Today I’m like those drama faces

You know, these guys:

DramaQuite a few things mark this day today. One really awesome thing and a few not so awesome things. Let’s start with the not so awesome things, since I’m a glass half empty kind of girl anyways.

October 15th is National Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Day. If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I’d be a part of this day, I would have laughed at you. Because the thought of us having one miscarriage was unfathomable after having E. Then we had two. Then three. Now I’m grouped together with the women who have experienced the same or worse things than I have. What a bummer.

pregnancy-infant-loss

If my first miscarriage pregnancy had been successful, my little one would be 6 weeks old.  It is also two days shy of my estimated due date with my second miscarriage. I would be about 20 weeks along with my third miscarriage pregnancy, and we would be getting ready to know if we were having a boy or a girl.

But none of those things are happening. Instead I will be driving the million miles to the nearest military hospital to get some more bloodwork done to see what’s going on with my broken uterus. It sucks, majorly, but this day is about so much more than that.  Instead I have called off the Amber Alert on my period because- NEWS FLASH- she arrived. It surprised me while we were on a family trip, because Aunt Flo is awesome like that. Thank God my smart mother told me to take tampons “just in case” the change of air pressure from flying swept everything out. So if your period is missing, just take a long plane ride to make her show her ugly face.

Patent pending.

BUT this day isn’t even about that. It’s about my TWO YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.

006

That’s right, she’s TWO today. Two going on twenty from her vocabulary and her attitude lately, but that is for another post.

If two years ago you asked me what October 15th would mean to me today, it wouldn’t be this. Not because of the miscarriages, even though those were unexpected. But rather it would be because of my daughter. I would never in a million years be able to dream up a little girl as wonderful as E. She’s smart, sweet, kind to her friends, lover of all things babies, and just…amazing. Its hard to describe how much I love her and what she means to me, but I guess that’s how it is for all parents. The words are never enough.

DSCF0962

I will never forget the day she was born, namely because she peed on me right away (gee, you’re welcome for pushing you out of my VAGINA). She was so tiny, so perfect.

Newborn Evelyn

E has grown up so much over the past two years and I can’t wait to see what her lifetime brings to her. I love you so much, E. Happy birthday sweet girl!

Things I learned from my siblings in the past week

Anyone who knows me in “real life” knows that I have two older siblings. But they are *much* older. Like 6 and 8 years older. So pretty much I’m still young and they are just old. I kid, I kid.

As a kid it was more obvious that my siblings were older. By the time I was in middle school, both were in college. I didn’t really have to share my things or a room, so sibling rivalry wasn’t an issue. And now, as adults and all of us being married with children (ha! I used to love that show!), we don’t even notice our age difference. At least I don’t- but maybe they actually look at me and think, “She”ll learn one day…”

However, after this past week I can say that my eyes were opened to a whole new world of organized chaos. I recently spent a week with my brother and his family, and I was paying very close attention as to what its like to have more than one person crying and hanging on your arm at all times. I guess it’s because J and I have had so many issues with fertility lately that I was looking at their little family and thinking, “Could I really handle this all? E and another baby, plus J, the house, and everything that goes with those responsibilities?” It was like God was giving me a peek into what life might be like one day…He’s all, “I tried to warn you and you aren’t listening, so here’s how sh*ts going to go down.”

After a week, I still can’t answer that question for sure. I’ve taken care of several kids on my own on a regular basis, but I could always give them back at the end of the day. I’ve had a newborn, but not with another kid around. I don’t know if one is ever ready for adding another person to your count but in watching my SIL, who is also a milspouse, I found that we are the toughest breed and a few (or lots) of tears, fighting, and everyone needing to eat RIGHT NOW won’t phase us.

Despite my own insecurities about being able to “handle it all” if we are ever blessed with a sibling for E, I did learn a few very interesting things in my visit with them though. Some kid related, some not…:

1. More kids CAN actually be easier- In total there were four kids in the house. And even though it was crazy, I found that the short times I had all 4 it really wasn’t that bad. The older ones played together, the oldest could help me with the baby, and babies actually sleep alot. Bt, I am realistic in that I was only with them for a few hours by myself, they were good to play together because they don’t see each other that often, and I didn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning. Hence my insecurities.

2. I learned how to use a Diva Cup- I had heard of this…interesting…device and mentioned it to my SIL. We didn’t know how one might use this thing, so she YouTubed it. Go ahead, take a look if you dare.

3. Circumcision is an art- Apparently some people like to tell their doctors how much to “trim” when their little boys are born. Like its a freaking haircut. “Oh doctor, I’d like it shorter on the sides but leave a little extra on the top.” WTH. (For the record, this is just something my SIL mentioned to me, not that they did this!)

4. Always have food- Snacks cure all. For everyone- adults and kids alike.

5. Put your kids to work- Make sure they keep up with their responsibilities, and that they pitch in with chores. Around toddler age, they can throw away diapers, get their own things, put away their toys…it’s just one less thing for you to do. Even if you just have one kid right now, teach them these things early so they are already used to it when another one comes along! That’s why you had kids right? Free labor.

6. E is going to be a great big sister- She wanted to help with the baby in everything we did with him (sometimes a little forcefully, but she had good intentions). She loved on him, snuggles him, and her internal maternal instincts were apparent. She’s going to be an awesome big sister. I hope we can give that to her.

I really enjoyed my time with my brother and his family, and I know E did too. She learned so much from her cousins, she loved snuggling with the baby, and we had a great time. Family is so important to us and I’m grateful to my family and to God for giving me a sneak peek into what life *might* be like one day.

What is happening in my uterus?!

Last week was another very confusing and very frustrating week. On Wednesday after E woke up from her nap I was having alot of pain on my right lower abdomen. Like -I can’t stand, I can’t walk, why can’t you get your own damn milk by now E- type of pain. Since I had been worried about an ectopic pregnancy (where the embryo grows outside your uterus) I knew that this was a symptom. After deliberating as to whether I could suck it up until J got home or until the next day when I was having a follow-up ultrasound anyways, I decided to head to the ER. My worst fear was something rupturing in the middle of the night or while I was alone with E. And the pain was just unbelievable. I felt like someone was stabbing me in my ovary. Or twisting it. Nice.

Luckily my good friend L arrived to our new duty station and lives *kind of* close. She insisted on meeting me at the hospital so she could watch E until J got there. I gave a call to J at work and left a message, and off the hospital I went.

If you’ve ever been to an ER you know things can take FOR.EV.ER. And they did. Roughly 5 hours later I was finally walking out of there with a hell of a lot more questions than answers.

After some poking and prodding, blood drawing, and an ultrasound I found out that the pain was from a super cyst on my ovary. Good news was that it was not because some organ was rupturing. Confusing news was that I had a gestational sac measuring 7 weeks and 4 days in my uterus and my HCG level had jumped almost 5,000 points to over 20,000.

Now, if you’ve been reading you know that a week and a half before that my doctor had told me that my uterus was as blank as a kindergartener in geometry class. Literally nothing in my uterus. At first J and I thought this was good news. But in the back of my mind I knew something wasn’t right because they should have seen something inside the sac, but they didn’t- just an empty sac.

So of course I was sent home to Google my ass off. I found out that what I probably have is a blighted ovum- where the gestational sac and placenta continue to grow even though no embryo/baby grows. That’s why my numbers are increasing. Of course we still held out some hope that for some reason the ultrasound tech measured the sac wrong, or that things were taking a turn for the better and that’s why my numbers jumped up all of a sudden.

The next day I had my scheduled follow-up ultrasound so I figured I’d get some more answers then. Right off the bat my doctor and I weren’t getting along. She questioned why I felt the need to go to the ER because I knew I had a cyst. Then she didn’t want to do my ultrasound because “the ER obviously answered your questions, so have you thought about a D&C?” (D&C is a surgery to remove any tissue resulting from the pregnancy). We had some…choice words to one another and she finally did the ultrasound.

Guess what she saw? NOTHING. Not even a sac.

Again, some choice words were said- basically me telling her that I didn’t understand how she ever can detect a pregnancy with that machine if she literally can’t see anything inside my uterus when I had just been told the night before that there was a large sac in there- so I asked for a second opinion at the sister hospital. She got me one for that day, so off I went.

I loved the doctor I saw at the hospital. She was young, nice, understanding, and talked me through everything. Well, push comes to shove she also found an empty sac. It was heart-breaking news but it wasn’t totally unexpected. I knew something had to be wrong, but I wanted confirmation before J and I decide how to proceed with everything. I walked out of there with two new official diagnoses: a blighted ovum and secondary infertility. Awesome.

So now we are still in the waiting game until we get the test results from our RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) testing. I don’t know what it will find, if anything. Part of me wants an answer, but part of me is afraid that the answer may be something that we can’t fix. I’ve already started looking into IUI’s and IVF, and what Tricare covers (or doesn’t cover is more like it) only to educate myself. I want to get an appointment with an RE (reproductive endocrinologist), who is a fertility specialist, but I guess I’ll see what happens with the results of the testing.

As for my emotions- they are all over the place. Sometimes I have pity parties for one where I seriously can’t believe we are in this position. Other times I feel ok and I feel like we can move on. Pregnant women make me sad and sometimes angry (sorry, but true) but seeing little babies makes me think that maybe those women have stories I don’t know about and that will be me one day *cue tears*

I think this whole process is harder for J than me. Part of him still feels hopeful for this current pregnancy but he didn’t see that sac o’ emptiness last week. I also know that he doesn’t feel totally comfortable with me writing about this stuff, but he also understands why I do it- its an outlet for me AND I feel like its important to get women’s stories out there so that we can share experiences. After all, all my Google searching these past couple weeks (ok, always) are for other people’s stories like mine. If they didn’t share their stories I think I’d still be lost.

This post is seriously getting to be a novel, so I’m going to shut it down like the latest season of RHNJ.

If there are any women that read or follow my blog that want to share their stories of miscarriage/pregnancy loss but don’t have the forum to do so, please email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com. I would love to share your story so that others may have answers and hope

Third time is *not* the charm

I’m sorry for my absence in both regular posts and meal planning these past two weeks but our family has been dealing with some, well, sh*tty news. We found out that we are going through our third, yes, THIRD miscarriage in a row. BLEGH.

I wrote an email to some of my family members to tell them about it because the phone call was too hard to make. And its still kind of hard to talk about now so I’m just going to basically relay to you what I told them. If you have just started following me and don’t know about my other two miscarriages, take a look here or just read below. Perhaps one day in the future I will talk more about how I’m feeling and everything, but right now I just don’t feel up to it all.  But I do feel like its important for women to feel like they can talk about their experiences, their hurt, and their losses together so I am sharing with the world what is going on with me. For some reason its reassuring to read other people’s stories if only to learn you’re not alone.

So here it goes….

——————

I am now considered “high risk” because we have hit that magic/awful number of three. Only 1% of women experience repeat or recurrent miscarriages (more than 3 in a row) and now I’m part of that 1%.

The first miscarriage was so early we didn’t even know we were pregnant yet. It happened on Christmas Day and we didn’t realize it was a miscarriage until we got back home  and I got a positive test. My doctor found this odd so we tested my HCG levels and they were dropping. The second miscarriage happened about 5 weeks after that at the end of February. That one was a little later, probably about 6 weeks. When I went to get a confirmation at the doctor’s it came back negative and I knew something was up. After quite a bit of pushing them to do something, they finally drew my levels and they were dropping again. At that point my doctor wasn’t worried. She thought they were both flukes and that maybe my body wasn’t ready so soon after the first miscarriage.

This last pregnancy has been the hardest because its been the longest. I am supposed to be about 8 weeks. We found out at the end of June and everything was going really smoothly (or maybe rough if you asked J- I was a little moody).  I had consistent symptoms and every home pregnancy test I took showed up right away and was really dark, so we were pretty confident things were going well. But we had our first ultrasound yesterday and immediately we knew something was wrong. Nothing came up on the screen. At this point, since my first positive test was a month ago, I knew we should see something but there was nothing there. No fetal pole, no yolk sac, nothing. It has been really, really hard these past couple of days because everything seemed to be going well. Its been a difficult time as you can probably imagine.

Since we  have had so many miscarriages in a row, the doctors think that it is more than just a random event. I got my levels drawn yesterday and I have to get them drawn again to see if they are going down. There are several different factors that can cause repeated miscarriages such as autoimmune diseases, chromosome abnormalities, uterine abnormalities, and low hormone levels. J and I are going to get blood tests done to check all these things. My doctor suspects that they are probably going to come back normal because E was such a textbook pregnancy and birth. She mentioned, and I have read, that 50%-70% of repeated miscarriages are never formally diagnosed with a specific issue.

In order to take precaution with the next pregnancy, whenever that may be and depending on the results of these tests, I will be taking progesterone supplements as well as baby aspirin. Right now we are playing a waiting game to see if I miscarry naturally again or if I need to take other measures such as medication or surgery. Since no baby grew at all and my body still hasn’t miscarried naturally, we are leaning towards surgery because there is a risk of infection. One other scary and fatal cause of nothing being seen at all in my uterus at the ultrasound is an ectopic pregnancy. The doctors don’t think its ectopic but they aren’t totally ruling it out.

So right now we are just waiting to get test results back and decide how we want things to proceed in terms of expanding our family. I will share as things progress.

We appreciate any prayers, good thoughts, good vibes, etc that you can send our way.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting me in all this craziness.

Rule #1 of Homeownership: Don’t let the toddler near the paint.

In case you weren’t aware, trying to paint a room with a toddler around is not a good idea. But little old me thought, “Psh, no big deal. I’m just spot painting. I’ll be done in two seconds. Here, I’ll put the paint on top of her dresser and she’ll never reach it.”

Then I hear, “AHHHHH, MOMMMMMMYYYYY! PAINT!”

Sure enough, half a pint of purple paint was all over E and our carpet. Thankfully, most of it landed on the carpet and not all over her face. Poor thing was so upset that she made a mess, and for three days after the “Paint Incident of 2013,” she was still saying, “Paint. Messy.” Yes, E, very messy.

So I bet you’re wondering what we did to clean it up. Well, first we had to soak up all the paint. That was fun. If you’ve ever washed a paint roller you know how much paint can soak into fabric like that. Then we used hot water and blue Dawn soap (that sh*t cleans everything) to get up the majority of the paint. THEN we used hot water and Oxi-Clean. The stain was still visible. Oxi-Clean is supposed to get the tough stains out! WTH.

Paint 2After all the paint was initially cleaned up. This picture is blurry so its alot worse than it looks!

Then we decided we needed to try something else, so off to Wal-Mart J went. He came back with this product called Krud Kutter, and guess what? IT WORKED. Case in point below:

Paint 1At least its more…pink now. Now that its totally dry you barely see it. I hope.

Or maybe my eyes are just shielding me from what I don’t want to see. 

Ok, so its still not perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better than when we started. I’m still going to be putting some sort of accent rug in front of her dresser to cover it, and one day we will have to replace the carpet but as the saying goes- fake it ‘til you make it.

We have been slowly getting more and more of the house done. Most of the major projects are done (like the driveway…finally!!!) and now we are just getting some odds and ends to help make the house more “ours.” I have some great ideas for our laundry room and guest bathroom, but some of those things will have to wait for a little bit.

063This white edging is all along the entire driveway. J dug every centimeter and placed every piece of black edging along the sides, along with all the white decor rocks. It was a pain in the a** (so he says) but it look amazing. Great job babe!

One of my favorite rooms in the house so far is our mudroom. When we moved in, the space was just one giant walk-in closet. It had a bunch of open shelves and it was super messy looking. I hated it and I knew we had to change it somehow.

031

 Before. Total chaos and mess. Like I need more of that in my life.

I wanted the mudroom to be functional yet really cute to look at when you walked in. It sits right outside our kitchen and goes into the garage, so it’s used a lot since we park in the garage for the most part. Or I do because J’s truck is ginormous.

First I had J take down all the shelves on one wall, and then all the shelves but the top two on the other wall. I decided on a light blue color for the walls because to me it gives a happy, clean feeling when you first walk in. We kept the white lining from the shelves along the entire room for two reasons: 1. We thought it give it a unique, nautical look and 2. We wanted to give new homeowners (if we ever sell) the option to put the shelves back up- they are stored in our basement right now.

037

041

Shelves gone!

 056

Let the painting begin! We first had to sand and touch up with putty any

damage done when taking down the shelves. Blah.

 063

Painting complete!

Once the painting was all done I had to decide how I wanted to organize it. I knew I needed a place to keep my vacuums and cleaning supplies but I didn’t want them just sitting out, so we got a organization cabinet from Lowe’s to keep everything in the room but hidden. I also wanted a place for E’s diapers so I got a two-tier wicker laundry basket from World Market. Obviously, the mudroom also needed a shoe bench, so I got one from Target that had a matching tan pad on the top. E is eventually going to go to school, so I added some hooks to the wall at “kid height” for her backpack and coats.

IMG_5019

IMG_5021

Lowe’s cabinet and World Market wicker basket

 _MG_5140

_MG_5142

_MG_5143

Mudroom complete!

All in all, the project cost about $335. Here is the price breakdown:

  • Lowe’s cabinet: $200
  • World Market laundry basket: $40
  • Target three-tier organization: $15
  • Target shoe bench: $60
  • Paint (Wal-Mart): $20

I seriously love this room. J does too because it was our first “together” project in the house. It took a few days to do the gutting and painting, and then a few more to figure out how I wanted to decorate it and get everything built and organized, but now I’m really happy with it!

In the next couple of weeks we should have our office, dining room, and family room complete. Once all rooms are totally done I will post before and after pictures. Stay tuned for next week’s post about the best places to buy furniture online while getting CASH BACK for each purchase. Seriously. We’ve made almost $200 back!

Also, check out this week’s meal plan. There is a new pasta I tried from a friend that is delish!

Clean Eating: Your gut will thank you

I have never been the type of person to try fad diets. I never did the Atkins (yes, I’m old enough to remember that), the South Beach (yep, old enough for that too), the honey/water/pickle juice only diet, or thethe only-eat-2-beets-and-a-piece-of-chicken diet. I currently live in Hippie Town, USA so there are lots of people out here that spew their only-organic/farmer’s market food in your face when they are trying to tell you what you should eat.

Alas, as my loving husband will tell you, these organic hipsters have gotten the best of me. I cloth diaper my child. I shop at Trader Joe’s and/or the farmer’s market when I can. I use a local CSA our neighborhood organized for organic eggs. I only by organic milk. We extended breastfed and we are extended rear facing E’s carseat. For frick’s sake, she wears an amber teething necklace aka the hippiest of all hippie baby stuff.

Hippie Baby 2

One thing my hippie self couldn’t latch onto like extended breastfeeders is the Paleo diet. Never heard of it? You aren’t crunchy enough, then. The Paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet. You basically don’t eat anything that the cavemen didn’t/couldn’t eat. So no processed foods, no dairy, no sugar, no salt. There are lots of things you can eat on the Paleo diet though. You can eat lots of meat. Eggs. Fruits and veggies. Anything that our ancestors could once hunt and gather is a-ok. Just don’t bring a spiked club to your local Safeway.

Another diet that seems to be pretty big ’round these parts is no so much a diet but a way of eating healthy. It’s known as “clean eating.” It is similiar to the Paleo diet in that you cut out processed foods and refined sugar and white flour, but you can eat ceratin breads (whole wheat only) and you can have dairy. If you would like to learn more about what you can and cannot eat in the clean eating method, click here.

I first became aware of the “clean eating” method via Pinterest. People kept pinning these recipes labeled “Clean Chicken Recipes” or whatever and I was intrigued. In doing some digging for my meal planning, I came across this website called 100 Days of Real Food. Lisa, the creator, and her family made a pledge that they would only eat “real food” for 100 days. They have since completed their pledge but they continue to eat as clean as possible, with an occasional treat here and there.

One of the reasons this website and healthy eating method caught my attention was its adaptability to the military lifestyle. As I mentioned before, I live in an area where organic and all-natural foods are pretty easy to find. Local farmer’s markets are year-round and there are several to choose from. But that isn’t the case with every place, especially some of the no-man’s land places Uncle Sam sometimes decides to send us. However, “clean foods” like fruits, veggies, and meats are found in every grocery store so even if you’re in Armpit, USA, you can eat clean. This method also seems to be budget friendly, as Lisa demonstrates by providing meal plans and weekly budgets that are under $125/week for a family of 4. And Lord knows us military folks like saving money. As a plus, there are more things you CAN eat with this “diet” as opposed to most diets where there are more things you CAN’T eat. Therefore, eating clean seems to be something that anyone can do (for the most part) no matter where you live.

I say SEEMS to be something anyone can do because I haven’t done it yet. But I’m planning to once we get all our sh*t moved across the country (I can’t drive some 3,000 miles without getting me some sugared coffee-water and McDonald’s. Unless you want to see a trail of dead bodies behind me Hanzel and Gretel style).

I’ll be honest with you though, people, I don’t know if I can do this. I have a few staples in my diet and I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to give them up. Of course, there is Starbucks and any coffee creamer I use here at home. And soda. Cookies. Crackers. Chips and guac (so guac’s ok, but not the chips). A bar of dark chocolate. HAMBURGERS. I’m getting the shakes just thinking about the withdrawal. The good news with all of this is that we are moving out to the boonies so the Starbucks and junk food will not be accessed as easily. I will also have more time on my hands to make things from scratch since I won’t be going out as much because WE LIVE IN THE BOONDOCKS.

Luckily, Lisa provides several different pledges for starting your clean eating transformation off slowly, so that’s how I plan to start. We will probably start off with the 10 Day Pledge and then go from there. And I will be honest again, because that’s how I roll- I don’t think I will ever become a 100% clean eater. Its just not in me. I will still drink my morning creamer with a splash of coffee. I will continue to buy our meat from the commissary. Not everything will be organic. I just can’t do it. I’m not that crunchy. I’m only like, part crunchy. Like this:

See, part crunchy/part normal. All-natural, not organic. This is me if I was peanut butter.

Either way, I still think trying to cut out as much processed foods as possible is a good idea. And I think as a military family, its one diet that is actually do-able for the most part because “clean” items are everywhere. Obviously, some refinements to the method have to be refined for those of us that travel to the buttends of the world and don’t have all organic stores and the locally raised meat is skinnier than Nicole Richie, but for the most part its possible.

But for now, I’m going to go enjoy my Coke and store-bought cookies while I begin to sort through all the crap the movers are going to have to pack up in about a week.

Let’s Get Physical, Physical!

I was going to put the video up to help you transport you back in time, but it is VERY different from what I remembered as a kid. All I remembered was Olivia Newton-John working out in some leotard. YouTube at your own discretion.

Man, don’t you just love this 80’s style and hair?! THE HAIR, PEOPLE. They got more dressed up to work out than I do when I go to Target. Because let’s be honest, the only thing I do besides laundry and cooking is go to Target. In fact, when E gets into the car she immediatley says, “Shopping?”

Ok, that’s not entirely true. Well, the “shopping” part is. But I actually do do (<–haha) other stuff besides laundry, cooking, and Target. And Starbucks. I WORK OUT.

If you are a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) and/or a military spouse, you understand how hard it can be to find the time to stay fit. Its hard to do it at home because you have a million things to do plus at least one small person hanging on your leg or sitting on your hip (or both) at all times. And being a MilSpouse comes with all different sorts of challenges. Sometimes you don’t have anyone coming home at 5pm or on the weekends so you can run to the gym. The gyms on base oftentimes don’t offer childcare, and by the time you find a gym out in town that is affordable and not totally creepy you’ll probably PCS. Awesome.

When I moved to our current duty station, I wasn’t a mom. And I worked. Finding time to go to the gym was difficult (beacuse eating cookies while watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey is more fun) but not impossible. When I had E I was determined to not be one of “those” moms that totally throws any sort of physical fitness out the window. But even so, I gave myself a six week grace period because I had just pushed a baby out of my you know where and I was TIRED. And then J left for deployment. At that point, throwing everything out the window (except for the cookies) sounded like a great idea.

Over time, however, I started to feel like something was missing for me. I felt the need to pick up all that stuff I threw out the window and get back into some sort of workout routine. I didn’t know what to do though. For those of you that have been following me for awhile (stalkers) may remember this post where I was determined to stick to a tough workout routine while J was gone. That lasted all of 2 seconds- I couldn’t go to the gym on base because there was no childcare. I didn’t want to spend the money for a membership out in town because knowing myself, I wouldn’t actually go enough to make it worth the money. I needed some outside motivation but I didn’t know what to do.

Then God sent me a little angel. Well, lots of angels. More like warriors. With strollers. Stroller Warriors.

Heard of them? Thought you might have. That’s because our founder, Stephanie Gergahty, was selected at the Marine Corps Spouse of the Year for 2012 by Military Spouse Magazine. Hellllzzz Yea.

This is my story with Stroller Warriors (SW): My friend encouraged me to join a military wives running group. At first I was like, “Um, I don’t like to run.” Because I don’t. Well, I didn’t. Ok, so most of the time I don’t but we’ll get to that in a minute. Anyways, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I mean, these ladies all must be RUNNERS and I’m not a runner. I’m a walker. A yogi. A “watch a old Susan Summers workout VHS” type girl. Dudes, I don’t run. For pete’s sake, I was a CHEERLEADER in high school.

But I decided to go. What’s the worst that could happen? I would pass out and die? Maybe, but I was willing to try it.

My first run with SW sucked. It was cold, it was raining, and I was out of breath in the first 5 seconds. But hot damn those chicks were motivating. Some were out there pushing double-wide BOB strollers with PRESCHOOLERS. Others were wicked fast, and some were more my speed. Everyone that passed me (I’m pretty sure it was EVERYONE) kept saying, “Great job! Keep it up! Way to go!” and even though it sounds a little cheesy, it was super encouraging. It was awesome and for the first time in a LONG time, I knew I was going to actually continue with a group/routine.

SW

So here I am, one YEAR later and still running with SW. I did stop for awhile because E’s naps were during our run times and Lord knows I wasn’t messing with that. But once she went to one nap, it was on like Donky Kong. And I’ll be honest- I still don’t like running. I’d much rather be doing something a little less…exhausting. But these women are so great that I actually sacrifice my dislike for the sport just to hang out with them for a few hours each week. And, not surprisingly, I feel a lot better after the run and kicked-my-ass/my-armsbuttlegs-are-sore-for-the-next-8-days ground work we do each time.

Now, sadly, we are moving and the closest SW is kind of far. I’m hoping that I can do something to help set up a group closer to me though because this group is motivating. They are the reason I get my lazy azz out of bed on Tuesday and Fridays (and Sundays, on my own) to run. They push you to run harder, to run faster, and to be stronger. And occassionally they have run-free days with food, and that’s always a win. They are some BAMRs (Bad Ass Mother Runners) and I am so proud to have been part of this group if only for a little while.

SW Gear

E was munching on her recovery snack. She had a hard run…

In the next couple of weeks I’m going to be talking about some workout routines I’ve found online that I have found really helpful just in case you don’t have an awesome group of BAMRs close by. I may or may not have some before and after pics to show you too. It depends on what my after pic looks like because my before is like…gross. I will also be discussing some diet changes that are easy to make and KEEP even if you are a MilSpouse. So stick around. Until then…….

**Images courtesy of Google Images and personal images from Stroller Warrior members. “Stroller Warriors” video courtesy of YouTube**

Empty Arms

Late last week my husband and I were talking about my absolute compulsion to take pregnancy tests. Honestly, I should be on that show, “My Strange Addiction.” I AM ONE OF THEM. Maybe not exactly the crazy chalk eating lady or the guy that is “married” to his life-like doll, but I’m bordering on that level.

People, I could be on TV. Even more famous than I already am. Move over, Kim K.

On a more serious note: Even though we want to give my body a rest from the past two miscarriages, I still have pregnancy on my brain. ALL. THE. TIME. I analyze and over-analyze-and then analyze again the next day- every little thing that is going on with my body. Most daily decisions I make are based on the *possibility* that I could be pregnant- do I have that glass (or 3) of wine, should I push myself for that extra mile run, should I really get an extra shot in my coffee, should I really being doing sit-ups and planks? AHHHHHH.

So J and I discussed it and its no way for me to live. For us to live. Pregnancy tests (even the dollar ones) get expensive when you take 4 in 10 days <—-truth. Its becoming a point of contention in our marriage because all I want to do is just take a quick test whereas he thinks I’m driving myself crazy by doing this. He also pointed out that even if the test is positive, I’m going to go crazy taking test after test after test just to *make sure* everything’s ok, probably until the baby pops out. Damn him and his rightness!

Seriously, though, he’s right. I’m driving myself BONKERS and him, too. Sometimes I forget that he’s just as anxious and worried as I am that maybe another child isn’t in the card for us. Sometimes I forget that there are two of us waiting for those two lines, not just me. Talking about it really helped, but it also brought up alot of emotions I didn’t really expect to feel.

I thought I was doing ok with these 2 miscarriages. I was heartbroken and I cried when they happened, but after a day or so I felt better and I felt as if I was moving on. We had alot going on this past month with house-hunting so even though I thought about the miscarriages it wasn’t to grieve. I would think of them in logical terms like, “Ok, it happened. Twice. That sucks but we’re moving on and you won’t do this, this, or this with the next pregnancy.”

In talking with J though, I started to get upset. I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and my mind drifted to two little angel babies. They were wrapped in blue with their little angel wings. They were curled up next to each other, spooning, and I was holding both of them as I slept. Oh dear Lordy did I cry. I cried and cried and cried. I’m sure if the lights were on it would have been an ugly cry. I cried hard when I found out I was miscarrying and I cried hard when the miscarriage passed, but this was different. I was picturing these two squishy, innocent babies lying there with me but no one was there. My arms literally felt heavy and empty. I needed something to fill them so I did the absolute no-no in parenting- I woke up my sleeping child.

I just had to hold E. I needed to hold my baby, to see her sleeping peacefully and listen to her breathe. I wanted to feel her little squirms and remember her little baby cries. As I watched her I cried some more because I knew I wouldn’t see the faces of my two angels until I get to Heaven. I will never get to hold them. I will never get to hear their baby cries. For the first time I really felt as if I lost my babies not my pregnancies. My babies.

Days like that are hard, but I guess they’re necessary. Maybe it seems silly to some because both pregnancies were very early when I lost them, but to me they will always be my babies.

BAHH, I’m such a sap sometimes. Off to take another pregnancy test *skips happily away*

JUST KIDDING. But only because Aunt Flo arrived. Stupid dream crusher. Damn you, Aunt Flo, damn you *shakes fist at uterus*

I think my husband found a new calling.

And that would be as a realtor.

We have been house hunting for about a week now and J has been busting his butt trying to find us the perfect home. Checking Redfin and Zillow, looking at mortgage rates and loan companies, and researching areas, drive-times, the closest Starbucks (ok, that was my job), and a ton of other stuff I’m not really sure about because 1. it all sounds like jibberish, and 2. E.

In all seriousness, he has been working super hard for the past week and I’m really proud of him. Astonished might be the better word. Not because I didn’t think he’d do such a great job, but because he’s going above and beyond to make sure our family is covered and protected, and in a house/area that is great for us. He’s an awesome husband.

Even through all the jibberish and E suddenly learning how to make her body go limp when I’m trying to walk her over to change her diaper, I have learned a TON through this whole house-hunting and buying process so far. I went into this venture thinking that it would be fairly easy to find a home we loved. I thought I’d walk into a house and think to myself, “This is it.” I thought my husband and I would agree on everything. NOPE, NOPE, and HA.

But what I have learned is that things are complicated. Not just the terms, not just the math and finances, but emotionally. There are people on both sides of the process, and I think you forget that when you’re in the midst of looking at homes. You see the house but not the people selling it. You don’t know why they are selling the home and what that means to them. You walk through their house and see their pictures, their clothes, their dirty dishes in the sink, etc and you realize that people LIVE here. They have laughed, cried, fought, hugged, and given their little brothers noogies here. It personifies the home and this whole process in a way I didn’t expect. It’s kind of…bittersweet.

But let’s get to the person that really runs this show: E. Anyone who has a baby, toddler, child, teenager, or sometimes (but let’s hope not) grown adult sucking the life out of your wallet knows that traveling away from home can be difficult. Luckily through all of this, E has been pretty good. Sleep hasn’t been fantastic (she’s waking up at night for quite awhile and is crying when we lay her down), but I figure that comes with being a relatively new environment. She is getting along fabulously with my parents who have very graciously watched her while we have spent 6-8 billion hours out looking at houses each day. And we were worried about how E would handle us being away from us and with people she doesn’t see too often (ok, I was worried) but she surprised us all.

When we traveled to my parents house over Christmas E was NOT having it with anyone. She was all

KOBYRA0117 KOBYRA0116

whenever anyone looked at her.

And now she’s all like

20130312_172155 20130316_173310

and saying, “nooooo” when I try to take her from Nana or Gramps. So it is great that her attitude towards family members has done a 180. Looks like we found some babysitters!

I’m no longer the favorite.

I knew the day would come one day- the day that E chooses J over me. But it still stings, like someone snapped me on the forehead with a rubberband. Sub forehead for heart.

We are away from home doing some house-hunting so things have been crazy. J and I have spent a lot of days away from E but I thought that would make her miss me more. Ok, well, she does miss me but only during those really awesome times like 2 am when she decides to be awake for an hour or more. Or bedtime when J gets to come downstairs and watch tv while I sit with her rocking her to sleep for what feels like 239850234 hours in complete darkness.

At least the shift wasn’t sudden. The first few days she would call for dadda, ask “Whereishe?” (all one word in toddler language), and say “downnnn meeeee” if I was holding her and he came in sight. Then she started wanting him as soon as she woke up. She would give him a kiss or hug when he asked but not me. That brings us to today.

She won’t come to me. Like, at all. She didn’t want me to get her out of the crib this morning- she waited until dadda came in. She didn’t want me to get her out of the carseat. She legit cried and wiggled her way towards J until he picked her up. She wanted to hand dadda the books from the library. When she bit her tongue at lunch (which happened because she was shaking her head back and forth so fast to tell me noooooo she didn’t want another bite of lunch), she swung her arms towards J to pick her up. I mean, she eventually came to me to wipe her snot/meatloaf face on my shoulder which was sweet I guess. And she was generous enough to let me put her down for a nap too. So I guess its not that bad?

No, its not really that bad. Because now I have an excuse that J can’t argue- she wants him, not me. Nothing I can do about that. And I know things will change at some point. I’ll be the favorite again and she won’t leave me side and I’ll look back and reminiscence about these good old days. Until then……

FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOMMMMMM!