Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Heart Maine

Dear Stevie,
I haven't been writing here much, mainly because I haven't had many new thoughts to share, at least related to babyloss. I kind of felt like because this space was called Dear Stevie, I could only really post things specifically related to you. But the more I think about it, the more 'okay' it seems for me to talk about my everyday normal life here, too. I'm aware that you can't actually read anything I write here, but for some reason, when I pretend like maybe you can, I feel very connected to you.

So, dear Stevie (and dear readers!), I hope you don't mind that I am going to start using this blog as a place to talk about, well, whatever. I want to feel like I am somehow involving you in my day-to-day life, as unexciting as it may be sometimes.

And here we go.

This last weekend I went on my first big business trip, to Portland, Maine. A bit of back story: as I've probably shared before, I am the special events manager for a large nonprofit. Our affiliate in Maine was putting on a big benefit concert featuring the Young@Heart Chorus. Let me pause for a second and rave about this group. If you have not watched the documentary 'Young@Heart', stop whatever you're doing and watch it right now (click here to watch the trailer). Seriously, this group is amazing. It's a choir of very elderly people (the average age is 83!) who perform rock songs (everything from the Rolling Stones, to Nirvana, to Jimmy Hendrix, to Coldplay). To say they are inspiring is a total understatement.

I've really wanted to do a Young@Heart concert here in Minneapolis, benefiting my organizations' extensive work with seniors. When we found out one of our affiliates was doing one in Maine, it was the perfect opportunity to experience the event, first-hand, see if it seemed like it would be a good fit for us, and get to know the chorus a little better.

I had a blast.

First of all, Portland is a really sweet city. I had never been out to the East Coast before, and to be completely honest, was not really expecting to like it as much as I did. It had a really nice small town vibe, but also had a very urban feel, which I loved. I got into town Friday at about 2:00pm, and had all afternoon and evening to bum around and explore the city:

On the waterfront

I was so excited to see unfrozen water!

Down the street from my hotel

Another shot of all the fun little shops and pubs

A cute little restaurant where I had some amazing lobster dip and my first Maine beer (Allagash White, so good!)

Playing around in my hotel bathroom; I just like this one so I thought I'd include it :)

Saturday morning the Young@Heart chorus members arrived and I spent the morning hanging out with them at their hotel. They were all so friendly and so funny. These 90-year-olds seriously had more energy than I do at 25! Then that afternoon I went shopping with a woman from our national office in Washington, DC, who was also in Maine for the event. I found some really fun vintage jewelry at a cute resale shop, and had my first lobster roll at this fun little hole-in-the-wall down by the water:


That night everyone had a really nice, fancy dinner at this lovely Italian restaurant. I had THE best desert I've ever had in my life (some sort of banana cake, no idea what it was called as everything was in Italian!).

Sunday was the actual Young@Heart event. It was absolutely amazing. They sold out the 2,000-seat Merrill Theater (a huge feat for a town of only 60,000 people!) and put on an incredibly fun and moving show. From the opening moment, when one of the singers pulled herself out of her wheelchair, slowly shuffled up to the microphone using a cane, and belted out the first notes of the Rolling Stones, 'You Can't Always Get What You Want,' there were tears just streaming down my face. 

The chorus members getting ready to go out and perform

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

Packed house

The whole weekend was just a really, really good time. It was very refreshing to get out of Minnesota and experience a change of scenery for a few days. It also gave me a renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm about my job. I really hope we can put on our own Young@Heart benefit next spring! You are all invited! :)

Wish you were here,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Screw Spring

Dear Stevie,
For the first time in my entire life, I do not have spring fever.

Yes, I will enjoy the warmer weather. Yes, I am looking forward to the lack of snow. Yes, I will not miss the nasty salt stains all over my shoes. And yes, the dogs will definitely appreciate being able to go out on a walk longer than 45-seconds before turning into 5-pound furry icicles. But really, I'm kind of dreading spring.

This whole being light out until after 7PM thing is kind of messing with me. Winter gave me the permission to be lazy and hole up in my bedroom with my Netflix and my yoga pants right after work. I mean, it was pitch dark outside at like 4:45PM, it only seemed natural to do absolutely nothing at that point. Winter fits my current mood. Spring does not.

I am hating all this crap about 'new life,' and 'new beginnings' and blah, blah, blah.  I wish I could write an inspiring post about how I am blossoming and growing into this beautiful new person, or that I am ready to emerge from my cocoon and fly free like a butterfly or something. Maybe after May 8th (your first birthday, which I hate to admit I am just dreading) rolls around, I'll be ready to spread my wings (or something equally as cheesy). But for now, I'd like a couple more months of hibernation.

I read this post from last spring and it just makes me so damn sad.

I had written, "Easter is all about hope, fresh starts, and new life--and I couldn't help but keep thinking about you all day and how you are really bringing all these things into our lives. A brand new chapter in our lives is about to begin, and I am so incredibly excited to see where it takes us."

I never in a million years thought this next chapter of my life would turn out the way it did. If I would have known, I wouldn't have been 'so incredibly excited' about it, that's for sure.

Sorry to be such a downer, baby.

I miss you. I miss that fresh feeling of hope that I had one year ago.


Monday, March 7, 2011


Wow you guys! This was so much fun. I loved reading about all the little things that make you smile. One of you commented, "even though the perfect day may end in rain, I'm still happy to be alive." It's so true, isn't it? Life, even with all it's heartache and unfairness and disapointment, still has so many moments worth, well, living for.

Anyway, thank you all for making me smile with your lovely comments. I seriously wish I could send something to all of you. Since that's just not possible, I came up with a super scientific way of determining winners, which involved counting the number of entries for every prize, then using good old to come up with the winning comment for each (see picture below). My brain kind of hurts right now! :) Without further ado, here are the winners! Please contact me at and send me your mailing address to claim your prize.

Zumba game: Ashlee G.
Salsa book: Becca and Logan
Netflix: CourtneyAnna
Snack pack: T
Starbucks gift card: B. Wilson

And for my awesome Girly Girl Girlz mix cd, I decided I would make and send a copy to everyone who entered to win one! Just send me an email with your address if you'd like one.

Since it's Monday and Mondays totally suck, I'll leave you with some more reasons to smile (taken from the comments left on the giveaway post). Thanks again everyone!

My babies make me smile...the one in my arms and the one in my heart.

Driving with my windows down makes me smile.

Waking up next to my husband. :)

I smile when it's a sunny day, my windows are rolled down, and the perfect upbeat song comes on the radio. My definition of an awesome day! :)

My kitten snuggled up next to me (napping) makes me smile!

Driving, singing at the top of my lungs [and getting weird looks from other cars for my dancing!] makes me happy. =]

My rainbow baby's laugh makes me smile :)
Having coffee with a friend and catching up makes me smile.

The smell of fabric softener when someone is washing clothes makes me happy. =]

The other day, when I went into Starbucks before work to get a pick me up, an old man saw me walk in and I over heard him tell his friend that I was pretty. That made me smile :)

Watching Star Wars with my hunny makes me happy!

When it's snows just enough to coat everything, but you can still drive, it looks like a winter wonderland and that makes me happy :)

I live right outside of a Marine Base and no matter what kind of mood I'm in, it always puts a smile on my face to see the Welcome Home banners for the Marines & Sailors coming home

Reading a new book (of my choosing - no school books!) makes me smile.

Meeting a random person for the first time who shares my interests and passions and who is just as excited to talk about those things as me makes me smile.

The days when you FINALLY don't have to wear a 6 layers of clothing, a parka, hat, mits, scarf and big boots just to run to the grocery store...those days make me smile!

Tight abs make me smile!

Completely changing my look from head to toe makes me smile

Dancing around my house while nobody's watching (except my kid) makes me smile!

Not dying when doing push ups make me smile.

Watching my husband put hot sauce on EVERYTHING he eats makes me smile.

When a little kid looks up at me hopefully as I am walking by in the hall. Then when I look at them they smile and say, "Hi Ms. Smith!" like I am their most favorite person.

A creamy mocha on a cool morning makes me smile :)

I live in Maine. It's so cold. And snowy. And snowy again. The first warm day of spring after the snow is all melted makes me smile. I love to jump in the car, blast my favorite mixed cd from 100 years ago and roll the windows down and just drive around with an iced coffee for an hour. It makes me feel like the whole winter melted off me in that one hour.

Seeing an elderly couple holding hands makes me smile.

Singing into my brush and pretending to be in junior high again makes me smile.

Nothing makes me smile more than cuddling up with my honey and watching a movie, while I lay my head on his lap and he plays with my hair.

Being able to say CONGRATS and mean it to 10 of my friends that have given birth after my loss; without crying afterwards... makes me happy!

I smile whenever I look at the moon:)

Poodles make me smile.

Painting, drawing, and doing art of ANY kind makes me smile!

Eating a home-cooked meal from my mom makes me smile.

Laying on the couch doing absolutely nothing all day with my hubby makes me smile!

Chips and hot sauce make me smile

Walking barefoot makes me smile (even on slush).

Tank tops make me smile.

Watching Rosemary's Baby for the 150th time makes me happy!

Caffeine is amazing, gets me through the day, and I would NEVER smile without it! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Giveaway Time!

Dear Readers,
Wow! 411 followers, that is just awesome! Although I don't write here nearly as often as I used to, I credit this space, my little corner of the internet, as saving my life. Truly. In those dark, awful days right after Stevie died, this blog was my lifeline. I honestly don't know what I would have done without it. It gave me one tangible thing I could accomplish everyday. And most importantly, it allowed me to connect with so many other amazing people who understood where I was coming from. Thank you all for being there to lift me up and cheer me on over the last (almost) 10 months.

Alright, now onto the giveaway!

What I really want to do is share some happiness with you. So some of these 'prizes' might seem a little bit weird, but they are all things that have put a smile on my face lately, and I'm hoping they'll do the same for you. Here they are:

1. Zumba for your choice of Playstation 3, Wii, or Xbox. To read about why I totally adore Zumba, click here.

2. "The Great Salsa Book" by Mark Miller. This book has hundreds of amazing salsa recipes, including a orange-habanero one that is seriously to die for. If I could eat chips and salsa for dinner everyday, I totally would!

3. A gift certificate good for three months of Netflix Watch Instantly. There are so many great movies available to stream, and some of my favorite shows such as 'The IT Crowd,' 'The Office,' 'Bones,' 'Hoarders' and 'Law and Order: SVU.' Literally half of my life is probably spent watching crap on Netflix. :)

4. An all-natural healthy snack pack, including my new favorite, avocado oil potato chips. A word of warning: you will get addicted and they are expensive! :)

5. A Starbucks giftcard. I've never been a coffee drinker, but a few weeks ago I was really tired and decided to try to pick myself up with a caramel latte, and I've been completely hooked ever since. Seriously, how did I not get on the coffee train sooner??

6. A copy of my "Girly Girl Girlz" mix cd, including singers like Adele, Robyn, Lily Allen, old school Salt N Peppa, and more. Spring is just around the corner, and this is the perfect thing to blast and rock out to with the windows down :) There will be 5 winners chosen for this one.'s how to enter:
  • Anyone and everyone is eligible (you don't need to babyloss mama)
  • For each prize you'd like to be entered to win, leave a separate comment and tell me one thing that makes you smile (for example, if I wanted to win the Zumba game, I'd say, "Zumba game. Leaving the house without a jacket makes me smile!")
  • You can enter to win any or all of the prizes
  • If you post about this giveaway on facebook, twitter, or your own blog, leave an additional comment for each, specifying which prize you'd like the extra entry for
  • If you become a new follower, that counts as an additional entry too
I'll be randomly picking/announcing winners on Monday, March 7th.

Thanks again everyone!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2 More!

Dear Readers,
Two more followers and I will be doing a giveaway! I've got some fun things in mind to give out, too, including a Zumba workout DVD, a copy of my "Girly Girl Girlz" mix CD, an assortment of some of my most recent all-natural snack obsessions, and more random stuff that's been keeping me happy (or at least happy-ish) these days. So if you haven't already, go on and click on the little "follow" button over to the right...there may even be something special in store for lucky #400! :)

Speaking of being happy, I'll leave you with this picture Andy took of me this weekend. Check out that big, (kind of creepy), genuine smile. I hope you're all finding some things to smile about these days too.

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