Monday, June 6, 2016

Five Years On...

It's an odd balance being thankful to be alive and also grieving the child I lost. Maybe in some ways it's nice because there's more than the bitter/sad/angry/cynical/nauseated feeling that's almost always the worst on Garrett's birthday. I told Mike that sometimes I'm sad because I'm so much less naive and hopeful than I was 5 years ago. I suppose it's good that I had some naivete to lose considering the whole drug addict parent thing but, still. It's always tough to realize the world is a little less shiny than it was.

In five years, so much has changed. Autumn has two new cousins on Mike's side. The kids are all growing up. Autumn is nine what the heck. We've been on and off the adoption roller coaster and, frankly, we've been pretty damn happy since we stopped living on the edge of our seats and realizing that sometimes, maybe even often, the answer is no. We're visiting a church down the street. The faces around our table of friends have changed because of life, life stages, distance, and time. Mike's sister Lauren got married. My mom has a boyfriend which is craziness and kind of adorable. I have an entirely new career and started college again in January. The aikido dojo has moved twice and grown like crazy. I have two black belts and a whole new set of classmates. I deadlifted 155 pounds which is 35 pounds more than I weigh. We got a dog named Ollie and lost Grumpy Molly and then we got a cat named Butterscotch, ending the rhyming animal name trend. I chopped my hair off. Autumn has a green belt in Aikido and is kind of amazing at it. And Mike has found a new love of weight lifting, much to my delight.

Five years.

Five years.

He'd be getting ready for kindergarten. Getting ready to go with us to Ireland to meet Mike's new boss. Would have been a ring bearer in Lauren's wedding. He'd be walking and talking and drawing and driving Autumn crazy and...and...maybe. Who knows. My friend Tamara quoted Whittier today, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'"

I have been talking about doing such a thing since I was 19 but Mike and I came to a decision that this was the right time for me to get my first tattoo. After a lot of research and thought, I went to Vanessa Waites at Underground Art. I told her my story and, after Lauren's wedding, I got my in memory of Garrett tattoo. She did an amazing job, creating art for the inside of my right bicep I never would have come up with on my own. It's all there, the quote, the pinwheels, the bunnies, and some watercolor leaves for Autumn.

Back in July 2011, I first posted the poem by Christina Rosetti.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Is still means so much and I still have hope, even if I do feel a little naive about it sometimes. Life is good these days. I have no survivor's guilt. Anymore, at least. I get a little stronger all the time and if I feel a little stab in my heart every time I reach a goal, well, maybe it's just a reminder, like the wind.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Changes, pt. 2

Continued from a couple weeks ago...

Mike and I were all dressed up for Boppa's twenties-themed 90th birthday bash.
Back in September, I turned 35. I'm not weird about aging (yet?) but I decided I wanted to do something fun and had my hair dyed purple! I really love it and I've seen it pop up a lot around town and pretend I had something to do with it, ha. Everyone else seems to like it, mostly, although I occasionally forget my hair is not a natural color and can't figure out why this or that person is side eying or outright glaring at me. One mom even rolled down her window at Autumn's school and yelled "AH LUV YORE HAIR!" It was great. I have to go brown for Lauren's wedding in May so after that I'm considering pink for the summer. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I started powerlifting in September, too. I love it. I wanted to do something challenging and new. I try to be new at something all the time so that, as a teacher, I never forget what it's like to be a noob. I am working with a personal trainer and it's a very different experience from working with a trainer when I was recovering. The front of my hip where they cut across my psoas gave me a ton of trouble at the beginning. That seems to have worked itself out so now I'm building up my core and back to lift heavier loads. I've also been working with the gym's nutritionist on a powerlifting diet. I'm sure I'll write more about all this but I've reached some goals. I hit bodyweight on my squat (125 lbs). I passed bodyweight with my deadlift and right now I'm at 145 lbs.


My fitness and Aikido classes seems to be going extremely well. The accountant told me he didn't have any corrections to my bookkeeping which is fabulous. Lately, possibly due to the New Year's Resolution crowd, I have had well attended classes and I've picked up a new gym I'm super excited about.

After doing the powerlifting and seeing some success at group fitness, I wanted to pursue my personal training certification. But then, after some thought, I told Mike I realized there's so much I don't know. He didn't like me putting it that way so I rephrased it: there's so much I want to learn. So...I'm going back to college. All my previous credits were towards an arts diploma but a lot more transferred than I expected. I only have 2 general education requirements and then the exercise science core. I am currently taking those two gen eds this semester through the online program at the University of Memphis because I am traveling a lot right now for some odd reason. It's going to take a while but I'm enjoying the challenge! I love one of my classes. It's Greek and Hebrew Legacy and I it's really reminding me why I was a literature and religion major! So fascinating!

 I've been so busy I closed my Etsy shop and I've stopped all my affiliate accounts. I'm still making things for friends when they need or want them so feel free to get in touch! This was one of the more recent things I made for my brother. Inside it says: "Have a Christmas." Love it!

It's pretty amazing how things can change and yet stay the same over a year. Here's to a peaceful and productive 2016!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Changes 1

Wow, I didn't intend to take almost a year off from blogging. It's been a fairly uneventful 11-ish months since my last post and, frankly, it's been a season we needed. Although we haven't had any earth shattering events, a lot has changed this year.

I think we're pretty well recovered from our adoption adventures. It was a rocky time and I don't think we made a mistake in trying to adopt even with hindsight being what it is. We've come to a comfortable place in our hearts that our family is the way it is and, if adoption is ever a path we'll take, it's not the one we were meant for now. It will always be hard and bittersweet but there's also contentment. Mike's sister Lindsay even had a baby a couple of weeks ago. When I was holding Emmy (twice Autumn's birth weight!!), I realized that...I'm good. Baby Time is over for me. Now, Miss Autumn? She isn't quite there yet!

Our beautiful, funny, weird, and evil cat Molly passed away over the summer of thyroid cancer. It was super sad because Molly came to live with us the December after we married so we can barely remember a time when we didn't have her. But, she went smoothly and before she had a chance to suffer long. We buried her in the back yard and put a kitty statue over her spot.

Around the same time we found out Molly was sick, we got a puppy! We didn't think we'd ever talk Mike into it but, seriously, he loves Mr. Ollie. Ollie is a maltipoo we found through Real Good Dog Rescue. Mike liked maltipoos since seeing an episode of Too Cute featuring them so when I saw a facebook post about rescues from a breeder that closed down, I immediately got up and filled out the forms at 1am Monday morning. By Friday, Ollie came to live with us! He's great. Especially now that he's mostly housebroken and not chewing ALL THE THINGS. He even has an instagram...

... where Butterscotch appears from time to time. Butterscotch is another rescue. He's the nicest cat in the world. If not the nicest, possibly the chillest. Autumn and I saw him, along with a few others, in the rescue area of Petco and convinced Mike to let us at least see if one of them was a good fit. I put each kitten in Autumn's arms and then in front of Ollie. We took home Scotch because he loved being held and didn't hiss at the overly enthusiastic dog. Oh, man. Best cat ever.

Well. I didn't expect to take a year off blogging and I certainly didn't expect to make my first post 90% about pets. I'll hopefully continue next week with the rest of our life changes, from powerlifting to going back to school! Oh, yeah, and purple hair.