Holidays 2017- the condensed version

This Christmas Season, I started ahead of the game but ended up getting bronchitis and it took me two weeks to feel better.  I used to get bronchitis every year or every other year through my teens and 20’s.  The last time I had bronchitis was in 2010 so I was long overdue.  It was a good run.  I didn’t remember bronchitis being so hard to get over but back then, I wasn’t chasing a little human.

Despite being sick, my daughter and I saw the Nutcracker.  Not the Russian Nutcracker (those who saw Bad Moms 2 will understand.)  My daughter loved it.  Well…except for the mice.  She is still talking about when she saw the ballerinas.

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Santa came to the daycare party.

We took the train to Christmas Town (formerly the Polar Express).  The boy with us is the son of Bryon’s best friend.  His mother and I had been talking about taking the kids on the Polar Express since we were pregnant and we felt that they were old enough to enjoy it this year.

A friend of ours graciously invited us to see Disney on Ice presents Frozen.  She had tickets in the first row. I am not going to lie.  Even as an adult, it was amazing.

We decorated cookies.  Last year the kids were two and not into it at all.  This year we just used kits and it worked out well.  Maybe next year we will bake and decorate.

We spent Christmas Eve Eve with my daughters Godmother and her family.

On Christmas Eve we had our second annual Feliz Navidad Lunch.

We spent Christmas Eve with some close friends and Elsa.  My friend gave me Red Sox wine.  She so gets me.

Someone stopped by.

We woke up to a White Christmas outside and a Barbie House in our living room.  Thanks Santa!

We had dinner with good friends.

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Boxing Day was low-key.  My daughter wanted to go to school so I brought her even though I had the day off.  I hit some after Christmas sales and a friend came over.

One the 27th, we had an amazing dinner at my daughter’s Godmother’s house.

My parents came the 28th.  I put my Dad to work and he assembled various items.  There visit ended up being cut short because I decided to go to Maine to attend the funeral of a friend.  They didn’t mind because they still got to spend time with my daughter…just in Maine,  not NY.

I spent New Years with good friends playing Cards Against Humanity.  My friend has an amazing brunch on New Years Day.  I really look forward to the event.  I love nothing more than to start the new year with my closest friends.

Their you have it.  Each of these events deserved their own post but I was too exhausted to write them.  I wanted to have one post at least documenting all the goodness that went on.  I went into the Christmas season feeling sad and while that is a totally normal feeling for a grieving person at this time of the year, I didn’t want to be sad.

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When I was writing my recent post about the last Christmas with Bryon, I had had an epiphany.  My daughter won’t remember that last Christmas (or Bryon for that matter- which breaks my heart) but she will probably remember this Christmas albeit vaguely.

It is up to me to give her amazing Christmas memories.  Bryon is gone and even though my heart aches, life is about the living and my daughter is living.  My friends and family are living.

It is up to me to try to push through my sadness and create happy memories for my daughter as well as my family and friends.  Because someday they will look back at their last Christmas me.

When someone experiences a profound loss, you realize just how temporary life is.  We need to embrace the now because someday we will only exist in a loved one’s memory.

I am glad I was able to enjoy the holidays this year.  Well except for a brief meltdown on Christmas Eve morning where I said some choice words to God and decided not to go to Mass.  But other than that, I had an amazing Christmas filled with gatherings, good food and laughter.

I have come a long way.  When I think of Christmas 2016, I am grateful for those in life but there was a deep sadness that hung in the air.  But I will look back on Christmas 2017 as a warm and happy season.  I am grateful for the healing that has taken place to get me here.

And for that, I truly am blessed.

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Widow at a wedding

This past weekend, two of my closest friends got married.  I love these two people so much. I can not stress enough how much of an honor that my daughter and I got to be a part of their day.  The we were with Bryon and me on the best days of my life and they didn’t leave my side through the worst days of my life.  While I would do the same for them, I  prefer that the days be happy. 

The wedding was held at the lovely Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, NY. I wish I could share more details but I was chasing after my daughter.  Please take my word for it when I say that this wedding was epic.  

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“I do myself, Mommy!”

 

The weather was warm for December.

Everything was beautiful; the bride, her dress, her hair, the music, the guests.  

The food was amazing.  And there was an open bar.  

I got to see lots of old friends and I made some new friends.

But my heart was heavy all night.  Because Bryon was not there.

This is not the first wedding I have gone to since Bryon’s passing.  My Maine best friend got married last summer.  I meant to blog about it because it was a beautiful ceremony that deserves it’s own post and I hope to write about it before I visit her in Ann Arbor this spring.  

But that wedding was in Maine and that was my turf.  Some of my old friends I saw at that wedding had never even met Bryon (though that doesn’t lessen their empathy).  Both the bride and groom had lost their mothers in their 20’s and the only time I felt sad was when the father of groom gave a speech and mentioned the groom’s mother and if she were there.  My eyes teared up because it made me think of how Bryon isn’t going to be there when my daughter gets married.

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I was very anxious about this wedding but I kept those feelings to myself. I felt selfish for even having these feelings. Weddings are happy affairs.  There is very little I do not share with the bride but I wasn’t going to burden her with my grief leading up to her big day.  Especially when I know it was hard on her that Bryon wasn’t there.  

(And to note, I have discussed this with the bride after the fact.  She is not going to be blindsided by reading this).

A large portion of these guests knew Bryon.  There was no way I could even pretend he wasn’t dead or that I wasn’t a widow.  All through the night people approached me and said kind things about Bryon which I did appreciate.  Because enough time has passed from his death where sometimes I think people forget about him and the last thing anyone who is grieving wants is for their loved one to be forgotten.  

I have come to the conclusion that it was a good thing my daughter was there.  I spent the night chasing her and that prevented me from getting drunk and crying on the bathroom floor.  And that is not a flattering look for anyone.  Though chasing her did hinder my ability to take photos.

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“Mommy, why do I have two forks?”

There were so many couples at the wedding though I don’t know if that is true or if that was just my perception.  I started thinking back to my wedding day.  How pretty I felt in my dress.  How I felt when we had our first dance. We were so in love.  

There was no way that I could have foreseen exactly what “in sickness and in health” would entail.  Bryon would tell me that I nailed that vow.

I started to wonder if I would ever feel that way again.  Will I ever love again?  Will I ever love someone enough to marry them?  Will I have a second first dance and cut another cake?  Five years ago, when I married Bryon, I thought that was it.  We were going to grow old together.  Forever and always.  I never dreamed that this would be a possibility.

I know that I do want to love again.  I just don’t feel like I am done yet.  But is it even possible to feel that way about someone else?   Is it a glimmer of hope or an impossibility?

I honestly don’t know.

I know is that I need to learn to cope.  It is frustrating when you want to be happy and instead you are an emotion mess. 

Bryon might be gone but the sun stills shines.  My daughter still laughs.  There are people that I love that are still here.  There are still happy times.  I just need to accept that there will always be some sadness attached to all the happy moments.

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Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #3

Every week I like to look back on five things that I am thankful for.  Here are this week’s Top 5.

  1.  I am thankful I got to celebrate a birthday of a good friend.  (I have yet to come up with a good blog name for her yet).  She is one of the kindest people I have ever met and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

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    Happy Birthday!
  2. On Monday one of my best friends and I took the day off and went to the Berkshires for the day.  Our first stop was the Lee Outlets where I spent more money than I care to admit and most of it was on my daughter.  We had plans to drive to Central Massachusetts to eat lunch at 1761 Old Mill Restaurant but when we punched it into Google maps, we learned it was closed.  Neither of us thought to check the website to see if it was open.  We both assumed it was open and, well, we all know what happens when you assume.  We didn’t let that ruin the day.  We had lunch at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and looked at the shops.

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    The Red Lion Inn
  3. We also went to the Norman Rockwell Museum and I am thankful that I live in an area that is so rich in culture.

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    Norman Rockwell Museum 2017
  4. I am thankful for the fact that I live in a time where my phone is a computer and I can play cartoons on demand.  What did our parents do when they needed to keep us preoccupied?  My daughter asks for my phone so she can watch “Girl and Bear” on Netflix.  “Girl and Bear” is actually called “Masha and the Bear.”  I never paid attention and I thought it was cute.  And then I watched it and I personally think the girl is a little monster.  Or a trouble maker at the very least.1950s+source+reddit_281ca6_4813703
  5. I am thankful for one of my college friends.  There was some bee/hornet/wasp thing flying around my house today.  It’s presence immediately puts me out of my comfort zone.  I have a zero tolerance policy for creepy crawly things in my house.  I posted about it on Facebook because I like to #overshare.  It was suggested I leave it alone but that wasn’t going to happen.  If you are a “leave it alone” person, the more power to you.  But I am not.  I was so scared of this bee/hornet/wasp thing and my college friend commented on my Facebook post that I should spray some hairspray from a distance.  When the hairspray dries, it immobilizes their wings.  It worked!  I saw these same bee/hornet/wasp things outside last week so I called the exterminator to set up an appointment to make sure there isn’t a nest near my house.

What are you thankful for this week?

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #1

I have been keeping a gratitude journal and I decided to do something different in the blog.  I decided on Friday to share five things I was thankful for over the past week.  Why did I pick the title “Good Vibrations”?  That will make sense by the end of the blog post. Trust me.

I am thankful for my daughter.  She is amazing and I don’t know how I would have gotten out of bed, especially in the early months if it wasn’t for her. Now I have no choice because she usually comes into my bed and yells “WAKE UP MOMMY!”  It is amazing to see her grow and learn every day.  She is so independent (“I do myself Mommy”) and she is a little fashionista.  I just hope I don’t let her down and that she grows up happy and fulfilled.

 

 

I am thankful for Starbucks Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I have been counting my macros and even though it uses up a lot of carbs, it is worth it.  Because Pumpkin Spice in the Fall is everything.  #america  #fall

I am thankful for my cat because he is cute and he makes me happy.  And I kind of like that he mostly just likes me.  It makes me feel special because I am in his world.  Or maybe I am only special in his world because I feed him.  He really loves me at night because that is when I give him a can of fancy feast.  That started out as a treat, but it is turned into every night.  Oh well.

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Boehner McKim #bestlifepossible

4. I am thankful that I live in this country during this time period.  I am thankful that information is so easily available and accessible.  I am thankful for running water and plumbing.  I take for granted that poop will get flushed away.  There might be a lot of bad in the world but I am determined to focus on the positive.

5.  And last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my tribe.  Because they are awesome as demonstrated on my Facebook timeline.  Kimmy Gibbler tagged me in a post with a video of Marky Mark from 1991 and all of our friends liked it and/or commented.  I love that my friends are not afraid to get silly.

So I am sharing this here.  Just in case anyone needs a Friday morning boost.  Because if you do not like this song then…I don’t know.  I just can’t fathom why anyone would not like this song.

 

What are you thankful about this week?

Late summer fun: Sunflowers and ice cream

I was supposed to go to Maine the last weekend in August but I needed to take my cat to the vet. I thought something was wrong with him. He wasn’t acting like himself and I was sure something was wrong with him.  After paying my not insignificant vet bill, nothing was physically wrong him.

So now my cat is on prozac.

It’s for the best.

And I missed my trip to Maine and my 20th high school reunion. I thought about trying to swinng it but I was too tired to do 16 hours of driving in a 60 hour period

So I wound up with an unexpected free weekend.  My close friend loves Sunflowers and asked if I would be up for a drive downstate to a sunflower field. I am always ready for an adventure and I love road trips so I happily agreed.

I wish I had a selfie to share but not a single one looked good.  For real.  My daughter wouldn’t look at the camera and I had my hair in my face.

After we looked at the flowers, we went to a farm stand.  It was crowded.  My friend told me that she wasn’t expected it to be crowded because she has seen too many Hallmark movies.  In Hallmark movies there is a ton of space.  Hallmark movies have ruined her.

Though we both agreed that that won’t stop us from watching them this Christmas.

After the farm stand, we decided to drive into New Paltz and get some ice cream.   We went to Hugeunot Creamery.  The ice cream was delicious and the staff was very kind and friendly.  The kids had ice cream cones  with sprinkles. They wound up all over the floor.  Part of me felt bad but part of me figured that it’s bound to happen in an ice cream shoppe.  My friend had a creamsicle float and I had an old fashioned hot fudge sundae.

On the way back, we stopped at a Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhinebeck which is owned by Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Morgan.  The kids had lollipops (though my daughter could only handle a few licks after eating ice cream) and I had a pretzel covered in Reese’s Pieces.  My friend got chocolate covered oreos.

It was a great day.  I am so glad my friend asked us to spend the day with her and it was fun to discover places in New York where I had never been.  I can’t wait for some Fall adventures with my friends.

Do you like to go on day trips?  Where do you like to go?

End of summer fun: Valley Cats game

Last week we had another first.

Our first baseball game without Bryon.

Bryon was an avid sports fan.  If we were travelling, he would see what the local teams were for whatever sport was in season and if they were playing that night.  When else would I see the Colorado Avalanche play?  Or the Toronto FC soccer team play against the Capital City FC soccer team?

Bryon had the same enthusiasm locally as well.  No summer was complete without going to some Valley Cats games.  Usually we went when the Lowell Spinners were in town (the Single-A affiliate for the Boston Red Sox).

We took our daughter on her first Fourth of July in 2015.  I tried to get a good family selfie but I failed.

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I spent almost all of the summer of 2016 in an ICU room.  And I have avoided baseball games this summer.  Because going to baseball games was a thing that I did with Bryon.  He loved going.  I also realized that his baseball buddy, Julie, who worked the Brown’s Beer stand may not know that he died.  Julie loved him. And I didn’t want to tell her.  Luckily I didn’t have to go to the beer stand that night.

I had no plans to go this year, but the MS Society was there that night.  And it ended up being a Friends themed night so that was cool too.  I like Friends but I still maintain that How I Met Your Mother was a much better show than Friends though.

There were hot dogs.  Ketchup was my daughters.  I think ketchup is disgusting.   Mustard and relish is my jam.  I am full of controversial statements today.  I won’t even discuss hot dog rolls today.

My bestie Kimmy Gibbler was there.

Our good friend was there.  (She doesn’t have a nickname…yet.)

We also had a to see a friend who was working.  You haven’t met him yet, but you met his girlfriend.

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It did end up being a fun night.  My daughter loved it.  Granted, she didn’t really have any concept of the actual game, but there were friends, hot dogs and ice cream.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

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Six years ago

He asked my best friend for help with choosing my ring.  I had my suspicions when she suddenly wanted to discuss.  I mentioned it to a coworker, but I was afraid that if I mentioned it to anyone else that I would somehow jinx it.

We were at the bar where we went on our first date, Mahars Public Bar.  The bar sadly closed years ago.  They had beer from all over the world and a computer that kept track of your total.  At 50 beers, you got a T-shirt.  At 200 you got a mug.  At 500 you got your name on the wall.

Bryon and I had been drinking there for years.  I was one beer away from 200 and he was one beer away from 500.  It was going to be a night of milestones.

Bryon was antsy to go.  Almost nervous which is not like his character.

We get to the bar and sit at a small table.  Bryon is acting sappy.  Again, not his character.  Then he is on one knee and proposing.

It was the exact ring that I told my best friend I liked.

I said yes.

Then his friends seem to come out of the woodwork to celebrate with us.  Apparently Bryon told a bunch of them that he was going to propose that evening.

No picture of the proposal exits.  A good friend said he was going to get a picture but his blackberry was acting up.  But we did a staged photo.  Of which I took off of Facebook.  I hope he doesn’t mind.  If he does, I will make him a funfetti cheesecake.  Or maybe Poblano mac and cheese.  Depends on how pissed he may be.

September 6, 2011 was one of the happiest days of my life.