Category Archives: niece

Family Photos

With Andy’s immediate family we draw names for Christmas.  Each couple gets another couple to buy gifts for.  The older I get the harder it is to buy Christmas gifts and to put a “wish list” out there for people to buy us stuff.  I am to the point if I need something, we get it.  If I want something, eventually, we get it.  So telling people what I want or need has become more difficult (and the times that I gave the brand of shampoo, toothpaste, conditioner etc it was laughed at as a joke).  Last year we had Andy’s parents as the couple we were buying for.  I think they feel similar because they couldn’t think of anything they wanted or needed for their Christmas wish list.

Part of the problem was that they were in the process of packing boxes and moving and with most things they packed his mom would say something along the lines of why did she had so much “stuff.”  I didn’t want to add to the stuff she needed to pack so we thought extremely hard on what to get them.  We decided to get her a gift card so that she could have family photos done by a professional.  Not just my camera and tri-pod.  They seemed happy with their gift card.  Fast forward to 10 months later and they lined up using the gift.

I don’t like pictures anyways.  We will start there.  But we went into town (I had a dentist appointment too) and got dressed up.  I straightened my hair (which is always an ordeal) and put on mascara and lipstick and we did this picture thing.  The photographer did great and worked fast.  The nieces and nephew seemed to smile for all the pictures.  It worked out nicely as a good gift.

kids

See the kids looked great.

I smiled and hoped it would reach my eyes.  The entire time I was watching our nieces run around with our nephew I couldn’t help but think that Addy should be here with her cousins.  Each time one of Andy’s siblings asked if they should be holding the kids, I couldn’t help but think I want to hold Addy in our pictures.  I couldn’t help but think that she would have fit right in with them.  I couldn’t help but think of how unfair it was that she wasn’t with us.  I couldn’t think too hard because then I would shed the tears that were hiding behind my hopefully real looking, fake, smile.  The photographer would say “family with girls” or “family with the boy” and then “you two.”  To her credit she didn’t say “childless couple” because had she, I would have lost it right there in the park with my mascara running down my face.  She didn’t know where we have been.  It isn’t her fault at all.  But standing there with my in-laws in front of the picture.  To the right of the picture was their oldest child, his wife, and 2 daughters in a tight little clump.  To the left but still middle of the picture was their youngest child, her husband, and their son in a tight little clump.  To the far left was their middle child, and me.  And a heart so full of holes and sorrow.  But that was our clump.  I love Andy with everything I have but there is still that emptiness.  Addy should have been there.  I miss the dreams and answers to prayers that she represented.  I miss the what could have beens.  But mostly I just miss her.

Infertility sucks.  In my story, nothing emphasizes that more than “family” stuff.  Be it holidays, vacations, going out to eat together, or family photos…family stuff is hard – yes still (and sometimes worse than before).  We have been travelling this road far too long.  We are no stranger to sadness and disappointment and loss.  One would think we could “get over it already and be happy.”  But family is hard.  Family reminds me of that family I don’t have.

Holidays are fast approaching and I feel like there will be some moments I sneak out of rooms, or step out onto the porch for fresh air.  There will be times I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes just to breathe and give myself permission to be sad and happy.  To give myself the grace and space I need to grieve the could have beens.  To quietly brush a tear off my check.  Yes, I live infertility each and every day, but holidays are a different battle.  All of that to say – forgive me if you turn to ask for a refill on your wine, or to pass the salt and pepper and you are telling my back as I am walking away.

nov. 2013

 November was a long month in many ways.

my mom and dad both have birthdays in November.  dad the 5th and mom the 18th.

mom and dad awards

(my mom was awarded nurse of the year!  ok maybe not but she should be!  she was awarded for being at the hospital for so long)

i cried my first time (maybe second time) at work (i mean really cried) because i was so angry at a mean person who wouldn’t stop yelling at me it just frustrated me to tears.  it was also a time i was reminded at how awesome it is to work with wonderful people.

one morning we got a call that my aunt ann passed away.  November 19th.  (i am going to get on a soap box for a few minutes…sorry in advance – listen to your doctors and communicate with your family).  ann was my only “real” aunt.  my mom was an only child and my dad only had the one sister.  sure i had several great aunts but she was my only real aunt.  i have so many memories of her – good and not great.  i can remember when we stayed in tn for part of the summer that sometimes we got lucky and would go to her house to eat dinner and spend the night (if my grandparents had meetings).  we would make personal pizzas from scratch and would set up our tables (ironing board with a sheet over it) and would watch movies with her.  it was something that we didn’t get to do often, but will and i enjoyed it when we got to.  i remember baking with her growing up.  i remember helping at the green house when i was little (planting and helping deliver).  i remember many conversations with her and her support.

there are some iffy memories in there too that aren’t as positive…i remember the time that i offered to help her at the green house after we moved and she snickered and laughed at me because it “wasn’t my thing” and the unending comments about city people and country people.  but in a time of mourning and death i think it is customary to try to push those out of ones mind.  looking back those things don’t change the fact that she was my aunt and i loved her and i will miss her.

the other day we were standing in the green house and it was very surreal (as death is to me) knowing that she isn’t coming back.  i looked around and part of me was mad that she didn’t take care of herself better and that she wouldn’t listen to what the doctors told her and she was so guarded with her personal life that nothing we could say would change her mind about that.  that was who she was and at her funeral that was the message that we got.  even in her stubbornness she was who she was.  in those moments of anger it made me think of her funeral and at her funeral we laughed.  we told Jamie to keep it light and real and he did.  it was the most beautiful memorial service and the perfect send off.  in the good and not great, and the anger and laughter, and expectations met and not met there was love and at the end of the day that is what i choose to cling to.

ann

my aunt was an organ donor at the time she passed away and i was the one that talked to the screening people at the donation organization.  i am an organ donor because i like the idea and thoughts behind it.  i will be honest i never really knew what that meant.  i never really thought about what that means for the people that are left behind.  while i understand completely the need for the questions i was asked, somewhere in the middle of the million and a half questions i thought i have no idea on some of these answers.  on my soap box i would like to tell everyone and anyone who will listen – talk to your family…make sure they know your history and wishes as detailed as possible.  after i got off the phone (an hour conversation) i was exhausted.

will came for the memorial service (actually the service was delayed 10 minutes waiting on him since his plane was delayed.  we took him to the farm and it was so funny.  the ganged up on him and tried to take the treats.  i will post pics of the farm in another post.  but here are a few with the family.

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it snowed.

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church harvest auction with guests jed and lisa.

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thanksgiving happened. it was later this year and to be honest it was bad.  it made me lose a week before Christmas and that was so bad.  we went to charlotte for thanksgiving and it was great to see family and friends.  andy was glad to see tall buildings.  we got to see cj and ellen which is always fun and an adventure.  i had another allergic reaction to thanksgiving dinner but i was prepared and had medicine on hand to stop the itching.  i think i have it narrowed down to what dish i am allergic too, but still researching that.  who knows?!  cj wanted to take pictures with my camera.  i only had a mild heart attack when she almost dropped it so from now on if she has my camera the strap has to stay around her neck (she is ok with this).  she took mostly blurry photos and picks of people’s knees but with a little help she can center people and take a good photo.

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we also went black Friday shopping.  it was great to be so close to stores…

we also got our tree from the church and brought it back to tn with us.  it was really funny watching all of the cars go back towards charlotte with trees from the mountains and we left charlotte and took our tree to the mountains.  it was very scary for me.  i had a slight freak out when we left charlotte and could envision our tree rolling off the top and taking out all the cars around us.  so i kept an eye on it.

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we made it home with no trouble.

the only other thing i can think of is that andy trashed ace of base (i love ace of base and am still slightly upset over that) but, that pretty much wraps up an exhausting November.

quilts

i have been working on several quilting projects trying to get some taken care of.

the first was for ellen (our niece).  i made one for her sister before she was born so i wanted to make one for her too.  i found a different type pattern that i have never used before and tried it out.  it consist of all different types of materials.  (i like to make slightly larger quilts for babies and kids so that the kid can use it as it gets older).  the prototype that i saw was of a normal crib sized blanket and was so beautiful and didn’t have any fabrics that repeated but since i was making it larger and it needed more fabric i had to use repeating squares.  even though i loved the look of each fabric used only once i have to say this one turned out just as pretty as the one on-line.

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another was for my bosses baby.  (who was born yesterday 10-16-13 and unfortunately she didn’t name him after otis even though their birthdays are only a day apart).  i used just a square pattern with the cutest dinosaurs on it.  she did the nursery in a deer pattern and i wanted deer for the quilt but the only deer fabric i found andy said it was too “old man cabin” instead of baby.  so dinosaurs was the closest thing to what i wanted.  i knew i wanted to do the quilt in browns and greens because i knew that would match the nursery a little better.

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at work ashley, one of my coworkers, emailed me a picture and asked if i could do a specific pattern.  it was a zig zag and i freaked out inside a little bit.  i told her i would have to practice and found some left over material and andy helped me make a pattern and i was surprisingly able to do it!  so i had this started prototype of a quilt i had no idea what to do with it because it wasn’t big enough for a normal quilt.  we found out my cousin’s girlfriend is having a baby (his name will be logan) so i decided to use the zig zag (navy and cream) on the front and do something green on the back to make it colorful and fun (because i wanted to quilt with bright green thread).  the only thing i could find that i was remotely happy with was the dinosaurs.  i was excited to see it come together and that i could do something other than square shapes.

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i haven’t completed this last project…and i am not sure when i will.  but i have been working on the massive quilt of mine and andy’s that has our tee shirts and things in it.  (it has hats, bags, shirts, pants and other materials from our past).  i haven’t seen it in a long time (since i pieced it long before we moved) and when we took it to the church to pin it i was amazed at some of the things that were in there.  (once i get it done i will post and explain some of the coolest pieces).  all i have to do is quilt it (and because of the size i am going to do straight lines a few feet apart so that i don’t have to maneuver it very much) and put the binding on it.  i am still thinking about what color to use.  i have so many scraps from all of the other blankets that i am thinking about piecing the binding as well so that it will be true to the rest of the quilt.

i am in the process of thinking about a few other quilts but i want to finish these first and see what else i can get done project wise (i have some ideas for wall art that i have put on hold for a while).

ellen virginia

9-26-13: welcome to the world niece elle!

elle