Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas:Accomplished

Sometime back in November, my SIL put together a photo shoot down at the beach with the Zentil side of the family. As creative as she is, I was HOPING that she'd do what I thought she might, and that was present them to us as Christmas gifts. She never ceases to dissappoint..as these photos are one of my most favorite gifts this year. NZ and I aren't ones to organize something like this ourselves, but I am so very happy to have us all together to document this time in our lives. Over the years our family will continue to change, with births, deaths, and kids growing up and moving out...but one thing I love is how close our family is right here, right now. I feel fortunate for both my family that I was born into, and the one I married into. So, although Santa didn't answer my request this year, I do have to say that I still feel fortunate to have the gift of our family's love & support.


On Christmas eve, I noticed that my mom had hung her "D" ornament on the tree, and although her tree is no higher than a smurf, it was there, hanging for me to see, and I love that she doesn't hide her support of us and our loss. I've been reading the blogs of other baby loss moms over the holidays, and I think we all share a similar hurt, a similar want, and a similar understanding that the Holidays are forever changed by our losses.



As the holiday season approached, I had thought that I might regress a bit and start sobbing uncontrolably, at a really inopportune time..you know, like at a jolly Christmas get-together or something..but I didn't. And although grieving privately is what I am supposed to do, it's not always easy..but..I did it..And even if no on else is understands why I might be proud of myself for getting through Christmas with no hysterical breakdowns, I do.


There were no steps taken backwards this month. No regression. December has been the first month with no meltdowns. Sure, I shed a few tears in my car ( for silly reasons) a time or two, but in comparison to months past, this is progress.


Could this mean I am coming to terms with our loss at a different level?


I'd hate to jinx myself and then have an all out meltdown 5 seconds after this post, but I really wonder if time will help me heal?


Until I find those answers, I've got my family.


Life is good, even when things don't go how I had planned. This, I know.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Candyland Cake


I have been slaving in the kitchen all week long, making buttercream frosting and marshmallow fondant to cover my newest creation..a Candy Land themed cake for Christmas. Instead of our annual gingerbread house, I made a cake to serve on Christmas night for our family supper with the Zentil relatives. It was harder than I thought.
I definitely surfed the Bakerella site for ideas ( hence the presents at my gingerbread man's feet..and I couldn't find sugar cones for the tree, so a gingerbread man stands on top instead).
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy, healthy New Year. I've been ready to say goodbye to 2009 since May. Puts a whole lotta pressure on 2010, wouldn't you say?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Owl be watching you

While I was out and about during my lunch hour this week, I stopped in at Pier 1 to see if I could find some stocking stuffers. I found em, alright...but I kept going back to a particular ornament. No one needed this ornament, but I HAD to have it. I'd pick it up, look at it, check the price, then put it back. I'd go about browsing items I really SHOULD be buying, and lo and behold, I kept going back to the dang owl ornament. So, after reasoning with myself that I could have it if I wanted it, I bought it.

And you know what? On my way back to work, I got a flash of memory back to April 2009 when I was selecting crib bedding for our baby girl. Pottery Barn had one titled "Brooke" and it was a whimsical design with trees and the sheets that matched had tiny owls. I loved it, but it was back-ordered, so I selected a Beachy themed set from PBkids instead, which I am saving for a future daughter.. I loved the Brooke set though, and I just went on PB kids to get a picture and wouldn't you know, it's on sale now. Go figure. I'm not crazy enough to buy it now, and store 2 sets of crib bedding with no babies in sight, but it is so dang cute!!!
I broke into tears ( what a dork, I know) on my short drive back to the office. Now I know WHY I had to have it. Memories are all I have, and I am glad that they still drive my decision making process when it comes to our baby lost. I don't ever want to forget her, and although I rather have been at Toys-r-us buying her toys to play with for Xmas, my reality is that I'm not able to do so without looking like a complete lunatic. I can, however, buy little things here and there as I think of her, and this ornament totally made my day.

It's the little things that mean so much.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

You know the saying, "third time's a charm"?? I'm hoping that this, being my 3rd consecutive year requesting the same type of gift, my request will be answered, once and for all...and this time, when I get my gift, I hope its one that's made to last.

For the last two Christmases you did answer my request, but both times, something went wrong that couldn't be fixed. This time, if it isn't too much to ask, I'd like one with a warranty. Preferably, a lifetime one. I got to see the one that was sent to me last year, it was a girl. She looked perfect, and was exactly what I wanted, but as I said above, she wasn't made to last.

I'd really really really love to ask for a different gift next year. I am sure you're getting tired of my broken record request...so if you can't send me one this Christmas, I understand...but maybe if that's the case, you can give me the gift of patience and understanding so that my life can move on while we await for "our time"... So for the sake of sounding like a spoiled brat, I'm only asking for one thing..and I hope you don't let me down.

Sincerely,

Brie

p.s. No cookies this year. I'm putting out cake balls for your dining enjoyment. Made especially for you.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dancin' Shoes

Check out the kicks I wore out dancin' last night.
Sneakers, that's right!

Last night, NZ had plans with his buddies, and I decided I needed a friend-fix from one of my all time favorite people in the world, so I drove down to Hermosa and met up with her for a night out at a "Sweat Suit Dance Party" themed Bday for former Aggie Pack great, Kenny Kane.

Swanson and I laughed as we rolled out of her apartment dressed in clothes more suited for a Friday night date with TiVo and the weeks missed shows. Sweats, to a bar, seriously?

Total awesomeness.

The bar he had his party at was a high falutin' one, with the average girl dressed in no more than 3 inches of spandex and manolo heels...but covered in 3 lbs of makeup. Then you have us....the dance party..All of Kenny's friends that turned out wore some stylish sweats...Adidas was a definite fave, and head bands were quite the accessory.
Pretty soon, there was a crowd around, watching the "dance offs" and then ultimately, joining in and having a blast.


On the way back to Swanson's place, she and I reminisced about our Davis days..Nights at the Grad, Cantina and our general lack of dancing abilities, despite all of our years trying.. I needed that friend fix, and am so happy that I got to forget all my worries for a while and enjoy myself...in my dancin' shoes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flip-side

On the flip-side of our misfortunate year, I have to admit that I have insert: gasp! learned an important lesson from the loss of our little girl.

I mean, I could have done without the lesson, and much rather be holding her, but hey, that's not the way things went..so, whatever.

What did we Zentils learn?

Good Question.

We learned many things, but most importantly, I learned that we, as a couple, have what it takes to survive a personal tragedy. We learned that life goes on ( although differently), and that we are, and always will be okay.

We're resiliant.
We're strong.
We're living.

The road of a babyloss parent is not an easy one. As I have blogged many times before, there's not always a rhyme or reason for why one day is one of acceptance, and the next, grief...Situations which we wouldn't expect to affect us, might..or might not...depending on the day. I've read and heard so many times about marriages crumbling under the stresses produced by the loss of a child, or loved one, and although I never put any stock into it before, I do realize that NZ and I have really worked together to understand and accept one another during the tough days.

I'm thankful for all the typical things we should be thankful for..food, shelter, family, employment....but most importantly, I am thankful for the lesson that we have learned fairly early-on in our marriage...We are a couple that can survive and trudge through the stress of life changes and still come out loving each other more than before.

I'm thankful that something heartwarming came from something heartbreaking.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kitchen's closed

Sorry Mr. Coon & neighbor kitty (yes Mimi, I'm talkin' to you)...

Kitchen is closed.


After a couple years of sharing Beav's gourmet Felidae, we've had enough. We already took the liberty of removing our indoor/outdoor cat door, thus making our beloved, Beaver...an outdoor kitty..which still breaks my heart. ( nevermind the other reason for his outdoor status being that he was using the sofas as scratching posts..it's much easier to blame you hoodlums instead).


We're now quite confident that we have you outsmarted.


Look what NZ found at Harbor Freight...the most amazing "coon proof" locks, ever.


So, I'd suggest you just give up the fight, and move on over to the East side...cause you're no match for these locks....suckas!!!...and don't even pretend you haven't tried to crack em...cause I see your claw marks everywhere.


Coons=Loss

Zentil's =Win

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My addiction


Thanks to my Sister and BFF's for fueling my addiction just a little bit more.


I celebrated my 32nd Birthday this week (if you call spending your birthday sitting in jury duty "celebrating"...) and received many nice gifts, cards and well wishes from friends & family far and wide.


Even though my day was spent sitting on my a$$ at the courthouse, I got a grand surprise by my grandparents, who decided to join my sister and I for my lunch break. Grams & Gramps got their first taste of a Jersey Mike's sub sandwich while we basked in the sun and caught up with one another.


My sister kicked off my Birthday "week" with a vanilla cake with chocolate icing and light blue fondant last Sunday, NZ baked me a sour cream coffee cake ( from scratch!!!!) thus continuing his tradition of baking my birthday cake every year...and one of my BFF's just ended my Birthday week by mailing me a batch of chocolate chip cookie bars ..which is quite impressive considering she just started Nursing school .


And apparently, my friends are enablers.


My gifts all revolve around feeding my addiction....
...to baking.



I can't wait to have a project so I can try out making gumpaste flowers, and modeling MMF ("marshmallow fondant" for the non-bakers out there), and dusting them with the edible glitter dust!



So, let this be a fair warning..if anyone calls the show,"Intervention" on me, all ya'll who bought me baking tools will be sitting on that couch with me and will be labeled"enablers". haha.




Love you all!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A family in need

I've already posted this on face.book. However, I know that my blog reaches many lurkers out there, and I would hate for Annie to miss an opportunity to gain some more leads on getting the treatment she needs.. Her husband went to college with me, and is the cousin of my ex-husband and also the cousin of my longtime friend John & his wife, Liz.

Please read and contact the emails listed in the letter if you know of anyone, or anything that could have potential to get her the help she needs.. since chemo may further compromise her lung capacity.

She & her family are interested in possible clinical trials or any additional ideas for treatment that may be available to her. Family has been recommended to research Annie's options and assist her in determining the best course of action. If anybody knows of any expert specialists in the field of Melanoma please forward. Time is of the essence.

Please contact Levi: lcodysftsi@sbcglobal.net or Perice: pericesibley@aol.com. Medical records are on hand & can be provided asap as needed. Thank you.

October 31, 2009

To anyone who can assist or knows someone who can assist:

My name is Annie Leinen; I’m 28 years old and have been married to Michael Leinen for 6-1/2 years. We have two adorable boys, Craigy (3) and Cody (18 months), and have been expecting our third baby boy, Colton Michael, whose due date was January 17th, 2010.

Back in early September I was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia in both lungs and my husband had to use vacation time and reduce his work hours to take care of our kids. Over the past two months I’ve been in and out of hospitals trying to find proper treatment for my lungs. My Community Hospital biopsied a lymph node under my arm and the diagnosis came back as malignant melanoma. Upon their recommendation that I transfer to a specialty hospital, my brothers drove me to Stanford Medical Center in Northern California for the best NICU care and diagnosis of my lung condition. It was there that a bronchio lung biopsy was performed and I was shocked to be told that my shortness of breath and persistent cough was due to stage four melanoma that has metastasized to my lungs. A significant portion of both lungs have been compromised making breathing difficult.

Our baby, Colton, who was just hit 28 weeks, was delivered early yesterday morning, Friday October 30, by c-section and will be in the NICU for some time. Meanwhile, I have been given a few days to recover and then I am faced with deciding what treatment options may be best to slow or halt the growth of melanoma that has spread throughout both lungs & has been cutting off my breathing.

My husband has flown back to southern California and is driving our two other children up to spend time with me over the weekend. I have been told that time may be short if my breathing becomes any more compromised.

I am requesting help from anybody who can assist my family with information on treatment options or clinical trials that I may qualify for. I wish to stay in Northern California to enjoy the time I have with my children and family but am willing to explore whatever option are available that may improve my condition and give me time with my children.

My most recent medical diagnosis summaries & records from Stanford Medical are on hand.

Thank you for any assistance that you can provide. And especially thank you for your prayers.

Sincerely,

Annie Leinen

Brie, the pretzel-maker


There's a cute kids book by Eric Carle titled, " Walter the Baker", in which he is ordered by the Duke and Dutchess to make a soft tasty roll out of one piece of dough, that the sun can shine through 3 times, or be banished from the Kingdom.


For all my friends with kids out there, this book is a must-have. My pre-school class LOVED it. We followed up by making pretzels, which of course, with 14 sets of little hands "helping", they turned out anything but pretzel like...more like 3 lumps of dough, but they were sooooo delicious!


My neighbor's daughter has been on my case to bake with her, and so last night while baking store bought cookie dough ( ick!I'm such a baking-snob) that she brought over, I showed her how to search recipes on goo.gle. She though pretzels would be fun. I agreed.


Well, unbeknownst to her, I dreamt about them last night and woke up and made them without her. shhhhhhh! I know, I'm terrible!


But before anyone jumps on me for not including her, I had to do a trial-run, right?? I mean, it's been 6 years since I last taught pre-school, so I'm a bit rusty in the 'ol bread making department.


Anyhow, I made the most delicious pretzels this morning, and am now confident in my abilities to teach lil Miss A. how to make them as well.


So, we'll make them next weekend, unless by then she decides that making carmel-something-or-0ther (her first find on her goog.le search) sounds like a better option.


I am excited to teach her the way around a kitchen. I think kids should learn how to cook, and do laundry, and iron. At an appropriate age, of course. Domestic abilities do not require talent, they're learned. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I find a lot of my self worth in knowing my way around an oven, ironing board and vacuum cleaner.
As requested..THE recipe..
INGREDIENTS:
4 tsp active dry yeast ( I used 2 packets of Fleishcman's rapid-rise)
1 tsp. white sugar
1 1/4 c. hot water (110' F)
5 c all purpose flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 c baking soda
4 c hot water
1/4 c kosher or sea salt
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cupswarm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In large bowl ( I used my kitchenaid mixer with dough hook today). Mix flour, 1/2 c sugar and salt. Make a well in the center; add yeast mixture and oil. Knead till smooth (7-8 minutes). If dough is too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time. Lightly oil a large bowl. Put dough ball in oiled bowl and coat with a layer of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours in a warm area.
3. Preheat oven to 450' F. In large bowl, dissolve baking soda in warm water.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 12 balls. Roll each piece out into a rope, and cross ends to make pretzel shape. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda bath and transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until browned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blunt honesty vs. sugar coated

I've had a writer's block for the past week or so. Everytime I start to blog, I go back and re-read what thoughts have spewed out of my brain, and I come off sounding like a spoiled brat. Like, "it's-my-pity-party-and-I'll-cry-if-I-want-to" sorta posts. I have continually claimed that the last thing I want is pity, yet I am the biggest culprit of this crime. Yes, I am calling myself out.

These days I am two people.

I'm a lady in public and (noooo, get your mind out of the gutter) a heartbroken mother at home, or in my car, or the shower, for that matter. I'm doing better. I feel like ( and NZ may correct me if I am wrong) I have a better grip on my emotions, on MOST DAYS. Not all, but most. I feel like I am able to handle social situations with a stiffer upper lip than a month ago.

However, this being said, I still can not look at babies at the mall, grocery store, Doctor's offices...Those cute babies I used to give the "OMG, s/he's so adorable!" to, now get passed by with my blinders on. Seeing them just reminds me that our little girl is not here with us. Logically, I know that these babies and their parents have no personal vendetta out against me, nor are any of them responsible for my inability to seperate their luck from my misfortune. Let me tell you, it's a tough pill to swallow to come to the realization that I am the grinchy one.

I've always loved babies. I still do. The vice grip that is around my heart just needs to let off a little and I will come back around and be able to share my love again. I know the old me is in here somewhere.

But the blunt honesty of it all for me is that I am still sorting out my feelings and grief. There are days I don't know who I am...am I strong or am I weak? Survivor or a victim? I think it's a common feeling amongst us babyless mamas.

Sometimes I worry that I may never snap out of it. I worry I may lose some of my friends that have kids, due to my struggle to communicate. I whole heartedly admit to going M.I.A. on a few friends over the past few months. My friends care, they are the best. But some of them have very good reasons to be happy these days, and I feel like I have nothing to offer our friendship until I come out from under this cloud. Why rain on their parades with my ho-hum, don't-have- any-good-news-attitude?

Six months ago, I was expecting to be dressing a baby in her very own Halloween costume, and buying those cute little Christmas dresses..I thought I would have a 2 month old starting to smile & maybe even starting to hold her head up. My reality is anything but.

Instead I see 6 months as a lifetime. That joke about the biological clock ticking...?

Yeah, that's me. Tick. Tick.Tick.

It's been 6 months, and I wake up day after day reminding myself, I'm alive and well. Trying to be positive without getting my hopes up and peeing on too many sticks each month in anticipation as to whether this is "the month" we start all over again...Then, trying not to get down when only one line shows, and we have to pin our hopes on the next month.

Positivity is the key to success, or so they say, but will it open the door of opportunity for us ( screw windows of opportunity... we need DOORS..or what the heck, FLOODGATES)?

So I suppose I could have just written a post about how life is grand, and everything happens for a reason, and all those cliches that people seem to like to throw out there at we parents who've experienced the loss of our children...and act like I've accepted it all, and we're only looking forward, but that would be the biggest load of Sugarcoated $hit ever.

Instead, I choose to be bluntly honest and say that it is what it is, I am what I am...and someday I hope to be who I was again, before the loss of my babies.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cowabunga dude!

NZ's dad shot this a few weeks ago down at one of NZ's fave surf spots.

video

Friday, November 6, 2009

Something special


I have a friend.

An old friend.

We haven't talked in ages, but we attended the same elementary school, high school, and college. We grew up down the street from one another, and moving into Montecito as a 5th grade girl, I was thankful for a friend like her. Moving for any kid is never easy, but she and I had many afternoons of cookie baking, building bamboo forts , rollerskating in the burned down lot across from my house...and my favorite memory..shot-gunning cola cans on the rooftop of her parent's home.


This old friend of mine has come back into my life, in a very special way.


Re-united through Face.book ( who isn't on that thing these days?), we shared in the excitement of finding out we were both due in September with babies. As the months passed, I didn't communicate a whole lot with her unless I saw a new status update on her bun in the oven..


Imagine my surprise to see a Facebook update from her.. just after Independence day, that she had the same expectant mother's nightmare as I had just gone through.


How could it be?


I mean, I was supposed to be the one to bear the losses for all my friends. I am the person who is usually on the wrong side of the odds..you know, if there's a 1% chance of something happening, I am the 1% it happens to...


But, my dear childhood friend and I are now reunited through the losses of our daughters. We lost our girls within 8 weeks of one another. I can not say enough good things about how much of a support she has been for me.. She gets me. And pretty much anything she says, I know she 100% completely understands what we're both going through.


I decided that we both need to have something to keep around during the holidays so that our girly girls can be with our hearts...I found a couple of Ornaments at Kohl's one day and knew that this was how I was going to remember our baby at Xmas for years on out. It's simple, cute and very special to me. While standing in front of these cute little ornaments, sitting right next to "D" for our daughter's name, was an equally cute "E" for her daughter.


So, this Christmas, our little girls will be with us, and maybe one of these days we can climb up on her parent's roof and shot gun cola and talk about our babies without feeling like we shouldn't.


She really is something special.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Football fanatics

So, we have a group of friends who are also football fanatics..only... they happen to root for the wrong team ..I mean, is there really any other football team other than the Steelers?

Anyhow, we love them even though they're Broncos fans, and there's a bet riding on Monday's game.

Loser wears the winning team's jersey to work the next week.

Let's just hope Julie heads to work in a Polamalu jersey rather than NZ in an Elway one.

Here are the cakeballs I made to get the heckling started...these are headed to work with NZ tomorrow.






Let's go Steelers, let's go!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Great Wall of Zentil

BEFORE: JUNE 2009


PROGRESS: October 2009




MORE PROGRESS: October 24th

NZ posted pics of the progress on his facebook page last weekend, and our friend John labeled it the "Great Wall of Zentil" and he isn't too far from the truth! This thing has turned into quite the project, and the blocks we had delivered in August are now all used up. We need more!!!

So, until a new delivery is made, we're in a holding pattern. About 3/4 of the way done...all in a days work!


NZ, our neighbor and a couple of laborers worked on it last weekend from sun-up to almost sundown...non-stop.


Impressive!


I'm super duper excited to see the dirt pile dissapear so that the true magnitude of the yard size can be fully appreciated. Right now that pile o' dirt cuts the yard in half. The other super cool thing that they did..an executive decision by my 'ol man, was to cut in and terrace the edges...which means..I can plant my poppies in there!


The guys are talking about other crawler plants to plant between the stones, but the only thing I am jazzed about are my poppies. Oh how I love California Poppies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What I need to do...

Now I have a Kenny Chesney song stuck in my head, but not the whole entire thing, just the first few lines..

It's called, " What I need to do" and he talks about running away from his problems and knowing that he needs to turn his car around and head back to deal with it all.

I've just got the " What I need to do " part playing over and over in my head.

I need ( we need) to let our little girl go.

Not in the sense of forgetting about her, no way, no how..but we need to give her the proper memorial. Just NZ and me and her ashes. We need to do it soon...otherwise, this mama just might hold onto those ashes forever. We've talked at length about where & how, but the "when" part is always "soon"..and never set.

I think "soon" has arrived.

I think about these other moms and dads that have gone through an infant loss, and wonder how they deal with the burial, creamation etc.. I know that religion plays a large role in how many choose to memorialize their babies, but do others who have creamated their babies struggle with letting go of that last little piece to hold onto? Do they keep urns? Do they let them go at sea? Bury them under a tree? I know, pretty morbid topic here, but it's what we're faced with. We have made our decision of what we want to do, but committing to a time and date to go finally do it has proven to be difficult.

We're strong & we're lucky to have one another...We know what we need to do....and it's going to happen, but this dragging of the feet just isn't like us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

6 months later..

6 months from the start....I finally finished my nephew's Quiet Book.
Scroll back to some of my April/May posts and you'll see the beginning of my project...Well, those photos were as far as I got. After losing the baby, I went through a funk of not wanting to do anything that I found enjoyable..(ie. Sewing/Baking/Crafting).

Well, the love is back. My sewing machine hasn't left our dining room since mid September, and it's not because I am too lazy to pack it up and store it away...it's actually getting regular use! I'm against using the dining room table as a catch all, it drives me nuts to have magazines, papers, keys, wallets, purses and the like put there as a resting place. Dining room tables are to be eaten at, and that is all. Unless, of course, I need to sew. Then....and exception is made. I'll bend the rules for myself (=

Anyhow, I am once again doing a happy dance tonight. I managed to tackle the hardest part of my Quiet Book assembly. I punched grommets through each page, and threaded them through extra large Key ring clips, and then carefully threaded them through a binding I made out of handmade bias tape. Phew!


I'm sure it will take him 0.6 seconds to destroy it, but I reinforced every seam and sew- on item that I could.

So, in case his mama reads my blog, I'm only giving a sneak peak so that she too can be surprised come Christmas time. For a while there it was looking like it was going to be a 3rd Birthday present more than a Christmas present, but in a clutch performace, I pulled it off.

Now if only the Dodgers could pull off a performance of that magnitude, they'd beat Philly.

A girl can hope!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tricks of the Treats

My one and only favorite sister, SS came down this weekend from Santa Barbara to have a crafty Saturday with me. We had been planning this since last October. Last year we had the novel idea for me to catch the train up to Santa Barbara for the weekend. We chose Halloween weekend, since her hubby was racing and mine was in Abu Dhabi or somewhere wayyyy cooler than California .
I got off work a bit early, and drove to the closest train depot. Wearing slacks and a business shirt, I waited...and waited...and waited....3 hours for my train to arrive. In that amount of time, I could have been in SB even accounting for Friday northbound traffic. So, the train pulls up, the doors open...and Oh My Goodness, there were people standing in the doorways, wet with sweat/alcohol/vomit? Okay, maybe not vomit, but you get the picture.. The conductor tells the 4 of us waiting at the depot that the train is full. Enter at our own accord. Standing room only.

I make my way up the stairs with suitcase in hand, and it was a plethora of Isla Vista bound (UCSB) Halloween go-ers. Drunker than drunk, loud, obnoxious...way not what I expected my Friday sunset trainride to SB to be. I was thinking, "hmmm, I will kick off my shoes, recline with a mini wine bottle and watch the sunset over Rincon as we go by."
The way my train ride turned out was more like hanging on for dear life as people bumped into me, ran over me, and basically didn't know I existed. Had it been 5 years earlier, and I was at my partying prime, a train ride to IV would have been a brilliant Halloween kickoff. But at age 30, not so fun.

Anyhow, this year, my sister came down here. We avoided any chance at either one of us having to endure a train wreck of a train ride.
My sis taught me some new cake decorating tips, and some new techniques with color flow, an icing that hardens and is more versatile than royal icing. We made cupcakes, cakeballs, and candycorn color flow pieces to later be added to cupcakes to send to work with my lucky ol man to share with his co-workers.
I love crafty weekends, and I love my sister.




Keep those Singers rockin'


Keep those Singer (Kenmore..or whatever you've got) sewing machines....rocking!

I arrived home to a box of pink and blue polka dotted blankets from S. today. I did a little happy dance, complete with the cabbage patch moves...Really! I mean, I remember our little girl every single day..multiple times...and the logical part of me understands that I am probably the only one who thinks about her as often as I do... I know that others think about her from time to time, but I wouldn't expect them to have the daily wonderisms that I do.
This weekend was 5 months since we said hello, and goodbye.

And 5 months of putting one foot in front of the other.
Take one step, then take another..Keep on movin..Movin' in the right direction. ( courtesy of George Strait)
Organizing this blanket donation has helped me feel like I am doing something to help others in memory of my daughter. It's given me something to do, and lets me think about her every day without feeling guilty...I can smile when I think of her, and hope that her mama's making her proud.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time out to help. Blankets, phone calls, texts, e-mails...I'm always touched by those who are sharing in this walk along side me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fit for a Queen

Some of you internetters out there may recall my all important and agonizing decision over the bedding for baby Z ( which, by the way, I still adore and have saved for our next shot at love). For some reason, I am the kind of girl who can pass up the fashion fads and settle for non-designer stuff for the most part, but in terms of linens and housewares, I am a Pottery Barn lover.

We haven't had time to plant the money tree yet, so I improvise when I can, and splurge when there is no substitute. I'll scour the catalog and figure out how to make my favorite pieces myself. There was a time in my life that I would cut out "roomscapes" and catalog them in a binder ( sorry honey! I'm a planner). I think those got tossed during one of NZ and my simplifying days. Neither one of us like clutter, so after a while, pretty much everything goes..unless it's necessity.

Anyways, we recently upgraded our bedroom. A new mattress after hmmm...I'd estimate at least 10 years, if not more. All I know is he had it when I met him, and he had had it a while before that..so, yeah, it was DEFINTELY time to get a new one..a bigger one, thank you very much. That extra 5 inches of real estate makes a difference!

Super excited about finally having a nice bedroom set, yet still working with the as-purchased room ( popcorn ceiling, sconce lighting, maroon/rose swirly carpet and one blue wall)..I have been having a time of times trying to find bedding that "works", and will continue to work once our bedroom is remodeled.
Yesterday while shopping with my sissy, a fabric caught my eye. I came home and couldn't get that print off my mind. It was calling me LOL. And wham! Just like that, this morning, I thought to myself...that's it!!!
I'll make a DUVET COVER!!

So, today I decided to head back to the fabric store and see if they had enough to make a Duvet cover for our new bed. I was in luck..bought it, came home, found a coordinating sheet we already owned for the backside ( reversible is good) and went to town measuring, pinning, ironing and sewing. 45 minutes later, we have a new Duvet as nice as Pottery Barn, at Walmart prices. I love the happy colors and they coordinate everything from our rose/maroon carpet, to my favorite accent color ( granny smith apple green) to our bathroom towels!

Definitely fit for a Queen ..bed, that is. I still have to share it with my King (=

FYI- 4.75 yd is enough to make one side of a Queen Duvet. I cheated and used a Queen size sheet in a coordinating print on the backside.
Total Cost: $28.
Something similar at Pottery Barn: $170 +

Saturday, October 17, 2009

True Blue, We love you!

As I do many times at CVS, I came home with something that was NOT on my list..But, as a Dodger fan, how could I resist? A Dodger PEZ dispenser.
C'mon Dodgers, let's take Philly down!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering Sweet Baby Z. & friends


Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. As if those of us who have lost a child need any more awareness, right?


But really, there are so many of us out there who have lost a child, or two, or three...maybe even more. Whether it be a blighted ovum, a full term stillbirth, or a child born alive and dying shortly after...losing a baby is amongst one of the most difficult life experiences anyone will face.


I am amazed at the number of friends who have come out of the shadows to share their stories of miscarriage, and stillbirth. I've joined many blogs of women who share similar stories to mine. Reading their accounts, makes me feel not so crazy. If there is one thing I have learned from my experience, it's that life does go on...Just differently.


So, tonight I sit here thinking about the many people who have lost a child, and keeping hope that one day, we all get what we deserve.






Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Song of the Week

Although I have had Kenny Chesney's cd,"Lucky Old Sun", since it was released, I stopped listening to it shortly after the loss of our little girl. If I had to hear "Down The Road" one more time, I was going to have an all out meltdown. I used to listen to that song on my way to work every morning ...dreaming about our little girl, and the years down the road when her dad and I would meet the man she wanted to marry. I loved it. I loved it a lot. And actually, I still do..but I just can't bear to listen to it in fear of crying like a baby.

I also can't listen to George Strait's "I Saw God Today" all because of one stupid line...about looking through the nursery glass at his miracle. That line alone does me in..
Every. Single.Time.

If I were an actress, doing a crying scene, all they'd have to do is make a cd of these songs together and I would instantly get into character. It would be like flipping a light switch.
Movin' along, happy as I could be...and WHAM! One of those songs comes on and the tears flow.

Anyhow, I'm veering from my whole reason for this post...I picked a new kick ass song of the week...On the subject of Kenny Chesney's "Lucky Old Sun" cd, I heard a song today that makes me want to try my luck and put that cd back in my car..I can always fast forward past THE song, right? I heard the Kenny Chesney/ Dave Matthews song, "I'm Alive" a couple days ago and although I have heard it millions of times before, it was like I was listening to it for the first time. The words fit my current mentality perfectly.

Each day I wake up, tell myself to be strong, and remind myself I DO have a lot to be thankful for. But somedays, my grief gets the best of me. Anger, sadness, self-pity, all comes to an ugly head and I burst..It's a daily routine for me now...reminding myself that there's no need to get so worked up over the cards we've been dealt..I can think about them, but I don't need to let them knock me down.."They" say it gets easier, but until then, I'm taking it dayby day, step by step.

Simply stated..
I'm Alive, and Well.

Here are the lyrics to my New favorite song... click link above for video

So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me I’d like to thank my lucky stars that
I’m alive, and well

It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive

And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin' in and out's a blessin' can’t you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
And I’m alive, and well
I’m alive, and well

Stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight
It’s good for the soul, when there’s not a soul in sight
But this boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life
Now I’m alive, and well

And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin' in and out's a blessing can’t you see
Today is the first day of the rest of my life
Now I’m alive, and well
Yeah I’m alive, and well

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chues!

Sundays are my afternoons with one of my nephews, while mom, dad and Uncle Nick play softball. My nephew and I loooove our afternoons together, usually getting some fresh air with stroller rides, walks, or playing out front with the neighborhood kids.

He really has a thing for our back bedroom, and since there isn't really anything he can get into and hurt himself, I let him have at it. It can be "his room" until we have a little one of our own to argue the point with him.

Anyhow, he went into "his room" this past Sunday and after a couple minutes, I knock on the door and lo and behold the cutest sight I have ever seen!

He answers the door, and says, " look Aunt B, your chues!" as he steps out in my flip flops, on the wrong feet of course.

I *heart* the things kids do!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's "Sew-Easy": Blanket Instructions

Thank you to my friends & family for your willingness to sew itty bitty blankets in memory of our daughter, which will be donated to our local hospital for nurses to use when presenting pre-term stillborn babies to their parents for that special time they are able to say hello and goodbye. Standard receiving blankets pose a challenge for the nurses, who do their best at making those babies look their best. The Hospital issued blankets engulf the little bodies and they get lost in all that softness.

Our little girl was given to us in a hospital issued blanket, and although at the time, a blanket was the least of my concern, looking back, I would have been touched to have her presented to me in a blanket suited to her size...even moreso, knowing that someone donated the blanket in memory of a stillborn..When you only have a half hour to spend with your baby, every last loving touch helps. Those memories are all the families have of their much loved baby.

Here are step-by-step instructions for making the blankets. And if they seems small when you are making them, it's because they are! NZ had to remind me just how small our little doll was as I sat there hemming and hawing over whether the instructions really were for a 12x12" blanket or not...

You will need:
A sewing machine
An iron & ironing surface ( preferably an ironing board..no one needs to melt their carpet!)
Bobbin
Thread
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Marking pencil/pen
Ruler/straight edge
3/4 yd. to 1 yd. Flannel fabric in muted prints or solids

**I was able to get (2) 12x12 blankets out of 3/4 of a yd. and (3) 12x12 blankets out of 1 yd.**


I'm looking to make 2 sizes of blankets.
The 12"x12" blankets are better suited for preterm loss under 30 weeks, and the 24"x24" blankets are better suited for 30 weeks +.

The following instructions are for 12"x 12" blankets

Step 1: Measure & Trace
Using a straightedge/ruler or cutting mat marked with measurements, mark off 12.5" x 12.5" square. ( The extra 1/2 inch allows for a 1/4" seam allowance.)
Step 2: Cut out (2) Squares

Step 3: Place right-sides together and pin around perimeter.
Step 4: Sew.

(Photo A)
Using machine set on straight-stitch, sew around the perimeter, using a 1/4 seam allowance all the way around ( see photo A: there are guides on most sewing machine plates). Leave a 3"gap in one of the sides, so that right sides can be turned out ( see photo B). (Photo B)
Step 5: Trim corners at a diagonal
Step 6: Turn right-side out
Be sure to turn corners out as square as you can get them. By executing step 5, you've done yourself a world of help at getting them square.

Step 7: Press edges and corners.
Step 8: Sew edges.
Use either a straight stitch or decorative stitch ( I used Zig-zag) around perimeter of the blanket. I lined my sewing machine foot up with the edge of the blanket to make sure all seams got pressed down nicely. ( see photo below)
Step 9: Press and celebrate! You're done!

Please contact me at : briezentil@gmail.com for my mailing address...and once again, thank you thank you thank you for all your love!