Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day In The Life.

Eli and I went to check out the YMCA today. I want a place to work out that has child care. The goal is for me to be healthy and for Eli to get some interaction with other humans besides his parents.

I mainly went to "inspect" the childcare area. This lady agreed to take us back there. As we were heading there, through a crowd, she asked the dreaded "Is this your only child?" I usually answer questions about the number of my children by acknowledging Maelee somehow... usually subtly but still there. Perhaps "our first is in heaven" or something like that. But today I knew she just meant "are you bringing just this one with you for childcare?" so I said "Yep." He's our only one.

It's really hard to do that, to move on from my firstborn. I know all baby loss moms are different in this regard, but for me, I always inwardly cringe if I don't identify Maelee. I know it may make people feel awkward and some situations make more sense to share than others ... but heck, a stillbirth is awkward and if I have to live with it every day, they can live with it for a few minutes.

My other soul-ache experience today happened with our UPS guy. He's a nice guy (maybe a little too nice). It's been awhile so when Eli and I answered the door he exclaimed how big he's gotten, the yooshzz (slang for usual, yo), and he asked "how old he is again?" After I said 16 months, he replied, "Oh yea, I remember, since my brother's kid was born the same week." I actually knew that already since he told me previously.

I told him Eli is in a really fun stage now, walking and keeping us busy. He replied "Well, not as busy as my brother! They have a TWO year old girl, too! Can you believe it! [looks at me like they are crazy] Now they are busy!"

Smile. Yes. Thank you. Have a great weekend.

Close door. Big sigh. I WISH I was as busy as his brother and wife, with a 16-month-old and a sweet two-year-old making my life a crazy busy mess.

Just another day in the life of a mom that doesn't have all her kids on earth.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Buh-Bye Margie.

Miss Margie that has come to our house the last three months is leaving. She actually got another job but the real reason for her not coming every Monday is that Eli doesn't need it anymore! He won't qualify for services because he's hitting all the marks he needs to for now. That's great news! I wasn't ever too worried but it was nice to have someone come and bring toys and ideas to help Eli along.

Eli was never a fan of this arrangement, however. Sadly, he never has liked Margie. She's the only person I can say that Eli has officially not liked... and I think it has to do with her working so hard to get him to do something he didn't want to do (stand, walk, etc). He knew when she walked in the door that she was going to try make him walk with that blasted hula hoop and it made him unhappy. She loves him, of course, but he keeps giving her the cold shoulder.

Today, her last day, Eli decided to turn over a new leaf. In his over-tiredness, he fell and bonked his head and Margie was there to pick him up and he let her. Finally he seemed to be okay with this lady. I took a photo to document this but really, it's so deceiving. He has never been this snuggly with her.

Eli doesn't suck his thumb (as it may seem here) or a pacifier or anything really. He's a blankie-stuffed-in-my-mouth sort of guy ... which means I think he's going to be a biter. He bites when he's frustrated or upset. Usually it's blankie or a pillow or a random piece of furniture that he gets. He (mostly) understands he's not to bite people. With his eight front teeth and four molars... well, an Eli bite sure can hurt. 

Some more Eli-isms to record as he hits sixteen months today:

  • He's walking like a champ now, less and less like a drunken sailor. We always find it hilarious when he walks around the corner and just shows up. It really makes us smile.
  • His hair is growing. We tried one snip around his ears last week and did a horrible job... so I hope it keeps growing to fill in our little mishap. 
  • Eli whines more. It's not very fun for anyone. 
  • He LOVES certain books and would have you read them over and over and over. 
  • Eli signs "please" (rubbing hand on chest). We taught him "please" but it turned into "give me what I want" quite easily. Example: brings book to us by forcing it into our hands then signs "please" and expects a story right then. 
  • He stills eats well but he has become more opinionated about food. We are learning to feed him the not-as-tasty things first when he is famished and will eat anything. He used to eat a whole banana every morning but now he can barely eat half... his appetite is decreasing for sure. He loves Quaker Oatmeal Squares and would eat them alllll day every day if he could.
  • Eli will push buttons. Washer, Dryer, DVD player, etc. He will stand on his tipppy toes and reeeach that finger out to push a button and see a reaction.
  • Last week I was reading an ABC book and replaced the K word with "Kasowski" and Eli promptly tried repeating me. No idea why he chose Kasowski but now he tries to say it often and it is super duper cute. He blabbles more and only Greg or I probably understand anything he tries to say.
  • He loves his Da Da. Like "will run to the window when I say he's home to watch him arrive", that sort of love. I'm pretty sure he loves me too. 
  • Eli will give hugs. They usually include a love pat, too. Melts your heart every time. 
  • He's got some mean dance moves. He does a half squat up and down and then breaks out his happy hands. Very fun. This happens often when Greg plays guitar.

Okay that's enough for now. Grateful for each month, each milestone with our boy.


Friday, August 24, 2012


A blog post that Greg started after Maelee died was titled "the hidden hurts of miscarriage and infertility." The post never got published when Greg wrote in on May 2, 2010 because I didn't let him post it. Apparently I wasn't a fan of something about it ... yet I still remember the title quite vividly. The post discussed how it was almost "easier" to have a stillbirth in the sense that we could not hide our loss. It was obvious. That isn't the case with early loss. And it's not the case with infertility, either.

Obviously since I've been pregnant three times, this is not a post about my personal experiences with infertility. This is more a post about being aware of and being compassionate to those dealing with infertility. It's a nasty thing.

A friend of a friend that battled infertility for many years once said that in the midst of it all, she wished she could have a miscarriage. What?! I thought that was so bizarre. But she said that if she had a miscarriage, that means she actually got to be pregnant. That her body would allow her to be pregnant ... and that was what she wanted so, so badly.

And somehow I understood a little bit more.

There are many women that would wish more than anything to be pregnant. Month after month they are disappointed/crushed/devastated. And they go on facebook or just out their front door and they are bombarded with pregnant bellies or sweet kiddo photos (see my many posts below) or complete families and their happiness. The wanting what you do not have, wondering if you will ever, perhaps knowing you will not ... so many emotions, questions and unknowns. Hidden.

And it has to be so hard. Really hard. I want to be aware of that. For the people I know of that are living life with infertility and even for the people I don't know, I want to acknowledge their struggle and stand with them in their pain and loss and whatever plan they may or may not have.

For me, I want always to be grateful for the chances I've had to be pregnant. Even the losses, as hard as it is to say.

Of course I want to fix it for my friends dealing with infertility or secondary infertility. I wish I could fix it. I can't. I can weep sorrowful tears with them. To pray for a miracle with them. I want to remind myself that because I have children, I cannot fully enter into this with them. I can have sympathy but not empathy. I will not fully get it but I will try.

Perhaps I just want to say, as someone who has been so loud in her grieving, I'm sorry if you have had to grieve in hiding.


I'll go ahead and post what Greg had written over two years ago in case you care to read it. He understood, much sooner than I, about how openly we were forced to grieve compared to those dealing with these more secret baby woes:
I've been thinking a lot about problems in child bearing. For Heather and I, our hurt is not masked cowering in a corner. We're pretty much wearing our emotions on our sleeves. We're not putting on some happy-go-lucky face all the time.

All our friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances know about Maelee. There's no hiding the fact that Heather once had a big belly, and now she doesn't. And people don't see us walking around with an overflowing diaper bag and car seat. Everybody knows.

But there's this whole other group of people who have to hide their hurt. People who live with infertility and miscarriages.

People who've had numerous miscarriages ... they don't tell anyone they're pregnant for the fifth time because it takes so much emotional energy to explain the failures every time. They may have done it the first time and then just gave up after that. Every time it happens, they feel like giving up on life. But they still go back to work on Monday. They still hang out with people like normal. And only a handful of people really know what's going on.

People who've been trying to have kids for years and years ... maybe they've given up. Maybe they're still trying years later. Every month stings. They probably live with a twinge of sorrow every time they see kids in restaurants, wondering if it will ever happen.

I'm not trying to compare pains. Who cares who has more hurt. I guess I'm just comparing the fact that ours is visible, and theirs is hidden. Maybe we have it easier because we don't have to put a happy face on when we hang out with people. Maybe we have it harder because everyone looks at us differently now, and every relationship takes much more effort than before.

I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish with this post. Just thinking out loud I guess.

- Greg

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Do you know about Swagbucks?

If not, I'm going to tell you.

It's basically a search engine, like Google. You type in what you want to search BUT you also get awarded for using their search engine. You are awarded with Swagbucks. Sometimes you get them when you search, sometimes not. But they add up.

Once you get 450 Swagbucks you can turn them in for a $5 Amazon gift card! You can "make money" by searching.

That's the very basic, that's what I do. You can also get other gift cards or products, but Amazon gift cards are the best deal. You can also earn Swagbucks by doing surveys or watching videos or playing games or signing up for stuff... the Swagbucks world is a whole online community of stuff. But all I do is use their search engine and I've probably earned $80 in Amazon gift cards since I started two years ago.

Okay, maybe that sounds a little anti-climatic. But $80 in Amazon money for just using a specific search engine? Easy.

You also get Swagbucks for referring people. So I refer you (click here or go to and then once you get rolling, you can refer other people and earn Swagbucks. How grand.

The easiest way to actually use the thing is to install their search toolbar. It's up there when I open a new window and I can just type in whatever I'm searching for. Usually about every five or ten times of searching, I'll get Swagbucks. You'll see it say "Congratulations, you've earned eight Swagbucks!" with a big dollar looking graphic. I usually have to enter in a three-digit code to prove I'm not a robot in order to have the Swagbucks entered into my account (which happens automatically, you don't have to do anything). You also get one Swagbuck (one measly little one) every day you use the toolbar. But hey, every one counts!

I'd like to mention that there seems to be no method to the madness of getting awarded Swagbucks. You could try some sort of algorithm (wow, I sort of know what that is) to figure out how they award them, or you could just search for a whole day and see what happens... but that would be a waste of a day and really, don't you have better things to do?

For those of you that randomly search for stuff on the Internet and are willing to install this toolbar, go for it. I feel it's worth it.

Plus, I will get Swagbucks for referring you as long as you click through this link: And that makes this post totally worth Eli's nap time.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Big Boy.

When Eli sees my camera he feels he needs to scrunch up his nose and get ready for the flash. Like this:

It's ridiculously cute. I'm not sure how he got it in his head to do this, I don't use my flash that often. But suffice to say, I think you'll be seeing a good bit of photos with a scrunchy nose.

And yep, there's another elephant shirt for Eli. In my defense, he has really worn well his 18 months size shirts and I felt justified in buying (I may even buy more so that I won't have to do laundry so often!). Who knew he'd plateau at this 18 month size for so long?

He's walking often now. Tonight I even got video of him snapping (yes, he snaps his fingers) and walking... I can barely do that!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zoo Venture.

I'm not a pet person. I didn't grow up with pets (besides a few fish that met an untimely demise of which I have told you about before). I see the value in pets, I even like some of them, I just can't wrap my brain around how much we spend on pets when there are people starving. Also, they poop.

And poop smells. It's dirty. My friend told me she potty trained a cat (very impressive) but they still had to see the poop in the toilet. I get enough of Eli poop to make me not want to see other animal poop in a day. That's just me.

Again, I do like animals. I like to enjoy them and then leave them with their owners. On a bigger scale, that's why I like the zoo. I can enjoy the animals without having to deal with their poop, hair, smells or other bodily functions.

Actually, that's not totally true. You still smell some not pleasant odors when you are at the zoo. Which is why my favorite part of our local zoo are the koala bears! They have their own lovely little air conditioned building. It doesn't smell. They are adorable, all three of them (one just had a baby!). And did I mention it's air conditioned? BEST part of the zoo for a gal like me. We always make sure to stop by and see our koala bear friends.

Mama and her baby! I dare you to not smile at them.
Sometimes I feel like this mom... baby is hanging on her and she just wants to eat her leaves in peace.
I really wanted to get a photo of Eli in his elephant shirt with the elephants in the background. I plopped him into the stroller real quick and this is what I got:

Get me outta here!
Have I mentioned that it's hot here? And humid? Rainforest animals like it here. But those animals with, say, a colder nature, are not as enthused. They just lay there all sluggish and hope for a break in the heat. Thus, this bear:

I like this bear more because of this.
Eli and I ventured into the kangaroo area for the first time. How neat that you can go right in with them? I will say they are much cuter from a distance.

They didn't have any babies in their pouch, either.

Let's hope Eli's big hands never get gorilla-big.
The best part about our zoo trip last Friday was that Eli walked a little bit. And that means I can take photos of him from afar! I didn't realize how him not walking was hindering my photo taking! Also, I bought him shoes this week that he can (hopefully) walk in... so no more bare feet escapades.

What a big boy!

Our zoo has a plethora of amazing plants and flowers and trees, too. Such beauty!
So there's our latest zoo trip. What a gift for us to get to see these bizarre animals up close and leave all the poop there. Sorry, enough about the poop. Glad for this fun zoo less than 10 minutes from our house. Won't you come join us?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fitting Shirt.

My sweet friend Heather sent Eli this amazingly perfect shirt for his birthday. I have been meaning to do a post with him wearing it (which he does often) but it seems he always spills on the darn thing before I get my camera ready (thanks to Norwex it is still white). Friday I was determined to get some cute photos in this shirt. After a fun time on the porch plus a zoo trip, I think I finally accomplished this 124 photos later.

May I present Mr. Eli, our blue and orange elephant loving boy:


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Not Anymore.

Eli won't smile on demand anymore. He used to ham it up for the camera, smile when I said smile. Now I get this look:

Still, this middle-of-eating-serious-business face melts my heart too.


Sunday, August 5, 2012


Anyone else watching the long jump last night think "hey there's another lanky red-headed white guy named Greg?"

I did.

And this Greg may be a gold medalist, but I'll take my Greg over him any day.

I asked Greg if he would pose for a photo like this but I was denied.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Step by Step.

Don't worry. I'm not going to talk about the 90's sitcom in the TGIF lineup that I watched before I was cool enough not to watch TV on Friday nights.

Eli has taken a few more steps these last days. Slowly but surely. And no one prepared me for how FUN it is to watch your child walk! Greg and I have really enjoyed encouraging Eli to take steps by himself and when he does it, oh man we are happy. It's the little things.

I finally captured a little video of him walking so IF you can handle the way-over-the-top crazed mom voice, click here to see it. Also, forgive the mess and yes, that is the Olympics on the TV in the background. There are some serious perks to staying at home all day and one is definitely getting to watch more of the games live! Currently water polo is on and I'm tired just watching it.