May 26, 2015

the wonderful & terrible twos

Our little girl is no longer a baby. This seemed to happen so slowly and also, somehow, so suddenly that I couldn't tell you when exactly she turned into a toddler. She's about to turn two, and I thought, for memory's sake, I better write about it. We're taking a road trip back home to Minnesota to celebrate her birthday next week. My 90 year old grandfather will be there and we get to meet my brother's fiancé for the first time. There will be loads of family and some friends there to help us celebrate the occasion. Ruby said she wants a pizza party, so that's what we're having.

On the topic of pizza I'd like to remember how much Ruby loves to go out to eat at restaurants these days. Lately she asks to, "go out to eat" and "eat at restaurant" with much enthusiasm. The last time I took her out to eat she reminded me to order her a side of BBQ sauce for her fries (hilarious). She's so well behaved when we take her to restaurants. We recently got dressed up and went out for a really nice dinner with my in-laws to celebrate me finishing school. She was on her best behavior, but also managed to get a couple spoonfuls of butter into her mouth before I noticed. 

Ruby also loves going to the toy store these days which she calls the, "toy tore". There's a really sweet guy who works there. He sets up a little red toy piano for her to play while he plays the ukulele and sings. She's been climbing up on things at the park lately, or at least trying really hard to and asking for my help. Whenever she falls down she says, "I'm otay." Sometimes she's not okay, and she holds me really tight, cries and wipes her wet slobbery face all over me until she feels better.

Ruby talks a lot these days. She always surprises me with the new things that constantly come out of her mouth or words I had no idea that she knew. Here are a few of the things she likes to say pretty regularly, "Hi, how awe you?" "It nice to see you, mama." "You are no match." "I feel'n better." "I bump my____(any body part)." "I can do dat." "I getting tired." "baby ride bicycle, too." "mommy's eating gums." "dats preddy neat." "I makin music.""What's dat?" "Do you want more?", and I could go on and on and on. Before she goes to sleep in the afternoon and at night she likes to tell us all about the things that she did that day. Sometimes I understand what she's saying, sometimes I don't have a clue and sometimes she just makes stuff up. She's said things like, "we climb mountains" " I throw balls at mama" "baby go tot too to". One of these is made up, one is unfortunately the truth and one I'm still not sure the meaning of. She's told me that she dreams about riding motorcycles with her grandparents. She also has an imaginary friend named Kiki who sounds pretty rad. 

Ruby is at the age where she's getting really fun and funny, because she's got her own interests and things that she gets really excited about. She can tell us all about this stuff, too. She's really into motorcycles, cars, trains, baseball and finding walking sticks when we're outside. She sings a lot. Sometimes she makes up her own little songs, sometimes it's just the itsy bitsy spider or any children's songs that she knows. She loves cartoons, My Little Pony is number one these days. She's super friendly when we're out. She will excitedly say, "I like kids", in anticipation while we're on our way to the park. She just waves randomly at people that we pass by on the streets. She lives, sleeps and eats wearing this purple hat that my mother-in-law made for her. If she's not wearing it then she's searching for it.

This past year has been full of all kinds of changes for us all. We started taking Ruby to music classes. Ruby started walking. She was a very, very late walker. She was a little over 18 months old, and started walking sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. She met a bunch of my family and friends that she never got the chance to in her first year. We moved. She got her first haircut, by me, and just some bangs. I chopped all of my long hair off, well my mother-in-law did. I finished my year long internship. I finally finished school. Ryan got a promotion.

Ruby is also a total stinker sometimes. There's been some throwing, hitting, kicking and biting type stuff. I won't go into any more details, but it's just her age. We do time-outs here, and often just the mention of them does the trick. They don't call it the terrible twos for nothing. Some days I dream of going back to work and talking to grown ups with more regularity. I often feel like a geriatric parent at the end of the day. But I love her more than anything and understand that this special time with her is limited. One day she will be too big to sit on my lap and too big to hold on to and carry around like a little monkey. I have to remind myself of these things at certain moments and on certain days when she's acting very much like a two year old. After that I have to remind myself not to worry about her growing up too fast. This is all so bittersweet. 

I'll end this birthday post with a quote brought to my attention by a longtime friend.

"Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Elizabeth Stone

Happy 2nd Birthday sweet little Ruby. I love you so much.

January 16, 2015

rats, moving, holidays, visits and stuff...

I've been meaning to write, then I get overwhelmed by how long it's been since my last post and how much has been happening. This is the first time I've gone months without posting. It's been 5 years since I started this blog and 3 months since I've posted anything. I'm about to try to describe the last few months as best I can, but they've been a little crazy and are sort of a blur.

To start things off, we moved. To make a very long story short, we discovered rats in our building. There were rats in the walls and in our basement where we did our laundry. I don't even like seeing rats on the street. As a parent, I felt it was my duty to get our child out of that building as fast as possible. We found our current place about 4 hours after we saw the rat and then, with a little poking around, discovered piles of rat shit all around the basement. Sorry for that image. The weirdest part of this whole thing is that the day we saw the rat and found our new place was the same day we were supposed to fly to NYC for our friends' wedding. 

I have moved many, many, many, many times in my life; across the country, out of the country and so on. I can honestly say that moving with a baby just about to start walking and without any family or any of our close friends nearby to help out was the hardest move of all. Throw in jobs, school, a sick teething baby, social obligations, the holiday season and that's what made it all a blur.

We got through it and our apartment is coming together very slowly and very nicely. We hosted our first Thanksgiving together. It was with family and it fell on the same day as our niece's 8th birthday. That made the day extra special. We also celebrated Ryan's birthday in November. Ruby is really into birthdays now. She likes to go through her list of people, characters and animals and wish them all a Happy Birthday. It's very sweet. Ruby started walking. She took her time with that one. She's got such a funny little walk. She holds her hands up close to her chest, sticks out her belly and won't look down. We've had so many visits from friends, since our move. It's always so great seeing old friends and catching up. Some of them met Ruby for the first time. Speaking of firsts, Ruby met Santa for the first time and doesn't stop talking about him. She wishes him Happy Birthday everyday. We also put up our first family Christmas tree.  

This, as in the move, was another one of those situations that makes me so thankful Ryan and I can work so well together under pressure. We got through it, it was super stressful at times. We were actually threatened with law suits for breaking our lease. That's another first. Everything is fine. I've actually been finding more time here and there to get out on my own for little breaks. I've been able to get out for some long walks around the city, met up with some friends, have gone shopping and out to eat by myself. Doing these sorts of things was once such a normal thing and now it feels like such a treat. Ryan and I both have one class left of school each and then we graduate! I have one question before I end this post. How is it 2015? It really sometimes feels like it was just 2010.

October 8, 2014

fear of missing out syndrome

I'm not really suffering from FOMO, I just truly am missing out on something special and need to work through it in my head/on my blog. My husband and I were planning to fly to NYC early tomorrow morning. We were going to help celebrate a very special wedding, two of my friends are finally getting married after eleven years of being together. A lot of close friends, old friends, people who I love and don't get to see enough are traveling to NYC for the weekend to celebrate and spend time together. My husband and I are no longer going, and I basically have only come to fully realize this within the last day and a half. 

All day today I kept feeling like I could just repack my bag and go, but then I think that would be something only a selfish person would do. Yes I was already packed and ready to go, ugh. I unpacked yesterday evening while texting with one of my best friends for emotional support. He's always been great for that. We were planning to meet up in Union Square tomorrow afternoon and then just wander around aimlessly, which is one of the best things ever to do with a dear old friend.

I feel the need to try to describe the circumstances that are keeping us here in Chicago. I'm afraid this situation is about as convoluted as can be, which is why I've been avoiding even attempting to write about it so far. Here goes... 

Our plan was to bring Ruby to Indiana a few days before we left for New York. This way we could spend some time with Ryan's folks, get her settled in and then leave her in their care while we went away for the weekend. This was the plan up until about a week and a half a go. For the last month or so Ryan's dad has spent some time in the hospital due to heart issues. No one knows exactly what's going on. We decided last week that we didn't feel comfortable having them take care of Ruby during this time. We also knew they were looking forward to spending time with their granddaughter, so we decided I would go to New York on my own and Ryan would take Ruby to Indy on his own to spend time with his folks and help out if they needed it. At first I wasn't sure about this plan for various reasons, but once it sunk in I started looking forward to having a little time on my own. This would have been my first solo trip in 6 years, which seems crazy to me considering I used to travel alone all the time. 

Yesterday morning we got a text from Ryan's mom informing us that Ryan's dad now has pneumonia. We knew that we could no longer bring Ruby to Indy under the circumstances. Her immune system isn't fully developed yet. My husband still wanted me to go to NYC and be with my friends while he stayed back with Ruby. Here's where it gets tricky. My husband has a tendency to try to make things that are a big deal seem like they're not a big deal. He is telling me to leave him on his own to take care of our daughter when he was just diagnosed with tendinitis, is wearing a brace on his wrist and is taking prescription drugs that "make him feel spaced out." I'm not even sure how much pain he is in just trying to pick her up these days. 

A part of me obviously wants to go celebrate my friends getting married and spend time with my close friends. The part of me that I listen to is the one who would feel like the biggest most irresponsible jerk/loser on the planet leaving my husband while he is worried about the health of his father and physically compromised. I've been going back and forth in my head trying to figure out the best thing to do and driving myself nuts. Should I stay or should I go? Either way doesn't feel good, but at least I know staying back with my family who needs help right now is the right thing to do. So that's what I'm doing. 

All I know for sure is that I'm so thankful and so fortunate to have my husband, our baby, my father-in-law, that whole side of the family and each one of my friends that I was looking forward to seeing over the weekend. This has actually helped me to think about and understand how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people in my life.  Most important of all, My father-in-law needs to get better soon and start feeling amazing. Also I wish for Josh and Susan to have the best wedding day ever, and for them to feel happiness and love radiating from their loved ones all around them all day long. They truly deserve it.

September 22, 2014

my nana

I had a vivid dream of my Nana, Elaine Chavez, last night. My husband and brother were in it, too. We were all in my aunt's bedroom watching TV, hanging out and talking. It was present time in my dream, so my Nana and husband got to meet each other. I got to talk with her as an adult and as a mother. She was just like I remember her; sharp, hilarious, interesting and at ease with herself. I woke up feeling like her spirit had paid me a little visit in the night.

My Nana had a stroke that completely changed her when I was 19. She couldn't fully communicate with us after that. She also lost control over certain parts of her body. She had a sense of humor about it, though. Her right hand would occasionally move on it's own and frequently land right in the middle of her plate of food. She called it her "naughty girl". She had a much sweeter disposition after her stroke. She could be harsh and almost scary at times when I was a kid. After her stroke she was gentle and relaxed. The last time I saw her was right before I moved to Chicago, just a little over 11 years ago. The whole family and my significant other, at the time, drove down to Albert Lea, MN to pay her and my grandpa a visit. She died when I was just 25.

Last night's dream was amazing, because I was reminded of what she was like so long ago before her stroke. She was feisty, strong, outspoken and smart. She loved to read, cook, garden and spend time with family. She was a great conversationalist and probably would have been a perfect candidate for her own Martha Stewart type show if she were around today. Her birthday was on Halloween, she had a strong Welsh accent and an insane wardrobe. I wore a lot of her old clothes from the 50s through the 70s when I was a teenager and into my 20s. She told me to always wear my hair pulled back, and she was the only one who told me stories about my dad. I would love it if she was still alive and strong today. She could meet my husband and baby. I know she would love and adore them both.

September 21, 2014


According to the calendar Fall is just around the corner, but we've been experiencing some lovely fall weather for a while now. This has been just great for me, since it's my favorite season. I bought myself a new dress, brand new I should say. I'm usually a thrift store shopper, but I decided to treat myself since my birthday is coming up. Ruby got some new bangs. I cut them myself at our kitchen table. I think she looks adorable and also much more like a toddler and much less like a baby. I wasn't ready for that. Ruby and I were long overdue for some new mommy and baby photos. I thought a new dress and new hairdo were reason enough to have my husband snap a few photos of us. We've got some fun things planned for the fall; little and big trips to take, weddings to go to, birthdays to celebrate and close friends to see. I'm looking forward to it all.

September 20, 2014


 free people hat

baggu duffel

not that kind of girl by lena dunham

womanswork gardening gloves

pamela love obsidian arrowhead ring

My birthday is just around the corner. Lately I'm in the head space where I just think of stuff that I would like for Ruby, so I've been trying to come up with some things that I want. I know of a few things I'm getting that I'm pretty excited about. The Pamela Love ring is more like a fantasy present, since it costs over $1,000. That's way more than my wedding and engagement ring combined. A girl can dream though. I've got a few non-birthday related things coming up right around my birthday that I'm really looking forward to. I'm mostly just looking forward to what the year brings. I'm enjoying getting older and really settling into myself.

September 10, 2014

keep trying

It was just a little over two years ago that I had a miscarriage and then wrote about it, but I didn't feel right about sharing it with everyone back then. I'm fine with it now. I know it could potentially help someone who is experiencing this type of loss. Here goes…

It was a Sunday evening, and I was in my third month of pregnancy. My husband and I had dinner plans with some friends that we were really looking forward to. About an hour before we were to meet them I went to the bathroom and noticed a little blood. I told my husband immediately, and convinced myself that it was normal while he did some research online. We decided to cancel our dinner plans so that I could rest. The bleeding seemed to taper off that night and didn't return until the next afternoon. It was a bit heavier and had changed from a light pink to a brown shade with little bits of tissue. I called my husband at work and then called our midwives. 

 The midwife I spoke to seemed irritated and scolded me for not knowing my blood type or my husband's. She asked me how soon I could get to the hospital, and gave me various instructions on where to pick up paper work, where to drop it off, to fill up a large container of water to drink and not to go to the bathroom. My husband biked home from work and we waited for a cab to take us to the hospital. It felt like it took far too long to catch a cab, and my bladder was feeling fuller and fuller every second.

Our hospital experience was a nightmare. The various people we came across were cold and authoritative, rather than compassionate towards us. No one bothered to explain anything or even talk to us on a human level. I was told by the radiologist that my husband was not able to come with me for the ultrasound. When I asked why, she said that no one was allowed in the room for an emergency ultrasound. That was first time I heard anyone say the word emergency and I began to cry. I told her that I would rather not have the ultrasound at all, and that we would just come back for our regularly scheduled appointment next week. She told me to wait while she spoke to someone about it, then came back and told my husband to come with. 

When we got to the room she told him to stand in the corner. She also informed us that she could not tell us what she saw, show us anything or answer any questions. This was not how I had imagined our ultrasound experience. I just lied there the entire time in silence, tears were rolling down my face and filling up my ears. Next we were told to go get a blood test in order to find out my blood type, and then we were given a pager number to contact our midwife. We were to get the results from her over the phone. The midwife called and said that the baby measured small about six weeks and two days, and that there was no heartbeat detected. She said my hormone levels were low and that I needed to come back in a few days for another blood test. 

 I was becoming slightly irrational at this point and refused to go back to the hospital. I was angry with the whole experience. Why wasn't I able to sit down face to face with a midwife? Why was I told that the blood test was to check my blood type and not my hormone levels? I was still bleeding and now wondering if my baby had stopped growing inside of me. I went online and did a million different search combinations on bleeding during pregnancy and low hormone levels. I also rested, cried and talked with my husband.

The next day I had a full on period and severe cramps. I knew then that I was having a miscarriage. I just kept thinking that the baby we had been trying to make for nearly a year was now dead inside of me and slowly coming out in tiny little pieces. I knew from my online research that I was not to use tampons for risk of infection. I called a friend of mine who is a nurse and is studying to be a midwife figuring she would be more helpful than anyone I spoke with from the hospital at this point. She was a wealth of knowledge and also just a comforting friend. She told me that it sounded like a miscarriage and also urged me to go back to the hospital for the follow up. She told me stories of her sisters having miscarriages and then going on to have healthy children. She made me feel like everything was normal and answered my questions. This was something I had not experienced at the hospital and something that I really needed.

My husband and I fought that evening. I can't even remember exactly what it was about. I'll just chalk it up to stress, hormones and that dudes are clueless sometimes. I yelled at him, slammed the door and left to get pads. I made it about a block and a half and felt like I was about to pass out. My legs felt weak and my head felt dizzy, so I turned around and went home. I texted my employer to let her know what was going on and that I needed to stay home and rest the next day. My husband then began doing things for me; getting water, blankets, heating pads, Tylenol and making things for me to eat.

The next day we went back to the hospital to have another blood test. This one confirmed that I was having a miscarriage. Once again we did not meet with a midwife, just spoke to one on the phone. She said that there was a drug she could call in that would expedite the miscarriage, and that I may experience severe cramps. She also told us that one of the midwives would call us the next day just to check in. That was really about all she told us. I decided not to take the drugs. I felt like I needed to experience the whole process naturally to really comprehend it and let myself get over it. I thought that maybe the natural experience would better help me deal with the miscarriage on an emotional level.

What happened a few hours later was so far from severe cramps that it's almost unbelievable and definitely irresponsible of the midwife for leaving this information out. I went into labor not even realizing what was actually happening. This was my first pregnancy after all. My body began to cramp so severely that I no longer felt comfortable laying down, sitting or standing. I was nauseous and began throwing up, then I had severe diarrhea. My body began to overheat, and suddenly I felt the need to be completely naked. I basically camped out naked on the toilet for a few hours while my uterus expanded and expelled large pieces of tissue. When it was all over I barely had the energy to stand at the sink to wash my hands or even to walk across the hall to the bedroom. It was now evening and I passed out in bed. At about four in the morning it happened all over again. This time was worse than before, because there was nothing left for my body to release. I sat on the toilet and watched my belly expand to a size that was frightening. It felt like it was on fire and that it could possibly explode. My husband brought me ice water and a bowl to throw up into. I kept wishing that there was a punching bag in front of me. There was an energy that needed to be released from my body and nothing was happening. My entire body was aching and hot, and it lasted a few hours. It was the most intense pain I have experienced in my entire life. I threw up a few more times and then went back to bed.

The next morning I contacted my employer again and took the rest of the week off. I didn't care about the money at this point. I could barely move. That entire day I mostly only got up to change my pads and go to the bathroom. My husband completely took care of me, and I was more in love with him than I have ever been. No one has ever taken such good care of me, and I needed it now more than ever.

 At this point we began telling our close family and friends the news, and the worst was over. The midwives took about three days to “check in” and see how I was doing, and in between that time I received a voice automated reminder of my previously scheduled prenatal visit. I am still physically recovering. My body lets me know when I need to slow down. I can't help but wonder why women never talk about the pain that is involved in a miscarriage, not even the midwife warned me of what was to come. For me the pain was the hardest part, I do not feel defeated. For now I am resting and relaxing with a purpose, and when my body is ready we will start trying to conceive again.

…and along came Ruby!

August 15, 2014

a photo shoot

Earlier this month Ruby was part of a photo shoot at the garden 
where I work. We got hooked up with some beautiful photos of our
 baby all thanks to the photographer Tomoko Sawairi Nagle and
 stylist Gwen Lemos. It was a fun morning and Ruby was such a trooper.

August 10, 2014

august mix

It's been a few months since I've made a playlist, and I'm in need of some new music to listen to while I'm out on a run.