Beggar's Night 2009

Beggar's Night 2009...let the candy-collecting commence! Andrew (robot), posing with his friends Amanda (baby), Becca (vampire-girl), Elyssa (punkin), and Juli (a witch far too smiley to do any harm).
Hard to see in this picture, but people really enjoyed Andrew's costume...mostly the plug he's holding, which came out of the back. It got a lot of giggles. From me, too - total cost? $3.49 for spray paint!
Posing with the booty. Andrew would like to personally thank the considerate house who gave him a ColdEze cough drop - their concern for his health and well-being is touching (and thanks, Miss Christine, for being eagle-eyed and catching that before it went down the old gullet!)
And trading time. Andrew pawning off his chocolate for "the good stuff". Yes, my child doesn't like chocolate. One of these days, I'll get around to getting that maternity test....


My Hollywood Moment

Remember that movie, It Could Happen to You? Nicholas Cage as the good cop, Bridget Fonda as the penniless waitress?

All afternoon, Fonda's voice was chiming in my head....

"I just went bankrupt, right before I came to work."

Took me forever to figure out what movie it was.

Anyway. Today, that was my life.

I just went bankrupt, and then went to work.

It sucks. After 5 years of owning our business, to hear the trustee declare us asset-less. "No asset case". After 5 years, we didn't have anything worth liquidating.

Disturbing. Depressing.

My big Hollywood moment. Bridget, I can totally relate.


Mi Vida (not so) Loca

I wish I could think of something to blog about.

Lots going on, nothing notable enough for its own blog post.

The weather finally turned to autumn.

Not that I'm a huge fan or anything. Just sick of the vacillating.

I lost 3.4 lbs in my first week at Weight Watchers. Ho-hum. The last time I did WW, my first week's loss was in the neighborhood of 8 lbs. My body's doing some wonky things right now.

My friend in Arizona is about to have her baby, and it's hard to face it. So me, being the great friend that I am, I haven't been dealing with it.

Still family tensions.

Homeschool's going well. Andrew's enjoying the challenge of first grade curriculum.

Not pregnant.

Had another pizza restaurant open in town this week, causing some stress in Hubs. I jokingly say he's well on his way to his first MI. Ha, ha, (not so) funny.

All our plans for this weekend have been a wash, blame the weather and H1N1.

Reading The Thorn Birds for the eighty-gazillionth time.

I'm attending a Bible Study on Wednesday nights with a few other women, and I can't express how satisfying that it. There's something about women getting together in the Name of the Lord that always turns out amazing.

Making a new angel-baby blanket using Granny Squares. It's definitely experimental, but at the same time fun. And useful, for it's hard to snack while crocheting.

Just the dribs and drabs of my life. Hope yours is more interesting. Or not, depending how you like it.


Columbus Zoo 10/19/09

Loving the flamingos
@ Manatee Cove. I love this picture!

The leopard watching my child. If you look closely, you may see the drool coming out of his mouth....

Oh, SO hawt!!!


Weight Watchers Again...

I can't believe I'm back. What's this, the fifth time? You'd think I had it down by now.

Until that day the pregnancy test comes back positive, I want to be doing something positive.

Getting my body ready. Into top form - or at least as close as I can get. Ready to nurture life.

Here, just 5 hours into the program, I'm already noticing effects.

Like being tethered to the bathroom.

Drinking 40 gallons of water a day will do that to you.

So many things are the same. But the ones that are different from 2 years ago?

Since when do I have to pay an additional $13 for eTools? Wasn't that included before?

Makes me glad for Hungry Girl. And Dottie's Weight Loss Zone.

1 day down. 70 billion to go....



One for Leila, one for 8/2005 miscarriage, one for 6/2005 suspected miscarriage. Loving you, babies!



With every new hit, my nerves deaden.

Bankruptcy, foreclosure, Leila,

Family issues, marital issues,

I feel like it all piles on top of me.

Forcing me under.

Anybody got a shovel?

Before I lose all sense of feeling...


More Due Date Pictures

My friend Jaime launched a balloon to Leila, and to her little girl Sydney, filled with love from both of us. Thank you, sister. I love you!

And these are the shots Anita took. She has an overwhelming talent for reaching straight to the heart with her photography. I am truly blessed to call her friend.

Leila, you were well remembered here on earth yesterday. Probably nothing compared to the party in heaven, but we;ll take what we can. Miss you, beautiful girl.


The Due Date is Dun.

Leila's day.

I awoke to the smells of pepperbeef slowly cooking in the crockpot.

Showered. Got my early morning grocery run in.

Arranged the desserts. Loaded the boys and the food into the car.

Off to the hospital.

Met up with Julie at the door. She let us into the break room. Helped me plug in the crockpot and spread out the goodies.

She got paged to go catch a baby. That kind of hurt, thinking it could have been me. Should have been.

Had a chance to hug my new friend and fellow DBM D'Anna. The latest in this incredible support system that has sprung from UVMC for me.

Anita showed up with these beautiful mums. The kind that always remind me of grempop's garden. Pink, yellow, deepest scarlet.

And a gift.

It's called "Safe in the Arms of Jesus". And it made me cry.

Saw my nurse Darla, and introduced her to my daughter. Thanked her - without her, I wouldn't have that tiny urn that means so much to me. Hugs. More tears.

And bumped into Dr. Ocampo, still in her baby-catching gear. She remembered me (amazing, since this woman - no, this saint - has a huge clientele). More hugs and words of encouragement.

And we went off to the Healing Garden (which used to be the hospital courtyard) to take the pictures that Anita knew meant the world to me. Pictures of Andrew and Leila. And Yasar and his daughter.Afterward we had the pleasure of Anita and her husband Chuck's company at El Rancho Grande. We were there for hours, and yet it passed in a blink. God, thank you for bringing these amazing people into my life!

And then a visit from Christine. She brought this delicate little rose plant. Tiny pink roses. Just the same color I imagine Leila's lips to be.

The only thing I needed to make this day perfect would have been a hug from Nikki. But I expect to collect one of those soon. :)

God, you are soverign. You knew exactly who I would need in my life to get through this horrible time. I thank You so much for providing these, and so many others, who continually lift me up and help me walk. Who allow me to express myself without judgement. Who are always eager to assist in any way. I pray that you rain blessings on those people.

And I pray that You will help me pass Your blessing on to others. To help others walking this path, all the while pointing to You. You know who I have on my heart right now. I pray that you'll be with her and her husband, show her that, while this road sucks, it has moments of beauty and peace. That we can grow from this experience, and reflect Your love through our actions. And that, despite the pain of losing our babies, all things work together for Your purpose.



Getting Ready

It's almost time!

It's almost here!

Is it weird that I'm so excited about Leila's due date?

I've got happy plans. Not sad plans.

Like that book said, I'm turning "why?" into "what now?"

Andrew's helping me cook:

And we've been making lots of teeny, tiny baby blankets:

The MOD bracelets are here (look, Jennie! I'm repurposing your gift bag! It's perfect):

And I'm just praying that Lea's Angel Wings make it on time.

I've only really let my mind wander a little, imagining where we'd be if we hadn't lost her. More than likely, she'd already be here. I'd be tired, but so happy. Andrew would be the proud big brother, and Yasar would be falling in love all over again.

We're missing you, Leila. And we're so happy you're enjoying heaven. We'll see you soon!



Every Wednesday was McDonald's night. Dollar Happy Meals. Crafts for the kids. We moms got to get together every week and hang out while the kids played in the Playland. We'd stay for hours some summer nights. It was a social event I never missed.

Then we lost Leila.

I tried to go back to McD's. I really did. The one time I made it, it was so hard. These women who I'd spent so much time with, cracking jokes, comparing kids, making plans...well, things had changed.

I had changed.

Christy was posting about how our friendships change after a loss like that. She got the wheels turning.

Someone I would have called a "best friend" hurt me very badly after Leila died. She was at McD's on a Wednesday night, dissecting me to another person I didn't really like. Talking about how I should be over it by now. Questioning why I was in such a hurry to get pregnant again. Another friend had overheard her, and was so uncomfortable with the conversation that she had to leave.

What do you do when your best friend gossips about you? Feeding off your pain?

Will your reaction change when I tell you she also suffered a 5-month pregnancy loss? That, of all my friends, she was the only one with intimate knowledge of what I was going through?

When Leila died, I got a card from her that said "you know where to find me when you need me."

But, for that one friend I lost, my other friends got closer. They pulled in tighter. They got me out of the house. They dropped by with groceries. They helped, and continue to help me heal. They are all blessings from God.

And, in losing Leila, I've made new friends. Amazing women. Women I thank God for bringing into my life. I can never express how much these new friends mean to me. Without them, this grief process would be so much more difficult.

I still interact with that lost friend. Heck, she's my husband's assistant manager at the store. I still talk to her, we occasionally chat on the phone. But conversation is stilted. And very surface. I don't really know what's going on in her life anymore.

She was the first to come to mind when reading Christy's post about how our friendships evolve. Trisha has also talked about changes in family relationships after losing her little Nate. I've got some posting to do on that, but we'll save it for another time.


Five Minutes in the Post Office

I'm sending a lumpy envelope to a friend across the border.

Being a lumpy envelope, it has to pass through customs. According to my friendly neighborhood postman.

So I'm standing to the side, filling out the necessary paperwork.

And a man walks up to the counter, asking about work.

His demeanor is soft. Defeated. And the post office has no good news for him.

I send up a prayer for him, to find a great job. And my eyes started tearing up for him.

Back in line. Up to the counter.

I can't help overhearing the lady in the next line.

A plain, brown parcel. The postman stats asking their "perishable, hazardous, jadda jadda" questions.

Her son's dog is in there. And the box isn't moving.

The postman says they need hazardous paperwork.

I start to giggle, until I see the customer's stricken expression.

Clearly this was an adored pet.

Another prayer. Another broken heart.

As we leave, I'm wondering what kinds of stories those postmen take home to their dinner tables.

They must see such an amazing cross-section of humanity.

Because in just my five there minutes:

I laughed.

I cried.

I prayed twice.

Imagine working a whole shift there!


A New Perspective

God has been working hard to get me to see something.

This past week has been a sad one. Lots of tears, more anger than I want to admit. But in the interest of full disclosure, I'm mad at God. Disgusted with Him right now. He's failed me. Left me with this broken heart instead of the precious child I expected.

A friend dropped off a book for me.

Safe In the Arms of God.

At first I scoffed. I've never questioned where Leila is today. My pain has never been about that question. It's been completely selfish.

I hurt. How do I deal with that?

Halfway through the book, it started to make sense.

I should be rejoicing that Leila will never experience a moment of disappointment. A tiny bit of pain. A fraction of anger.

I should be ecstatic that she's whole. Perfect. Mature. In God's Presence.

Cherished in heaven, far more than she could ever have been here on earth.

Then the pastor's sermon today, about rejoicing through grief.

The beauty of being a child of God, knowing our pain is temporary. Someday it will be gone, never to return. Being reminded that God may be using my grief as a teaching tool, honing me for some purpose. Causing me to rely completely on Him. Refocusing me.

And the clincher. K-Love's Encouraging Word for today:

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT

Clearly He's trying to get through to me.

I've had more peace today than in the last few weeks.

I just pray it continues.


Leila Bear

Leila Lamb's been looking pretty bad lately. Her beautiful fleece has gotten knappy, and she's starting to look a little dirty. And, since I can't put her in the laundry, I did the next logical thing.
Performed minor (ahem) surgery. I went in her back this morning and retrieved Leila's ash bag and the red heart they put in at Build A Bear.
She's recovering nicely, getting lots of love from Andrew.
We went to Build A Bear and got a new cuddly for Leila's ashes. Hopefully Leila Bear's fur will hold up better than Leila Lamb's.