Making the Most of the Worst Day Ever

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I’ve been focusing on fitness a lot in the last month. I didn’t even purpose it around “resolutions” because I typically don’t make them. I have been feeling…less than satisfied about my appearance of late and had mentioned to my husband that I’d like to find a way to squeeze a gym membership into our budget. The next day, a flyer advertising a one-day-deal for a $10/month membership to a [small] local gym appeared in our mailbox. Fabulous.


Today marks the one-year anniversary of the day I might consider to be the worst day of my life. It was the day I discovered, all too tangibly, that the possibility of losing one of my children was an actual possibility. Today was the day I had the appointment where they did every test possible to find a heartbeat and none was found.

Yesterday, I was…well, crabby would be the tame way of describing me yesterday. I go to a bad place when I’m trying not to cry and my family takes the brunt. I was not “fun mom” yesterday, I was edgy, unhappy, maybe-you-should-steer-clear mom. Thankfully, Daddy filled in for me and played on the floor, coached Sophia in the middle of her emotional disasters and made the morning a good one for them.

And then I went to the gym. Let me be clear. I did NOT want to go – I wanted to lay in bed and cry, but I trudged on.  And while it didn’t completely cure my attitude, it made me much more bearable to be around and gave me some energy to pour a little love into my girls.

So, I’ve decided that I want to make the most of what I remember to be the worst day of my life. I want to take that sad energy and put it somewhere useful.  I have ten pounds hanging on my body from the pregnancies that held my two lost babies. Those pounds aren’t the worst thing in the world and my size is just fine, but I am more out of shape than I ever have been in my entire life and I plan to do something about it.

My GOAL, not resolution, is to shed them before we begin to think about another baby. I’ve tried a lot, but in this case, I’m going to set this as my focus and goal for the next two months.

So. I’ve got my cheap gym and I’m taking advantage of a groupon I bought for a local studio with yoga and barre to get a bit toned.  They also have a first-week-free deal that I’m taking full advantage of this week, meaning that by next Thursday, my leg muscles will melt into a pool of jello, but at least I’ll be toned, right? 

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I think it’s manageable, but even if it’s not, at least I’ll gain the mental health benefits in the meantime. And, whenever I feel so sad about all that we’ve lost, I’ll get to the gym, work hard and get myself in a better mood. That way I can go home and remember why I need to be in a good mood –for we’ve been blessed with a lot and they deserve a mama with a good attitude.

I’ll let you know when I get there.


Mom Confessions: I hate Christmas cookies

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Okay, that’s not true.   I LOVE to eat Christmas cookies.  I HATE baking them.  And that’s not really even true.  I just don’t fully enjoy baking Christmas cookies with my girlies.  And, cue the guilt trip for saying it out loud! 

Baking is one of my favorite things.  I love thinking of a reason to bake something and creating a celebration around it.  “Hey, I made a chocolate tart. Why?  To celebrate Tuesday, of course!”  I especially love baking for other people.  We don’t keep a lot of treats around here, so I don’t usually bake unless I came craft a really good reason, and when I do, I like to go ALL out!

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And then there’s Christmas baking.  The tradition in my home, my husband’s home and many American homes is to bake as many types of cookies as you can, store them up so you have a variety to offer to Santa and then what? Eat them ALL??  The kind I treasure the most are spritz cookies (tastes yummy, super easy) but I don’t have the cookie press, so we pass on those.  I make, and enjoy modifying my grandmother’s fudge, and then we make cut-outs.


Let me explain. Baking is relaxing to me.  I enjoy creating something from scratch, making it not only tasty, but also beautiful and presenting it in a lovely way.

You know who likes to make cut-out cookies?  Children.  Messy, adorable children who haven’t a care in the world about what happens to all the flour on the ground when the activity is over.  Children find it so joyful to use those perfect cutters and turn a flat slab of cookie dough into a Christmas tree, a magical snowman, a tasty candy cane. 


I want to enjoy baking with my girls, I do, and I make a valiant effort, but in the end, it ends up making me quite cranky.  I’d rather decorate the cookies without them, but little girls in their Christmas aprons fight over their chance to use the cutters.  And so we do. I bite my tongue and swallow the tension as they dump flour all over the floor, I’m even proud at the not quite perfect candy canes they cut out and can’t wait to see the piles of sugar they use to decorate their creations.  I don’t enjoy each moment but always enjoy the experience overall because I know that someone must have let me make a mess and create imperfect baking masterpieces.  How else did I fall in love with it in the first place?

And for the times when it makes me feel just crazy?  Well, that’s why there’s wine!
And, in the end, their creations are just so adorable, that I know I’ll happily dive right in the next time. 



Sleep in heavenly peace: Emerson

Friday, December 6, 2013

“Sleep in heavenly peace”

Oh, that song will never be the same for me again. It’s on ALL the time right now and, though I love Christmas, it hurts this year. It’s about a baby and all I hear is that line – my two sweet babies who never really got to be, sleep in heavenly peace.

June 5th, we remembered baby Hattie, who we had expected on that day, “born” twenty weeks too soon. June 24th, we lost the only baby boy we’ve ever known, born twenty two weeks too soon, and on July 12th, we buried them together.

I have a wonderfully blessed life full of happiness, but I also have had very dark days this year full of pain and anger. Those days are hard, sometimes it lasts for a few days, but even in the sadness, I have so very much to be thankful for and have found smiles in my husband’s sarcastic jokes and all of the trouble my little girls can find in just one day.

I don’t write about this so people will feel sorry for me. I actually have it pretty good – I have a husband who loves me deeply and two beautiful girls, a wonderful family and amazing friends. I have a home, food, clothes and all of my basic needs are met. I have experienced deep pain this year, but who has a life free of pain?

No, I don’t write about this so you will feel sorry for me – I write so anyone who will listen knows about my baby boy. He might be the only one I’ll ever have. His name was Emerson, I delivered him, we held him and cried for him, then we buried him with the ashes of the baby we lost earlier this year. I write about this because he would have been amazing. Absolutely amazing. And I want you to know that.


I write about this to normalize talking about the loss of a baby. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to talk about, write about and discuss, but doing so makes those who experience it feel so much less alone in a time of deep pain.

This kind of experience, as do the other pains in life, comes with anger, confusion, deep sadness and often emptiness. If you are standing in a room with three other women, the odds are that AT LEAST one of them has experienced this pain, and so we need to remember to support each other.

If you have lost a baby, I very much want you to know:

that you are not alone.

that your every feeling throughout this painful experience is completely justified.

that you will hurt for a long time, but your life doesn’t have to stop every time the pain comes.

that the days you feel weak do not mean you are not a strong woman. You are a strong woman.

that you can and will be okay someday and that’s a good thing. Being happy again is not a betrayal to the baby that you lost.

that your friends want to help you and you should let them.

that your loss is not your fault.

Your loss is not your fault.

Yes, I wrote it again, because we seem to think we have control over this amazing miracle that is the process of carrying a baby. We want to believe we have control so that the next time, it can’t happen to us again. We don’t have control and that caffeinated Diet Coke you drank, or the deli meat you ate in your sandwich, or the way you twisted the wrong way in bed the other night is not the reason you lost your baby. It didn’t happen because you complained about how awful morning sickness is or wished you could have that glass of wine or hated wearing that same maternity shirt again. It was not your fault.

So, I will spend the day trying to remember these truths and instead of focusing on our losses, I plan to spend today in pajamas with the two blessings that I have been able to watch grow. If you call, we won’t answer – we’ll be hiding from the cold in our pajamas watching little girl movies all day, eating goldfish and pooh-bears {teddy grahams} on the couch {which is strictly forbidden!}, drinking hot cocoa and smiling a LOT.

As for Hattie and Emerson, we will always remember you. Always. The only comfort I have when I miss you is that your precious souls were never touched by the cruelty of this world – no broken hearts or hurt feelings. Instead, you will spend all of eternity basking in the glory of Jesus in heaven – what a beautiful existence.

Sleep in heavenly peace.


Evelyn turns 2!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

This little girl just melts my heart EVERY single day.

I’m a BIG fan of birthdays, but fell apart the day before her big day just knowing she isn’t quite so small anymore.  She was the perfect angel all day, happy as can be!


Could anything be sweeter than a 2-year-old who is thrilled about her birthday!



Expanding Small Space | Front Entry Part Two

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things working well and making my life easier makes me feel SO happy inside!  I’m thrilled with the way our entry way is turning out – it’s much more functional for our family and my head feels so much more peaceful now that there is less clutter.

Here is the second part of our front entry redo.
Hanging organizers sometimes sound like the perfect idea – six extra shelves in a closet! They have their place, but this wasn’t it. It became a dumping ground for all the small things that entered our home.

Where do I even start?  AWFUL!  I started to organize this space but it ended up being our Tupperware “drawer,” and drove me NUTS!  I have since prioritized space in our kitchen to make room for a real drawer for our containers and kicked them out of this closet.

It had SO much potential and awful follow through! When we first moved in, I threw in organizers, and because we didn’t have time, I didn’t consider how we could best use the closet and just threw things in as we took them out of boxes.


Here is the bottom of the closet AFTER:

A place to throw hats and mittens without it looking messy…
Finally, a system for our shoes.  Grown-ups get two bins each, kiddos get one each.  Lucky for me, I have girls who actually love to spend time lining up their shoes “just so.” 


Look for pictures of the final product of the entire entry way on Friday!  It’s my new little piece of heaven!


Expanding Small Spaces | Front Entry Part One

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


At the beginning of the summer, our little family moved.  My husband and I looked at (small) houses.  We even looked at one seriously but it didn’t work out.  When it became clear that all we really wanted was our dream house, but that we weren’t in a place to buy that perfect house yet, we made a conscious decision to rent.  For us, and many other people, we decided that rather than invest in a small house we might end up stuck in once we’ve outgrown it, we would rather choose to be “stuck” in a small space while renting temporarily until we could buy something we really wanted.


That leaves the four of us in a very happy 906 sq. ft. for the remainder of our current lease.  906 sq. ft. is plenty of space – families in New York City would kill for that much space, and pay a TON of money for it.  But putting everything that a family of four needs and wants into 906 sq. ft. means that you need a lot of creativity.  So rather than settling for our small space, we decided to settle in.

I’ll walk you through our small space in a new series to show you how to make the very most of your own space.  Even if you have a large home, it can start to fill up quickly and using your space efficiently will make your home more peaceful.

Here is where it gets real.  This series will require me to show you MY crazy spaces BEFORE I really dug in.  Be prepared.  These pictures have a bit of a “those who cannot do, teach” feel to them, and were after the initial unpacking. 

The first space I decided to redo was our entry way and front closet:



Can you even imagine why?!  It’s pretty awful.  (In my defense. we had 24 hours to unpack wihtout our little friends along, and we did unpack every box. Unfortunately, that left us with THIS mess.)  We have ONE front closet.  Total.


Our entry way is also our mud-room and command center.  Everything we need to get out the door is all in one space and everything that comes into that space gets dumped nearby, making me feel crazy! 

Here is improvement Number 1.  These hook rails from Target are the new love of my life.  I adore them – just ask my poor husband who hears about them all too often! 


I knew our closet didn’t have enough space for all of our coats, and with winter coming in Minnesota, the influx of “gear” is on its way.  They are PERFECT and cleared space in the closet.

Improvement Number Two coming tomorrow.   If you want to see the final product, you’ll have to stick with me.


Basket love: toy shelf

Monday, September 9, 2013

I LOVE improving little areas in our home!  Check out the progression of our upstairs toy shelf:


There was nothing really wrong with this shelf, except that I wasn’t able to get as much onto it as I wanted.  The main level is where we play the most, and I wanted to be able to have more for them to play with, without taking up much more space. 

Easy solution: baskets!

First, I put all of the board books in a basket and had them facing out, maximizing the space and leaving more room for picture books.


The next issue were these two cute sets we had gotten our 3-year-old for Christmas.  They looked very cute in the boxes, but to putting them away was a job and the boxes weren’t practical.

Another basket, of course!  Now, we just dump all of the wooden food into this big basket.  It’s easy to clean up and looks much simpler on the shelf.

This looked great – just fine, BUT we still had more things that I needed to fit on the shelf.  We needed a bigger basket.


Even though they love playing with it all the time, I ended up moving the basket of food downstairs into the girls’ play kitchen and dumped all of the extra toys into one big basket across the bottom shelf.  Now we have a lot more for the girls to play with but it all looks a lot simpler with the baskets in place. 

A few accessories and a project organizer on top and it’s ready for playtime!


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