Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
I am still sewing. I promise. It's just everything I make recently is a Christmas gift and I can't share my projects until I share the gift.
So I will share this with you instead.
(Lavender soap with dried lavender buds)
A couple of years ago I took a class with Tracy Adams at the John Campbell Folk School on soap making. If you ever get a chance to go to the Folk School take it. It is a truly wonderful place to learn all sorts of traditional skills.
(Citrus soap with bergamot, sweet orange oil and calendula flowers)
Since then, a couple of times a year I get to work making soap. It is pretty much the only soap my family uses and I give a bunch of it out at the holidays. I skip all the dyes, colorants and fragrance oils which can irritate your skin and use only essential oils and natural ingredients.
This year a couple of my gal friends and I got to work mixing up some amazing bars of soap.
(Creamy mousse soap with patchouli and balsam peru essential oils)
It really isn't that hard once you learn the basic process and it's tons of fun dreaming up new flavors.
There are great resources online, just google, and wonderful books like the one below to get you started.
Friday, November 23, 2012
These are the moments I am thankful for.
At the advice of the wonderful ladies at the Chesapeake Hospice Life Center we purchased a couple of mini recorders at the Build a Bear store. We had the baby's heartbeat recorded at our last sonogram and placed them into two bears, one for Lenora and one for me. Lenora has been carrying the bears around non stop since we brought them home and every time she presses the button to hear the heartbeat she breaks into a huge smile and hugs them close.
Thanksgiving day she fell asleep with one in each arm. How precious a sight this was. I have two babies and moments like this to be thankful for.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
When life stresses me out I tend to go into hibernation mode. I want to stay in, putter around my house, cook, eat and then fall asleep. Usually in that order. I have been doing much of all of these things lately. I takes a constant effort not to turn into a total recluse. The closer I get to my due date the more inward I turn. I know some of that is to be expected but I am not sure complete isolation is the answer either. Oh, the struggle to find balance.
I made these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by Smitten Kitchen. They were delicious but I would have to say I wish they were gooeyer (is that a word). I like my cinnamon rolls all soggy and squishy in the middle.
Then I made this Salted Caramel Apple Pie by Ashley English. Hands down the best apple pie I have ever tasted. We devoured every last slice. I will be making it again this year for Thanksgiving and every year after. It is that good. I did learn this is not a pie you can just throw together in an hour. There are steps, it takes some time, so set aside a day when you can slowly work your way through the recipe. Put on some music and get into it. You will not be disappointed.
And here I am doing the 2 things I love to do the most, lay in bed and eat home cooking. Can you see the joy?
Oh yea. Shovel it in.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Where do I start?
I could write pages and pages about the
magic that is Squam by the Sea but I don’t think I would ever be able to truly
capture it in words.
I was scared to go, afraid of the unknown, who/what I might encounter and their reactions to my story and journey with this little kidney-less babe of mine.
To say I was blown right out of my socks with all the Squam
love good juju vibes would be an understatement.
I just want to cry happy tears writing this, thinking about how wonderful
my time at the beach was. It was truly part of my healing journey. There was no
sadness, no self pity, no dark cloud following me around. It was as if it
lifted for those 4 days and I was wrapped in light. I cannot describe it.
I painted with the amazing Sarah Ahern and Alena Hennesey. I ate the most wonderful food and slept and sat on the beach
and connected with so many incredible souls. I came away recharged and ready
for what is to come.
Now are you ready for some goose bumps? I truly believe
there are times we are placed exactly where we need to be whether or not we
understand it. I shared my story with a circle of women and one in particular
burst into tears. She in turn shared that she would be donating a kidney to her
father very soon. Coincidence, I think not. There was some divine universal
power that placed the 2 of us in the same place that same day.
I will leave you with this. My finished painting from Alena's class. Can you feel all the healing power wrapped up in this piece? I know I can.
Posted by Diane Elizabeth at 7:25 PM
Monday, October 15, 2012
Robert and I have affectionately coined telling people about our situation “dropping the bomb”.
That is how it felt when the specialist first gave us the
diagnosis. It left us reeling, we went to bed, I puked and I am certain the
aftermath is going to last, well, forever. Not so unlike atomic fallout. We
will spend the rest of our lives recovering from this.
(completely unrelated, but too cute not to share)
You never realize just how many people you know, be it
co-workers, friends, family and casual acquaintances when you have to share such
horrible news. It’s not something we can keep a secret either, because one day
I will not have this huge ole belly and I will not have a snuggly newborn to
show off either.
So when we run into folks who don’t know yet and innocently
inquire about the baby, we just turn to each other, suck in a breath and “drop
the bomb”. It doesn’t feel good, because we know we just pretty much ruined
their day. And no one wants to be the messenger of death. It’s a loose, loose
situation for all parties involved.
I feel like Debbie Downer all the time. I get tired of my own story, the
broken record of having to share it, over and over and over. Some days it’s
easier to hole up in the house, rather than leave and chance having to talk
Then what do you do about all the people you don’t know who
just love to love on a pregnant woman? The little old ladies in the grocery
store, the other mothers in the coffee shop, the checkout gal at the Target. When
you have a giant baby bump everyone wants to talk to you, share in the (what
under normal circumstances would be) excitement and tell you about their own
We call that selective bomb dropping. Sometimes we just
don’t even want to go there. It’s too hard. When asked about the due date or
the sex we just cough up the generic answers, December 26th, pretty
sure it’s a boy, yes we are excited. All the while shaking our head and thinking…if
they only knew.
(It was all his idea and for the record no dogs were harmed in these events)
Sometimes there are people you just get the itch to share
your story with. For some reason there is a little spark, a feeling they might
understand, just might say the right thing at the right time that you so
desperately need to hear. I told someone at the grocery store a few weeks ago.
She hugged me and made me write down the baby’s name. She was taking it to
church the next day to pray for us. In that instance it felt good to share.
I am leaving on Wednesday to channel my inner artist at
Squam by the Sea in North Carolina with 80 other people whom I have never met. I
planned this trip a year ago before this all happened. I am excited but TERRIFIED.
What if they don’t like me? What if no one wants to paint with Debbie Downer? I
will spend 4 nights under the same roof with a bunch of strangers. How will I
drop this bomb? Certainly I can’t keep it all to myself, I just might explode. I
guess if I can put my business out there for all of the world to read, 80
people is nothing, right?
They also have a blog and today’s post about the upcoming
retreat is titled “this healing place”. Maybe its a sign? I can only hope the next few days will
be just that. A time to get away, recharge, get lost in paint, awaken the muse,
and just be.
Wish me luck. I’m jumping in.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
After I had Lenora I struggled to find mom friends to connect with. Most everyone I knew didn’t have children and once you have one everything is different. I didn’t fit into their world and they could not relate to mine. So I reached out and joined a local moms group and the La Leche League. I went to the first couple of meetings terrified they wouldn’t like me, I would never make new friends and I would be a new mom alone covered in crap and drool.
could not have been more wrong. I was blessed to meet the most wonderful group of gals and
their children. I have not known them long, a little over a year, but they just gave
me the best gift ever.
A few weeks ago they threw me a Blessingway. It’s an
alternative version of a baby shower based on Native American traditions of
blessing an expectant mother.
There are lots of different activities you can do to send the mother good birth and baby juju.
We ate tons of yummy food. What else could a pregnant woman ask for?
They did reflexology and rubbed my feet. You know you have good friends if they are willing to get down and dirty on your footsies. They also rubbed Lenora’s feet which she fell in love with. Now at every bath time she grabs the soap, lifts her feet up and points to them. Little bugger is expecting a foot massage. I give in every time. They also painted my foot with henna in a pretty design.
Each of the women brought beads they thought symbolized me and this pregnancy. They went around the room saying why they picked the beads they did, then strung them into an amazing birth necklace. It’s like a magical talisman. I want to wear it and dance naked in the woods. Seriously, it makes me feel that good every time I look at it.
They braided my hair and put lots of fresh flowers in it. I felt like a goddess and looked like one too. I should have gone dancing that night. I would have looked fantastic in my mug shot photo for being arrested for naked dancing in the woods.
They also left me with a handmade book filled with letters of support and encouragement. I was scared to read them. I thought I would cry like a baby but the words they wrote were inspiring and lifted me right through the roof.
It was an amazing day and the perfect balm for my wounded
soul. They believed in me and they believed in this baby and acknowledged him
(a post on that coming soon).
The juju was overwhelming.
Most people will never get to meet this baby and hold him
and experience his life. The past few months there have been people that barely
acknowledge the fact that I am carrying a child. I guess to them since he will
not live long it doesn’t count. It’s a horrible feeling to know that some
people think that way. This day was completely the opposite. It was a celebration of birth and mothers and life.
It was perfect.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
It has been really hard for me to relate to other mothers/parents/people
lately. Heck, it’s hard for me to relate to anyone these days. I find myself
comparing the events in their lives to my kidney-less baby.
When I hear someone talk about how terrible it is that their
kids have hand foot and mouth disease or their dog crapped on their bed again
or their husband is being an asshat (man I love that word), I want to scream “YOU
THINK YOUR LIFE SUCKS, MY BABY IS GOING TO DIE. PUT THAT IN YOUR PITY PIPE AND
SMOKE IT”. I would gladly take on all that you think is crappy in exchange for
a working kidney. Just one, we only need one. Bring it on sister.
But I know that is not the answer and it would be a particularly nasty and insensitive thing for me to say.
Being in a situation like this really slaps you in the face with a dose of perspective. What I used to think was bad is nothing compared to this. Not even close.
Nevertheless, life isn’t about comparing. Comparing will make you bat shit crazy, be it my soon to be dead baby to your live one, or your parenting choices or even the way you comb your hair. Nothing will ever seem equal or fair. And it’s not supposed to. My path is not the same as your path, nor would I ever want it to be.
Which brings me to the point of this post.
This is one of my mother’s favorite nuggets of wisdom.
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world
knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” Longfellow
If you saw Robert, Lenora and I walking down the
street you might think what a nice, all American, 1.5 children family we are.
You would have no idea the personal hell we are living. The same can be said
about each and every one of you. Your bought of hand foot and mouth disease
or asshat husband only scratches the surface. Who knows what secret sorrows lie
just below, or what crap cards life has dealt you.
So I have to keep reminding myself every time I want to compare and scream and throw one holy mother of a temper tantrum that is not necessary. This is my path and my (not so) secret sorrow. And each of you has your own.
Trying to compare will only drive me crazy, bat shit crazy.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
You are looking at the great basil harvest of 2012. Pathetic I tell you. Last year I had so much basil I was making pesto every week to freeze and had enough to last me until now.
This year I had enough for one measly batch. Gardening like life is full of lessons. I have learned never to plant your basil next to mint, for the mint will choke the life out of anything it is near. Next year the mint gets its own pot, and the basil too for that matter.
I guess I will save this one jar for something really good in the dead of winter, when I need just a taste summer. Goat cheese and crackers and pesto. Yummm. Or pesto pizza with mozzarella and grapes. Double Yummm. Or I could eat it straight out of the jar in my jammies, hiding in the bathroom so I don't have to share.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
It's strange how life is different after receiving a death sentence. It's also strange how much of it stays the same. Like when it rains only on one half of the street, or Bell's Palsy, or standing on the border of a state line. You are one foot in normal and one foot in a whole new crazy, jacked up world.
Something is profoundly different yet life just keeps going on around you. It makes me dizzy.
Last Monday we went to the funeral home to sign some paperwork and make the cremation arrangements ahead of time. I called Robert to let him know I was on my way. He was at the McDonalds getting a burger so I told him to get me some extra fries. We sat in his truck in the parking lot eating fries and chatting, just like any other ordinary couple. It was a beautiful day. It was normal.
The we walked through the doors into another realm. Signing cremation papers for your unborn child and talking about the different flavors of death certificates for babies is not normal. Not normal at all. Not normal like eating fries in a pick-up truck.
Surprisingly it wasnt as bad as I thought. That is after I cried the whole drive there. I might have freaked out the funeral director when I walked in and burst into giggles at the sight of the wall of urns. Is giggling like a 15 year old girl in a funeral home normal? Not sure about that one. It was just so surreal. Its like walking into a store to pick out shoes. They come in small, medium and large sizes. You want wood or marble or a little sculpture, they have it. And what is with all the Asian inspired urns? If there are any funeral home peeps reading this here blog of mine you need to step it up a notch in the urn department. Just saying. Something cheerful would be nice.
(me at 26 weeks)
This is how we live our lives these days, straddling the abys. One foot in normal and one foot in a whole new crazy, jacked up world.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
People keep telling me how strong I am.
I am going to be really honest here. I don't feel very strong. I feel like a total weenie most days, a blubbering fool or Gumby, ready to fall over at the drop of a dime.
I didn't make the decision to carry on with this pregnancy based on my unrelenting strength, die hard religious conviction or anti abortion sentiment. It was becuase I coundn't make any choice. I just could not decide how long this baby got to live or when it got to die. It wasn't my choice to make. I figured I would let the baby or nature decide for me.
That doesn't feel very strong. Sometimes it feels like a sissy way out.
There are days I beg nature to decide already and put me out of my misery. Days where I think I cannot do this one second longer and it would be better if this child passed away. Days I think that might be the answer to ease this pain.
Then I feel like a total asshat for even thinking thoughts like this.
I know the only time I am going to get with this child is while it is still in my belly and the very short moments after birth, if we even make it that far. I try to make the best of it. To relish in every kick, every movement, every bout of killer heartburn. I try to be positive, to be brave and not complain. But damn it is hard.
Some days I wish I had a better reason for my decision, other than it wasn't my choice to make. Would it be easier if I could shout at the top of my lungs "Jesus loves the little children" and believe without a shadow of a doubt this is part of Gods master plan. Perhaps. Would it be easier if I had spent years picketing abortion clinics and this was a true test of my beliefs. Maybe. Is there anything that could possibly make something like this easier and give me strength. I really don't think so.
So I am going to hike up my big girl panties and soldier on and stand by my choice to not make a choice.
Maybe someday I will let out a fierce roar and feel the strength, but for now I am just going to try not to fall down.
You know what's really strong; spider webs, cats that run into burning buildings to save their kittens, vegans who never eat bacon, Marines and Kevlar.
But not me.