Saturday, December 28, 2013

Acts of Kindess (Part 1)

Hey boo,

How's it going?  I'm just trying to round me up some Christmas cheer...

It is really tough.

Basically, this horrible, no good, crappy thing happened to our family.  But on the other hand, we have been so incredibly blessed.  It is so weird, like the biggest oxymoron ever.  I've noticed that I am pretty much a walking oxymoron, but that is just something I'll have to tell you about later...

Anyways, as I was saying, pretty much the worst thing ever happened.  But after that, we have been surrounded by so many generous, caring, compassionate people and been given SO MUCH!

So, I've been trying to get some Christmas cheer by paying those blessings forward.  That's what the Christmas spirit is supposed to be, right?  It is better to give than receive...

I guess some people call it Pay It Forward.  Others call it Acts of Kindness.  I guess we are doing Acts of Kindness to Pay It Forward... :-P

And I'm really trying to get the kids involved too.  They might not completely realize what I'm trying to do, but it'll sink in eventually, and I hope they'll love to give instead of get as they grow up.

I've read that some people do 25 Acts of Kindess, for the first 25 days of December leading up to Christmas.  That seemed a little out of our league right now, so we are just doing what we can, when we can.  Also, it seems like a lot of Acts of Kindess involve money, and we have done some things that cost money, but I am also trying to do "free-ish" Acts too, so we can keep on our budget!  :-)

Here are a few things we've done so far:

1)  We put a toy in the Toys for Tots collection bin at the kids’ daycare.  I chose Monopoly as our toy, in honor of you.  You loved that game (even though you were a big cheater!). J  Plus, it was on sale for only $5.  Score!  I want the kids to be involved in our acts of kindness, so I tried to have the girls put the game in the box, and take a picture of them doing it.  Yeah, I’m sure you can guess how that went...  They wouldn’t take the game from me, they just stood there staring like, “huh…?”.  Oh well, if we keep doing it every year, I’m sure they’ll be excited about it eventually! 

2)  Since November, we've been decorating supper sacks for the organization in Grand Rapids called Kids Food Basket.  They provide suppers for kids who likely won’t have a meal when they get home.  I figured decorating the sacks would be something the girls could do.  So, I bought a bunch of brown paper sacks from GFS.  Then, I put the girls in their chairs with crayons and markers, and let them get to work!  I even decorated a few too, although the girls artwork probably looks better than mine! J  I had help from M and T on a bunch too.  The pack I bought had 500 sacks in it, so we definitely won’t be able to decorate them all, but I’m sure the organization will appreciate the blank ones too.  This Act of Kindness has probably been one that the girls participated in the most.  And Will can get involved with this next year!

Charlotte getting ready to color a supper sack!

Charlotte hard at work

Violet hard at work!

Violet decorating a supper sack.

A different day of coloring supper sacks.

A different day of coloring supper sacks.


Some of the bags the girls and I decorated. :-)  So far, we have 110 completed!!!

Some of the bags M & T decorated! :-)

3)  We had A LOT of diapers donated to us.  Unfortunately, big Will has grown out of size 3 diapers and we still had quite a few boxes of that size left.  So, I passed along the donated diapers to an organization out of Holland called Nestlings.  I brought over 300 size 3 diapers (3 boxes) to a donation drop-off near work.  I think that could diaper 1 baby for over 30 days!  We also ended up supporting this same organization at work for our Christmas Giving, so I brought in 2 more packages of diapers for that collection. I think we still have even more that I plan on passing along to others as they need them.

4) In more baby related Acts of Kindness, I gave L & B one of our infant car seats and 2 bases to go with it for their new baby grandson.  I know they were going to try and save money by purchasing a used car seat, so I'd rather have them get a car seat that they know is safe than to buy one from a stranger.

5) I volunteered to be on the Christmas Giving Team at work this year, where we supported the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and as I said before, Nestlings.  I didn't actually do much because of my schedule, but I helped where I could.  I also passed along a gift card to a store that I don't shop at, so the team could shop for anything that was left on the list of items needed.

6)  A different department at work sponsored an elderly care home called Rest Haven.  They set up an "Angel Tree" type of thing, where each member of the home had a few items on their "wish" list.  So, I grabbed one of the names off the tree, and thanks to my attempts at "super couponing", I was able to snag her items for under the $15 limit.  They required multiple items to be wrapped in one package, as each person was only allowed to open one gift at the home's Christmas party.  In trying to get the kids involved, I tried to have the girls "help" me wrap the box... Um, that probably wasn't my best idea.  They just wanted to walk all over the wrapping paper.  Hopefully the person opening our gift didn't realize how wrinkled the paper was! :-)

Our gift to someone at Resthaven!

Charlotte holding the tag from the "Angel Tree."

Will "helping" wrap...

Violet "helping" wrap our gift to Resthaven

Will "helping"...

Being good helpers!

Putting tape on...

Our wrapped gift ready to put under the "Angel Tree" at work!

7)  This is dorky, but thanks to Pinterest, I put this little present in the mailbox for our mail carrier.  I feel like that person has been working a lot of overtime or something, because I got a package on a Sunday, two weeks in a row!

A little something for our mail carrier! :-)

8) Someone told me about another woman in the area who is also 30-something, and her husband passed away suddenly a couple months after you did.  They also had young kids.  I told the person to pass along my email address to her, if she ever wanted to talk to someone who totally understood what she was going through.  I haven't heard from her yet, which I completely understand.  But I sent her an anonymous gift card to, because I know it's hard to find time to get to the store, and shopping online is so convenient.  Plus, you can buy anything from Amazon, whether it be necessities like toilet paper or diapers, or just something nice for herself.  I hope it helps her out in some way, even if it just makes her smile when she gets it.

And, there are a few more things in progress that I'll have to tell you about later... 

But the thing is, despite my small attempts to pay our blessings forward, we continue to be blessed 10 times more!!!  What is that saying about something coming back to you 10-fold???  It's basically like that.  We are  just surrounded by some seriously generous people!  I am always so overwhelmed by what people do to help us.  I just can't believe what everyone is doing for our family.  I'll have to send you another email just to talk about all of that stuff!  It is AMAZING!

But anyways, most of the time, I try not to think about Christmas, and the fact that you won't be here for it.  I'm really just going through the general motions of this holiday season, and not letting anything really sink in.  It's pretty much impossible for me to think about Christmas morning without getting choked up.  Honestly, I can't even type what I'm feeling because it hurts so bad.  It's weird how this time of year is just so incredibly hard...  I just can't even process it...

A couple weeks ago, I was flipping through a Women's Health or some kind of women's magazine like that in the waiting room at therapy.  I happened to see an article where in big bold letters it said that "a person is 30% more likely to die within 5 years of a stressful, traumatic life event." (I put that in quotes, but it is still paraphrased, the statistic is right, but I can't remember the exact wording.)  I read that, and thought, "Awesome."  Seriously, what else could go wrong, now I have to worry about that too (as if I don't already!)?!?!  But then I started reading the article.  It said the one thing that took that 30% risk completely away was "helping others."  Huh, who knew??  That made me feel better, because we had already begun our Acts of Kindness at that time.  I mentioned what I had read and what we were doing to my therapist.  I said I couldn't imagine not helping others, don't people do that every day?  Whether it be as simple as holding the door open for someone, or letting someone pull out in front of you when traffic is backed up?  And my therapist said "No, people don't do that."  She said that A LOT of people are so caught up in their own trauma, they are just wrapped up in what is going on in their lives.  She said they don't think about others. ["Others." Ha, LOST reference :-P]  She said she was glad that I happened to "stumble upon" it and start doing our Acts of Kindness.  She said she would have brought it up eventually, but I figured it out on my own. It didn't really feel like I figured anything out, I was just doing something that was helping me, so it was still selfish in a way...

So yeah, moral of the story is, I'm glad I'm working on our Acts of Kindness!  Even though I said we were just going to do what we could, I actually think I took on a few too many projects this season, because I've been really busy at night trying to get everything done... But all of that busy-ness has actually helped me get through this holiday season...

But I'll still be glad when it's over...


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Fricken Christmas

Hi Boo,

Well, merry fricken Christmas...

Blah.  The holidays now officially suck.  I'm lucky that our kids are still too young to realize that it is Christmas time, and this is the time of year for happy happy happy, cheery cheery cheery, fa la la la la, and all that crap.


But of course, I don't let on how I feel about the holidays.  On the outside, I've got my "Sarah" mask on, pretending everything is the same as it was, that life is good.  But on the inside, I feel like I'm being ripped to shreds, and I pretty much just want to throw my middle fingers in the air and say "F-ck this holiday."  I did boycott Facebook today though.   I popped on for a few minutes once today, and I couldn't handle everyone's happy pictures and statuses, so I was like, nope.  Peace out Facebook.

I've worked hard to get through this.  I really am seriously trying.  I've been working on another email for a while now to explain to you how I've been trying to get through this.  I've just been so blah on the inside that I can't even find the words to email you.  Although I  have about a million conversations a day with you in my head...

I just wish I could ACTUALLY have a conversation with you.

I made it though our anniversary.  I made it through Halloween.  I made it through Thanksgiving.  I made it through Christmas Eve.  And I'm about to make it through Christmas Day.   I have one more holiday to get through in the next week, and then I'll have a few weeks off before another happy day that will now feel like doom and gloom.

Although I've already started seeing signs of that approaching holiday in the stores... Remember how I used to see that stuff and say "My birthday's coming up!"  Sigh...

Anyways, I actually have a bunch of different emails to you "in progress" right now.  Maybe I'll find the motivation to finish getting my words out soon...

But until then, just know that I miss you.  I love you.  My entire being aches to have you here... (<-- I know, that sounds cheesy, but that is really how it is.  I literally ache all over from missing you so much.)


Friday, December 6, 2013

IV Months

Hey boo,

How's it going?

So, it's been 4 months now.  I don't even feel like calculating the days, hours, minutes, seconds... Every one of them sucked.

So, Will has now officially been WITHOUT you, longer than he was actually WITH you.  You left us 2 days before his 4 month "birthday."  And the thought of that pretty much makes me want to puke.

Getting him into his car seat before we left the hospital.

Carrying everything while I just rode in a wheelchair. :-)

I struggle every day with how to raise and take care of Will.  You were the one who had to show me how to clean his junk!  I don't know how boys operate!  What am I supposed to do with him??!?!

These 2 pictures just make me laugh... Angry face.

Happy face.

Right now, I'm wondering what you would want to do about his hair.  I love his curls!  But I never take the time to "style" his hair, I just let it fro out all over the place...  But now it's getting in his eyes...  Would you want to cut it, or let it be?!?!  What should I do????

Teaching the girls to hug brother...

We thought he was so BIG!  Now I can't even remember him being that SMALL!

I tell him every day that Daddy loves him.

 I know it's a stereotype, but I still want him to be somewhat tough...  But you know me... always "caution!"  By now you would be throwing him in the air and doing things that make me mad. :-)  He is surrounded by women all. the. time.  Who's going to teach him about "ratchety wrenches"  and how you can tell that it's a "blitz!"?  (Seriously, you explained what blitzing looks like to me every time we watched football, and I was just like, "still looks like everyone is doing their standard 'job'"...)

Proof that Will does cry. :-)

"Dad, not in front of my friends!" :-)

I remember after we found out that both of the twins were girls, we came home and you got out your baseball glove and a ball... You sat on the couch throwing the ball into the glove, pouting... But once they were here, you LOVED having girls.  You couldn't imagine it any other way.

But I also remember being in the ultrasound room when I was pregnant with Will.  You were sitting in a chair at the foot of the bed, leaned back with your hands behind your head (kind of like the picture below), watching the the ultrasound on the TV that they have on the wall.  We told the tech we wanted to know the gender, and when she said "It looks like it's a boy..."  Then she wiggled the thingy around on my belly more to get a different view, and said "Yup, it's definitely a boy, can you see that...?" You put both arms up, fist in the air, and looked back at me like "hell yeah!", as if the Bears just scored a touchdown... You were so excited that you got YOUR boy!  Charles Number 5!  Cinco!  V! :-)

So why in the hell don't you get to be here for him?!?!?

The best. feeling. ever.

How you would walk around with him in the evenings to settle him down.
I wish we hadn't procrastinated on going back to IL after Will was born... I wanted that damn generational picture so bad. II, III, IV, V.  Not many people can get a picture like that.  And now we can't either.

Please just know that I'll do my best with Will.  I'll show him Bears football, the Lakers and the Bulls basketball, NASCAR, and dirt racing.  And if he ends up liking foo-foo drinks when he's older, I'll make sure he knows that's OK, because his daddy liked them too. :-)


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Violet Got Bit

Hey Boo,

FYI, Violet was bitten at school again...  She probably instigated it though... :-P

Miss you.

Beware My Wrath

Hey boo,

How's it going?  I'm horrible.

This morning was particularly exhausting.  Violet was up around 5:30 yelling "Momma!  Momma!  Momma!" from her crib... I tried to ignore her and hope she fell back asleep, but nope.  Well, when I went to go see what the issue was, she had puked everywhere in her crib.  She points to it and says "Barf."  Yeah, sweetie, barf...

So, whatever, I'm overly exhuasted, all of this lack of sleep is really catching up with me.  So, I just grab her taggie, pick her up and lay her in bed with me for another 30 minutes.  But then it's time to get up and get ready for work.

Usually I get ready when they are still asleep, or at least still in their cribs.  So, it is not easy getting ready with Violet awake and following me around.  She needs attention, and she is a chatterbox so she has to talk extremely loudly about everything.  "Make-up.  Momma. Face."  "Down Momma" (because she wants me to sit down on the floor next to her.  "Hurrrr" means 'hair.'  And so on...

Finally I am all ready and I can start the usual routine of getting the kids ready.  I get Violet all dressed and in her chair to eat breakfast.  Then I go get Charlotte.  While I'm trying to get Charlotte ready, Violet is freaking out because of the buttons on her shirt... They are just there for decoration, but she wants them buttoned.  How do I explain that they don't button, they are just for looks?  Then she is complaining about owies, and everything else, and that she wants down.  Well, we are already behind schedule, so I don't feel like dealing with trying to get her to sit and eat, so I just get her out of her chair and let her run free.  And of course, if Violet is running free, then Charlotte needs to be too.  Fine. Whatever.

Then I get Will up and start getting him dressed.  And the girls are fighting over toys.  "Mine." "Mine." Ugh...

So, I'm trying to break up their fight while still trying to get Will dressed.  Then Charlotte has to sit in my lap, which makes it extremely difficult to get Will dressed.

I just had no energy for all of this nonsense...

So basically, as usual, our morning was chaos.  But I didn't even feel like forcing everyone to do what they were supposed to be doing.  So, it was just a free-for-all.  Everyone running all over the place.  It took forever for us to finally get out the door.

Then, I had Violet and Charlotte loaded into the car, and I pick up Will, and of course, he has a poo-splosion going on... ugh... So then I have to change him and his clothes.  Fortunately none of it got on me, because that has also happened before, where I need an outfit change too.

Once we get to school, the girls have to look at the snowman by the door, then the Christmas tree in the lobby, then the other snowman on their way to the classroom, then the "bee-bees" in their classroom... Then I have to take off their hats, mittens, and coats.  Then Violet doesn't want me to leave so she is hanging on me.  The teacher finally had to rip her off of me... Then I drop Will off, and I am just moving slow motion getting his bottles out and stuff.

And finally I'm out and on my way to work.  Then I realize I forgot Will needed diapers at school.  And I never brought them... Ugh... I'm just hoping they have enough there to cover him for today and I'll bring them in next week.


I'm exhausted.

Then I get to work, and in order to work on one of these products, I need a little more information from someone.  And the person gives me a really stupid/lazy answer... Ugh... Usually, I would be nice and just try to better explain what I needed and why I needed it, but today, I was just like, whatever!  In my true passive-aggressive nature, I wrote him a snarky email that said fine, I'll do it the lazy way, but I'm just letting you know that it's wrong so you need to add this special little note so that everyone knows it's not my fault that it's wrong.

Yeah, blah.  I'm having a bad attitude today.  Have I mentioned I'm exhausted?

Anyways, everyone needs to beware of my wrath, I'm on a warpath.  I'm just too tired to be nice today.

I miss you.