Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11.11

Our baby's remembrance tree has turned a vibrant yellow and has officially started losing it's leaves this week. And as each one falls to the ground, I think my heart breaks a little more.

11.11.

My baby's due date.

Today I'm at work carrying on as if it is another regular Wednesday...sending emails, answering my phone, performing at the level I typically do. But the pain in my heart is probably the deepest I've felt in a long time.

All of the steps forward and back over the past 6 months have all led me to the same dead end. Today is a day I just have to get through. Nothing anyone can say or do will make it any easier, either. I am just going to surrender to all the "should bes" and "what could have beens."

Today is a regular day for everyone else, but not to me.

Today I carry her heart. I carry it in my heart.



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

jurassic park halloween

In an effort to keep busy this week, I wanted to share some pictures from our Halloween. This year's theme: Jurassic Park. How many more years until Joe refuses family-themed costumes?

Props to James for building this legit electric fence out of PVC pipe and wire rope... AND somehow getting it to hang around Joe's wagon. And, well, let's just say I did a little extra laminating at work. :)


Dinosaur costume

Dinosaur family costume

Electric Fence

Jurassic Park Halloween

High Voltage Sign

Dinosaur Wagon

Jurassic Park T-Rex




DIY Electric Fence









Thursday, October 8, 2015

six months, but who's counting

I asked James yesterday, "Can you believe it's been 6 months already?" His answer reflected my exact thoughts. "No! Well, yeah. Actually, no..."

I took a little time today to re-read my first post about my miscarriage. I haven't read it since a week or so after I posted it, and I will say, it was extremely difficult to get through. For one, the entire post was written in fragment sentences, like scattered word-vomit of every thought  that was happening in my brain. But even more difficult than that, it brings me right back to that moment, feeling everything I was feeling.

I've come a long way in just 6 months. I've connected with so many people feeling the same pain. Old friends that I maybe haven't talked to in years, even decades, others complete strangers that have become new friends. I'm grateful for everyone who has reached out. There is a secret group of us pregnancy loss survivors, all with different stories and experiences. We seem to be stronger when we join together.

Based on my baby's measurements, she was 6 weeks and 5 days when her heart stopped beating. I was in Destin, Florida, celebrating a friend's bachelorette party. I went back to Destin on a family trip this past month and I had no idea how strongly I would feel her presence. I'm so thankful we decided to get professional photos on the beach, with both of my babies in the picture. I will always hold this picture so close to my heart.


Photo by Bumblebee Photography.

Monday, September 21, 2015

sea monster bathroom

Joe's bathroom was in desperate need of a change. And well, I just needed a distraction. (The perfect combination!) He's been really into cars, trucks, and boats lately...pretty much anything that moves. I was thinking maybe a boat or pirate themed bathroom, so I started searching for shower curtains first. I came across an adorable whale shower curtain on Society6, and it instantly became the inspiration for Joe's new sea monster bathroom!

We didn't have much money to spend on this room, so it's more of a bathroom refresh than a full-on makeover. Someday I hope to get a new vanity and re-do the tile, but for now it works. Actually, the gray vanity pops so much better against the new paint color. 

*Note, it was incredibly difficult to get an accurate picture of the wall color without any natural light. I promise, it really is a pretty mustard in person :)

sea monster bathroom

shower curtain

shark towel

whale shower curtain


I'm really excited with how my sea monster chalkboard turned out! I've shared all the details on how to make it here


porthole chalkboard


I found a cute and easy idea for a towel hook on another blog I follow, Tag & Tibby. I was instantly obsessed, and thought it was a subtle tie-in to the theme. We decided to a use a piece of pallet wood we already had, and I found the boat cleats at Walmart for only $1.99! Seriously, the simplest (and cheapest) DIY project ever.


boat cleat towel hooks

The towel holder ring is from Etsy and made out of rope. 

whale art

gray vanity


lighting

rustic clock

I was so excited to be able to find a spot for our South Haven sign. South Haven is a very special place for James and me. We fell in love there, got engaged there and even married there. I bought this wooden sign for him for our 3 or 4? year "dating-versary" and we used it as a decoration at our wedding. It means so much to have it hung in our home. 

South Haven artwork

tooth brush holder

bathroom rugs

Joe digs it!


porthole chalkboard

I could not decide what to put above the towel rack for the longest time. I wanted something to fit the theme, but not in an obvious way. I started searching online for different artwork, and came across a painting of a boat with a porthole, which then led to me searching real portholes. Funny how ideas come about.

I found this porthole on Ebay for $60. It was a little steep, but I figured my odds of finding one in a store or antique shop were pretty low. It's a functional porthole, too - the little glass window swings open, which I thought was fun. But once it arrived and I held it up to the wall, it felt boring. The color clashed with the wall color and it just seemed a little bland, so I decided to jazz it up!


porthole chalkboard project

I purchased Chalkboard Paint and a Textured brown spray paint from The Home Depot. With the Chalkboard paint, I sprayed 4 light coats directly onto the glass window. I was worried it wouldn't adhere to glass, but it did just fine. The key was spraying it lightly to avoid drips.

I then sprayed the entire metal frame with the brown textured paint. It really gave it that old, rusty look. The less "perfect" you spray, the better.

  
Then, the fun part - drawing your monster! I used a chalk marker to make the white pop a little better. What's awesome is that everything you do is erasable, so no need to freak out about any mistakes! I googled some different octopus and sea monster images and combined a bunch of elements for my own creation. After I hung it in our bathroom, I'm not even kidding, Joe must have stared at it for a week during bath time! Spooky! :)

sea monster chalkboard


porthole chalkboard

nautical porthole and towel hook

Thursday, July 30, 2015

the waiting game

"So do you think Joe is going to be an only child? Oooo, try for a girl. Wouldn't that be great?"

"How old is Joe now? It's about time to start trying for another, huh?"


I nod with a sharp pain in my heart and a fake smile on my face.

More steps back for me this week. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in limbo, hanging on to my last pregnancy while wanting to move on to the next one. For anyone that's gone through miscarriage, I'm sure you can relate to that heavy lost feeling. I've lost my certainty, purpose and direction just as much as I've lost a baby that I loved so much. And as the months roll by, it's like I'm losing her more and more. I should be nearing my 3rd trimester now and getting closer to my due date, but instead I'm having a daily battle with myself on whether or not I'm ready to try again. It's certainly not an easy decision, and until I feel ready enough to take that leap of faith, I just wait. 

I've become a much more spiritual person than I was before, and much more aware of the signs that are all around me. I feel her with me a lot at different times throughout the day. Sometimes she sends me a reminder to stay strong, and other times she sends a sign that I'm just not ready to let go quite yet. Maybe the signs were always there before but I never stopped to appreciate them like I do now.

Pregnancies continue to be announced around me, and instead of just blocking them from my brain, I'm really trying to step back and evaluate how I'm feeling. Sadness? Jealousy? Anger? Happiness? Hope? Sometimes I feel just one emotion strongly, while other times it's all 5 at once. I won't lie, it's still difficult. I think it will be for awhile. But I can say that it is getting easier. So does that mean I'm ready to start trying again? I don't know, but I sure wish life had a handbook.

pregnancy loss and miscarriage

I was thinking about her while jogging and I think 
she wanted me to know she was thinking of me too.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

mood boarding: mid century farmhouse living room

After almost 2 years of living in our house, we finally have the front room finished! Well, almost finished. Technically the "before" picture is an empty room, but here's a picture from our house listing.


I always feel overwhelmed when I start decorating because I never know where to start. There's a lot to consider: the room layout, colors, style and of course keeping everything within budget. To help me plan things out (I know, typical type A), I create a "mood board" for the room.

For those of you that aren't in the advertising world, let me try to explain without sounding completely crazy. A mood board is basically a collection of images or words typically laid out in a collage. They're used in initial client presentations to help bring a new ad campaign to life. It sort of helps you visualize what a campaign idea could be without investing a ton of time thinking through every detail of a TV spot or print ad. Anyway, being the nerd that I am, I use them in my everyday life. :)

Here's what my living room mood board looked like. I like to pull in pictures from furniture stores, Pinterest, and even pictures of furniture I already have. It's just a good way to play around without making any financial investments. And, they're fun to look back at after the room is done!

mood board living room

And here's how the room turned out!

mid century farmhouse living room

I still need to hang something over the couch. I'm just waiting for that perfect flea market gem. Anyone have any ideas? 

floating shelves

James made these custom floating shelves and I think they turned out great! 

mid century farmhouse living room billy balls

farmhouse living room

farmhouse gold mirror

city to south entry waymid century entry way

city to south white chair

Couldn't resist <3

Saturday, June 13, 2015

two steps forward, one step back.

Sometimes on Saturday mornings I let Joe watch cartoons as he eats his breakfast. He just recently became interested in TV, so he gets so excited to watch and learn while he chomps away. I got him set up in his high chair, prepared a peanut butter and banana sandwich (his favorite!) and turned on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Today's theme? Daniel Tiger is going to be a big brother.

It's been over 2 months now since I lost my baby. And while most days I can pull it together just fine without any emotional outbursts, there are moments that still just flat out hurt. This morning was one of them.

I watched Joe point at the TV and sign "baby" every time Daniel said that his Mommy is going to have a baby. He looked so proud showing off all of the new signs that he's learned in school. Daniel helped his mother prepare the baby's room and talked about his new big brother responsibilities. Joe would have been a great big brother. Who knew an innocent cartoon could cause such a visceral reaction?

I have tried to protect Joe from my heartache but it's almost impossible. Children just sense when something is wrong. I've done everything in my power not to cry in front of him because he looks at me with that "what's wrong Momma?" look on his face which just breaks my heart. But sometimes a reminder just creeps up unexpectedly and I can't help but have a moment of weakness. More mom guilt.

I sat down and we watched the episode together. I know I could have changed the channel and saved myself the heartache, but sometimes you have to face a challenge head-on.

Then the clincher... Daniel goes to the hospital to meet his new sibling for the first time. A baby sister.

I changed the channel immediately.



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

gray & yellow rustic wedding

Today is our 3 year wedding anniversary. Some days it feels like I blinked and 3 years have passed, others feel like we've already lived a lifetime together. What I have learned so far is that love is a precious thing. You have to work at it, you have to have patience for it, and you have to appreciate it everyday.

In just 3 years we have gotten married, moved our lives to Nashville, bought a house and had a baby. I'm sure some think that's a lot for such a short amount of time, but it's us. We make it all work and have fun doing it. Nothing has felt rushed...it's more like being on an amazing adventure together. We're both people who set a goal and do everything in our power to achieve it, which is one of the things I love most about James.

I will be honest and say these past few months have been our hardest yet. Really hard. We've never had to face a challenge we weren't able to fix. He's never been incapable of cheering me up and making it all better. I feel like I've learned a whole other side to James that I would have never gotten to learn. It makes us stronger. I now know how he approaches grief, handles pain and what it looks like when he comes out on the other side. We can and will handle whatever else life throws at us, and I feel grateful to be able to say that and mean it.

Today takes me back to that day in South Haven, Michigan. The weather was as perfect as it could have been. I remember every detail leading up to "you may now kiss the bride." So much so that I could recite most of James' vows on our honeymoon a week later, after only hearing them once. What was even more magical was they ended up sounding so similar. We had written our own, but pieces of each of ours aligned almost perfectly.

His
You've taught me to appreciate things that I've taken for granted; friends, family, and the things that really matter...the little things...the sentimental things.

Mine
You've taught me the importance of family and what it means to be selfless.

His
There will be some bumps along the way I am sure. But I have no doubt that we'll get by as long as we have each other. And when things get a little bumpy, we will always have our wooden friend from Lincoln Square to cheer us up and remind us that it's not arms and legs. 

Mine
You've put everything in perspective for me - that at the end of the day, money and material things don't matter and if it's not arms and legs, it's not worth worrying about. 


It was perfect.

After the ceremony, the rest was a blur. James and I had worked so hard on making every detail of our wedding come to life that I felt like I was too overwhelmed to realize it was actually happening. We wanted our day to be a reflection of us, and it was. We didn't hire a coordinator. We didn't spend a ton of money. We arranged our own flowers, made our own boutonnieres, hung every mason jar, set up every table, spray painted every vase, glued each program, hand-drew all the signs...I mean everything. But the details that I loved most are things that most people wouldn't have even noticed. I added our grandparent's pins to our bouquets. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental of "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds and engraved it into James' ring. We danced our first dance to my Grandpa's song. Every detail had to mean something and was made by us with love.




              





     


    


         
             





   
Photo credit by Shutter + Awe.


Happy anniversary, James. LPG.