A Run to Remember
by Karla ° Saturday, September 24, 2005
We’re home, we’re pumped, and we’re still standing.

The run was absolutely fantastic. We’re still basking in the glow of our accomplishments, and buzzing from the euphoria of running 10km (6.2 miles) in 55 minutes.

We crossed the finish line, hand in hand, and that was the perfect ending to a run that meant so much to my husband and I.

More pictures will follow later on when I get them, but I just wanted to share this photo of us before the run.



The PBSO was incredibly grateful and thankful for all of your donations, as are Mark and I. Thanks again for all of your support. It's been a remarkable journey and it's not over yet.

Next goal: Half Marathon.

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In Good Spirits
by Karla ° Friday, September 23, 2005
In the spirit of growing anticipation and excitement for the memorial run tomorrow, I have decided to post a picture of me that was taken a few weeks back before heading out for a practice 10 km run.


Disclaimer. No warranty is being made, expressed or implied that my running gear is at all stylish, cool or hip. In fact, I full take responsibility for the waves of dork alarms that are surely ringing loud and clear as you giggle at the attire adorning my body.

Yes, the sweat band is lame, but after being out for a jog and having to run most of it with blurred vision and burning eyeballs from a nasty sunscreen laced with sweat concoction that dripped in my eyes, I decided that being hung by my thumbs would be more pleasant than the blinding fiery burn in my eyes and took drastic measures to avoid this dilemma at all costs.

Drastic measures = lame style = sweat bands.

Geeky clothes you say? Well, I tried some sleeker looking cotton type fabrics, and came to the disgusting conclusion that they hold enough sweat to fill a small pool with by the time I'm done running. Therefore, for the small price of being a total fashion wreck, this svelte polyester/spandex ensemble meets my highly technical requirements for adequacy.

Don’t mess with my shoes though. My Asics totally rock and if I could sleep with them on, I would, but my husband prefers stilettos in bed, and quite honesty, running shoes and sweat bands just don’t work with my lacy things, and visa versa. I would never dare attempt to jog in a thong and stilettos. Where would I put my house key?

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Who am I?
by Karla °
I’ve been desperately trying to answer that question about myself since Ava passed away.

From the moment the maternal instinct kicked in and occupied every fiber of my mind while I desperately tried to conceive, to the many blissful nights humming to Ava in my tummy dreaming of the different life in store for me, to the day I went into labour, my thoughts have been consumed with a life full of babies, motherhood and what a stellar father my husband was going to be.

Her sudden and abrupt passing left me feeling like I have been dumped out of a getaway car in the middle of the dessert, left behind in a cloud of dust as the screeching getaway car sped away with my life and identity. I feel unsettled and frightened. The emptiness and nothingness left behind is disturbingly real.

Although we are still the mother and father of a darling little girl, she is only with us in heart, mind and soul while her tiny little body rests elsewhere. I am not engaged in the same type of motherhood role that my mind has been absorbed with fulfilling for the past few years.

The questions of “Who am I?”, “What am I supposed to do now?” and “Where do we go from here?” has been looming over my husband and I, causing great distress as we learn to cope with our childless life, the recent delivery of her final autopsy results and the intense fear of having more children. Everything we’ve been dreaming of has been crushed, altered and changed. Life is different. We can’t help but ask ourselves these questions.

I don’t know how, when or if we’ll ever have the answers, but in the interim, life must go on. There is a whole world out there to explore. It’s full of possibility, opportunity, and perhaps, somewhere out there, lies the answer to our questions. Finding our way out of this barren and empty place we’ve been thrust into hasn’t been easy. Even my wildest nightmares pale in comparison to the darkness that looms over our heads. Yet, despite the despair and sadness, moving on is starting to take more shape and form.

This past week has been and still is a whirlwind of activity of events, celebrations, getaways and excursions all coming together at the same time. My amazing husband and I celebrated our two year anniversary last Tuesday over a romantic dinner where we reminisced about the amazing 11 years of friendship we've shared and how much we've changed and grown together over that time. We’re eagerly anticipating the upcoming run (wish me luck) and two special birthdays tomorrow (that would be my mom and I who share a birthday). We also have an upcoming nine day business/pleasure getaway in October (which we are still deciding between Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia or Atlantic City for the pleasure aspect of the trip) and we’ve decided on a sun filled vacation getaway in December to the Mayan Riviera for a blissful and romantic week in the sun and exploratory adventure of the Mayan Ruins. I can’t even begin to express how this sudden whirlwind of events has lifted my spirits. Having so much to look forward to is a welcome change.

I still don’t know who I am anymore, or what I am supposed to be doing with my life, but the dust is certainly starting to settle. In time, I will find myself again and the road that leads to home, wherever that may be and whoever I end up being when I get there.

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A walk in my shoes
by Karla ° Friday, September 16, 2005
I have been having a terrible time moving forward with my life as of late.

With the recent events around hurricane Katrina and various remarks that this is the work of God, and that God may be punishing the victims of New Orleans because he “may not approve of their way of life” got me thinking.

Generally, when something is said like that, I try and push it to the back of my mind, and move on.

Under normal circumstances, that seems to work just fine. However, when relating this sort of religious way of thinking to my baby girl and her passing, it hit me on a personal level I have never experienced before, and have been left feeling angry and hurt.

If that sort of mindset exists, how then, is that different than God and his “plans” for Ava? Am I sinful and require punishment? Am I really that evil of a person? Is that really what people think of my family?

Is this my punishment for not believing Jesus is the savior? What about the other 66% of the world that doesn’t practice Christianity?

Religion isn’t an easy topic to broach without causing conflict, and I by no means am trying to dissuade anyone against it. Religion is a human desire and need for hope. Hope that tomorrow is better than today. Having religion and a presence of God in our lives is so very important. But so is an understanding and appreciation that others may or may not follow a certain belief system.

Any religion that has ever been established throughout history has been reinvented, altered, twisted and transformed many times. Of the 19 major religions on this planet, under the Christian umbrella alone, there are over 34,000 separate Christian groups identified, leaving a lot of room for differing interpretations and debates.

Conflict arises when religious beliefs and holy words are used like whips, with complete disrespect for the rest of humanity and their way of life. Just look at the dangers of Islam extremists and their war on the west, or the conflicts between Catholics and Northern Ireland. What about the fight between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir, and the blood shed between the Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. It makes it really hard to believe in the healing power of religion when it is being used to spread fear, suffering and oppression.

How one defines hope, religion or faith doesn’t make us any more or less of a person. Most of us recognize and embrace how different and unique we all are, and these differences are what make life so interesting and diverse. Exposure to diversity helps us learn tolerance, and respect.

I will never understand why it is acceptable to use religion as a means of punishment, or a tool to invoke fear.

Religion and faith are supposed to spread the message of unity and compassion. Perhaps it’s our nature to say and do things before understanding them from another person’s perspective. I know that I have never felt more aware or discoloured of this religious way of thinking until I heard that it was God who had a master plan for my baby and decided to fulfill his own needs by tearing apart my family and taking her from me. Or, that I have in some twisted way been punished for my belief system (or lack thereof) and taking Ava was necessary to “show me the true path and help me understand.” It doesn’t make sense. Taking the life of an innocent baby as a means of forcing one to repent and encouraging regret is sadistic.

Part of what it means to have faith and follow a particular religion is to own all of the history of that religion, both the good and the bad and move past these perverted teaching. Religion is supposed to encourage a sense of family and community and fulfill the true meaning of having faith, and that is a mission of healing, comfort, compassion, love and most importantly, hope.

I’ve tried to express my feelings on this matter as gently as possible. I am not trying to personally attack anyone. I am simply putting my thoughts on the matter out there because when it comes to Ava, and why she died, I needed to express my personal convictions about God. It has been through my belief and understanding that I am good person and that no God would destroy a family in this manner to fulfill some sort of plan that is above human understanding. This is how I put one front in front of the other everyday.

Perhaps if we all tried to walk in the shoes of others and feel how heavy they can be at times, a more gentle understanding of how hurtful words can be would be realized.

Amen.

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Thank You
by Karla ° Monday, September 12, 2005
Thank you to everyone who so generously supported me as I prepared for my first official 10km run on September 24th to raise money for the PBSO in Ava’s honour.

Your support and generosity is truly touching. Thanks hardly seems like enough, but I was absolutely speechless after totaling the amount of money raised for this important charity.

Together, with your support, we've managed to raise almost $1100!

Thank you. Truly, from the bottom of my heart.

Your kindness, emails and letters of encouragement and support have been such a huge motivation in helping me reach my goal, and with another 10km under my belt from a practice run last weekend, I know I will complete this run standing proud and tall.

On behalf of Ava, because I know she would be tickled pink to know how many care, thank you again for everything.

We're truly a blessed family to know the love and support of so many.

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Lessons in Milk
by Karla ° Friday, September 9, 2005
Wow. You really do learn something new everyday. Who would have thought the way we consume milk was so different.

Here is my tribute to our household method of milk consumption. I dedicate this tribute to my crazy gal pals
Christi, Jami and Julia who have either never seen milk packaged in such a fashion, or think we use devices that look like breasts for milk consumption up North here in the crazy city of Ajax, Ontario.

Please note that for health reasons (like, better taste) we are currently drinking milk of the chocolate variety.


first, buy your milk...


next, pull out one of the three plastic bags contained inside...


stuff the milk bag into the "milk container", snip off the end, pour and serve (Milk mustache optional.)

As an aside, I took AC's advice about how to handle my treat monster and hid a bag of Doritos in a cereal box. This doesn't look too suspicisous does it?


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Bathroom Project Status: Complete!
by Karla ° Thursday, September 8, 2005
Remember the bathroom reno project?

It's finally done!

These sort of things always take forever around here. Mostly, I procastinate, complain about the blisters that bubble up on my hands when I paint, and get way too picky about the accessories and accents. I don’t like matchy matchy stuff, and rather than buying accessories designed to coordinate, I like to add my own flair and imagination when coming up with decorating ideas.

Here is my second attempt at home decorating. Welcome to my main floor itty bitty bathroom.

Before Shot

I know... I know...the calla lilly thing looks lame...

After Shots

The custom order mirror I mentioned in my previous post about this project was returned to Home Depot. It was of terribly poor quality, so we changed up everything and went with this Moroccan inspired mirror from Pier 1.


My new light fixture.


Moroccan inspired lantern accesories. Aren't they just grand? You can put tealights in them.




Had to get my hint of red in there. I just love red! It's such a passionate colour. (Although passion where there are toilets sounds rather frightening doesn't it?)




No bathroom is complete without a trash can!


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Treat Monster
by Karla ° Wednesday, September 7, 2005

My husband loves treats. Particularly, those that are of the salty and crunchy variety. Quite often, the snacks brought home from the grocery store for his lunches end up his tummy that very same day.

I felt compelled to try outwitting his salty tooth and find a new means of sustaining a treat bag for longer than one day.

The first attempt at treat sustainability was to discreetly hide them on the top of the fridge behind whatever happened to be cluttering the view up there.

This furtive and sly tactic worked quite well. For about five minutes.

Upon returning home from work the day I had been grocery shopping, Mark exclaimed he was “snacky”. I inadvertently cast a glance towards the top of the fridge and spied the corner of the cheese nacho bag sticking out. He followed my gaze and said “What are you looking at?” I tried to lie and said, “nothing”, but the twinkle in my eye and inability to hold back a smile gave me away. He started shuffling stuff around and proudly discovered the answer to his snackiness.

My mission to hide and sustain the treat bags failed miserably.

Eventually, I just gave up trying to outsmart and outwit the treat monster that lives in my husbands belly and learned to accept that whatever treats entered the house would meet the blackness and insatiable hunger for salty snacks that is my husband’s tummy that very same day.

That is, until yesterday.

A favorite salty snack was on sale. I stocked up. I bought five bags and knew that I had to hide the evidence when I got home or they would surely get eaten up instantly.

I went on the prowl and discreetly hid a bag in all the cupboards that rarely get used (you know, just in case he happened to open one of the cupboards. At the very worse, he would discover only one bag).

I also brought home chocolate milk.

Mark loves chocolate milk.

When he arrived home after work, he made his habitual glance on top of the fridge for treats, and upon not discovering any, opened the fridge to see what else there was to devour. He immediately saw the chocolate milk and wanted some.

There was already milk opened in the milk container, but we have a second milk bag holder. He started to search for it in ALL the rarely used cupboards that were now harboring treats galore.

One by one the salty snack bags were discovered.

All five were pulled out of their hiding spots.

One lone snack bag didn’t make it to see daylight.

The treat monster struck again.

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10km's Under My Belt
by Karla ° Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Ok, not really, but I certainly feel like one!

I don’t mean machine as in a robotic, unemotional, detached and unfeeling sort of way. I mean it in the sense of feeling elated and proud about what my body was able to accomplish last weekend.

Last Sunday, Mark and I decided to attempt the entire 10km run in preparation for the real run later this month. I ran the entire 10km or 6.2 miles (without rest) in an hour. After three months of training, I finally ran my first 10km and I’ve been beaming and on cloud nine over my accomplishment ever since.

(For my friends and family up North, that’s like running from the Brookley Golf and Country Club, along HWY 93 to Edward Street. Taking Edward Street to Dunlop, and then Dunlop down Robert Street all the way to my parent’s house).

For my friends in the city, that’s like running from Yonge and Front, all the way up Yonge street to St. Clair Avenue, west on St. Clair to Avenue Road, south on Avenue Road through Queens Park, down University Avenue all the way back to Front Street.

For all my blogger buddies, IT'S REALLY FAR!

I feel absolutely fantastic and elated about about realizing such a huge goal.

I find it amazing what we can do when we take our own selfishness out the equation and work towards goals honouring those we love. I know I would never have been able to do this for me, but knowing it’s in honour our sweet little Ava, I truly do feel unconquerable.

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Post Pregnancy Remarks
by Karla ° Friday, September 2, 2005
While stepping on the scale yesterday, I discovered that I have finally lost every last ounce and then some of the 28 lbs I had gained while pregnant.

I’ve thought a lot about how pregnancy has changed me both physically and emotionally.


I’m not even going to touch on how carrying a child to full term has changed me emotionally. It would take me weeks, I’m sure, to formulate, condense and make sense of my thoughts on that front.

How pregnancy has changed me physically? This topic is much easier to discuss.

Hair:
Sadly, I’m losing chunks and chunks of the gorgeously thick hair I grew while pregnant. I can feel how much thinner it is and it has me worried. I know hair loss is supposed to be normal with all the hormone changes, but I’m convinced that baldness is inventible if I continue to shed at this rate. I am afraid to brush it because of the amount of hair I find in my brush and in the shower. It’s an intricate balance right now between not brushing, avoiding dread locks and just keeping it tied up hoping the world can’t tell I haven’t brushed my hair that morning.

Weight:
GONE! Buh-BYE! Adios! Good riddance. If only the cottage cheese left on my ass got the hint and left too!

Hips:
It’s shocking how there is no chance in hell my old jeans will ever truly fit me properly again, considering all the weight is gone. My hips are forever widened. I measured. I now require an additional 2 1/2 inches of clearance to fit through a doorway.

Clothing size:
I’ve gone from a size 0/2 to a size 4/6. It took a bit of bitching and complaining, but once I learned to embrace my new body and size, I realized that I actually like my new curves. I can actually pass for a woman now that I’m not such a scrawn bag. If I stand sideways, you can still see me and not think that I have vanished into thin air.

Boobs:
My boobs never totally went back to their original size. I’m hoping they stay this way! Every extra centimeter counts right? ’nuff said!

Derriere:
Unquestionably, my ass is bigger. On the bright side, it seems to have captivated my husbands interest (not THAT way…get your mind out of the gutter) and he reminds me every day how much he loves it.

And really, if my man still finds me attractive, isn’t that all that really matters? His encouragement and loving words always make me feel good, and despite my insistence to STOP SMACKING MY ASS, it does have a certain level of appeal because it means he is at least looking.

Overall thoughts:
Mark claims he finds me even more attractive now that I have carried his child inside of me, and strangely, despite Ava not being with us, knowing my body carried our little marvel inside of me for nine months makes me love my new body even more, because the physical changes that took place were required to nurture and nourish our little miracle, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

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