July 28, 2011

God Speed

I completely fall apart every time I hear this. The words speak directly to my heart.



Mommy and Daddy love you so much, sweet boys. You are absolute pefection and we are so proud, honored and blessed to be your parents. We miss you so much it hurts. We want you here on earth with us, but know we'll hold you both tight in our arms one day.  We carry you around in our hearts every second and always will. You are our hearts. We love you more than words can possibly express, our  precious angels.

July 27, 2011

Tea Time

I have found a new love. (Not to replace my many, many current loves). Have you tried Yogi Organic Tea? Not only delicious, but you're sure to find a favorite in one of the bazillion different flavors. I've been trying a lot of different ones, lately. Here's what the box looks like:
But, the taste isn't even the best part. Open up a bag of tea and you will find a little "zen" message awaiting you. I mentioned that I'm trying to find inspiration in unusual places, so I've found myself unwrapping bag after bag excitedly waiting to see my source of inspiration for the moment. Sad, I know. But, I'll take what I can get! Here are some of my favorites that lifted me up:



I just love them. Better than a fortune cookie, friends. If you're into tea, or even just into having your mood perked up, you've got to try this tea. It's the little things.

Thank you for your sweet, sweet comments and e-mails about yesterday's (and every) post. I truly love hearing from you and along with the zen sayings, YOU lift me up. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.


July 26, 2011

Twenty-Six

Whew. This one is going to be hard to write. I am sure you have a number that is special or memorable to you for one reason or another. For me, it's twenty-six. This number shows up an odd amount in my life. For starters, it is the day of the month when I married my handsome hubby. Our lives changed forever on the day when we said "I do." It also appears in my address, and phone number. I am twenty-six years old. Since our wedding, I've found 26 to be my "lucky" number. When I saw the number, I would smile because I would be flooded with memories of our wedding, our first home, and what a special time it was to have been "newlyweds".

Our lives changed forever {again} on the twenty-sixth, though this time it was May and not September. This time, our hearts broke into a million pieces instead of feeling whole. This time we felt empty instead of full. May 26th was the day we discovered that our babies were in heaven.

Today, here we are on July 26th. Two months. I still feel absolutely sick when I remember that day. The images and gut-wrenching emotions are forever ingrained my mind and my heart. I don't feel ready to write all of the details of that day, though maybe at some point I will. The days that followed once she shock wore off were unbearable. When I think about where I am now in my journey, and where I was two months ago, my heart breaks a little further.

For every question that was answered, a thousand more popped up. I have to understand that I will never fully understand what happened to our sweet baby boys and I know I will never understand WHY this had to happen to them. To our babies. I will never understand why. During these two months I have cried out to God, begging for understanding, peace, strength, healing, my babies. All of the above. 

Two months later, I don't cry every day, but most days I do. It is hard for me to see pregnant women, mommies with young children, and twins. I KNOW that having children is a blessing, and I am so happy for all of the miracles that are out there. My heart isn't ready to spend time with my pregnant friends, and I feel guilty for that. I feel equally thankful that they understand it's not personal in any way, and that they are supportive of me taking the time I need to heal. I have a stack of Parents magazines, unread. I still receive e-mails updating me on "My belly...week___". I delete them before opening them, and I can't open them to unsubscribe because I can't bear to see what my belly WOULD have looked like.

I have had a few genuine laughs. I've caught myself singing in the car. I count my blessing daily. Now, we're ready to try rebuilding our family again. For the first time in a long time, I have seen the slightest glimmer of hope. I'm clinging to it with all my strength.

Our babies' due date was 11/11/11. I found that to be such a special sign. Now, without explanation, I look at the clock at that exact time every morning and every night. I don't plan it, but it has happened every single day.I'm already anxious about that day approaching in a few short months. I don't need a reminder to think about my angels, beause they are ALWAYS at the forefront of my mind. But, I take a moment of silence at 11:11 each day and say a prayer for each of my babies. Maybe if you happen to look at the clock at that time, you could say a prayer for them, too.

I now see my life as everything that happened before May 26th, and everything that happened after. I know that part of me is the same, but I am different having lost my two children. I will always be changed by losing them. I cannot help but grieve for the future we will not have together, the milestones we will not experience together, the life on earth we will not live together. Even if my heart heals, it cannot heal fully because there will always be a scar. I don't want to forget. I want to remember them and their legacy. I long for the day when I look back on this experience as a chapter in my life, not the whole story.

I am unbelievably thankful for our family and friends and their endless support. These two months have been the darkest of our lives, hands down. I don't feel like I can say we "survived" because we are still living our reality. Even though it isn't the reality we imagined, we are still living. We are thankful for that and we are thankful for the opportunity to rebuild or family. Please keep your fingers, toes, eyes, arms and elbows crossed for us as we embark upon our continued journey towards parenthood. I believe in the power of prayer, so please keep them coming. Thank you for following along with us on our journey.

July 21, 2011

What Makes a Mother?

After we lost our twins, it became painfully and abundantly clear that so many others had also experienced the devastation of losing a child. People I barely knew, friends, and complete strangers reached out and shared their own experiences of loss. Each a different story with the same, heartbreaking ending. Each a mother and father with empty arms.

At first, I found this to be incredibly alarming. At times, it seemed as though it were impossible to actually conceive, carry and bring your baby home from the hospital. The thought of a subsequent pregnancy was (and is) completely terrifying, for that innocence of pregnancy is lost. I don't know why, but I always assumed that getting pregnant was the hardest part. Once you became pregnant, you magically floated through a perfect nine months, followed by a perfect delivery and a beautiful baby to bring home to your world. This happens every day, right? This can still happen for me. For us. I know this. But, it doesn't mean that the next time around I won't be on pins and needles until I have my healthy baby in.my.arms.

I have found a surprising amount of comfort in knowing that I am not alone. That I am not the first to experience this heartache. That many, many others have gone on to continue to rebuild their families after enduring such a loss. In the mean time, I have found many support groups where mommies wrote words that spoke directly to my aching heart.  This poem is a perfect example. My arms ache to hold our twins. I know that there will come a day when I will. Until then, I know they're watching over us and we will do our best to make them proud every day here on Earth.
What Makes a Mother
I thought of you and closed my eyes.
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a mother and
I know I heard him say,
A mother has a baby.
This we know is true.
But God, can you be a mother
when your baby's not with you?
Yes, you can, He replied
with confidence in His voice.
I give many women babies.
When they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime
and others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb
but there's no need to stay.
I just don't understand this. God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared His throat
and then I saw a tear.
I wish I could show you
what your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile
with other children and say,
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of life and love and fear.
My Mommy loved me, Oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a Mom
who had so much love for me,
I learned my lesson very quickly.
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy, Oh so much,
but I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
on her pillow's where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
and whisper in her ear,
'Mommy don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I'm here.'"
So you see, my dear sweet one,
your children are okay.
Your babies are here in MY home
and this is where they'll stay.
They'll wait for you with ME
until your lesson is through.
And on the day that you come home,
they'll be at the gates for you.
So now you see what makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of,
right from the very start.
Though some on earth may not realize you are a Mother,
until their time is done.
They'll be up here with ME one day,
and know you're the best one.

July 20, 2011

The "Guy" Burger

I don't think promise this blog will not be all about food. However, given the circumstances of being home for the summer, hubby back at the office and trying to get back in touch with my creative side, I've been in the kitchen more than usual. Plus, I sometimes can't find the words to articulate my feelings on a given day and if I feel sad writing them, I'm sure you'll feel sad reading them. Which, I don't want. So, today we'll take a break and write a foodie post.

I must give all credit for the deliciousness that was this meal to my Mr. He is usually the "meat man", which does not sound appetizing, but in general he takes that station and I'm on veggie duty. Let me preface by saying that when we make burgers, they are almost always turkey, and almost always a "little of this, little of that" type recipes. This is fun but makes for writing the recipe a little difficult! We did our best to recreate it here, but know that you could tweak or add anything that seemed like it would fit in. You could also use ground beef or chicken if you'd like. Okay, here she goes:

The "Guy" Turkey Burger
with roasted brussels and sweet potato "fries"


Ingredients

Turkey Burger
lean ground turkey
~1/2 cup Frank's Hot Buffalo Sauce
dash of liquid smoke
2 tbs worchestire sauce
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
~1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (more if you like 'em cheesier!)
sea salt
pepper
ciabatta rolls
tzatziki slaw (see below)

Combine all ingredients and form into patties in number and size of your choice. Toss on the grill and cook until white and "doneness" (did I make that word up?) you prefer. Pop ciabatta rolls into toaster oven to warm and lightly crisp.

Veggies
sweet potato spears
(create yourself or I found mine at produce section of Trader Joe's)
brussel sprouts
olive oil
sea salt
pepper
cayenne powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sweet potato spears and brussels on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cayenne powder for an extra kick. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges begin to turn brown and crisp to your liking!

Toppers
avocado slices
Sliced tomatoes
tzatziki slaw:
Broccoli slaw + tzatziki sauce=heaven!
*Do not skip this. We think they made the burgers! You could make your own sauce, which I didn't this time. I found one I'm in love with from Earth Fare. Simple!*

Build your burger and prepare for your taste buds to do a little dance!








July 18, 2011

Peace Is...

We just came home from a relaxing vacation in Vermont and lots and lots of needed family time. I'll be sure to update with more pictures once I "collect" them all from the various cameras used! My family has been going to New England every year that I can remember. We have countless memories with eachother, our cousins, aunts, uncles, and our beloved grandparents. This year, we had to make it a quick trip so we headed to Vermont and weren't able to make it up to Maine. We also wanted to get together and celebrate Mom and Dad's 40TH Anniversary. They had a big time celebration with a cruise along the Mediterranean, but this was the first time we could all get together and celebrate in person.

I have always thought of these places as the most peaceful spots, and I look forward to visiting them each year. Since Mr. has been in my life, he's been able to experience the sweet summers that he has heard me gab about. The air is crisp, the people are wonderful, the company is even better. Here's just a little taste of our trip:
 Beautiful downtown Woodstock
 The whole crew-a rarity to have everyone together at once!

 We also met this little darling, our niece, for the very first time!
 Hubby's artistic side
 My sweetie and I wanted to hike Mt. Tom, a place we visit every year. This year was a little different for us. We decided we would also begin {again} hiking our metaphorical mountain, our journey to parenthood. The hike to the top isn't easy, and there will be set backs on the trail, but once you get to the summit, it is going to be beautiful.
 Summer nights on the deck
 Team Americana :)
My sweet mother-in-law sent this in the mail and it was waiting for us when we got home. Please notice the author. I always knew he was a wise one. :)

Thank you to everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue on our journey towards parenthood. Please pray for strength, hope, and peace. Please pray for our rainbow.

July 7, 2011

Summertime Delights

This blog is dedicated to finding my spark and the little things in life that bring us joy. I really enjoy cooking. Over the years I've become a little more confident and adventurous in the kitchen, and cooking has been something that my husband and I enjoy doing together, much like my parents always enjoy cooking side by side. And, my hubby has come a long way. I'm talking, when we met 5 years ago the boy did not have salt and pepper in his pantry. Yep. He's come a long way. :)

I am a girl who has never met a fruit or vegetable that I didn't like. My students asked me this year if I was a vegetarian because I am always going on and on about how I love "that healthy stuff". I am not a vegetarian, but some days I think I could be. Summertime is one of my favorite times to cook because of all of the incredible produce that's in season. Needless to say, I haven't felt much like cooking over the past 6 weeks. I decided in an effort to seek that spark, I should give it another go in the kitchen.

So, that brings me to today's post. In Savannah, we went to this ah-mazing restaurant called Cha Bella. On the menu I saw a salad that was right up my ally and I knew I had to try it. It was made from heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens, roasted eggplant, and, here's the topper, a fried goat cheese medallion. So simple yet so delicious.

Last night I thought I'd try to recreate that yummy salad. I have to say, it was a success! Give it a try for yourself. You won't be disappointed!

Cha Bella Salad
Ingredients: 
Organic mixed greens
Organic heirloom tomatoes
1 medium sized eggplant
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Goat Cheese medallions (1 per salad)
Breadcrumbs
Egg Whites (to bind breadcrumbs)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice eggplant (see picture below) about 1/4 inch thickness. I decided to throw a few tomatoes on the sheet as well for an added twist. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven for about 20 minutes.

Here are the veggies before roasting:
Meanwhile, prepare goat cheese medallions by dipping into egg whites, then coating in the breadcrumbs. (Note to self: Why didn't I take a picture of this step?!)

I didn't "fry" the goat cheese, though I'm sure it would be tasty if you preferred that!

Heat a skillet (I used non-stick) to medium-high heat. Place the medallions on the skillet and flip {gently!} with a spatula after about 2 minutes. They should be browned but not burnt. Continue to flip until each side is browned.

To put it all together on a plate, top a bed of mixed greens with a handful of heirloom tomatoes. Remove eggplant from oven, top greens with a few slices of eggplant, a few roasted heirlooms and a goat cheese medallion. Voila!

The finished product:

Let me know what you think!

July 6, 2011

Redefine.

I have been thinking a lot. (Uh oh. Watch out). Here are some of my randoms for the day:

First, after going through a tragedy,we quickly realized that we wanted to remember our own crisis on a daily basis when going about our "normal" lives. I'm talking about complaining, getting upset, frustrated, etc. about things that are, in the grand scheme of things, NOT A BIG DEAL. I know we're all guilty of it, and hopefully we can do it a little less when we center ourselves and focus on situations in two categories: what really matters, and what doesn't.

Here are a few examples of things that are not worth getting upset about:
*Major traffic jam when you'd really love to be home from work
*Starbucks used 2% milk instead of your preferred skim
*Not-so-polite customer service
*Rain on an outdoor event
*Pup chewed your favorite pair of shoes
*Shattering your new phone on the stone floor two weeks after buying it (this may or may not have happened to Hubs)
*Waiter at a restaurant does not put dressing on the side, leaves on the onions you didn't want, uses white instead of wheat...

I think you get the point. :) When you lose the most important piece of you, and I pray you never, ever do, you quickly realize how silly it is to bother getting upset over such small things. I challenge you to remember this the next time you have a long wait at the doctor's office! ;)

Other thoughts that have been rolling around in that head of mind are how impossible it may seem to be simultaneously grateful, fearful, hopeless, hopeful, misunderstood and completely accepted all at once. I feel these things at any given moment.

Words seriously cannot describe how thankful we are to have the support of our family, friends and even "strangers" during this time of despair. I know that each of you are walking through this pain with us, and often don't know what to say or are afraid of upsetting me. I assure you, when there aren't words to say, you compensate in a big way through keeping us close in your encouraging thoughts, prayers and words. When you're worried about upsetting me, I promise, our twin boys are always at the front of my mind. Asking me how I'm doing won't make a good day bad or a bad day worse. The wound is so fresh and it's very difficult to talk about, but it is healthy and healing to talk about, also.

 It is enough to be just what I need to be at a given time and know that I will be supported. I don't always have to put on a brave face and pretend that I am fine. I also don't have to be afraid to talk about something else, like nail polish or movies or what is happening in the lives of our loved ones. I know I have missed a lot of what's beeing going on over the past 6 weeks, but I also feel as though I haven't had very much to give. Thank you for understanding all of me through this heartache.

It's strange to feel that your world is standing still while everyone else's lives are still turning. I sometimes feel, when I go to the grocery store or Target, that I have a secret that is about to be broadcasted over the loudspeaker. I feel transparant, since I know I'm so changed, others must see it, too. I realize this isn't the case, and that most people do not know what is happening beneath the surface. That makes me think about others and what they have going on beneath the surface, as well. Hopefully I will bottle up this feeling (but put it on the shelf eventually because it stings) and remember that when we interact with people on a daily basis, we have no idea what they could have gone through. Everyone has their mountains to climb.

Wow, those really were a lot of random thoughts. Thank you for being here and reading them. I know you are here by choice and I appreciate you so much.

P.S. (on a more technical note, please sign up to receive updates via e-mail to the right. I don't want you to miss any ramblings!)

P.P.S. I am super excited about a bloggie makeover taking place in the near future. It's the small things! Check back soon. :)

July 4, 2011

Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July! We are trying very hard to celebrate the little things in life. For us, it's been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month. So, in an effort to "celebrate" surviving June,  the hubby's new job, and just plain time together, we decided to take a much needed getaway to Savannah. We ate delicious southern meals, including but not limited to: low country crab benedict, organic eggplant and heirloom tomato salad, yummy gelato,  out-of-this-world scallops, and even enjoyed a nice tall glass of rosemary infused lemonade (something I must try to recreate!) We strolled around historic downtown, gawked at the beautiful victorian homes, walked along the river, spent a day at the beach on Tybee Island, found a few fun rooftop bars, and, of course, did a tiny bit of shopping. It was a wonderful, relaxing trip and it felt good to have a genuinely fun time with my favorite travel companion (also known as my best friend and husband).

Here are a few highlights from our vacay:







 
I'll leave you today with this: Do you ever find hope in unusual places? Katy Perry's Firework song is a perfect example. Yes, I said Katy Perry. By the way, I am also a Taylor Swift fan, so you can continue chuckling if you'd like. Anyhow, I always try to gain inspiration from words, and song lyrics are no different. Take a look at the ones in this song. If those words don't inspire you, then I don't know what will!

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
drifting through the wind
wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
like a house of cards,
one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel, already buried deep?
Six feet under, Scream but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
There's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, "Oh, Oh, Oh"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go, "Oh! Oh! Oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em going awe, awe, awe

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane, comes a rainbow


Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July


Where do you find your inspiration? You're a firework. Let your spark shine!


 
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