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12.16.2012

SUGAR COOKIES AND HEAVY HEARTS


today was the drizzliest, rottonest day. we are all suffering from a case of the sniffles, even the city. brandon and i are still reeling from the shootings in connecticut. i want to be able to do something about it. there has to be something at this point? i feel like i can't be sitting here just processing sadness anymore. there is too much sadness. between the uws nanny stabbing and the hurricanes and the shooting in oregon, and who even knows what else i'm forgetting in between then and friday, i'm just surrounded by constant reminders that we are not safe, and i am not in control of anything. i can't bring the babies here, and even once i do, i can't protect them from the world. it's enough to make me want to steal my family away and hide forever in some remote rock on a mountain. i think we need a break from all of this.

and cookies schmookies, i know. but sometimes it is all you can do. 

huck is developing in warp speed these days. his little self fills a room, and i am responsible for giving him the world. this little sliver of his life is mine to improve. and it is awe inspiring and overwhelming and comforting even, in a strange way, which might make no sense really. when huck sees steam coming from the food we're about to eat he says, "ouch, hot mama" and won't eat it until i've blown on it. when he trips and falls or jams a finger in a toy, he believes a kiss from mama will make it better. he understands sadness and pain and for all he knows, it ends here, with me. when feel emotional or frustrated, he crawls up into my lap and holds my face in his hands and says "schowwy mama," because he knows that my pain ends with him, too. we are responsible for each other and we do our best. and sometimes, together, we can make the rest of the world go away.

sometimes, it's cookies.

i just can't get over the idea of starting the day with a baby and ending it without. i can't imagine losing huck so quickly, so horribly. it makes it hard to breathe. i know it happens every day, quietly, though loudly as could be for those in pain. we lose babies we've had for decades and we lose babies we've had for years and we lose babies we've carried only in secret a few weeks. our babies are not promises. sometimes it feels like nothing is.

brandon took these photos while we were messing around in the kitchen this evening. i'm so grateful for brandon. i'm so grateful for huck. i am so grateful i've never known the pain of losing a baby. i'm grateful and i'm frustrated and i'm sad and i'm angry. i'm just so angry. i'm angry for all those parents. i'm angry for all those babies. there has to be something we can do. 

sometimes, it's cookies.


this is my favorite sugar cookie recipe. i hope you enjoy it with peace and health and loved ones.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla 
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
4-5 cups flour 
(i like a lot of flour, i think it's the key to a good sugar cookie. i entirely eyeball it after the third cup and taste as i go till it gets just the right fluffy consistency. the amount i need seems to change every time.)

roll 'em out real thick on a floured surface, 
use your happiest holiday cookie cutters,
bake at 400 degrees F for six to eight minutes.
(try to err on the side of undercooked. they are not as good crispy.)


a reader from my hometown in connecticut emailed me to see if i'd share her friend's initiative, 
and i'm honored to.
if this is your cup of tea (and if not, i respect that), 
please consider sending your extra christmas cards to your legislators
and tell them it's time to improve our country's gun policies. 
i know it won't solve everything. but i believe it may help.

you can read more about this HERE.
(thank you in advance for keeping your comments on gun policy polite.)

56 comments:

  1. You have said everything I have felt in my heart. I'm glad you can give the world to huck. He is the luckiest.

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  2. "i just can't get over the idea of starting the day with a baby and ending it without. i can't imagine losing huck so quickly, so horribly. it makes it hard to breathe. i know it happens every day, quietly, though loudly as could be for those in pain. we lose babies we've had for decades and we lose babies we've had for years and we lose babies we've carried only in secret a few weeks. our babies are not promises. sometimes it feels like nothing is." This quote touched me so deeply. My heart is broken for the families in Newtown, any family who has lost a child, anybody who has lost anybody ever. It's been a devastating week.

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  3. Ouch. My heart.

    Sniff!

    So beautifully written, Nat. You've articulated everything I think, and then some. I wrote a short piece about it on my blog last night. I'm all the way down in Australia but, hey, does it really matter? Does it matter where children or people die, whether in the First or Third World, when it's innocent lives? Our hearts break and ache for them just the same.

    This tragedy is horrific; they all are.

    I pray that things improve in the US, that these nightmarish horrors stop happening. If only they were a nightmare.

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  4. beautiful post natalie. so eloquently said.

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  5. As an elementary special education teacher, it's all hit too close to home. I cried about it in church this morning. We try to protect our children from so much, but it finds its way in anyway. I'm so grateful that I've never had the pain of losing a child, but it's not fair that someone has. It isn't fair that someone else made that choice, to take a loved one away. Anger, sadness, gratefulness. We're feelings all the things right now. I'm glad you have Brandon & Huck to hold onto tonight.

    I posted more thoughts about it here: http://www.thedailysnapshot.org/2012/12/how-long-o-lord.html

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  6. Your words are so tender and touching; I think you really captured what a lot of us are feeling in our hearts.

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  7. I honestly think you are the coolest. Thank you for being brave and sharing your words and thoughts with all of us. And for raising such a wonderful human being who will go out into the world and do good. And for cookies.

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  8. Beautiful post. Thank you for your honesty in your writing. We need more. raw

    I didn't write it (nor do I know the woman who did), but another honest and heartfelt passage I read is here: http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

    I am a firm believer in gun control (and absolutely could not believe some of the horrendous tweets you were getting when you mentioned you were. gosh people are awful) but I think there has to be discussion on mental health, in conjunction with gun control.

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  9. Natalie that third paragraph is seriously beautiful. Your capturing of your relationship with Huck not only motivates me to write but is helping me to see the value in giving up my job to become a SAHM. Thanks, girl.

    Kelley
    Kdiaries.com

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  10. I'm normally just a lurker, but I have to say that the first paragraph of this post is exactly what I wish I would've written about everything. Thank you for your beautiful words.

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  11. oh natalie <3 this one was really beautiful.

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  12. So beautiful and I echo all your sentiments. All of them. Starting the day with a baby and losing one the same day-so unthinkable. I do feel like we can go forward and be inspired to make something good and beautiful out of this horrible tragedy though. We can remember all the thousands and thousands of babies (29,000 every day..under the age of 5-from preventable causes!) and we can save so many of them, so easily. As women I think we want to make everything alright. We can't make this alright. We will never be able to make it alright. But we can use this horrible pain to change the world for the better. I can't think of a better way to honour those innocent beautiful lives. Maybe I am just desperate to do something positive, to find something meaningful and to feel some sense of control. I don't know. I just want to save other moms from feeling this type of unbearable pain most of us can only imagine..and I know we can. We don't have to feel completely helpless. There are plenty of people we can help. xox Please the link below for how:
    http://momedy.blogspot.com/2012/12/look-for-helpersbe-helpers.html

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  13. The best thing we can do is love our families. There is a lot of healing in that...

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  14. Beautifully written. I always love the way you string your words together.

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  15. I just checked your blog hoping that you had written about this. I needed to hear your take on this tragedy beyond words. Thank you.

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  16. A wonderful & heartfelt post. I do hope that your government implements gun reforms so events like this are less common - it's a terrible thing to have happened.

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  17. Beautiful post Natalie. I relate to all your feelings and emotions and am left in perplexity at the sorrow the world is feeling every day- most of which we don't see, don't mourn over, don't remember. It breaks m heart but nothing in this life makes sense without faith and hope so I am trying to have faith and hope that there is goodness still left amidst all the suffering. Your words were beautiful. Thank you!

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  18. My friend posted this on Facebook and I thought I thought of it when I read this post.

    Fear is one of the strongest tools of the adversary, and when we live in fear he thrives. Be concerned, be involved, be aware, be smart, but not scared because then he wins. There is a greater power and cause out there that the adversary can never trump, as long as we are in tune with it, the Spirit of our Heavenly Father. When we are doing as parents what is in line with Gods will, we have no need to fear.

    I think you are doing one of the best things possible for Huck, surrounding him with love and raising him to be a good and loving person himself. I can't think of anything we could do better as mothers.

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  19. Heavy hearts and anger. And cookies. Cookies bring smiles. Heavy is the only word I've been able to come up with for what Friday left in me. So I feel you there. I couldn't bake this weekend. Though it would have been good to share the smiles. I decorated for Christmas, though. This year I think it's important for everyone to do Christmas right. We owe it to those children, those teachers and that town. It's least we can do. And bake cookies. You are right about cookies.

    http://likeordinarylife.com

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  20. I think you said it beautifully, Natalie. Really. And you're doing everything you can to right the ship, loving your little guy as intensely as you do.

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  21. Thank you for sharing my Christmas card idea - I am so appreciative and have received so many hits from your blog. I am so hopeful that this can make a difference by giving all of us who are so horrified by this tragedy a way to ask for violence prevention. I don't know any parent who doesn't want that. Many, many thanks. - Kelly

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  22. Thanks for having the guts to talk about this, and for the link.

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  23. Love to you and yours. Coming from a country with much stricter gun laws and a much lower rate of gun violence (Australia) than the US, it amazes me that the discussion about gun control even needs to be had - it seems so obvious from over here. I hope you're able to have a lovely, slow Christmas and refresh your soul.

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  24. That third paragraph is beautifully put.

    I agree that there need to be more steps taken before obtaining a gun license, but what alarms me most are the number of people who are silently building and plotting these acts of horror, and even worse are the cases where the shooter legally obtains weaponry. There have to be warnings signs that we are missing. I also think we need to put more efforts into understanding and managing mental illnesses.

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  25. beautifully written. its hard to put into words what this has made us feel. but i related to every single thing you said. http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com

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  26. We moved to Newtown last summer--it was love at first sight when my husband got a job in Connecticut and we had to relocate from the other side of the country. It is everything you would imagine a quiet little New England town would be: friendly, picturesque and idyllic. We were welcomed warmly and it felt like home right away. The tragedy on Friday shattered our sense of peace momentarily, but this tight-knit community is pulling together and we feel the love and concern coming from around the world. Sadly, a little girl in our LDS ward was a victim of this senseless tragedy. Her father has been the voice of hope and faith and forgiveness--first for our ward in a prayer meeting Friday night and since then for many others as he spoke out for choosing love and forgiveness. We passed a hand-painted sign on our way to church today, it said "We are LOVE. We are Newtown". Love will win and you are showing that right there in your little world Natalie.

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  27. I was on a plane from Tokyo, home to San Francisco, last night and watched TV footage of the shootings whilst my little boy slept in the seats next to me, and I cried for the same reason. How can I protect this little creature who is more precious to me than life itself? We had an earthquake in Tokyo, we live on a fault line in the US. We had a child almost stolen from a school nearby a few weeks ago, in one of the safest places I have ever lived. I cannot protect this little boy from harm. I can do my best, and I will fight harder for him than anything I have ever fought for before, but I felt so helpless. I prayed so hard on that plane and I know I have to leave him in God's hands, but that won't guarantee his earthly safety. My heart aches for those who lost children (of all ages) and friends in CT.

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  28. Hi Natalie,
    I've been a reader and fan of your blog for a couple of years now and haven't ever commented, but felt so compelled with this post. Just to tell you that I really appreciate your words here. I have a 19 month old son and have spend so much of this weekend feeling torn between gratitude for everything that he is and a deep sadness and anger for the loss of these young children. You said it very well, these families lost their babies, and that feels so horrible. And yet certainly it isn't my sadness in the slightest that is the real suffering here. I'm definitely taking you up on your suggestion to send out the extra holiday cards of my own baby's joyous smile with a request for the change needed to prevent this from happening again. I think it will help me feel a little less helpless in all of this. Thank you for your post - so often I can relate to the fun and silly happenings in your life but this heartfelt post really touched on the sentiments of my own weekend.

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  29. Isaiah said of the Savior: "surely he carried our sorrows"

    the grief of this world is unbearable. Jesus carried, carries our sorrow. so we can cope.
    this place is not safe. but we *are* safe, in the truest and lasting way, in Jesus.

    do you think so?

    Rachel

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  30. I love your blog. Your writing is Kathleen Kelly-esque in its' conversational tone. It's real and thoughtful and easy-breezy. And tonight, you've expressed that torn feeling we have as mother's this weekend--sickening ache and pain for those families, bursting love for our own families. Wanting to change the world, wanting to ignore the world and hide with our family under our wing. Thank you and thank God we have hope. There is always hope on the horizon. He has a plan and someday those little 6 and 7-year-old cherubs will be raised by their parents and all will be made right. Thank God for this. Until then, there are cookies. And other every-day moments and simple joys that we can cherish and cling to.

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  31. perfectly said! great post.

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  32. i honestly just want to scream. and cry. and i'm so angry. i can't stop imagining those classrooms full of little bodies. my son is three, he's my whole heart. it literally breaks me to think about those families being called to the school and going home empty handed. something has to change. it HAS to. and cookies:)

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  33. We can make cookies. Making memories with my baby is the best thing I can do. If my sweet toddler would ever be taken from me I want to have a day to remember us baking cookies together. So that's what we're going to do.

    He's sitting with me on the couch right now and I just can't even imagine him not being here. I can't even think it. It hurts to much. So, I won't. We'll bake cookies instead.

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  34. Thank you so much for this. I wrote something with similar sentiments a couple of days ago. I'm just so sad and angry - broken-hearted for those parents who came to collect those lost children and had to wait overnight in a fire station to retrieve them. Oh gosh, I can't stand it.

    I have been so determined to treasure my boy better, and it sounds like I'm not the only one. We will be making cookies and memories together this week.

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  35. first time mom to a 10 month old girl in Amsterdam. I never knew how crushing this news is if you're a parent. It just kills me that those children weren't kept safe. I can't imagine how those parents must feel today. I have no idea how you move on... Let's hope that the feel a fraction of all the love and wel wishes send to them! I'll be squeezing my babe and eating cookies!Thank you for writing this Natalie

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  36. thank you for this natalie - i feel like i have so little to add to the conversation, what hasn't already been said, and yet here you wrote something that needed to be said, also. i don't know where we go from here, but i hope desperately some serious changes are coming.

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  37. Losing a young child i the worst feeling a parent can experience. Lets pray and hope the victims will continue to stay strong and sane. May God bless their little ones in Heaven.

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  38. Sometimes food is the easiest way to get your mind off of a situation, funny how the things that make you lose your appetite can be "helped" by baking cookies. :)

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  39. I remember when the tragic uws nanny killins happened, people were so quick to blame the parents for not caring for their own children and hiring a nanny. This tragedy just shows that no matter how hard you try, whatever decisions you choose are best for your family, you are dependent on the decisions of others too. All you can do is try your best and pray for protection.

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  40. How beautifully you cherish your son and turn sad times around by doing something fun, memorable and productive with him! I also love your sweater, do you mind me asking where it's from? Beautiful pictures of you guys in the kitchen! Cherish these moments!!!

    ~maggie

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  41. Natalie thank you for sharing to wonderful call to action - I will be mailing out my extra Christmas Cards, and have encouraged my Facebook Friends to do the same. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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  42. I was really touched by your writing. And I was energized by that emotion to put a voice to it. So I just sent a copy of your friend's beautiful letter to both of my Virginia Senators. Such an important cause. Americans for safety and peace <3

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  43. this is beautiful, natalie. our two-day old baby died just over three months ago (albeit not in such a tragic way) and it was the best and worst experience of my entire life. i couldn't stop sobbing on friday as i thought about those mamas having to lay their children in the cold, dry earth, because i know what that's like. your body physically aches and you yearn to hold and embrace them just one last time.
    but, like i said, it was also the best experience of my life. it's through trials like this that people come the closest to God. and someday, all will be made right and all of us mamas and our babies will be reunited the the joyest of reunions. what a happy, joyful day that will be!

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  44. "together we can make the world go away." = love

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  45. YAY! I will definitely be sending a card to my legislators. What a great idea. :) And so nice to feel like I'm DOING something. xo

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  46. I have felt so lost! Now I feel like I can DO something. thank you.

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  47. That was a beautiful post, Natalie, thank you for it.

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  48. Over here, on my side of this planet my heart breaks for you all. What a shockingly horrible thing to happen. The jolt we felt can only have been magnified for you all. Sending love from one small person hoping to do something to another.

    I'll probably even send some of those Christmas cards myself. It's got to help right. Maybe.

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  49. what a beautiful post. and for making the day sweet with sugar cookies. merry Christmas to you and your family! xo

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  50. This is so moving. Thank you for reminding me of the powers of cookies.

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  51. You have such a way with words. It's people like you that bring joy into a dismal world. Love to you and your adorable family!

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  52. Such a sweet piece about your love for Huck and your sadness about people losing children. This is why you're my favorite blogger Natalie! You have such a beautiful way with words. Merry Christmas to you!

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  53. this is a beautifully written post Natalie...and I completely agree with you. I cannot imagine starting the day with my son and ending the day without him. It's unthinkable.

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  54. Sad as tragedy always is...more gun laws won't solve it. Even God, the greatest of all lawmakers, allows us...allows everyone, the freedom to choose.

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