Monday, February 20, 2017

Impassable Rivers

I was reading about the LDS pioneers a couple days ago.  Forced from their homes in Nauvoo Illinois the saints left in handcart companies and walked 1,000 miles to the Salt Lake Valley.

THEY WALKED 1,000 MILES!

All of the saints faced incredible hardships on their journey but some suffered more than others.  The ill fated Martin-Willey handcart company left late in the season and encountered terrible conditions.  Word reached Brigham Young, the prophet of the church, that all 1,000 saints in the Martin-Willey Handcart company would perish unless they received much needed help.

It's said that men, who started the journey strong and robust arrived at the river and fell to their knees and wept.  To those pioneers, who were sick and weak the river represented an impossible challenge.  Entering the freezing water would be certain death.  Remaining in the frozen prairie was also certain death.  It's said that when help arrived over the mountains, teams of horses, wagons, warm blankets and food that they were nothing less than a angels to those freezing and dying saints.  The stories of bravery and heroism are incredibly moving.  200 pioneers died after help arrived on the remaining trek to the Salt Lake Valley but all the rest were saved!  


It got me thinking about the impassable rivers that I have encountered in my own life.  No, I've never wept by the side of a literal river, but I have faced the despair that accompanies a challenge feels insurmountable.  

I know there are people who suffer.  Crumpled at the banks of their own impassable rivers they need strong arms and fresh supplies to carry them through the darkness that they face.  I may not be able to swoop in and relieve suffering abroad, but I also know that one needn't go far to find people in need.  Loneliness, addiction, hunger, and spiritual suffering are everywhere, in our co-workers, friends, and neighbors.  

I'm not THAT young anymore.  I have been feeling a strong desire to know that I'm doing the right thing with my brief life.  I feel very compelled to lighten loads and encourage weary hearts.  It's what the Savior would do. It's what I want to do.

While I see so much darkness in the world, I want to be the light!  

It's been a year now since I joined itworks and became my own business owner.  Initially my motivation was to improve my family's financial situation, the unexpected result was that I would be forced to push myself outside of my tiny comfort zone and be there for others.

I can't explain the feeling that comes with offering someone who has lost all hope, the chance to dream again!  

My vision has expanded.  My purpose has grown into something so much bigger than myself!  I feel incredibly blessed to be in this position. 

Your life has incredible purpose and meaning!  If you find yourself kneeling at the bank of your own treacherous river, know that you're not alone!  If no one else is there for you, God is, and He will never leave you comfortless.   






Friday, April 29, 2016

Shenanigans

Another unpublished blog from the archives. Wrote this one when Neila was about 5 weeks old.

Neila had been a full time round the clock job this last week because poor baby is sick. I don't know how...I've hardly left my front door since she was born in an effort to protect her. She can't breath even when laying on an incline in her bassinet so.... I have been wearing her on her baby carrier nonstop. Shower? What's that. Food? Sometimes. It's been rough.

The hardest part is, I've not been able to spending time at all with little kylea. She's made good use of her new found freedom though. Today's adventure, eye shadow. I spotted her when she came back into the room to finish the look with lipstick.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

That Crazy Wrap Thing that Changes Lives!






Right before Christmas of this year was one of the darkest times that we have faced as a family.  I’ve not been too quiet about the fact that we live paycheck to paycheck and that this situation has been a trying and confusing one for us to face.   We did EVERYTHING right.  College? check.  Budget?check.  Networking? check.  Ambition? check.  Hard work? check. Why aren’t we making it? 

We’re budget experts.  We have refined the difference between a want and a need down to a science.  Cable tv is a want.  Food is a need.  Steak and expensive cuts of meat are wants.  Rice, beans and hamburger meat nourish and are much less expensive.  Science.   We’re pro’s.

It's a tightrope act.  The numbers are precise and resources were limited but if we stuck to our plan it always seemed to work. Then over the course of several months everything started falling apart.  

Kevin’s student loans left the deferment period and the lender came calling.  I want my money now!  We stressed and planned and budgeted.  Everything is going to be alright, I said.  I’m relentlessly optimistic by nature.

Then our beautiful baby boy was born.  
I needed a little time to adjust to our new family member so I took a break from babysitting and teaching piano.  The income I contributed was small but it’s absence hurt.  Next came the million different medical practitioners and laboratories holding out their hands requesting payment for assisting us with the miracle of birth.  We stressed and planned about how we would afford this.  But we knew that everything is going to be alright.

Then Quin got sick.  Really sick.  
I cried by his hospital bed.  I held his hand and prayed that he would be ok.  I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.  Let it be ok!  Please! Through what I know to be a miracle straight from a loving and merciful Heavenly Father Quin recovered in record time and as far as we know has suffered no long term consequences.  We rejoiced! 

Then came the TKO.  The hospital bill for Quin’s time in the hospital came.  The total bill totaled more than a year of our salary. 

For the first time ever in my whole entire life, I was afraid. Let's be honest.  Everything is not alright. 


My relentless optimism was extinguished and all I could see was darkness.  On and on forever with no end in sight. 

I cried as I poured through the job listings online. I take pride in my education and I have no problem working in a professional environment.  But I DO have a problem with leaving my children.  I want to be a stay at home Mom.
 

I LOVE being with them each day.  I love watching them learn and grow and discover.  I love watching them develop talents and interests.  I treasure the time I spend with them and I take my job as their mother very seriously.


My BEST childhood memory was a cold December day.  I trudged home through the snow and when I burst through the front door I was met with the most magical scene.  My Mom had decorated for Christmas!  Holiday bangles and bobs adorned every surface.  Christmas music was playing and drifting through the air was the heavenly smell of freshly baked cookies! 

Several years later, my Mom returned to work.  She was still the best mother and a wonderful supporter but our home was never the same.  I decorated for Christmas every year after her return to work.  There just weren’t enough hours in the day. 

I wasn’t even sure I wanted children back then, but I knew that if I did, I would stay home with them.  I treasure every single moment with them because I don't know what their moment will be.  I hope there will be MANY happy moments for them to think back on later in life. 

But there was no choice.  I was scared of what would happen if we didn't make a big change.  

Meanwhile, on my facebook a friend of mine posted daily about her awesome business.  She shared photos of her with her kids.  She shared how she was able to build it to a point where she became the primary bread winner for her family.

She challenged people to reach out and seize opportunities and to make dreams realities.

That’s when it hit me.  I had abandoned and important part of myself.  I’ve always been relentlessly optimistic and driven by deep seated dreams and desires.  I’ve taken many leaps of faith in pursuit of my dreams.   But not lately.   Life experiences had backed me into a corner.  I no longer had a head full of dreams.  I began to honestly believe that I would never accomplish some of the things that I had dreamed. 

My life the way it is right now is beautiful.  It really is.  I have an ambitious, handsome, talented and wonderful husband.  I have three beautiful and unique children who fill me with so much joy!

When I became a mother I realized that there is no end to what you would do to make the world a better place for your children.  I often fear that the only legacy I will leave my children are my substantial debts.

This same opportunity kept presenting itself to me.  I stubbornly refused, I had a hundred different reasons why.  But when the Lord calls you to do something he won’t relent!  It got to the point where I could hardly sleep!

So, I started researching It Works.  I looked at the products.  I looked at the CEO.  I looked at the company philosophy.  I found an upbeat atmosphere that inspires people to live happy and healthy lives! 

I took the plunge!

I'm an It Works distributor!  Not everyone is cheering me on.  Not everyone is excited.  I'm a people-pleaser and this was a difficult thing for me to step into.  To know that people will be irritated or disapprove of what I'm doing was a difficult pill for me to swallow.  The thing is, it doesn't matter.  People can disapprove.  Those people aren't responsible for my bills.  I am.  Those people won't cry themselves to sleep at night if my kids are in daycare.  I will.  This is about doing what's right for our family.  This is about answering a call from God.  This is about changing lives, starting with mine! 


It's only been a few days but things are rolling along!  I’m finding opportunities to share with people some of the knowledge that I gathered in college about how to live a healthy life through diet and exercise.  Healthy choices today are deposits into the bank account you will withdraw from in the future!  If I could change ONE life and help ONE person achieve their health and fitness goals today then I would be a happy lady! 

The Lord has seen fit to humble me in a way that I never wanted to be.  But it’s given me a compassion and empathy for those who are struggling.  Now I have the opportunity to share a business that could transform their life too! If I could lift one person from that same place I was,  That hopeless place, That forrest where the sun doesn't shine, then I would know that I'm fulfilling the work that God sent me here to earth to do! I would wear that privilege like a badge of honor. 




It feels so good to dream again!  The future seems filled with bright possibilities and adventures once again.  You never know what the future will bring when you dare to dream. 

join me on my adventure at
http://healthylifebrightfuture.myitworks.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quin's Birth Story

There's only one sure way to get this face from a person you are talking to.
Image result for awkward smile

Image result for awkward smile


Or to turn a friendly conversation into an awkward one.

Just mention  you are planning a HOME BIRTH....dun, dun, dun!!!

I imagine the thoughts that everyone has are different but all land somewhere in between believing that what you have chosen to do is either crazy or reckless or maybe even a little bit of both.

I admit that I once shared that attitude.  In fact, looking back on this blog, during my first pregnancy I put a great deal of time into considering wether it was crazy to decide to give birth without an epidural.

I'm not opposed to a hospital birth.  In fact, I selected a qualified midwife who was extensively qualified and who supported home birth because we believe that in healthy pregnancies and under qualified care it is safe and beautiful. She also believes in using the resources available at the hospital if there are complications during birth.  This attitude is not the case with every midwife and the title midwife can be assigned to practitioners with a huge variety of training.  Under the care of an unqualified midwife early warning signs of trouble are sometimes ignored and laboring mothers are sometimes transferred when it's too late.  Rule number one of home birth, select a qualified professional to assist you in your journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Our midwife's name is Marvelys Lopez.  She's a beautiful woman with a passion for providing options to women for their pregnancy and birth.  I immediately loved her calm nature and I could see that I would feel comfortable in her care.  She also came with a laundry list of credentials that put Kevin's mind at ease, too.

Quin's Birth

For several weeks I had long bouts of irregular contractions.  They usually came after midnight and left by the time the sun came up.  I have a high tolerance for pain so I wasn't in terrible pain but I was pretty exhausted physically and mentally.  Quin's due date came and went I waddled around every day hoping that maybe this would be the day.

At about 4 o'clock on October 9th I decided to get out of bed and start timing the contractions that I was having because they seemed to be coming with some consistency.  I was right!  



They were coming about 8 minutes apart.  My water hadn't broken yet and everyone was still sleeping, since it was only 5 o'clock in the morning so I had a minute or two where I debated on wether I should call Marve or not.  I decided that I better give her a call since she lives about an hour from me so that she could make preparations and make it here in time!

From then until about 7 o'clock I walked around pausing to breath through contractions and made the girls some breakfast.  Kylea was THRILLED to discover that today was the day that baby brother would be born

(Video of kyky)

She squeaked and squealed with glee all morning.  I gave the girls big hugs and kisses and sent them on their way to a good friend's house where they could play and wait until after baby was born.  

For just a brief moment, I was home alone.  It was quiet and still.  I wandered upstairs to where the birth pool was filling



I picked up the teeny tiny diaper that I had laid out and the little bitty jammies and blankets laid out



Last I passed a framed photo on my night stand 3 photos side by side.  One of Kylea, one of Neila and one ultrasound photo of our baby boy.  

In a rush, I could see the moment that was coming. That moment when you hold your brand new child in your arms and you're filled with love and wonder.  I let myself have a little moment.  I pictured our boy's arrival and a tear or two may have escaped.  It wasn't long before Kevin was back with me again.

At about 8:30am my excellent team of midwives arrived.  Marvelys and her two students Erica and Johanna swooped in and turned my room into a functioning birth suite.  My contractions were fluctuating between 5 minutes and 2 minutes by this point so it was suggested that I take a little walk to help move things along.  

What a feeling!  It was a beautiful, calm, desert morning.  The sun was shining warmly in the sky and maybe it was my focus on my labor but everything felt more still than usual.  Was the world holding it's breath?  Did even nature know what we would be receiving this morning? I didn't have to walk very far before the contractions really ramped up in intensity  I found myself hanging onto Kevin's back to breath through the last while my birth team applied pressure to my hips.   By this point the warm water of the birth pool sounded like the only place on earth that I wanted to be, so we turned around and walked home pausing a few more times to hang on Kevin's back while one of the midwives applied pressure to my hips.

By the time we made it back home I didn't realize it at the time, but my body was urging me to push.  Kevin helped me make my way up the stairs and into the birth pool.  

The warm water was exceptionally comforting and with the next contraction I allowed myself to push.  The world disappeared as my vision tunneled down and softly I could hear the song I had set on repeat, "I wish you out of the woods and into a picture, with me..."  I also heard the midwives exclaim, "that's pushing!!"  and in a flash they were all there like a fleet of angels applying cold wash cloths, perineum support and encouragement.  

My primary support, as always, was Kevin.  Afterward I learned that to sit by my head the way he was he had to sit in a permanent squat position and he was sore the next day. What a guy!

  After a couple pushes I was feeling a bit overwhelmed the pressure was INTENSE.  I reached down to see if we had made any progress, "head! there's a head?!" I breathlessly exclaimed.  I was shocked!  Everyone encouraged me to take a deep breath and relax.  I did my best.  During one push I felt a burst of pressure relief and found myself exclaiming, "What was that?!"  Marvelys calmly explained that my water had broken and that there was a little meconium and not to worry.  Frankly, I was so relieved at how much pressure was relieved that I hadn't even thought to worry about the baby passing his first stool prior to birth. Kevin continued to encourage me through the last few pushes, "That's it, Lovey, just breath him down."

At 9:49am Pacific Western Time little Quin Teancum Hart was born.  


There it was, the love.  I stroked his little head and noticed blond hair a button nose and loads of delicious baby rolls.  So beautiful.  Have you ever seen anything so perfect?  He looked a lot like Kylea.   

Some worry set in as we realized that he wasn't respirating properly our little boy was a pale purple color and with the exception of a half hearted squawk he wasn't crying.  A hat was put on his head and  a dry receiving blanket (which were periodically switched out as they became wet)  The birth team set to work with oxygen and a tiny device that measured his oxygenation.  
(Kevin's holding the oxygen hose)

We were made aware that if his condition didn't improve we would need to be transported to the hospital.  "Give him a blessing, Please."  I asked Kevin.  So right there, Kevin laid his hands on our brand new baby's head and gave him a blessing of health.  

With oxygen, Quin's color improved and so did his oxygenation levels.  Kevin got a chance to hold him skin to skin while I got out.  The plan was to take a shower, but I had lost a lot of blood and sat in the hot water for so long that when I attempted to stand I nearly fainted.  So instead of a warm shower I laid down in the bed to rest.  Over the next couple hours of cuddling and singing (apparently babies who are slow to respond initially showed greatest success when parents sang to them as opposed to talking) to Quin he improved.  By the second hour he was completely weaned from the oxygen and it was time to get some measurements!

As he was picked up to be weighed and measured he began to fuss for the first time since his birth.  "I know, I know." cooed the midwife.  "You're happiest with your mama.  It's all you know.  But I'm just gonna tick you off a little so we can get those lungs working!"  

He weighed 9lbs4oz and was 20 1/2 inches long.  Everything about him was perfectly healthy. 




After being off the oxygen for measurements he was monitored again and found that he was regulating his oxygen levels independently. He finally had the strength open his little eyes and look around a little bit. He very peacefully stared up at me and Kevin. 



One of the midwives marveled at the difference between what was accomplished with this home birth and how the same situation would have been handled in a hospital environment.  In the hospital, he would have been whisked away from me and put in the NICU where he would have received care until he was stable and then likely kept for a few more hours of observation until we would have been reunited again.  Having experienced this before, I can say it's traumatizing.  

I feel so blessed that we were able to bring this sweet baby into the world in such a beautiful, peaceful environment.  I feel incredibly blessed that the first moments of his life were spent enjoying each other and honoring the bond that has already been forged, through 9 months of hard work.  I know it was because of blessings and prayers that our sweet boy is here and healthy and thriving.  



Before the birth team left the birth pool was dismantled, medical supplies were packed the room went from birth suite to bedroom once again.  The stage was set.  Kevin went to pick up the girls.

Kylea burst up the stairs first and ran to the side of the bed.  "Where's the baby?!"  she exclaimed.  I situated her next to me on the bed where she could see him.  In a tender and very unexpected moment Kylea's little eyes filled with tears, "Is that my brother?"  she whispered in awe.  Neila followed she cooed and awed and declared him to be "a-doe-able" found his hair and nose and eyes and fingers.  And I sat filled with the most inexplicable feeling of love and fulfillment.  I love this family of ours.  



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What's in a Name




Here at casa de Hart we take baby naming very seriously.  From the first pregnancy I knew it wouldn't be easy.  Kevin doesn't like popular names.  If it's in the top 100 most popular names it's out of the question.  I like the names to have a profound meaning.  Perhaps that stems from my childhood disappointment upon learning that my name means, "small."  Access to name meanings wasn't what it is now 29 years ago though! 

Both the girl's names are Irish.  This is a nod to their ancestry on their Dad's side and a playful nod toward the fact that he is a die-hard Notre Dame Irish football fan..... if he has his way at least one of our children will be a Notre Dame graduate.  

We are proud to announce the birth of
 
Quin Teancum Hart

Quin is a solid Irish name which means Wise.

In a world that's increasingly confused we hope you use wisdom to assess the world and the options available to you.  Seek knowledge and use it with wisdom to bless the lives of others.  

Teancum (Tee-ain-cum)  Is Kevin's personal scripture hero and he loves the name.  I think before we were even married he mentioned that if we had a son he would like to name him Teancum.  I wasn't sure.  I said maybe we could name a dog Teancum.  Years passed and I forgot all about this until he brought it up again during a baby naming discussion.  I rejected it immediately.  But the name just wouldn't leave me alone.  I polled some friends and asked for their honest opinions.  I received mixed reviews but surprisingly more people loved it than I thought would.  I began to think about the relationship between fathers and their sons.  Father's are their sons first super heroes.  Naming our son after his father's favorite scripture hero could be a powerful reminder of the type of man that his Dad is.  A loving Father, a righteous priesthood holder, a good man.  

Teancum himself was a courageous military leader and righteous man during Book of Mormon times.   He's described as a freedom fighter and a man possessing honor, courage, strength and discipline.

"Every time you stare into the face of a newborn baby you have to wonder.  Who are you? And, what will you become

Quin, we love you.  We hope you take wisdom, courage, honor, strength and discipline with you everyday of your life and remember that you are our son and more importantly, a divine son of God.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Out of the Mouths of Babes


One of my favorite things about being a Mom, is that special moments often occur during the most mundane moments. For instance, here's a quick interaction we had on a recent quick car ride.

Me: Every choice has a consequence. Does unbuckling your seat have good or bad consequences?
Kylea: Bad.... Buuut, I'm just a good lady!
Me: Yes you are!
Kevin: You're a good kid. You're not a lady yet!
Kylea: Yeah, I'm a kid.... Mommy's a lady!
Me: Yup, that's true. 

(A few moments of silence)
Neila: I A CHILD OF GOD!

Then my heart exploded with joy and pride. What a very thoughtful and inspired thing to come out of the mouth of a two year old. 





Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Five



Five. She's five today. Maybe it's because I'm 38 weeks pregnant, but I just keep picturing that day five years ago when our lives forever changed. She made us parents. 

She's spunky and filled with a huge energy for life. 

She's sweet. I treasure our bedtime snuggles. She tells me about her day and about her dreams and sometimes even a sweet unsolicited " I love you Mommy."

The world shines brighter with her in it. Happy birthday, Princess! We love you more than we could ever express.