the reset button

Today I need to get some sad out. Things have been going really well with the move and getting used to our new town but I think the sadness has been building up a bit. So here is me getting it out…publicly, I guess. I apologize if this sounds like a therapy session but I guess that’s kind of what this blog is for me.

Anyway…

Some of you may know or remember that when Greg got sick, he had a reset button. When he would think sad or bad thoughts about the future and dying, he wanted something to help ‘reset’ his mind. So he took this button off of our old Filter Queen vacuum cleaner. He brought the button everywhere we went and even in the middle of the night, I would hear that sad little clicking sound. And then I’d cuddle just a little closer to him.

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When the movers took our bed out a couple weeks ago, there was Greg’s reset button on the floor. I wanted someone else to be there to share this important find with me. But there was nobody but James, one of the movers. So I blurted it out to him as well as I could explain it in a few sentences. He looked confused and didn’t really know what to say. I wanted to just yell out, “It’s really important!” But I felt stupid and started crying and clicking it myself. James hustled out of the room to go move something else.

Lately I’ve been pretty vocal and that’s a little worrisome to me. I’ve always tried really hard to say the right things, think of the best way to say something so as to not offend anyone and make everyone like me. And being more vocal = more chances of feeling like a fool because of something I’ve said.

And now I have this blog, I’m talking and meeting a lot of new people and getting things off my chest. I’m feeling empowered but at the same time extremely vulnerable. I really miss having Greg here with me to let me know that I’m doing alright. I think he thought I was always the centered, confident one but I don’t think he ever knew how much confidence he gave me. Because I ALWAYS knew that no matter what silly thing I would say or do, he would still love me. And not only would he love me, he would completely be on my side. If I was ever worried if someone would be offended by something I did or think I was stupid because I messed something up, his response was always something to the extent of, “Fuck ’em!” as he wrapped his arms around me. I just didn’t have to worry because if I ever needed back-up, he was always right here.

There is a long list of things I miss about Greg but today I’m so sad about the fact that I don’t have him to scoop me up and let me know I’ve done alright. I’m proud to be a strong, confident person but it’s a hard realization that I’m back to relying on myself that what I’ve done or said is the right thing.

I’m keeping this reset button for myself. Click.

xxx,

Mariah

2

apartment tour

Would you like to see our new home? Well, come on in!

So far, we’ve all adjusted quite well. There’s something about being physically closer to one another that makes the move worth it and I’m happy we did it right away. To be honest, I haven’t thought much about our Briar Lane house since we moved. Is that bad of me? I like that I’m able to let go of a place, a thing, so easily. Because Greg is still with us and my babies are here with me and that is ALL that matters.

The Briar Lane house and yard was beautiful and I’m going to miss our time there with Greg but I really don’t miss it’s big-ness. (Yes, I know that isn’t a word.) Right now, small is where it’s at with this family!

Once we unpacked boxes, put Greg’s pictures up on the walls and made the beds, it became home fairly quickly.

So, here it is…

As you walk in the door, you enter this living room/desk area although it is quite open so you can see the dining area, part of the kitchen and down the hall from the front door.

living roomSo far, I sit at my desk at the computer and peek through the plant (like nobody can see me) to spy on what everyone is doing in the parking lot! I’m probably worse than all our little old lady neighbors. P.S. We love our little old lady neighbors!

Office

Turn around and here is the entry. Thank you to my Dad for hanging all the hooks…actually, thank you to Dad and Uncle Wayne for hanging ALL the pictures in the place. Squeaky and Squirmy were both at school when I took these pictures otherwise there would be stuff strewn everywhere. I cleaned it up just for you!

Entry

Our dining area is tiny and we even jammed the girls’ kitchen set in the corner so they have that to play with or eat at when friends come over.

Dining

Here is the kitchen. Moving from a huge kitchen, I thought I’d feel crammed in here. There is a surprising amount of room and I think there is even one empty cupboard in there. Oooh. Aaah.

kitchen

The girls room. Sharing a room has been great and they play nicely together. With the exception of the stuffed animals they sleep with, Greg and I never really let them have anything that is just ‘theirs’. They have always had to share so we really don’t have fights about toys or things. And there is no line down the middle of the room either. Although I guess that starts when they are older, right? Bedtime is getting better but it’s still new to be going to sleep with someone else in the room. Squeaky has had a harder time but she is still only two so I’ll cut her some slack!

Girls Bedroom

We have a little reading corner where we cuddle with a few books every night before bed. (Huge bleach splotches on the carpet. Hello apartment living!)

Girls Bedrom 2

Here’s my bedroom. I kind of love it.  Off of the left side is a huge walk-in closet and to the right is my own bathroom. The girls can even be flopping on my bed right next to me while I get ready. That couldn’t have happened with the layout in our Briar Lane house.

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Here’s a view from my closet, across the room is my bathroom and you can see all the way down the hall back to the entry.

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And this is just opposite my bed. I tried to bring in as much seating as possible so when I’m ready to have crazy parties (my 98-year old neighbor downstairs won’t mind!), I’ll have enough seating!

mri Bedroom 3

So, there you go. Home sweet small home.

xxx,

Mariah

1

light up a life

Every year, Agrace Hospice highlights a family in their end of year campaign. This year, they asked me to share our story and I said yes. As sad as it is, I love our story. Because it is ours and it says so much about us. Every time I talk about it, it gets easier. I think it’s silly when people tell me it must be so hard to talk about our experience or about Greg. No, it’s not hard. It’s exactly what I need. So to anyone who will listen, I will talk. If you ever want to know, please just ask.

Here is this year’s brochure. It’s a bit of our story describing how important Hospice was to our family.

(If these are too small to read, you can click on each one and it will get a little bigger. You can also increase the size in your browser by zooming in. Or let me know and I can email you a pdf.)

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Just look at that sweet, kissable face. I miss him so, so much.

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I’m going to keep talking. Thank you for listening.

xxx,

Mariah

 

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sleeping beauties

Greg used to work an afternoon/evening shift and he’d get home around 10 p.m. He’d always miss bedtime with the girls. Every night when he came home, he’d go into each girl’s room to say goodnight. Sometimes, he had talked to Squirmy earlier in the day about what he was going to kiss. She usually wanted him to kiss her foot or her thumb. :) But he also started taking pictures of a sleeping Squirmy as soon as it was okay with me (“GRRR…Don’t wake the baby!!!”). Squirmy is a deep sleeper but Squeaky wakes up easily so there aren’t as many pictures of her. Greg actually woke her up a couple times with the flash.

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Squirmy in the crib

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Squeaky in the crib

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Princess Squirmy

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Squeaky clutching Jenny Doll’s hair

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Squirmy

I really like these. I think this is a tradition I’m going to need to continue.

xxx,

Mariah

 

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carrot spoon bread

Yes, this is another carrot recipe. Hey – I like carrots. I was going to make some joke about how I got my red hair from carrots but my hair is auburn so that joke would be ridiculous!

I really wanted to give you a recipe for sweet potato biscuits but I can’t find it and I don’t remember where I got it. So here’s another one of my favorite recipes instead. This carrot spoon bread is yummy and like the sweet potato biscuits, it’s a warm and cozy food – perfect for this time of year.

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This is a great side dish. I could suggest what it might accompany but I really have no clue so just make it alongside something else one night and there you go – a meal. Or you could even bring it for Thanksgiving this year!

Carrot Spoon Bread

  • 3 cups packed finely grated carrots (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine carrots with 3 tablespoons water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until tender, 4 minutes (if you don’t feel comfortable microwaving plastic wrap, cover with whatever you would normally use in the microwave, just make sure the carrots get soft). Drain carrots in a fine-mesh sieve. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in eggs, sugar, and butter until combined. Fold in carrots and transfer mixture to prepared dish. Bake until top is golden brown, edges pull away from sides of dish, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart.

Happy Spooning!

xxx,

Mariah

0

a sleepover

The move went well and we’re all settled into our new apartment. I’ll post some photos of it once we are back there…but TONIGHT (Sunday night) we’re having a sleepover at an empty Briar Lane. Even empty, it still feels like home.

We arrived back to the Briar Lane house and were locked out! The buyers did a ‘walk through’ last night and locked the garage door (which we never did) and I didn’t have a house key with me…oops! So, we called our realtor and she saved the day.

We ended up playing outside and made sure to grab our heart rock. It was from our wedding and has lived beneath one of the big oak trees in our backyard ever since.

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The girls also got to play at a friend’s house while I cleaned up, broke down a few extra boxes and made a last run to Goodwill. We came back after a pizza dinner (thanks Christina and Ben!) to have our sleepover!

So far it’s gone pretty well although there were a few tears from a certain 2-1/2 year old, who is a little over-tired. Plus, I’ve been a little run down over the last week and gave myself a yucky cough so I had to move out of the room because I am ‘too coughy’ for the girls and they can’t get to sleep! :) So, the girls are now sleeping next to each other and mama’s mat is shoved in the corner. Sigh.

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I really don’t want to be ‘too coughy’ on the buyers tomorrow at the closing so I’m going to try and get to sleep now too.

Nighty night and good morning.

xxx,

Mariah

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leaving this home

It’s here. Tomorrow, the big moving trucks come to whisk away our things to our new home. We sure are going to miss this house and the beautiful land around it.

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The front view of the house.

We moved here before Greg and I were married so this house has been with us through a lot; Greg asked me to marry him in the backyard, we had our wedding in the front yard, started life as a family with the birth of both girls, lots of dinners inside and parties out in the yard, years of just being us, and then Greg’s cancer and death.

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This was the view of our wedding ceremony from our bedroom window.

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The backyard, our wedding reception.

This house has been like another family member, one that holds us in, keeps us warm and helps us feel safe.

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A snowstorm in 2008.

We tried to sell this house on and off for 4 years. I think maybe we knew we were still going to need it and just couldn’t really let it go, until now.

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The back view of the house.

We will miss this house and all the good and bad times we got through here, together. We’re leaving a little piece of Greg here and that feels right, that a bit of our family will always be here.

Goodbye Briar Lane.

xxx,

Mariah

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squeaky’s playlist

Here are a couple songs that make Squeaky happy lately…

Oh, I only posted ONE?

Right. I only posted one. That is because this is the ONLY song she wants to listen to lately. She goes everywhere with a little mp3 player asking me to play this song for her over and over and over. And over and over and over!

I love this song too (the whole album is really good and Greg would be SUPER-DEE-DUPER proud that’s she loves Toots and the Maytals so much) but sheesh!

Enjoy and have a super-dee-duper weekend!

xxx,

Mariah

1

what NOT to be for halloween

I’m not a person who gets into Halloween and I’m not sure why. When I’ve taken the time to put together a costume, I have a great time. For some reason, it always seems to sneak up on me and then I’m not prepared so I just don’t dress up.

One year, I was going to meet some high school friends for Halloween and they were all going to be dressed up. I was complaining to Greg one night that I just didn’t have any good ideas and I started listing off things in the living room that I could be. When I said, “I could be a lamp!”, I believed myself. And I did it.

This was the best and worst costume. It was really funny and I loved the reaction when I walked into a room and people would just crack up. I even felt a little clever in it (you can’t see the flashlights taped to the inside so in the dark, I actually glowed!) that I would be the person to actually slap a lampshade on my head and just be a lamp! BUT…it was the loneliest costume ever! I had two little eye holes cut out but the lampshade would shift a little so I could hardly see and was always adjusting it. And I couldn’t hear anything! And nobody could hear anything I said. So I pretty much just sat in a corner. Like a lamp. Now I feel sorry for lamps.

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So, the lesson of this story is..don’t be a lamp. I trust you to think of a better costume than I could.

xxx,

Mariah

 

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