Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

This Halloween is a strange one because we're experiencing so many changes in our lives. We didn't decorate or put our usual lights up outside our house this year because we're packing and moving. We didn't stock up on Halloween treats or get into costume. And most of all, I'm not really sure if I'll be excited to see all the little witches, princesses, spidermans and ghosts trick-or-treating this year.

Regardless, we will be stocking up on candy today. We will be putting on the spooky music and brew our gl├╝hwein to sip while oohing and ahhing at the creative costumes.

Our street has an especially high volume of activity. Most of it can be attributed to the fact that several houses on this street decorate to the extreme for most of the major holidays. One decorates for EVERY SINGLE holiday of the year. I don't know where they store all of the tacky inflatables and lighted plastics! Their basement has to look like a mad funhouse!

Happy Halloween to all the ghouls and goblins that have dressed up to celebrate the passing and beginning of another season.

That's most important to remember.
We're here for the living
and
I appreciate every reminder of that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Newlywed Game

Mondays are busy for everyone but considering my temporary hiatus from work, I have had the luxury of sleeping in and taking it easy.

Yesterday was a little different. I woke up early to see my husband off to his client in Connecticut and I left soon after for a meeting of my own. As I sat in crawling traffic on the way, my mind wandered to how I might be feeling and how much my belly would have grown if I were still pregnant. 

I would have been 24 weeks by now. Most of the physical afterbirth side effects have disappeared but I'm still blanketed by the emotional ones. At Ken's suggestion, I've since unsubscribed from all the pregnancy updates and emails so I'm not sure what she might have been up to by now. I have to admit, there are times when Ken is right (yes, I committed that to writing!).

We're waiting to have Nari's ashes returned from the funeral home. What happens after that isn't public information but her parents have a special plan.

What is God's grand design for us? Whatever it is, my hope is to discover the silver lining in hindsight. Regardless of whether we can recognize what The Plan might be, it is important to have faith.

Ken and I are not religious by any means. We were both raised Catholic and attended parochial schools but don't feel as though our faith is demonstrated by our attendance. By faith, I mean it in other ways in addition to and beyond the confines of a few hours each week in a specific location.

What do I mean? Faith in each other. Faith in ourselves. Faith in our future.

Without faith, we wouldn't have made it through the night at the hospital, the day we came home and the blurred days immediately after. Without faith, we wouldn't have hope for our future and the strength to stay positive. Most importantly, faith guides Ken and I to be who we need the other to be for each other. It isn't foolproof (ask either of us!). We're not keeping score. We're keeping the faith!

We haven't been married very long but it's safe to say that we've been through hell in a sandstorm during what should have been our honeymoon. I say that with a chuckle and have still retained a sense of humor through it all.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wedded Bliss

Our dear friends Jeff and Jefferson (a.k.a. Jeff Squared) officially wed yesterday and the weekend has been filled with a flurry of wedding activity! It was such a heartwarming reminder of what an exciting and exhausting time a wedding can be.  They wrote their own vows and couldn't help but get misty while they were exchanged but I wasn't the only one!  I'm so glad I brought a few tissues!

We were so happy to be a part of their celebration with them and I've shared some of my favorite photos from the day here.


Boston skyline and view from the venue.
(Museum of Science)
The day was a little gloomy but the view was still amazing!


This picture of the car has nothing to do with the wedding but if it looks familiar, you may be interested to know it was Potter-mania at the museum and Ken is a fanatic!  This picture was snapped while we were waiting to be brought up to the function room.


Cake cutting ... I realize that there are no pictures of the most important part but we were requested to refrain from taking pictures during the ceremony.


This is my favorite picture of us (by us) taken as
Mr. & Mrs. Hamilton :)


Our newfound favorite friends from the West coast (John & Jorge).


Newlyweds!
Jeff, Ken, me and Jefferson

They are off to their honeymoon in Costa Rica tomorrow. I'm so jealous but can't wait to see the pictures when they return!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Remembrance

I saw this poem posted from another mother who lost their baby too soon and felt immediate affinity for the words and poem ...

There are women that become mothers without effort,
without thought, without patience or loss and though
they are good mothers and love their children, I know
that I will be better.

I will not be better because of genetics, or money or that
I have read more books but because I have struggled and
toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I
have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over
and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have
appreciation are those who have struggled to attain
their dreams. I will notice EVERYTHING about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and
discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the
rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night
to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort,
hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take
another temperature, pop another pill, take another
shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be
crying for me.

I count myself blessed in this sense; that God has
given me this insight, this special vision with which
I will look upon my child that my friends will not
see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a
child that God leads me to, I will not be careless
with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.

I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter,
neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my
own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many
never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from
their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see
it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it
less lonely. I have learned the immense power of
another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that
moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and
when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion
that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

~Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Geek Gadgets

Since Ken has been travelling, I've been keeping myself busy with projects and planning ... and just a lil' bit of shopping.

During a quick stop into Restoration Hardware today, I found the BEST letter opener. Anyone who knows me knows how much I heart pens, pencils and all things stationery. Ken is sick of seeing all the endless piles of fabrics, embossed papers and writing devices but for me, it's the small things that excite! (I once had a two day love affair with a pen that also moonlighted as a highlighter! Ohh-la-la!!)

Let me show you why this letter opener is separate from the rest:

The letter opener is shaped like a encyclopedic book ...

The letter opener runs on 2 AA batteries and has two round blades ...

And here is the done deal. A clean, crisp cut that is enough to make you feel excited about opening up those bills!
Well, maybe not but it was enough for me to open all of Ken's bills!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Meeting Expectations

Much of our weekend was spent in the car running from appointments to obligations. There was also the usual business of general errands that always seem to be earmarked for Saturdays and Sundays.

En route to somewhere we needed to make an appearance, we stopped into the NH liquor store to search for gluhwein (pronounced "glue-vine"). The wine god steered us right because this particular outlet had just received an entire shipment. Gluhwein is a popular German mulled spice red wine. Ken and I had started drinking it on Halloween one year. It was chilly out and we kept the door open to watch the little ones in their costumes collect their edible treats with our ghoulish symphony streaming through.

Surprised and elated to find it, we bought six bottles and heated two bottles Friday night. It is usually simmered on very low heat with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Such as apple cider, pumpkins and Thanksgiving are reminders of the changing season, gluhwein has likewise turned into a heartwarming notion inciting nostalgia.

As promised, Ken picked up my new craft/sewing table and it was everything I could hope it would and should be. It is currently sitting idle in the living room but it will hopefully serve its created purpose very soon!

Oh, pumpkins! Oh, pumpkins!
How can I carve thee? Let me count the ways!
None of which did matter
Since our beloved pumpkins at our house they lay ...

Needless to say, we stopped back at home in our travels to pick up our forgotten cargo determined to carve them at my parents' house Saturday night.

Dilemma number two?

No carving tools OR stencils and patterns! After a quick stop at the local Target, we finally had our tools, patterns and pumpkins!

After much ado, below are the fruits of our labor with great assistance from our friend Gluhwein ....
Ken may have imbibed a bit too much for this to be completely safe ... you notice the crazy look in his eye?

I even have actual footage of this rare creature on video but I've spared the poor thing and haven't uploaded it.


This is before we actually started carving. You notice that we are all still smiling here.





The pumpkin I carved ...


... and the pumpkin Ken carved.


Which looks more difficult to carve?

Ken would like to think his princess head was tougher than the haunted house. The jury is still out on this one.


Emma was happy to see them both FINALLY lit up after asking "Are you done yet?" incessantly through the ENTIRE process.

Yes, she is the only one still smiling at the end.

For all intensive purposes, Halloween is officially over at The Hamiltons and I am looking forward to doing it all over again ...

... next year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Halloween Weekend

As a result of our often mismatched weekends, we always plan holidays and events around it. Very often, it's like getting bonus days that we have dubbed Hamilton Holidays.

This entire weekend, we're celebrating Hamilton Halloween.

Last weekend, we snuck in apple picking and found two perfect jack-o-lantern wannabes between the miserable drizzles. We didn't have enough time to do much with either the apples or the pumpkins that day but we'll be gutting, scooping and carefully carving out our pumpkins with Emma this weekend.

I Googled "carved pumpkins" for inspiration. You can imagine the many hundred images that appeared ...









... and if you know this little girl at all, you can take a wild guess as to which one we'll most likely be carving. Oh, and the Princess one that Emma will want.

Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places and through unsuspecting actions.

I watch Ken working diligently at our breakfast bar and loading the dishwasher. Kitty is on my lap purring and I'm watching The Little Mermaid with Emma on the couch while she sniffs all the perfume samples in my O magazine.

Nondescript events without an ascribed purpose give me my moments of joy and sustain my well of inspiration. Events with a title are highly overrated.

In other news, I've rediscovered my love of treasure hunting and DIY projects. As we prepare ourselves for renovations in a new place, my little brain is furiously churning with more ideas than ink to jot them down. I'm carrying around a small journal in my purse for this reason because enlightenment can occur anywhere!

This weekend, my wonderful husband is picking up a craft table for me on the South shore. Thankfully, he humors all of my aspirations to become a famous crafter.
This is my first piece of furniture for my coveted craft room.

The other major piece will be custom built by Ken "The Tool Man" Hamilton. My boy is very handy with the hammer and nail so who am I to neglect his innate talent? Not I! I aim to encourage and cultivate ... and if that journey also involves something for me? Well, that would only be an unintentional but welcome side effect of my effortless educational coddling.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dawn of a New Day

I've decided that instead of replacing this blog with a new one to chronicle this journey Ken and I are taking, we are going to continue the blog and take turns posting our thoughts and rants. We want to capture the whole of our lives that began with a tragedy that won't be forgotten.

As a "new" official family, we have so many plans, ideas and thoughts we want to share with our friends and extended family. We'd also love to hear your comments, ideas and answers to questions we post as we feel our way through this wonderful thing called life.

Right now, I'm taking some down time with Ken, my close ones and myself. I'm recovering physically and healing emotionally.

There are moments of guilt for feeling things like happiness and having an appetite. Foreign emotions but not obstacles.

We are also planning to move back up north. We'll sorely miss being so close to the city and the bright lights but we're happy to trade those in for a calmer setting and a different kind of bright lights ... the stars.

Ken and I feel so very blessed to be surrounded with our family, friends and understanding bosses at work.

Keep us posted on all of your lives ... through comments on this blog, through email or by phone ... because we'll be posting updates here for you all to let the people who care about us know that we're doing okay and haven't given up hope.

Hugs for all!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Final Post from Both of Us

HERS
I know that it has been a few days but the days blend together as one neverending surreal moment. I wonder what day today is and if it should even matter.

Regardless, the sun rises and sets as expected. Only my time has stood still.

I've had my share of medical challenges these past few years and have never pretended bravery but none so paramount as the one I've lost.

Here are some amazing things that have happened since:
  I can still feel hot and cold on my skin.
  I understand phantom pain and now know it exists.
  My body is confused and wakes me up every two hours... if I was sleeping at all.
  I am experiencing postpartum with only the "post" but no "partum".
  It pains me to know that I'm not the first or last to know this pain.

Life does go on. With time, there will be healing and even this jagged memory's edges will soften to turn a comforting shade of gray.

HIS

I am starting off this post with the statement that I have never been good with words or expressing myself, but as I write this I am looking at the last ultra sound of my unborn daughter and a whole tidal wave of emotion is flowing over me.

Like I said I have never been good with expressing myself or showing much in the way of emotions in front of others. Maybe it is due to my thinking that showing emotions shows weakness or the fact I believe I need to be the strong one for others.

Whatever the case may be the one thing I know for sure is this, I have never felt anything so painful or such deep hurt as the night I lost my daughter. The pain inside me is greater knowing that I was not able to be there to comfort my new wife while she had to give birth. I feel such deep regret knowing she had to go through this alone without me there and or her family.

When I arrived at the hospital everything was already over…..our child was going to have to be born and there was nothing medically the doctor could do to save her. I knew something was terribly wrong when I told the nurse I was looking for my wife Naria and without ever saying a word he briskly showed me to her room.

My wife laid there with a look of strength in her eyes as she told me the news about what happened. The news hit me like a sledge hammer and I was in a state of disbelief and shock.

I am not going to go into detail of what happened nor am I going state how tragic this has all been, but what I am going to share with each of you is how much joy and love I felt for Naria when our baby was placed in her arms. At that moment all my walls were broken down, every emotion I had bottled up inside me flowed out of me and I knew, I knew right then and there, I would not give up hope and do everything in my power to make sure we would have a child!

To my daughter Nari, words cannot describe how sorry I am that daddy was not there to bear witness to your arrival in this world, but you did something that no other person on this earth has been able to do…….you’ve broke down those walls and barriers I have had up for so many years and allowed me to love unconditionally again. Your mother and I will cherish this moment in time and we will honor you every year.

Love Daddy!

OURS

Nari G. Hamilton was born on October 6, 2009 at 11:30pm at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital 20 weeks premature. Ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes surrounding doll-like perfection haloed by her peaceful sleeping face.

We cradled our baby ... whispered "We love you" and felt blessed to have met her.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Watching Me Grow

It is increasingly difficult to ignore the baby as the weeks pass us by as my belly is moving outward. The Bump says the baby is now the size of a cantalope! Kind of a jump from last week's mango ... no?

We're enjoying the cooler weather and the abundance of everything apple! Apple pie, apple crisp, caramel apples, candy apples, apple cider, apple juice and even fresh, plain ol' apples too :)

Since the baby's ears are now fully formed (so I've read), Ken suggested we try to use some headphones and blast some classical music through the womb. Not sure if he is worried about baby's smarts ;)

This goes to our other idea of getting a prenatal monitor. Have any other moms ever gotten one? And what do you think about the headphones?

I also just got my first baby item! A bassinet!! I wasn't planning on buying one personally since babies never use this for long or even at all but someone I knew was giving hers away so I jumped on it! Her daughter never used it (didn't want to!) so it's in brand new condition!

I'm also starting to pattern out my baby's crib quilt. I've got all the fabrics laid out on my ironing board and wondering how I'll cut and sew these together! I love all things homemade!

Small things excite these days ... like the caramel apple I have waiting in my fridge for later ...