Family, Life, Life As I Know It, Motherhood

A day to remember

Today is “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day” — a day to show support to those who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy or an infant — I never imagined that I would be one of those people, but I was…

On December 12th (my husband’s birthday of all days) of last year I miscarried. It was the most terrifying thing that’s ever happened to me. I spent the day dealing with what was happening to my body while taking care of my daughter and trying to “keep it together” while we met a friend for a play date. That afternoon, when we returned home, it finally hit me. I was losing my pregnancy. It was early, only 7 1/2 weeks into the first trimester, but in that time I became attached to the idea that we were no longer a family of 4, rather a family of 5. But on that cold December day, the one where we were supposed to be happy and celebrating my hubby’s birthday, my world changed again.

I remember it all in clear detail. I remember exactly what happened, and when. I remember the panicked phone calls in to the women’s health department, and the contrite response from the triage nurse that bleeding during early pregnancy is “normal” (note to whomever is reading this: DO NOT TELL A PREGNANT WOMAN THAT BLEEDING DURING EARLY PREGNANCY IS NORMAL — I don’t care if it’s considered normal or not, I consider it scary as shit, and I don’t want you to tell me in your “ugh, another hormonal crazy woman” tone that my bleeding is normal, because it’s NOT TO ME!) and that I should just take it easy. I remember spending my afternoon in the bathroom in tears, because I was afraid of what was happening, because I didn’t want my daughter to see me upset, because I couldn’t get ahold of my husband, because I couldn’t call and hear that nurse tell me everything was “normal” one more time. And then it happened…that moment when you know…

Without knowing what else to do, I reached out to the friend I was “keeping it together” for earlier that day, and somehow managed through the blood, snot and tears to ask her to come over… I’m not sure if I had even hung up the phone on my end of our conversation and she was there, her kids in tow. I didn’t have to say a word. I knew she knew, and as much as it terrified me knowing that someone knew what I was going through, I was equally grateful that she dropped everything to be there for me. I’m honestly not sure what I would have done without her, and I am eternally grateful. She managed to keep me calm as we talked through what was going on and worked through a plan of what would happen next once my husband (finally) got home — he worked his entire shift in a building without cellphone reception; I’m convinced he thought the mass of messages I had left him during the day were birthday related (poor guy) — and we could go to the hospital to be checked out.

The rest of the evening is a blur…glimpses of memories and visions I’d just as soon not remember in full detail. What sticks with me though is the realization that there was nothing I could do to stop what was happening to me.

I left the hospital that night with the mindset that I needed to “keep it together” for everyone around me, and so that’s what I did…sorta. My poor brother-in-law (bless his good heart, and his love for his “favorite – a.k.a. only” sister-in-law), who was on his way to our house that night, took the brunt of my roller coaster of emotions. He didn’t receive the warm welcome, the loving smile and hug from his beautiful nieces he had become accustomed to when he would come to visit us, instead he got a phone call from my husband and was put on notice that the girls would be dropped off as soon as he arrived and that he would have to get them ready for bed because we were on our way to the hospital for a non-committal reason, and we would be home as soon as we could. Our return home would be equally as cryptic, as would the days that followed. My own father, who had come the next day to put in new windows, didn’t even know what was happening.

I felt ashamed, embarrassed, cruel to have something so awful happen on what was supposed to be a happy day for our family. I didn’t want to talk about it, and what I feared the most was everyone finding out that it happened, so I said nothing…

Days turned into weeks…weeks into months…the world seemed to go on, and somehow we made it through. In the weeks and months that followed my miscarriage, I found my voice. I told my story, I talked to my family, and my friends. I found that I wasn’t the only person in my circle that had experienced such a loss. I listened to their stories. I heard about their losses. I finally didn’t feel alone.

1-in-4 women will suffer a miscarriage in their lives. About 20-percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Chances are, you know at least one woman who has suffered a pregnancy loss; perhaps you yourself. My message from my experience is this — you are not alone.

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Tonight in honor of those little angels (and their mamma’s) I light a candle to remember… Those who have gone through the loss of a pregnancy or the death of an infant should know they are not alone. Tonight I light this candle for you, as well as for myself and my own little angel.

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Fitness, Motherhood

Runner, Runner

So, I guess I am a runner… After 3-months of training, two minor injuries, a little more than 100 miles and my first 5k officially under my feet, I completed my first training program, met my first goal, and fell in love with the idea of pushing myself to new limits.

Tonight was the first night of training toward my next goal, or should I say phase two: goal #1 part b (finish my 5k in 30 minutes or less — I’m so close!), goal #2 (run 5 miles) and goal #3 (complete a 10k) — Go BIG or Go Home!!

I should mention that when I started this new adventure, I did not intend to run for time. I was (and still am) more interested in seeing how far I can go, but I thought goal #1 part b would be a good way to transition to my next goal — baby steps!

So while running tonight (and fighting hard to reach my goals), I came up with my own top 5 motivators of the night to keep me going:

#5: Running in the rain is not as refreshing as it sounds before leaving the house (read: drown rat) — Move it girl so you can get home to dry off and warm up!!

#4: While the golden-yellow autumn leaves lining the street are beautiful to look at, they are slippery as $%^&* when it is raining out! — Avoid those streets when running!!

#3a: DO-NOT-EVER-AGAIN think that just before school lets out is a good time to run — it is not!! Neither students, or parents, or teachers, or bus drivers care if you are doing everything right (look both ways, use the cross walk and sidewalk, yield the right of way) — If you are not on wheels, you will not be seen!!

#3b: Running past your own house when you are cold and soaked to the bone because you still have three run cycles remaining, stinks!! — Note-to-Self: Take some time to plan out a route — preferably nowhere near the schools at dismissal time!!

#2: Having a Journey moment after experiencing #4 and #3 is a perfectly acceptable thing to do — Belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the top of your lungs may get you a few stares from the neighbors, but is considered an appropriate form of motivation — at least in my book!!

#1: Realizing that yes, yes that voice in my ear (read: my training app) just said I did run 5 miles (and then some) and then seeing my nice, dry, warm house (again) come into view feels pretty damn AMAZING!!!

So yes, I guess I can say I am now officially a Runner, Runner… 😉

rainy night

Family, Motherhood

First Week of 4K!

I am happy to say that we have survived our first week of 4-year-old Kindergarten!! And by we, I mean me! In the state of Wisconsin, 4-year-olds are offered the opportunity to attend a free school-year-long preschool program. To say my little Ella was ready, would be an understatement… Here’s my beautiful little bug all dressed and ready for her first day of preschool orientation!

All smiles for preschool orientation day
All smiles for preschool orientation day!

And what outfit is complete without a brand new Barbie backpack!

Barbie backpack

I am actually quite proud to admit that we both made it through orientation without one tear shed!

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Preschool orientation day

I mean really, was there ever any doubt that she was ready!?!

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That’s my girl!

Me on the other hand… let’s just say I wasn’t striking a pose or anything, just yet… Here’s my beautiful little girl on her first official day of school!

First day of school! 9.5.13
First day of school! 9.5.13

We had to take a few photos…

Happy 1st day of school!
Happy 1st day of school!

And a few more…

At the bus stop.
At the bus stop.

We live in town, so the opportunity to ride the bus to school was out of the question, or so we thought… thankfully, the 4k program also offered a bus option, so my little bug gets to ride the school bus after all!

My first bus!
My first bus!

When she returned from school I was expecting my little bug to be chatting my ear off, but to my surprise she was very quiet — too quiet… and then came the story: “Mom, at school today these kids just kept pushing me down, and I told them to stop, but they wouldn’t, so I told the teacher and she told them to stop and they still kept pushing me down, so the cops came and arrested the kids and took them to jail and then I had a lot of fun playing on the playground…” — oh Ella, how I missed your stories today… Once she got started talking she couldn’t stop, so I used the opportunity to ask her a few questions… I love her responses! Interview: Me: What is your favorite book? E: Disney Princesses Halloween Me: What is your favorite snack & food? E: Cupcakes & spaghetti Me: What do you want to be when you grow up? E: A princess Me: What is your favorite summer memory? E: Riding the rides at Como Zoo Me:  What is your favorite game? E: Pretending to be Venelope (the glitch girl from Wreck It Ralph) and racing My first week in photos:

Day 2
Day 2
Day 3
Day 3
Day 4 -- this is the face of one tired little girl
Day 4 — this is the face of one tired little girl

Day 5: The bus came early today, so mom forgot the picture… 😦 And that brings us to day 6: Today was bring your favorite stuffed animal to school day, and of course Ella had to bring bunny. He’s been with her since she came in to this world, and I am certain he will be with her forever.

Day 6: Bring your favorite stuffed animal day
Day 6: Bring your favorite stuffed animal day — Ella brought Bunny

And of course bunny had to have his own first day of school picture, too!

Bunny's first day of school! 9.13.13
Bunny’s first day of school! 9.13.13

I am told that bunny really liked school today, and he had a lot of fun! So here’s to more fun-filled 4k school days for my little Ella bug (and her bunny!)

Family, Fitness, Motherhood

Women Rock

Really, we do! In fact just a little over a week ago, I ran my first 5k race “Women Rock MN” to prove it!!

Here I am, up bright and early on race day!
Here I am, up bright and early on race day — it was early, don’t judge me!! 😉

Back in January I wrote a post titled “Accountability” where I talked about how I was going to start holding myself accountable for my actions. I was going to exercise, eat better, and ultimately be my own best self. Well after several months of hard work, and a few struggles along the way, I decided it was time to really show myself just how far I had come. And thanks to my friend Karen, I was given the opportunity to do so on Saturday, August 31st, 2013 when I ran the Women Rock MN 5k race in downtown St. Paul.

It was a beautiful day for a run. I made my way to the starting line about a minute before the race officially started — what can I say, I like to keep things interesting — and lined up at the back of the pack. I had been training for this race since July and had given myself a range of time to finish in, and since I didn’t have a clue about how an actual race was run, I figured this was as good a spot as any to line up.

And we're off... here goes nothin'!
Here goes nothin’!

And we were off… I struggled a bit to find my rhythm at first, my playlist was having some technical difficulties, and I was figuring out how to navigate between the walkers and runners ahead of me; once I passed the rather large ferret-like roadkill just past the starting line (Gross!), the Black Eyed Peas song “The Time” started filling my ears and it was pretty smooth sailing, err running, from there on out.

My beautiful girls (and my hubby, too) cheering me on.
My beautiful girls (and my hubby, too) cheering me on.

Luckily for me, my family made the trip to the cities with me, and were there to support me as I made my way to the finish line.

The Finisher!
The Finisher!

I finished my first 5k race one minute ahead of my training pace, and at the bottom end of the range I gave myself! Go me!! It was truly an amazing experience. One that has been and will continue to give me the drive I need to keep on going and to hold myself accountable. I can’t wait for my next race, and I look forward to the many new challenges I will present myself with in the future!

My girls!
Me & my girls!

Oh yes, and did I mention… Women Rock!

Women Rock MN -- 8.31.2013
Women Rock MN — 8.31.2013
Motherhood, Words To Live By

Real Beauty — “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”

For those of you who may have been living under a rock the past few days, I’d like to introduce you to the “Dove – Real Beauty Sketches“…

I have to admit, before I watched this video, I started to define my own “beauty” — round rosy cheeks, thin lips, eyes that don’t sparkle as much as they used to. Wow, really? If that’s how I see myself, I can only imagine how others see me… But, after this video I have a renewed perspective on what “real beauty” is.

Real beauty is, and has always been, what’s on the inside. As a mother of two little girls, I think it’s important to remind not only my girls, but myself, that what we have on the inside will outshine what we have on the outside.

That said, I think it is also important to recognize and celebrate  just how unique and beautiful we all are. If it wasn’t for my grandmother and her fuzzy blonde tight permed hair and rose-colored lips, my mother wouldn’t be here today… and if it weren’t for my mother and her 1970’s middle hair part and lack there of make-up look, I wouldn’t be here today… and if it weren’t for me and my brown straight hair and “round rosy cheeks”, my beautiful little girls wouldn’t be here today…

My point is this: we are all unique; we are all beautiful; we should all be thankful for the generations of beautiful women who came before us, who not only helped shape us by sharing their physical traits or outer beauty, but graced us with their inner beauty as well.

So to my grandmothers, my mother, my mother-in-law, my aunts, my sister, my sisters-in-law, my beautiful little girls, my friends, and yes, to myself, I want to tell you this… YOU are BEAUTIFUL!!

x0x0,

Lisa

Family, Motherhood

Opening Day!

“Take me out to the ballgame!”

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Family, Motherhood

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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