moving forward

Saturday, May 30, 2009

in the days immediately following cooper's death, people set about removing items that might remind me of cooper. i don't mean to say that they got rid of things, or touched the nursery, they simply removed them from my sight. it was usually done when i was in my room, in the shower or out of the house, small silent gestures of love and support. i was aware that the bottles were no longer in the kitchen or that the hammock that cooper loved was not in the living room, but i wasn't really aware of where they were or when they were moved. it was upon our return from our 3 week getaway in february that i realized that all the little signs of cooper were simply moved to the basement.

when we walked down the basement stairs we realized that you couldn't see the basement floor, so we spent some time organizing things. there were more boxes in the basement than i cared to count, thanks to the holidays. after breaking down boxes, filling garbage bags of packing peanuts and throwing wrapping paper out, order was restored. one side of the basement now holds all things baby. many of the items cooper never got to use and are still in boxes. the baby bjorn, the highchair, his ultra hip barkalounger that he was too small for, the car seat and car seat bases, the stroller, activity mats, the pack and play and boxes and boxes of formula. many of these things we will use again, but the formula has an expiration date. i was holding on to it in hope that we would be able to use it, but since we have not gotten pregnant yet, we will not be able to use the formula.

enter wonderful martha. a friend who volunteered to pick up the formula and deliver it to wilson commencement park, an organization that provides resources and services to low income families and children. today was the appointed day. and it was so much harder to let go of that formula than i expected. is it because of what it represents? nourishment for the baby that i no longer have? or is it a sign of letting go? moving forward? or is it that i feel guilty about giving away something that was cooper's? i know that this gesture will help many families and babies, another way in which cooper lives on and how he continues to touch others lives. but letting go of those boxes makes my heart ache for cooper.

new found empathy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

since cooper's death in december, i have learned so much about myself and my relationship with my precious husband, about friends and family, and about how much one's heart has the ability to expand in order to love and then break when faced with loss. i have also learned that among the darkness, sadness and despair, healing does come and with it comes hope. for me hope is most clearly represented in the form of another baby. i know that another child will never replace cooper, but i do know that a baby will bring us joy, will show us our capacity to love again and bring a sense a purpose to our lives. and a baby is something we so desperately want.

when i got pregnant with cooper, it was easy, textbook easy. i stopped taking birth control and two months later i was pregnant. i thought that was how it would work this time around, that as soon as my cycle returned i would be pregnant. well, that has not been the case and for the past 3 months i have learned more about my reproductive ability than i ever wanted to know. i have counted days between cycles, days of lh surges and i peed on all kinds of sticks. i cant even begin to tell you how many sticks i have peed on since february and i am still not pregnant. i feel kind of silly talking about not being pregnant after 3 months, because i know couples try for years to have a baby, some are successful, others are not. and i can not imagine the heartbreak they experience each month. but for me each month that goes by is kick in the gut, my heart breaks all over again and i wonder if my ease at conceiving cooper was a fluke. now intellectually i know this is my head playing games with me, but emotionally it is so real. i also know that obsessing about it is not going to help, but when you have experienced something so amazing and then have it ripped from you makes you a little frantic and desperate.

but today is a new day, a new path. thanks to modern medicine and drugs my cycle will return to normal and hopefully we will be given that chance to love again. my obgyn prescribed a regimen of clomid to help my cycle return to a more normal time frame, rather than the 37 day course it has settled into over the past few months. and today i took my first dose. and even though i feel hopeful, there is still an ache in my heart that has become so familiar and reminds me that hope and heartache can and do coexist.

portrait of a weekend

Monday, May 25, 2009

wishing you a memorial day filled with the laughter of children, the love of family and friends, wet kisses from dogs, the beauty of nature and the peace that comes from knowing that those you lost are never very far away.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

i have never been the type of girl who had tons of friends. i mean i have always had acquaintances, but as far as best friends, the ones that are fiercely loyal. the ones who love you no matter what mistakes you make. the ones who you can call at 3 in the morning. the ones who are with you through bad hair and even worse fashion, i can count those friends on one hand. and i hope that they all know who there are.....

my first friend that falls into this category i met in kindergarten. we were living in a small town in central texas, the town where my father was born and raised. i have very distinct memories of that friendship. ballet classes and birthday parties, her parents building a saltbox house outside of town, prize winning sheep that would pay for college, painting bluebonnets and indian paint brush on rotted wood, and an amazing collection of madame alexander dolls. we moved away before i entered the third grade, and i wonder if we had stayed, how that friendship would have developed. over the years we kept up with each other through family members mostly. and every groundhogs day i always think to myself "happy birthday sheffield".

fast forward to this past week and behold the power of the internet. i opened my email and saw an email address that i didn't recognize. it began like this, "i tried to find you on facebook. you don't facebook. i found your twitter page, but i don't tweet. and eventually i found your blog." and just like that an old friendship was reignited and the emails between the two of us began to fly, reconnecting over the pieces of our lives, work, marriage, family and children. and it was no surprise to me when i learned that she had her first baby months before i had my cooper. a testament that friendships of this nature have a connection that is stronger than time or distance, a connection that is bigger than you both, and that no matter how long it is been since you last spoke, you will always remain childhood best friends.

i have learned over the past months that your friends are what get you through, sure they are there during the good stuff. but the friends that matter are the ones who are there when your world falls apart. they carry you when you don't have the will to walk, they sit with you in your grief, and they give you hope that there are brighter days ahead. i hope that i can be as good of friend to those friends i can count on one hand, as they have been to me.

i love you all dearly!

friday knitting

Friday, May 22, 2009

as a yarn shop owner, i had the opportunity to meet and work with alot of great people, but my all time favorite was linda, the owner of blue sky alpaca. from the moment we first met on the phone we had an instant connection, we both had great pyrenees as dogs and spent many a minutes talking about them, not yarn. over the years linda has been very good to me. as a leader in the industry she always had good advice when i needed it, supported rach and i when we launched modalura, and answered the call with a huge box of yarn for coopers flock. let me tell you, linda is one of the good ones and i am so blessed to have worked with her. not to mention that her yarn is one of my favorites.

so, i am so excited about her new line of yarn Spud and Chloe which is set to make its debut at the industry trade show in june. i am more than excited, i am over the moon with excitement. the concept behind spud and chloe is simple, 3 different weights of yarn that are all washable presented in 27 fabulous colors. let me tell you dear readers, no one in this industry is better at choosing colors than linda! i cant wait to get my hands on this yarn. in fact i wouldn't be surprised if i ordered it in all the colors. i have so much faith in this product, it is going to be the "IT" yarn for the fall season.

so how can you knit with spud and chloe before its launch date? susan b anderson and skeinsherway are both having spud and chloe giveaways, so pop on over and enter, who knows you could be knitting with spud and chloe before anyone else. and tell your local yarn shops to order it, they wont be disappointed.

uncle, i cry uncle

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Uncle! Uncle! Uncle!

remember how i told you last friday about the sweater i was working on for my mom? well, i worked very hard over the weekend and got the front finished and the shoulders sewn together... and well it is a total disaster. it is huge, has no shape and is one step up from a burlap sack. i kid you not. it is a total flop.

now, i have to be honest, i dont have many knitting disasters, so when they do happen it throws me for a real loop. and gets me a tad bit cranky. this yarn does not want to be a sweater. but i will not let it get the best of me. i know just what i am going to make out of it, and it will be perfect for those hot summer nights on kea. but i need a little break from that yarn, so i am working on one of the designs from my ever growing list. stay tuned.

and here is a picture, so you know that i am not exaggerating the magnitude of my knitting disaster.

at last

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

dear tulip bag.

at last, you arrived at my front door.
i coveted you for so many months before making the commitment.
looking everyday.
trying to find the perfect color.
when at last you appeared, pistachio.

i knew when i saw you, we were destined to be friends.
you are far more luxurious than i imagined.
perfectly soft leather.
small detailed stitching.
and a pocket for my old but beloved cell phone.

you are the perfect summer bag.
named for one of my favorite flowers.
and you are all mine.

welcome to your new home!

sweet home alabama

Monday, May 18, 2009

my dear friend alicia is from alabama and we met about 4 years ago, when i owned wild wools. she came in to buy yarn and hearing her southern accent made me long for home. she spoke a language i understood. i invited her to a halloween party and from that moment on, she and her husband were part of our group. they were planning on living here for a year, her hubby was doing a dental residency, and then returning to alabama. they moved away, we were all sad and missed them. two years later we received an email that they were moving back to upstate new york and we were just giddy about it.

when alicia's mother and mother in law learned about cooper they immediately wanted to contribute to coopers flock. they went to their local yarn shop, in the making, and told them about the coopers flock project. and this little yarn shop in alabama rolled out the southern hospitality and took on this project wholeheartedly. they put out the call to their customers and they responded. the staff and customers of in the making, made 68 birds for coopers flock. can you believe it? alicia's mom delivered them to me this past saturday. and let me tell you dear readers these birds are so full of love, life and color!

the birds were both sewn and knit. the batch below are the sewn birds called purdy birdie.

and all the coopers birdies on an evergreen tree in the back yard.

both birdie patterns are on their website. these newest members of coopers flock brings the total to 397 birds! isn't that outstanding? thank you in the making, you helped this mama's heart heal a little more. and i know if i lived in alabama we would be best friends.

anatomy of a surprise baby shower

Sunday, May 17, 2009

when i learned that tommy's mom, alli, was expecting her second baby boy in july, i knew that wanted to have a shower for her. i also knew that if i asked her she would say that she didn't need one, because she didn't need anything new. she is very practical, so i decided that i would make it a surprise shower. alli loves surprises, but she is very astute, so i knew it would be a hard task to actually "surprise" her. yesterday was the appointed day and she had not a clue as to what was in store for her. i told her i needed help with getting coopers flock ready to go to the hospital. she said that she had to work on saturday, but i pleaded with her and told her i really needed her here. thankfully she agreed, and when she walked in in she looked at me and said " there are a lot of people here to help you with coopers flock." it took a minute for her to realize that she knew most of the people in the room and they were not here to help me with coopers flock, but to help celebrate the arrival of her new baby. we both cried, thankfully i had plenty of kleenex left over from coopers service.

here are some of the highlights.

poms from PomLove hanging from the ceiling in bright colors that matched the invitation. i love these so and don't want to take them down. i think they would be just precious hanging in a nursery.

darling onesies cookies from cakeboxcookies. these cookies are amazing. they smelled so delicious when they arrived it was hard not to eat them before the party.

mini clipboard party favors, complete with pad of paper and mini sharpie in fun colors. thanks marta for the brilliant idea and posting about it on your blog.

and lots of cute presents including this precious knit hat courtesy of alicia, who happens to be sitting next to alli.

overall, a very successful shower indeed. i had such fun planning all the details. and i cant wait to meet baby charlie in a few months.

{jig} onesie winner

Saturday, May 16, 2009

we have a winner for the {jig} onsesie gift set. i love giving stuff away. thanks to, which random generates a number to ensure fairness. seriously i would give a the prize to everyone if i could. wouldn't that be fun?

anywhoo.... the winner is lucky number 8, who happens to be alicia. this is what alicia said "This quilt is so special, and you, Rachel, and Louis created such an amazing piece of art! You can come play on my mom's "vintage" 1960s sewing machine anytime you want - we can learn how to use it together! Love, Alicia"

Yay alicia. be a dear and send me your info, so that i can put you in touch with that creative mind behind the {jig} brand.

now i must think of another giveaway.

have a great saturday!

friday knitting

Friday, May 15, 2009

today i give you my creative laundry list that is in my brain because i don't have any finished projects to share with you.

i am working on two projects right now that seem to be taking me forever to finish. one is a sweater for my dear mom. it is an easy rowan pattern, simple stockinette stitch but the knitting seems to be never ending. maybe because it is on small needles, but size 5 isn't that small, or maybe its because there are two pieces to the front and back, or maybe because i keep making simple mistakes and have to rip it back. once i finish the front and have moved on to the sleeves i will feel like i am in the home stretch. i have set a deadline for myself.

the second project is for me, its the cover sweater on the spring/summer issue of vogue knitting. i do love it, but the knitting is slow going. it is constructed in two pieces, the center medallion and the outer band. i flew through the center medallion, but the outer band is comprised of 4 different stitch patterns and i have to pay attention. for some reason i have yet to memorize the pattern repeat. maybe it will be finished with it by the end of summer.....

but i think that real reason i am having a hard time finishing these two projects is because my creative mind is in on speed, its in overdrive. i have so many things rattling around in my head that i cant seem to focus. i have made a list but i just want to start working on the list, but am making myself wait until i finish the above mentioned projects.

here is a sampling of the list:
1. design polka dot baby sweater knit placemat with fabric
3. rework dr seuss baby hat
4. knit the whisper cardigan in spring IK
5. design baby blanket
6. knit the pirate hat for my cousin's son and my little brother
7. knit che pillow
8. rework and finish knit cowboy boot covers
9. knit baggy bolero
10. and finish those two projects that are on my needles!
happy friday knitting!

dear cooper

Thursday, May 14, 2009

my dear sweet precious cooper,

today, we would have celebrated your 6th month of life. i have found myself wondering what you would have been like. would you be sitting up? would your hair still be so blond that it glowed? what color would your eyes be? would you have curls, like i did when i was small? i imagine that today, on this special day, we would have read stories and gone for a walk, played on the floor and taken a nap. my heart breaks not only because you are gone, but because of all the things i never got to share with you. but cooper, i am healing. i have more good days than bad days and am able to see you in the birds outside, the flowers in the yard and the sun as it beams through the clouds.

we had your memorial service a few weeks ago, but i know that you know that, because you were there. it was a glorious day, a little on the cool side, but the sun was shining, the trees and flowers were full of life, and the birds were singing all for you. there were 300 coopers flock birds in the trees, 100 for each week of your life and seeing them in the trees took my breath away. the way that you have touched the lives of so many is truly awe inspiring and when we take the birds to the hospital, you will continue to touch the lives of others. and that brings me peace.

your dad and i both felt some closure after your service. we had been preparing for that day for some time, but i am glad that we waited until spring. it gave us some time to heal a bit and to make that day very special for you. there were so many people there who never got the chance to meet you, but love you so much. we are truly blessed to have such loving friends and family.

cooper, i think about you so many times during the day. your dad and i miss you so much but we know that you are with us in your own way. the other night we were eating dinner, and there was a pair of cardinals outside the dining room window. your dad said that you sent them as a sign to us. they were so spectacular. i think they have a nest in one of the evergreen trees in the back yard. it is in moments like that when we feel your presence and we treasure them so. those moments enable us to move through life and help us to heal.

loving and missing you


cooper's quilt

Monday, May 11, 2009

when i was pregnant with cooper i was obsessed with finding original, cute and hip onesies. i scoured the internet like a woman on a mission. it was during this time that i discovered {jig}. i immediately fell in love with her onesies and soon became one of her very best customers. because i was ordering so many onesies for cooper, i got to know the creative mind behind the onesies, alyssa. we made an instant internet connection and i am quite certain if we lived in the same city we would hang out. she shares my love of french fries, jcrew and method cleaning supplies. but alas, for now we are internet friends.

shortly after cooper died, i knew i wanted to make something out of the darling {jig} onesies he had accumulated, but there was one problem, i dont know how to sew, knit yes, sew not a clue. so i contacted rachel. rachel sews and i knew that she could help me with this project. after several discussions about what the blanket/quilt should look like, we decided we needed the help of lois, rachel's mom. lois knows how to quilt and she was just the woman to bring our vision to life.

so we set a date for a friday in april. i was given the task of ironing interfacing on all the pieces of the onesies that we had cut into strips. rachel and lois arrived at my house with sewing machines in hand and we got to work. after much discussion, alot of laughter, a break for lunch and lots of sewing we finished the top of the quilt. it was perfect. lois took the top home and handstitched the backing and binding on and topstitched over the top of the quilt. she brought it to me last saturday at coopers service. it turned out amazing, words cant even describe how much i love this quilt. and it never would have been possible without rachel and lois. it even made me want to learn how to sew, but that is a post for a different day.

after the quilt was finished i contacted alyssa to let her know what i made out of her most adorable product. and because i want everyone to know about {jig} we are doing another giveaway. that's right, you too can have your very own {jig} onesies. leave a comment by midnight on wednesday may 13th and you could win a 3 onesie gift box set of your design choice. you get to pick what boy or girl designs you want on the front.

and if you want to see more pictures of the quilt, you can see them here.

my mom

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"All women become like their mothers.
That is their tragedy.
No man does. That is his."
-Oscar Wilde

i was not an easy child to raise. i was strong willed and determined from a very early age, which made my relationship with my mom difficult most days. you see, she too is strong willed and determined, leading to many power struggles between the two of us. as most young women do, i spent much of youth trying not to be like my mom. fortunately, as i got older, i realized that i had this woman in my life who was kind and gentle, strong and determined, passionate and full of life. a woman who loved her children fiercely and would do anything for them, a woman who had a heart so big it was hard not to notice, and a woman who was the worlds best role model. it was then that i realized that i would be lucky if i was like my mother.

sure we look alike, have the same hands and feet. we can finish each other's sentences and have the same funny quirks. we walk the same, particularly when we are walking on the beach. but are we alike in the ways that matter? do i have her strength in times of crisis? her grace? her compassion for others? her ability to stand for what she believes in, no matter if its the opposing view? would i be the kind of mother she is to my brothers and i? i don't know.

but i do know this, my ability to move through life without cooper the past five months is because i am her daughter. she is running through my veins, she is part of who i am and it is because of her, that i am the woman i am today. and i am so proud that she is not only my mother, but my best friend. i love you mom.

wishing you all a happy mothers day.

we have a winner

Saturday, May 9, 2009

winner winner chicken dinner........hannah is the winner of the first ever lucends giveaway....

here is what our winner had to say "big hugs to all (doggies too) and be gentle with yourself. vase is beautiful-your momma, like you, is very talented."

so hannah, please be a dear and email me your mailing info and i will get the vase in the mail to you, straight away.

oh how i hope it will become one of your favorite things too.

friday knitting

Friday, May 8, 2009

today i give you black and silver metallic knit up in eight different fair isle patterns, with a hint vegas show girl and romance on the side. you see, when my precious husband and i decided to get married, las vegas was the location and new years eve was the date.

then came the question of what to wear, we both had been married before, and i didnt want a traditional wedding dress. i saw this dress in the 25th anniversary edition on vogue knitting and it screamed of las vegas on new years eve. i knew it was THE dress i would wear and i MUST knit it. so, i set about finding the yarn and started knitting. it took me about 2 months to knit. i just love it. i think i am going to have it framed, it is work of art!

please enjoy....

cooper's service 2.0

Thursday, May 7, 2009

5 months ago today, at 10:20 am, our lives changed forever. My precious husband and i became part of a family that no parent wants to be a member of, a family that you dont choose, a family whose members intimately know what it means to lose a child. membership into that family changed who we are, how we look at the world and it changed the very fiber of our being, forever. it has taught us about pain, about heart ache so deep and raw that it shakes you to your core, but it has also taught us about empathy, compassion, grace and just how much one can love. five months have passed, we still hurt and long to have our precious cooper with us. the loss of a child is not something you get over, you mend, but your heart never heals. but i know this, if i had to choose between never knowing cooper or how much i could love or knowing him, loving him and losing him, i would choose the latter. and that gives me hope, hope that i am mending and hope that we will feel that love again.

and is with that in mind that i want to share with you dear readers the words that were spoken at cooper's service on saturday. my uncle, who is both a cardiologist and an episcopal minister, performed the service. this is only the first 2 pages, if you want to read it in its entirety, you may find it here.

We are gathered here, in the springtime of creation’s new growth, to celebrate and give thanks for the brief time we shared with Cooper Austin Snyder Gerenski. Sometimes a memorial service will be called “In Memoriam”, and I will spend some time in a bit talking about this strange and wonderful thing we call memory. We all know and honor the fact that his loss has wounded and hurt those who loved him…his immediate family as well as those of us who loved him from afar, yet who never got a chance to hold him. We are here to give voice to the reality of that loss, but to also find words and meanings that can give us hope and courage and, quite frankly, the strength and faith to keep on living each day while holding his memory in our hearts. We need several things today, but more than anything we need the living presence of this gathered community to remind us all to awaken each day with grateful hearts for the gift of Cooper to our lives. In times like this, we need each other more than ever. You are all visible reminders of embodied love—all of us that I look around and see, you are that—and that is all I need to know beyond a doubt that Cooper’s life and legacy will find the meaning we all want it to have.

There is a geography of our lives that speaks to us of our stories, a geography that carries and proclaims the narrative truths of our lives. These geographies are the bearers of everything we believe in and hold to our hearts. Like the landscape of the earth, each of our personal geographies is hugely different. We all have mountains and rivers, deserts and streams, canyons and wildlands, and peaceful pastures where we find rest for our weary and scarred souls. And we also have places of loss and danger, places that wound us and leave a gaping scar in the landscape of our soul. And this is surely one of those times, one of those times where our geographies and our stories are tested to their limits. Yet I am here to remind us that those particular dark places of our landscapes do not tell the whole story of Coopers life. So let me say one thing I believe without a doubt-- whenever there is great pain there is even greater love that abounds and breaks in. It is indeed a balm in Gilead that “heals the wounded soul”. There are places and people and events that will break into our wounds, and like grace they often come unexpectedly and sometimes undeservedly. They come when we least expect them …often in the still quiet moments of our lives. I suspect that is what will happen to Lucinda and Jamey…healing will come in baby steps, in stops and starts, but it will come. It will be highlighted by the moments of grace and love from others that will remind them of the gift of Cooper, and all that he has meant to others.

coopers memorial service 1.0

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

i have been struggling to find the best way to share the weekend with you, dear readers. and after much thought, several posts or chapters, seems to make the most sense. many of you learned about my sweet family and our cooper by knitting birds, so i thought i would begin with coopers flock. when i embarked on this journey through the blogosphere, it was my hope to have 100 birds for coopers service. well, i had 300 members of coopers flock the day of his service ( i have received more birds since then for a total of 324 to date), 100 birds for each week of coopers precious life. seeing all those birds in the trees was simply breathtaking. your efforts have helped to heal my heart and will bring so much comfort to children and their families during a very stressful time. what an amazing legacy YOU all helped me create for cooper. i am truly honored and blessed. THANK YOU.

these are some of the photos. i am expecting more in the next few days. and if you want to see more from the service, you may go here


Monday, May 4, 2009

hello dear readers. i just wanted to let you know that i made it through the weekend in one piece. i felt the love and support of those both near and far and of old friends and new. i will be posting soon about the weekend, it was amazing and the perfect way to honor cooper, but i still need a little time to decompress and recover. i am emotionally spent.

in the meantime, i am going to have my first ever giveaways here on lucends and it is one of my very favorite things, my dear mom's wall vases, seen below. leave a comment by midnight 5/8 to be eligible and my precious husband will pick the winner.

wishing you a great monday. until then......

cooper austin snyder gerenski

Saturday, May 2, 2009

today the scab that has been holding my heart together is gone and my heart is once again in a million little pieces. oh how i miss cooper.

friday knitting

Friday, May 1, 2009

we interrupt our regularly scheduled program to wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my precious husband.

my precious husband has the biggest, kindest heart of any man i know and he loves me more than i thought possible.

i fell for him 2 years ago when we finally met in a wine bar, after talking on the internet for some time, and that night we talked like we had known each other all our lives.

we did not know what life would throw our way, but we did know that we could get through it together. i would not have made it through the past 5 months without him by my side.

my precious husband is my rock, my constant companion, my partner in crime, the love of my life and my heart.

i love him more than words can express.

happy birthday love!