Thursday, December 22, 2011

Papa's Fudge

Well, Christmas time is here again.  Whether we're ready or not, it's upon us.  I honestly don't know exactly how I'm feeling about it this year.  Last year was really tough, it was only 2 months after we lost Caroline.  I was only just surviving at that point.  I remember decorating the house just on auto-pilot.  There were some things I didn't even remember getting out.

This year is completely different.  We have Addalee here.  It's amazing to have this gummy-smiling sweetheart of a little girl here with us.  But there's a big sister missing.  And her place in our family is WIDE OPEN.  I can feel the heaviness of her absence every single day, but maybe even more-so with the holidays.  So, I guess I'll explain my feelings as happy and so sad.  Just as they are most of the time, only magnified by all the lights and songs and happy family movies, etc.

I am thankful for my amazing family and I'm excited to get to spend time with all of them.  Everyone has traditional things that they love to make each year.  We actually kind of switch it up...we have a pool of things and just pick different ones each year.  My grandfather, or Papa, as we called him, was an amazing cook.  He helped my grandmother in the kitchen and out.  He was such a great man, and we miss him terribly.  My grandmother gave me his fudge recipe years ago...it was one of his favorite things.  So I made it.  And so should you.

Here's the recipe:

Seriously.  Make it.  You'll thank me. :)

And Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Safety Dance

For some reason, I woke up with the song Safety Dance in my head.  Awesomely lame song with an awesomely lame video.  Despite this, it still was a hit.  But this post isn't about the Men Without Hats song from the '80s...it's about feeling safe.  I used to feel pretty stinkin' safe.  I've been really blessed to grow up in a safe place with a wonderful family and great friends.  Everything has always been really secure. But the sense of safety has been fading proportionately with time and the gaining of knowledge.  Some of the knowledge that I've gained has come in the form of wisdom with age.  I mean, we shed a bit of our naivete as we grow up.  We lose our sense of invincibility when we learn that bad things can happen to us or our peers.  This was probably a good thing for me...it kept me from being reckless.

Then there's the knowledge we never wanted to have to obtain.  This kind of knowledge comes from the tough things we go through.  In the whole growing up experience, we go through getting our feelings hurt by our "friends," breaking up with boyfriends/girlfriends, let downs, heartbreaks, sad things.  All of these work together to teach us lessons, and ultimately change us a little.

As I said, I've had a wonderful life.  But, I've been through some not-so-wonderful things in my days.  There have been some things that have knocked me off my feet.  I've always found my way back to my feet sooner or later...losing Caroline continues to rock my world.  I'm still shaky.  I'm still reeling sometimes.  I miss feeling safe.  I miss not knowing that the absolute worst can happen even when you've done the best that you can.

I might be a little nuts about some things now.  Poor Addalee, who knows how messed up she'll be because of her crazy overprotective parents.  I read something about SIDS not too long ago that really freaked me out.  It's a very real thing that happens to otherwise healthy children (sounds too much like the cord accident that took our first sweet girl).  I can't bear the thought of something happening to Addalee.  I know there's no guarantee (boy, don't I?!), but I couldn't help looking into some things to ease my mind.  I ended up with another monitor.  It's called a Snuza.

 It is pretty awesome.  It clips onto the diaper and senses breathing movement.  If no movement is sensed in 15 seconds, it vibrates to stimulate the baby to breathe.  If there is no movement for another 5 seconds, it alarms.  I clipped that little booger onto my little booger's diaper and slept peacefully for some nights...well, as peacefully as you sleep with a 3 month old baby!

I was starting to really feel comfortable in my role as Addalee's mom.  I was starting to really feel like she was really going to stay.  (I know this probably sounds crazy, but after you've gone through a loss, it seems unreal that you'll ever get to have a living child...at least to me.)  Then this past weekend, we were staying at my parents' house.  I laid Addie down in the crib, and tried to go to sleep.  I had a hard time sleeping.  Early in the morning, the alarm went off.  Arthur and I both sprung up from bed, he got to her first.  He picked her up, and she was okay.  She didn't gasp or cry, or look funny, or anything.  I guess it could have been a false alarm, but I just felt like something was off.  So fast forward, and she's fine, praise the Lord.  But, I'm shaken.    I miss feeling secure.

I guess there's just a delicate balance of fear and resolution.  I guess I just have to learn how to live with my new found knowledge, and trust that everything won't always be the worst case scenario.

I'm trying to learn how to dance again.  I just hope it doesn't take me too long.