Monday, August 29, 2011

Looking Back to See Where I Am Going

Look at this picture I just found:

How fun is that? I am making the flyer for my preschool aikido class so I've been going through photos from the last year. The picture is from my 1st kyu test back in June. One of my fitness goals is to get into good enough shape to begin preparation for my black belt test. I'm guessing it'll take a while. I missed a lot of classes with my epic morning sickness and then, of course, the bulk of the weeks after losing Garrett so I am only about a third of the way to the amount of training days (I need 200, minimum) so it's not like I don't have the time. But it's still frustrating to be starting from ground zero instead of where I was before I got pregnant and everything crashed internally.

I had the hernia surgery 2 weeks ago tomorrow. The first three days were worse than I expected but I survived despite being allergic to my pain pills. I could only take them at night with a benadryl. By Monday, though, I was feeling quite well. And today I lifted Autumn into a shopping cart for the first time and there was no pain. Not even the pre-surgery pain. I have to rest another week and then I'm clear to do whatever my body can handle, the doctor said to just listen to it and I'll know if it's okay or not.

Anyway, a couple of guys are training for the rank I tested for last year so I'm piecing out my test video so they can see it. My expectation is that their testing videos will look much better than mine, partly because they are both very good, and partly because I've been the guinea pig for every test since I became senior student, hahaha. We now know not to let people below a certain rank uke (be the person attacking and being thrown) and that certain throws need to be practiced frequently well, well, well in advance of the test. This is one of those throws.

Anyone who's done hip throws can see all the mistakes I'm making, especially in the practice part. I'm not sure if it's the size difference, but boy did I struggle getting that one even remotely right! All I can remember from that month is aching all over from rolling those guys over my back and hips, haha. I look forward to feeling that way again!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent: The First No-No

I'm sorry you lost your baby. Especially since it was a boy.

The First No-No came to me on the day Garrett would have been a month old. Oh, yes. As if that day didn't suck enough! I'm sorry you lost your baby especially since it was a boy is probably the only thing Not to Say to a Grieving Parent that cannot ever be softened by good intentions, emotional currency you've built up with me, or tone of voice. Now, people have tried to make excuses for someone saying something so truly awful but, really, while I get it...cultural and generational beliefs don't make something right.

I don't mean this to be a scholarly dissertation on egalitarianism so we won't go there. Here's the thing, we loved Garrett from the beginning. Had we discovered we were having a Violet, we would have loved her just the same. We were so excited to have one of each, though, to get to see what funny things our kids would do together. Autumn is such an odd mix of tough as nails and foofy as a butterfly, bubbly and anti-social. What weird mix would our little Garrett have been, raised in a family where it was just important to be who he was, stereotypes discouraged?

So, let's fix that one: I'm sorry we lost our little boy, especially since he was ours.

Insane? Yes. Inferior? No.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent: Preface

See, it's always the weird stuff that gives me insomnia. Tonight it was thinking about how to, or if I should, acknowledge Garrett somewhere in this year's Christmas card.

Since I am up, I might as well start my new blog series that I am calling Things You Shouldn't Say to a Grieving Parent. I'm calling this entry the preface because I feel like I need to explain:

We have talked to other parents who have lost babies and they have had truly terrible stories of things people say. I have to be completely honest...that hasn't been our experience. Almost everyone has been wonderful, thoughtful, insightful, and caring. People have shared their stories, verses, poetry and music and, if I can figure out a way to do it without telling stories that aren't mine to tell, I'd love to tell you about that someday.

All that being said, you know how they say that it takes so many compliments to counteract one put down? That's kind of how this is. These are the things that people have said that kind of haunt me and I feel like writing will exorcise it, in a sense.

This is also an awareness piece. I know I appreciate the people who've gone out on a limb to write articles on what to or not to say to someone grieving a spouse or to someone whose child has a chronic illness. And, really, almost everyone who has said something painful didn't mean it to impact me that way. So, this is kind of an fyi.

The thing is, though, that if you're reading this it means you've found this googling "what to say when a friend loses a child" or you're a close friend of mine. So, none of this actually applies to you. If you think, "was I the person who said that?" You probably aren't. Actually, I'm 99.9% certain you aren't. Because even when close friends say crazy things, they have enough emotional currency for me to be all, "dude, did you seriously just say that?" And I will do it. Lovingly, usually. Sometimes laughing hysterically because we both just realized that what you just said totally came out wrong.

Anyway, to wrap it up, most of these will be OMGFunny, so don't worry. The rest will be OMG O___O because you will not believe some of the crazy stuff people think is okay to say! The first one will be the craziest, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Making of...the Claire Dress

Well, I'm taking a short break from surgery recovery to present my first big sewing project in about a year!

I originally intended to make a different dress with this material but when I asked Autumn if she liked a particular pattern, she picked this dress instead. It looked simple so I figured what the heck. Most of the dress was easy enough. I had a little trouble assembling the sleeves but if I do this dress again, I think I understand how they are supposed to be constructed. Fortunately, it isn't readily apparent that there's a problem.

The one thing that did concern me going into this project was that it required shirring. The booklet came with a tutorial and another blog I read also has a good tutorial so I thought I could figure it out. And I did but not without some serious trouble. Here are my practice scraps:

I absolutely could not get the fabric to shir. After quite a bit of looking online, I found out that my particular sewing machine doesn't shir. At all. Something about the tension being wrong with this particular drop in bobbin. So I was kind of stuck for a while until I remembered that I still had my grandmother's embroidery machine. The sewing machine part of it is intact (the embroidery unit is missing parts) so I got it out and was able to shir with no trouble! Got it the first try.

You can see the shirring goes around the sleeves and waistline as well as the neckline. I don't exactly know why, but the neckline was too big even after shirring. I'm not sure if it is because Autumn is very thin (I did the size 4 length and size 3 width) or if I simply cut the neckline out wrong but the dress kept slipping off. After some thinking, I decided to go ahead and add another line of shirring and then I folded over the top of the neckline to form a casing for some thin elastic.

The dress has a twirl factor of about 2, haha. But that didn't stop Autumn from trying. I think the next one I make for her will be a twirly dress.

All in all, I am pretty happy with how the project turned out!

Next project: laminated cotton placemats.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I had a couple of posts planned for this week but our air conditioner died. Rrrrrr...the entire unit has to be replaced so you can imagine how much that is going to cost. Queue the whining: "this house has eaten a hole in our bank accounts" "hasn't this summer been bad enough" "how are we ever going to save for an adoption" blahblahblah....moving on.

Anyway, I'm too hot to do anything thoughtful or overly coherent. I will say that my walk/run Monday went well. The brace was perfect. I'll probably do it again tomorrow and I'm even considering showing up at aikido on Saturday. We'll see!

Now. In the meantime, enjoy some Thriller Cat. I have no idea if this is real or not but I don't even care. I lol'd.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I totally can't think of a clever post title...

...that encompasses jogging, hernias, shadowboxes, painting, and sewing. >.>

Today I went back to the gym with Mike. I forgot to keep track of how many laps I did in my just over 15 minute session, but I walked the straights and jogged the curves of the track. I'm happy with how that went and how I felt afterward. The only issue is with my abdomen which, duh, except that the problem is the umbilical hernia that became an issue early this year rather than anything directly related to what happened in June. The good news is that I met with the surgeon yesterday and that's going to get fixed next Tuesday. Yay! That means I can be back in the dojo sometime in mid-September. In the meantime, I need to run with a brace on because my midsection is so unhappy I bowed out of a raid I was supposed to join tonight.

Over the last few weeks I've been feeling the urge to create. I guess it's some kind of coping mechanism but a healthy one unlike, say, copious amounts of alcohol. Aaaanyway, our community group came over Wednesday night for a goodbye party. Our leaders are moving to Amsterdam which is awesome and slightly enviable. Before they came, I spent way too long doing this:

Do you know how long it took me to crumple that thing just right? I'm not telling because it's embarrassing. I tried to do it like Cheri did it before our halloween party, even looked at pictures, but no such luck. Also, I think our light fixture is crooked. I thought so sitting at the table but, looking at the photo, I really think so. Anyway, I have spent the last few weeks working on shadow boxes. I got the idea from a friend from church who lost a baby ten years ago. This is Garrett's:

In it I put the blanket that Lindsay made to go over Garrett's casket, the birth announcement I made, a framed photo of one of his ultrasounds, and the bunny lovey that was supposed to be his. A duplicate, because he was buried with the original. When I was thinking about where to put the shadowbox, I had the bright idea to make one for Autumn, too. This way I can hang them together without it being too sad or strange and if we have any other children, I can make them boxes to match!

Autumn's is pretty similar, birth announcement (I didn't make that one, in case anyone is wondering), her bear lovey (don't worry, that's Two Baa so she has another Baa in case she needs him), her tiny coming home outfit, and a photo from her first birthday. Both boxes have scrapbooking paper in two prints as the background as well as initials I found at Hobby Lobby. Autumn picked them out. I think I am going to put the boxes in the hallway or in our bedroom.

This is kind of random but I painted something for Autumn's bathroom. She asked for polka dots and I liked the idea of having teal decorations in there since the walls are this sherbet orange. Target had a sale on some teal accessories and I thought I might bring in the polka dots through decorations. I couldn't find any reasonably priced art so I thought I'd try my hand at this. I had the white mat and frame already and I have a mountain of paint samples from last summer when we were painting all the rooms in the house. At first I just did the dots but it looked a little plain so I added her initial. I may not keep it but I thought it wasn't a bad first try!

Last but not least is my current project, a dress for Autumn. I found the fabric I bought last year for her. We put our house on the market right after I ordered the fabric so I wasn't able to do anything with it. We couldn't make a mess since people were coming over for showings all the time. And then once we moved and all of our new home renovations were done, I was pregnant and sick all the time. Soooo, last week I broke out my patterns and asked her to pick out a dress. This is the one she wants:

And I am using this fabric.

Pretty, isn't it? I'm hoping it goes okay. I haven't done a major sewing project in a year and this one has some techniques I haven't tried before. We'll see! Once the dress is done, I have a few more things in the pipe. I need to get our photo album for last year put together and ordered (I use MyPublisher) and I want to make some placemats out of this laminated cotton I ordered a few months ago!