Tuesday, July 22, 2014

beach trip ‘14

Allow me to introduce you to our humble beachfront abode, where we played corn hole in the evenings...

walked to the beach whenever we so pleased… 

saw a doe and her tiny fawn IN OUR BACKYARD!!!

and a fox, since seeing deer wasn’t enough...

took pics of each other... 

drank beers and discussed golf scores in the pool...

and warmed up in the hot tub.

It was a great week. The best part was having my brother and sis-in-law with us, since it had been over a year since their last visit to America. (They live in Seoul.)

I can’t be steps from the ocean and NOT spend all day running between the sand and the water, so I camped under an umbrella every day and read and swam my little heart out.

At the house, we played corn hole (Andy and I won our family tournament), huddled around jigsaw puzzles, talked trash to each other while playing Pinochle, Settlers and Ticket to Ride, watched the World Cup and NBA finals and, most importantly, we ate. We all gained several pounds from the waffles, french toast bagels, donuts, crab cakes, bulgogi, sausage and cheese biscuits, strawberry shortcakes...and that’s only half of it!

Last year Andy and I tried to play mini golf, but a crazy storm hit while we were on the road. We made it happen this trip though, and John-Michael and Sky joined us. I hit a hole in one!

I asked Sky if she would snap some pics of me showing off my bump. (She took all of these beach pictures that I’m sharing.) I’m so glad that I have these pictures of me with my baby girl. I know, I know, my belly looks huge here. I had probably just eaten a bagel, okay?!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

one year

John Andrew

Oh, I wonder
When did it all stop making sense?
I don't understand
I remember we were so sure, so innocent
Oh, but that was then
Can we ever go back?

I never thought this would happen to me. I never thought I’d be where I am today, or that my life would look like this. I never imagined that I would hold two dead babies, and that they would both be mine.

A month ago I would have told you that I was approaching the anniversary of John's death with a healthy amount of sadness and anger and an unexpected amount of hope. I would have told you that I was in a good place emotionally, all things considered.

And then Jane died. So much for being in a good place.

We didn’t release a balloon or plant a flower or read a poem today. (All of which are lovely things to do.) Instead, we spent last night talking/crying about how much it sucks that we even have to think about these kind of things. We don’t feel like “celebrating.” I don’t even feel the need to honor. I honor my babies by continuing to live, even though I’d much rather be where they are.

Maybe our tradition will be to drink coffee and eat warm almond croissants while playing cards in our pajamas, like we did this morning.

We miss you, John.
Life isn’t the same without you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


We are supposed to go on our babymoon in a few weeks. We are supposed to be just as thrilled about it as we were when we booked our flight and hotel weeks ago. I’m supposed to have a baby inside me, but instead of a baby I have a seemingly bottomless amount of feelings…misery, rage, disgust, hurt, longing, frustration…among others. Feelings that are always riiiight on the brink of spilling over and out of my mouth and my eyes. Even my limbs feel restless…they want to punch or slap or kick or throw something. I can watch an episode of “Fargo” or read a book on the deck for hours or even spend some time in public, and those feelings and urges will be kept at bay for a while. But as I know all too well from this past year of grieving John, those feelings don’t always stay neatly tucked behind my trying-to-get-through-this-day face.

In a book I’m reading one of the characters discovers her daughter has committed suicide. She spends the following weeks holed up in her bedroom, sitting in an armchair and staring out the window. All day she sits. Her elderly friends take care of the cooking and cleaning and supervising the woman’s now mother-less grandchildren. I found myself envying the woman as I read. Sometimes I wish I could hole myself up in my room and not think about how the dog needs walking, or the clothes need laundering, or how it’s 2 p.m. and I should probably get some food into my stomach. Sometimes I don’t know how I can think of those things. Most of the time I resent responsibility—can’t I just get a break?—but now and then I’m grateful for it. It forces me to put one foot in front of the other.

(And the truth is I do spend an awful lot of time simply sitting and staring.)

Last year we canceled our babymoon/5th anniversary trip to Pittsburgh, and that alone was depressing. The thought of canceling two trips because of two dead babies is enough to make me want to tear my hair out. So we’re not going to cancel.

Now I look forward to the trip because I just.want.to.get.away.from.everything. It makes me sad that instead of being celebratory, this trip is now a brief escape for two people who have no desire to be involved with reality. I’m sad I won’t get to someday show my baby pictures of the trip we took when she was in my belly. I’m sad that the clothes I had bought to wear on the trip are now either returned or in a pile waiting to be worn by friends. I could go on and on…I’m sad, I’m sad, I’m so utterly sad.

We’ll be spending three full days and two nights in San Francisco. I have yet to finish figuring out our itinerary (my brain is too fuzzy for planning), but the “TO EAT” list is already twice as long as the “TO DO” list. That’s okay. Eating is doing.

Got any suggestions for the doing (other than eating) part? Any shops you know I’d adore? I know there is a lot to do. (Alcatraz is booked full…I’m reeeally upset about that.) I have to keep in mind that I’m still healing and we’ll be using a lot of public transportation as opposed to walking everywhere.


Thank you for grieving with us and caring for us. Right now it’s hard to receive encouragement about our future, even though we know everyone means well. We know God’s Word and what He promises. Keep that in mind as you read my depressing blog posts. I’m not writing as a cry for help—I’m writing to put words to my pain, which is very real.

[We’ve] had [our] fill of old cliches, like 'life is hard, but God is good’. But even though it's true, it won't stop what [we’re] goin’ through. I wish that I could say it would.

(I truly do want to know your San Francisco recommendations, so any comments regarding our trip would be welcomed!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


It feels like something is pushing hard against my chest—like I can’t breathe. I have to remind myself that I can (and that I need to).

I recognize this feeling. I’ve had it before.

How did I get here… again?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

tzatziki chicken salad and chipotle lime shrimp tacos

On the way home from the beach yesterday I consumed a quarter of a sriracha bagel (my new favorite), one Boston cream donut, a meal from Chick-Fil-A and four peanut butter crackers. I told myself I would make dinner when we got home. Except…we had no food. And after spending wayyyy longer in the car than we should have, I was not about to head to the store. So, we got Subway. And then we each had an apple fritter for dessert. And I finished another quarter of sriracha bagel.


I woke up this morning determined to get back on track with my eating. I scarfed down two scrambled eggs and spent the morning recipe-searching and grocery shopping. We loved both of the recipes I tried today—chicken salad for lunch and shrimp tacos for dinner. (I didn’t make side dishes for either.) I have a feeling I’ll be making both of them a lot this summer! Click on the recipe title to view the original recipe.

pic by José Picayo
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 3 generous servings, but you could stretch for 4 if using pita chips or pita bread

2/3 cup plain reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill (I used double because I love dill!)
a tiny pinch of salt (add more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and diced (I peeled mine)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (I grilled up one and a half insanely large chicken breasts, but you could use a rotisserie chicken)

Combine first 8 ingredients, then toss with chicken to coat. We at it plain, but the recipe suggests serving it with pita chips. We loved it just how I made it, but I bet feta would be yummy in there (and maybe black olives, too). I’m also tempted to serve it in lettuce cups next time!

from My Baking Addiction
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa
adapted from My Baking Addiction
serves 8-10

small flour tortillas
1 pound shrimp; peeled and deveined
sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
sriracha or hot sauce (optional)

for the marinade
1 chipotle pepper in adobo; chopped (find in the International aisle alongside jalapeños and green chilies)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime (juice and zest)
2 tablespoons cilantro; chopped

for the salsa
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can sweet corn, drained
1/2 orange or red pepper; diced
1 jalapeno; seeded and diced
2 green onions, sliced

Combine marinade ingredients and add shrimp. (Or be a spaz like me and forget to add the marinade until after the shrimp are cooked.) Let sit for 15-20 minutes. While the shrimp are marinating, combine the salsa ingredients in a separate bowl. I cooked my shrimp in a lightly oiled (with veg oil) cast iron skillet over medium heat, about two and a half minutes per side. Once cooked, chop the larger shrimp into smaller pieces. Combine hot sauce and sour cream/yogurt to make a spicy creamy sauce and spread some on each tortilla. Using a slotted spoon, top tortillas with corn and black bean salsa and shrimp.