Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Changes in a Year

I sit here smiling.

Yup...a giant smile. 

It is crazy to go back & read this post here: A Look Back & A Step Forward that I wrote New Years Eve last year which was the day I kicked off my new blog & began to be vulnerable. At the time, not everyone knew the changes I was traveling through & what was ahead.

Of course, I did not see some of the changes headed my way either.

I do remember last year, New Years Eve, I spent the night feeling so broken, alone & had been very hurt in a way I never imagined. 

I remember praying that 2015 would bring positive changes into my life. But I also remember feeling like the year was going to be ugly. U-G-L-Y.

Today, I sit here with a smile & a heart just filled. 

2015 brought me days filled with storms, days I found myself in the middle of the ocean all alone struggling to keep my head above water & feeling like I would never get to shore. But, even in my darkest storms, I always fought to see a tiny glimmer of light. 

Over the course of the year my marriage officially ended. I adjusted to being single, I healed, I worked through forgiveness, I loved my girls to pieces & found ways to make our new life work smoothly.

Over the course of the year I spent so much time & energy on Laynee & her health; so many days spent in tears. I cannot even grasp sometimes the past year & all that her little body has gone through. I would like to say right now we are doing really well since her second surgery in November, but I am also terrified of saying it & having it change. We are in stand-by mode just waiting & watching to see how long her body will hold up with the last revision, so in a way it looms over my head. But, I was also praying for some relief for her at least for a few months & we have had our prayers answered! 

Over the course of the year, I thought my heart would remain closed off to new opportunities. But, I found I was wrong. Sometimes the timing of life amazes me. My heart became open even though I fought it. But, I will tell you how terrifying dating or even thinking about dating was to me at the beginning. 

Over the course of the year, I finally took the leap to become a health + fitness coach; something I had dreamed about for years. I am changing lives. My mission is to help stop the rising trend of obesity. This leap has blessed me with a new family filled with incredible and motivated individuals all wanting to help others live the best life they can. Perfection. 

Over the course of the year, I learned to love me. I put myself out there over & over knowing I could fail. I put myself in situations outside of my comfort zone. My biggest was my photoshoot with the wonderful Miranda Parker Boudoir. I share these images in hopes that other women book their session & see the beauty & magic that lives inside that they might have forgotten. This session was so empowering for me. 

Over the course of the year, I tried my best to have a lot of laughs & create many memories with my girls & those who love me! Our highlight was definitely our trip to Florida with our Millers! To have a week with my girls in the middle of all the chaos of Laynee's struggles was so needed. No doubt we all deserved a week to enjoy each other, laugh, have dance parties & create memories & stories to tell for years! 

After a roller coaster year, I am so ready for 2016. This past year I grew so much as a woman, I welcomed new people into my life, my girls are healthy & happy, & I created a lot of magic! 

So I will welcome 2016 the opposite way I did 2015. I'll cheers her in with a giant smile, a full heart & a positive outlook for what is ahead. 

I hope you ring in your 2016 the same way!  

Until Next Time~

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Remember The Last Time

This weekend I took my girls up to Great Wolf Lodge as part of their Christmas gift. 

I could not help but remember the last time I was there. January 2014.

I remembered how I felt that trip. I remember realizing as I put my swimsuit on, it did not fit as I went down to the shop to purchase a new one. A bigger one. I remember walking around feeling like I wanted to hide. I remember feeling out of breath, out of shape trying to carry a double tube upstairs or chasing my girls. I remember feeling lethargic & exhausted. 

I remember disappearing & going back to my room to hide for a few minutes alone. I remember looking in the mirror. I remember the moment I realized I was not sure who was looking back at me. I had no idea who the woman was. I remember feeling powerless, weak, and out of control.

I remember as I stood there, I talked to my reflection & told her that her life needed to change. It was time to unbury herself from the hurt, pain & neglect I was under. It was time to live as if I was worth something, something more.

Honestly, I felt so lost, I had no idea if I would ever be able to find myself again.

But here I stand...just a week shy of two years later from that day, that conversation with my reflection. 

I set out for a journey to better. A better me, better days, better tomorrow. 

Was I afraid to fail? Yes. Did I? Yup. A million times I fell on my face.

But, every morning I got up out of bed & believed I was worth more. I fought day in and day out to change my life. I had good days & I had bad days.

I slowly unburied myself. I began to find me again. Once I started seeing who I was again, I was hooked. Daily, I craved becoming stronger, more passionate, better.

Did I know the pages that would be written in my story that day I began? No...maybe yes. Sometimes I think it takes a while for you to truly admit what is broken.

This trip to Great Wolf Lodge was great. I could chase the kids without feeling out of breath. I walked with confidence in my swimsuit & not because my body is perfect or tight & toned. But, because I am me & have come to accept my body with all it's imperfections & am proud of the body I live in. My health is a hundred times better than that last trip there: mentally & physically. 

My days are better. My tomorrows will be better. Truly, I am incredibly happy. 

Ever feel the way I did two years ago? Feel this way now? Look in the mirror & tell yourself you do have the power to change it. But, you have to put in the effort. 

Until Next Time~

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Better With Age?

Today I sit here another year older. Perhaps wiser too.

I can tell you that I spent well over half of my life so far with a critic living inside of  me that hated me; that was so quick to point out my flaws and tore me down daily. I spent so many years turning to food like a drug; an addiction to bury what I should have been feeling or dealing with. I remember feeling powerless to my weight; as if I had zero control over it & could not change it. In reality, what I was powerless to was the words I allowed to run around in my head all day long.

I have been on a journey of self-love. I have spent hours all alone forcing myself to ask & answer the questions I needed to know. I took a long look at all of my shortcomings & my strengths. I went over my failures, my mistakes, the choices I made. I worked through forgiveness in a way that kept me up at night tossing and turning. Forgiving others & forgiving myself.

Somewhere along the road I came to accept *k* on the sunny days, on the gray days & even on the dark days. I realized I was not inadequate & was enough just the way I was. I matter, my thoughts are important, my words can be powerful & the person I am is beautiful. Everything I was looking for or everything I wanted to be was already inside but I was to blind to see it.  

When I kicked my inside hateful critic out the door, I found a woman who was everything she wanted to be. Strong, confident, authentic, vulnerable, compassionate, kind, proud, enthusiastic, brave, sassy. A woman of faith. A woman who doesn't just believe in magic, she wants to create it & a woman who lives for adventures. A woman who values herself and no longer allows anyone close that does not value her; one that embraces all those who love her for being exactly who she is & not who they want her to be.

A woman who wakes up early every morning to work on her & her own relationship. She makes the choice to give herself a gift daily; of love & health. The way I see it love & good health are two of the most beautiful gifts we can receive. She is not afraid to dream big & gives all she has to turn those dreams into goals. She will put herself out there daily even though she knows she might fail. But, failure to her is like magic; it's proof she is living & she is trying like hell to live life fully & not going through the motions. She is someone who is determined to wake up every day & be the absolute best version of herself. 

I recently had an experience where I found that somewhere along this journey I had come to love me. Just the way I am. Every day I hear others joke about growing older & dreading that new number. Not this one. I fully embrace my age of 35. Today I am the best version of Krisha there has ever been, physically, mentally & emotionally I am in tip top shape & I have goals that I will continue to grow into. 

There were years that flew by where I didn't think I needed to be celebrated & said my birthday was no big deal. I was not important & it was just another day on the calendar. But, I deserve it; we all do!So, now I celebrate me; I celebrate my birthday! 
So I guess what I am trying to say is....somethings really do get better with age. I certainly have. Next year, I will be even better! 

**pictures are from the wonderful Miranda Parker**

Until Next Time~

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Mother's Thoughts

Last week I sat there alone holding my daughter's hand tightly as the surgeon went through all the "what if" scenarios as they were about to head inside my little girl's body once again searching for an answer.

An answer as to why every night a process that is only supposed to take maybe an hour was lasting us over two. A process that is supposed to be fairly simple & pain free was causing my girl to scream out in pain, cry & then begin to vomit. 

As I listened to the surgeon give me the "if not this, then we do this, and then look here, and then rule out this," my stomach began to tie in knots. Then, the anesthesiologist came in & the knot in my stomach grew even bigger & tighter as I squeezed the hand of  my girl. "We start this way, but if we have to go here, then this, & then that & then recovery....and because of your daughter's history these precautions..."

My head was spinning, the knot almost making me sick, the tears trying to make their way out of my eyes as the room was back to being just the two of us. At that moment, I looked at Laynee & saw this big grin on her face as her nurse just left. There was zero fear on her face & I was filled with it. I prayed for God to help me stay strong in front of my girl!

The time came for us to begin the walk down the hallway as we again came to the intersection where I knew I had to turn one way & her another. I gave her so many sweet kisses all over her face as she giggled with the nurses!  Again, not a single sign of fear on her face!  

I went to the OR waiting room, grabbed some coffee & sat in the exact chair I had sat in about five months ago when I sent her off for a more invasive surgery. That time I sat there with more comfort as I knew exactly what was to be done. This time, I sat there wondering what would be found.

I also sat there with the fear thinking five months ago I thought she was getting "fixed," that things were going to get better for her & honestly, she had traveled backwards on every single thing you would look at to measure her progress. 

So many thoughts & fears running around inside. I was also scared that they would find nothing at all & then what would we do? That was almost the most fearful scenario I had. 

But, you know what, a mom always seems to know. I knew in my heart & my gut something inside her body was not right. I had fought & pushed the doctors hard for the past month knowing....there was something.

I instantly felt relieved when the surgeon began talking after the procedure. It was the best case scenario; the simplest find to fix inside out of all the scenarios! But, when I heard the surgeon explain just how narrow her colon had become, my heart shattered for my daughter. I felt horrible forcing her body to go through that nightly & could not even wrap my head around the level of pain she had to feel. 

Although it was the best case scenario, it also means there is more to do in her future. Due to some pretty serious & high risks, they could not get it to a normal size & we simply have no idea if her body will hold it where it is now or for how long. Her little body still is giving us & her doctors so many questions. 

For now, we pray it holds for a while & she can find some relief. 

I have had so many reach out to me & tell me they cannot believe how strong I am. Really, I am not sure how strong I was. I know there is the belief out there that God only gives you what you can handle. 

I disagree; I agree with a different thought. I think He gives you more so that you learn to rely on Him. Every night for months, I prayed for Him to give me the strength to start her regimen, the strength to stay strong for her as I held her hand or her hair back each night & prayed that maybe her night would be less painful. Laying in bed last week for the nights leading up to her procedure, I talked to Him for hours as I laid awake. Telling Him I needed the strength again, praying for answers for my girl, praying for her body that has been through so much, asking Him to not leave my side as I thought I would be alone & was feeling too weak to go through it on my own. I found myself in the strongest relationship I have ever had with Him.

The night of the procedure as I snuggled my girl & kissed her sweet cheeks a million times I thanked Him a million times. If it wasn't for relying on Him, I would have been too weak. I thanked Him for creating Laynee to be such an incredible spirit with such a resilient attitude & for having her teach me so much! 
 (I love this pic....look at her!!)

In this mother's thoughts, the week of Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for these two beautiful daughters I have. They could not be more opposite, yet identical! The smiles, the hearts they have & their strong personalities! Every day they teach me something & I am always watching with my eyes wide open & my phone down so I cannot miss a lesson!  Now, I pray for a few fun & smooth months for our team!

  Until Next Time~

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Next Step

Our journey to improved days for Laynee continued at Nationwide Children's Hospital this week. Post-surgery Laynee's experience nightly has been horrible. To the point that words can't explain the intensity of it all.

After working constantly and making changes with her team here in Ohio it came to the point they were no longer willing to make changes without a trip back here to observe and work together in a more hands-on and regulated way. 

Yesterday we met with her team which included all of her specialists in what was over 3 hours long. It included this mom looking in the doctor's eyes with tears saying "I cannot put her through this anymore."

She had a procedure done on Wednesday morning to get a look inside. Those images showed what appears to be a narrowing at the point of reconnection of her colon from surgery. 

On Sunday we will be admitted back into the hospital and she will go in for exploratory surgery on Monday with a camera inside her colon to check that and a camera inside her stomach to check some other potential causes of what she is experiencing. From there, they will address whatever is found. 

As a mom I cannot deny that sending her daughter in for exploratory surgery compared to sending her in knowing exactly what's to be done is incredibly terrifying. I tossed and turned all night long and no doubt the next few days will be long. 

But, I also know I have crawled into bed every night praying for an answer, for a solution to what her body was experiencing. Every day I had to pray for strength to put her through it all over again every night and never knowing if it would be the occasional smooth night or the one all three of us would end in tears. So, my prayers are being answered, sometimes it can be a scary route but I'm believing that my girl's days are about to improve. 

On a way more fun note, we were able to snag the free pass from the Ronald McDonald House to the Cosi Science Museum yesterday afternoon for some fun. It was certainly needed! The best part is that Laynee got to do this show and last time we were there she didn't get picked! She was thrilled!!!

For now, after her x-Ray this morning we hit the road for home for some time there this weekend before we hit the road early Sunday drive back for answers! 

Thank you for all of the prayers, messages and the love that has been sent. We feel very grateful for so many amazing people in our lives! 

until next time~

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Journey Continues...

Last week I hit the ground.

Months...okay, maybe more like years...hit me. The exhaustion, the frustration, the sadness, the worry, the hopelessness, and the overwhelming weight on my shoulders feeling too heavy to carry all dropped me to the ground.

Years I have been praying and pushing for answers to how Laynee's little body works.... Or doesn't work is maybe what I should say. The past 12 months has been especially difficult. 

When she had her surgery this summer I had hope that we were going to start an improved lifestyle for her. An easier day with less anxiety for her, an increase in self-confidence, a heart with less worry & stress. A brand new Laynee!

That is not what has occurred. Unfortunately, her nighttime regimen has been nightmares. Nights that have been over two hours filled with screaming and tears from such strong pain. Nights where she ends up getting sick from it. Nights where all three of us girls end it in tears because the intensity is just out of control. 

Nights I climb into bed feeling totally exhausted with tears wishing I could do more for her; wishing I could find a better answer. It is never easy for us parents to struggle with our children's health and lately it has worn me down, forced me to dig deep, question every move I have made for her, research endlessly, track every action she makes, and willing to do anything....and sometimes being the rock just weighs you down. But, I also know I am truly blessed with healthy & incredible daughters. I also know how lucky I am that they are both such strong girls & have such courageous hearts & spirits. I can tell you one thing, we make an incredible team!

Her body since the day she was born has kept me busy, kept me on my toes. As a baby, she had GERD and her reflux led us to many doctor appointments for months including visits to the feeding clinic because her reflux caused so many problems. This led to surgery on her stomach and esophagus at 7 months old. The day I wheeled her out of the hospital after a week there I was taking home a brand new baby! Her changes were amazing! 

From then to today we have dealt with many other health issues, so many specialists, so many tests, so many ER visits for hours & hours, sometimes being admitted. In fact when we just went to Disney, she insisted I get in her picture with the characters from our favorite hospital movie...can't even count on my fingers & toes the number of times we have watched it snuggled up in a hospital bed. 

This time, we have not kicked off to a new Laynee yet post-surgery. My heart hurts for her as she has days with issues leading to complete breakdowns at school filled with crocodile tears and questions as to "Why?" Anxiety-filled days never knowing what her day is going to bring her. Situations that cause a great deal of stress for both of us.

Unfortunately, her body has the doctors stumped. We have tried many different "recipes" and cannot find one yet for her, all the ways that work for so many other children have failed her. We have struck out numerous times, still waiting to hit our homerun! At this point, they feel the only step to make next is for us to return to Ohio for another week. This way they can monitor her regimen and the outcomes in a controlled, hands on environment. 

We all cried the day we found out. Laynee did, Jacee did, I did. I fought the feelings of hopelessness, afraid we were going to go again & come back with no improvements. Laynee is terrified of more changes; fearful they will cause more pain or problems & frustrated that this has been so hard. 

But, once I picked myself up off the ground last week I found the hope again. We will head to Columbus in a few weeks & this mama will believe she is driving this time to an answer for her sweet baby girl.

I am going to trust my saying to the girls of "it will get better" is going to come true, therefore that they will have to stop questioning me when I say it daily! They will have to see it as mom was right, once again! 

I would be so grateful for any prayers & good vibes sent our way. Prayers for Laynee to remain strong, brave & courageous & her doctors to find her answer. Prayers for Jacee who is heartbroken that mom & sis have to leave her home once again & for her to stay strong & positive for her sister! Last but not least, prayers for this mama to keep her heart filled with hope, to believe she has the strength to push forward & keep fighting for her girl, & to remain the positive so both girls see a bright light coming our way! 

Until Next Time~