You Were Someone. You Were Mine.

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Though it is something a lot of people still do not talk about openly, one in four women will experience this heartbreak in her lifetime. So, even if you think you don’t know anyone who has experienced a loss, I assure you, you do. You probably know a LOT.

Longtime readers will be familiar with my story. But I haven’t written much about our loss since it happened. Sometimes, I think I’ve “gotten over” the pain of losing a baby, whatever that means, but really, it’s just that the grief isn’t as sharp or acute that day as it was and will be on others. The pain hasn’t gone away, it has just become more manageable as time has passed.

Some people feel that I don’t have a right to my grief, that I never even got to know my baby and was “barely” pregnant, so what’s there to mourn? I hope those people never have to understand what there is to mourn. I was already a mother when I became pregnant a second time. I knew what it was like to feel a child flutter, then kick and roll and hiccup inside my body. I knew the rush of hormones and emotions that flood new motherhood with joy, awe, perfection, and terror. I knew what it was like to watch the idea we had evolve into the most incredible human we’d ever met. I knew motherhood in its intensity and its complexity.

So, I saw more than just two lines that day in February. I saw a baby. A person, whose future was yet to be determined, but for whom I felt intense love and longing. I saw a sibling for my son, a fourth person to make our family complete. I saw every dream we’d ever had realized in a heartbeat. A heartbeat. And just three days later, I found out that I’d never get to hear that heartbeat. That our dream was crashing down, shattering into a million invisible pieces across the ground, and I was the only one who ever knew – really knew – that it was real.

But you were real, weren’t you, little one? Even if no one else could ever see or feel evidence of your existence, I knew it. Your mama knew you, and your mama will never forget you. You were more than just a positive test. You were a person. You were someone. You were mine. And I love you.

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Save 51% Off a Hard Cover Photo Book from Collage.com

Save 51% Off a Hard Cover Photo Book from Collage.com

Disclaimer: I am receiving free photo books to facilitate my review of the product and service from Collage.com in exchange for this post and a future one honestly reviewing the product. All opinions are my own.

 


Collage.com is offering my readers a chance to create a gorgeous photo book with just a single click using their One-Click Photo Book feature. Just choose photos (any size) from your Facebook, Instagram,  or Flickr account, or your computer and they will instantly suggest a clean, professional layout that you can then customize.

Deal: Use this link for 51% off a 20-page 11.5″x8″ Hardcover Photo Book From Collage.com

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Happy 100th Birthday, Morton Salt Girl! Party

Happy 100th Birthday, Morton Salt Girl! Party

Disclaimer: I was given a party planning package from MommyParties.com and Morton Salt with samples, coupons, and goodies to create this party.

When I was chosen as one of 100 hosts in 100 cities to celebrate the Morton Salt Girl’s 100th birthday, I was pretty stoked. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who loves salt as much as I do. I put it on everything, including bacon once when I had a few adult beverages. I. LOVE. SALT.

Wow! Awesome party pack!

Wow! Awesome party pack!

I got an adorable tin in the mail that looked like a giant can of Morton Salt. Fantastic! Inside was everything I’d need to host an awesome birthday party for the Morton Salt Girl. There were decorations, personalized M&Ms, coupons, samples (epsom salt – who knew?), and an awesome host gift for me – my own yellow Morton Salt umbrella!

How cute is this garland? Very.

How cute is this garland? Very.

Yum! Personalized M&Ms candies

Yum! Personalized M&Ms candies

Morton provided loads of recipes, activities, games, and even trivia. Here’s the details for the activity I chose for the party:

Salted Birthday Cards

Supplies

  • Construction paper
  • White school glue
  • Morton Salt
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Paint brushes

Instructions

  1. Each guest folds their sheet of construction paper in half (we skipped this)
  2. Write a birthday message or draw a picture with white glue
  3. Sprinkle salt all over the glue. Shake the card lightly to remove excess salt
  4. Combine the food coloring and water to make colors of your choice and use a paint brush to drip colors onto the salt.
  5. Watch as the color spreads across the salt to “paint” your cards!

Obviously, the results of this activity are not much to write home about, but watching the color spread along the lines of the salt was really cool! Try it the next time you need a rainy day activity – it’s pretty fun, and there’s lots of possibilities with this technique.

You'll never guess which one is mine...

You’ll never guess which one is mine…

 

All in all, I’d say Morton knows how to throw one heck of a birthday celebration!

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2014 Day Out With Thomas

2014 Day Out With Thomas

Disclaimer: We received free tickets to this event in exchange for one announcement post and this honest review. All opinions are my own.

This year, Mango and I got the pleasure of once again riding the rails with Thomas (and Sarah & V from The House of Boys…& a Girl) at the NC Transportation Museum. The weather was pretty yucky, but everyone was excited. Three-year-olds are infinitely more wrangleable in these types of situations than two-year-olds, so it seemed a little more laid back this year too. I will admit, I had so much fun that I didn’t think to pull out my camera all that often.

 

V remembered to take out her camera!

V remembered to take out her camera!

We got there just in time to see Percy (or was it James? Y’all. I don’t know the difference. The green one?) chug by. It was an exciting greeting, for sure! Then we got in line, and the man of the hour, Thomas himself whooshed up next to us. The kids were positively giddy as we boarded the train. There, we were met by Thomas and Friends songs and decorations to set the mood. Mango chatted and smiled and hung his head out the window for the whole ride. This, he told me, was his favorite part of the day. Before we exited the train, he was presented with his Junior Engineer certificate and a big Thomas sticker.

Riding on Thomas selfie!

Riding on Thomas selfie!

LOVING the train ride

LOVING the train ride

Official credentials

Official credentials

Other than the train ride, there were lots of other activities. Bounce houses, mini golf, food trucks, and Sir Topham Hatt all awaited us after the ride. Because of the weather, we skipped most of that and spent some time inside the museum, checking out the cars and the model trains that were set up.

There was an amazing moment when Mango played with a model log loading train that had a working conveyor belt and chatted with the person who built it. Mango had a gleam in his eye, and I could see the realization on his face: this was built by a person. I am a person. I can build things, too. We had a very upbeat conversation about how he would also like to build things one day. You never know what little thing is going to spark the imagination and creative passion in your child that will lead to lifelong pursuits, but I’m absolutely certain that if he decides to continue building things, as he already does, we can point to this moment as a formative one in that journey.

His brain and his heart were both so full that day

He scored one of the few trains there for playing

Next, we decided to take a ride on the turntable and check out the roundhouse, where there were model trains, train tables – again, not nearly enough trains on the tables to head off the disagreements and tears that happened every other minute or so – and free 4-packs of a new product from a sponsor, Buddy Fruits.

Tasty!

Tasty!

After a trip to the gift shop, where Mango chose an expensive train neither of us had ever heard of (Scrap Monster. What is that even?), we headed out for lunch. Mango really enjoyed his first trip to “Pizza Roof,” as he called it. Clever child.

Pizza Roof

Pizza Roof

If you are lucky enough to find a Day Out With Thomas event near you, and you have a child in the age two-to-ten age range, GO! I can’t recommend this event highly enough. It was such an awesomely fun day.

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I Tried It: Your Ultimate Meal Maven

I Tried It: Your Ultimate Meal Maven

Disclaimer: I received one week of free meal planning services in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll admit it: I don’t love meal planning. I do it, of course, and I actually put a good deal of time into it. Planning, shopping, and cooking meals for my family is a huge portion of my daily and weekly responsibilities. So, when my friend, Jessie Griswold, mentioned that she was starting a meal planning service, I jumped right on that!

Jessie is a Culinary Institutes of America graduate and the mom of a girl Mango’s age and twin boys who are closing in on two. She started Your Ultimate Meal Maven (YUMM, isn’t that clever?) this year.

Jessie Griswold, Your Ultimate Meal Maven

Jessie Griswold, Your Ultimate Meal Maven

So, here’s how it works: you let Jessie know your time, budget, and dietary needs, and she’ll come up with a totally customized initial plan. She can handle even the trickiest dietary concerns (I’m looking at you, carb-free vegetarian friend). Upon your approval, she’ll send your menu, including side dishes, as well as your shopping list. Easy peasy.

I decided to use YUMM for the time I would be away at the Type-A Parent conference to make things that much easier for Pop Tart. I know meal prep is something with which I struggle while he’s away at conferences, so I wanted to help out. I emailed Jessie PT & Mango’s needs – no coconut, nothing too spicy, no casseroles, as easy and quick as possible – and she quickly sent over a first draft plan. I decided that two of the recipes wouldn’t work, so I asked her to replace them. I suspect there will be less and less of this as she gets to know my family’s needs and preferences. Once she sent two new recipes that sounded great to me, she emailed me the complete plan, recipes, and a separate grocery list. I printed the recipes, bought the groceries, and hopped a plane to Atlanta.

In my absence, PT and Mango were having so much fun away from home that they only used half of the recipes. I ended up cooking the others when I got home. PT reports that he found the recipes to be extremely easy to prepare and tasty for both people. Awesome! My experience was the same. The recipes were easy and delicious.

The only negative I can find in the whole experience is that, as with any new recipe, a couple of them needed a bit of tweaking to match personal preference. I will definitely be making them again.

I’m sure you’re thinking, as I did, that this type of über-customized service must be prohibitively expensive. But you’d be, as I was, so wrong! Her prices start at just $4 per week for dinners. FOUR. DOLLARS. I considered the time and energy I’d normally spend planning those dinners and making shopping lists, and I have to say, it’s definitely a steal!

I can’t recommend Jessie and her services highly enough. You won’t find a better deal or an easier plan anywhere. To order services, contact Jessie on the YUMM Facebook page or email her directly at YourUltimateMealMaven@gmail.com.

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