Well hello there. It has been 2 weeks since my last post and a year ago, that would have never been the case. I like routine, I LOVE posting and creating content, but this has been a year of giving myself grace and taking time away when needed. Needless to say, 2020 has been a rough year, a year of growth, a year of change, a year of anything BUT normal.
Every year I do a massive end of year review. It is typically full of amazing photos from beautiful destinations we have visited. The memories are wonderful to look back on and it is always one of my favorite posts to write every year. This end of the year review is much different and not so fond to look back on, but I can 100% say I am a stronger person with all the battles I have personally fought. I am excited for the new year and while I do not think it will magically get better January 1st, I do think we can all say we are a little more prepared for what the world will hand us next. It does need to be noted, that during the past year there has been major growth on important topics in our nation. We have all had to sit back and be educated and take a deeper look into what it important and stand for what is right. This recap is me sharing my personal struggles that my family wen thru, but there is always more to everyones story and how they are growing as a person. Let’s get started….
Whew, January, NEAR YEAR NEW ME! Haha, kidding! I, like many, upped my work out game, cut back on the wine and started make even more healthier choices. Same thing will happen this January, because boy does my body need a detox. Business wise, Olivia and I took over the LTK family account again and shared some fun wintery looks! January is always a planning month for me and getting ready to gear up for a busy year.
In February, Drew and I traveled to Vegas and while we did not know it at the time, it was our one and only trip of the year! The coronavirus was starting to make headlines. The uneasiness was there when we traveled, but the world was operating as normal. We had a BLAST on this trip but then got the dreaded phone call from my mom, Olivia was sick. You guys know, I love traveling with Olivia, so I was already missing her and then to find out she tested positive for the flu, broke my heart. I jumped on an early flight home while Drew finished out the trip with his friends. The rest of the month was pretty much a blur, because Olivia also came down with the SECOND strain of flu at the end of February and one of the worst ear infections. It was awful, I hated every second and wished it was me the entire time she was sick. In between sickness, Olivia did have some dance competitions and she was placing each time with her first ever solo!
March then rolls around and EVERYTHING was changing. Coronavirus was on every headline. We had three back to back trips planned and cancelled them all in fear of the virus. Quarantine and lockdowns were on the verge of starting and school even closed down at the end of the month. What I did not know at the time, but this was the start of a year of teaching Olivia at home. It is bizarre to look back on these three months, because the world is SO much different now.
Favorite images from this time…
We spent these months with family as we all chose to quarantine together (not in the same roof haha, just only saw each other.) We had some many amazing dinners together during this period. April is also when Olivia and I hopped on tiktok for a hot second and danced our little hearts out. That was short lived, but may return in 2021 (hold me to it!) If there is one thing I can say that was positive about the virus hitting our nation, is that it brought our family even closer.
May was a a rollercoaster of ups and downs. May 6th we found out were were PREGNANT. My gosh was it the sweetest semi surprise EVER! We know how babies are made, but after a while of trying, we were not sure if it was in Gods plan for us. I was a serial tester that first week of May after getting a faint line on a couple tests. I remember sending them to my family and friend Amanda asking DO YOU SEE IT!?!? We officially got the positive test on May 6th and it was the best feeling in the world. I have prayed and prayed to give Olivia a sibling and it was finally happening. We did choose to tell Olivia about a week later. I have the videos and pictures and it was a beautiful moment. She was SO EXCITED and I knew it was going to be the hardest secret to keep haha! During this amazing time, our sweet Sadie Jane took a very quick turn for the worse with her health. If you have been following me for awhile, you know she is my second child. She was 13 and lived an amazing life, but I was no where ready to let her go. We were in and out of the vet constantly trying to give her more precious time, but in the end, her heart was not strong enough. Olivia and I traveled to Branson for dance nationals where she took home FIRST PLACE for her solo. This was such a surreal moment and I could NOT have been more proud of her. I will be honest, going into it, I was so nervous. We found out she was in a large 6-8 age group and she was one of the youngest in her group. She performed her little heart out and I wish I could relive that moment over and over again. I have not talked about this before, but that same day was when we had to let our Sadie Jane go. I drove back home with Drew, while Olivia stayed with my sister. Olivia did not know at that time how bad Sadie had gotten, but she was fully aware she was very sick. Sadie was on numerous heart medications but it progressively got worse when we left town the day prior. Saying goodbye to her BROKE our hearts. Drew and I cried buckets, and we did not know how we were going to break the news to Olivia. Basically I felt like a piece of my heart left me. We truly felt like God gave us the baby because he knew we needed more love than ever during this terrible loss. I did drive back to Branson because I could not stay home with all the reminders. We chose to wait to tell Olivia until we got home because she still had more dancing to do that weekend. Olivia took it extremely hard as well. Sadie was her best friend. We tried our best to focus on the amazing memories, but it was definitely ok to cry at our house at any given moment.
June brought us another special surprise, our sweet Isabella Grace. We started looking for a new puppy a couple of weeks after Sadie passed. Our home felt way too empty and we were so ready to bless a new puppy with a wonderful home. We came across Izzy and fell in love with her rascally looking face. She was TEENY, full of energy and the sweetest little thing. A smile returned to Olivia’s face and our happiness returned to our home. My pregnancy was going along as normal and I was having pretty much identical symptoms to Olivia’s pregnancy. Food was hard, I was nauseous all the time and sleep was my friend. It was so hard to keep it a secret from you guys. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Something else I have not talked about to you guys is that I was feeling very uneasy about the pregnancy. Something felt off, and I started to get myself worried about ALL the statistics and what ifs out there. I voiced my concerns to my mother and she was always a solid rock for me thru this time. I have an extremely good intuition. My intuition rarely fails me so this uneasy feeling haunted me very often. I was of course so dang excited and enjoyed every single second, but it was just an odd feeling to have over me on top of the happiness.
Favorite images from this time…
July was awful. The worst month of my life. A time where I did not think I could survive the pain. July 5th we found out that our baby had miscarried. When we went in for our first appointment, I immediately knew something was wrong as soon as the ultra sound went up. The baby was so small, there was no flicker, and the tech had the look of concern. She took a ton of pictures and then told us she was going to speak to the doctor. When she walked out, I broke down to Drew. I told him this was not good news and something was terribly wrong. We found out moments later that we indeed miscarried. Our baby had passed almost 2 weeks prior at 8 weeks. The SAME week we lost our Sadie Jane. Heart wrenching. The next day was a blur of emotions. My body was not naturally recognizing the loss and was not miscarrying on its own. A silent miscarriage. We had to wait 3 days to go in for the D&C and those 3 days were AWFUL. Carrying our passed child for 3 days was one of the worst feelings I have ever felt. I also had never had any type of surgery nor had I even been put under anesthesia. My emotions were all over the place with fear, sadness and anger. The D&C procedure itself went very smoothly and I was ready to start the healing process both physically and mentally. The following weeks were rough as my body was healing. The aftermath of a D&C is something that is not discussed enough. Your body goes thru so much during a miscarriage and you are going thru all these changes without the ultimate gift of a child. IT.IS.HARD. I was very naive to think my body would “bounce back” to normal after the procedure, but it took weeks. Your hormones are all over the place, your body is still trying to recognize that you are not indeed pregnant, you are swollen, you are bleeding and you are mourning a terrible loss. At the same time, I had to be a strong wife and mother for Drew and Olivia. I was so angry that Olivia was going thru another loss. Do we regret telling Olivia early in the pregnancy that she was going to be a sister, no. The tough lessons Olivia had to learn in 2020 were just not fair. Life is not all unicorns and rainbows and we know Olivia will be an even stronger person because of the past year. Olivia has the biggest heart and it makes me so proud to see the type of person she is. Tears were constantly being shed. I always want Olivia to feel safe to share her emotions and know that it is OK to be NOT be ok. Our hearts were broken and I honestly was not sure how they could be repaired. While I was never alone and had the best support system, I felt incredible amount of emptiness. It is a feeling you only know if you go thru a miscarriage. 1 in 4 suffer a miscarriage. Too many times this is an unspoken battle women go thru. They carry this unimaginable amount of grief and feel alone. It is a taboo subject that is linked to a stigma and shame. Just because a topic is not discussed enough, does not mean anyone should feel shameful or alone. 85% of miscarriages happen in the first trimester and happen typically before people announce the news. That does not remotely take away anything from that pregnancy and each pregnancy should be equally wrapped in love. Some choose to not discuss in fear of making others uncomfortable, some blame themselves for the failed pregnancy and a lot of people do not have a support system to help them thru it all. It truly breaks my heart to know women go thru this alone. These are feelings are not fleeting, they are with you forever and if 2020 has taught us anything, it is the TIME for uncomfortable conversations.
I am one to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I knew there was no way possible for me to go about my day and do my job without sharing what happened. I also knew that I wanted to help any women that followed me not feel alone if they to went thru or were going thru a miscarriage. I hopped on stories without telling anyone in my family that I was going to share and spilled my heart out. I had just been on stories a couple weeks prior bawling my eyes out about our Sadie Jane and was back again with terrible news. Life fing sucked. I was supposed to be sharing amazing news of our pregnancy, not another loss. I do not question Gods plan, I know that there was something not right with this precious baby. God gave me more strength that I never knew I had. I know he will never give me more than I can handle and he will always be there to guide me thru it.
If you know someone that is going thru a miscarriage, know that there truly isn’t anything you can say to make things better. Be there for the person when they need you, be a shoulder to cry on, check in on them. Wrap them up in love!
My message to those that have gone thru a miscarriage or are currently suffering… Be kind to yourself. Know it is ok to not be ok. Don’t feel ashamed. You are carrying an UNBELIEVABLE amount of grief and you are not alone. While this battle is typically unspoken, do not feel like you can’t speak about it. Screw the stigma! Let your loved ones wrap you in love. Focus on faith and trust that God will always guide you thru the storm. You are strong! My love and prayers go out to you.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”1 Peter 5:10
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25
Unfortunately our year of loss did not end here. July and August was a time of healing. It was a time I was thankful to be home constantly with my loved ones. It feels strange to even mention happy things that were happening in my business during this period of time with so much loss and sadness that happened to myself and SO MANY in the world. To be honest, these months are kind of a blur in my mind. I was not myself, I was struggling and felt like I was drowning at times. I am an active person and it was hard for me to make time for myself because alone time brought on so many emotions. It was not rare for me to go on a run and cry the entire time. I liked to be around people to keep my mind off things, but this was also a time we were supposed to avoid people! To say I am thankful for my family is an understatement.
At the end of July our sweet puppy Izzy started to have health issues and they came on quickly and so incredibly fast. We started to notice warning signs because we had JUST lost our Sadie to the same exact thing. We took her into the vet after she started throwing up one afternoon and got the worst news. Our Izzy’s heart was not working properly and started to affect numerous other parts of her body. Drew and I were in complete disbelief that this was happening. WHY? WHY IN THE HELL ARE WE LOSING SOMETHING ELSE? WHY IS OLIVIA GOING TO LOOSE ANOTHER PET? We were angry, we were upset and we were devastated ONCE again. We tried to do what we could to save Izzy, but her little body was going down so incredibly fast and her heart was giving out so quickly. It was crazy to witness a puppy go from an spunky feisty little thing to their heart giving out 3 days later. It did not make sense. Izzy helped heal my heart and I could not help her in return. We had to say goodbye to something else in 2020, we had to start to repair our broken hearts again…
Favorite images from this month…
I know every one of us have been going thru so much this past year. I have had more family and friends loose loved ones and you can feel the sorrow in our country. I honestly felt strange for being so upset over our pet losses when so many human lives have been lost. I don’t think any loss should be discredited and we all should be allowed to mourn any loss as needed. I hate to end this part 1 on a very sad note, but come back January 1st for part two. Part two is full of hope and happiness and that is how I want to start our new year.
I hope you all have a wonderful NYE however you are spending it. Be safe, have fun and I love you all! Thank you for being here. xoxo Tara