Posts in February 2020


I knew his heart was working too hard. After several days of rapid breathing, coughing and appetite loss, the veterinarian confirmed what we suspected: Jake wasn’t able to survive congestive heart failure. We made the decision to elect for a peaceful, painless goodbye earlier this week.

Our first drive together, just after we picked him up from Indiana IG Rescue.

The snow was pretty outside. The vet staff was wonderful in every way – they even sent flowers later in the afternoon. Steven and countless others were supportive, present and comforting.

Our last drive together, sitting in the animal clinic parking lot.

Jake was my first dog, my first big decision as a single gal. He has been my snuggling companion through thick and thin. He was with me through dating Steven, marrying him and the birth of our two kids. Fourteen years.

I’ve already given Jake a proper background story and feature on this blog, back when I thought we might have to re-home our dogs pending Wesley’s allergy diagnosis. (I’m incredibly grateful that he was with us until the very end.) And frankly, I don’t have the emotional energy to write a witty pet obituary, like when we briefly had our beta fish, Lord Jabu Jabu.

But he deserves this reflection to show my gratitude for the quirky little 10-pound Italian Greyhound he was. Jake, I loved you. I will miss you.

Posted: February 27th, 2020
Categories: Leah
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The Tardy Christmas Letter

You guys. I’m sorry. I have ideas for blog topics that come to me on occasion, though I procrastinate from sitting down to type long enough that the idea floats away until weeks later when it doesn’t seem as relevant. Merry Christmas from a rotten blogger!

The 2019 Shattuck Christmas card design was Wesley’s idea because we got in this face swap streak… and the idea stuck. I went with it, for all the horror!

Noting its creep factor, I made sure to add a few real photos on the back so that you could just face it out on your fridge and not know any difference. You’re welcome?

It seems like this season of our lives is pretty slow, and maybe not worthy of a monthly post, like, written pretty faithfully until Maisie’s birth. But I guess there’s enough that has happened to catch you up.

Steven has spent the better part of a year writing a book on nonprofit fundraising(!). It’s nearly finished and due to publish early spring. He has written a couple chapters in fundraising textbooks, but this is his first solo project. I’m excited for him; it’s been fun to see some of our candid conversations about not-for-profit work turn into published advice.

He and Wes continue to bond over their own things and hobbies: chess, RPGs, tennis. Maisie adores the attention from him, squealing at their made-up games and begging for another book to be read. And he shows his pride in me through surprises like flowers and hazelnut lattes, household chores like dishes and laundry, and has even tagged along with me to Broadway shows, Hamilton and The Band’s Visit, which is not his favorite pasttime.

Wesley, 8, has decided that now is a good time to “start acting like a big kid.” He’s been better about trying new foods, taking responsibility and ownership around the house, and though he’s had some ups and downs in second grade, he’s improved his behavior, participation and academic performance. Wes continues to practice Taekwondo, earning his brown belt and senior status in December. We credit so much of his overall maturity to Taekwondo’s focus on respect, honesty and self-control.

He loves graphic novels (besides Dog Man, check out Bone, Action Bible and Usborne Graphic Legends) and independent reading, though recently we’ve restarted reading aloud at bedtime, which is one of our favorite things (currently reading: Max Einstein). Wes fiercely loves his little sister, and his generous heart grows bigger every day.

Maisie, nearly 18 months, provides tons of joy in our family. She is sweet, playful, ornery and goofy. Our shier kid, it takes her a few minutes to warm up to a new person or situation. But once she feels comfortable, she babbles a mile a minute and finds the nearest ball or baby doll. She prefers sign language over words, unless talking about “ooo-eh” (Wes) or “da-eee” (Daddy).

If she’s not fighting yet another sinus infection, she’s sleeping so much better than before – and now in her new room, the former guest bedroom. Because she was waking so often, we decided to go ahead and purchase her twin bedroom set so that I can sleep near her crib when needed. (Did you know that quality, classic white bedroom furniture is amazingly difficult to find these days? I finally stumbled across local Decor 4 Kids.)

I have spread my wings into this WAHM role. It’s been fluid and evolving. When Maisie was tiny, it was easier to take on a few projects at a time. As she grew and needed more of my time, I wrestled with balance. In November I resigned from The Milk Bank, and Wes started riding the school bus home. This has allowed us to have flexible mornings and free afternoons for her naps. She’s such a great partner in this chapter: we read, color, sing and dance, run errands, work out at the YMCA, and fellowship with other moms and kids (our family has connected to both the Midtown and Northeast campuses of Common Ground).

While she naps, I squeeze in an assignment for Andromeda, a tech start-up with an all-remote staff. I’ve been doing a small amount of marketing work for them since late 2018 – applying for awards and seed funds, creating marketing plans – and the “work as much as you want, when/wherever you want” workplace is perfect for me.

Honestly I don’t have to work at all, but it’s hard to let go entirely. And I feel like I’ve been releasing the hold gradually throughout 2019. This is the least I can possibly maintain to have the best of both worlds, and for now, it’s good.

I believe in prayer and patience. Many of my posts over the years have been about community and my longing for fellowship. My hope for peace. I don’t have a personal resolution for 2020, but maybe that’s because I’m so grateful for the journey to today, and for once, I’m not afraid of what’s ahead.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Wishing you peace, health and a successful year.

P.S. Christmas was “awesome,” as per Wes. It was a good lesson on patience, as many of our extended family members were sick with the flu, but thankfully we had unusual 60-degree weather to keep us occupied until they were out of quarantine!

Posted: February 9th, 2020
Categories: Leah
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