We just made a promise to jump in the water on the first of every month. If we could handle 1/1/2014 we might be able to handle the rest (as long as we steer clear of the polar vortex).
Ry was the smartest out of the 4 of us and said no way to jumping in, she did get some good laughs.

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Did you know you can’t really breathe when you put your head under water and come back up? Your body is like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?” and you are like “TRYING TO BE AWESOME!” and its like “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE FROM THIS. YOUR LUNGS ARE NOW FROZEN IDIOT.” Henry also rode on my back in and told me to do a cannonball and then insisted we go back in right away. I said no, Ry backed me up.
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Yes, he is wearing a pearl necklace and a speedo. Why dont you join us? Pearls and speedos optional.


There is a certain feeling you get as a parent when you are told that your child is sick. It is beyond the empathy you feel when your little baby has a runny nose (yes, I called the doctor like 42 times when Henry first had a cold). There is this feeling that you did something to cause it, that you took your prenatal vitamin at the wrong time of day, that you rode a snowmobile before you knew you were 1 week pregnant (yes I asked the endocrinologist if that caused it), that you weren’t supposed to have a child… but then you look at their face and realize that, yes, this child of mine was 100% supposed to exist as a future awesome adult. The world would not be the same without them. I moved through so many emotions since Henry was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, it was like losing your child while he is still there, it is utterly confusing and for the most part, only another parent that has faced this can feel the same way that you do.

There is that horrible nagging in the back of your mind that he could die (he won’t), that terrible feeling Henry gets that his life is different, that people will treat him differently and for the most part we hope they will (in a good way).

We were floating after diagnosis, that dream where you know you are going to fall? You wake up before you hit the ground? Except, I felt like I was hitting the ground every other day and I couldn’t wake up. And then after a few weeks, I woke up before the fall, that anxious feeling of failure started to dwindle, I repeated in my head “this is a marathon not a sprint”. I took a deep breath when the blood sugar numbers went up, we called the Endocrinologist less, we listened to ourselves more…we learned that when we said “Yeah we got this!” we would jinx ourselves. We slowed down.

Then, a couple of weeks ago while I was at boxing I saw a message from my friend Jennifer Beck Furber through instagram with this picture:

ANGUS-HENRY-DIAGNOSIS


His name was Angus and he was being sent to Children’s Hospital via ambulance because he was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I moved backward, that feeling of floating and falling came back. First, I walked away from my phone and punched the living crap out of the bag in class and afterwards, I got in touch with Maggie (stay tuned for her super cute new blog design). I suppose that I should just confess right now, that without having actually met this woman I love her, hear that Maggie? Super love this lady.

(these videos might take awhile but they are well worth it)

I stopped by Henry’s school to give him insulin with his lunch and I told him about Angus. I told him that Angus and his Mama were scared, I told him that Angus was so scared to have his blood sugar checked and do you know what he did? This:
Part 1

Part 2


Apparently it helped. Angus let the nurses check him without freaking out, he even asked Maggie to let Henry know!

Henry was so excited for him:

Aside from my flurry of messages to Maggie about what scale to get, which lancet hurts the least, what works when he has a low and needs a fast sugar boost, Henry had something important to share with Angus:

And Angus took notice:

And then he asked him for a playdate with promises of blood:


What has really struck a chord with me here, is that Henry was so curious about Angus, his face would light up with joy when I told him that Angus had let someone check his blood sugar, or that he was getting out of the hospital. His little reassurances for Angus meant so much to all of us. It’s my hope that we will meet up one day and that Henry and Angus will have each other as a friend to talk to.

Oh and Happy New Year!

Maggie have that baby already, we need to have a drink.


My little sister got married in October. It was pretty fun, I helped her with the visuals and pretty much bossed her around which she was fine with. We pretty much had a disco picnic vibe going on.

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I had to make a speech, the idea was pretty traumatic, luckily the best man has equally bad social skills. So, armed with cocktails and deep breathing we did it. I dare say that we could basically be public speakers now, incredibly drunk public speakers.

I thought I would share the speech. She married one of my old friends from highschool, they started dating a couple of years ago which was funny, sweet and random. They got married in Rockport at this old Golf Club that is seriously haunted. I was all alone and things were flying off the walls and when I arranged the chairs, they would move ever so slightly back to where they were before. When the DJ showed up way too late, I decided he was a murderer and almost didn’t let him in to set up. He showed me some equipment, I decided that was a lot of effort to pretend to be a red-headed hipster DJ in the middle of the night at a haunted Golf Club so I eventually let him in, I ran out the door to my car quickly after he set up and the next day he told me about how haunted it was while he was there, he too ran like crazy out of there. I was at a donut shop the next morning and I told the boy at the counter where the wedding was and where I was from and the first thing he said was “OH MY GAWD THAT PLACE IS WICKED FRICKIN’ HAUNTED!!!!!” then “You live in Friday Hahbah? My favorite frickin’ movie was filmed there, Practical Magic!!” Hilarious.

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His favorite movie. Like in the world. But, hot donuts. So good. I secret ate one before I got back to the hotel. Sorry kids. We do what we have to do.
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The flowers were so lovely and designed by ForĂȘt seriously amazing and totally get it.
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How pretty does my sister look?
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Then, someone named Ry broke her nose. Right after the ceremony. Bloody and bruised, not a spot on her dress FYI she seriously partied. All. Night. Long.

If you want to see my speech that I made without peeing my pants or barfing, read more…

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I’ve been working like crazy but in the meantime I decided to play catch up with my awesome friends Alma and Melanie from Caravan Shoppe and try and post a pattern a day and post it on instagram with the tag #365patterns. Sometimes it’s hard, especially since I am neck deep in a project that already has be producing several patterns a day for a client…but its fun.



photo by Sara Parsons.

It’s taken me awhile to form the words, and really truly believe them. I’ve moved swiftly between shock, anger, a deep guttural cries when I find myself alone and away from my other people. Sometimes it takes everything I have (and some things that I didnt know I had) to hold it together when I have to inform people. That I have to tell them that my lovely hilarious 5 year old boy has Type 1 diabetes. It takes everything inside of you to accept the fact that your child has a part of his body that will soon stop working, and is now quickly failing him. There is no amount of wishing that you could just take this sickness away from him and give it to yourself, it’s useless and exhausting but you can’t stop.

You wake up at the slightest sound, you wake up when it’s too quiet. You have alarms set so that you can check his blood every 4 hours, you start to wake up before them. You feel anxiety when you are sent home from the hospital with boxes of needles, syringes. You feel like its this elaborate game of doctor that kids play. You feel booted out of the door, pretending that you are a nurse drawing up all his medicine. Your anxiety mounts over perfect teeny tiny .5 units. You sound like you know what you are talking about. You sort of do, but it doesnt feel real. Its like talking about it in a scientific way removes the tears, it becomes concrete and manageable, but its not.

You let him feel the rage, the anger that he has to take these things. That every bite on his plate
counts. You tell him through your own tears that you hate it too, that it is the worst, that we wish it would go away, that we are sorry. That we will take care of him. We will teach him how to take care of himself when he wants to learn.

You are told that it will be okay. You are told that you can manage it. That you can stay on top of it. But then you have this little red box that you use when you cant wake them up. They send you these every month. Almost a reminder that yes, it will get that bad, you will need more than one of these.

Sometimes you think that you are getting a handle on it, but then you see all the little needle marks on his arms. The little bruises on his finger tips. Your heart swells at the same time its crushed when he says “You did a good job! It didnt even hurt.” But you see that tiny little speck of blood and realize that you had to do that. Hurting him and helping him at the same time. Its just back and forth. After having to pin his little arm down in the first few weeks, him screaming in your ear, yelling no….2 weeks later he is setting up the blood glucose reader for you, handing over his tiny finger for you to poke without fighting you. There is a combination of pride that your boy is so brave and sadness that he has realized that he has no choice. That this is it. This is his life. And it’s yours.

You are surprised by the people who actually reach out, and to the ones you expected to reach out and didnt say a word, you remove them from your heart. You realize that you dont have room for them anymore.

I’ve had people I dont even know send us messages, offer us amazing advice and it has made me love my husband even more and my children. Henry’s sister Rylie has been hit hard by this. For the first two weeks she was at the ready waiting for band aids for Henry. When his eyes filled with tears, her eyes filled with tears for him. She understood that we werent trying to hurt him, she understood that we were making him better. The compassion shown from his little friends at school has been sweet yet profound.

It will get better, then it will get worse. My heart will heal, it will break again.




This morning as I sat on the edge of my bed, pulling on my socks, I noticed the black dress that I had packed for what I thought might be a funeral had fallen off it’s hanger and lay in a rumpled pile on the floor of the closet. I thought to myself, how grim it was that I had packed that on the eve of meeting my birth father and family for the first time. A little later in the morning, as I walked with my son Henry towards the steps of his preschool he said, in a voice so small and calm, “Mama, will I live forever?” and I bent over and touched his little face and told him, “No, if everyone lived forever then life wouldnt be important. That’s why we have to love our life and take care of ourselves and others always.” And a new sad look that I hadnt ever seen from him before washed over his face, then a little choked up, he said “But I just want to live forever. Can you please hold my hand so I dont get killed?” And he squeezed my hand tightly and I squeezed back.

As I drove away from him and towards the rest of my day, I thought of that night, two weeks ago, driving from Dayton to Cincinnati at 12 am, towards him, towards them…..this whole group of people who had thought of me most of my life and who I had just only discovered a few months ago. The flight to Ohio had seemed eternal, there were all these feelings that I couldnt quite verbalize, they were so rife with expired emotions, new ones and questions that even in my mind, I couldnt form one cohesive thought about. I had no idea how I felt other than scared. As the car pushed on through that early morning towards him, towards them, all of the time and space that had been between us my entire life was flying behind me so fast like shiny ribbon falling quickly off a spool and into another rumpled pile on the floor.

There are things I am thankful right now. That I didnt have to use that dress the first time I met him. That when I met my siblings that I loved them right away as a sister would and that they loved me back. I am thankful that I was able to talk to him so many times before he ended up in the hospital, that I felt like I was starting to know him, or even that I did feel like I already knew him all along. I am thankful that I can be present and be their big sister as they go through a difficult time starting with that phone call that I had to make to tell them, that their father, that our father had just died this afternoon. Thank you, Edward Hawkins for being my first father. Thank you, Edward Hawkins for my sisters and brothers. Thank you. I love you, and I always have.

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This is Rylie’s first time selling cookies! Also, thats her brother whispering in the background! Seriously email me! She will call you this weekend to take your order!

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I wrote this note to the designer Helen Ficalora last night.

Hi,

I have been a long time fan of your charms and felt very personally connected to my necklace. When I first met my husband, on our first Valentine’s day he gave me one of your necklaces with our initials S and T on it. I was so floored and have never been a romantic. When I had our first child, he gave me an H for Henry. Then when I found an old box of skeleton keys from my mother who had just passed away I had one gold plated and added it to the chain. When we adopted our foster daughter my husband bought me a heart, then my sister gave me an R for my newly adopted daughter’s name, Rylie. Later I bought a best friend necklace as a joke for one of my best friends and wore the other half with it all.

This necklace was a great source of confidence for me. I wore it when I was nervous, when I was happy, at important events. I really feel like it made me brave in meetings as I built my own little design and branding company. I basically wore it almost every day and when I didnt, kept it hanging by itself on an old french cartoon framed that had been my grandfather’s.

I know that you must have loads of people that feel very connected to your work but I wanted to let you know that today, when I lost it somewhere on the streets of Boston I was beside myself. My husband was not at all offended when I said “that was more important than my wedding ring because its our whole life together.” I’ve been crying a lot today over it.

But I wanted to thank you for creating such a wonderful line of products that meant so much to me for the past 6 years. I wont get over it easily. Even though I will never be reunited with it (or at least I doubt it) I had to thank the creator.

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/laf/3492336836.html

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Things are a little bananas around here. Ill be posting more soon. In the meantime, here are some sweet pictures I set up with my insanely talented friend Sara Parsons.

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The last time I saw my birth father I was nearly four. My dress, it was light pink and itchy, my white tights neatly tucked into some shiny black shoes I didnt remember seeing before. I walked down a long hallway, I remember the clicks of my heels as I approached a room. There in the middle of what seemed to be a wide open space sat my father. A box in his hand, and bandages on his face. Looking back I cant exactly recall why he was in the hospital but I knew that he would be okay. I remember his voice, his height, I remembered him. He handed me a box of Brach’s cinnamon discs when I left.

Growing up he was a mystery to me, I was raised by my adoptive father Mike. Every couple of months, I would be hit with this pang of sadness, that I didnt know where he was, that I didnt know if he was alive or worse, I didnt think that he remembered me or wanted me at all. When I was 13, my father Mike hired a private detective to try and find him, and we thought that we did. I called the number and my personal memory of the phone call was that he “didn’t want to talk to me” or that “he wasnt there” and just a click.

Heartbroken, I moved on and tried not to think about him very much at all. There were various adults from my past that would mention things about him, or that they ran into one of his relatives (in Ohio) and I would ask them for more information and they would brush me off or just refuse to share what they knew. It was frustrating how people thought that they were protecting me but really it just hurt. At one point, someone told me that it was likely that he wasnt alive anymore. I went with that. It was almost easier to detach.


After my mother died I really felt like some sort of biological orphan. Thinking that there were just two people in the world, my half sister and my son that were really truly related to me. And while I know that biology isnt everything (hello amazing Rylie), it was devastating. There wasnt a week that went by that I didnt rattle ideas around in my brain about if he was still alive, where was he but more importantly if he was alive, did he want to talk to me or was it just all together too painful?
I hired someone again to try and find out if I had any relatives on that side of the family just so I could even talk to someone about him, to see if I could learn anything about that side of my family. The agency was a total rip off but they did send me an email that was hilarious.
“We found your father. He is 35 years old and living in Ohio…”
35.
Years.
Old.
Confused I wrote back a snappy email explaining that he would be an awfully young father to me and maybe they had the wrong person and they wrote back telling me that, he was in fact my brother and that my father was alive and he had another son who was three years younger than me too.

That was it. There was an address that I couldnt do much with. I just started searching the names of my brothers online over and over until I came up with a twitter account with the same name. When I went to the page, I clicked on the user picture and I swear my heart stopped when I saw my something so similar to my fathers face staring back at me. I sat there for several minutes just staring at this picture thinking that I just had to be insane. This could not possibly be my brother. So I tweeted at him. Hah. It sounds so ridiculous but I did. And I just sat there and waited and nothing happened. I looked at his account and saw that he wasnt really on it all that much. A day or so later I sent another one “Are you ever on twitter?” to which he replies, 2 days later kinda treating me like I am way sketchy, “Periodically….” I asked him to send me a direct message, he insists that he doesnt know how to. I look at my husband and say “he can spell periodically he has to know how to direct message!” He doesnt know how to direct message. I stare at the screen for about an hour and shuffle off to bed.

I wait. Then I figure out how to find him on facebook, he doesnt reply (I am sounding way insane I know) but Im 100% convinced at this point that he is my brother and its the first time in over 25 years that I have gotten this close to my father. I find name on his friends list that rings a bell, its my fathers sister and I remember the name perfectly. So I send her an email asking if she might know someone by my fathers name and introduce myself with my birth name (Nicky). Im dropping the kids off at school, I quickly look at my phone and very nearly pass the message, its Monday I have a million emails…
“is this you? We’ve been looking for you for YEARS!” I just about pass out. “Your father is alive.”
I cant even breathe.

After a quick and hilarious phone call my birth aunt gives me the phone number for my sister. Sister! I have two sisters AND two brothers. I call her and leave a message. All the while thinking, shes not going to call me back. She is not going to call me back. And she does. And the first few minutes are kinda awkward (I think that I say as much) and then, the brother that I tweeted at is there and he admits that he thought that I was a “webcam girl spammer” so he didnt want to reply to me. I say “what was I supposed to say? Hi I think that I am your sister?” He said “Well yeah.”

I finally ask if my father is there and they tell me that he is on the porch. I ask if it would be okay if I talk to him, or if he even wants to talk to me. They tell me that he has no idea that I am on the phone at all. He is oblivious. They tell me that they are just going to hand the phone to him and not tell him who it is.
“Hello? Hi, this is Nicky (me, Sara).”
“Hey Nicky! How you doin’ baby girl?” His voice, I know this voice. He is so casual I kind of think its weird.
“Um. Im kind of nervous.”
“Nicky?”
“Yes.”
“Nicky? My daughter Nicky?” His voice changes and I just start crying.
“I didnt think that I would ever find you. I looked for you all my life, I never thought that I would find you.” Im just crying.
“Now dont start crying, you found me.” He starts crying. “I thought you were my grand daughter Nicky. I didnt know it was you.”

And we talk.

And he remembers that dress, those tights, that candy he handed me. He remembers the last time he saw me. He tells me that he couldnt find me. That he tried to find me.

I find out after the phone call that my brother named his daughter after me. I feel like the wind is knocked out of me. This explains why my father was so friendly when I first said my name.

And Ive told my sister and brother this week exactly this, that all of my life my heart, it was just a little bit broken. I mean, I was okay and loved and I was managing. But this tiny little part of me just hurt when I thought about my first father and that he didnt love me or that he wasnt alive and I could never ask him any questions. It just hurt. But now it doesnt. In fact, my heart (seriously guys this is so corny) its like huge now. I cant believe I have so much room in it for all of these new people, but I do. I cant get enough of them. Ive talked to my siblings every single day since 11/13/12 and I never want to stop. They are beautiful, they are so smart and super funny. I showed a picture of my niece to Henry and he said “Awwww look, its like a little lady Henry.” They look so much alike. I wake up in the middle of the night just startled, just remembering that I have them now. I think about how much I want to see them or when I will get to see them. I wake up in the morning and can barely wait to talk to them again. I feel sad in a way, ripped off that I didnt know them sooner but I know that everything happens for a reason and this was just the right time, that this is all perfectly how it is supposed to be even if its a little messy. And talking to them all is so easy and they have been just so kind. And they just are, there. And they are mine and I am theirs. And I love them and I havent even met them in person but I know them now. Forever.

And yes. I am going to teach my brother how to direct message. Its seriously about time. Get it together dude, seriously.

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