Sunday, June 14, 2009

A break...

from my moaning.

Just wanted to encourage anyone with children who like dolls to check out the giveaway from Things Moms Like. It's for Karito Kids a sort-of-like-American-Girls-Dolls company.

The dolls are not just American, though, and seem to be fairly free of stereotypes (the American doll is blond...but so is the Australian one). The company also donates 3% of the retail price of the dolls to either housing, schooling, food or health charities.

My only "complaint" is that their faces seem older than the 11 year olds they are supposed to be--a little BRATZ reminiscent.

Miriam has been saving to get an American Girl doll since she found out about them. She was given a very used one and is going to get that one fixed up to start with (she has enough money for that!). It's fun to watch her get so into something, but I'd like her to be aware of more than what she wants and what is fun. Perhaps the Karito dolls are more the way to go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marching on...

There's a little one asleep in our living room right now who is about 6 weeks younger than Hazel should be. She's precious and chubby and was snorting a bit as she settled into sleep. Watching her snuggle with Chris was surreal. Our family should include a little just that size! How strange! I can hardly imagine it.

Yet, I can hardly imagine life without Hazel.

One of our friends asked if it's hard to see all the babies turning one. I expected it to be, truly. But it hasn't been--not even a little bit. I miss my baby. I miss that newborn I never got to snuggle. At least for now Hazel is just a tiny, little new baby--not a crawler or babbler or toddler. I kind of hope it stays that way. I'm not sure I can handle a grief that grows along with the age of my dead child.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Over a year.

We made it through last week with many tears, but with the reassurance that we are continuing to "make it." Our grief for Hazel; our awareness of the empty space she left has been woven into our family, into our life, into our day-to-day emotions. We fumbled and fought and grieved and shouted lots of unhelpful things, but we've found our way to a healthy new normal. And for that I'm glad.

This time last year I was overwhelmed all the time with the face that I would NEVER not miss Hazel; that this was one pain that would never heal. That is so true. I have moments when the grief is still that raw, when I can barely breathe, when I'm overcome by jealousy. I still feel as if I'm dancing around depression, sometimes simply incapable of making myself do the things that need to be done.

However, but and even so--I'm also way more likely to get up off the couch and do something, I laugh a lot, I sew and knit a bit, I've been reading fiction again--and signs that I'm balancing out.

This anniversary week hit harder than I expected. I've been so focused on Noah and his treatments, that Hazel was forced in the background (which is how it should be, if you know what I mean--grieving for the dead should not overtake our care of the living!) We found ways to mark the day: weeding her garden, looking through her things, etc...

On Monday, Chris, Noah and I took hats, blankets and a preemie outfit to the hospital to donate in Hazel's memory. My aunt, some friends and I knitted most of the items, but a couple were purchased, as well. We gave over 50 hats, a few blankets, a quilt and a cute preemie outfit. These items will mostly be used for babies who are born still, born straight to heaven, born silent--the rest will be used for NICU babies and other little ones who need a warm hat or a comforting blanket.

The items we were given from the hospital, those few mementos, are all we have to hold of Hazel. The clothes she wore, the hat, the footprints. I hope that the parents whose babies wear these items will feel the love with which they were made.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last Year,

on this day I was hospitalized with pregnancy complications. Ironically, all was well with the baby. I was sick about leaving my other kids at home, worried about the baby, but not for a minute believing that the baby wouldn't make it. Those thoughts crossed my mind (don't they cross every expectant mother's mind??), but I thought I would soon be home and all would be well.

I've been feeling filled-with-dread sick over this week. I'm trying to just let myself feel what I feel and go with that. But I'm afraid, a little bit, of going off the deep end.

I miss my baby; I miss Hazel.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And he's four!

Noah's fourth birthday was celebrated officially last Sunday, but he also had a mini-celebration with our family on his actual day. He spent the day getting chemo, but was feeling pretty good that night. Presents and popsicles probably helped with that!

I will continue to post here off and on, especially as the anniversary of Hazel's death and birth is coming close (How I miss my daughter!), but if you want regular updates on us and Noah's treatment, I encourage you to check out his CaringBridge site:
Noah James.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Miriam's tooth

Miriam is my first child to loose a tooth! It's been a fun week or so of wobbling the tooth, showing it to friends and strangers alike. It finally came out this week (while Meemaw was visiting!)

She looks worried; I'm not sure why. She was smiling and giggling and silly. She tried to run home across the parking lot, but couldn't because the tooth was in an uncovered cup. She slowed to a walk. Then she'd get so excited to get to me that she'd start to run again. stop. start. It was funny to watch!

What the tooth fairy brought:

We don't "do" Santa or the Easter Bunny, but I love fairy and make believe and pretend, so I enjoyed this whole thing very much. And most importantly, Miriam loved it. The matchbox idea was adapted from Family Fun. The little note idea was adapted from MollyCoddle.

I made a comment that night before bed about the tooth fairy and she leaned close and said, "We know the tooth fairy is our mom and dad." and I said, "but even moms and dads like to pretend". Her response? "Oh! I like to pretend, too! I'll pretend with you!" After that, it's been lots of fun pretending, all around.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Have you ever looked at your recent history and thought, "Wow. I'm playing a part in a really bad tear-jerker"?

I was just thinking about Facebook and how so many of my friends from long ago have had no contact with me up until the last year. The Year of Hell, as we like to refer to it here in our humble abode. Our nephew's death, losing Hazel, a Chris's beloved Grandfather's death, my Dad's illness, Noah's lymphoma--all of these things look like they add up to a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year.

And you know what? They do. In a lot of ways they do.

But, when you think of us, please don't just think about Hazel or Noah's illness. There's so much more to us than these losses and worries.

We're happy, in an odd sort of way. Our faith is secure. (Although I am not Job; give me a break, please!) Our friends, neighbors and family have been incredibly supportive; our community has held our grief and worry as their own. We've been shown love in ways that are beyond humbling. Today an older neighbor lady brought us a few bags of groceries. Fresh fruit, some hamburger, potatoes--good things for us!

We laugh, too, and we enjoy the humor that surrounds us. If you need a laugh, Englewood is the place to be; I've never before been around such gifted story tellers! On a side note, as much as we've enjoyed humor the last few months, I've learned that my Kevin Smith switch has been turned off. Kind of a bummer, really, but that last movie? Ick. I was looking forward to it, too; The girl's name was Miriam! Maybe I just need to watch Mallrats, again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Noah James

We found out last week that Noah, our youngest living child, has lymphoma. Cancer. We've spent the last week finding a doctor, getting him into the children's hospital here and now the hard work will begin.

Tomorrow Noah has surgery to do several things: remove one of the nodes for a biopsy (we need to name the lymphoma--we think it's Hodgkin's, which would be good, as it's the most curable form), put in a central line--this allows access like an IV would, but remains under his skin for easy access, check his bone marrow--this is to help stage the cancer.

The Oncologist said he would like to be able to start treatment next week, so we need to name it, stage it and figure out how to cure it.

My baby has cancer.

On top of the obvious worries is my concern for my older 2 kids. They are definitely feeling the tension (especially Miriam, she is very much a girl in this respect. Alex knows we're worried, but he's thrilled to get to sleep over at a friend's house, spend the afternoon with his teacher, etc). Right now, here at the beginning, there is some fun stuff--the aforementioned sleep overs, hanging out at friend's houses--but I know this will get old. And Noah is getting TONS of attention, which is helpful in some ways. But Noah is already getting "touched out". And Miriam and Alex need attention, too. They are worried, too.

Cancer sucks.