Monday, November 20, 2017

Motherhood & Postpartum

Hello friends,
I have been missing my creative outlet here in my little space on the internet. So much life has happened since I was actively blogging. A few bullet points for ya... Brady and I relocated, became homeowners, husband and wife, and parents. I will try my best to fill you in on our world these past few years in my upcoming posts. Today, I want to talk about me and my latest journey, motherhood.

I have been surrounded by babies and family my entire life. So much so that I was the go to babysitter and advice giver. I was the trusted one in my giant family who watched every one's tiny babies and kids. Growing up this way gave me my love for children. I knew that I wanted to be a mother very early on in life. Brady and I cultivated our relationship, established ourselves the best we knew how, and then started planning for the future of our family.  Along came our angel baby, Emory.

I thought I knew what it would be like to have children because I knew how to love and nurture children. I knew that my world would be forever changed and I would never be the same again. To  say those words and to really understand what they mean are two very different things. I look at this beautiful baby boy and I cannot fathom what I ever did to deserve the love and adoration he has when he looks at me. They don't tell you about that part. I am his comfort. I am his food. I am his lifeline. Best of all, I am his favorite person in the entire world. He too is my comfort and my favorite thing in the world. 

Being a mother is everything I thought it would be yet it is nothing like I thought it would be. Some mornings before I roll out of bed, I think of all of my blessings; so many I could burst. Then there are mornings when my to do list stacks up in my brain and I am overwhelmed before I even leave the bed. Some days I feel like my old organized self again, accomplishing everything I set out to do with my day. Then there are other days where I can't finish a single task to completion and I find myself in pajamas at 2 pm. I want so much to show my appreciation with special words and special personalized gifts to all of those who have sent us their love. Unfortunately, I cannot find where my time runs off to... I read the sweetest text messages and then the baby cries and I tend to his needs and lose myself in our interactions and then the day is over and messages forgotten. I savor every day and every moment I have with this sweet baby. I go to bed so drained yet so full.  After consulting with my fellow mothers, this is what it means to be a parent. To love your child fiercely and to always find yourself wanting to do more without the time. Got it, I guess I am doing this parenting thing right. 

I have seen that postpartum transition with a few of my friends and family members. Some spoke openly about it and others handled it within their own home with their own family. For me, I want to talk about it. I want to share my experiences with it because I am so curious about it.
I had the best pregnancy despite the normal pregnancy discomforts and back pain. I was in the shape of my life when I got pregnant and was able to continue a pretty bad ass work out up until I was about 8 months pregnant. I had the natural birth I dreamt of and have been breast feeding successfully for 4 months now. Overall, my health is excellent and my postpartum transition has been pretty mild compared to others. The first week after Emory's birth was a high. I might even say the first month... I was able to walk slowly and actually breathe again two hours after delivering my baby. I never knew that growing a baby and producing so much additional blood literally took your breath away. To breathe in full capacity is a beautiful thing. I was winded for weeks post delivery due to all that room I regained in my diaphragm. After about a week and a half, those hormones came crashing and I would catch myself staring out, sad for no reason. On those blue days, I needed more hugs and reassurance from Brady. Even today, I am easily overwhelmed and struggle with anxiety, something I never dealt with before. I knew those early days just as I know now that I am doing my best and we're all doing great.

 I had my heart set on that 6 week check up to get the okay to work out again. I knew that I would feel like myself again. After getting the okay from the doctor, I quickly realized that this tired mama cannot get up and get exercising before 9 am like she used to. I am a runner and have slowly eased backed into training. Baby loves riding in his stroller as I push him. It is a slow and painful way back. Some days (usually on well rested nights) I manage a good workout and I always feel that I am at my best. Most days however, we stay on the couch drinking coffee; the sweet nectar of the gods until 11 am. We wake and change the diaper, nurse, eat breakfast, cuddle, play, change diaper, fold the 3,756 loads of laundry required with an infant in cloth diapers, nurse, pump, cuddle, change diaper, play, hug the love deprived animals, read our library books, wash the bottomless sink full of dishes, change diaper, play, change mommy's clothes when baby soils them, attempt to respond to said text messages, clean the house, prep the dinner situation if I am feeling it, shower, then Mommy goes to work while Daddy has baby time. Some days are low and others like today, I am feeling great and like my pre- baby self. (Shout out to my husband for taking baby duty and letting me sleep an extra two hours.) One thing is for sure though, all days are cherished.The days are long but the years are short. I had a baby and I blinked and it is four months later. I waited my whole life to become a mother to this special boy and it almost seems unfair that he is growing so fast. I am pretty sure that is motherhood too. It's amazing to know the me I have always been yet feel like a whole new person because I have had the privileged of becoming a mother. There is more love in my life than ever and I live for this family that we have created. 

So, there it is. My first few months of motherhood and my first real blog in over a year. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope I don't feel all weird and anxious about posting such a personal piece of myself. That postpartum anxiety is strong some days. Thank you for reading and thank you for all of the love you have shown my family. We truly appreciate it, even if we forget the thank you cards and the responses. We love you and we are thinking of you always!


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Five Years Strong

I spent the whole day yesterday socially detached. I usually spend the week prior to our 'D Day' writing all the things I want to say to honor the significance of Colton's anniversary date; To honor his fight. Not so much this year.  I 'pulled a Colton' if you will. He once spent his whole entire birthday party pretending to be asleep because he didn't want to  participate socially. Yesterday, I got in my car, ran my errands, and went over to spend my evening crafting and cuddling with Colton. And we all 'pulled a Colton' together shutting out the world.

Usually  I spend May 13th telling you Colton's survival story along with statistics on near drowning or how preventable it is. It's 100% preventable by the way... I remind everyone how May is Near Drowning Prevention Month and to give your undivided attention to your kiddies around even 2 inches of water. This year on May 13th, I just wanted to hold Colton tighter and tell him how very proud we are of him and how much he is loved. I only wanted to share my words on the day with him. I could save my words for tomorrow and soak up every ounce of today with the one person it mattered to the most.

Today is a new day and once again I owe it to that little boy to be his voice and share his story. Hopefully by doing so we help prevent other families from walking down this same path. Over the years, thousands of people all over the globe have read my posts about Colton and Near Drowning Awareness. I hope that those thousands of readers and the thousands to come can help us save these babies by sharing these stories. The best way to prevent drowning is just by being present and watching closely. Put your phone down, clean that mess up later, it only takes a minute for your whole world to change. Most of you reading this already know Colton's story but for those of you new around here, let me share the facts about his accident and brain injury.

When Colton was two years old his mother Natasha was deployed with the US Navy and he was left in the care of his nanny. On Friday May 13, 2011, 4 months into his mother's deployment, he found his way outdoors through an unlocked sliding door and fell into the swimming pool. Colton was found face down and unresponsive. He had no heartbeat. He was given CPR and they saved his life by restarting his heart on the way to the hospital. He has been fighting every day since. He is a survivor. It's been five years and one day since that typical two year old left us and became this champion boy. Five years strong.

Every year there is a rush of emotions for Tasha and I. I would imagine it's the same for all of those close to Colton but it's strongest with us. We formed that bond long ago and we don't even have to discuss it. It's just there. When the new year comes and spring follows, we just know each other's hearts. Even right now, I am having a hard time finding the words to describe it to anyone else.
This year I took all of those emotions of grief that came rushing back and I fueled it into power.  I woke up this morning May 14th at 5 am, laced up my running shoes, and headed out the door to run in the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters 8k race. I used all of the pain, pride, anger, joy, and love to push my body to run for Colton; To support Colton and to support a place that has saved his life and bettered his life tons of times. This particular race is heavy for me.  I knew that I had to run it and bring my little love another medal home. His strength gives me strength. My body is in motion because his can't be. My legs running are for his legs that cannot. He runs through me. 

The weeks after the accident we got about a dozen people together to walk the 2 mile family walk in honor of our little guy in the TCU at CHKD. I made ribbons and shirts with that little 2 year old pre-accident Colton face on it and we all walked tall together. We had no idea what the road ahead would look like or where it would lead. We had our hope and our survivor so we had it all.

Today I literally ran down those same roads we used to drive twice a day, every day for the many months Colton was hospitalized. I expected to ball my eyes out the entire way; to feel the pain and fear we had 5 years ago. But I didn't. I shed tears when Team Hoyt began the race leading the pack of runners. As I rounded a street corner and passed the Ronald McDonald House that housed Tasha and her family during the darkest hours, a few more tears came. Funny thing though, I didn't cry out of sorrow. I cried because I couldn't hold in all of my joy and pride. Look how far we have come. Colton is five years strong. We are five years strong. This amazing boy has survived his near drowning incident for five years when only 4% of near drowning kids survive past the first week. 5 years... 5 years is amazing. 5 years is huge.

When doing these x year strong posts I like to look up the most current national drowning statistics. Unfortunately, I was unable to get up to date US statistics for 2015 and 2016. I also like to explain that for the few who survive the initial drowning, it's only the beginning of a long journey in navigating through a traumatic brain injury. Once a brain is oxygen deprived, it becomes damaged and doesn't function the same way. When the brain no longer controls the body the same way, things get chaotic. The body can forget how to do the most basic things such as breathing, blinking, the slightest of muscle movements, swallowing, communicating, etc. Colton's injuries left his body unable to swallow and clear mucus. This left his airway blocked and requiring the use of a trach and suctioning. He also requires machine feeding through a G-J tube in his belly. It takes time, medicine, great doctors, caregivers, family, friends, patience, love, and so much more to stabilize and create a new normal. With a new normal comes a regimen of medications to make the body function as it should. With this regimen of medications comes side effects that could back track or halt any progress that has been made leaving parents and doctors to problem solve for solutions. Don't even get me started on allergies, weakened immune systems, and cold and flu season.

We know that children ages 1-4 are the most at risk for drowning and boys being the highest percentage. Drowning is 100% preventable and water safety is key. Children can drown a foot away from you in a pool or in two inches of tub water. Supervision is key. Fence off those pools, add door alarms, take your children to swimming classes, and most importantly, pay really close attention. A year or two after the accident we learned about 'secondary drowning.' It isn't as common but it is also something to watch out for. Basically, inhaled water builds up in the lungs and causes chest pain and trouble breathing lowering oxygen levels. Secondary drowning is serious and it too is preventable.

So today, May 14th, 2016, here are my words and the reminder of Colton's story and I hope that by sharing, we are able to save another child from drowning. Please help us prevent the unthinkable by spreading water safety awareness. Simply talking about it can save lives.

Colton, my giant little love, I thank you for being the sweet, silly, and kind child that you are. You are such a blessing to us. I hope you know how truly one of a kind you are and how much of a difference you have made to this world the 7 years you have been sharing your beautiful light. I love you so very much and I am so thankful to have you, my little love.


More about Near Drowning  and Colton's x Years Strong:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Farewell To Summer; Summer Recap

Aloha! I have had one heck of a summer. I'd say that it was easily one of my most favorite summers ever. It was full of plane rides and thousands of driving miles to be reunited with the familiar faces of our loved ones. I spent all summer giving you reading material and now it is time to post all about it! 

Some of you might know this but in April,  Brady left for Panama City to complete the next achievement in his military career. We spent three months doing long distance with only one visit together before his graduation in July. 

When July came, his family and I took the week off from our schedules to go celebrate Brady's amazing achievements. The condo we stayed it was a perfect 3 bedroom beauty right on the beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Our week was spent laughing, loving, celebrating, swimming, jet skiing, shopping, and above all, enjoying each other's company after so many years apart! We got to tour the base and see the training facility for the military divers. 

 This year was the 100th year of the military diver as well! I got in tons of reading and enjoyed watching the sunsets over the turquoise water of the Gulf. I even dominated the card table a few nights! The memories made that very first vacation together will be ones that we tell for many years to come.

After our PCB adventures Brady and I flew back to visit with our family in Virginia. We spent a great deal of time visiting, playing corn hole, and checking out real estate for our next duty station in Hampton Roads.

I had my very first craftygirlproblems booth at a local artisans fest. It was a great afternoon getting to know other local crafters and showcasing my items.

We had our engagement photos taken by the amazing Amanda Kyle MacDiarmid. Check out her work on facebook by searching Stellar Exposures. She is truly the sweetest. When I met her I felt like I had known her for years! 

The coolest memory from our trip to VA was our 8 mile hike (one way) along Back Bay to False Cape. My cousin Brandon, Brady, and I loaded up back packs full of water, camping gear, a tent, food, and all other materials required to rough it in the woods for a few days. The sun was brutal and the bugs were relentless but a new tradition was made. I came back with stronger, more fatigued muscles, 100 mosquito bites, and higher self confidence. Our bodies had endured the relentless beating of hiking with 25- 30 lb packs and our minds had flourished amongst the wilderness. There's talk of starting a hiking group, so get your gear ready!

When our time in Virginia was over, my little family and I jumped in a car and headed to Michigan for the last leg of our leave. Brady's Mom, Connie, (and sister, Breeann) had spent months planning our engagement party on August 8th.

For the first time in my life, I was able to have all of my immediate family together in one place. Connie and Gary hosted our back yard engagement party at their home. Not only did they host the party, they hosted any and all who wanted to spend the weekend with us. Most of my family drove in from Ohio and Virginia while Brady's family drove in from all over Michigan. From Thursday to Sunday we had late night card games, laughs, fires, cocktails, and a blast.  

I took advantage of having all of my moms (Angie, Janet, & Connie) and all of my sisters (Chelsey, Brittany, Jessica, & Bree) in one place and we headed to Becker's Bridal in Fowler, MI to look at wedding gowns. I held off trying on any wedding dresses for 8 months just for this occasion.

 The following afternoon we were surrounded by all of our loved ones who had traveled to town to attend our engagement party. We received tons of love, hugs, gifts, and even an Irish blessing. Thank you family, for coming to celebrate with us and thank you again for hosting such a momentous occasion, Connie & Gary! 

After our party week, we headed to the lake house and spent a few glorious R & R days soaking in sunshine on a pontoon with Brady's Dad, Paul and Bev. It was here that I learned that Demo really does like cats. My cat Annabelle has been with my mom during our time in Hawaii. What a reassurance!

When our R &R was up we jumped back into the car for venue 'shopping' in Northern Michigan. I had no idea the amount of Wineries in Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula! It's heavenly up there! After an afternoon of venue shopping we met Brady's best man, Ron and his wife Juliet along with Brady's best woman, Rachel at our cabin for a weekend of fun. You know Rachel if you've been a reader throughout this blog's history. We had the fortune of spending our HI life adventures together before she moved off the island.

 Anyway, we did the Leelanau Wine Tour and collected bottles of wine, glasses, and took inventory of potential venues. I was even able to FINALLY go to the Cherry Republic. I had been hearing all about the Cherry Republic from Brady, who is a HUGE fan of their cherry wine. What's better than wine you ask? Cherry wine! Connie sends us packages of all the goodies that the Cherry Republic  has to offer and it was such a treat to finally see the storefront. Unfortunately, we don't live in an area that they ship the cherry wine to.  That's okay though because for our party, Connie supplied a dozen bottles of their wine. Brady drank at least 8 of those all by himself throughout the weekend, dubbing him the nickname "The Cherry Bomb."  We stocked up on all of our favorite Michigan wines for the sole purpose of choosing our favorites to supply at the wedding.

When our wineo weekend was over it was time to say goodbye to our family and get ready for our next journey. Only this journey is one Brady and I are off to do separately. My love has headed off to his duty station on a military boat, while I secure our future for our VA duty station and plan our wedding in October 2016.

Our hearts are so full from the love we share and the love that we have received from our loved ones this summer. After being so far away for so many years with only short visits which where usually done separately, this summer has been such a blessing. It's been such a joyous time in our lives and that fact that we get to share it with everyone back on the mainland makes it even more special to us. Having had all of our immediate family and closest friends together to celebrate our love, our future, and Brady's success just makes my heart so full. Seriously, my cup runneth over.

All of my love and aloha,


Monday, August 10, 2015

Engagement Photos

Aloha! You guys, we had the best time taking our engagement photos! Here are our favorites.

All photos taken by the amazing Amanda Kyle MacDiarmid with Stellar Exposures.

<3 E

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My 1st Place Win; iRunforColton


I was just sitting down this morning drinking my coffee and writing in my journal when I realized that I never shared my races from this season! It's been a slow spring race season for me. In complete honesty I shied away from running these last six months or so. Slowly though, I am regaining my momentum starting with a bunch of 5ks. If you're not a runner or have no idea of distance, that's a 3.11 mile run. Now at my peak in November, I was running any where from 6- 10 miles a few times a week and feeling unstoppable. Then we moved to Waikiki and I couldn't run in the dirty city air. We had just moved away from the country on Oahu and I needed that clean air for my best results. Ever since the move, I've been primarily a treadmill runner or even just a park runner. I used to head out to Kapiolani Park and watch the local kids play soccer while I ran around the park or even laugh at the tourist learning how to snorkel in the Pacific. Fast forward a few months and I just slowed down with working out all together. I still stay active and I still focus on hitting my daily activity goal on my fitbit, I just stopped logging all those miles. I made my daily life more about constantly being active instead of going to work out for a few hours. Then add on top the fact that Brady and I are long distance again and I got suuuper slowed down. I missed my guy, I didn't want to go run a bunch of miles! Then the lack of motion got me even lower so I laced up them shoes and started back on my running journey.

Now I have never, ever claimed to be an awesome runner. It's just something I've always done. Ever since high school, It's been my go to stress reliever. I run alone and I have no formal training. When I was at my peak last year I was able to withstand up to ten miles and still averaged a ten minute mile. I was so proud of myself today when I could finish 6 miles in 60:16. I am a slow runner but I am better at pacing for distances rather than having a speedy mile. It's just what I do and I am okay with that.

Last year Colton's mom, Natasha told me that there were people out there running and dedicating their races to some awesome people who couldn't get out there and race for themselves, Colton included. I LOVED THAT IDEA! So, every run (including practice runs) I have done in the last year has been for my little man. This race season, I had a super awesome shirt made to show everyone why I am out there doing what I do. 

  Granted, I have only ran two official races this season, I am on track to where I want to be. I searched all of the races in my area and mapped out a race schedule that my budget and schedule allowed. I have my goal set on the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in September. I found my favorite charities and also used that as a guideline for my season. The second race I participated in was one for The Wounded Warrior Project. I cannot think of any better charity than that who helps our military.
 On race day I over anticipated how long it would take me to get to the location of the race. I showed up an hour early drinking my Ningxia Red to prepare my body for this race. It's made by Young Living and It's full of superfruit, essential oils, and infuses your body with nutrients. I get it apart of my Young Living membership and I am hooked! Anyway, I hadn't realized that this race wasn't along the coast, it was actually in the sand. I had never ran any distance in sand until that day. It was very challenging and boy did I get blisters. A few minutes before the race started, I saw my cousin, Nicki whom I had forgotten was signed up for the race as well! She was on her way back from her car with ear buds when the race started so I lingered around for her to join me at the starting line. We started like a minute later than the rest of the crowd but slowly gained momentum. I put in my ear buds and let my feet take charge. There was a random spectator jogging along side me asking me what we were all doing, how far we were running, and why was I running for Colton? This was exactly what I needed half way through the race when my shoes were soaked and heavy from a miscalculation of a wave, my dogs were barking, muscles burning, and I swear that sun was blazing. I used that fuel and charged on to cross the finish line. 

Afterwards, while recovering with water and a banana, I cheered as the rest of the runners made their way back. We waited for the awards to be called. I was taken completely by surprise when I heard my time and name called. I won first place in Women's age division, 20-29 and I was the 11th person to cross the finish line! For my first time in sand, that's not too shabby! This was the first time that I have gotten first place at anything competitive and strictly solo. I am so proud of myself! 


After the race, Nicki and I made a plan to run the next Wounded Warrior Project race at the same location on July 5th. We have a little over two weeks to keep training for better results. I felt the motivation after getting that medal! I celebrated my victory with a shower and a waffle. This could quite possibly be my victory meal every race.
Colton is now my motivation for running. Before, it was a hobby and now I feel that it is apart of his cause. He can't run for himself so I want to run as much as I can for him, no matter how much I hurt, or how ugly my feet get. Seriously, it's some major damage. Because I run for Colton, I wanted to share my victory with him too. I have my memories of this race, my pride, but I didn't need the medal. So, I told Colton what I had done in honor of him and gave my cause the 1st place medal the he won through me.

The tooth fairy's favorite customer and his 1st place medal. 

Mahalo for reading!


If you have any questions about or have interest in becoming a Young Living Essential Oil wholesale member just message or email me. []  Also, if you have any tips for my running game, PLEASE send me all the advice you have. OH and if you are in my area and want a running buddy, email me for that too!