Saturday, January 31, 2009

Birthday Boy

Tomorrow is Evan's birthday. He would have been 5 years old. I think about where we were this time 5 years ago. I was in labor, and I'm pretty sure I had my epidural by this point (10pm.) I remember telling the doctor I wanted a January baby, and he all but said, "Fat chance." He predicted pushing would begin around 2 or 3am. He didn't predict the almost 3 hours of pushing Evan's big ole head out, though.

I know a lot of people say, "The day my child was born was the happiest day of my life." I remember thinking at the time that I couldn't say that, because it had been such hard work. If you had asked me in the hours after Evan was born, "So, when will you have another one?" I would have certainly said, "Never!!!" Nobody asked, however. And, just as everyone always says, I forgot about the pain and the ordeal of childbirth, because I had this beautiful, sweet little baby to hold.

Evan was quite a little character, and I fell head over heels in love with him.

Evan loved to go outside. We had to spell out the word o-u-t-s-i-d-e, so he wouldn't know what we were talking about, because if Evan heard the word "outside," he would say, "Outside! I wanna go outside!" Of course, our clever little guy figured out what we were spelling, and would say, "I wanna go o-u.... I wanna go outside!"

Evan taught me about tools and trucks, having been more into dolls when I was a child. I enjoyed our "lessons," which mostly entailed pointing at things and yelling out the name, "Pressure washerrrr!", "Front end loader!" or "Chop saw!" and my personal favorite "Bomchine!" We still don't really know what a bomchine was...some sort of machine of Evan's imagination.

It's incredible that one little person can have such a profound impact on your life. I mean, once you have kids, you forget what life was like before them. The noise and the mess become part of every day life. When we lost Evan, we came back to a quiet house. A house that stayed clean, instead of a new mess cropping up in a new place each day. We have the noise again, and do we ever have the mess. We're just missing Evan. And how my heart aches for him.

Mom Says, "Don't Worry"

So, I guess I won't. She claims there's plenty of time before getting even the early veggies into the ground. And, here's the best part, she's gonna come help! Yeah Mom! So, I guess I can get all excited again, and start to plan.

Anybody know anything about square foot gardening? I've looked into it a little. I'm wondering how it works once the plant is at its mature size. Or do you keep it somewhat pruned? I need to do more research.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Last Day to Send Letter to CPSC re: Handmade Toys

Here's a link if you'd like to contact the CPSC about the laws regarding third party testing of handmade toys and apparel for children. It's not about "loopholes" and an easy way out. It's about helping smaller companies meet the guidelines without going bankrupt.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling Discouraged

I'm coming off a cold turned bronchitis, and finally starting to feel normal again. After barely leaving the house for the past couple of weeks, I met Justin in the backyard for the Vegetable Garden Discussion yesterday. It was basically the "This is where I want it" and "This is where Mom and Dad think I should put it" chat. Not much more was said, actually. Justin is, in general, a quiet person. So, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he let 24 whole hours slip by before mentioning the garden. And, to be perfectly honest, I forced his hand. I asked him what he thought. He said, "That it'll be a lot of work." Of course, I already knew this. But it was like he took the wind out of my sails. I was already feeling a little overwhelmed about the project, and now I just feel discouraged. What to do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Steps of Grieving - Through Music

Most people who know me, know that I like classical music. Those who know me well, know that I'm also a metal head. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was a member of the Def Leppard fan club when I was in middle school. Once I heard Metallica, however, Def Leppard was a thing of the past.

You'd think it would be obvious to a musician what his/her favorite piece of music is. But I don't have one. I remember playing one of those horrid wedding games at a party at Justin's Aunt Boo's house. It was in the style of the show "The Newlywed Game." They asked Justin who my favorite composer was. He made a guess, but it didn't match my guess. I like so many different pieces by so many different composers/bands, that I can't break it down to just one.

Lately I've been thinking about my grief journey through the eyes of a musician. A classical/metal loving musician. (All musical selections are below, because I'm lame and couldn't figure out how to put it all in one post!)

The stages of grief are:
1. Shock and Denial

A lot of people express the feeling of going through a fog during those first days, weeks, and even months after the death of a loved one. I've read other grieving parents describe their grief as not being able to breathe. If you ever see a newly grieving parent on a news program and wonder, "How in the world can he be doing this interview?" He's in shock. It protects the bereaved for a time from the difficult feelings to come. I experienced the fog. The denial I felt was more disbelief. I remember expecting to see Evan bound down the stairs, or come in to the room. He couldn't be dead!

The piece of music I associate with shock is Aquarium of The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens.

2. Pain and Guilt

I'm still here. I still feel an amazing amount of guilt and pain over Evan's death. Even though I may not cry every day anymore, I still hurt every day.

Johannes Brahms Symphony #3, Poco Allegretto

3. Anger and Bargaining

When we lost Evan, I knew that I would be angry eventually. That only seemed natural. But I totally did not get the bargaining. What was that about? Even though I knew I couldn't have Evan back, I did find myself asking God to change things. "If I could be a better mom, could I have him back, Lord?"

The song I chose to represent Anger is "One" by Metallica. The album "And Justice for All" was recorded after the group lost their bass player in a tragic bus accident. It's raw and dark.

4. Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness

Depression is a given with a loss of a child. I didn't expect the loneliness. I have friends. I get together with them somewhat regularly. I see my family and talk to them often. It's a feeling of being alone in my grief. Alone in a way that no one else can understand except another grieving parent. Perhaps I've pushed away, because I just felt like nobody "gets it", instead of reaching out.

Bizet - The Pearl Fishers (opera) Je crois entendre encore

I remember listening to a program on NPR about grief and reflection. The speaker mentioned that Mozart believed the key that expressed the most depth of emotion was A minor. I know that minor keys can make me feel anything from reflective to down right tragic.

5. Acceptance

I may have mentioned this before, but...I saw a family on Oprah who lost their child in a horrible car accident with a drunk driver. The accident occurred a few years ago, but they were still carrying the burden of grief. They basically said that they would never be happy again. My heart broke for them, but at the same time, I said to myself, "I don't want that to be me." I'm not quite at this point in my grief journey, but I do have a song chosen to represent that feeling. It's a song that combines my love for rock and classical. It's called "Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse. It's about being your best and changing the world. And there's a nice little piano solo about midway through.

Five stages of grief taken from

The Carnival of the Animals - Aquarium

Brahms - Symphony No.3 - Poco Allegretto

Metallica - One (studio version, no talking)

Bizet - Je crois entendre encore - Alain Vanzo

Muse HAARP - Butterflies and Hurricanes (Wembley Stadium)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We're on the Mend

Aside from a horrible cough (which gives me head and neck aches), I'm feeling much better. I can almost say I feel normal. I took the kids to the doctor on Monday morning. Duncan was just fine. The explanation the doctor gave me for what I called Duncan's "unexplained crankiness" was: "He's just being ornery." Mmmm...ok. Miranda, bless her, has another ear infection. And because it's only been a few weeks since the last one, they put her on a stronger antibiotic. One that the pharmacist says "tears up the tummy." So, Miranda is getting bananas and yogurt a-plenty. She seems to be handling it rather well. She's such a good medicine taker, that she doesn't seem to mind even the foulest tasting stuff. I'm glad it's not a fight! Thanks to some help from Grandma, I was able to also go to the doctor Monday. She says I have bronchitis, and she put me on a stronger antibiotic. So, no more fevers! Woohoo! And so far, Justin is well. I'm hoping he will miss out on being sick. It's not been fun. But especially with the kids sick, too. And I thought my typical day was tough when we're all well. HA!

I've got some TV to watch now (Top Chef, of course.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Snot Over Yet!

The last several days have just been plain miserable.

Duncan came down with his cold on Tuesday night. He was cranky all the next day, but a bit better by Thursday.

I've been having "allergy" symptoms off and on for a month or more, but things started to get ugly last Wednesday. I was coughing and had a nice bass voice by late Thursday, snot galore, achiness, and I've had a fever off and on since Friday.

Miranda started to get sick Thursday. She's been very snotty and cranky.
Her nursing has really suffered. She's started to refuse the breast at least once a day. So, I've been pumping the last couple of nights just to be comfortable.

Justin, amazingly, hasn't gotten sick. Although, it seems like it's going to happen anytime. He's taken good care of us. Duncan has already bounced back to his normal self. Kids are so tough. I just wish our little Panda Bear could breathe through her nose again. When I go to wipe the double barrel green worms, she turns her head to avoid me. It's like she's saying, "I need that snot, Mommy. Don't take it away."

When Evan was snotty he always demanded, "Gimmee a tissue." He'd wipe his nose, and toss the dirty tissue on the chair, on the floor, pretty much anywhere but the trash can. He would quickly be surrounded by little tufts of white.

I plan to take them (and probably me) to the doctor tomorrow. Again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bloom Day

When I see Hyacinths I think of Renaissance madrigals. Particularly, an English madrigal about spring. Or maybe I'm thinking about madrigals, because one has been stuck in my head all day today. Well, Hyacinths certainly do make me think of spring.

I'm enjoying this one indoors, as it's a little early for them to arrive outside. Where I live, spring is just another couple of months away. You wouldn't know it by the cold weather we are currently experiencing. These little beauties would not be happy outside in the teens. Neither would I!

This is one of the plants I received from some pretty wonderful people who got me a subscription to 6 months of plants. This, of course, is the January plant. It's lovely, and the scent is captivating. I just have to make sure my 2 year old son doesn't poor salt on this one like he did the Cyclamen, my December plant. Sigh.

Bearly Sleeping

Duncan has a set of pj's with a picture of a bear on the shirt, and snoozing bears all over the bottoms. The slogan on the shirt is, "Bearly Sleeping." That pretty much sums up this week. Except maybe using the word "barely" instead. As predicted in my last post, Duncan did come back to our room later that night. He tossed and turned, and cried a bit. It was unusual for him to be so cranky. After hours of this and getting up a couple of times, we decided he must be coming down with a cold. He was swallowing a lot...ah, sore throat. We gave him some Tylenol at 4am, and we all slept for a few more hours. Yesterday Duncan was snotty and cranky all day. We gave him his Benedryl/Tylenol cocktail at bedtime, and we slept fairly well. Miranda had a couple of awakenings, but went back to sleep. I took Duncan to the doctor today, because his cough sounded "croupy," so he's got a prescription for that. Unfortunately, I gave it to him around 5:30pm, and the leading side effect is sleeplessness. By this time, it was starting to look like Miranda was getting a runny nose. Bedtime rolled around. I nursed a very snotty Miranda. She ate poorly, and I had to hold her to get her to go to sleep. And she was up again in about half an hour. When she's up, she plays, but she's clearly tired. She is refusing to nurse, because she can't breathe. It's all very frustrating. She's upstairs now, crying her little eyes out. Duncan, who just went to bed because of his "sleepless" side effect, seems to be quiet. I just can't relax while my little baby is crying (unlike my husband, who is snoring away.) So, I guess tonight will be another late night. Yawn...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do De Do

Well, I've thought about doing some gardening. Does that count for anything? I walked around the future site of my veggie garden, and measured in "Pam feet." I bought some calendula seeds, 'cause I hear they're a good companion plant. Plus, they're cute. I have some nice gardening gift cards, thanks to some generous family (my birthday was the other day.) Maybe I should do a to do list here. Maybe putting it on the Internets will get me going.

To Do:
1. Put together my new "portable" (it's way too heavy to be really portable) greenhouse. Let's be honest...get Justin to do it.

2. Start some seeds.

3. Prep the veggie site

a. Till
b. Amend
c. Terrace
d. Amend
e. Plant
f. mulch
g. Consider fencing because I know there are lots of bunnies and deer out there

4. Finish spreading mulch.

5. Have fun. Perhaps that should be #1!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Toddler Tyrant

There comes a time in the life of a toddler when it's his way or...well, it's just his way. I think most folks call this period the terrible twos. I've heard that the threes and fours can be just as bad, however. Now there's something to look forward to, right? Meltdowns occur for just about any reason. At our house tonight, Justin asked Duncan to give him the cord he was holding. Duncan handed it over nicely. But then he screamed as though his Daddy had just grabbed it from him, and it hadn't been voluntary at all. Duncan came running to me in tears and wanted comfort. When he gets in trouble with Mommy, Daddy gets the snuggles. Sneaky!

Backseat Driver
I read in books about building up the child's ego. "He should have a Super Ego" they say. Seems to me most toddlers are pretty sure of themselves already. Duncan knows he's the boss. Period. When he points a particular direction in the car and exclaims, "That way!" he expects to be heard. We make it a bit of a joke when we go the other way, so our "disobedience" doesn't meet with angst. But he's not always so complaisant.

Duncan in his bed...for once!

When Duncan would wake up in the night a few months back, we used to take him downstairs to watch a little TV and have a snack. We'd all be up for 30 minutes to an hour. One day Justin brought Duncan back to our room instead of downstairs. And a miracle occurred. Duncan slept the rest of the night. Since then he's come to our room if he wakes up in the middle of the night. We've all been getting more sleep. But now, Duncan has decided that his bed is not good enough and he wants to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed all the time. It's not just a middle of the night thing anymore. We'll put him to bed in his own room, he gets right back up, and tears down the hallway to our room. Well, it worked last night. He fell asleep pretty quickly and we all slept through the night. Tonight he did the same thing, but he kept coming out of our room. I went up the stairs, took him back in there, and said, "If I have to come back up here, you're going back to your room." Well, not five minutes had passed before he was out in the hall. I went back up, reminded him of my threat, and put him in his own room. He cried for a bit, and now he's quiet. I imagine we'll see him later tonight. Ugh!

All of Duncan's antics remind me of Evan going through the terrible twos.

We got Evan a bouncer firetruck when Duncan was born as a sort of peace offering. He loved it. The trouble with bouncers is, it's more fun when a friend is jumping with you. Evan would insist that Mommy or Daddy join him. Ignoring the 100 pound limit, we complied with our little boy's demands.

Evan in the midst of a meltdown

Evan was a backseat driver, too. Instead of telling me what to do, however, he was more interested in what Duncan was doing. As we were driving home from the park one day, I heard Evan say, "Duncan! Get that finger outta there!" We were still in the parking lot, so I stopped to see what was going on. Duncan was sucking on his finger, like most babies do at his age.

Evan was always beckoning us with an excited, "Come on, guys!" And if his little brother was missing, he'd insist that we go get him. "Go get Duncan!" he'd tell me, as if he didn't understand what was taking me so long. "Grownups!" he must have thought.

"I Rule!"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Update on the US made Toys Front

Here's a link to the latest information on toys/children's apparel. It basically says that people can still donate to charity and consignment sales can still go on. It's only illegal to sell/donate items that are on the list that the CPSC puts out. Stores and donation centers will have to keep up with the list, I guess.


Still no help for toy makers, as far as I can tell.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

National Bankruptcy Day

Please support American toy and children's apparel companies, who may all go out of business on February 10, 2009. They are threatened by a new law by the Consumer Products Safety Commission that is to go into effect next month.

Follow these links for more details.

National Bankruptcy Day

The Handmade Toy Alliance

There's a link on the National Bankruptcy site to write to your congressman. This could not only be the end of loads of small American companies, it could also mean the end of donating used children's clothing and toys to charity! It would be against the law to sell or give away untested products, even if you know darn well they are safe (ex. unfinished blocks, or something handmade.)

If you want the option to buy American next Christmas, write today!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not So Sweet

My birthday is coming up soon, and I just have one thing to say:

Please don't send me any chocolate!

I can't really say that I'm chocolate-d out, but truly, the madness must end! There were 15 bars of chocolate that appeared on Christmas day. We're down to 4. And that doesn't include the Hershey's kisses, chocolate cake, hot chocolate, chocolate cookies, etc. My waistline is decidedly beginning to resemble the dreaded muffin top. Naturally, I began a more stepped up exercise program (read: not sitting on the couch all day) on New Year's Day. I've done fairly well so far, except my knee is already hurting. Stupid squats. So, please don't send any chocolate or any sweets for that matter. A knee brace might be in order for this old lady!

Disclaimer: please don't get me a knee brace.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year New Garden?

Well, I'm living up to my "I'm the worst garden blogger" title. Although, there's not a whole lot to do these days. We were blessed with a surplus of rain at the end of 2008 (surplus in December, not for the year.) I got some more mulch down in time for colder temps, but I've mostly holed up in the house and did the Christmas thing. My kids and I spent a few days with my parents this week. I decided to draw up a plan for the proposed veggie garden. We argued about the site a bit, and then I sat down to plan. And pretty soon, I was feeling overwhelmed. The whole idea of planning for different seasons of planting, organic pest control, and questions about sun, water, and fertilizer just made me feel like a fish out of water. So, I'm still kind of at a stand still with the veggie garden. I was thinking a potager style, rather than rows. And I'd like to incorporate my herbs in the bed, too. I still need to do research and measuring, and bed preparation. But planting for early veg is coming soon! What's a girl to do? Ideas anyone?

New Year, Same Ole Same Ole

Long time no see. I've taken a little break from the blog. I didn't really plan it that way. I had days that I thought about logging on, but Justin was firmly lodged in front of the computer. He would have moved, had I asked, but it was easier to just go to bed. With all of the night awakenings (and early mornings), Christmas excitement, and me being sick, I've felt the need for sleep. Not that I'm getting enough. If the two little persons that live here could just sleep through the night...sigh. Justin's had some late nights, too. But the late night works weird mysteries on my husband. He becomes this strange organizational neat freak. Things get thrown away that have been sitting around for a month, the pantry gets straightened. And then, if he's up again the next night, re-straightened.

The kids and I went to see Grandma and Grandpa this week. We left Daddy at home to catch up on some projects. We came home yesterday after a not so relaxing trip (what is it with the night wanderings of the 3 and under set?) Justin has added to The shelves, and cabinet doors ready to install. And the pantry was re-organized. Again. He also put hooks on some doors that were too easy for Duncan to open.

I took all of the decorations off the tree, and I suppose we'll say goodbye to it this weekend. I'm always kind of sad to see it go. It's not so much the pre-Christmas and New Years period that give me the blues. It's afterwards, when I have to put all the pretty things away and go back to the boring old way things always are. And more seriously, another new year means one more year that I haven't seen Evan. I suppose I would get the Christmas blues if I didn't have family around on the holidays. I get the New Year's blues because I miss my son.