by Karla ° Saturday, May 22, 2010

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by Karla ° Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Or, more specifically, my junk cupboards. I can’t seem to get away from all this, er, god, I don’t even know what’s in them anymore. All I know is it started with my kitchen counter tops and then it multiplied and spread inside the cupboards virtually overnight and it’s totally out of control and driving me absolutely batty.

I should probably explain how this mess happened. See, our kitchen is, well, as far as kitchen’s go, pretty rad, in my humble opinion. And coming from me, that’s quite the statement because it’s not exactly like I’m known for my culinary abilities or appreciation for fine food or for cooking pretty much anything other than chicken fingers and cookies. I just really love our kitchen because it is smack dab right in the center of our home, a link between the dining room and the family room, close, but not too close to the laundry room and exactly the perfect distance away from our more formal living room. And by more formal, I mean the sofa isn’t covered in milk and ketchup stains like our robin egg blue hand me down sofa in the family room from my mom, which was a hand me down sofa from her sister probably back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. But why buy a new sofa when your kid still thinks rubbing the ketchup INTO the fabric helps make the mess go away, right?

Back to our kitchen. It has a high ceiling, a perfectly sized eating space in front of white trimmed double French doors lined with floor to ceiling red drapes that match my teapot. And that probably sounds really odd, but my chilli pepper red teapot is like, my most favourite kitchen accent piece. Our kitchen also has a counter height table for four, specifically purchased for its height so Samson in all his massively ginormous doggy joy can’t yoink food off our plates and a really great center island large enough to hold 50 or so of my homemade chocolate chip cookies while they cool (What? You don’t bake 50 cookies all at once? Oh!) It’s a kitchen where company tends to gather, laugh, drink and eat and, most importantly, it has a wicked amount of cupboard space. Cupboard space, that, because the kitchen is the heart of our home has somehow lost its purpose as a place to hold dishes and transformed into a hiding place for papers, pens, bills, envelopes, phone chargers, receipts, sunglasses, duct tape to keep a cranky kid quiet, you know, all the normal stuff people need on any given day.

So, with such a lovely kitchen and all its great cupboard space, what’s the problem right? Well, the issue is that I just can’t stand clutter. I put my toaster away after every use. Our small toaster oven and bread maker have their spot hidden from view in the depths of our cupboards. Even though we make protein shakes daily, the blender gets tucked away after every use. Despite ample square footage of counter space, I just can’t stand anything cluttering it. Even the sunshine yellow dish soap bottle has its place beneath the sink. Some may call it barren but to me, empty counters are kind of, I don’t know, Zen.

So, all this decluttering left me no choice. Stuff had to go...somewhere. It started with one shelf, you know, for appliance manuals, a few papers, a mug filled with pens, that sort of stuff. But then, I don’t know, it’s like our junk started making out with other junk and then spawned junk babies and then spawned more junk offspring because that one junk shelf became two, then three, then an entire cabinet. And then when that cabinet became full of crap even more junk started spilling over onto the counter tops. That’s when I said enough is enough, and bought some cute little baskets, rearranged some cereal boxes and voila, a nice and tidy space for (more?) cables, batteries, birthday cards I can’t bear to throw away, along with a few dead smart phones and the boxes they came in because maybe with all this mysterious multiplying of junk going on they may just spawn me a new iPhone or something. YOU NEVER KNOW! And, AND, because toys strewn everywhere drives me just as batty as cluttered counter tops; I cleared yet another entire cabinet for Nate to keep his toys, puzzles and dinky cars. All the stuff that never seems to make its way back to his playroom.

Suffice it to say, my kitchen cabinets are exploding at the seams with junk and toys. I may barely be able to open a cupboard door without Tupperware toppling over on my head, but dammit those bare counter tops are worth it!


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A letter from abroad
by Karla ° Monday, May 3, 2010
I really should take the time to share some of the letters that I get more often. Like this one for example, from Amy. It arrived in my inbox shortly after the five year anniversary of Ava’s death and sometimes opening a heartfelt letter like this one is helps lift the leaden cloud that's been hovering over my head these days.

Dear Karla,

My name is Amy, and I live in Australia with my beautiful husband David and my sweet, bright and very cheeky little 10 month old girl Sarah. I don't exactly know how a series of events recently led me to your story, but I am so incredibly grateful that it did, as it has changed my life in ways that I can barely describe.

When I first gave birth to my daughter, the immense love I felt for her and overwhelmning gratitude I had for her being healthy and happy was all encompassing. We'd lost a previous pregnancy at 3 months before we were blessed with our little girl so initially that feeling of gratitude was easy to reach within me, because my loss was still fairly raw. It carried me through those ! intense first few months of no sleep and cracked nipples and hormonal meltdowns and the bumpy ride of emotions that motherhood takes you on day after day. I understood how blessed I was and this kept me smiling even in the harder times.

In recent months though, something began to change. I started to feel a lack of control in my life and increasing feelings of depression, which led to frustration, sadness and at times even resentment towards my daughter (as difficult as it is to admit!). This crept up on me slowly until it was invading my experiences with Sarah and I now realise it was affecting both my happiness and hers.

And then one day, a few weeks ago, whilst looking up something completely unrelated on the net, I came across your youtube movie "In memory of Ava". I felt like time stopped - I was frozen as everything around me kept moving. Every part of my b! eing ached in shock, disbelief and sadness for what you and your husband went through. It affected me so instantly and completely that I did not know what to do next. I just kept going over it in my mind, again and again. I then went to "untangling knots" and learnt more about what you had gone through, and the love and loss of your beautiful daughter. I knew in that moment that I was changed forever because of you. When I heard Sarah stir from her nap, my heart opened up like an endless well of love - one that I realised I had in someway closed over the preceding months. I rushed to her and picked her up and drew in her smell, her soft skin, her innocence and purity and beauty. All I knew in that moment was how incredibly grateful I was just to have her, and that nothing else matters more than that.

Over the past few weeks I have not let that feeling slip away again. If things ever get difficult I take my thoughts to you and to Ava, and I am immediately reminded o! f how much I have and what a blessing my daughter is in my life. We play more, we smile and laugh more and I care about the housework less. I am happier and more present in every moment of my life. My husband has noticed the change in me and feels like he has got his wife back ("back from where?" I asked him and he wasn't sure the answer, but it was "somewhere I couldn't reach you"). The change within not only my being but Sarah's too is amazing - she is a happier, bubblier girl that she was a month ago, and i know its because I am now truly here with her, and grateful everyday for the joy she brings. I have found my loving self again and it is making everything beautiful.

So I wanted to write to you, to let you know the amazing impact you have had in my life. I know that it has just gone 5 years since the day that Ava came into your lives, and then left again so quickly. I can only begin to i! magine how the anniversary must be for you and your family, and hope y ou are somehow doing ok in the wake of it. I'm sure that not a day goes by that you don't miss your little girl so much that it hurts. I wanted to write to you and share my story so you can know that not only is Ava's memory alive and bright within so many people but that the gifts that she has given us are immense and life changing.

Thank you for sharing your incredibly brave story. Thank you for allowing your experience to touch my life and change it forever. To you and to Ava I am eternally grateful.

With love and thanks


*This letter was published with Amy's permission and names have been changed to protect her privacy.

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