Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

If We Were Having Coffee Together...

So let’s say we are sitting by a fire with coffee in our hands, talking. 

I would have black coffee with either heavy whipping cream (most natural state, of course!) Or topped with whipped coconut milk in the BPA free cans. You know, the kind you have to scrape the hard stuff off the top and then whip that up with cinnamon and a little vanilla extract! (Yum!!!).
Coffee Break

Of course I’d be so happy to see you and ask you a million questions and then I’d listen to you. But when it comes to my turn, this is what I’d share…

I’d tell you that I have been enjoying my parents visit this past week. That I was counting down the minutes for my mom to walk through the door on Christmas so I could see her and hug her. I've been praying so hard for her and am so thankful that her results came back fairly decent. But now I am extra observant with both my parents. I see how they are getting older. That they are a little slower, they tire faster and easier, and my sweet energetic boys wear them out. And part of me starts to feel sad because I know things won’t always be this way forever, so I try my hardest to be forgiving, more mindful and remind myself to enjoy every minute. I’m not ready for these times to change just yet…

Shopping fun! Maybe someday I'll start finding time to get make up on! 

I’d tell you that Jackson has been waking with nightmares for two weeks. He wakes sobbing and it breaks my heart. When I ask what’s going on, he tells me, “nofin”. I’m not sure what’s going on. The boys have both survived an awful week of horrible colds and coughing through the night (and then gave it to me! I can't wait to get a full night's sleep), but these nightmares are killer. Karl has been crawling in bed with Jackson to keep him calm.  I’m grateful we decided to go with the full bed versus the twin. I find myself thanking God for bringing Karl into my life a lot lately. He sure was worth the wait.  

Love this kid!!!

I’d tell you that I’m a little worried about how Jackson is handling being a big brother. He’s amazing and caring and sweet, but he sure misses all the attention. And he has this obsession with Nathan’s hands and poking them, pinching them, or shoving Nathan’s fingers in his mouth and trying to bite them with his lips. “It’s not biting if I use my lips, mom,” he tells me. He has no problem throwing big pillows at Nathan when I turn away or ripping every single toy out of Nathan’s hand or plowing him over with toys or his own body. When Nathan crawls in my lap, Jackson has to. When I play with Nathan, Jackson has to come over and jump all over me.  When I spend too much time with Nathan, Jackson becomes whiny and clingy. Hoping this is just a phase and I’m giving equal amounts of attention to both. Praying a lot about this one and giving this one to God. 
Loves his brother's hands

I’d tell you that I still have about 30-some Christmas cards in my bag that I never sent out. I just can’t seem to get to them. And I lost my drive and desire to send them out. This year I was able to address a few cards at a time every couple days and Nathan would take them and drool on them and Jackson would scribble on them. As soon as I’d get busy sealing, the boys would need me for something and the pile would just sit. So I apologize if you’re still waiting on your card.

I'd tell you that Christmas was really great but it came and went so fast that it almost felt like any other day. Of course the morning of was magical and so much fun, but last year I was on maternity leave with Nathan and I felt like I was listening to Christmas music from the day he was born in October to the day I went back to work in January. There were lots of fires in the fireplace, snuggles and hot chocolate with Rumchata. This year it felt like we were running all over the place and I was catching my breath half the time or trying to fight off whatever bug the boys caught. Time sure goes FAST! We hosted Christmas this year and let me tell you...that is WORK! But I love family!

Just a few extra steps on Christmas!

I’d tell you that I went shopping with my mom on Sunday and it felt AMAZING. It’s been a long time since we have gone “fun” shopping. It’s either been Costco or the grocery store for us when we get together. It felt like I came alive walking around and trying on clothes. I remembered how much fun it is and better yet when I actually get to try on something and it fits! I felt like I started to get some of my style back! I'm getting there. Soon I'll introduce jewelry back into my life again.

I’d tell you that my online Health and Fitness business is doing really well. That my heart and soul is in this business and I have HUGE visions and dreams for myself and for my team, and I know deep down I will go far with this business because I have belief and passion for what it’s about – helping others on their journey. I hit two star diamond last week and have opened a second Business Center! I also have been invited to Leadership Training in California. I WANT to go. I NEED to go... AND here begins the guilt of leaving my boys. I feel it growing. I feel like I’m putting people out because I need childcare. Will my boys miss me? Will Karl be annoyed by me? I HAVE to be strong. I NEED to do this FOR ME.
I DID IT!!!!!!!!! I set a goal and DID IT and now I know I can do so much more!

I’d tell you that my entire world has changed because of coaching and the time I’ve spent working on myself. I always considered myself a pretty happy, bubbly person and that I didn’t need to work on myself. But I do! I am worth that much! I am worthy of feeling and being healthy and happy and setting HUGE SCARY goals and going after them. I have a tendency of putting my needs last or catering to everyone else, so you can imagine how AWESOME it felt to set a goal of doing two workout programs from start to finish and then completing them with great results!!! I felt like a new woman! I have always struggled with saying “no” to others or worrying what others might think of me, but I’m REALLY starting to see a big change in my confidence and how I carry myself. I have grown more in this year than a lot of years combined. I have read and listened to a LOT of personal development too. I just went through my list earlier today and I have read over 30 books this year alone. Before that, I had read one book in 2 years. One.

Just some of the books I've read this year!
21-day Fix and 21-Day Fix Extreme changed my body!

I’d tell you that I haven’t even started Nathan’s First Year baby book and haven’t touched Jackson’s age 2-3 photo book. I’m so behind in this stuff and at the same time, I’m OK with this because at least I’m getting the photos in somewhat organized folders, so that has to count for something. I figure that I can keep myself busy with this when the boys are in college and I’m struggling with empty nesters syndrome.

And after all that, I’d take a sip of coffee and sink back in my chair and feel the fire on my face and dream of heading to the beachJ

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mom's Cancer Report from Mayo

Current Diagnoses: Stage 1 and Grade 1 Breast Cancer

First of all, you guys are amazing. Thank you! Thank you! I can't even thank you enough for the messages and texts and all the ways you have reached out to me (and my mom). Thank you SO much. Your prayers are working and we couldn't be more grateful. Thank you! Thank you! (If I could say it a million times, I would.) If I haven't responded yet, please don't think your message went unread. Each one has meant SO much to us!!! Like my mom told me, the messages are so encouraging and supportive but at the same time she just wanted to feel normal yesterday and get her head on right for today. So she cleaned the house.

It always feels weird being vulnerable - to put yourself out there. I'm never sure how things are going to come out or how people will perceive things, but I really wanted to share my mom's story because

1. I wanted all the prayers we could get for her. Prayer is incredibly powerful and can truly create miracles.


2. I wanted to make others aware that cancer doesn't discriminate and we need to be our own best advocates when it comes to our health. Maybe her story can save someone else.

With that said, my mom's results...

Doctor says GOOD.

Stage 1
Grade 1 (lowest grade and slowest growing)
Estrogen Receptive - positive (score 4)
Progesterone Receptive - negative (score 0)
HER2/neu - negative

The surgeon said that BEST case would be to have all of the reports come back positive (but I'm not sure that seems right after reading into it so if anyone has more info on this, send my way). They aren't 100% sure if it's in lymph nodes (as far as they can feel, it doesn't seem that way). They will do a MRI with dye. They aren't overly concerned so her next appointment is January 7 with oncologist and a radiologist. 

Her options as of now until further testing is done are: 
1. lumpectomy 
2. partial mastectomy 
3. Full mastectomy (The first two options would require radiation). 

Will keep you updated as we go. And I would love to hear your story if you have been through this. You can email me at Again, thank you for holding my mom (and all of us) in your prayers and for all your wonderful support. I can't thank you enough!!! For real. It's the most incredible feeling knowing you have a community of amazing people surrounding you. God is SO good.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When Your Mom Gets Diagnosed with Cancer

Waiting for results on your mom’s 2 cm tumor in her left breast ranks right up there with child birth.

But let’s start from the beginning. Mornings in our house. Whoa. I’m usually late to work even with getting up at 5 a.m.  Nathan always seems to poop on our way out the door and Jackson gets so darn mad at his coat when it doesn’t click and zip. It’s a full on shuffle-hustle to get out of the house.

Last Thursday, I made it to work without spilling coffee or getting any stains on my shirt. Success! I threw my bags on the floor next to my desk. My work phone blinked letting me know I had a message. 

I logged in to my computer, brought up Google, checked email, sipped coffee, started writing out my to-do list and texted Karl things that kept popping up in my head. In one text I might have accused him of slipping sugar in my coffee. It tasted sweeter. Was he trying some kind of experiment on me? I clicked to listen to my voice message. Oh, wait, it was Karl! But why was he leaving me a message at work? As I waited for his voice, I kept busy catching up on emails. Maybe he thought of something to get Jackson for Christmas. “Hey babe. It’s me. I know I just saw you but I want you to know I love you.” I froze. “I also want you to know how much you mean to me and the boys. I don’t think you realize how strong you really are…” He went on.

A lump grew in my throat. I swallowed. Tears pooled in my eyes. His words were the hug I so desperately needed right then and there. 

As I listened to the message for the tenth time, a text from my dad flashed on my cell. “Mom just went in.”

I played it off cool. “K! Thank you.” But I was not feeling cool at all. 

Everything was going to be fine. I pushed doubt away. She’s my mom. She is strong. She will always be here. This is what I FORCED myself to think the past several days leading up to her appointment when any bad thought tried to leak in. I literally had to stop myself from thinking any bad thought multiple times in an hour, sometimes a minute. It took work. A lot of work and prayer. I realized I've been programmed to think the worst. But the second I went down that scary, dark path, I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble.

Shoot. I never asked how long this could take. Most people ask that question. Why didn’t I? She’s my mom for goodness sake. Part of me was thankful I was at work and not with the boys because I would’ve taken my nerves out on them. I know me. I know how I am under pressure. I needed serious laser focus. I busied myself learning the difference between a valve, slider and gripper. I never loved pneumatic components more.

An hour passed. Nothing. I continued to bite my nails.

My mom is chatty, I thought. Knowing her she probably was asking the surgeon a ton of questions and started to ask the nurse about her kids and distracted them. Maybe they hadn’t even started. She did say the surgeon busted up laughing at her during her consultation.

Another 15 minutes. I started to get jumpy. Seriously what was taking so long? I sent my dad a text. “How long did they say it would take?”

Nothing. The nail beds on my left hand started to bleed. I really need to stop biting.

Great. What if they called my dad in and there’s cancer all over her body? What if my dad had a heart attack right on the floor and they are wheeling him to the nearest operating room? What if my mom is throwing up all over the floor? She never seems to handle drugs very well. What if it is cancer? What happens then? My chest tightened. Panic settled in. I was at work. I had to remain calm. What could I do??

“Hello, God? Do you hear me? This can’t be cancer. It can’t. I know I need to trust you but why is this happening? Help me understand. This is not it.”

I've been listening to a book on audible called "The Circle Maker" on my way to and from work.  I'm so grateful that I have been making time for Personal Development in my life. This book couldn't have come at a better time. The author of the book suggests praying circles around your biggest dreams and fears. The author mentions God's grammar and says, "Never put a comma where God puts a period. And never put a period where God puts a comma." Sometimes we feel a period in our prayers. We think it's the end and all we hear is God's silence. But really there's just a comma - there's a break or pause and we must continue to pray through the "conjunction". So even when God feels a million miles away and things don't quite make sense, you put a comma right there in your prayer and keep on praying. "Hard times are the best teachers of hard prayer." 

I checked my phone a million times. What was going on? I should be there. Instead I’m 5 hours away. Is this how it’s supposed to be? What if the whole reason I moved up here is so…so…I can handle the outcome of this better? If I never moved away, things would be different. Oh, God. What if I’m living up here because…. No. STOP. I can’t think this way. I needed to be strong. For my mom. I knew she was trying her best to remain positive but her texts the night before scared me. I can imagine she was in bed thinking the worst.

My phone lit up. My heart jumped to my throat. A TEXT FROM MY MOM!!! “I’m out of surgery! Already got the results so call me when you have a chance. Not that bad.” 

So typical of my mom to send an upbeat text after surgery. I physically felt the relief in her words. The fact that SHE texted ME  already made me feel better. I sprinted to my old “pumping” station down the hall and shut the door. I didn’t even turn on the lights.

“Mom! You already have the results?” I’m not even sure what else I said. I do remember feeling like I was tripping over my words because I was thinking faster than I could talk.

“They got everything! They did it right then and there which is amazing! He sterilized the room and put the tent up around me and gave me the stuff they give you when you get a root canal. He cut under my breast and got the tumor out and had a guy waiting outside the door and sent it right to pathology.” She paused. It was like her voice dropped ten levels. And I knew what was coming next. “I do have breast cancer though. Shoot.”

“Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t.” I know you’re not supposed to swear around your mom but it’s what came out naturally, which is weird because we never swear around my mom. All of a sudden I felt like I was in a worm hole and I was 10 again waiting in line for the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags Great America - my mom next to me just as excited as us kids to try the ride out. This specific roller coaster charges over all the heads waiting in line, whipping hair with its rush of wind and leaving behind a noise that travels through your entire body like a cannon, right to your core. 

My phone kept cutting in and out as she talked. I felt like I was removed from the conversation. What does this mean? I only have a little more time with her?  She’s going to lose her hair? She’ll be sick in bed? I tried to gather bits and pieces and raced to my work phone to call my mom back. “I’m back. Repeat everything.”

“Wow. You sound so much clearer. You always sound so muffled on your cell phone. Like you’re in a tin can.”

My shoulders relaxed. She really is OK.

“The doctor is hopeful. Pathology says it’s Stage 1. Because of my age and I’m post-menopausal, my chances are good. If it were you or Amy, it’d be a different story. They are sending my labs up to Mayo to figure out the grade and next step. Even if it’s a fast growing tumor, the surgeon feels like he got everything. And he said it was in a great spot. I will know more on Thursday.”

I don’t know why but a wave of calm rushed over me. Was it because the doctors prepared us earlier that week for what it could be and slowly but surely we all started to go down that dark path and were expecting worse, and this news seemed to be a little better? She had several doctors look at her scans and saw the “shadow” and mentioned it “looks like cancer”. I really think it’s because I heard the relief and hope in my mom’s voice. She seemed OK, so I was going to be too.  

I feel like in today’s world, it’s more common to get called back after a mammogram if something doesn’t look right. My mother-in-law just had to go back for a second look. Her mom had the same thing. My good friend had a biopsy. Everything turned out great. "Stop worrying. It's going to be fine," they said. But there was just something different with my mom's. I think my mom felt it too. Maybe because my grandma, two months earlier, also heard that she has breast cancer. With absolutely no history at all in our family, this throws all my theories out the window. The doctor said stress seems to be playing a key role when it comes to cancer diagnoses. Could it be that?

But with everything in life, there aren’t answers to everything. It's probably better this way as hard as it is to accept. What I do know is my mom is healthy. She eats a lot of organic foods and rarely eats sugar. She has never been a big drinker and she works out regularly. Her faith is strong. And there are a lot of people praying.

My mom also hadn’t gone in for a mammogram in three years. She was just following the 2-3 years rule until her next one and then time slipped by between traveling to see grandkids, taking care of your own mom several states away and losing both in-laws in 7 months. 

My mom was the one who caught it. She experienced pain in her breast and felt the lump. She even noticed an indent. It started to bother her so much, she finally went in. Thank GOD she went in.

So what’s next? Prayer. Lots of prayer and patience and waiting to find out those next steps. Please pray with us. Thursday seems so close, and so far away at the same time. 

In the meantime, I picked up the phone and made an appointment. I go in January 29. For now I will get to know my breasts. So I have to ask you...when is your next breast exam? 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Keeping Up with the Koesters in June

Hope you all had an amazing 4th of July! The weather was pretty awesome, wasn’t it ? (Minus the 6-7 inches of rain we got last night. Yowza!)
Running with the boys!

I’m working on a routine of establishing regular blog posts. We’re slowly getting there. Just like most everything in life right now. Trial and error. Just when I thought Nathan might be on track to sleeping through the night, he’s back up a couple times. He’s discovered pulling himself up and standing and that’s ALL he wants to do. 

So what have we been up to?

Karl completed a half marathon!! Isn’t that sweet?  Totally proud of him. When he told me he was going to sign up for one, I was like, “WHAT have you done with my husband?” Of course I jumped up and down and hugged him a million times...seriously,  I was super pumped! YAY.

Finally something we could do TOGETHER that was healthy and “sporty” and FUN. However, I forgot the amount of hours training burns up and he’d go off for his runs and I was obviously the one taking care of the boys and by the time it came turn for me to run, I had to either go to the store, nurse or whip up a meal. Reality check! Soooo, I spent a lot of time running over my lunch break while at work, hoping that was enough. Thirty minutes isn’t a lot of train time. I knew I wasn’t totally marathon ready and then our child care fell through. I figured it was a sign that I just needed to take it easy and cheer on Karl instead and let him do his thing. PLUS, he said he didn’t want to run with me because I was too fast for him and all bouncy and cheery (we’re kind of opposites if you haven’t figured this out). I get where he’s coming from because when friends ask to run with me, I have to remind them I breathe heavy and I’m not as fast as they might think. I was really curious though to compare my half marathon time when I was 20 pounds heavier and 10 years younger to today’s time. But some other time, right? And after seeing Karl’s blisters, bloody nipples and him hobbling in pain, I wasn’t sure running 13 miles would be the smartest thing for me to do.

INSTEAD, he and I signed up to do the Warrior Dash!!!! I am NERVOUS but excited. I’m kind of glad I have a few years of Mud Volleyball under my belt so I can be ready to eat mud, but I saw some of the course and am curious as to how I’m going to pull myself up by rope. Upper body strength hasn’t always been my strong suit. Trust in the process, right? The next day I am running in the Color Run with some of my team of coaches! I can’t WAIT!!!

New with Me:

One AWESOME thing about being a Beachbody coach, and I have said this before, is Personal Development. Every day I need to carve out at LEAST 10 minutes for myself and read or listen to something that’s inspiring and motivating and POSTIVE. Something that will push me and challenge me to think differently and approach things and people in a positive light. It’s been SO AWESOME for me. Currently, I’m reading a different kind of Personal Development book. I chose this because I knew it would help me process my grandparent’s passing and the passing of my coworker. As a busy mom, I’m not sure I’ve had the time to step back and totally process all that happened in June. And I had so many questions racing through my mind, but I’m constantly interrupted. Reading this book has helped a ton. I’m not saying it’s the truth but it sure makes a LOT of sense. One thing the nurse told my aunt after my grandpa had passed was he told her that he saw my grandma and she was waiting for him. Hearing that brought a such a sense of peace but curiosity too. This is what I’m reading and boy… it’s good stuff.

I am trying to figure out a plan of attack on getting to the biggest event of the year for Coaches – Coach Summit in Nashville. I will be a coach for a FULL YEAR in a couple weeks and throughout that year, I have earned 3 trips!!! I haven’t been on one because I still have my full time job and am trying to juggle life with two YOUNG kids. I don’t want to come up with excuses though. The guilt of leaving my kids it pretty huge though since I am at work most of the week. It’s just a huge challenge trying to find childcare, leaving my kids and figuring out a way to pump and store milk. I’m working on making this happen because I KNOW it will be AMAZING! Running out of time though…  

The boys are busy as usual!

I’ve been taking the boys out berry picking, which totally makes me think of my grandparents and it’s just a lot fun and DELICIOUS. We’ve also been hitting up new parks around the community. And we’ve really been utilizing our fabulous backyard. We have been in our house for a full year now and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have a private backyard. We have been busting out the slip and slide, sprinkler and purchased a fun little pool. Jackson is in LOVE with swimming right now.

Karl helped his sister move into her new house and of course we had to try out their NEW POOL!! It’s pretty awesome. And both Jackson and Nathan LOVE swimming. We’ve had some pretty full weekends with not the best naps, so wowee we’re dealing with ROUGH dinner times. Both kids are melting down and Karl and I are left trying to pick up the pieces and shove food down. Not how I envisioned things going, but I also know it’s just a phase.
Running with my cuties!

Aunt Kelly and Uncle Ben's new pool!

Both are getting up earlier and earlier again. I remember last summer was the SAME way. I’ve been taking this time and getting up and running with both boys. Instead of complaining about it, I’m using this as an opportunity to bond with both boys, get them outside and see the beauty around us, and a time to exercise and feel good. There are enough cold, yucky days in Minnesota so I want to take advantage of this amazing weather. Sure, my body is screaming for more sleep, but I know how amazing and ready I feel to take on the day after and I really really love this time with my little guys.

·         LOVES swimming
·         Loves running and jumping around everywhere and being pushed on his swing
·         Stuttering a little bit (worse when he’s tired)
·         Loves playing with an old cell phone and talking and texting “Roger”
·         Loves Home Depot’s First Saturday of the month project
·         SO good with his brother! Will run up to him and hug him, but at the same time he will tackle him or rip a toy away too. I see
·         Loves going to the library, grabbing the shopping cart and picking out tons of books.
·         Loves story time at night.

·         LOVES frozen blueberries (as in it’s the only thing he wants)
·         Standing
·         Pulling himself up
·         Crawling looks more like a wounded soldier but he’s still fast
·         LOVES his brother. Looks for him and smiles when he sees him.
·         SUCH a HAPPY kid!
·         Does NOT like to be spoon fed. We’re trying baby led weaning right now because I can’t keep sitting through every meal with him screaming if I spoon feed. I know he’s tiny, so we’ll have to see what the doctor says this month.
·         Mommy’s boy. HUGE. 

In short, we're having fun and staying busy. Sure do LOVE summer!!!