Monday, December 19, 2011


I have been caught up in a whirlwind of events and emotions over the last few months. So much so that I planned to not write about it at all. However, if I don't, I may mention these events and you'd be all "wait...huh?" So here it is.

The ShankRabbit and Isabella (and Peanut) household will be expecting a new addition in April. A boy. We had a rough first few months with morning sickness and some medical issues, but all is well now. He is doing what he's supposed to be doing and even measuring a little on the big side - lawd help me! Peanut was adamant that this baby was a girl for so long, but now she is pretty excited to have a little brother. We are still working on names. Her suggestions so far are Baby Johnson (that was originally the girl's name choice for her), Echo, and Uncle. As you can see, not much to go on so far.

My biological mother passed away unexpectedly on November 16th. There are a lot of details and stories to tell about how I got the news, coordinating a trip to North Carolina to take care of her arrangements and such, but I think I'll save all that for another time.
Is it common to cycle through the stages of grief over and over again? I think I've been through them at least twice so far. Right now I am back at the shock/disbelief stage. This happened so suddenly (cause still undetermined as it happened in her sleep) and I didn't get to see her before she was cremated. At the time I thought it would be a terrible idea as I wasn't sure what state her body was in and I thought it kind of morbid to ask the hospital "so...can I see her?" Do I really want my last memory of my mom to be in that state?
My mom's boyfriend and her brother were there the morning she was taken to the hospital, so there is no question as to identification, but still there is just a part of me that thinks, "maybe this is just some elaborate hoax to get me to pay for someone else's funeral arrangements and my mom is fine and well somewhere else." I feel like there is no resolution. Her ashes are sitting on a bookshelf in my house. Shouldn't that be enough? Will I ever feel like she is truly gone?

My mom and I weren't terribly close. I was placed in state care/foster care at the age of 11, so I didn't get the chance to really spend most of my childhood with her. However, she was my mom. I loved her. And I know she loved me too, but never could show it as much as any other person. Still, I felt it.

She was never good at calling (heck, neither was I to be honest), so communication over the years was limited. When her husband had a heart attack in 2006, I made the trip down there to be with her. He passed a couple days after I arrived and I assisted her with arrangements. Although they were unfortunate circumstances, my mom and I got a new opportunity at our relationship. We still didn't talk as often as most mothers and daughters do I'm sure, but this is what worked for her. And that worked for me.

We kept in contact mostly through email and I sent her many pictures of her granddaughter (one she had never met). I told her about our soon-to-be new addition. She seemed to be doing well, aside from "not feeling well for a while, but doing better." In mom-speak that could mean anything from a cold to something more serious. Knowing this, I asked for her phone number so I could get the straight answer from her. I never got the chance to call her.

* * *

So, here I sit. Wondering what is next in this process. My husband and I have lost 5 family members this year alone. Am I emotionally jaded because of that? Am I holding out on properly grieving until a later date? I have no clue. All I know is that I'm trying to live in the joy of my family and there are these feelings still tugging at my heart. But they aren't coming out.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Playing catch-up...ketchup...catsup?

There are many things to talk about since my last blog entry (*cough* 4 months ago *cough* *cough*).

1. Ran my first 5k on April 16th. It was drizzling, in the upper 30s and miserable outside, but I did it. Then my kid did the fun run. As you can see, she was pretty excited about her ribbon.

2. My daughter turned 3 on April 19th. I have a preschool aged kid. hold me.

The cake I made. I think I'll stick to frosting next time.

3. ShankRabbit and I went to Las Vegas in May for our first real vacation since 2006. It was relaxing, fun, and holyhell HOT (not that I'm complaining. Spend October - April in Wisconsin and you too would be willing to sit on the surface of the sun if it meant warmth).

4. June was a blur and I can't remember what happened during that month. I know I was training for my first triathlon and really starting to freak out about it.

5. July went by even faster than June, but at least I can recall this one:

5a. We had a 4th of July gathering at our house. Our city's fireworks can be seen from our backyard, so we didn't have to go far for the show. Thanks to a wonderful brother-in-law with noise cancelling headphones, my kid enjoyed the fireworks without having to shove fingers in her ears. *Note to self: purchase a pair of those headphones for the kid before she stabs her brain with her fingernails*

5b. My first ever triathlon was on the 10th. It was tough (fought through hip pain throughout the entire run portion) but I had an absolute blast! I accomplished all three of my goals - 1) don't die, 2) finish in under 3 hours and 3) don't be DFL (dead f-in last).

Smiling through the pain.

5c. We had our first family vacation in Eagle River, WI (ShankRabbit's parents, brothers, and respective families). If it wasn't for the mid to low 60 degree temperatures, I think it would have been perfect.

You can't tell, but the kid is sound asleep. For real.

5d. Fresh from our northwoods trip, we spent the next weekend camping. Not much to report other than it was crazy hot and ShankRabbit got heat exhaustion. Fun times.

Went to the county fair after camping all weekend. Believe it or not, the kid is having fun on her first Ferris Wheel ride.

I think that gets us caught up to the present. My 29th birthday was this past Friday. I got exactly what I wanted - spending time with the ones I love. Oh, and a pinata*.

I have been at parties where there has been one, but never one of my own. Now I can cross that off the list. Next up...aerial fabric acrobatics! Just kidding...maybe.

There are exciting things to come - another race (an adventure 3-miler with ShankRabbit), more birthdays, and possibly a giveaway or two on this here blog. I'll keep you posted.

* - Please picture a tilde over the n. I don't know how to do it in Blogger and my failed attempt led me to automatically post an unfinished blog post. Just in case my high school Spanish teacher is reading this...yes Sra. S, I know how to properly spell that word. Carry on.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why you mock me blank page?!

I walk around almost every day with a blog topic in my head. It gets written and edited in my head before it hits the page. The moment I sit down in front of a blank screen, it disappears. All I am left with is a vague idea of what it might have been about. Family? Shoes? A family of shoes? So I will give you "Things Currently Occupying my Noodle." And maybe, just maybe, I will get my brain back to blogging:

1. Garden, version 2 - Due to crappy soil in our garden area, I decided on raised beds this year. Our garden wasn't terrible, but it took a lot more work than I was willing (and able, especially after surgery) to put in. This year, we will also have smaller sections and more vertical structures (but more produce).

2. Crafts - I swear I am in the middle of a craft crapstorm. I have 5,476,392 things I would like to do...and I have started about half of them already. I thought about detailing them, but then I realized it would exhaust me just to write them out. I have learned that any project without a set finish date will likely not get completed.

3. Vacation - we haven't been on vacation since 2006 (excludes anything in the midwest). I have been wanting to go somewhere - anywhere - other than our neighboring states. Preferably some place warm. With or without the kid.
Finally, I got ShankRabbit on board with the idea. We will have a small getaway (without the child) sometime soon and another one toward the end of the year with the kid (at a place with a kingdom of magic...).

I am about as shocked as I can physically be. Yay for vacation!

* * *

My brain has officially checked out, so here are some random pictures for you to enjoy (sorry to anyone on Twitter who has already seen these):

Gluten free thin mints. Yes, they can be done (om nom nom nom...)

Jacques, our new dishwasher. I love him so much.

A non-deviled egg. Part of an elaborate "welcome" gag played on a friend's boyfriend. He hates deviled eggs. So I made some out of meringue, yellow cupcake frosting, and red sugar. Heh heh...

My kid. My almost 3 year old.

My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 - it's only just begun

Nintendogs has entered this almost-3 year old's life. She's completely self-sufficient with this game. I fear I'll never get my DS back.

What has happened in the last month or so?

1. We all eventually recovered from the stomach plague. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. We didn't regain normal activity and eating until 2 weeks after it struck.

2. Now that I've paid for my registration, I shall announce it to the intarwebz: I am training for a sprint triathlon in July. There's more to the story of why I'm doing it and I will share that as the training progresses.

3. Because of #2 (heh...), I have been working out almost every day. And I enjoy it.


No really, I do! I think it's because I love our gym - great facility, great atmosphere, great people.

4. A gluten-free store and cafe opened up over the summer. I didn't realize their true significance to my life until I found they do carry out and take-and-bake pizzas. Tried our first ones on New Year's Eve. Heaven help me.

Yes, it's a good thing I enjoy my gym so much.

5. Our family Christmas present this year is a dishwasher. We are finally getting around to picking one out. I now know way more about dishwashers than I ever thought possible.

6. Speaking of Christmas, it was fantastic. There was a moment - a few days beforehand - that we thought my in-laws would be trapped in Nairobi for the holidays (due to terrible weather in Amsterdam that they needed to connect in), but they made it back safe and sound. Slight panic ensued when we heard there was a bombing at a bus station while they were supposedly still there. They left the day before.

7. At some point this month, I got so frustrated looking at our terribly inefficient, standard reach-in closet that I tore it apart to make a new one. I had every intention of making this a "me" project - showing that anyone can build their own custom closet (Califor.nia Closets be damned!), but ShankRabbit (and Peanut for a while) was intrigued and offered help. Projects are so much quicker when you have help.

I will have a post up when all is completed. Here's a sneak peek:

Before (ugh)

Current state (still in progress). Can you see the double closet rods on each side?

8. Got the chance to attend both Bears playoff games. At one point during the second one, we noticed a couple of F-16 fighter pilots* sitting at a table near us in the United Club. I told ShankRabbit, "hey, we should go over and say hi. I'd like to meet them." So, he tells me to follow him, taps their shoulders and says, "Hi. My wife has a thing for guys in uniform...can she take a picture with you?"

(Enter completely mortified expression and bright red face)

One of the guys responds with, "well, how can we say no to that?"

So, this picture was taken:

Pretty eventful December/January. A little scared and excited to see what February brings.

* - Despite what my husband said, I really wanted to meet them because what they do is so friggin' cool! Thanks to the power of the internet, here is the information on the fighter pilots that did the flyover after the National Anthem. I believe I met the two that coordinated the timing from the ground.