Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Places to go on your trip to the Keys // Key West, Florida

Back in March (before the Covid lockdown began) Brent had a 2 day school in Key West for his work and my in laws were in town...So they offered to watch the kiddos and told me to tag along with him to get a mini vacation out of his schooling. How could I say no?
If you're a stay at home mom .. any opportunity to get a break.. you need to take it. Am I right?
Trust me, you will be a better mom because of it. Take my word on that.
Where we live here in Florida is about 45 minutes from the beginning of the keys and 3 hours from there to Key West.
The drive is beautiful.
I could stare at the bright blue water forever and never get bored.. that's just me though.

When we arrived I was on my own since Brent had his class and I enjoy that though. Anytime for some peace and quiet I am all for. I don't think I have been that way my whole life. I use to not go anywhere alone .. since being married to a man in the military I have learned how to do things alone. I think that just comes with the territory. I hit up a local coffee shop of course since it was early in the morning.
When I go places that are different I don't just hit up Starbucks because I can get that anytime.  I do my research and find out what the locals like and I go from there.
The first coffee shop I went to was called Coffee Plantation.
It was a cute older home that was transformed into a coffee shop. The employees and the owner were so friendly and the coffee was delicious. So that was a win.
If you walk around the island be prepared to see roosters everywhere. They keep their distance but you can hear them everywhere. I kinda liked it.

It was such a cute town to walk around in. All of the different shops, restaurants, and the beautiful old homes kept me entertained.
My husband was able to meet up with me a little later and we again searched the internet and read some reviews to find a local restaurant that was still serving breakfast when we came. I do research on stuff like this because there is nothing worse than going to a restaurant to buy food only to be disappointed.
We ended up at a little restaurant called Banana Cafe. It did not disappoint. We both had the Eggs Benedict and I would highly recommend that. The service was fantastic and this cafe also was in an old home that was transformed into a restaurant and it was perfect.
I mean 3,794 reviews and almost 5 stars.
Yeah, you must be doing something right.

We ended up staying at the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel is what my husbands work set him up in. If I were planning a trip then I would most likely be looking for an airbnb to stay in. This hotel was really nice though! I was pleased. The rooms were updated and the pool area was so nice. They actually gave us 2 free drink coupons to use at the indoor bar or the poolside bar. Then we were lucky because a group of ladies were leaving that day and did not have time to use their drink coupons so they gave us theirs. It's the little things right?

The only downside to staying in this hotel is that it is a little bit outside the downtown area. It would have been nice to just walk out of the hotel and walk around but we had to take an Uber over a few blocks to the downtown area. No big deal for the price of this hotel, but if I were to go again I would like to be within walking distance. Just something to keep in mind.

Mallory Square is a famous pier in Key West so my husband and I decided to head that way for the sunset. It was beautiful and slightly busy. They had some entertainers there that you can watch. They really interacted with the crowd. Not sure how that will play out since Covid 19. It was also fun seeing all of the big ships that were moored up on the pier and of course, the sunset was beautiful.

Next up, we headed to go eat at the Boat House. It was a short walk from Mallory Square to this restaurant. It was so nice to be right on the water. The food and service was amazing as well.
Of course we had to end the night at Key West's Key Lime Pie Co. It did not disappoint. Key Lime Pie Co was busy so you know that is always a good sign. My husband and I shared a slice of the key lime pie. It was absolutely delicious.

The next morning, we hit up Cuban Coffee Queen and oh my word... hands down.. the best coffee I have had. I have craved that coffee since being there. It has wonderful reviews online and it lived up to that. Such a sweet little outdoor coffee shop. 

We headed home after getting coffee. We had to stop and take in the scenery (and get another coffee) in Key Largo.

It was a short trip to Key West and we did not get to see everything we wanted to see, but I know we will be back within the two and a half years we are stationed here. We feel pretty blessed to live so close to Key west for this tour and I know I want to go back with my kids and do one of the many tours they offer or maybe even rent a boat. Overall, we had a great time and every restaurant we went to did not disappoint. That is my point in sharing this information with you. I hope anything I shared can help you when you are looking to plan a trip to the Keys.

Corinne Guynes

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Isla's Birth Story and 3 things I have learned throughout my journey to motherhood.

My goodness.
I did not know how much I needed this sweet baby in my life until she was here.
She is straight from heaven.
2 energetic boys and 1 sweet baby girl... I had the ultrasound tech double and triple check the ultrasound to guarantee that she was a girl. I did not believe them. Sure enough they were right.

Honestly, we can start by saying she was a bit of a surprise... the best kind I may add. The kind where you are juggling 50 million things.. living 3,000 miles from family and friends...a husband who is gone a good chunk of the time and now he just applied to a program that would take him away for four months the same month she is suppose to be born, and you would be moving out of Washington and heading down south to Texas into your in laws house .. where they graciously said yes to us moving in with them... yes, that kind of surprise. The kind of surprise you throw your hands up and say okay God you got this.. I clearly don't have my "ish" together, but I know you do.

I cried.
After the shock wore off.. I cried.
Of course I called my best friend back in Indiana where she assured me it will be okay and by the end of that phone call I was feeling all the exciting and nervous feelings.  Then you get down to the deep feelings. The feelings after you've had two miscarriages and you know not to get too attached because you are scared of that empty feeling that comes after losing those sweet babies. I also had feelings of sadness knowing that my precious baby would not know my Dad like Liam and Sawyer did. This one hurts.. still hurts to this day. Every exciting moment is a little sad knowing that my Dad is not here. Those feelings I had to work through all 9 months and still have to work through them today. If you have lost someone that won't be apart of these big milestones in your life you know exactly what I am talking about. It hurts and its okay to recognize those feelings, but just know you are not alone. It is funny through those times of grief during my pregnancy I felt like God was saying "just wait." I knew something about her would remind me of my Dad and I was right.

I was pretty sick at the beginning like most. I surprised myself by being able to work out most of pregnancy and honestly it helped a ton after delivering her. It was a pretty uneventful pregnancy which is always a blessing. My husband was accepted to school which was something we had to plan for. He was leaving in July and her due date was the beginning of July. Go figure. We had to somehow move out of our townhome and move across country all while delivering a baby somewhere. You talk to a non military wife and they're like "what the heck were you guys thinking?" You talk to a military wife and they're like "oh yeah I just had to do that last week. No biggie you got this." It is something we laugh about now, but at the time it was not funny.

We moved out of our house at the end of June and began living that glamorous hotel life at the Navy Lodge 9 months pregnant. I will say I do miss the continental breakfast every morning.
It could always be worse right?
My stress level was at an all time high at this point. We had to have this baby within the first couple of days otherwise my husband would have to fly straight to Connecticut and could possibly miss her birth. I did everything to get labor started. I mean it's the third baby how hard could this be? Two false alarms later, and prodromal labor every day.. which is probably the worst thing you can tell a very pregnant momma is that those contractions you've been feeling haven't been doing anything. My contractions would be consistent for 2 to 3 hours, 5-7 mins apart, and then they would completely stop. I dealt with that for 5 days.
My body would not go into active labor... I'm blaming it on the stress and not being able to fully let my body relax enough to trigger labor. She was ready.. I was beyond ready. They had a baby boom in our little military town in WA because the hospital was completely full. Everyday I called to see if I could get induced and every room was full. Bickering between my husband and I was at an all time high and I will be the first to admit that these times were not my finest moments. I kept thinking they should start overstaffing and preparing more rooms 9 months after a Navy ship gets home. All these Mamas having babies. haha A little inside joke in a military town.

Photo credit goes to my very talented friend Cassie over at

I'm going to give you a tip.....

If you are 9 months pregnant and need to relax..please - go do yourself a favor and get a prenatal massage. The best $70 dollars I've ever spent. She was heaven sent. Her name was Frejya at Centering Massage in Silverdale, WA. I laid on her table and normally I'm not a huge fan of massages.. but I enjoyed every bit of it. I relaxed for the first time in I couldn't even tell you how long. I got up and thought.. "either I just pee'd myself or my water just broke?" I let the massage therapist know that I thought my water had broke. She grinned and said "I may have massaged some pressure points that could trigger that." She is an angel. I also thought my water had broke before so I did not want to get my hopes up. I continued my day and my so called "cramps" got closer and more painful. Finally, I decided to go in after the back and forth is this it? I don't know? Maybe..? Maybe not? If any of you have had a baby before.. you might be familiar with the shameful walk out of the hospital after the nurses let you know that you are not in active labor. I feel like by my third I would be a pro but nothing was the same for me. Each one of my pregnancies was so different.

So it begins..

We ended up heading to the hospital at 4:30 pm after I started not being able to talk through each contraction... My husband still had to drop off the kids in which I swear he took his time or I was just being a little overdramatic. I thought he dropped them off at our friends and stayed there to chat for awhile. haha
I was being dramatic.
I was still wondering if this "was it." Turns out they gave me a test to see if my water had broke and before she set the test down it came back positive.
I could've sworn my mom and my husband would have chest bumped if the nurses weren't in the room.

We were beyond excited.
This is it.
In a few short hours our sweet baby girl will be here.
They begin to start checking you in and asking you questions about your pregnancy that you will try to answer between each contraction you get. It takes a little bit to get all set up in the room between the paperwork that needs to be filled out and the monitors that are being set up all around you. By the time I got settled in the room it was 6:30 pm.
Now, hats off to any mommas who do not get an epidural.
I however do. No shame.
Sign me up. I dealt with the pain long enough. I was dilated to about  5 or 6 when I received the epidural.

This epidural ended up being so different than my last two with my boys. With Liam it felt like a bee sting and then that was it when they were administering it. Sawyer, also felt like a bee sting. It was not bad at all. What hurt worse is that they sprayed the adhesive bandaid to keep the tubing in place and had to pull it off to move it slightly.
Nothing like a back wax before you go into labor.
However, this time my whole body felt an electric shock. All the way down to my toes. The anesthesiologist warned me that could happen and that it was normal. I screamed because it scared me to death. I could still feel my body which is good. You have that option to tell them that you still want to feel and not be completely numb which is what I let my doctors know.
I wanted to feel when I had to push and the pressure that comes with giving birth.

It was close to 11 pm and it was time to push. She was crowning. It was go time except my doctor was not there. I was told she was on her way.
They basically told me I had to hold off on pushing until the doctor was there.
That was fun. haha
I started to feel pressure and the "ring of fire" that mommas will talk about. I knew if this doctor was not here soon I would be having this baby without her.
It felt like forever, but within 15 minutes my doctor arrived and I was able to start pushing.
I pushed maybe 4-5 times and little Miss Isla was born.
No greater feeling than meeting your baby for the first time.
It is just beautiful.

July 8, 2019
11:10 PM
Isla Randi Guynes. 
Randi was my Dad's name and I couldn't think of a better way to honor him.
She has the sweetest golden blonde hair.
Beautiful blue eyes (that remind me of my Dad)
8 lbs 7 ounces of pure sweetness. 

Also, I wanted to add if you are looking to deliver at Harrison in Silverdale, WA-- the hospital was amazing, the nurses went above and beyond. Everyone was so kind and my doctor was awesome. I had such a wonderful experience. Highly recommend.

Three things I have learned throughout my journey to motherhood is to --

  • Feel comfortable with your choice of doctors. 
  • Women's bodies are amazing.
  • Lastly, you have a voice when it comes to the choices being made during your pregnancy. 

We have a voice in how we would like things to be done and I know that feeling of not feeling like you are being heard when it comes to your health. I voiced my concerns a lot more by my third pregnancy than I did with my first. Ultimately, the amazing Doctors that surround us will do what they think is best and safe for us, but you have a say so in how things could play out and what you would like your birth plan to look like..Women's bodies are amazing and I am so incredibly thankful to have carried three healthy babies in my life.
God is good. 

Now the fun part..
Not even 48 hours after delivering her we hopped in the car and traveled from Washington to Texas.
We were on a deadline. My husband had to report to school by July 22nd.
No time to breathe. haha

Only thing going through my mind was I hope your up for a good road trip Miss Isla. (: