Monday, December 29, 2008

7 years

7 whole years.
I look at this picture and realize that I don't even know those people anymore.
So many things have happened.
So much has changed.

Someone should have grabbed me aside that day I walked down the aisle and warned me that I was about to go on the adventure of a lifetime....the kind that you can't even dream of. Because looking back, sometimes I am still shocked at everything we've done, everything we've overcome. With all the things that have happened...all the places we've lived...the places we've traveled...the people we've met...it truly has been an amazing journey so far.

And I can't imagine going through that with anyone else.
Then again maybe we were just too young and dumb to know any different.

Now, what are some things I have learned in the last 7 years?
1. Never have serious conversations after 10 p.m. ~ it turns ugly.
2. Hire someone to paint. Its worth the money to save the marriage.
3. Never hang pictures together. Hanging pictures = Fight.
4. And finally...don't bother asking him if you can buy something you don't need. We already know the answer...so just buy it anyways and hide the evidence.
5. And then of course. A sense of humor is a must. For both laughing at yourself...and then of course laughing at your husband when he does something stupid.

*I'm blessed because I get to laugh a lot.

Because as I sit here and look at pictures and remember stupid things that have happened. All I can do is shake my head in disbelief...and laugh.

We were so young and dumb.
I guess you could say we still are...but I keep telling myself, through it all, we must have gotten a little wiser.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas weekend






Alright.
This year wasn't exactly Christmas bliss...but we survived.
And boy, do we have some stories.
Would you expect anything less from us?
I think not...

So, here is the quick version. The basic low down of our Christmas weekend that we had been dreading since July. And quite frankly, we had every reason to.

Christmas Eve:
Took Tim to work in the morning so I could run errands in the Jeep. It rained...and then, of course, it froze. The rest of the afternoon I couldn't figure out what it was doing outside, all I know is that driving was less than thrilling. The trip to church was treacherous (and I won't lie, we were really dreading going before all this happened anyways) but we finally drug our butts out to the 10 p.m. service. Okay, I don't want to beat around the bush. The service was totally lame. I swear it was an exact repeat of last year. The whole truth is, that this was the first time since Will's death that we have been able to actually attend church in person, its just been too emotional. And then the whole "sleep in heavenly peace" singing bit really threw Tim and I into the deep end. So, we left the church crying...exhausted...and praying that God would forgive us for sitting there and making fun of things while we were sitting in church. Yes, that was our way of totally not losing it in front of a bunch of strangers. Glad to get home safely, we crashed into bed once we got there. So thankful to make it through the day.

Christmas:
We woke up in our own bed on Christmas morning for the first time in...well, for the first time ever since we were married. Loved that. Loved that we didn't have to drive anywhere. It was great having my parents and brother come over here. And just when we didn't think the day could get any more exciting, we all fell asleep in various areas of the house. Talk about exciting. Best part of the day? We got a present "To Mommy & Daddy with love from Will"...

We wrapped up the day by watching nearly the entire boxed DVD set of Generation Kill that I got for Tim. Want the truth? If you really want to know about Tim's Marine experience and all the stories I got to hear about...watch these. They are awesome. The Marines are hilarious...and it is so accurate that we were left invigorated.

Finally.
Someone got it right in Hollywood.
Even down to the amount of swearing.
And yes, you just might be appalled...but its the real deal.
So if you get offended by potty-mouth: don't watch it.

Dec. 26
Tim had off from work. YAY. We lounged around and had a major deer sighting out our back window. 12 deer. Seriously, they were all clumped together and walked along the back of our yard, it was pretty cool to see. The picture above was taken too late but you can see lines in the snow that were their tracks. After that excitement, we had a special visit from our friends with their new puppy. Too much fun. We had a great time watching Tanner terrorize Sophie. Right down to her biting Soph's tail and watching Soph tuck her rear and tail under and run to her "safe spot"....her bed in the laundry room.

That night we met Tim's parents for some dinner and went to see "Marley & Me"... We got home and had Christmas with them. Tim went to open our gift and as he opened the box he jumped back. I looked and he had blood on his finger. First I thought "what in the world?" then I thought...well, I'm glad he opened it. So, we got a brand new set of steak knives and Tim assured me that they are sharp. Spent the rest of the night scrubbing blood off random areas that Tim had touched around the house, not realizing that he was still bleeding. Cutting yourself on a new gift? That has to be bad luck or something...I don't think we'll be having steak for awhile.

So after we did another Christmas this weekend, we drove back home Sunday night only to be greeted with our last present. There was a wind storm on Sunday and one of our beautiful trees in the front yard snapped in half about 4 feet up, landing in our yard. Thankfully, falling away from our house. Well, that tree will be hanging out for awhile. Its big and too heavy to move without cutting it up. The good news? At least most of the 2 feet of snow melted due to the rain and 60 degree weather on Saturday.

Even when we think our life is boring. It really isn't. Because with us...there is always something. And all I can say about Christmas this year, is that I am just thankful its over. There are always Christmases that are less than magical, and this was one of them. So my outlook is that I am glad to get one of them out of the way and look forward to some awesome Christmas days in our future.

And really...right now I feel like I should be boarding a plane back to CA or something. This whole thing still seems weird. So for right now, I'm taking it easy, because this is all so new and it will just take time. I had dreams and hopes for so long about how this Christmas would be...maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Endless snow

No need to dream of a white Christmas here...
The snow, well, its been relentless.

I have lost count how many times my car has gotten stuck or how many times I have shoveled the driveway in the last week. All I know, is that I am so over this. Attempting to go to church tonight has already been altered due to weather. I'm surprised the mailman was able to deliver our mail today. I wish he hadn't. The only thing in there?

Will's birth and death certificate.
On Christmas Eve?
You've got to be kidding me.
I'm not even going to question that timing. I'm ignoring it...

If we're not planning our lives around the traffic in Orange County...we're planning it around the weather here. In my book that means they pretty much cancel each other out. I am just extremely grateful to be by family and not stuck in some airport. And tomorrow, we get to wake up in our own house on Christmas day for the first time in 7 years. Awesome.

As I sit here and look out the back windows I just realized something. The first time we went through this house was last Christmas Eve. We decided to look at some houses for fun, while we were home. And as we drove to this house it was snowing like crazy and I thought we were insane for looking at houses in such crap weather...I don't remember much about that day, but I do remember stepping into this house for the first time. It took my breath away...and it was perfect, I feel blessed that this is one dream that did come true.

And despite everything...I know we are meant to be here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Truth

Well, here it is.
Tonight I am going to write without stopping, without proof-reading...
from the heart, as I would say to my students.
No need to go back and fix things that I write, I'm just going to spill it all out...and its going to be the truth.

So, this won't exactly be some Christmas miracle blog tonight.
This is just my reality.
Right now...and totally real.

This month has been horrible.
They weren't lying when they said the holidays are a peak time...and if I'm not crying, then Tim is. We're like the blind leading the blind, stuffing our grief for short periods just to help the other one out. And when we both feel bad? Then it surfaces in the form of a fight over something really stupid...like how we need a snow-blower, or if we should risk our lives to go and drive to Starbucks.

And yes. There really is that much snow.
Go figure.
Our first winter here and there are two big snowstorms in less than a week. So much for breaking us in easy...I have been a prisoner in my house for the last few days, which I know, is probably the worst possible thing. But the snow is so high on our street, my car would look like it had no wheels. My front bumper would be a makeshift snow-plow.

While it is pretty, it is easy to forget just what a pain it really is. Unless, if one is prepared...which, we are not. So while I can handle hanging out at home for a day or so, even that has its limits.

And really, that isn't what is the problem. Its so many things....weather, lack of communication, grief. And then there are times when I do go out and the truth is: I am so disappointed in people. And it doesn't matter if its CA or MI, people are just so cold, so clueless. Even people that aren't strangers. And that is when I think to myself...maybe I should just lock myself away, because this whole thing is hard enough to deal with...and adding to the pile of "feel bad" feelings just isn't an option for me anymore.

And so I withdraw. Because when someone is hurting already, its kind of stupid to put yourself out there just to be hurt even more...especially when we're all supposed to be helping each other out in this journey.

Because if I have learned anything...I know relationships are my greatest assest. And at the end of the day, its my friends and family that reach down and grab me...as I claw to get out of that deep, dark hole I struggle with every day.

And there are days...when I never do make it out.
And then there are days, when someone I love...either knowingly or unknowingly says something that pushes me right back in.

So this month, with all the magic and hopefullness, isn't exactly what Tim and I were praying for. Numbness has crept into our thoughts...our hearts. Perhaps the mind protects itself from trauma, or from things that we are not yet able to deal with. And as the snow falls heavily outside, and our house is decorated...it doesn't feel anything like Christmas. There is no magic...no holy feeling. Just a big, empy hole... and the question of why. And I am actually surprised at this, because I have been waiting for this Christmas for so many years...

And now that it is finally here.
I wish it wasn't.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow day

Today we got so much snow...I still can't believe it.
So, instead of subbing and trying to control a bunch of kids right before the long break, I got to stay home and reflect about this day and five months ago.

July 19th seems so far away as I look out over the snow drifting across our front yard. But the emotions are still raw, even more painful today.

Things have been harder than ever this month. I don't know what it is about kids and Christmas, it just gets me. And hearing the kids sing this week in school, well it took all I had not to completely lose it. And I'm missing the fun stuff I got to do with my students the last two years. Maybe if I had that...I'd be doing better. But for some reason, things are the way they are.

And there are just so many other things that have really made the tears come very easily lately. I don't get the timing. I even got so depressed as to think that I must be a really bad person...how could God let me feel so bad otherwise?

Nothing has changed. Will was alive right now, 5 months ago being baptized...as we were told he wouldn't be with us long. And now, I feel like I am here in body but not spirit. Something has been broken since that day in July.
Maybe forever.

I don't know about anything anymore. Although, before this year, I was truly unaware just how bad it was possible to feel.
Ingorance is bliss.
I know this from experience.
But, I'm starting to run out of experiences to be ingorant about.
Therefore, any sort of bliss would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enough.

Its 12 degrees outside.
You've got to be kidding.
That factor, combined with gray skies isn't exactly helping to lift the depression.


Today, I subbed...and as I sat there thinking about how I miss being a part of all those staff lounge discussions, I also realized there are a ton of things I miss. And honestly, there is not much I can really do about it. Its the feeling of helplessness...uncertainty.


A teacher called me on Friday and asked me to teach this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The last 3 days before break...and I don't know what I was thinking to say yes. First of all, the kids are crazy...and I get to do all the work (especially the chaos of a party) and no one really gives a crap that I am there. And its hard to be around all the holiday festivities. Then I realized that those days will mark exactly 5 months.


5 Months.
How could that be?
And how can Christmas be next week?
All these things just don't seem possible...

I'm thinking that my transition back to Michigan hasn't been what I hoped it to be. Not even close. And then I have to keep reminding myself that just one of my factors (new house, new move, quiting a job I loved, husband working a new job with insane hours...and then, of course, Will) would drive anyone to the edge. And what gets me worked up the most? That I lived here one week before my world fell apart in ways I never imagined.

And now?
I live in a place, where the only memories I have...are intensely sad.

And I honestly don't know how I am hanging on. And some days...I don't. Like today...I write because it is the only thing that makes me feel a tiny bit better. To get it out of my head and my heart and release some pressure in there. There are always those days when I walk around the house in a fog, not caring about a thing. And then there are the days I force myself to teach...not caring there either. And I just wonder how long this can go on for...this heart wrenching, suffocating feeling. It feels I have been sad ever since we moved here.

Today is one of those days, where my grief is so intense...I just want to pick up something and throw it as hard as I can to watch it shatter into a million pieces.

But instead, I just sit and cry...liquid love is what the support group leader called...
Well then, my cup runneth over.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

more pictures







I've been a real slacker lately and realized I never downloaded any pictures of wine tasting...and lots of other things. I even failed to put up any pictures of our "new" house for all my CA friends. Sorry.

Here are a few pics from wine tasting (I decided to leave out the picture of the dead deer hanging from a tree...which happened to be the first thing I saw when I woke up at the Bed&Breakfast and looked out the window). Anywas, wine tasting-it was so much fun. In fact, I just ordered another 4 bottles of my favorite from the company's website...guess I should have stocked up while I was there. Oh well, Merry Christmas to me. I think I'll save them for those days I tell Tim I got a sub job...and then just sit at home and drink Bubbly Nouveau:)

And then, of course, there are a few more pictures of the snow for those of you that are hanging out in the beautiful 75 degree weather...Anytime you need affirmation on why you still live in Orange County, just come and see me for a visit sometime before April...I love it...but I am COLD. On the other hand, Sophie doesn't seem to mind and can't get enough of it. And apparently she can't eat enough snow either.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winterwonderland


It has been snowing here for at least a week non-stop...and I'm still not used to this at all. Right now, I should be getting bundled up to go to yoga. However, its freezing and slick out and I really don't feel like leaving tonight.
I know that the one thing I need is exercise, so I compromised and went out and shoveled part of our driveway for at least the 12th time in the last 5 days. And yes, I know, its only the beginning.
2008 has been full of "shocks." In fact, last time around this year we decided that "Things for us were going to be great in '08!" And I'm sitting here feeling pretty darn stupid thinking back at our naive optimism. Now, I am just eager for a new beginning. Even if it is only in the form of a calendar that reads January 1, 2009. Although we might try, the events of 2008 will never be far from our immediate thoughts.
And aside from just a daily survival mode, I have decided that I will set goals for myself to get through this first...hard winter. And it is hard, because I have realized that my rose-colored glasses of Michigan have been forever shattered. There is something to be said about not having to dig out of snow or rake leaves for hours on end. And while it sounds fun, after the first hour I'm pretty much over it and convinced that my time would be better spent doing something else.
This weekend I had a Christmas open house for Tastefully Simple. And thanks again to the snow, it was a lot of work with minimal results. While it was fun (and I am especially grateful to those that did make it-THANK YOU) the weather kept many people away. I cannot compete with mother nature...So, this may be my first month that I don't meet my goals since August. And that is pretty sad, considering it is supposedly the biggest sales month of the year. Regardless, this little business venture of mine has managed to awaken me from the dead and given me something positive to distract myself with. When I started it, I didn't care about anything...and now I look back and can see how far I have come.
Which is why I need to keep writing. I haven't lately because there wasn't anything good or happy to say. But that is part of it too...the good with the bad. So in dealing with this awful feeling that has been intensifying with each day, I have been reading the book a friend gave to me while in Cali. The Shack. Its interesting, and thought provoking. And sadly, I can very much relate with the main character and all of his anger, frustration...and his Great Sadness. There is are so many things in that book that just take my breath away, and I wasn't ready to read it until now.
But I am thankful I am reading it now.
It came at the perfect time.
Just when I though I couldn't handle all the anger and bitterness...
There was intervention. And the little reminder...
Always in God's time, never ours.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving night.

*Its actually December now...I was just sitting down to write again and saw that I forgot to ever post this...just another example of my grief-provoked forgetfulness and complete disorientation...

I'm sitting here with bloodshot eyes, beyond tired...
and a huge glass of wine.
First of all, we survived Thanksgiving and all the bittersweet blessings and hurts that came along with the day.

But that stuff is boring and depressing.

Instead, I will share a funny story. Something that I have always wanted to do, but never had the nerve to follow through with...First of all, I love shopping. Not spending a ton of money but finding insanely good deals. So when I found out that Birch Run (an awesome outlet mall 2 hours from here) was opening at midnight Thanksgiving day...well, I thought...Why not?

So, at 10 p.m. I picked up my mom and we drove an uneventful 2 hours to the east side of the state. Well, once we were on the road it was uneventful. First, I had to get gas. So I was filling up the Jeep and had it going by itself then looked down because it sounded funny.

There was gas spraying out of my car, down the side...and then puddling underneath.

I about had a heart attack and all I could think about was how I was going to blow us up just to find some good deals. And that I truly was an idiot...Well, until I spoke to the guy behind the counter. Then I reevaluated my first decision and decided he was the idiot. When I ran in to ask what I should do (because there was gas everywhere) he told me just to take the pump out and not worry about the gas on the ground. And my car with gas everywhere??? Oh, it should be okay, he said.

So I walked back to my car and did what any other semi-intelligent person would do. I took the window washer out of their bin and washed the side of my car with it, making sure to dilute all the gas with as much dirty water as possible. Disaster averted. And then we were officially on our way.

But I couldn't help but wonder if that was some sign that we were supposed to be at home sleeping instead of going shopping. As we got closer, the roads were empty. Then about 5 miles away I said out loud,
"Mom do you see all those brake lights up there? Uh, I'm getting nervous..."

We had good reason to be. Every single person on that side of the state must have wanted to go shopping too. I have never seen so many cars lined up in one lane for so long. Not even in California. Not even smack in the middle of L.A. on a holiday weekend. I was beyond shocked and as we drove mile after mile all my mom could do was laugh and all I could do was stare in disbelief...and we both uttered a few choice words. Because, after all, we thought we were the only crazy people to drive and shop in the middle of the night.

I refused to get in line. So we drove to the next exit, turned around and finally got off a different way. That was only the first battle. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was not one single parking space to be found. People were parking on the grass, and anywhere else they could find. We lucked out and found a spot way in the back and a good hike from everywhere we wanted to go. But at that point I would have taken anything. All I know is that people that drive in the middle of the night to get the best deals are a little extreme...more like hardcore. Since I could have cared less, I stayed far away from those people. But they were fun to watch.

The rest of the time was a blast. The mood of the place was fun and you would never have known it was the middle of the night. I assumed we would get home around 4 in the morning. We were having too much fun and didn't get home until 6:00 a.m. Friday morning. The stores had awesome deals and I couldn't even get into Coach. Insane. But totally worth the trip and we decided this would be a new tradition.

Because after all, this is what is hard about this holiday season. Establishing new traditions. Accepting that certain things we were looking forward to starting will just have to wait. I never would have imagined my Thanksgiving to be like this...but some things we can't change. So in the meantime, I'm happy with this new tradition. Let's just hope we can pull it off again next year, only maybe we skip the gas spraying out of the car.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter

I've written several blogs, none of which I am happy with.
Since Thanksgiving things have been really...hard I guess. Honestly, I don't know how to describe this feeling. It is past the point of frustration, to where there are moments I could just freak out. And I no longer judge those who do. I think that if I were still teaching, things would be different. I would be busy and have a purpose to get up each day...but without that, I am left kind of wandering. Lost without directions.

With Christmas approaching, there is a new...bigger wave of grief. The type I had not really experienced yet. Where little things send me into crying fits and the expectations we had for this holiday season...are just too painful to think about.

Its funny how many around us are still concerned with all the normal things, especially gifts. I could literally care less if presents rained from the sky. And it seems so insignificant. And you realize just how much we have that we could live without. So instead of buying each other gifts this year, Tim & I went out and bought a piece of furniture.

Its not just any piece of furniture. It has become the most important thing in our house. We finally found a perfect table (it kind of looks like a small dresser) that we call Will's table. It is perfect. It was made for this exact spot, and in the exact striped colors. And his framed picture looks absolutely beautiful on it.

So when it comes to the rest of it. I'm trying. Trying really hard in fact. But things like Christmas cards and the holiday spirit just aren't in me right now. And if the constant reminder of little kids and babies isn't all around me...I get to go to church and sing about the birth of a special baby boy...

And its just too much.