Mila Tries Internet Activities: Easter Egg Sort.

Another day, another toddler activity to try with Mila.

For the last week or so, I’ve seen so many Easter inspired activities. Since we’re going to be quarantined until Easter, I thought I’d tackle one activity a day. A lot of them used the little, plastic eggs that you can put things in. So I got a bag of them for a dollar at the dollar store and thought I’d give it a go.

Turns out, Mila loves the eggs as they come. She will just sit there and open and close all then over and over. We’ve played little games where I have her give me certain colors or we count them. I think an easy, independent activity to do would be a basic color sort.

Since it was so nice out yesterday, I figured we could do something with them out there. I grabbed painters tape, a tub from an organization bin, tongs and a spoon, and her basket of eggs. You’re supposed to make a crazy pattern for your toddler to maneuver around with the tongs, grab the egg, and put it in a basket or even color sort. I got the inspiration from this activity from The Ever Co’s Instagram page (@theeverco).

After I was done getting the tape on there, we went outside. Her and Max ran around for a while and played fetch. When they were over that, they ran to me, but I already had something for her to do.

At first, I just watched to see what she’d do. She stuck her hand in there and got it caught on the tape, which really surprised her. After I told her to use the tongs and put them in the basket, she was on a mission. She played independently for about forty-five minutes with it. When she realized she could put the eggs back in there, she would open them up and try to pick them up that way. To challenge her further, I’d definitely do different colored bowls for her to place the egg into. Maybe next time.

One thing I would have changed if I didn’t throw it together in five minutes… instead of painters tape, I would have used different sizes of yarn and ribbon. Sometimes the eggs or tongs got stuck on the sticky side. She worked around it, but it might have been nicer if that wasn’t in the way.

Hopefully if you get to try this activity, it works a nicely as it did for me. Today, Mila and I are going to try to make salt dough Easter eggs and paint them. Wish us luck!

Rainbow Hunting.

One of Mila’s favorite things to do is paint… hence the paint still on her face.

She knows exactly where all the materials are and goes up to them and says, ‘I paint!’ We usually try to paint twice a week, but it can be a lot sometimes. She’s not super into coloring yet, but I’m going to keep pushing it.

Anyways, while looking for activities to do while we’re locked down, I actually got invited to a random Facebook group. It’s called 518 Rainbow Hunt – Spreading Rainbows Worldwide. If you look it up on Facebook, it’ll pop up and you can join the group.

It’s really cool actually. There’s a Google link that you can add your house or whatever to show that you are participating. You can also just post a picture too. I loved looking at everyone rainbows and really enjoy how someone created something so creative to spread hope during this time. Plus, I love rainbows. They mean so much to me and Mila will always be my rainbow personified.

Well, this morning, Mila asked if she could paint. I had already planned out to do this craft Monday night, so we jumped right into it. So, I low key feel like a weird person because I made one too, but Mila thought it was so cool that I painted with her. She hyped me up by clapping every time I painted another layer to the rainbow. Just as I did for her too.

They both turned out so good. I’m so proud of Mila and how well she did keeping the colors where they needed to be. This is one of my favorite little projects we’ve done. I had fun with it and Mila did too. She got it all over herself and face. Some age was doing that, I added clouds and a string to each so we could hang them up in the windows.

While Mila napped, which she did immediately after this, I went and hung them up. I am SO proud of how they turned out and that her painting skills are getting more consistent.

I love the symbol of rainbows and how they instill hope. Through this time of isolation, I think we all need a little hope and to know there’s an eventual end in this craziness. I also love that my rainbow made one for herself too. She has no idea how special she is and what she means to me. Here’s a closer look at Mila’s little rainbow. If you’re local and know where I live, you’re able to see it in the window.

Our next craft is going to be salt dough Easter eggs. I wanted to start a tradition with getting wooden eggs and have her decorate one every year, but I can’t go to Joann’s this year. So instead, we’re going to make a bunch of the salt dough ornaments and decorate them. I’ll make sure to share when I do that and the recipe I use too!

As always, if you have any recommendations of what Mila and I should do, let me know! I’ve been trying to look at some of The Mama Notes activities. It’s a really good blog with a ton of different things for toddlers to do. These rainbows are inspired by her posts earlier this month. There she talks about using other supplies on hand rather than just paint. Some used ribbon, paper, and other supplies that made beautiful rainbows. Mila just likes paint so, that’s what we went with. Also, if you decide to make a rainbow for the rainbow hunt, posts in the comments or in the community Facebook group. I love seeing all the rainbow pictures and knowing we’re not all alone through this.

My Minutes with Jensen.

I still screenshot every time I see 11:11 pop up on my phone.

After almost FOUR years, it’s still Jensen’s way of saying hello; amongst many others. I take that moment and just look at his face and tap it to my own. It might not be every day, twice a day this time jumps out at me, but it is most of them. I imagine he’s right next to me and I feel a sense calm fall over me.

When I look through the screenshots on my phone, a good amount of them are of Jensen with 11:11 over his head. Four years of screenshots and countless minutes that were just him and I even after he’s been gone.

Recently, I saw an Instagram post from another loss mom that described how it was hard to write about their child now than it was when it was still so raw. I found myself agreeing with everything she said. During that first year and a half, words flowed so easily. I tried my best to put what I was feeling into words and it helped. It helped me heal and remember Jensen in the best way I could.

Since Mila’s been born, it has been hard to write. She fills my day and each time I think I get a minute to write, she either wakes up or finds my laptop extremely interesting to inspect. The words seem to still come to me but get stuck in my head. They jumble up, and when I go to actually get them out, they stop flowing like before.

It’s so hard being without him. Even when it feels like Mila and I are doing good, I know he’s missing. He’ll always be missing and that fact will always make my little family feel incomplete.

I wish I could finish those blog posts that I’ve tried so many times to write. About when I found the notes to Jensen and me from his baby shower or how I already feel the weight of my grief crashing down as April draws nearer.

I really can’t believe he’s going to be four. Just knowing how much I’ve missed out on all things Jensen for four years. I wish I knew his likes and what movie he’d have Mila and me watching 800 times. I wish I could see him be a big brother for Mila and play all day, every day with her. I wish I could hold him tight and never let him go.

Gosh, I miss him.

Anytime I hear Usher, I think of Jensen’s movements. I think of seeing him on the ultrasound screen and watching him cover his face when the wand was over him for too long. I think about this time four years ago about how excited I was to meet him, wondering what kind of mom I was going to be. Now it feels like I’m always waiting for those moments I thought I was going to get with him.

In some ways, I think he still gives me the moments I needed. That’s why I have hundreds of screenshots of 11:11 and the feeling of him giving me an Eskimo kiss during that minute.

She tried to forget him, but never could…

Last year, I wanted to sort of take my blog into different directions. I write a lot to heal offline and I wanted to bring it online; mostly because I know it helps others.

So here is me in 2020, branching out and sharing things that are sort of vulnerable to share. We had to write a little blurb for one of my classes this semester, I turned it into a short story, and I thought it needed to be shared. Hopefully you guys enjoy!

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One Text: A Modern Love Story

She tried to forget him, but never could.

He was always there, right in the back of her mind. Last year, she promised herself that it was over. The mentally abusive nature of the relationship only put her in a dark space. She had crawled out of it many times, but she felt it pulling her down once more.

“I heard our song on the radio today,” the text read.

Instantly, she heard the melody and the lyrics out of thin air. There was no need to specify what song he had been talking about. It was the only one that still took her breath away and let her memories come forth.

The night they danced in the middle of his kitchen to this song played out in her mind. Things were lighter then; the damage hadn’t fully been done. They held each other close as the first notes started on this song. She rested her head in the close to his neck and he rest his lips on the top of her head. He would whisper the words to her like he was telling her a secret. She would smile and hang on to the sound of his low voice.

Her eyes never closed during this dance. She took in his dimly lit house and saw through the big, bay window that his neighbors were having a fire. Instead of being embarrassed they might be watching, she smiled because he wasn’t afraid to show her off in that moment. The smell of their beer from after dinner hung in the air and her whole body was electrified from his touch. This night felt perfect and she wished it could be every night of her life.

She snapped back to the present. A single tear was falling down her cheek. It was months since she last heard from him and she truly starting to feel some kind of peace in her life. He had hurt her beyond repair and there was no apology that could make everything all better. She knew this was just a part of his game, yet all she wanted to do was text him back.

It was easier for her to focus on those moments she never felt more alive than the ones that had crippled her. She had to force herself to remember all the nights she cried herself to sleep and all the bad thoughts he made her think.

“Maybe it’ll be different this time,” she whispered as she started typing.

Goodbye to a Decade I’ll Never Forget.

I told myself I wasn’t going to do it.

Why subject anyone else to a ‘goodbye to a decade’ post? But here it goes…

I started this decade at sixteen. A time where most young boys and girls think they know everything about the world. Now at twenty-six, I realize I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.

Since getting my license, I’ve:

  • been in love
  • traveled the world
  • had my heartbroken
  • found myself
  • graduated high school
  • moved away to college
  • traveled the world
  • moved back home
  • began a job I loved
  • worked and ‘colleged’ hard
  • roadtrips
  • made the best of friends
  • fell in love
  • traveled the world
  • graduated college
  • bought a house
  • got pregnant
  • had my heartbroken
  • Jensen was born
  • survived when I didn’t think it was possible
  • traveled
  • fell in love
  • got pregnant
  • learned how to mother a living child
  • traveled
  • learned how to live again
  • made mistakes
  • had my heartbroken
  • traveled the world
  • realized my worth

Plus a whole bunch of other adventures and life lessons I’ll never forget.

This decade has taught me so much about myself and then I had to relearn who I was again and again. It taught me to never give up and to always keep loving no matter what. It made me a mother. My favorite thing in the world. It will forever hold Jensen and I’ll continue to carry him into the next decades of my life. It holds part of Mila too and these crucial first years they I’ll forever cherish.

I don’t know what the next decade will hold, but I do know whatever happens, I’ll be able to keep going. I’m a mother and survivor. That’s what we do.

Goodbye 2019 and all of the 2010’s. Thank you for helping me become who I am today. Thank you for my babies and the memories. I’m not sad to see you go, but can never forget this time of my life. I hope by the end of this next decade, I’ll take every more adventures, love without limits, and be happy where I’m at in our life.

Wishing you all a happy New Years from my family to yours.

May Afterthoughts

My goal of writing everyday of May crashed and burned. I started off strong, but life happened and I got way more busy than I expected to. Instead of being upset with myself, I just rolled with it. I think that shows a lot of grief growth.

In the first year and a half of my grief, I felt like I had to outwardly express how much I missed Jensen. It’s what’s I needed to do and I did just that. I needed to share his name with the world and I’m glad I did. I’ve written his name countless of places and brought Jensen bear with me most of the time I travel. Being surrounded by him and the things that reminded me of him helped me.

When I got pregnant and Mila and now that she’s here, that’s slowed down a lot. I’m constantly doing something and that’s just apart of my motherhood now. It doesn’t lessen my love for Jensen or doesn’t mean I don’t write his name or take a screenshot every time I see it’s 11:11. I swear I have hundreds of 11:11 screenshots. We still look at his picture everyday and say his name. When we went on vacation over Memorial Day, his name was written in the sand. He still walks every step with me and will until my last. I still miss him every second of the day and wish he was here.

And yet, I’m also growing around that grief and am able to make room for healing. Mila has sort of definitely helped me get to this point and even if I didn’t have her, I think I’d have gotten there eventually. Healing isn’t forgetting. I still love sharing about him and when someone mentions him to me, oh my goodness, I’m elated.

Earlier this year I mentioned how I want to sort of redo my page and share more about Mila adventures and the other parts of my life too. Not that anyone wants to know, but I wish I would’ve wrote more as she’s grown. There’s so many experiences that could help others and so many more left that will. I want to be able to do that to show others in different stages of grief that there is a huge range of ‘normal’ or what life looks like after loss.

Speaking of posting different things. I just want to say thank you to everyone who read my last post and all the positive messages I received. There were so many emotions when I wrote it, but I knew they needed out. I’m unsure if I’ll ever write about more of that part of Mila’s life. I can’t tell the future, but for now, I’m just glad I could share what I did.

When it comes to writing, I want to continue writing when I can and even sharing the happiest moments. Mila literally does the funniest things. They’re too cute not to share and express. And I want to keep talking about Jensen and show how he still is making an impact in our world. It’s possible to live with one foot grounded in grief and the other in healing and even happiness.

I hope all of you have a gentle June and start of summer for most. Let this month be what you need it to be and remember, you’re never alone.

To Those Who Didn’t Deserve Her Anyways…

Throughout the last three years I’ve documented the most vulnerable parts of my life on this blog. Things I didn’t think that were safe anywhere else somehow oozed through me when I started typing. Everything felt okay to talk about besides one thing because I promised I never would. Words and promises don’t mean a lot to most people anymore, as most of us know, but I try my best to be a person someone could trust.

Somewhere around two years ago, I met someone who swept me off my feet, Adrian M. We could talk about anything and when we did get to hangout, a couple hours felt like a few minutes. I felt like I could by my whole self and there was an understanding of what we needed each other to be for one another. After a little while, I ended up getting pregnant. Things happen and birth control doesn’t always work, but I was okay. I was ready to start with pregnancy all over again and hopefully being home a living child. On the other hand, I was terrified. I didn’t think a mistake had been made, but I definitely was nervous to see what my family would think and how I’d tell him. For a few weeks, I sat on my little secret. I continued talking to him and going on about life fairly normally.

Then something popped up a few weeks later. When he was over one day, I caught a slip in what he had told me about himself. Like any person, I went to the internet to investigate more. What I found wasn’t at all what I had thought. I found he had a family and a life he had never talked about. The things he said were true, just the other people left out. Honestly, I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I went to my mom to tell her, first about the baby, then about everything else. She wanted me to keep it all to myself. That I could do it all alone and that’s totally true. Maybe I should have and it would’ve saved a lot of pain… but I couldn’t imagine having a child and just not knowing. Maybe I’d end up solo parenting this child, but I juggled with her advice and telling him. Instead of taking her advice not to tell Adrian, I had to…

Now the people who this is intended for don’t really need to know that background. I’m the bad guy in your guys eyes.. I get it. It’s fine and I’m alright with it. The whole time Mila was a secret to you, it was very real to Adrian and me. You were unaware of the war that was going on in his mind and sort of a second life/family, whatever you want to say. There’s 100x more damaging information to him and the family that was told to me that would shock you, but that’s not for me to share…

What I need to say is way more important than that. All the secret stuff was never really about him and I. It was always about Mila. You didn’t see after the shock when we’d talk about how we thought she’d look like or me telling him what I planned on naming her (which I had picked when I had my child, I didn’t even know it was.. taken. Even though I asked if I should change her name.). You didn’t see the trying to catch her moving around or the belly kisses. Or know about the constant updates from allllllll the doctor appointments or see the ultrasound I tried to point out what body part we were looking at. You didn’t see the worried texts from when I was in labor and I’m guessing you didn’t understand why he probably seemed off that week. You didn’t see his face the first time he met her or how weird it was when he asked to hold her. You didn’t know how many times a week he’d come to see her or how she looked at him. You have no idea how hard it was when he’d leave and she’d look or crawl towards the door wanting him to come back. You don’t know the gifts he got her for Christmas or anything.

There’s also the negative you didn’t know existed too. Like my many options for him to ‘get out.’ A complete erase for everything and continually was turned down. Or the times I wasn’t the only one being ‘talked’ to and shut it down. Arguments about how supporting Mila and how everything needed to be in the open. Everything would always turn around and a compromise would be made. Things would go back to the normal because there was never an option of him being out of Mila’s life.

I can’t tell you how many conversations there were about her calling him dad or how that’d work out in the future. He told me that no matter what, he was biologically made to love her and she gave it right back to him. There were many conversations about her meeting her grandparents because I thought about how horrible it would be to not know she ever existed or to see how much of him was in her. All the promises he made to never not be in her life because if you know him, you know he’s an awesome dad.

When things started to turn mid last year, I started to be unaware of what the future would hold. I got angry when he told me he loved me and Mila, wouldn’t even say it back, although we both knew for awhile. Yeah, ‘mistakes’ were made. He wasn’t always a great person, neither was I, but isn’t that everyone?

The day he told you, we were on the phone for hours, just arguing on what to do. None of us wanted to let go, but I don’t think we really wanted thing to change or to hurt anyone either. There were so many times I wanted to tell everyone, but I stuck to my promise. I’ll never forget the things he told me was said… like how he’d forget ‘that’ child and me in six months time if he just stopped communication. Because that’s not obviously happened… I don’t even understand how this thought could even make sense. I haven’t had my son for three years and I still think of him everyday. To have a child just a few towns away… there’s no forgetting. How I’m a serious ‘home wrecker,’ which is hilarious because if you knew me, I’m totally the opposite person to that. I’m sure you think that’s annoyingly humorous as well. It’s known that I’m not the ‘problem’ and you continue to choose to ignore it. And if you knew Mila, you’d know you could never forget her. People that aren’t even her family wouldn’t forget her… but it was so easily for you to and to see how much that affects him…

I guess you were never her family anyways nor would I want that. I wouldn’t want anyone to make a person in their life feel like poison in my daughter’s life. When she gets of age and starts to ask questions, I won’t lie to her. I’ll tell her everything she asks and wants to know. Because she does matter and she has a right to know. And in that truth that she’s told, it’ll never be because you didn’t want her or to have your family/image tarnished or whatever your reasons are, it’ll be because you simply did not deserve to know her. And at the end of the day she’s loved beyond all measure.

Insights.

Insights is a fairly hard prompt to write about considering this whole blog is pretty much the insight on my life after loss. So, I’m not going to write a big post, but instead a list of the important things I’ve learned through this journey. Maybe they can help you or you can comment some of your own to help others out too.

  • You never know what’s going on in a person’s life and they might not always be what they seem.
  • A person just doesn’t get over the death of a loved one.
  • There’s no timeline on grief.
  • Every person grieves differently and that’s perfectly okay.
  • Talking helps. No matter if it feels impossible to do.
  • A subsequent child does not erase the pain of having a child die.
  • Pregnancy/parenting after loss is the second hardest thing I’ve been through.
  • Grief is isolating.
  • People will be in and out of your life, hold on to the ones who listen and validate your emotions.
  • It’s okay to not be okay.
  • Do what’s best for you.
  • Smiling after a loved one dies shouldn’t make you feel guilty (even though those first few months it makes you feel just that).
  • Say the person who’s died name. It will mean the world to the person who is grieving.
  • Ask for help. Even if it’s as small as someone listening to you or as big as you need. We all need help sometimes.
  • Grief becomes manageable, but in an instant, it can drown you.
  • Love never dies.
  • Throughout life you will change and grow. Some events, such as death, will evolve you into another person. Don’t be afraid of that growth.
  • If someone opens up to you, just listen.
  • Sometimes our journeys are not what we expected them to be. Your journey is still as beautiful.

If only…

Relaxed, present, wanting.

If only this picture and every picture of these two could actually be of him and her and not of his bear.

If only he was here taking an afternoon nap with us on my big bed.

If only I could have one day to spend with him and soak everything about him up.

If only I knew what it felt like to feel his touch, know his voice, and look into his eyes.

If only love could have saved him.

If only one of these things could happen, I’d be forever grateful.

If only, if only, if only is the only thing I can say when thinking of Jensen in the present.

If only people were educated with the pregnancy risks and stillbirth before it happened to them.

If only we could all go back in time.

If only pregnancy outcomes could change and mothers and their children be safe every time.

If only one person finds healing in these words and the words of others on this journey, I will be thankful.

If only I could have saved Jensen and all the babies gone too soon.

If only…

There are a million ‘if only’ situations I could think of. I’ve said it a million times since Jensen was born. I wanted to see and know every part of him and the future he should have had. In the beginning, the ‘if only’s’ felt like way I could have done better and it put blame on myself. Now I see them as ways he would be in our family now and how because of him and his memory, he can positively impact someone in our shoes. This transformation of the phrase shows true healing, but the first ones will always haunt me. I will always long to know more about him and if I could have done anything to save him, but I can’t let that bring me down. He’s brought so many positive things to me and lessons I would have never learned if he’s not exist.

If only he knew how much his life has made mine better.

If only I could tell him I am a better person because of him.

If only he could hear me say I loved him.

Beauty & Nature.

Full of love, longing, blessed.

I first want to start off by saying that I hope everyone had a gentle Mother’s Day. It can be such a hard ‘holidays’ for a lot of people to recognize, but we did it!

The last two May We All Heal prompts are beauty and nature. Since I was busy the last few days and didn’t have time to write, I thought these went perfectly together for my journey in motherhood. For me, motherhood is beautiful and not just mine, everyone’s. It can be messy and hard, but at the end of the day, raising a child is wonderful. After Jensen was born, nature played a big part of my motherhood and nature is very beautiful as well. This post may make zero sense, but I wanted to respond on how they made me feel.

When Jensen died, everything felt ugly. The world didn’t feel bright or like it had any good in it. I didn’t really like being inside because it felt too depressing, so I was outside a lot. I just sitting out there made the dark weight inside me lift a little. I felt Jensen whispers in the air and voice while the birds sang. Actually, I feel a big connection to blue and red birds with Jensen. They’re my little signs from him. The sun and water helped me heal and Jensen has his tree down the road that I enjoy walking down to see. I can remember the first year after, I would notice so many different types of flowers and all the colors. It took my mind off the ugly things and let me focus on the beauty around me. Nature helped me heal so much.

Last year, Mila was just itty bitty. She cried a lot, but every time we went outside she would stop. What wasn’t awesome was she either had a horrible sinus infection or allergies that didn’t allow her to stay outside for long. That meant a lot of time inside for the both of us. For me, that was hard. I feel like I’m outside all the time during the spring and summer, but it went down to a walk or two a day to keep Mila feeling good. So fast forward to the last few weeks… I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to stay outside for long periods of time. I wouldn’t have her out there if it hurt her more than helped. Truthfully, I didn’t (and don’t) think I could go another summer inside. It felt like I couldn’t fully connect with Jensen and I felt trapped. Maybe that’s due to PPD, but I was never diagnosed with it…

Of course if you follow me on Instagram, you can see Mila LOVES to be outside. We go outside everyday, unless it’s pouring down rain. She likes to go on walks, play in the water, visit parks, and honestly just laying in the grass. It feels right to be our there and I feel connected to Jensen too. I’m pointing out red and blue birds to her, even if she can’t see them quick enough. We walk to her brother’s tree and I tell her about him. It’s cathartic for our little family.

And that’s the beauty of it all. Yes, our world is so amazing to see and it brings us so much happiness. I don’t know if I’m really doing this whole mom things right all the time, but I do know I want to do anything and everything that makes Mila happy and to remember Jensen too. Right now, that’s what we’re doing and I’m happy with that.

PS… we got these amazing pictures done two weekends ago and I just got them back. I’m so in love with them. They’re perfect for today’s prompt and I just had to share.