Friday, September 30, 2011

the power of food

food has the power to heal all wounds. 

it takes your mind off things when you spend multiple hours in the kitchen chopping, grating, blending, stirring, mixing, staring into the oven, watching for things to boil, broil, and brown.  it kept me totally distracted, which was apparently what i needed.

this week we've been feasting on some gourmet (if you want to call them that) home cooked meals.  you could call me a regular fan of the barefoot contessa, even though the food that i make never seems to end up looking so pretty.  i need a food stylist to swoop in just when the dinner is ready and fix the plates before we commence the eating.  husband was all giddy last night when he found out that his plates have been those that were photographed all week long.  mine were much sloppier.  he thought that was a nice gift.

i first have to say that i never go by a recipe.  i watch a lot of food network and cooking channel and i remember dishes that i have seen and then i adapt them to whatever i think works/sounds best.  it's hard when people say "oh, that was so good - let's have it again" - because i will likely never be able to recreate the same dish twice.

we started the week off with fresh figs three ways.  the recipes that night featured fresh figs raw, figs with balsamic honey glaze and a sprinkle of thyme, and figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto.  we both decided that the cheezy salty figs were our favorites. 

the next night we had herb roasted parsnips and carrots with lemon thyme chicken and barley.  we both loved every single bite of this delicious dinner! 

the next evening we had tom kha (coconut soup) and handmade eggrolls stuffed with cabbage, carrots, and shitake mushrooms.  we both really liked this meal and husband said that these eggrolls were better than the restaurant! 

the next night's dinner was a twist on carbonara.  i took rigatoni noodles and roasted asparagus to go with the pancetta and parmigiana reggiano coated noodles.  it was fantastic!  (I had the rest of it for lunch the next day!) 

last night was our only little flop up.  we had herbed chicken, roasted beets with goat cheese, and fried green tomatoes with remoulade.  we both really liked the chicken, the beets, and the remoulade - but the fried green tomatoes i had been so excited about were a complete bust!  i think we ate enough beets to obliterate dwight schrute's farm though, so we were full even without our tomato mess!

a big thank you to my dish washer - will - who has washed every bowl, pot, and pan multiple times this week so we could feast on some very elaborate meals!

tonight's entree of choice - whatever husband picks up on his way home from work!  bon appetit!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

painterly sky

will was feeling under the weather starting this past wednesday.  he had that kind of cold where your nose is runny, but all clogged up at the same time.  he couldn't breathe, even after two run ins with the netti pot, decongestants, loads of vitamin c, and two days in the bed.  we decided to lay low this weekend and just rest.  thankfully, after pretty much three days of total nothingness - he is starting to feel better - like he's beat the affliction.

friday night's sunset was probably the most exciting thing that occurred in the past 48.  when the clouds parted (after it being totally cloudy all day)  i saw rays of sun pouring down the road that runs beside our house.  i left pasta boiling on the stove, grabbed my camera, looked both ways, and ran out and sat in the street.  the light bouncing off the clouds looked just like a maxfield parrish.  i felt like i'd walked right into "ecstasy" 1929.

remembering the boiling noodles, i decided i'd better head back inside.  luckily i found mr. sickly tending to the stove.  shew!  i think he's been dealing with my hair brained love of the sunset ever since we met.  you never get the same sunset twice, so you have to capture it, if it's something amazing.  i love living in a neighborhood where i have not yet been evicted for sitting in the middle of the road in my pajamas taking photos of the sun, and being married to a man who puts up with my tangents - even when he's under the weather.

Friday, September 23, 2011

free to be happy

"you are free to be happy"

i needed to hear this today.  it's a rainy dreary afternoon, will does not feel well, and iliana is back at the vet for more testing on her cushing's disease and the nodule on her spleen.  it's just a mopey kinda sad day.  but, this afternoon on k-love amanda told a story about a phone conversation she and her mom had last night, and i found it to be inspiring:

"Last night, I called mom, and had one of those long talks. As we were about to hang up, she out of the blue says…“You know Amanda, you are free to be happy.”

I cried. She reminded me that I made it through a valley recently. I may have little things to complain about at the end of the day. I may be tired, a little lonely and my kids may be “spirited”, but I have the choice to be happy. You do too.

We are all free to be happy."

amanda's mom is totally right.  sometimes, you just need to hear it.  we've gone through a valley, but we're working on walking back up that hill.  until we get back to the crest, we're going to focus on the things that make us happy in our lives.  right now i am focusing on friendly smiling faces, my sweet mommy who is always there no matter what, ellie-boo's tongue from this past summer's trip to the beach (she was always sticking that thing out), my loving granny, and my new ferns.

so - now i know you're wondering if i am just going to  burst out in song?  if you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it, if you're happy and you know it clap your hands!  (takes a bow)  nah, we're not there just yet - but we are working on it.  slowly, but surely.

Monday, September 19, 2011

eventually there will be peace

when the mail comes it's been a mix bag of sympathy cards or birthday presents.  the birthday cards were a good distraction from the up and down roller coaster of sad condolences.  don't get me wrong - it's a blessing to get the cards and hear from all of these people supporting us through this twisting winding road.  however, some days it's more difficult to make it through the mail than others.

right after the match failed we continued to get baby girl presents that people had ordered when things had a positive outlook.  it was difficult to open those boxes and padded mailers, but i knew what was inside before i did - so i just braced myself for something pink before i ripped the tape off the box.  however, it got a little more difficult last week when b-day time was upon us.  i was not sure if it was going to be something joyous or something else to put into the nursery.  my grandpa actually did the silliest thing (IMO) and gave me a combo card for my b-day and his expression of sadness that we still did not have our sweet darling deer.

the mantle is a mixture of cards.  a hodge podge if you will.  its the good, the silly, the sad, the sweet, all of those things that friends and loved ones do to make you feel better when you're sad or to wish you happiness to commemorate the day you were born.  we've received 23 notes so far, just from people to let us know they are thinking of us.

will and i decided that we grieve differently when we first really started talking about all of this.  we came to the consensus last week that i grieve hard and fast and that things take a little longer to hit him.  however, we found out this weekend that we're still both dealing with this, even though we thought we'd moved past it.  i told him that i learned that i still cannot drive alone in the car and cannot listen to k-love radio by myself.  we had this discussion over huevos rancheros on a sleepy saturday morning and both ended up in tears. 

we both agreed that this loss is just like our last miscarriage without the physical pain.  we're greiving what could have been, what we thought was going to happen, and where we thought our lives were headed.  it's hard for some people to understand how hard this loss can be, if you have not been down this road yourself.  but for once we felt closer to having a baby in our home than we'd ever been before, so this loss hits us hard - you know the kind that punches you right in the gut - the kind that takes your breath away - the kind that renders you speechless.

we know this takes time, and it's difficult now to move through the motions of the things that we thought would be different at this time because we thought a little one would be with us now.  will was sad that he had to go back on call (not for the work) but because he'd made arrangements to have someone cover him because he thought he would not be there.  it's just another thing that is not as we thought it would be.  it's these silly little things that can send us into sadness.  most of the day we're good.  we're fine.  we're okay.  but, you just never know what minutia will be the thing that sends you over the edge.

so thanks for the gifts, the cards, the difficult phone calls, the hard to mention the subject e-mails, and just being there.  we really appreciate all of it, even if we cannot say it.  we know eventually there will be peace.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a weekend away

last weekend we headed out to wine country, nc to get away for 36 hours and recenter ourselves.  we loaded up the car and drove out to sample some fine wine, spend a night in a little cottage in the woods, feast on some delicious food, and just be with each other.  we had a great time relaxing, recouping, and reconnecting.  the weather was gorgeous and we went to a lot of places we'd never seen in nc before.  it was good to unwind and chat it up with husband.  we did not realize how exhausted we were, but apparently living your life waiting for a phone call had taken its toll on us.  we feel so much better now that we were able to get back on track and refocus our journey.

Friday, September 9, 2011


we're working through things and each day gets a little less teary eyed. we're not sad that this sweet mother kept her baby - we're just sad for the future we dreamed of, and the things that might have been. for the first time since 2004 it seemed like a realistic goal to soon have a baby joining our family. we knew when we opened ourselves up for adoption that we were entering some risky territory and did our best to prepare our hearts. no matter how hard you try though, it's hard not to latch on to something you've wanted for so long - even though it is not yours.

our super fabulous social worker supplied us with some very informative information on grief. over the past few days we've been touched by the outpouring of love and support from family and friends. however, we've also had to confront their issues of anger towards this sweet mother. we understand that our friends and family have not gone through all of the courses, e-classes, webinars, books, blogs, seminars, and experiences we've encountered and that everyone grieves differently. however, we felt defensive when others said things that we wished they could take back. after all, this sweet mother had no obligation to place her baby, and she did what she felt was right for her baby. this baby was never ours. so, we just want to make sure that there are no bad feelings out there for her. she's doing all she can in this world to make a better life for her little one, and we give her all due respect - and just ask that our family and friends do the same.

for anyone who is curious, below is an excerpt from some of the information our social worker passed along to us about grief. feel free to read, take what you need, and share what you want. (while our situation is not specifically about the death of a human being, it is the death of a dream of the life of this particular baby in our family. we've been angry, we've bargained, we're coping, we're accepting, we're healing.)

"Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Myths and Facts About Grief

MYTH: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.

MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

MYTH: Grief should last about a year.
Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person. *Source: Center for Grief and Healing

The main point to remember is “there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”

The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief
By Julie Axelrod

The stages of mourning are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness or to the death of a valued being, human or animal. There are five stages of normal grief. They were first proposed by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage more or less intensely. The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief. The death of your loved one might inspire you to evaluate your own feelings of mortality. Throughout each stage, a common thread of hope emerges. As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life.
Many people do not experience the stages in the order listed below, which is okay. The key to understanding the stages is not to feel like you must go through every one of them, in precise order. Instead, it’s more helpful to look at them as guides in the grieving process — it helps you understand and put into context where you are.

1. Denial and Isolation
The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.

2. Anger
As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent the person for causing us pain or for leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry.

The doctor who diagnosed the illness and was unable to cure the disease might become a convenient target. Health professionals deal with death and dying every day. That does not make them immune to the suffering of their patients or to those who grieve for them.

Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to give you extra time or to explain just once more the details of your loved one’s illness. Arrange a special appointment or ask that he telephone you at the end of his day. Ask for clear answers to your questions regarding medical diagnosis and treatment. Understand the options available to you. Take your time.

3. Bargaining
The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control–
• If only we had sought medical attention sooner…
• If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…
• If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…
Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality.

4. Depression
Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.

5. Acceptance
Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to deny ourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.

Loved ones that are terminally ill or aging appear to go through a final period of withdrawal. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of their own impending death or such, only that physical decline may be sufficient to produce a similar response. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach a stage at which social interaction is limited. The dignity and grace shown by our dying loved ones may well be their last gift to us.

Coping with loss is a ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

not the one

i just got a phone call from bethany.  unfortunately it was not the call we'd wanted to receive.  turns out that e-mom actually had her sweet baby girl two weeks ago, but decided that she wanted to parent.  while we're happy for her and her family with this blessing of a little baby, we're devastated.

i guess this was not our sweet darling deer afterall.

(ps - have to add that our social worker just got the email from e-mom this morning and she called us and forwarded us the email as soon as she got them.  unfortunately e-mom had not returned our social worker's previous calls or emails since august 5th.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

yes, we're still waiting.

waiting stinks.  it's no fun.  i don't like it.  i don't like it at all.  my niece ellie says it all in this photo that i snapped while we were at the beach  this summer.  does she look like she's having fun?  it's not pretty.  there is nothing pretty about it.  i am mean, i am snippy, i am grumbly.  it's just not fun.  ask will.  don't even think of calling any of our phones.  i won't answer.  if you are not bethany or a nc number that i don't recognize then you are probably not the good news i am looking for, so no me respuesta.  i actually literally get angry with the phone - the nerve of this person to call me!  how rude!  don't even think of asking me to do anything.  i don't want to go anywhere, i don't want to do anything, i don't want to see anyone.  but, i don't want to be alone, so don't leave me here all stranded like this either.  i don't want to sleep, but i'm so tired.  i don't want to eat, but if you want to make me some baked macaroni and cheese that would be fine.  and for goodness sake don't ask me if we've heard anything yet.  seriously, we will tell you when we hear something - anything!  i promise!   it's gross.

but people are trying to be supportive, be helpful, be good friends - and i know this.  i am not so why it's so hard - this part of the wait, when we've been waiting since 2004.  i feel like i've been pretty patient for the past 2555 days.  but now, somehow all of my patience is gone.  it's a jittery unstable feeling, one i don't like.  we're not in control, and we know that this part is in God's hands - but it honestly does not make it any easier to swallow.  i pray that every hour will be the hour, every phone call will be the phone call, every new day will be the day.  we went to the movies sunday night and had to sit in just the right seats, even with my cell phone on ring (loud) and vibrate - just in case they called.  i figured two movie tickets, a popcorn, a soda, and watching all of the movie trailers was exactly what sweet darling deer needed to be prompted into this oxygen bubble - but it wasn't.

we pray (just about every waking moment) that our e-mom and her sweet baby are still doing well.  we want them healthy and happy - and we pray that God will protect them and keep them safe.  we know e-mom was uncomfortable when we met her a month ago, and we cannot imagine how she's feeling now.  we pray she is able to sleep and rest and that she's not still having to work.  we pray her heart isn't too heavy and that she's content with whatever she's decided. 

until it's time i promise to do my best to be less worrisome, less anxious, and more understanding of other's caring concern for our handling of this waiting time.  and please know that we will post something - the minute we hear anything at all.

Friday, September 2, 2011

officially overdue

we've gone officially past the due date.  sweet darling deer decided that her birthday would not be september 2nd.  while we pray that she comes sooner rather than later, we want her to make her grand appearance when she's ready to do it.  we're ready and waiting, so whenever she's ready - we'll be there.

until then we'll all continue to try and get some rest.