My Family!!

My Family!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Beautiful Family Shoot

I had so much fun yesterday! Instead of braving the crowds and shopping on Black Friday, I spent some time with one of my favorite families. Foster has a term paper to work on, so I was missing my partner in crime, but it was still a fun visit. The Hass', whom I have mentioned here and here, were ready for their close up. Well, at least three of the four of them were! Lainey, the 2 month old, was soooooo cooperative. She only cried a little, and we got some great shots of her because she was so patient. I was thrilled that I was able to do the mirror pictures without her crying. In fact, she found herself IN the mirror, and was fascinated by her self. HEre are a few of my favorites:

The member of the family who did NOT want their picture taken, was Kyndra their 2 year old. She is sweet as sugar, is the prettiest little girl with her long blond hair, and big blue eyes, but did NOT want to have her picture taken with her family. I got a few good shots of her by herself and with her sister though:

 Kyndra with her little sister Carleigh.

Kyndra with her new little sister Lainey.
While Kyndra was hiding, I was able to get a few beautiful pictures, incorporating her shyness into the shot:

There is something about this one I just love.

Then the mom/baby dad/baby pictures:

And FINALLY, after a little bribing with the swing and slide, and a movie, we were able to get Kyndra to smile a few times for us!

These pics are just a few of the amazing shots. Their family is so beautiful, and it was a pleasure to spend more time with them. I can't wait to finish editing, and send them on their way!

So, who's family is next?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thanksgiving Fiascoes....

This weekend was full of challenges and surprises.. Foster and I were bound and determined to shake things up this year. we were terrified of the holidays this year, because they had a different feeling last year. There was hope for an addition to dinner this year, and excitement for two families being joined all in one little person. Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way, so Foster and I wanted a distraction, a way to make the holiday not seem so lonely. We decided to take on Thanksgiving dinner at our place this year!!

I was a little nervous. Neither Foster nor myself have ever cooked a turkey before. This Thanksgiving we were going to cook two! I was baking the traditional turkey in the oven, and he was grilling one on the charcoal grill. The way I figured, if one didn't turn out, there was always a back-up.

The challenges started the night before. I was peeling sweet potatoes while talking on the phone. I knew it was a bad idea, but I figured I could try to multitask. I was wrong! With one slip, I sliced a chunk of skin off the top of my finger. I never felt it, because the peeler was brand new, and sharp, but I noticed blood. A half a roll of paper towels and a roll of electrical tape later, I was back in business, minus the use of my left index finger.

Thanksgiving morning my mom and dad came over early to assist Foster and I in our Thanksgiving feast. We prepped and put the baked turkey in the oven, and then we were off to visit some very important people:

The four of us went to visit Rosie, grandma and Grandpa. It was really nice, despite the rain to be able to celebrate the holiday with Rosalynn. If you cannot see the stone, because of the rain, here are pictures from when Foster and I visited last Monday:

Interesting story from Monday:

When Foster and I arrived at the cemetery, we noticed the plywood was still covering the opening where the headstone was supposed to be. I started to get really sad, and almost angry, because it had been four months since we ordered it. We marched our little butts down to the office. When we asked them why the stone was not placed, they couldn't figure out what we were talking about. They explained that the funeral home had dropped the stone off a few days prior, and it should have been in place. They started to worry that it had been paced at the wrong grave. Foster and I left our number with instructions for them to call us as soon as they found the stone and placed it. IN the mean time, we decided to check one more time. We went back up to the hill Rosie is buried on and started to look around. Sure enough, her stone was probably 30 yards away on another person's spot, but not put in the ground yet. Performing a very fatherly act, Foster picked up the 100 lbs stone, and brought it to its rightful place, his daughter's grave.

On Thanksgiving, mom, dad, Foster and I took a bottle of Bailey's to toast Grandma with since it was her favorite drink on the holidays. As you can see in the picture, we propped a glass on her headstone for her, but as my mom turned to walk away and grab her own glass, this is what happened:

That's right, the way the glass tipped is right where Granny and Rosie lie. SO one of two things, Granny did not want to share her glass, so she "drank it herself", or Rosie was trying to have a taste of her first alcoholic beverage at WAY too young of an age!! Either way, it brought a laugh to all of us.

When we returned to the house, Foster started up the grill and started to prepare HIS turkey. We checked my turkey, and according to Foster's grandmother's stuffing recipe, I was supposed to add the stuffing to the turkey 1 hour before taking it out of the stove. I figured I had plenty of time, because the turkey was supposed to take about 4 hours.

When we thought I had about an hour to an hour and a half prior to the turkey being done, we took it out of the oven. We stuck the thermometer in, and not only was the turkey done, but the temp was reading twenty degrees too hot!! I was devastated! Now I couldn't put the famous "Foster dressing" into the bird, AND I was going to have a dry, overcooked turkey. I just started to pray that Foster's turkey came out okay, and that the dressing would cook well in a glass pan.

As people started showing up and it looked like all 17 people were present, my dad started carving into my overcooked turkey to find that it was PERFECT. It cooked 2 hours shorter than it was supposed to, with no dressing in it, and twenty degrees too hot, but was perfect! Foster's smoked turkey came out amazing too! Thank God! I was afraid I was going to have to call the Chinese place down the street. However, now we have enough left over turkey to feed a small country for a year. I guess that means a lot of turkey sandwiches are in my future.

Everyone seemed to love all of the food, and dinner seemed to be a real success. Foster and I worked really well together leading up to the day, and with the help of my mom and dad, we were able to pull off the perfect day, despite all of the fiascoes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nuts! I was nuts once......

...They put me in a home. I died there. They buried me. The worms drove me nuts. Nuts! I was nuts once. They put me in a home. I died there. They buried me. the worms drove me nuts. Nuts! I......

have been debating within myself lately. My mind is consumed with two primary thoughts consistently throughout the day. Of course you know what the first thoughts are: Memories and the lost future with Rosalynn. The second obsession has been my need and want to conceive another child. I have tried getting involved in activities to take my mind off of this, because you constantly hear "as soon as you stop thinking about it, it will happen." Telling someone who is trying to conceive a child to "stop thinking about it" is like telling a human to stop breathing. It is all consuming and impossible to achieve.

November was month number five in our journey, and alas, was an epic fail, despite our valiant efforts. Not only did the ugly visitor show 3 days early, but it also came the day Rosalynn's stone made it to her resting place (I will be posting photos in the next post). The pressure I put on myself has turned into this cyclical pattern. I will give you an example:

The first two weeks after my monthly friend, I become active, doing my little work out videos, jogging, etc. As soon as the time I think I could have conceived approaches, I stop for fear of causing stress to my body, thus causing an early miscarriage. I avoid making dentist appointments, hair coloring appointment, etc, for the same reasoning. When that ugly "Aunt" shows her face at the end of my cycle, this whole process starts over again. It is maddening, and is putting my whole life on hold.

So, the only cure I have for this repetitive cycle is to go back on birth control for a few months and focus on getting my life under MY control again, and essentially TRULY getting my mind off of this whole trying to conceive business. Now, for those of you fellow Catholics out there, this is NOT to prevent myself from getting pregnant, it is more to help myself from slowly going insane. I figure If I can just give myself 2-3 months of focusing on other things, I MAY actually find some sense of normalcy again. I can pay more attention to other things. I can invest more time thinking about more productive endeavors. I can work out ALL month without fear of hurting a non-existent baby, I can make appointments and keep them with care providers, etc.

There may be some other benefits that arise with this decision. For one, it may be just what my body needs to get my hormones regulated and back on track. Who knows, I MAY just be one of those women who then get pregnant the first month off birth control.

However, I am VERY aware of the detriments it can cause. Hope is what keeps me going now a days. Every month the HOPE is there that "this could be the month". If that hope is taken away, whether it be by my own doing or some uncontrollable source,  will this open me up to go into a deeper depressive state? If I don't get pregnant quickly after coming off of the pill, will I wonder everyday if I missed out on two or three good months of "trying" that could have worked? And my biggest question is, I am now officially coming up on an OBGYN yearly visit in January. If I am not pregnant by that point, my doctor has agreed to run blood tests to see if all of my levels are normal: thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, etc. IF I start BC by my own choice, and then I come off of it, will I have to wait a whole six months or more before they will check these levels next time? If it looks like we need a fertility specialist, will they take that as a break in the one year rule, and refuse to see us?

This is how my mind works! I am telling you, it is maddening! It is frustrating, because no matter how busy I am, how much I get involved in, how much fun I am having with friends and family, my mind is constantly reeling with worry and questions, concerns, praying, pleading, anxiety. This is the only solution I have come up with. I fully intend to call my doctor, and God willing she decides to work the day before Thanksgiving, because I want to mention my idea and see what their thoughts are on the matter. I would rather start sooner than wait until after January. I will start the first day of my next cycle if they agree, and oh yeah, if Foster is okay with the idea too. I am sure he will support me no matter what I choose to do, because his sanity is directly impacted by my sanity.

Has anyone else taken this route? If so, what has been your experience? Advice would be very much appreciated!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vote Now PLEASE!!!!

Okay, it is time! Go here to GI Joe's Wife's page and vote for my photo for the fall photo challenge!! The bridge picture at the bottom (Erin's). The voting tool is on the right hand side of her page. Thanks guys! I would greatly appreciate it, it is my first ever contest!

A Beautiful Family!!

I have some more exciting news. It seems that I will get the opportunity to take more family pictures Thanksgiving weekend. Foster has a HUGE paper due, and he has decided to use Friday after Thanksgiving to take care of the bulk of it. I was talking to my friend Holly from Hass Family Blessings, and after seeing my photos of the baby last week, she asked if I would be able to take pictures of her and her family for their Christmas cards. I was worried, because I wasn't sure if I would get the time with finals approaching, but it seems we worked out a time.

On the 8th I posted a HUGE blog post that updated you on all things military and had tons of pictures from drill that weekend, but I neglected to mention one great event that happened that Sunday evening. Foster and I were able to meet up with the Hass' for a steak dinner.

Foster was a little nervous. He was a little weirded out by all of my online friendships, but our meeting with Olivia's parents went so well, that he was game for meeting another family. If you remember from this post, I had met with Holly once before, and she is one of the sweetest, kindest people you could ever talk to. I was fresh in my grief, she came waddling in 30 weeks pregnant toting a 2 year old in a stroller. However, when the subject turned to Carleigh and Rosie, there was so much love and understanding in her eyes. She understood what I was going through, and was the first real life BLM I had gotten to meet. This time, however, the husbands would be present. We had great conversation, Holly and Foster talked about radiation exposure...don't ask....we chatted it up with Anthony and Kyndra had some very sweet moments and then of course some toddler moments. We got one the subject of funerals, and I paused for a moment, because I realized it was not the conversation that A.) couples our age should EVER have to talk about, and B) a conversation I would feel completely uncomfortable having with any of our non-BLM friends. However, it was almost natural, and no one seemed too upset by it, except maybe the surrounding tables.. We were discussing the option of buying plots near our daughter, and Holly and Anthony informed us they already had. So Foster and I are not completely crazy! Of course, only having my camera for a few short days, I HAD to drag it along with me to get pictures. Here are a couple of the members of the beautiful family I will get the honor of photographing next weekend:
 This is cutie Big Sister Kyndra
You can tell she is ornery:-)

This is Holly with her rainbow baby Lainey.
 And these pictures are why I cannot wait to give Foster our rainbow one day!
 So touching!

The lighting in the restaurant was not the best, but the pics still came out good. I don't know why I didn't get a pic of Anthony, but I will have plenty after next weekend! I look forward to seeing how the photos of her family turn out all together!!

As we were leaving dinner, Foster mentioned how he really enjoyed himself, and so did I. I am so glad she lives so close, because as nice as it is to have all of the support online, it is great to actually have friends in person that have been down the same road as us.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bomb Threats, Baby Bashing, and Birthdays!!

Yes, you heard that right, bomb threat! I walked onto an eerily empty campus. I noticed tons of police cars and a bomb squad truck parked in front of our library. As I was making my way to my first class for a midterm, I received a text from one of my classmates informing me that there was a bomb threat on campus. It turns out the FBI had received a tip that there was a bomb in three of our campus labs and our main library. I was hesitant to walk into my first class’ building, because it was one of the buildings directly across from the library. It is made of all glass, and if God forbid a bomb did go off in the library, the blast, depending on the size, would affect the building I was in. However, I couldn’t miss my midterm. I had stayed up all night studying, and was ready for the test. When I started to open the door to the empty classroom, one of the students standing in the hallway informed me that the midterm had been postponed until Thursday. I was excited, but a little disappointed. I had studied, and was ready, but now I would have to restudy the material on Wednesday because I am not the best at retaining information.

I then had to wait around for a second email. I had to see if my second class was going to be cancelled also. Sure enough, an hour before class would commence, my professor informed us not to come. One of the labs was right next door to the classroom, and she didn’t feel right potentially putting us all in danger. It had been a total waste of energy to drive all the way to campus. I was exhausted from studying all night, so headed home, curled up on the couch with my two furbabies, and took a long nap.

When I woke up from my nap, I turned on the news to see if there were any updates on the bomb threat, and was disgusted with the story that was being broadcast. Apparently a man had bashed his baby’s head in after an altercation with is girlfriend. It made me want to vomit. The baby and the man were found in a nearby dumpster. I will never understand why there are people like this in the world; a monster that would deliberately hurt an innocent child. I was so sad and hurt for the mother who witnessed the tortuous demise of her precious child.

In happier news, last night was my birthday. Not a big one, only 29, but it is the beginning of the last year in my twenties. As I reflect back on the last year of my life, I have grown up and changed tremendously. Whether I wanted to or not. This past year I have gone through my highest moments, and my lowest moments. It has been filled with the best times of my life, and by far the worst time in my life.

This time last year I had found out I was newly engaged to Foster, we found out we were pregnant, and at this point I was planning our wedding. It was an amazing time of my life. I was questioning what I had done so right in my life to deserve all that happiness. I should have just accepted it, and enjoyed the ride instead of expecting the shoe to drop. Yes, we were struggling with some bleeding during the pregnancy, but the Rosie was hanging in there. It was scary, but it seemed like everything was going to be okay. Foster and I said our “I dos” on the twelfth of December. It was the happiest day of my life. I was on cloud nine without getting to partake in the alcohol we provided our guests. There was nothing you could do to bring me down that day. I felt like a princess, and I was marrying my prince charming. Rosie was in attendance, and from now on, anytime I look at my wedding photos, my heart swells. I am so happy that my daughter got to share those moments with Foster and me, even if she was only 16 weeks old at the time. I take comfort in knowing she partook in the festivities.

People have been wishing me more happiness and blessings this next year to come. I am sure there will be, even if not the ones that we want. Every morning I wake up to Foster, I am blessed. I feel blessed with the love from friends and family that have stood by me through the roughest times in my life. I have no regrets of this past year. It has been an amazing year, even with the tragedies we have endured. I do look forward to the last year of being in my twenties, and hope that it brings even more adventure. I just pray that God goes a little easy on our hearts this year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real Life Stories of the ER

I had an interesting encounter at work the other night. I was walking a patient back to their room from triage. As I started getting him set up in his room, he was pacing and asked me a question. I could not understand what he had asked me through his mumbling, so I turned towards him and simply responded, "Excuse me?" No attitude, no inflection in my voice that would indicate any disrespect. I was simply wanting him to repeat himself, because I didn't understand him the first time.

He looked at me like I had called him a bad name, or had just killed his dog. The look of rage in his eyes was powerful, "I asked for something to drink. Geez B**** do I have to repeat myself?"

"Yes sir, I didn't understand what you had asked. I was wanting clarification," I was keeping my voice even toned and sweet, because he was obviously agitated, and although he had called me a name, I was trying not to let it phase me. I have been called every name in the book working in the ER, and although I don't think anyone should call a stranger trying to help a b****, at least he wasn't propositioning me like the psych hold we had that same evening (I will get to that later).

He replied with some rude muttering under his breath, and I proceeded to tell him that I needed him to change into a gown and have a seat, that the doctor would be in shortly. He continued to be angry with me, and his agitation was escalating. I asked him if there had been something I did to offend him, and then he went on and on about how rude I was. His mother was standing right there and was trying to tell him to relax and "Leave her alone, she is just trying to help you and YOU are the one being rude."

When I left, I took my seat back out at the triage desk, and went about my business. I warned the nurse and doctor that he was a little rude and seemed very excitable, so to tread lightly. While I was sitting in triage, the patients mother came out. She stepped up to the desk with an apologetic look on her face, "I just wanted to explain to you why he is in such a bad mood."

"Okay," I replied. honestly, I don't think ANY reason is good enough to treat another human being like crap, but I decided to hear her out.

"His son died in March," She said. I looked at her with a blank stare, and she looked back at me expecting an understanding response of some sort.

After a pause to word my response properly, I said, "Well, I lost my daughter back in April, and I do not use that as an excuse to treat a human being disrespectfully."

I could tell that was NOT the response she expected. She seemed to be taken aback, and quickly started stumbling over her words, "Well, he was murdered by his step-father. He was five years old."

"I am very sorry ma'am,I understand too well the feelings after the loss of a child, I lost my infant daughter. I understand it is painful, but is not other people's fault it happened. Your son did not kill my daughter, so I do not treat him like crap. I did not kill your grandson, so there is no need for your son to treat me like crap."

"She was an infant, he was five," I could not believe she was actually trying to compare losses. One is no worse than the other. They were both loved children no matter what age they were.

"Ma'am, I am not going to argue over which experience was worse. I do not feel you need to apologize for your son's behavior. If he wants to apologize, he can. I am very sorry for both of your loss, but if he is still this angry, and lashes out at complete strangers, he may want to start talking to a professional or a grief counselor," It became really apparent to her quickly that I was the WRONG person in the ER to look for pity and acceptance. She was unaware when she approached me that I was a fellow baby-loss parent. I really do feel bad for the family. It breaks my heart that they have to endure such a horrifying situation, and have to live with the pain of losing a child. However, I stand by my conviction that my pain does not give me a reason or the right to take it out on any other human being. I have no idea where they have been in their life, I have no clue if they have endured something similar. I just take out all of my frustration on Foster, because I KNOW what he has been through! Just kidding. In this instance, this patient was treating someone who had gone through a similar loss, albeit not a murder, with total disrespect. He had no clue where life had taken me, and now he was inadvertently hurting someone who he could have related to and shared a mutual understanding of loss with, even if just for a moment.

A few hours later, I happened to be walking by their room when he was being discharged. When his mother was around the corner, I tapped the man on the shoulder. as he turned, his features and demeanor had changed, "Oh ma'am, I feel so much better."

"Good," I said, "I am glad they took care of you. I wanted to tell you that I am terribly sorry for the loss of your son."

I watched as his eyes welled up, and his features turned soft, "How did you know?"

"Your mom told me about it. I wanted to let you know that I kind of know what you are going through. I lost my daughter in April."

"You did!?!?!?! Oh, I am soooooo sorry how I treated you. I had no idea," he came up to me, wrapped his arms around me and gave me a hug. He started to sob, "I feel so bad, I wish I would have known. Are you still trying to come to terms with it?"

"Absolutely, I have a feeling I will be for the rest of my life. The death of a child is something that no parent should ever be expected to 'get over'," I explained to him. "However, this instance is a prime example of why you shouldn't take your anger out on strangers, I have gone through the same thing. You never know what the person you are talking to has gone through," We continued to talk about our children, I suggested different support groups and therapy options for him. He admitted that he felt guilty that he did not spend more time with his son and was an absentee father for the first 2 years of his life. He expressed his fear of having other children because he didn't want the guilt that he would treat them better than he treated his first son. I consoled him, and told him if that is the lesson that he got out of the death of his child, that it was a great one, because now he would treat all subsequent children as if they were not guaranteed another day on this planet. We parted with another hug, and an unspoken bond of child loss.
Now, onto my darling psychiatric patient who propositioned me. When I arrived at work that evening, I was pulled aside by a nurse. She explained to me that this patient had been asking about me all day. Not just asking about me, demanding to see me so he could talk about his problems with me. When we receive a psychiatric patient, we are required to hold them and have one on one supervision for that patient until we can either find him a bed at on of the psych clinics, or release them 72 hours later. I was one of the first to take care of him yesterday, but how he knew my name I am baffled by. When I took over care for him, he was sleeping. He never saw me, never spoke to me, and was never in close enough proximity to read my name tag. Now, there were a few times that he woke up and sat at the edge of his bed and stared at me through possessed looking eyes, but the door was shut, and we never really had any interaction. he would get bored of staring at me after 5 minutes, and go back to bed.

So while I was trying to unravel the enigma of how he knew my name, and why of everyone he was asking for me, I realized I had to take care of him again. I walked up to his room, and found him in a Halidol induced sleep. I was hoping upon hope that he would remain like that for the four hours I had to watch him. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. About thirty minutes into my watch, he stood up and started staring at me through the glass door. I was once again creeped out. He started moving his lips, and since I couldn't hear him behind the glass, I slid the door open, "Do you need something hun?"

His half hearted smile turned into a devious grin. He honestly looked like he was about to pounce. I backed up a few steps to keep a few feet between us, and heard him whisper, "Do you want to suck my ****?"

"EXCUSE ME?!?! No sir, I do not, and I would like you to get back into bed and lay down," I was appalled and disgusted, but kept in mind that he was mentally disturbed.

He lifted up his gown to reveal an unimpressive "package", and started creeping closer to me, "I said suck my ****!"

I quickly closed the glass door in order to keep him in the room and out of my personal space. As I held the door closed, I called out for security because he was struggling violently to open the door. He won in the end, and as the door slid open, he ran down the hall with all of his glory flapping in front while his naked butt hung out the back. I was able to grab an arm before he got too far, but why I didn't just let him run is beyond me. One of the males grabbed his other arm, and we escorted him back to his room where security proceeded to put him back in bed, and wait for the nurse to give him another shot of the "medicated restrains", aka, more Halidol.

It was actually kind of scary. For once, I actually felt threatened by this man, and really really creeped out. Obviously we figured out WHY he had been asking for me. He obviously has a thing for red heads, and thought I could fulfill his fantasy, or maybe he is just loony.

These are just a few of the lovely examples of what it is like on a daily basis at my job. At least I can say one thing, it keeps things interesting!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Photo Contest

I entered my bridge picture from a couple posts ago in a fall photo contest make sure to go and vote for it later this week here:

Fall Foto Contest

I love it, but I am a little partial, but I need YOUR vote in order to win! So hop on over to GI Joe's Wife and when she posts my pretty picture, VOTE!!

Speaking of photos, what does everyone think of me doing a 365 day photo challenge? I would like to improve my photography skills, so I am thinking that on Jan 1st, I will start taking and posting 1 photo a day (well, I MAY cheat and take a few good ones one day and post them at the end of each week, depending on my schedule) however, the goal is to grow in my hobby, keep you entertained, and maybe even get some great shots along the way. let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Close Call!!

I pulled  a no-no. I have been taking classes this quarter. I know I don't speak much of school much because it has become such a constant in my life, that I do what I need to do and not think twice about it. I am the eternal college student. Obstacle after obstacle has been set in my way in my pursuit to graduate, and as soon as I see the light at the end of the tunnel, something blows it out. For instance, change in curriculum, change in schools, money issues, and then the death of my daughter.

This quarter is my second to last. If all goes well next quarter, I will be graduating in March of 2011. I almost blew it this week. One of the major classes I have to pass to graduate is my foreign language. I have taken up American Sign Language. I have had fun, excelled, and enjoyed every minute of it. Classes such as Philosphy, which I am also taking this quarter, I know I can squeak by with a B with little effort. I know, why would I accept a "B" when I could easily get an "A"? Well, my lack of motivation and major case of "senioritis" has caused my brain to go with the philosophy that "C's get degrees". I have been a fairly good student, minus a few choice classes, and I am pretty self reliant. If I keep up with the readings, do the homework, and keep up with the online slide shows, I can pull off a B in classes like Philosophy without regularly attending classes. ASL is a totally different story. A language needs to be practiced, finessed, and ASL is no exception. If anything, class attendance is more pertinent than other foreign languages because it is visual language, and in order to "speak" the language, you must be able to understand what it looks like. So, I attend. I am on time with every homework assignment, and put effort into it. However, this past Thursday, Veteran's Day, we had an assignment due. It was a paper that was worth 10% of our final grade. It was based off of a Deaf Event that we were required to attend. I chose a very inspiring lecture by one Dr. Joseph Valente. He wrote a book entitled “d/Deaf and d/Dumb: A Portrait of a Deaf Kid as a Young Superhero”, and was on campus to speak about it, and promote it's release in a few months. I was entranced in his words. He read sections from his book, and spoke on what it was like being deaf in a hearing world. The astounding part of it was that he spoke with such eloquence and clarity that one would never know he was deaf from meeting him. The traditional "deaf accent" was not present. He was so skilled at reading lips, he could read people's lips from the back of the classroom.

I was sitting next to Foster on Friday as he donated blood at the Red Cross when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to submit the assignment.  I had attended the event weeks ago, should have done the assignment and submitted it right after attending, but for some reason procrastinated. I was instantly mad at myself. I have been holding a High B in this class. I have worked hard, put all effort into it, and now my grade would automatically drop to a C. 10% of my grade would be a BIG FAT ZERO!! I was devastated. I was beating myself up for the next hour and a half. It had been blatantly expressed multiple times that there would be NO late submissions accepted.

Foster suggested that I submit the paper regardless of whether it would be accepted, and explain to my professor the circumstances. He figured I would at least receive partial credit. I explained to him that I didn't see the point in this, because it wasn't like I was sick, in an accident, had a funeral, or any other acceptable excuse. I did however feel it was necessary for me to at least submit my paper so that she was aware that I didn't just refuse to do the assignment all together, and that I actually got something out of the lecture. I emailed her and told her what happened, and understood if she gave me no credit, but wanted her to know I had been inspired by the experience and took it seriously. This was the response I received about 8 hours later:

"Glad you attended the event. You are correct no late submissions are accepted but since your paper was good, I will give you a grade but it will be one lower grade." 90/100
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! She has complimented my writing in the past, mentioning that I have a way with words and express my feelings well, incorporating emotional and personal experiences into my papers, but I never thought this would benefit me any further than receiving an A on a paper. I am sooooooo thankful and could not hold back my excitement and gratitude from her. I thanked her profusely, and preceded to call Foster, "I told you so," he replied. He was right. I had actually thought for a moment to accept defeat, accept my fate, and not even submit the paper. Thank God I listened to him, even if it was not for the reason he suggested. And God Bless my ASL teacher!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day and Baby Photos

Happy Veteran's Day! It has been an eventful day for Foster and I. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to have the opportunity to photograph a baby for the first time. The family I did it for were more than willing to let me use their daughter as practice and in return, I am giving them free photos. that is right!! FREE!!!

The photo session was bitter sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but then realized that I should be taking Rosie's six month pictures and practicing with my own baby instead of with one of Foster's soldiers. Some of them came out beautifully! I am content with my first attempt at photography. I still have a lot to learn, but that is to be expected. I used all manual functions, no automatic. I have only done some basic white balance edits so far, and will do more in depth editing after I download photoshop. There is some photos I want to even out the baby's skin tone, because she has a little bit of baby acne/rash, and some advanced edits such as singling out the pink in the tutu and the red in the Ohio State pictures. I will post all of the finished pictures when I get them done, but until then, here are some of the pictures I have so far:

 She was starting to get really fussy (this is toward the end of the session,) but I love the mirror effect, and will try this again next time (hopefully she isn't so fussy)

 Sweet baby girl

 I love the contrast of the soft baby and the tattoo from dad
 sweet fall baby, sleeping in the woods:-)
 She was so content outside, she was so calm and sleepy in the park.
Had to represent the favorite football team:-)

I have a few naked photos of baby with ACUs, an American flag, and combat boots, but I have to crop a few of them before posting them on here (baby butt is for mom and dad only:-)

 All because two people fell in love

And of course I had to get a picture of the man I love in the park too!

Remember, ALL of these picture are mine and the family's. By the way, if anyone else is willing to let me borrow you, your family, or your kids for practice, I will gladly do the same favor for you as I did for them. Better jump on it now before I get good enough where I can charge. Yes, I am willing to do newborn and maternity photos.
I completely understand why professionals charge so much. It took us 3 hour, and out of about 300-400 photos, I only got about 50 usable ones. The baby would move, make faces, cry, wake up, pee, eat. All of the outfit changes take longer than expected because you want to be gentle so she wouldn't get upset and then cry for the next 10 minutes. Once we figured out she liked it outside, we moved all of the "scenes" out to the back patio so that she would be content. Thank the Lord it was 70 degrees out today. With all of the issues, I still had so much fun, and hope that they enjoy the end project!

Once the family took off, Foster, Reagan, Rowdy and I hopped into the car and headed to Hocking Hills. I took TONS of photographs there also, but those will have to wait to be posted, because I still have to sort through and pic the best of 250 pictures. 

We decided a hike in the hills would be healthy, quality family time on Veterans Day. We took a timed photo on a ledge by the caves, and accidentally left my Oakley sunglasses laying on the tree trunk I had propped the camera on. Foster and I had driven about ten minutes outside of the State Park when I realized my glasses were missing. Now, if they had been any other sunglasses, I would have forgotten about them and refused to turn back, but if you recall, I spoiled myself with these glasses, and spent WAY more money than I should have on them. I made Foster make a U turn, and he sprinted through the forest back to the scene of the crime. As I parked the car, I prayed that the glasses would still be there, and he would not find an empty tree stump. Foster was convinced that if any hiker came upon the sunglasses, that they would have picked them up. Luckily, they were right where I left them. If anyone had seen them, they were honest and left the glasses alone in the even the owners came back to claim them.

When we were safely back on the road, I received a text message from JJ. I had completely forgotten that her moms birthday was today. She claimed she tried to call me, but there is no phone reception in the hills, so I never got the call. I can imagine what a hard day this must have been for her. The holidays and special occasions are always the hardest. This was the first time she didn't get the chance to call and wish her mom a happy birthday. She wasn't able to give her a gift or take her out to dinner. Bug apparently met up with her and they enjoyed dinner together, but I'm sure it didn't come close to healing the pain she was feeling today. 

I still have so much to fill you in on, but it is going to have to wait till next time. I had my second therapy appointment, and Foster and I met up with Holly and her family. She is another BLM who is quickly turning into a friend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blog Awards!

A couple of weeks ago, I received my first ever blog award. I got so busy, that I forgot to post about it until yesterday. Then, I logged on a few days ago, and before I could post about it, I received my SECOND blog award! I am so thankful to my ladies! Priscilla @ Missing Olivia gave me this blog award:

The rules for this award are...

1. Accept the award and post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 10 other bloggers that you have recently discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they have been chosen.

Here are my picks:

Now I just need to contact these lovely ladies and let them know I awarded them:-) It was so hard just choosing 10, so guess what?!?!?! Now I get to choose 7 more for this award:

To accept the Versatile Blogger Award the rules are:

{1}: Thank and link back to who gave you the award.
Thank you April from The Hooyah Wife

{2}: Share 7 things about yourself.
(In no particular order or preference)

1. I am turning 29 in 8 days!!
2. I love taking pictures, and FINALLY have a great piece of equipment to help me do so!
3. I love horror movies, but have to go see them with my sister because Foster won't see them with me:-(
4. I was a pretty good swimmer in high school and water polo player in college
5. My favorite pizza is the BLT is AMAZING!!!!
6. I HATE loogies.....aka green, snotty spit! Foster will tease me with it, and it will send me into gagging fits.
7. I would like to live near the beach one day.

{3}: Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy!

{4}: Leave the recipients a note, telling them about the award.
That makes 17 people I have to contact. trust me, these are not all of the fabulous blogs I read either. It was hard to narrow them all down. Thank you to my friends for awarding me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

With Once Voice and an Update

November is upon us. It is the month that All Saints and All Souls days are celebrated. There are numerous masses and services in remembrance of the ones who have preceded us in death. The sermon on Sunday was interesting. The priest started talking about heaven and hell and "purgatory". It was once believed by the church that babies that were not baptized before death were either in hell, or in limbo which is the outskirts of hell because although they have not committed any worldly sins, they are still with original sin.

There are quite a few issues with this theory. First of all, although the church binds itself with God's sacraments, God himself is not bound by His sacraments. essentially, he wants all of his children to be saved and join Him in Heaven for eternity "the great mercy of God, who desires that all men should be saved) (1 Tm 2:4), so what makes ANYONE think that God would punish a child to an eternity in limbo is beyond me.  to top it all off, God watched how Jesus embraced the children "But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18 16-17). I am sure Jesus did not mean "Let all the little baptized children come to me". Thankfully, this view was disregarded. Prior to the second Vatican Council, although limbo for babies has long been used in theological teachings, has no clear foundation of revelation, no biblical reference of this place. Since then,  Pope John Paul II wrote a document that was released in 2007 entitled "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized" questioning the teachings of babies in limbo, and arguing against it. I am sure you wonder why it took so long for the church to address this subject. Pope John Paul II decided to address it because pregnancy and infant loss was skyrocketing do to environmental hazards, and IVF. Multiple babies increase risks, and sadly many families have felt the pain of multiple losses at once. The church wanted guidance on how to help grieving parents, so PJPII did just that.  Pope Benedict is the one who released the document during the International Theological Commission in 2007, and now will always be known as the Pope who "Closed Limbo".   You can read the whole document here.

I felt as if the priest was looking right at Foster and I through his whole sermon. He did not go into as much detail as I just did with the history, but he came to the same conclusion, that my daughter, along with all the other angel babies are in heaven. that there is no reason for us to think otherwise.

I know I mentioned my habit of looking at the songs before hand in order to prepare myself for the potential of tears during a song from Rosie's funeral. Once again, this week, one of her songs were played, "The Bread of Life". This time, it not only got to me, it got to Foster. He mentioned he didn't know why it hit him this time. I am sure it was a combination of the sermon and the song. I did cry, but I am getting used to the fact that almost every service in the past 6 months I have shed a tear for my daughter, and I am okay with it.  I was just happy and blessed that I was able to attend mass with Foster this week. I had drill this week, and unless I am released in time on Saturday evening, it is nearly impossible for me to attend church on drill weekends.

Drill was interesting this weekend. On Friday we had our first medical and administrative day (SRP) for the deployment. It was a very heavy day for me. the first 2 hours consisted of going between providers and case management personnel rehashing the loss, the c-section, and my emotional and mental state currently. When I was through the medical aspect, I was then faced with more challenges on the administrative portion. When Foster and I were married, we went to the appropriate office to have me put into the system as his wife and under his insurance (DEERS). Since we are dual status, I asked them while we were there if we needed to put him under me. They informed us that he would automatically be under me since I was under his profile. I should not have trusted them. When I got to the DEERS table to make sure that he was under me in the system, they informed me that he wasn't and that I would need his ID and birth certificate, his SS card, fingerprints, DNA, firstborn child....just kidding. I informed them of what the office had told me, and they pretty much told me the office had lied. I was angry. Angry is an understatement. the poor Cadet that was breaking the news to me was the undeserving victim to my anger. I decided Foster and I would have to come back on Monday and take care of everything. I went to the next station. The Life insurance (SGLI) station. I was changing all the information so that in the even of my death, Foster would be the recipient of my SGLI

"Good! Maybe they will actually listen to you and get something accomplished," I said. So I waited. When he arrived, he brought me some Subway for lunch so I didn't have to eat an MRE since I was CERTAIN was NOT on the WW diet. When we went back to DEERS, he handed them his military ID and Driver's License. they tried to tell him they couldn't do anything without his Birth Certificate.

"I know you did not make me come all the way in here for nothing," Foster claimed sternly.

"No, sir, I am sure there is a way around it," the Sergeant said. This is the exact reason I wanted him to come in  uniform. Before we knew it, they accessed all of his documents online off the system, transferred them under my name, and low and behold, I am officially married according to the Army, almost a year after the fact.

The weird thing, is this was officially the first time we have been in the same room in uniform together. It was so strange. I wanted to hug and kiss him when he came in the door, but it is inappropriate. I slipped a few times and called him "honey" or "sweetheart", and I am sure he didn't notice, but it is definitely not professional. Oh well, at that point, I was through being professional. It had been a rough day.

Luckily, Saturday was so much better. It was a typical drill of checking our vehicles, classes, and deployment information. This weekend I brought my new camera, and took pictures. We have a picture board in the hallway, and I noticed that a lot of the pictures contained soldiers that were no longer part of our unit, so I decided that had to change. Here are a few of the photos I took from Saturday:

Checking our trucks

 Getting ready to drive the trucks

 Me :-)

The geometrical building OUTSIDE of our rinky dinky building.

Goofin off.

Boys will be boys

It was really cold, and she really didn't want her pic taken. look at the evil eye she is giving me

Sunday came along, and while we were waiting for the NCOs ans Officers to get out of a meeting, first Sergeant asked me if I had brought my camera again. I left it at home, because we were having a change of command ceremony, and I figured the Army would have a photographer there to take pictures. I was mistaken. He told me to go home and get it, that I would not be standing in formation, but would be taking pictures of the Change of Command. 

Before the ceremony, I practiced with the lighting in the room. Unfortunately it is a huge building with really bad white fluorescent lighting. The walls are white, the floors are white, and VERY reflective. Luckily, I think I got some great shots. Before I show them to you, I am sure you want to know the update of me and the deployment. As right now I am still a No Go. My old commander is concerned about some right lower abdominal pain I have been having for the last few weeks. He wants my OBGYN to check it out. I can't get an appointment till January 7th, so I will be non-deployable until then. I am training as if I am going, and not going to get out of that mindset. I have learned that in the Army, you have to hope for the best and expect the worst. the best scenario would be I will go in on Jan. 7th and find out I am pregnant. I would be discharged, and not have to worry about the deployment. However, I am preparing my mind and body for the deployment, and the possibility of not coming home. Hope for the best, expect the worst, and if anything in between happens, I won't be disappointed.  

Formation prior to start of the ceremony

Outgoing Commander's Miracle grandson (story will be told sometime)

One of my favorite shots

One of my favorite shots in black and white
New Commander's first speech to our unit

Whole formation
1SG passing guide-on (flag) to outgoing Commander to represent his successful command of the company.

The new Commander passing the Guide-on back to 1SG to represent the importance 1SG's job is going to be in aiding the command of our unit.

Farewell cake and flowers for wife

Welcome cake and flowers for wife.

** Remember, all pictures are mine, and please do not take credit for them. you are more than welcome to ask to use them though:-)

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