I realize I haven't been on here in years, and a lot has happened since 2016. I got married to the man of my dreams. We had a baby girl (Londyn) who is now 2.5 years old and is the cutest little thing ever. We bought a house and we're about to open up a fitness studio; I got a bigger and better job, the list of highlights over the past 4 years goes on and on! Anyway, I didn't know where else to write this, so I came here...a place where I can be and have been vulnerable and share openly parts of my life that I would in other circumstances be too afraid to share. I wrote this post 10 days ago and just couldn't get up the "bravery" to share. I am still not OK...I don't know when I will be, and that''s OK with me. Anyway, the post below is raw and painful to read back, but it's the truth, my truth and I had to write it out so it didn't eat me up inside. So here it goes...
Today. Today I would be 8.5 weeks pregnant; and instead, I am curled up on the couch with hot steamy tears dripping down my face, praying for God to continue to heal me and take the pain away. Why you may ask? Let me take you back...
May 1, 2020
Nic's birthday morning, and the day I held my breath as I took a pregnancy test at 7am in our bathroom, praying that this month would be it! That we would have our third little blessing come into our lives and complete our family. I had been feeling SO sick and tired for two weeks prior, so I was thinking if I WASN'T pregnant, then something else was terribly wrong with me! As I closed my eyes, prayed and waited for the results, I imagined a million different ways I could tell Nic the good news on his birthday! A pink and blue cake, writing it in his birthday card, a pair of baby booties wrapped up in all of his presents, I could go on and on...and then there it was, a very clear PREGNANT. My heart leaped out of my chest and I ran into our bedroom (tossing out all of my creative ideas, mind you) to wake up Nic and tell him because I couldn't wait a second longer! I remember the exact words I used with a HUGE grin on my face,, "What if I told you I was pregnant?!"
The next two weeks waiting for my first ultrasound seemed to take FOREVER. It's strange how God works, and maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but I had so many doubts, fears, worries, wonder, and thoughts surrounding this pregnancy, more than ever before. "What if we have a miscarriage?" "are we ready for another baby?" "how will the kids react?" "will my delivery be as difficult this time?" ...and I started filling my mind with doubt and concern for this baby; so I started praying EVERY day for him or her. That he or she was safe, protected, knew that God loved him/her and for God to help lessen my worries and fears. Fear is such a wild thing isn't it? The Bible tells us do not fear and do not be anxious, and it's ALL throughout the Bible...Psalm 34:4, Psalm 118:6, Isaiah 41: 10, Philippians 4:6-7...and I KNOW these things, but I still can't help but fear that of which I cannot control. It never does me any good either!
Those two weeks were filled with baby names, researching and finding all the perfect baby items and healthy recipes and tips and tricks (because it seems like every pregnancy is my "first" all over again...you forget the little things!) I even ordered a new beautiful baby bag.for the hospital. We were so excited!
May 15, 2020
My first ultrasound at 6 weeks. I was SO excited to see the baby and possibly hear a heartbeat! The doctor looked and said everything looked fine, the baby was just really small and too little to hear a heartbeat just yet. I thought nothing of it and went on with our plans to share the good news with our family on Mother's Day. We bought each of our moms beautiful plants in these wooden triangular boxes and had the kids put painted handprints on each. We bought them cards, and I had secretly put an extra one in our shopping cart for Ryder that he just LOVED and "had to have" and inserted a cute "Baby in Bloom" note inside each one to surprise everyone that day; I had Nic film them opening it. I think I've rewatched that video a million times. The excitement and joy on Ryder's face alone gave me so much happiness. Thhe happy tears and jumps for joy...ah, how my heart aches thinking back on that day.
The next two weeks were a blur, with blood tests and multiple ultrasounds to confirm, reconfirm and reconfirm again that there was no heartbeat and the baby was in fact, not growing. I prayed for a miracle. Those happen every day! "The things that are impossible with men, are possible with God." (Luke 18:27). I pleaded with God to give us this baby and found hope in John 15:5, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you." My sister was my prayer warrior throughout all of this and I am so thankful that I had her by my side. She would send me positive messages and sent me to the Bible for answers each time I was struggling. She told me to not be afraid, God is with you and shared Numbers 14:9, She shared Jeremiah 29:!1, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." and Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." So there I was, holding my breath...again. Praying for a miracle.
When we finally got the devastating news that the baby didn't make it, I crumbled. I felt every single feeling. Confused, helplessness, sad, mad, lost, lonely, broken. So many times I wanted to ask WHY? But I never could. I think deep down I knew that if this was God's plan for us, there was a reason and only time would give me those answers. That Wednesday, I took the medication to induce miscarriage, and that day and the days following were some of the most painful (physically, emotionally, spiritually) days of my life. I was so sick, drained, and depleted. The medicine made me nauseous and weak; I could barely eat. I didn't want to get out of bed. Loneliness would try and creep in even with Nic right there by my side. I wanted to cry all the time. That day the beautiful hospital bag I ordered arrived. I pulled it out of it's perfectly wrapped box and stared at it for days, and God, that hurt. Honestly, without my tribe of family and friends, I don't know how I would have gotten through this. I kept hearing"For I know the plans I have for you..."
But, God...it hurt to tell Ryder. I dreaded that moment. I knew it would hurt like hell, and it did. That was one of the toughest conversations I will probably ever have to have with my child. He wept in my arms for what felt like hours and we talked and he asked questions and although his heart was so broken he kept asking ME if I was OK. His little heart was worried about me, too. He has brought up his "baby brother" a few times since and still says he wishes he didn't have to go to Heaven, but he understands that he is God's angel now and I am so thankful for him, his understanding, his thoughtfulness and his love for me.
I know now that this baby was meant to be SO MUCH MORE than an Earthly child. He or she was MEANT to be an angel for God; he or she brought a message from God to me. God showed up through him/her. So I named him/her Gabriel, which means "strength of God" or "man of God," named after the angel seen so often in the Bible as one of God's greatest archangels who delivered the good news of Jesus' birth and brought very important messages from God down to Daniel and Luke and so many others. Here are the messages our little Gabriel brought to me from God:
I am a mess. God knows I am. But I also know He has me in his hands and He is still writing my story. God always shows up. He's always there. My sister told me the other day that God isn't just "around," he is RIGHT BY MY SIDE. and as I laid in bed while she told me that, I felt him right next to me, holding my hand and telling me everything is going to be OK. Everything IS going to be OK.
As I sit here on the couch, wrapping this up, I have, yet again, another reminder of God's love for me on my coffee mug that my husband just brought me. A coffee mug I received for Mother's Day that my precious children decorated for me, and written on it is our favorite phrase, "I love you more than all the stars in the sky." Today, I am squeezing my babies a little tighter and thanking God for the blessings he has already given me and thanking Him for allowing our little angel baby Gabriel to give me all of the messages of hope and God's love for all of us.
To My Everything, My Little Man.
What better day, than the day of my son's birth (down to the exact time of his birth) to post a sappy love blog full of memories, my own saga & a little tough love for my almost all-grown up 5 year old.
It has been a while since I have written a post, and quite frankly I'm not even sure I have the energy to write this at midnight after a long day of work (not to mention a grueling work out earlier this evening) all while trying to still play stay-at-home-mom to my little Spring Break born child.
I am tired & drained... emotionally, mentally, physically, you name it. There are times when I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, and sometimes when I honestly just break down and cry, mostly out of pure exhaustion and sleep deprivation. As a single mom, majority of the time I feel like I am playing both mommy and daddy, and more times than not, I am the "bad guy." We argue, privileges are taken away, he gets sent to his room which then is usually followed with a "I don't like you, mommy!" or "You're not my best friend!"
I could lie to you and say those little words don't hurt my feelings, but they do sting, and there is nothing I can do about that. I wouldn't be human if those words didn't cut like knives, whether it's coming from my 5 year old or anyone else for that matter!
You know what I say? "I love you, Ryder, but I don't want to be your best friend, I want to be your mommy." I choose to stand my ground, for the betterment of my child. I refuse to give in because I know that will only hurt him in the end. I stay strong, even when it hurts my heart or when I turn away or have to run to the bathroom to cry (you know what I'm talking about!).
With that said, I will end this with a letter to Ryder. An "I'm sorry, I'm not sorry" letter, so he understands why I make the decisions I do, and that most of the time they are just as hard on me as they are him. But, my hope is that he knows how much I love him.
To my little man,
I am sorry that I work "all the time" and cannot play dinosaurs or sword fighting for hours. I am not sorry that I am showing you what an educated, successful woman looks like and helping to carve a path of success for your future by doing so though.
I am sorry that I make you cry when you talk back to me and I take your toys or iPad away. I am not sorry that I am teaching you how to be polite, respectful and kind to others though.
I am sorry that your mommy and daddy are no longer married and that you have a difficult time transitioning from house to house sometimes. I am not sorry that this situation teaches you adversity, how to cope with change and how much both parents can love a child without actually being in the same house though.
I am sorry I cannot make every soccer practice, school performance or class party due to work like some of the other moms. I am not sorry that we have our own fun game night or sporting practices at home after work, and tons of parties/hang out sessions together on the weekends though.
I am sorry that you have seen or heard me cry when I have been hurt, sad, scared, tired, etc. I am not sorry that you will learn to comfort others when they are hurting, you will understand the true meaning of empathy or that you will know that it is OK to cry sometimes though.
I am sorry that I cannot pick you up from "carline" at school with the other stay-at-home moms when I so badly want to. I am not sorry that you have extra time to learn, explore, imagine and play with other kids for a little bit longer each day though,
I am sorry that I do not get to see you every single day of your life. I am not sorry that you understand the importance of quality versus quantity of time and that being away from me never means forever though.
I am sorry that some nights I am just so exhausted I want to sit, cuddle and watch a movie with you. I am not sorry that you are able to see that work and life can be exhausting and it's good to learn to appreciate the downtime sometimes though.
I hope that you realize that life is not that serious.
I hope that you are not afraid to take risks and venture out of the "box" society closes us up in.
I hope that you start and finish college, one day.
I hope that you truly love yourself, before you love someone else.
I hope that you give back and donate time, money, items, to a good cause.
Most of all, I hope that you are happy.
I love you more than you will ever know.
Your mommy (and best friend, most days)
Happy Birthday, to my silly, goofy, cute, funny, talkative, wild, loving, caring, cuddling little baby boy, Ryder. I cannot believe you are five.
The fruit of the summer…that delicious, juicy spiky fruit that I (quite ashamed to admit) was always afraid to cut up until just recently. I am totally obsessed! You'll see why below.
Here are 10 ways I will be enjoying pineapple this summer:
1. Grilled Pineapple: Simply grilling some thick juicy slices of pineapple makes a great side dish with its caramelized sugary taste. I like to add a little honey, lemon juice and a sprinkle of black pepper to top it off.
2. Pineapple Popsicles: All you need is milk, thinly chopped pineapple and a little sugar, and this cool treat will have your kiddos (and you!) going crazy for more! Find the recipe here.
3. Fresh Pineapple: This juicy fruit is just as delicious eaten as is, plain and simple! Just the way Ryder likes it!
4. Wear it: A great way to enjoy pineapple this summer is to wear it! These cute swim suits are available at St. Bernard Sports. Comfy and cute for the whole family!
5. Infused Pineapple: For those 21+, my favorite summer treat is just some fresh pineapple cut up and soaked in vodka. Titos is my personal favorite and the longer it soaks, the better (I prefer about a week! So plan ahead.)
6. Pineapple drinks: For the kiddos, you can do pineapple juice and water (or sprite) for a fresh cool drink at the pool. 1 cup of pineapple juice actually contains 131% of the daily value of Vitamin C. For us big kids, my favorite pineapple drink is a Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri! Yum.
7. Frozen Pineapple pieces: These will cool you off! Put the chunks on toothpicks and freeze for a refreshing snack for you and the kids!
8. Pineapple Sorbet: You don't need anything but 1 can of pineapple chunks packed in juice. Freeze the can for a couple of days, take it out and let it stand for 10 minutes. Put the block of pineapple into a blender for a minute and serve immediately! Delicious and healthy dessert!
9. Pineapple Cobbler: Spread the can of pineapple chunks on the bottom of a lightly greased brownie pan, sprinkle a box of dry jiffy yellow cake mix (the small box) Drizzle a stick of melted butter over the top and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes (I just check it until it's the color we like!)
10. Chips and Pineapple Salsa: This recipe is to die for! We love making fresh salsa and fresh guacamole and this is a GREAT one for the summer. Check out the recipe here and try it for yourself!
What Ryder Wore: Bathing Suit- St. Bernard Sports
What Mommy Wore: Bathing Suit- St. Bernard Sports
"It's not about having time, it's about making time."
On days where I end up working late and don't have the energy to make it to the gym, I will pull out my Yoga mat and get a workout in right at home.
When I first started doing this, my little Ry bug would come and jump on my back or mimic my poses. So, I figured I would just buy him his own kid's yoga mat and he can just start doing them with me! These shots below are not "pretty," because I really want you to get an idea of what happens in our home on these evenings. Raw, real, true.
Yes- Ryder Styles is wearing PJs (minion pants to be exact), and yes, Bailey Bear is in the background as well. She's always jumping around, trying to lick our faces while we work out!
I must say, when Ryder and I work out together, it's more fun and more challenging. Nine times out of ten, I am getting a better workout in with him there! Not to mention, on rainy days, it makes for some fun entertainment while building muscle and burning calories together.
They say yoga is good for the mind, body and soul, and a great tool for your child's growth as well. I am a firm believer in staying healthy, eating healthy and spending as much time with your family as possible, so why not incorporate all three at once?!
What do you do with your family to stay healthy?
Here is one of my favorite kid-friendly yoga sites, with 5 different poses for you and your little one:
Mind Body Green.
Check it out and let me know how it works for you!
What Mommy Wore- Shirt: Y&R (Young & Reckless) // Yoga pants: Champion (Target).