Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh Dear

This post will be rather short as it is late and I am tired  . . . and having contractions.  As I was "contracting" earlier, I was given a taste of what labor will be like with my husband in the room.  Unfortunately, it was painful.

"Breathe!!!  Are you breathing?  BREATHE!!!" he coached.  "Hoo, hoo, ha, ha.  Hoo, hoo, ha, ha . . . . . . . "

Although he may not appreciate this very much, it was so funny that it made things worse.   Between cramping, having contractions, hiccups (the baby had them, so there was yet another thing going on in my belly), and laughing (thus using my abdominal muscles) at Patrick's breathing techniques, I was pretty uncomfortable.   If he was that . . . energetic . . . after work, late at night when he was tired, what will it be like if he manages to sneak in the Diet Mt. Dew that he so desperately wants in the delivery room (I have said "NO WAY")?!

He finally went to bed "just in case" real labor starts tonight.  He wants to be well rested.  Lucky him gets to sleep.  :-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Contractions, Heartburn, and a Cell Phone That Doesn't Work?

As I sit here having contractions (no, don't get excited yet--I've been having them for weeks) and battling heartburn, I look forward to the day when I can reclaim my body as my own.  Various "issues" assail me right now, all related to pregnancy, and I've forgotten what it is like to function without another person lodging in my body.  I really hope that she comes out soon.

One of the hardest things emotionally right now is speaking with my grandmother.  My heart breaks as she tells me that she has no appetite and that she really has no motivation to cook for just one person.  I almost begin to weep as she urges me to love and enjoy the time that I have with my husband--she assures me that  I have an amazing one.  My eyes well with tears as I hear her almost cry on the other end of the line.  I love her so much, and I can not begin to imagine the way that she is feeling right now.  Adjusting to life without Poppop will be extremely difficult for her, and all that I can do is love her, pray for her, and call her as often as possible.

It did make me laugh, though, when she told me how frustrated she had been because it was so difficult to get ahold of me.  Quickly I racked my brain for whether or not my phone had any missed calls, and I didn't remember any--and my ringer had (for once) been on most of the day.  She then explained that she kept trying to call my number and the phone kept asking for a password.  After several tries, she finally gave up and called my sister to find out what was wrong with her cell phone (or mine).

As she was relating this story, I realized that she had been dialing my OLD phone number into her phone--and SHE now possesses my old number.  The password she needed was for voicemail.  Anyway, I did not tell her that I had programmed my new number (which I have had for over two years) into her cell phone several months ago so that my name would pop up when I called . . . I guess she was just looking at her old book of phone numbers--the one with the rotary phone on the front--instead of looking through the contacts in the cell phone which she claims does not work properly.  User errors, all of them.  ;-)

Please pray for this dear, wonderful woman as she deals with the loss of her beloved husband.  Life without him after being married for nearly 61 years will be hard, but her trust is firmly rooted in her Lord and Maker.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

It is Well

Today definitely ranks as one of the most difficult yet most blessed days of my life.  Poppop's funeral was today, and it brought yet more mixed emotions.

From where I was sitting, it looked like there was not an empty seat in the church--and the church is large.  To see so many people come out to support and show love for our family at this time was both humbling and amazing, and it was also a testament to the number of lives that my grandfather has touched over the years.

Hearing from these people of what a wonderful man Vincent Zoppina was in this life was an inspiring experience: fathers who wished that their sons would be like him, families who had been helped and blessed by him, individuals to whom he had shown kindness and love . . .

Perhaps the best part of the day was being reminded yet again of how much this great man loved God first and foremost.  In every aspect of his life, he attempted to point his family and friends to the Lord and Savior who had pulled him out of darkness and into the marvelous light.  Every day he read his Bible faithfully, and the worn pages of that Book are proof of the love that he had for pouring over its words.

For almost sixty-one years, he was married and faithful to my grandmother.  Watching her throughout the day was one of the most painful things that I have ever experienced.  She was praising God that her beloved best friend is now in heaven, but the bitter truth that he will no longer be her constant companion on earth was beginning to set in.  Her shoulders would droop every once in a while as she bent to wipe away a tear, but she would then quickly put on a strong face to graciously thank those who had come to show their love.  When we stopped back at her home after the funeral, she was telling us to take home all of the food that was leftover since "It's only me and Vince . . ." and then she began to weep as she realized that it is she and Vince no more.

It has been a long time since I have felt such peace at a funeral.  I cried throughout much of the day, but they were the sorrowful tears of one who misses with hope.  Just knowing with certainty that I will see him--soon--brought such comfort amidst my distress.  Although I never go up to the casket at a funeral of a loved one (I would rather remember them as they were), it brought comfort to me to see Poppop because the shell of a body looked nothing like him.  It reminded me that the body there was not my grandfather, that my grandfather has a new, better, whole body . . . and that he's smiling.

The fact that he is truly gone "forever" has not yet sunk in for me.  I keep dreaming about him at night--he's watering plants with me or sitting at the table with me.  After these dreams, I awake thinking that he's still here until reality sets in and I remember.  Even today back at the house, I kept expecting his booming laugh to fill the room.  I expect that the realization will hit me soon, and it will be difficult.  However, I am so thankful to God for his infinite goodness in my life and in the life of my grandfather.  I can truly say that, though the storm beats down hard upon me, it is well with my soul.  I know that it is only a matter of time before we are reunited, and, while I miss him, a part of me envies the joy, peace, and ecstasy that now fills my grandfather as he praises God before the throne.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Motivation has not really been my strong point this week.  My house has been a mess, I have returns to make at various stores, my hair needs to be thinned and trimmed, I have a few last minute items to purchase before the baby comes, and my hospital bag is not even packed yet (other than the electronic items, the diaper bag, and snacks for Patrick).  Everything seems to be working against my getting done the things that really need doing.

I'm grieving, I'm huge and pregnant and stiff and sore, I'm not sleeping well, and I think it has been averaging somewhere in the low 100 degrees every day this week (which means that my air conditioner is struggling to keep the house cool enough for me).

Marissa and I did paint, reupholster, and decorate the toy chest on Wednesday and Thursday, so that has to count for something, but I honestly just haven't felt like doing anything--and I haven't really had the energy to do much anyway.

God has other plans for me, though.  As if to say, "Get up and work, lazy," He had my cousin call me to ask if she and her husband could crash here and sleep for a few hours on their way to the funeral on Monday.  *Dun, dun, duunnn*

While I was saying yes, I was mentally making lists of everything that I should have accomplished cleaning-wise this week and tallying in my brain how quickly I could get everything done so that my house (and my house keeping skills) wasn't a total embarrassment to me when they arrived.  Although my cousin reminded me that I don't have to clean for her, I assured her that it was just the kick in the pants that I had been needing to jump start my engine all week.

Once we hung up . . .

*Living and Dining rooms: DE-CLUTTERED AND CLEANED

Today, I need to . . .

*Clean our room (AGAIN . . .)
*Vacuum the house
*Flip and fold the laundry
*Put laundry away
*Go to the store since I've been living without milk for a week

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pain and Joy

Life is never what we expect and not often what we hope.  The things that bring us the most sadness can also bring us joy.  Conflicting emotions fill and confuse us as they battle for the upper-hand in our minds.

Poppop, I know that you're with Jesus now--that your body is once again whole and healthy, and I rejoice at the thought that you are now happier than you have ever been because you are praising our Lord in the full glory of His presence.  Peace fills a part of me as I realize that you are out of your pain, that you are no longer suffering, and that you have finally crossed the river to the Celestial City.

None of this changes the fact that you will be missed more than I ever thought possible.  You were always there, and I guess a little part of me thought that you always would be.  The pain that has permeated my heart reminds me that you will never meet my daughter in this life--and it hurts even more because she was so close to meeting the man for whom I have the deepest respect and love.  A part of me had hoped that God would not have brought you this far only to take you now, but His timing is best even when it cuts to the heart.

Every Christmas, you and I made pizzelles together, and I will continue to make them with my children. I'll tell them how you and I always snuck in more anise because we loved it so much, how you liked the cookies dark and burned while I liked them white and crunchy, how you always made me sift the flour through your decrepit old sifter, how we sometimes stirred with your non-electric hand mixer and with duct taped spatulas, and how much fun we had spending the day together.  It was my favorite Christmas tradition merely because it was with you.

You were the best husband, the best father, and the best grandfather.  The example that you set for all of us will live on--your love, faithfulness, devotion, caring, dedication, and honesty helped to shape and form so many lives.

Although it feels like goodbye, I remember your last words to me.  I'll see you soon, Poppop.  I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Just wanted to share with everyone just how shallow I really am (and it surprised even me):

I received an informational packet in the mail from yet another company that has been informed that I am about to have a baby.  As I was reading through the information, I came across a paper entitled "Some Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind Before You Go to the Hospital."

In this section, I learned that, "If you have a caesarean section, you will be on a liquid diet for 12-24 hours after delivery."

The FIRST THING that crossed my mind after reading that statement was, "Oh please, God, don't let me have a C-section--I couldn't make it that long on a liquid diet!!"

I was dead serious.  It struck me how odd it was that, after all that I have read/heard/been taught about caesarean sections, the thing that I fear the most (should I need one, and the doctor and I are not anticipating needing one) is being on a liquid diet.  I mean, I have foods lined up for my brother to bring me while I'm in the hospital--things that I haven't been able to eat since I've been pregnant--and the thought of dreaming of a spicy tuna roll while sipping on some liquid drink was/is really depressing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pregnancy Quotes: This Week

Perhaps my husband will not appreciate this post, but he should be grateful that I, at least, have a good sense of humor.  I'm not saying that I was necessarily laughing when he actually said some these things, but I think that they are rather funny now.

This week, Patrick has said three different things that . . . I will post here in their context.

Statement #1:

My weekend was long.  Even a non-nine month pregnant woman would have felt exhausted after a weekend like this one.

I went up to Aberdeen to watch the girls and to help cook for Jesse's high school graduation . . . I also accomplished lot of other things while up there that were not "rest related."

When I got home, I made chicken tacos for dinner (I could have done frozen pizza, but Natalie wanted the tacos).  I also put together a blueberry-raspberry chocolate trifle for the graduation party.  After all this, I started doing the dishes.  Patrick begged me to just let them sit and told me that he would do them in the morning.  Any other time those words would have been like a dream come true . . . except that I HAD to get them done.  And I HAD to bleach all of my countertops and cabinets and my microwave and my stove.  Once they were done, I went to brush my teeth and found beard stubble and toothpaste in my newly cleaned bathroom: this meant that I HAD to bleach the sink AND the floor (for some odd reason).  I finally had to force myself to go to bed because my feet hurt so badly that I could hardly walk anymore.

Saturday saw me up, showered, dressed, and at the graduation at a time when I'm usually still trying to catch up on sleep.  We were out until late.

On Sunday, I was EXHAUSTED beyond belief.  I could hardly walk in the morning because I was so tired.  When I told Patrick that I would probably skip Sunday school so that I could sleep, he said,

"But you just got 8 hours of sleep--why are you exhausted?"

Ummm, maybe YOU got 8 hours, but I sure didn't!  Between being sore, in pain, and having to get up to go to the bathroom, I didn't get much sleep at all!!  In fact, I don't get much sleep most nights . . . I thought that he knew this.  It must have slipped his mind.

Statement #2:

Patrick and I were on our way back from New Jersey (one more visit to Poppop!), and we were discussing labor and delivery.

I told Patrick that the doctor said that he could most definitely cut the cord as long as there weren't any issues.  He asked about catching the baby when she comes out, and I told him that I thought it was okay but that I hadn't really gotten a clear answer on that question.

Somehow that turned into something (I forget), and I said something about holding Natalie right after she was born.

"Don't I get to hold the baby first?"  he asked.

"Who do you THINK should hold the baby first?" I responded incredulously.  Honestly, I was thinking about all the blood, sweat, and tears of labor that I (in all caps) will be enduring shortly . . . I think I've earned the first hold!

"Well, I am the dad . . ." Patrick responded with a hopeful look and a grin.

We left it with me telling him that he could carry the baby from where she was getting cleaned up and then put her on me.  

While I do think that this conversation was just a tad humorous, I also found it to be very sweet . . . as long as I get to hold her first.  ;-)

Statement #3:


Erin from the sofa: "Honey, what if the baby decides not to come out until 42 weeks . . . that would stink.  That would be . . . REALLY awful."

Patrick from the laundry room: "Why do you waste your time thinking about things like that?"

Erin from the sofa with her bottle of TUMS: "Because someone was just telling me about how her oldest was 10 days late . . . and I can already hardly move without pain . . . that would stink . . . that would really stink."

As an aside, Patrick thinks that the baby will come this week.  Maybe next, but he has a feeling about this week--that's why he thinks I was wasting time.  While I'm tempted to roll my eyes about his premonition about the timing (and I don't want to get my hopes up), I do remember that HE KNEW that I was pregnant a full week before I did--and I was positive that I was not.  Guess we'll see what the next week brings!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Poppop made it through this week.  Today, Mommom called to say that he was feeling a little bit better and that he was up for visitors.  After church, Patrick and I made the two hour drive to NJ to visit with him.

Although he was definitely in a weakened state, it did our hearts good to hear him laughing and joking with all of us.  It was a wonderful visit that I will never forget--especially since it wasn't "supposed" to happen.  I didn't think I'd ever be able to see him again.

When it came time for us to say our goodbyes, Poppop grabbed my hand and pulled me close.

"Come here, Erin.  Come as close as you can get."

Holding tightly to my hand the entire time, he leaned in for a kiss before he said,

"Erin, I pray that I'm around to hold your baby.  But if I'm not, I'll see you both again.  Soon.  I love you."

I barely managed to hold it together until we made it back to the car.  Even in this time, he took the opportunity to remind me that we part only for a short while before we are once again united in Christ.

I praise God for the blessing of having a grandfather who is in the Lord, and I am especially thankful for the knowledge that my grandfather is able to look forward to seeing me again in heaven where we will spend eternity praising our great God together.  Forever.

Despite my sorrow, I am so grateful to God for the certainty of salvation.  There are those who feel that one cannot know one's final standing with God--they think that they must just keep on doing good works and trying to please God in the hopes that He will be happy enough to let them into heaven.  If you are one who believes this, I pity you.  Know this: God teaches in His word that we CAN know.  We can KNOW.  I am certain that I am a child of God, and I can say with authority that I will see my grandfather again because he also has turned to Christ as the only means of salvation.

Not only could I not have asked God for a sweeter blessing than the visit that we had today, but I know that there could have been no words on earth sweeter to my ears than those that Poppop said today.

Even if Poppop is not around to hold my baby--and in all likelihood he will not be--I will see him again . . . soon.  As Patrick so often reminds me: it may seem like a very long time to you, but there is no time in heaven--to Poppop, he'll be seeing you again tomorrow.

So, Poppop, I do not say "Goodbye."  Rather, I leave with "'Til we meet again" . . . for we shall.  Soon.