and there you have it…



the tags you never want to use

As I was tagging my last post I was reflecting on the funeral tag I had created. How morbid of me to even create such a tag, as if that was going to become a standard feature of my life in the future. Then I noticed, well it is fairly large…and it will be again.

We lost two more members of our family this past week. I kept meaning to update you all right away, but honestly the shock of it all has absorbed my life into some kind of time warping sponge and spit me out almost a week later not really knowing where I am or what’s going on. Last Friday night Neil and I passed out mid conversation shortly after the kids were in bed. When we groogily woke circa 2 am Neil had a txt that his Great Grandpa Ding had passed away while we were sleeping. Fast forward 36ish hours and you’ll find our little family in the car on the way home from the Science Center when I receive a call from my mom, my cousin Andrew was just found dead in his bed.

Welcome whirlwind. We are now experiencing both ends of grief, the appropriate, lived a full life, will be missed type and the what the hell just happened, you were to young to die type. Both suck.

We were grateful to be able to send Neil off to his Great Grandpa Ding’s service in Michigan, were he participated as a pall bearer. He said the funeral was very well done and honoring to his Grandfather, he’s glad he went, and also glad he was just able to see him this past summer.

Details are still rolling out on Andrew, we don’t even know how he died yet. But I do know since his family is still in Michigan, they are not holding the funeral here. They flew his body to Michigan yesterday and I dont’ think I will be able to attend. I will still be there via facebook however. This is the first loss we’ve had where the deceased and a large portion of the family were active on facebook. It’s a whole different world. If you don’t see me on facebook much for the next few weeks, it’s because I don’t want to be hit in the face with grief at every turn. It’s cathartic for me to read all the memories from everyone, see all the pictures coming out of the woodwork, and interact with the family, but I can’t be in that place all day everyday (like you’re used to seeing me on facebook). I’ll be taking a bit of  break.

I’ve included links to the obituaries if anyone is interested. Completely incomplete descriptions for two people with such full lives and large impacts, but it will at least give you an idea and a picture.

Andrew McClain

Edward Daily

Funeral #6 and #7 in just over two years, now on the books. sigh.


I took my tongue ring out on Wednesday. It was a mildly traumatic experience for me. I’ve known it was going to have to go for a few years now. It was slowly eroding my gums, gross right? But it was slooooow, so slow I let it stay. I mean I’d had the thing almost ten years and it’s not like I’ve lost a tooth or anything close (though I did read horror stories of that online before I pulled the plug).
I felt like I had removed a part of my identity, and I’m not being dramatic.

The whole next day I kept trying to play with it (something I never even realized I did so much of), but it wasn’t there. Eating and drinking felt really weird, like really. I’d already realized I’d lost another hole in my ears this month, the third to just magically disappear. Taking me down to four.

On the plus side my son will no longer be trying to pull it out of my mouth when he nurses, it doesn’t take as long to brush my teeth anymore, and I can’t think of another plus.

I feel like I’ve made some sort of step into something crapy. To make up for it I’m feeling the need to go get my next tattoo! I feel better already.

Here’s a picture. Appropriately taken with a kiddie backdrop. I don’t even know why it’s appropriate, it just feels like it! So deal with it.

posting something

I’m home alone, not really real alone, just this phase of my life’s version of alone. Husband gone, kids are sleeping = alone, for me. Every time this happens I think, I need to post. Then I grab the laptop, sit down, and nothing happens. I can’t remember what the 15 different thing I wanted to say were now that I actually have a minute to put pen to paper, metaphorically speaking (did I just date myself with that?)

So here’s my stuttering thoughts on what I’ve been meaning to post on…

I wanted to show you a video of Grant at school today. However, it is on the Bycemaster’s phone, not mine, and as I previously mentioned, he is not home. You’ll like it though, whenever it gets here. He was a pilgrim, (Grant, not Bycemaster, though the thought of Bycemaster dressed as a pilgrim is highly entertaining, but I digress) he sang little turkey songs, with hand motions, I laughed a lot, he was cute.


Our first Christmas gifts arrived this week. I cannot say what they are as at least one of the recipients regularly reads the blog, but they are really cute! I’m so excited about them, and I hope the people that get them will be too. How’s that for nice and vague!


No more bites on the house yet. I’m actually not worried or concerned about it at all, which is making me a bit worried and concerned in a different way. I’ve got enough other stuff on my mind right now. If January comes and goes with no action at all, I may begin to panic, as of now all is calm, all is bright…


Which leads me to the holidays! They are upon us. I’m feeling very mixed about them this year, not that this is really anything new, the last decade of my life has brought less joy and more dread almost every holiday season. It’s a continual war to enjoy the holidays, and even writing that sentence feels wrong. This year however, we have new fun, grief, yay! As Thanksgiving approaches, a time when I had recently been seeing more of my grandfather, the loss is becoming more and more apparent. I’m just gratefully this isn’t the year I have Thanksgiving here, being at the in-laws will at least offer some relief. My parents are in the same grief boat, so they have no desire to add a second Thanksgiving into the mix. For both of those things I am very grateful.

As for Christmas, it can’t get worse than last year, I hope. No funerals, no crazy last minute madness ’cause I was gone for half the season. I may even make a Christmas party or two this year. It’s our Christmas here, so I get to go to Christmas eve service, one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I do love Christmas eve. Writing all this is making me actually look forward to it all. Maybe I’ll buy a Christmas dress for Jena, she’ll actually have occasion to wear it since we’re going to the Christmas eve service. I’m feeling happy about Christmas at the moment. Now to guard that feeling…

update and a conversation on love

So I went to post tonight and what do I find? My brief little summary of the funeral, that I’d never published! Sorry. It wasn’t much, but I’m including it below, along with an assortment of other random ramblings.


I’m glad I went to the funeral. I saw some family I’d never met before,  some that it’d been too long since I’d seen, and some that I am happy to see as often as the opportunity presents itself, with overlap amongst the groups. Jacob did well on the plane. He slept half the way and charmed the passengers the other half. There’s a lot I’m still process from the trip. Something about being with a large group of you family that makes you see yourself in a different light.

I told you it was brief. On to other things.


 Jena is potty trained now! I could have sworn I put it on here, but I couldn’t find it. We are down to only ONE child in diapers and I couldn’t be happier. Even though we are still in the high maintenance phase of potty training I’ll take it over diapers any day. She practically potty trained herself. While I was potty training Grant I wanted to shoot anybody that said that. 18 months of hell for him was a couple of weeks of nothing for her. I stand in awe still. It is truly a miracle.


Grant is starting pre-school this week. Tuesday is his first day and I believe we have sufficiently hyped him up for it. Now I just have to make sure I’m ready for it, as it dawned on us parents last night that we may not even have all the appropriate supplies and such. I did manage to get him a lunch box, but do they need back packs for pre-school? I do not know. I’m sure I will find out. Poor kid, it’s his parents first day of school also.


Jacob’s birthday is right around the corner and I can still hardly believe it. Two weeks from today and I’m miserably behind on his birthday video. I’m consoling myself with the fact that surely we did not take as many pictures of him as we did the other two, so I will have less to weed through!

He’s still working on that other bottom tooth. I saw a spot so white today I was sure it’d finally made it through, but I could not feel a thing. Oh well, what’s a few more days of screaming at this point really? He was screaming out of pure joy today as Grant chased him around the house and I realized even when the pain is gone the screaming will not be. He is after all a Byce child, it seems to be their marker.


In conclusion I will leave you with a conversation Grant and I had about love, and dinosaurs, and killing, of course.

Grant: dinosaurs need lub too mommy.

Me: they do? What kind of love do dinosaurs need?

Grant: dey need da good kind an da bad kind

Me: well what’s the bad kind of love?

Grant: da bad kind is when da dinosaurs kill all da good dinosaurs, dats da bad kind. (said very matter of factly)

Me: ok, well then what’s the good kind?

Grant: da good kind is when da dinosaurs kill all da bad dinosaurs, dats da good kind. (like duh mom)

It then went even further down the tubes to dinosaurs pooping out of their tails, but I’ll spare you the immense detail he described that feat in. You can thank me now for that one.

end of an era

Many of you who are friends with me on facebook, and let’s be honest here, that’s who MOST of you are, already know that my Grandma Strang died. She was my mom’s mother, my grandma, and great grandma, and great great grandma to many many more. So Jacob and I are trekking across the country again, to Michigan this time, to attend another funeral.

All my grandparents have died in the last 9 months. You can read about the first two here, here, and here, the fourth one died before I was ever born. It feels a bit strange, being grandparentless. I imagine it’s even stranger for my parents, both of them being orphans, in a sense. I feel exposed, like I’ve been advanced ahead into a new category of life, whether I was ready for it or not.

Off we go.

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