Sibling support

I’m in a few mom groups on Facebook and a mom posed the question of whether you can feel a family is complete after one child. They were debating having another but also felt good with one child and wanted other opinions.

So many factors go into that decision but I just felt compelled to comment with a perspective I unfortunately have had to realize and appreciate so young. Navigating grief can be really hard and it is definitely dependent on your situation but I can’t imagine my life now without my sisters. We didn’t always get along growing up – super competitive with each other and our parents (mainly mom’s time) and we’ve always loved each other but three girls wasn’t a walk in the park…I mean middle school years seriously.

A lot depends on family dynamic but I can’t imagine overcoming the last seven years as an only child. Sure friends and extended family offer their support, which has been great, but there is something comforting in knowing that two young women really actually do know how I feel because we are grieving the same person – OUR mom. She fostered great individual relationships with each one of us but it was and is challenging to find that new relationship and essentially our new sisterhood without our fearless leader.

My response to the question was basically this – As a new mom who lost a parent very young I’m so thankful for my siblings. Because good and bad days we’ve been able to help each other miss the one person we fought over (and still do some days). Now we get to direct all our smothering love at Papa Keith (formerly Father Keith). And who knows, my kids may grow up to not be best friends and talk occasionally or they may want to live down the street from each other and send their kids to the same school – who knows. But for me, I feel so much better knowing that they will have each other to make those decisions.

Christmas gift that gives

If you know me then you know bald eagles are my thing (see previous post). This year for Christmas my sisters and I decided to adopt the American Bald Eagle exhibit at the local zoo, Blank Park Zoo, as a surprise to my dad and a unique way to honor our mom. Offering a variety of donation levels, the money goes toward the care of the animals and the exhibit which is always a favorite of ours.

This weekend we made our way to check it out. I teared up seeing their names on the sign. It’s bittersweet but I know she’s proud and Father Keith loved it. 


What are some ways you remember or honor a loved one?

I’m back…

To say I took a break from blogging is an understatement. Essentially life took over and after being pulled in a ton of directions, including relocating back to Iowa AND having a baby, blogging took a backseat.

But I can sort of see through the newborn fog (how long can you call them newborns) and finally getting back to some “me” projects. Super important when you have so much depending on you to have an outlet and I am prioritizing this one.

More to come but here is a peek into what’s been taking so much of my time. And I’m ok with it.

Due date come and gone.

Turns out I’m not the most consistent at posting and I have gained a whole new respect for dedicated bloggers since starting my own blog.

Today marks a hard day and really a day when I just want to call my mom. Today is the due date from our pregnancy that resulted in miscarriage.  It’s crazy to miss and love someone you have to wait to meet and it’s been comforting to hear of others who have gone through pregnancy loss just sad to know others have felt that same pain. In the sadness that haunts today, I’m blessed to feel the sweet kicks from our newest blessing due in July. Being pregnant after having a miscarriage has brought on a whole new mix of emotions but we continue to pray and remain hopeful as we continue the journey to grow our family.

Music is one of my favorite ways to cope. This song has brought me comfort in our pregnancy loss and especially these hard days when all I want is my mom. How do you get through the hard times?

 

Fancy candles, pretty containers, reuse

I don’t like to throw things away…there I typed it. I come from a long line of people who cherish things / hoarder, whichever you prefer. This has probably escalated now that my mom is gone but I’ve always loved the memory aspect.

But sometimes that turns into usefulness and taking something once used as one thing, and turning it into something else. My mom was really good at this. One thing I remember specifically, was her randomly having candles that were near burnt out in the freezer…obviously I asked why. She told me it was a way to keep the holder and reuse it rather than just throwing it away. GENIUS…she may have done this to save money but little did she know that wisdom would one day help justify my love for fancy candles in pretty containers. So in shopping logic, that means it’s a deal…fancy candle, freeze to remove the wax and voila – you have a new container for whatever you want.

Some of the best candles can be bought at Anthropologie. Their candles smell amazing, Volcano is my favorite, BUT they also come in The pusher in me suggests you visit the nearest Anthropologie, smell their signature Volcano scent and just thank me later. Another favorite candle was found on our honeymoon in Charleston, SC,  I stumbled upon Rewined candles and fell in love. They take me back to one of my favorite trips in one of my favorite cities. Perfect for wine lovers and/or pregnant women, it’s currently getting me through my red wine cravings. You can also find Rewined at your local West Elm.

A few ways I’ve found to reuse the containers include: cotton ball and Q-tip holder in our master bath, vase for fake flowers, toothbrush head holder or just plain decoration. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Instructions:

  1. Wait until the candle will no longer hold a flame, let cool.
  2. Stick it in the freezer for 24 hours (maybe shorter depending on freezer temp).
  3. Take it out and remove the wax, clean with warm water and soap.
  4. Find a new use for it.

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Lots of love.

IMG_8399I hope your 2016 is off to a great start. Ours has been crazy busy and I took some time to restart and refocus in the new year. We kicked our year off with a trip to Pasadena to cheer on our Hawkeyes. It was a fun, quick trip for Joel and I but we got to spend time with his mom and some of our fellow Hawkeye friends.

Fast-forward to February and one of my favorite months. I LOVE holidays. As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, my mom LOVED holidays and she made it so much fun growing up. Decorating the house, baking holiday-themed treats and just taking that extra time to enjoy the day for it’s special reason was always fun. It’s been fun caring this tradition on with Hayden-Keith especially as he has gotten older.

Whether you think Valentine’s Day is just another day is totally up to you. But this year I challenge you to think outside of the usual box of chocolates. Sure, it’s typically a day for lovers but why not make it a day of love. Show whomever you love—yourself, your parents, sibling, spouse, kids, pet or a stranger what it means to love. Stop by your parents house unannounced or honor a lost loved one by doing an activity they loved to do or that you often did with them. I’ll be baking some of my mom’s special Valentine’s Day cookies with Hayden-Keith and loving up on my two human and fur men. We may have kicked off our day with donuts.

In keeping with the love theme, and since we didn’t take Christmas photos, we decided to take Valentine photos to share some exciting news. A huge shout out to my long-time friend, Kate Iverson of Kate Iverson Photography, for capturing these moments for us! You are the best.

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We are so excited to be growing our family. In a previous post, I shared the story of our miscarriage. The loss will always be with us, and we know we’ll meet that little one day but we have kept our faith and know that God has a plan for us, and our family. Can’t wait to meet this little one in July.

All that you’ve missed but seen


Thank you so much for all the love, thoughts and messages regarding our last post. While our hearts are broken we know it’s not the end of our journey to grow our family and will just see where God takes us.

IMG_6787It’s officially been five years since the last day I got to talk, hug and love my mom in person. And it’s been really hard. It’s been harder than normal and I find myself tearing up really easy, just wishing I could call her. As I do each year, I took the day off to just spend some time with myself and her. I made sure to do things we would have done together or something she would have done in her every day like taking Lou for a run and baking her cut-out cookie recipe. Joel even helped me frost and decorate. Oh and I wore her turtleneck cropped wool sweater which I received compliments on (my sisters won’t believe it). My sister Catie and her manfriend Arlin came over and we ordered “terrible” Chinese. It was great. Continue reading →

1 in 4 is me.

This Wednesday will be five years since I last saw my beautiful mom alive. Each year it is always hard but this year hurts even worse. I think of all the times I’ve needed her here and all the things she’s missed out on.  Her shoulder to cry on and her hugs are something I wish I could have just one more time. Especially during the hard times like this past August when our journey to become a family of four (not counting Lou) was derailed when I started to miscarry at nine weeks; just two days before our nine week ultrasound appointment.

We found out we were pregnant right away. I remember being so excited and telling myself I would really make the most of this pregnancy. I was confident in my body’s ability to carry a healthy child full-term and had made it through a fairly uncomplicated labor and delivery (minus 36 hours of labor and a hematoma). After taking a few tests and thanking God for positive results, I shared the news with Joel and Hayden Keith. We were all so excited. Continue reading →

Soar on wings like eagles

Eagle_closeupAnyone who knows me knows I love Bald Eagles. Growing up my parents shared their love of this bird, due in part to their hometown, Decorah, IA. It’s a popular area for Bald Eagles and when we would road trip to visit family we would always keep an eye out for one. Dad said we’d get $5 for everyone we saw (still waiting to collect).

I never knew how this bird would become my saving grace in coping with my mother’s cancer. When her hair started to fall out from chemo, mom got together with her sisters to shave her head. She looked amazing. I wish I would have done it with her but my head has a dent in it. Regardless she looked beautiful. One day she was probably asking me to do something and I got sassy with her and called her “Bald Eagle.” She gave me a look but I quickly recovered and let her know it was a symbol of strength and grace. She liked it and the name stuck. Continue reading →

Words to live by

IMG_7943When my mom was diagnosed, it brought on so many emotions. I was in the middle of a quarter-life crisis (it’s a real thing), graduating college, ending a relationship, moving out for the first time, applying for jobs and THEN my best-friend mom was diagnosed with cancer. I needed advice. I wanted someone to tell me it was ok, that she would be alright, I would be alright, my family would be alright and life wouldn’t end.

To cope with the fear of the unknown, I found myself gravitating towards quotes and poems. Whether it was on strength, love, grief or friendship I started saving these in a homemade journal I received from my cousin. I still have it and will write down new quotes whenever I find them. You can find a lot of them on my Pinterest board. Continue reading →