I am so excited to share this new chapter in our lives. My name is Colleen, I am a wife + mother to two precious little boys. As I write this I have heaviness on my chest, because this is so out of my comfort zone. I am a very reserved person who only opens up to friends + family. Starting this website is something that has been on my heart, but scares the crap out of me. Which is why I know God is pushing me to this season. Pushing me to the edge of a cliff called the unknown. Those who know me know that I am a 110% control freak. My life, day, and minutes are all planned out and I am a list writer. If you walk around our house you will probably see lists all over the house. A checklist, some get accomplished and some do not. But as all moms know, if you don't write it down, it will be forgotten between diaper changes. This drives my husband nuts; he is a go with the flow kind of guy. We are opposites and that’s what makes us work best together. Let me start at the beginning. I graduated high school a year early and jump-started my life by going to hair school in Baton Rouge, LA. I am originally from Louisiana, but moved around a lot as a child. No, my dad wasn't in the military. I just guess they always liked change, and maybe they rubbed off on me some. I met Zach (my husband) through a friend that I was with in hair school. Come to find out though our families semi knew of each other. When I brought Zach home to Arkansas for the first time to meet my parents is when they realized that my mom actually might have been around Zach when he was younger. Long story short, I graduated school and realized Baton Rouge was not for me, so I returned back to Arkansas to be closer to my family. Zach and I had been dating for 6 months and he moved with me to Arkansas. We were here for 2 months before we packed up and moved to London, England for me to do a graduate program for hair. That was a make or break for our relationship, which I plan to share in another post. Once my schooling was done we came back to Arkansas and got plugged into a church and continued renovating a 100-year-old house that would soon be my salon.
Shortly after we returned from London Zach started experiencing pain in his shoulder. I finally got sick of him complaining and made an appointment to see a specialist. The day of his appointment was like any other day. We woke, Zach let Luna (Australian Shepherd), our first child outside to potty + started the coffee pot. I was still lying in bed drinking coffee while Zach hopped into the shower. The next thing I heard from Zach was "ohh...no" and a coffee cup hit the floor... "I said Zach?" Then ran into the bathroom. To my surprise he was lying on the ground in a weird position convulsing. To someone who has no idea what a Grand-mal seizure looks like, I was terrified. I thought an exorcism was happening on my bathroom floor. I am not being dramatic. It was that scary! I immediately used my phone to call 911. After I gave the dispatcher all the info she needed, I used Zach's phone to call my parents. Thankfully they lived 3 minutes down the road. I was on the ground trying to stick my fingers in Zach's mouth to help him breath.. Or so I thought. FYI when someone is having a seizure, you just let it happen. You clear the area where they are and make sure they can't hurt themselves. You monitor it until it is finished. Zach's was only 90 seconds, but it felt like a decade. And sticking your hand in their mouth is the worst thing you can do. They can bite off your finger. Whoops! My body had gone into “protector” mode and I couldn’t figure out what to do. Luckily my parents and the paramedics were at our house in no time. Zach had come back to, but now we were in an ambulance heading to the hospital. Zach had no memory of what just happened. Once we arrived at the hospital Zach had another seizure. They transferred us to Big Baptist in Little Rock, AR. After we arrived there they did multiple tests and scans. We were finally able to talk to a neurosurgeon for him to be diagnosed with a 'cavernous malformation'. After a hospital stay he was able to come home for a week before his big surgery. They did brain surgery to remove a large mass, which was the size of a golf ball. That was another long hospital stay and now he has a pretty wicked scar to show. We were very blessed to be plugged into a life giving church. It was a make it or break it for us in our spiritual walk with God. Thankfully we chose to dive straight in + trust that He would bring Zach through this. Since he had seizures and a pretty intense surgery the doctor advised him not to drive or work for a year. While he healed we opened Salon Rouge and our life began. Zach proposed in our living room during Christmas pictures November 2013. We wed May 5, 2014 at my parent’s house on the lake. It was small + perfect. I hate being center of attention and so does Zach so a big wedding is not what we wanted.
After we got married we decided to let God be in control of when we would start having kids. It was easy for me to give that control away, because I thought it was going to be hard having children. According to my OBGYN I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), for me personally it meant I had painful cysts on my ovaries, couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard I tried, + I was always short on energy. The doctor also told me things would get tricky in the getting pregnant department. Well 5 months after being married we found out I was pregnant. Let me just say I have always wanted to be a mom, so I was thrilled! I will say it is still a weird feeling knowing you are growing someone inside your tummy. I was working 5-6 days a week at the salon at this point and I was worried how I would juggle work & motherhood. The birth of our first son, Ezra, was not pleasant at all. I mean what birth is fun? But I was induced because I was borderline preeclampsia and Ezra was a week past due date. So healing, work, and being a new mom was the hardest thing I've ever done. Ezra had colic + silent reflux for the first four months of his life. Hallelujah for friends who have been there, a supportive hubby, + wine. Lots of wine! AND coffee(remind me to tell you how crazy I am...I just gave up coffee not to long ago)! Life finally started to level out and we found our groove of parenthood. I also found the perfect split between working + mommy-ing. Notice I said working + being a mom, I neglected the wife part. But that’s another post in itself. Life was perfect. When people asked when we'd add another cutie to our family we laughed. Seriously, we laughed out loud and said no thank you. Ezra was perfect but we did not want to go through the newborn stage again. Well, a couple months after Ezra's first birthday we found out I was pregnant again. Again, a whole post could be dedicated to the emotions and mental struggle we went through after finding this news out. But sweet little Harvey was born, our second son. I did not think my heart could grow anymore until I had him. He was the missing piece to our puzzle that we didn't even know was missing.
When I became pregnant with Harvey God started to put on my heart staying home full time. I was so torn. My kids are my world, but we put so much into the business and house. The voice just kept getting louder + louder. I decided to walk by faith and not by sight. Following Gods next step was very scary. Our only source of income has been me working. God had blessed us by me getting to work 2-3 days a week and Zach was able to watch Ezra. On my off days he worked on renovating our 1972 Airstream. I can’t wait to write down all the details of how / when we decided to let the salon chapter come to a close. God’s hand was on every step and He literally paved the way, which is really cool to me. Hello, I'm still a control freak, but giving that to Him and watching Him do His thing was very amazing. So, why am I starting this website? Many reasons. Like I said God is using this transition season to grow and stretch me more than He ever has in my life before. I felt Him leading me here, so here again I'm giving up control + following His lead. I want this to showcase our life and what we're doing right now the good, the bad, and all in between. My prayer is that some of our struggles + good times might help reach others. Thanks for sticking with me on this long post. XO, Colleen Cashio