Monday, October 14, 2013

October 15th

Since my Tuesdays are full of first graders and grad school I am spending tonight looking through our hundreds of Ellie photos with my candle burning.

This picture takes my breath away, everyone waiting for Ellie to make her grand entrance.

Monday, September 2, 2013

a new life

Our lives have changed. I have changed.
Jason and I have come a long way with our grief in the last 2 months (almost). I can't speak for him but I have changed. I am not the same person as I was before Ellie went to Heaven.
I don't judge people as quickly.
I can't sit still for very long.
My patience for ungrateful people is minimal.
I don't laugh as easily.
I don't care for mindless small talk.
As soon as I am not 100% concentrated on something my mind goes to Ellie.
I don't like to be alone if I have nothing to do.
I hate getting out of bed.
I have to wrap my arms around something at night to sleep.
I have a hard time listening to people whine about small things.
Along with so many other small little things.

School started last Monday. It was an incredibly hard day. I was so full of guilt. I was mad I didn't have a baby to juggle in the morning. I had zero confidence in my ability to get 20 first graders excited to learn. I couldn't eat breakfast or drink my coffee. My abdomen was painfully tight with anxiety. This lasted all week long. I was lucky if I slept for 5 hours.
I stress out at the beginning of every school year. Teaching is a huge responsibility, one that I don't take lightly. I want to do things the right way. I want to set my students up for success and you have to start from day 1 or the rest of the year can be incredibly challenging. But all of the things that I described above can not all be from stressing over a new school year.

Night time and in the morning before school are the hardest times. Maybe the anticipation for the day? Maybe knowing I can't sit and mourn all day? Maybe because I expect the worst to happen all of the time? I have no idea why those times are the hardest. But grieving is the hardest thing I have ever done. I don't know how to go forward each day. I take it minute by minute.

Tonight I wrote out two to the hospital and one to the funeral home. I can't find the words to describe how wrong it is that we have to do that. We have Ellie's social security card. We also have her death certificate. Parents are not supposed to have to deal with both of those things for their children.

* anyone else see the spelling error?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 9/home!

We left our friends' home around 9:30 eastern yesterday morning and got home around 10:40 central last night. About 12 hours. Travels were pretty smooth. PA has some beautiful scenery.  We stopped every two hours or so to stretch our legs, use the bathroom and switch drivers. We learned there are 24 hour Starbucks! Ihad never  heard of 24 hour ones before! I was quite excited. We also learned Siri doesn't always know what she is talking about. She couldn't find Panera (even though she told us it was there), she   took us 8 miles off the highway into a really small town and told us we had arrived at Panera. So we went back to the highway and tried again by looking up Panera locations on paneras website first.  
Indiana is horrible for rest stops. 
Today we mostly unpacked and I laundered what seemed like our entire wardrobes. We tried out our LL bean purchase today!  

Bring on the apples! This baby cores, peels and slices the apples. 

We go back to reality tomorrow. My research class begins for my masters program so I apologize if this blog is nothing but crickets.  
And I start back with students on the 26th. I have mixed emotions on beginning the school year... And seeing all my students from last year who will be asking if I had my baby. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 8 again!

We left NYC yesterday morning and went to our friends home in Hershey, PA. 

I got a good picture of the PA sign this time!

We got to their house a little before 3pm, they had just moved the day before! We were absolutely spoiled while we stayed with them. They took us to The Hershey Story which is a museum of the Hershey family and company and then there is a Chocolate  Lab. 
When driving to the museum we saw the street lights had Hershey candy on the top (they are still there grandma). 

We did the Chocolate lab first, you go into this science cooking lab and sit at small tables. Each table has a sink and a supply counter. We learned about the history of Hershey and how we get the cocoa and then made our own chocolate bar. 

We spooned chocolate into our plastic mold which had a sugar transfer already in it.  And then we could add salt or graham cracker crumbs to the top. 
We had to be official and wear aprons and hair nets... Jason had a beard cover as well. 

Here is the end product! This is the sugar transfer that you see. I sprinkled salt on the other side. 

We toured the museum afterwards and then went back to Jenna and Mark's house. 

We got to tell them all about Ellie! They moved to PA the week before Ellie's party so we haven't seen them in a while.   After dinner Jenna made brownies and had pink candles for Ellie's 1 month birthday! 

This morning we had coffee together and then needed to get on the road... Jenna and Mark made a comment about sending snacks with us but couldn't find a bag... The next thing we know we are being handed this

I got Jason back! Bad photos! 

We have a tub full of food! Next time we head east we will definitely head to Hotel J & M! 

Day 9!!
We are actually headed home right now. We decided to cut the trip a little short. We are ready to be home. It is bitter sweet. It has been really good for us to be away from home and away from the sadness. Even though the sadness was with us during our trip it was just covered up. I felt sick to my stomach as I laid in bed thinking about going home to an empty house, Ellie isn't going to be there. 
We are healing and life is getting easier but there is a huge void that I can't explain. 

A new school year is starting for me and life will get busy and I hope people don't forget about Ellie because her life seems like such a short moment. It's hard to believe she was here sometimes. 

*please don't copy and paste Ellie's photo. If you want a picture just ask. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 8

I don't have great Internet right now and will try posting more tomorrow. We're in Hershey, PA for the night. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 7...!

Uuf-dah We are feeling the weariness of traveling by car. We left Maine this morning : ( 
Through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, & Connecticut ( about 6 hours).... We spent this afternoon/evening in NYC. Our plan was to see Central Park, Times Square, and then the 9/11 Memorial. After checking into our 5th hotel we left for Central Park. Our first NYC rookie mistake, not looking up good parking before we left!! Palm to forehead. First(!), we waited in traffic for a $13 toll for almost an hour just to get into Manhattan. We then crawled through Manhattan traffic for another hour looking for parking, we were stressed to the max. Finally we found a parking garage that was walking distance to Central Park and Times Square. Second rookie mistake, not reading how parking garage prices can jump by leaving your car there for 2 or more hours... OUCH. They cleverly only display their cheapest rate/shortest stay. 
Central Park is very pretty and makes for some great people watching. Sorry no's a park with trees and grass... Right below sky scrapers. : ) did I paint a nice picture? 
We then walked to Times Square, even better people watching. We took a few pictures as we were walking... Please excuse the poor iPhone quality...

After dinner at Guy Fieri's, Guy's American kitchen and bar we made our way back to our car. 
Then drove about 20 minutes to 9/11 Memorial... 3rd rookie mistake, go during tour hours. We drove by a fenced in area because it is still under construction and could see nothing. Maybe if we had been more adventurous and drove a bit more we could have seen something but it was after 9pm and we were exhausted and tired of the car. So we drove another 25 minutes to our hotel. 

Tomorrow we are off to Hershey, PA to spend some time with 2 fabulous people. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 6!

Maine is beautiful! We will definitely come back again. 
We have spent quite a bit of time in Freeport which is less than 30 min from Portland. Freeport is home to LL Bean and has many outlet stores. We spent the morning and afternoon shopping and eating lunch in Freeport, our credit cards may be smoking. 
Later in the afternoon we went and put on our fancy clothes to head downtown Portland to have a date night. We took a 90 min lighthouse cruise through the Casco Bay/ocean at 4:30pm. 

Our big tour boat did a full turn around in this little canal... Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the full boat. 

Portland Head light is in Cape Elizabeth, the wealthiest town in Maine. 

This ship drilled for crude oil and was then sent through a 236 mile pipeline to Canada. 

"Half Rock" - do you see the seals on the right side, lying on the rock? And you can see one swimming. 
We had dinner at DiMillo's, which is a floating restaurant that used to be a working ferry. 

We found ice cream at Captain Sam's on Commercial Dr. YUM! I realized I needed to start saying restaurant names so we can remember for next time. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 5!

First full day in Maine was fabulous! 
Lazy morning at our hotel and then we headed to Wolfe's neck state park. It was about a 15 min drive from our hotel. We chose the longest hiking trail which was a 1.8 mile loop with some steep and uneven terrain. 
Over looking the Atlantic Ocean. 

We saw a lot of these bright red orange mushrooms, against all of the dirt and green leaves these guys stuck out like a sore thumb. We assumed the bright color meant do not touch.

It took us about 2 hours to finish the hike. 

Later in the afternoon we went to check out a local lighthouse. It was at the end of a string of islands. 

You can't see Portland on the map but we drove around the coast following rt 1 and then 24 south through Harpswell, Orrs Island and then drove all the way to the end of Bailey Island. 

Once we got to the end of the road there was a gift shop appropriately called "Lands End". We stood on some rocks looking for the lighthouse and realized the lighthouse is so far off of the coast we could barely make it out... Oops, probably should have looked more into it before we drove 45 min. We learned it is best seen by boat or chartered plane. So we enjoyed the view for a little bit and then went and did some shopping in Lands Ends. 

I found a sweatshirt and wanted to try it on, I asked Jason to take a picture so I could see it on since there weren't any mirrors. So I know my face didn't matter in the picture but a camera was pointed my way so of course I smiled... Here are the lovely photos my sweet husband took... 

It's hard to notice the sweatshirt when you look like an eager puppy or in the middle of a sneeze. 

And we couldn't leave Lands End without some saltwater taffy, YUM! 

Here are a few photos from the scenic drive home/hotel...

We had dinner at a local place and then walked around a couple blocks checking out the shops. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 4!

Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Maine.

We left Jason's youth pastors in MA a little before 11 and were in Boston by 12:30. We walked around a couple blocks and then wandered through the Wharf. We had lunch at a hole in the wall sandwich shop and then drove aimlessly around Boston's financial district and then around Beacon Hill's residential area. So pretty!

Sorry, I am not skilled at taking drive-by photos. 
We then battled Boston's crazy drivers out of Boston. 

We crossed into New Hampshire at 2:40 and by 2:53....
I would have missed the Maine state line if I hadn't been looking at the map to know how close it was. And still Jason had to warn me how quickly it was coming. 

We are spending 2 nights in Portland for sure, possibly a third...that's the fun of this trip, we don't have to be anywhere at a specific date or time. 

Jason had his first taste of Maine lobster tonight. Granted it was in a lobster roll so not straight lobster but he said it was good. I fell in love with L.L. Bean's home department store, grabbed a couple of their catalogs to re-decorate my house look at in the car. 

Tomorrow we want to explore Wolfe's Neck wood state park in Freeport. I am hoping to make time to wander around the outlet stores that are just a few minutes away from our hotel. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 3!

We left Niagara Falls around 10:30am headed for Springfield, MA. We had plans to visit Jason's youth pastor from high school. 

Today was a lot of driving, had pretty much the whole span of NY to cross and then a part of MA. 

We crossed the border around 4:30pm. We got to Springfield around 5:30. Jason's youth pastor and family invited us into their home for dinner and to spend the night.

Tomorrow we plan to spend some time in  Boston and then head to Portland, ME. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 2!

We were on our way out of Cleveland by 11am. Hit Pennsylvania around 12:30, I  missed the state welcome sign because I was doing something really important...Facebook-ing : / my bad. hopefully I can get the picture somehow later on. 

I got a really bad PA sign as we were leaving and entering NY...

We made reservations for a hotel in Niagra Falls, NY this morning. 

NY! @ 1pm
Sorry, not a great photo. 
About an hour and a half to Niagra Falls from the border. 

Driving to our NY hotel...
Yay for traffic...
As we were driving along we could see Canada across the Niagara River which flows into Lake Erie. 

We got to our hotel and Jason was searching for coffee and this is what his phone location was...
Apparently our hotel is in the river.  We are right on the river...

Niagara Falls was definitely worth the stop. We walked all through the state park on Goat Island and decided to try the Cave of the Winds. 
Above is looking over the falls and into Canada's skyline. 

Cave of the Winds is down below, all of the decking on the left side of the photo. 

We took an elevator down 15 stories. 

We followed the decks to the Hurricane Deck... you can't really pull your camera out up there though. 

Tomorrow we are headed to Massachusetts.