Motherhood Series: Meet Danica

Everyone needs a no nonsense friend, and in my life that’s my friend Danica. When I met Danica our boys were not quite two years old, and we just happened to meet at our neighborhood park one afternoon. At the time we had just moved, we were in a difficult season and Danica met me right where I was at with no judgement, welcoming me and Kai with open arms. That park hang became an almost daily thing for two solid years, and Kai and her son Luke have had the sweetest friendship. This woman is one of the strongest moms I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and I know you will be blessed to meet her today.  

Tell us about your family.
We are the Culvers! Mike my husband works in hotels, Luke our oldest just turned 5 is a sports loving, leggo fanatic, Hope our former micro preemie born at 26 weeks turned 2 on Valentines Day and I am a hairstylist turned stay at home mom/therapist!
What was your journey to motherhood like?
Our journey was fairly straight forward. We knew we wanted to start a family and got pregnant with Luke right away, we know how lucky we were!, and the same when we wanted to expand our family and have Hope! We found out we were pregnant in the normal fashion by taking an at home test. Since we were actively trying we were also actively testing. 😉
What was the transition from 1-2 like?
The transition was different for us since Hope was born suddenly at 26 weeks gestation. She spent time in the NICU so juggling that time and time with Luke was definitely difficult. When she came home the transition got easier but came with a new set of challenges since Hope requires more care than usual.
Tell us about your journey with Hope and anything you want people to know about parenting a child with special needs.
Hope was born early at 26 weeks and spent about 100 days in the NICU. It was definitely a very stressful and scary time for us. Once she came home from the hospital we settled into family life as best we could. Hope started physical, occupational, and speech therapy right away. We began to notice that hope was not meeting her developmental milestones and she was even behind for being a preemie. After an MRI around Hopes first birthday it was confirmed that she had spastic diplegia cerebral palsy as well as a condition called CVI or cortical visual impairment. To say we were shocked it an understatement as Hope had a fairly uneventful NICU stay. We were immediately thrown into a whole new world.
What does your day to day look like?
Our day consists of a lot of THERAPY! Aka PLAY time for Hope. Along with taking Luke to preschool, after school park time, and evening baseball games for Luke!
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What are things you are doing now in motherhood that you said you never would?
Feed my kids SO many snacks!! Haha, both of my kids love to snack!  You do what you have to do though ya know?!
What are some of your families core values? How do you keep them a priority?
We try to always do things together on the weekends. Mike works long hours so our time together on the weekends is a huge priority and we try and spend it together. And we just starting going to church together as a family on Sundays. We’ve always wanted to understand that relationship more and are excited we found a church to begin that journey.
What are some ways that you and Mike fight for your marriage?
Communication. Communication is the key to any successful relationship. I believe that way deep down in my core. If you feel a certain way about something, speak it because no one is a mind reader! That becomes hard as you add children to the equation but a quick phone call/text or an evening conversation can save you from any miscommunication later.
What are some things you do for your own mental health?
I exercise almost daily. I run, lift weights, do the rowing machine, take classes, go to yoga, all the things. I love to exercise and it is the one thing I do for myself each day. I also buy myself iced coffee from Starbucks, sweet tea from Sonic, and Chickfila lunches whenever I want! HA! Treat yo self!!
What is the biggest thing you have learned as a mom?
That it’s a really, really, really hard and selfless job that no one can prepare you for. It’s full of the highest highs and the lowest lows. I’ve learned that I’m not perfect but I want to be a better and stronger person for my kids. I want them to know theres nothing they can’t do if they work hard and believe in themselves and that starts with leading by example
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What does motherhood mean to you?
It means more love than you could ever imagine. More coffee and less sleep. And the opportunity to witness pure joy and innocence daily.
I encourage you to follow their journey over on Instagram @hopewalks! 

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