Maui Lee

This beautiful fur baby Maui, does not get enough credit around here. We got her as a tiny puppy shortly after we had lost our first baby because, well, that shit is hard to navigate and I was lost and broken and needed something to love. In addition to several weeks of counseling, we bought a dog, I got a tattoo, and I cut off all of my hair. You know, normal, totally healthy responses to loss, and honestly I regret nothing. Counseling helped validate my feelings.

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I am 1in4.

To those of you who understand what it’s like to be in the 1in4 club…I am sorry. To those of you who are asking yourself what club is that? Count yourself blessed. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. You may not have experienced pregnancy loss, but the chances are pretty high that someone close to you has.

I have always been transparent, and very open about our pregnancy loss journey. Mostly because I was completely shattered when it happened to us, and had NO IDEA how common it was for a very happy, healthy, expecting mother to have to tell their baby goodbye, only what felt like moments after she said hello to two little lines or a smiley face.

I didn’t know. Not that if I had known it would have made what we went through any easier. But somehow knowing I wasn’t so isolated may have brought some comfort. Only now, years later do I understand the importance of being open and transparent about our loss. Only now do I get it that with one woman being open and honest about pregnancy trauma, loss, and the aggressive lack of happy butterflies it brings some women, someone else can feel a little less alone.

In the last few days I have seen many posts from grieving mothers, mothers who are still waiting, mothers who have their rainbow and have recently experienced loss yet again. As I scroll through my feed my heart feels a small twist of grief for each one that I see, because I know that the women who are making these posts to help spread awareness have been either immediately affected, or know someone very dear to them who have experienced loss. That hurts.

Just a short while ago my husband and I were sitting on the couch snuggled up together watching a movie, when a dear friend of mine messaged me that she was at the beginning stages of losing her baby. (Again). She found out not too long before this message found me, and she shared with me that it was new, and early and exciting but still terrifying. She asked me how I got through the anxiety with my pregnancy after loss?

In that moment my head and all of my emotions flooded back to every doctor’s appointment, every ultrasound, every night when I noticed the baby kicking less, every nightmare, every time someone told me how excited they were for me…because though I was “excited”…I feel like the anxiety and fear that drowned me in my overall healthy pregnancy with my daughter robbed me from the excitement that everyone around me seemed to have.

Pregnancy loss, no matter how far along you were, or how many you have lost, will forever change you.

I was robbed of the Glowing Joy & Excitement. And instead was gifted with ugly fear, anxiety, and waiting for the doctor to tell me it was ending like the one before had. You take it a day at a time. You do your absolute best to not be swallowed by the fear, but in every “good, strong heartbeat” appointment though it brings momentary relief, you are just thinking about if she will still be there at the next one. You get robbed.

Lord willing you get to the end of a full term healthy pregnancy. With every visit being good news, with strong heartbeats, happy baby kicks, good anatomy scans, and awesome bloodwork. I pray that if you are reading this today and you are pregnant that that is what you are blessed with. Nothing but Good News appointments, and a beautiful and safe delivery of your little one.

If you have experienced loss, and are expecting your rainbow baby, I pray that you are given peace, and a calm heart for the rest of your pregnancy. I pray that when the fear and anxiety creep in that it is short lived and you get through it a day at a time.

Oh! Just in case no one has told you, mama, being 1in4 is NOT. Your. Fault.

Toddler Learning Toys

Well it happened. My baby girl turned two at the end of August. Yep. We have a toddler now. How in the world is that possible? Yesterday we were praying and begging God to let us please keep this pregnancy, and now that little heartbeat and blob on an ultrasound is two years old. We blinked. Damnit. Everyone tells you not to blink, that it goes fast, that the days are so long but the years are short. They were not lying to us. We know that now. And we know that the next years will only increase in speed as they fly past. 

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You are not alone.

My house is a mess. She is still in pajamas. My anxiety is high. Life is hard. Humans can really suck. Being a full time, working from home / work hybrid, toddler mom, during a global pandemic, while the world is literally on fire, and families are S.T.R.U.G.G.L.I.N.G is well….F*ing exhausting. 

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But I am doing the best I can. 

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Some days that looks like me snuggling my toddler in bed reading books most of the morning and working late. Other days that’s me up early praying she sleeps in so that I can get as much done before she wakes up as possible so that when she wakes up I can actually focus on her. 

We miss her friends. We miss having her interacting and playing with kids her own age. We miss the stress of commuting and getting lunches packed and the three of us out the door on time. We miss normal. 

My husband and I have not been on an “Us” vacation since our honeymoon in 2014. So knowing that this year we were going to hopefully purchase a home we also decided to skip extended family vacations last year. Which SUCKED. But it’s what we wanted to do in order to achieve our bigger goals of home ownership. By the grace of God, we were able to purchase our first home in June and moved in July. It has been THE biggest blessing to our family this year by far. 

That being said, we also made the decision that we needed to take time for us as a family and we planned to extend my business trip in November and have Michael and Zoe fly out at the end of my trip to join me in California and go to Disney. DISNEY! Then spend a few days at the beach, because come on…It’s the beach and who doesn’t want a beach vacation in the middle of November? I am sure you have guessed by now that we ended up canceling that vacation due to COVID-19 and the health risks that traveling could bring to not only us, but to those around us. Honestly the closer we are getting to those canceled trip dates the more my heart hurts and the frustration with how 2020 is going rises. 

I am done. 

I am tired. 

I am over it. 

There have been times in the last 6 months that my mental health has crashed into dark and twisty. I climbed out. I did the work and got my head better. There have been times that life has been wonderful and I have been okay with living differently this year because it was only temporary. And you can do anything for a few weeks…I mean a month…or two months…or I guess a year? When is this shit going to end? (Asking for a friend.) 

I started this blog in April with the goal to encourage other young working mothers. To let them see that normal working mom life is chaotic, but beautiful. That it is hard, but if you love your career, it is so worth it. That there were other young working moms, figuring it out one day at a time just like her, and that it would be okay. 

Today this is me being transparent. 

I am struggling. I am struggling to balance my emotions and huge life changes while my baby turns two and life seems to still be moving all while everything is on hold. I am struggling with what we had to give up, even though we have been blessed beyond measure this year, the canceled plans have still sucked. 

Not being able to make plans with friends, and celebrate new life, or just have zoo trips like normal has been hard. Having to explain to every invite we get that with a high risk toddler my answer will be no, for a long time. Having to explain that there is no one I care more about on this planet than my daughter, and that means keeping her safe which means saying no. . . I shouldn’t have to explain that. Just a friendly reminder: If you have a friend with young  kids you haven’t seen much of since the beginning of the year, please for the love of God do not question their love or friendship to you. Show grace. Be encouraging that she is doing an amazing job as a mother and employee and spouse. Please. 

I am doing the absolute best I can to make sure I am helping the company I helped build move forward and be successful. I am doing the absolute best I can to make sure I am putting in time to my marriage and my friendship with my husband that it desperately deserves. I am doing the absolute best I can to make sure that my daughter feels loved and worthy of being paid attention to, even if that means I need to sacrifice sleep to make up for hours with work later. 

. . . Honestly. . . I could not accomplish any of what I do without the love and support that my husband shows me daily, the boss and family that his company is to me, and the friends and family who have stepped up and have been there for me like freaking ROCK STARS over the last six months. 

This is me, being transparent, exhausted, but still showing up. Still trying my best. Even if my best one day is less than it was the day before. I am doing the best I can under the circumstance I am in. 

Mama? You are not alone. You are worthy of love. You are ALLOWED TO NOT BE OKAY, and that is okay. You are allowed to have a meltdown. You are allowed to hide in the bathroom and cry. You are allowed to have that LARGE glass of wine and just feel your feelings. You are allowed to struggle through 2020.

Today when I was my third breakdown of the morning she came up to me with a level and was showing me she was like mommy and held the level up to the wall and said “Yes! Mama Help!” She is why I keep going. She is my main reason I dry the tears, fix my mascara, and get back up. She is my Why.

Mama, You are not alone. . . 

My Beautiful Chaos.

I started this blog, and Instagram account back in April, 2020. It has always been something I think I would enjoy doing. Writing, sharing my photography skills and all of my “wisdom”. HAHAHAHAHA.  Maybe wisdom is not the appropriate word here. More like sharing my personal experiences with others with the hope to encourage, make someone laugh, or just to let another young mom know that life is not an Instagram reel and everyone is also losing their shit  little bit, and that is okay. 

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Navigating The Dark and Twisties.

I have survived a trauma. Though I am standing here today, with a beautiful marriage to a man I love more than anything, a perfect little girl who somehow is almost TWO, a gorgeous home we have been so lucky to have just moved into, and a family who has been blessed with good health (for the most part). . . there are days that the traumas I have overcome, still feel like they are overcoming me. 

How do you not let the hard times, the traumatic times, the painful times, or the scary times consume you? How do you pull yourself out of the “dark and twisty” thought trails that so often it runs down? How do you focus on what is going on right now in front of you instead of the fears of hypotheticals and “what if’s” that for someone with anxiety cannot seem to escape?

I don’t have the answers. I am not a professional therapist. I don’t know what you have gone through. I am not giving advice, or telling you this will work for you. 

I am sharing what has worked for me, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe you. . . will feel less alone. Less like you are crazy. Less like you are failing. Less like you aren’t good enough because sometimes your brain runs away with anxiety. 

Photography

I shoot photography. I capture moments that I will look back on and hopefully smile. When I was 16 my husband lost his younger brother after a not so long battle with cancer. He was 14. Our families grew up together and even though at the time my last name was different, it felt as though I lost a sibling too. I have one photo of Kevin and I together. It is actually a photo with myself, my husband, Kevin, and one other friend we grew up with, and to this day are connected with. (He actually helped us move last weekend) 

One photo is not enough to capture the memories, the essence of who someone was, or what they meant to you. So shortly after he passed I made the decision to go into photography as a profession. I got a nice DSLR that I didn’t know how to use but would figure it out, and I started shooting. 

When my head gets dark and twisty, I pick up a camera. I start shooting photos of my daughter. I take her on walks, or some little adventure to try and capture a fraction of her personality and freeze that moment in time for me to go back and look at a million times. (This is why I have literally tens of thousands of photos) I enjoy finding beauty in what is around me, and what matters most to me. 

Music

Another way I try and sort out all of the chaos in my head is through music. I took piano lessons for 12 years and am lucky enough to have the space in our home to now have our keyboard set up and I am playing again. Ugh, re-learning an instrument is aggravating. But slowly, and surely I will get it back. This week Zoe and I have started playing together. And though it probably sounds more like a small dumpster fire while we play and “sing” together it lifts my head a little bit so I can breathe again. Plus watching Zoe try to play and sing with me gives me life. 

Writing

So, I like to write. I am not a professional writer. I am not an author. I have never been paid for my writing. But I enjoy it. Sometimes my brain works too fast and too scattered it is hard for me to verbally articulate what I am trying to say. So taking the time to sit, and let my hands slowly sort it out while writing it down on paper is soothing to me. 

This week I have been struggling with our world. I am an empathetic person. If you are not so lucky to have this “gift” let me help paint you a picture of what it can be like to be an empath. Someone else falls and cuts open their knee…you cry for their pain. Someone else has gone through a trauma…you feel their soul crushed. Someone else have feelings? Yeah…you feel those too. Oh! And you can’t turn it off. So when the world is on fire (both literally and metaphorically) as an empath…you feel the burning in your soul. I saw something this week online about how to be the best empath you can be, by “Care, without Carrying”. I read it out loud about twelve times. Care, without carrying. I need to work on that. 

Encourage 

I have noticed a trend over the last few years. For myself, when I feel my lowest. When I feel the most lost. Or when I just can’t articulate what I am feeling I will go through my contacts, and the first name that jumps out at me I will text. Not asking for help, not dumping any of my emotional baggage on them…I reach out and send encouragement. Because what if they can’t articulate their demons either? What if this one text to let them know someone else is thinking of them could change the trajectory of their day? And no, this doesn’t mean I only ever check in or text friends when I am at my lowest. But I do try to pull the focus off of my issues and focus on encouraging others and lifting them up any chance I get. 

Seek Counsel

I ask for help. Not from a neighbor, family member, friend, or mentor. I got myself back into counseling. Because sometimes you need a third party, who is non biased and a pro-fess-ional who can help sort out that jumbled ball of chaos in your head and help you learn how to rewire your brain and the way you think and see situations. I with all of my heart believe that therapy saved my life after we miscarried. It makes me sad that there is such a negative annotation around the idea of counseling and therapy too. . . like, if your arm was broken you would go see a doctor. If your check engine light was on in your car you would take it to a mechanic! Why would we not take care of the mental check engine light too? 

In conclusion, 

I don’t have it all together. I probably never will. I have struggled with my mental health, but I am doing the work to make sure when that check engine light comes on I DO SOMETHING about it. I avoid social media and friends when I need a break. I take mental health days from work when I am about to lose it. I go on the run in eighty degree heat. I do the work to get myself right on the days I am just not okay. And I started putting my mental health higher on my priority list, and I promised myself that no matter what is going on around me or my family, we will get through it. Because honestly, we have already gone through so much already, and we came out on the other side of that. 

Don’t be ashamed of asking for help. Don’t let the opinions of others stand in the way of finding the best version of yourself! And if you get knocked down, dust yourself off and get back up!

Chalkola – Art Supplies

So a few weeks ago we started using Chalkola chalk markers on our little chalkboard easel and for someone who gets the tingly bugs up their spine when they use a chalkboard, I was skeptical.

After I started playing with them, my daughter quickly showed interest as well and I was pleasantly surprised about how much they were not like chalk. I mean yes, they are chalk markers, and it is liquid chalk, but it doesn’t have that grading grimey feeling when you write with them. Plus, they have so many bright bold colors, it was hard to decide what I would draw first.

I had my (almost 2 year old) daughter come color with me, and she was a little more violent with her coloring than I was, so the liquid chalk did splash over her, the floor, and the table. But that came up with a baby wipe. I am always looking for fun new art projects for not only myself, but for my little one as well. I was so excited to start working with Chalkola and they gave me an affiliate link for you all to use if you want to try them yourself.

There has been a lot going on in the last couple weeks in preparation to move from our apartment, that we have called home for the last four years, to our first home. Oh my gosh we are so excited too. But in the midst of still working from home full time, managing the house, a toddler, the dog, food, and the rest of the random things that come up in the middle of the day, finding fun new art projects was getting rather difficult.

Chalkola sorta came to my rescue, and I am so happy with how they little board and markers have worked for us. So much so I am writing an entire article about it. I highly recommend getting some of your own! They also have many other art supplies, so you should check them out : www.chalkola.com Use code “MEASURABLY10” for a 10% discount or “CHALKOLA10” if you purchase through amazon!

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would not write any article or promote any brand that I didn’t use, enjoy and genuinely want to share. So that is why this made the cut! We have been using this as a daily project where we wipe down our drawings from the day before and make a new one every morning. My daughter loves it, and makes sure I don’t forget every morning.

I hope you are all finding fun, new projects and activities with your little ones this summer!