Friday, August 30, 2013

It's Going To Be Fine, What I Know For Sure & #iPPP

What I know for sure this week, is that everything is going to be fine.  I have a deeper understanding of grief.  I have more compassion about so many things and for so many people.  I have more empathy, less tolerance for judgement and meanness.  I have more perspective, less annoyance with little things.   

There were waves of sadness that came over me at strange times this past week.  In a store while I was checking out sweaters and jackets for when the weather cools off and I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe.  Tears in my eyes and hurt in my heart when I remember that I was supposed to be shopping for maternity clothes.  Or when I got back on the treadmill the other day. It hit me hard when I realized the last time I was on the treadmill I was pregnant, and planning to run through the entire pregnancy to try to not gain a million pounds like I did with the other babies.  

The waves came less often everyday and I made it a couple days without feeling like I was going to cry. It's hard to explain, but I know it will be okay.  I know it because:

My oldest baby is starting middle school and it's all rotating schedules, locker combinations, new beginnings and letting go.  It's all puff out my chest with pride and love moments.

Even though Lucy is so not impressed, I think it's all pretty cool.

It's football season.  That means more anxiety for me, but it means so much excitement for my boys.  It's all helmets, pads (thank goodness), being tough, being a teammate and being a good example to younger brothers.

It's going to be fine.  
There will be moments of worry, anxiety, letting go, pushing and pulling.  There will be moments of sweetness, joy, love, holding on, cherishing.  But it will be fine, I know that for sure.

Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • The kitchen dance is back.  I knew I was feeling better when this happened:

  • This movie, August:Osage County, looks gooooood.  The cast is unbelievable and Meryl Streep as a crazy, mean southern woman? Um, hello!

  • I want people to stop talking about Miley Cyrus.

  • Comfort food, yeah that's good but comfort shows are VERY important.  Over the past two weeks Tim and I have been watching the first and second season of Parenthood on Netflix.  It's relatable, funny, heartwarming....just what I need right now.  And we're looking forward to season five.

  • I'm sort of excited about Fall.  I can't believe it, but I'm excited about the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks and I'm not mad that they go on sale next week.  But I still refuse to rush the pinning on Pinterest, no Christmas pins yet!

What do you know for sure (this week)? C'mon, we're friends, share what you know. Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page.

  Please come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

I'm linking up today with my friends Greta from and Sarah from for the #iPPP link up.  They host a link up where they encourage people to share "your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite photos of the week" from our phones. 

Check them out. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dancing In The Kitchen (& linking up with Mama Kat)

Life is getting better, I'm getting hormone levels are dropping, my energy is rising.  This is proof from a few days ago:

(If you're an email subscriber, click here to watch the video.)

I linked up with Mama Kat's Famous Vlogging Prompts.  She's one funny mother, check her out and the other vloggers that linked up--click here.

And speaking of dancing, remember the tutorial for you and your kids I made last summer?  The vlog that gives some ideas on how kids can dance a little more age appropriately?  In this day and age of Miley Cyrus and foam fingers and twerking, I think this is a good video to share again.  So here it is:

(If you're an email subscriber, click here to watch the video.)

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch new videos every week.  click here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pinterest Poser Challenge: Seashells

Summer is almost over.  I just saw the Farmer's Almanac is predicting a "bitterly cold" winter for my state.  Gee, I can't wait.  I've often wondered how the hell I ended up living in a state that has more gray days than sunny, no ocean and gets "bitterly cold" in the winter.  Nothing against my state, I just can't figure out why/how I didn't end up someplace warmer.

"When we retire," Tim tells me.  Um, is that word or concept even going to exist when are the so called retirement age?  Maybe. Until then, I'm getting all crafty to preserve that summertime feeling and have it all year round.

This week's Pinterest Poser** is all about making summer last all year.  As well as what to do with all those seashells you and your kids spent hours looking for on vacation--creating Memory Displayers.
**In an attempt at not being a Pinterest Poser,* every week I  detail a new Pinterest challenge whether it be a new recipe or a craft.   
*My definition of a Pinterest Poser is someone who is all pins and no substance.

Memory Displayer #1
Before we left on our trip, I bought wooden frames at Michael's for $1.50 and glue for around $2.  I was prepping for any rainy afternoons we might have while on vacation at the beach.  We got lucky and didn't have any total rain outs.  But we still spent one of the afternoons making seashell picture frames.

The kids picked out the shells they wanted to keep and washed and dried them.  Then we simply started gluing.  
I was pretty hands off and let the kids do their crafty thing.  It was an all-ages type craft.  My three-year-old put a few shells on and then got back in the pool.  

Lucy however, got out her paint and glitter and enhanced her shells.  She spent a couple hours on her frames.

We did this project last time we were at the ocean and the frames have hung on our wall reminding us of our fun summer vacations.  
Apologies for the blurry picture.  We made these frames summer of 2009 and they've been hanging on our walls ever since.

It's fun to display a picture of the kids when they were on the vacation.  And to see how much they've grown and changed.  Or give them as gifts to family members that were at the beach with you.

I haven't printed any pictures from our beach trip this summer, so I put in my favorite beach-y quote instead.

Memory Displayer #2
I got this next craft idea from the amazing Kelle Hampton at Enjoying the Small Things.  I pinned it and then I made them too.  It's my newest beach/summer craft/memory displayer and I love it.

I found an old board in the back yard the kids were using to make each other walk the plank. Tim cut it into 4 X 6 pieces.  I used stain and glue I already had, along with Mod Podge that I always have.

I stained.

I glued.

I displayed.

I loved.

My dream is to have a mudroom with all the shell art displayed from all the vacations over the years.  It doesn't have to be the ocean, it can be from a lake or a nature walk with rocks, leaves or dried flowers or feathers.  

The possibilities are endless and so is summer!

Have you made something from Pinterest lately?  Had any great successes? Or advice?  Or warning about a project that's a total waste of time? Do tell.

Please share whatever you're working on in the comments here or over on Facebook.  Come on over and follow my Pinterest boards.

Here are some of the projects I've already attempted, the good and the bad:

Gluten Free Pop Tarts- click here
Front Porch Kid Art Display- click here
Door turned into Table- click here

Summer Wish List Chalkboard-click here
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Sandwiches-click here
Painted Mason Jar Vases-click here
Cinco de Mayo Paper Flowersclick here
Earth Day CupcakesClick here
Nail Art-click here
Homemade Photo Booth Funclick here
Fake Bangs- click here
DIY Subway Art- click here
Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here
The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

Come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

Oh yeah, and come follow me on Twitter @AngelaYBlood and subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Oversharing (it's a good thing)

Quick take a picture of it with your phone.  Pick a filter and share it on Instagram.  Pretty or quirky snapshots of our lives waiting to be liked.  Sometimes I don't know how to have something just happen without taking a picture of it.  I can't look at a sunset without thinking "holy shit that's pretty, but what would it look like with a Sierra filter, oooh or Toaster."

A lot of us are like that.  Are we all like that?  

We share our moments through filters.  Some people overshare.  Some people take selfies.  Some people take pictures of their kids, their dogs, their food, their sunsets.  

We want to capture the moment, remember it, hold onto it.  We want our moments to be seen.

There are people that say it's too much.  It's oversharing.
It's the same with updating our Facebook status or blogging.

When I shared the story of my miscarriage last week, I guess I wanted to be seen or heard.  I know I wanted it to matter.  I didn't have a plan really.  Writing has been my way of processing pain for as long as I can remember.  Most of the time I don't know what I 'm feeling until I write it all out.

The response I got from my oversharing surprised me.  It was love.  So much love.  Emails and messages from friends that had gone through their own heartbreaking miscarriages.  Emails and messages from readers I don't know personally who shared their personal stories of loneliness and grief.  Emails and messages of support and encouragement.  

Friends left treats and flowers on my front porch, they hugged me at the football game, they took me out to lunch.  

I felt the love.  My story, my miscarriage, my pain, mattered.  I mattered.  It helped.

My hormones are still a little all over the place.  I'm quieter than normal.  I cry sometimes when I remember I'm not pregnant anymore. But it's getting better, healing is happening.

I know this because Saturday night I sang Whitney Houston songs at the top of my lungs and I danced in my kitchen (much to the chagrin of Lucy).  In fact, that is my advice for anyone on the precipice of healing...sing Whitney songs, preferably any song from The Bodyguard soundtrack, as loud and proud as you can. I promise it will help.  And then, if you feel like dancing, do it.

I'm on my way back and it feels good, I know that for sure.  I also know for sure that sharing and oversharing my story has allowed people to give me the support and love I didn't know how to ask for and I am eternally grateful.  So, I will keep taking pictures, keep documenting, keep writing, keep sharing because it all matters.

Here's what else I know for sure, right now:

  • Cher + the Golden Girls have magic healing power too.  Check out this totally amazing fabulous mash-up:

  • One more week until the first day of school and half the kids can't wait.  I'm both happy and sad--I look forward to a routine, but I will miss them so much.

  • The Whitney Singing Therapy works.  Here's the song I really got into on Saturday night. Try it. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Miscarriage

"Well, I mean you have four children, you are blessed," said the nurse patting my arm in an attempt to comfort me.

I was in a post-anesthesia fog, my eyes were almost swollen shut from crying so much, but I nodded.  "I know, I know, I am blessed," I agreed.  I tucked my legs up underneath my chin like a child and closed my eyes.

Then she put a blanket around me, one of those blankets that felt like it had been in a toaster--a little stiff, but warm.  She tucked the edges under my side, leaving her hand on my hip for a minute.  "You all alone?," she asked concerned.

"Yes," I said, feeling more alone than possibly ever before.


It all started almost two months ago.  I wasn't feeling like myself.  Tim and I were concerned, but not overly concerned and we never considered that I might be pregnant.  Then I took a nap, or rather the nap took me.  I couldn't stop it, I sat down on the couch to watch a movie and I slept and slept and slept.  And here's the thing, I hate napping.  I don't nap.  Unless I am pregnant.  Tim went out and bought a pregnancy test the next day.

Still not believing I could possibly be pregnant, I peed on the stick and two lines appeared.  Two lines mean pregnant.

"Holy fuck, holy fuck, holy fuck," I said over and over and over.  I was like Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie about Howard Hughes, The Aviator, where he goes crazy and can't stop saying the same thing over and over.  I clasped my hand over my mouth just like he did in the movie and still the "holy fucks" kept coming.  I was seconds away from taping my mouth shut like Leo did, but then Tim opened the door to the bathroom and grabbed me and I stopped.  I started crying instead.

"How did this happen?" he asked.  

"Well Tim, we're finally the fucking one percent, just not the one percent everyone wants," I half screamed.  "Nope, we're the one percent that's mentioned on the warning label on the back of the Trojan box, you know the one percent that can get pregnant using a condom! We're like a god damn After-School Special for old people."

I cried more.

We were done having kids.  Four was our number.  Four kids are what we dreamed about when we were dating.  Five? We never talked about five.  

I was scared.  Scared of being too old.  Scared of not having enough money or enough love.  Scared of the emotional toll it would take on me and how I wouldn't be able to be the mother I wanted to the original four.  Scared it would make our marriage harder, life harder.  Then I hated myself for feeling all of these feelings.  And I cried more.

Then I wiped my tears away and made dinner for the family.  Life went on.

It was actually Tim's birthday, so we sang and had cake and carried on just like normal.  But Tim and I knew everything was different.

Over the next few weeks, the nausea and exhaustion became extreme.  I could barely make it through every day.  I stopped taking the kids to the pool, there were no family bike rides, no spontaneous nature hikes.  There was a lot of eating, laying around and just getting through.  I didn't feel like talking or writing or dancing.  I didn't even feel like crying or being angry.  I didn't feel--there was just being tired and sick.

Then one morning I woke up and I didn't have to throw up.  I felt happy. I looked at my four kids and felt even happier.  "Why not?" I thought.  "Why not add to my sweet family?"  More love, that's the way I started to see the pregnancy.  I touched my already growing stomach lightly, lovingly and for the first time thought, maybe...maybe we, I, could do this.

We didn't tell the kids or the world.  I went to the doctor, got blood tests and scheduled my ultrasound.  It was becoming very real, but we still wanted to wait.  We'd never really waited before to tell people about being pregnant.  But this time, the kids were older and we wanted to tell them first.  And we wanted to be in the "safe period" and let them get situated in their new year of school before telling them.  But those weren't the only reasons.

I was scared again.  Scared of what people would think.  Scared of people judging. Scared of being the butt of the joke, the old lady that lived in the shoe kind of thing. You know, so many kids she didn't know what to do. I wanted to wait until I didn't apologize to strangers for getting pregnant.  Then I hated myself for feeling all these feelings and I cried.

Despite the irrational fears and horomonally-fueled anxiety, I started to get excited.  I thought about names.  I made a secret Pinterest board full of bassinets and maternity clothes.  I dreamed up blog posts about our family of seven. I smiled thinking about how I would stand out in the blogging world since I would be one of very few uber-liberal, non-homeschooling mommy bloggers with five children. I started laughing more and panicking less.

Then a few days ago I didn't feel right.  I started cramping and bleeding.  In that same bathroom where I said "holy fuck" 5,679 times in a row upon seeing the two lines and prayed to God that it wasn't true, I prayed again.  "Please God, don't let this happen," I pleaded out loud, but in a whisper.  

I called my doctor and in a hushed voice so the kids couldn't hear, I asked her for help.  She told me to head to the emergency room.  I told the kids I had to go to the hospital just to get my stomachache checked out.  I lined up a drop-in child care center to watch the younger three kids and left Peyton home alone.  "Hey, maybe when you get to the hospital, they'll find out you're actually going to have another baby, wouldn't that be great?" said Peyton reassuringly with a smile as I walked out the door.

"What can I do for you?," asked the kind-looking, older security guard at the entrance of the hospital's emergency room.

"I'm having a miscarriage and I need help," I stated.  The words felt strange coming out of my mouth.  I hadn't even told people I was pregnant and here I was telling a complete stranger that I was miscarrying.  It was all personal and sad and uncomfortable.  

It felt like I said and heard that word 451 more times in the next six hours.  "Miscarriage Behind Curtain 6" was my new name.  Tests had to be run. There was a system, a protocol that had to be followed.  Even though we all knew what was happening.  

Not long after I got settled behind my curtain, Tim showed up and held my hand and was by my side.

The dark ultrasound room was possibly the lowest point of the day.  The only sounds were the whirring of the air conditioning coming from the vent, the clicks of the computer from the somber ultrasound tech and my sniffling.  I am used to ultrasounds where the tech says "see your baby?" and then writes fun quotes like "can't wait to meet you!" on the picture to take home.  This time after the ultrasound, there was no picture.  She handed me a box of tissues and left the dark room to "give us some time."  Tim was there holding my hand still.  It was heavy and sad.

But it wasn't officially a miscarriage until my doctor, who was in the hospital performing a C-section, came and gave me the news.  I love my doctor and I am forever grateful that she is the one that told me finally what I had known/feared since praying in my bathroom that morning.  

I was wheeled to the operating room almost immediately for a D & C.  It was all happening very fast now.  IVs, anesthesia, papers to sign, different nurses, different beds, different rooms.  It was surreal.  It was all fluorescent lights and nurse buttons and beds with wheels.  It was like a movie and I was just lying in the bed watching it all happen.  

Tim had a job interview that he was supposed to go to at 4 p.m.  He decided to cancel it, but before I went in for surgery I made him promise he would go.  My amazing doctor offered to drive me home after she was done with her shift later that night(see why I love her?).  But Tim said he could be back by 6:30 and the hospital agreed to keep me until then.  I felt better knowing he was going as they injected my IV to put me to sleep.

After I woke up and they unwired me from IVS and blood pressure machines, I was wheeled into a cubicle looking space with a recliner.  There was no one in the room, no one.  I heard faraway voices confirming appointments and deliveries, but saw no one.  


After the nurse asked if I was alone, I felt a little sorry for myself.

But then I just sat still. And fell in and out of sleep.  I stared at the ceiling and listened to nothing.  I felt peace.  I knew the moment I left the plastic-y, leather-y recliner and the warm toasted blankets life would go on--meals would need to be made, kids would need to be cared for, school supplies would need to be bought, work would need to be done.  So I sank into the peace and quiet of the moment.  I surrendered to the surreality of the whole day.  I honored my grief and my confusion.

When we got home I told the kids my stomach was better, but I needed to take it easy.  We are not telling them anymore than that.  

I am sure the surreality and the grief will continue, but so will the healing.

The next morning I woke up thinking it was all a dream, but then remembering it wasn't.  And then I made gluten free waffles and we all ate breakfast on the front porch.  Life goes on.  We carried on, just like normal, but Tim and I know everything is different.