Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gratitude Project · Week 7

Our Own Version of Groundhog Day

Well, we woke up this morning and looked into the freshly painted room and both decided we did not like the color- again.  It had dried in a darker shade of baby blue instead of the color we were hoping for which was a hazy, soft, greyish blue.  While we both were dreading painting the room for the third time in as many days, we both knew it had to be done.  So...we went to Home Depot - again, spent time picking out a "perfect color" again. Purchased our paint- again. Came home and changed into our painting attire- again. And began re-painting- again.  We both LOVE this third and final color...thank heavens!!  We had many good laughs as we were starting over again today...and even put Groundhog Day in the DVD to play in the other room while we painted and listened.  You know, just for fun.

All to say, we have painting this room down pat. We can knock it out in less than two hours, we each have our roles of cutting in and rolling and both (thankfully!) enjoy the painting process. are some more shots from today...

....the second color...looks a lot more like baby blue in person....

....laughing as we are starting over...yet again!

...the contrast between our first and third colors...

...another example of the contrast.  Our first color is at the top and our final one is at the bottom...

Our final color selection...thank you Martha! We are finally happy with the outcome!

...evidence of a weekend spent painting...

All right, there you have it! Now we are off to move the furniture back into the room and begin putting some things away! Its been almost a month since our house became all torn up, so this will hopefully help with feeling a little bit more settled! Lesson learned: big projects take time and it is worth doing things over again in order to get them right!

For anyone else who has had this or a similar experience while working on home projects, Happy Groundhogs Day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We are officially In Progress...

This weekend, we officially started painting and working on the two rooms getting the biggest makeovers in preparation or baby girl's arrival. Even though we ended up not liking the first color we painted the office, the folks at Home Depot were very nice and helped us figure out how to adjust.  So after a second coat in a slightly darker color and we are back on are some shots from along the far.

Sweet Joe neck deep in coat #1....

....some essentials...

.....listening to the KU/Colorado basketball game during the re-painting with the second color... favorite painting partner...


...working hard...

....with a keen eye for details...

....Hey, what are you doing? You're not painting....

....smiling for the blog!

....Yep, we're officially in progress!

We will post official before/after shots when we get some more things done, but in the meantime, we also wanted to document our journey along the way!  Thanks for sneaking a peek!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beautifully, Painfully, Unexpectedly Bittersweet

It has happened on a plane, in a church, at a wedding, at my desk at work, on the phone, looking at our mid-rearranged-repainted home and while standing at the fridge getting some juice.  In all of these places and then some, I have been struck completely unprepared with waves of grief in missing Luke.  There I am,   going about my business and from out of nowhere, I am suddenly crying and cannot regain composure.  Things like mountains, ring bearers, a song on the radio that is on Luke's special Playlist, sweet photos of Luke's feet, baby registries and nursery dreaming have just completely tipped me over lately.  I know it is part of the healing and grieving process and that I will always feel like something is missing in my life, but that does not make it any easier to handle in the moment as the hot tears make their way down my cheeks and onto my shirt.

As we move closer and closer to sweet baby girl's arrival, I am reminded more and more intensely of all we did miss out on with Luke.  The preparations, the choosing of gear, the picking out and decorating of his room, the shopping for teeny tiny clothes, the dreaming of long nights spent awake together, the joyful expectation of everyone around us, the watching of grandparents prepare too, the worry of not knowing how best to care for him, the classes taken to learn how, the nesting nesting nesting that simply takes over as a mama prepares to welcome her baby.  I didn't get to do any of that for him and it rips at my heart if I allow myself to ponder all of that reality for too long.

Some would say simply, "Don't.  Don't do that to yourself.  Why ponder it?  Why focus on the past?  Why make yourself extra sad?" And while my intention is not to wallow, stay in the past or torture my already fragile heart, I cannot help but believe that there is also somehow power in naming what I am identifying the new ways my heart is aching and missing my sweet Luke as I go into this next chapter of motherhood.  In a way, by allowing my tears to fall and recognizing those agonizing emotions for what they are, I feel it honors not only his precious life but also his ongoing presence in our lives.  The power part of the naming comes in just remembering and allowing Luke to continue moving forward with us into our future and not leaving his memory or presence behind...not running from, ignoring or avoiding the truth that our loss of him still hurts....will always hurt...only in new, unexpected and beautiful ways. 

One of my deepest ongoing fears and worries has been that as sweet baby girl prepares to arrive here in the world, that her older brother would somehow be left behind, and not as present as he has been in our lives. I am so worried that he will be forgotten and "replaced" in other's memories by other healthy babies we may be so blessed to have.  What I am learning is that I will probably always harbor that worry in my heart.  However, I'm also learning something unexpected as I journey forward toward baby number 2.  With each person who sees my belly, asks about my due date, asks about her, I'm blessed with opportunity to weave in a little bit of Luke too. 

It feels like I've been asked, "Is this your first?" at least three thousand and one times by well meaning, wonderful, kind hearted people....people who genuinely just simply don't know our story.  While I know that many people do know our story, I'm learning that there are so many more who do not.  Instead of struggling through these moments, I decided to change my perspective and view these conversations as an opportunity and gift  I'm being given to share just a whisper of Luke's story with so many more people.  He is absolutely not forgotten, he absolutely is not being replaced, he is still being thought of with so. much. love.  And every time I get to answer a question about our family, my heart both aches and smiles as I remember him, say his name and share our bittersweet story of when we became a family of three.

While there are times I cannot wrap my heart around how much we have missed out on with Luke, I'm reminded again and again with each delicious kick in my belly, of all of the beauty, delight and wonder that awaits us with our beautiful daughter.  Our days now have many more bright spots than sad ones.  We laugh more than we cry and we find ourselves doing a lot more dreaming about our future than we have in years past.  We are more than eager to meet our beautiful daughter and delight in her life...and we are looking forward to every single moment with her.  So now, when asked, I'm able to add some beauty with the bittersweetness, some joy with the grief, some hope with the tears....our journey continues forward only this time I'm able to see so much more beauty than heartache. It has not been easy, but we are oh-so-eagerly anticipating becoming a much dreamed about family of four.   


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I had to share this...

I was clicking around and reading some blogs this evening when I stumbled upon this fun, bright-spirited gal and I simply could not resist sharing this amazing post....

Isn't that the coolest idea?

I know I'm late in discovering it, but it completely inspires me to want to be a better human being!

Thank you, Whippy Cake Girl! 


Gratitude Project · Week 5

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Claiming January

In my past- like it is for so many, January has always been my month of renewal.  New goals, renewed interest in organization and clarity, a fresh outlook and perspective on life for the fresh, untouched, unstained new year.  My birthday is in January, so always before, I have used that date as my personal 'new year' for all of my reflecting and dreaming for the year that is passing and the year that is dawning.  This January I found was different for me.  As it approached, I felt that my 'new year' was going to begin on January 5th- the day after Luke's birthday. For me, that day felt like a new beginning.  In my mind, that would be the day where I would hopefully start feeling like I had my life back a little bit- as far as not marking major milestones in our journey of grief, better able to make plans for our future, freedom to dream and hope again, open to being emotionally available for new growth, as well as letting myself savor and enjoy these final few weeks and months at home with Joe just the two of us, all while looking ahead and trying to prepare and anticipate as much as one can, for the radical life changes that are ahead for us when our little lady arrives in early May.

Those were my plans and ideas of what January was going to be like, and as usual, God had a few additional and different ideas for how I would be spending these past 33 days.

The day before Luke's birthday, my family lost one of its most defining members:  my dear Uncle Ed who passed away at the age of 93.  He had fallen over Christmas and his health was rapidly declining, so we knew it was coming, but you are just never ready to officially say good bye.  In a familiar parallel, his passing and subsequent remembrance services fell on the exact anniversary (day-wise, not date wise) of Luke's the previous year.  So in addition to our emotional heavy-ness with Luke's birthday and how best to remember and celebrate him, there was a flurry of family flying into town, lots of meals to help prepare and logistics to arrange.  Uncle Ed was a man beloved by many and will be truly missed by all of us who had the joy of knowing him.

In the middle of the month, Joe and I began to finally think through all we need to do in order to prepare for our baby's arrival in a few short months. We had not allowed ourselves to think or prepare or make plans for her until we had been reassured by several doctors and sonograms that everything is looking great and that she indeed will be coming home to live with us after she is born. So after receiving the great news around Christmastime, we finally started making our lists, meeting with our financial planners, insurance people, moving furniture, decluttering our entire home to make room.  (*side note-We have removed almost 1/2 of our furniture from our house to make room for her!  We will be doing a blog post later on all we are doing, but it has been a major undertaking! Next up is the painting, priming, designing etc of her nursery (as well as a few other rooms in our house!))

I traveled to sunny San Diego, California for a week toward the end of the month to attend a conference for work.  It was beautiful to be outside in the sunshine and to have some time to just be still and quiet too.  I had a hotel room to myself and part of me could not help but wonder when the next time I would have that luxury again over the course of the next several years of my life.  I tried to savor and enjoy every minute of it that I could.

It was while I was in California that I learned that my sweet grandmother had passed away.  Her health also began to steeply decline recently, so it was not a surprise, but still difficult as she was my last surviving grandparent.  She lived to be 92 and we celebrated her life last Saturday with a beautiful, small family service and dinner.  She would have loved her service as it was truly lovely.  She will be missed as well.

Between all of the losses, the family gatherings, the travels, the home re-no/chaos on top of all of the "normal life" work and responsibilities, it has been a blur of a month.  Part of me wanted to move my emotional 'new start' day to February 1 in order to be able to feel more fully present in my "beginning," but a quiet part of my heart reminded me, that it is amidst this real life living that if we allow ourselves to be, we can be renewed right where we are, right in the middle of everything that is going on.  We are not always given the gift of fresh starts and blank schedules in order for "newness" to feel "new" or  settle into our hearts.  Sometimes renewal is the product of refining and refining often does not feel restful or restorative.  Starting fresh is a choice we are given daily, we have only to choose how we perceive our circumstances and surroundings.   So feeling a bit emotionally breathless and worn out, that is what I decided to do.  I chose to claim January for what it was- a very difficult and busy month; one full of lessons, moments, good byes, endings, beginnings, hugs, tears and hopefully a little progress.  Being able to reflect upon it with the perspective of it not just as a month of refining but also renewal feels like a gift in itself.

I'm looking forward to all that is ahead in this awakening of a new year and new chapter in my life....bring on February!