Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hippies No Longer Need To Use The Back Door (A post in progress)

Hippie (1960's):
someone who rejects the established culture; advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle

Hippie (2000's):
Caring for the environment, helping your neighbor, attaining world peace by attaining inner peace, achieving social justice for all, living simply and simply living.

Why the hell wouldn't I want to be one?!?!

Modern Hippie Mag

I'm "granola", apparently...avid recycler, vegetarian, support local, I grow my own food and eat organic (when possible), use reusable bags, I believe in natural medicine. I practice attachment parenting, cloth diapered my babies, breast fed until they weaned, co-slept, wore my babies, delayed vax, and yes, I've even hugged trees. I could go on. If those things make me a hippie, then I'm proud to be one.

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds." Bob Marley
Become conscientiously aware~Change your mindset~Fuel desire with emotion

I may be only one person, but I have four little people looking to me for guidance. If I teach them the things that I'm passionate about, all I care for will carry on.

After my father passed away, I realized that having a family was about so much more than love and tradition. It's about legacy. Yes, that seems so cliche' to say, but really, it's as simple as that. It's through me, that he gets to carry on whatever message he wants to send the world, what impact he wants to have on the future. Everything he and my mom taught me was so much more than survival. It was about making a difference. About being better than the last generation. How I didn't think about that until recently, I don't know (and please, no emails telling I'm stupid for just realizing this. ;p ) My point is, I have this opportunity, to teach these four little people in my life whats important to me. I'm not talking about religion and politics. They can learn and research those subjects on their own (just as my parents allowed me to). It's about teaching them how to make something, anything, better. How to never fall into the ruts of doing everything the simple way, about working a bit harder for something that gives you no monetary compensation, but a feeling inside that lasts a lot longer than the dollar.

"Feed them on your dreams" (Crosby, Stills & Nash)


All images from 2006.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one..." (John Lennon)

The innocence of children...a home video from 2006. This was on Easter morning when they were a little amp'ed from the Easter Bunny's visit. I had to share Olivia running around with her little cloth diapered butt singing and dancing like a ballerina.

Oh, and don't forget to do your Yoga.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Birth: Nicholas ~ 15 Dec 1998

Coming soon

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on your birthday: "I'm Your Angel" ~ R. Kelly & Celine Dion

A Birth: Madison ~ 28 July 2001

Coming soon

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on your birthday: "U Remind Me" ~ Usher

A Birth: Olivia ~ 30 November 2003

A photographic revisit of some of the events that took place during my pregnancy with you, and on the day you were born.

Yes, I did have to triple check (over the course of three days actually).

I thought I was going to lose you and Dad rushed me to the clinic. I was very relieved when I saw you.

I had to have a lot of ultrasounds with you. Fluid checks, monitoring. It seems the fluid was a little low at some point in my pregnancy. I was also high risk due to having only half a functioning uterus (and because of the scare at six weeks). They told me I most likely wouldn't make it to term with you, but we proved them wrong.

The day before you were born we celebrated Thanksgiving. We decided to wait for Oma and Opa to come up so we could have one last feast before you came along. I fought with the doctors to keep you in until after the week of Thanksgiving. We scheduled a cesarean for the day before your due date. In all honesty, I was hoping to go into labor on my own because they said they would possibly allow a vba2c (vaginal birth after 2 cesareans). Didn't happen that way, but you arrived safe and sound so I'm grateful for that.

We had to be at the hospital at 6am. Dad was awesome, comforting me as I went through my roller coaster of emotions.

View from our room:

~ Olivia Grace ~ born at 10:06am

Heading home:

When you were just a few days old:

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on your birth date: "Stand Up" ~ Ludacris featuring Shawnna

A Birth: Avery ~ 29 April 2005

While I wish I could recount every moment of what happened that day, I'll allow the story to be told through the images. I did put a little bit of information below, small details I remember.

It's a girl! Our only one we found out with...Dad and Nicholas needed preparation after already having two girls/sisters:

High five:

Your brother and sisters painted my belly about a week before you were born (Olivia painted her own belly too):

Several weeks and a week (respectively) before you were born:

Four kids. Wow. I still had a baby at home, Olivia was only 17 months old when you came into our lives. I was so scared, more scared than I had been Madison and Olivia, probably just as scared as I was with Nicholas. I had to have a scheduled cesarean as I'd previously had three, but I begged the doctor to schedule it as close to your due date as possible.

My surgery was scheduled on April 29. One day before your due date. I remember checking into Madigan Army Medical Center at 6am. I was happy, excited to meet you, spent time talking with all the nurses and doctors. The anesthesiologist walked in and we discussed the surgery, I asked for the spinal as I had a bad experience with one epidural delivery I had. He agreed, said he'd see me shortly and walked out. In that moment I shut down. Fear set in a bit and I was just ready to have you. I was prepared for a longer surgery this time as I had so much scar tissue from the previous c/sections, but all in all, it went rather well. At 9:29am you were born.

I had a few complications after delivery, a bit of hemorrhaging and a ridiculously painful procedure to get the bleeding to stop, but I had you, and you were beautiful, healthy, and nursed within a moment of me getting out of the operating room and into recovery.

We stayed in the hospital that night, by midday the next day I was ready to go home. They had me stay one more night just to keep an eye on everything, then released us the following morning.

The morning of April 30.
View from our room:

I stared at you while the sun was rising, watching it cast this amazing color on your skin. I wondered in amazement how something so beautiful could be created partly by me.

Getting ready to go home:

Couple days after you got home:

Avery Gwen~

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on the day you were born: "Candy Shop"~50 Cent featuring Olivia

Transferring old personal blog from my business site - Dad

Week 19 of 2009, 8-14 May ** "You may go..."

Week I'm ready to put behind me. On the 14th I got the news. I KNEW something wasn't right, and the confirmation came on the 14th. Dad's latest scans did not come back good. I'm enjoying every moment I have with him.

" may go, but I know you won't leave"

Week 28 of 2009, 10 July - 16 July ** HAPPY 32ND ANNIVERSARY MOM & DAD!

I have never seen two people fight and work as hard as my Mom and Dad to make it to 32 years. The two of them, while completely different people, compliment each other so perfectly and just "fit" unlike any other couple I've ever seen. They went through their rough patches but always met back in the middle and never gave up.

Dad's been serving in the Army for over 29 years and, I think we figured out, about 60% of their marriage has been spent separate from each other. He finally, after years and years, had the opportunity to be "home", not living in an apartment in VA ( while working at the Pentagon) and they finally got to be together. Unfortunately, cancer was found in Dad and it's been a hell of a battle for the past 10 months. Mom is a cancer survivor as well, like I said, they've been through a LOT during their lifetimes and marriage, but this time, this disease is going to take away what was supposed to be their time together. Finally, after years of living their marriage on opposite sides of the world/country and everywhere in between, this stupid disease is what is going to "break them up".

The cancer my Dad has is in his brain, as they found 10 or 11 months ago. We knew then that the prognosis wasn't good but he had defied every odd, fact, figure and stupid website I scoured. He was supposed to never make it to last Christmas, and here, I got to spend Father's Day with him. Yes, he's changed, the disease has been taking over, but I have had my Dad for pretty much every holiday for one full year (we moved to where they were living and the day after we got here we found out he had Stage 4 cancer that had spread to his brain). We were supposed to have at least 20 or more Christmas' to spend together, being that he's only 54...

Mom and Dad went on a little vacation last week, back to Oregon, their/our home. I saw my Dad a week later and everything had changed. A week ago he was sitting in my recliner watching a movie with my kids and I. Yes, he was tired, but we were able to talk and laugh and look at the kids while watching Lilo and Stitch. I went to see him yesterday and he was in bed, now having trouble walking. Words that aren't words are coming out of his mouth and in our 20 minute conversation, he fell asleep at least 7 or 8 times. My Dad, the talker of all talkers, a speech writer and an officer in Public Affairs couldn't hold a 20 minute conversation, really, he couldn't stay awake for more than 2 minutes at a time. It was horrible, sad, but reality was finally sinking in. I have held out hope, this whole time, because he's defied everything I've read thus far...I had hoped for the miracle that we were all waiting on. Hell, I didn't hope for it, I truly believed it was coming. But my hopes were shattered yesterday when my Dad grabbed my hand, and in one of our 2 minute conversations, looked me straight in the eye and said "I'm so tired, this whole...process. I'm so tired and I just want to sleep." In that moment, I realized that although my selfish needs wanted me to never have to say goodbye to my Dad, it was time to find peace in the fact that soon, my Dad is going to fall asleep and not wake up.

So, while I type this I'm angry and miserable and want so bad to scream about everything that went wrong during his diagnosis and how unfair it is that my Dad is being taken from me and my kids at WAY too young of an age, I'm going to instead say that I wish my parents the very best for their anniversary today and I wish so bad that they could have a million more...cus' they, of all people I know, deserve it.

(I haven't slept, I'm typing through tears and I know this is a ramble that makes no sense...thanks for reading anyway.)

Mom & Dad at my son's baseball game (2009):
Fix You

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My parents, Nicholas and I in 2000:
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Dancing with my oldest two when we went to visit in VA (2002):
(Mom made this little collage)
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2002, I believe
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New Years in NYC:
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My Mom and Bro (Easter this year):
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My Dad and I (Easter this year):
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Waffles & Hospice (posted August 14, 2009)

Wednesday I went over to make Dad waffles. We're trying to get him to eat and that was something that, for a moment, sounded kind of good. He ate 2 bites I think...I'm just glad I made it over to make him some.

While we were there that morning Avery ran up to the bed and grabbed his hand and said in her sweet little voice, "Opa, I love you", then she was off to play. Olivia was very concerned and sat on the bed with Opa for a bit just watching him and smiling. She was insistent on being the one to straighten up his covers after we re-situated him and got him ready for yet another nap. I hope I never forget the look on their faces, and on Dad's face when his granddaughters were taking care of him. So sweet, yet so incredibly sad, as they should be outside running around the yard playing with him right now.

Dad's in the hospital again today, he went in that evening, the night of the day that I went over and made him waffles. Today we decide who our hospice nurse will be. Dad is fully dependent at this point and we have to make sure he's comfortable. I knew the beginning of the end was coming awhile back, but now the end is near and I don't know if I'm ready for it.

That's it for now. Updates soon.

Camera phone pics...
Nicholas and Madison with Oma & Opa. Oh, and Libby, of course, who hadn't left Dad's side in weeks.
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Proof that he liked my waffles. I swear he's not in the hospital because of my cooking. =)
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18 August 2009 ~ He grew his angel wings.

This morning, at 8:33, Dad took his final breath. He said his goodbyes to this crazy world we live in and went to a better place. What that better place is, I don't know, but I know he's looking down on all the people who were blessed enough to know him.

Rest assured that his passing was peaceful and absolutely beautiful. I never thought I'd use the word beautiful to describe it, but that's exactly what it was. He was taken care of by wonderful doctors and nurses and had Mom, Matt and I by his side, holding his hands and telling him how much we loved him.

Thank you for all the kind words. Dad never knew the impact he had on so many lives. Mom, Matt and I find it comforting to hear the stories and the messages describing the amazing man that he was to each and every one of you.