Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Momma's Fishing Story

Apparently you are not a good fisherman, if you don't tell tall tales.  So, in light of being informed that I needed to share, I'm sharing my fishing story.  Zack has a really nice boat, and he's been deep sea fishing for about the last decade.  He's taken most of the family out several times.  The guys have gone a few times.  Heather is great at hunting and fishing, and she's been a few times.  Joan Ellen also went when they took out some of the nieces.  I however, had never been fishing with Zack and Amanda.

Now, I don't swim all that well, and though I enjoy fishing, I wasn't real excited about being that far way from land.  I went along solely, because Gary wanted to go and I wanted to spend our anniversary together.  I must have lucked out because that morning when we left the water was as smooth as a mirror, and we had a fast and easy ride out.  I was amazed at just how blue the water was out there.  Growing up my favorite color in the big crayon box was cerulean blue, and that's EXACTLY what the water looked like.

Anyway, we caught several fish, that weren't any good so we threw them back.  The most fun was when the Mahi Mahi started swimming around the boat.  The first time they came by we couldn't get them to bite.  Mister said they have such good eyesight, that they can see the hook, if you don't have it pretty well hidden.  They are beautiful fish.  One came right up and bumped the foot I had trailing in the water as I was trying to keep cool.  They came by later though and must have been starving to death, because all of a sudden they were biting anything and everything.  One of the ones I caught I accidently dropped the line before I got it baited again.  No joke.  At one point we had about four flopping around in the boat.  And oh my goodness those fish are fighters.  They will beat themselves to death in the boat, tearing their lips off, bleeding everywhere.  Amanda got slapped upside the head by one.  We lost a few before we could get them in the boat, they flail to the point that they work themselves off the hook while they are in the air before you even get them in the boat.

However, what we were really out to catch was grouper.  After the Mahi Mahi got bored (or in my opinion after we caught all the ones who were hungry), I dropped my line all the way down to the bottom.  Now, all I had on there was about a half eaten sardine, from the Mahi Mahi.  I thought I felt a tap, but nothing followed it, so after a minute I started reeling it in.  I figured what ever it was stole the last little bit of bait I had on there.  But all of a sudden, the line went really tight, and I couldn't get the end up in the air, and something was pulling more line out.  When I couldn't get it up, Amanda came over, but she wasn't having any luck either.  We decided that I must have a grouper and that it had gone in it's hole, but that the line was going out because we were drifting.  Zack backed the boat up to where we were before, and Mister took the pole from me to try to get where we could work him out of his hole.  Meanwhile, Amanda had been trying to explain to me how to reel and work him up.  The water was about 90 feet deep there, and it was going to take some work.  I didn't understand what in the world she wanted me to do.  She was making no sense whatsoever, but when Zack got the boat where he wanted it Mister was able to back that fish out of there, and then I could see what Amanda had meant.  After a minute he gave me the pole back, and I started pulling the pole up as high as I could get it and then reeling like a maniac as I lowered it.  I was bracing it against my leg and my arms were killing me, because I have no arm muscles at all. haha.  Then Zack found a belt thing, that I could brace the pole with.  When I finally got it up close enough to see it I couldn't believe how big it was.  Then I'm sure I was entertaining trying to get it into the boat.  I have no balance at all on the water, I really had no balance trying to get this massive fish swung up into the boat.  I was falling all over the place.  But we finally got that thing in there.  It was 26 inches long.  Long enough to keep, and I have no idea how heavy it was, but I couldn't have held it up much longer than it took them to snap the picture.  It was crazy.

I caught another couple of little ones, not big enough to keep.  Gary ended up catching a gar a little later.  Dad caught the most, as he easily caught half the Mahi Mahi.  I caught the biggest.  And as Gary said, he caught the most trash. haha.  We had a good time.  The only down side was being insanely hot with no breeze at all.  Not sure if I do or don't want to go again.  30 miles from land over 90 foot of water.  That's a long way, away if anything goes wrong.  But we had good company, and I did have a good time.  It was a memorable anniversary, and it was great of Zack and Amanda to take us out.

Monday, July 25, 2016

1 Year

It's depressing to think of the difference a year makes.  A long and lonely year.  A year ago this coming Saturday, for the first and last time Gary was able to feel Abigail move.  It's the last time that I am certain I felt her move.  We would find out that we lost her 24 days later.  She died sometime between then and the next 10 days.  It's just awful.  I've not had a real good go of it this past weekend.  I know that it's impossible but I'm angry with the doctors and I want her back.  It's so infuriating that so many people screwed up, and it didn't cost them anything, but it cost us our daughter.  I know it does no good to dwell on it, but the absolute injustice of it, is driving me mad.

Last Friday night, though as I drifted off to sleep I had a dream, that jolted me awake.  I laid there in tears not sure if I was glad I had the dream or not.  I saw a baby girl, not quite a year.  She had those really fat baby feet that they have, round with no arch, with squishy toes pressed into a dark wood floor.  She was just starting to walk, with those bouncing wavering steps.  Swaying around from the shoulders up with short, whispy, auburn red hair flying around, straight as a stick and not a bit of it laying down.  I don't know about other people but I don't dream in sound.  I just see very vivid pictures, and strong emotions.  There are times I know there is sound, but I don't actually hear anything.  This was one of those times.  I know she was babbling, and I "heard" mama in a string of other incoherent words.  She was walking to someone, kinda like she was crossing a room from one side of the room to the other, and I was sitting in the corner watching just after she had passed by me.

It was the most vivid dream I've had in a long, long time.  And only the second time, that I woke up feeling like I had dreamed of her.  I was just struck all over again of everything that as her mother I've been robbed of.  Her first birthday is coming up and I don't know what to do.  Gary has already asked off of work, at my insistence.  I'm on several baby loss groups, and I've seen lots of ideas.  They typically visit their grave, do a balloon release, and have cake.  Several light a candle in memory.  Others do something else in particular every year, year after year to celebrate their child's "still birthday" after all they still were here.  A woman in one group just the other day posted a picture at her daughter's stone, with a cupcake sitting on top, celebrating her 19th birthday.  The reality that this is only the first of a lifetime of non-birthdays, is immensely depressing.  Each year that passes will find me older, and her unchanged.  The joy of celebrating our other children's birthdays for them of course is the cake and gifts, but for me it is the amazement of stopping to look through their photos and realizing just how much they have changed in the little moments that at the time had seemed to pass without change.  Abigail will only have birthdays that are and aren't birthdays.

The memories we have will forever be limited to me yelling "I knew it!" while looking at a digital pregnancy test, while Gary was in the shower.  Taking a photo the day after my twin brothers' birthday, while the kids hold signs that I kept insisting they quit trying to sound out the words.  Sitting down at Red Lobster with mine and Gary's parents and watching them open a bag of candy and read the photos to the kids.  A favorite new, green maternity shirt that I wore as often as possible.  A single surprise ultrasound done alone, the first day of June.  A single appointment where we heard her heartbeat, with Britt and Ruth working the doppler while the midwife held Rebecca up on the table by me.  Buying a larger vehicle just for this new baby.  And a last set of naive photos the morning of a truly awful ultrasound.  A day long, strange form of labor that ended with having you to hold for less than 2 hours -  two hours that will have to last a lifetime.  A blur of a funeral.  Ten snapshot memories in place of what should have been a lifetime.  I'm not sure that I'll ever come to terms with it.

I hate child loss.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anna Maria Island 2016

Back at the beginning of the month we took our yearly trip to the Beach with Gary's family.  For almost every year since Britt was born, we have gone down to Anna Maria Island with Gary's parents and siblings, and all our nieces and nephews.  I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from the week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Story about Fishing: When Ruth Caught Her First Fish

I caught my first fish by myself.  It was a baby.  I called it Spotty.  Daddy didn't tell me what the first fish was.  It was super little, so we letted it go.  My second fish was a bluegill.  It was fun catching the bluegill.  It pulled my fishing rod alot, so Daddy helped me a little on it.  It was super strong, but the baby one was kinda weak.  It was so fun catching those two fish last night, but they were both too small to keep.  I named my bluegill Flippy, cause it flipped alot.  And we letted it go because it was too small, but it was fun seeing it.   Britt took pictures of me and Daddy.  It was fun and super exciting.  It wasn't fun to watch Daddy trying to kiss a fish though.  I think it's kinda gross to kiss a fish.  I can't wait to catch another fish.  It will be fun-tastic.   Fishing is fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Ultimate Battle for the Skeleton T-Rex

A long time ago in a far away land, there was these bad guys and good guys that were always fighting over the Skeleton T-Rex.  So there came a day that there was a battle to see who would keep the Skeleton T-Rex.  For three days they all practiced for the battle.  One team was the Alpha, Whispering Death, and a Triceratops controlling the Skeleton T-Rex.  Then came Bad Toothless, which was the real Toothless (black dragon) with a controller on him that was camouflaged in his armor to join the bad guys.  Then the Super Team came.  But the Super Team couldn't do as well, because the Leader had to fight against his dad the Skeleton T-Rex.  They knew they needed help so they got all the Transformers and superheros they could and together they thought they made a team that would be impossible to beat.  Heatwave powered up and used energon on the Skeleton T-Rex, but before he could grab him, he was shot.  Chase shot his lava gun.  But the Skeleton TRex bone wouldn't burn.  He used his super roar, and Chase tumbled back.  Boom.  Captain America rode as fast as he could, jumped off his motorcycle and threw his shield.  At the last minute the Skeleton T-Rex dodged it.  Optimus Prime knew the weakness was to tip over the Skeleton TRex.  He had done it once before.  So, he rolled out, transformed into a robot, and jumped on his head.  He slid over him and down his back, but grabbed his spine, but before he could do anything he was slung off.  Toothless (the red dragon) flew at his head, but couldn't get close.  Optimus Jr went for the Alpha but he was bammed back.  Yoshi rode all over the T-Rex but Skeletor knocked him off the T-Rex before he could do any damage.  Superman crashed into the Skeleton T-Rex, but just bounced off.  So Sideswipe in car mode rode up, but he fell in the secret dungeon.  He was stuck and captured.  Bumblebee flew, but he didn't realize there was a boulder in the cannon, and his wing was knocked clean off.  He knew Britt would have to repair it after the battle.  The Leader, jumped right on the Skeleton T-Rex, and made him go down, but as he fell he smacked the leader, and he was boomed off.  His helmet got stuck in the Skeleton T-Rex's mouth.  He activated the recall on it, and it barely got loose to come back.  Then Optimus jumped at his head, and managed to pull him over.  Sideswipe was crashing out of the dungeon but Optimus caught him and saved him.  He was ok.  But during that time he got back up thanks to the Alpha's help.  So Bucky went right after him, but turns out one of the guys grabbed his glider and jumped on Bucky grabbing his steering wheel, and steering him right into Apatosaurus.  He soared back, mission accomplished.  Iron Man flew in, but Skeletor knocked on of his engines in his leg off and he crashed.  Sea Monster used his super steps to climb up, but he boomed him off with his lazer.  Toothless (the red dragon) and Triceratops crashed together.  Iron Man blasted Triceratops's tail off, killing him.  The Amazing Spider Man, wrapped up the Skeleton T-Rex's claws and feet, so he couldn't move.  Leonardo broke Skeletor's staff, but Skeletor scratched him, and hurt him really bad.  Donatello carried him back to Bucky to bed.  Joey jumped right at Skeleton T-Rex, but he chomped down and the Leader's son was hurt.  It seemed like only the mighty could win.  So the Leader of the super team, Toothless (the red dragon) and Optimus ran at him really angry.  Optimus jumped on the tail and hung on tight.  He was swung up to the head.  Toothless head butted him in the middle, and the Leader Roared with a Super Roar and down he fell.  This time Optimus tied his neck to the ground.  So he was defeated, and they all lived happily ever after.

Made by Britt.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Our 9th Anniversary

7-3-2016, Out at Abigail's Swing.
My Dearest Gary Britt,

The last year has been a year of great difficulty.  A week after I wrote last year's letter we found ourselves again unemployed.  A month and a half after I wrote last year's letter we stood in the Church yard on a sweltering day as I watched you bury our baby.  Nearly four months after I wrote last year's letter, I told you goodbye as you started a new job in South Florida, and I was left to figure out how to manage three kids, grief, and the packing up of our house.  I don't think I exaggerate when I say that it has been hardest year in our lives.

But as miserable as this year has been at times, you have remained the silver lining.  I have watched you once again build a career, without losing your belief in the goodness of others.  That at their core, most folks want to do what is right and work with others.  I have watched you gamble it all on this job, never doubting that some day in 25 or 30 years that you will retire from this company.  Most of all I've seen your patience with me reach a whole new level in this year.  You've dealt with my anger, and my doubts, and my fears.  But most of all you have be a support and comfort in my depression and sadness.  You have never once told me to man up or get over it.  You have never treated me like I am broken, even though I often feel to be beyond repair.

7-4-2016, Sunset at Anna Maria Island.
And so today, because I love you, before our Church Meeting starts tonight, I'm going deep sea fishing with you for our anniversary.  Even though to say that I am apprehensive and that it isn't my idea of a good time, is a serious understatement.  And maybe in this next year we can dream again.

I love you, and thank God for you,
~your dani~

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My letter to Britt

Dear son,

It seems like another year has come and passed. You had some major changes since last year. Some good, some worse, and other just more challenges in life. We are now living back in Florida. The home we are living in now has lots of cool or fun things to do, with the swimming pool and canal in the backyard, and the park not even 100 feet away. There are lots of new fun things to keep us occupied. Now that you are seven we have more expectations of you. You have more responsibilities around the house. I just need you to grow 4 more inches so that you can reach the pedals of the lawn mower. Your chores have matured. Momma is teaching how how to separate the clothes what goes with which in doing the laundry.

You are finishing your third year of homeschooling. As a Momma can attest to there are somethings you have picked up well enough, but there are other things that you still struggle with. I want you to press harder, so you can do more of what you enjoy like science. Or that we can do more board games when you are faster at math and a stronger reader. You are starting to read everything by ourself, though slowly. Your mother is really nervous for your first school evaluation this week. Someone else will be looking at your skills, knowledge and abilities. But I think you will do just fine.

I guess you can officially swim without needing any floaters. But I wouldn't say it is very graceful. You are better than your mother though, and that says something. You rode your first medium sized roller coaster at the Southeast Florida fair. Ruth was all upset that she couldn't go due to the height restriction, but you didn't like it at all. It wasn't the fast speed going down, but the way the cart would spin and twist on its own. Let's just say I got a good laugh out of it. You have also finished your second year of baseball. Somethings you really began to improve on.seemed like at the end you were doing much better at hitting, but you still have a ways to go on your defense. You have also learned how to tie your shoelaces. You caught your very first bass by yourself this year. You are getting better at throwing your rod and reel on your own.

Things we want to do this next year, riding your bike, and work more with your golf clubs you got from Memaw and Mister. I hope to see you improve your fielding and throwing with baseball, and of course be a more accomplished swimmer so that you don't struggle in the deep end as much. It has been good that you have been trying to help with song leading in Church. Hopefully we can work on your leading skills, and teach you to pitch the ones you know well on your own. We are also looking to find a more permanent home to buy. Hopefully you will be able to start staying in your own room at night. Then you can also pick out your own decor, but you need to choose one them not 17. Of course I have to approve the final scheme because I know one thing it is not going to be.

I guess the thing I would like to work with you on this year is manly curtesy. There are lots of rules to being courteous that you should know. You should know to run out and open the door for others, particularly your mother and sisters. Not just to walk threw but to hold it. There are other jobs around the house like handling the trash or scraps. Messy things that might wiggle or crawl around. Things that might be gross. Or things that require a little more lifting that your sisters can't do. These jobs my seem silly. You may think why do I have to do them. But there is a purpose, in order for you to be respectful to others, particularly toward ladies, these jobs will encourage you to do the hard stuff. I hope you will learn that nothing is beneath you, and that you can do anything. It is important to be courteous and kind because it is honorable.

It seems like every year more things change than stay the same, we will see what new things will come along next. We look forward to the next year of more homeschool and exploring South Florida. And we like you, your mother might like you a little more than me. Your mother is now glaring at me. I love you.