Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I Stole This Pen: The Story of my Miscarriage

I stole the pen that I am writing this with on the day that they confirmed that I had lost my third child.  Yes, I stole it.  And one more.  It seemed like the only reasonable thing to do.  I sat in the doctor’s office waiting for my doctor to arrive and saw it sitting there.  And I knew, that is what would help in that one painful instant. 

My doctor was late.  She wasn’t even really my doctor. My typical doctor, who I like, was out of town when I began spotting and so I had been dealing with a perky little doctor who had told me that she was “cautiously optimistic” even after spotting and poor HCG numbers that barely rose because we had seen my little Baby Three still had a heartbeat and was measuring right on schedule at 6 weeks.  I’d had to wait quite a while for her since she was late for our appointment due to being at lunch.  I was so thankful that my little one still had a heartbeat, and was busy calling my husband that I didn’t really think about her being late.

A week later I sat in her office once again, again waiting for her to come in for our 11 am appointment.  I had come from the facility across the street where they had confirmed my worst fears, and what I already knew after a week of pain and loss like we had never known before.  I already knew that my little one was gone, that Baby Boy Three had left me.  They really only needed to tell me how long until I would be stuck in the dreaded limbo of losing him slowly, over several weeks until I had the small hope of at least feeling normal a few minutes of the day.  I was hopeful that it would be over soon, and that I could maybe forget for a few minutes that I had survived something so horrible I couldn’t think of it, even as it was all that I could think of from waking to fitful sleep.

She was over 20 minutes late this time.  My wonderful neighbor Karen was watching my boys for me, and I longed to get back to them, to my wonderful sons who were so full of life, and she was late yet again, for what? They had been dealing with this too, although they didn't know I was pregnant at the time.  I had so many blood tests that even Judah at two would point at the hospital as we approach and say, "Mom, Boo Boo," and will sometimes point at my arm where I was often bruised and say the same.   

I sat in that tiny, impersonal room hot with rage that I was not being given this small dignity, longing for someone, something to blame when I saw it. I think I wanted them to suffer in some small manner, not for my pain, but for not seeming to understand that when a woman sat there vulnerable and bleeding, the least that you could do was be on time to tell her that her baby was dead and gone. Someone had died, but they were treating it like any other appointment. 

I had been so inconvenienced in what seemed like a cruel way, that I wanted her to be inconvenienced as well.  I eyed the small victory I could have once again.  Then, if she needs to write something down she won’t have a pen.  Somehow in my grief this made sense, although it roundly ignored that there were plenty of other pens around in the facility, probably in her own pocket.  It also ignored that a poor nurse would probably be blamed for the lack of writing utensil in the room as a way that she had not kept things equipped. 

I reached for the Papermate and quickly stuffed it in the front zipper pocket of my purse.  I looked at the desk and realized there was another pen there, and I grabbed it as well and snugged it next to the other. Now all they have in this room is a highlighter. I looked at the clock one more time and saw that it was now after 11:30 and I had enough.  I didn’t believe that there was anything new that they could tell me.  I already knew, my little bean was gone.  I walked into the hallway, planning on telling a nurse that I was leaving when of course, there was my doctor, leaning casually against a wall and chatting with someone else.  

"Oh, I am just about to come in and talk with you, Carrie."  I gave her a look that communicated some of my doubt and then I returned to my room to talk to her.  She didn't need to use a pen during our brief conversation in which we discussed what had happened and the need for still more blood tests and an instruction that maybe we would need to schedule a D&C (we didn't) but that this would all help me "Put this behind me." 

A month and a half or so has passed since I physically got back to normal, but I don't think I will ever go back to being the person that I was.  I kept thinking through all of this that I wanted to come away from this more loving, more compassionate, and more of the person who deserves to be a mom to my wonderful boys, here and in heaven.  And my baby wouldn't want me to live my life continually in mourning.  

I also kept praying for my friends who have been though similar situations, those I know of, and those I don't know yet.  So many of my friends have miscarried further along, too many have had stillborn little ones, or babies that have lived far to brief on this earth.  Over the past year I have been praying for the ability to love the women around me better, and to really care for friends of mine both near and far.  I just never thought that this was the way that it would happen.  Although I knew with PCOS I would perhaps have to deal with this someday, I never guessed that it would be the thing that would help me to understand them better, and give me more insight and opportunity to love them more, to love all of you more.  I think that is the best way that I can honor my little Baby Three.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The "Dark Stuff."

I love my little son so much, and I am continually amazed at what he has learned and does, but one speech pattern he has been doing has amused me more than usual.  Noah will often ask me for a snack and it seems like he is always eating.

We have started a shelf for him on the bottom of the pantry that contains snacks that he can access himself and eat when he gets hungry while mom is busy cleaning/studying/writing etc.  He is usually pretty happy with the granola bars, raisins, fruit cups (he even goes to get a spoon and brings me one upstairs too) and other snacks. He also knows where yogurts are in the freezer and cheese and baby carrots in the fridge  However, there are times where the kid wants something a bit sweeter to whet his whistle and he has found a new way to try to get me to give him all sort of treats.

"Mommie, I'm hungry."  I tell him he can go pick something out. "Maaayyybe, something round?"  He motions like a circle.

"Like a carrot chip?"  I ask, knowing what item in the pantry he wants.

"No, something rounder?  And big?"

"Oh- you mean a cookie?"

"Yeah, a cookie.  That's good."  This isn't the first time that he has been able to use his words to verbally trap us.  When he used to be less adept at articulating words he would ask for something he knew we wouldn't normally be about to do, and then we would repeat it to clarify that we were hearing it correctly.

"A movie?"

"Okay."  As if were the ones who had thought of it.  No Buddy, we were just clarifying, not offering.

Now, he has gone a step further and is using adjectives to try to get his point across.  He just walked up to me a few minutes ago and asked of the double chocolate cookie dough I made a couple days ago, but haven't quite made it to the oven, and which I was sampling a little while ago.  "What did you do with the dark stuff?"

It is so interesting to hear how his language is developing, and that he is seeing these words as alternative ways to describe something that he wants, or one reason that he likes the object of his desire.  Yes, the cookie dough is dark and  chocolatey and yummy, and he knows somehow if he appeals to that aspect of the object, he just might have a better chance of getting it.  I'm curious if he is showing this because he is taking after mom in writing, or if he is taking after daddy in his ability to sell.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Social Media Planning: Editorial Calendar

As anyone who has read this blog knows that i love me a good printable. In fact, by far my most popular Pinterest Board is dedicated to Digital Freebies that have made my life easier, or are just something enjoyable.

Recently, I have been scouring the web for an editorial calendar for my blogs and social media.  I have used an social media calendar int eh past, but never found one that worked well enough for me to stick with it. Until now.  One of the best parts of my discovery is that the graphic designer that created the blogging calendar is a fellow Minneapolis resident.  I always love to send a little linkage to a fellow Minnesotan.

Ekcetera Design Studio is a local graphic designer and creative and she is offering not only a free social media planning calendar template, but she also has a free e-book as well as some great simple tutorials for small businesses and social media for those of you who are newbies to the whole social media management game.

I've changed a few of the fields in my version of the template since I don't particularly use YouTube all that much (hopefully in the future.)  I also prefer to have a printed version of the calendar to work with and scribble on and cross out, so I had to scoot a few things in order to make it all fit on one standard sheet.  For the most part though, the logic of the organization for this social media calendar trumps by far what I was using in the past.  Be sure to check out Ekcetera Design and let her know that I sent you. ;)
Friday, March 8, 2013

New School, New Home...

The catchphrase for this blog used to be something like "New State, New Marriage, New Job, New Home."  Now, once again we have added in a few new "news" into our life.  

The Minnesota Westons have been on the move once again.  We have moved out of our little bedroom community and into a suburb of Minneapolis that reminds us more of our life in MI, and gives us many of the amenities and the lower crime rate that we need in a home.  Now, our old place wasn't a horrible city to live in, but I think that our part of town was a little less nice than others.  Most of us on our street had been robbed at some point-- thankfully just stuff from our cars and yards, although one of the neighbors did lose 2 snowmobiles.  The thieves drove right up into their yard and hooked the trailer to their truck and drove off.

A train derailment happened about a 1/4 of a mile away- thankfully carrying corn and not anything flamable.  Our place was tiny, had termites and after we left we found out that it was near 7 Superfund sites. As you can probably guess, we are very happy and blessed to be in our new home and adjusting to having more space and have happily cozied up for the winter.  We are still getting settled, but I am going to try to post a small house tour on here soon.

Noah has a few new things as well, he has started "School" as much as we are doing it.  He is actually at his local Co-Op right now, which is wonderful because it gives me some time every other week to run errands or have appointments that would otherwise be difficult with him along. Or just to sit and study in the lobby of the church that hosts us. At first he wanted to know that I was in the building with him, but now he barely blinks when I leave and is planning on being a "Daddy" with one of his little girlfriends there.

One further new is for me: I entered Grad School a little more than a year ago.  At first I was reluctant to talk about it because quite honestly, I wasn't sure if I would be able to cut it and to make it through with Noah and moving and all of the other stuff going on in my life, but now I am looking at the home stretch and I have less than a year and my thesis to complete!  Strategic Communication Management is an intriguing field right now as we make the move in online communication from using social media as fun to using in a more deliberate way to enhance our business and social lives.  I am hoping once I am done to get back into teaching at the Community College level, and to continue to consult with businesses regarding their content marketing needs.

After all of those changes it is nice to finally be getting established in our new routine, and thankfully, the new routines are proving to be more enjoyable, productive and meaningful than anything before.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bucket of Balls Preschool Homeschool Activity

Activity: Shape Sorting of Different "B" items into buckets.
Goal: To learn more about the letter "B" as well as to differentiate between different shapes and items. 
Cost: Plastic Bin- $1 from Target, Balls- $2.72 from Target, but you can use any balls you happen to have on hand, Blocks-$1.00 Once Upon a Child.  Total: $4.72 

Creating Your Own:

So simple- I just selected small, yet baby safe items from around the house and a few newly purchased.  March's letter of the month is "B" so I chose buckets, balls, blocks, a box (the ring box from my engagement ring)  and we have also had a boat and a few other things in it during the month. 
Playing with Your Little One:
I purposely chose to include small tin buckets that I had previously bought from the Target dollar spot near the door so that Noah can practice sorting like objects into the buckets.  Typically I begin playing with him by putting  a ball in one bucket and a block in the other and asking him, "Where are all the balls?" 

Tell your little one the name of each item, making sure to pronounce the first letter of the word, usually I say something like, "B-bu-bu, ball.  B-bu-bu, block.  They both start with the letter "B." 
homeschooling preschool activity
Noah will also play independantly by filling the buckets and practice his fine motor skills with pouring the balls from one bucket to another or bouncing the balls, as well as stacking the blocks.

Adaptions for Different Ages:
Under One Year: What child doesn't love playing with a ball at any age?  At this point,  you can still be introducing letters and tell your children the names of objects in their box, but obviously, not much else will be done aside from gnawing on the toys, which is just what should be happening.
One to Three Years: My current goal for Noah is to increase his awareness of letters and not necessarily to learn to read.  I don't subscribe to the whole, "Your Baby Can Read" system, although they do get a few things right, like the intentional play and the making learning a part of life.  That is why I am taking a whole month on one letter, and discussing letters in general, teaching him spelling of his name (which he is currently one letter away from doing!)
Older Kids: Obviously, older kids will be able to handle increasingly complicated sorting of objects, and providing them with manipulatives that can be categorized in more than one way is a great idea.  They can sort objects by color and by shape-- such as providing blue and yellow blocks and balls.  Then they can decide which attribute to categorize the objects under.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Free Christmas Card Templates

I have been  working on my design skills in Photoshop, and while experimenting I created these two simple Christmas Card templates that I am happy to offer free to my readers.  These templates are in psd format and can be used by anyone with Adobe Photoshop CS5 or PSE.

To use the templates, users will need to be able to use clipping masks.  The best tutorial I have found for beginning users is from The CoffeeShop Blog.  Rita, the author also has a ton of other wonderful tutorials, Actions, templates and other digital design freebies.  She is one of the first and best sources I have found when I first started using Photoshop, and wonderfully a lot of her stuff works or can be adapted for PSE users. 

These templates are free for anyone for personal usage, but not for use in commercial ventures, be it selling these templates as your own, using them for photography clients, or using the images in these samples. 

To download Template #1 click here then right click on the file and select "Extract All." 

Image Credit: Carrie Weston Photography

To download Template #2 click here then right click on the file and select "Extract All."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apples-- Week 2 and the Resistance of Overplanning

Just a few scant weeks into the beginning of Mommie School/ Pre-Homeschooling Noah I came to a realization.  I was waaay too overplanned for what I was wanting to do with him.  Worked into my schedule were two week and one week themes, which made sense during the planning phase of summer.  I wanted to have one theme per alphabet letter and follow a  lot of the Tot School and other online curriculum for toddlers was guiding me to.

However, with only one child  and the abundance of  activities and games available out there, I was finding it hard to print it all, ready it all and to keep Noah's attention to simple do the number of good activities out there during our daily time down in the family room.  So my choice was to either forget some activities or forget some themes: I opted for the latter.

Not that the information out there on Tot School and other sites is bad, but for us I really wanted to opt for a more relaxed plan for this special time.  I want Noah to know that the time I spend teaching him is, from the beginning, a time for him to explore and have fun, and that I am willing to learn at his pace and in the way that suits us best.  I want to be spending more time with him and less time planning and cutting and laminating (although I do love my laminator that the Hubs got me for my birthday a ridiculous amount.)

So we found ourselves with a second week of Apples in my revised plan, and we had a wonderful time outside playing in the apples at Minnetonka Orchards with a great group I am involved with from  It is a haul from up here in the north metro of the Twin Cities, but it was a wonderful getaway from our daily routine and Noah loved the trees, the train play-structure as well as the animals in the small farm area.

We rounded out our week's activities with one of the classic preschool apple activities- apple painting.  Noah used the halved apples for stamping, but actually enjoyed using a brush to paint the apples themselves more than anything.  Noah is still somewhat phobic when it comes to getting his hands sticky, so I like to allow him the freedom to use a brush or use his hands when it is time to get messy. 

(This is also one of the last activities we did on our old breakfast table that we recently replaced.  Chair recovering and table refinishing posts coming soon!) :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Photo Bliss-- Fire Safety Day

Whew-- I haven't posted one of these in a long time, but I am so over the blogger guilt for not posting, when really I am writing this blog as a creative outlet and a way to share our life with family and friends we are far from.  No blog boss is going to come along and chastise me for not posting.

Nevertheless, I am trying to get back into sharing these, because Noah really is too gorgeous not to share. ;)  After the photos I've shared recently though it is beginning to look to you all like Noah is a silly, clumsy little boy who is constantly sticking things in his ears, when really he is pretty coordinated and a pretty good little dancer to boot.

Buddy, next week's photo will show what a suave, cool dude you are-- Mommie promises!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Decorations- Halloween Bats and Silhouettes

Confession time:  I am one of those people. You know-- the type that gets their fall decorations and holiday goodies out way too soon.  I listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and as soon as August ended, I opened up my Pinterest board full of fall digital freebies and got to work in our living room.

It has been a mission of mine to actually use the wonderful tutorials and freebies that I spend hours looking over and downloading from that very addictive site, and I have loved all of the inspiration that Pinterest has given me, as well as being a great way to find money saving ideas for decorating my home for the holidays.  One of the first things I have done is decorate a pair of display shelves in the living room where I regularly rotate out seasonal decor. 

I created the Frankenstein's Monster and Witch silhouettes using these printable and free spooky templates from BHG.  I simply downloaded and printed the outlines, and used them as stencils on two Halloween-ey scrapbook papers that I picked up in the Dollar Spot at Target on clearance last year after the holiday.  Using inexpensive frames I already had on hand (in fact one of these is usually up there with another image in it) I was able to further increase my savings and decrease the amount of seasonal decor. I have to store. 

I am also adorning my living room with a flock (is that the right word?) of spooky black bats using this template from Country Living.  These easy to make bats are created by borrowing a few pieces of my son's construction paper (or scrapbook paper) and folding, tracing and cutting.  I then used some painter's tape to fasten the creepy things to the walls. 

I admit, this is a bit early to begin decorating for Halloween, even for our holiday- happy family like ours, but due to a lot of schedule shuffling and a crazy work schedule for the Hubs, we are going to be in and out of town so much this autumn that I need to enjoy it while I can.  And I am also adding more to the decorations that won't have to come down once November hits. 

Back to crafting!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A is for Apple

This week marks the first full week of my pre-homeschooling Noah.  I have struggled with what to even call it, because obviously he is too young for traditional school, but he is to the point of loving more structured play and games. 

We began last week with calendar, stories and games.  I am keeping it simple and only working with Noah for as long as he is interested in the activities I have planned.  I have been pleasantly surprised with how much he seems to look forward to these times, and with how he is always excited whenever I say, "Noah, should we go downstairs and play some games?" 

"Okay!"  (For some reason this is how he always answers when we ask him if he wants to do something.  We're working on a more polite version, but this is so cute I'm not trying too hard.)

We are beginning with the classic preschool first theme of Apples, and doing apple crafts, counting apples and most of all-- eating apples.  There have been several activities that just haven't happened, either because of Noah's 2 year old attention span, or because he happens to be teething and just wants a, "Cu-ddle," which is the main thing he needs at his age. 

Typically we do an extremely simple calendar, where he puts the number on the calendar, we sing the days of the week, a few other songs and read a few stories.  Then we play a few games which transitions into working in the rest of the room. 

One of Noah's favorite activities is looking in his nature bowl.  We put things that he has collected on recent walks in the bowl along with some magnifying glasses and a couple paint brush.  You wouldn't believe how dirty those stones seem to be and how much cleaning they need.  :)  I will be occasionally adding water to this to add another sensory element and let him brush the rocks, twigs etc. and notice the changes in color and feel. 

One word of caution-- be sure that the acorns, rocks etc. have no bugs or other things growing on them or you could have quite a mess.  Sadly in a few short weeks we will not have to worry as much as temperatures drop and the world outside begins to hibernate.  A nature table or bowl is a great way to avoid having anything hatch in your little one's room and confine the collecting to a reasonable amount.  As a child I was always known for gathering a bit too many rocks and things from the outdoors.  I soon had to keep my collection under the deck of my parent's home, where many of my former treasures remain to this day.

For out thematic elements we are using some of the thematic elements from Totally Tots as well as their simple verse and printables for this theme.  Obviously, Noah is too young for verse memorization on a meaningful level, but I believe in introducing the Word of God at an early age and hiding it in his heart for as long as he can remember. 

For the simple thematic art project pictured below I simply gave Noah a paper plate with an uppercase A printed on the back.  Then I gave him glue, paper to rip, and as many other red art supplies as I could get my hands on and let him glue and create.  Admittedly, I did guide him with the pipe cleaner stem and leaf, but I work really hard to let him enjoy the process of creation without putting my idea of what he should create. 

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