The Weekly Wednesday Photo Essay: Guglielmo's Pizzeria

Guglielmo is Italian for William, incidentally. Since we’ve been busy packing and planning for our upcoming trip to Scotland, we decided Liam could take on some of the regular household duties. Sunday evening he made us pizza for supper. And it was delectable! The chef has agreed to share his kitchen secrets with his internet public.

Guglielmo’s Pizza

Ingredients:

1 BOBOLI pizza crust
pizza sauce (Liam prefers his mommy’s special recipe)
mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese
assorted toppings (mushrooms and pepperoni are the faves in our house)
1 toddler to do the messy work

A discerning chef always tastes the product before passing it on to his patrons. Liam’s not quite sure about the pizza crust, but decides it will probably be all right once topped and cooked.

tasting crust

Next, you must painstakingly spread the sauce over the surface of the pizza crust. See how much fun cooking can be?

spreading sauce

Again, be sure to taste for freshness. What dedication!

tasting sauce

Lest you think Liam has been shirking his duty, we’ve included proof of his inspection of the pizza crust.

proof

Next comes the mozzarella. This is apparently even more fun than spreading the sauce, as you get to see the strands of cheese fall from your fingers, one…by…one…by…one…

cheese

Again, taste to ensure your diners receive only the best quality meal.

tasting cheese

Proper pepperoni placement is vital to the perfect pizza. If you click on this picture, you’ll see Liam is in deep concentration, slightly biting his tongue in concentration. Truly a genius at work.

pepperoni

The mushrooms, while an important part of the finished product, are not palatable to our chef-in-residence in their uncooked state. Note the “eww” look on his face. He strategically placed this one mushroom, then turned the rest of the task over to his faithful assistant.

mushroom

Wait, you almost forgot the parmesan. That’s a very necessary ingredient to Guglielmo’s Pizza! Tsk, tsk.

tsk, tsk!

Shake parmesan liberally. You can never have enough.

parmesan

The finished product.

finished product

He’s splattered with sauce. He’s got crust crumbs in his eyelashes. He must be exhausted, but Chef Guglielmo seems pretty happy with his pizza pie. Well done!

voila

Hope you all have a wonderful week! We leave for Scotland Wednesday afternoon, so no updates for a week or so. Don’t despair. When we return we’ll have enough fodder to keep you coming back for months. Liam on the ferry, in the Highlands, hunting for Nessie on Loch Ness, tossing a caber…

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon

We’ve had a lazy, stay-at-home kind of day. See for yourself. Today’s gratuitous Liam picture features him rocking away in his very own rocking chair, compliments of Gramma B. He likes to sit — and rock — while watching TV or listening for tractors to go by outside. Ahh, the life!

rocking

Liam also made us some fantastic pizza for supper tonight! Watch for photos of his culinary expertise in Wednesday’s photo essay!

Freaky Friday

I think I’m well on the road to recovery. My temps are going down, I have had both creamy and ewcm, and my emotions are starting to even out. The waves of grief still come, but they are more like the gentle surf I remember from our time on the beach in Hawaii. You just let it carry you in. Much better, seeing as previously they were more reminiscent of tsunamis. My hormones must be balancing out.

Here’s a tip for anyone who’s ever thought her love life lacked a little oomph: have a doctor tell you no sex for two weeks. That’s the best aphrodisiac in the world, I swear. J and I could barely keep our hands off each other. It reminds me of when J lived in Texas and I was here in Belgium and we only saw each other a couple weeks out of the year. Abstinence really does make the heart grow fonder. And to hell with protection! There’s no time for that crap. So, theoretically, we could have actually been doing some baby-making over the last couple of days. I doubt that, because pregnancy, in my experience, doesn’t *just happen*. It takes months and months of calculations and carefully timed intimacy. But, hey, you never know.

I’ve been visiting a lot of sites lately — some helpful, some not so much. See the adendums to my blog list —> I think I need to start commenting on some of the other blogs I’ve found that have been helpful to me. Although I’m doing okay, I could use a wider support network than I have.

Speaking of which, I ran into my friend (read: casual acquaintance — I don’t even know her last name) Tina the other day. I’ve seen her a couple of times since losing Isaiah, but have always been *too busy* to stop and talk. I felt as if I’d been pretty rude, so I chased her down outside the grocery store the other day to explain. It wasn’t that I was trying to be rude, or anything, it’s just difficult to talk about, especially when you’re just passing one another in the store. “Hi, how are ya?” “Oh, not great. I just lost my baby. But hey, forget about that. How are you?” And she knew, or at least had suspected. And, more amazing, she said the right things. And, most amazing of all, she’s had two miscarriages herself. Now, I’m not happy about that, but I have to say I’m relieved to have found someone else that has lost a baby. Because no one else I know has ever lost a child. I was beginning to feel like a freak. Sure, I find plenty of women on the internet in the same situation, but not one friend/casual acquaintance/store clerk I know has had one. Tina what’s-her-name might just become my new best friend, what with our joint freakishness and all.

Well, J’s at work, the lad’s in bed, and I’m going to cozy up on the couch with a good movie, a stiff drink, a plate of cheesy nibblets, and my TCOYF book. Guess it’s time to bone up on my fertility signs and figure out what’s going on inside my body again

The Weekly Wednesday Photo Essay:At Play in the Fields of Harmignies

Since Liam and I spend a couple of hours a day, every day, hitting the local roads on foot, we thought you’d show you around town via one of our favorite walks. You’d think, with the amount of time I spend walking up and down hills, bumpy tractor paths, and cobblestone streets, that I’d be as thin as a rail. Yup, that’s what you’d think. But, I digress. Liam loves riding on the cobblestones, so I’m always sure to include a couple streets like this in our daily walk:

cobblestone street

A little further on you come to Harmignies’ Grand Place. This is the center of the town, where all the main events take place. No kidding.

chesnut tree

It seems that all of the houses in Harmignies have beautiful flowerboxes that change seasonally. Except my house, that is. I love the way they look, but seem to have no motivation to actually put them together. Every year I say, “maybe next year.” So, maybe next year… This is just one example of the beautiful flowers to be seen. I would have taken more, but I thought I would seem suspicious if I kept taking pictures of other people’s houses!

flowerboxes

Continuing on, we head out of town and into the surrounding farmland. This is a view of the river (stream) La Trouille as it runs behind the old mill, which is now a farm. The river runs along the length of Harmignies. Beautiful, isn’t it?

the river La Trouille

A little further on I have a choice to make. I can take the Rue de Beugnies, a beautiful tree-lined one-lane road that cuts through the countryside, or I can head up over the hill and take the main road back into town. However, since there is a psychotic, human-hating, frothing at the mouth, barking his head off dog on the Rue de Beugnies, I opt for the hill. I pause for a breath halfway up the hill to capture the view below:

halfway up the hill

At the top of the hill I zoom in on the church steeple far below. It’s actually much farther than it looks. Those are sugar beet greens in the foreground.

church across the hill

One of the reasons Liam puts up with these long walks every day is because he’s guaranteed to see at least half a dozen tractors along the way. The boy is obsessed with tractors. He knows each farmhouse in the village that has one, and starts to point them out before we even get to them. I dare not pass a tractor without stopping to ooh and ahh over it, lest I must face his wrath. Rather than take pictures of all the tractors we see and be under suspicion not only for stalking flowerboxes, but tractors as well, I decided to capture his utter delight at one of his sightings:

Liam spies a tractor

On our way back down the hill and into town, we spy a field full of hay bales yet to be collected. What’s so special about that? The old chateau in the background, of course. Now it’s a private residence and a greenhouse.

hay bales

In the fields on the edge of town are some beautiful horses. Liam loves to stop and look at them in wonder. Again, zooming in from quite a distance:

horses

Well, Liam? Did you enjoy your walk?

yay!

Memorializing Isaiah

We are not the type of people to maintain an *angel page* dedicated to our child. That is not what this site is for. I see many pages like this and while I honor their intent, this is not right for me. For me to create such a memorial site to my child would be to increase and elongate the worst of my pain. As much as I miss Isaiah, and will continue to do so until my own death, my purpose here is to deal with his death and move on as best I can. It makes me cry to write those words — to move on without my son is unfathomable to me. And yet I must, so I will. Eventually, when I am able to face seeing them, I will post the only pictures I have of him, from his 6,8, and 12 week ultrasounds.

We have chosen to memorialize Isaiah in the following ways: his name has been entered in our bible under “Our Children” and “Deaths,” and I will make a cross-stitch sampler with his name and the verse that inspired us to name him so. We will hang this with our family pictures. Beyond that, we will think of him every day for the rest of our lives. When we toast now, it is always, “to our children.” We will live full and happy lives; and yet death, when it finally comes, will not hold the sting it might have otherwise. We already have a son waiting for us.

The night I delivered Liam’s body, in between spells, we lay in bed and recited this simple memorial service from the LCMS website. I list it here so when the time comes they revamp their website we will not lose the words that brought us such comfort in such a difficult time.

P Beloved in the Lord, when God in His will for us allows our anticipation and joy to be changed into disappointment and grief, we turn to Him for comfort. By the Gospel He calls us through such sadness to a faith that will withstand such times of testing. Though we may not in this life have answers to the questions we ask, by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we know that God is our loving Father, our Brother in suffering and death, and the Comforter who even now brings peace to our grief-stricken hearts.

While alive and in the womb, this child was brought and commended to Christ in our prayers. We should not doubt that these prayers have been heard, for we have God’s own kind and comforting promises that such prayers in the name of Jesus Christ are heard by Him.

In love God has blessed His people with the washing of Holy Baptism, through which He gives rebirth in the Holy Spirit to us and to our children. When death comes before Baptism, we trust in His mercy that by His grace He has received this child to Himself for the sake of the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

We take comfort in the confident hope that this child will be raised to life with Christ in the resurrection on the Last Day. The Lord grant that we remain steadfast in His Word and faith until we all come to the joys of life everlasting; for the sake of His dear Son, Jesus Christ.

1. One or more of the following psalms is prayed.
Psalm 139:13–18 (ESV)
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

us says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” Thus says the Lord: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country.” Jeremiah 31:15–17 (ESV)

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21 (ESV)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Rev. 21:1–7 (ESV)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:1–5, 10–11)

P Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than our ways and Your thoughts higher than our thoughts. Strengthen the faith of these parents who bear this heavy burden of sorrow. Help them to rely on Your boundless mercy and to trust that their little one, who has been gathered into Your loving arms, will rise on the Last Day; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
R Amen.

P Taught by our Lord and trusting His promise, we are bold to pray:
R Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

P The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and + give you peace. R Amen.

Fingerpainting

I spent a good deal of time last night making fingerpaint for Liam. Mix it, cook it, mix it, color it, mix it. Then into the nifty little pots it went. These are actually miniature jello molds, but they seemed perfect for the task at hand.

homemade fingerpaints

Clean up the bazillion dishes this one little task required. Set everything out on the spare table. Tape a sheet of paper down — all set for Liam to have a grand old time. Then I worried about coming up with some sort of smock for him, but I decided to let him have at it in one of his playshirts. I could already picture him covered in paint, beaming and laughing, getting paint all over me, the wall, the table… I couldn’t wait to proudly displaying his artwork here. And so here you go:

finger painting

Remember the beaming, laughing, enthusiastic, paint-covered child of my day dreams? This was Liam’s first reaction. It’s as if he’s asking, “You want me to do what??”

put my fingers in what?

When he saw the little cups of paint, however, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on them:

gimme

But alas, his only desire was to take the caps off. And put them on. And take them off. And put them on… So, should I be concerned that my nearly-18 month old child doesn’t want to get his hands dirty? Or should I be thanking my lucky stars? Ehhh, I’m not terribly worried. I’m sure mud pies, eating worms, and exploring cow dung are all in my very near future. Until then, I think I’ll enjoy these moments:

Liam and Mommy

Plans for the (near) Future

The first week of September we are taking a family vacation to Scotland. I’m really looking forward to it. Although the pain of Isaiah’s loss is still fresh, we’re daily reminded of just how lucky we are to have Liam, and daily reminded that our primary purpose in life is to ensure his health and happiness. This vacation will give us time to get away from sad reminders here and truly enjoy ourselves. It’s been a long time since we “got away from it all.” Then, in November, Liam and I will go to vist my parents while Jesse attends his senior NCO academy. Originally, my parents had intended to come to Belgium for a week or so, as I would have been too pregnant to make the trip. I’m glad we’ll be occupied during that time, as I suspect the reminders of why we were home would have been difficult, as would all the excess time on my hands with Jesse gone. He has been my strength through all this. I am already dreading the eight weeks we will have to be separated.

The Weekly Wednesday Photo Essay

What do you do when you have nothing witty to write, when you have nothing to entertain and keep your audience of 2 people coming back for more? You give them pictures! I know you all are just chomping at the bit for some ultra-cute pics of Liam so….. here ya go! These were taken yesterday while playing in our big back yard. Liam loves his Little Tikes playset. Yes, we know it’s big, and plastic, and we swore we would never, ever have big plastic toys in our yard. But just see all the fun he has with it!

peek a boo!
He loves playing peek-a-boo through the tunnel in his playset. With a little boost on his bum and a little encouragement, he’ll even climb up through it. The drool on his chin and his shirt are either due to teething or to his freakish desire to capture and play with the camera.

come on in
Don’t you want to come in and play too?

watch me run
It took him a while, but Liam has really found his feet.

a big kid now
Doesn’t he look like a real little kid? Sigh… my baby is growing up.

picking flowers for mommy
He must have picked me a dozen buttercups. At least one man in the house knows to get the woman of the house flowers!

close up
Bye-bye! Come back soon and visit us soon!

Blue

Last night I was struck down, hard, by negative thoughts. My self-confidence, always low, hit an all-time rock bottom record. It depresses me that my body is softened by pregnancy, although while I was carrying Isaiah I welcomed the changes. Now that he is gone I feel fat and out of shape. I only gained a few pounds while pregnant, but I’ve become all soft and squishy. My waist is 3 inches wider than it was pre-pregnancy. 3 inches! Instead of being beautifully rounded and glowing with a baby, I’m flabby and sallow. At the beginning of the summer, I cut my hair into a pixie-like style. It was cute and bubbly. Now it seems boyish and unattractive. I’m going through the motions of putting on a bit of makeup and getting dressed, but it doesn’t seem to change what I see in the mirror.

Is this really about my weight and my appearance? Probably not so much. I think it’s about losing Isaiah as well. It makes me feel like a failure. Unable to keep my weight under control, unable to appear attractive, unable to hold on to my baby. I know, I know. There’s nothing I could have done to stop the miscarriage. But that’s not what I feel inside. Looking back, I can recall dozens of things that felt *not quite right* — like the constant backaches, the terrible headaches and their sudden disappearance around the time (unknown to me) that Isaiah died — that I wish I’d called the doctor’s attention to. I thought they were just normal pregnancy aches and pains. Sure, I was more uncomfortable this time around, but I attributed that to lugging around a toddler. I keep pondering if the cause of Isaiah’s death has something to do to me. Hormones, overall health, a faulty egg, etc? Other things occur to me as well. Like all the times I woke up to find myself sleeping on my back, and so many other things.

I know I can’t change the past. But I’d sure like to change how I feel right now.

A New Look

It’s time for a bit of a pick-me-up around here. So, what do you think of the new look? The page is still a work in progress, but I’m pretty proud of it. See the nifty little *comments* tag at the bottom of this message? Click on it and leave us some feedback — all positive, of course. I’m still working on some of the links, like the search button at the top, but give me time.

Although we will continue to grieve for Isaiah, we also realize that we must continue to live and provide a happy home for Liam. There is sunshine in our lives, even now. Just look at this mug:
I'm

How can we possibly be sad all the time when that beautiful grin greets us every day?! Click on the *photos* link above and look for the 200508 album to see more photos of our precious boy .