Wednesday, August 30, 2006

if you're going through hell, keep going

I love you ladies. I mean it. You are wise and wonderful, and your comments push, pull, and drag me through my days. Would any of you consider moving to the Western New York area? How about just a visit? I will make tea! I have coffee cake! Come on. I could use a real live shoulder. And bring a casserole or something, would you please? I haven't felt up to cooking much lately.

Here is an interesting thing - it is simply astounding how much you can accomplish when you live in fear of being bored. I make a big to-do list and I actually do it. It's really the only way to keep myself
sane. I must have busy hands. Even going places or visiting people is a sub-par method because when I drive I can't do anything else, and no matter how loud I crank the radio it doesn't drown out the movie playing in my head. So...

Floors? Mopped.
Bathtub? Scrubbed.
Laundry? Done.
Ironing? Yes, even the ironing is done.

I have lots of thank-you notes to write to all the people who have done kind things for us over the past couple of weeks, but I can't do more than one or two at a time. It makes me cry. So I've been blowing that off in favor of creative endeavors. I have been on a huge finishing kick. Somehow my grief has created in me a need to get stuff done that's been sitting around. I want to flush out the
project pipeline and start fresh. To wit:

The donations I made for the Dulaan project. In February. I have finally woven in all the ends on the 4 hats and 4 pairs of mittens, and they are going in the mail this week. I'm rather ashamed to say I missed the deadline for this winter, but hopefully they will be put to use next year.

Sundress and bloomers for Daughter. These were stitched up sometime in early July, I think, but were just waiting for hand finishing on the shoulder straps and bloomer legs. This is now done and has even been worn. It's the last of the summer sewing projects for this year.

Cotton blend socks I started in...are you ready? 2003, I think. I don't like knitting with cotton (I think it's Sockotta or something like that) so these got shoved in a bag and left to languish for several years. One was done, one was started. Now they are both done and off my list.

Boring brown socks. Knitpicks Essential yarn, in the fawn colorway (I think...I really need to start saving my yarn labels and putting them in my project bags). These were started in the winter but as you can see they are BORING. So they got shoved aside for more interesting projects. Again, one was done. I whizzed through the second last week. Done and done. In the drawer for when I need plain old tan socks. Bleh.

Yes. Baby dress. This was, of course, intended for baby Beth. It's blocked and I will sew it up today or tomorrow. I have dainty purple buttons for the back. It will be washed and carefully packed away for "someday," whether that is the next couple of years for me, or 25-30 years when Daughter has her own children. Either way, it will be completed with all my love and in memory of my sweet girl.

Flannel pants for Daughter, cut and ready to sew. I bought enough of the pink for 2 pairs - they were going to be little matchy-matchy outfits. If anyone wants 5/8 yard of it, email me or leave a comment. It's washed and pressed and you can have it.

And finally, something bright and reminiscent of the fall leaves which are already starting to fall off my trees:

This is some Knitpicks Sock Garden in the zinnia colorway. This photo does not come close to doing it justice - the colors positively scream at you in real life. I got this for my birthday (back in January) and want to do something with it before the next birthday rolls around. Plus I think the bright colors might cheer me. I am thinking footie socks for me and nice warm socks for Daughter. There should be plenty of yarn for both pairs.

I have also completed a quilted wallhanging (sewed a hanging sleeve on it, cut the dowel and hung the silly thing after it sat folded in a closet for 3 years), a baby sweater that you cannot see yet because it's a surprise, and most of my Kinsale sweater which I blogged about finishing a billion years ago. One more pattern repeat on the second sleeve, a few seams, and a good wash 'n block to go, and I will be modeling it for you. Also, I fully intend to finish Beth's baby quilt. We have her handprints and footprints on a card, which I am thinking of scanning and incorporating into the quilt label. The quilt will be hung either in Daughter's room or perhaps somewhere more prominent so we can see it every day and think of her.

Well, I hope that was a more interesting and non-depressing post. I want you to know how much I appreciate those of you who continue to check in and leave me such kind words. I am not kidding when I say I rely on your comments to get me through the day - I go back and read them over and over. I don't want to throw around the word 'depression' because that is a serious disease and I don't wish to offend anyone who legitimately suffers from it...and I don't think I am actually depressed (though I am monitoring myself, and my family is monitoring me as well, for signs of PPD). I think I am merely suffering from extreme sadness. But I do have ups and downs, manic days and very 'down' days (can you guess what today is? my goodness...), and the blog will probably reflect that. It's going to be a roller coaster around here for quite some time, I imagine. Thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

attempting to share some feelings


This is my 200th post. I wish it were more exciting and celebration-like.

I'm really, really sad. And tired. And tired of being sad. It has been 2 weeks now, which amazes me. Where have the days gone? I know I get up every day and I know I function for the sake of my family, but I'm not 100% 'there' at all.

I know that when I weep it is for myself and my husband and all our family members who will not get to spend a lifetime with our baby. I know that she is in heaven and never suffered, never will suffer, and has beautiful, perfect, eternal life. I know that we will see her again when it is our time. And I am endlessly grateful that the decision was made for us...we did not have to stand over a NICU bassinet and watch our baby struggle for life, or make any horrible decisions about life support.

But oh, how I long to have her here with us. How I wish I could cradle her soft body in my arms, and feel her tiny heart flutter. I dream of her newborn smell, and the feel of her soft fuzzy head against my cheek. When I found out I was pregnant again we knew our lives were about to change pretty radically. So we immediately started making plans. This sweet baby was already so loved, and we wanted her so badly. I had so many thoughts and ideas and plans. Now our lives have changed again, and our plans have suddenly changed as well.

And I don't like it. I don't want it to be true. I hate that this has now become part of the story of my life. I don't know how to be this woman. I don't even know how to write about it. It is such a deeply personal thing and words just fail me.

I know that what happened to me and my family is right, because it is God's plan. It isn't for us to understand. But I don't have to like it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

paranoia takes here's a picture of the city

*Edited version*

Mom dragged us out of the house to take a harbor tour since it was a totally beautiful day. Here's a shot of lovely Buffalo. Note city hall is wrapped in scaffolding and netting. I guess it's getting new mortar or something.

By the way, in the last week Daughter has totally learned to walk. It has proved to be both excellent entertainment and pretty good distraction from sad thoughts.
I can honestly say that Daughter is the glue holding my fragile self together these days, and I thank God for her every morning as I lay in bed listening to her yell "UP!"

Also, the doctor called and so far all test results have been negative for any abnormalities with my pregnancy. Very frustrating indeed.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

another day

We went to church this morning and there was a baby being baptized and a newborn right behind me and oh dear Lord in Heaven give me strength to get through this.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

hanging in there

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all the kind, loving, prayerful comments.

We laid our sweet Beth to rest yesterday. It was so beautiful, and yet so sad. We are struggling to find peace.

I will be back. I'm not sure if that will be in a week or a month or what. I'm not sure what I'll even be writing about as our lives have changed so much in the past few days. I hope that some of you will keep me in mind and check back in.

For now I just want to say that if you are looking for a wonderful cause, especially if you sew or knit, I suggest contributing to your local hospital's bereavement program (they also accept monetary donations). They provide counseling, real tissues to replace the cruddy hospital ones, a handpainted memory box for the baby's things, and in our case a stunning handmade burial gown and bonnet, knitted booties, hat, and blanket. We have asked our family and friends to donate to our hospital's program in lieu of sending flowers, and as soon as I can pull it together I will be knitting up some booties and hats in the hope that they will bring some comfort to another grieving mother.

Again, thank you so much for all the wonderful thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Our precious baby girl, Elizabeth Ellen, was called home to be with Jesus this morning. For reasons we do not know (and may never know), her little heart stopped beating sometime during week 31. She was born this morning at 3:30, weighed 2 lbs., 6.8 oz., and is absolutely beautiful.

Obviously we are sick with grief. You have all been so supportive over the last 7 months, and once again I ask for your prayers as we struggle to understand God's plan for our family.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

it gave me a terrible backache, but it's so worth it

As the weather has been, in my opinion, absolutely perfect for the last few days, stuff has actually been accomplished around here. No, the house is not clean! Don't be silly! I was talking about sewing and knitting!

The bambina's quilt (top):

I was going for a sweet, vintage look. Like something you might see in a room with a white wicker or iron bed and distressed furniture. I think it's finished (other than the quilting and binding of course) but I'm not sure. Right now it's 54" square, and I have lots of blocks left so I could tack on a couple more rows and make it a rectangle. I don't feel too moved to do that, though. I also don't think I want borders - my original plan, if you can even call it a plan, was to just take the blocks to the edges and bind it, which you see on many antique quilts (probably because they had only scraps left to make quilt tops and not enough of any one fabric for a border). Besides, this is pretty busy and I don't even know what I would use for a border.

Another angle, just for kicks:

Now it's on to my least favorite part of quilting - the actual quilting itself. Bleh. I am lucky to have a very good sewing machine with a very good walking foot, so that helps, but I really dislike the pinning and the marking and the shoving of the quilt through the machine bed and all that. My reward at the end is the binding - that I love. I know, I'm so weird. I just like the hand-finishing process. It gives the project such nice closure.

Here is a happy thing: all of the fabrics (except the muslin) are stash fabrics, so this quilt did not cost much to make at all. Hooray! Here's to using stuff up! I bought 200-count muslin* at Joann for background at $2.99/yard, but of course I used my coupon, so I think I spent a whopping 5 bucks or something. Awe. Some. And I have mucho batting stored up from my days of working at a quilt shop, so no cost there either. Sometimes I amaze myself with the thriftiness.

With days of 70s (and low, low humidity) and nights of 50s, knitting is back ON. I don't have photos for you today - gotta leave something for tomorrow - but I've been cooking along on some projects. Stay tuned.

*If you're going to use muslin, buy the 200-count. Don't bother with the cheap stuff, it is loosely woven and WILL fall apart. Ask me how I know this. Trust me and splurge - spend the extra $1 per yard!

Friday, August 04, 2006

so excited i might pee my pants

Or maybe that is the baby elbowing me in the bladder every 5 minutes.

But anyway, I am super excited! Look what my blogging/sewing/crafting/pregnancy friend sent to me:

Super duper vintage knitting and crocheting patterns for baby! I am not kidding when I tell you I ripped the package open on the porch - couldn't even make it through the front door first - and then I jumped up and down when I saw how awesome these booklets are (ah, maybe the jumping explains the urge to pee?). These books are exactly what I scour flea markets for, and I love that one of them says "Mabel" on the front, presumably in Mabel's handwriting, and is copyright 1942. The most expensive one says "29 cents". Glorious! I adore these patterns and can't wait to sit down with some tea and my yarn stash...

People, let me tell you that the power of the internet is amazing sometimes. This lift was just what I needed this week to keep me going. This person lives over 2,000 miles away from me and chances are good we'll never even meet in person (sad!) but she has touched me just the same. Thank you so much, Karen. I'm so lucky to "know" you!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

tis the season

I'm sorry, yesterday was just a supremely bad day here in the Buff. I woke up tired and spent the whole day feeling like I was slogging through mud. To top it off, Daughter knocked over a full glass of iced tea in the family room and proceeded to splash around in it, and when Hub got up to help me clean it/distract the child, he stepped on her full sippy cup of milk, popping the top off. So there were two beverage messes to clean out of the carpet. Mmmmmmm. Whole milk. In the carpet. HOT weather. Deeeeeeeeeeelicious.

(I know, it's my own stupid fault for leaving drinks where they could be spilled. I said it was a bad

So, this morning I decided my bathroom smells like a summer camp due to the dampness that
permeates everything...the rugs and stuff just won't dry in this weather. Every bathroom textile has now been washed and I am waiting on the dryer so I can re-hang the shower curtain and get cleaned up. In the meantime, I thought I'd share my little sickness with you.

This might really wig some of you out, and if you're a nature-loving environmentalist, just don't look. However, I am willing to bet some of you might be right there with me (ok, maybe not as bad).

You see, this is the time of year when all the back-to-school sales start. Around here kids don't go back to school until the Wednesday after Labor Day, but the stores are ready NOW. There are all those nifty displays at Target and the Mart, made out of cardboard and filled to bursting with

And I have a sickness. It has been a full 4+ years since I was enrolled in any kind of school, and
almost that long since I taught, but I still get twitchy when the ads start rolling out showing all the latest and greatest stuff. So even though I've been getting much better about it, I still have to go peruse the displays and every year I buy something. In recent years I've managed to restrict myself to one or two spiral notebooks for 10 cents each (legitimate use for those - I have to make my lists and keep track of stuff somewhere), and once in awhile a pack of pens or something.

But in the past...


to be fair, most of these are recycled from high school and college (and many belonged to Hub)

a small forest no longer exists because of us

this is kind of over-the-top, huh? i see that Binney & Smith box and smell that waxy crayon smell and it's like a drug, baby...

Yeah, so there it is. And sadly, that's not even all we have. Some is stored in dribs and drabs all over the house. I'll never have to buy my kids anything. I've even visited the Crayola an adult. My friend and I were the only ones there without any children. And my favorite "Picture-Picture" on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was the one where they show you how crayons are made. You can see it here.

I've always been one of those nerdy kids who loved school. The start of the school year was so exciting! Getting to buy new supplies and labeling everything, cracking open a brand new notebook on the first day - it was truly like a drug for me. And that was back when a box of 24 crayons cost something like $1.99. Now you can get 8 boxes for that much money. Twitch...twitch...

Wanna come over and color? I got the stuff.