“just tell yourself, duckie, you’re really quite lucky.” -dr. seuss

Today I feel empowered….

More than yesterday.

More than 5 minutes ago.

And grateful for all of the women in my life. Especially my mom, because she’s my rock!

I have realized during my maternity leave more so than any other time in my life how important and enjoyable it is to meet new people and be picky with whom you surround yourself with.

Today my post will hopefully send you the following vibes: strength, optimism, appreciation and lastly motivation to start something new or even meet someone new!

6757Today my post is about a strong and beautiful woman inside and out. She has no idea the impact she had on my life from being a friendly stranger and having a conversation from ORD –> LAX.  Hopefully she’ll read this post and feel warm and fuzzy inside. Because she deserves all the fuzzy feels! I don’t know her well but I know that we will keep in contact via yoga, tacos and tgfi (thank god for instagram).


Her name is Christina Morales. She sat one seat away from me on my last flight to LA. Her daughter Willow acted as the cutest buffer I ever did see. Willow had unicorn vans gracing her cute toddler feetsies and the sweetest smile. Her sweet mama pulled out a container of fruit for their inflight snack and sparks flew. Eh, more like tears started to flood my cheeks. It was April 19th, 2017. I had been longing for a baby… longing for a baby girl and here I found myself in a window seat sandwich of baby girls. Willow was the oldest (I think) sitting next to me, with a one-year old baby girl in front of me, and an 8ish month old baby girl behind me. Side note: I’ve always been terrible with remembering or guessing the ages of babies/kiddos. Is this real life I thought to myself? I literally said outloud… “Someone hates me, why me?” I briefly shared my story with Christina while fighting back tears. After failed IUI attempts, fearful of doing IVF, and saddened that it had been nearly 3 years of trying to conceive, I had lost hope. I was angry, sad and mentally exhausted. Christina immediately took the high road… she said maybe it’s a sign. Maybe it was meant to be. Maybe just maybe, you’ll get that baby girl very soon. Although this post isn’t about optimism it did bring my attention to then and now.  I’ve always thought of myself as an optimistic person. Am I? In that moment I totally took the glass half empty approach. I felt discouraged, sad and had lost all hope. Thank you to our beautiful universe she placed Christina and Willow in those seats right next to me. I truly believe the universe sends us signs, signals, and strength. Call me crazy! But it was a sign she was coming.  I couldn’t see it because I had foggy vision from the negative downward spiral I allowed my internal dialogue to create. Christina brought the positive light.

Our conversation continued from there, Christina is a yoga teacher in Lexington, KY. She was born in Cali and was heading back to visit her family.  She was the sweetest, intelligent, warm, real and total #momgoals #badass chick. We talked about La Jolla, Marriage, Tacos, Yoga, Dr. Seuss, and well the list was lengthy. But we had so much in common. I’ve been contemplating teaching yoga but would love to train with CorePower Yoga, (Where Christina also started). However we do not have a Corepower Cleveland location… YET! I’m waiting patiently. Christina encouraged me to go for it! She also said don’t worry, seriously, you’ll get that baby girl. She was so sure of it! She suggested a taco joint in LA, and we met for yoga the next morning. She flew through the yoga room so gracefully and strong. She inspired me.

Morale of the story… don’t ignore your neighbor, or their neighbor. They could turn into your biggest cheerleader, friend or spirit animal. Thank you Christina for being you! My first stop today is going to be TACO MARIA! I’m different today than I was last April. I’m a MOM! I’M A MOM! EEEKS, it brings tears to my eyes because I miss her already and it actually happened. And the thought of those tacos, and you my once stranger friend… inspired me to stay strong, and to not give up! And all of those things inspired me to write this post. I WILL visit you one day and introduce you to Vivian!

Thank you from a stranger for the love, support, and encouragement when I needed it most. I got my baby girl March 3rd of 2018. Oh, but wait, you know that! Because you were cheering me on from the instagram sidelines: from the moment I found out 2 months following that flight. #neverlosehope #infertility #motherhood #momlife #grateful #optimism #positivevibesonly #bethebestyou #pushyourself #striveforgreatness #corepower #yoga #tacos #liveyourbestlife #talktoastranger

Stay Rad, Cassidy

Follow Christina on her journey:

insta: christinamoralesyoga

site: christinamoralesyoga.com

6 mom hacks – share your mom superpowers…

I’m so excited to share these random thoughts/ideas/hacks whatever you want to call them. I’m sharing these few things because they’ve 1. made my life easier 2. completed a to do item off my check list 3. helped maintain my sanity 4. mentally prepared myself to return to work. Please comment and share your favorite hacks that have made your life easier as a new mom! Thanks for visiting!

1. money, money 

Did you forget or run out of time to start a 529 college saving fund? Are you on maternity leave and the cash isn’t flowing in like it used to? Well… here is a suggestion to save. Also, do yourself a favor, set a goal date to deposit and start a 529 ASAP! I decided to start saving cold hard ca$h for baby Vivian. Around June of last year I started with a crispy $100 bill my parents gave us for our anniversary. Since then I’ve saved any gift money we receive and any extra cash we have after hitting up the bars lol jk! Long story short after a year of saving I was able to deposit a nice chunk of cash to start the account and it was like I didn’t even have it! Piggy banks work!

2. squirt, squirt 

EO organic lavender spray hand sanitizer from Whole Foods! Replaces hand washing and will decrease bacteria before/after feedings, diaper changes, shopping etc. No synthetic fragrances, only made of pure essential oils. #buyinbulk you won’t be disappointed. I have 1 in my purse, diaper bag, and car. You’re welcome!img_2364

3. teething 3 mo. baby – NO!

This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Toothbrush/Teether – throw out all of those other teethers. This thing is THE SHIT! Vivian is obsessed with her toothbrush/teether! Babes are able to grip it easily and the bristles massage their gums! Get it ASAP! Oh and its super cute! 🍌 I bought it at Buybuybaby!

4. Papergoods

Are you going back to work soon do you have sadness seeping in that you are leaving your little Bambino for the majority of the day? Here are a few options of paper goods you can order to remind you of your little bundle throughout your workday. Thank you to Shutterfly for running the best deals. I received 50% off my order and have paper goods ready for my first day back to work! Check out this cutie!

Also Artifact Uprising is one of the coolest sites- thank you to my friend Jen for sharing! The site prints matte photos any size including insta size of 4×4 etc. Also you are able to access your Instagram account/photos easily! I printed a photo in a modern frame for AC’s new office and first day back to work! He loved it! Again you’re welcome!



I used iTunes to create a Nursery rhymes playlist. It’s consists of 8 total songs!  We listen to it every other day! All 8! I have an awful voice but I sing along. It also works for car trips and she lovvvves it! I can’t wait until she can sing along too! And one last thought… one of our favs is, “if you’re happy and you know it!” Talk about an Insta mood fix if you’re having a bad day! Try it out!



Also in the download dept. instead of traveling with Viv’s Sound machine from hatch which she loves!!! Thanks Aunt Stace! We downloaded the Guva free noise app! It has a variety of baby sleep sounds, you can set timers and also review baby sleeping tips! Jackpot!


6. you are a badass!

Lastly and most importantly MOMS- tap into your inner badass. And be confident! You ARE A BADASS! If someone hasn’t told you lately, you’re doing an AWESOME JOB! Also take advice and opinions lightly. Don’t let others stress you out!

If you’re anything like me you are a people pleaser but when it comes to your kid. You have to tell peeps how it is! They should play by your rules and understand as the teacher of the grandparents class said “it’s not your baby. ” Although sometimes it’s hard and you don’t want to upset others! You are the one awake with your child in the middle of the night, not them! And you are doing what you decide is best for your child. For the record, I have taken a lot of the advice I’ve received! However, I’ve also let some advice fly right out the window! Tap into your family and friends, ask questions, discuss your mom needs/wants and successes/failures. Stop worrying about every little thing! Enjoy it! It will help you to continue to be the best mom. No one is perfect and no one has all of the answers. Learn from your mom tribe they are going through it too! Thank you to the many moms I speak to daily/weekly through phone calls, insta, email, blogs etc. My mom tribe continues to grow and I’m so thankful! You know who you are!

Added bonus if you need a reminder: buy this badass button. I purchased this for my husband for his desk at Barnes and Noble and it comes with a mini version of one of my favorite books. You are a badass!

Stay Rad,

Please follow my blog or leave any comments or feedback I’d love to hear from you!


my postpartum fitness journey

welp, it’s been 3 months. 15 weeks roughly… nearly 4 months. i love this sweet girl with my entire being.

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embrace your #mombod


  • am I back to my pre pregnancy weight? No
  • am I frustrated by that? at times, yes, but I’ve created a new outlook on what is important.
  • did I start intense workout before 6 weeks? No
  • did I start shortly after and have back pain? Yes
  • does fitness have a place in my daily routine? Yes, and No
  • will this blog post help you create a balance, motivate/inspire you on your journey and/or attempt to fit in a workout daily? That is my hope!


thank you to breastfeeding the majority of my 30+ lb weight gain fell off… lucky I know. it’s been the last 10 lb. that have been a challenge. It’s not about a number for me but feeling that I’m at my best, is truly important to me! It seems that it is however about a number… for most. I’m not passing judgement, just my opinion. People at times ask if I’m back to my pre-preggo weight. Why? Maybe they’re just curious. I mean… luckily, I don’t mind sharing. Here goes: all the deets and the down right dirty truth and my sincere advice to all new moms.

At the 1 month mark… I had lost roughly 11 lb.

At the 2 month mark nearly 20 lb and at the 3 month mark, well still roughly 20 lb. Oh, well! I’ve never had abs but as I continue to fit a workout into my day… I’m excited to see what I can achieve with this curvier than ever new #mombod.

Am I upset by this? Some days… Absolutely! But most days… Nope! I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I feel empowered, strong, and challenged daily. I feel that Vivian is the missing piece to this damn cleveland puzzle that I couldn’t finish (this is a true statement) in more ways than one. I’m growing/learning how to be a great mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend etc. one day I still won’t master it all but I know that I’m focusing on a better me, enjoying each moment and living the best #momlife possible.

This post is to say that each person has a very different pre/post pregnancy journey. We are all motivated and inspired by posts we see on social media, and hopefully each other with a lack of that irritating side of our brain that is comparing ourselves to others. We are all guilty of it at some point… but the more you love yourself and embrace your beautiful journey of becoming a mom the better you will feel both inside and out.

So here’s my daily/weekly routine. I switch it up and don’t post to instagram every time I work out. I just don’t have the time for that. I also do not workout every day. I do some sort of physical activity.  I also ask for help from family members to watch Viv in order to attend a class, or two, or three each week. I love each of you for following along on this journey with me. I’d love to be your motivation to love and be your #bestself while being realistic in your approach. There are only so many hours in each day.

I currently belong to many different gym/studios: I have to switch it up or I get bored.

If I can’t attend one of my favorite classes at one of these studios: I take a walk up the hilly metro parks across from our home in The Brecksville Reservation, complete an ab ripper x you tube video, or hit up our water rower in our living room. Below you’ll find a list of the different gyms and the workouts I do to create a full body workout and keep my interest. I get bored easily. For real though! I’ve also fallen off the wagon a time or two throughout these 4 months but I’m back as of this week. Don’t give up!

  • Sheer Strength Brecksville -Barre Studio – Pulse Barre
  • Postpartum Birthfit Fitness – Functional Progressions to focus on healing the core and postural strength.
  • Yoga Bliss – Hot Yoga studio in Akron/Green -Power Vinyasa / Hot Studio
  • Western Reserve Racquet & Fitness Club – Power Pump (Full Body workout)
  • Brecksville Recreation Center – (I haven’t found a class so it’s usually the elliptical or treadmill for me.)


  • Sign up for a local 5k in your area for motivation. I signed up for two 5k’s with my gal friend in our communities. One in Brecksville, Ohio & one in Dublin, Ohio later this summer.
  • Getting some “YOU” time is important to your overall mental health! Creating a great balance between being a mom and making time for yourself and your health is important.
  • Commit with a friend to meet up at a workout class, it will hold you more accountable!
  • Signing up for different fitness centers/gyms has allowed me to create a variety in my workout routine. It keeps things interesting, I’m constantly meeting new people and enjoy the variation in workouts to ensure I don’t get bored. Also having gym passes, and memberships can be expensive but it gives you A. OPTIONS -which will fit into your ever changing daily schedule and B. New members typically get a discount and or free classes when you first sign up! Ask and you shall receive!

My Best Advice:

  1. Give yourself time to heal.
  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself – a walk is considered a workout and so is breastfeeding -hellooooo it’s hard work, and your burning calories mama!
  3. Once you’re ready to get back in the saddle… ease into it! Focus on healing/strengthening your core and posture. This will not happen overnight! Posture is important – obviously if you’re breastfeeding it requires a lot of hunching forward… Yoga is outstanding for improving posture! Get to it! Don’t be scured, yoga isn’t boring and ANYONE can do it!
  4. Eat healthy but also eat what you desire. Balance People!

Lastly… This is just my personal opinion, don’t rush getting back to your Pre-baby weight. This is a really hard/challenging time in your life. But such a BEAUTIFUL TIME! ENJOY IT! The desire to be perfect and putting excess stress on yourself while you are having to keep a small human happy is just too much! Sleep deprivation makes you want simple carbs because it’s your body’s pick-me-up but in the long run it will leave you feeling worse. Fight the urge to grab that simple carb loaded snack and grab an apple or nuts instead. I’ve started to focus on putting good food into my body. More salads, fruits, vegetables, mixed with the occasional cheeseburger. It’s all about balance! I’m attempting to reduce the amount of carbs and sugars I’m consuming. I’m not dieting just being conscious of what I’m putting into my body. This is an ongoing process and feeling guilty or feeling like a failure will only make you feel worse. Trust me I’ve been there! Patience is a beautiful thing. Give yourself the time. Give your baby your #bestself and create a routine that will give you the long-term results you’re looking for.  Again, Enjoy this beautiful time in your life! And love your beautiful new #mombod because moms, for reals our bods are thee. most. incredible. thing. in. this. world. Please leave a comment with questions and LIKE/FOLLOW my page. I would truly appreciate it!

stay rad,






viv’s photo story – maternity/hospital/newborn


and thank you for being on this wonderful blog journey with me. i’m sharing this post because I haven’t shared many photos from my maternity, hospital or newborn photo sessions. at first i thought i wanted to keep these private. i wanted these photos to paint our empty wall space and to share with our family and friends that entered #sweethomebrecksville.  however, after viewing these photos and appreciating this amazing journey, i just had to share. SOOOOOO, here is an introduction to the woman behind the lens, a few details about the sessions, a few of my favsies and why you should not only document your journey but consider giving amanda a buzz. the proof is in the final product.

a mini q&a with the beautiful woman behind the lens: enjoy!

Tell us a little about you? Who is Amanda Ellis?

I like to think I’m kind of a modern hippy. Haha. I really do want world peace and for people to care about each other and the planet we live on. I believe in equality and human rights and empowering women! I’m also a huge animal lover. Elephants are my favorite!!

How did you get started in photography?

My dad gave me my first 35mm film camera when I was around 13 or 14 and it absolutely sparked something in me. I did mostly still life’s and landscapes before realizing my true passion was to photograph people and portraits.

What type of photography do you specialize in?

I specialize in Maternity and Newborn portraiture. I cannot get enough of either! When I’m photographing an expectant mother or her new baby, I am in my own little world and it feels like home.

Describe your photography style in 10 words or less.

Timeless. Warmth. Emotion. Texture. Shadows. Connection.

What is your favorite thing about being an Entrepreneur?

I’ve never been much of a follower, so being an entrepreneur has allowed me to just be myself and do my own thing regardless of what others are doing around me. There’s so much freedom in that. Also, meeting all different kinds of people (when I worked my 9-5 job, I sat behind a desk and only interacted with about 3 people the whole time) and learning about their stories.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

I just leased a studio space in Cuyahoga Falls, OH which has always been a huge dream of mine. Turning that space into a place that people feel completely at ease and comfortable at would be amazing. This is silly, but if William and Kate have a 4th baby in the next 5 years… I can’t even tell you how badly I want to photograph their baby. I have a slight obsession with the royal family 😂

What is your favorite day of the week and why?

Saturday!!! It means getting to spend time with my favorite person: my husband Brian and our 3 crazy fur babies!

Which would you pick?
Cardio or Yoga: No contest: Hot Yoga!
Cat eye or No liner: Cat eye! Love my winged liner!
Organized or Organized Mess: definitely organized. I start getting twitchy if there’s too much clutter in my house.
Cats or Dogs or Both: Both for me! I will always have at least 1 dog and 1 cat. The more the merrier!
Smile or RBF : One of my nicknames growing up was “smiley” so I am a smiles person! I smile at strangers when I’m out and about because it’s contagious and if I can brighten someone’s day just by a simple gesture like smiling, that is so worth it!


a few deets: studio and outdoor sessions available (including milk baths and fine art nude maternity). access to the clients closet with gowns, complimentary hair and make up. talk about no worries for you mama.

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a few deets: amanda takes care of the details and arranging the room to be just right. notify her when to show – photos/video at the hospital within the first 48 hours of your baby’s arrival. bring outfits for you and baby – neutral is best.

fresh 48 video:

fresh 48 photos:

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a few deets: able to bring sentimental pieces and scheduled before the baby is two weeks old. amanda provides props, bonnets, and an 80-85 degree studio to keep the babes sleepy/comfortable.

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newborn – behind the scenes: 

Contact Amanda Ellis –

email: amandaellisphoto@gmail.com

website: https://www.amandaellisphotography.com

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaEllisPhoto/ 

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandaellisphoto/


thank you for being on this journey with me. i have to thank ashley keenan for introducing amanda and i. i’m so grateful for having these memories documented and i loved every minute working with amanda. we’ve already discussed booking viv’s 6 month photos. if you have any questions – please leave a comment, and take a moment to like/follow my page.

stay rad,


My Birth Story… Our little Angel is HERE!


IMG_3261 2Happy 2 months today to our sweet Viv, Vivi, Vivian Cruz! Truth is, I’ve had this post written for roughly 3 weeks. However, I have been tweaking the post and having second thoughts on sharing. Last month was cesarean awareness month and similar to any mama in the postpartum stage I feel emotional. I’m also aware of other mama’s out there that may not have had the labor/delivery of their choice. Regardless if you did or did not, I love you all and respect each of you for your strength and courage of becoming a mom. This was the hardest journey of my entire life. We are all healing, dealing with our emotions as our hormones balance out and adjusting to having a newborn. This story is sharing a very personal journey and I hope you feel inspired, motivated, emotional, educated and maybe you’ll find something here that resonates with you. I’m also hoping that you may consider exploring a natural birth. Please like my page and/or leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

After 3 long years… she has arrived! Vivian Cruz Crowder -7 lb 3 oz 19.5 inches long with brown hair, big beautiful almond-shaped blue eyes, long fingers, and feet. She didn’t just steal our hearts, she immediately made us realize that being parents is quite possibly the best job in the entire world. Our hearts were the fullest they had ever been. EVER! Everyone told us it would be different when it was your own, they were right! She is a miracle and the most beautiful gift from God.

Moments, days and just a few weeks away from egg retrieval and our first IVF procedure we found out we were pregnant. It finally happened! I can honestly say I’ve never been more in shock or never believed more in the good lord above. I would like to share a few contributing factors to pregnancy finally happening for us; patience, praying, relaxing/not stressing over when or if it would happen (this is easier said than done), a break from fertility treatments, sayonara hot yoga, and hello acupuncture and “me time” weekly. I also started to envision a baby in our future, in our home, in her nursery and forced and disciplined myself to think only positive thoughts. Thank you to my husband, my family, friends, Candace my chiropractor and Tracy my yoga instructor they helped me stay positive and mindful. And it happened!

Before sharing my birth story I thought it was important to share a few ways I prepared for pregnancy. From day one your mind goes complete bananas! Well, at least mine did.. I was overwhelmed with happiness mostly, but also thoughts of miscarriage, making appointments, reading articles on pregnancy, making a laundry list of house projects I wanted to complete before the baby arrived and a list to start the nursery. All while working full-time. Holy smokes, I’m going to be a Mom!


I truly LOVED being pregnant! I immediately thought about making life changes. I needed to ensure I was providing a healthy and happy environment for our growing baby. I switched my facial care products (due to active ingredients) and every product that I was putting on my body. Body wash, lotions, etc. I decided to switch to -The Éminence Organic skin care line (Made in Hungary) and oh so very lovely. I purchased these products from one of my favorite places to zen out- an organic spa -Raw Esthetics, in Lakewood, OH. This new skin care routine made me feel that I was making the best decision for my baby. Thank you to Kristen, Bailey and Maureen for their many tips and advice and keeping me sane throughout my pregnancy. I splurged and alternated between a prenatal massage, and an organic facial each month. It can do wonders for your mind, body and soul during such an important time for you and your growing baby.


Next up was switching up my diet, and let’s be real, the occasional Swenson’s cheeseburger slid its way in (with warning sans self-control) but my cravings were watermelon, strawberry/spinach salads, strawberry sorbet, chocolate, avo toast and eggs. LOTS! OF! EGGS! I eliminated coffee immediately as it was causing me to experience anxiety. Oh and Chipotle was a go to! My doc shared I needed to up my protein. I also snacked a lot – I bought the sargento cheese and nut packs, apples, banana’s, and the justin’s peanut butter packets. Yum! I also drank LOTS OF water! Sometimes I felt that I couldn’t get enough.


Also in preparation for giving birth was strengthening my mind, body and movements to give birth! From the beginning I knew I wanted to deliver naturally but knew I needed to prepare as much as possible. At 6 weeks pregnant I started BirthFit twice per week with a wonderful and inspiring woman Candace Gesecki- Cleveland Chiropractic and Integrative Health Center. She led us to tap into our power within. BirthFit allows women to take charge of their bodies and decisions in preparation for birth. It allows you to focus on your mindset, fitness, nutrition and additionally I received chiropractic work. My body was built to deliver this baby. The motivation to stay active (even on the toughest days) was reminding myself this was healthy for my baby and strengthening my body. I give all of the credit to this mental/physical preparation, and the mantras landscaping the walls, for how I felt in the delivery room on that Fri-yay. #bestweekendever After uping my game and knowledge of diet, and strength next up…. dah dah dah. My birth plan…

Birth Plan:

MY BIRTH PLAN… I wrote it thinking these people are going to think I’m a control freak. Oh wait… I am! Perfect! I wrote my birth plan as a wish list, with the understanding that it may not go as planned and that’s ok! Every birth story is different and unique and is inspiring to me to see how strong women truly are! Props to all you strong and beautiful mama’s out there! I knew I would need to be flexible for the health of my baby and myself. Oh and the sanity of my somewhat nervous husband! See photo of my birth plan below: please let me know if you have any questions or leave a comment.

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Due Date:

It all started at Crocker Park On Friday 3/2/18 at Urban Outfitters (on my due date) with my soon to be sister-in-law Nikki “Allison” Chercourt! She’s a real babe and the most positive ray of sunshine you’ll ever meet! I knew I was having a series of ACTUAL contractions because I had experienced a few “actual contractions” the week prior and thought holy smokes how will I ever make it through more of this type of pain. The pain was real, real intense! I was attempting to hide it from Nikki. I was breathing and walking away so she wouldn’t notice or get worried. As we entered the fitting room to try the cutest tank bras ever, it happened again, and then again. Priorities people, these bras were definitely going to sell out quickly, they were amazing! I needed these bras for summer time and my delivery, ha! 😉 I had previously said if baby viv didn’t arrive by her due date I would “walk her out” – well I think we successfully did that, thank you Nikki! Nikki and I were both in shock after a trip to the ladies room and I knew THIS WAS LABOR! Nikki drove me safely back to Brecksville (away from my hospital) to meet Adam and potentially pack the car or labor at home. I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out. This was my first time having a child. I didn’t want to be sent home from the hospital but I also knew this pain was the real deal. Nikki and I are still unsure about what we discussed on that car ride but those unknown moments will forever be with me! And those damn tank bras are the best! Hell yes we waited in line, through some nice long breathing to mask the contraction pain!

AC looked calm, excited, nervous and so happy all at the same time. We were only home for 20 minutes before realizing the contractions were 5 minutes apart and we had 5pm Friday traffic to deal with. We took the hospital tour during our 7 week parenting class. Do you think we remembered where to go? Uh, No! Do you think I was in the wheel chair… Uh, no! If you think the many bags that were stuffed full were in the wheel chair and we had to ask where to get checked in, you win! We were so calm on the car ride, laughing, singing, admiring the sunset, and two teens smoking cigs at a stop light with no care in the world. But when we arrived at the hospital, it all fell apart. But only for a few minutes then we got our shit together and had a baby.

We arrived in Triage – YESSSS!!!! After being 1/2 cm for almost 2 weeks I was now 3cm.  This was MUSIC to my ears!  Finally some movement! They hooked me up to the heart rate monitor and the contraction monitor and said the doctor would be in to check me soon. Holy Smokes – quickly the pain got worse and worse… and I DID NOT want to be strapped to a bed. As we were waiting for the doctor to come and check again I asked to be able to walk around freely. This is what I envisioned and I was getting antsy. I learned many techniques to get through the contractions from our natural birthing class. I was sure to take notes of breathing techniques, leaning over the bed, bouncing on a exercise ball, and slow dancing with my husband. Laying in this bed I couldn’t use any of these techniques and the contractions were getting worse. The good news I knew and could tell my body was doing what it was supposed to as the contractions grew closer and closer. But oh boy did it hurt! They finally let me move freely in the room. I was having chills and my body was clearly in shock. I used the hair dryer to warm myself – a very quirky and odd habit of mine. Poor Adam, it started to get bad, I was growing impatient and he looked a little nervous! He made a quick phone call to my mom and the nurse. I was yelling in pain and started to bleed and just wanted to get to the natural birthing wing – where in the heck was this doctor to check me?

Finally the nurse came back and checked me. THANK YOU AC for calling the nurse not once but twice to let her know my patience was about to go out the window. GOOD NEWS – I WAS 5CM DILATED! They FINALLY agreed to take me up to the natural birthing unit to get me a room. We requested a room with a queen bed to have more space for our family, ask and you shall receive. Jackpot!

I was quickly greeted by a beautiful bright blue-eyed woman named JOY and she introduced herself as the midwife that would be delivering our baby. Now here is the crazy part… we’d never met. After quick conversation we realized we live streets away from one another and she had my husband and mother laughing almost the entire labor. SHE! WAS! AMAZING! And someone sent her to me for this delivery. Thank you Lord! She let me grab her arms, she squeezed my hips during contractions for nearly 3-4 hours (so did ac and my mama), she read my entire birth plan, she hung my mantras with medical tape and pushed me when she knew I was losing steam. Vivian was her last delivery at Cleveland Clinic and she also allowed our sweet girl to release her meconium all over her when she was entering the world. And by allowed, I meant she had no choice. However she later shared it was everywhere including on her pager. Whoops, SORRY!

Within those moments of meeting her and my mom arriving…it was go time once we were in the room. We originally planned for it to be just AC and I but he made the game time decision to call my parents. My sweet Dad waited outside and My Amazing Mom was ready to deliver this baby! IT ALL happened so quickly, well… until the 2 hours of pushing. The doctor checked as soon as I arrived in the room and I was 8 cm. After about 1 hour of contractions and spraying my back in the shower I arrived at the finish line of 10. Shortly after my water partially broke in the labor tub. Joy offered to break it completely with a hook and I kindly declined and wanted it to break naturally. Also causing an issue, my cervix was only 90% effaced and was blocking Miss Viv to make her entrance. We needed my cervix to be 100% effaced and my water bag to fully break, and I wanted this to happen naturally… but they were both being quite stubborn. One of the worst pains I experienced, contractions? Although painful… not the worst. The worst pain was having the midwife massage my cervix in an attempt to soften it to 100%. HOLY SMOKES… it was bad. Joy did this multiple times and I couldn’t help but repeat mother of pearl. I swore once during my entire delivery and only snapped ummm let me check with my husband and mom on this one…. response; 3 times… once when there was too much talking I couldn’t concentrate, once when they turned off the hair dryer which was providing me heat and noise, and once when my mom was rubbing my back with super dry hands. I LOVE YOU MOM! Joy didn’t have to provide this massage or let me grab her neck or arms multiple times but she did. I was so lucky to have My mom, Adam and Joy! They were all so patient and amazing!

Labor positions:

  • hip squeezes during contractions
  • sprayed back with hot water standing in shower eating ice chips
  • labor tub soaked in water and used sprayer on back – water partially broke –
  • sitting/bouncing on the exercise ball and attempted to squat the baby out when i started pushing
  • water bag broke rest of the way while attempting to squat her out – hooray!
  • delivered her on all fours in table top position.

Today during a conversation with my sweetest friend Jessica Haisley – she asked what was the best part of your delivery and what was the worst? I don’t know if I had thought about it until this morning. So I thought I’d share… Thank you Jess for asking this question and caring about well everyone in the world. ❤

The best part was experiencing my body taking over – and knowing what to do – feeling the shakiness of your body, the chills the contractions and the natural pitocin working to get my body to the point that I was ready to push. The worst: Pushing for two hours; attempting to get beyond the ring of fire (getting viv’s head out) and breaking nearly every blood vessel in my eyes and my face exploding to triple the size. I was bearing down so hard and had so much pressure on my face – note to future self: if you do this again, just breathe and DO NOT put the pressure on your face/head.

In closing… The Midwife, Adam and my mom all shared that it looked like a war room. We had nearly covered all grounds. I’ll leave it at that. In the final moments they asked me to try laying down and push… this was a little after midnight… Counting to 10. Pushing continually. I was SO close to crying and wanting to give up, I was losing steam. They gave me oxygen to increase my energy. Joy said Cassidy you can do this… Adam and my mom were counting and yelling all this stuff about seeing her hair, meeting the baby, yada yada yada, and Joy said if you don’t get this baby out they are going to start asking questions and we may have to go a different route. Welp, that’s just what I needed to hear. I pushed harder, I was bearing down more and pushing through the 10 count. Vivian started to turn so Joy said twice loudly I want her on all fours. And then it happened, I listened, I flipped, pushed again and moments later with Adam at the head of the bed, my mom at the messier end, we saw this perfect purple little lady laying right underneath my table top position. It was a miracle. I’ll never forget that moment. I did it! I’m crying writing this! Thank you to my mother/father and my husband for being by my side. To Viv’s Papa and Nana, for being on call and traveling into the early hours of the morning to meet her. To Nikki for the safe commute home and for helping me walk this baby out and Uncle Jordy for visiting our sweet girl. And lastly to Justin & Heather Crowder -Viv’s Godparents for the large bag of goodies and visiting multiple times during our hospital stay. I couldn’t have done it without our family and friends supporting me during the months of preparation and pregnancy. I delivered this baby and she was perfectly amazing! Now onto motherhood… am I as prepared? TBD…

Please leave a comment + follow this page! I’m sharing maternity, hospital and newborn photos/details from our amazing photographer on the next blog post. xo

Stay Rad,


Nursery Reveal >> Vivian Cruz Crowder

Welcome to my first blog post after nearly 5 years of saying… Yes I’m going start a blog because um… yeah… I love fashion, home decor, baking, babies and life. Well, it took me a while folks but here goes!

My baby needed a nursery. Cheers to sharing my first real post with y’all.

Happy Nursery Reveal. My heart is deep into the details and seeping so much love now that our babes has arrived.

Well this was fun…and I mean that!

My weekends quickly changed from a few or many glasses of white wine, overpriced Cleveland Cavs games to Pellegrino, and stalking Land of Nod and Pottery Barn Kids. Side note: my husband said multiple times “PUMP THE BRAKES!” but I was too excited!

After 3 long years of waiting and renovating the house of our dreams, we were finally able to fill this empty bedroom with peonies, pink hues and more plush animals than we can count. Vivian Cruz Crowder arrived on 3/3/18 at 12:12am – and although her nursery was complete, she has spent her first 6 weeks sleeping at our bedside in her lovely halo bassinet gifted from her wonderful godparents Justin & Heather Crowder. She just loves it and so do we!

Back to Vivian’s nursery reveal… I envisioned this space for years. Throughout my infertility journey I’d hoped, prayed and visualized a baby girl crying, dreaming, sleeping and growing up in this room.  Maybe it was an attempt to stay positive, maybe it was hope that there would finally be a Crowder GIRL, or maybe just maybe my prayers would soon be answered. It’s a baby and it’s a girl! Once it was official, I couldn’t help but start shopping right away!

First of multiple shopping trips took us through the annoying 480E traffic to Berg’s Baby & Teen Furniture. This store had EVERYTHING! Cribs, Dressers, Strollers, Carriers, and Mattresses. They truly had it all! It was a great first stop to spend time creating a registry and asking many questions about the pros/cons of baby gear! Clearly, I was new to this! And WOW, I learned so much each trip, the sales associates are wonderful and extremely patient (insert indecisive pregnant mama here) which was necessary.  The one downfall of creating a registry was although locally and family owned (awesome!) you couldn’t purchase over the phone and they don’t have a website. Super Bummer! However I’d like to send a shout out and thank you to my Mom & Mother-in-Law for the multiple trips to Bergs. They helped me MAKE A DECISION and we finally ordered/purchased the Romina -New York Collection Crib + Dresser. Phew, one thing down, many more to go! ALSO a HUGE thank you to my sweet mama for buying these furniture pieces for our Vivian. The photo below is a quick glance of the crib in her nursery. Sidenote: Thank you to my amazing sister for capturing these beautiful photos.

Crib -Romina NY Collection in Birch/White  >> Rug Isabella 8×10 -Pottery Barn Kids >> Wall Decals- Rocky Mountain Decals >> Crib Bedding/Rocking Unicorn – Restoration Hardware >> 

Next order of business – a gallery wall. Well, I personally think it came together quite nicely. Thanks to my husband who is the king of a humble brag! What do you think? How’d he do?  I knew I wanted to incorporate items that reminded us of our family members, especially Viv’s great grandparents who she will not have a chance to meet. She was named after my grandmother Virginia Vivian Silverwood. Hence the name board with our sweet girl’s full name. We incorporated this awesome print of a Koala Bear from (Society6) due to Adam and I both having Koalas as our favorite stuffed animals as babies, the unicorn (Target) was a necessity (DUH!) and the Mickey & Minnie Mouse drawing was from Adam’s late Grandfather Robert McConnell. We loved it – and thank you to my mother-in-law Bonnie Lou for gifting it to us! Clearly framing it in pink at (Hobby Lobby) was a must, and it fits the nursery like a white glove.  The “hello little lady” print is also a hobby lobby find and well I envisioned her to be small considering I’m 5’2″ however she is proving me wrong. This corner of Viv’s nursery is used quite often, for feedings, reading the amazing collection of books from our family & friends, and meetings with my weather.com app (Will we ever say Spring has Sprung?) Lastly a few of our favs >> this unicorn bank gifted from Viv’s Awesome Nana BonBon and these adorable toy bins from Viv’s sweet Uncle Jordy & Aunt Nikki. Below are additional photos of the room with details attached. Throughout my shopping journey I had to remind myself that although pink and girly I wanted the nursery to be fun, cozy and inviting. I think we nailed it!


Glider – Berg’s Baby & Teen Furniture >> Bookshelf – Land of Nod  >> Cacti – Hobby Lobby Floral Valance – Target >>

Chandelier – Arhaus >> Mirror – Home Goods


Bench – Land of Nod >> Pillows – Hobby Lobby >> Rocking Unicorn – Restoration Hardware >> Rug – Pottery Barn Kids Not pictured A beautiful painting from Adam’s talented Aunt Sharon

Wood Print (LOVE) – Hobby Lobby >> Co-sleeper – DockATot with Marble Cover >> Dresser Romina NY Collection in Birch/White   >> Hamper -Amazon >> Acrylic Shelf – Container Store

Lastly… a HUGE shout out to my Father-in-law Chuckles Crowder and my husband who installed Vivian’s closet, chandelier and smiled when I had ridiculous requests daily.

I have more exciting details to share on Viv’s Nursery. In a later post I will share photos and suggestions on how to keep your baby clothes + gear organized. It’s already quite difficult but I’m taking notes on what not to do currently. Wink! Thank you for viewing and reading my first blog post! This is my effort to have some mama time and connect with other wonderful women/bloggers/inspirational peeps around the globe.

stay rad, cassidy

{the crowders}


this blog will share the v exciting details of our home remodel, becoming a new mama, cooking tacos, guacamole and more tacos, our love for our boston terrier Chubbs, travel stories within the borders of my husband’s comfort level, yoga + pushing further, beauty with a splash of fashion, the good/the bad + the beautiful/the ugly} – “the story of our life.” #keepingitreal #onepostatatime #realtalk #blogger #sweethomebrecksville