Mom

To my first and forever best friend, the person who taught me to be kind and search for the good in others and in all situations, who instilled in me a fierce love for all things Disney, who is the reason I’ve wanted to be a mother myself since I was a tiny girl and is the ultimate example of motherhood. To the woman who taught me manners, who’s quiet, powerful testimony I clung to as I got one of my own, who held me accountable, who never missed a recital, game, concert or ceremony, who showed me its ok to be yourself and to be honest. To the woman who makes me laugh, who has wiped countless tears, who always answers the phone and text messages, who listens to me work through anxiety and who never makes me feel inadequate but leaves me feeling fortunate and special. To the woman who I have admired from the day I was born, who is beautiful, magical, wonderful and humble, who is comfortable, genuine, generous and a secure safe place, Happy Mothers Day!

I am proud to be your daughter and I am proud to call you mom.

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Peplum of My Dreams

You guys know I am not a fashion blogger by any means. When I am posting about clothing, its because I really like it. A few months ago I found myself in a rut. I wore the same outfit every day and it was leggings and a t-shirt. My body is still soft and I’m still working on feeling confident in this after baby body and am most comfortable in flowy, loose clothing. But so often my clothing that fit that description was just another t-shirt. I realized it was actually taking a punch at my happiness and the way I felt about myself! So I decided it was time to buy some clothes that were still comfy and easy to wear while chasing my toddler and hangin’ with my baby. Around this same time I was contacted by the cutest online shop called Cleo Madison.

The adorable peplum blouse they sent me – called the Cassidy Peplum Top – is the shirt I have been dreaming of. It is a beautiful color, a great style (lose, flowy, but still pretty) and the fabric is soft and stretchy and lightweight – perfect for the upcoming warmer months. I also learned it washes well – the first time I wore this and planned to take pictures in it, E had a blowout that got all over both of us (TMI?)

A big thank you to Cleo Madison. If you need one of these beauties for yourself – which I’m pretty sure you do – you can find it here.

What have you guys been wearing lately that you love? Anything especially great for hiding a soft post-baby body while you’re working on getting it a little less squishy? 😉

Click here to visit their full website!

xoxo

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Lately

How are there people out there who blog daily while being a mom/wife? Share your secret because I quite obviously don’t know how to!

Lately we have really just been focusing on family. Since February there haven’t been any big trips or huge noteworthy things we have done. Our family of four have gone on several fun outings to different museums and now that the weather is finally getting warmer we are really enjoying daily walks and time outside all together. Life is good. My heart is full and I am grateful.

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Speech Update and Q&A

I am so proud of H. He has been in Speech Therapy for a few months now and he is doing so, so well! I have seen so much progress and in the last couple of weeks he has just turned another big corner. My heart could burst! When we began this journey with our sweet Speech Pathologist I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if change would happen quickly or if it would require a lot of patience. For us, it is definitely taking time and patience, but changes are happening! H is talking with an open mouth (he used to mainly ‘talk’ through closed lips), he is trying new sounds, will mimic words and is even using very simple 2 (sometimes 3) word sentences! We still have a ways to go and more goals to accomplish, but little by little my awesome, smart H is reaching those goals and making his mom beam with pride.

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H working with his sensory box – one of the several activities we have to help him use words and grow his vocabulary.

I know a while ago I said I was planning on making a video and posting it about our journey and giving advice and answering questions. Well, I still haven’t done that, though I still plan on doing so. Just bear with me – sometimes I’m a procrastinator. But for now I thought I’d answer a few of the questions I’ve got from several people. If you have more questions let me know what they are – I am happy to answer them in the best way I know how. Keep in mind, I am not a professional. I’m not a Speech Therapist or Pathologist, I’m not kind of medical professional and don’t even entirely know what I’m doing. I’m just a mom with a two year old with a speech delay and this is all based off of our personal experience.

How do you tell your child has a speech problem? It all started when I realized there were toddlers much younger than H that could speak a lot more. At first I chalked it up to knowing everyone develops at different speeds, etc. But it just became more and more relevant as time went on. I read stuff online about speech delays and realized he had a lot of the qualities as children with speech delays. I never really was 100% sure if he did have a delay though because you always hear about those late-talkers or those kids that just wake up one day and are able to speak so well. I just kept waiting for that magical day where he’d wake up and call me mom. But it wasn’t happening, so I finally talked to my husband about my concerns and together we went to our pediatrician to discuss our worries and the options.

What are some ways you’re helping H speak? I make sure he is hearing language all the time. I am constantly talking to him. I’m repeating words he is working on. He has a sensory box that encourages tons of language, we name colors, shapes, animals, people, etc all day long. He has game called ‘Pow’ (i’ll cover this in more depth in a video someday) that has really helped him. I encourage mimicking of my actions and words and he picks up on that really well. I praise him when he tries new words and sounds. And I pray. A lot.

How did you go about get H screened? It started with our pediatrician. We scheduled an appointment with him to talk about our concerns about H’s speaking – or lack there of. He referred us to a local company that screens kids under three for developmental delays. They came to our home and did the screening and decided he could benefit from speech therapy. If you are wanting to get your child screened – talk to your pediatrician!

Whats your main piece of advice for parents of a child with a speech delay? Be patient. Your little one is going to figure this out, but its a lot and isn’t going to change overnight. Be patient and encouraging – trust the process.

Did H being a binky baby have anything to do with this delay? According to our Speech Pathologist, no. So I also say no. Think of all the kids who took binks when they were younger and speak just fine…

Is H frustrated he isn’t speaking at the same rate as kids his age? I’ve never been able to recognize that he is frustrated. He may not speak great yet, but he communicates really well so I don’t think he’s ever really felt like he’s not being understood. However I do know that some kids do get very frustrated when no one can understand their own little language and their body language (because our speech pathologist told me).

Like I said, if you have any more questions let me know! But thats the scoop as of now. H is awesome. He’s doing so well and has come so far!

Theres nothing this little guy can’t do.

March GBOMB

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GOOD

  • We blessed our sweet E this month. Blessings are so special. We keep them simple and do them in our home and to me, its the perfect way to do it. I’m so thankful for the Priesthood and for a husband who holds it and honors it.
  • H has improved on his speech so much! He’s using very simple 2 word sentences (sometimes 3), is making more sounds and trying out new words! I’m so proud of him and so excited for him!
  • It has been warm enough every once in a while that we can go on family walks. I’m feeling cabin fever much more frequently lately and being able to get out of the house with my family, breathe some fresh air and get moving is a fast, wonderful anecdote to feeling like you’ve been held prisoner in your own home.
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  • Every week when we do Family Home Evening, after going over our plans for the upcoming week, Wild Man and I make a few attainable, realistic goals for our week. We have done so good at them this month. I’m proud of us. Its been so nice to have these goals written out and to be reminded of them throughout the week. Its really helped me achieve the goals and feel more accomplished and proud of myself at the end of the day.
  • I finally got brave enough to try on my jeans that fit before I got pregnant with E. Its not comfortable, but they fit!! I have been trying really hard to exercise at least a half hour every day and be more mindful of the food I am putting in my body. Its been refreshing to finally see some results! I haven’t got brave enough to weigh myself yet…I probably won’t do that for a long time, but right now I really don’t care about the number. I’m just happy something is working and I can button those jeans! (but you’ll still find me in leggings 99.9% of the time)

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BAD

  • We all were sick for the first half of this month. Wild Man and I were never too bad, but unfortunately the boys had a rough go. E had a mild form of RSV, a double ear infection and a horrible cough and fever and H had the same terrible cough and fever. It felt like it lasted forever. We had to back out of a family trip too which was a bummer. The days and nights were both so long and sad and we were just counting down the days until they were healthy again. It took a few weeks, but finally we are in the clear and healthy.
  • Our dog has given us some serious stress this month. For whatever reason she has decided to chew on things again. We had managed to get her so well trained that she knew which toys were hers and which were the boys. She’d sniff the boys but she never tried to take them or ruin them..until recently. She’s destroyed several items and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. UGH. Everything I read says she isn’t getting enough attention which is absolutely false because this girl gets near constant attention. So if you’re a dog whisperer and know how to fix this, I’m all ears.
  • My poor boys and their sensitive skin. I’m still trying to figure it all out. H is so, so dry. I’m slowly figuring out products that work better on him but I wish it could just work faster! Lotion burns his skin. Its awful. Then little E is starting to get rashes under his chin, on his neck and on his chest. I’m 99% sure this is because he is the drooliest baby on earth and this is the result of those areas almost constantly being wet.
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ON MY BRAIN

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  • This month Disney announced that they would be replacing Bugs Land with a Marvel themed land. I trust Disney with nearly everything they do. They don’t disappoint. I know Marvel Land will be amazing – but I’ll admit I’m pretty broken hearted to hear that Bugs Land will soon be a thing of the past. H loves Bugs Land. We all love Bugs Land. I’m especially disappointed to see Bugs Land go because there aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to rides for little ones in California Adventure. There are several rides, but none are very close together. I don’t know. A Marvel themed area is going to be awesome…but I just wish it could have been built somewhere else besides Bugs Land.
  • E is now four months old and I forgot what a fun age this is! His personality is really starting to come out. He’s ore interactive and attentive. Everything about this age has me melted into a puddle. He’s such a sweet, good baby boy.
  • A few weeks ago in Relief Society our teacher mentioned she has one of those really small Book of Mormons and she went through it and only marked passages that made her happy/gave her joy. I loved this idea so I went out and got myself a small Book of Mormon and a new red marking pencil and have been doing this. I’m loving having a focus during my scripture study and I can’t wait to have it all read and marked one day. The idea is that then, someday when you need a boost you open up this Book of Mormon and you should be able to look at any page, any verse and read something that gives you joy. Such a great idea, right??
  • General Conference is so soon. I am beyond excited. I’ve been aching for these upcoming talks and guidance. I’m very curious about what the topics will be and how they will apply to me. I can’t wait!

An Honest Post on our Puppy

Apparently today is National Puppy Day! Well guess what? We have a puppy. A huge, psycho, exhausting, almost 70lb puppy. Truth is, a couple days ago Wild Man and I were nearly 100% set on selling this puppy. Seriously. Several months ago we thought the perfect time to get a puppy (one that was going to grow to be quite large) was when I was several months pregnant and we had a toddler. What were we thinking? I don’t know. Lets not get into it. You’ll often hear me joke…or not joke…about how getting a dog was likely my largest mistake. There are just days where I want to open the door and say, “see ya later!” and watch her run down the street. I have days where I really, really struggle with her. Have you seen Marley and Me? I think about that movie on a daily basis. Penny Girl isn’t as bad as Marley, but…she’s our own personal Marley. Sometimes I wish I could track down a time machine, go back to June and never get that cute black puppy that loved H.

But the fact is, there is no time machine and we have her. She is our doggie and even though sometimes I don’t love admitting it – she’s family.

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This post probably sounds like I hate her. You guys, I don’t. I really don’t. She’s an energetic puppy that requires lots of attention and energy-releasing outlets. Its just hard to give her all the attention she so badly wants when I also have a two year old and four month old. But we manage.

I’m glad we do. All the puppy-bashing aside…

Our Penny is a good, good dog. She is a black lab. You always hear how labs are amazing family dogs and thats ultimately why we settled on a lab. We wanted an amazing family dog. She is just that. H is rough with her. He snuggles her, he throws toys at her, he hooks her to her leash and walks her around the house, he shares her bed, he crawls in her kennel with her, he plays in her food and water while she eats. He pulls on her limbs and holds her tail. He crowds her personal space, holds her face and bosses her around. But she never seems to mind. She loves him and follows him around all day long. They play together all the time and she makes H laugh so hard. They are the best of frenemies. I can’t wait to see how E acts with her and how she acts with him as he begins to get mobile in a few months.

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Life would be easier without Penny. We could wear light colored clothing without spotting black fur all over it. We wouldn’t have a huge dog bed in our living room. We wouldn’t have to teach her how to walk on a leash – she thinks she’s a sled dog, I swear. We would be more relaxed and have less worries. We wouldn’t have had to throw away several ruined toys and a few ruined shoes.. I’ll be honest, some days a dog free life sounds amazing.

When Wild Man and I made a list of pros and cons about having Penny – there were more cons than pros. But the pros were more…powerful, I guess. We were so, so close to putting her up for sale. But we didn’t. For some reason we just couldn’t. Dogs have a way of sneaking into your heart. Its funny. Its frustrating. But this is our honest truth.

She is ours. We love her. She’s sweet. She’s loyal. She’s happy and she’s our huge ball of energy. I just can’t wait for the day she’s a much calmer, older lab.

That happens, right??

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.