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…”
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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 😉 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 – verbally 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 – I 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 – whether they be about yourself, others, the current situation, etc – and 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.

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!

 

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 

My Little Boy

I have been hit pretty aggressively with the realization that we are down to just a few months of having just one child. Our sweet baby H. The perfect little bundle of joy who made us parents and introduced us to a happiness and overwhelming feeling of pride we never could have known if it weren’t for him. 

My heart is feeling torn in so many different directions. Of course I am beyond thrilled to have our second little boy in November. I’ve dreamt my whole life of having several kids and that’s still my dream! I am so excited to see H become a big brother and to finally meet this little brother of his. I am so anxious to see his face, to learn his personality and to soak all of him in. I actually feel more excited this time around, probably because this time I’m not so clueless. I know how special my children are now. I know how much I love them and how much I love being a mom. I can’t let myself dwell too much on this or else I turn into an emotional puddle. 

But then there is the part of me that knows how much H’s world is going to be rocked. Life as he knows it is going to drastically change and a part of me, in a weird way, feels a little bit guilty. People who often joke about how H is going to be second place, etc certainly don’t help the way I feel either. He is very accustomed to being the one and only. He’s used to undivided attention and snuggles on demand. I know it’s good for him to learn that the world in fact doesn’t revolve around him…but there’s still guilt!! 

I hope he can figure out quickly that he’s still so loved. Our love isn’t going to lessen for him even in the slightest. In fact I’ve heard the love we have for him will even grow! Our hearts are just going to get bigger so we can have the same amount of love for little brother! I hope he sees that he’s still our world, our joy and our tiny best buddy. Because he is – he always will be!

I know that especially once the baby is here I will feel differently. I’ll just know our new family of four is perfect and meant to be. I know that now, come to think of it – I’m just.. I don’t know. Am I even making sense or do I just sound crazy? I am so in love with this crazy 20 month old and I want him to never feel that his value has decreased just because another baby joined our family. It’s giving me so many emotions I honestly wasn’t anticipating. It’s funny how I am so far past elated for this new addition but at the same time feel a tinge of guilt. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ever felt like this? Also please tell me it’s just hormones or a phase or something and I’ll get over this before November?!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles