penises.

1) You will be the ONLY person in the house who knows how to change a roll of toilette paper. Regardless of the reminders.

2) Your sink will be hairy. Always hairy. Little tiny hairs....

3) There will always be a rediculously hungry child standing & staring at the fridge complaining that there's nothing to eat.

4) The base of your toilette will always be yellow. Regarldess of the age of your boys.

5) You will always need a band aide and will never be able to find one.

6) You will forever be subjected to stepping on Leggo pieces, Hot Wheels, and Bionicles.

7) The recycleables will never make their way into the recycle bin. Even though the bin is right next to the counter where the recycleables are left.

8) There will always be a mysterious smell.

9) Underwear will be considered suitable house attire.

10) Burps and farts Period. At any age. Forever.

11)From an early age and until the day they die, your boys will be fascinated with their penises.

**Just can't add a picture for this one. Sorry folks!**

12) Bed Time = Wrestlemania time.

13) You will need the highest amount of home owners/renters insurance available.

14) You know that thing where regardless of how many times you say it, it's not a good idea until your husband thinks he thought of it? Yeah. Well, it applies to teen boys too.

15) Teaching your boys to do laundry WILL coincide with puberty. Ick.

16) "Are you freaking kidding me?!" will become a part of your regular vocabulary.

17) From birth to age..who are we kidding- forever, your boys' nails will look like they're sporting black tip french manicures.

18) The word "no" is kinda a dare.

19) You will become a diaper quick changer.

20) You will be loved like the Queen you are!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

These Are My People

Each time I walk into one of our Survivors Of Suicide meetings, I am instantly comforted by all the faces I see but at the same time I am sad that these people have to be here too. Survivors Of Suicide is a support group for people who have lost someone they love to suicide. It's a place where people get what you are going through, because the rest of the world can't understand what the aftermath of this act does to the people left behind.

Our group meets twice a month. Sometimes I wish it was more frequent as you can't schedule the ups and downs of emotions that you experience when you lose someone to suicide. We started going to meetings 11 months after my father in law took his life. Our grief process was delayed by my pregnancy bed rest, car accident, and surgery so by the time Thanksgiving hit last year my husband simply couldn't bottle any more emotion. He was full. Every knook and cranny of his body had been filled with things he stuffed deep down inside so that he could take care of me and our kids. But now it was time to take care of him. The difference in him was immediate after our first meeting. He wasn't alone. He could finally feel what he was feeling and know that it was "normal".

The group is a God send in the sense that each person in that room has had that day. That day, that phone call, that fist in the gut, that moment where all of the blood rushes out of your body, the disbelief that this has happened. And each person in that room has also had every day since. They've been mad. They've blamed themselves. They've cried themselves to the point where no tears will come out. They've wished harder than they've ever wished before that they could have stopped it, made a phone call, stopped by the house, or that their loved one will take it back. These are my people. They get it. They understand in a way that other people can't. I didn't understand how suicide left its survivors shattered to pieces and living in a state of question for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately now I understand.

There is so much that I have learned by going to group. The first is not to carry the shame that suicide brings to its survivors. My father in law took his life January 23, 2010. I couldn't say out loud that it was suicide for over a year. I would say "He died tragically and unexpectedly." Which is the truth, but not the whole truth. You see, my father is law was an incredible man. One of the greatest I had ever met and that is evident in the man that my husband became. Finding out that he had committed suicide was a shock to our system. This isn't who he was. He was so much more. So after he died I felt like if I told people that he killed himself that it would be the only thing they thought about when I spoke of him. I liken it to the period at the end of his sentance. I was ashamed of the way he chose to die. But his last day should not erase the 6 decades of the amazing life he lived. And going to our S.O.S. meeting you hear this same story over and over again. These people had amazing hearts, put others before themselves, loved the people around them intensly, and were amazing fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, friends, uncles, etc.

I have learned that the stereo type of suicide doesn't apply to the majority of the people who take their lives. Society seems to think they know what suicidal people "Look" like. Moody, depressed, etc. That they are young, hormonal and misguieded. In reality most people who commit suicide get to do so because no one saw it coming and therefore couldn't do anything to "stop" it.

I have learned that no matter what they looked like on the outside, these people carried a pain that we can't relate to. They carry hurt and a loss of self worth that we can't understand. Take your deepest depression and magnify it. That's what they had been living with. Whether we knew it or not.

I have heard so many stories of loss in our meetings. There are so many ways that the people in our group have lost their loved ones. Some are in the way you would associate with a suicide (gun, rope, pills, jumping) and others are much more graphic and done to ensure that this will be it. That there's no turning back. These graphic deaths leave such amazing scars on the people left behind. I know for us, my father in law was missing for 3 days before police found him laying in the woods with a gun shot to the head. The thing that haunts me the most is that this beautiful, amazing man whom we all loved and cherished laid in the dirt and rain for 3 days. I can't get that out of my head. So I really can't imagine what some of these families endure daily at the idea of how their loved ones died in such a graphic manner.

Our meetings are filled with tears. Some tears are healing and some are angry. Most are empathetic as we listen to our fellow survivors. Empathy is why we come here. Empathy is what we can't get from anyone else. These are our people. They get it. They feel it. They know.

So I'm going to ask you to do something for us. For all the survivors. If you or someone you know is depressed or have considered suicide- please don't take it lightly. Get help. Be the difference. Visit the National Suicide Prevention web site or call them at 1-800-273-TALK
to speak with someone who understands. Every life is valuable.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Maui Memorial

This is my husband's family. We were blessed in May to be able to join them on a great trip to Maui to remember my father in law. My father in law's wife gifted us the trip so it was an even bigger blessing. For those of you that haven't read through all my blogs of the last year, my father in law took his own life January 23, 2010.
It was a shock to our family. He was an amazing man & the loss of him is felt every day. I hope he knows that.
I ended up on pregnancy bed rest and missed the funeral and the memorial with the spreading of his ashes. So for me, this trip was my funeral. That was a challenge in itself because my family was in a different place in thier grief process. Because we had so much to deal with last year just keeping me and our growing baby alive, our grief process has been delayed. So I stole many moments on our trip to hide away and think about my father in law.

My mother in law found this amazingly beautiful house called Maui Majestic in Lahaina.

We did so many amazing things on this trip! It was busy every day! You know that saying "I need a vacation to recover from my vacation"? That's how I felt coming home! Here's some of the amazing things we did!

Road to Hana trip. AMAZING! My suggestion is to do the guided tour so you can relax & enjoy. Our guide was incredible & was pulling over & hacking fruits and vegetation out of the jungle! Awesome!

Snorkel Cruise to Honolua Bay. Some of the most beautiful snorkeling I've done on the island! AND we did Snuba! So fun! Plus we got to see whales! So amazing!

We tried to see Haleakala (The volcano on Maui) at sunrise but it was too cloudy. Luckily we scheduled a bike ride down the volcano after sunrise and it was so amazing that it didn't even matter that we didn't see sunrise!

We flew over to the big island to see the lava in the crater of the volcano. It was a beautiful flight!

We did the obligatory luau but we did the Feast at Lele which served food at your table (instead of buffet style) and offered each course from the surroundung islands. BEST kahlua pork I've ever had!

We also did paddle boarding lessons! That is not as easy as it looks by the way but so fun! And a great work out too. I had muscles aching in places I forgot I had muscles! For fun one night we saw the Dave & Annabell magic show in Lahaina and it was hilarious!!!!

All in all it was such an amazing trip. It was so hard to be away from my babies. I cried from the minute I woke up until the minute I got on the plane when we left! I think its going to be a while before we leave them again!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Busy Mom Update

Usually when I blog I like for it to be some profound lesson I've learned or some quick witted story to amuse you all. Well things have been so busy lately I haven't had time to sit and breathe. I blame it on the T-Ball. Any ______________ (insert sport here) mom knows that once the season starts you are a slave to it. It's a lot of fun but it's also demanding with 1 practice and 2-3 games a week. And this is T-BALL! So I will have to try to find time to get back to blogging. After all, I should have plenty of time between 4-5am!

I have many blogs swirling in my head (in my brain it looks like they're floating in the water that circles the bowl) and I will try to get them posted in the next week or so. But I wanted to do a quick update on the Grattitude Challenge I "did" way back in February (is it really MAY already?!). I made my list and was so eager to get started. Which I did. It was the finishing that I sucked at! I had those nasty back issues in Feb that had me side lined for 3 weeks, we had cold, blah, blah, blah. But I have not given up! I think i have sent letters to 20 of my 31 people on my list. And the craziest thing has been happening. Although i didn't follow my original schedule for this project, it turns out that the people who have received the letters got them right when they needed them! I swear that each person called me or wrote me after getting their letter and thanked me and said they REALLY needed that right now. I feel like God guided me to who and when the letters needed to go to. So my challenge didn't go according to my plan but I feel like it went according to God's and it's been a blessing to the people who have blessed me. I know I had several people who said they were doing the challenge too. I'd love to hear the stories when you get a chance!

Like I said, I have many blogs I owe you guys. And I will try to make them happen soon! Complete with Maui pics! Smooches to all!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


How old does this chick look? Does she look as old as she feels?

Tomorrow I turn 35. Ick. 35.

I have always welcomed birthdays. But this birthday feels different. It feels....old.

I had a friend in my 20's who dreaded her 25th birthday. She said it made her feel old because it meant she was half way through her 20's and almost to the dreaded 30. I laughed. How ridiculous is that?! I breezed through 25. Hell, I celebrated 30! Literally! My husband knew I was super excited about my 30th birthday and planned an elaborate surprise party with 18 of our closest friends at the Space Needle. Our friend is the Executive Chef there so he took extra special care of us. It was amazing! What made it better was that my mom was there and the day before she took me and my cousin to an all day spa day. They kept force feeding me water all day and hence I peed- a lot. They were convinced I was pregnant but after 2 years of trying and several miscarriages I kept telling them I don't GET pregnant. They insisted on a test and that night, the night before my 30th birthday, we found out we were expecting our 2nd son. Great birthday!

But here I am on the eve of 35 and I feel like that friend I had in my 20's. I feel like I'm half way to 40. I feel like I'm OLD. My body is weak and flabby (thank you bed rest & car accident), I have a kid in high school, I have no job, and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. My sister asked me how I want to celebrate and I told her it's just another day. Celebrate? 35? Ugh.

I guess I feel like the clock is ticking and I'm at a standstill. I'm so grateful for where I am at but I have no idea where I need to be heading. Shouldn't I know that by now? I keep telling God to lead me where I need to go. But that guy has His own sense of timing and it's just not happening fast enough for me. Doesn't He know I'm running out of time? I'm almost 35 for heaven's sake!

I also feel like I'm still a kid in so many ways. I see pictures of celebrities that are "my age" and I feel like THEY are grownups. Me? I'm still a kid trapped in an ever decaying body. For the record, I like holding onto a bit of my inner child. Makes life more fun. But no matter how hard I hold onto it, the reality is that May 6th I will be 35.

So where do I go from here? How do I ring in this new year of my life properly and without distain? I'm sending out a birthday S.O.S.