Monday, August 13, 2012

STILL (a serious one)

Waiting Room
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We waited excitedly. Nervously. My stomach flipped anxiously, uncertain of what was to come. I had yearly check-ups; I knew what to expect. Not today. Today was different.


I was careful. My iPhone chimed everyday at 6:00PM, a musical reminder to take my prenatal. I'd been taking them since before we started to try. I read pregnancy books. Before bed, I filled Christopher in on just how big our baby was. A poppy seed, sesame seed, lentil . . . a prune. I felt pregnant. The signs were all there: nausea in the morning, exhausted all day, tender breasts... 

I walked. Tired as I was, exercise was healthy for me, as well as for the tiny life inside me.

I prayed, "Lord, this is Your baby. I trust You. Please bless this baby. Keep Your baby safe, strong, and healthy. Please let this be our baby in eight months... seven months... six months..." Over and over, a hundred times a day, I prayed this little prayer. 

I find myself breathing this prayer now. Still. After.


While the doctor poked and prodded, I knew what to look for. By ten weeks, there should be a tiny baby in the black. I saw the darkness. I saw nothing else. I held my breath as the doctor silently moved her wand, searching. Christopher squeezed my hand excitedly. He didn't know what the screen should reveal. I closed my eyes, pleading with God.


We took pictures each week, our faces lit with hope. We discussed names, giggling over silly ones, writing down names we loved. Christopher started working on the spare room again, a project he'd been putting off in the warm weather. We made announcement plans, deciding on Fathers' Day. Two days before 12 weeks was the perfect time to tell our fathers, our families.

We prayed, "Lord, this is Your baby. We trust You. Please bless this baby. Keep Your baby safe, strong, and healthy. Please let this be our baby in eight months... seven months... six months..." Every night before bed, we prayed this little prayer. 


Christopher figured out what the doctor was going to say when she began speaking slowly, sadly. She said this was her least-favorite part of her job. Our baby was not where it should be at ten weeks. We should come back in two days to be sure, but our pregnancy no longer appeared viable. I was numb. Christopher's tears began to dot his collar, but I held mine in. My doctor hugged me, then left us alone.

I held my tears until we got home. Then we held each other for hours, gasping for breath, tears soaking the pillows.

We went back in two days, but it was over. I began miscarrying two weeks later.


A month later, the pain is still here. Sometimes, I gasp for breath. Sometimes, I feel okay. Our baby is with my mom, my grandpa, Christopher's grandparents . . . as much as I want our baby, I know he or she is in good hands.

I pray, "Lord, I trust You. Please bless Your babies. Keep Your babies safe, strong, and healthy. Please give us our babies soon." Over and over, a hundred times a day, I pray this little prayer. 

I breathe this prayer now. Still. After.

*I wrote this because it is part of our story.
In the past few weeks, I have searched for stories to help me not feel so alone, stories to give me hope.
I've been hesitating to share this, but perhaps this story may help someone else not feel so alone. 
May we hope together.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I made some (easy) magnets this week. I needed magnets in my classroom with a strong hold (coin magnets from Walmart work really well), and I found a way to use our extra wedding invitations!
I dipped each clear stone in Mod Podge.

Then, stuck them on pretty paper.

I had wondered what I could do with our extra wedding invitations. Magnets! 
It's a great way to keep them and see them everyday on our fridge!
After the Mod Podge dried, I cut around the stones and Mod Podged them onto the coin magnets.
These are some of the magnets I kept for at home.
(The ones on the right match my old kitchen. I made them a few years ago.)

I love how they turned out! It's something simple, but it really brightens up our fridge. I can't wait to use them in my classroom; both for the strong hold and the cuteness factor!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

TOOLBOX MADE PRETTY (teaching without a desk)

Last year, I did away with my (huge, bulky) teacher desk. I read Debbie Diller's Spaces and Places in anticipation of organizing and designing my brand new (to me) classroom.
Ms. Diller suggested eliminating teacher desks, as they take up valuable classroom space and promote clutter. I completely agreed. I hardly used my desk, except as a dumping grounds for papers and books to look at later. I could neatly stack them daily, but the fact was, my desk was cluttered.

I removed my desk and used my small group table instead. I kept it clean, since it's where I did most of my teaching through the day. I loved it! The only problem was that I didn't have a place to store my supplies since I no longer had drawers. I used shelves behind my table with baskets and containers. It worked for last year, but took up a lot of room, the containers often spilled, and it just wasn't as organized as I had wanted it to be.

Somewhere in the midst of hundreds of teaching blogs in my Google Reader, I stumbled upon this and this:

Obviously I had to make one of my own! Christopher and I found the toolbox at Lowe's ($16) and I spent less than an hour making it fixing it up.
Here she is in her (very!) temporary home in my classroom:

If only my entire classroom could be as neat and organized as this little box!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Last Saturday was Christopher's grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. Their kids planned a surprise party for them, following a mass dedicated to them. They knew about the mass, but Grandpa Ray claims he knew all along about the party. Grandma June was clueless, even after their friends had spilled the beans (more than once).

When I took out my camera (iPhone) during church to snap a picture, Christopher whispered, "What are you doing?!" I wasn't facebooking, my dear.
(He loves the picture.)

When the tornado sirens went off mid-service, I certainly did want to check the radar on my phone. I held back. As the priest said after mass, if one's going to be in a tornado, church is probably the best place to be. (Though  I was wearily eyeing those stained glass windows and the heavy support beam above my head... I've already admitted pretty churches distract me, and during a tornado! I was planning my pretty escape!)

At the end of the service, the priest asked the family if anyone wanted to say something. A few people went, then Christopher stood up. He spoke of how we look up to their marriage. He talked about a commercial on the radio. It asks you to think about how many people a marriage makes a positive impact on. I don't know it word-for-word, but it goes as far as asking if a marriage touches as many people that would fit into a sports stadium. Christopher said not only does his grandparents' marriage affect their families and friends in Illinois, but everyone that those people come in contact with. Their marriage is making a positive impact on our marriage, so even in Michigan, our friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. are also touched by their love.

Our 50th is only 48.8333 years away!
my current go-to hairstyle found here
It is ridiculous how excited I was to find Rooster Booster! 
I drank so much of this in college on road trips, but I haven't seen it in years. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012


It seems to me, that holidays are just not the same when you're in-between.

You see, C and I are no longer at the candy-snatching-parade-going age. (To be clear, we're no longer at the acceptable age to be snatching candy at parades.)

We don't have children, so we don't spend the day running from parades to food fest to fireworks to bed.

We're just two in-betweeners, content to run errands in the morning, finish projects in the afternoon, grill dinner with friends, and catch tiny glimpses of fireworks from our porch between trees.

At any rate (and at any age), we had a nice holiday.
red, white, and blue
Uncle Sam
But wait, did you see what I see?
Somehow or another, I up and married Captain America!
Christopher said it was a swing for one.
But the fireworks and lightning lit the sky,
and we tried to be romantical and sit all close-like.
He was right; it was a swing for one.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Yesterday was the Fourth Annual 4th of July Golf Outing (on the 3rd). Somewhere along the way it has grown from seven guys to nearly forty people. It originated with Christopher, his brother, and some of their buddies. Now they give away prizes and don't know everyone that participates by name.

It turns out, I am not a golfer. There's something about swinging clubs in the hot sun that just doesn't appeal to me. Just standing there sweating sounds torturous in my mind. If I'm going to be in the sun, I will be at the beach.
Christopher asked me to unpack the groceries. There was a treat waiting for me at the bottom of the bag!
Somebody knows that berries are the way to my heart.
Lulapie and I read on the porch.
This girl! She melts my heart.
Uncle Sam and I shared some raspberry wine.

Monday, July 2, 2012


There are mythical animals in Illinois. Take for example the coydog:
I couldn't get a clear picture of him (her?) because he (she?) is fast and shy. C's parents claim it is a coyote-dog mix. I claim coyotes eat dogs during snacktime. So. 

We hoped to see a giraphant, but I guess we were in the wrong part of Illinois for a sighting?

This is not a mythical beast:
That is Telula in her grandparents' backyard. She looks happy here, but the 100+ temps had her panting all weekend.

Illinois, 10:00AM:
C says he misses Illinois storms. I say white-outs stink in the winter in the U.P. I'm glad we don't have rain-outs in the summer, too! When we couldn't see the road, we cancelled our shopping trip to the next town.

Nicole (Christopher's cousin) and Cindy (his stepmom) made over forty pounds of Grandma June's (super secret recipe) barbecue for the anniversary party: 
Most would say her barbecue is magical. Grandma June said they did a good job imitating her recipe. Christopher said it was good, but wasn't quite the same. They forgot to bottle up June's love to pour in.

Christopher supervised the barbecue making. He quizzed himself on American history, in between checking measurements and taste-testing heaping spoonfuls.

The one in the middle is my husband. Christopher, like wine, has improved with age.

I admit it! I was fake-napping! Christopher was not. Neither was chickenhead and Telula!

This was my favorite picture from the trip:

Telula's been brought up to believe she is a lapdog. Don't you dare tell her otherwise!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Last Thursday, we made the trek down to Illinois. Christopher's dad's side lives there, in the hometown of Ronald Reagan. We missed the Reagan Run by a week and Mumford and Sons on the River by a month, but we did have much to celebrate:

It was our first time in Illinois in over a year.
Christopher's dad and stepmom celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday.
Christopher's dad retired on Friday.
I got a pedicure and painted my toes orange on Friday! 
(Yes, this deserves celebration. I will celebrate anytime a massage is involved!)
Christopher's grandparents celebrated 50 years of marriage on Saturday.
The family surprised his grandparents with a party on Sunday!

Lopacs trippin'

No, that is not Canada.
And no, I don't know why my picture is sideways! Instagram has never done that to me!

Be still my heart! Endless options of pasties! 
The trip was worth it, just to stop in this little pasty shop!

Open your eyes, girl!
Third caffeinated drink on the trip, and go!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Nonie requested we go to St. Peter's Cathedral last week. She wanted to pray downstairs in the tomb. The crypt. You see, all of the bishops of the area have been buried below the cathedral. To be perfectly honest, I was a little creeped out by this request. I mean, I love the cathedral, but...!

I usually go to a church closer to my house, but I've been to the cathedral many times. It is beautiful, inside and out. I don't pay close attention to mass at the cathedral, so it's good I don't attend there often. I study the stained glass windows. I wonder about how high the ceiling is, and daydream about just how did they put those paintings up there when the church was built before ladders were invented? (Well, probably!) Is there real gold in the walls? I think about why people sit in the way, way back when so many pews are empty in the way, way front. And can they hear better back there? I can't hear in the middle rows, but maybe I am just far from the speakers. Maybe I should sit in the back, too? Or if I were in the front, maybe I could hear the priest's actual voice and not need a speaker. There are many things to wonder about in the cathedral, you see.

Well, Nonie talked me into praying in the crypt. Actually, she didn't so much as talk me into it, because I never say no to Nonie, now that I'm an adult and all. (I was a stinker when I was a teenager.) I figured if anyone could protect me from ghosts of bishops long passed, it would be Nonie. (Nobody, not even ghosts, would bother Nonie, except stinky teenagers.)

So, we journeyed to the tomb and prayed. It was quite nice. I found a tiny chapel in the front of cathedral that I never knew existed. Downstairs, the crypt was calm and quiet. I'd like to go back and pray. There were no distractions! Cream-colored walls are too plain to wonder much about. Even the thought of the bishops resting in peace around me was no match for the glorious stained glass upstairs.

After prayers, we took pictures. Me, with my iPhone, Nonie, with her disposable kodak camera.
My beautiful Nonie
Nonie Balogna on the steps of the cathedral.
Angie Pangie on the steps of the cathedral.
Nonie hasn't quite mastered the art of iPhone pictures. 
{She's a tech-savvy granny though! She's on facebook and email, so it's only a matter of time!}

Monday, June 25, 2012


Over the last few years, wait, over the last ten years... ten years? How did that happen? It'll be ten years this August from when I started my freshman year of college. Ten years?...


Over the last decade, I collected inherited was gifted things to furnish my college dorm, college apartments, and post-college apartments. Christopher was the same. When we got hitched last April and combined our assets, then bought a house a few months later, we had enough stuff to overfill our house with old furniture.

And then we were given more used furniture.

I mean, what else would you give newlyweds that just bought a house? (gift cards to Target are nice)

We're using a lot of it. I love the pieces that have sentimental value. We have bedside tables that my dad made for my mom when I was little. We have a rocking chairs that belonged to our parents and grandparents. Our table belonged to Christopher's mom.

But some of the items were given to us via neighbors of our families, or just plain picked up along the curb. While sentimental pieces seem perfect, just the way they are, these other items needed a bit of sprucing up.

We have Christopher has moved them into our apartment, our new house's basement, out to the shed, then into our garage. Finally, (finally!) I started updating them so they can be added to our decor.

Well, sanding is not my favorite. How would you feel?

These are the first three pieces. The front and back pieces were given to us by neighbors of C's mom. The middle piece was picked up off the curb in college.

After one coat --- Christopher and I both forgot about primer. Shoot.

C and T decided to pack their things and run away.
And they weren't even painting! The nerve!

two coats

After three coats, I decided we'll need four.
Next time, I shall use primer!

I stopped painting in time for dinner. Christopher and Telula came home when I announced egg sandwiches were on the menu. 
I'll finish the painting this week, but maybe not tomorrow. Ouch!
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