1. Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    A Letter From My Past Self.

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    To be completely transparent, the last few months have been a little rough for me. We underwent several big changes (moving & taking in my 15 year old twin brothers) in a short period of time and I have been trying to adjust and figure it all out. I’ve been in a little bit of a fog lately. Not depressed. Not a sadness. Just not fully myself. Not seeing clearly, as if there was a fog surrounding me and I was trying to navigate my way through it (and through the dark abyss that is teenagers). 

    Last night the fog finally lifted. I had a rough day and I was exhausted. I wasn’t feeling great physically or emotionally. My husband, being the amazing man he is, went upstairs after dinner and drew me a bath so I could have some time to myself and relax. He lit candles for me and put on some instrumental worship music. It was wonderful. I sank into the tub and let go. It turned into an amazing time of worship & prayer and reconnecting with God. Giving him over my struggles and having a fresh renewal of spirit. When I woke up this morning I knew I wanted to start my day of right with a time of prayer and journaling. I couldn’t find the notebook I have been writing in lately, so I grabbed my neglected journal from my bedside table and headed downstairs. I got myself some coffee and sat down to open my journal. The first page I turned to was an old entry. I almost skimmed right past it to a new blank page, but then had a nudge in my spirit that maybe I was supposed to read that entry.

    It was from Friday, May 3rd, 2013. Almost a year and a half ago. And it was a letter to my future self. I had completely forgotten that I’d written it. I wrote it when Ryan and I had first decided to start a family, and I knew that meant an entirely new season of life for us. It was written before I even knew I was pregnant. I began to read this letter my past self had written, and it completely rocked me. I began to weep. These words & this encouragement I so needed, coming from my past self, spoke right to my heart. God knew I needed to read this and he led me to this forgotten entry. I’m so in Awe of him and the amazing ways he works. 

    This is very intimate and it’s taking a lot of courage for me to share, but I wanted to share it with you… just in case someone else needs to hear this. 

    Friday, May 3rd, 2013

    Dear Future Monika, 

    If and when you become a mama, I hope you are able to be still and enjoy. To savor those moments with your sweet babe and your amazing husband.

    Do not compare your journey to other peoples. Don’t ever feel guilty or let the opinions of other’s make you second guess yourself. Every story, every journey, is different. We’re all just people trying to find our way and do the best we can. You are not perfect. And you do not have to be.

    It’s all ok. You’re ok. 

    Your life is beyond blessed. Stop worrying so much and just live it. Be open to what the future holds and in the meantime enjoy time with your family. Be present with your baby. Don’t worry so much about your career or regret your choices. There is a high value & calling to being a mom. Don’t live in that “grass is always greener” mentality. You’ve done that before. It does not do well for your mind or your heart. Remember when you lived in Florida & dreamt of moving to California? You thought moving would be the answer to all of your problems. But there were still struggles and times of sadness.

    Just trust God and he will bless your journey. 

    I’m sure once you have a baby you will be so in love. But also, you may be exhausted, emotional, and feel defeated at times. Please remember: you are and were ready for this. You are enough. You prayed, planned, and prepared. You can do it. It may not always be easy, but you can handle it. You are stronger than you think. 

    It’s ok to admit when you need help, or alone time. Be honest with yourself and with others. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. Being rested & fully alive will enrich your parenting and benefit your family. 

    Instead of focusing on worldly things that do not matter focus on what does. Love God & Love people. Focus on family & building a strong community of loved ones. This is what will bring you true fulfillment.

    Don’t be consumed by money or the concept that “having more” will bring you infinite happiness. It will not. Focus on the Lord. Love him & pursue Him. He will lead you & guide you. You don’t have to know where the path leads because He’s got you. He loves you and cares about your life, your dreams, your heart, everything. 

    Stay positive and uplifted. Don’t let exhaustion overcome you. Yes, you may be tired, but you can handle it. And where you are weak, He is strong. His Spirit will give you the strength you need. 

    Be patient. Be happy. Trust the Lord. He’s never let you down and he won’t start now. 

    Love, 

    Past Monika 

  2. Saturday, September 6, 2014

    Seven Months

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    Seven months ago my life changed forever. I became a mama to the sweetest, happiest, most beautiful little baby girl. I learned just how deep and unconditional my love was capable of being and I grew a deeper understanding of the love the Father has for us. And I’m making it my goal, my choice, to love everyone that way.

    Life with this sweet girl is so beautiful. There may be challenges and hard days, but it is a gift that I will never take for granted. ♥ 

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  3. Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    6 Month Update

    Sorry for the lack of posting lately! Things have been a little hectic, to say the least. We were busy moving & getting settled in to our new place. And our church also recently moved locations so hubs was busy helping with that. Then he and my brothers headed off to camp, and I went out with a friend for a day to visit. We’ve also been busy trying to get my brothers enrolled in school and figuring that all out. AND I’ve been working on getting things together for the launch of our Cahootsie site and working on building my portfolio for a little photography business on the side. WHEW! All while trying to have fun and enjoy what’s left of summer!

    Aside from all of that, my sweet little Eveleigh is now 6 months old! I can’t believe it. She has grown and developed so much these last few months. She sits up on her own, she got her first tooth (!), she’s (slowly) learning to eat solids, she’s engaging and playing so much, and has become so curious about everything! She loves the pool & going to the beach. She loves to be around people and interact with them (I think she is going to be a little social butterfly). She is my smiley, happy baby and I sure feel blessed to be her mama. 

  4. Sunday, August 3, 2014

    Firsts

    Last weekend we went to our sweet little friend’s second birthday party! It was a fun little fiesta at a nearby park, and Eveleigh went on the swings for the first time! As you can see by the photos, she absolutely loved it! 

    She’s had so many “firsts” lately. She started sitting up on her own, she started solids (just mashed banana for now), and she learned how to blow raspberries and has been doing it all day long! It is so cute.

    I can’t believe how big she is. I feel like this year is flying by. And every month she is developing and changing so much! I love each new stage but I also just kind of want her to stay my little baby forever! 

  5. Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Moving Right Along.

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    ^Unrelated to this post, but too cute not to share!^

    So life has been a little bit hectic lately. For reasons I cannot really get into, my younger (fifteen year old) twin brothers are coming to live with Ryan and me. We feel confidant it’s the direction God is leading us, and are trusting his plan for it all. This has led to us needing to move into a bigger place, and so this last week we have been busy packing and moving! 

    If I’m honest: I did not want to move. It’s expensive and exhausting. And I liked our old place. I felt really settled there and kind of grew an attachment to it. It was our home. And it was where we brought home our first baby. I really thought we would live there for several years, until we could maybe buy our own place. But then the move happened, and it all sort of happened fast. It was a little overwhelming. 

    But our new place is great! The neighborhood is really nice, and there are shops, restaurants, and parks within walking distance. AND WE HAVE A GARAGE! I’ve never had a garage before. And let me tell you, it is a game changer. Where did I keep all of my crap before?! I have no idea. But I am in storage heaven. 

    Still lots to do and lots to unpack. But I know as we get settled it will feel more and more like home. Feeling very grateful. Just trying to continue to trust in Him. 

  6. Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Eveleigh’s 5 Month Pictures

    Our sweet little Eveleigh turned 5 months old a little over a week ago. Can’t believe it! She is getting so so big! She is in the 83rd percentile for weight, and 95th for height. She’s a little chunker for sure. Love her little leg rolls. They melt me. 

    It’s been a little busy around these parts so hadn’t taken out the nice camera for pictures in a little bit. So the other day I finally made time to snap these pictures of her. I just love this age. She is so smiley and sweet and loves to interact! 

  7. Sunday, June 29, 2014

    iphone diaries.

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    Just a little glimpse into life lately, according to my iPhone. :)

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  8. Saturday, June 21, 2014

    A Little Trip To San Francisco

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    I really love San Francisco. This was my second visit there, and it is just such a vibrant & beautiful city. I love the old row houses, the parks, the landscape, the restaurants and culture. We stayed in this beautiful old victorian townhouse that we booked through Air BnB. Seriously, amazing. I wish we could’ve stayed longer. The architecture and the details were so gorgeous. I really enjoyed pretending to live there. 

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    ^^She looks like a little baby buddha here haha! Cracks me up!^^

  9. Friday, June 20, 2014

    My Journey To Motherhood.

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    The deep, intense, and unconditional love I have for my daughter is a Iove I didn’t even know I was capable of. And not just how much I love her but how much I love being her mommy.

    Motherhood was not always an aspiration of mine. While I figured I would someday have children, I did not grow up dreaming about the day I would have my own baby and be a mom. I never had a very good representation of what family was all about. What I knew of family was mostly pain, heartache, drama, lies, deceit, neglect, drug addiction. Even church families I lived with in my teen years oozed with dysfunction.

    I did not grow up with the value of family deeply instilled in me. And thus having a family of my own never felt like a priority. I falsely believed that having children meant that my life would cease to exist. That I would become a hollow shell of a person with no dreams or life of my own. Bleak outlook, eh? The funny thing was that I actually loved kids. I was a nanny and baby-sitter for years. But they were not my kids and I was not solely responsible for them. I got to enjoy their cuteness and then hand them back over. 

    Over time, in my relationship with Ryan, my views slowly began to change. His family was warm and kind and actually knew how to love each other. Not perfect, as no family is, but they loved each other well. And I would see Ryan with kids and see how great he was with them, and I saw a man that would make a great father some day. The type of father that the world desperately needs more of.

    When we married I knew we would someday start a family, but that day was distant and not at all on my radar. So much so that I feared my world would crumble if I accidentally got pregnant before I was ready. Ryan, on the other hand, had baby fever. He was happy to wait until I was ready and enjoyed the time with just the two of us, but he longed to be a Father. We talked about waiting five years. We both wanted time to travel, to dream, to be young and just enjoy life (And in my mind all fun/joy/happiness was bound to cease once we became parents. Ridiculous, I now know.). So we waited. But the trouble was, even as years passed by I still kept saying “five more years.” The time never decreased, and I liked keeping it a vague distant plan.

    One night, after two years of marriage, in our apartment up in LA, Ryan finally shared his heart with me. His dreams of being a father. How being a Dad was at the top of his list. I listened to my sweet Husband talk about his family and our future family, and why it was important to him. How he didn’t like the vague “five years” that should’ve become three years at that point. My eyes filled with tears and my heart softened. Of course I wanted to have kids with him. In the end, I was just terrified. Filled with so much fear around the whole subject of having a family and being a mom. Fear that I would be a bad mom. Fear that it would ruin our marriage. Fear that it would ruin my body. Fear that we wouldn’t have enough money. Fear that we’d never get to travel. Fear that I would be unhappy. Fear. Fear. Fear. It was paralyzing. I prayed and gave it over to God and slowly, over time, the fear gave way to hope and even optimism. 

    As time passed and more of our family and friends had children of their own, I began to see how skewed my perception had been. I even began to dream about having some little nuggets of our own. About how it might actually be pretty wonderful. 

    My viewpoint on my career even changed, as I realized how much I wanted to raise a family. The time I spent working various jobs and pursuing acting helped me see that it wasn’t all I thought it would be. Having a family became a priority, even over my career.  I started to see the value in it. The immense value and importance of family and raising children. I think I did more growing in that one year of my life than in all the previous years combined.

    And then before I knew it, after over three years of marriage, I started to feel ready. Even sooner than I thought I would. At this point we had paid off some debt and gotten into a better place financially, and had moved to Orange County into a bigger place. We’d been praying and talking about it for several months… And then one afternoon, we were walking around the lake near our house, and we decided to start trying and see what happened. The next month I was pregnant with our sweet little Eveleigh. 

    In the beginning of my pregnancy I was afraid to get too excited. Just in case something happened. I was nervous when we walked into our first doctors appointment and ultrasound, but then I heard my little baby’s heartbeat for the first time and my heart welled with love. Throughout my pregnancy my love continued to grow until finally, on the day she was born, my heart was so full I thought it might burst.

    And every day, even the hard ones, has been a blessing. And I am just so so grateful for my little family, and so grateful for the privilege of being a mom. ♥ 

  10. Friday, June 13, 2014

    Whole 30 Challenge

    Today is day 13 of Ryan and I’s very first Whole 30 challenge. I’m pretty sure I went through all 5 stages of grief, but am now (finally!) accepting and embracing it! It’s funny, I always thought I ate pretty healthy, until we cut out all the unhealthy stuff and I realized how badly I wanted it. When we were on our vacation in Yosemite & San Francisco I thought about all the terrible food I would consume and justify it because we’re on vacation. All the ice cream, chips, and junk food. It’s just like road trips and junk food were made for each other! That week was definitely the hardest. Not to mention it was our first week. I begged to start Whole 30 when we got back from our trip but Ryan really insisted we start June 1st so we could do it with a group of friends who were all starting that day. But it was definitely challenging to eat well on the road!

    Looking back I am so glad we did start when we did. It helped train me to make good choices even when we’re not at home. That I need to eat healthy and be cognizant of what I’m putting into my body even while traveling. That there are healthy options out there that still taste great and won’t leave me feeling sluggish, it just requires a little more effort!

    I’m definitely still eating crazy huge portion sizes due to nursing though. But it’s bigger portions of healthier food, so it’s better for me and therefore better for the baby too. I have to make sure to consume enough calories to keep my supply up, and so far it has not been an issue. I’ve cut my workouts down to twice a week, which helps it not be too extreme. So overall I feel good about it! 

    One thing I’ve noticed is how many products at the grocery store contain added sugar! It’s insane. Lunch meats, salsas, pasta sauce, breakfast foods, etc. This challenge has definitely enlightened me to the importance of checking food labels. Unfortunately it takes me twice as long at the grocery store… but I think it’s definitely worth it!

    Almost halfway there! Hoping to finish strong! :)

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