Thursday, June 30, 2011

Show up

I wish I could get past the hurt that Aaron's brother did by not coming to Nora's funeral. I can't. And the pain is just as raw today as it was 18 months ago. A Little Pregnant tweeted a post from The Spectrum this morning, and I want everyone I know to read it, and understand how important it is to show up.

Please read this.

The quote that hit me was this "You show up," my mother told me, a little lost in the memory. "It's awkward and uncomfortable but you just. show. up."

And of course, she is mentioning just how hard it to know what to do when someone dies. Do you show up? Bring food? Flowers? Hug? Not hug? Laugh? Cry? Because it's is awkward. But this is the time in life where you suck it up and go to the wake and be there and flounder and find what you can do to help in what is usually an awful time. And know that you are doing your best. Even if it's just walking over, mumbling 'I'm sorry' and giving a hug. It shows you care.

For me, it goes a step further. No matter what other bullshit is going on in your relationship with that person, if someone you love has a death in the family - you show up. You support them. You let them know, no matter what else may be going on in the background, that your love for them in that moment is more important than anything else right then.

We didn't get that from Aaron's brother. And it hurts deeply. It still saddens me. That something as tragic as our daughters death was made that much worse by something as easy to do as just showing up. He didn't have to be center stage and hold Aaron's hand during the memorial service, but if he was just THERE it would have made a huge difference. It would have shown he loved Aaron unconditionally. But he didn't.

Please please please, if you question what to do when someone dies, think of this post and just show up. It means more that you can even imagine.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mom's weekend leftovers

Ah yes. Back to work after 4 days off. I started the mini-vacation by taking the kids to the cabin by myself Thursday night, met Aaron at the wedding Saturday, and then headed off Sunday, without kids. for 2 nights.

  • I will start out by saying that portable DVD players are AWESOME. We never had these types of things when I was a kid, so I thought they were stupid. ‘My kids can just READ in the car’ I would say. But, then I got one for cheap from a friend and I used it for the first time on the drive to the cabin. The kids loved it. And it was an added bonus to have with us when we had 2 full days of rain at the cabin. Only used it once, but it was a lifesaver when I was tryingt o get ready for the wedding and couldn’t send them outside to play.

  • Both kids were GREAT at the cabin. They slept well, had fun exploring... and we really had a great time.

  • They share a room there - Maggie in a crib and Cam in a 'big boy bed' and it works out perfect.

  • Although, my mom makes me nervous in that all she does is talk about all these people that are ‘awful’. I asked if she liked ANYONE at one point, and she said 'I only really have trouble with 6 people'. She sure takes up a lot of her energy venting about those 6 people, though.

  • Saturday, I stressed about getting the kids to nap early so they'd be ready for the wedding. What a disaster. First, they wouldn't sleep, and then when they finally did, I had to wake them up to get ready for the wedding. Maggie cried from the point I woke her up until we got to the wedding 1.5 hours later. Which. Was. Awful.

  • Surprisingly, once we got to the wedding, she was happy and sweet and we were able to stay until 8:30.

  • The wedding was beautiful and it was great to see Aaron's best friend get married and hang out with people we rarely get to see.

  • I had this whole long speech I wanted to give but I started talking and panicked. Which I totally regret. I should have written it down. I still plan on just writing everything I wanted to say and sending it to him.

  • Sunday was a day of rest for us. But Aaron was crabby and I was crabby and let's just say THANK GOD I had a little retreat planned for myself.

  • After bedtime, my friend Tara and I drove up to Loon Mountain where her MIL has a timeshare, and we had the most wonderful time. We got a little drunk, slept in, went for a mini-hike at the top of the mountain, relaxed, got massages, got a little drunk again, and played cards.

  • Got up earlish this morning, drove to work with minimal traffic and I feel like a new woman.

Note to self: don't wait 2.5 years to have my next night away from the kids.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here I am! New Cece!

Well, not really new. This picture is taken at the office, after a rather harrowing morning (details after the picture). I ended up going with a shoulder length long layer cut. And a FULL foil - which thankfully Aaron didn't even notice and I think looks pretty natural and brightens me up a lot.

Yesterday I also went to the mall and got new bras (I needed a strapless one for my red dress, and once you try on a new bra, they are like potato chips, you can't have just one) and also got new foundation and some white eye shadow. That was a tip I got from Cecily, and figured I could give it a try. AND I got my eyebrows waxed. So this morning, I was ready to face the day - new hair, shaped brows, make-up and uplifted boobs!

This morning was a good test of my new routine. If by good, you mean MORNING FROM HELL. But I digress. Tonight, after work, I want to go straight to the cabin. So last night I got the car mostly packed, and took a shower (but didn't wash my hair). I woke up this morning, brushed out my hair, quickly washed my face and did makeup and got the kids. And this is of course where things started going south.

Cam is SUPER excited for the cabin. He apparently thinks we are going fishing. So he was up and out of bed and ready to go. Packing up his bag with his binkie and his blankets and books.... while I was getting Maggie dressed. Maggie then wanted to be held. While I was trying to dress Cam and get everyone downstairs PLUS the big bag with every single blankie, stuffed animal, book and pillow Cam could fit in. So she was at my heels crying UP UP UP UP - which was a nice touch.

Then I got downstairs, and realized that I didn't have a decent 'car' supper to fed them - so we would have to swing my the grocery store. Have I mentioned I can't get Maggie to stop crying? THEN I remember that someone is coming to pick up the music table I'm selling, but of course it's raining and I'm leaving it outside, so I need to figure that out too.

Get downstairs (in about three trips with all the baggage), with Maggie crying the entire time - to see that one of my tires is low. It's hot and muggy, so I'm sweating. And running around in the rain trying to pump up my tires... and I finally get everything set, in the car (Maggie has stopped crying, thank the gods) and we are off.

So, that picture is after sleeping on the hair and just brushing it out, sweating on the makeup, walking around in the rain.... and I think it's a success!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Help - hair advice needed! Poll on blog!

Hi all! I need hair help in a huge way. I basically have long hair that I wear pulled back every single day. And I know it looks awful and I need to do something better. So tomorrow, I'm off for a foil and a cut. I haven't gotten a color in over 10 years, and my last hair cut was July 4th weekend last year. If I'm going to do it, I want it to be a change. A good change. But would like some feedback from my dear blog buddies.

This picture shows the disaster that is my current hair situation. See below? On the left, the 'right' haircut for a round face. On the right, what I do every day.

So, we see that change is sorely needed, if even this lady who obviously spends more than 5 minutes getting ready looks awful with a ponytail. So here are my options. Please remember that I currently get out of bed and ready to go for the day in 5-10 minutes. So I don't want something that will take me FOREVER to accomplish.

ETA: I do have a small bit of natural wave to my hair, especially if I let it dry naturally.

Picture one, long layers

Picture two, long bob

Picture three, long layer again, but different

Please help me decide! I'm freaking out about maybe cutting it short - but I need to stop pulling it back all the time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Success, Success, Success

I'm a winner today. A bunch of things have worked out well that I have been planning and it makes me happy.

The Block Party is the first big success. The weather was perfect, everyone showed up and had fun! The bounce house was a hit with everyone (even Maggie was in it a few times), the band rocked, and party went on until 1 AM. I called it quits at 11 - knowing that the kids would be up nice and early Sunday morning. The only thing that we will change in the future is not stressing on the organized stuff. The scavenger hunt was a HUGE hit, but after that - the kids just wanted to run around and have fun on their own. No adults played bocce, no wiffle ball was played, no volleyball. There was a water balloon fight though.

My bright red dress has arrived, and it fits wonderfully. I definitely need a new bra, but this woman knows how to make a plus sized dress. I need to just 'work it' because I haven't worn a sleeveless dress in ages - but it's almost like wearing nothing - so comfy and light and fun.

And finally, the wedding that the dress is for? I decided to make the couple a quilt at the last minute and it is awesome. Wanna see?
OK. That crappy iPhone pictures isn't doing it justice, but it's a cool quilt. The fabric is hand-marbled with sparkles in it. But the coolest? I had my quilter put in their name and wedding date, plus a 'much love from Aaron and Cece' in it:

Cool? No?

I was happy to see Monday today. It was a great weekend, but I'm glad to have the kids under someone else care for a bit, sit down and relax (physically). Of course, work is still freaking out, but at least they need me, right?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Cameron is doing this REALLY annoying thing of thinking it's HILARIOUS to run away from me. Yesterday, he did it at daycare and I grabbed him. He somehow managed to hit my toenail with his shoe and rip it off. I. Can. Not. Explain. The. Pain.

  • This morning, he used that SAME toe to stand on to help him get into the car. AUUUGH.

  • The block party prep is in full force, and there is a small chance things have gotten away from me. The other two women who are helping me plan aren't going to be around the hours before it starts... and I'm getting nervous.

  • There is going to be a bounce house, games for the little kids, face painting, temporary tattoos, grills, a wiffle ball game, a bocce tournament, a band, water balloons, scavenger hunt, limbo contest, a fire pit.....

  • Shit. Now that I've listed it all out I'm freaking out.

  • Work also sucks this week

  • I'm planning a mom's getaway next Sunday - Tuesday. There will be sleeping in, earplugs, alcohol, massages and no kids for 36 hours. I need it.

  • And Father's day is this weekend! Aaron doesn't want to do anything, but we are planning on going to the Collings Foundation to see the airplanes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cute Baby Pictures

Very busy here, working and prepping for the block party this weekend - but I couldn't leave you all high and dry! I will appease the blog with sweet baby pictures.

The gang, having a 'picnic' dinner:

Maggie, with the new Rabbit toy I knit.

Cameron, claiming the Bunny as his own and making it obvious I need to knit 2:

Maggie, with her definition of ONE cookie:

And Cam at the ballgame with Daddy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'I want DADA!"

This weekend was a ton of fun stuff for the kids:

  • Ed the Music Man Saturday morning

  • Thomas the Train on the big screen for Cam

  • End of year church picnic on Sunday morning

  • Birthday party for a friend Sunday night (Cam stayed home with Daddy, while Maggie was the bell of the ball in a cute little party dress)

  • Triple A baseball for Cam and Aaron on Monday night

  • Dinner out with Mama for Maggie on Monday night

Last night, when Aaron got home with Cam from the baseball game (at 8:30 PM - very tired little boy), Aaron went out of the room and Cam yells I WANT DADA! So I moved over to where Aaron was standing, and Cam says 'NO Mama. That where Dada goes.'.

Trying hard not to get bitter that Aaron is getting 100% of the credit for all the fun things that I find to send him and Cam too! Although it's pretty awesome how much Cam loves his daddy. And Maggie is still mine, all mine.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting support

I've had this post in my head for a while, but it's kind of hard to write. And then I've read a few great posts (Calliope and Rachael in particular), and it's forcing me to share with you all.

I like to think of myself as a tough broad. That is also how I viewed my mother. Raising me as a single mom, she had her own business and maintained two households on her own. Now that I've been through what I've been through - my mom has revealed herself to me. She is just as big of a mushball as I am. We are the human equivalent of Brach's Strawberry BonBons (hard on the outside and soft on the inside). Even before IF, I'd managed to go through so really crappy times. I had an ex who hit me, and when I moved out (right after he hit me that first time, Mama didn't raise no dummy) he stalked me and threatened to kill me. That was fun. And then my next boyfriend managed to get a hold of my credit card and charge up $18,000. That was an interesting find when I kicked him out (for other reasons). Both times I managed to pick myself off, dust myself off, and move on. Mostly alone. I just dealt with it.

Then I went through IF. And the ectopic, the miscarriage, the birth of my son, finding out we were having twins, a twin pregnancy along with caring for a baby... and the death of Nora. Somewhere along that path, I realized I just wasn't THAT tough. And I didn't NEED to be. I leaned on Aaron. I shared here - not only to help me, but to let others going through the same things know they weren't alone. I cultivated my circle of friends. We moved into a 'real' neighborhood, where people CARE about each other. We joined the local church. All of that? It makes even the most painful of events bearable.

But. And this is a BIG but. You need to reach out first. You need to make connections. Be a friend. Say hi to that neighbor. Which is hard, DAMN hard, when you feel like shit. But it's helped me immensely. I call it 'faking it until I make it' - and it's served me well. I signed up for a quilt class 7 years ago. The woman in that class, we just clicked with each other. So we kept meeting. And meeting. And now, 7 years later, 2 of those woman are the godmothers to my daughter. It's group of woman who would (and have) swoop in and make things better. Sure, on my saddest days, I've have to FORCE myself to go and sit and sew. But it's been a lifeline.

In my neighborhood, I've taken on the task of a block party. Is it a pain in the ass? Oh hell yes. But already I've noticed people coming out of their houses and hanging out more. I think it's great. And I've started up a card night with friends (which reminds me, I need to schedule one soon!). And, yes, friendships on the internet are great - but in person contact is SO important and as a busy working mom - it's definitely the first thing to go. But having someone to come over and just sit and hang out with you when you are sad and lonely? It's wonderful. (Suzanne, Tara and Tarsha - if you are reading this - thank you). Or someone to force you to step away from the babies for a night and enjoy a movie? (Amanda?) And if you don't have people close - it's just as wonderful to have our computer friends (like when my Jen was going through losing Luke - I can't tell you how hard I was pushing good thoughts through the keyboard at her).

I guess what I'm saying is that on the outside, I joke around and act like a tough gal. But on the inside I'm a big ball of mush and having the wonderful friends and connections that I've been able to make over the past ten years - it's priceless. And I task other busy woman out there to take the time and cultivate your own circles. Throw your own block parties or card parties or even start a craft night. It's more than just a night out - it's a support network that god save you, I hope you only need for venting about annoying (but otherwise wonderful) husbands.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dress Input please

I love this dress. I want to get it to wear to a friend's (afternoon, outdoor) wedding.

Thoughts? Remembering that I'm MUCH larger than the model (but this is from etsy - so the woman is doing a custom size for me). I think it'll look great on a plus sized person, but double-checking with my peeps. I'm thinking that my boobs will ROCK in this dress and the fun poofy skirt is a good thing - any fashionistas out there to help me?

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to throw an awesome party

Does anyone have memories of your Mom throwing cocktail parties? The excitement of a PARTY at your house (and it wasn't even any one's birthday!). And getting to see grown-ups at your house, and as you got older, maybe even helping 'serve'. I've mentioned before, but Aaron and I used throw a lot of dinner parties - Aaron is a great cook, and I love having people over. But I've found it's hard when little kids are in the mix. Now that my kids are somewhat older - I've found a great solution.

We have big open living room. Which we built with the idea of kids in mind. The whole area is pretty much childproofed, and there are plenty of toys for all ages. So what we do is I invite people to come over at around 5:30 or 6. The grown ups get a cheese plate, and the kids get a big 'party table' (a folding 6 foot table with a cheap plastic cover and balloons. Always get balloons).I feed the kids hot dogs, brownies and ice cream while the grown up mill around and talk and play with the kids.

In the meantime, I have the dining room set up with candles, real silverware, linens... and the 'grown up' dinner. Once all the kids are fed, I take tired Maggie upstairs, the guests are all chatting happily, and Aaron serves up grown up dinner. Then, the kids all all comfortable enough with each other that they play in the living room, while the grown ups can eat and drink and relax in the dining room! It's awesome!

Cam stayed up with the 'big kids' (I think the oldest was 10) until everyone left at 9:30 - and everyone had a great time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm too excited about Groupon

They say that finding a good deal is as great as good sex. I'm not so sure about that, but I have been in a rather good mood over the past great deals I've gotten on Groupon. If you don't do Groupon, you totally should.

Just this past week I've gotten two awesome deals. First was $45 for 6 meals at Dream Dinners. Where I go every single month to make my food. That normally would have cost me $70. Sweet! I must have re-read the fine print 100 times to be sure that existing customers could use that deal. Which we could - hurrah!

Perhaps you remember that I took Mom to the Red Sox for Mother's Day. Since then, Cam has been talking about going to a BASEBALL GAME! "Daddy take me?". So I was looking around for a minor league game to go to - since I work in Lowell, I really only knew of the Lowell Spinners. But then, on Groupon, there was a deal for $14 for 2 VIP tickets plus 2 baseball hats with the Worcester Tornadoes. So I got that, figuring Aaron could take him one night. Of course, I screwed up and bought it twice. I tried to call the 1-800 number to get a refund, and was on hold for forever so just gave up. The groupon said to call a phone number to reserve your tickets... and when I called, the guy was like, um - that was a mistake. Just show up with your groupon the day of the game, we usually don't sell out.

Yeah. Can you envision that? Cam, wanna go to a baseball game with Daddy!? Oh, too bad buddy, they sold out. That would go over AWESOME.

So he told me I could also come to the corporate offices, and pick up the tickets there. I did that last night, and I was joking around with the guy - saying that 4 baseball hats was a bit much (hoping he would maybe give us a tee shirt or something instead) and he told me that if we went to the June 13th game - which was when I was planning on going - the baseball hats they had ordered for this deal wouldn't be in yet, so they were going to give out 2 more free tickets! Love it. So I've gotten 6 tickets for $28 (plus 2 baseball hats).

I just love a good deal. Love it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Random

But no pictures today!

First exciting bit of news is that I'm back at the gym. I went on Saturday with some prompting from my cousins who were visiting, and I forgot how great it makes me feel. Every. Single. Time. I get it when they say that people who are depressed should exercise - and how hard it is to convince those people to do it. It IS hard to get off your ass. And in my case, I feel like I don't get anything out of it (because I don't lose weight) but I do! I slept like a rock last night, and I just feel better after working out. So I'm going to try to stick with this. But not put pressure on myself to do it.

I want the Old Navy Gay Pride shirts for my kids. But they aren't being sold online and only in 26 stores. One is in MA, so I'm going to call and see if I can get them. And no. I don't think I'm using my kids as a political platform. My values, that I'm trying to instill in my children, are based around the rule 'Do unto others as you would have them do onto you'. And our church teaches us to Stand on Side of Love. That is what I do everyday (or at least try to) and I hope to teach my children to do the same. So yep, Cam and Maggie will be wearing those shirts (assuming I can get them) - I feel that we should support a 'big box' retailer that is putting themselves out there for a cause that is controversial

I've gone from someone who used to knit or quilt every day to barely knitting once a week! I'm just not inspired. Besides that it's wicked hot (which has never stopped me from knitting in the past) both kids were refusing to wear ANY sweater/fleece/sweatshirt by the end of the winter - and I'm just not into spending the time to knit something that won't be worn. I'm test knitting a cute stuffed bunny pattern, so I hope that kicks my creative side back into gear!

And finally, I'm starting to worry about what to wear to this wedding I'm going to in India! I need to find a store in the area where I can see what I look like in some of the outfits people are recommending for me.