The Motherhood Project: Caitlin

“It’s such an amazing moment to see your baby stack a block for the first time—or hearing your 3 year old use that big word you used yesterday and feeling like the proudest mom ever.”

Name: Caitlin | Children: Lincoln 4, Isaac 1

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Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: I loved my first and liked my second. My first pregnancy was new and exciting! I didn’t have any nausea, throwing up, or pains. It was easy and the anticipation of being a mom made it so fun.

My second was similar in the sense that I didn’t feel sick, but I had a toddler at home and running after a tiny human at any stage in a pregnancy is difficult. I know I did my best and I definitely have some awesome memories with my little guy during those 9 months; but, I also spent a lot of days wishing the pregnancy would be over soon instead of enjoying it.

How was your delivery experience?: My first was complicated, unexpected, and scary. I ended up in the hospital at 36 weeks with contractions that we quickly found out were putting baby in distress. The baby was completely tangled up in his umbilical cord and every contraction was cutting off his oxygen supply. I had a super quick emergency C-Section which totally threw me off (trust me when I say hearing a doctor say “emergency” during delivery is terrifying) It was a very stressful few hours but our baby boy was born 100% healthy and happy—he didn’t even spend time in the NICU! I have decided he just needed to come into the world with a big scene.

My second delivery was a planned C-Section and such an awesome experience. We decided early on that we wouldn’t risk another cord issue and a repeat C-Section was the best way to go. I was actually looking forward to it, knowing I wouldn’t have to go through labor. 10 days before my scheduled delivery date (at 38 weeks pregnant) I went into labor on my own. I was taken directly into surgery which was so laid back and relaxed—a TOTAL change from my previous delivery. The doctors laughed and told jokes with my husband as they were cutting me open. The mood in the room was so light and fun, it made the whole thing so great. I was given the opportunity to have skin-to-skin time right after he came out and I spent about an hour holding him and nursing him. I even held him as they wheeled me back to my room after surgery. It was such a happy experience and I feel like telling the world that C-Sections don’t have to be negative.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to being a mom?: Patience. Everyone thinks I’m a patient person, but I can lose it quickly. I yell easily and I don’t like that. It’s frustrating to tell your child five times to do or not to do something and they just don’t listen. However, I’m learning patience day-by-day thanks to being a mom and I know it will only continue to get better.

What’s your biggest strength when it comes to being a mom?: I think I do a pretty good job keeping my house and family in some type of order. Teaching children order, cleanliness, and structure can help them in every stage of life. I spend time each day teaching my kids the importance of cleaning up after themselves and why it’s important that everything has a place. I promise I’m not crazy about it though. I do have messes often; but, I also believe that “a clean home is a happy home.” I like to add to that quote and say that a clean home is a happy attitude! Our entire family functions better and there is a noticeable mood improvement when our home is clean and in order.

What is your favorite part of the day with your child/children?: Playtime. I love watching my kids play or getting on the floor and playing with them. It’s such an amazing moment to see your baby stack a block for the first time—or hearing your 3 year old use that big word you used yesterday and feeling like the proudest mom ever. I love that. I love the happy faces, the squeals, building the tallest Lego tower ever, the race to the front door and pretending to be a slow runner or the crazy dance party in the kitchen. These are the moments that make being a mom worth it.

Who is an inspiration to you when it comes to motherhood?: My own mom. She is probably one of the most patient people I have ever known. I definitely didn’t learn to yell from her. She had six children and I can count on one hand how many times I heard her raise her voice. I have no idea how she kept her cool so easily, it’s a quality I hope to obtain.

Advice for fellow mothers who need a boost?: I promise: YOU CAN DO THIS! Motherhood is hard, we are all in such different stages and phases. We all have different situations and very different children. It’s easy to get frustrated or discouraged or even to lose sight of who you are as a person. It’s hard, but it is so worth it! You can do this. Take it one day at a time—one hour at a time if you have to—it will get better. Now go eat some chocolate. You deserve it! 🙂

Where is your favorite place to shop for yourself? Favorite place to shop for your child/children?: I would probably say Target for both. Only because that’s where I go for everything. Target is life.

What’s one product for yourself you can’t live without? Favorite product for your child/children?: I don’t really have any items I absolutely can’t live without. I do love my Apple Watch. I’m busy as a mom and I like that I can check my wrist real quick and see who is texting or calling me. It keeps me from checking my phone all day long; and let’s face it, half the time I’m not even sure where I left my phone.

It’s a little different for my kids since they are three years apart in age. For my oldest he couldn’t live without Kinetic Sand, Legos, or Play Dough. We break that stuff out every day and it gives him a good hour of time by himself to be creative. Right now for my little guy we couldn’t live without his giraffe teether. He gnaws on that thing like there’s no tomorrow. It saves us both from the pain of teething.

How has being a mom changed your life?: It has changed my life in almost every way possible. I had an idea of where I wanted my life to go before kids, but I wasn’t getting there. I did things differently than some of my peers and I think they thought I was crazy. Now that I have children I can see why things happened the way they did. I was supposed to be here at this time raising these babies. I may be a little more sleep deprived than I had expected; but, I wouldn’t change a thing. I hope in the future I can go and do some of the things I had planned before kids; but, for now life is so great and I’m so happy with the way it has turned out.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you! ceeceesparkles@gmail.com

Funfetti Cakies

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A while ago on Pinterest I saw a recipe for Funfetti Cookies and they instantly caught my eye.

They were pretty, they were colorful and most importantly they looked delicious.
After reading over the recipe and looking up a few other funfetti cookie recipes, I put together my own recipe (but i’m sure someone else has already come up with it – so don’t fully credit me with this) and named it, Funfetti Cakies.

Because they turned out so yummy and cute, I decided to share it with you.

You will need:
8oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1/2 Cup Butter (room temperature)
1 Egg
1 Box Funfetti Cake Mix
Sprinkles (colorful are best)
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

How to Make:
-Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth, then add the egg and continue mixing together
-Add the cake mix until combined, add sprinkles, mix
-Chill dough for about one hour
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Roll dough into 1 inch balls (mine were bigger) and roll in powdered sugar
-Place on cookie sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes
-Allow cookies to cool on sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool all the way
-ENJOY!

(this recipe made about 24 or so..i didn’t count them before we gobbled a few up)

You should totally try these.
You won’t regret it and neither will your tummy or taste buds.

Happy eating!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

What I Watch

When I got pregnant with H I was pretty much instantly sick. I threw up all the time and eventually was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Feeling nasty like this all the time and having the tell tale exhaustion that accompanies pregnancy led to lots of time spent on the couch. After H was born I spent hours upon hours on the couch while he nursed. When he was teeny tiny I swear he nursed 95% of his day and slept the other 5%. Now days though we only nurse a little bit less, I still find myself planted in front of the television a lot. When H plays on the floor, rolling around, squealing and slobbering all over his toys, I really like to get down and play with him and I usually do, but sometimes the tv still calls my name. I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that H has also taken on his moms love of a good tv show. His personal favs are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Winnie the Pooh.

Before pregnancy I really didn’t watch a ton of tv. I’d watch some CSI and other murder mystery shows and the occasional episode of The Office and I was/am a die hard Parks and Rec fan. But that was pretty much it.

Now days I watch a lot less scary stuff. Actually like no scary stuff. Mostly because I’ve always been a worrier and since having my son I’ve become SO much more of a worrier so murder mysteries really terrify me these days. Also zombie stuff is awful. I watched Walking Dead with Wild Man for a while and I always had nightmares about zombies and although I know an apocalypse won’t happen – I’m utterly terrified of zombies.

I’m a much bigger fan of light-hearted, funny stuff nowadays.

So here is what I’ve been watching lately (besides Disney Junior and Disney movies):

  • Parks and Rec: Still. Forever and always. Because its amazing and the best tv show. Leslie Knope is incredible and I want to be a friend like Ann, and Ron Swanson and Andy Dwyer kill me. It doesn’t matter how many dozens of times I’ve watched an episode, I literally lol at every episode and feel happier after watching.
  • Dancing with the Stars: I cannot dance. Not at all. So watching people who can dance so amazingly is absolutely fascinating to me.
  • Once Upon a Time: The latest seasons are definitely not the best (i actually pretty much hated the Frozen season) but I am still hooked and am liking this recent season a little more and am really hoping it picks up again. Also, Killian/Captain Hook.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: I started watching this because I chose to conform. Everyone on Twitter was talking about the show so I reluctantly gave it a go. For some reason I had a bad attitude about it and was sure I’d not get into it, but alas, I am addicted and I love it love it.
  • The Mindy Project: Same story as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I like this show but I don’t love it. Sometimes its kind of depressing to me. And lots of sexual talk which isn’t my jam. But its good and I’ll keep watching.
  • The Office: This show is a classic. I love Jim and Pam and Michael is so painfully awkward that he just sucks you in. This is another feel-good show that I am not going to stop watching like ever.
  • New Girl: You guys, I love this show. I want to be Jess. (Zooey Deschanel is darling). I just love how positive and happy Jess is and how true to herself she is. The story lines in this show crack me up.
  • Modern Family: Wild Man and I watch this one together and without fail we laugh our heads off every time. Phil is my favorite, obviously.
  • Ridiculousness: This is an awesome show to watch if you’re just in the mood to laugh hysterically and wonder why some people are so crazy.
  • Friends: Classic. I love Friends. I feel like this needs no explanation. This is another one I’ll be watching forever and always.
  • Survivor: This show gets a little confrontational and that makes my skin crawl, but I love watching the challenges and rooting on my favorite contestant.
  • Amazing Race: This is my favorite reality tv show. I will never be brave enough to sign up to be on Amazing Race, so I love watching it and wondering how well I’d do on Road Blocks and challenges and such. I’ve officially watched every season now and I will watch it until it ends.

What shows do you watch? Any recommendations? I just don’t like the scary/graphic stuff..

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

The Motherhood Project: Cassidie

“Being a mom has softened me, and made me more compassionate towards others.”

Name: Cassidie | Child’s Name: Porter, 2 years old.

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Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: No I did not. I would talk to Porter inside of me and tell him I loved him, because I didn’t want him to think I didn’t want him, because I didn’t like being pregnant. but I hated being pregnant. I was sick and threw up every single day of pregnancy.

How was your delivery experience?: Not that great either. I had preeclampsia; so they gave me magnesium. They induced me, and my water broke, and went into labor fine. My oxygen started dropping so they put me on oxygen. They told me to start pushing so I pushed for two hours (falling asleep in between contractions). The nurse said she had never seen anyone fall asleep in between contractions before. Then they told me I had to have a c-section. So after two hours of pushing they took me to have a c-section. I couldn’t really hold Porter the first day, because of the magnesium that was still wearing off. It made me really tired, and my arms were too weak to hold Porter by myself.

Whats your biggest struggle when it comes to being a mother?: Working. I love my job, and I have a very flexible job, but I miss being with Porter all the time.

What is your parenting style?: I‘m not sure. I am still figuring it out. I want to be strict enough that Porter knows the rules, but I also want to discipline calmly. I want to talk to my child, and help him understand what he did wrong rather than yell at him. It is easier said then done. I never want him to be afraid to tell me if he made a mistake or did something wrong.

What is your favorite part of the day with your child?: First thing in the morning when he is waking up, and when I get home from work.

Who is an inspiration to you when it comes to motherhood?: My mom, mother-in-law, and friend Buffy Smith. They all have different parenting styles, and I want to pull from all three of their techniques.

Advice for fellow mothers who need a little boost?: I’m not sure I am a very good person to give advice. I think the most important thing is to know that every body has a different situation. Kids are all different, and we can’t compare ourselves to others. It is good to learn from others, but we need to decide for ourselves who we are as mothers, and what that means to us.

Where is your favorite place to shop for yourself?: Banana Republic
Favorite place to shop for your child?: Gap, Polo, or Nordstrom Rack.

What is one product for yourself you can’t live without?: Bare Minerals makeup. I’m pretty low maintenance. Most of the time I just throw a little foundation on and that’s it.
Favorite product for your child?: Porter’s Minky blanket. He loves his blankets.

How has being a mom changed your life?: Being a mom has softened me, and made me more compassionate towards others. Being a mom is hard work, and I see people differently now. I thought I wouldn’t be very motherly, because I grew up tom boyish. I thought I would be a rough and tough mom, but I am surprisingly quite sensitive.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you! ceeceesparkles@gmail.com

The Motherhood Project: Lara

“Becoming a mom has made my life 100X more meaningful.”

Name: Lara | Children: Harvey 2, Finn 9 months

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Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: I really did enjoy both of my pregnancies. I was hardly sick at all with either one. Of course it gets uncomfortable towards the end, and you would much rather be holding that sweet baby in your arms, than in your ribs, but I’ve always really enjoyed the magic of feeling your baby wiggle and kick around inside.

How was your delivery experience?: I had an epidural with my first, and a natural birth with my second. Loved certain things about both, but there was something special about doing it natural for sure. My recovery from Finns birth was physically AMAZING. But I definitely suffered with PPD for a solid 3 months at least. That combined with Finn being colicky, combined with adjusting to two children… Life was hard for a little while. My advice to anyone who goes through this is honestly just to pray. Ha it’s one of those things that you can’t do much about. You just play the waiting game and try to look for every ounce of positivity you can. My awesome older sister knew I was going through a rough time and brought me a “bucket of sunshine” one day (treats, cozy socks, more treats and the perfect quote from Elder Holland) “Believe in God and yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are” If you know new moms going through this (or new moms in general) little things like this are GOLD.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to being a mom?: My biggest struggle is probably expecting too much out of my kids. More specifically my two year old. I think it’s very important to hold your children to a high standard. But sometimes I forget that he has literally only been on this earth for 2 years, and has a lot to learn. Sometimes I hold him to the standard of a child much older and expect him to be patient, kind, and well behaved at all times and sometimes feel myself getting upset when he breaks down and acts, well, two.

What’s your biggest strength when it comes to being a mom?: I think my biggest strength is probably just love. As cheesy as that sounds, I don’t think my kids will ever question my love for them. I like to make sure that no matter how busy the day is, I get solid, one on one time with each child. Just time to connect. Whether that means cuddling and reading a pile of books, having tiny conversations with mommy and daddy giraffe, or sitting at bedtime and just talking and laughing about the day.

What is your parenting style?: The go-go-go mom. I like to start the day with breakfast and getting dressed and then we are out the door. I am a major planner so I normally have the bag all packed and everything ready for whatever activity we are doing the night before. (OCD I know) Our favorite activities lately are Thanksgiving point museums and farm, picnics at the duck pond, the Library and Kangaroo Zoo. I’m looking forward to warmer weather when we can just go on walks and hang out at the park. (Simplify right?) 😜

How has being a mom changed your life?: How has it not changed my life? Becoming a mom has made my life 100X more meaningful. It has made me appreciate MY mother so much. When I’m cleaning up crumbs off the floor for the 15th time that day, or carrying a car seat and groceries and gripping tiny hands down the stairs, I think of my mom often, and how much work she put in to raise me and my siblings. I’ve learned to really appreciate the ME time, and the date nights with my husband. Most of all I think it’s just made me so incredibly happy. I can’t think of anything that could put a smile on my face more than my two sweet guys. (Well, 3) 😉 Being a mom is the bomb.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you! ceeceesparkles@gmail.com

21 Days forms a Habit: Day 21

A 21 day challenge dealing with health and exercise and I did it! I made it and I only missed one day! I did a whole bunch of different exercises from yoga, walking, baby-and-mom workouts, tae bo, more lunges and squats than I care to think about, etc. I’ve been sore for 21 days and I hate that, but I’m also proud of that. Some days I had next to no motivation and it was a huge accomplishment that I got off my sleepy bum and worked out. Other days I woke up and couldn’t wait to put on a cute exercise outfit and exercise while H laughs at me (have i mentioned thats the best part of exercising?)

Unfortunately I cannot say that I’ve seen any changes in my body yet. Maybe, maybe, maybe there is a tiny bit more lift in my booty and I feel like my thighs are an eensy-weensy bit more toned, but thats about it. I realize having huge goals for a 21 day challenge was a little far-fetched, but I’m not discouraged because I have faith in myself that I will continue on with these habits and greater results will happen.

Word on the street is 21 days really does for a habit. I think I really have formed a habit and am excited to continue on this sweaty journey.

Now I leave you with these words of wisdom – if I can do it, so can you. Seriously.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

The Motherhood Project: Whitney

“It’s always been very important to me to let my kids have their own personalities and opinions, not trying to mold them into what I want them to be.”

Name: Whitney | Children: Ezra 10, Georgia 8, Scarlett 7, Oak 4, Fischer 2, Tallulah 1 month.

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Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: When asked if I like being pregnant (which I get a lot, considering I’ve been pregnant as many times as I have!), I always respond, “I love being pregnant, but I don’t love the pregnancy symptoms!” I love so, so much about being pregnant! I love the anticipation and excitement about meeting the new little one. I love looking forward to the milestones, like hearing the heartbeat for the first time, the gender reveal, feeling the first movements, etc. I love knowing and feeling that baby growing inside of me. Heck, I don’t even mind my pregnant shape! Heaven knows, I’m more comfortable with my body during pregnancy than I am for a good chunk of time after pregnancy! Do I love every moment of every day? Of course not! I hate morning sickness, nerve pain, and swollen feet as much as the next girl…but overall, I generally enjoy being pregnant.

How was your delivery experience?: Oh goodness, I’ve had so many different delivery experiences! There’s definitely been the good, the bad, and the ugly! I’ve had lots of different versions of labor and delivery, all of which, luckily, ended with healthy babies. I’ve had a c-section (baby #1), 5 VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean…babies #2-6), an epidural (baby #2), epidural-free births (babies #3-6), and my waters broken to induce labor (baby #6). See what I mean!? Some were truly great (baby #3 was a breeze!), some were pretty traumatic (baby #2 is a pretty horrendous birth story), but all of them were beautiful and amazing. There’s something magical and breath-taking about bringing a baby into this world. It’s truly an experience like no other!

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to being a mom?: Remembering that my mood should not dictate my parenting. I remember learning that for the first time in a university child development class. It just struck a chord and is something I definitely have to remind myself daily. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life and it’s so so hard not to let my issues and mood affect my mommying.

What’s your biggest strength when it comes to being a mom?: Oh heavens, right now I’m not feeling like there’s much of any! lol! Let’s see, probably my desire to let my children be their own people. It’s always been very important to me to let my kids have their own personalities and opinions, not trying to mold them into what I want them to be. It’s a lot harder to do that then you’d think! Luckily my kids all have strong personalities, so I don’t know that I have much choice in the matter!

What is your parenting style?: Definitely laid back! I simply couldn’t handle having this many kids if I was a helicopter parent! I just don’t have the energy for it!

What is your favorite part of the day with your child/children?: I can’t say there’s one particular time. My favorites are the quiet moments, when I can just soak up their child-ness without having to actively interfere. That and the moments of wild abandon. When I just release them to be kids and I just sit back and watch. Dance parties, fountain-splashing, orange popsicle-sucking…that sort of thing.

Who is an inspiration to you when it comes to motherhood?: I’m inspired by so, so many of the women that surround me! Friends, relatives, my own mother and mother in-law…the list goes on! I’d say my sisters are probably my biggest ones, though. We all parent in slightly different ways and we all learn from each other. They are always there to make me laugh when I’m down and give me a shoulder to cry on when I need one. They make me want to be the mother that they think I am.

Advice for fellow mothers who need a little boost?: This too shall pass. I’ve been a mom for over ten years now and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing lasts. They won’t pee their pants forever, or wake up 4 times a night forever, or throw food on the ground forever. They’ll move on to a different stage, for better or worse, before you know it. And then, you will have new things to cry (and laugh!) over and your current struggles will all just be a memory.

Where is your favorite place to shop for yourself? Favorite place to shop for your child/children?: I’m a target girl. No matter the way I want to treat myself, I can find it there. Clothes, makeup, candy, decor, etc…it’s there!
As for my kids, I’m a consignment clothes shopper. Children’s Orchard, Once Upon a Child, that sort of thing. I love that I can get great, cute clothes for decent prices. Heaven knows, with my grocery bill, I need to stretch my dollar as far as I possibly can!

What’s one product for yourself you can’t live without? Favorite product for your child/children?: Makeup. I know, I know, that’s lots more than one product, it’s like a whole category…but still, it’s true! How can one not love something that immediately makes everyone look better? Even the naturally prettiest women (of which I am not!) look better with a little makeup on. Nothing gives me a little pick-me-up and self-esteem boost than a bit of concealer, mascara, and lip gloss! If you want a specific product (which is probably what you were aiming for ;), I’d have to say my current fave is NYX’s Butter Gloss (lip gloss). It comes in lots of fun shades and is gorgeous without being thick or sticky. I love it!
For my kids…I’d have to say Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (Maximum Strength) for diaper rash for the babies and The Wet Brush for the big kids. Both have made my mommy life significantly easier!

How has being a mom changed your life?: I got married young. I had my first baby at 20. I honestly cannot imagine my life apart from being a mom. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I’m jealous of girls I know who got to live up their twenties traveling, working, and generally doing whatever the heck they wanted. I, on the other hand, was busy changing diapers, adjusting to my stretch-marked, postpartum body, learning about the autism spectrum, and dealing with potty-training and grade-schooling woes. We are worlds apart, those other girls and I. But, because I started so young, I never really had much of a life pre-babies. I feel mamahood is when I really started to live. So when you ask how being a mom changed my life…I honestly can’t remember what it was like not being one.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you! ceeceesparkles@gmail.com