Trials and Tribulations

Dirk’s trial starts on Monday. I guess I should say Dirk’s killer’s trial starts on Monday, but we all know it as Dirk’s trial – and I think it’s difficult for many of us to say the man’s name.

This week has definitely been a taxing one… sure, I’ve had my moments of laughter and jokes with family and friends, but in between smiles I’ve been weighed down by the thought of this trial. Adam and I have been bickering like idiots, surely just to avoid talking about something more difficult than “whydidn’tyouputyourdishes inthedishwasheryoujerk?”. A “good night’s rest” has been a lofty goal these days, and to be honest we’ve been catching some unnecessary grief from people about the fact that we’re not going to be here for the trial.

WHAT? Jenny and Adam aren’t even attending their DAD’s murder trial? No, no we are not. Adam and I will be attending the very beautiful, very fun wedding of two of our closest friends in Honolulu, Hawaii – and we fully believe that that is exactly where Dirk would want us to be. Because if he were alive, he would 100% be going with us. We believe that in no way would Dirk condone the cancellation of this trip in order for us to attend an emotional, gut-wrenching, frustrating trial – especially since nothing is changing. No matter the outcome of this trial, Dirk will still be gone and we will still be working hard to stitch together our broken hearts.

We love Dirk. We miss Dirk. We also think that God had a hand in the scheduling of this trial – we didn’t get the notice until after we had purchased Hawaii tickets, and wouldn’t you agree that perhaps this is NOT a coincidence? Perhaps… we just weren’t meant to be there.

In any case… we appreciate the love and support you all have shown in the last year and a half. If anyone would like to attend the trial, you should be able to find information at the Alaska Court View webpage. The case number to search is 3PA-10-02936CR, and the defendant’s name is Samuel E Clark. The latest information I have is that jury selection will begin on Monday and probably last through Tuesday, and as soon as the jury is chosen the trial will begin (so possibly as early as Wednesday, May 15). Check the website for more updated information, and I’ll try to update with what I find out on Dirk’s memorial facebook page.

Now… go enjoy your weekend. Hug your kids, call your parents, and be free with your “I love yous”.

 

‘Tis The Season

Every year since I’ve been without my mom during the holidays (since 2005), decorating my house has been rough – emotionally. I always cry while I hang family ornaments on my tree, and listening to Christmas music just tugs at my heartstrings. On top of that, Adam gets all grinchy during Christmas because it’s a fairly stressful time for him at work, so I always end up decorating BY MYSELF. How fun.

This year, however, Adam offered to help.

HOLD. THE. PHONE. What?

Yep… SuperHubs actually made time just to help Ellie and I decorate our Christmas tree. –pause for collective “awwwwwww”– I was ridiculously happy to spend an evening at home with just my family – Mommy, Daddy, Ellie & Tali. Gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it. :)

A few gems from that evening:

Adam: Ohp! Gotta do an egg.

Me: What? An egg?

Adam: Duh, I do it every year.

Me: You’ve NEVER done “an egg” – what does that even mean?

Adam: It means cool. Doesn’t it look cool?

Me: I’ve never even heard of this, EVER.

Adam: I do this every year. Call my brother.

—I call Alex–

Me: Hey Bro! Did you guys decorate your tree yet?

Alex: No not yet.

Me: Oh, well are you gonna do an egg this year?

Alex: WTF does that mean?

Me: WINNER.

Also, by the way, the egg IS cool. Adam hollowed out an egg from the fridge and then put a hole in it and attached it to a light on the tree. It IS cool… I’ve just never ever seen him do it before. Being that this is the FIRST YEAR EVER that he’s helped decorate the tree, I don’t see how he could have done this “every year, duh.”

Okay, in the spirit of equality… here is one where I’M the loser, lol:

Adam: Do we have to hang all of these bells? There’s too many bells on this tree. Isn’t there only supposed to be one? Like, every time a bell rings an angel gets it’s wings?

Me: This isn’t Peter Pan, ‘tard.

Adam: Um, it’s from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, ‘tard.

Me: Huh. What was Peter Pan then?

Adam: HAVE SOME MORE WINE.

Yeeeeaaaaaah. I *may* have been drinking.

How do you measure a year?

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,

How do you measure, measure a year?

In our household, we’ve measured the last year in smiles, snuggles, laughs, hugs, and kisses. We’ve also measured in diapers, pacifiers, teeth, and steps.

And love. Most of all, we measure in love.

Our hearts have quadrupled in size, and are still bursting with the love we have for our daugher. Every single day, Adam and I look at eachother and just say “I can’t believe it.”

It still seems like yesterday that I raced down the stairs to shove my positive pee stick in Adam’s face. And it really hasn’t been a year since I layed in my hospital bed and gazed into my baby girl’s bright eyes for the first time, HAS IT??

Oh… I guess it has. As is evidenced by the fact that she is now eating like a trucker, running from one end of the house to the other, and asking for the dog by name.

I keep waiting for that frazzled, harried, burnt-out feeling that is the stigma of all new moms… but it hasn’t come. I haven’t felt frustrated, angry, or resentful for one second – and you know, I thought those feelings might come with the territory. Even on the few days that she was so sick that I had to stay home from work and do nothing but hold her for 12 hours straight… I’ve never felt anything but grateful. And proud. And incredibly blessed.

She has changed me in ways that only a baby can manage – I am more patient, less judgemental, less rushed, much less dramatic, sillier, and to be quite honest… prettier. Even though I see darker circles under my eyes and more “cushion” on my frame when I glance in the mirror – I also see a mother, and that alone makes me feel more beautiful than I ever have.

Happy 1st Birthday to my beautiful Ellie Lynn, who forever changed my life the moment I knew of her existence. She is my dream come true, my true calling – my firstborn child. She transformed me from a Superwife into a Supermom.

She has grown so much in the past year… and so have I.

XOXO

Remembering

One year ago today,  I lost someone.

One year ago today, I was a full 9 months pregnant, sitting in my rocking recliner and knitting a hat when Adam burst into the room with the worst news I have ever received.

One year ago today, our world turned upside down.

I still remember all of the phone calls I made that night – everyone answered with an excited “IS IT TIME TO HAVE A BABY?” – and I could barely squeak out an answer. “No. Someone shot Dirk. Please come over now.”

I still remember everyone sneaking glances at my giant belly, no doubt wondering if I was going to go into labor any second due to the stress.

I didn’t cry until three hours later, in my unlit kitchen with Adam’s mom’s arms wrapped tightly around me. I had walked around the corner for a glass of water, and ended up crumpling into a fit of sobs.

I didn’t sleep for three days. While grieving my own loss, I was also so concerned about my husband that all I could do in the middle of the night was listen to him breathe – I could tell the exact moment he fell asleep, because his breathing would change.

The next day we spent hours waiting for updates from the court, the troopers, anyone who could give us any information that was different from the information we got an hour before. To be honest, none of it mattered – it still doesn’t. It was just something to do, something to think about. Sure, the story unfolded a little more each day, but the man who shot Dirk went to jail that night, and his trial still hasn’t started.

The night after it happened, a big group of our closest friends stayed the night. We kept eachother laughing and crying with funny (albeit sometimes morbid) Dirk stories (“What? They’re donating his EYES to someone? Are they also going to give that person his 786 pairs of Costco reading glasses??”). We all slept in our living room, draped over couches and chairs and sprawled out on the floor – no one wanted to be alone.

Three days after it happened, I went into labor. I had a baby girl at 9:43pm. I thought of Dirk. When everyone left and it was just Ellie and I in our little hospital room, I cried and told her about her Grandpa.

When we got home, I sat at my computer with Ellie on the Boppy pillow, and I cried and breastfed while writing Dirk’s obituary. I went through three boxes of Kleenex while putting together the funeral program, scanning in old photographs and creating a picture slideshow for the 400+ people who would show up to remember Dirk.

Adam’s mom went out and bought us a brand new chest freezer, because so many people brought over home-cooked meals. I was mad at her for spending the money, but also I wasn’t.

Our dining room table was blanketed with floral arrangements – and I remember thinking about how it was almost impossible to tell the difference between the “death flowers” and “life flowers” – some people sent one of each, some people sent one or the other, and some people just sent one bunch with a confused card. Unfortunately, Hallmark doesn’t make a card that says,“Hey sorry for your incredibly sudden and unexpected loss but congratulations on your brand new baby.”

Two weeks after it happened, there was a funeral in Anchorage. I sat in the front row with my husband. I told him he didn’t have to get up in front of everyone if he didn’t want to (because he didn’t want to), but his Grandpa called him up onto the stage anyway. I stayed behind in my seat, but after Adam said two words in a lost, broken voice, I leapt up and sprinted onto the stage to hold his hand while he shed tears in front of 400 people. Because I was still recovering from my labor, blood leaked down my leg the entire time I stood on stage, and I silently praised myself for wearing black pants. I positioned myself slightly behind Adam, and I don’t think I breathed the whole time. I wanted so badly to say amazing things about Dirk, but my mouth wouldn’t open.

At the funeral in Talkeetna, when Dirk’s longtime friend and neighbor directed his entire heartwarming speech at Adam, I sobbed audibly and dripped tears onto Ellie’s little head.

People tell you “it gets easier with time.” It doesn’t. It doesn’t at all. One year later, the only thing that is better is my ability not to break down and cry and snot all over people when they ask me how I’m doing. (I still do it in private.) (Often.)

Despite the above paragraph, I won’t leave you with that sorrowful parting thought. Instead, know these things:

One year later, my relationship with my husband is stronger.

One year later, our entire family (his and mine - ours) has a closer bond.

One year later, we are striving to raise our daughter to be like her kind, wonderful grandfather.

One year later, we know Dirk is happy. He is with God, he is right where he wants to be, and he laughs at Ellie right along with us every single day.

 

One year later, we are okay.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Looks like I’ll be eating a lot of chicken dinners over the next four months in order to become a “winner winner”!

Adam and I decided last weekend that we’re going to have a full-on competition to see who can get the hottest for our trip to Hawaii in February. While pigging out on churros and guacamole and Tony Roma’s ribs in California, we set our parameters:

  • Whoever loses the highest percentage of body weight by the day we leave wins.
  • Winner gets $500 to spend however they’d like – no whining or bitching from the loser (this means that when I win I can spend $500 on makeup or shoes without having to explain myself – YESSSSSSSS)
  • No crazy unhealthy fasting (*sigh*); nutritious foods and old-fashioned excercise only
  • Weigh-ins will be every Monday, and we’re keeping a log posted on the fridge

We did the math -  it’s fortunate (and fair) that we both are wanting to lose about the same percentage of weight. I’ll omit Adam’s numbers for the time being, because I didn’t ask his permission if I could publish his weight on the internet… but here are mine:

  • 10/10 Starting Weight: 147 (ohgodpleasedon’tjudgemeeventhoughIgavebirthlikeayearago)
  • 2/9 Goal Weight: 122
  • Goals: -25lbs, -17%

So… it’s settled. I am going to be so effing hot in 4 months it’s ridiculous. I’ve spent the entire last 4 days just fantasizing about myself. Really. Fantasizing about being so hot that I have to fan myself with the 500 one-dollar bills I’m going to make Adam give me. Also, the benefit here is that Adam is going to be SMOKIN’ hot as well… he’ll just be a smokin’ hot loser (although is he really “losing” if he gets to parade around Maui with a gorgeously thin and fit bikini-clad trophy wife??).

WISH ME LUCK!! (I’m already at 145)

Goal Me (pic from my wedding day)

Parents Magazine: No-No!

While browsing through the most recent issue of Parents magazine, I came across this little “gem” of advice:

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Now, I may not be in the majority with this thought, but shouldn’t parenting magazines be encouraging families to get outside and be active? According to the CDC website, obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States – which is triple the rate from just one generation ago. About one-third (33.8%) of US adults are obese – here in Alaska the rate of obesity is 24.5% (Alabama came in at the top of the chart with 32.2%; Colorado is the lowest with 21.0%). Listen, folks, the CDC states it plain and simple – obesity is common, serious and costly.

Being that this country has such a problem with inactivity and unhealthy eating habits, is telling people to enjoy the fall season through their windows while watching TV really such a smart tip? My first thought upon seeing this advice was to give Parents magazine a stern “NO-NO”!

Don’t get me wrong, I love new episodes of Modern Family and Glee… But I feel an appropriate amount of “lazy guilt” while I’m watching them. It really startled me to see a popular magazine with such a wide reach actually encouraging me to sit on my butt and stare at the boob tube instead of doing something active outside with my family.

Parents (and non-parents)…Where do you stand here? Do your thoughts echo mine, or do you think it’s refreshing to see a magazine give permission to be a little lazy in our crazy lives?