Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It Was a Very Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas filled with good food, family, and awesome presents. Jared's Dad and brothers are in town for the week and so we had a full house with the three of them, ourselves, and Kristin's family.

The Christmas festivities actually began the night before with Clifton opening a gift from his Mommy and Daddy - Christmas jammies! It's our plan to make this a Christmas Eve tradition.

I also made a batch of cinnamon rolls and tossed them in the fridge overnight for a slow rise. In the morning I popped them into the oven and we had fresh rolls as we opened stockings. All the great taste and smell of fresh made rolls and none of the work. At least not first thing in the morning. Plus, a slow rise makes for an incredibly soft, fluffy bun.

(That's what she said.)

In the oven. Please excuse the dribbly oven floor.
Springform pans are not always leakproof.
Risen and ready to bake.
Baked and ready for whipped cream cheese-butter frosting.

After stockings, we finished getting ready and headed out to a Christmas morning mass at our local Catholic church. Clifton took his morning nap snuggled in the Moby as I bobbed in the back of the church. 

When we got back home, the true food prep commenced. And with that, I will leave you until tomorrow, since I need to head into the kitchen to start the next project - Kristin's 30th birthday cake! Her birthday is tomorrow and I can hardly believe that it's actually her 30th. I can clearly remember our Mom turning 28 and I really find it hilarious that we're already past that point. Ha!

(To be continued)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Five hundred seventy one days.

We had five hundred seventy one days with Ryann.
Tomorrow we will have survived five hundred seventy one days without her.

Up until now it’s felt like she had always been a part of our lives. Our time with her felt like it always outweighed our time without her. The scale always tipped back towards her. But as we continue making new memories, having new experiences, living new moments, that scale has slowly been evening out and it feels like tomorrow the balance will break and start to tip forward again, whether we’re ready for it to or not.

Some memories are starting to fade, and it terrifies me. My worst fear is forgetting. My memory isn’t always the best and I am afraid to forget any of the too few days I had with Ryann. I often find myself playing mundane moments over and over in my head to try to engrain them permanently. In my mind I study the movement of her hands, the tone of her voice, the feel of her weight in my arms. When I watch videos, I study the pattern of her steps, rewind, the wind blowing her hair, rewind, her mouth as it laughs and grins, rewind . . .

The other day I was laughing about how funny it would have been when Ryann discovered that she could put her fingers in her nose. It wasn’t until days later that a vague memory came to me that she had discovered this in the week before her death. She realized that this new trick brought a lot of laughs and would do it over and over while we all sat down to dinner. I had forgotten. And it terrifies me that there must be other things I’m forgetting. And I can no longer deny that she’s fading.

It makes no sense. How is it possible that my baby was here one moment and the next she was gone. I held her in my arms, but she was gone. How does that make any sense?

I’ve recently become obsessed about keeping the tangible memories safe. My current worry is a house fire. I panic at the thought of her framed crayon scribble burning to ash. Our computers melting with her pictures and videos lost. Her Ryann-sized sofa chair with the bottle-dribble still on the arm up in smoke. Her tooth marked crib that Clifton now sleeps in turned to char. It paralyzes me. These are the only physical things we have left, and with my memories fading I find myself depending on them more than before.

Today is day five hundred seventy. In what I sometimes think of as our parallel lives, it’s the day we went to church. The day we turned down a lunch offer, the last chance we had to let our new work-family get to know Ryann. The day we went to the Nature Center at Pioneer Park and hooted at the owl and sniffed the herbs on the nature trail. The day we ended with a bath, a book, and a bottle. Tucked into bed. Went to sleep. The last day we went to sleep innocent. Whole. The last day we took for granted.

 The photos in this series have become undeniably the most famous images of Ryann.
They so perfectly capture her. (She was about fifteen months old.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

I've Got the Fever

I already have baby-fever.

I realize how ridiculous this is. I have a three-month-old at home and I’m still working on recouping from housing Clif for 9 months. I am absolutely fully enjoying Clif and his wee babe-ness, although not as wee a babe as he once was. But I regularly find myself pining to add another. And another. (And another?)

We are planning on having more little squishable kiddos, although not for a while yet. We’ve agreed to wait until Jared has a job offer on the table, which could be anywhere from a year to . . . ? And although I am looking forward to having more little ones, when I actually parse my feelings down a bit, I realize that they come more from the feeling of us being a family of four rather than already wishing for another go-round the pregnancy-mobile.

Having another baby has been an odd experience. We are not first time parents coming into this with first time parent fears and bumbling. And yet we don’t have to try to juggle multiple children. Deal with the new jealousy a baby could bring. Handle the kids sharing a room and fear for the additional wake-ups. Wrangle a toddler with one arm while trying to feed the baby with the other. We don’t get to do that. We don’t get to see Ryann as a big sister. We also don’t get to see Clif as a little brother. And I want the experience of raising siblings. Because that’s where we should be now.

And so I feel the false-baby-fever. And I wait.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Gorgeous Boy

I am in a constant state of amazement by this child. He's cuddly, happy, and getting sillier by the day. And there's no denying what a pretty, pretty boy he is.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Clif's Re-Gifted Mobile

When I found out I was pregnant with Ryann, my sister began working on a mobile to hang above her crib. She chose to use bright felted birds, which interestingly enough is the animal that both Jared and I have found ourselves most closely associating with Ryann. Bright, lively, agile, inquisitive birds.

As is the tendency with approximately fifty percent of the projects my sister and I each take up, this one was partly finished and then forgotten. Ryann outgrew the general mobile age. Mei was born. The birdies were occasionally worked on with Mei now in mind. After Ryann died and another wee babe was imminent, Kristin finished up the birds once and for all and brought them for the kid-brother of the original giftee. They are now sitting on our piano waiting to be hung from the staff Jared carried as his latest stage-self to make up a ridiculously meaningful and cumbersome mobile.

I love that Clif will have these sweet reminders of his own dear sis suspended above his head while he sleeps.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Been Fun

It's the last weekend of my maternity leave and I return to work full-time starting this Monday. I must say, as much as I know I'll miss little Clif and our afternoons together, I really am looking forward to being back at work. As we close in on the end of the semester, our office is getting slammed with more things and with me out of the office in the afternoons, things are beginning to slip through the cracks. And so, I will enjoy this weekend with my boys so that I can enjoy my work and make the most of my more limited mini-man cuddles in between. Here's to life as a working mom!