Diving in Deep

We are getting deep today, are you ready?

I’ve been the driver of the struggle bus lately. I don’t know what it is, but just when I feel like I’m good and things in my life and aligned and happy, a rug is pulled from under my feet by either someone else or my own dang self, and I find myself struggling all over again. I’m all over the place and it’s incredibly exhausting mentally and emotionally.

I’ve always been a sensitive person, but lately I feel even more fragile and frail. I’ve always been emotional, but lately I feel like all I do is struggle under all these emotions I have. I’ve always been a worrier and full of anxiety, but my worry and anxiety have been through the roof and up into space lately. It wears on me after a while.

Lately I get really hung up on how people feel about me. I work my booty off to be kind to others, be non-judgemental and accepting of everyone, so sometimes when I feel like I’m being judged, etc I get really caught up in how icky that feels. For example, we recently got a new puppy (surprise! I’ll do a post on her soon) and I’m really excited about it. I have a special reason I really felt like I needed her and yeah she’s a puppy and is already a lot of hard work, but I feel really good about having added her into our family. But you guys, I have got sooo close to selling her because I’ve been so stinkin’ caught up in what other people will think of me for getting another dog. The logical part of me is like, WHY THE HECK DOES THEIR OPINION MATTER?? They don’t live in my home! They don’t know the dynamic of our families, our story, our thoughts, feelings, struggles, etc, so why should I care a single bit about what they think? But the emotional, stressed out, anxious, worried part of me thinks, THEY THINK I’M AN IDIOT and maybe I am. Maybe they think a dog isn’t right for our family. They think I’m burdening my husband and kids with this new responsibility.

I get really hung up on the kind of mom people think I am. Do they know how hard I try? Do they know how hard I am on myself? Do they even understand how badly I wish I could be a perfect mom for my boys, no matter how many times I read that “you’re children don’t need a perfect mom…” quote? Do they know that my kids are happy and healthy and that they really love me and we are the best of friends? Or do they just see a really frazzled person who is doing it all wrong?

It’s dumb. I know. Deep down I know other people’s thoughts don’t matter. Deep down I know what matters is the decision Craig and I make. But it’s just hard sometimes.

The kind of mom I am and our new puppy are only a couple examples of that. I’ve been feeling all these chaotic feelings about SO many things lately. I wish my thoughts had an on and off switch.

But here’s the thing. It’s ok.

This is who I am. I’m an over thinker, a worrier and a ball of anxiety. I value the opinions of those close to me and I want to be liked by those close to me. Sometimes that comes back to bite me, but I’ve chosen not to try and change the person I’ve always been and likely always will be.

I’m incredibly lucky to have Craig who supports me, even on wild things like getting another dog, painting the walls, starting a new big dream, and so much more. He is far more than I deserve. He doesn’t judge me when I tell him all the weird, illogical, anxious thoughts that run through my brain, he values me as a person and allows me to feel how I feel and say what I think. He’s better than gold.

I’m also lucky to have this outlet. Since I can remember, writing has been my outlet. So if this post seems a little venty, out of place, frustrating and pointless.. that’s alright. More than anything I just needed to get some feelings off my chest so I can breathe a little lighter.

If you’re struggling, I hope you’re ok. I hope your burden can lighten a bit somehow. Things can be hard, emotions can be tricky and hearts can get heavy, but I like to believe there is always a reason for the struggles and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

Be kind. Love more and judge less. You’re all awesome and deserve a great day.

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21 Months Later

Twenty one months ago around nine at night, I had my little Emmett. I honestly can’t even believe he’s that close to turning two – but thats a post for another day. For the last couple of months I’ve been really focusing on myself, especially my body and the way I am caring for it and thinking about it.

Its been a rollercoaster, thats for sure.

Quite truthfully, I’ve always had a very up and down relationship with my body. I’ve always caught myself wishing it was looking like something that it was not or wishing it was doing something it wasn’t currently doing. I’ve been all over the place inside of my own brain when it comes to my body.

This makes me sad because my body is awesome! It has been pretty darn healthy for my almost twenty-nine years of life, its allowed me to go on adventures, walk miles and miles in Disney parks, birth two beautiful babies – one vaginally and one through c-section (both incredible feats) and thats only to name a few of the things its blessed me with. So then why the heck can I be so harsh with it and speak so unkindly about it?

A couple of months ago, admittedly after weighing myself for the first time in who knows how long, and not feeling in love with the number I saw (stupid scales), I decided something needed to change. Maybe physically, but especially mentally.

I needed to love my body again.

So I made a pact with myself.

No more shameful words towards my body. I see all those posts all the time about ‘wear the swimming suit’, ‘talk about your body how you wish your daughter would talk about her body’, etc. That last one is the one that got me. I’m sure its likely more significant with daughters, but guess what? Sons watch their mamas really closely, too! I want my boys and my future kids to be confident in themselves and I want them to have learned their confidence at home from their parents!

I also made myself vow to treat my body kinder. Not as much junk. A lot less Diet Coke (still accepting this one). A significant amount more of exercise. Choosing the active day instead of the lazy day. Maybe I’d lose some weight and gain some muscle, but hopefully I’d lose some body negativity and gain some confidence, acceptance and pride in my body.

And guys? I think its working!

I’m still working on myself physically. If I’m being honest, I know I’m capable of shedding a few extra pounds, eating healthier and getting toned up in a couple places, but I’m not rushing myself and I’m not beating myself down when those goals aren’t being reached as fast as I’d ideally like. I’m also being patient with myself and reminding myself that I’m human and sometimes, as a human, I really want a cookie and a giant Diet Coke from Sodalicious and that is PERFECTLY OK. While I try to work on whatever my goal body is, I choose to love my body every step of the way. Weather its softer than its ever been, really sore, growing another baby, feeling sick, feeling strong – I’m going to love it, respect it and honor it because I can’t deny how amazing it is.

STOP and Smell the Roses

A couple of posts back I talked briefly about how lately I feel like I’ve been learning so much about myself and about my life. Today I wanted to tan a little more deeply about one thing I’ve really been learning and figuring out lately, because its been a game changer for me. Its taken some time to rewire my brain to be this way, and it still takes effort, but I am so happy to have finally started to really learn this and implement it in my life.

I’ve realized that its ok not to do it all.

Like, duh. I knew that, but I never really allowed myself to believe it was actually ok. I used to think that if I went to bed and the house was still a mess, the dishes weren’t done or the laundry hadn’t been put away, it meant I failed the day and I’d beat myself up about it. I believed that if my dinners I’d planned for the week were easy and not as healthy as I felt they should be or not as nice as another family members surely would be, I’d failed my family. When my kids stayed in their pajamas all day, I was sure it meant I wasn’t a very fit mother. If I wasn’t doing my ministering or excelling spiritually as much as I thought/knew I should, I was embarrassed and discouraged. I didn’t want to admit it, but I realized and finally acknowledged that I was comparing myself to other people.

It got exhausting and I felt like my own self worth and self respect was being flushed down the toilet. I was going to bed sadder and more defeated every night. Something had to change. So I did what I do best when I need inspiration and a pick-me-up. I listened to lots of General Conference talks. As I did I kept getting the same overall feelings – its ok not to do it all, its ok to slow down and Heavenly Father doesn’t compare me to other people, so neither should I.

I’m perfectly ok to move at my own speed, as long as I’m trying to move forward. I don’t have to be whatever my idea of perfect is. I just need to trust my gut, be there for my kids, my husband and myself and give myself credit where its due. I need to stop comparing myself to other people, because more than likely they aren’t feeling as 100% as they seem online. Thats what I’ve been doing and its been incredible. The love I have for myself is different now. I recognize more good in myself than bad. I don’t go to bed feeling like such a failure as a mom/wife/human. I feel more proud of myself for keeping my kids alive, making my family happy, keeping them fed and running a happy, stable home.

You guys. I know this is all over the place and rambly. But it was something I just needed to type out. Its been on my mind forever. I hope at least one of you benefited from reading this! If you’re in a rut – you’ve got this. Promise. You’re doing so much better than you’re giving yourself credit for, too. Seriously. We’ve all got this!

28 Pieces of Advice

On my birthday I meant to post 28 pieces of advice since thats how old I turned and because I’ve learned a thing or two in my 28 years of living. But, I decided to take a break from most social media (the blog included) in December, so I clearly didn’t get around to posting that. Instead, I’m posting it now! I’m obviously no professional on how to live a wonderful, happy life and I don’t have all the answers to life and its problems, but I do have some advice on how to feel better and live a little happier. Enjoy!

  1. Don’t be ashamed of being exactly who you are.
  2. Wash your face every morning and every night. It doesn’t take as long as you think it will and its good for you. Also your old lady/man self will thank you for it.
  3. Drink a lot of soda, but also drink water. Find a healthy balance there. Its hard, but try.
  4. Stand up for what you believe in. If you can’t stand up for it, how much do you believe in it?
  5. Do or say something nice to someone else at least once a day. It will change you.
  6. Do or say something nice to yourself at least once a day. It will change you.
  7. Try yoga. Just give it a shot. Life changing.
  8. Find a creative outlet and let it be a getaway for you. It can be scrapbooking, drawing, writing, dancing, making movies, etc. Just do something that lets you escape from time to time.
  9. Don’t think you can do it all. Ask for help and know its ok to say no or take a break when you need one.
  10. Go to Disneyland. Because, duh! If this isn’t an option, binge watch lots of Disneyland YouTube videos. Everyone needs Disney magic in their lives and I will preach this until the day I die.
  11. Laugh at yourself. Its amazing how problems seem to lighten when you have the control to laugh at yourself and not take things so seriously. It takes work, but when its happening, its awesome.
  12. Don’t let social media dictate how you live your life. Do what makes you happy, not what you think you’re supposed to do because ‘everyone else is doing it.’
  13. Sing in the car – even when you’re at a stop light and the person in the car next to you might see your performance.
  14. Take a lot of pictures. Every day! You’ll never regret the number of pictures you have.
  15. Be happy for other people and don’t put others down. Have you heard that quote, “we rise by lifting others?” I love it and I try really hard to live by it.
  16. Pray every morning and every night.
  17. Use your manners. Plain and simple.
  18. Work hard at whatever it is you’re doing. Ron Swanson (from Parks and Rec) has a quote I think about all the time, and while its super funny, its also super relevant. He says, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
  19. Be a helpful human. Ask people how you can help them, but also serve without asking what a person needs too, sometimes.
  20. Get enough sleep. Its fun to pretend you don’t need it, but then lack of sleep catches up to you and crap hits the fan.
  21. Create or maintain a good relationship with your grandparents, or someone significantly older than you. I swear some of my greatest lessons and conversations in life come from my grandparents. They know so much and can offer so much wisdom.
  22. Get a really good vacuum and broom. I did that recently and I had no idea just how much of a mood booster it would be.
  23. Occasionally spend time with yourself. Its nice to be alone with yourself and your thoughts sometimes. Its a good reset.
  24. If someone offers to let you hold their baby, do it. There is magic in those tiny adorable little ones. (but also don’t kiss that babies face, no matter how adorable it is – you’ve seen the articles)
  25. Go on walks. Its exercise. Its time outside in the fresh air. Its like a small little therapy session for you body and soul.
  26. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Its awkward at first, but then it starts changing you and how you feel about yourself. Serious.
  27. Don’t be ashamed of wearing comfy clothes more than you wear a pair of jeans and a blouse. Theres no shame in wanting to feel cozy.
  28. My last piece of advice is a song lyric, its my life motto, if you will: “…Try to show kindness in all that you do. Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought…”

Happy 2019!

Happy New Year (a few days late)!

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I’ve decided to begin 2019 in a way I haven’t started a year in…well forever, I think. As I was looking back at my last few years and the resolutions I’ve set, the word I’ve picked to be my focus for the year, etc, I realized they made me feel bummed out. As I read over my goals and read about all the hopes I had about applying a word to my year, I found I didn’t feel happy. I felt ashamed that I didn’t push myself harder. I felt like I needed a redo for all those years so I could feel better about accomplishing the goals I set for that particular year.

So this year I decided I’m not doing that. This year I don’t have a long list of goals that I more than likely won’t achieve because for me, they aren’t realistic (that always seems to be how my goals were). Instead, I picked a small handful of goals that fall under the category of spiritual, physical and other. They’re all realistic, they’re all going to be good for me and they’re all definitely achievable. I didn’t put a goal on my list of losing 10 pounds, because thats not going to happen. I didn’t put a goal on to read the Book of Mormon x amount of times in the year, because thats not going to happen. I didn’t put a goal on to do anything that I knew in reality I wouldn’t do, but only put on my list because that seems like the ‘cool’ thing to do or because it seems to be what everyone else is doing. Instead I have really simple goals that are small but will be meaningful to me as I take on my 2019. Most of my goals are very private to me, but a few are things such as kneeling for my morning and nightly prayers, reading a General Conference talk at least once a week, making monthly temple trips a goal (but not beating myself up if I don’t get there), drinking more water – but not cutting off soda, getting certified in CPR and doing an act of service as often as I can. They’re things that are going to push me, but will also be exciting for me to work towards. Its a small list too, which in theory will make me more motivated to get to work on them. I’m really excited.

As for my word for the year? I don’t really have one. However if I had to chose one, the word would be, Self. 2018 was a good year, but as I reflected on it, I realized I lost myself, especially towards the end of the year. I just got caught up in other things – good things, even – but I kept pushing myself and my love and interests under the rug and didn’t care to care for myself and make sure I’m doing ok physically, mentally and spiritually. You know? I think this is a common thing that happens to moms, but I’m just hyper aware of it right now. I’m excited to do a lot of self care this year. I’m going to rediscover myself and take care of myself while also being the best mom and wife I know how to be. Maybe, if I feel up to it, I’ll have a word of the month or word of the week, but as for an overall word of the year…I’m just passing this year. Maybe I’ll have one for 2020.

I hope your new year is wonderful. I hope you do great on your resolutions or lack there of. I hope you find joy and happiness within yourself and your heart is light and happy. Thanks for sticking around for yet another year as I pretend I’m a blogger ūüėČ I appreciate each and every one of you. Happy 2019!

Self Respect Journey

You are kind. You are smart. You are a friend. You are worth it.

I tell my kids this at least once every day. I don’t miss a day saying this because I want my children to remember this. They are young and likely aren’t comprehending what I’m saying yet, but I believe that the more they hear it, the more it will become a part of them. I want them to always love and respect themselves. I want them to believe in themselves. I want them to have confidence in themselves and in turn, I want them to make other people feel good about themselves. I want them to have the ability and the knowledge that they can change their little corner of the world by being a good person. I know there will be days when confidence and self-respect isn’t the easiest thing for them, but I hope they have the tools to combat those negative feelings and I hope they know they can turn to their parents and siblings for a boost in the way they are feeling and the way they are viewing themselves.

As I was thinking about all these things I want for my kids, the thought popped into my head that kids learn by example and they copy what they see. I need to practice what I’m preaching to my babies. I need to be kind. I need to believe I am smart. I need to be a friend. I need to believe I am worth it. This kind of sent me spiraling into this idea that I need to start on a self-respect, self-love journey that my mind, body and soul desperately, desperately are in need of.

And I am so excited.

I’ve been doing some planning and have set up some goals for myself. I’m going to finish the year out strong so in 2019 I can begin the year feeling confident, refreshed, capable and have the self-love and respect for myself that I deserve, want and need. Its also going to focus on serving others and being kind to others, which I feel like is an awesome way to kick off the holiday season!

If this sounds like something you’d like to do with me, join me! I’ll post my ‘schedule’ below – you can switch it up to better cater to you, but I think this would be a fun little journey to go on together during the remainder of the year!

The Weekly Goals

Week 1 Nov. 18-24: Focusing on body love Рverbally telling myself things about my body I am grateful for. Doing yoga twice a day, focusing on love and appreciation for my body. I am perfect the way I am right now РI am beautiful the way I am right now. 

Week 2 Nov. 25-Dec. 1: Every day write down 5 good things about my character (no repeats)! Read the list throughout the day and believe those words. At least 10 minutes of quiet  meditation a day (whether that be yoga, laying in bed, sitting in the spare bedroom in the basement, in the bathtub, etc). 

Week 3 Dec. 2-8: Be extra friendly and give service. Every day do something/say something kind to someone else (outside of immediate family) – do this however you think would work best for you and others (in person, on social media, a letter, treats delivered, etc). Be mindful of how many times I say sorry and stop apologizing for my actions that don’t need an apology. For example, sometimes before I start talking or make a comment on something, I’ll start with, ‘sorry,’ or if I feel like I’m in someones way I’ll apologize. I’ll apologize for the way I look, sound, act, etc. Don’t feel embarrassed to have an opinion or to¬†want to speak up or say something. Not all of this needs an apology! I can exist¬†without having to feel like I’m bothering people!¬†

Week 4 Dec. 9-15: Learn something new each day. Whatever you want to learn about, do it. Want to know more about history? Read about it! Want to learn about constellations? Study them! Want to learn how to paint your nails better? Watch some tutorials. Want to learn how to clean the tile on your kitchen floor? Learn that! Just expand your knowledge every day with something new. Then tell someone what you’ve learned! Don’t feel embarrassed – be proud!

Week 5 Dec. 16-22: Every day write down 50 things you’re grateful for. Yep, 50. They can repeat, just really focus on what you’re thankful for that day. Express your gratitude to the people around you, to yourself and even to objects (haha – you don’t have to, but I’m going to!!) Donate! Find things you can donate to the people around you in need – that can be to people effected by the fires in CA, people who don’t have enough money to have Christmas gifts, people who can’t afford a yummy Christmas meal, etc. Donate and help peoples burdens feel lighter.¬†

Week 6 Dec. 23-31: Learn more about the Savior. Study the birth of Christ in the scriptures as well as His life. Every day focus on an attribute that Christ has that you want to apply to your life. Strive to be more like Him. Fight the negative thoughts that come to your mind Рwhether they be about yourself, others, the current situation, etc Рand actively replace them with happy thoughts. 

I am so excited to do this. I really am! I have high hopes for this challenge and I’m hoping it really resets my mind. I hope it makes me happier, more positive, more confident and respectful of myself and of others. I believe that if I really do this I will come out a much kinder, happier and content person – and I don’t know about you but that sounds like a dream come true to me!

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.