The Slow, Happy Start to 2022

Oh, hey! Its been a while, hasn’t it? I’m not going to lie, I just haven’t been in the headspace lately to really keep up on my blog. Even Instagram, which I really love, hasn’t been my favorite for the last couple of months. Just sometimes things come easy and sometimes things don’t, you know? So I decided not to force anything. If I felt inspired to blog, I was going to – but clearly, it never happened.

BUT I’m starting to feel the itch to do this all actively again. Its exciting! I’m glad I gave myself the break. It felt good and it felt right. Now it feels good and right to be back.

2022 has started off really slowly for me. I was comparing the beginning of this year to the beginning of 2021 for me, and wow it has been different. In 2021 I started off strong and so determined to put my health first. I was a powerhouse. I was crushing goals. I was feeling so ambitious and motivated. It was awesome. For 2022, I made the decision not to set a whole lot of goals/resolutions at the beginning of the year. I’m not sure why exactly, because its so unlike me, but again, it just felt right in the time. I just decided to focus on my family, myself and putting service at the forefront of our minds. Its been nice. I’ve felt a lot less pressure. I’ve figured out how to be grateful for each small moment. I’ve learned that I have accomplishments all the time, they’re just small. Accomplishments don’t have to be massive and monumental. Its been really good for me.

My family and I have had a really good year so far. Admittedly, I think we are all looking forward to warmer weather a bit, but even still, life is good (and the snow is so stinkin’ pretty). I’m not entirely sure what this year will look like. Like I’ve said, for the first time in a long time, I don’t have these milestones I’m working towards. I’m just taking every day in stride and enjoying it all.

Life is good. I am happy. I hope you, my friends, are as well!

Part of the Club

It isn’t a club I wanted to join. Its one I prayed so hard that I’d be lucky enough to somehow avoid all my life. But, despite all of my best wishes, its one I’m a part of now. I’ve actually been a part of this ‘club’ for a couple years now. I miscarried recently this year, but I also had a miscarriage in 2019.

I stayed silent about my first one. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I didn’t want the pity or the sympathy. I didn’t want people to bring it up with me because I wasn’t sure how I was ‘supposed‘ to handle it. I didn’t know if I’d burst into tears, get angry, or feel peace. I just didn’t even want to try and see what would happen. So I said nothing. I locked it up. For a while it was ok, but I realized I felt so isolated and alone in my miscarriage, and it was all because I chose to keep it a secret. Somehow it made it all worse.

So this time I’m choosing to just say it. I had a miscarriage. Again. And it sucked really bad. It still does. But I don’t want to feel alone this time. I also don’t want the pity, but I’d rather risk it than feel so alone, again.

I know I’m not alone. Miscarriages happen all the time. They’re unfortunately so common. They’re a tragic loss. The second you find out you’re pregnant, your babies whole life flashes before your eyes. You visualize everything about them. You start daydreaming about who they’ll be. You love them like your other children. So then, when you find out you don’t get to keep that baby here on earth…its gut wrenching. Its terrible. Its awful. Its lonely.

My first miscarriage really rocked me in a lot of spiritual ways. It took a long time to get back to where I am now. This one, I’ve found, has been a lot more of a mental trial. Its just hard. Then there’s the fact that for some reason I still look barely pregnant… Its like salt in the wound.

I’m trying to have a positive attitude. But I’m also mourning the loss of my child and the person they could have been here on earth. I’m missing them. I’m sad that I had to lose them and had no control over the situation. I’m disappointed. I’m confused. I’m sad.

But the one thing I keep reminding myself of is the rainbows that follow storms.

Flora is my first rainbow baby. She saved my soul and filled me with joy. I one hundred percent believe that I will get my second rainbow. I know it will be ok. I know I will be ok. But I also know healing takes time, and some things we’ll just never fully understand in this life.

I fully believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and my family. I believe that the babies I’ve lost are under His watchful care and I believe He allows them to know just how much their earthly mother loved them. I believe I will see them on the other side. I believe they’re ok. I believe they’re with our family.

I’m not sure how to wrap this post up. I just had to be sure I didn’t lock myself up this time around and make myself feel even more lonely than this already can feel. I’m in the club. Reluctantly, but a two-time member, now. If you’re in the same situation, I’m here to talk. I don’t know if I have any advice, and I certainly don’t have words to fix it for you, but I have ears to listen and a heart to feel for you. I’m here for you. And I’m sorry if you know the same feelings that I do, but lets feel it together.

New Year Hot Take

I’m doing something so out of the ordinary for me this new year. Part of me honestly hates it, but even more of me thinks that it’ll feel really good. So I’m doing it for me! What is this ‘thing,’ you ask? New Years Resolutions. I’m not doing any this year.

The goals I have this year are the same goals I’ve had for myself the last several years as a human/wife/mother. But I’m not really setting any specific 2022 goals. I just want to focus on being a good person and making good choices. I want to keep working on my word of the year and focus on serving others. I just want to focus on the good things I’ve got going instead of having a list of things to work on, thus making me feel like I’m not ‘perfect’ yet (don’t worry – I know perfect is unattainable, I just couldn’t think of a better word). I’m going to give myself grace, patience and love. I’m going to encourage myself to be a good, motivated person that works towards my dreams, takes care of myself and my family and just feels good about what’s happening around me in my corner of the world.

So I guess my resolution this year is to not have and focus on them.

Word of 2022

One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of each year is to assign my year a word. In the past I’ve had words like, ‘Home’ and ‘Secure.’ Every word I’ve picked has been something that I’m really proud of and a word I’ve really worked on getting better at/cultivating/etc. I put a lot of thought into my words and don’t take them lightly throughout the year.

In the later part of 2021 I started thinking about what my new word would be. Around this same time I started to really get the pull and strong urges that I need to be more giving and serve more. I felt like I have worked so hard on myself in 2021 and now in 2022 I need to look toward others and be a help and a better friend. We also have a quote that sits on our mantle that has really resonate with me in the past year that says, “Search Inward, Reach Outward, Look Heavenward” (Thomas S. Monson) Between the urges I’ve had to serve more, and this quote that I can’t quit reading and saying in my head, my word came to me pretty easily.

My word for 2022 is

In 2022, I am going to look outward and be better at serving and showing my love for those around me. I don’t have a huge plan for this word yet. In all honesty, I plan to just listen to my gut and let it and the spirit guide me to whoever I need to help. I plan to really help my kids catch the bug to look outward as well and hope I can inspire them to serve and love openly as well.

I’m really excited for this word and for the possibilities of places it will take our family. I feel so good and eager for this and plan to bring you guys along on our OUTWARD journey throughout the year as well, so stay tuned!!

If you’ve picked a word for the year, I would LOVE to hear it!! Let me know!

Love you all. I hope your New Year is lovely and I hope you know you’ve got a friend in me.

Thanks, 2021

Say what you want to about 2021 (I mean come on, we all know there’s a lot to say), but I’m just going to bid adieu to the year by saying this:

I’M GRATEFUL

A lot was good this year. A lot was hard. There were mundane days, special days and every kind of day in between. I had some of my hardest moments and some thrilling ones. But all in all, as I reflect on it… my heart can’t help but swell with gratitude for another happy year lived.

So thanks, 2021. It was real.

Bye-Bye, November!

November 2021 was a whirlwind.

I feel like I just got done with a marathon I didn’t even sign up for. There was a lot of good, a lot of frustrating, a lot of happy, a lot of bummers. I mean, that’s like every month, right? But this particular month just felt…more.

All five of us got covid and it was spread out between us just enough that it felt like we were in quarantine for years. We had two birthdays, both in quarantine, and I felt sad they couldn’t have the big family parties they’d planned, but luckily these birthday boys are resilient and find the goodness in everything, so they had a wonderful time nonetheless. Also, I still can’t even believe that my boys are six and four now!! We did a lot of reorganizing. We got out all of our Christmas stuff, and thats a lot of stuff and is a whole ordeal. My Christmas shopping is allllllllllmost done. I’ve had tremendous amounts of mom guilt. I’ve ate a tremendous amount of junk food and the gym has become a distant memory for me.

Like I said, it was a whirlwind.

But OHHHHHHH I am excited for December. The traditions. The smells. My birthday. The snow. The lights. The outfits. The jammies. The glitter. The family time. The excitement that hangs in the air. The service. The true meaning of Christmas. The closeness.

I’ve got high hopes.

The Month C*vid Got Us

Holy crap, you guys.

November did NOT start the way we assumed it would. Were we expecting anything big or special during the beginning of the month? No. But were we expecting what we did get? Also no.

On the third, Craig left to work, normal as ever. The day went on as usual, then when he got home around five, he looked and felt…not great. As he listed off the symptoms he had I grew more and more suspicious that he had Covid, because every symptom he had sounded like symptoms we always hear about in the media. Plus, that night I had commitments, we had appointments coming up and both boys were in school. We needed to know if we had someone who’d tested positive in our house so we didn’t go off and contaminate more people. So I made Craig test and wouldn’t you know it – positive. So then I had the boys and me test as well, honestly expecting them all to be negative.

Emmett and I were negative. But poor Harrison was positive, too. Telling Harrison he had to quarantine and couldn’t go to school for ten days was one of the harder things I’ve ever had to tell that sweet, school-loving, social boy. It was rough. That night he sat in my lap and cried (pictured below) and just told me how upset he was. Ugh.

But we made it work, and to the best of my abilities, I made life fun stuck at home. Craig got thrown into our extra bedroom/office and his parents brought him over a blowup mattress and there he stayed for 10 days – though it felt an awful lot like 10 years. We have two couches in our living room, I dubbed one the ‘Covid Couch,’ and the other the safe couch. Harrison stayed on his covid couch while Emmett, Flora and I occupied the other. Honestly, keeping a five year-old away from his little siblings/best friends is HARD and at times felt 100% impossible. But I did the best I could.

A few days later we noticed Emmett had a fever and right around that time, Flora had also become so mellow and needy. So, because why not, the three of us tested again. Again, I was negative, but this time Emmett and Flora were positive. So 4/5 out of us. Great. Awesome.

Speaking of ‘impossible to quarantine,’ did you know it, in fact, IS impossible to keep a mom quarantined from her three young children when their dad is isolated in a different area of the house? I couldn’t keep my distance from them, so basically I just hoped my vaccine would keep working its booty off and keeping me negative.

Thankfully, besides Craig, no one got sick-sick. Harrison never had symptoms. Emmett and Flora both had fevers on and off and were a little on the sleepier side, but that was it. All in all, we can’t really complain about that.

It didn’t surprise me then, when a few days later I tested out of curiosity and got a positive sign. I mean, I was trapped in a house with four positive people – three of which were my children under 5 who needed me. So was I shocked? No. But was I bummed? Yes. I really thought I was going to make it out of this without a positive sign. As for me, I still have a couple days left, and have been basically unscathed. I’m a little more tired than usual and occasionally have a mild sore throat. Not bad at all.

We have made this fun as we could. We set up some of our Christmas stuff, we’ve played, we’ve had some great chats. We made it ok.

Everyone is able to go back out in to the world now except for me. The boys were SO excited to go back too school. Craig was happy to leave the house for work. And I can’t wait to do the same in a few more days!!

All Hail Queen Taylor

I’m an OG Taylor fan. I still remember the first time I heard Teardrops on My Guitar and having my mind completely blown. My young teenage heart was so connected to her and I felt her words. Taylor and I are basically the same age (she’s almost exactly a year older than me) so I feel like I grew up with Taylor. She seemed to write things about not only what she was going through, but that I was also going through. We both tended to be a little dramatic and hopelessly romantic when it came to love, and when things went sour, we were both scorned and heartbroken. Her songs got me through so much. Oh man, my first break up? Taylor’s debut album was my saving grace. As her songs matured with her, I was right along side her, maturing and growing and feeling all these new things.

Then I got married and no longer have to deal with heartbreak and secret crushes and such, but like…her music takes me right back to how that all feels. Am I ashamed to say that sometimes I put myself in those heart wrenching situations in my mind, just so I can feel her music even more? No. I’m not ashamed. Thats how good she is.

Today she released her version of her album Red, which includes the long awaited ten minute version of All Too Well.

I’m deceased.

Honestly, Red hasn’t ever been my favorite album (thats not shade – its freaking amazing and I LOVE it, I’ve just connected to other ones more), but listening to these songs today…wowie! So. stinkin’. good. All these new songs are also just gutting me in the best possible way. I’m in love with all of it. I won’t lie, I’ve had an endless loop of Folklore and Evermore playing in my home lately (my two favorites, along with Speak Now), but this one is most certainly going to take the throne here for a while.

So, how about something absolutely no one asked for? My review!

My Review of Red (Taylor’s Version)!!

  1. State of Grace: A classic. My husband really likes this song (yes, he’s a Swiftie), so it holds a soft spot in my heart. Loved it then, love it now.
  2. Red. The vivid memories I have of singing this song in my bedroom are both cringe-y and incredible. This album originally came out like right before my wedding, so I didn’t entirely connect to the sad songs, but now that I’m listening again…oo. Too good.
  3. Treacherous. I think this was my favorite song on the album for a good long time. She does such a beautiful job at explaining how love can feel. Gosh, I like it. “This hope is treacherous, this daydream is dangerous, this hope is treacherous.”
  4. I Knew You Were Trouble. K don’t hate me, but this was never my favorite. I mean, do I know every word and do I sing it at the top of my lungs? Yes. So, I don’t know, maybe I love it. You tell me.
  5. All Too Well. Alllllllll theeeeeeeee feeeeeeeeeels. Like, I’m in a very happy, committed relationship, but I hear this and want to go cry in the shower? She does SO good.
  6. 22. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I’M FEELING 22!! Can I tell you happy I am this song came out before I turned 22 so it could be my theme song for a year? This is such a fun song. The line, “its miserable and magical at the same time,” is just like my forever motto. Thanks for this one, Tay.
  7. I Almost Do. Another one that makes me feel like I’m going through a fresh, terrible break up. “I can’t say hello to you and risk another goodbye…” genius lyrics. The whole song is genius lyrics.
  8. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. So this song is about Harry Styles, right? Here’s the thing. I love him. So this song was always conflicting for me because I love them both. Truthfully, I didn’t love them together, but still.. I don’t know. I still feel mixed up and jumbled about this song, but that doesn’t mean its incredible and is another fun one to sing alone in the car on your way to get a Diet Coke.
  9. Stay Stay Stay. Wait! I said Treacherous was my favorite.. I lied. THIS was. I love this one!! Like I said, this song came out right before I got married, but this was a great one to listen to as a newlywed and think of all the times Craig and I could have made a rash decision and changed our future. But he STAYED and look at us now! haha. Cheesy? Yes. But I don’t care. Taylor Swift brings that out in people.
  10. The Last Time. I love when a man and woman sing together. Gary Lightbody also has a phenomenal voice. This song gives me chills. Its so desperate and beautifully haunting.
  11. Holy Ground. Another one of Craig’s favorites. Its a happy, upbeat song. It feels like reminiscing and smiling. I just love the vibes this one gives.
  12. Sad Beautiful Tragic. How convenient that she explains the whole mood of this song in the title.
  13. The Lucky One. Why, when I used to listen to this, did I feel like a famous person and get vibes from Brittney Spears’ song, Lucky? Anyone else?
  14. Everything Has Changed. A man and woman singing together again. And its Ed, so double hearts for that. This is a sweet little song thats just a feel good one.
  15. Starlight. This song is like a fairytale. I just feel like frolicking through a field in a pretty, flowy dress to this song, anyone else with me? Its such a happy, airy song.
  16. Begin Again. I reeeeally love this song. Its so hopeful and cautious. Like seriously. Go listen to it and tell me it doesn’t throw you into the scene and next thing you know you’re in a movie.
  17. The Moment I Knew. Ah, this is goooooooood! Where was this song for a very particular breakup I had?! Also, I love that she talks about her red lipstick in this, because how can you not think of my BFF Taylor without thinking of her red lips? This song is great. I felt so much teenage heartbreak.
  18. Come Back…Be Here. The chorus got me! Again, teenage heartbreak coming through strong.
  19. Girl At Home. This was kind of fun. Putting guys and their wandering eyes in place, I like it. Its catchy, too! I totally found myself bobbing around while listening to this.
  20. State of Grace (acoustic). This was really pretty!! I’m so into soft music playing while I do housework lately, and this will do perfectly for that playlist!
  21. Ronan. This song is touching and beautiful, but guys, I can’t. I can’t listen to a song about my greatest fear as a mother. I will say, though, it is a song that really puts things into perspective and makes you think. Little Ronan sounded like a phenomenal little boy.
  22. Better Man. This song is so awesome. Its one of those songs where I can see someone listening to it a few months after a break up and thinking about how much you miss someone but also thinking about how they just sucked.
  23. Nothing New. “How can a person know everything at 18 an nothing at 22?” Cool line. This song felt deep and confusing. I enjoyed it.
  24. Babe. Ok, the ‘promises, promises,’ part was my favorite. Just more teenage vibes here about asking a guy, “what the heck?” I really liked it. I feel like young Chelsea having boy problems would have really, really connected with this song.
  25. Message In A Bottle. Yassss!!! This is my favorite, favorite kind of song!! A hopeless romantic dreaming about what-ifs! Those exciting moments at the beginning of a crush or relationship when you’re full of butterflies and joy. Eee, I love it. is this my favorite song from this album?!
  26. I Bet You Think About Me. The country vibe in this was so fun, and I loved the cheeky attitude in it. This felt like debut Taylor Swift and I’m here for it.
  27. Forever Winter. Oo, another frontrunner. I was transported to a rom-com while I listened to this song. It was sweet and had a cute message.
  28. Run. Ed Sheeran is back! Running away with your lover -who doesn’t fantasize about that?
  29. The Very First Night. I am flat out devastated that I didn’t have this song when I was a teenager. Me, a 30 year old woman, just got emotional listening to this because this is just soooo my kind of song. Holy, holy I love it. K, maybe this one is the favorite?
  30. All Too Well (10 Minute Version). First off, do you think Jake Gyllenhaal listened to this? How do you think he’s doing with all of this? Ok, so I loved it. This was a story and I got lost it in. As I type this, the short film isn’t out yet, but you better bet I have a countdown going on my phone so I can watch the second its released. But oof, this was good. What a tale!
  31. A Message From Taylor. Did I cry? Sure did. Her description of this album was incredible. She is amazing. Thanks for these 30 songs, Taylor.

Our Gratitude Tree

I think we should focus on gratitude and showing thanksgiving throughout the whole year – but especially in November. I’m actually really loving this opportunity to talk to my boys about what gratitude really is and how we can show it and express it. One way we are doing that this year is by adding leafs to our Gratitude Tree, daily.

On Pinterest there were so many adorable ideas on how to document gratitude in your home throughout the month, but the one that resonated most with me was a tree. So, as best as I could, I copied a tree I liked, cut out some fall-colored leaves and voila! Not too hard.

I’ve been loving what the boys are adding. ‘Switch,’ ‘YouTube,’ ‘milkshakes..’ But thats just it! We can be grateful for so many things, and I love having my kids recognize that!

Making Peace with the Quiet

The other day Craig was gone overnight. I’m a natural worrier and being home alone with the kids all night quite literally terrifies me. But I did it. I survived it and I survived it quite well, if I do say so myself. I had very minimal panicking and finally watched Knives Out for the first time (liked a lot). All in all, it was a confidence boost I needed. Go me.

But I also learned something. Well actually, I was reminded of something.

I hate being alone with my own thoughts.

Like so much.

There was a short period of time after the kids had gone to bed and fallen asleep that I sat on the couch in silence. No phone. No tv. No noise. Complete silence and no distractions. I just sat there. Then, no surprise, the thoughts started coming in. My stupid thoughts that have a tendency of making good moments scary in seconds. I immediately started fearing the worst – bad things happening to Craig on his road trip, my kids health and happiness not being great… stuff like that. I tried to shift my thoughts, and it only worked for a few seconds before another flood of gross thoughts plagued my mind. I couldn’t shake them away. It felt like an attack. These thoughts felt intrusive and cruel.

I was brutally reminded why I never sit in the quiet with my thoughts. Like ever. I always have music on, or the chatter of my kids, or the tv, or a podcast, or something – anything that makes noise. Heck, I can’t even sleep at night without a fan blasting next to my bed because I’m comforted by its buzzing.

I, like every other mom, crave the quiet. I love the stillness and peacefulness of the quiet. But it never lasts for me. I only sit in the quiet for so long before I either turn noise on or distract my brain with my phone or something. Sometimes I try to embrace the quiet and write or read, but even that, I see, is distraction.

Its like I’m truly incapable of sitting alone with myself. I don’t know how to make it a pleasant experience. My brain makes it awful. So much so that I actively avoid situations that leave me in the silence with no form of distraction. Its kind of ridiculous if you think about it.

But this woke me up. I need to change this.

I haven’t been taking care of myself physically as much as I have been lately the last little while. I’m allowing myself to get too comfortable being constantly distracted. When I’m actively taking care of myself and being mindful of where my mind is at, I do better with these icky thoughts. But obviously lately that hasn’t been the case.

Its embarrassing to me. I hate that thats my reality.

So I’m going to make peace with my silence. The quiet isn’t going to scare me anymore. I can’t let it.

I’m starting with forcing myself to sit in these moments more. My theory is, if I sit in silence at least once a day, my brain will get trained to better fight off those thoughts, or at least not to dwell on them. I’m going to use a lot of prayer to help this journey out too, because I fully believe prayer helps and Heavenly Father is the greatest tool in helping one reach their goals.

But you better bet if I hear a thump somewhere in my house where I know no living thing is at – I’m turning back on all the noise!