Embarrassing Story Time: Toothpaste or Something Else?

There’s nothing like a little embarrassment, especially from your past self.

I love rereading old blog posts and remembering stories that happened. Sometimes I even go to my old blogs just to see. It makes me laugh every time.

Recently, I’ve started a project with my grandpa (and all the family) and was reminded about one story. It happened clear back in 2015 when I went to watch my little cousin graduate from boot camp. I found it on one of my old blogs and figured I’d share it with you now.

It also makes me smile knowing this was written when Jensen was just a little speck in my belly. I didn’t know yet, but I was pregnant with him.

Look and see how much I’ve grown in six years… and you can laugh at me too.


Brush, Brush, Brush…

As many of you know or would guess, I’m a very clean person. I’m constantly brushing my teeth, washing my hands, or showering. My biggest pet peeve is my teeth being unclean or feel like there’s buildup on them. Every night, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and brush my hair. Every night it goes smoothly, until I went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO this past weekend.

The clouds are low in MO.

Since I wanted to get there a day early, I left with my Uncle Steve and Grandpa. I tried to pack everything I could think of that I would need for one night. Usually my mom will have all the other things I forgot, but she wouldn’t be there. The whole trip was going smoothly. I remembered all my car sickness medicine, my toothbrush, and deodorant. When we got back to the hotel room late, I realized I forget conditioner.

This simple sample-sized product can usually be found in the hotel shower. Yet, there was none. As my uncle and grandpa settled in and started to fall asleep, I snuck down to the lobby to ask nicely for conditioner. Turns out the whole hotel was conditioner free. At this point, I was stuck. I couldn’t ask anyone for keys to drive to the store. Plus, I didn’t even know where a store was. Of course I got on Pinterest and found out once could use lotion as a conditioner substitute. Well, it was worth a try.

Thankfully the lotion worked.
This probably was the biggest success of my nightly routine.

The after effects of lotion: puffy hair.

After my shower I felt like all the travel grime was washed away. I could sleep peacefully all clean in a nice comfortable bed. First things first though, I had to get that minty fresh taste in my mouth. As I’m rummaging through my weekend bag, I realize I forgot one other thing… my toothpaste.

Let’s just say there’s not Pinterest tips to help me here. In my last attempt effort, I saw my grandpa’s toiletry bag by the sink. He has to have toothpaste in there. It only takes a second to find the tube. I get my toothbrush out, squeeze the paste, and go to town on my teeth. But, the toothpaste tasted off, it was bland and seemed to be sticking to my teeth. I keep brushing as best as I could, but still it gets harder around my teeth. Then it tastes and feels as if there’s cement all throughout my mouth.

In a panic, I hurry and look at the ‘toothpaste.’ Instead of saying Colgate, I read Fixodent: All Day Hold.

I just had confused denture adhesive with toothpaste; aka the WORST decision ever. Not only was it the most disgusting taste, I seriously did not think it was going to come out. I kept brushing, but nothing helped.

Long story short, it took my 45 minutes to get all the adhesive out. Better yet, when I put my old clothes back into my bag… I found my toothpaste.

Moral of the Story…

Always put your toothpaste in a place you can easily find.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this post and got a little giggle out of it. Initially after I did this, I only told my mom and did not want anyone else to know. BUT I think you would all enjoy.


What a night to remember.

I think the second best part of finding this was the grainy phone pictures six years ago. Either way, this put a smile to my face.

Do you ever look back on past situations and just laugh? Or have you ever mistaken denture adhesive with toothpaste?

Oh… that last part is definitely just past Danielle.

It’s been a year…

It’s been a year.

One whole year of not feeling your skin on mine. No false promises that have slipped through my ears. A complete year void of you.

The seemingly impossible feat of filling that void seems a lot more possible now. Even when I saw the signs from you and felt that tiny second of longing, I remembered.

I remembered the mental and emotional abuse. The abandonment. Every terrible thing you brought.

But, I remembered something more important — me.

I remembered the long nights of healing. The comfort of family and friends. Everything wonderful I’d never get with you.

The seemingly impossible feat of filling that void was possible because of me. Even when I slipped, I remembered my growth, happiness, and her smile. Oh, I remembered.

One whole year of doing what was right for me. No false promises going through my head. A complete year full of my growth.

It’s been a year.

The One Activity to Help Anyone Write Poetry.

It’s the last “Self Care Sunday” of April and National Poetry Month.

Honestly, the month has went fairly quick. I think with how busy we were, it helped with my grief and anxiety. Keeping myself busy with school, writing, and poetry has given me the space I needed. Now that I’ve made it to the end of April and my college classes (!), I can relax just a little bit.

To celebrate the occasions, I wanted to share one fun and interesting way that anyone can create poetry. Yes, ANYONE.

One of the hardest parts with writing poetry is finding inspiration.

How does someone narrow down all the things that inspire them? Then pick out the words to explain it? It’s actually a pretty daunting task if you really think about it.

Yet, there’s something most everyone can connect with… music!

No matter what type of music a person listens to, there are usually lyrics and meaning behind them. I think everyone connects to songs differently, even the same ones. Song lyrics are just long poems, so one way to create your own poetry easy it to pull from what you’re familiar with.

How to create your own poem with song lyrics.

This is simple. All you have to do is look at lyrics from your favorite songs and pull different lines form it. You could do one or two songs and just pick the lyrics that speak to you.

I’ll show you an example.

One song that I love is “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. It’s catchy and reminds me of song you can drive around with your windows down in the summer. When I looked into the lyrics, I found different lines to construe the song to make it have more of a connection to me.

Here’s the pretty version of the poem I came up with. If you pull up lyrics from “More Than a Feeling,” you can instantly tell where I pulled from.

Now my poem might not give off the vibe of driving around with the windows down like the song did. But, it’s not supposed to do that.

When I wrote this poem, I thought about my motherhood. Losing Jensen and how it felt like he slipped away from me. Then having Mila and wanting to hold on to her. It sort of reminds me of how grief creeps up on a person and takes them away for a little bit.

Okay, let’s do another one.

The second song I chose is “Thnks fr th Mmrs” by Fall Out Boy.

All I did was pull different lines from the song to make it into my own poem. It’s really as simple as that.

No matter what feeling you get from a song, you can put your own spin on it through a poem. It’s also a nice way to start writing poetry. There are people that don’t think they’re good at writing, but with this activity, you already have the words provided for you. All you have to do is put them in the order you want.

There’s not right or wrong ways to write poetry, but writing it can be a great way to express yourself.

I have a few more poems that I’m going to share in the next few days about motherhood, of course with Mother’s Day coming up. They’re vulnerable to share, but I love creating and getting feedback on them too. It’s such a great self care activity too!

If you happen to try this poetry writing activity, I’d love for you to share your poems in the comments or just thoughts on it in general.

Remember, YOU CAN DO IT!

The Night the World Changed

The rhythmic beeping of the hospital machines kept the rush of the room grounded in one place. There are people surrounding me. All the faces I love keep looking at me, but none of their comforting smiles are here. The nurses and doctors have solemn looks on their faces. Their mouths are moving, but I can’t hear what they are saying.

I can’t move and the light above me is blinding. All my body feels numb except the pressure in my belly. It is time and I am terrified.

There is only one option that I have and it’s the not one I ever wanted to choose. Reality is coming back to me. Everyone’s voices are becoming clearer and the beeping isn’t the only thing I can hear. My doctor, the one I’ve been seeing for over six months now, is telling me to breathe and to push. I remember the classes, but they never told me this would be an option. How can I keep going when I don’t know what’s going to happen next?

My body is more in control now than my mind. I’m holding my breath and everyone is counting. I feel him, but it’s not really him anymore.

Somehow, I’m still taking deep breaths and pushing on to the next moment. I know this will all be over soon, but I’m stuck in a place where I wish this was just it. There was no way I could turn back time, but navigating the future will be too hard. I get lost in my head during the moments of breathing. The beeping brings me back to the present.

“I can see his head. Only one more push and you’re here.”

My partner is staring at me. I can tell he’s scared too. The light is just so bright and I have to close my eyes to gain the strength to do this last act of love.

I push and I feel him enter the world. The room is silent and I feel empty. Isn’t there anyone that can say anything? I need someone to talk, to break the silence besides that dreaded beeping. As I look, I see them holding him. The one person I had been dreaming about for months, but I’ll never have him again.

“Does he have all his fingers and toes?”

It’s the only thing I can think to ask. I need some normalcy in this moment that’s anything, but normal. I hear a tiny yes. Still, no one knows what to say. They take him away from me, to the room next door. I want to get up, but I can’t.

Everything is getting cold. My eyes feel tired and I am weak. The room around me goes dark and I do too.

The beeping rings in my ear. I wake up. There’s just one nurse in my room. She sees that I’m awake and asks me if I need anything. The sun is starting to peak through the blinds. Somehow the world has continued on. I look at her and tears begin to fall from my eyes.

I feel her arms wrap around me and her calming shushing fills the room. She tells me he is beautiful as my hand covers my flattened belly. I wanted it all to be a horrible nightmare.

Time is passing quickly and slowly at the same time. I’m still crying into my nurse’s chest as she describes every detail of him to me. He has blond hair and the shape of my face. His hands are big and toes are long. There were pictures taken of him, but she is telling me about his pouty lips.

The door opens and I feel her retreat. Somehow, it’s time for me to already go home. My family packs up my belongs and the grief bag that someone slipped in my room. There’s an elephant that’s poking out and I hold on to it as I get seated into the wheelchair.

I see the room that he’s still in. He’s alone and I’m leaving him. Maybe he’s with me, but in a different way. All I know is I’m leaving and the world is swirling around me.

There isn’t the steady beeping on the car ride home. I walk in my room and see baby stuff with no baby to bring home. Life has ended for him and me too. All I can do is lay in bed and try to sleep.

Maybe when I wake up, this will all go away and maybe when I sleep, I’ll see him.

The Moon and the Sun.

I wonder if the Moon ever aches for the Sun.
For the Sun gives the Moon its light from afar,
Letting it shine brighter than all the stars.
The Moon and Sun will never be one,
But they are always connected together.
Just as you and I, forever.

I watch as the Sun gives life to all.
Each night she lets the world go dark,
But her nurturing light leaves a mark.
She has to go to make a special call.
On the side of the world she’s searching,
Yet, her beloved moon is just now perching.

I see the Moon wandering every night.
His movements make the waves crash,
And the world feels their splashes.
The Moon doesn’t know how this is right.
All the wandering, but always too late.
Why does this have to be their fate?

I feel the Moon aching for the Sun.
The wandering and waves aren’t bizarre,
It’s just the way the Moon and Sun are.
Their distance isn’t fair to none.
But they are always connected together.
Just as you and I, forever.

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.

Intention.

Each day, I wake up with the hope to make each day the best it can be.

Four days into the new year, I’ve really thought of resolutions and goals for myself to achieve. The problem is since I’ve had Jensen huge chunks of time feel completely overwhelming. For me to set a resolution for the whole year is not possible. It causes me more anxiety than motivation and quite honestly, I don’t need anymore of that in my life.

When I was pregnant with Jensen as 2015 turned to 2016, I only made one resolution: to be the best mom I could be to him. I never imagined leaving the year without him physically with me. My goal for the year seemed impossible since I couldn’t mother my child the way I wanted. As everything with loss, this changed my outlook on how I would ‘celebrate’ all the following new years. Last year, I didn’t even make any. I stayed at home by myself and cried the entire night. Nothing could bring me the happiness I once had and it felt silly to even try to plan for a year knowing how differently they can end up.

This year, I wanted it to be different. I wanted to feel different to how I approached the upcoming year and take control. It’s the one thing I haven’t had throughout this journey, and a huge part of me wanted to take it back. So, since Christmas I’ve taken the time to really think about what I needed out of the year or even just through the day. The word that kept popping up in my head was intention.

Now this may seem like a broad word when it comes to a resolution or word for the year, but it’s what I need to live this life after loss. Each day I want to set my intentions and commit to them. No matter how small or big they seem.

Intention. 

I intend to be the best mom to Jensen I can be.

I intend to be the best person I can be.

I intend to find moments full of him.

I intend to do great things.

I intend to try to find something to smile about every day.

I intend to say his name and share his story whenever I can.

I intend to be.

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Photo by Roxana Soriano Rebolledo

Christmas Traditions.

Throughout the year, I love being able to go to different events that support parents who are journeying through pregnancy and infant loss. The holidays can prove to be very difficult and isolating; especially since Christmas is mainly focused on children and New Years marks a different time (or more time away from your child). I am so thankful there is a rich support community near me to offer Christmas and holiday programs.

Last year, I found two that really called to me. One through a children’s hospital that has an amazing support group and the other through the Angel of Hope Christmas Box organization. Both are very different, but still so meaningful. I know it can feel very nerve wrecking to attend an event like this, so I want to share my experiences to give an insight of what happens.

Akron Children’s Remembrance Service

The first service I went to of the holiday season is a more formal one. It was in a theatre with quite a bit of seating. Before the actual day, parents are encouraged to preregister their child’s name and send in a picture so they can be presented in the program and on screen.

There is a huge range of ages in children, which I think is really special. For me, it brings confirmation of other for my motherhood. My son is grouped with children who are young adults. In the service they’re not valued any less or looked on differently just because of their time on Earth. They also have one set of parents each year share their story of loss and love. The past two years, I’ve uncontrollably cried throughout this time. It’s something about being able to connect with another person and know how they’re feeling throughout it.

This year’s was about an hour to an hour and a half long. Every baby’s name was read out loud with a bell that chimed after. It’s grounding to see the big list of name and to see their faces on the screen. So many stories and so much love that remains.

During the service, I sat with my mom. We got there a little late and by that time they had already ran out of candles that were to be lit during one of the songs. Well, my mother decided Jensen couldn’t be the only one there without a light, so she pulled out her lighter and had it shining instead. Little moments like these really let me see how much my family cares. Of course I know deep down they do, just making sure she felt like he wasn’t left out made my heart smile.

Overall, I really enjoyed this service and to see the fact that I’m not alone throughout this.

Angel of Hope

This is my favorite event of the year. Every second Sunday of December this group gets together to honor our children gone too soon. This is where Jensen’s brick is too. The idea is the angel protects those around her while providing hope to those that need it most. I absolutely love reading all the names on the bricks and the little sayings. It’s heartbreaking to see them, but somehow it makes me feel like they’re all connected and together. Since Jensen is cremated and I always have his urn, it’s actually nice to have a place to go too.

The event is outside, so yes it was very cold and windy. My mom and dad went with me, which is always awesome to have both of their support. They need these days as much as I do. Everyday they grieve Jensen’s loss too.

We all meet right in front of the angel and are giving candles to light. This is actually a task in its own to keep them lit with the wind. They go through their program of their background, poems, and stories. I can’t even remember what was said because I was so in the moment. All their words just settled inside. There were tears shred, lots of hugs, and of course flowers given to the angel.

I know I always say this, but seeing the amount of people there and feeling what I am in that moment makes me feel less isolated. It was beautiful seeing everyone’s light too. Lets me know that when they looked down over us, they could see the light just for them.

On Jensen’s brick, I left him flowers. Which I leave because I know he would have always picked them from me. My dad leaves pennies every time he visits too. These are the traditions we have started because of him and I know he will forever be remembered.

Reflect. 

I have a son that I carry in my heart. I am never without him. Anywhere I go, he goes with me. 

This October didn’t go as I originally planned. I wanted to write each day according to the Capture Your Grief prompts. Life had a way of cutting in. Through pregnancy and infant loss awareness events, my mom being hospitalized, and a lot of work, I wasn’t able to complete them all; and that’s perfectly okay. I did what my grief and I was able to do. For that, I am so proud of myself and the little boy who has motivated me to keep pushing through the days. 

Reflection is important when journeying through grief. Even if it’s just reflecting on the previous day. Since I’m halfway through my second year (which seems absurd), I find myself reflection from last year. I’ve found I’ve grown tremendously. This year, I wasn’t hard on myself if I wasn’t able to post a prompt or a picture. I know others see the love I have for my son and my motherhood is completely valid. Although, I would never say I’m comfortable in my grief or even with what has happened in my life, I’m thankful to see how far I’ve come. I wish with all my might Jensen was here to physically be apart of this journey. 

This month has been a beautiful healing one. It always amazes me how complete strangers can come together and be so supportive, even after all the loss. Before I began writing this post, I went through all my pictures from this month and the ones that moved me the most were the balloon releases and ones with my family. Every release is painfully healing. Each of those balloons mark a child gone too soon and those who grieve their loss. In all the photos I have from them, there’s way too many in the sky. What you don’t see in the picture is the tears and comfort by family and friends. 

I’ve also noticed a difference in myself accepting the change of the month. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know the change of the month has been very hard for me throughout my journey. This month, I’m ready for it to end. Which sounds weird since I was looking forward to advocating each day. The thing is I raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss everyday as I know all parents do. It’s a nice month to come together, but when it ends it doesn’t mean we have to stop talking. With that being said, I’m not ready for the second set of holidays without Jensen. I don’t think that will ever get easier. 

Tomorrow is the first of the holiday season. I’m going to touch on some things then, but with reflecting comes looking towards the future. It’s going to be rough. I’m going into the day with high hopes and have plans to incorporate Jensen that I’ll be sharing. It’s going to be hard seeing kids his age, it always is. I’ve come to a point where I know when to step back and know it’s okay to succumb to that grief feeling. 

No matter what, I’ll make it to the next day. 

I’ll be thinking of those balloons in the sky and what they represent tomorrow. Instead of just seeing the kids trick-or-treating, I’ll also see the ones who aren’t physically there. 

I wish this awareness month didn’t exist and babies didn’t die, but I’m so glad I have you all to walk this journey with. Thank you for letting me share Jensen and I’s story this October and every other time. I’ll always remember the community who lifted me up when I didn’t feel like I’d ever stand again. 

Capture This Moment. 

Life is full of important moments. Ones you never forget because they’re so happy and others that are so terrible that they replay in your mind over and over. There are ones where you don’t think you’ll make it to the next and feel so overwhelmed. Grief has put a spot light in them all. 

I’ve learned that you have to take each head on. Once you get past the ones that bring pain, you will make it to the next. I promise. 

The moment they told me Jensen was gone the world melted. I never thought I would catch my breath again and yet somehow my body forced air in my lungs. To be honest, I wish the moment before that one, where I was excited to see him, was my last one. I can’t describe the pain in the following hours, days, and weeks that followed. Each day they replay in my head. I wouldn’t wish loss on anyone. 

For Capture Your Grief, I wanted to capture the moment I came back home. It’s right before I see Jensen’s pictures and his urn; both are things that bring me so much comfort. 

My face isn’t important this month. I’ve wore Pregnancy and Infant Loss ribbons everyday in October to advocate and give babies our babies a voice. It’s before I take off my pin and feel as if I don’t have to wear it here to visibly represent the lives that touch me in every moment I have lived after he was born. I place it with my other ones, waiting to be worn tomorrow. 

Collectively, our moments make up our lives. In them all, I am Jensen’s mom. I am an advocate for pregnancy and infant loss awareness. My voice will not be silenced in any moment that comes after this. For the rest of my life, Jensen will never be forgotten. As he is remembered and talked about, he will live and dance freely in those moments.