Sunday, May 24, 2015

And then she was 1!!!

I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this little baby just turned the big ONE!!!

I know every parent feels this way but that year literally flew by and it makes me want to cry just thinking that that tiny infant stage is done and gone and she is turning into a rambunctious toddler!! It still blows my mind that her little brain just soaks up and learns SO much SO fast!! To think she was a blank slate 1 year ago and not she is almost walking and starting to talk is LITERALLY incredible to me! I know I know it’s normal but after what we have been through with Dakota and what we have learned about the brain…I marvel at what the brain can do!!!

It is hard to be too sad though because each new stage is a freaking blast and we love every bit of personality and expression she is gaining…I swear by the minute.
2015-04-20 09.38.50 2015-03-19 19.32.05  

Over the last few days both Zach and I have heard her several times say, “There you go!” although it sounds more like (ther-a-go). It blew us away. Over her birthday week that we just wrapped up she has been exposed to LOTS of ballons and she decided to say “balloon” (blwoon) and she kinds of blows a raspberry when she says it.


And just last Sunday Zach was pointing to a picture of Jesus at church and then he passed her off to a friend and they showed her a picture of Jesus on the program and they swear she said Jesus. The best part about this is these big words are some of her first. She went from Mama and momo (more) to that. She skipped right over ball, Kota, and please…the simple and more heard words that she hears every day. That is just Navy!

Zach and I both have said that if we had to describe her in one word it would be SPORATIC! She is SO random and you never know what you’re going to get from minute to minute!! She is ALWAYS on the move and keeps us on our toes for sure! She thinks she can walk although she thinks that means WE need to walk her all day and night. She barely holds onto us but she isn’t quite confidant to really go yet! She has taken a few steps on her own and is scaling along furniture like a champ. She will stand on her own when she isn’t thinking and realizing she is doing it.
2015-04-29 15.17.10

The funniest thing about Navy is how INCREDIBLY friendly she is! She smiles at any and everyone and if ANYONE walks up and says hi to her she reaches and whines for them to hold her…stranger and all! It makes for some awkward moments in public. I’m sure people must think I beat the poor girl for how bad she wants to go to them. At first I thought it was super weird but now I love it!
2015-04-01 12.55.58
One day at the store it was so cute…a random older man just walked up to me and said, “You have the happiest baby!! She hasn’t stopped smiling!” It was so cute!!!

I think it is such a pure example of love. It is the way I picture Christ would have greeted and felt towards EVERY passerby. She sees the good in EVERY person and she shows love to EVERYONE! It made me think twice about my interactions with others. I know I should be more like miss Navy! Share more love and kindness to EVERYONE I meet. It doesn’t mean I need to hug them and cuddle them as she does…but I can do a lot better at smiling and showing sincere love and care for them. It is funny how even at 1 she is teaching me so much!

Other fun facts about Navy…

She LOVES to eat any and everything especially broccoli, puffs, and blueberries. As much as she eats it is SO surprising to me at how much she has thinned out and how little she is now. She is barely on the charts at 3% on weight at 17.3 lbs, height 28 1/4 26%, and her tiny little noggin 43.7 @ 13%. She of course is very independent and LOVES finger foods that she can pick up herself and eat. I’m not sure if she even knows how to use a spoon anymore! ;)
2015-04-03 18.05.26
I caught her stealing her cousins pizza crust when they went to play!!

She loves to babble talk all day. I’m pretty sure we have a talker on our hand! Luckily her brother is a GREAT listener! ;) She has become more and more into Dakota and he into her! She sometimes uses him as her jungle gym and most of the time he doesn’t seem to mind. He is smiling more and more at her every day. She is becoming a little entertainer! The way she lights up when she sees him in the morning and when he gets home from school is pretty sweet!!
2015-02-04 17.40.24 2015-03-18 14.09.342015-02-12 17.22.32   2015-04-08 14.02.18   2015-04-08 14.02.28  
2015-03-05 16.17.21
Let’s hold hands!!
  2015-04-04 18.35.09  2015-05-18 20.24.10
I LOVE this second picture at bedtime!!

2015-05-10 21.15.48 
Double bath time in Dakota’s bath chair is a little tricky! ;)

We found this killer ride off of Amazon to attach to Dakota’s stroller, bike, or anything really to make our lives so much easier!!
2015-04-13 12.19.22 2015-04-25 13.19.442015-04-09 08.56.30
It saved my life in March when I had to fly to AZ by myself!!! She would seriously sit there and just wave to people.

She acts SO excited about any and everything. She does the open mouth in shock excited face ALL the time over pretty much anything!! It is super fun. She brings A LOT of excitement into our life with her enthusiasm for life!!
DSC_1183 DSC_1184

If she is not making that face she is more then likely saying Uh-Oh to any and everything that drops. I love her sweet voice!!!

Unfortunately for me she has learned to rip all of her accessories off! Headband…gone. Bows and ponytail…gone. Shoes…gone…she can even unvelcro them now. Even her darling little earrings she finally discovered and pulls them out all the time. I think now we have only 1 earing of every pair. She is a little stinker!!
2015-03-27 18.06.09

cShe still likes to wave but not nearly as much as she used to. I miss her little arm straight up, all wrist, open hand wave. Now it is more of just an open hand little wave.

Before her first birthday I had Jodi Thornock a local photographer do a cake smash shoot with her. I KNEW Navy would “kill” it because she LOVES to eat, she isn’t afraid of anything or anyone, and she is SO easy to make smile. She totally did! As soon as we set the cake down she was digging right in. (Hence the reason there is no picture of her cute cake on the darling cake stand.) Once she got a taste of that baby there was no stopping her!! She’s her momma’s girl! ;) It ended in quite the mess!!
Her cake was SOOO cute but it didn’t last long. The minute we set it in front her her she dug her little fingers in and went right to her mouth. And she just kept going…
And going!!!
Oh her sweet face…I could eat it…especially with frosting on it! ;)

She took the cake smash VERY seriously and stepped on it, sat on it, and quite literally SMASHED it!! YUM!!!!

Her actual birthday she woke up with balloons showering her!
2015-05-12 12.26.34
This was her first experience with balloons and she wasn’t so sure! After a week of partying, balloons became her favorite thing and her favorite word! (bwoon) Every morning still…so the balloons are still going she wakes up and points right at them and gasps with her open mouth face, then repears “bwoon” until you walk over to them and play for a minute! I love her enthusiasm and excitement for life!!

She of course had to have her own birthday cake for a second time. I made this one so let’s just say it was NOTHING pretty! ;) Luckily she didn’t care! ;) (Sorry I didn’t even get a picture just video)

We partied hard with family! She of course had to dress her best for the occasion because a 1 year old really cares about that! I know…I’m one of THOSE mom’s…I’m sorry I just love girl things!! ;)
And of course we had to decorate to match! ;)
2015-05-17 18.11.17
Can you tell I LOVE black and white stripes and GOLD!!! (I mean Navy does! ;))
This beautiful cake was seriously from Walmart!  Something about that black and white striped vase (toothbrush holder from Walmart..shhh) and pink flowers makes me happier then it should!! They are still alive by my kitchen sink and they make me smile every day!

I told Zach I think I have enjoyed getting ready for Navy's birthday party a little too much! Not sure if I am making up for Dakota's first with Navy since we spent Dakota's first birthday in the hospital with Zach. His family made the cake and brought it and we celebrated in the hospital cafeteria. It was far from an ideal way to celebrate your first child's first birthday...but it brought some sunshine into our dark and scary world at the time. It was Zach's last birthday celebration with a little sight.

 As you can tell...Dakota man did not love the cake as much as Navy! Their little personalities are so different and so funny!!

It was so fun to watch her open presents for the first time. (Christmas didn’t count because she completely didn’t care then!)
PicMonkey Collage
DSC_1249 DSC_1250
I LOVE Dakota’s face in this first pic and Navy’s in the second! ;)

She got spoiled rotten of course by grammy and poppy and got her very own 4 wheeler! She thought it was pretty sweet!
When we got her to take her first ride she wasn’t so sure. Now she climbs up on there all by her big girl f and loves for US to push the button. She hasn’t gotten the hang of it quite yet. She has pushed it accidentally  on her own and it freaks her out a little because she isn’t expecting it.

It was such a fun night and she enjoyed her third birthday cake thoroughly.
Blowing out the first of many candles in her life, at least I hope and pray!!

She was a good sharer…
Here Daddy…
And Kota!! Good sister!!

She even freely shared with her cute cousins! Houston and Mae LOVED it…the other babes…not so much! I think they just took turns wiping it on each other!
Cruize, Navy, Charlie (we missed Lola)
This picture is HILARIOUS!!! Those tears!

She topped her birthday month off by going on her birthday date to Toys R Us with Grammy and Poppy. (It is there tradition with every grandkid on their birthday!)
DSC_0073  grammDSC_0084 DSC_0083 
I hope she realizes how lucky she is to have such a fun grammy and poppy!!!

If your still reading this forever long post…my hat is off to you!! This is what happens when I’m SOOO many months behind on this precious little girl! I don’t want to miss journaling one minute of her life as it happens so fast and I never know what will lie ahead! I was never good about journaling as much as I should have with Dakota and I learned a hard lesson! This little girl is worth staying up until 2 a.m. just to get a dang blog post finished that started a couple weeks ago! ;)

To end I have to write a letter to my birthday girl that I hope one day when she is older she will read and feel of my great love and admiration for her!!!

Dearest Navy,

You turned one this month!! It was an emotional time for me…SO happy and a little sad. Sad because I feel like the time is already going TOO fast!! I want you to be my little baby girl forever although I know that is impossible! I cried tears of joy at the thought of celebrating your FIRST birthday because my heart was SOOO full that our Heavenly Father has allowed me to be your earthly mother for a whole year!!! I pondered about your birth and the joy both me and your dad felt that day. I wish I could relive that day EVERY day because the feelings we felt that day were indescribable!! You brought something to our family that only YOU could bring!! A piece of heaven, a ray of sunshine, and an intense feeling of PURE joy!!

I know Heavenly Father prepared you before He sent you to our family! I’m sure He told you about ALL the heartache we have faced and you knew how much we needed you. You knew your life would always look different then your friends…your brother wouldn’t be able to play like other brothers, and your dad wouldn’t be able to do all the same things other dads can do. You knew your mom would need your extra hands to love and serve your family. Your heart was pure and full of love and so you came…even if it meant it might be kind of hard!!

Navy, I knew you were something special the moment I laid my eyes on you!!! I feel SOOOO blessed to be your mom!! There are SOOO many things I want to teach you and I want you to know…but they will come with time!! For now, I want to play with you, love you, and savor your silly giggle, your soft touch, and your tiny embrace!! I love you with my WHOLE heart and I pray EVERY day that you feel that!!

Happy birthday Jo-Jo!!! May you NEVER take one day for granted and may you ALWAYS remember who you are…a child of a LOVING God!!


2015-04-11 12.50.39
(Her little fangs are going away as her top two teeth are coming in. I will miss my Vampire baby!!)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day…My favorite holiday!

I think Mother’s Day has most definitely become one of my top favorite holidays!! Motherhood should most definitely be celebrated because it truly is a gift!! To have a whole day devoted to celebrating MOTHERS…it is just freaking awesome!!!


As this special day comes to a close I am almost in tears at what a happy and incredible day it has been!! Not because we did anything fancy, or because my kids made me something awesome because they can’t…but because it was FILLED with SO much LOVE and HAPPINESS from my amazing husband and two beautiful kids!!!

Zach let me sleep in after I nursed Navy (which is ALWAYS amazing and a great way to start a day since it rarely happens). Then after I woke up I walked right into Dakota’s room where he was lying in bed and snuggled up next to him and was showered with smile after smile and giggle after giggle for it seemed like FOREVER!!! He has had the happiest last few days and today was one for the books!! He was SOOO happy and every time I would tell him, “Thank you SO much Dakota for all your smiles!! That is the best gift you could EVER give me for Mother’s Day!” he would just light up and giggle more!! I truly believe it was his special way to tell me Happy Mother’s Day and I will NEVER forget it!!! He brings SO much sunshine to my soul!!

On top of all of Dakota’s happiness…for the first Mother's Day since Dakota’s accident I got to hear “Mama” repeated all day today and fill Navy’s tiny little arms wrap around my neck!! Those simple gestures mean SO much to me and fill my heart with SO much joy!! It is the simple things like these that make being a mother SOOO rewarding!!!

Motherhood is not a glamorous job. Every night when I look in the mirror it is always a little scary! I have Dakota’s spit on my shoulder or in my hair. Navy’s food somewhere on my clothes. My makeup (if I even did it for the day) is smeared and scary. My messy bun is a little bit messier or if I actually did my hair then you can’t tell anymore BUT the best part about it all…I don’t even care!!! The mess, the craziness, the tiredness and exhaustion is ALL worth it!! It means I am a MOM and have one of the coolest jobs EVER!! Before Dakota’s accident I took motherhood for granted. It never occurred in my mind that it could end in an instant until that tragic day!! That dark feeling of realizing that I might not be a “mom” anymore was one of the worst feelings I have EVER felt and I can NEVER forget!! It is sad to say that something so tragic is what made me learn how sacred being a mom really was!! For the first time I realized that our children are a literal gift from God. We don’t get to choose how long they get to stay with us on this mortal journey or what their path will look like…so we MUST cherish EVERY day like it could be our last!! Don’t be the one like me who thought…that won’t happen to ME!

Dakota has taught me and many other mother’s out there to LOVE, APPRECIATE, ENJOY, and CHERISH each new day of motherhood and all that comes with it…the good and the bad days!! I can NEVER repay him for that!!! My heart always bursts when I get a comment or hear from someone I know or a stranger I bump into in the store who has read my blog or followed Dakota’s story and tells me that he has made them appreciate their kids or appreciate being a mom more. It makes all the heartache and pain worth it ALL and gives purpose to our trials!! So thank you to all who have shared that with us!!

Happy Mother’s Day to EVERY mother out there!! May you where your spit up stained, food covered clothes and messy bun spit covered hair with pride!! And if you are out of “that” stage…enjoy those emotional rollercoaster teenage years for they will be gone in an instant!! And if your kids are grown with families of their own…remember…motherhood NEVER ends!! As I look at all mine and Zach’s mom has had to endure watching and helping us and other siblings through trials..I kind of don’t want my kids to ever grow up!! I think I will take “these” sleepless nights over those! ;) Motherhood NEVER ends!! Enjoy each new stage, and each new challenge it will bring…because as we ALL know…our children teach us more then we teach them!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015


I titled this post Fight to the Finish for MANY reasons!! 1. Because I feel like EVERY day right now is a fight to the finish just to get through it!! Not the same kind of fight I used to have after Dakota’s accident (fight of physical, emotional, and spiritual survival) but more a fight to FOCUS and accomplish EVERYTHING that needs done and EVERYONE that needs me for SOMETHING!!! Some days I feel like my brain might EXPLODE!! To all you working mom’s out there, my hat is off to you!! Working for Zach, helping him do this Kickstarter campaign about threw me over the edge!! I have a hard enough time keeping my house clean(and it’s a tiny basement right now), making dinner, keeping up with the bills, helping Zach with just the normal things he needs help with, and being a mom to 2 fully dependant kids…Throw a full time job of marketing, advertising, and maintaining this Kickstarter thing while trying to focus on building a house…let’s just say I did NOTHING well!! I feel like these last few months my house has been insanely dirtier and unorganized then ever, we have eaten A LOT of pizza, my one on one with my kids (which is my most prized and valued thing) was fewer and far between, I wasn’t filling all of Zach’s needs as a wife, I haven’t even had time to pick out and enjoy house ideas, I rarely do something I WANT to do (like blog, run, even shower some days ;)), and let’s be honest, I was only a semi-good marketer for the Germavoid! There were literally days where I felt like throwing in the towel to EVERYTHING and just laying in bed! Not that that could EVER happen but I WANTED to!! And the bummer part about it…in the end we didn’t even hit our Kickstarter goal!!! :(

We are trying to stay positive around here…take what we have learned from our experience, learn from it, and hope to make something from it!! I know Heavenly Father is mindful of us and there is a reason behind all of this madness right now…there always is!! As we try and sort out what direction to go next, what decisions we make for our families future…I know Heavenly Father will guide us! As always…it just takes longer and requires more patience and work then I sometimes like! But obviously we have been through A LOT worse….so in comparison this is nothing!! I am grateful that Dakota has taught me to put things in proper perspective! As bummed as we were, we both looked at each other and thought… least we are all healthy! (Our version of healthy! ;))

For now…Zach is back at his landscaping full time. My heart breaks for him as he was hoping this would take him in a new direction and landscaping could start to take a back seat! Being a blind landscaper was never what he planned for his future but he has done AMAZING at learning to take what you have been given and make the best of it! He sure is my hero!!! And literally every day for him is truly a FIGHT to the FINISH! He is a fighter for sure!!

So what’s next for the Germavoid?? Well, Zach had two products ready to launch for the Germavoid and the Clean Touch was the first. The second product he designed is for use at gas pumps and costs A LOT less to make and manufacture. So, he is contemplating launching that in the near future but now with landscaping in full tow it might have to wait a bit. It is still up in the air though as he fears wasting more money on this if it is not going to do well. We realize you have to risk money to make money but there is that fine line between knowing when you have risked enough and need to move on or keep going. So…we will keep thinking, praying, and pondering on it and go from there! In the meantime if anyone hears of any great job opportunities in sales, product design/development, or whatever let us know! He is still keeping his eyes wide open for a new career! ;)

The kids are still growing and changing as fast as ever!!! Navy will be 1 this month!!! I can’t believe it!!! (I realize I have missed posting about 10 and 11 months...I hope she will forgive me ;)) so her 1 year post will catch you up on her soon! ;) Let’s just say she is still full of life and joy!! She is busy and crazy but we love it!! She continues to bring SOOO much life to our home!
2015-05-01 12.30.07

Dakota man is for sure still Fighting to the Finish EVERY day!! I would say physically we haven’t seen much change and progress except for the fact he is growing taller and getting stronger every day!! Luckily he is still my skinny little boy so lifting him is still manageable. He stiffens up (literally straight as a board) when he is excited, happy, mad, or just randomly…so that’s a lot! When he does that it makes him 100 times heavier and harder to carry but we make it work!

We were SO blessed to get some help from insurance to get a new car that allowed us to put a special seat in it just for Dakota. We just got the seat in this week and it is seriously a LIFESAVER!! It makes getting him in and out of the car 100 times easier!!
2015-04-30 18.56.54
It rotates all the way out of the car like this to easily get him in and out. It is a little slow which is the only downfall but it is SO worth the wait. Dakota thinks he is pretty cool to have a chair that COMES to him! ;) And Navy LOVES a turn to ride in it when she can! Who needs Disneyland when you have a moving chair!?

Although physically we aren’t seeing a lot of changes, mentally Dakota is still improving the most!! He is seriously so smart even though he still can’t talk. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get what he wants! ;) At school they finally got the new Toby device that is an eye gaze communicator and they are working on teaching him to use it right now with fun games. He is getting faster and faster and looking and choosing things and I hope soon he will realize how much this device can help him to really communicate!! Technology is AMAZING!!!

We still obviously have our moments of frustrations not understanding what in the world is going on! His days are still sporatic and random…some days so happy you can’t stop him from smiling and laughing. Other days so ornery you can’t sneak in a smile. Some days are a roller coaster…the nurses call it bipolar ;) laughing and smiling and then the next second crying. These moments by far are still the hardest. Trying to understand what causes the changes and what he is feeling. But for the most this kid shares his smile and light and that is what we LOVE!! Heaven is SO near when he smiles that huge smile and his eyes sparkle like no other!! He knows more then I will ever understand…I can see it in his eyes!! He is still our guiding light back home to our Heavenly Father and we love him more then EVER!!

Lastly…I put FIGHT TO THE FINISH because the 3rd annual Fight to the Finish 5k for the Giving Trees is already around the corner and of course we are planning another Team Dakota!! It is AUGUST 1ST!!

My favorite sight! ;)

Our AMAZING team last year!! Thank you to ALL that came!!! Means the world to us!!

We need 25 people to make a team…and I”m already behind in getting the word out. We would LOVE to have ANY and EVERYONE come join us in this neatest event!!
It truly is more of an event then a race! For those that have joined us you know what I am talking about!! It is seriously such a fun, special, inspiring morning where so many come together for a great cause!! I never posted about last years so here is my summary!!

There are all of these teams…each in honor of someone who is a shining example of Fighting to the Finish.
Just a few of my favorite teams!! (Missing Team Lincoln…also a fav!!) Although I love them ALL!!!

There is inspiring messages at the beginning and end. The balloon release in honor of each team.
20140809_082304 20140809_082413

And thousands of people ALL joined together to help my dear friend and hero Ann raise enough money to continue the tradition of the Giving Trees in honor of her son Tyler who fought a hard fight and passed away at the age of 15. Ann is truly a saint!! I wish EVERYONE could know her!!

She gives of her own time to plan this huge event with Becky from Anything for a Friend. Then all year, she selflessly gathers and organized these trees and finds these families who are facing tragedy and brings them a tiny source of peace and light during their difficult time with a tree filled with money, gift cards, and inspiring quotes…all with nothing in return!

This is why I am SOOO passionate about this race and always doing a Team Dakota. It touches my heart to watch Ann do SO much and this is my TINY way of helping her!! And of course having a team in honor of my fighter Dakota makes my heart so happy!!

So please join us!! Whether we know you or not!! We LOVE to see as many people that can come, wearing their Team Dakota shirt and helping support this AMAZING cause!!

First time his sister got to be on TEAM DAKOTA!!  I can’t believe how tiny she was!
20140809_160804 20140809_161236
Little does she know she is on Team Dakota for life! ;)

Me and my people!

My 2 favorite parts about last years race was 1. Meeting one of my biggest heroes FINALLY in person! ;) I have blogged several times in the past about Ashley Sullenger. She lost her daughter to a drowning several months before Dakota’s accident. She was one of the few people in my dark time that gave me hope and strength to keep going! She will never know how much she did for me!! It was her first year coming and doing a Team for her sweet Preslee! It was so fun to meet her in person and see her darling boys! I loved it!!

Meeting her cute boys!

Alicia and Ashley..TWO of my heroes! ;)

My second favorite part about last years race is that they challenged each team to find someone to do a Giving Tree for. Ann would match $500 to go towards the tree and provide you with the tree and all the fixings but as a team you were supposed to find someone and come up with more money and gift cards. This made it even more meaningful.

So Team Dakota did a tree for my 16 year old hero Mckindree who has been a true example of Fighting to the Finish through her bone marrow transplant!
Mckindree and her mom.

Seriously, this girl has endured more pain then probably anyone I know! Her fight has definitely not been easy but she continues to fight with a beautiful smile on her face! Her and her mom are quite literally superhuman!!  Her mom is probably one of the most inspiring and beautiful writers I have ever read from. To follow along their journey and to be more then inspired go here. Together with donations from Team Dakota and Ann we were able to give her around $1,500 in gift cards and cash. Team Dakota you rock!! Because she lives in AZ we had to have my family (Team Dakota AZ) put the tree together for us and deliver. The pictures my mom sent me of my nieces and nephews helping get it all together touched my heart!!
  IMG_4491 IMG_4493 IMG_4497IMG_2515 IMG_2506
Love this crazy bunch and they LOVED being a part of it
Giving to others is truly the best!!

So…please come out and support the Giving Trees so they can keep blessing the lives of so many people. Here is the link to sign up! You only have until July 11th to join our team! We hope to see you there!!!