March 29, 2013

Death and a 3 year old

Wednesday night (8 hours after Oma took her last breath):
I told Lovie that Daddy would be picking her up from school tomorrow and that Grandma would be spending the night when they got home.

"Where will she sleep," she asked. I told her she’d sleep on the couch. “Well where will Oma sleep?” she asked. I told her Oma wouldn’t be coming. That she was no longer sick. That she was now an Angel in Heaven.

That was about that; we were getting ready for bed and onward she moved to the next task at hand.


Thursday morning:
On the way to school, I reminded Lovie again that Daddy would pick her up later and that Grandma was spending the night. She asked what I would be doing at work. I told her. After I ran out of explaining duties and that Grandma would coming over and I would be with her, she asked what I would be doing with Grandma. I told her we’d be going to a funeral home.

"What’s that?"

I explained it’s a place where some people gather after someone dies to say goodbye to them.

"Because when someone dies you never see them again."

Then I told her, again, that Oma was no longer sick, but that she died and that’s who everyone will be saying goodbye to at the funeral home.

“So then I won’t ever see Oma again?” she asked.

My stomach dropped, tears started to well. "No, baby. You won’t."

"That will make me very sad," she said, her voice softening.

"Me, too, baby but we have lots and lots of pictures and stories and we will never ever forget about her."

"Can you turn the music louder?" she asked.

March 28, 2013

Fin

Her last breath was taken late yesterday morning... 3.27.13.

Her suffering is finally over.

She will never be forgotten. Especially that smile.

There will only ever be one Oma and she is in every sunrise and every blooming flower. Forever and always.

Sweet dreams Oma. Xoxo

March 27, 2013

enough already!

I admit to being totally and completely oblivious to worldly shit, let alone stuff going on in my own homeland... but thanks to Facebook, and an image I saw any time I logged on yesterday, I learned that the US Courts were going to look at legalizing gay marriage yesterday.

Then I came across this image, also on Facebook:



And really, that says it all for me.

Because, if things were like they were just 40 years ago, my Lovie wouldn't be here today.


And why? Because it would've been illegal for her dad and I to marry and have her?!

What the hell kind of shit sense does that make?

What does my relationship status have to do with you, your cousin, or your fancy uncle sitting on the Supreme Court?

It very well can be the fact that I'm watching and waiting for one of the most important people in my life to pass on... but life is too fucking short to not allow people to love whom they want to love when their love isn't negatively effecting anyone else.

It just doesn't make any sense as to why this is even an issue. I understand there's laws and shit, but ... enough already! When two consenting adults love one another, let them love one another. Let them marry if that's what they want to do. Let them have children. Let them love. And live. Because one day that life will end... and it's just not right if they can't look back and say they lived their life to the fullest because of a fucking law.



it's been a while but hooking this bitch up with the fine folks at Yeah Write. because i can!

March 21, 2013

gift


It’s hard not to smile when she does.

Never forced—those are everywhere—her smile brightens the dim,
lifts the despondent.

Her goodness, her kindness, her warmth…
it’s like she tries to infect us all with it through that smile.

She’s the epitome of stunning beauty—it radiates from her core.
 
What a gift she’s been.
What a gift she’ll be.

Even when the smile finally fades and her last breath is taken.
 
My Oma.





Linking up with Trifecta.

March 20, 2013

GUEST POST: Coconut Butter Poached Lobster Served with Delicious Smoked Clams and Cauliflower Recipe

Written by Kendra Thornton


Coconut Butter Poached Lobster Served with Delicious Smoked Clams and Cauliflower Recipe

Without doubt, the best vacation of my life is the most recent one we spent at the stunning Kimpton Hotel ranked amongst some of the top hotels in Miami. I wanted to take a taste of our amazing experiences back home to share with everyone in Chicago, so I was thrilled when I discovered this decadent recipe from Area 31 Restaurant and Bar. Not only is it a taste of Miami, it is perfect for impressing guests!

Coconut Butter Poached Lobster:

- 4 cups lobster stock
- 1 piece of ginger, crushed
- 2 dried chilies
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups coconut butter
- 2 1½-lb lobsters (Nova Scotia are best)

Method:

- Bring the stock, chilies and ginger to a simmer. Add the coconut milk. When it reaches a simmer again, whisk in the coconut butter.

- Transfer the mixture to a 6-inch hotel pan with an immersion circulates. Set it to 135'F or 59’C run it and allow it to come to room temperature. A deep baking dish also works.
- Remove claws and tail and blanch in simmering salted water for 6 minutes.

- Remove lobsters from their shells when cool enough.
- Roast the lobster in a heavy-bottom pan for 15 minutes. Place them in a small stockpot with enough salted water to almost cover them. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 2 hours.
- Split the tails down the middle. Season and sear them quickly on high heat. Put tails and claws into buerre monte, your butter sauce. After about four minutes, take them out.


Smoked Clams and Cauliflower:

- A couple handfuls of wood chips
- 2 cups cauliflower flowerets
- 8 small neck clams
- 16 oz. lobster stock
- 1 tbsp. coconut butter

In a 4 ½ hotel pan on a burner, throw in the wood chips and cover with shallower perforated half hotel pan. Put the cauliflower and clams into a pan covered with foil. When smoke starts to seep out, remove from heat. Repeat after letting stand for 10 minutes. Set clams aside.
Place cauliflower, liquid from smoked clams, and enough stock to cover halfway in a small stockpot. Simmer over medium heat until tender. Season to taste. Mash and fold in the coconut butter.

Mizuna Puree:

- 4 cups mizuna greens
- ½ cup spinach, blanched
- ½ fresh parsley, blanched
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut butter

Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth.

To Serve:

On one side of the plate, spread some of the mizuna puree. Put some cauliflower and one-half lobster tail on top, with a claw. Top it off with a smoked clam and mizuna greens. I hope you enjoy this meal just as much as my husband and I do and I have to say I feel like quite the chef when I create it (but the secret is…it really isn’t very hard!)



Kendra Thornton, "former Orbitz Director of Communications and promoted into full time position in the care of Motherhood", can be found on Twitter @KendraThornton.


if you're interested in Guest Posting here, drop me a line at finallymom@gmail.com

March 18, 2013

it's gonna be okay

This child of mine. This sweet child of mine.



The beginning of this year was rough. She was turning into this ... three-year-old.

Or something.

She had this nasty little attitude about everything and it was making parenting her hard. I found myself frowning a lot instead of laughing. I found myself counting out loud and in my head (out loud to put her into Time Outs, in my head to hopefully contain myself from blowing up) whenever I was around her. Bedtimes were the absolute worst--taking up to 2 hours some nights.



But then something happened.

I'm not sure when it was or what it was--and it very well could've been me who changed--but something happened and parenting her became a joy again.



Time outs went from daily occurrences to maybe once a week to once a month. Bedtimes still take about an hour, but there isn't any more yelling.

I think the attitude has a lot to do with the busyness of December: Santa, Christmas, Rudolph, her birthday, New Year's Eve... I think things get so exciting come December, that when middle of January tries to bring about a normalcy again, she fights it because I'm pretty sure I complained about what a Pill she was early last year, too.

Well, now that we're in mid-March, we're back to Normal and I really like it here.



It (normalcy) lets me see the bigger picture and that helps us all, I think.

I know Lovie can sense my stress, my sorrow, my sadness from Oma's slow death. And it's hard for me to keep that from her and I guess it's OK not to try anymore. I mean, for months now I've tried bottling it up inside of me... but why?

We visited Oma on Saturday. I was so reluctant to visit with Lovie the past month because I didn't really want her to see Oma in such a sad state. But my mom thought that since Lovie is such a good girl (her words), that maybe bringing her by would be good. She missed seeing her and she thought Oma might really like it, too.

And she did.

Oma smiled like I haven't seen her smile since the last time Lovie was there. And so did I. Instead of feeling sick to my stomach over Oma dying any day now, I was content. And so was Oma. She had life in her blue eyes again. She looked ... peaceful. And happy.

And that's saying a lot about someone who's withering away to nothing.

Oma still isn't eating much of anything, she's still sleeping almost all day and night, and she's recently stopped taking all medication except for a pain patch she wears. She's super tired and very ready.

And now she's wearing a smile on her face.

And so am I.


March 15, 2013

desperation


 
 
She’s got to be here somewhere.

“Mama? Mama?!!”

Who are all these people? Where’s my mommy?! What happened? Where am I? Oooh there she is… I thought. Oh where is my mommy?
 
"Mommy?!!"
 
 
 
 
hooking up with Trifecta again.
 
 
 

March 13, 2013

praying... begging for peace


The evening news ended and my grandfather, 90, was walking from the bathroom to the bedroom to get some rest. My grandmother (Oma) was knitting in the living room and still watching TV. Their eyes met. He smiled at her, waved, and blew her a kiss—his way of saying good-night. Thirty seconds later, Oma heard a disturbingly loud thump in the bedroom. She called out his name and ran into the bedroom to find him lying on the floor. She screamed out to my sleeping mother (who had moved in with them just one week prior and with whom my grandfather told he was glad she was there so that Oma wouldn’t be all alone) to call 9-1-1.

He was pronounced dead an hour later at the hospital.

It was such a shock to get the call from my mother in the middle of the night.

So many things ran through my mind and every inch of me screamed in aching pain.

My beloved, highly respected, very healthy grandfather was gone… just like that.

His death changed me, that’s for sure. And, I believe, it changed me for the better: it was then that I truly realized that life is a gift that can be taken from us at any moment.
 

That was seven years ago. Since his passing, I’ve really done my damndest to live each day to the fullest. Even during not-so-great times like after I miscarried in 2008.

But now… Oma is dying.

She’s been dying for several years now. A slow death thanks to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). A gruesomely slow death to the absolute most giving, most nurturing, most loving woman you would ever meet.

My heart not only aches for her, it bleeds.

2013 has not been kind to her at all. She really didn’t think she would see Christmas 2012 and yet here we are in mid-March and she’s still breathing… barely.

She cries to my mother, her primary caregiver, asking why she can’t die. Why everyone else can die, but she can’t.

She’s literally skin and bones.

The CHF has her breathing through oxygen tubes 24/7. It’s also destroyed any ability to eat.

Witnessing all of this… supporting my mom as she cares for her dying mother 24/7… it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s downright cruel the way this is happening to her!

 
I’m not a religious person. I was raised Catholic but I haven’t practiced in a good 20 years. This is a time when I wish I did practice. Maybe then my prayers would be answered?
 
source
 
My prayers for peace.

I’m not wanting her to keep living. I’m not looking for a miracle here. I just want peace for her.
 
Dear God, Dear Universe, Dear Who/Whatever please give her peace. Please.
 

March 11, 2013

the empty chair

There's stuff I want to say here but just can't.

So much stuff.

But it's just too hard.

Instead...

this photo makes me smile so much.


It's a party Lovie created. My little 3-year-old set this table by herself for no real reason. She loves doing this kind of stuff. Always has. She's such a caretaker, this one. Always caring for her friends, and her dolls. Man, does she love her dolls.

It's not just her middle name that takes after my grandmother. It's her personality, too.

* smile *

My goodness, I'm truly so blessed.

No matter what happens and when, I'm so very blessed.


March 8, 2013

33 words: Stone


The gravestone—
purchased 30+ years ago after her parents’ burials
—has been waiting for her.
Her husband’s final date was added in 2005.
Her own expiration date will appear there soon.
In stone.



hooking up with the talented peeps of Trifecta again. constructive criticism always welcome.

March 7, 2013

oh cereal. how i love thee.

When it comes to cereal, I don't think I can really pinpoint a favorite.

I love cereal.

I could eat cereal morning, noon, and night.

I'm not even sure why exactly I love it so--the ease, the readily availability of it, the taste, the crunch--but I just know that I feel sorry for people who don't like cereal. In fact, I find people who dislike cereal to be a bit ... strange.



There is one cereal, however, that I cannot eat. It was a favorite of my older brother and sister growing up and I tried many times to eat it but I always ended up never being able to eat a full bowl, sometimes even getting sick from it: Cap'N Crunch.


Should be called Cap'N Gross if you ask me.

Even thinking about it now, I get the heebie jeebies. Didn't matter if they were the plain ones, the peanut butter ones, or the strawberry ones. They were all nasty to me and I wanted to cry anytime I saw a box of them in the pantry.

Other than those though, I love all cereals. I'm an equal opportunity cereal lover, if you will.

Now Lovie? Granted she's only 3 but her favorite cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. She's a lot like her mama, that one.

YUM!! NOW I WANT SOME CEREAL DAMMIT!



linking this up with Mama Kat, who's Losin' It.

March 6, 2013

March 3, 2013

baby items still being used or talked about 3 years later

My very best friend in the whole wide world happens to also be my cousin. She's pregnant and due in June with her first. She wants to register for only the basics, so I thought I'd put together a list of must have's--from my perspective--for things to get for baby's arrival:

#1: The IKEA Gulliver crib. $99. One of the sides comes down when the child starts climbing out. Lovie still sleeps in this as we just took the side down several months back.

#2: The Miracle Blanket: $32. It's not called the Miracle Blanket for nothin'. Really. Babies love to be swaddled. They're swaddled when they're baking away so swaddle them when they're done baking. Makes sense to me. And this blanket will assure you get it right. We obviously don't still use it today, but think back on the early days with much gratitude towards this product.

#3: Noise machine. Not sure as it was a gift one Christmas before I was even pregnant. Still using!

#4: Little lamb swing. $85 though I got a huge deal. Regardless, it was worth every penny. I'm not sure how we would've gotten any sleep those first several months without it.

#5: The Tiny Love Classic Mobile. $35. Not only did Lovie adore this thing once we put it up, but she still has the music/night light part of it on her bed- and still uses it every single night.

#6: Diaper Genie. $30. You may think you'll take out the garbage every day and maybe you will, but there will be times this thing will become a godsend. 

#7: Expedit shelving unit. $140. This piece has been amazing for Lovie's room. You can put cube boxes in it or not. So much storage for any and everything. Awesome piece of furniture.

#8: Malm dresser. $70. We put a changing table pad atop and voila- dresser and changing table. Still using today as a dresser.

#9: Dr. Brown's Formula Mixer pitcher: $15. Dude. This thing. If you have to give formula, you want this thing to mix your formula in. Please believe me. It eliminates much of the bubbles and you can make a big batch at a time.

#10: Costco membership. $55 a year. This is a must to get their baby wipes, diapers, etc.

#11: Amazon mom and Prime Membership. $79 a year. Look for the free trial!! Worth every penny. Do the Subscribe and Save for Diapers!! We still use this today (not for diapers). You get free second day air on any Prime products. And there are a TON. LOVE LOVE LOVE Amazon.

#12: Infant car seat carrier cover. $25. Even if you're not in a car often (BFF lives in NYC), if you go for walks etc when it's cold, this thing is invaluable when they're little and still in an infant carrier. 



March 1, 2013

the fortress and bedtime

We've been watching a lot of Tangled in our house lately. So much so that not only do lines get repeated while watching it, but we often reenact scenes. And what better time to reenact than at bedtime? Because every little thing comes up at bedtime:

I gotta go potty.
Read me another book.
Tell me a story.
I need a bandage.
The colors won't stop looking at me. (the light from her closet?)
I need some water.
Why won't this work?
Daddy needs batteries for the Wiggles. (the CD in the car skips so she thinks it's low on batteries!)
What does Mama start with?
What does Greasestina start with? (she can't say Christina)

And on and on and on.

I know you feel my pain. And I know that I need to buck up and say good night and get the hell out of her room but, well, I'm just so tired by then and I know what will happen if I try to leave so I give in. I know... I KNOW... the put-the-child-back-into-bed-with-no-eye-contact-and-no-emotion-every-single-time-they-get-out-of-bed-no-matter-how-many-times-that-is thing will work after just a couple of nights of doing it but I'm just too tired to do it. That's the truth.

So I give in to the million requests, including the ones where I'm the nasty mean Mother from Tangled and my darling Princess is, of course, Rapunzel.

And in order to really reenact it all we need a tower, right? So what better tower than her bed? MAYBE IT WILL GET HER TO STAY IN HER BED!!

So the other night, I got some cheap Walmart blankets and thought about it and thought it: How can I get these up onto her bed and get them to stay without looking like total shit? And then things started coming together...

I took one long crib bumper and shorter one and tied them together (they were in her closet) and rigged them from one side of her open crib to the other side- across the top of the crib sides. Then I laid blankets over top. But how would they stay up when Lovie inevitably moved and jumped around?

I got some clothes pins (big package for $1 at the Dollar Tree) and pinned the back of the blankets so they had some weight. Then I taped the clothes pins to the rails of her crib with washi tape. Bada boom, bada big a fort was made!



Lovie adores it. She calls it a Fortress- or her tower if we're playing Tangled.

The first night... it didn't work. She kept coming out of bed and I asked her if she wanted me to take the fort down. She said yes to try to call my bluff but this Mama can be a Mother and took it down. Man was she pissed. I kept telling her I'd put it back up the next night and it would stay up as long as she wanted or as long as she STAYED IN BED at bedtime.

Last night... it worked. She stayed in bed.

We still had a millions stall tactics, but at least we didn't have to strap her down* into her bed to get her to finally settle down and go to sleep.




*That's a joke, people; we don't ever strap her down into the bed.