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Oh my

18 Nov

I am about to devolve into a complete mommy-blogger cliche.  It has taken me several days to come to grips with this, but I have decided it’s time.

I’m going to write about poop.

Lord help us.

I hate even writing the word, but here I sit, about to tell two stories about my daughter’s bowel movements.  If this turns your stomach stop reading right now.  I certainly won’t be offended.

For those of you who wish to continue, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Here we go.

On Friday morning Ruby woke up as usual and snuggled in bed with us for a bit.  When she got up she went into our bathroom, patted her bottom, said “book” (her word for poop), and simultaneously patted the closed toilet lid.  I asked her if she had a poopy diaper and she said no.  I asked her if she wanted to poop on the potty and she said yes.  I figured we could give it a shot so I stripped her down and sat her on the toilet.  She proceeded to grunt a little and after about five minutes she had pooped!


I was now certain that our daughter is a genius, or at least some sort of bathroom savant.  We haven’t been pushing the potty-training at all, so I was just blown away that she would take the initiative to ask to poop on the potty and then actually do it.  Huzzah!

Yesterday we flew a bit too close to the sun.

I was so impressed by Ruby’s performance the previous day that I decided to try to replicate it.  Upon waking after a lovely sleep-in during which my wonderful husband watched the baby, I stripped her down again and plopped her on the potty.  She sat there for a few minutes and tinkled a bit, and then announced that she was done.  I was hopeful that she would try again in a few minutes so while I brushed my teeth I let her run around in the nude.

I heard our closet door close and then open about 30 seconds later, and then saw Ruby run back into the bathroom and grab some toilet paper.  When Matty announced “it smells like poop in here!” I knew that something had gone terribly awry.  Sure enough, Ruby had apparently decided that she needed some privacy or perhaps just liked being surrounded by clothes and shoes and purses while she did her business.

So a genius she is not, but she is still pretty cute.  Oh and Matty cleaned up the mess–how lucky am I?


12 Sep

As I write this I am miscarrying my baby.

It is very painful.

Physically, yes, but emotionally–spiritually–much more so.

I feel…so…broken.

And I miss my tiny baby.  My itty bitty baby who never had a heartbeat, but who we loved nonetheless.  I am (was?) seven weeks pregnant with our second child.  Ruby, our first, is delightful and brave.  And busy.  Always busy.  At 18 months she is in desperate need of a sibling, and I am oh so ready to give her one.

I’ve been ready, for awhile now, but just wasn’t getting pregnant.  Finally we used the First Response Ovulation Test and conceived the first month.  We found out on August 18th.  We were ecstatic.

I started spotting a week and a half ago, and went in for an ultrasound.  Everything looked ok and it was still a little early for a heartbeat, but I sensed that something was amiss.  I didn’t feel pregnant–I felt amazing, energetic–and thought that maybe I was just very lucky this time around.  Maybe I would avoid the nausea and crushing exhaustion I had experienced with Ruby.  Outwardly I attributed this to paleo.

Deep down inside I think I knew.

Yesterday the spotting got worse.  After consulting with the advice nurse over the phone I went in for an ultrasound and a chat with one of the midwives.   I had the same ultrasound tech as last week, and she was so nice.  She took a long time, but still could not detect a heartbeat, and the baby had not grown since last week.

The midwife, Laura, broke the news that we would lose the baby.  She was lovely and reassuring and kind.  She said all the right things: that I had no trouble getting pregnant, that I carried Ruby to term, that I would have more beautiful, healthy babies.  I sobbed and sobbed.  Matty, my mom, and Ruby were all there with me.  They were sad too, but rocks for me to lean on.  Laura said that she would do a blood test to be sure, and then we could discuss my options: miscarrying at home, with or without medication; or a D&C.

I didn’t end up needing any confirmation, nor did I have time to think about options.  Last night, shortly after arriving home from the hospital, the bleeding and cramping got exponentially worse, and lasted through the night.  I tried to sleep, to no avail.  I cried, watched reruns of sitcoms on late-night TV, and came downstairs to start writing this post.  Eventually the pain subsided enough for me to fall into an uncomfortable sleep.

Yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.  Compared to the tragedy of that horrible day, my pain is tiny, minuscule.  To me it is vast and deep.  We will never know this baby, never hold him or her in our arms.  Ruby will never kiss the baby’s tiny cheek.

Now I understand why expectant mothers wait until after the first trimester to announce a pregnancy.  I dislike keeping secrets, especially happy ones, and there is no history of miscarriage among my maternal grandmother (nine children), my mother (five), or my older sister (four).  We joke that God gave us child-bearing hips for a reason.  At 30 I am still young; surely this couldn’t happen to me.

So I told people, and now I have to un-tell them, and that just seems like a terrible burden right now.

know that I am blessed beyond measure; with a loving, supportive husband and family, and with a daughter who is precocious and sweet.  We wanted this baby, had already carved out a space for him or her, and I am not yet ready to let go and move on.

Goodbye sweet baby, you are loved.  I carry you in my heart.


30 Days that Changed My Life

10 Sep

So a few months ago I was stuck in a bit of a rut.

Okay okay I lie.

It was a huge rut.

In March I resigned from the Navy after seven years on active duty, became a stay-at-home mom, and moved across the country. It was a *lot* of change all at once, and I don’t think that I handled it all very well.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore Ruby and love spending time with her, but at first it seemed like…well…a whole lot of time to be spending one-on-one with a baby, even though she is the coolest baby in the world. I also realized that a good deal of my identity had been wrapped up in being a naval officer, and it was very hard for me to hang up my uniform one last time and stop being Lieutenant Shellock.

When I was working I had envisioned this awesome life in DC–I would go to the gym every day and finally shed a few (or more) lbs, Ruby and I would go to museums and some sort of yuppie baby and me classes, and I would cook healthy, gourmet meals every night.

None of that happened.

I joined the Y and din’t go one. single. time.  It was all I could do to get out of my pajamas some days.  Matty thinks I was depressed, but I wasn’t sad or anything.  I was just…I don’t know…unmotivated maybe?  There just didn’t seem to be any point to doing anything, and everything seemed to require a great deal of effort, for whatever reason.  The house was a mess (except when Matty cleaned, which was fairly often), and although I generally tried to cook there were plenty of nights when we ended up ordering takeout, even though I had had all day to plan a menu and shop for groceries, and I love to cook.

It was time for a change.

On July 16 Matty and I started this program:   It is a pretty hardcore paleo diet program–no sugar, no grains, no processed food, no dairy, no alcohol, etc.  My youngest sister and her husband have been doing paleo since January, and earlier in the summer my parents and older sister jumped on the bandwagon.  Matty’s cousin had also had great success on paleo, losing 75 lbs over the past year.  I have battled my weight for the past 18 years and was really not interested in some sort of fad diet, but all of the information I have read about paleo just makes so much sense I thought we should give it a try.

I also used the opportunity to change a few other things in my life.  I was addicted to Facebook, and it was a particularly unhealthy addiction for me.  I am a pretty competitive person and even though I was so happy for all of my friends whenever they had good news it was a little hard for me to see everyone else thriving while I flailed about.  So I quit, cold turkey, the day we started the Whole 30.  I thought that Facebook would be hard to give up, but it ended up not being that big of a deal, and I was especially glad to not be on during the whole Chik-Fil-A craziness.

On August 2nd I attened my first political meeting and have been pretty involved since.  This is something that I am passionate about and my involvement has given me something productive to do, often with Ruby.  One of the things I loved about being in the Navy was that every single day I put on my uniform I felt like I was making some sort of difference in the world, and in this pivotal election year I love having that feeling again.

So the 30 days flew by.  We were not 100% strict with paleo, which technically means we failed the Whole 30, but in my eyes it was a success.  We certainly changed our eating habits permanently and continue eating paleo as much as possible–probably about 95% of the time.  One of the things that I love about paleo is that it is not entirely focused on weight loss.  I have lost about 16 lbs over the past two months, which I am happy with, but I feel so much better.  My mind is clear, I have tons of energy, and I love the fact that we are eating healthy, nourishing food.

I ended up back on Facebook after about 40 days (I think).  I just missed seeing pictures of my friends and family, and pseudo-catching up with long lost friends.  However, I did not reinstall the app on my phone, so I am only on a few times a day.  This is a happy medium for me.

The best change was that I have really tried to just be present with Ruby, and I am enjoying being home with her so much more now.  She is so precious and time is moving so quickly, and I was wasting it.  Believe me, I am still nowhere near the perfect mom and there are plenty of moments when I would love to just escape for a bit, but I feel incredibly blessed to be able to mother her full-time, and that I have a wonderful, supportive husband.

So there it is!  30 days that changed my life.  I tried to have a few, measurable goals, and even though I fell a little short my whole life seems uplifted, so I will call it a success!

If you were doing a 30 day challenge, what would you change?

All Politics is Local…

2 Aug

…so I decided to get involved! Tonight I attended my first meeting of the Alexandria Republican City Committee, and it was very interesting. I met tons of people, including city council members and candidates for local and state-wide office. Now I have plenty of events lined up to keep me busy over the next month and a few new bumper stickers for my Subaru. I’m even more excited for the upcoming election now!

Of course I still got a few pictures of Ruby earlier in the day. It’s a good thing she is so cute because she’s been just about climbing the walls recently!



No Good Very Bad Day

21 Jun

So my heart is breaking a little.

Our sweet doggy Cash, who loyal readers know well, growled and snapped at Ruby today.  She got a big gash in her neck and two trips to the ER as a result, and now it is time for us to find Cash a new home.

Cash has been a wonderful dog and this was just so…unexpected.  He has always been patient and loving with Ruby, but we just can’t risk another incident.  I think I was in denial that we would really have to get rid of him until Matty came home today and was as strong and firm on the issue as I needed him to be.

Today has been, hands down, my hardest day yet as a mommy.  Cash was our first baby and we love him dearly, but that love simply does not compare to how we feel about our little girl.  It is so very hard to know that we have to give him away, but we are determined to find a good and loving home for our big boy.

If anyone out there knows anyone who would be interested in adopting a wonderful pet, please let me know.  Cash is about three years old and weighs 93 lbs.  We adopted him from a lab rescue over two years ago and believe that he is a mastiff/rottweiler/lab mix.  He is a very well-behaved dog–he rides well in the car, walks well on the leash, and does not chew.  He can be left at home all day by himself very easily but loves affection too.  Really he is the perfect dog; he just should not be in a home with very small children.

Has anyone else ever had to give up a pet for a child?  Are we doing the right thing???

Ruby at the hospital, round two.

Ruby’s injury

Cash. Please help us find him a good home.


23 May

I made a new friend today. At the dog park. The whole thing was delightfully unexpected and made me feel like I was five years old again, in the best way possible.

We also had our friends Mike and Jen over for dinner, which was fun and full of great conversation.

Here is Ruby at our favorite time of day, waiting for Daddy to come home.




Happy Mother’s Day!

13 May

Feeling so very blessed today, and every day, to have the most wonderful mother in the world. I thought I couldn’t love or appreciate her any more, until I had Ruby.

Now I understand how hard it is to be a mom–and I only have one! Mom has five and five grand babies, and always made it look so effortless.

And now that I am a mom too, my mother walks that line between being helpful but not overbearing, and giving advice while not being critical. She is simply perfect to me.

So thanks Mommy. I love you.

Last year we celebrated in California with my mom (the first picture) and this year we got together with Matty’s family at his cousin’s house in Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful time celebrating with my other mom, who I also love and appreciate!