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Next Stop, Miami International Boat Show

This post is WAY overdue, but we are still here!!! I promise to update soon on family life with two kids. We’re still down on St Thomas in the USVI and to say these two little monkeys keep me on my toes is an understatement. Hats off to anyone who maintains a blog that has kids!

Anyway, before I dive into all that, I have to tell you that Peter has steered his career into a new adventure once again and we couldn’t be more excited! For the last three years he became a maintenance guru fixing the charter catamarans around St Thomas. He was the Service Manager for Multitech VI helping them to become the Authorized Lagoon Service Center and Parts Dealer in the Eastern Caribbean. During that time he also got to go to the Lagoon Factory in France for some very specific training on all the complicated systems on these vessels. He literally knows these boats inside and out and has seen almost everything that can and will need to be fixed. Unfortunately, being on call 7 days a week (and all hours of the night) takes a toll on our whole family. He went to great lengths to make sure these boats could get back up and running for their charter guests as quickly as possible, but in the end it was just too much time away from home.

Last year Peter stepped away from that role and has recently transitioned into Yacht Sales. He’s now a Yacht Broker representing The Catamaran Company down here in St Thomas USVI, specializing in Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Gemini, Nautitech, and Sunreef. Its been a very natural progression as he knows almost all the boats and owners down here and can easily recognize the true condition and potential of each vessel. With his previous background in Real Estate, and his recent extensive experience as a factory trained Service Manager, he’s very excited to actually help his clients decide if it’s the right time to sell their Catamaran, or decide on the right one to buy. Peter hopes to be a fresh face to the sales side of the industry and that his unique experience will truly be appreciated for those that seek it.

In one week Peter will be up at the 2022 Miami International Boat Show from February 16-20 if any of you would like to stop by and chat! Check out his BIO on the Catamaran Company website and please don’t hesitate to reach out to him if you have any questions. Will you be there too? Leave a comment and let us know!!

Pregnant During The Coronavirus Pandemic

I’m 29 weeks pregnant and the time is flying by much faster than I’d like it to.

Spoiler Alert: FREE hypnosis track to relieve stress and anxiety at the end of this post PLUS some exciting news! 

We’ve been pretty quiet lately, just trying to get through one day at a time as this Coronavirus Pandemic continues to change the way the entire world functions.

When I was pregnant with Brig, the Zika virus was running rampant across the world. Now, pregnant with Waverly, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is wreaking havoc everywhere with a completely different set of concerns. We currently have 30 confirmed cases in the US Virgin Islands and it’s only a matter of time before cases and deaths in the territory mimic those of other regions all over the world. There’s no evidence yet of increased risk to pregnant women or babies, but of course there’s many unknowns.

The only thing keeping me grounded right now is the Hypnobabies Childbirth Education course I took when I was pregnant with Brig. I’m 29 weeks now and I’m so excited that I get to start week 1 (of 6) of my Hypnobabies Home Study course again for this pregnancy! The ideal time to start is 28-30w to leave enough practice time after the course is done but it can even be done on an expedited schedule for those that need to. With all the unknowns of this COVID-19 stuff and evolving options for prenatal care and deciding where to birth my baby, I’m SO grateful for this program, now more than ever. I’m easily able to enjoy this pregnancy, devote time and attention to my almost-3-year-old, and help him look for hermit crabs (that’s what he’s holding in the picture!) and lizards without being consumed by stress and worries. I’m confident that whatever happens, I’ll be prepared to have the best birth experience I possibly can, regardless of the things I can’t control.

For anyone that doesn’t know what it is, Hypnobabies a complete childbirth education and self-hypnosis course for easier, more comfortable and totally empowered childbirth (often pain free). Hypnobabies is NOT the same as Hypnobirthing yet contains some of the same basic concepts. During my first pregnancy I was introduced to the Mongan Method Hypnobirthing book, read it 4-5 times and marked up the whole book with notes and a highlighter, felt really excited, but ultimately decided it just wasn’t enough to prepare me for my birth. The tools in that book alone just weren’t enough for me. Many women love hypnobirthing; I just needed something more. I’ve heard an in-person Hypnobirthing course is much more helpful than just the book but that wasn’t an option for me at the time. Not long after I finished the Hypnobirthing book, I was introduced to Hypnobabies – which was created by someone who taught the Bradley Method for 10 years and also Hypnobirthing but recognized a need for more tools and a slightly different approach to childbirth as a whole. There are in person classes for Hypnobabies too (and now many instructors are offering remote/live video classes to keep social distancing) but I was SO glad to learn about the Home Study version during my first pregnancy which I was able to do at home in my own spare time whenever it was convenient for me.
They normally offer a hardcopy version of this Home Study which I still have from my pregnancy with Brig, but due to the current virus issues and mandatory business shut-downs, the only way to purchase the Home Study right now is actually their cheapest option – the new ONLINE version. It’s all the same materials just completely online instead of on paper. SO perfect for social distancing and still getting to take an awesome childbirth education course!! 😍
Hypnobabies is amazing for learning about all possible outcomes and choices during childbirth regardless of how your birth unfolds or where you birth your baby. It can be used for homebirths, birth center births or hospital births. While geared toward natural minded mamas to help eliminate and prevent unnecessary interventions (and of course provide the most comfortable, peaceful experience possible) it can also be incredibly helpful even if receiving an epidural or cesarean. It literally rewrites the way we think about childbirth, removing any negativity we may be exposed to now or in our past. There’s also an amazing support network facebook group and many instructors and admins are always available to help answer questions along the way.
If you are (or anyone you know is) interested in the online course or any other hypnosis tracks or training courses they have available, please consider using my affiliate links 💕 (I do receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my links. A little bit goes a long way and allows me to spend more time doing what I love! See announcement below 😉). Also, message me to get help finding the biggest coupon code currently available for the specific item you are wanting to purchase.


Even if you aren’t ready to do the course, or even if you’re not pregnant at all, Hypnobabies is currently offering a 💕FREE💕 hypnosis track for ANYONE to listen to for Eliminating Stress and Anxiety – such a powerful tool with everything going on in our world right now. No payment info required at all, totally free and only available for free download from now until the end of April. It’s a fabulous way to get a first hand feel of how the Hypnobabies audio tracks work:  https://www.hypnobabies-store.com/product/eliminate-stress-and-anxiety/?ref-hyp=WhyseBirth

Also Announcing…

Since doing the Hypnobabies course myself, I fell in love with it so much that I completed the training to become a trained Hypnobabies Hypno-Doula! I simply want to be able to help anyone that is looking for Doula support with their Hypnobabies birth because I wasn’t able to find it when I wanted it, here in the islands where I live. Regardless of how many people ever actually contact me, my heart is full knowing I’m able to – at the very least – offer Hypnobabies Hypno-Doula support (as someone familiar with and trained with the specific terminology and tools of the Hypnobabies program) IF anyone is looking for it, as I once did. Birth is such an amazing and beautiful experience and everyone deserves the support they are looking for 💕
I’ve chosen the name WHYSE BIRTH for my new business because I’m always asking WHY. Why do we do things this way, or why is it recommended to do things that way. I ask why almost to a frustrating level, but I can’t help it. I’ve always needed to fully understand things before feeling good about a decision I need to make. I put great value in staying open minded, learning, researching, using critical thinking, and making informed choices instead of blindly following the advice or recommendations of others, and I always recommend everyone else does the same. I’m always looking for a better choice, always asking WHY!
This name was actually chosen as a spin-off to the original (and very exciting) WHYSE project i’m currently working on and I hope to be able to announce that too in the coming months… stay tuned!!
I’ve created a Facebook and Instagram page specifically for my new business to share Doula and birth related topics. Check them out and Like/Follow/Share if you’d like to show your support!
I’d be SO happy to answer any questions I can 💕 Send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Our Newest Adventure

I admit I’ve been AWFUL at posting on our website, or updating any part of it at all. We’ve just had so much happening in the last couple years and it gets pretty overwhelming. I try to keep current snippets of our lives on our Facebook and Instagram pages but the website definitely has taken a back seat. I apologize.

Despite all the ups and downs, we’ve got some really exciting news that is quickly shaping the way all of our future adventures will unfold!

We have another little coconut on the way!

This time, a baby girl, and she will arrive sometime in June 💕 Her guess date is actually on Brig’s 3rd birthday – June 13 – so whenever she does decide to arrive, they will be almost exactly 3 years apart in age! She appears to be perfectly healthy and I can already feel her kicking away. We’re over the moon!

Just yesterday marked 21 weeks. More than half way! It’s taken a long time to shed some of the fear and allow myself to truly be excited. To let this feel real.

A good friend once posted of their similar experience and that post helped me when I needed it most, more than I ever thought it could. So I decided that I wanted to share our experience too, just in case it helps even one person, someday.

Our journey

A year and a half after Brig was born we still were not able to get pregnant again. I was losing hope and began wondering if it would ever happen. I learned a lot about infertility during that time and I couldn’t help but hear that faint, terrifying sound of my biological clock ticking away even though I knew there was still plenty of time. I was 35. Eventually, that positive test did come along and I was even more elated than I was the first time!

I got to see baby during a dating ultrasound in the States and I immediately recognized that perfect little flicker of a heartbeat on the screen. I was diagnosed with a subchoronic hemorrhage (SCH), though the midwife reassured me it would most likely resolve itself eventually. It didn’t, and I’ll never know if it made any difference or not.

Nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened next. At 12 weeks, at the very end of the first trimester and just 3 days before my 36th birthday, we had a miscarriage. It was the middle of the night. I’ll spare the details here but I’m happy to talk about it privately if it might help anyone reading this. Talking to other women that had been though this before is what helped me when I needed it most.

I got to hold that tiny baby in my hand while my heart was simultaneously shattered into a million pieces and I had to figure out how to process the idea that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I think deep down I knew something wasn’t right all along. I had felt amazing during the whole pregnancy. No morning sickness or loss of energy at all though I was definitely already showing a decent size baby bump as many second pregnancies do.

By that point we had shared the news of our pregnancy with family and close friends and it actually helped to talk about our loss when we then had to tell all those people we weren’t pregnant anymore. Somehow, life went on. We had endured so many losses and major life changes over the course of two years that everything was just a blur for me. A big hazy cloud. The only thing that kept me looking forward was our beautiful and amazing baby boy who was turning 2.

It took 6 months and a lot of prayers and hope but we finally got pregnant for the third time. Even though this time everything has felt different, it’s been hard to let my guard down and feel the joy I so want to feel. I absolutely loved being pregnant with Brig and I feel like that joy has been stolen from me this time. It’s taken almost half the pregnancy but I think it’s finally coming back. We are 21 weeks and although there’s always a chance of something going wrong, I finally feel like this is real. Our rainbow baby is on her way! 🌈 (For those of you that have never heard that term before, a rainbow baby is a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, reminding us of the rainbow after the storm and bringing hope of what’s to come.)

I have been terribly nauseous all day everyday from 3-17 weeks and Brig has been such a good kid through it all. I’m still pretty low on energy but the nausea has passed and I finally able to function during the day and not feel miserable. My mom was just here for two weeks to visit Brig and that helped a lot. I’m just now getting some projects knocked off the list as my nesting kicks into high gear. Let the fun begin!!

Choosing a name

We’ve had a girl name picked out since before we knew Brig was a boy. His name didn’t get decided on until he was two days old 🙈. There’s always a chance I could change my mind, but for now we have decided to name her Waverly 💕 

your story

Do you have a similar story about pregnancy/infant/child loss or infertility? Willing to share? Please help me make it known just how common it is. I wish it wasn’t such a taboo topic. It really is unbelievable just how common it is.

I respect that everyone grieves and heals in their own way and it’s perfectly okay to keep it private too. But when we do decide to speak out and share our own story, I’ve personally witnessed how much it can help and how much peace it can bring to those of us going through something similar. We all have a story. We all go through the hard stuff, in different forms. That’s life. But sometimes it feels just a little easier when we are reminded that we’re not alone and there really is someone else that understands.

It’s That Time Again

It’s that time again! Peak Hurricane Season has arrived in the Caribbean and that means most of the charter boats have sailed south to Grenada for an end of season break. Peter is now the Service Manager for MultiTech VI in St Thomas. They specialize in warranty and repairs for some of the big name catamarans – Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Nautitech and Gemini – which means there’s tons of work during the charter season.

While the work has slowed down at home, MultiTech is busier than ever in the Ft Lauderdale and Annapolis locations. They’ve asked him to help out in Annapolis for about a month. Because he’ll be gone for so long (and because i’d rather not be alone on our boat in the middle of hurricane season) Brig and I are taking a little vacation to stay with Peter in the states.

We were all set with plane tickets but his company needed Peter to come up a week earlier instead so he got our hurricane lines set and prepped as much as he could to store the boat for a few months before taking off without us. I spent the last week finishing up the remaining bit of cleaning and storage prep before shutting everything off and locking up our home. I packed us up and loaded everything (including Brig) into a dock cart and headed off to the car. We got a ride to the airport, took two plane rides and now we’re all settled in our new spot for the next month!! I seriously think Brig has been on over 30 flights in his two short years. This was the first time he actually had his own paid seat though! What a relief that was…

I’ve never been to this part of the country before so it’s a nice change of pace. It’s actually been just as hot as it is back home – not what I expected at all this far North. Hopefully we will have a chance to explore soon. Unfortunately Brig is already sick. Maybe from the plane ride, or maybe the airport. It’s just a cold but it breaks my heart to see him not feel good. I’m sure in a few days he will be back to his normal wild boy self.

Peter works out of Pier 7 Marina in Edgewater and we are staying up in the historical part of Annapolis. Where’s all my Annapolis friends? Do you live nearby? Do you have any recommendations of fun things to do here with a 2 year old? Please send me a message and let me know!

After some time in Annapolis, Peter gets to take his vacation at the end of September. If all goes well and there isn’t any hurricane trouble back home we plan to fly out to the West Coast to visit family in Washington State and California. We also hope to pick up our Tahoe that’s parked at my dad’s house and either drive it to Florida (or put it on a truck) and then have it shipped down to St Thomas. It’s in great condition and is super reliable – something that’s hard to come by in the islands. Then, Peter has to fly to the Lagoon Factory in Bordeaux France for a training course at the end of October. Brig and I will not be going on that one – way too expensive for us, especially when Brig has to have his own seat on the plane now. I’m not sure what we will do yet while Peter is in France but we’ll figure it out eventually. We hope to be back home to our boat by the 1st of November just in time for high season in the charter business to kick off again!

Stay tuned to our Instagram and Facebook pages for more frequent updates and photos 💙


Why I’m In Love With Branch Basics

You guys!!! I am ABSOLUTELY LOVING this plant and mineral based cleaner concentrate from Branch Basics!! I’ve been wanting to find natural ingredient replacements for all the nasty chemicals we have in our boat/home and I finally found one that is totally safe and still totally effective!

What Is It?

The Branch Basics Concentrate is eco-friendly, biodegradable, plant and mineral based, fragrance-free, non-gmo, gluten free, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, nut free, tree nut free, essential oil free, alcohol free, free of synthetic preservatives, not tested on animals, not harmful to people or pets, made in the USA, gentle enough for sensitive skin and babies, non-MLM, affordable, and totally effective!

I bought the travel kit and starter kit from Branch Basics which both have endless uses. Hand washing, dish washing, all-purpose surface cleaner, glass and windows, bathrooms, laundry, (cloth diaper laundry too!), stains, face wash, body wash, baby wash, pet wash, and on and on. The website also has a complete user guide with recommended uses and an awesome FAQ. I’m thoroughly impressed with how well it actually cleans, and how little concentrate you actually need. There’s a mild natural smell but hardly noticeable and definitely not lingering. I actually clean more now and didn’t realize how much I was subconsciously avoiding cleaning because I didn’t like breathing in the other stuff, coating it where my kid eats, or getting all kinds of chemicals on my skin. And let’s be honest, it sucks wearing big rubber gloves.

Why Does This Matter To Me?

I have recently fallen down a giant rabbit hole on the hunt for cleaning and personal care stuff that is biodegradable and safe around anyone – pregnant, breastfeeding, infants, kids, pets, etc and I’ve done a TON of research. If you know me personally, you know I leave no stone unturned and I don’t stop researching until I’m totally confident in what I’ve found. (Remember the Insurance post, cloth diaper post and dog food post I wrote?) It all started with trying to find a totally safe baby wash for Brig. Of course, this just created more and more questions that I wanted answers to along the way.

I’ve read more labels than anyone should ever have to in one lifetime and I’ve found that the most commonly used ingredients are either harmful or possibly harmful to us in one way or another. The hardest part was finding natural plant based products that do NOT have essential oils or a ton of herbal extracts in them. EOs and herbal extracts are totally fine (and often very helpful) for some people but there are SO many of them that should not be used around kids, pets, or during breastfeeding or pregnancy, or those with sensitive skin – even stuff that is labeled as unscented or fragrance-free sometimes still has EOs in it. If I’m going to switch to using natural plant based products I want to feel confident in the total safety of every single ingredient and I just don’t feel good about blindly jumping on the bandwagon of using essential oils and herbal extracts without knowing the potential (albeit, rare) side effects too. Branch Basics does have less than 1% of German Chamomile flower extract (not an essential oil) in the diluted products but i’m totally okay with that specific herbal extract and at that dilution.

“The Concentrate is human safe, not irritating to the eyes, skin, or lungs. All ingredients are rated 1 on EWG, and there are no harmful preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, or any type of alcohol. Even the extremely chemically sensitive and immune compromised are able to use Branch Basics with complete confidence.” -That’s just a snippet from their website. I also discovered they are certified on the MadeSafe.org website which is incredibly reassuring, as well as rated in the Best categories on several Mamavation product investigations.

So What Are THe Ingredients?  

Purified Water

Coco Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser)

Chamomilla Recutita (German Chamomile) Flower Extract

Decyl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser),

Sodium Citrate (Food-Grade Emulsifier),

Lauryl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser),

Sodium Bicarbonate (Food-Grade Baking Soda),

Sodium Phytate (Plant-Based Antioxidant)

I always recommend doing your own homework and research. I’ve done mine and feel totally confident that these ingredients are safe to use around pretty much anyone. There is of course a very small chance of someone being allergic to something in this product but the chances are SO small, and the benefits outweigh the risks (IMHO) when you are looking at all the known hazards of conventional cleaning products that most of us have lived our entire lives using. The chances of any of these ingredients being an irritant for anyone is so much smaller than it is for most of the ingredients in commercial products available at your local stores.

The surfactants in this concentrate are “Alkyl-Polyglucosides”. There are some studies which show these ingredients may be emergent allergens with a rare chance of producing contact dermatitis (skin irritation or rash). However, they are plant derived and are pretty much the most gentle option for most people. Another example of a possible allergen is Chamomile. While incredibly gentle and typically soothing, you may be more likely to experience an allergic reaction to chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed, daisies, asters, marigolds or chrysanthemums. But again, the ingredient here is only a flower extract (less potent than an essential oil) and is used in dilutions of less than 1%.

Why isn’t there a preservative? I asked the same question which is answered in the Branch Basics FAQ. There are tons of other helpful answers there that also helped me understand why this stuff is so safe and so versatile.

Why Not Use Castile Soaps?

Another reason I like Branch Basics so much is because it’s not a castile based soap. Real soap is a wonderful natural toxin-free product that many people love (especially for its zero-waste packaging aspects) but it tends to leave a residue (especially in hard water) and needs an acidic rinse like vinegar to come clean. Who has time for that? Vinegar can also be harsh on your lungs if you use it all the time, for all your cleaning needs. It can help as a tough degreaser but it really doesn’t “clean” very well at all if you look into the actual chemistry of it versus a surfactant. Yep, I jumped down that rabbit hole too. I still keep a bottle of plain white distilled vinegar in my cabinet though. Castile based soap can also be very drying on skin if it’s made without retained glycerin (a natural humectant), and most soaps won’t specify this either. In climates with low humidity, glycerin can ironically draw natural moisture out of our skin, causing the opposite desired effect. The Branch Basics Concentrate doesn’t contain saponified oils or glycerin.

How Much Does It Cost?

There are several packages available where you can buy a full starter kit that includes all the spray bottles – with or without the laundry booster, travel size bottles, extra empty full size bottles, or just the concentrate. Any way you slice it, the price for all of it is shockingly cheap compared to store bought products. Even though the concentrate sounds expensive at $49, the 33 oz. of Concentrate makes:

  • 3 All-Purpose bottles (24 oz.) at $2.90 each
  • 3 Bathroom bottles (24 oz.) at $5.80 each
  • 3 Streak-Free bottles (24 oz.) at $0.20 each
  • 3 Foaming Wash bottles (10 oz.) at $2.90 each
  • 64 laundry loads at $0.24 per load
What’s The Catch?

The only thing I don’t love about Branch Basics is that it comes in plastic bottles. Half way down the rabbit hole I also decided I wanted to try to support a more eco-friendly lifestyle all together and look for Zero Waste options whenever possible. I know i’m just one person but the impact of non-biodegradable waste all over the world has long since spiraled out of control. It’s something that will be an even bigger problem for my kids and their kids in years to come. It doesn’t harm anyone by trying to live a Zero Waste lifestyle by minimizing our waste when we can, and it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing deal either. Every little but helps, so why not try.

Anyway, at least Branch Basics is on the train of reusable and refillable containers, which helps tremendously. You can buy their bottles that have conveniently marked fill lines or you can follow the recommended ratios and use your own bottles you already have at home, just buying their concentrate alone. Glass is great because it doesn’t leach chemicals into the contents like plastic potentially can, but the reality is that if glass isn’t recycled it actually lasts longer (maybe forever) than the 500-1000 years that plastic particles do. But that’s another story too. Branch Basics is currently working on making glass bottles available so I’m super excited for that. For now, I am just happy to have found something that is totally safe to use around my whole family. I will say that their current spray bottles and foaming wash bottle are extremely effective at giving you just the right amount with each spray or pump. I tried using a glass bottle with a pour spout that I already had in my home but it caused me to waste way more liquid than I actually needed. It’s always great to try to reuse things we already have but I’m super happy with the functionality of the bottles that BB provides. I’ve even purchased several more foaming wash bottles so I can have hand wash at each sink, just out of convenience.

Is There A Trial Size?

If you want to give Branch Basics a try I’ve got a $10 off coupon code you can use at checkout. It’s applied automatically if you use my referral link: http://branchbasics.refr.cc/wherethecoconutsgrow

It also gives me $10 off too, and I definitely plan on buying more, although it will be a long time before I run out of concentrate! I think you can use it for subsequent purchases too, not just one time – but i’m not positive about this. Let me know if you try it a second time!

(They currently don’t list US Virgin Islands as an option for shipping on their website at checkout but their customer service team rocks!! They quickly answered all the questions I had and manually placed my order over the phone so that I could get my order shipped to me in in St Thomas USVI. It arrived super fast and without any hiccups.)

For the cheapest way to try this stuff out, I recommend getting the $5 Trial kit which comes with a travel size 2 fl.oz. concentrate and a large All Purpose spray bottle. My coupon won’t work for the Trial Kit but it’s a great way to try it out if you don’t want to spend much, and you would just pay a couple bucks for shipping. What I did instead was I bought the $20 Travel Kit (-$10 from the referral code I used, equals a total of $10 plus shipping) and that way I was able to test out the Foaming Wash bottle too. It comes with the mini concentrate and a prefilled All Purpose and a prefilled Foaming Wash. Now I have a mini All Purpose and a mini Foaming Wash – both under TSA limits for carryon liquids and I can take them with me on my next plane ride!

I will point out that the prefilled All Purpose and Foaming Wash that I received had a slightly different formulation that also had soapberry in it. The company informed me that it was hard to source and expensive so they recently eliminated it with no significant effect on the product at all. I actually like the concentrate better without it. It was slightly drying feeling in my opinion. They might still have a few of these left but these prefilled bottles and older labels are almost phased out – they are still fulfilling orders with them because there’s nothing bad about the ingredient and it’s better than wasting product and plastic bottles and preprinted labels. Just something to be aware of (and not worry about) if you do order this kit.

If you do give it a try, I’d love to know what you think!


PS if you’re curious what other awesome things I found on my way down the rabbit hole, stay tuned!!!