Thursday, March 31, 2011


My husband and I were so blessed to receive a trip to Hawaii from my employer. We spent 10 days on the Big Island and it wasn't enough. This was truly a life changing experience for both of us.

We had debated on whether we should take our son with us, and while I wish he would have been able to experience Hawaii, I feel so blessed that my husband and I could take this time and spend together. Those ten days were ten of the best days of our lives. The two years before had been rough, and the way we were able to reconnect was beautiful.

The last picture is my favorite. I actually had a 16X20 of this printed and framed and it hangs above our bed. We were walking along the ocean our third day there and I was lucky enough to catch this shot. It's the epitome of our time there.

Note: We also got to see a volcano close up, which was pretty cool! :) (That's what the third picture is)
Growing up on a Farm

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The idea behind this blogfest is to talk about something that you lost, and then found.

When my son was a year old I lost him at a campground. It was nighttime, and we were camping with family. It was one of those "I thought he was with you" moments. I walked back to my mother-in-law's campsite and asked where Brendan was. "I thought he was with you" she said. My heart dropped. It was pitch black out and we were surrounded by water.

Panic set in and we all lost. our. shit. Fifteen people scattered in all directions yelling my son's name.

I don't know how long we looked for him. It felt like an hour, but I know it wasn't. As I walked around yelling for him I envisioned us being on the evening news. I kept thinking about how when I saw on the news that someone's kid wandered off I wondered what kind of a parent lost their toddler. They must not watch them. They must be neglectful.

I don't normally panic, but there is no doubt I was in full blown panic-mode.

Then I heard someone call my name.

"He's over here!"

I ran like a maniac and there he was, digging in the volleyball sand with a plastic spoon.

"Brendan" I yelled.

" 'Ello!" He called back in his adorable impish voice. My heart stopped and melted at the same time.

This, my friends, was one of my first real parenting lessons: stop judging other parents. What you judge another parent for could easily be something that happens to you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A to Z

I've joined the A to Z blogging challenge for the month of April. This is the first time I've done something like this. Let's see how it goes...

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Today is our three year blogoversary my friends. You and I have shared my life for the past three years. Can you believe it?

So I took this meme from M who took it from Loribeth. The ABCs of Me (borrowed from Loribeth)

A. Age: 34. Boo.

B. Bed size: Queen. I would love a king, but the way our bedroom is designed it would be a tight squeeze. Besides, I love our bedroom set. I don't want to change. AND I love my bed. It is SO comfortable. Some mornings I don't want to get out.

C. Chore you dislike: Dishes. My mother made me do them when I was young, and I remember times she would take all the dishes off the rack and make me wash them again. I blame her for my hatred of dishes. :) On the other hand I oddly love doing laundry.

D. Dogs: Four. Three Shih tzus and a mutt. We have had the oldest shih tzu since she was 1 year old, the others we've had since they were puppies. Our oldest dog is 13 years old, and I just love her so much. She's my girl.

E. Essential start to your day: caffeine- in any form

F. Favorite color: purple

G. Gold or silver: silver

H. Height: 5 foot 1 and 1/2 inches. Don't forget the 1/2 inch.

I. Instruments you play(ed): clarinet

J. Job title: Estimator and Production Manager

K. Kids: 3

L. Live: In the country on the same property my husband's father grew up on (but not in the same house- thank God!)

M. Mom’s name: Robin

N. Nicknames: lots

O. Overnight hospital stays: Only when I had my babies, but the second stay was much longer

P. Pet peeves: Poor table manners. I can not stand someone who eats like a pig.

Q. Quote from a movie: (Why can't I think of one right now!?!)

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: 5

T. Time you wake up: Since I haven't been working it's about 9 am. Usually it's 6-6:30

U. Underwear: Victoria Secret cotton are my fave

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Lima Beans. Does anyone like Lima Beans?

W.What makes you run late: I wish I knew.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, back, shoulder when I dislocated it when I was 12

Y. Yummy food you make: Too many to list. With this time off from work I've been able to cook so much lately and I love it. I like to cook, not bake. In fact I don't think I've ever made cookies from scratch, and I know for sure I've never made a scratch cake or pie.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: I haven't been to the zoo in years.


I've missed people in my life. I've been separated from people I love, and my heart literally ached. It felt like part of me was missing.

After Brenna was stillborn I said I missed her, but the truth is I didn't truly miss her.

How could I miss someone I never had in my life?

I mourned her. I love her. I wish she was here. My heart hurt, but it hurt in a different way than it does when you miss someone. It hurt in a way that your heart hurts when your dreams are crushed. When everything you had planned suddenly changes. When you know your life will never be the same. That is not missing someone. That is realizing your dreams won't come true.

From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant she begins dreaming big dreams for her baby. What will he/she look like. What will they be like. What kind of life you will have together. We form a picture of the future in our minds, and when a baby is born safely the picture usually changes, but we still dream for them.

When you lose a baby you lose the dream.

Everything you imagined comes to a screeching halt and you realize that you're dreams will never come true. Everything you had planned is crushed. The life you envision for yourself and your child will never happen.

That is hard to accept.

It's harder for some people to accept than others. My personal feeling is it's easier if you have another child; it's more difficult if you can never have more children. But no matter what it's still hard to let that dream go. The dream dies will your baby.

I love my daughter, and I grieve for her. But what I miss most of all is the dreams I had for her.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


It's my blogoversary in two days, and this post is my 500th post! How crazy is that!

I just spent a few hours reading over old posts. Yes hours. Before I knew it it was almost 11 o'clock at night. There have been so many things that have happened over these past three years. Some posts have been funny, and there have been more sad posts that I would like, but all in all I am so happy I have this space to look back on.

To celebrate my 500th post and my bogoversary I've treated this site to a makeover. What do you think? I'm kinda diggin' it. I wanted to incorporate a dragonfly, but I just couldn't make it work, so I'm going with what I have. I've also created a Facebook Page, which I invite you to visit.

I can not believe it's been three years. Five hundred posts and 100,000 visitors later all I can say is this grief thing is quite a ride.

Thanks for coming with me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


One of our favorite things we ate while in Hawaii was Huli-Huli Chicken. It's chicken grilled on roadside trailers. I would describe it as the Hawaiian version of barbecue chicken.

My husband and I bought some of this chicken one day driving back from snorkeling. Man, was it good! We've always talked about it. Yesterday I was telling my mom about it and she suggested that I look up a recipe on the internet. I didn't think I would find it, but I did. I also found out the back story on Huli-Huli chicken.

Huli is the Hawaiian word for turn. Huli-Huli literally means Turn-Turn. In 1955 a version of teriyaki chicken was grilled for a farmer's gathering. It was such a hit that the sauce was trademarked and you can still buy the bottled sauce today. I found a couple versions on the internet, and I tweaked it a little to come up with this recipe:

Huli Chicken

1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup honey
1-2 inch piece ginger root
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
Juice from a fresh lemon

Mix all ingredients together, crushing the garlic and ginger. Marinade a whole chicken for a few hours to overnight. I put the chicken in an oven bag so I can shake the chicken around to make sure it gets covered with the sauce. Reserve some mixture for basting.

Cook chicken on a grill. The trick to cooking the entire chicken is to cook it on indirect heat. If you are using a charcoal grill push the charcoal to one side. If you are using a gas grill only turn on one side. The other trick to this is to cook the chicken directly on the grill (no tin foil). Turn the chicken every-so-often basting with the mixture. Chicken is done when the juices run clear. For a four pound chicken cooking time should be about one hour and fifteen minutes.

We went to a luau while in Hawaii and they had some fantastic side dishes. Here is an easy one I made:

Chicken Long Rice

2 pounds chicken thighs
3 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 clove crushed garlic
2 cubes chicken bouillon
4 bundles long rice (soak in warm water till soft)
(Long rice is also known as cellophane noodles.)

Place all ingredients except rice in pot. Bring to a boil then simmer 45minutes or until tender. Remove chicken and bone and shred. Keep the broth. Cut long rice in 4 inch lengths, add to broth then boil for 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, or soy sauce. Makes about 12 servings.

I didn't have long rice, so I used two boxes of Rice-a-roni without the season packets and it turned out fantastic.

We also had this dessert when we went to the luau.


12 ounces chilled coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup + 2 T. sugar
1/2 cup + 2 T. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and stir over medium heat until thickened. Lower heat and cook for ten minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into 8x8 inch dish and chill until set. Cut into squares & serve.


Monday, March 14, 2011


My pig died. Not something you hear everyday, I know.

Sadie, who I posted a picture of last week in honor of National Pig Day, died Saturday. We had her for many years, and she lived a very good life. Everyone keeps asking if we'd get another. Sadie was a rescue pig, so was her friend Miss Piggy. We are open to the idea of taking in another rescue, but for now Miss Piggy is going to be our only piggy. Maybe we will come across another pig who needs a home. We shall see.


The truth is that I have accepted the fact that I'm never going to be a mother to another child. That is probably why I smother my step-daughter's kids and my dogs with love. That is probably why they get cuddled so much. That is probably why I love them so much. It doesn't mean I wouldn't love my grandkids if I had a baby of my own because I would love those babies no matter what, but the truth is I wouldn't even have dogs if I had a baby. My dogs are my stand in kids.

I'm OK with not having another child. I know that it's not going to happen for me. I know what the doctors all told me. But the truth is that every time my period is late I get a little hopeful. Even if it means I could face serious health consequences, even though my husband is 50 and I'm 34, even though my son is going into high school, even though I have two grandchildren, even though I'm unemployed right now and a baby would be a huge financial burden, even though the doctor advises against it, even though I don't have maternity insurance... even with all those things the truth is I would be ecstatic if I found myself accidentally pregnant.

I deep down want another baby. I've accepted that it's not going to happen, but that doesn't mean I don't want it.

It's a strange place to be but it's where I am right now.

Monday, March 7, 2011


ook Brenna's picture off this site a few months ago because I had read on other blog how people were stealing their pictures. I didn't want anyone to do something with her picture.

But I realize that some of the people who are new to this blog probably don't know what she looks like. So here she is:

I think some people are shocked that a 19 week 5 day fetus actually looks like a baby. I've had other mother's ask me why she looks so good. They tell me that when their baby was delivered they were very red and almost bloody looking. The truth is, I don't know. She looked like a baby. There was nothing bloody or red about her. I think I remember the nurse telling me they did something to her when she was born to stop her from deteriorating. I'm not going to think about that. I know that after she was born pathology had her for a few hours to determine if there was anything wrong with her or the placenta (they found nothing). They are the ones who determined her gestational age, because at the time I found out I was pregnant I didn't know when my last period was so we were a little off on her due date.

This is the picture the nurse took. I have a few that I took, and I treasure them.

The only regret I have is that we buried her with these clothes on. I wish I would have kept them. I really wanted them, but I didn't want to bury her naked. Now I wish I would have at least kept her hat...

Anyway, if you ever come to my house this picture is on display in my living room. My mom has it on display in her house, as does my grandmother. Some people would be disturbed by that, but those are the people who've never been touched by stillbirth.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Three years ago today at about 4 in the morning my lifeless daughter was delivered. I was unconscious. My husband was in the waiting room. I don't know exactly what happened during her birth. I know the doctor told me that as soon as he cut my belly open her heart stopped beating. I know he went out to my husband and told him the situation was critical. He needed permission to deliver the baby, assuring him he "doesn't do abortions" over and over again. He reminded my husband, "There's no baby without mom" and that mom wasn't going to be here much longer. I remember opening my eyes in recovery and seeing my husband crying hysterically. "What's wrong?" I asked. "We lost the baby" he cried. "It's OK" I comforted him. Then I closed my eyes. I remember being moved to a room. One on the other side of the L & D floor. One where I couldn't hear babies crying, and where I was away from all the joyful parents. I remember telling my husband to make sure he called my dad (I knew he already called my mom). I also told him to call two close family friends. One lives right next door to us and had seen me leave for the hospital. "I'm sure he's really worried" I told him. I remember opening my eyes and asking what it was. "A girl" my husband and mother both told me. "I told you!" I said to them. Or maybe I just thought that. I was on a morphine pump, so it's all a little fuzzy. I can't remember if or when I asked what happened. I remember the doctors coming in and telling me never to get pregnant again. I specifically remember one intern telling me it would be fatal. I remember my doctor telling me he'd never seen anything like that happen in his 30 years as a doctor. I remember my husband telling me he thought we should name her Brenna. It was a name we talked about before. My step-daughter actually suggested it. It was my son Brendan and my step-daughter Jenna's names but together. I agreed. I remember a very nice nurse coming in. She told me she had been down and taken pictures of my baby. She'd bathed her and dressed her and would I like to see her. My sister, my mom, my step-daughter and my husband were there. I told her no. She wasn't pushy. She told me that she would leave the picture in an envelope with some other items in case I wanted to look. Her hand prints didn't come out too good, but she got some good footprints. She would put Brenna's isolette in private room in case I changed my mind. I was afraid to see her. In my mind I pictured a grotesque, bloody fetus. I was 19 weeks 5 days pregnant. I had no idea what a baby that young would look like. I was afraid. My husband was too. My mom wanted to see her. She asked if it was OK with me and I told her of course. My sister went with her. Jenna didn't want to see her. She went downstairs and my husband and I were left alone. It was then that I started to cry for the first time. "Let it out" he told me. I couldn't. The physical pain wouldn't allow me to. At some point we decided to look at her picture. I don't remember when that was, but I think Jenna was in the room with us because the first thing I said when I saw her picture was "She looks like Brendan" and Jenna said "I thought the same thing". My mom came back and I could tell her and my sister had been crying. "She's precious" my mom said. Knowing my mom and sister saw her and that she wasn't horrifying made me want to see her. After they all had gone home my husband and I asked them to bring her in. I've seen lots of dead bodies in my life, but I've never touched one. Never. When we looked in the isolette the first thing my husband did was gasp my name. "She's so tiny!" He bawled like a baby. I didn't shed a tear. I picked her up and held her. We were in awe of her. She had fingernails and eye brows- everything a baby is supposed to have, just smaller. I looked her all over. Every part of her was perfect. I took some pictures with my cell phone, but I was afraid they wouldn't come out so I had him run and buy a disposable camera. (The pictures from the disposable camera disgust me to this day. She doesn't look anything like she did in real life. The only pictures I treasure from that camera are the ones my husband took of me holding her. Oddly enough, several weeks after I was home I found the pictures on my cell phone. I had forgotten I took them. They are beautiful! I have since gotten a new cell phone, and I can't part with that phone. In fact, I just put it back in the original box and put it in my closet a few days ago.) We spent some time with her. My husband talked to her a lot. He told her how much we wanted her and how much we loved her. We talked about how we couldn't believe this was happening. How strange it was that a few months ago we were so shocked to find out we were having a baby, and now we were so heartbroken to not have her anymore. After awhile, I don't know how long, I could tell my husband was ready to collapse. He was still wearing his work clothes from the day before. He had taken me to the hospital right after work the day before. He hadn't slept in almost two days. I told him he should go home. He left and I was alone with her. I kept her with me all night. I don't think I held her the next day, but I wanted her close to me. She was so young, and her body was starting to look bad. I didn't want to hold her that way, but I didn't want to let her go either. I fell asleep from the morphine that night, wondering why this was happening to us.

Friday, March 4, 2011


This is not the life I envisioned for myself three years ago. I thought my life would be different. But it's not, and that's just how it is.

I expected to feel sad, but really I don't feel anything. Tomorrow feels like just any other day to me.

I wish I had some beautiful, touching thing to write, but I don't. I don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said 100 times on here. I wish she was here. She's not. I'm dealing with it. Life goes on.

I've changed so much these past three years. This just isn't what I had planned.

Happy Birthday baby girl.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today is National Pig Day. You may remember that I have two pot belly pigs. One we've had for about 8 years, her name is Sadie:
I also have another one who's pink and has blue eyes. Her name is Miss Piggy. She was a homeless pig that we took in.

Pigs are very smart, and believe it or not, they are very clean animals. The roll in mud because they can't sweat and it cools them down. It also coats their skin so they don't get sunburned. We put a kiddie pool in our pig's area so they can crawl in the water and keep cool during the summer.

They are very friendly and will take snacks out of your hand. They enjoy getting belly rubs. Miss Piggy has been trained to walk on a leash and harness. Sadie will roam around our yard, and never leaves. One of our neighbors always feeds them is food scraps, and when Sadie sees him she starts grunting and making this weird noise, almost like squealing under her breath.

I do enjoy my girls.

Happy Pig Day!