I write today with an extremely heavy heart. This morning the kids and I packed up to head out for our hike. It was a normal routine. Eating breakfast, packing lunch, lacing up our boots, and loading the truck up. Today was different, I just didn’t know how different.
The moment my boots hit the porch, I was plowed by the smell of burning pines and my eyes watered up from heavy smoke fog.
Instantly I knew it was going to be a possibility we’d not get to hike. However, my kids wanted to hike. So we drove up towards Laramie, that is when I began to sob.
Yes, sob. I couldn’t stop. The mountain scape was hidden behind a layer of wildfire smoke. As we drove closer we watched camper after camper drive away from the smoke.
My daughter cried. ” Mommy what about the animals” My son worried “Are people dying?”. I uncontrollably wept. The kids and I talked. Krystina cried “Mommy where are the water planes, why can’t the just put it out” I explained that even rain evaporates before it hits the fire because its so hot, how the wind feeds the fires and its destroying our lands.
We are in Cheyenne so the wildfires don’t threaten our home, but the smoke is so thick we cannot hike. The babies cannot breath and I cannot see without watery eyes. We had to turn around, but not without broken hearts.
My children wept and I cried. My brother is in Montana and it hurts knowing there’s nothing I can do.
Our land is under fire. The land that gives my son the much needed therapy he can’t get from any therapist, the land that is my fortress, the land that one day I hope to explore, and the land my children will one day inherit.
When I came to they were cutting my clothes, slashing my favorite pair of shoes off, shoving tubes down my throat, and sticking needles in my arms. It faded black again and I was gone. Once again I woke up in a strange place. Blinding lights were overhead and they were sliding me on a silver slab, my bare back was chilled and my body was limp. No matter how hard I tried to move my body laid still. No matter what I said they couldn’t hear. I remember feeling terrified. It was a terrible nightmare, infact the worst kind, the kind you can’t wake up from. I woke up thrashing about trying to pull my leg from the traction pullies and I ripped the pin in my knee holding my leg up.
When I finally fully came too it was almost Thanksgiving Day. The hospital room filled with people for support. Cards from everyone in my school and letters from close friends. My mom looked at me with such a heavy heart. It was her that had to explain what happened, it was her that had to relay the message that I would never be the same. Doctors around the clock and nurses too. I remember saying to a nurse as she tried to help me go to the restroom “I’m 14 I don’t need your help, I can walk.” And as I tried to take a step I fell to the ground. It was then I realized that I was broken. My mom helped me up and we both wept.
The thing you have to understand about me is even at 14, my world was outdoors. Everything I did was outside. I ran the woods with my friends, rode my bike on dirt tracks we built every summer, I lived and breathed tomboy. I was a wild one and I was proud of it. I would chant to the boys “Anything you can do I can do better.” if I couldn’t, I would not give up until I could.
Until the crisp fall night that a drunk driver threw a wrench into my life. My whole school year was put on hold as I was in rehab. I had suffered a brain injury, multiple broken/ fractured ribs, my femur broken, a lacerated spleen, and I was in a coma state for 2 weeks. Not only was my leg broken and I needed rehab to walk I also needed rehab to help me talk right again. My brain was jumbled and I couldn’t process simple words. I was starting all over.
Doctors told my mom it would be a while before I would be able to play sports again and even longer for me to ride BMX again. So much “she won’t, she can’t, she shouldn’t” I was discouraged.
They released me the 2nd week of December. Much sooner than anticipated, but I would continue home therapy, I would be in a wheel chair, and I was not allowed to start school again until doctors released me to walk down the halls. They had a fear that if I was bumped wrong I would crumble like the great Achilles.
My first weekend away from my parents I went to my friend Hazel’s house for the weekend. I walked couple miles accrossed the snow and ice on my crutches to see another of my closest friend, Bubba and his family. I was tired of being cooped up in the house. The cold hurt my leg. I shivered uncontrollably both from cold and pain, but I needed to be outside. I NEEDED to ride a bike, go fishing, and walk through the woods. I was determined that when summer came I would be myself again. I continued my therapy and I contiued to push.
When summer came, I felt like I was recovered, but The first time I went to ride a bike it was excruciating. I failed, I wasn’t myself. The pain was strong, but I was stronger. I fell only to get back up. I cried only to push through. When the physical therapist told me he had cancer and we could fight together, the rage in me to be stronger grew like a wild fire. He lost his hair, but contiued to push me. He said to me ” The cancer doesn’t own me, it never will. You’re an extremly strong young lady, don’t let this own you. Fight”.
Fight is exactly what I did. I fought to enjoy the things I did before. I pushed to be better than I was before. Freshman year came, I was still in therapy 3 days a week. I struggled in school because much of my 8th grade year I spent in a hosptial bed.
Freshman year I was angry and confused. So I would stay home from school to sneak outside when mom left. Breath the fresh air, climb on my bike, and just ride. I had not been released to ride my bike yet. My femur had not completely healed and one wrong fall I could rebrake it. I knew better, if I could just get outside and back on my bike, I would heal. My broken spirit would come back to life. So I skipped school to walk in the woods, ride on the trails, and listen to the sound of my tires hitting the ground.
Sophomore year the rods were finally removed, so once again they put me on restriction. And once again I pushed and I didn’t listen to them. I was strong willed. The words “Dont let it own you” repeated in my head like a box of firecrackers.
Shortly after sophomore year I heard that the cancer had taken Brads life. He fought with me and he pushed me, and he was on my side. I know he was saying all the way to the end “You don’t own me” Brad had his own battle, but that didn’t mean he’d give up in mine. Brad pushed me to say “YOU DON’T OWN ME”.
In loving memory of Brad, thank you for not giving up on me and teaching me that nothing owns us unless we let it. ❤Mickey
Toned muscle, low body fat, and bad-ass abs! 2013 I walked across the stage to complete my first and last competition. I had a snobby ass attitude to go with my purple crushed velvet competition suit. My friends and family cheered as I walked across the stage and completed my well rehearsed routine. It was my time to shine. It was my time to sell it. I was in fact a mom of 2 who lost 80 lbs and defeated the “mom bod”. Yes, I was a bad mamma jamma!
In fact the words bad mamma couldn’t begin to describe my downward spiral and loss of self identity. My kids 5 and 3, my husband serving our country in Afghanistan, and me drowning my self in workouts and secret binge eating. The words “You need to look the part” pumped like a heartbeat in my head. I was not worthy yet to be a tier two personal trainer, because my body fat still sat at 20%, you couldn’t see muscle striations, and I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to push more and I needed to eat less. I needed to be more than myself, because my self wasn’t good enough. I needed to look like the women in “Muscle and Fitness Her’s” Magazine. I needed to be able to say I was a fitness model. But really I was just a momma looking for a sense of accomplishment. I needed to prove doctors wrong about my strength. Doctors whose opinion should not have really mattered to me. Doctors who were long since out of my life. “LEG DAY NOV 21, 2012-100LB sumo dead lift! Get it! They told me nine years ago I wouldn’t! ha” I posted and bragged on instgram. What the hell did it matter what was said 9 years ago? I proved them wrong the first time I ever road a BMX bike again and that was in 2004, less than a year after my car accident.
Why was I steady trying to prove greatness. As if I needed anyone’s approval besides my family, who I abandoned so I could workout and binge eat in secret. I pushed everyone aside and thought of no one, but my self. I was a selfish nightmare who was constantly seeking approval of people who didn’t matter. Everyone loved me, but me? No, I hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t small enough, I couldn’t lift enough, and I still had stretch marks. I was never good enough.
I wasn’t a good mom and I failed at being a good wife. I failed at every aspect of life, but I sure did “Look the part.” That’s what mattered to me? Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to impress?
My kids didn’t want someone else to put them in bed at night because mommy was completing her 90 minutes of cardio and her 60 minute weight lifting session. No they wanted their mom to read them a story and sing them a song, but mommy was too busy posting “flexy” pictures on instagram and striving to look the part.
They wanted mommy to take them to the park to play, but mommy was too impatient and had too many workouts to write. That’s right I was a bad mamma jamma. In fact a horrible one, I greeted my husband with anger over skype, meanwhile he was serving in Afghanistan not guaranteed tomorrow. Yeah, I was bad mamma jamma. He built me up and I tore him down.
2014 I lost twins to a miscarriage and it didn’t matter if I looked the part. No it didn’t matter if I looked healthy, because I really wasn’t. Improper nutrition and secret amenorrhea took its toll on me. Who cares that I was really healthy as long as I could lift and compete? All of that training and carb cycling for what? I wasn’t fooling myself anymore. I was not healthy at all. In fact I killed my self in the gym and hurt those close to me for nothing. I trained to look like something I wasn’t. I couldn’t fool my body by the way I looked. Now, it was not a fact that my “fitness” habits had any bearing on my miscarriage, but I am sure they didn’t help.
Since 2014 I haven’t trained to look the part. No I have trained to be healthy. I have trained so I can keep up with my four kids. I have trained to hike up a couple thousand feet and recover without regret. I eat to fuel my body and not shape it. Yeah, I don’t “look” the part anymore. I look like a mom who loves to be with her kids, a wife who adores her husband, and a woman who loves her self with all her flaws. No, I don’t have that bad-ass six pack anymore or that 12% body fat, but I do have endurance and strength to carry 2 kids plus essentials up the side of the mountain. I don’t have 25k of personal training revenue a month any more, but I do have the time to spend raising my family. No I don’t look the part anymore, I am the part. I am the trainer who loves training clients to feel and move better. To teach them that the real value comes from feeling and moving better, the looks are a bonus. When someone tells me they want to look like some one else, I discourage it with every fiber of my being. You don’t need to look like someone else, because you were never meant to be someone else. When someone tells me you don’t look like a mom, I tell them looks are deceiving.
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Bindi Irwin
Everyday I learn something valuable as a mom. Children are so innocent and compassionate they remind us daily about the important things in life.
Keep trying. My children never give up on anything. They always push through whatever challenge life may face them with. It took me years to understand “Child like faith” and I can finally say that I whole heartedly understand. When children are faced with a challenge they rarely walk away. They have a unwavering faith that they will be able to complete said challenge and come out on top. They don’t second guess themselves. They just do it. Just push and try try again. Giving up is a learned behavior. When a child learns to take the first step, you don’t see them fail and never try again, do you? It’s not how they operate. My children don’t stop they keep trying again and again. You see my son really wanted inside that toilet. I’m not sure how he got in there, but I’m almost positive it didn’t happen his first try. He was playing while I was doing laundry and it couldn’t have been an easy task, but he wanted in there and he kept trying.
Keep learning. Children are always learning new things. And they don’t stop developing. We as adults stop trying to learn and we get the “What more is there” attitude and then we stop developing. We send our children to school so they may learn new things. It is so vital to keep learning and developing. Amazing things happen in our brains when we learn something new.
Keep smiling. My children’s sadness last for a total of like five seconds. They don’t have “bad days” only bad moments. They continue to smile no matter what they were just crying about two seconds before.
It’s ok to make mistakes. Kids are always making mistakes and learning from them. Krystina, is queen of mistakes. She once stuck a key in an outlet, she has not done it since. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. It’s when we continue to make the same mistake over again that it becomes a problem.
Smiles really are the best medicine. One smile from their sweet little faces and it can melt away the toughest situations. My daughter lost her two front teeth recently and when she smiles, I instantly become filled with joy. You can’t even help, but laugh.
Love unconditionally. No matter how many times I correct them or discipline them, they love me absolutely unconditionally. No matter how much Jaydon’s little sister drives him crazy he adores her. My children have the most forgiving and unconditional love it is amazing.
Make messes. When I first had children I struggled OCD something fierce! Every time they left a mess I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. Over time I’ve learned to let them make messes, and let them be responsible to clean up. If we never allow the house to be a mess we will always stress. So sit back and let the mess happen.
Sleep is entirely overrated. After delivering my fourth child I have decided I am never going to sleep again. I know that if it’s not the baby, it’s the two year old or maybe on some off moment it’s an older child. Most nights I’m lucky to get 5 hours straight.
Farts are always funny no matter where you are. Recently my two year old had discovered the noises his body makes during these bodily functions and boy does it make him giggle. I’m not sure why, but every child laughs hysterically when someone farts. It doesn’t matter who did it, you can almost guarantee it’s funny!
If they break something it’s not the end of the world. Everything is replaceable, but your children are not. One of my kiddos broke an irreplaceable trinket. It was just a piece of memorabilia. It shattered everywhere. My concern was not for the fact that that my pretty was broken, but if my child was OK.
Don’t blink. The most important thing they’ve taught me is not to blink. As soon as you do you will miss it. You’ll miss their tiny smiles, their little toes, and little steps. Don’t fret the small things and just don’t blink ever. . .
Since I was a little girl I have simply adored being outdoors. I was in love with our summer camping trips, building bike trails in the woods behind our house, and playing graveyard tag at night. I spent my summers fishing while dangling my little feet off the dock. My mom recently found a “book” I wrote about my adventure at a campsite we stayed at over the summer. Bell Smith Springs, in the Shawnee National forest was the topic of this book. My writing has come a ways since.
I really enjoy being outdoors, but being pregnant during the summer months is tough on it’s own. I am really glad I did not allow my pregnancy stop me and my family enjoy being outdoors. Over this summer I continued to hike throughout my pregnancy, while packing our 1 year old with us. Earlier on in my pregnancy it was just our one year old and me, then the further along I was I wouldn’t go alone so it was our 8, 6, 1 year old, and my husband would join us whenever possible. If my husband couldn’t make it out I made sure to invite a friend. I have learned quiet a few things during the past few months.
Drink pleny of fluid! This should be a pretty easy thing to remember, but its easy to forget when you’re focused on the trail ahead. I actually used to carry several water bottles, but then my husband gave me a camel back that fit right in my Deuter Comfort Kid II. It was life changing.
2. Take Breaks. As much as we really want to be super mom, it is so super important that we take breaks. Our bodies are in the process of doing something amazing and we need to do our best to keep from over exerting ourselves.
3. Wear supportive shoes. Tennis shows are great, but I really suggguest something with some ankle support as well as arch support. First few times on the trail I wore my regular addidas that I would wear to the gym, however as I got deeper into hiking and more into my pregnancy I noticed my arches and ankles were beginning to pinch. I also noticed that my body began to compensate because of this. I shortly after bought hiking shoes and I insantly could tell a difference.
4. Pack Snacks! Nothing makes you more hungry than hard work and that is exactly what hiking while pregnant does to you. Your body needs extra 300 to 500 calories per day when you’re growing a baby. When you hiking you work hard, but when you’re packing a todddler and a bun in the oven you’re really exerting some energy. The best way to prevent dizziness on the trail is to be sure that you have plenty of fuel on hand
5. Posture check your posture is so important at all times. When your pregnant your center of gravity changes, therefore changing your posture. Bad posture causes back pain and neck pain. So be sure your body is properly aligned when hiking
6.Sunscreen super important thing to bring. Who wants to add anything more miserable to pregnancy. Your skin and hormones are all very different during pregnancy you just want to be sure that you’re taking the best steps to prevent adding anything that will cause your pregnancy to be any more miserable!
8. Pack light I like to think I’m wonder woman and the first time I went I packed tons of extra crap and carried my 15 month son on my back as well in a soft carrier. What a terrible plan. I was so tired and sore. I learned fast to pack light.
9. Share the weight if you can’t pack light be sure you are sharing the weight. Don’t try to be a super woman and haul everything.It’s ok to ask for help!
10. Heart rate monitor although you don’t need to stay away from certain zones you do need to be aware of what your heart is doing. If your heart spikes for an unknown reason you’ll need to know. Be sure you have a monitor!
11. Listen to your body! If your body is telling you you’re over heated and need to sit and breath then do it! If your body is telling you you can’t go any further, then turn around. Don’t push your self!