1 in 4 is me.

This Wednesday will be five years since I last saw my beautiful mom alive. Each year it is always hard but this year hurts even worse. I think of all the times I’ve needed her here and all the things she’s missed out on.  Her shoulder to cry on and her hugs are something I wish I could have just one more time. Especially during the hard times like this past August when our journey to become a family of four (not counting Lou) was derailed when I started to miscarry at nine weeks; just two days before our nine week ultrasound appointment.

We found out we were pregnant right away. I remember being so excited and telling myself I would really make the most of this pregnancy. I was confident in my body’s ability to carry a healthy child full-term and had made it through a fairly uncomplicated labor and delivery (minus 36 hours of labor and a hematoma). After taking a few tests and thanking God for positive results, I shared the news with Joel and Hayden Keith. We were all so excited. Continue reading →

Soar on wings like eagles

Eagle_closeupAnyone who knows me knows I love Bald Eagles. Growing up my parents shared their love of this bird, due in part to their hometown, Decorah, IA. It’s a popular area for Bald Eagles and when we would road trip to visit family we would always keep an eye out for one. Dad said we’d get $5 for everyone we saw (still waiting to collect).

I never knew how this bird would become my saving grace in coping with my mother’s cancer. When her hair started to fall out from chemo, mom got together with her sisters to shave her head. She looked amazing. I wish I would have done it with her but my head has a dent in it. Regardless she looked beautiful. One day she was probably asking me to do something and I got sassy with her and called her “Bald Eagle.” She gave me a look but I quickly recovered and let her know it was a symbol of strength and grace. She liked it and the name stuck. Continue reading →

Words to live by

IMG_7943When my mom was diagnosed, it brought on so many emotions. I was in the middle of a quarter-life crisis (it’s a real thing), graduating college, ending a relationship, moving out for the first time, applying for jobs and THEN my best-friend mom was diagnosed with cancer. I needed advice. I wanted someone to tell me it was ok, that she would be alright, I would be alright, my family would be alright and life wouldn’t end.

To cope with the fear of the unknown, I found myself gravitating towards quotes and poems. Whether it was on strength, love, grief or friendship I started saving these in a homemade journal I received from my cousin. I still have it and will write down new quotes whenever I find them. You can find a lot of them on my Pinterest board. Continue reading →

Favorite workouts

299060_2086156031640_4927900_nStaying active was a lifestyle my parents practiced for as long as I can remember. It was a part of their every day and they encouraged my sisters and I to make it a part of ours as well. Since my mom and I used to workout together, I view this as my time to spend with her and to get in a little “me” time when so much of my day revolves around Hayden Keith, Joel and work. And, my pinterest board has tons of options that I haven’t tried yet…oops.

What are some of your favorite workouts or training programs? My mom was all about long runs but I get bored so I have to mix it up. We have a gym membership but most days I end up in our basement doing a magazine routine or out for a run, (whatever Hayden Keith allows). Mixing it up helps keep me sane. Below are a few of my favorites. IMG_6781 Continue reading →

Running for mom

IMG_7883On Saturday, September 12, Hayden Keith, my sister Catie and I attended the annual HOM Teal Strides for ovarian cancer run. The run benefits MOCA, an amazing local non-profit that is a crusader for ovarian cancer awareness. The last time I participated in this event, I was 6 weeks pregnant with Hayden Keith so it was neat to experience the run with him. I try to participate in one ovarian cancer event every year as a way to connect with mom and do my part to raise awareness for such an awful disease. It’s bittersweet to be around so many others who understand the nastiness of ovarian cancer and seeing the teal makes me smile. I wish mom was here to still run with me. Organizers handed out stickers to wear that said whether you were running in honor or memory of someone. I grabbed one for Hayden Keith and me. As I was running, I tried to read who others were running for and it was sad to see so many people my age running for their mom, kids Hayden Keith’s age running for grandma and husbands like my dad running for the wives. This disease is much more treatable in the early stages, there needs to be a better screening process for early detection. Continue reading →

Getting through the hard days.

74bbcd1045617cfdfc240e5a38480681 Some days are hard and some days are even harder. Last night was a really hard one. Over the last month I’ve been trying to cope with loss and understand how and why some experience more loss than others. I know everyone has their own battle(s), but some just seem more obvious than others but regardless loss hurts. It doesn’t make one loss any less than the other. But to some holding onto that loss and grief can be a sign of weakness. As if there is a time frame for grief and “getting over” someone or something. To those people I would say, “it is really easy to say that when you aren’t the one experiencing those emotions.” You don’t have to go through your day seeing people live a life you once knew or you wish you could experience. Logging into social media, you see so much joy (which is great) but on a hard day it can make it even harder. People having babies, spending time with their parents and friends, and it’s easy to start to compare and break yourself down because your life doesn’t live up to that picture. That’s my struggle. Continue reading →

Hayden Keith 1st Birthday Olympic games

As promised I’m sharing how we celebrated Hayden Keith turning 1 and how I made sure my mom was a part of the day!! It was a bittersweet day for me on a couple levels. My firstborn / little baby boy was no longer a baby. He had turned into a walking, laughing, loud BOY. And, I wish my mom was there to celebrate.

Growing up with two sisters and no brothers we had to find something that was our own and it was birthdays. Basically your birthday was a national holiday. I blame this solely on my mom. She went above and beyond to make sure our birthday was our day and that didn’t change, as we got older. I was fortunate enough to live at home for all my birthdays with my mom, and every year I came down to a present on the table, her signature eggcake breakfast, a homemade cake (if she hadn’t ordered DQ) or flowers, something that showed me it was my day. I will cherish this forever. Continue reading →

“When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May”

I love Motown. Growing up we always had music playing in the house. It didn’t matter if we were dancing around, baking or cleaning, my parents loved music. It’s funny how some things stick with you because I also LOVE music. Any kind, I really can’t discriminate, maybe heavy metal but I’d probably end up finding some song I could dance to.

IMG_0905Smokey Robinson and The Temptations were two artists my mom played a lot and she sang the song “My Girl” to us when we were little. I still tear up when I hear it and find myself signing it to Hayden Keith too. (Fun fact: my last b-day gift from my mom was tickets to see Smokey live. She was too sick to go but a friend went with me, it was awesome.) Continue reading →