Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Our 'Thing'. It's What We Do.

The Baby Girl and I have spent quite a lot of time at the zoo in recent history.


We love it there... but you already know that.

I love that my baby recognizes the animals. I love the look on her face when she spies something new. I adore the 'thoughtful face' that she uses when I ask her what she wants to see next.

Today we spent more time than usual just 'piddling'. She spent ages holding the bronze baby elephant's tail:


She postured coyly in hope that the real elephants would notice her:


She polished off my coffee and contemplated the zebras:


Oh, and there was a LOT of this:


I love the way that her brain works. I love to watch her puzzle things through. I love that she can now make up her own games... I sooooo wish that my well-spring of patience were a bit deeper. I wish that I could learn to just sit still until she's done poking sticks at cracks in the ground. I can't. I don't have it in me. I get bored. I get restless. I get cranky. *sigh*

For now, I just have to give her as much stick time as I can bear, then lovingly redirect her to something new that we can both enjoy. It's the best that I can do.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Ya'll already know that life with a toddler is kind of like swimming in the ocean, right? Up, down, up, down, up............ down.

Up: Lily Ruth left the house voluntarily this a.m. Normally, there is a large discussion of what I would like to accomplish followed by 'We're leaving in 5 minutes' 'NO!' 'We're leaving in 2 minutes' 'NOOOOOO! NO, Mama!' 'Time to go' 'No go go! No go go! No 'Uth car!!!' Today, all I had to do was announce that we were meeting Henry and Baby Lara (and their Mama) for coffee and juice. She pulled me out the door. They've been out of town for three whole weeks, and she has asked about them every. single. day.

Down: While visiting Nanny's office, a candy opportunity presented itself. One of Nanny's coworkers had a candy dish on her desk. In hopes of enticing my angel into speaking to Nanny's friends, I offered her a green lollipop. She snatched it from me, and glowered at everyone from under her furrowed brow in a feral-Nell-child manner without even a syllable of appreciation. On the way to the car, she began to happily crow 'CANDY!'

Treading Water: She sucked on that candy from Nanny's office to the zoo. Then through the zoo. She even declined to leave her stroller at any point preferring instead to kick back with Lucy and let sticky, green spit course down her chin and arm.



Up: Leaving the zoo, she babbled happily about the sucker, and eventually yelled 'YAY! I got CANDY!' I'm counting that as a 4-word sentence.

Down: She woke up from her nap a cranky, whiny mess... sugar crash, anyone? She even screeched at her Daddy every time he so much as touched her for about half an hour.

Up: Then there was a hilarious round of Walk that involved enlisting Daddy's help in putting a leash on a stuffed kitty, tying a string leash on a tiny wind-up dinosaur toy, depositing a stuffed bear in a basket, and dragging the whole kit'n'kaboodle up and down the length of the house.

Down: Tonight she began screeching as though she was on fire any time something went wrong. My ears hurt. Repeated admonitions to use her words instead of crying or screaming so that Mama and Daddy can help her fell onto deaf ears.

Up: During playtime in her room, she shut us all in together, looked at me and proudly said 'I closed the door!' That makes TWO 4-word sentences in one day, folks!!!

- And all of that was just today!!!!! Let's end on the 'up' and forget that it took over an hour for her to fall asleep, shall we?

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Just *May* Have a Green Thumb

Or I may not. Only time will tell. Actually, time has told that I have green thumb intentions, and no patience or follow through (surprise, surprise). Perhaps I can turn that around this year. I've done extensive work on both my patience and follow through since becoming a parent. Maybe that can carry over into gardening... we'll see...

In addition to my stellar work watering the baby grass, I've volunteered Lily Ruth and myself to work in the garden with Nanny. For someone with good intentions but no practical knowledge on the subject, I think that helping someone else is a great first step into gardening.

Yesterday, my Mama turned over the garden bed with a pick and pulled out any weeds. Then we spread potting soil, compost, peat moss and growin' green garden food. Then we planned out the placement in our garden. Mama has 3 kinds of bush beans, 2 kinds of peppers and chard. Lily Ruth and I have decided to add watermelons, radishes and cucumbers. We have to procure our seeds and seedlings today. Very exciting!

I want to make markers to show what's in each row. I have an idea of how I want to do it, but I'm not sharing until it's a reality. That way there can be pictures as well...

Next we have to decide if we're going to add an irrigation system or if we're going to trust ourselves to water the entire thing by hand.

Lily Ruth is going to have to learn not to strip Nanny's orange tree bare. It will be an uphill battle. She really loves those tiny, sour oranges:



Oh, and I have to tell you about my new favorite recipe. It was fed to my Mama recently by a vegetarian acquaintance. She immediately added it to her lunch time repertoire. She shared it with me last week, and I am in love. Welcome to the awesomeness of Mock Tuna Salad! Ignore the fact that it sounds weird. Just try it. You will be soooooo glad that you did!

Mock Tuna Salad

1 can cannelloni beans
mayonaise
mustard (your favorite kind)
pickle relish (dill or - lord forbid - sweet)
1 chopped hard boiled egg

Drain the beans, and roughly mash in a bowl - you don't want them to be smooth. Mix in mayo, mustard and relish to your preference. If you don't know how much you like, start small. You can always add more :-P Add the egg, and serve just like you would tuna salad - on bread or tortillas, with crackers or chips OR just eat it out of the bowl with a spoon... or your fingers (you know you want to).

The Grass is Currently Greener

We spent some money and some time working on our front yard last year. My adorable husband put a lot of effort into planting tiny grass plugs aaalllllllll over the yard. I put in quite a bit less energy into the process. I watched the baby instead. We tried bringing her pack-n-play outside with us, but that was NOT good enough for Lily Ruth. Too much watching, not enough doing :-P

We watered them every single time that we were allowed to (due to watering restrictions). They took root, but didn't really take off. It was just too dry and too hot. Also, this was a terrible project for instant gratification fiends like hubby and I. It takes more than a day or two (more like a year or two) for grass plugs to really establish a presence in a yard. We did the best that we could, then left the yard alone for the winter.

It's already time to start paying attention to the yard again. Daddy Don got himself in gear. He raked up the winter stuff so that it wouldn't be such an impermeable mat. Then he mowed. That made it evident how pathetic our lawn really looked. When all the winter stuff was still in place, it just looked vaguely dormant. Now it looked patchy and sad. Poor Don. After all that effort last year! He took it fairly well. Then he went out and bought a bunch of grass seed and even more soil. After applying both to the yard, we started watering.

We watered. And watched. And watered. And watched. And taught Lily Ruth to run through the sprinkler. And watched.

It's been two weeks. Check out what happened!



So tiny! So lush! It's very exciting, and very pretty. We go out and squat down to check on our baby grass several times a day. Lily Ruth likes to eat it. Who wouldn't?

Oh, and guess what?! What with all of the watering, the grass plugs are coming back to life as well! We'll be the pride of the block in no time... or not. Whatever. I just can't wait until the pool is back to swimmin' ready-ness!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

We've Gotta Eat

I haven't posted any recipes in a while. I think I'm in a rut. Well, if I'm being more fair to myself, there has been a lot going on. Perhaps I'm allowed to be in a rut... I've made lots of yummy food, but it's pretty pedestrian in nature. Not much to tell.

There are a few things to mention. I want to jot down my split pea soup recipe because it was so deliciously awesome. And tell you about the endless quesadillas that I've made. And gush about the pork sausage that my man brought home (he can bring home the bacon... fry it up in a pan...).

So here goes. The first part of the split pea soup recipe is to have your dad smoke a giant ham. Then everybody has to eat the ham. Then your mom should put the ham bone and some tiny remnant bits of ham into a bag in the freezer. Then she should forget about it until she realizes that it needs to be used before freezer burn sets in. Then she should give it to you so that you can make soup like this:

Split Pea Soup in the Crockpot

1 ham bone (or a package of cooked bacon)
1 bag (16 oz) of dried peas
1 diced onion
2-3 diced carrots
1-2 diced medium potatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
salt & pepper to taste

note: if you are using a wonderfully flavorful smoked ham bone, you could just use water instead of broth and still have plenty of flavor OR you can stick with the broth and have really really richly flavored soup :-)

Dump all of the ingredients (except the salt & pepper) into the crockpot, put the lid on, and cook on low for at least 4 hours. Everything will just fall apart and become a tasty, thick delicious soup, so it does not matter how coarsely or finely you chop the veggies. Taste before serving and season if necessary. Done and done.

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The next bit is not so much a recipe as something that happens almost every day around here. Miss Lily Ruth is now a full-blown toddler, and as such, she is pretending to be a picky eater since intake of food is one of the few things that she has control over. One thing that she never turns her nose up at is quesadillas. At home we use multigrain tortillas from Central Market. If we're out, she ADORES hand made flour tortillas from any of our favorite Mexican restaurants ;-)

Lily's Lunch Quesadilla

1 Tbsp refried beans
Shredded or sliced cheese (any flavor)
2 slices Hormel Naturals deli meat - sliced (optional)
1 tortilla

Spread the beans over 1/2 of the tortilla, if using meat, sprinkle it on now. Top with cheese. fold the tortilla in half. Warm in a skillet until golden and toasty. Cut into toddler-sized pieces and watch the Doyen of Nyet become the First Lady of MORE! Then make some for yourself and melt into a pool of mama happiness due to gooey cheese.



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Recently, Daddy Don went on his company's annual hunting expedition. He's not much of a hunter in real life, but he loves that trip. They have a fantastic time at a beautiful ranch. Their every whim is indulged. Food, drink, pool tables, card games, skeet shooting... oh, and at some point they wander out and shoot at animals :-(

This year, he shot a hog. The photo is horrific, yet my husband looks so handsome. I am tempted to crop the pig out and keep his smile. The company that processed the meat made sausage from most of it and chops from the rest. The sausage is unbelievably good! Seasoned beautifully and portioned into 1 1/2 Lb packages. We've made multiple batches of spaghetti sauce, chili and just cooked it up plain... and we still have a metric ton of it in the freezer. Tonight, I'm going to roll it into meatballs to add to pasta and sauce.

I wish that I was more inspired, but I have two lungs full of mucus and a giant headache. Pasta is the best I can do today.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Creative Outburst

Least you think that I've become stuck in a 'doctors suck, my body is freaking out, HELP my baby is growing up too fast' rut, I have some photographic evidence to the contrary!

I made (even more) pillow cases for Lily Ruth's bed:



I started sewing fun things over the (numerous) holes in my t-shirts (why must EVERY shirt have multiple holes?):



AND, I decoupage-d a piece of wood to cover a gaping, soul-sucking hole in my living room... Oh, fine. It never actually sucked a soul. It just ruined every photograph taken anywhere near it for 3 solid years :-P


Since our massive furniture reassignment last weekend, the back room has been in limbo and the light in there is a bit lacking. When I get it figured out, I'll take a better picture...

So there you have it. My latest burst of creative energy. Not terribly exciting projects, but definitely satisfying, and in some cases necessary (or loooong overdue!).

p.s. I passed my 200th blog post last week... thanks for all the reading!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Developmental Dervish

Yes, this is yet another post about how fast my incredible daughter is developing and how I can barely keep up :-P

She thinks about so much stuff! If I have something that she wants, she points at herself and says 'Uth. Uth have.' (or somethimes 'MINE!!!!') I tried deflecting that with 'Mama is using this. Mama needs it.' She gave that about 15 seconds worth of thought then pointed at herself again and very solemnly told me 'Uth. Uth needs it.'

I made her cry the other morning. She reached for something that she shouldn't have and instead of redirecting her, I snapped 'NO!' Her feelings were sooooo hurt. She cried and cried and cried. HUGE tears. She ignored my apology, and sulked for quite some time. She eventually settled down and focused her attention on Elmo. Elmo was sad - they were discussing it at length. She looked me dead in the eye, pointed at herself and said 'Uth. Uth saaaad.' Go ahead little one. Twist the knife.

She's getting better at singing and dancing. She's always enthusiastically participated in both, but now there's a chance that she'll get a few words in where they go in the rhythm or even step and wave her arms in time for a few beats. It's so ridicu-cute that I can hardly stand it.

There are all kinds of up sides to these developmental leaps. One is that she's eager to do things with... (and for :-P) me. Here she is applying lotion ('Ocean!') to my legs (in the form of a solid massage bar from LUSH). So helpful!


She also likes to use keys, 'cook'... and lick rocks ('OCK'!)... I'm more than o.k. with her continuing to act like the baby that she still is. Let's not wish that she'd grow up any faster. This is plenty fast enough.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Soapbox Moment

*** Caution - talk of Lady Doctor stuff coming up. You've been forewarned.

Ya'll, I am livid. I had my follow up appointment after the miscarriage today. The first thing that ticked me off was that I drove all the way out there for what would have been just a verbal follow up. That's right. They plunked me down in the doctor's office like I was there to interview her. Why go in for an appointment if all they're doing is blood pressure, weight and talking to me? Ohhhhhh, that's right. They can charge my insurance company for all of that... fantastic.

Since we were there and talking, she asked if I wanted to go ahead and get my annual exam out of the way. Sure. Why not? So there I am - stirrups, gaping gown and all. She had just finished my breast exam, and had seemed startled that I was still nursing. Fair enough. A lot of mamas have weaned long before 21 months. Whatever. We've chosen not to wean yet. She was right in the middle of the speculum portion of my day when she lays this one on me: 'You know, I just wonder if your nursing had anything to do with the miscarriage. Like maybe the hormone imbalance with the nursing was involved somehow.' I almost came unglued.

First of all, women have nursed through pregnancies and even tandem nursed multiple children for CENTURIES. I don't even have the energy to write out my feelings about extended breast feeding here. Suffice it to say that I truly hope to have Lily Ruth weaned before the next baby arrives, but I do not believe in cutting off nursing because you are tying to conceive.

Secondly, WHO TELLS A WOMAN THAT A MISCARRIAGE WAS HER FAULT!? I don't believe that what she said was true, but I do believe that it was incredibly insensitive of her to say it at all.

I was so impressed by this practice. I loved the staff. It's too bad that I'll have to find somewhere else to go once I do finally conceive again.

Let's Get Wet

We tried watercolors yesterday!!!






Now, to be honest, I'm the one who put most of the color on the paper. Since this was our first try, I cheap-ed out and bought a kid watercolor set instead of shelling out for adult paints. The pigments were very hard to get out of the wells. We had better luck using our fingers (and it was more fun).

Once the paper was completely wet, I put up the paints and left the brushes and water on the table for Lily Ruth. Being a toddler, she was just as happy with water as paint :-P

Overall, it was a great first effort. We'll definitely do it again. I do plan to purchase a set of liquid watercolors sometime in the near future. I think that she'll have more fun if she can access the colors more easily.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Breathing Easier

We recently found out that Daddy's daddy has been diagnosed with Emphysema. This is not great news, but it's not terrible either. Pops has been feeling crummy for a while, and no one was able to tell him why for a long time. Having a diagnosis that he can work with and treat is a huge relief. It also explains a lot of the symptoms he has experienced for many years.

Daddy Don announced this weekend that this diagnosis was a huge wake up call for him. I actually wept with relief.

Ya'll remember how he had a tiny heart 'issue' last year, right? Well, that (plus my prodding) was enough to finally send him to the acupuncturist for a stop-smoking treatment. It worked. He was impressed... then he decided that he could have a few cigarettes here and there, and just go back in to have the treatment again later since it worked so well the first time :-/ So the number of cigarettes that he has allowed himself has slowly crept back up... and up.

So his big revelation was that he absolutely cannot do this any more. He is resolved to be One Month Smoke Free by Baby Lily's second birthday. This is huge, you guys. Up until this point, he was making all the right noises in order to make the rest of us happy. This time, he's actually scared, and I can hear the determination in his announcement. This is the first time that I believe that he really will stop smoking for himself.

We believe in him. We want him to live and THRIVE. We need him to stay around and do zoo animal impressions for us!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Control Freak Strikes Again

I totally figured out one of my own behavioral patterns! This is exciting, because I normally just breeze through them without understanding why I'm behaving a certain way and am therefore unable to stop myself.

When thing happen that are beyond my control, I begin casting about for things that I can control. This is not unique to me. I'm pretty sure that it's fairly common. I couldn't control the miscarriage or how my body reacted to it, so I cut my hair (classic move for me - I can totally control my hair), and decided that I wasn't working hard enough as a mother. I found an area in which I could consider myself as lacking, and began to beat myself up about it. I fixated on the fact that I haven't been terribly creative recently. I've been a bit complacent about our daily activities. Instead of giving myself a break and acknowledging that I may have needed some down time, I decided to look at crafting blogs and freak out about not giving my child enough artistic and creative stimulus. Waaaaaaaayyyyy healthy.

At least I figured out what I was doing before I got a serious case of the crazies :-)

I'm still looking for new ways for us to express ourselves creatively, but I'm not feeling an obsessive need to do it all TODAY. I can take the time to plan something out, and do it right. Yaaaaayyyyyyyy for bursts of self-awareness!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

See Ya!

I have a short story for you, but first, there's this:


We ran into my friend Sarah at the park yesterday. She is an amazing photographer. She can even make a moody baby look radiant!

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O.k., so today I was having coffee with a friend. As we walked to our cars, I said 'Tell Mama's friend bye-bye' and 'Say bye-bye to Miss Diane'. Both suggestions were met with a glare of disdain. It was a look that clearly said 'I'm not your performing monkey, Mother'.

Instead of immediately getting into our cars, we lingered and finished up our chat in a sort of 'oh, and another thing I forgot to tell you' manner. Lily Ruth finally tired of our foolishness and started saying 'Bye... bye friend... bye dy-knee... bye... bye friend...' whilst waving furiously and attempting to tug me toward the car (I was holding her, so that was futile :-P). Adorable, non?

So straightforward. So impatient. I have no idea where she gets it...

Just Playing

Lily Ruth has become a master of solo imaginative play. Most of the time, if she's playing by herself and I try to join in, she says 'No. Bye, Mama' and shoos me away. She sets up elaborate situations involving every doll or animal (real and stuffed) in the room. Her scenes involve cooking for, feeding and reading to each one. The best part is that every single scenario that she imagines ends with her putting everyone to bed. This from the child who acts like bed time is a travesty of justice! She pulls out every blanket she can find, and rounds everybody up. They aaaalllllll get covered up, have to 'close eyes', and submit to being patted on the back (rather vehemently) as she murmurs 'shhh, shhh, shhh' under her breath. It's hilarious... unless you're the one being asked to lie on the (hard, cold) floor for ages and ages... I take that back - Daddy actually loves to play this game in the evenings. He'll be still and close is eyes for as looooong as she wants :-P

I'll submit to 'Seep, Mama... Close eyes' for a while, but I eventually 'Ake up' and wander off. Poor Keely spends at least 20 minutes each day being covered with a blanket and whacked on the back. I think she's starting to like it. I can tell you who doesn't like it - Bing. She's taken to following him around muttering 'come on, Bingy' and reaching for his tail - which she then uses like a handle to drag him back to the game.



I had no idea that Bing was patient. Apparently he is. Perhaps he's vying for sainthood.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Division of Thought

While I dropped a pretty heavy bomb in my 'More to Say' post, it will most likely be the last time that I refer to that in this blog. Not because it's not important, but because this blog is about me (and my family) as we are now.

I have wanted a space to talk about that past, and recently I created such a space. The resulting blog is NOT lightness, fun, crafting, cooking or pictures of amazing children. It is truth in a very raw form. It is a public blog, and if you want to read it, you may... ** Edit: I left the link up as long as I could stand it, but I had to take it down for my own peace of mind. That blog is hard for me. It is my truth about a very rough time. I need for it to be a little bit more separate from this blog. If you already know how to find it, feel free to keep reading. If you really really really neeeeeeed to see it, contact me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Sharing :-)

I obviously want to share my stories, or I wouldn't 'publish' my blog, but when it comes to having people directed to my blog by blogs who have a more established (and/or 'grown up') reader list, I freak out a little.

Remember how my guest post over on My Pajama Days made me a little queasy? What I didn't tell you is that when Emily sent me an e-mail reminding me that my guest post essay was going up the following day, I almost shut down my blog. That's how freaked out I (momentarily) was. Then I realized that this was irrational. I'm not asking everyone who views my blog to agree with me or like me. I'm not in charge of them. I'm only in charge of me. I can't force even one person to giggle at my daughter's painted toes. I can only continue to blog in a way that makes me happy. If I don't want people to have an opinion about me or my life, I can stop sharing at any time. These thoughts calmed me down. I was able to just say 'thank you' for the increased traffic to my little corner of the web... until today...

A few weeks ago, my Mama asked permission to use one of my posts in a Lenten blog series on simplicity that she is co-moderating. Since I love my Mama, and I was pleased with that post, I agreed. Then she told me that they wanted to simply link to my blog instead of re-posting the story. I told her that was fine, but it freaked me out a little. This meant that not just strangers, but people who know my MOM would be directed to my blog... with all it's foolishness... and irreverence... and recent seriousness... I would have been queasy if I had remembered that this was coming up... but I forgot.

This morning I realized that the link was active and I almost freaked out, but I didn't. Progress, no?

Thank you Lord for the blessings of today. Thank you for giving me the strength to stand behind the stories that I've told. Thank you for the people who love me enough to share them. Thank you for tiny painted toes and giant stinky dogs. Thank you!

Wash Hands?

So, ya'll remember when I told you about Lily Ruth licking her fingers then running them through her hair? Well, that has not stopped. In fact, it has morphed over time from 1) licking the back of her hand then dragging the hand across her face to her hair into 2) licking her fingertips then twirling her hair to - wait for it - 3) spitting on her hands, declaring 'wash hands' as she rubs her hands together in a washing motion then running her spitty hands through her hair OR your hair.

Last night, she was sitting on the back of the couch cuddled up behind daddy. She was so happy and quiet that we had just left her alone while we cuddled and watched t.v. Finally, Daddy said 'is she running toys through my hair?' The answer was no - just her hands... she had aaaaalllll of his hair standing straight up, and she had the most peaceful, serene look on her face as she sucked her thumb and twirled his locks. Then she reached for me and declared 'Mama wash hands?!' Uuuummmm, no :-P

Today, she is fixated on 'wash hands'. We have explained over and over that spitting on your hands is NOT washing them. She remains convinced that she is right and we are crazy.

Here she is doing the only thing that has distracted her from 'wash hands' - sucking on my necklace:


Kids are so gross... and fun... and amazingly wonderful... at least, mine is...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Look at Those FINE Motor Skills!

I've been writing about some pretty heavy stuff lately. Thank you for all of the support and the love. It is very much appreciated.

In the midst of all of my physical and emotional turmoil, my daughter has decided to continue on her path of becoming an amazing human being.

Since our schedule has become so much more regular, I've been working harder on having some more structured activities. Most days it's something tiny like stickers, coloring, sidewalk chalk or bubbles. These things are all fine, but she's starting to need more of a challenge.

I guess that this is pretty common for her age as just today, a mama in one of my on-line communities put out a call for toddler learning activities. I mentioned our playhouse box and our efforts in decorating and using it and Signing Time videos. Then I went to Michael's in search of more foam stickers. While I was debating sticker styles, Lily Ruth found a tub of assorted plastic beads that she was immediately inordinately fond of.

My first thought was that she was too little for them. Then I thought about all of the things that we do together that she's probably a bit young for... and I thought about the fact that I would not just leave the beads out for her to choke on. Instead, we would play with them together. All of a sudden, this tub of cheap beads had potential. We can sort them by color or shape or size. We can string them and build patience and coordination. We can wear them and advance ourselves in the fashion arena... (note: as I type this, I had to ask her to empty her mouth. I had given her 10 seconds of bead carte blanche - she used it to fill her cheeks with tiny choking hazards.)

On my way home, I talked to Kittyn. She wholeheartedly supported the bead idea. She even elaborated on the theme and told me about letting her daughter sort things into ice cube trays! By the way, you need to check out her post on re-making crayons. It's wonderful. They sent us a set of heart crayons that Lily Ruth adores. They're so pretty that she cannot stop trying to eat them even as she colors.

When I got home, there were more responses to the post about activities. Now I have 2 more blogs to keep up with. The Artful Parent and Chalk in my Pocket. That ought to keep us busy for a while. There's even a recipe for bathtub puffy paint!!!!!! But it will have to wait, because today we have BEADS!

We started by just running our fingers through the beads. Then we dug in and started sorting:


In a matter of minutes, she went from needing help to being able to string beads all by herself!!!


She sorted and strung for about ten minutes. Then she wanted to get down and have a snack. Then she wanted to bring her Ernie doll in and show him how to play with beads. Ernie was spellbound. He also found the beads to be quite tasty (she shoved quite a few of them in his mouth). Then Lily Ruth got down and used her bead string as a lasso. It took me a minute to figure out what she was doing, but when she said 'ye-haw! cowboy!' I finally caught on :-P

I have to go lay on the couch now. I am in overload - too many cool things in one day...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More to Say

My thoughts regarding our recent loss have been all over the map. Since I am unable to sleep again, it must be time to start writing.

I have alluded several times to the near dissolution of my marriage. What happened is this - in January of 2008, my husband came to me and admitted an affair. I'm not going to go into the details of what we went through here, but it is pertinent to how we acted and reacted for that entire year. We immediately began to start picking up the pieces and repairing our lives. In fact, we began a sort-of manic campaign to become a perfect family. We began marriage counseling. We started trying to have a baby. We bought this house in May of that year. We just started moving and picked up speed and refused to stop.

Just as we began the moving process, I had a miscarriage. Almost the same circumstances as this time. Some vague symptoms led to a positive home pregnancy test. The miscarriage started just days after we found out. I was 7 weeks pregnant. I told myself and everyone else that it was no big deal, and I picked up right where I had left off. I kept up, and even stepped up the pace.

We painted one of the rooms in our new home as a nursery in hopes of babies to come. I can't even remember now if we painted it before or after our loss. Since we didn't have a baby on the way, it ended up filled full of the things that couldn't find a home in other rooms. We shut the door and only opened it to add more junk. I never talked about the miscarriage again unless I was filling out medical forms.

The thing about grief, is that it doesn't go away when ignored, it just waits. It hangs out in your subconscious and maybe even festers a bit until you either deal with it deliberately, or accidentally create a space for it to poke through and force you to deal with it.

For me, it came flying out through a crevasse opened just a month before Lily Ruth's birth. I came home from a weekend away with my Mama. Don and I were separated, and continuing to wound each other grievously. I had fled in hope of some breathing room. I returned home to find that even though I had specifically told him that I was about to re-paint that room, he had come in and finished the nursery in the style that we had originally begun it. All I could see was a monument to a baby that I had been unable to bring safely into our family, and a room full of 'nobody listens to me'. I raged. I screamed. I ripped the (newly installed) chair rail from the walls and hit other walls with it. Then I went out and bought paint, and with permission from my doctor and help from my loved ones, proceeded to cover the room (and myself) in Spring Green.

When that was done, I took some time to sit still and talk to myself about the baby that I had lost. I even told Lily Ruth about the sibling that had paved the way for her - without it's loss, she never would have been able to show up when she did.

This time it's different. We're different. Our family isn't in peril. We're better than we've ever been, and that makes a big difference. I'm being more mindful. I'm trying to be present and to honor where I am and what is happening. It's just hard. I can't lay around contemplating life all day. Hell, I can't even loll about contemplating my belly button for 10 minutes. I have a beautiful, healthy daughter who needs and deserves my attention. I have a family who needs and deserves my best. I'm up. I'm moving... slowly...

Losing a pregnancy this early on is weird and hard and awful. Most of the people that know you aren't aware yet since it's too early. You've barely had a chance to emotionally acknowledge what is happening, but your body is changing so fast that it's scary. By week 6, you're already puffy because digestion has slowed down. You're uncomfortable because your uterus is closing off and stretching. Your blood volume is starting to increase, and your hormones are already WAY out of whack.

There's also a strange emotional limbo. I know that the baby was still poppy seed sized. I know that a miscarriage at this stage is incredibly common. It's hard for me to reconcile the facts with my need to grieve. It's also hard for anyone who hasn't experienced this to understand why I'm still sad.

When you miscarry, your body doesn't just immediately feel regular again. It takes time just like after birth. Your baby is not yours to keep, but your body still pays the price. It's not fair. It sucks. It hurts.

We already know that patience is not my strong suit. I want my body back. My non-puffy, non-achy, body. I want my emotional control back. I want to stop snapping at the man who loves me. Good thing he has thick skin.

*giggle, snort*

O.K., don't get mad... I painted Lily Ruth's toes today! :-O

I was painting my own toes, and she asked nicely to be included. Now, I am fully aware that Boris and Natasha is not an appropriate color for a baby. I will take it off soon... but it's cracking me up to look at her tiny feet and see such a grown up color!


See what I mean? Completely inappropriate, but hilarious. Fine I'll take it off... Party pooper.

*** Edit: Karma's a bitch. Less than 3 minutes after pressing 'publish post', the dog stepped on my foot and ruined the polish on 3 of my nails. She wasn't even sorry. That's what I get for using my daughter to amuse myself :-P

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Morning Silliness

Princess Diaper Lily and I rolled out of bed around 7:30 this morning. Not a record in any direction. Completely do-able. The only thing that made it tricky was the fact that we needed to leave pronto in order to drop ScratchItchChew Dog off at the vet for a medicated bath and a skin check. Our poor Keely suffers from allergies, and her brief winter reprieve from the agony of constant itching ended this weekend.

I managed to throw on clean jeans, a marginally clean bra, a fairly respectable t-shirt and run a comb through my hair. I may or may not have remembered to swipe yesterday's mascara from under my eyes. I dumped Lily Ruth into a 'dress' that is closer to a nightgown, but did not smell of tinkle as her p.j.s did. I also covered BOTH of her bandaged knees with short leg warmers so that she would stop picking at the Band-aids. Add a pair of dirty Robeez for her feet, and we were out the door.

Since my plan was to drop off the dog, grab a quick cup of coffee then head home, these outfits were not unreasonable.

Of course, what actually transpired was that Lily Ruth was DISTRAUGHT at having to leave her poor scared doggie at the vet. She babbled in a slightly hysterical manner all the way from the vet to Starbucks. She refused any form of juice, and she asked nicely to be held. None of those things are within her range of 'normal', so instead of dumping her back in the car, we sat down to decompress. We played with stickers for a while. Did ya'll know that stickers are WAY more fun when applied to your body? Well, they are. Behold:


Then, after a round or two of 'DOGGIE, Mama, DOGGIE *pant, pant*' (I sooooo wish that I had been able to capture her dog impersonation, but every time that I turned the camera on, she ran around to my side to watch what I was filming - smart little minx.), she did a small amount of interpretive dance then ended her performance with this:

**** Edit: The photo that formerly lived here was one of my favorite pics to date of my baby girl, but google has seen fit to assign tags to said photo that I find offensive and rude. I have had multiple hits from searches like 'saggy diapers'. So I removed the picture. I hate that my beautiful daughter was viewed in that manner :-( ****

One leg warmer hiked up. The other pushed down. 'Froggy!' sticker on shin. Dress pulled up to reveal the lack of bloomers and a sagging diaper (mother. of. the. year.). Add in a chorus of 'BUTTON, belly, belly, Mama!' followed by a (thankfully) brief moment of diaper grabbing accompanied by a triumphant crowing of 'BITS!' My angel was starting to feel better.

Her spirits dipped again when we got to the car and she remembered that her doggie had ridden with her this morning and was no longer there. I was struck by divine inspiration - 'Lily Ruth, would you like to go to the zoo?' 'ISH, MAMA! ISH, IIIIISHHHHH!!!!!' I took that as a 'yes'. We put the car into drive and headed out.

Having a season pass to the zoo is a blessing... with hidden curses... We were able to head for 'ISH' at the drop of the hat. It didn't matter that she only wanted to stay for 45 minutes.... I forgot to look in the mirror before getting out of the car. Thanks to the product that I applied yesterday, my hair had transformed into a greasy, flat, weirdly piece-y mess. Thanks to my genetic predisposition to oily skin, I was covered in new red blotches that will soon become zits and/or full-blown pimples. Sod's Law dictates that today is the day that I would run into a few mommy velociraptors from the playground. All showered and wearing clothes that match. Huh. Whatever. My kid is WAY more awesome than their (clean, dressed) kids...

Connecting to ME

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a weekend-long workshop in Jin Shin Do and Shiatsu. Why would I do such a thing? Two reasons: 1) my massage therapy license was due for renewal and 2) I LOVE SHIATSU!

As I was finishing massage school, I knew that I loved massage but I was still hesitant about my skill level and abilities. I wasn't always confident in my touch. I hadn't connected to my craft enough to really make a good, solid connection in my sessions. I had potential, but there was something missing. Then we started learning Shiatsu. A short definition of Shiatsu might be that it is like having Yoga done to you. Shiatsu is a bodyworking technique that uses pressure and stretching along the meridians (lines of energy in the body) to facilitate and stimulate the flow of qi ('chi').

Since Shiatsu was so different from the other forms of massage that we had learned, I was forced to put aside what I thought I knew and simply listen to what my body and my client's body were telling me. It's an incredible experience to even begin to open yourself up in this way. I am by no means an expert Shiatsu practitioner, but I adore the work that I am able to perform. I incorporate some Shiatsu work and/or principles into every massage session that I do.

The last time I attended a workshop of any kind, I was 20 weeks pregnant and just days away from discovering that my baby was a girl. It was also a Shiatsu workshop taught by the same instructor. That time, we were doing 'table Shiatsu', so you can just imagine my rounded, loose-jointed self STANDING on a massage table hauling a fellow therapist around in the name of learning. It was a BALL.

It was incredible to learn from Randy again. It was an honor to work with my friend June - something we haven't done since we initially learned Shiatsu from Randy in 2005. Attending this workshop felt like coming home into my own self. I was able to move and breathe and inhabit my body in a way that I haven't done in quite a while. I could close my eyes as he talked us through the sequences and feel what was coming next.

I am so blessed, ya'll. I truly am. I have an amazing career (on the back burner) and opportunities to breathe in the love and support of talented, incredible people who share my passion for the healing power of touch. This is what I need to think about when the funk tries to set in or I feel that lull in the still of the night. 

This is a short video of my favorite instructor, Randy, performing his magic on my good friend Anthony during a recent workshop. You can either listen to the audio or not - he's teaching, so it may not interest you. What I want you to notice is how close the practitioner is to the client and how still he is. The man never hurries. Never.



It is magical to know how to do this stuff. It is amazing to know how to put my entire (not small) weight on a person, and have them thank me for it. It is an honor to be that close to another person. It is incredible for someone (often a stranger) to trust you enough to be all up in their business :-P

When the videos from our workshop are posted, I'll add some here. They may or may not include Randy and I both working on June - an awe-inspiring experience...

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Who Writes

I've never imagined myself a writer. In school, I loathed any assignment that involved me putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I went so far as to fail - that's right FAIL - English classes because I refused to write papers.

My senior year of high school, I was booted out of the Gitfted/Talented program AND the Honors program down into a (gasp) Regular English class. I failed to excel there as well because they were using skills that it was assumed that I had already learned (like diagramming sentences).  These skills turned out to be things that I had managed to maneuver my way around without completing and/or learning. Sadly, if your teacher is in awe of the 'intelligence level' of the new class she's been given, you can substitute a poster, poem or dramatic presentation instead of a written project and be applauded for your intellectual brawn. While this is fantastic for your GPA, it is terrible for your body of practical knowledge.

In college, I dropped out of an English class when the first paper was due. I sat in front of my boyfriend's (um, that was DON!!!) computer for DAYS agonizing about it. I got myself so worked up that I couldn't even start it. So I gave up. Soon afterward, I changed my major from Biology (lots of writing) to Interpreting For the Deaf (very little writing).

While I've always been an avid reader, a rapt audience for a well told tale and a bit of a storyteller myself, it never occurred to me that I could write. People that are good at writing are the ones who were part of the Creative Writing Club or contributed to the poetry magazine or cared about the student newspaper or actually passed an English class... right? Oh, wait - it becomes glaringly obvious that I've never contemplated writing out of the context of high school or college... no wonder some writing makes me feel like I'm being tested.

Anywho - onward to my point... I started this blog as a way to help pull myself out of what I feared was a mild to moderate case of post partum depression. I also wanted to document this part of my life because I felt like it was happening at warp speed, and I was afraid that the depression would cause me to forget all of the good stuff. I wanted to be able to tell Lily Ruth what her babyhood was like. Over the last year and a half, it has morphed into more than that for me. It has become a way to express myself creatively and openly. At times it has even been my link to the witty, brainy girl I sometimes catch a glimpse of in the mirror. Of course, I have to 1) have time to stand in front of the mirror, and 2) remember to look for more than just uncovered zits and stray eyebrow hairs in order for that to occur. But I digress.

Putting myself online was a leap. I initially didn't want readers. Then I desperately wanted readers. Then I realized that it didn't matter if I had readers if I wasn't writing in a way that was true to me. So here I am. Me. Flagrant abuser of punctuation.Giving proper sentence structure the finger (since I never bothered to learn the rules - take THAT, public school system). Totally reliant on spell check. But I like it. I like this me. I like my blog.

I'm thankful that you're reading. I love it that you've stopped by. I'd like it if you could spare a little time to check out the blogs in my side bar. Some of my favorite friends, online acquaintances and a few quasi-celebrity crushes are also pouring their best into their little corners of the interwebs.

This week especially, you should check out my friend Emily's blog My Pajama Days. I have alluded to her before in the context of blogs that make me want to be a better writer. She's that good. She hosted an essay contest for the first anniversary of her blog. It ended up being less of a contest, and more of a 'if you enter, I'll post your essay', but whatever. I got just as sweaty, nauseated and nervous about sending in my entry as if it had been my college application essay... which, by the way, was about 'why I'm terrible at essays' - I'm amazed that they let me in... but I sucked it up and sent it off anyway. It'll be up tomorrow (Tues, 03/08/11). Stop by and read it. Stay and read some of Emily's stuff - she's a very powerful writer.

And now we come to another reason that I've never considered myself a real writer - I have NO idea how to end most of my posts. I've made my point. It's WAY past my bed time. I can't find my phone so you can't even have a new Lily Ruth picture to distract you. Oi. Oh wait, there it is! Here she is enjoying the Tex-Mex love known as The Taco Garage:



PLEASE don't tell the mom police that she's ingesting soda! It kept her happy and quiet long enough for my friend and I to finish our lunch AND our conversation. Of course, now that I've thrown that in, I have nothing left to say. So I'll just trail off in a (hopefully) inoffensive manner.................. (bye).............. love you!

At the End of My Leash

When I posted about going to the Aquarium, I mentioned that I was hesitant about using Lily Ruth's monkey leash. You might have said to yourself 'but Rachel, why would you worry?' You're about to find out why...

This week, a mama in one of my on-line birth clubs - this one is all mamas with kiddos born the same month as Lily Ruth - asked about using a backpack-leash. Here is her initial post:

"Baby Leash - Yes or No?



Bellie doesn't care to be in the shopping cart, nor does she want to be in her stroller. She wants to walk. I had seen these Monkey Leashes and used to roll my eyes and say "Oh goodness, kids are NOT dogs, hold your kids hand dumb ass!"
But, I saw my SIL (sister in law) use one for my nephew and she said it was great. Like Bellie, he didn't want to hold her hand. He wanted to be independant with no help what so ever. Bellie isn't the type to run off, and neither is the nephew, but it just seemed like a good idea.
So, I got one today! LOL. I actually like it. We walked around Wal-Mart with her strapped to the monkey. I jokingly told DSS (darling step son) if he wanted to "walk" his sister, LOL. He was actually thrilled. The kids LOVE to help out with Bellie (he's 9) and he felt like such a big help when he was "walking" his sister. 
What do you ladies think? Do you have one?"


She got a few responses - me among them. For the most part, they were 'pro-leash', but there were a few 'no for me, but you go right ahead'. Then one of the more sanctimonious mamas chimed in (obviously, her kids are perfect):


"I am against them for all but special needs situations.

They give a false sense of security and do not actually do anything to helpl children learn safer habits. OK so maybe a stranger can't pick up your child and run off, but, honestly how often do you think that happens? Typically, children are kidnapped by non-custodial parents, or kidnapped from highly affluent families for ransom. A leash wouldn't help in those cases and you would know if you were at risk.

However, leashes can be a tangling, strangulation, or tripping hazard. They decrease the "teachable moments" in family outings. They can create power struggles. I'd much rather spend my time and energy teaching my child how to be safe in public. Those lessons will last a lifetime. 

I think leashes have a place in special needs situations - either a child with a serious developmental delay that CANNOT understand safety or a caregiver who physically cannot carry or run after a child if the need arose. In those situations, safety trumps the philosophical problems of using a leash.

End professional, child development opinion. Enter personal opinion and anecdote. I think leashes are controlling, inhibiting, and disrespectful. My child is an energetic, inquisitive and rambunctious toddler. She doesnt love her stroller - she prefers to walk and be independent. But she is incredibly safe in public because she knows that we will go home if she is not safe. I take her all over creation and she does not run away."


So, that one was a bit preachy, but not too bad... Then it got ugly:

"you can hate me for this if you want but there is no WAY IN HELL I WOULD PUT ONE ON MY KID.
If he will not hold my hand he will be picked up or put in a cart or stroller. HE DOES NOT HAVE A CHOICE.
My son is not an animal, and i will not treat him like one. He has learned that if he wants to walk he must hold our hand and does so with a smile on his face.
It seems like a lazy way out for parents"


and this one:


"I'm SO with you, (name of group member).  TEACH your children how to behave in public.  I have a 3 1/2 year old and my son was born June 25, 09.  They are energetic, independent and curious but also very aware that running off is not a safe thing.  
I have no problem taking them to the stores - instead of running off behind them,  screaming to get their attention - I engage them in the process.  They LOVE to help and I take that opportunity to teach them new vocabulary, colors, opposites, you name it!  It's a learning experience! 
 Time consuming?? YES! but that's why we are parents - to dedicate our time and best efforts to educate our children.
I respect everyones opinion but for me taking the time to teach them is much less stressful than "walking" them on a leash!"

Um, wow. I couldn't let that go by. I just couldn't. So I had to put in my (additional) two cents:


"I find it interesting that the mamas who are adamantly against the leashes are responding in such a negative manner. Of course we all care about our kids, and we want to teach them to listen, respond and have patience. It's also nice to have some peace of mind during that process. I have an intelligent, spirited daughter who is learning at a lightning pace. One of the things that she is learning is that she has her own opinion. This doesn't make her 'bad', nor does it make me lazy, but it means that occasionally, she doesn't listen to me right off the bat. I also choose to allow her more freedom than some other mamas might. I do this because I believe that she needs to explore and learn and find out what limits are. This means that when it's feasible, she is allowed to choose to walk or sit in her stroller (I also can't BW for long periods of time due to physical limitations). When we are someplace crowded, and she chooses to walk, it's not a bad idea to be able to pull her in closer to me very quickly. Not because she has chosen poorly, but maybe because someone else isn't paying attention, or because something beyond our control has changed.
I'm having trouble understanding where the serious negativity is coming from. We 'leashing' mamas are simply making a choice that is different to yours. We're not tethering our children to a pole and leaving out bowls of food and water (something I would never do to my awesome dog, never mind my baby). We're giving ourselves some breathing room in public - the ability to know that our little ones are safe as they learn more about their world. Yes, I am teaching my daughter to hold my hand and be safe. Yes, she pushes her limits while learning. Yes, I know that she cannot make it to the street before I can stop her because her adorable backpack leash will stop her. Why does that make me a horrible person?"

Now I only posted that an hour ago or so, but none of the Negative Nellies have responded... what do you think? Dang, now I wish I had posted more about the vaccination debate that I got all 'het up' about last week. Oh well - that one was flat-out CRAZY instead of just full of negativity about the parenting choices of others... perhaps it's best that I let it die out without me...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awake Again

So what is the step that will move me forward? How long before I change from the intestinally bloated, hormone raging, sore nippled mess that you see before you back to the marginally crazed, wardrobe challenged, domestic goddess that you know and love?

Will the baby fever subside? Will the platitudes that I mouth become truth? Will I ever throw away this nightgown, or will I continue to dress for bed as though this is 1950? Will I be able to get my house into shape before my in-laws arrive tomorrow? Um, not at this rate.

The still of the night brings out the self-pity. Without the light and bustle of day, it's easy to feel alone when you're not and pathetic when you're really just disappointed.

Dawn will bring new light, the music of the morning and the unending rhythm of laundry, dishes and dog hair. It will also bring the burble and lilt of my daughters voice, the warmth of my husband's hand and the strength of my family's love.

The next step will come. It may be a stumble or a shuffle. It may be a skip or a hop. It will come. Motion will happen.

Sometimes It's Hard

... to be 20 months old. (A pictorial)

First, you have to drag your doll Lucy aaaaaallllllllll over the zoo to show her the important stuff - like 'ish':


Then (after a nice long nap), you have to wear Mama's bracelet and pick obsessively at your bandaged knee:


Then you have to wear Mama's bracelet around your ankle while continuing to pick obsessively at your bandage:


THEN you have to drag your new 'onkey' to your room and refuse to sit still so that Mama can take your picture:


In fact, the reason that you can't sit still for a picture is that you need to pretend to read a book whilst tooting softly and disavowing all knowledge of said toots:


Then you have to ignore Mama for giggling about your toots:

video

Then you have to watch Bob the Builder while 'onkey' gives you a hug (and you pinch his nose):


Seriously. It's a LOT of work. Ask any Lily Ruth you know. Wait, you can't - she's too busy...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Diary of a Loss

*** This is not a cooking, crafting or funny Lily Ruth story post. This post contains information about pregnancy and miscarriage. It was begun as a diary of a pregnancy, and is now the chronicle of a miscarriage. I am not going to edit it down to match the tone of the rest of my blog. This is what happened. It is what it is.

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02/23 - I'm starting this post now (day 5 after finding out) and will update it until we are ready to 'tell the world'.

Here's how it went down: 1) I decide that heartburn and extremely painful nursing necessitate the purchase and use of a home pregnancy test on the day that my period is due. 2) I got this:


A faint positive is still a positive, people (Special thanks to August for making something that I peed on look arts-y)! 3) So as of February 18, 2011, I am considered to be 4 weeks pregnant.

I thought that Don was feeling 'meh' about the news, but I found him looking up baby names the first night that we knew... Softie.

So far, I've managed to keep the list of people that I've told about this to a bare minimum. Since it is so very early, and I am having very very light spotting AND I have miscarried before, I am going to try to make it until at least week 7 before spilling the beans. I will have had my first OB appointment that week. If all is well, We should be able to tell our families and our best friends then. It has been torture not to blurt it out yet - sorry Kittyn!!!!

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02/24 - It's almost the end of week 5, and I am still (very lightly) spotting. It makes it easier not to tell people because I am fairly certain that I won't get to keep this baby. I'm still trying to stay positive. I feel good aside from the heartburn and the exhaustion. I already have a beautiful and healthy family. It is still so very early on. If this pregnancy is not meant to go full term, it is MUCH better that it end now rather than later. It's just a time to be patient and calm. I'll pee on another stick tomorrow and see if it still comes up positive. If not, I'll cancel the OB appointment and we'll be just fine.

I let myself be dragged into an online debate about vaccinations this week. Ugh! The thing that rattles me the most is that the parents who choose not to vaccinate are relying on my vaccinated kid to keep their kid healthy. What about the people who can't receive vaccinations due to medical conditions? Your decision now puts them at risk as well. Not to mention the current resurgence of diseases that were all but wiped out in this country due to vaccines. How do they explain that away? Nobody wants to watch their child hurt. Holding them down while they get shots SUCKS. I do it for her. I want her to have the best chance possible to grow up healthy... now I'm all wound up again and can't talk anymore. *harumpfh*

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02/25 - end of week 5 - still very light spotting, but I got THIS today!


a much darker positive!!! I take this to mean that my hcg levels are increasing, but I'm not a doctor :-/ Oh, and Don blurted out our news to my parents and grandparents tonight. I had planned on waiting until after the appointment, but he's too excited. Very sweet.

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02/27 - week 6 day 2 - some heavier bleeding today and more cramping. In a moment of superstition and panic, I un-joined the 2 'due in Oct 2011' boards that I had added to my browser this week. It may have worked... I was certain that this pregnancy was over, but now the bleeding seems to have slowed down again without ever becoming truly heavy. The back and forth of not knowing if this is a viable pregnancy is taking a toll on me. I'm trying so hard not to become emotionally attached, but I'm starting to feel like maybe I should just throw my emotions in whole-heartedly. If it's meant to be, it will be. If not, the baby will exit this world feeling the full force of my love and knowing that it was wanted. Ugh. I can tell that if nothing else, my hormones are still WAY out of whack.

The thing is - home pregnancy tests are too good these days. In the last few years, they have become accurate at a ridiculously early stage and are fairly cheap. This means that waaaaaay more women find out about a pregnancy in the 4th or 5th week (like me). At that point in the pregnancy, so many things change so very fast. Many many pregnancies terminate at this point on their own for reasons completely beyond our control. In days past, we would have just assumed that our period was late for any number of reasons. These days we find out as soon as possible, so we are 'expecting' and therefore we go through a loss. Maybe we were better off not knowing until later.

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02/28 - Feeling oddly hopeful and a little bit proactive, I called the doctor and mentioned what was going on. They said that they'd be happy to have a nurse practitioner take a quick look at me tomorrow. I like this new practice already :-)

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03/01 - I should have stayed home and saved the $40 co-pay. Urine test positive for pregnancy. It's more blood than she'd like to see. Just like she thought, it's too early to see anything on the ultrasound. Let's draw some blood, and maybe take some more on Thursday. If the bleeding increases significantly, they'll want to see me again... really?... why? If the bleeding increases significantly, I'll have my answer, and won't need to come back... feeling sad, mopey and sorry for myself. This too shall pass. No matter what the outcome.

afternoon update: Since leaving the office, I had a round of heavy bleeding. Now I'm back to 'too much, but not actually heavy'. Welcome to another swing of the insanity pendulum. I wish I could shut off enough to nap.

p.m. update: I am a roller coaster of insane emotion. Hopefully it is an internal roller coaster - I would hate it if Lily Ruth was on to my insanity. Every time that I prepare myself to accept a loss this time, the bleeding slows to barely spotting, and I get my hopes up again. I spent the afternoon looking up 'bleeding at 5 weeks' on Baby Center, and am now clinging desperately to the 'hope' that I found there. There are a LOT of women who have had (what they consider to be) massive bleeding at this stage who then go on to have healthy pregnancies. The biggest difference seems to be that they all had some anomaly on their ultrasound that explained the bleeding whereas I did not - all my 'stuff' looked good. Granted, the nurse practitioner admitted that ultrasounds are not her forte. Her caveat was that at this early stage, it would take some serious talent to find anything... perhaps my ultrasound tech on Monday will have serious talent... OR, my blood test results will come back tomorrow, and my hcg will be too low, and I will have my answer. I just want an answer... please.

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03/02 - week 6 day 5: I woke up this morning to the end of my pregnancy. I will spare you any further physical details, but there is no doubt that this is now a miscarriage. I am actually relieved just to know one way or the other. Physical awfulness aside, it was nice to have a direction to go in instead of being pretty sure that it was over, but needing to behave as though it's not over just in case... plus, I had full caffeine coffee today. I love coffee.

I called the doctor's office to update them. The nurse tried to get me to come in today. I finally said 'I'm not trying to tell you that I know how to do your job, but I'm not going to come in. I feel fine. I'm not scared. There's nothing that would necessitate a visit.' She allowed as how that was acceptable, and gave me parameters for exactly what would necessitate a visit. Then she called back to say that I needed to come in tomorrow for another blood draw. My levels were low (like I kind of thought they would be), but they need to make sure that they continue to go down. I agreed, but now I think that I'll call them back and tell them that I'll come in on Monday to do that. There just isn't a need for me to drag myself and my baby out there tomorrow and lose our whole morning then we could be doing something fun.

O.k., so I called and put off the blood draw to Monday, and cancelled the OB appointment all together. Now it is time to get my house back in order. I have spent the last few days in a haze of uncertainty. It shows. It will feel good to clean up and air out. Then miss Keely-kee and I can take a good mind-clearing walk together. We need one.

Oh, I did sit down and tell the baby 'I love you'. I've also said 'good bye, and thank you'. A few tears have been shed, but this is not a time for misery. It is simply a time of change. Acceptance has already come. Love and grace have been here all along.

*** Edit / Update: I did not spend the afternoon cleaning. Instead, I slept like a LOG for the first time in ages. It was heaven. The cleaning is getting done in fits and starts.

Also, the doctor's office called me... they want me to come in before Monday for my blood draw. I'm pretty impressed. I made an end-run around the nurse who wanted me to come in for the draw on Thursday and keep my appointment for Monday by calling the appointment-maker to cancel the appointment and move the draw to Monday. I figured that in a practice that size, they'd never notice, and I could slip away unnoticed until I was ready to schedule a regular exam. They were actually keeping track, and asked that I please come in on Friday. Huh. Fine. So I'll go...