Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't tell my husband...

No, he already found the old love letter I wrote to that other guy... not that... :)

Look what I just signed up for:

Thought one more month of Blogathon can't hurt, right?  Especially this month...

Of course, the theme is "red hot."  Um... okay.  I can take this the literal route or the NFP route or just ignore any heat at all and blogger on about Pepper the entire time because hey, peppers can be hot, so I'm good!  We'll see.  :D  But sure, I can "type my heart out."  

And oh dear, I promise I can write small posts though honey; really I can!  Like this one!  Look how absurdly short this is! So quick to write, so quick to read.  I'm holding down my inner novelist kicking and screaming, seriously I am!  

Short.  To the point.  For real.  Maybe.

See you tomorrow. :D

Oh here's what happened today, when I turned around to bag groceries.  Oy...

Thursday, July 25, 2013


(No, not the baby prince.  But, of course, that makes me think...)

Today a butterfly landed on my hand.  My girls all squealed in jealousy, and wanted a turn holding it.  But, too quickly, she was ready to go and fluttered away.

I don't know why it happened to me.  I wish the moment lasted longer.  But I do know that even her flight away was beautiful. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's up wid dat???

Got a call from hubby, the gist of it being, "Sweetie, you're loud and clear without shouting it." Asking what on earth he meant in my most patient and reasonable voice, I was told that the more emotional part of "Cirque" is in bold block letters.


This is likely due to the different ways I write parts of the post (some on notepad, some email, some blogger) which does this bizarre quirk. The kicker is it looks fine when I view the post on my computer....

So sorry for screaming at you. :) I have been driving around with my offending laptop trying to find a wi-fi spot where I can pipe myself down... And I can't find one.  So I'm writing this on my phone while NOT driving.

While giving humility a big ole' squeeze, I'm going to WHISPER the following instructions on how to read my last post (or any future post accidentally LOUDLY FORMATTED) without feeling assaulted, insulted, or incensed by my insensitivity:

1. Obtain a pair of binoculars
2. Flip them around
3. Read the post through that till I win my techie battles.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cirque de Tristesse

I went on vacation!  An impromptu, "hey look at that bus price" trip for a long weekend.  :) Made possible by the generous childcare contribution of my husband, and credited to the joyous occasion of my sister-in-law's birthday.  And the sheer glee of surprising her, with the help of my other, equally dear but unbirthdayed sister.  

And I had an absolute blast acting like a kid at a sleepover with them--complete with minor pillow fight--helping bake and eat the cake, going shopping at glorious Wegman's (okay maybe I'm a little easy to please with that, but still.) And being treated to Quidam, Cirque du Soleil. Which I enjoyed save for one key moment...

Accompanied by pensively eccletic music, a white clad acrobat hung from the ceiling on long red scarves, flipping, twisting, rolling, writhing, falling, collapsing.... 

And all I could see through my tears was my Pepper, struggling with an umbilical cord that wasn't working anymore.  

My first thought? "Seriously?? I'm on vacation, right?! I'm taking time off! Getting away! What the heck??"

In the moment of most likely escape from my norm (and Cirque is about as far away from my dishwasher-run norm as I could hope to get), it found me.  Again.  Grief just appears, silently holding out a hand to take its due in tears, then skulks away till the next ambush.

I cannot hide from this... dammit.  It can find me absolutely anywhere, in the most innocuous situation, sneaking in to suddenly upstage whatever else is going on.  While the episodes are more widely spaced, and somewhat less intense... I never knew when the attack will come.  

There is no place safe from it.  Her life and death are a part of me now, for worse and better.

Improvement was that I could hide it, bawl on a bathroom break, recover sooner to aptly present myself for the acceptable public consumption of my loss.  My sisters-in-law would have been perfect about it.  But overall, and from other family, I sense the following: "It's over, Katie. You're getting better.  Stop dwelling on it."  (I love that one.) 

And silently, the thought seems to be that Pepper should never be mentioned, because that would "make" me sad. 

No.  Her life continues.  I fail to see how the idea of ignoring her existence makes anything better for a mom.  And while my grief does, indeed, increasingly becomes more socially acceptable... better?  More like accustomed to the reality of a more fragmented heart.  Aching as I approach a non-due date.  I'm not "dwelling" on it; it's just that I seem constantly surrounded by wonderfully pregnant women, and beautiful infant girls.  Whom I adore, and want to be near...  But I can't escape what happened, what is, and what--in my humanness--"should" have been.

I haven't a clue how people do this without faith.  That light is so piercing in this heavy darkness.  That reality is so present, pressing on the emptiness, this temporal world waiting for the eternal. 

Where she is now.  As always, I found myself involuntarily apologizing through the silent sobs.  "I'm so sorry baby.  Momma is so very, very sorry..."

And as usual, she smiles her joy in my spirit and says, "Don't be, Mom.  I'm perfectly happy."

Someday, I will be too: completely and totally happy, without interruption, in lux perpetua.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

All the single ladies!

(Okay, I enjoy that song title.  That is my venial confession of the day.)

Singles, read this.  It's great.  It's better than I could have done it, because, well, I met my husband when I was 18 and had other issues.  :D  We do really all have issues though, marrieds and singles.

And may I say, the chocolate is always darker at the other snack table.  Really.

I'm tired.  I promise I will write more better later.  Really.

I've been in a pool for hours today with a preschooler who can't swim but thinks she can, two kids who can swim but think I need to witness every stroke and dive, and a toddler who only wants to be held and hoard pool toys (think mini rubber duckies in both hands, shrieking "MY QUACK QUACK!" at random intervals in an echoing indoor pool).   So... till next time.

If you aren't single, and/or just want a laugh, try this.  I mean, not the first few seconds (that's sad!) but the names... oh dear, oh dear. :)

Oremus pro invicem! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blog commentating

Look at how I'm wasting my time.   Not my best arguments, and I'm obviously annoyed, and likely to be torn apart by the other commentators but... grr...  Man?  Up!

I'll leave the topic as to whether or not men are marginalized for another time.  But right now, I'm watching the Avengers, which aptly fits my mood.  :D

Did you know that Iron Man's girl's name is "Pepper"?

Way cool.  That's making me smile.

When public schooling is just as good as homeschooling

Been thinking of you all over here... always hate to leave my readers long on a sad note, just been busy. :)

I (happily) have more kids home right now, so I'm doing stuff like this:

And... I'm doing more laundry!  Right now, I'm wishing I could be at the Beth Moore conference downtown, instead of here with a laptop watching "How It's Made" out of the corner of my eye.  But perhaps I'm where I'm supposed to be tonight.

I love having my kids home.  I do.  My main complaint is that I can't keep enough food in the house.  But I truly enjoy having older kids around with the younger ones.

It seems very counter-intuitive to pack up the more rational and helpful kiddos off to sit for six hours of school a day during the school year.  Where they really, truly, and completely aren't learning for six hours a day, 180 days a year.  Where they are spending more time being formally taught by people I don't know.  I mean, where's the sense in that?  Prior generations would really think we're nuts...

But, overall, public school (yes public school) has worked for my family.  My kids are fantastic, moral, sensible, intelligent, kind and well-mannered human beings; I can assure you of this subjectively.  :D  But you'd like them, really you would.  They even mingle well with homeschooled children, I promise.

I want to homeschool my eldest next year.  You see, in the inscrutable wisdom of my city, the little neighborhood school she just finished is K-5th grade, so they mean to funnel her to the 6th grade of a 1st-6th grade school, and from thence to the middle school called "Park View" (known as "Park Zoo" to many).

Confusing, particularly for adolescents?  You betcha.

But my daughter is unsure... she thinks she may want to try one more school year.  I understand why: it's a nicer school than the one she was in even.  Big gym.  Nice playground.  Cool lockers.  If you're 11, these are serious considerations.

Ultimately, I'm going to pull rank as "Mom" but I'm considering her take on it... when I was homeschooled through high school, I was pulled out without warning or choice.  I only vaguely understood homeschooling as something you did if you were missionaries in Alaska.  It was... an upsetting change.  And actually, in the 90's, there really wasn't much socialization... Even though that's not the case today--now homeschooled children are often better socialized than their regular schooled peers--I want to go into this homeschool experience with as positive an attitude as possible on the part of both mom and child here...

As for me, I'm super excited at the prospect.  There is so much I want her to learn that her current schooling doesn't offer.  Favorite literature and poetry I want to share with her.  Relearning with her by teaching history, apologetics, and--okay, fine--Algebra.  :)  So many places I want to take her on educational outings. To look at more advanced courses in what she excels in and take time to strengthen the areas she struggles in.  To give her an individualized education based on the needs of herself and my family.

I'll be batting this decision around all summer.  But in the meantime, as a previous homeschooler who has her kids in public (gasp!) school and is planning to (gasp!) homeschool one and have the other in school:

When is public school as good as homeschooling?  Well, when it's God's will for the child to go to public school, of course.  :)  (And while I have no infallible assurance of this, I earnestly hope I'm following His will for my kids.)

There are pros and cons to both methods, for sure. Despite the obvious advantages to homeschooling, a child from a Christian home can learn in a public school.  Can actually thrive in a public school.  And can be a needed example in a public school.  I like to think my kids have (at least sometimes) fulfilled this role...

"In all things, show thyself an example of good works." Titus 2:7

Monday, July 8, 2013

A dash more Pepper

Ha!  That last post was my 100th!  I should have had fireworks or something!  Well, I'll copy my neighbors who take their leftover pyrotechnics, wait till 11:47 PM, go right beside my youngest sleeping child's window, and light 'em off right there and then.  Yayyyy....  I should go buy the ones on clearance, awake at 5, and set them off in front of _their_ house.  Mwa ha ha!  But that would be most un-Christian of me.

Bummer. :)

Today, I'm imbibing a dairy free, clear liquid diet, concluding this around 5 PM with the grand finale: four Dulcolax tablets and a bottle of Miralax in Gatorade.  Yes my friends, it's colonoscopy time!  (I believe there's a Sandra Boynton book by that title...)

This is the last and most annoying of the tests I'm doing as follow-up to my miscarriage.  And it's almost been two years since my last one anyway, and since they found precancerous polyps when I had this test at the ripe old age of 25, I shall be indulging in this experience every two years for my earthly future... until they come up with a nicer way of doing it then a 24 hour cleanse and flexible pipe...

But that's TMI already.  Ah well.  Last bit on that, they're putting me under general this time because--having an absurdly high tolerance for knock-out drugs (including alchohol, actually-- I have been awake for all four of my previous colonoscopies and also awake for an endoscopy (the one that goes down your throat).  Having seen far too much of my insides live on screen during such, as they say, "uncomfortable" procedures, I am now finally going under for real.  I look forward to this. Naptime!! :)

But the last time I went under was for a D&E so.... I'm more emotional about it right now.  Ora pro me.

A note on that: I got a call last week casually informing me that the genetic discrepancy that was hypothesized to cause my pregnancy's demise was now, not "unknown" but "benign."  As in "a-okay, not a problem, shouldn't have bothered you about it, so sorry."  My husband has the same bizarre gain on the same gene. And he's quite alive last time I checked.  

What does this mean?  Now my second trimester miscarriage is back to having an "unknown cause."  Unless they find something wrong with me.  Which they really haven't yet.

Turns out I don't have lupus.  I don't have a clotting disorder.  I don't know why the placenta failed.  I don't know if anything could or could not have been prevented.  After having four healthy children, I may never find out why this one, after getting into the "safe" trimester, suddenly went wrong.

I don't know what happened.  :_(  It has been so hard to get pieces of news, only to have them ripped back up, rearranged, and leaving me to sew the pieces back together in another way that, perhaps, will make more sense...

However it happened, it did happen, and I spent yesterday headstone shopping.  Which you can design online, of course.  And did you know you can get a headstone with free shipping?  Way cool.

And some design options are, frankly, hilarious.  Pine cones.  Horses.  Wide-mouthed bass.  And then you can sort through a variety of little angels.   Some greatly obese, staring stupidly, riding sheep.

After selecting the most reasonable of the bunch, still trying to amuse myself, I started writing off the cuff epitaphs.  Casablanca references.  This blog's address.  Cuz hey, she could have her story out there, and have a website on her marker... I mean, how absurdly modern!  Maybe I could get a QR code etched...

I finally got around to writing her name on the stone.  With her death date, no birth date.  And suddenly I wasn't having such a great time anymore.

Most days are good days, these days.  I'm nervous about my due date in the end of August, when those who have had such losses say you take a real dip.  I can see that.  I'm tombstone shopping when I should be setting up her bassinet.  That just sucks.

And then there's the occasional flashback.  Like the other day when I woke up feeling the doppler wand sliding across my belly, and hearing the occasional gurglings and the squealing sound--like dragging a needle across a spinning record--in the increasingly worried search for a heartbeat I never heard again.  I was right back there, on the table, all my senses engaged, months later.  Flashbacks suck too.

What a strange journey grief is.  Times of joy awkwardly and unexpectedly collide with the sadness, like when I happily jumped in a hot tub only to realize tears were pouring from my eyes, really before I knew they were.  I had such a sense memory of the last time I was in a jacuzzi, just dangling my feet in and splashing only my arms carefully with the hot water.  Trying to protect my baby when, in the end, I couldn't.

On that same getaway, the hotel was completely overrun with little stone angels.  Exactly like the one on her grave.  Yes, at first I kind of swore to myself.  But then later... I liked it.  Seeing a sleeping or harp-strumming angel in every corner.  Looking up to the ceiling with a (very poorly done) fresco of cherubs flying in pairs, pointing to the window where the sun streamed in.

There is a Great Joy beyond what we see.  And she lives inside it, a perfect womb where she swims and breathes this Joy into her being.  Her very existence is delight.

Regret-free, full of bliss, she waits for me.  I strongly feel she wants me to be happy, sharing in her life with God as best I can here.

Perpetua Felicitate

Sounds like I'm nearing a good epitaph, huh?  Or maybe I should go with, "Here's looking at you, kid." :)

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: 
to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen." Isaiah 9:2

Friday, July 5, 2013


This breather from blogging has made me itchy... good to talk with you again! :)  I won't be long today though, as I'm still recovering from the USA birthday party we had with friends at a pool with six wonderful children.  I'm also still recovering from realizing that, in the hoopla surrounding the new abortion legislation, there were actually people (really) chanting "Hail Satan" during a protest.  God help us.

In the good news section, this came out today. :) One good line: "Christians invoke Jesus as the true sun whose rays bestow life."

(Took this in Israel; looks like NH, huh?  Called Ain Karim, near where the Visitation took place...)

On a personal level, I'm recovering from yet more news about my miscarriage.  Will get into that later, but for now... I'm very annoyed that autopsies and blood tests and medical results take soooo long to complete. I've been on a results-based roller coaster since April.  And I hate roller coasters of all kinds.


To aid an aching back and mind, I went to yoga tonight.  During meditation, instead of just focusing on breathing, I remembered Psalm 63 from back in the days I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours::

"Oh God, you are my God, for you I long
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary 
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
My mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night 
for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast."

Wanna hear it sung?  Of course you do!  Here's the Psalm from Casting Crowns for some friends, in Anglican chant for others, and for just a middle of the road rendition (chanty in English) here it's from J.M. Talbot (0.46 and following :).  Love them all, but most familiar with the latter, thanks to the cassette tape Dad played while I went to sleep as a kid. :)

Linking is fun. :D