Meet EIM Contributor, Krystal Leonardson!

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Krystal HeadshotMy name is Krystal Leonardson and I am an Idahoan, born and raised. I was quite literally born in a home on 17th Street, and at only 3 years old, I decided to ride my tricycle on that very same busy street. These events are pretty accurate representations of the chaos that life had in store for me.

My journey into motherhood has definitely been an unexpected journey. See, I didn’t have a regular, cookie-cutter childhood. I wasn’t that young girl who wanted to grow up and have the perfect fairytale wedding. I grew up questioning why in the world anyone in their right mind would ever get married; I don’t think there was ever a time my parents actually got along. I went through my parent’s divorce and watched so many divorces in the years that followed. Marriage and motherhood were not even in the realm of the expectations for my future self.

That all changed when I met Randy and fell head over heels in love. He makes everything in my life more meaningful. Right about the time I started to daydream, for the first time, about what it would be like to start a family of our own I was told never to plan on having kids due to several heart complications that would likely make my heart give out during childbirth. I was devastated and wanted answers to the heart complications so I could start living a more normal, day-to-day life. A few years passed and I ended up having a stroke. My heart was beating so abnormally that blood was pooling in the bottom chambers of my heart; that, mixed with an undiagnosed bloodletting disorder (protein S deficiency), lead to blood clots forming and then traveling through a hole in my heart to my brain and lungs.

This was by far one of the hardest things health-wise I have had to overcome. After meeting with more specialists, I had my first heart surgery to repair a dime-size hole in my heart and started getting the medical attention that was needed for me to be healthy enough to be a mom.

Being a mother with a chronic illness is definitely a lot to sign up for. Motherhood is exhausting. Being in constant pain with significant heart complications and continually passing out with no end in sight is also exhausting. I might just be crazy for combining the two chaotic worlds. But I adore being a mom. I am beyond lucky and blessed to have not one, but two very rambunctious little girls. I feel like being a mom has given me purpose and something to hold onto while struggling through all of the medical difficulties. I have also learned the key to my family’s happiness is through the sanity of their mother; for me, this means having hobbies and being my own person outside of motherhood.

I enjoy lots of creative and crafty outlets to help me stay sane in the day-to-day craziness. I absolutely love photography and specialize in pets. I mean, what’s better than being able to spend the day working with adorable animals while being able to capture their unique personalities! I’ve worked with the Snake River Animal Shelter to help animals that have a harder time getting adopted find their Fur-ever homes. It’s amazing how much a good quality picture can change the adoption outlook for animals in need. I then took those images and paired them with articles featured in the Post Register for Pet of the Week to help each potential pet find their perfect person. I also enjoy scrapbooking, hitting up garage sales, and playing video games, all of which are not too physically exerting. The second I start signing up for going 4-wheeling or hiking I get in over my head and end up struggling for weeks due to my health limitations. In spite of being physically limited, there are still so many ways to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time together camping as a family.

My husband, Randy, loves hunting and fishing, which makes for lots of opportunities to enjoy nature’s beauty and fresh air together. We are both musically inclined and love to play guitar and piano. Our love for the outdoors and music has definitely been passed down to both of our sweet girls. I am so lucky to have such an awesome man by my side. He pours everything he has into being the best husband and father he can be all while managing so much in addition to those roles. It seems like a lifetime ago that we first met, long before our little ones became part of our family and making our lives whole. I can say for certain that no one else would have signed on board for a lifetime of uncertainty. When I had my stroke, we were still only dating and there was no guarantee I would be able to relearn everything so I could take care of myself. He is truly amazing and quite honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Our older daughter, Aspen, is the most passionate and fiercest four year old I have ever seen. I love that she always speaks her mind and never backs down because, as she grows, I know that she will stick up for herself and those around her (even if that means I lose my sanity in the meantime). She has a sweet compassionate girly side too. Aspen loves dresses, jewelry, dancing to her own beat, and taking care of her animal stuffies.

Our younger daughter, Rylee, is just as fierce and determined as her sister. At only one year old she is saying full blown words like ‘Delicious’ and running everywhere. She brings so much laughter into our home and could dance all day so long as there’s music. Rylee is passionate, persistent, and loud. She loves to sing at the top of her lungs and wants to do anything big sister is doing.

I never anticipated going on this journey of motherhood, yet in a way I think I was always meant to be a mom. I adore being a mom and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you!

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Krystal was born and raised in Idaho Falls along with her 4 siblings. She graduated from Idaho Falls High School and is happily married to her high school sweetheart. She has a passion for Pet, Food, Portrait, Nature and Landscape Photography. Krystal has a positive mindset despite several health and heart complications. At the young age of 18, she was told to never plan on having kids. Fast forward 10 years and she’s a loving mom to 2 beautiful girls (thanks to several high risk doctors and specialists). She loves spending her spare time scrapbooking, garage selling, and drawing.

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