It's been eleven weeks. When am I going to stop counting the weeks? When will Tuesdays between 2 and 4pm pass without me knowing it?

I think it's time to get Kate to talk to a child therapist. Tonight Kate told me "I don't have a father." I thought she was confused by the word father, so I asked her what she meant. "Remember Mommy, my daddy went to heaven and now I don't have a father."


She gets the word father and she feels abandoned by hers. So exactly what I was hoping to avoid.

I've got a whole new layer to cranky today. Maybe it was the 2am sheet, comforter, pillow and stuffed animal change that was required. Or the 2:10am bath for a crying 4 year old that wanted to know why there was "tinkle coming out her bottom in bed". Or maybe it was the 3am load of laundry. Or maybe it's because I miss my husband. Or maybe, just maybe I don't give a rats ass.
Here's hoping for a better tomorrow.


Memorial Day

I wrote about the real meaning of Memorial Day (to me at least) on the other blog.

Kate's fever last night meant missing a gathering with friends. No sense getting anyone else sick. Sometimes, I really hate being an adult. So, we spent a quiet day at Grandma and Grandpa's. After a long nap Kate woke up fever free and feeling mostly better. Even with the good nap, she's already been asleep for forty minutes.
To the friends we didn't get to see, we missed you and you're welcome.

I came to the realization today that while I was looking forward to the change of seasons, I was wrong. Changing seasons brings a whole round of, "wish he was here" "who's going to shuck the corn, it was Scott's job?" and remembering "what's that I hear? Is it the ice cream truck? Bran, you got money for ice cream?"

Mom shucked the corn, I made sure I had money and Kate waited patiently for the ice cream truck.

It was an epic battle but in the end the smile and laughter beat the tears and sadness... mostly.


Is this Sunday?

I don't know what day it is? It happens.

I do know that I spent yesterday in my Happy Place. Happy Place requires lots of attention this time of year. I'm happy to give it.
Kate stayed behind with Grandma and Grandpa so I could really get some work done.

Back early this morning, driving in some amazing fog. A trip to the theater to see Kung Fu Panda 2. Now, my baby girl stirs restlessly in her bed with a fever. Sounds like the holiday weekend plans just came to a screeching halt.


The quiet house

There are times like tonight that the house is eerily quiet. Where somehow I can hear every teeny tiny noise no matter how far away it is. Like all the ambient noise is sucked from the house and all that's left are hard knocks, loud bangs, and incessant creaking.

I sat down on the sofa a few moments ago and closed my eyes. There was not a sound. Kate is already snoozing, the cats are off hiding (or in Jake's case put in the basement because he's a menace at night), no TV, no radio, nothing.

I remembered the first time I came home from Rush after Scott had his splenic artery aneurysm. The house felt exactly like it does right now. I had been gone for two days and not slept a wink during that time and the house felt foreign to me. Like the life had gone from our home.

Then I thought of the first night Scott was on oxygen. The machine had come around 7pm and we were here having dinner with some friends. The kind of dinner where pizza was ordered, people ate off paper plates and sat on the floor of Scott's room and everyone loved it because we were together.
That night after the pizza was eaten, the plates were tossed and the friends had left, Scott settled in for what would be the first of six nights of sleeping hell. Nights where he woke up panicked that he wasn't going to make it through the night. Darkness that had even me doubting he would see another day. The house smelled of fear, of death lurking in every corner.
That first night Scott called me (it was my last night sleeping in my bed until after his passing) in a panic. I frantically raced downstairs. Sitting as erect as I've ever seen him in that bed Scott, with wide eyes asked "what is that noise that sounds like Darth Vader? What is it? Why won't it stop? Is death here?"
In the days following, I retold this story. I laughed and joked about Darth Vader but I left out the line "Is death here?". I couldn't speak it. I couldn't tell everyone how after I moved the oxygen condenser, that did indeed sound like Darth Vader, I sat on the floor of Scott's room, leaned against his bed, held his hand and talked softly to him all night. I didn't tell anyone how every time I would pause to take a breath, drink a little water, or see if he was asleep enough, that he would start to panic again.
It so closely mimicked a night in the dreaded room 511 in the SICU, the first night we met SICU Nate, that it was then that I realized just how close I was to loosing Scott three years before. I sat there, whispering with my raspy voice, reflecting on those three years and felt so immensely grateful for every moment. Everything we had been through had been so worth it. I had been so very blessed.

Continuing to sit on my sofa tonight I found myself thinking of the moments right after Scott passed. The house was silent to me then too. I know Kate was there, playing in her room; taking a no nap - nap, my dad was there sitting on the sofa and I know the tv was on. I can't hear anything though. The house is totally still and silent as I walked from Scott's room and into the living room. Walking right up to my dad and falling into his arms as he stood. The only sound I can hear in my memory is my muffled sobs into my dad's shoulder.
Yet again, the life had been sucked from the house. This time though, it wasn't going to come back. Not the same way at least.

When Kate is up the house is plenty loud. And most nights, even after she's gone to sleep there is enough going on, enough to do, that I don't notice it too much. But tonight, for whatever reason, this house is silent.
I couldn't just sit on the sofa and wallow in the silence. I couldn't spend any more time reliving the moments that make my heart ache, so I came here and I wrote this. When this is done, I'll edit some photos, fold some laundry, turn on a movie, play on the internet and distract myself. It works and I've always been a fan of doing what works.



I saw this mama with her babies today as I was leaving a job site. The first baby ducks I've seen this spring.
As I watched this mama parade her little family through a busy parking lot, I couldn't take my eyes of the babies.
Yeah they're cute, fuzzy little guys (and girls) making little squeak noises. But what struck me was how they blindly followed their mother. They kept their eyes on her all the time. Never once looking toward me or at the other cars moving about. They just focused on Mom. If she was there everything was alright.

That's kind of how Kate and I are right now. There are lots of transitions and adjustments happening on an almost daily basis. Kate has handled all of them with grace, intelligence and calm that someone five times her age doesn't even possess usually. I really hope that it's because she's mimicing what she sees in me.

I'm trying so hard to do what Scott wanted. I'm trying to focus on the good. Working on smiling, laughing and enjoying life. Most of the time I think I do a pretty good job but every once in a while I fall. Not just a little stumble but a huge, massive, horrific, fall from the roof of a building. Leaving me splattered on the ground below in a bloody heap. It's just part of the adjustment, I guess.

It's interesting because I'm struggling to relate to the outside world and I've seen this week how much the outside world struggles to relate to me. People have an easy time with Kate because most assume she doesn't "understand" what's happened. They just play with her and everything is fine. But me... yeah that's another story.

It's been a reunion type week for me. I've run into people in public places, reconnected on FaceBook, and I've spent time with a few others. Everyone does the same thing. They say nothing about Scott, dancing around the question "how are you?" like it's going to poison them. Maybe they're waiting for me to bring up the subject, maybe they are hoping I won't bring it up at all, or maybe they think I don't want to talk about it. I don't know, I'm not in their shoes.
I'm in my shoes and in my shoes, I want to talk about Scott. I want to talk about what happened, what a wonderful person he was, how losing him will impact Kate and me forever.
I want to hear what everyone has to say but I also don't want people to feel like they can only talk about Scott. I'm perfectly capable of talking about other things. I talk about lots and lots of different things. I enjoy talking about different things.
What I don't enjoy is feeling like people are walking on glass around me. I assure you all, I will not break. There is nothing that can be said, done or implied that will break me. I've been through the ringer and I've come out the other side.
I've got this.

I'll be the proud mother duck. I will walk my daughter through her life, watching for cars, keeping her safe from harm, showing her how to move gracefully through life while not being afraid to jump.


Over share of the century

I had a really REALLY hard time picking pictures to share. My happy place brings out the best of my photo mojo apparently.

I was so camera happy the entire weekend that I even took a picture of the best sandwich in the entire world. Homemade corned beef, swiss cheese from a local dairy toasted on fresh, homemade rye bread. OH HEAVENS!!! Just look at it's deliciousness.

Or look at the building next door. Which ever you prefer.

Part of what I love most about my happy place is the diversity of what I see, do, experience.

All things I can't get at home.

An absolute silence like nothing I've ever heard before.

All the gorgeous trees just wrap around you and drown away the worries and the stress.

There is usually some physical labor involved. A way to push my body to it's limits. To take in deep breaths and fill my tired, suburban muscles.

This time of year is especially glorious. Weeds that look like beautiful flowers. Rejuvenation everywhere.

Sharing it with my best girl really made for a heart filling experience.

As soon as I reassured Kate that you didn't need a television and that there would be no other people staying in our "hotel", she embraced the outdoors. I even managed to get her to stop screeching about every bug she saw. My kid HATES bugs. She seriously flips out over a lady bug in the house so having her in the bug capitol of the world and getting her to not freak out was a major accomplishment. Quite possibly the highlight of my mommy career.

Seeing her walk through the fields in the warm,setting sun, drinking her milk and twirling her hair, an absolute picture of contentment.

Yep, my girl gets it. She's not afraid to embrace life and explore.

She already knows that I'll be right there to offer her a hand if she ever needs it. I can think of nothing better.

Scott and I always wanted for her to be as comfortable outside, staring at water droplets as she was in a city at a charity gala.

Sharing my happy place with her is all part of the master plan.

It was interesting to see her in a small town setting. Everything here in the 'burbs is so hustle and bustle.

Slowing down, enjoying dinner, laughing, goofing off and guessing what the other person was drawing.

How do you top a meal like that? With ice cream of course.

It was so great to see her not only slow down and watch the world around her but to see her dance on the street while a random man played his guitar...

Yep, those are the moments in life.

"Blow on the dandelion and make a wish Kate."

"You too mom. What are you wishing for Mom?"

"What I always wish for." For all your dreams to come true.



I was doing some more of this

So that means you have to wait a little longer for more of this...

Yes, I let my kid run around outside in her underware. It was 85, sunny and we were in the middle of 30 acres.


Music Monday

Scott would sing this song in its entirety to my very pregnant stomach.
After Kate was born it was one of his go to lullabies. Strange but true.

Kate had her four year well kid check today. She did an awesome job. For the first time since her birth Kate was not off the charts for height. She was barely on the chart at 100%. Meaning Kate at 44'' tall has some crazy ass height. She's also turned into a little string bean. The doctor isn't worried about it so I won't be either.
We spent some time talking about the impact on Kate from losing Scott. Her doctor was terrific as always and gave me lots of resources and reassured me that Kate is doing wonderful. So far, I haven't completely messed her up. GO ME!

In my "kick in the pants" moment of the day, I got in the car and on auto-pilot I picked up the phone and called Scott. The voicemail message instantly brought me back to reality. Yep, that stung.

I've got some photo processing to do but I'll give you this one teaser photo from our trip away.

Not to toot my own horn but... ~~TOOT~~ This photo is straight out of the camera. No editing, no nothing. Just click and post. Woohoo!!


It's raining, it's pouring

There's a tornado warning.
And I'm so freaked out that I'm sitting here blogging and watching part of Ghost of Girlfriends Past. Yep, really scared. The only saving grace to this movie in my opinion is Matthew McConaughey. The only saving grace in Scott's opinion was Jennifer Garner. Obviously, it was one of our favorite movies.

I'm really glad Kate and I are back from our happy place. Being in the middle of nowhere, rural America on 30acres of woods during a tornado, with just Kate and I does not sound like fun. Plus the "cabin" is a metal building and let me tell you a regular rain storm sounds like the end of the world. I can't imagine what a storm this size would sound like.

So, while I'm ubber excited to share with you the photos from Kate and I's adventure, I still have some Disney to share. I know there are a few of you that have been patiently waiting for Kate and the Princess' pictures. And there are a few of you that have been driving me crazy asking when I would get off my ass and post the princess pictures. So here you go... assuming the internet holds out on me.

Did you know that during our Disney trip we took every major form of transportation?

Yep, a car (to get to the airport), a plane (duh), a bus (to get to the resort), a train (both the monorail and the train around Magic Kingdom) and then we decided to round things out by taking the ferry from our resort to the park the second day.

Kate has said on numerous occasions since our return that next time we go, she wants to take the boat every time. According to her, "it's better to be in the outside than the inside on the train thingy".

We totally lucked out on seeing most of the Princesses.

We figured out the second day, exactly where to meet a select few of them and headed right there when we came in.

A quick 10-15 minute wait and we had Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella and Belle under our belts.

Kate was absolutely mesmerized.

She politely chatted, gave hugs and posed like a champ.

Put the girl with a princess and she acts like one.

Right next door to the princess trio was Mickey and Minnie. This is the only time I really saw Disney fail. The lighting in with Mickey and Minnie was horrific. Absolutely awful. Even the pictures from the paid Disney photographer (who used Nikon gear thank you very much) suck. The reds are blown and the casting and shadows were impossible.

A few rides, lots of sweating and some shopping later, Kate and Scott's dream came true.

The perfect Princess Ariel and her handsome Prince Eric.

After meeting them we lucked out and were the last ones of the day to meet Princess Jasmine and Aladdin.

Of all the Princes Kate met, she was quite obviously the most smitten with Aladdin. I think she has her first crush.

We wrapped up the day with a Tiana and Prince Naveen (from the Princess and The Frog) meeting.

The Prince Naveen actor was perfect. He was so completely flawless, it was hysterical.

I think Kate had finally settled in just about the time we were leaving. She couldn't wait to stand, be goofy and pose for pictures.

Perfect chance for her mom to take advantage of the softened light.

I can't believe what a beautiful little girl I have. I'm so thankful to Scott for giving her to me.

She brings such joy to everyone around her.

Well, there you have it. The princesses. I still have about 20 photos that I really wish I could share but I'm sure I've bored you all to tears. Plus, I've got these "Happy Place" photos that I'm freaking in LOVE with.

Hoping the worst of the storm has rolled on. Thinking about those that had it far worse than I. One of the things Scott taught me and believed with all his soul is "it can always be worse." He said it the morning he died.