Tuesday, March 20, 2018


A letter to those who helped me out in the last few months, 

Thank you. 

I usually have explanatory words for how I feel during big moments in my life. But as I search for the right ones now, I come up blank. No words can describe how thankful I am to you. But my heart expands in my chest when I think about the love that was given. 

Starting with Reign’s birth, and especially after he was sick, I asked for help in different ways to those who were willing to reach their hands out to me. From financial gifts, to grocery runs, to doing my laundry, to bringing medicine and soup, to lending showers, to watching Kingston, to doctor appointment moral support visits, to loaning cars, to late night texts, to simple encouragements on facebook, to airport rides, to bribing my toddler to get on the plane, to crashing on beds, to watching a movie together, to binging on pizza guilt free, to sharing a glass of wine, to never ending patience, to lending a much needed ear or offering advice... it was all beyond what I anticipated. 

The last four months have been challenging to say the least. But coming out of it now, settling back into being a family on a farm in Hawaii, I can look back at it knowing I have chosen my tribe well. The people in my corner, whether it be my home now, or in the past, rallied together to help me and my boys get through. 

I am eternally grateful. And I love you. 

I look a these pictures, taken by my dear friend Kelsie, the day before we ended our long trip in Colorado, and I see newly realized strength. I see two boys, whom I don’t deserve, looking at me for guidance and love. I see a woman with crows feet and more experience in those eyes then years before. I see two gifts given to me, and that I am growing stronger for. I see a mama learning how to to break, and also learning to stand tall. I see smiles and laughter. 

But I know it took a lot of teamwork and distractions in order to get these beautiful pictures. 

Which is a true testament to how I’m living my life these days. I’m needing teamwork and lots of distractions to get through. And I’m ok with that. It’s worth it. 


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Reign's Health Journey

Disclaimer to my long posts: I write out these longs posts so that way I can look back to see how far we've come, or to remember my thought process, or to not forget the things we go through as a family. To those who read through them, hopefully you are now updated and have a small insight to where we are at as a family. Also because it takes me forever to get anything down these days. 

The last three months feels like three years worth of emotions and decisions and change. And we can manage a lot of change in a three years span. 

The first week with Reign we were on cloud nine. The previous year of adjusting, learning and falling in love with our lives on the farm in Hawaii had created a seemingly good foundation before expanding our family. There were small trials, but they seemed manageable in those first few days. Blake was working so hard to keep Reign and I nourished and he was working on the land or in the kitchen with Kingston during the day so we could get some naps in. My beautiful newborn filled my heart so much more then I anticipated. King's love for him was even more overwhelming. The first few visits from friends was comforting. We were so proud of the birth we experienced and so in love with our newest family edition. 

But when Reign was twelve days old we took him to see our naturopathic doctor/midwife because we were a nervous about his breathing. She said she could hear some fluid in his lungs and recommended we go to the ER for a quick x-ray. We debated it because we were so hesitant to be invasive, but came to terms with it and wanted to know how he's doing. That first ER visit in Hilo was a nightmare. So many things were wrong with how they treated us, we fought our way out, shaking mad and surprised at how bad it got. We did get the x-ray and they said they could see a small blur on his lower left lung. But at the time they wanted to grab him for three days and do a spinal tap, without any discussion as to realities of what his issues could be, they were aggressive and accusatory which made us very uncomfortable and scared. We decided to take a few baby steps before we got to that point so we left. It was a rough night processing what had happened and how to further take care of Reign. We took him in for blood tests that week. Being parents who wanted the very least invasive things done to our babies, the needles for the blood work and his cries were so hard on us. 

I forget now if it was this first test or if we did another to make sure his numbers were consistent, but by Thanksgiving we were on our way to the ER in Waimea because the natro doctor called late the night before and said he didn't look good. She couldn't tell exactly, but that there were very concerning things about his numbers and we needed more help. She called Seattle Pediatrics and Oahu Pediatrics for guidance and knowledge. They both said they couldn't see anything specific but that his numbers were quite unusual. With this information, and discussing it through, we decided to go to the ER in Waimea. It was a quiet forty minute drive north. We were hoping going to this hospital would give us more peace and understanding. They were much kinder to us in regards to our parenting. They did another X-ray and found he was ok. They looked at his blood work and said there were a few things like jaundice but that most likely his painful cries related to colic and sent us home. Getting to the farm for Thanksgiving dinner, with good news about our baby, lifted such a heavy weight from our shoulders. 

A few days went by and I still felt he was sick somehow. His cry was too painful for that of a hungry or tired newborn. We then got his urine tested two different times and again we were told there were too many white and red blood cells in his urine. The concern being how young he was and how long he had been fighting an infection, we were having to keep a close eye on him to make sure his eyes were tracking properly and he was eating right. I know there are lots of things that can happen in this world to us mortals, but coming terms with the fact that the baby who grew inside of you may not be ok is really difficult. Postpartum started to sink in for me. 

For many reasons, being that King just became a big brother, that I was occupied with someone else, that we were going to so many doctor and lab offices, and that he was becoming more independent, smart and curious, but that two year old started pushing boundaries that were becoming dangerous. He started walking down the driveway by himself, without telling anyone. That scares the living shit out of me. There's so many trucks and cars that drive around. Granted, they aren't going 20mph but he's so short and quick that I couldn't shake the dangers nor trust those around to keep their eye out. This, and other dangers, came down very hard me, at a time when I really just wanted to be concerned with my new baby. But that's not how it works when you have more kids. Everything doubles; the pains, chances, love, concerns all multiply. 

On the 3rd of December I packed my bag for three days worth of clothes and headed to Waimea hospital with Reign. Blake and King stayed behind on the farm. I was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. I stopped to get some food to bring into the hospital with me in case I was there for a while. I called my dad and talked to him about it all. He's very positive and very real at the same time. Talking to him before we went in was good for me, he reminded me to be strong as a mother and that at times we just need to let western medicine be available to us when we need it. We had tried several other doctors with a home visit and an accupuncturist who had me try to switch up my diet to flush Reign out and work on him so he could be more comfortable. With a few other light body workers helping him, there was improvement, but not enough fast enough, so my mama heart said go in for help. Seeking council with our parents and friends was the motivation and gaudance I needed to make these decisions. 

We were in the ER for nine hours on a Sunday. The doctors and nurses were very kind and took small steps with me. They thought his urine bag from the lab might have been contaminated because of how many numbers of bacteria there were in it, so they wanted a cathider but were hopeful he was ok. We waited. The numbers prior were correct, showing that he was really fighting a bad infection. With that,  they brought the pediatrician down to talk to me about what the next steps look like. He said because his vitals were perfect (no fever, gaining weight, reactive) that he wasn't pushing the lumbar test. But sometimes babies who are fighting infection with a low immune system don't developed fevers. And that he really takes into account what the mama thinks. This was hard for me. Was it my choice to get this test done? I knew that if I walked away without the test, and that he was in so much pain and that he was so young... I couldn't take that risk. He'd be the one suffering for it in the long term. The next hard part was trying to find a vein where they could put the IV for the antibiotics. The NICU nurse needed to come see him and try to get the needle in. They put so much pressure on their little limbs, it's so hard to watch. 

The lumbar test was traumatizing for us both. Luckily he won't remember, but I'll never forget. His cry and they way they had to hold him, my fifteen day old baby. I couldn't watch at first. The nurses and doctor would try to distract me from crying my eyes out in the hallway. Eventually I ran outside to the night's cold air and tried to catch my breath, look at the stars. When I came back in I pulled the curtain aside and he was passed out. They told me to come to be near him, that he probably wanted to smell me. I turned the corner and saw the needle with bright orange spinal fluid dripping out of my tiny little boy. This was too much. I think I broke at this time. 

After that they cleaned him up and took forever to get us into a room for the next few days. We got in there at about 11pm. I was so exhausted. The nurse acted like I needed lectures on how to not let him scratch his face or not to leave him to take a shower. I just about ripped her head off... but like I said, I was exhausted.  They came to check on him every three hours. If he woke in between, we were up then too. They were long days in that hospital room, waiting to hear how he was doing. Blake and Kingston came every day, and though I was glad to see them, it was hard on both of us to manage a wild Kingston and be careful of IV tubes, watch our baby get tests, and even come to terms with what was going on. 

Waiting in the unknown is so difficult. Being a parent with another who is so anti-... I don't even know what to say... anti-western intervention? Afraid of the reality? Wanting to take time to make these decisions, when we don't have time? Having too much faith in a little boy to fight it off naturally? This parenting thing is hard. And it's really hard when you're finding that in the moment, you two may have very different ways of walking down a path like this, you both love your children so much and do want what's best for them, but your willingness to sacrifice your own wishes is on different spectrums. And then to have no time or even energy to rationalize these things together... it all starts to get to be too much. 

At least that's the situation we found ourselves in. It came down hard and I tried, through exhaustion and heartbreak and loneliness, to find an answer to help get us through, whether that be some time off the farm, or renting a spot in Kona to help dry Reign out, or even going back to Colorado for help. Blake was optimistic everything would pass and we'd get throught. I, on the other hand, was not so optimistic. I knew if things continued I'd get deeper into my worries and sadness. Of course that never meant I wasn't grateful for the good things in our lives. Postpartum is hard to explain and I think it effects each woman very personally in their own ways. 

A week after Reign's antibiotics were over I took him to the pediatrician to get another urine sample. He tested positive again. I knew his painful cry had returned so I almost knew he was still fighting it before they told me. He went on another round of antibiotics. The doctors also check up on Mom, see how she's doing, and with a discussion with them and my midwife and acupuncturist, we agreed I couldn't be doing all this with the limited help I had. Don't get me wrong though, the community and friends we are growing in Hawaii were there for me when I needed, bringing me groceries, taking our laundry to the laundromat, letting me take a bath in their bathtub, bringin me soup, watching King. This sounds like a lot, but when you're deep in it, and your other half is working so hard to provide the meals and work hours, the day's require so much more. 

With all these things going on, I decided to reach out for help in getting back to Colorado. Within a matter of four days I had decided it would be best to take a break from Hawaii, the tickets were booked, and my brother, Anthony, arrived. I picked him up from Kona and we had a great beach day at Hapuna then headed to the farm to try to wrap our minds around how to pack up with the two boys. At that time I wasn't sure if I was packing up for a temporary or permanent time. This overwhelmed me. Am I packing up for a few weeks, or am I trying to pack up the cabin and get rid of things? Two nights before we headed to Colorado, Blake and I finally had a long conversation about the situation we were in and what we thought might be best, though very hard. The realities of my wishes to get help finally sank in. Blake decided he needed to stay on the farm to work, so we could have the option to return, or at least until we had answers with Reign. We also thought he could use some time to regroup in his own way. And I would take the boys to be with family and try to get rest and then to get Reign into the doctors. 

We arrived into Denver on Christmas Eve and spent that at my Nana's with my siblings and Dad. Christmas Day we went to Blake's parents' and enjoyed dinner with the cousins and family. The next day we arrived at my brother, Matt's. His family offered for us to recover at their place and it was just what we needed. Stacie is so good with babies. I remember she was the first to bring me preemie clothes when Kingston arrived three weeks early. And this time she was so good with fussy Reign, and they both were very attentive to the changes Kingston had been going through. Stacie's son, Treven, welcomed my wild Kingston by giving up his room and toys and taking him on the trampoline on the mornings to burn off energy. 

We spent two weeks in there home, adjusting, resting and regrouping. Matt let us borrow his car while he was at work, and then my friend Kelsie let us borrow her car for a week so we could get Reign into some appointments. Then with the winter sicknesses going around, I had the opportunity to go to Blake's parents' house so Matt's family could rest and get better without worrying about us, or worrying Reign would get sick. And I'm sure they needed a little break from us. Once we got settled into the Grandparents' it became easier to just stay. Kingston loves to wake them up in the morning for their coffee and his orange juice. And Reign and I both started sleeping much better once we figured out a good schedule. 

I got Reign into a pediatrician and then to the hospital for some more tests. He finally gave a clean urine sample, which was good news but the pediatrican recommended we see some specialists to get more detailed answers. We had those appointments two weeks ago with the urologist and the hematologist for pediatrics. The urologist was happy with his clean sample and the ultrasound results so he said unless Reign contracts more UTI's it was most likely a freak incident. He didn't think it was environmental nor my fault (mamas ask these questions of course.) The bacteria Reign reacted to was straight from his gut, one that he shouldn't have got an infection from. The doctor thought it was more of a random chance situation. The couple of ultrasounds and x-rays he got showed his organs are where they should be and healthy. The hematologist was very thorough and friendly as she went through all of his exams, labs and tests. We talked about family history, including that my side has a Mediterranean anemia condition called Thalassemia, which isn't a big deal, it just can make blood lab numbers look a little off. We compared his lab results from when he was 15 days old to the most recent ones and she wanted to get some more specific blood labs that day. The older and stronger Reign gets, the harder it is to get blood drawn, so these tests are heartbreaking but I know necessary. 

I'm glad we did because the next day she called and discussed where he was at currently. He's  managed to get all his numbers to where they need to be at his age! She felt he didn't have a compromised immune system and that he didn't need more tests! Finally! We are to make sure that if he continues to get infections, then we can do some more tests and see an immune hematology specialist. But until then... he's a healthy three month old! My mama heart is so happy and relieved. I can tell he's feeling better and already reaching the milestones he should be. He got King's cold this last week and though it makes me sad he's sick, I am so relieved that I can worry about him on a normal level, instead of thinking his immune system couldn't fight it on his own. I'm proud of my healthy boy, family and friends for being supportive and caring, and myself for making some tough decisions and getting through all those tests with him. Though I may feel like I am not strong enough for this, I keep proving to myself that I am, and that is good to know. 

I am also more empathetic towards mothers who have a rough time after giving birth, for whatever reasons. It's not that we aren't grateful nor that we aren't in love with our babies. Sometimes the hormones and emotions are too much. I'm thankful I could reach out and express my need for help, even at a cost to our families, inconveniences for places to stay, friends' giving up their cars, and so on. I am with a partner who tries his very best to see the very best in all situations, and for that strength I am so grateful. I am happy he sees the sunshine on a cloudy day. But sometimes we just need more help then we think. Asking for and receiving it, though embarrassing or compromising, is what's pulled me through to the other side. With Reign's clean bill of health, and work being done back in Hawaii to get us to a more family friendly and manageable set up, and all the love we've received, I am in a better spot to be a more present mother and make clearer choices for my two boys. 

Dream Big, Ride Far my Reign Cub, for you are strong and loved. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

An Island Birth

*Whew* five weeks have gone by fast. We've had our game faces on recovering, cleaning, adjusting, trying to sleep and smooch on our babes. Adjusting to farm style family life is a full time job, and it's A LOT more work then we anticipated, but we're here and we are working hard to make it happen. There's much more involved in the short five weeks we have grown this family but that can be saved for another time. For now, let's just enjoy the story of the most perfect dream birth I was able to experience as my beautiful island boy came earth side.

I originally wrote this right after the birth, so I'm going to leave it as is, when I was in total newborn bliss.

It's been four days since our family grew to four. I've been at our cabin resting and healing and soaking up all the newborn sweetness I can before the chaos settles in. Blake has been off work at the cafe, though always doing farm work, and has been keeping us fed and healthy, while having good bonding time with Kingston as they harvest and work together. We're slowly working out a new routine, until it all switches up again.

Right now it is Sunday afternoon, both boys are sleeping, Blake is finally taking some down time and I'm going to try to write out this whirlwind of a birth story. The rain comes and goes during the day along with the sunshine. Right now it is quiet and dark. The coquis frogs are chirping and the birds are talking. We took a little walk to the laundry room and got a few sun rays on us. We've been talking names today...

On Tuesday night I knew I was having contractions, but they weren't severe enough or close together so I slept through them. When we were up around 7am I started timing them, knowing they were consistent. I hung with King at the cabin, waiting for Blake to come back from the kitchen. I kept timing them and notified our midwife, Jackie, that I felt it would be today. She said good, and to keep her updated. I waddled down through two contractions to the kitchen to tell Blake. He was surprised and excited. He gave me a bowl of gardenias he had picked and was going to get the pots for boiling water for the tub. I waddled back up to the cabin and smelt those gardenias every step. I cleaned up a little and folded some laundry (that eventually got ignored for the next two days.) We have our cabin next to another small office space that I was able to claim for my birthing room. I have been nesting and prepping for this birth by making that space a calm, loving and organized environment so I would feel taken care of during my labor and delivery. Everything about that room, the pretty tapestry, greens I had picked, lighting, baby things, my birth affirmations, the birth kit and supplies set up, and the sunshine through the screened in windows was perfect in those last moments. I read and re-read my affirmations as they hung over the window. I watched a show on my iPad as I sank into the warm water in the new horse trough we had got and brought in that morning. My essential oil blends I made specifically for this time were on the window sill. I took a picture of the tub and notified family we were filling it. My phone was charged and ticking away, timing my contractions. They were close together but around 30 seconds long. I guess I was waiting for them to be longer before my mind told me to rush everyone. I told my friend Alexa we weren't in a rush, but to come soon. She was my girl for things we needed in the kitchen or hanging with King. We weren't sure if he or I would want him there in those birthing moments. At some point Blake came and got Kingston and took him to the kitchen to prep more things. The guys had harvested, drained and scooped out coconuts for me to have. Blake came up to pour more boiling water in the tub one last time, then headed back down. 

The hot water was so perfect, and the contractions became harder and more intense. One of the ladies from the midwife's office called asking how I was. I could barely manage to tell her. She said they were on their way. I went outside to go to the bathroom when it had hit me that I might be having this baby on a bucket, outside, in the jungle alone. Blake and Kingston came around the corner just then with the sweetest smiles but so unaware of what was happening it was ((almost)) funny. Through some gritty tears I told Blake this was it and made it into the tub. He didn't know what to do before I told him I couldn't make those decisions anymore and was taken over by my body telling me to push. He got Jackie on the phone and over speaker, in the car on the highway to us, she talked us through what was going to happen next, that we were going to have this baby without her and that we could do it. There was a second where we could have panicked but honestly I didn't care, I knew I could do it and we would be ok. What I was more afraid of was the pushing lasting much longer because it was so powerful and I knew I would be depleted soon. I remember Blake asked if I wanted coconut and I was so ready for some nutrition at that point, but there was no time... 

With Kingston at the edge of the tub, telling me, "it's ok, Mama, I'm here, it'll be ok" and Blake talking it through with Jackie on the phone and telling me I got this, that I am strong enough, the baby will slide out, I managed two pushes. Then Jackie asked me to feel for the head. I felt the hair and with the next  push, half the head came through. This part was the worst as I had to wait there for the next contraction. On my knees in the water I pushed his head out and and my water broke. I grunted to get the rest of him out but Jackie knew what I was doing and told me to wait for the next one, to let my uterus do its thing. In that moment I felt the head, ears and neck as I waited for my body to take over. Between these contractions everything quieted, I looked at Blake and breathed. The next one came in fierce and he twisted and came out in the water. I rolled him over in my hands and brought him up to my chest. Crying and laughing and kissing, Blake and I were in awe that just happened. He suctioned the airways out as I managed to get out a cry to know baby was breathing. Blake looked and said "it's a boy" with a big smile right in my ears, it was a sweet moment to finally find out who had been growing in me for so long. Jackie ran in, sliding on her knees, with a huge grin, "you did it!" 

We laughed a little with the rush of adrenaline and shock and celebration and then got right into the next part of it all. Blake and King cut the cord. Then Alexa took King to town for dinner and the park. Blake managed skin to skin with him while I got taken care of and settled into the rest of the afternoon. We called family and then finished a movie (when King is away you soak up any adulting) and then reflected on the day. Alexa and King came back and we got to decompress and discuss things with him. He was wild and not sure, but that's expected. I'm so proud of how he was there for me and I don't remember him loosing his cool at all. He felt so old and wise in those moments.

Since then King has been nothing but gentle and sweet to baby brother. He's still wild when baby isn't in his line of sight, but I'm so thankful King has been so sweet. He's loving having jobs with Blake around the farm during the last few days. Having a home birth definantly is the way to go, but it does mean there's LOTS to clean up right from the first day. I knew from having Kingston at home, in a house with an attached bath, washer and dryer, and Grandma and Grandpa, that it was a lot of work for Blake to be the one to be on clean up, food, and emotional support duty. But now we are a little off grid, living in a community of young workers, on a farm with no family around. We have one community washing machine and a compost toilet near our community kitchen. We have managed with a bathroom bucket for me, a cooler for snacks and loads of laundry washed and hung dry during the last three rainy days. Friends have stopped by with some food and goodies we needed. Blake's working so hard to be there for me and to also be there for the farm, all while cleaning up, navigating Kingston, and harvesting, prepping and delivering my food. I'm so thankful for his hard work and his dedication to this lifestyle amd this family and his strength in knowing we could handle this kind of birth. 

Two will be hard. But before those days really settle in I am able to heal and bond with my baby. I can't  believe my dream birth happened and we are all safe and taken care of. I am so in awe of the power baby had to be here and the power I now know I have to get through. I also am so thankful for the friends we've made here who've encouraged us and allowed us to be our true selves. The community we have found has been there for us when we needed and are understanding when times are changing. Being away from our family during this is hard and we don't mean to keep these precious moments from them. I'm thankful for technology these days, that's for sure! King thinks every phone call is FaceTime and wants to show the phone around the kitchen and farm. He takes Grandma on the swing and Uncle Tony on pretend tractor rides. The will be challenges we will face with this growing family on our own, but we have friends here who are willing to help out, and family and friends at home who are always there for us to lean on. 

By now, finishing this, it's a beautiful Monday morning and we have soaked up some sunshine, given baby a bath, given King fifty things to do already, scrubbed the front porch, and cleaned up around our cabin (which is never ending, good thing we don't have more space!)

I'm feeling great, except for some stitches healing and being up most of the night, but it is my greatest joy to go through birth and newborn exhaustion days in order to have these two boys to learn and grow from. I'm beyond blessed at the outcome of this pregnancy and delivery and so proud of my little family for staying strong and encouraging through it all. 

Five weeks after this amazing day, we have been through a lot, as most of you know. I don't always mean to not share the hard times, the confusing trials, and the tough days, but for the most part I like to remember the good times as I look back at the memories I share via social media and this blog. Real life has hit me harder during this time then ever before. I know that has a lot to do with the fact that two pieces of my heart are outside of my body, given to the world to mold and shape them. It has a lot to do with parenting with a lover who sees things differently not only from the majority of our family and friends but also from me at times. It has a lot to do with living on a farm where every day tasks are much harder and drawn out, making sure our intentions are very specific for living this way. It has a lot to do with my emotions as I navigate post partum. It has a lot to do with the scary journey  we just took to find out why our newborn was sick, and how to help him with the recourses we have. It has a lot to do with that I still feel very much like a new parent, to this newborn and to my ever evolving and boundary pushing, smart and absorbent toddler. As reality has set in this last month, I look back at this birth with such thankfulness and amazement. It reminds me of the love my family has for me. It reminds me of the strength and determination I have in myself. It reminds me of the love the island gave me in enjoying the way Reign came earthside. Today, as I sit with my two boys at the café, and Blake makes us lunch, and I just want to cry because even coming to town has it's trials at every corner, I needed to reread what I wrote when we were so close to that magical morning. And to be thankful for everything that has come my way, not only in this last year, but with all the choices we have made so far, right or wrong, easy or hard. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

An Island Pregnancy

When I left Colorado to seek out an island life with my lover and son, I had not quite dreamt of a future pregnancy. I was trying to find a safe place for us to live and work. I wanted to find community and health and a place of growth. I wanted to learn my value in the things I did as well as the things I was able to offer. I worked hard through tough times, new parenthood, and the constant navigating of my relationship. I managed to see that perseverance pays off here. I felt the feminine energy run through me as we explored the island even more. I felt the honor in having a family. I saw the love it takes to grow food from the ground up. I observed those around me in their own journies to motherhood and through growing a tribe. When I saw this and felt this, I knew I wanted to have a baby here, to experience the natural beauty of growing another person inside me while surrounded by plant medicines, sunshine, finally the ocean, and women who blow my mind with their own strength and beauty on the daily, as they walk their own paths. 

In February we became pregnant and kept it to ourselves for almost two months. We enjoyed knowing and giving one another a look, knowing the depth of change we are about to embark, as well as feeling the unity in our own little family though we were so far from any other family. Finally the time came to tell the farm crew so we could navigate what that meant for us. They were so delighted and supportive, it was almost surprising. We knew things on the farm change so quickly so we waited a while longer to even talk about where to give birth. We found a wonderful midwife in town; I knew right away she'd be the one because she was forthcoming, informative, and has the same passion in her "foul" language as I do, so I knew she'd be great to have at the birth. 

We waited for Kingston's second birthday before announcing. I think it was Mother's Day when we announced with a farm family picture. It only seemed fitting to celebrate on that day. Mothers and their strength is not something to take advantage of or to overlook. My own capabilities, as well as my mother's and grandmother's, aunts, friends, mother in law, sister in law, is so encouraging and comforting and powerful. The miracle of life is more and more precious to me as I continue down this path. Survival of early parenthood is a struggle, a blessing, a challenge, a lesson in reflection of my own goods and bads. It's something you can never be prepared enough for, nor should we be. 

The love and care needed from the very first second of existence is wonderfully present everywhere I look, living and working on this farm. From the soil on up, is the only way anything will not only survive, but flourish and thrive. From the foundation, to the sunlight, to the rain, to the patience and care it takes to get life going. But then I am reminded that stepping away, letting the keikis do their thing, trust in their own determination to survive on their own terms, is a big lesson I am learning.

As plants are being harvested and reborn, as cows are growing and birthing their own calves, as individual lives come here and start fresh, I am also growing, mentally, spiritually and physically.

My beautiful, fellow young mother friend, Liana, offered to take some maternity photos of me. She knows the land and has grown up on the islands, so I trusted her to make this mountain girl feel at home in my new tropical home. We managed time away from our boys for an early morning shoot on the property she lives on. The bamboo garden on the way to the waterfall is so mesmerizing and comforting. The clear cold waterfall is so refreshing and energizing, even through the sprinkling weather. I was able to channel the energy the land was offering me and managed a few good poses. Being on this island, where they treasure and admire a woman's nautural beauty and strength, it was easier for me to embrace my own feminine beauty. I also wanted to be straight forward in my appearance as I was about to embark on my 30th birthday. I want to remember this time in my life for the raw beauty, health and abundance that I have been given this last year.