Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Trip to Dallas

This year for Christmas it was our "on" year with Andrew's family. The biyearly Christmas event has always been in Houston, but this year we were able to all meet at a half way point in Dallas. I posted the old picture of "the cousins" at the top because to be in or a part of Andrew's family you have to know about "the cousins." I remember when Andrew and I were still dating and heading to his sister Becca's wedding. He had me look at a picture and learn all the cousin's names. Plus now several of them are married, so there were spouses too. I remember walking into the rehearsal dinner for Becca and Ozzie and being greeted by all the cousins and officially meeting his extended family for the first time. I hate walking into a crowded room, wearing heels, and meeting everyone at once. But as soon as I sat down at the "cousin table" I quickly learned that each member of Andrew's family had a distinct personality, and that over time I'd come to love these people.

The cousins consist of Andrew's mothers children, her sister Joan's children, and their sister-in-law Carol's children. Which for Andrew growing up it was the seven of them, but now five of them are married, three have a child under 2, and two of those three are weeks away from having another child. So all of the sudden there is a ton of people. Two Christmas ago was my first time being at the Christmas get together. It was fun, but I'd say having three adorable almost toddlers this year stole the competition.

Before we left Andrew made a couple of delicious breads. The one he was working on in the picture up above was a Poppyseed Stollen, which turned out amazing. While Andrew baked the night before we left, Blanche and I wrapped Christmas presents (which was mostly tons of coffee Andrew had roasted) and finger painted (blog about my budding artist to come). We left Thursday the 20th after Andrew got off work and stayed through Christmas Eve. Our time there was mostly spent in Andrew's cousin Erin's house with her husband Matt. Some of the family was already there once we arrived and the family kept piling in through the weekend. Andrew's 9 month pregnant sister Becca even surprised everyone when her, Ozzie, and their son Jonathan came Saturday morning. I'd say for the most part we ate, drank, and were merry. That just seems to describe this trip the best to me. With so many people in the house there only seemed to be a few hours of quiet every 24 hours. Between the guys drinking and talking sports until 2am, and Asher up at 6:30…. there were a few moments I wondered if my merry would make it. But it did. Erin, Uncle Reg, Andrew, and almost everyone else as well seemed to be constantly making delicious food. Matt and Erin were wonderful opening their beautiful home, which Blanche loved walking around in. There were even a few moments where I was able to relax and have adult conversation without having to watch Blanche. The more I talk with Andrew's family and get to hear their own stories, the more I love them. I can honestly say I'm looking forward to the next Christmas get together, and wishing that the family could get together more than once every other year.

p.s. on the family picture… I'm holding Blanche's baby doll in her place as she was napping… and cousin Jess is going to photoshop Uncle Reg into it from the second one I took…. Haha.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The second pregnancy

I don't know how soon is too soon to write about something. I told myself I would process things more before writing anything. Especially since my blog is public and all. But I have found that there is something freeing about writing things and letting people read them. I guess thats why I blog. I mean, I can browse the internet and find so many more blogs that are "better" than mine. Moms that are probably more trendy and have someone personally design their adorable blog. But I guess I'm realizing that what is important to me is the photos I take and the words that I write. I guess I'm just practicing. I don't really know for what, but I am. I have had the goal/dream of writing my own story or memoir since I was in high school. So I guess this blog has been a step to improving my writing and learning what it means to write and have people read it.

There's no easy or smooth transition to tell anyone that you miscarried. But that's what happened. I feel a lot of different things. First, I feel so weird that it happened to me. That the word is now in my medical history. I also feel lucky, I know that my experience was so much easier than many women. I also feel sad. There was life inside of me that didn't make it. Blanche had a brother or sister on the way. And now, she doesn't.

I found out that I was pregnant three weeks ago tomorrow. I miscarried all last week after having a horrible stomach bug. I don't know if the two were related or not. I started bleeding last Sunday morning. My hips and back really hurt, and something didn't seem right. I was suppose to have my eight week appointment that next day, but after being so sick and clearly dehydrated, Andrew and I went to the ER. They did blood work and a vaginal sonogram. We had to wait almost an hour for the results. I hated waiting. We kept trying to watch the Cosby show on the hospital tv but every time it was about to get funny or our favorite part was on (we use to watch a lot of the Cosby show) someone would come in and we would have to turn it off.

After we had been there for about three hours, they had the results. They told us we were only 5 weeks, and they saw a gestational sack. None of dates matched up because I was suppose to have been almost nine weeks. And from the point of when I had taken the test, it would have meant that I found out I was  pregnant only a few days after conception. But we didn't know what was happening. They said it was too early for a heartbeat, but to go home and rest, and follow up at my dr. appointment.

That night I was cramping a lot and I felt like my body was telling me that the baby was not going to make it. Its weird how sometimes you can be so in tune with your body. When I had the stomach bug there were a couple of points when I wondered if everything was okay with the baby. There were a couple of moments that I thought maybe this baby wouldn't make it.

My appointment was beyond frustrating. From my point of few, I was going to see the doctor and my records from the ER were suppose to be faxed over. But when I got there no one knew anything, and they started it just like the regular 8 week appointment. It sucked. They talked about a sibling for Blanche. I just wanted it to all be over. I guess I felt like the whole appointment went from "You're having a baby!" to "oh? your not? lets take your blood and we will call you tomorrow." Literally. To make a really long story short they lost my blood somehow or something, and I didn't know anything until Thursday. I miscarried for almost a week before they could "confirm it."

I'm so glad that my body took care of everything on its own. The blood tests showed my hormone numbers were dropping rapidly and had already went from 350 in the ER to 50 on Thursday. The baby was still very small, and I think that made it easier as well. Its a weird feeling though. I think most women start planning as soon as they see the positive test. And even though I only knew for two weeks, I had already trained my mind for a baby coming in July. And then this huge thing happens and then suddenly nothing is happening. And its sad. There is something inside of you that can feel the loss of life and it's very emptying. Blanche has been the greatest joy there can be this week. She has helped me so much. There was one morning this week where she literally woke me up giving me kisses and say "hi, hi, hi" over and over again.

Its sad to see Andrew sad. I can see the loss in his face when he talks about it. But the thing that has given me hope is that I already feel this has made our family stronger and closer. And I hope that I'll get to meet that baby one day. Even if he or she was only the size of a little blueberry. I feel so much more compassion for the many women who have lost a baby during pregnancy, and I cannot begin to fathom someone who has lost a child. This world is so broken and at times its hard to understand even the small things like,"Why did I even have to find out I was pregnant? Only to loose the baby two weeks later?" But what I know to be true is that love is the thing that keeps me going. The love I have experienced from my family and friends is what heals and helps you keep moving forward.

I am sad for this loss, because I know that whatever baby was made, there will never be another one like it. I'll never see that baby here. But I now have come to appreciate my blessings so much more. And the fact that I've had sweet Blanche and what a joy she is to me every day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Bedroom

Our home isn't huge. The upstairs consists of Blanche's room, our one bathroom, and our bedroom. So, you've already seen half of the Love Shack tour really. It's funny because moving into this town home felt like we were moving into a huge space compared to the one bedroom, 667 square foot apartment we rented our first year of marriage. It is also funny that for us, having a child meant loosing a lot of the boundaries of who's room was who's. I know some families work way better when there are designated areas. I knew one married couple quite awhile ago that made their bedroom this sanctuary type place that only they went into. I mean, I guess our bedroom isn't the first place I invite a person, but for our family, its just another room. When I first became a mother people tried to give me their advice. One thing that someone told me was that it wasn't healthy for the baby to be in our bedroom for too long. That she really needed to have her own room. At first I really worried about this. But then, as most mothers do, you come to see what works for you. And for me, having my child lay next to me and nurse while I am completely passed out is so much better than waking up multiple times a night.

I am talking about all of this because our bedroom looked completely different before Blanche was born. We had a bed frame, two nightstands, each having our own lamp and bed side reading. We had our target bedding and matching pillows that I talked a bit about in this post. Now we have our bed on the floor so Blanche can scoot off rather than falling four feet. We have multiple colored afghans and quilts so no one "steals the covers." The reason that any of this even matters, is that Blanche has not only changed my life by being born, but she's changed everything. She's changed our bedroom. She has changed how we do things and why we do things.

Andrew said a lot of people don't put a mattress on the floor because it makes you look poor. It probably does. Yes, I would love a king size "floor bed" that is low to the ground and has fashionable storage shelves on the side. Do we have the money for that right now? Probably not. So for us, we are doing what works. And the funny thing is, I actually like it. It is so freeing to stop caring what every body else thinks. Its freeing to not have to do what every other American is doing. Or at least what you think they are doing. It is also fun to tackle problems that arise. Like, where do we store everything that was under the bed? Oh, lets use our vintage card table, and I'll go thrifting and find a beautiful table cloth to cover the containers of clothes we keep under it. And why we are at it, lets get rid of our nightstands that are just taking up room. Lets just put a lamp on that table. Its like I finally felt free to do whatever I wanted with the space we rent each month. I was worried about hanging heavy things over the bed since Blanche was always in it, so I just started putting up things I liked to look at. I just taped them on the wall. Now, for my artist friends, I know I'm not doing anything that cool or revolutionary, but for your average housewife, I'm sure I'm breaking some sort of rule just using tape and no frames. Basically, I'm the rule breaking interior designer. I challenge anyone to do this. Its totally what you make of it. I could look like some crazy college student decorating my dorm room, or I could be just like these hip instagraming designer moms that I've started to see simply "taping" things onto their walls. See, there is nothing new under the sun.

So, I guess my Love Shack tour is a lot about who I am as a person. Coming into my house is seeing who we are and what we do. We don't have a lot of space so I try and make every corner count. I have my sewing machine and all my crafts in the corner of the bedroom. Its not always ideal since Blanche is asleep in that bedroom a lot of the time, but it works. We also have a bookshelf that holds all the journals I've ever written in. Yes, all those journals are full of my words... I am going to write a memoir one day, really. You will also find things like a small rock and mineral collection (after discovering how cool they were when I went to a local show last year) and my essential oils and carrier oils that I use in all my homemade products. There is also years of family history taped on the wall. Pictures of my parents at their wedding, my father holding me moments after I was born, Blanche nursing as a newborn, my great grandmother Blanche, and my meme as a teenager. All in my room. In our room.

I've had an awful week. Maybe I'll write about it one day. But I have done a lot of resting in that room this week. I've nursed Blanche. I've taken a five hour nap. I've cried to Andrew while laying between him and our little sleeping daughter. That room is still a sanctuary of rest to me. I will always have memories of our family cuddling in that bed. Of Andrew and Blanche wrestling or reading a story in the big open space before bedtime. And to anyone who is worried that a marriage can't flourish with a baby who sleeps in your bed, maybe you just need to be more creative. I think that keeping any marriage alive and thriving with a small child calls for creativity. Andrew and I don't go on near as many dates as we may like, but that doesn't mean we can't be creative in how and when we spend our time together. The same goes for the bedroom, which really isn't anyone's business anyways, huh? Its funny how and where people think they should share their opinion. But thanks to this Love Shack tour, I'm not giving you the chance to share your opinion. I'm telling you like it is. This is the Nycum house. And this is how we do things.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Second Thanksgiving

I was hoping to have posted this last week, but life keeps moving at a quick pace. After our first Thanksgiving day celebration in this post, we had another fun day ahead of us on that Friday. Looking back, that morning was fun and quirky as I told Andrew I really wanted Dunkin Donuts for breakfast while we were "up north". So he fought his way through the black Friday crowd to get us coffee and donuts while Blanche and I stayed in the car and watched Elmo in Grouchland. We then went and picked up my nephew Kyetin. So both kids were in the backseat eating their munchkins while we drove down to Gower. My good old hometown of less than 2,000 people with not one stoplight. But they did just get a dollar general. Bam.

Since we arrived that morning Andrew helped my stepmom Sue with all the preparation. It was cute to hear them bounce back and forth while I entertained Blanche and Kye. When I was digging through the fridge waiting for our meal, I found that my dad still had some apples from his tree out back. Of course Blanche wanted it and sat contently on his lap eating it. I love those moments.

Eventually both of my siblings and my stepsisters and their husbands and kids came as well. It was also great to meet baby Charlie and fun to see Blanche as an "older cousin" haha. I did enjoy the fact that if I was quiet enough and sat at a distance, Blanche would interact with others and not need to be held by me. As she gets older I can tell she is becoming more comfortable with new places and people. I think she knows when its family too somehow.

Sue got a good group shot of everyone, and Meme kept saying,"I don't normally look like this" because she had fallen early that month. My cousin Rebekah and Aunt Susan came by as well. Blanche and her are becoming good friends. Rebekah lives down in Siloam now, so we get to see her more often, but I still love when we are together for the holidays. It feels like old times. Bek and I had agreed and planned on telling Meme we wanted popcorn cake. Meme said she would teach me how to make it. It really is pretty simple, and honestly its nothing extravagant, but the memories of eating this cake in the middle of August at our family reunions is what makes it special. We use to meet out at some Lion's Club in the middle of no where. It was always hot and there was hardly anything in the small town. You could walk ten minutes to some swings and a slide, and my dad would walk us down to play catch. I guess the M&M cake takes me back to that simple time. I know I sound like an old person, but it was before any of the cousins would have cellphones. No one had wifi or an ipad. We literally listened to our blind  cousin sing country, and one year our parents' cousins clogged? Anyways, making this cake with my Meme was very special to me. And I am so lucky to have a husband that will beautifully document occasions like that for me.

Overall our Thanksgiving trip was a good trip full of seeing family and being together. Sometimes being with your family can be one of the hardest things in the world, but there are also other times after the hard moments (or maybe you just try and forget about them for a day or two) where being together makes sense. Like I wrote in my last post, there is something amazing about family because they know all your bad parts and still love you. I wouldn't say that my dad is the most sentimental guy, or at least he doesn't communicate it like I do. When I was living abroad for a semester one of the first things he asked was if my bed was comfortable. I remember a classmate of mine on the phone with her father and she was going on and on about the literature we were studying. I remember at that moment loving my dad for exactly who he was. A simple and hard working man. When we were there that day after Thanksgiving, he told me to bring me his Bible. He took out a picture of the three of us kids sitting at a table at a wedding or something. We all looked a little sleepy and smiled sweetly at the camera. I was probably ten, my brother eight, my sister six. My parents weren't in the picture, but somehow looking at it I knew they were still married. Then my dad took out a note I had written him when I was in middle school. It was such a funny note. I had written it to my dad like he was another friend, on some stationary. I told him I was excited to go stay with him in his new house. And that it seemed so cool! Haha. I told him I loved him. And he still had that note probably ten or fifteen years later. The picture and the note sort of made me want to cry. In a happy, mushy, reminiscent sort of way. I guess all I'm trying to say is that now that I have a child of my own, and I see how flawed I am but that I love her so much my heart could burst sometimes... there are these moments when I realize my parents must feel the same way about me. And that feeling is worth driving home for.