Monday, October 29, 2012

Weird triggers

So, I totally had a meltdown before a Halloween party over the weekend. File this under "weird stuff I never thought would be an issue until it was an issue."

We have made some friends at the gym and they invited us to their annual Halloween party. I will take ANY excuse to dress up and Mike really likes his gym crew (I like them, too, but he likes them enough that he's overcome his anti-socialness twice now which is HUGE) so we decided to go. I'm going to do a post on our costumes because we had a blast getting them together but that'll be for another day.

When we arrived, we saw a spooky display in front of the house, although we had to park a few houses down. A cd of creepy lullaby music played. I rather liked the effect until we got up to see exactly what the display looked like.

If you're still reeling from a loss and feeling delicate, don't read any further, okay?

The display: a dead, rotting mom, rocking a dead, rotting baby.

I'm not sure why I reacted so strongly but I seriously burst into tears. I got to the end of the driveway and told Mike I couldn't go any further. He said he felt pretty funky, too, but maybe if I ran past I could get it and not deal with it anymore.

I made into the house and there wasn't anything else terribly disturbing until the guy dressed like someone from the Hangover, which I haven't seen, came in with his undead baby in a carrier. I pretty much avoided him as much as possible. I couldn't eat at all and it took me a while get my mental balance back.

As shallow as it is, this helped.

Because, really, if that can't get me out of a funk, nothing will.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Which is not what I am going to be for Halloween. :) I certainly feel like one, though! I have decided to stop the Capture Your Grief project. I really enjoyed the week or so that I did it but I'm so out of gas right now both physically and emotionally. Looking at a couple of the entries coming up, I think it's probably a wise choice to pick it back up next year and do what I can then. Thank you for reading along! If you look at the list of subjects and would like to read something or see something from it that I didn't do, let me know.

On a completely different subject, look at this because it's funny. Autumn made a self portrait out of her clementine peel.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Days 21 and 22

I don't have a good photo of the space where we will eventually have a memory garden but these azaleas are on one side of that space. The former owner of our home is a well-known landscaper and he did a LOT to the yard, but there are a couple of spots we had to dig up because of drainage issues and the area we'll be making a memory garden is one of those spaces. Kurt, who landscaped Mike's parents' house and who helps us out with plans or by doing things we can't do ourselves, was the catalyst for the project. When I was in the hospital, Kurt was so distressed when he heard that he went out, got a huge hydrangea bush, and planted it in our backyard in memory of Garrett. I cried when I found out. We're going to put in some stones of remembrance, with our wedding date, Autumn's birth date as well as Garrett's, and stones for important milestones like the $1450 we raised during the flip flop fundraiser.

I've been ridiculously blessed with friends. Everyone who participated in Garrett's memorial week in June, our families, church, our community group, friends we have made over the years--some are friends I have never even met--came together and helped, prayed, supported, sent gifts, sent food, so many, many blessings. I was also blessed with amazing care givers. I wouldn't have lived without the incredible doctors and nurses at Baptist Women's Hospital who cared for me and cried with me in the aftermath. And we can't forget Mike and Autumn. Mike took wonderful care of me and Autumn is a huge chunk of the reason we all can smile. Chuck Sullivan of Acupuncture and Healing Arts definitely played a key role in my recovery. I decided, though, to picture Penny. :) This photo, by the way, was two days before Garrett died.

Penny didn't just take care of me with Garrett, she did it when I had Autumn, too. I haven't told that story but I will sometime. Penny is a nurse and after both births, she kept track of my stitches, took my blood pressure, consulted with Mike, made sure I was still smiling, brought us "happies," played with Autumn...the list goes on. She's the one I called when I needed someone to keep Autumn while I went to the hospital, when Autumn dislocated her elbow, and YESTERDAY when Mike sliced his hand open! She spent the whole time we were at the ER texting me, giving us the lowdown on what would happen, how to care for the wound, and telling us she could remove his stitches. Penny's also the one I call when crazy messes go down, when I just want to talk, or when I feel like she might need to vent some steam. Just the other day, we talked about how great it was to have a friend you can say anything to, haha. Anyway, thanks, Penny, for being the friend who cares for me in lots of ways!

This blog post is for the worldwide blogging event Capture Your Grief in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Day 21: Altar/Shrine/Sacred Space Share a photo of your special place  in your home/garden for your baby/ies/child/ren.
Day 22: Place of Care/Birth The place that looked after your you whilst you were pregnant. Share a photo of those who took care of you and your baby. This could be a midwife/doula/friend/partner.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New in the Etsy Shop

Today's Capture Your Grief day is Charity/Organization and one I'd like to share with you is CrossHeart Ministries. They do good work in Memphis and I'm hoping to join them. I'm going to make vouchers for my memorial birth announcements so they can put them in the boxes they send to bereaved parents. I'm also going to send out the link to the Christmas card I sent to everyone last year. Well, it's similar. The original one was 5x5 but that's not an easy size to print yourself so I made it a 5x7. Click here to see it in the shop.

The back is optional and a buyer can choose to have a blank side 2 or add wording. In our case, I used some wording to let people know, quietly, that we had lost someone. I didn't want our card to be depressing but I also really, really needed to put Garrett's name on there somehow. 

I have another card I need to tweak and then add to the shop. It doesn't have anything on the back but I might add it. We'll see. Also, don't forget, I'm always up for a custom design!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 19: Project

I went on a creating binge after we lost Garrett. This is his shadow box. I made one for Autumn, too.

This post is part of the Capture Your Grief worldwide event in honor of
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
Day 19: Project Have you worked on any projects inspired by your loss? They could be anything from an art project to organizing memory boxes for a hospital. If you have not yet done a project you could share something that you would like to work on.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18: Family Portrait

I didn't have it in me to take a photo of us with a Garrett memento today so I thought I'd post something else. Our friend Elizabeth Wiggs took this almost 2 years ago in Mike's parents' back yard. We had just found out we were pregnant and weren't really telling anyone yet because it was still early. But we kicked around some fun ideas for announcing our new addition on the blog then asked Elizabeth to stage this photo. And, even though we hadn't announced it officially yet, anyone who got a Christmas card also got a secret hint if they looked close enough.

Of course, we called Elizabeth to schedule a newborn session as soon as we found out Garrett's due date. After Garrett died and I left the hospital, I emailed her and asked if we could reschedule our newborn shoot for a fall family one and she said, "absolutely." Over the summer, when I was still mainly home bound, she even came over and just hung out with me and showed a little bit about how to work on my camera. On the day of our family session, I was concerned that I'd just want to cry the whole time. But Elizabeth's compassion, comfort, and simply the fact that she's a was bittersweet, but mainly sweet because I still had my Mike and my Autumn. I remember telling Elizabeth that this would be our "it's going to be okay" session.

By the way, I couldn't resist adding this. Elizabeth has been taking our pictures since 2008. When I scrolled through my archives to see if that was right, I came across this:

Anyway, we weren't able to do formal photos this year but we're hoping to do it next fall. Actually, what we're hoping is that even before next fall, we'll get word from the adoption agency and we can schedule another newborn session. And I'm sure we'll include some pinwheels in memory of sweet Garrett.

This post is part of the Capture Your Grief worldwide event in honor of 
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 
Day 18: Your Family Portrait Take a photo of you with your family, work out a way to incorporate your baby/ies/child/ren who are no longer physically with you anymore. You could hold up photos of them or even just hold their names with you. What does your family look like now? Is it just you left here? Do you have a large family? Is it just you and your partner?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17: Anniversary

We did a lot to commemorate what would have been Garrett's birthday. If you missed it, we had a guest post series that was intense. Beautiful, loving, kind, incredible and amazing and still none of those words can encompass that week of posts. You can read or reread them by clicking here. We also met Mike's family at the cemetery to do a balloon release but letting the balloons go made Autumn sad so we didn't do that. And yesterday I linked the gathering we had the following weekend with some of our friends.

Since I only mentioned the butterflies on our family blog (which isn't crawled by Google so if anyone wants the link, you can email me), I thought I'd share the story today. In the spring, I got Autumn one of those caterpillar kits for her birthday. The caterpillars ate and grew in the little container they came in and when the caterpillars made their cocoons in the lid, we moved them to the net house.

On Garrett's birthday, I sat looking at the cocoons before we left to meet Mike's family at the cemetery. The cocoons were pitch black which, according to my Googling, either meant they were ready to emerge or had some kind of rot. Not much help there, Google! I spend a lot of my time these days conversing with God in my head so I told him that I thought it would be an encouraging thing if one of the butterflies would hatch while we were gone.

And guess what? One of them did. The rest followed the next day. So many small comforts!

We enjoyed the butterflies. Even Molly found them fascinating. Autumn made a tea party for the butterflies and we put some flowers sprinkled with sugar water in the net house. Supposedly, the butterflies can stay in the net for their full life cycles but I felt really bad for them because they didn't have enough room to fly. The Sunday after Garrett's birthday, we let the butterflies go.

This post is part of the Capture Your Grief worldwide event in honor of 
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 
Day 17: Anniversary/Birthday/Due Dates Share a photo of what you did for your baby/ies/child/rens special day. Did you hide away in bed? Did you have a cake? Did you have a party? What did you do?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16: Release

This post is part of the Capture Your Grief worldwide event in honor of 
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 
Day 16: Release Balloons, lanterns, butterflies, doves.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 15: Wave of Light

This post is part of the Capture Your Grief worldwide event in honor of 
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 
Day 15: WAVE of LIGHT
October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Light a candle at 7pm to help create a continuous wave of light around the world for 24 hours.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 15

Tomorrow I will light a candle in memory of Garrett.

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. There were a few events around town but since we were at the beach for fall break, I didn't get to attend any of them. The one I was really sad to miss was the Walk to Remember, you can read more about it here. I did order a tshirt and had Garrett's name put on the tshirt. For some reason, seeing his was tough.

For those who are interested, here are some October 15th resources:
October 15th Facebook Page

I haven't been doing the 31 days of photos project called Capture Your Grief but I was thinking I might start today. Day 14: community. Like I said, I didn't get to do any of the community events but back in June, we celebrated what would have been Garrett's first birthday with a small gathering of dear friends.

Friday, October 12, 2012

10 Years! A Guest Post from Mike

It's our 10th wedding anniversary! Let's celebrate with a guest post from Mike!

Ten years ago today I thought my face was going to break.

I was standing in front of a couple double doors all dressed up in my penguin suit and I had the BIGGEST freaking grin on my face. (Seriously, I was smiling so hard it was actually hurting my face!) Then the music started and I walked into the sanctuary with the pastor, my dad, brothers, and friends and got in place to wait on my soon to be wife to enter. (Sitting here writing this, I'm still smiling...) I remember looking out over the crowd of folks all gathered together that night to help us celebrate and smiling at every single one of them. I recall being a little nervous but not too much really. Mainly, I was just so stinking happy to be there in that moment! Me and my big ol' smile waiting on Sharaze...

Soon enough, her music started & everyone stood up to see her entry. Which was great and all but being that she's not exactly the tallest gal around meant I couldn't see her! Finally I got to see my bride as she came around the corner of the aisle and there I stood with my big goofy grin. She was so elegant and beautiful...and I must have looked like the Joker. But it was an awesome moment! Man I was so excited and happy! We had such an awesome and fun night celebrating our wedding with everyone there!

Ten years sounds like a significant chunk of time but it also feels like it's gone by so fast. We've had some wonderful highs, tragic lows, and all of the in between. God has held us together, blessed us, pruned us, and carried us. He's helped us to love each other, support each other, and to like each other over all this time. May He continue to bless us and help us for the next ten years of adventure and life that's ahead!

So yes, ten years ago I did think my face was going to break. But I'm so very glad that after ten years of marriage I can still have that same type of moment when thinking about you Sharaze! Thank you for being just crazy enough to have married me. You are an awesome wife & friend and my life is better because of you being with me.

Many loves to you sweetie!

This was not the post I was expecting and I love it. Mike has been doing a Dale Carnegie class and he won a little prize for a speech presentation on a life changing moment last week. The subject? How we met. I asked him to write the story for the blog but when today rolled around, he gave me this. So sweet! That means the story of how we met is for another day. Thank you for being a great husband, friend, and papa. I pray for many more years of laughter and tears (hopefully more the former than the latter), travels and video games. And everything else in between.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nanny and Boppa's Party

We had a great time at the seminar this weekend! While I get the pictures and videos together, I decided to finally put up the things I made for Nanny and Boppa party. It isn't much but it was so fun! Lindsay and I put together some banners using her cricut. Lainey didn't really have a color theme--the favors were yellow and red, the invite was pink, green and black, and the cake was Alabama colors. But there was scrolling of some kind on everything. My friend Christy who is an artist went with me to Hobby Lobby and we picked out papers that covered the spectrum of colors.

I have to say that the best thing about doing this was getting to see the photos of Nanny and Boppa through the years. It was so neat and, in a way, bittersweet to see them in the stages Mike and I have been through--and will hopefully go through.

Here's Nanny's birthday banner. I originally thought it was going to hang like
Happy {80} Birthday
So the circle with the 80 in it looks a little crazy!

The other banner was for their anniversary. The idea of making another banner with individual letters made me tired, so this is what we made.

On the table, we did these records and I made a label. Lucky me, I found a photo of Nanny in high school when she was in a band with her family!

Here's the photo up close. I didn't bother trimming the fuzzy circle part or the edge of the scroll because we were going to cut it anyway.

We alternated placemats on the tables. I loved doing this. The pictures are so cute!

And the up close:

We also blew up two great photos of Nanny and Boppa in their early 20's.

Lainey ordered one of those decade candy packages and spread them out with some of the framed photos I conned out of Nanny.

And I just thought this was pretty.

There was a lot of other decorating...pretty arrangements, things like that. But this covers my contribution! I'm glad I got to be a part of their celebration!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Maybe clothes DO make the girl! Sometimes, at least.

Early last week, I asked Lainey if she'd help me shop for a dress because Mike, Autumn, and I were going to the Children's Ball at the Children's Museum and I didn't have anything that would fit. I have 2 dressy dresses. One is too big and one is too small. She and I met up and she had me try on a bunch of stuff I would never have picked out on my own. Like all lace dresses. O.O But they looked good! Lainey is, for real, the best shopper ever and I have the philosophy that I'll try anything on once! When Lainey pulled out this dress, I thought, "Huh." Because it didn't look like much on the hanger. AND THEN I PUT IT ON. Holy cow. I haven't looked so good--or felt so good--in a dress in...well, it's been a very long time.

Here's a more full length photo. I haven't worn any of my high heels in ages. But the peep toes were just so perfect. Now, Miss Autumn wanted to be Belle but her Belle costume is ragged from wear so Lainey and I bribed her into wearing her Cinderella dress with some sparkly shoes, ha! I need to remember next year to put her hair up instead of trying to curl it. Her curls fell out as soon as she hit the humidity!! She didn't mind, though. Autumn just had fun wearing a teeny bit of blush and some barely colored eyeshadow.

I had a lot of fun playing around with my hair. I kind of felt like the dress needed some retro style hair. I learned how to finger wave using some internet tutorials and that was really fun but not quite right. So, I tried a more 40's style tutorial and loved the way it turned out! I also tried the red lip with more subdued eyes.

And, of course, Mike looked great in his suit! This is the second time he has worn that suit--the last time was at last year's ball, haha. He tends not to like events but even he had fun! Mike moved from his seat to the other end of the table so he wouldn't block anyone's view of the stage so I was able to take some photos of him watching the fencing demo.

He was actually really funny. Collierville Arts Academy performed a Snow White ballet and the fencing demo. After it was over and we were in the lobby waiting on Autumn to get her face painted, Tom said, "you know your husband is following you around taking pictures." I laughed and told him that he never does that so I know I must look nice. Mike even agreed to take a picture of my jacket! This was another Lainey choice. She got it for my birthday in 2010. I knew it would be cute with my new dress!

Here we are together:

So fun! I also had a good time Saturday night. A few of my friends and I got together for a late birthday celebration! We each had a pretty drink...

shared a yummy dessert...

And generally had a great time!

So glad for a fun weekend! I got sick Sunday and am still a little under the weather so I'm glad to get a chance to relive a fun weekend!