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. 


August 3, 2014


My husband and I are celebrating our three year wedding anniversary in a few days. We have some old friends coming over to babysit so that just the two of us can go out for dinner and drinks. Going out on dates has become few and far between for us. My husband works odd and irregular hours, and I'm finishing up school and working my internship. This is all while we juggle raising our daughter together without any outside help. 

We're both a little guilty of letting our relationship go under the circumstances. We're lucky to spend an hour together here and there going on a family walk or watching a movie on the couch after Ruby falls asleep for the night. The last time that happened I passed out well before the movie was over and before the sun even went down. To be honest there are days that we don't even get along.

I know I'm not the easiest person to be around day in and day out. I can become pessimistic, moody and judgmental. Sometimes I don't know when to just be quiet. I can fixate on and over analyze the bad things instead of just letting them go. I like having a certain amount of alone time so much so I feel like I may actually need it in order to function properly. We've all got our weaknesses, and I understand that I am a work in progress and always will be.

Now that I'm married and a mother I have come to understand that the difficulties of trying make it all work are pretty much the norm. I still struggle with accepting this. Some people make it look so easy, and a lot of people just don't talk about the hard times. What can we do to make things better on a daily basis and avoid petty arguments? I'm no expert at keeping a relationship going strong. Growing up I had no example of a strong healthy relationship that lasts through the good and bad. In the past I'd just bail when things started getting too challenging or became boring, but this is the man I chose to marry. This is my husband and the father of my child. 

All I know for sure is that we both love each other and want to do what it takes in order to spend our lives together. Even when we are brutally arguing we still, somehow, always manage to remind each other of that. I tend to believe that if you want something bad enough, and if it's under your control, then it will happen. We've got three years of marriage, six years of love and eleven years of history behind us. Here's to being strong enough build a lifetime together with all of the ups and downs and surprises that go along with it. 

August 2, 2014


"Home is where the heart is."

"Home is anywhere you hang your head."

"There's no place like home."

My husband and I are bringing our baby to Minnesota for the first time later this month. I find myself talking about the trip not sure if I should call it home or just Minnesota. I moved to Chicago from Minneapolis in August of 2003, so exactly 11 years ago. I'm not sure if I would call Chicago home either. It's where I spent the majority of my 20s and 30s, pursued a formal education, met my husband, got married and had our baby. But I've left and moved back to Chicago within the last 11 years, nearly moved to yet another city and we don't plan on living here forever.

I didn't have one house that I grew up in. The house that I lived in during high school, the last few years I lived with my mother, now belongs to someone else. This trip will be the first time I see my mom's new home that she just moved into with her new husband. I've also moved around a lot as an adult. At the height of my moving around I lived in 5 different apartments and two cities within one year. So now I sit here thinking about what home means to me and where my home is. 

A good friend once said to me, "A city can never love you back." This was back when I was visiting him and seriously considering making my third maybe fourth move across the country. I remembered him saying these words when I chose not to move and instead take a chance on new love with the man who would eventually become my husband. So I don't believe that a specific place or city is what I would call home.

My home is where the people who I love and who make me feel loved are. My home moves around, has spread out, is concentrated in some areas and it is even in places I have never been to. There are many loved ones who I'm looking forward to seeing and spending time with when I take my family back to Minnesota. So I guess that does make it my home, it's just one of my many homes.

July 16, 2014

july is flying by

This month is flying by. We've had nonstop visits from family and friends, which has been so fun and one of my favorite parts of summer. I'm finally back in school and working on finishing up my last few classes, all while doing my internship with the Waters School ecology program. Somehow Ryan and I have been managing to juggle all of this without so much as even a babysitter. It turns out we make an excellent team.

We stopped by Heritage Littles last week to check out the Land of Nod party they were hosting. Ruby fell in love with this little Spherovelo scooter while we were there. We slept on it and decided to get it for her the next day. She's obsessed with it now. We all are really. Even though she's taken a few tumbles, she keeps getting right back on ready to explore her home in a new way. She's been pretty interested in checking out her papa's record collection and my computer and bike. Oh yeah I've been biking again, too! At first I was a little anxious to start biking around the city again, but it didn't take long to remember how much I love it. It's such an exhilarating way to get from point A to point B and get a little exercise as a bonus.

Ruby also took her first train ride. She was like an old pro. Maybe it's from all the trains I took while pregnant with her. She had her first zoo experience at the Lincoln Park Zoo and even rode on the carousel. We had a family beach day with her cousin, aunt and the grandparents. She just wanted to snuggle up to me the entire time. I was more than happy to make that happen and honestly loved every second of it. She's turning out to be quite a cuddler! The summer visits are winding down, and now it's our turn to do some visiting. We've got a crazy long road trip coming up with Ruby. I hope it goes as smooth as possible for everyone. 

Some current Rubyisms I'd like to remember and share are her saying "Oh no!", "all done", "bye bye papa" and "I did it!" all at appropriate times. She's been making some animals noises and repeating along some words when I read to her. She says the word "babies" all the time. She also whispers the word "tortilla" and shouts the word "egg" when she eats them. Somehow she manages to get her little leg at a 90 degree angle and shove her toes into her mouth after big bites of avocado or anything else equally as messy at mealtimes. Oh and her little backwards wave has been a hit with all of our visitors. The very best part of all is when she's snuggling up to me she makes these little sighs and noises like she's really feeling it. She melts my heart.

June 23, 2014


Manuel Cuevas was my favorite discovery during our trip to Nashville. Somehow I've gone through school for fashion design and been a music lover my whole life without ever hearing his name. He is the man responsible for Elvis's white jumpsuits in the 70s, the jackets the Beatles wore for the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Neil Young's black crop duster and the list goes on and on. He's dressed Dolly Parton, Prince, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Jack White, Neil Young and Madonna. I could keep listing some of the biggest musicians and performers of all time, but I'm sure you get it. 

My husband and I stayed in a hotel downtown near his shop and randomly decided to stop in and take a peak. We thought we were walking into a vintage clothing store and really just had no idea what we were about to discover. Inside was a magical place full of history and craftsmanship taken to a level that I've rarely seen. 

The walls were covered with photos of Manuel and his clientele throughout the years. There were sales associates working who were more than happy to tell us all about Manuel. It felt as if the people working in his shop were his close friends and been working for him for a really long time. One of them kept having me try on these beautiful, heavy rhinestone jackets inspired by each and every state in the USA. I tried on Illinois and Minnesota, of course. It was awesome! There were seamstresses working and hand embroidering in the middle of the shop. I was in heaven in that little corner shop. It was like a little museum that combined so many wonderful things. If you're ever in Nashville this shop is a must see.

June 15, 2014

summer vacation

Ryan and I got to do a little traveling this month and spend some much needed alone time together. We headed to Ruby's grandparent's house in Indianapolis on her birthday, June 4th, and had a little party for her with family and friends the next day. Ruby got to go swimming and eat cake for the first time. Just a few days later we left Ruby with her grandparents and drove to Nashville to spend some quality time together. We were both a little worried we would miss her way too much, or that she'd be really unhappy or fussy without us. But we were wrong, she was just fine and everyone had a really wonderful time. We did miss her, but it was a very manageable amount. 

We wanted to stop in Nashville years ago on our honeymoon/road trip, but never managed to squeeze it in. I'm so glad we waited, because the city has been growing and changing a lot over the past few years. We were able to spend a little more time there on this trip than we would have on our honeymoon. We did so much while we were there, but it was still relaxing enough. We had some amazing dinners at Josephine, Tree House and Rolf and Daughters. We met a really interesting and super friendly man named Robert at Marathon Village. He is the owner of and original roaster of Garage Coffee Company among many other things. We explored a few neighborhoods that we loved; Germantown, 12 South, Five Points and walked around downtown. We heard some live music on writer's night at The Bluebird Cafe, saw some exhibits at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, discovered the legendary work of Manuel Cuevas (which is a whole other post), checked out Pinewood Social and went to the top of Love Circle. I think I might already be forgetting a few things. 

I definitely got the feeling that there was a whole lot more to Nashville, and that we just cracked the surface on our trip. We could go back again and again and keep discovering new places and things to do. There were so many genuinely friendly, interesting and stylish people. Many of them we learned were transplants from all over the country and globe. The city had a buzz and was full of creative energy but still managed to keep a nice, slow, laid-back feel. There was endless green space, beautiful scenic hills and so much natural beauty. We loved our time in Nashville and can't wait to return. We are even toying with the idea of moving there in the future.