September

I’m not kidding when I say I anxiously look forward to September all year long. September is the beginning of fall – don’t fight me on this. I don’t care if the days are still hot and you sweat like crazy when you wear your jacket and jeans – it is fall now, ok??

Right now I feel really pumped up about this new month. I’m not sure why exactly, but I just feel like this is going to be the month I really solidify these habits I’ve been trying so hard to form. I feel like I have motivation I haven’t had in a while and will be able to better a bunch of different sides of myself. I want to focus on our home. I want to make it more cozy, organized and comfortable. I want to stay on top of keeping it looking at least semi-tidy. I want to focus on being a good example for my children. I want them to see me working, I want them to see me taking care of myself and my body and I want them to continue to learn, by watching me, how to be a good human being. I want to focus on service too. I have just really, really felt a powerful connection to that word the last few days and I know that can’t be coincidence.

I have some big goals for September, too. I don’t want to talk a whole lot about it yet while I’m still figuring out the game plan and such, but I’m going to attempt to start something. Its been a dream of mine for ages and I feel like I’ve finally got enough of a grip on the idea and my life that I can finally get the ball rolling on this and I am so excited!

I don’t know what September will bring, but I feel ready. I’m excited. Bring it on. But mostly bring on fall colors, cool weather and pumpkin everything.

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Diaries of a Notebook Addict

I have this problem.. When I see notebooks I have this strong urge to make them mine. I love holding a new notebook and flipping through the pages, deciding what I could fill the pages with. I used to give into these urges all the time. It got bad. I would have piles of notebooks, journals, planners and notepads just sitting there – waiting to be used. The only problem was I didn’t have a use for them. Over the years I’ve got better about not always giving into my notebook addiction, but you can bet you’ll still find me in those aisles at Target, longingly holding fresh notebooks, trying to decide if I could possibly have a use for the empty pages of these cute notebooks.

Because of this problem I have found …made up… many reasons to ‘need’ several notebooks in my life. Maybe you are like me and want lots of pretty notebooks and pages to fill in your life too! If thats the case, this post is for you. Here are all the different notebooks I currently have and what I use them for. But heres the deal — If I’m telling you about all my notebooks, I want to hear about all of yours! Maybe you’ve found a reason for a notebook that I haven’t yet and will most likely now ‘need’ too, you know? Thanks in advance.

My Planner. I would be lost without my planner so this one is actually a necessity. Mine is from In The Leafy Treetops and I highly recommend it. I’ve been repurchasing the same planner every year for three or four years now and I don’t see how I could ever possibly stray from this one. I love, love, love it.

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My Journal. I have kept a journal and write in it at least once a week (but usually more) since I was 8, I think. I feel better when I write so this has for so long been an outlet for me. Its been my own form of therapy and its been a way for me to unwind, vent, relax and let my mind go. Pro tip: Buy smaller journals so you fill them up quicker and have an excuse to buy a new journal sooner.

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My Gratitude Journal. I decided I wanted to keep a gratitude journal because I found a really cute notebook a long time ago and couldn’t come up with a need for it until I remembered someone telling me they kept a gratitude journal. So I decided I too would keep one. I’m actually really glad I do this. Its helped me focus on gratitude with more ease and has become something I look forward to doing daily.

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Our Family Calendar/Planner. Every Monday we sit down as a family and discuss our upcoming week. Any family plans or bigger individual plans go in the family calendar/planner. Its an easy way to check in with each others plans and to stay up to date on stuff coming up. Yeah, I totally could keep all this information in my own planner (oh wait, i do), but its fun to have another place to write stuff down.

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My Boys Journals. I had the idea about a year ago to keep journals for my boys as if they were writing them. I try to write in them once a week, but it happens a little less than that usually. I just talk about their current likes and dislikes, their stats, their funny little mannerisms and whats going on in their life. I’m hoping someday it’ll be something they look back on and read and are grateful I did it.

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My Scripture Study/Church Notebook. I like to take notes and jot things down when I’m reading the scriptures or a Conference talk. I do the same during Sacrament Meeting talks and Sunday School and Relief Society lessons.

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My Healthy Living Notebook. This is where I put my fitness and healthy lifestyle goals. I write down my goals or challenges and write down positive affirmations and words of motivation. This thing totally holds me accountable. I’m very motivated by being able to check off a box (not on a phone – like with a pen on a piece of paper), so I like to be able to check off that I did a workout or drank all my water that day.

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So what did I miss? What other notebook/journal items do I need??

I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.

A Listening Ear

I’ve had the itch to start blogging semi-regularly, again. In my kinda-sorta blog hiatus I’ve come up with a lot of ideas that I’d like to post about, the issue was just finding the time. My little boys take up a lot of my time and I love it and wouldn’t want it any other way so I have no real plans of switching my priorities around, but I’ve decided when I do find some spare time, and if I’m in the mood — I should blog.

 

As I’ve been searching my list of blog post ideas, its been kind of hard for me to decide what to post about first. So I decided to start at the top of the list. The idea simply says, “I’ll listen to you..”

Let me tell you where I’m at right now. I have a two year old and a two and a half month old. I also don’t have a car during the day (Wild Man sold his car and now drives mine to work while we wait for his car to be ready to bring home). Thankfully my very nice mama lives close by and will drive me places if I need to go somewhere, but I don’t like feeling like a burden of hers so for the most part we stay at home all day long, anxiously awaiting Wild Mans return from work for some new entertainment. I love being ‘stuck’ with my boys (i have mixed feelings about being stuck with the dog) and I want to make it clear that I’m not complaining. But sometimes motherhood can feel…well it can kind of make you feel like you’re going crazy. When I spend most of my day trying to communicate with The Captain and baby talking to my babbling newborn I love almost every second of it, but there are also those moments where… I don’t even know what I’m trying to say here. Moms put their kids first 99.9% of the time. It just gets exhausting sometimes and in a weird, not-all-that-bad way, you feel like you’re also kind of losing your old self. I’ll leave it at that.

There have been days where more than anything I just can’t wait to talk. To anyone who will listen to me. Preferably Wild Man. But my mom, sisters, mother-in-law and sisters-in-law are amazing at letting me just talk as well. The majority of the time I talk about my boys. I talk about my day. I talk about how I live in constant fear and worry and have anxiety about things that are completely silly. But it feels so good just to talk and be listened to. I feel less alone. I feel more understood and it gives me back that piece of myself I feel like I sacrifice sometimes. My family will never understand how grateful I am that they just let me talk and that they listen.

I want to return the favor. Even if I don’t know who you are and no matter what stage of life you are in, but especially if you’re in the stay-at-home-with-babies phase of life, I will listen to you! I have my email here on the blog. If you need to talk and you are feeling alone, losing yourself or just need to get some words out there, no matter how crazy or ridiculous they may seem, I’m your girl! I know how vital communication with other adults can be. I know how therapeutic talking can be. Please, if you don’t want to/can’t turn to anyone else – talk to me! I’m a real good listener and I think I’m a good friend.

I will listen to you! My email is ceeceesparkles@gmail.com (and if you know my phone number, text me!) Lets talk. About anything!! I’m here. I’ll listen to you..

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

My Words for 2018!

I am so excited for 2018. There is no real reason why, I just think I like the thrill of a new year. A fresh start of sorts. I’ve been working on my list of New Years Resolutions for the past couple months now and all the while have been trying to settle on my word for 2018 as well. I would get a good list going of creative words that I felt good about, but I always had the same word planted in the back of my mind during this whole decision making process. The reason I didn’t want to pick it though is because…it was the same word as I had picked for 2017. How boring and lame would it be to repeat the word? However, I pretty much focused on that word for January and February of 2017 then forgot all about it. In fact it wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally went back to my 2017 Resolution list that I even realized the word I was pretty sure I’d pick for 2018 was the same word I’d chosen for 2017. So I kept on searching for a new word and actually found two more I really loved, but I still couldn’t shake that original word. So I decided to mix it up a bit this year. Instead of one word for 2018, I have three. (the first is my original word)

KIND, BRAVE and TIME.

Kind: Heaven knows the world could use more kindness – why not try and put a little more into my small corner of the world? I have always felt a particular pull to this word. I want to be genuinely kind, always – or as much as possible. I want it to be real, too. It is easy to act kind on the outside but have a very different mindset on the inside. I want to have kind thoughts and kind words and deeds. I know very well this won’t happen overnight and will take practice and may be something I never truly master, but I do know I’m very capable of at least getting better at it. I want to be one of those people who everyone feels comfortable talking to and turning to because I am kind, gentle and loving. I know I’m not the funniest person, I’m not the most creative person, I’m not the wittiest person or most social person and I’m like 99% sure I never will be. But I can be one of the kindest people. I want to see the good in others, give people the benefit of the doubt, love unconditionally, be more charitable and give much, much more service. I want to be Christlike and be a light in others lives. I want to leave people feeling better than they did before.

Brave: This is definitely the scariest word for me. I am not very brave at all in any aspect of my life. I’m not saying I want to be brave in that I’m going to go hike to the top of Angels Landing and look over the edge (oh sheesh I just spiked my anxiety just typing that) because that is not going to happen. I want to be brave in my words and actions involving my family. I want to be better at standing up for myself. I want to be better at speaking my mind. I want to be better at not making it my life mission to avoid any and all confrontation. Stuff like that, you know? I’m getting antsy even thinking of potential scenarios…but I also know how life changing it could be for me even if I just improve a little bit. In 2018 I want to be braver than I’ve ever been.

Time: As I’ve reflected back on 2017 I noticed that the majority of my mom-guilt came from feeling like I didn’t manage my time well enough to give my kids, husband and even myself the best life I can provide. I am not good at time management and I probably never have been. But thats going to change this year. The priority for me is making sure my time is spent nurturing my children and creating a home that is a safe place for our family. I want to spend less time on my phone and on social media and reading blogs and more time on the floor playing with blocks, identifying shapes and colors and changing diapers while having funny conversations with my toddler and exchanging coos with my newborn. I want to be actively involved in conversation with my husband and be a sounding board for him when he comes home from work. I want to spend more time in the kitchen making meals and less time on the couch in front of the tv (but don’t worry, I’ll still make sure I save some time for tv because I’ve got to be me!) I am going to spend time tidying up the house and making it a place where you can have a clear head and less time doing something useless and letting things pile up on the floor and counter, creating a frustrating environment. My time is going to be much more well spent and my whole families life is going to benefit from this.

2017 was wonderful. I loved it, I really did, but I am so excited for this new year. Hello, 2018! I’m ready for you. Lets do this.

Happy New Year!

 

27 Facts About This Birthday Girl

Today I am 27 years old. Eek. 27 has been a hard number to swallow for me for some reason. I’ve been afraid of that number because it has been seeming so….old. However I’m pretty sure I’ve thought that every year after I turned 21 so these fears are just to be expected now.

For my birthday post I’m doing what I’ve done the past few years. Facts about yours truly. 27 facts, this year. Will these be repeats of what you’ve read in past birthday posts? Yeah, probably. But thats not stopping this birthday girl!

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  1. From the time I was a little girl, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would answer with, ‘a mom.’ Now that I am a mom I’ve found that I love this gig even more than I thought I would. Little girl CeeCee had no idea how fantastic her future would be with her incredible children.
  2. Two is my lucky number. I’m also a fan of twenty-two.
  3. I’m a messy person. It takes a lot of effort every day for me to keep the house clean. I’m good at cleaning and I do it daily (usually) but its not something I come by naturally. Also, nine times out of ten, putting away laundry puts me in the worst mood – just ask Wild Man.
  4. I consider myself very good at applying make up and knowing skin care and make up facts. I consider myself awful at anything hair related. I want to get better though. I also have a fear that someday if I have a girl or two her hair will always look awful because I won’t have any idea what I’m doing.
  5. Speaking of hair… When I got pregnant with The Captain my hair started to darken and thicken. It got darker and thicker while I was pregnant with Chief. So now I have this dark, super thick hair which is sooooo different than the hair I had before I was ever pregnant. (i’ve always had thick hair, but not like this)
  6. I want all the babies. I tell Wild Man I want 100 kids. I know this is not going to ever happen, but I just really love my kids, having kids, growing kids, etc.
  7. I am strangely addicted to mints. The Lifesavers Wint O Green mints, to be exact.
  8. Something I’ve learned about myself this year is that I get really bummed out or my anxiety can spiral a bit if plans change. I have probably been this way for a while but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve realized plans changing is actually really hard for me to handle and process.
  9.  My favorite color is orange.
  10. My favorite drink is Diet Coke and my favorite food is raspberries, mexican food, pineapple or cookie dough ice cream.
  11. I really love to scrapbook, sew and craft. I used to be pretty good at doing it consistently. Having kids has definitely caused these things to take a backseat right now but I’m hopeful that someday I’ll be able to do them all again pretty frequently.
  12. I never really liked school growing up. Well I guess except for grade school. I was never a fan and I really regret that now. I wish I would have taken my schooling more seriously and paid attention better and made an effort to really remember the things I was taught. I got good grades and did pretty well in school and stuff, but I didn’t have a good attitude about the academic part of it and that makes me sad now. I didn’t love college either and have the same thoughts about it now. But then I went to Esthetic school and I loved it. I enjoyed it all, I remember so much, I internalized it and I love it still. Thats the attitude I wish I had all through my years of school.
  13. My favorite animated movie is Alice in Wonderland and my favorite live movie is Pirates of the Caribbean.
  14. The first thing that attracted me to Wild Man were his long arms, the veins in his arms and his shaggy hair. (fun fact: it is no longer shaggy)
  15. Since becoming a mom I have discovered my newest, biggest pet peeve: crayons being thrown all over the place. It makes my blood boil every time.
  16. I used to run Cross Country and Track and…dare I say it, I think I miss it. Well not actual cross country and track – but just running. I go through phases of running a lot, but I’m certainly not in that phase right now but hope to pick it back up once the weather gets warmer.
  17. I have the Mormon Mom Planner and I’m truly obsessed with it. Just looking at it makes me happy. It brings me comfort and has helped me sort out my psycho brain. Planning is incredible. I don’t know if I’m ‘good’ at it or whatever, but I love the way I do it. Its good and therapeutic for me.
  18. I believe I could live off of cereal, toast and mashed potatoes.
  19. I was born in Boise, Idaho. One time when Wild Man and I were dating he jokingly called me his ‘little Idaho potato’ and I think about this often and laugh every time.
  20. Eyelash Extensions are the most common treatment I do in my spa, however my favorite treatment to give is a facial.
  21. One of my little sisters was born December 20th, the day before my birthday. She is 11 years younger than me and I’ve always wished she could have waited just a little longer so we could have shared birthdays. Am I the only person who wishes they shared a birthday with their sibling?
  22. My toenails are always painted.
  23. I am super blind. If my contacts aren’t in or I’m not wearing my glasses, consider me useless.
  24. I would be much happier to sit at home and watch a tv show than to go to a theater and watch a movie. I like tv shows more than movies in general.
  25. I am the oldest of three girls and I’m quite a bit older than my sisters (8 years and 11 years) and I’ve always really loved my role as big sister and try not to take it lightly. Having this big of a gap between me and them, I’ve been very aware that younger siblings really do watch their older siblings and look up to them and (in ways) try to be like them. I’ve always wanted to be a good example to them – I hope I am.
  26. When I was younger I never could quite make up my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up but some of my options were: Disney Princess, teacher, a CSI, an actress/singer (what kid doesn’t go through that phase?), a cosmetologist, a gymnast,  a receptionist in a hotel, someones secretary or a makeup artist. I ended up being a Master Esthetician (but I do have my makeup artistry license so I guess I achieved one of those goals!)
  27. My idea of a perfect day is staying home all day with Wild Man, our boys, our dog and eating Mexican food or Chinese food, playing games, watching tv, having plenty of treats on hand, maybe going for a walk around our cute neighborhood and wearing comfy clothes.

xoxo

Pray. Say thank you. 

I woke up with my husband this morning – which is code for: I woke up really early this morning. Like 5 or something gross like that. Of course, he didn’t know I woke up because I laid there with my eyes closed trying desperately to fall back asleep. I’m almost 35 weeks pregnant, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t have a great night of sleep last night. Our sweet little H who has been struggling to sleep all night lately laid beside me sleeping soundly and I was jealous. He looked so relaxed. So I tried really, really hard to fall back asleep. But every time I felt like I was at the brink of sleep, something would wake me up again. A movement from H, a sound from Wild Man out in the kitchen, a wiggle from baby boy, a sharp pain in my hip or another charlie horse in my leg. It was weird. It was like everything but my own brain was telling me to stay awake. 

I heard Wild Man leave and I could hear the dog adjust in her kennel out in the living room. Then there was silence. I laid in our dark room with my eyes open just wishing I was asleep. There seemed to be absolutely no reason to be awake at such an early hour. Then, what felt like out of nowhere I had a thought pop into my head: Pray. Say thank you. 

I’m a little bit embarrassed to say I didn’t immediately start a prayer. H was wiggling around and I was watching his funny little sleeping faces. Baby boy was also wiggling and I was trying to figure out what body part it was I could feel. I knew I should pray, but I guess in my mind I thought it could wait so I brushed it off. Both of my boys settled again and as I sat in the stillness and quiet and looked at H’s perfect little face I heard it run through my mind again: Pray! Say thank you! This time the thought was accompanied with a realization that it is because of Heavenly Father, who I pray to, that I have my sweet, healthy, almost two year old, my wiggly baby boy in my stomach and an incredible husband. I knew exactly what I was supposed to say thank you for now. 

I didn’t even sit up or kneel. I stayed in the same position in bed with my toddlers left arm draped over my face and his feet tucked under my belly. I closed my eyes and said a prayer in my mind. I thanked Heavenly Father for my many, many blessings – especially for my wonderful family. It wasn’t a long prayer and it didn’t feel particularly powerful. When I finished it, I didn’t feel as if I’d had some incredible experience. But as I sat there I came to realize I was feeling something I haven’t really felt the past week. 

I felt peace

I’m not sure what it’s been about the past little while in my life, but it’s been hard for me not to feel overwhelmed, inadequate or like I’m doing my role as a wife and mother. I have been easily upset at myself, I’ve been impatient, emotional and feeling very off. It’s been a struggle. I have a lot of craziness running through me, likely since I’ll be having a baby soon – but I felt like there was even more to it. I was a mess and my mind was a mess and (a lot like my house, lately) I couldn’t get it cleaned up and organized which just caused me to feel less and less peaceful and…ok. 

My shoulders felt a little lighter after this prayer. I felt like the elephant that’s been crushing my chest lately was gone – or at least less paralyzing – and I could feel my regular happiness starting to familiarize itself with my body again. That’s when I realized that this whole time I’ve been feeling miserable for myself, I’d been praying the whole time, but I was always asking for things. I was asking for help. Begging for relief. For things to go my way.  Complaining and venting. But I never stopped to take the time to pray about what was going right – what I was thankful for. It hit me like a ton of bricks. THATS why I was feeling off and that’s why my life seemed as if it had a little extra level of difficulty to it that I couldn’t figure out how to effectively combat. I wasn’t thanking Heavenly Father for my blessings! 

The sun hasn’t even come up yet. It’s not even 7 in the morning yet. Who knows if I’ll fall back asleep this morning or not. But I am grateful I woke up at 5am this morning (NEVER thought I’d say that) and they I finally said a prayer of thanks. I hope it has set the tone for my day. I hope this can be what flips this weird month around for me. I hope I will remember this experience and not go so long without being thankful for my blessings. I feel so good. I feel so light and happy. I feel like I was a dead battery and am now fully charged and ready to go. My mind is much clearer. 

It’s funny how the Lord works sometimes. But it’s always in the most perfect way for our individual needs. He answers prayers in His own way and His own timing and it’s always just what we need. 

Now let’s hope that with all this newfound light and clarity, my body and house can get on board 😉 

xoxo

ceeceesparkles