We successfully moved across the country with a 15 month old, dog, and household of stuff. It’s been an incredibly hard, exhausting, exciting, and challenging spring so far and I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll just jump on in. This could get long, so I’m going to break it up into a 3 part series. You can read Part 2 and 3 Here and Here.
Pregnancy and Miscarriage
We found out in early March that we were expecting baby #2! We were THRILLED! I always wanted my kids close together and I wanted to start working on #2 just in case we experienced any trouble (like the first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks). The timing was a bit insane, since we were prepping for a cross-country move May 7th, but we couldn’t wait to show up in California with a little stowaway! Well, things didn’t go as planned… do they ever?
First, at what we calculated to be our 8 week appointment (based on my last period), the baby was only measuring 5 weeks. Strange… but our dates could very well have been off since my cycle was nowhere near regular yet. Then, a week later we went back to find a 6 week baby with a little steady heartbeat! A bit slow, but the Doc figured it was just getting going.
Whew, it felt like we were in the clear and everything from there on out would be the (relatively) uneventful, smooth, and healthy pregnancy I’d always dreamed of… then I saw the tiniest bit of blood the Friday before what would be our 8 week appointment (based on the new dates adjusted at the first appointment). Okay, I’ve spotted with both my previous pregnancies…. those went 50/50, miscarriage/live birth. I trusted my gut and got in that day to have the baby checked.
The baby’s heartbeat was gone. It had stopped developing sometime in the 6th week after we saw it last.
This couldn’t be happening.
I was in shock, disbelief, numb.
All our plans for another little November baby (like the first we miscarried which was due Nov 2nd, this baby’s adjusted due date was November 15th) were crushed. It took 3 weeks of bleeding before I finally miscarried fully. I had worked from home for a week waiting to pass the baby, but ended up miscarrying in the office on my last day before leaving for our big move to California. April 23rd. Almost exactly 2 years after I miscarried my first baby.
I packed away our Sister Bear and Baby bear shirts along with my hopes and dreams for these little siblings who would grow up so close in age. I pushed down the excitement for seeing Ziva as a big sister. I forced myself to see the silver linings this time around. At least I wouldn’t be having morning sickness and fatigue as I packed for the big move, at least I’d be able to lift things, at least, at least, at least…
I promise you, there was and is no silver lining that makes pregnancy loss of a wanted baby feel okay. There’s no silver lining good enough to replace the weight of a newborn in your arms, the kicks of a little growing baby, the joy of their first smiles, the love, the person they become. There just isn’t.
At least this time I had Ziva. At least this time I could hold her and find joy in her as she grows and changes… at least this time I know that I can survive, and life will go on, and eventually the sharpness of the pain dulls.
At least I was preparing to move back home where I could be close with my family and have a wide network of support for whatever the future holds. Our little family of 3 (4 with doggy Brinkley) would continue and move forward and move on, missing one more little angel.
We were in need of some time at home to work on projects and spend quality time with each other. Thank goodness for the long weekend! On Saturday we did a ton of normal errands, living room workout, and brought in big haul of greens for the 5 day clean eating challenge we’re kicking off this Tuesday.
On Sunday a few of my friends came over to practice for their budding personal organization business. I’m so grateful to them for offering to practice on my closet because it was in dire straits. I’ve been maintaining multiple size wardrobes for a while and it has resulted in an overflowing closet and dressers. I made them an egg bake for brunch and they spent like 4 hours helping me cut through the clutter and clean out the excess.
The results? 6 bags of clothing on its way out the door! They even took it with them so I wouldn’t have a chance to pick back through it later. I’m telling you, if you ever have a chance to work with professional organizers it is so worth it! If you’d like a recommendation, shoot me a message and I’ll put you in touch. I just hope they want more practice soon because the nursery needs their help!
Sunday night we headed out to the in-laws for a get together with out of town family. Our new little nephew and Ziva had a great time practicing tummy time together. Ziva is really getting to the age where she notices and wants to interact with other babies. It’s pretty cute!
Today we were ready to get some exercise to burn off some of the treats from the night before. There are so many adorable neighborhoods here in Ann Arbor and we love going for walks to oogle the cute little houses and quaint family neighborhoods. Today we drove over to the old west side and took Brinkley and Ziva for a nice long walk. It’s pretty hot out, but there was a nice breeze.
Ziva slept through most of the walk, but Brinkley was loving it! She loves taking walks in new places and she stops to mark EVERYWHERE. You’d think she was a boy dog.
At the end of our walk we stopped in at Argus Farm Stop for some coffee and water. I love the farm stop for their delicious drinks and fresh local produce. It’s a bonus that it’s also completely adorable.
We’ve been trying to get out and active each weekend since we know the nice days are numbered with the fall closing in on us. Our holiday weekends may not look quite like they used to, but they’re wonderful all the same. As for tonight? Meal prep and the 21 Day Fix Dirty 30 workout for me.
Who’d have thought that one of the things I’d miss the most when I left California was the smell of dirt. Moist dirt under the leaves of a forest floor, warm dirt in the hot sun. There are so many memories linked to the smell of the soil in California that I long for… especially during the long winter months of Michigan.
Today we ventured out for a walk in the warm sunshine. The wind finally died down today, and we went for a long walk through the winding neighborhood across from our place.
Walking alongside a wooded area the breeze picked up the smell of the warm earth and dry leaves and it took me straight to my happy place.
It feels so good to be back outdoors. Turns out our neighborhood is a pretty nice one with winding paths through parks and green ways between quaint suburban streets. Since I was limited to seated activities most of last summer we really didn’t get to explore much. I can’t wait to keep taking baby Z out to explore and play as she grows! I’ve counted 4 playgrounds within a short walk from our place. Z will have plenty of options once she is old enough! For now she is exhausted from napping in the stroller-
It’s been a long year…. full of good, full of change, and full of learning experiences. The turbulent weather seemed to match the tone of life. Unpredictable, overwhelming, exciting and scary. Life has sped up so much these last few years, with big shifts in my life coming faster and faster. Looking back reminds me how much we really did and how many really good times we had, amid the chaos of lose and change.
I’m not huge on parties, so when it came to planning our New Year’s Eve I knew I wanted to do something special but different. We decided to make dinner at home together, then head Downtown to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to ring in the new year with the Zac Brown Band. With so many instruments and high quality musicians on stage, how can you go wrong? I would definitely put this at the top of my favorite live shows list. It was an intimate and thrilling way to count down to 2014.
Last winter was cold. I don’t have to remind you about our fantastically freezing Polar Vortex. There was something exciting about how extreme the weather was, and how life just had to slow down and shift to accommodate it. With that said, I’m glad we aren’t pushing through negative degree weather and heavy snow this year! I’m not as sure on my feet with a basketball belly under my coat, you know what I mean?
I loved my work, but was ready for a change. In March I got a new start at a smaller digital company in Ann Arbor and dove in to the new work. It was scary starting a new job, with an hour commute, right as I found out I was pregnant, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Brian, the loving husband he is, knew that I was ready to get back to Ann Arbor (one step closer to a feeling of home), and we started our plans to move.
After the long cold months of winter, we were eager to head home to California in April. Excited that we would be 12 weeks along while we were there, we made plans to announce the pregnancy in person to my friends and family. It was to be a trip full of celebrations and love with my sister’s baby shower and my best friend’s bachelorette. There was so much joy in the first half of the trip… only to be balanced by the heartbreaking end of our trip and our first pregnancy.
We returned to Michigan after the miscarriage and went into hibernation. I can’t imagine a better team I’d rather have by my side than Brian and Brinkley. May was a blur… an adjustment to life without the little baby in my belly. Learning to see life through a new lens.
As fast as loss can come on and sweep the rug right out from under you, love and abundance can swoop right back in and fill the dark spaces lifting you right back up. In early June we were shocked and elated to learn we are once again expecting a sweet little baby. My best friend got married, and though it was a planned elopement and I wasn’t able to attend in person, I was overjoyed for her and her new husband. To top it all off, the end of June brought the arrival of sweet, sweet little Stella Ray. My sister gave us one of the best gifts we could ever receive and we’ve spent the rest of 2014 just loving on her and watching this adorable little bundle of happiness grow!
Ann Arbor here we come!! July 1st we moved into our new Ann Arbor apartment. It’s been a tough transition, but a good one. There are things we miss about life in Royal Oak, but there are many things we love about Ann Arbor too (including the many summertime festivities that we were able to take part in, like Sonic Lunch, Art Fair, and Summer Fest).
We celebrated our first anniversary on July 21st with a trip back up north, you guessed it, to Traverse City! What can I say? We love it up there. We had big plans to spend a few days in Traverse City and then to head to Mackinac City to take the ferry over to Mackinac Island for our romantic anniversary. That plan was thwarted by another pregnancy scare and a day in the ER. So, instead of gallivanting around a historic island, we took it easy and spent the rest of the weekend with good friends, healing and waiting to see if we would get to keep our little one. Thank G-d for good friends and for things turning out alright.
We headed back to California again for my cousins beautiful Santa Barbara wedding. We spent a week taking in the sunshine and loving on little Stella Ray, and another week making the rounds with family and friends in the Bay Area. It was a great trip slightly tainted by our nerves, but we made it home all in one piece, the bun still baking in my oven. Whew.
I LOVE MICHIGAN FALL. I know, what comes after isn’t so hot (pun intended), but I can’t help but love everything about the crisp, sunny days of fall. My college roommate, Anne, came to visit us and we showed her some of the best fall has to offer. After asking around we decided to go apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard in Fenton. The drive wasn’t bad from Ann Arbor, and it was a great experience! We will definitely be heading back next year. The tractor ride through the orchard, bright blue sky, delicious apples, cider and donuts are all part of what makes fall here so special. We would definitely recommend Spicer’s for families looking for a day of fall fun. We can’t wait to go back with little ones someday.
The gorgeous days of fall football and apple picking quickly shift to grey skies… thank goodness for warm family holidays like Thanksgiving to help get us through. We haven’t had much snow this year, but we got plenty during our interstate drive from Michigan to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend. Brian is a master driver, and I’m glad he is cause I would have been a whimpering fool if I had to drive!
We spent the weekend with my cousins in New Jersey, playing with her little ones and reminiscing about our extended family. We even got in a day in Manhattan to check out the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I love exploring with Brian, but I don’t recommend traveling when you are pregnant. Maybe it’s just me, but long drives and long days trekking through cities are better enjoyed without worrying about pregnancy troubles (like swollen feet and fatigue). I know many women are able to go hard during pregnancy, but for me it felt like a little too much action. Still, we had a great time. 🙂
My dad came to visit! I love spending time with my dad. He’s great to adventure with and he has a gung ho attitude when it comes to projects. We spent the weekend hanging out, clearing out the baby’s room/closet and working to prep the nursery for when the little one (hopefully!) arrives. There is nothing better than time with family, and we have had so much of it this year, despite long distances and tough times. It’s really been a journey. I feel like I’ve grown and changed more than ever this year (easy to say when you’ve been pregnant most of the year, but I mean it figuratively as well).
We truly can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Hopefully it’s tons and tons of happy times and snuggles with our sweet baby girl. Cheers to the new year!
It’s finally here! The long awaited arrival of June. Not only is it feeling a lot like summer, but this is also the month we make the long awaited move back to Ann Arbor. Royal Oak has been a blast, but I’m ready to return to my people.
I’ve already started compiling an Ann Arbor Bucket List of sorts, full of all of the fun Ann Arborish activities I want to do during this round of residency in A2. I moved away 3 years ago and there were a ton of things I still wanted to do. This will be Brian’s first time living in A2, so I definitely plan on showing him all the city has to offer.
Sure, there are times I wish we were moving home to California, but Ann Arbor is the most like a home away from home that I’ve found here in Michigan and I’m ready to get back.
I can’t wait to share our adventures with you! Now, time to pack.
The night after the hospital I found myself awake in bed. My husband sleeping beside me, exhausted emotionally and physically. I laid in my childhood room with only the orange glow of the streetlights coming in through the skylight window, and the bright light of my iPhone screen.
I milled through how I might process my new reality. No longer planning to for the baby’s arrival, I was left adrift.
On reflex I opened the Pinterest app and searched “miscarriage.” I had no plan for what I might find… I didn’t really know what I was looking for.
I scrolled through the inspiring messages accompanied by images of love and remembrance, I familiarized myself with the vocabulary for my new life. Angel baby, Pregnancy loss, rainbow babies…
I was looking for something not knowing what. Something to do, some way to find closure. Some way to honor the spirit of the baby that never came to be. I searched “miscarriage remembrance.”
Unable to find a gesture that felt right, I scrolled through the many charms that popped up in the search feed.
To capitalize on my recent urge to write, I figured I’d go back and complete the series of posts about our little family trip up north this February. We spent 3 cold but fabulous days in Traverse City exploring the region with my mom. Read about day 1 here.
We woke up to a partly sunny second day in Traverse City, the wind was heavy but the sun was shining so we decided it was safe to make the trek up to Petoskey. First things first, we needed coffee.
Our original plan had been to go snow shoeing in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They offer guided snow shoeing tours in the winter that sound pretty awesome. We called too late to book the tour for Saturday (they were already full), and we decided we that was probably for the better since we lacked adequate snow gear. If you haven’t been to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, I highly recommend a trip. The views are incredible and there are plenty of great hikes in the warmer months. I can only imagine the snowshoeing is awesome too.
Crow about it According to Yelp, the only coffee joint near the Traverse Bay Inn is a local shop called Crow About It Coffee and Cakes. From the outside (strip mall) we weren’t sure what to expect, but we were impressed by the quality and thoughtfulness they put into their their coffees and treats. While ordering we got into conversation with the barista about their sugar-free flavor syrups. They have a TON of sugar free flavor options. Turns out all of the syrups they use have no dye in them, and the sugar free is sweetened with Stevia! They get their syrup from a local source who worked with them to remove all the dye and artificial sweeteners from the syrup they buy. The sugar flavors are made with organic sugar, too! You can taste the difference in the drinks, in a very good way. If you stay at any of the resorts along hwy 31 just east of Traverse City, this is a great little coffee shop for breakfast pastries and tasty drinks.
The drive up 31 took about an hour (it’s around 60 miles northeast around Lake Michigan). We drove through Charlevoix and planned to go back on the way home. Next time I would love to show my mom some of our favorite little shops there.
Roast & Toast
We rolled into Petoskey just in time for lunch. We spent New Year last year in Petoskey and had some of the best gluten-free sandwiches at a place called Roast & Toast. My mom is GF too and I couldn’t wait for her to try it. Their menu is HUGE. So many sandwiches!!!
I had the Peppered turkey with Swiss on Udi’s gluten-free bread. Mom had the grilled barbecue chicken sandwich on Udi’s, and Brian got a chicken ranch wrap and creamy chicken noodle soup (not GF). We loved our lunch, and it’s been packed with people both times I’ve been here, I’m guessing others love it too.
It started snowing while we were eating lunch, but that didn’t stop us from poking around all the little shops in Petoskey. I had to restrain myself from buying my niece “Bean” (due in June) every little adorable baby item I saw. At Grandpa Shorter’s I fell in love with an adorable pair of Minnetonka Mocassins, but I couldn’t convince my mom to buy’em.
American Spoon is a northern Michigan staple like Cherry Republic. So, of course, we had to take mom there to taste all of the delicious preserves and jams! While there we took advantage of the many samples. SO GOOD.
We brought home some Blueberry Cherry preserve, and my mom bought a cherry salsa to give to my aunt and uncle in New York. The shopkeeper gave her a recipe to make a chicken dish with the Cherry Peach Salsa, which I since have heard was DELICIOUS! The recipe was from their website here.
We stopped in a few more shops, including the adorable general store (pics below), before heading to Kilwin’s for some Michigan fudge.
Scariest Drive Ever
It was pretty clear out, but the icy roads and high winds gave us cause for worry so we headed home while it was still light. Highway 31 on the way into Petoskey was pretty icy and treacherous, so we opted for the inland route back to Traverse City. Though it was plenty sunny, the high winds and tall snow drifts on the roadside made it the most terrifying drive EVER. There were moments when it looked like we were driving through an ocean of snow. By the time we made it back to Traverse City I was a bit rattled and felt lucky we had made it back safely. The sunset at the other end of the drive made it well worth it!
Om Cafe dinner
Tired from the long day of exploring and driving, we opted for a low-key dinner. Om Cafe was the perfect, cozy, low-key choice. There is an Om Cafe in Ferndale just a few miles from where we live, but we haven’t made it there yet. After our yummy dinner in Traverse City I will definitely be trying the Ferndale location. My mom and I split the mushroom burger and stir fry noodles. We absolutely loved the mushroom burger. My mom swapped the cheese for goat cheese and it was sooooo good. Would absolutely get it again. We all shared the Cherry “cobbler” for dessert. The tart cherries and the nutty crumble topping were a great pair. It would have been incredible with a small scoop of vanilla rice dream ice cream!
I promise, this won’t be the only thing I talk about on this blog forever, but for right now it is what matters. Breaking the silence about pregnancy loss allows me a place to think things out, and has allowed others to share their stories with me and find support, so we can lean on each other. That is part of why I continue to share. Thank you for listening.
It’s finally getting warm! Which means a return to active living. Going for a walk is the best cure for any discomfort. At my new job I have a friend from grad school and previous jobs who I can go for walks with around Ann Arbor’s (A2) downtown. I’m so happy being back in A2 where I went to school and first loved Michigan. I can’t wait to get settled and look into maternity yoga classes, prenatal groups and eventually take advantage of all that A2 has to offer for families and children.
It’s been a little nerve-wracking switching jobs, health insurance, and providers right in the middle of the first trimester. I can’t wait to get it all settled and have our next appointment. I wish we had gotten a picture from the first ultrasound at 7 weeks, but soon enough we’ll see our little one again.
Symptoms: Still have eczema patches that showed up with conception. Crazy pregnancy dreams are a norm, and occasional nausea and dry mouth are still a part of day-to-day life, but the main symptom is still exhaustion.
Sitting at my desk all day has been a bit uncomfortable, but I was happy to adopt a stray stability ball that found its way to my colleagues office. Sitting on the stability ball has really helped my back and comfort when sitting at my desk all day. Although I’ve been told it’s a nauseating to talk to me as I bounce on the ball. 🙂
Finally, my trip to California arrived! I couldn’t be more ready visit with my family, celebrate my sister and her pregnancy, celebrate Passover with our families, and host my best friend’s bachelorette day in Napa!! I am a bit nervous to fly for the first time pregnant, but as long as I stay hydrated and calm it should be okay.
Since we’ll be 12 weeks on Sunday, April 20th (the day we fly home to Michigan) we have decided to start telling the rest of our families and close friends while we are home and can tell them in person. I can’t wait to see their faces and talk about the future with them. It’s awesome because there are a number of new babies in the family living in the Bay Area, and soon there will be a few more!
Last year was one busy year. So busy that I hardly had a chance to share about all of our wedding festivities and preparation. Thinking back on happy memories is a great way to lift ones spirits, so I thought I’d begin the process of looking back and sharing our wedding journey :-).
We started with an engagement BBQ party hosted by my parents, and then another joint engagement party hosted by Brian’s parents celebrating his sister’s and our engagement. The coolest part: Brian’s parent rented an ice cream truck for the engagement party! We were so caught up in the excitement that I never got a single picture of the fun. If you are looking for engagement party ideas, I highly recommend a summer party with an ice cream truck, it was a hit!
Brian and I went on our first date April 6th, 2010. Three years later, on April 6th 2013 my best friend Micah and a close family friend hosted my first of 3 wedding showers. It was a gorgeous, sunny, California day. Sitting out in the bright mid-day sunshine, sipping on mimosas, surrounded by women I love, we celebrated our love and future! My favorite part: copious sunshine and my closest friends 🙂
A little later in April my mother-law’s friends got together to throw us another lovely wedding shower! They rented a space at a golf course and hosted a lovely lunch. Though we got some actual April showers that day, it was a really nice gathering and we were really grateful to have the chance to celebrate with Brian’s family. My favorite part? The AMAZING gluten-free cakes from Rumi’s Passion Gluten-Free Bakery in Plymouth Michigan. The hostesses were so thoughtful and even picked up some of Rumi’s Passion’s gluten-free dinner rolls for me to have with our lunch. I love this bakery, it is a fully gluten-free bakery with a ton of sweet and savory specialties.
Work Wedding Shower Tea Party
At my old job I worked with an amazing group of women who became great friends (and luckily, I think this will be true for my new job as well). These lovely women put together an adorable tea party themed bridal shower at the office and I was happy as can be. One of my colleagues formerly worked at a home for aging nuns. There she met many older nuns who have a LARGE collection of assorted tea cups and saucers, and they were kind enough to loan them to her for the party. Each cup was unique and had that feminine delicate prettiness that makes tea parties so adorable. It was really a special day, I felt so loved and cared for with my work family around me, I will always be grateful!
At the beginning of June, Brian and his best friends headed up north to a rented home on Torch lake for a weekend of Bachelor party debauchery. To keep my mind of things, and as a loving gesture, one of my bridesmaids (the Best Man’s wife and amazing hostess-with-the-mostess, Jes) hosted a garden shower/bachelorette celebration that was absolutely divine! Jes has incredible taste and throws great parties. She pays attention to every detail and it always comes out beautifully. We started the afternoon with a backyard brunch. We all had a fair share of delicious (and strong) champagne punch, and were soon dancing away! We ended the night out on the town. We didn’t get into too much trouble though ;-).
Happy Polar Vortex days! Otherwise known as snow days around here. Nothing like being a shut-in for days and days with my Beau and pup!
After a low-key couple weeks full of days off, work from home and general laziness, I was more than ready to brave the record low temps and ice coated roads to get a little time in at the office. Most of the Metro Detroit region seemed to take the snow day yesterday, but today it was back to the grind for many of us, despite the dangerously low temps.
Even though it’s annoying to have to take 10 minutes bundling and layering just to go outside, even though I miss walking around outside, even though I MISS MEXICO….there are a few things I love about a real, snowy, frigid winter:
1) Dressing up our fur baby and watching her frolic in the deep snow
2) Seeing the way the landscape changes after the snow fall and wind.
3) The stillness and quiet in the middle of the storm. Snowstorms are a silent, beautiful thing.
4) Basking in the warmth of home, safe and cozy, watching the snow float outside.