October 15, 2014

WHAT HELPED ME GRIEVE

(Gabriel's footprint on a pendant) 

I tried to write a helpful post of things one should never say to someone who has suffered a loss, accompanied with my reasons why. My responses ended up sounds bitter, like I was yelling so I won't be post that today. I do not want to give a negative vibe and I am trying really hard to be helpful because I know that everyone who says those things do so because they truly mean well.Today I want to focus on the things that I did to help myself during the grieving process. Before I do that though, I want to stress the fact that there is no right way to grieve and that what I have done might not be helpful to you. This is only my experience and my story.

We named him Gabriel Aaron Smith, yes after the angel. Aaron picked the name out before we had lost him, but after we knew we were going to lose him. I have heard stories of women who lost their babies before they knew the sex, some parents gave unisex names like Jamie or Lee, some gave nicknames like Button or Bean, and some of them felt so strongly that their baby was a boy or a girl  that they pick a masculine or feminine name. It's never too late to name your baby if you want to. For us it helped because we have something to call him, our family has something to call him and it instills that he was and always will be our little boy.

Car rides were the worst for me, long stretch of time where there was absolutely nothing to do so I immerse myself in thought. Especially that first week I thought of him constantly, every minute of every day was me thinking of him or occupying myself so that I didn't burst into tears. I was in a dark dark place. A few days after losing Gabriel, while we were still at the cottage, I stopped in at a Walmart and picked up a journal. I had started writing to him while I was in the hospital, but it was on the back of pregnancy loss pamphlets the nurses brought in. I wanted a book where Aaron and I can go and write to him and get our feelings and thoughts out on paper. Perhaps this helped me because I find such a joy in writing but it was helpful. At first I wrote every day but now I write when I feel the need or desire to. Sometimes I will go back and just read all the things we wrote.

We were able to have him cremated and the day we picked up his ashes were as close as bringing a baby home from the hospital that I would get with him. I felt such relief. Because of his gestational age, we were warned that we might not get any ashes so we prepared for that but thankfully we were able to get some. In our bedroom we have his spot set up. We got him a snow globe with a cherub inside holding a heart and it plays this beautifully sweat song and sometimes I will play  the music when I miss him. At a trading post gift shop we saw another cherub carved in wood and painted white, the angel was sleeping and this reminded me of him so we picked that up too. I also bought a shadow box and put all of his ultrasound pictures inside and hung it on the wall over the shelf that houses all of his things and his urn. If you were unable to have your baby cremated you can still create a memory spot of things that remind you of your baby.

My husband has been incredibly supportive, after all he grieves too but in ways different than me. Sometimes we will be talking about something, maybe reminiscing about the boys as babies and then Aaron will get real quiet and look off to the side and let our a deep sigh. I know what hes thinking. Having him to lean on and share my dark times with has been extremely important for me. If you are not married or you don't have the father of your baby in your life, reach out to a friend or family member and if they don't understand there is a network of women on miscarriage and stillborn message boards that will understand. The last thing that really helped me was to help others, to share my story and to be there to listen and offer advice to others going through what I went through.

Today is infant and pregnancy loss awareness day and this post was to honour that.


October 8, 2014

BEFORE DINNER

Do you eat appetizers before dinner at home? Our family never did, not unless I was holding a dinner party or something relatively formal. Whilst plowing the shopping cart through the isles of the supermarket we stopped along the way to pick up things and sample appetizers. I notice the smoked salmon was on sale so we picked it up, along with some cream cheese and french bread. I parked the cart nearest the antipasto bar and Joshua requested some olives so I obliged.

When we got home I insisted that we have appetizers before dinner and Aaron agreed so I cut up the bread, smeared on some cream cheese and topped the slices with either salmon or green olives. I find that the green ones paired better with the cream cheese than the kalamata.

We sat around the coffee table and nibbled on these before dinner. 

October 4, 2014

POETRY READING: LAST NIGHT



Poetry has been an important part of my life, ever since I began to creatively write as a child I was always writing poetry. I do so to express thoughts and feelings, it is very cathartic for me. I haven't written anything in a very long time, years I would say. I wonder why that is? I thought I would start a series on poems that I enjoy. I start off with a piece I found on Poets.Org. I also wanted to showcase a new voice as opposed to the obvious classics for the first highlight. 

Last Night

I dreamt of making sense,
parts of speech caught up in sheets
and blankets, long strips of fabric
wrapped loosely around shoulders,
goblets, urns, cups with unmatched saucers.

You were there, and the past seemed important,
what was said, what was done,
feelings felt but maybe not expressed,
signs randomly connected
yet vital to what comes next,
to a coming season,
next year’s trip to Nauset Beach.

I woke up wanting to read a poem by that name,
and I found one with a lifeguard’s chair,
a broken shell, gulls watching egrets,
home an ocean away.


What do you think?

October 2, 2014

YOUTUBE WORKOUT VIDEO REVIEW

 

Who loves to work-out? Raise your hands!...*crickets*...Hmm, I feel you. I can think of a few things that I would rather do than to submit myself to that kind of abuse but alas, I have a few pounds to shed so workout I must! For a while I was doing Jillian Michael's 30 day shred but I was in the mood for a change. Aaron suggested that I peruse the videos on YouTube for some quality videos, so I did. I follow Popsugar/Fitsugar on bloglovin' so when I found this video I was ready to give it a shot.

After starting a new video, I find that it takes days for me to become stronger in the workout, however with this video I noticed an increase in strength on the very first day! It is rather challenging because it focuses on one area of your body really intensely, but when you switch sides you feel so much relief that the movements becomes easier.

The fitness host Lisa Corsello is charming while avoiding the stereo typical workout instructor pep. I like her to say the least! I also love the interaction with her and the other ladies, the back and forth is entertaining. I did this for about two weeks starting around September 15th. On September 28th I switched back to the 30 Day Shred just for variety and found the Jillian Michaels DVD to be so much easier than I remembered. I must have built my strength and endurance! I work out 6 days a week and placed myself on a 1200 calorie diet. So far I've lost four pounds!

September 30, 2014

COMMUNITY DAY AT THE ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE

 
 
 
This past Sunday was Community Day at Science Centre in celebration of it's 45th birthday! It was a great chance for us to get out and participate in educational play with the boys. They love to learn and explore and the Science Centre is a great place for them to be hands on while discovering something new at the same time. A combination of the beautiful week we hand coupled with our time at the centre made for a great weekend!

September 14, 2014

ONE WEEK OF SCHOOL LUNCHES

 
 
 

Packing lunches, rather, thinking of different things to pack for your children, can become a chore. Oddly enough, this is one thing I really enjoy. Since we  live in Toronto, Ontario, everything is nut free therefore I have to be extra careful about what I pack for the boys. Thankfully just about everything that is nut-free will have a label on the packages, this eliminates the guess work for you, your child and your child's teacher. When packing cold lunches it can be difficult to come up with ideas other than the same old sandwiches so I tried to think of different way to put one together. Since I don't send the boys with milk to school, it is important that I send them with some substantial form of calcium, hence the yogurt just about everyday! I hope this give you some helpful ideas! Please feel free to share the lunches your kids enjoy as well!

Fruit salad (kiwi, grapes, peaches and plums), ham and cheese roll up, yogurt and penguin crackers.

Tomato, carrots, cucumbers and a tuna fish sandwich.

Cheese, crackers, tomatoes, 1/2 ham, yogurt, penguin crackers, raisins and cheese roll up.

Plums, grapes, turkey sandwich, granola bar, fruit snacks and yogurt

Yogurt, Baby bell cheese, mango slices, mini bagel sandwiches, granola bar and a cheese stick.

September 7, 2014

TORONTO FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE

This past Friday my business unit and I were treated to an afternoon aboard the one of the Mariposa yachts, the Rosemary. It was a great experience, not only because we had the boat completely to ourselves but also because I had the chance to view different parts of the city that I haven't had the chance to before. There is a beautiful gem right off the lakeside coast known as Toronto Island, which is a cluster of small islands on Lake Ontario. I have been to Center Island a few times with Joshua when he was little, however I've never seen all the other parts of Toronto Island. It was a beautiful sunny day, probably the last really hot day of the year, so we all soaked it in on the front deck as we watched sailors, kite surfers and fantasized at the 65 million dollar yacht was saw sailing by...yes we googled it! If you are in Toronto or thinking about visiting, I highly suggest a city cruise around the islands!