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'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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

mother's day recap

James knew Mother's Day was going to be difficult for me this year. And honestly, I was worried I was going to spend the entire day sad and crying. But my day was anything but sad. In true James fashion, he planned the most thoughtful and out-of-the-park day I could have ever imagined.

It started with kisses from Joe and breakfast at a crepe place I'd been wanting to try. After we finished eating, James read a poem he wrote called "The 7 keys to mom's heart" and handed me my first key. The clue led us to our old apartment, the place we started this grand southern adventure and fell in love with Nashville. He then gave me my 1st of 7 gifts: a plastic tray. He said it was just 1 "piece" of a craft that we were going to be doing at the end of the hunt and I had to guess what the craft was. I was clueless, but excited.

Each location brought back such happy memories and kept my mind off of everything. One of my keys led us to Percy Priest lake where we used to spend our toddler-free afternoons. We enjoyed a lakeside picnic that James packed and played in the water. Joe was in heaven!

By clue 5, I had gathered enough pieces to be able to guess our craft - a family stone for our garden! It was such a fun and easy family DIY project that I wanted to share with you all in case your garden needs a little personal touch, too.

Here's what you'll need:

  • concrete mix
  • plastic flower pot drainage tray (James bought a few shapes and sizes for me to choose from!)
  • decorative stones, tiles & letter presses 
  • concrete trowel tool (to smooth the concrete)

You can find the concrete mix at any hardware store. 

Step 1:
Pour dry concrete mix into a bucket or plastic tub (which will get thrown away) and slowly add water until it's the right consistency. You want to make sure it's fully saturated with water, but you don't want any pooling on top of the cement. It it's too dry, it will be too thick to add any decorations. We used a paint stick to stir the cement. Joe loved helping!

Step 2:
Pour the concrete into the plastic tray and smooth until flat.

Step 3:
Quickly add the decorative stones & letter presses. It dries fairly quickly, so you have to move fast. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to press into the cement. I actually messed up my first pass and wanted to restart. So we just scooped the cement back into the tub, added a little more water and started over. Once your decorations are placed, wipe off any residue with a wet paper towel.

Step 4:
Let the stone dry overnight. Once dry, cut the plastic tray from the concrete and place in your garden!

I love the charm that it brings to our yard and I think about our special day every time I get the mail. James has planned a lot of scavenger hunts, written a lot of poems and has pretty much spoiled me rotten since the day we met...but this Mother's Day was probably the best adventure yet because I got to share it with Joe, too. Thank you, James, for the perfect Mother's Day. I'm the luckiest Mom on earth!