Book Update

-STRAIGHT FROM HEAVEN-

Officially releasing my book name lol! Very soon coming is the publication and release date of my very first children’s book. Just a quick update if you’re new here.

We have been in the process with Christian Faith Publishing (CFP) for some months now. We have just a couple of months left to go and I will soon have a release date for you all. At first, I really thought I might be releasing next year, but if all goes well as it has been, we are looking to release by the ending of this year which makes me SO excited. SO excited to share this book with you, your families, your children and the world. It is very dear to my heart.

When I last updated you folks, we were moving forward to the cover design stage of the process. This is where I go over the finished sample of the cover of my book. Prior, I had only seen a sketch, not detailed and uncolored. Well I received the complete sample and I happily approved. I was so ecstatic in fact, I want to share it with you all! Pictured below is my book cover. A little sneak peak into the BTS process!

Straight From Heaven! Here it is! My very first children’s book. Gladly approved this cover design because they nailed my EXACT vision I had for this cover! Now that this step is done, we are now in the step that is called hard copy production. This process is probably the longest wait out of all the steps. It could take 8-10 weeks. After this process, I will get my copies of the books for approval.

After I review them and be sure each and every page, each and every detail is perfect, I approve (or not) and we go from there. After that, it will be available for retail. As soon as I have further details, a release date and more info, you will all know as well. The time is near, it is coming soon and I am so thrilled and happy to be able to share this with you all soon! I will be keeping you all updated!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

My Birth Story

It was time! For the fifth time! Yet this time felt the most foreign. This time, I had a scheduled induction. Driving over to the hospital for the first time out of my five pregnancies with no pains at all? So weird for me! I couldn’t really explain into words how weird it felt for me on our way down.

At my last prenatal appointment, I scheduled my appointment to get induced thinking there’s NO way I’d make it to that. With my first baby, my oldest son, I was 3 days overdue. Then with my next 3, all of them, I gave birth just 1 day before my due date. I was sure it’d be that way this time and baby’s birth date would be August 14 because my due date was the 15th. Boy was I wrong! LOL!

On the ride down to the hospital, I felt…what I would describe as awkward? Super out of my normal. All of my labors started with me being in pain and heading down to the hospital in between contractions! So I felt emotionally out of place. I cried wondering if this was even the right thing for me to be doing. “I’m in, like, NO pain, maybe baby is just simply not ready to come out” is the thoughts I kept fighting. What led me to proceed was the fear of him being in for too long. We’d rather have him out than in, but I was still going between those thoughts, too.

When we got to the hospital at 900p Friday, August 16, I was getting excited. I was super calm and relaxed. Like I said, no pain. So absolutely no idea what to expect, so also very overwhelmed with the unknown. Lots of mixed emotions. When I got to the labor and delivery door, I burst into tears of fear and overwhelm. It just overcame me all at once. I had to say a prayer, give all my fears to the Lord and ask Him for reassurance, guidance and protection. It was nice to have the comfort of my husband, too.

I was dilated at about 3 almost 4 cm, so they said, when I got checked. Then they explained to me how the process of being induced works. They asked me “you want to be here right?” making sure a “forceful” labor is what I wanted. Then I started doubting and second guessing again. I thought, “maybe I SHOULD wait til baby is ready to come out on his own?” I knew, though it felt so weird, that I was already there for a reason. I went through with it.

I got induced at 1030p. They asked me if I wanted to break my water bag to move things further along. My pain and contractions were coming but slow coming. With lots of thoughts of fear, I said no. I told them I was afraid that if they broke it too soon, baby could be without fluids, if I don’t dilate any further that they’d have to do an emergency c-section, which HORRIFIED me. They reassured me that wouldn’t “likely” happen but respected my no answer. So we waited a couple of hours.

HOURS later, I was still at just that, 3 almost 4 cm. Talk about frustration! I, shortly after that, agreed to the breaking of my water. Then things really started progressing. Contractions were getting stronger and closer together so I hurried and requested an epidural. The anesthesiologist was busy with another patient so I waited a little over an hour maybe? When she got to me, let’s just say I was more than ready for the shot. Pain was so much more intense. I was totally ok, this time, with getting an epidural without a second thought of “maybe I’ll try without meds.” Though with all of my previous labors, I took the epidural, I tried not to for as long as I could. With my 4th baby, Madox, I went all the way to 9cm without any meds. But because I plateaued for HOURS at 9cm, I ended up taking it. With Madon, I quickly decided to get one. I figured I wouldn’t put myself through it for my last ride.

Things went even QUICKER after the shot. My mom and sister were both still not there. I normally ALWAYS have my mom with me from the very beginning of my labor throughout the entire process. This time around, I really needed her more with my other children than by my side. But though I had my husband, I found myself really wanting my mom when I was nearing the time to push. And to my absolute surprise, she and my sister BOTH literally walked in MINUTES before I started pushing. My other kids were with my grandparents in the waiting room. It worked out perfectly. They made it JUST in time. I was so immensely happy! My sister even came and took shots of the process without me even having to ask!

So it was time to push and there was one big problem…I was STARVING! Lol! I don’t know why, but I was too embarrassed to admit at the time that I was so hungry! I stated how tired and exhausted I was but I was also super weak from how hungry I was at that point. It’s definitely what made pushing tough for me this time around.

Baby started turning which started making things a bit tricky. I turned to my side and back to the front again and re-positioned and just found myself getting really exhausted. They gave me some time to rest and an oxygen mask between contractions.

About 30-45 minutes of pushing and baby’s head was finally out. I was ready to give one last push before being told not to. I was so confused but the doc kept saying “no no, wait, hold on.” I was like “I have to push, you don’t want me to push?” She says “no, dad, come, come here” It was then that my husband goes over to where she is, while we’re all still so confused and very quickly, she guides him to pulling baby out of me! Legit, MY HUSBAND PULLED OUR BABY OUT OF ME! It was absolutely amazing and SO quick, my sister yells…”ah I missed it!!” Super bummed about that but we were all just so not ready and it happened so fast! Definitely something we’ll never forget, regardless if we don’t have pics! So amazing!

Five times and all, I find myself still in absolute awe of child birth. It is incredible to be able to witness, to be able to experience and to be able to go through.

When Madon was born, the very moment, all of the questions and worries and wonders that I had prior disappeared. It’s like it instantly clicked and it all made sense. I thought he’d come sooner, thought my body was ready to have him about a week prior, I didn’t get why things didn’t go the way I thought they would and why I couldn’t have him when I wanted to. It was that moment he was placed on my chest that I KNEW the Lord was with me every single step of the way. He was meant to be born when he was and he was meant to be here when he came. No sooner, no later. Just right then and there. Another birth under my belt, another blessing to never forget!

Madon Chong born August 17, 2019

7 lbs 9oz

20 1/2in

Thanks for stopping by!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Book Publishing Update

If you have been following along with my book publishing journey, you would know how amazing Christian Faith Publishing has been so far. It has been such a privilege to work with a company that cares about my vision and what I want. I have nothing but good things to say about them and the experience so far has been smooth and great!

After going through the sample illustration phase, storyboard phase, final color stage, and the page design, we are now moving forward to the cover design! During the page design stage, I went over my entire book. Pictures, fully detailed and colored, words and all. I happily approved!

Cover Design Stage

This is the step we are currently on. This is the step where we work on the cover of my book. I am probably most excited to see this, for sure! It was sketched but I haven’t seen it detailed in and colored just yet.

Author’s About Me

So I submitted my not so favorite picture of me, but I am happy that this part is done. I officially have a photo for my about me page that I am also pretty stoked about!

After Cover Design is created and I approve, we move to print production. This is probably the longest process right here, ranging about 2 months til completion. However, I will receive my books for myself during this time which will be incredible to actually hold them in my hands and have it be real! Can’t wait for you all to see it and read it and hopefully absolutely love it!!!!!

That’s pretty much it on the update. Just a couple more months and I should have a publication date! I will be sure to let you all know when that is!

What about you? Any goals you want to make sure you make happen before the 2019 year ends? Go on! Go and make them happen!!! Just because the year is ending, doesn’t mean our dreams have to be put on hold!

Tell me about your dreams and goals via email or below in the comments! I’d love to hear them!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Postpartum Must-haves

=This post contains affiliate links=

Definitely for me, the toughest part of having a new baby is to have to also take care of healing you! Physically AND mentally! There’s this hopeless baby completely dependent on you and your body can barely keep up. I know this lead me to feel down, anxious and frustrated in the past. Luckily, as the more experience and children I’ve had, the more I channeled my energy into turning those negative thoughts into solutions. I did not want to feel those ways again.

I know that postpartum depression is a real thing. Like I said, I’ve gone through mild versions of it before. But prepping myself mentally early this time around has helped me a lot. A whole lot of intentional thought and prayer went into it. God is good. He has answered prayers and delivered me from my anxiety, my frustration and my feeling depressed after having this baby. ALL the glory to Him for that, my mental state is in a great place and I am forever grateful for that!

Also, there have been some amazing things that I’ve tried this time to help me during this healing process. These are products that I now swear by. These products have and still are getting me by day by day during my postpartum journey.

Don’t forget to save to your pinterest 🙂
  • My handy dandy postpartum wrap

I will have it linked below if you’d like to check it out yourself. But this wrap you guys!!!!!! It already has made my stomach area feel so secure and hugged and comforted these last days since birth. I am just shy of two weeks postpartum and I am loving this wrap. I do not make it tight where I can’t breathe or anything like that lol. It really is just to help get everything back into place comfortably! I’ll wear it all day then take it off before shower and bedtime. I. LOVE. IT!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EVGLMM8/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EVGLMM8&linkId=90716134473a424860163f8bf619098d

  • Depends

YES!!!! Lol!! I personally never thought I’d wear these at this age lol, but I tried them out the day I gave birth instead of using the pads and net panties from the hospital that, I’m sorry, I never liked at all! I found myself upset that I haven’t used depends when my other kids were born. It took me five kids to try it and love it! I didn’t have that anxious “did I leak, is my pad full” feeling at all. It just makes you feel so secure and comfortable. One less thing you have to worry about during the recovery process! Though I am not still using them today, it was AMAZING the first few days after birth! 100% recommend. I used the ALWAYS discreet underwear brand. I used size large even though I think the medium would’ve been great too. I’ll link it below in case you’re like me and don’t want to buy this at the store. Even though I just ended up doing it that way, I probably should’ve ordered it online to save me feeling so old buying it LOL!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KXUW72G/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00KXUW72G&linkId=4cae97d3cd8a2b8246ccd6185a546f38

  • Spray bottle

I always make sure to take the one they provide at the hospital home with me. It is so nice to be able to clean using that. It is a must-have for my postpartum, it always has been with all of my kids.

  • Breast pads/regular pads

I always make sure to stock up as much as I can on these prior to giving birth. These of course are absolute necessities!

  • Flushable wipes

When I am not jumping in the shower, these are my go-to! Keeps me feeling fresh especially when I am crunched for time or don’t want to use toilet paper after giving birth, am I right??

  • Necessary medicines

Stool softeners from the hospital and ibuprofen/tylenol are great to have on hand. With my other children, I never had to come home and use my ibuprofen, but I did with this baby. My back was a hot mess the first few days after birth. It definitely relieved my pain and I don’t have to take them anymore. The stool softeners are great too! Ain’t no one trying to be constipated after having a baby!

Pin for later 🙂

Other than resting, taking it easy, taking any help you can and the above listed things, I can’t think of anything else that is getting me through my postpartum journey. Grateful for family help and for all these things that make it a bit easier!

How about you? What are things you do or use for your postpartum process? Am I missing anything here?? Let me know via email or in the comments below!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

How To Prep Your Kids for Their Newest Sibling

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I am no expert. But by baby number 5, I’ve learned a lot and seen the things that I could do differently when it comes to how I prepare my kids for their next sibling coming. I’ve seen each of them react differently and I’ve learned something new each time.

With my oldest, Mason, it was tough. He turned 5 years old when his baby sister was about 4 months old, so the gap is there with them. He didn’t say much when she was first born. He was definitely stand-offish. I found him to himself and quiet a lot in the first couple of weeks. Broke my heart and even though we’d ask, I knew he didn’t exactly know how to describe the new feelings and change he was going through.

SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER 😉

As months went by, that turned from that to him being an extremely over protective brother. Not in a mean way towards others, but he would always hover her, he’d be sad and broken hearted whenever she would be in pain (like from her shots). One time she was crying for I don’t even remember what reason but he held his heart, had his hand literally on his chest across his heart and started to cry too. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, it was really very precious!

It was very different with him and my daughter because my oldest will always be the only one who ever had me and my husband completely to himself, for five whole years, at that! I think I’ve learned that the age gap was probably the biggest factor in the way my son reacted at first. Though he knew a baby, his sister was coming, the amount of time he had us to himself, then having his sister, was a bit of a culture shock for him!

After having our 3rd child, 4 years after my daughter, my oldest was stoked to have a brother so there wasn’t really any issue there. My daughter was super stoked to have a brand new baby in the house so the transition for them was pretty smooth.

When my 4th came, my 3rd was only 18 months old! Super small gap compared to my first two children. It was very different and hard for me at first. My 18 month old was so confused and kept asking everyday, no miss, for a few weeks, “who’s that?” Made me laugh and made me sad. I was sad at how confused he still was as some time went by. He was so confused and curious. And yes, he continued to ask even after we’d say “your baby brother” over and over lol!

I knew with this baby coming and my youngest (4th) now being a little over 2 years old, what I should be doing to prep, considering all that I had experienced with my previous kids.

  • Talk about baby….A LOT
  • Repeat baby’s name…A LOT (if you have baby’s name already)
  • Show them your belly AND talk about baby….A LOT
  • Read books about baby’s in mommy’s belly and siblings to come
  • Share with them your baby’s growth (a visual, like maybe your baby app)
  • Show them all the baby things and how baby will be here soon
  • Make it a point to spend a little extra time with each child before baby comes

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1846432758/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1846432758&linkId=2d23314ee837e82c12cc1fbae61a2ad4

For my older kids, my oldest, 13, son Mason and only daughter second oldest, Meyah, 8, it’s a little different for prepping them. Of course, it’s easier with them since it’s not their first rodeo, they know how this goes and pretty much what to expect already. But the way I find myself prepping them is just talking to them and trying to spend some one on one time with them.

Even if it’s me and my oldest talking stories after the rest of the kids have gone to bed, since his bedtime is later than theirs. Even if it’s just a simple conversation about his interests or watching a video with him. A little one on one goes a long way.

DON’T FORGET TO SAVE AND PIN TO YOUR PINTEREST 😉

For my daughter, it’s easy to do the simplest things with her because we’re girls, duh! Lol! She loves when we play with each other’s hair, when we talk about her day, when we have one on one time before bed and we pray together. We love to do our nails (our own at home). All these little things I’ve been trying to make it a point to make sure I make time for especially with baby coming so soon!

What are ways you have found yourself prepping your child or like me, children, for a new sibling coming soon? Is there something that I should be trying out that helps a lot? I’d love to hear from you via email or in the comments below! Let’s chat!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1846432758/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1846432758&linkId=2d23314ee837e82c12cc1fbae61a2ad4

Til next time 🙂

Monica <3

What to pack in your hospital bag (for mommy)

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With this not being my first rodeo and all (fifth time to be exact), I’d say I know what worked for me, what I truly needed and what I really didn’t need and never ended up using. So this time around, packing my bag is a little easier, still as exciting as the other times, though.

DON’T FORGET TO SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER 😉
  • Comfy clothes (loose, nurse friendly shirts, loose dress, sweats, loose pants)

I always enjoyed my sweats right after birth paired with a very simple, very airy and loose shirt that is nurse friendly. I bring about three outfits in case the usual two night stay turns into a three.

  • Comfy underwear, sports bras and socks

I never used nursing bras before, specifically because I’ve just never found one that I really like. So I just normally stick to sports bras the entire time I breastfeed. I found that the close tightness of it is also very comforting during the beginning tender nipples stage of breastfeeding, especially with engorgement and in the hospital.

  • Slip-on slippers

I love the convenience of just sliding my feet in and out of those, especially during my hospital stays.

  • Post-partum stomach wrap

This one linked below is AMAZING! I used it with my last baby. I love how secure my abdominal feels in it during recovery and how comfortable it is. I am hoping to use it shortly after birth, I am bringing it in case, I’d like to see what the doc says first.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EVGLMM8/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EVGLMM8&linkId=15e75856dacd02922564d1921da7de19

  • Depends

Now this is NEW for me! Never have I ever packed or used this one lol. But I have heard some great things about using these after birth and I mean, it does make a lot of sense to use these vs possibly ruining underwear or wearing the horrible netted ones from the hospital which I personally, absolutely do not like at all! I am bringing these, along with my comfy underwear too, just in case I don’t want to go that route. We shall see.

  • Toiletries/self care things:
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash/floss
  • Deodorant
  • Body lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Perfume
  • Rubber bands for hair
  • Qtips
  • Shaver
  • Pads
  • Breast pads
  • Hair brush
  • Misc things

I like to make sure I have these extra things on me as well. I don’t like forgetting anything. Even though family comes to visit and they can possibly bring things I don’t remember, it doesn’t sit well with me to forget something and not be prepared so I like to pack early and ahead.

  • Phone charger
  • Gum
  • Some coins on hand for vending machines
  • Some cash on hand
  • My little makeup bag
  • My wallet

So funny how you can be as ahead and prepared as possible yet you can still feel you might be forgetting something. Am I? Did I forget something? Is there something I missed and should be bringing along with me?

SAVE TO YOUR PINTEREST 🙂

I’d love to hear from you, if you could let me know down in the comments or via email. What things do you pack in your hospital bag?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EVGLMM8/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EVGLMM8&linkId=15e75856dacd02922564d1921da7de19

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

What to pack in baby’s hospital bag

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The first thing in my mind with my last four babies while getting ready to pack up the diaper bag for the hospital, was always “pampers and wipes.” Funny how things can change, that was the last thing on my mind this 5th time around. I almost completely didn’t pack any at all this time. I always find that I don’t ever touch the wipes or pampers during my hospital stay. BUT I just felt to be safe than sorry. Added it as the very last thing to the bag.

I stayed up late, gushing over the tiny, baby smell filled laundry, organizing and folding. I even felt myself getting a little overwhelmed because there were so much cute pieces of clothes to choose from. I struggle with this one each time, what size to pack. So, like all the other times, I packed a couple of different sizes of clothes in case. Here’s what’s currently in my baby-ready packed, locked and loaded hospital bag.

  • Preemie clothes (one pair) with matching beanie

I used preemie for my first born, my son, and my second born, my daughter. They were both not born preemie but the preemie clothes just fit them so much better than the newborn at the time. With my last two babies being over 8lbs each, I didn’t use the preemies, but I did still pack it for this baby JUST in case.

  • 3 pairs of socks and mittens

The last few times in the hospital, I had to stay an extra night than expected due to my breastfeeding. It has never gone smoothly, so they’d always recommend me staying one more night. So I figure pack for three nights. I remember not having a different, clean pair of socks for each day because I always just packed two, the last times. Three, this time in case.

  • Two sleepers/pajamas

I don’t think I’ve ever packed this one ever before. But it does tend to get really cold in the hospital so I figured why not.

  • A few pampers/pack of wipes

Like I mentioned, in the past, I’ve never had to use these but I am still bringing them for piece of mind. My hospital is really good at providing this during baby’s stay.

  • A burp rag/cloth

This one is simply because it is a SUPER cute one LOL and it matches a set of mittens I am bringing along. I normally don’t bring burp rags either, also because the hospital provides those during our stay as well.

  • 3 receiving blankets

I would like to use only my receiving blankets this time. I realized how with my other kids, I brought my own, but barely used them. This time, I would like to not have to use the provided blankets and use my own instead.

  • 2 swaddlers

All of my babies loved to be swaddled as newborns so of COURSE I need to bring some swaddlers!

  • 4 onesies (one long sleeve) 2 NB size and 2 0-3 mo size

You never know if baby will be smaller or bigger than you are expecting so I like to bring a couple of different sizes.

  • 2 NB size pants

I know from my last children that I hardly had bottoms on them while in the hospital. Normally, they were in a simple short sleeve onesie and swaddled. So really, these pants are just for taking pictures LOL and the day we leave to go home with baby.

  • My breastfeeding cover

The boobs are free and normally constantly out during the hospital stay for me LOL! But this is great to have in case I want some privacy when someone is coming in. I normally don’t run into any problems while I am feeding, I normally have whoever wait outside until baby is done anyway, but still, good to have on hand!

  • Extra beanies

Sometimes the hospital one is good, sometimes not. I like to bring my own and bring a couple that’s a little bigger, a little smaller and different colors, too, just in case.

Okay so a recap of the things;

  • Breastfeeding cover
  • 2 NB size pants
  • 4 onesies (2 different sizes 2 NB and 2 0-3mos)
  • 2 swaddlers
  • 3 receiving blankets
  • burp rag/cloth
  • a few pampers/pack wipes
  • 2 sleepers/pajamas
  • 3 pairs of socks and mittens
  • preemie clothes (one pair) with matching beanie
  • extra beanies

Seems like a lot but boy, do I have so much room still in my baby bag. Trying not to give into temptation and pack more cute outfits just for no reason LOL! But these are all that’s in my baby’s bag right now. I hope this was helpful.

The muslin swaddlers have to be my absolute favorite swaddlers. I love how light and thin they are. It makes for great sleep while still keeping baby cool, especially in this Hawaii heat, perfect for just that! I will link them below!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GJA3HVS/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01GJA3HVS&linkId=3b9158375286e405b01462d65c4d011e

Am I missing anything? Please let me know if there’s something I should definitely be bringing along with me. What do YOU pack in your baby’s hospital bag? I’d love to hear in the comments below or via email!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Mommying Challenge Update

GOSH what can I say? It was an interesting ride with this challenge. When I first started, Day 1, it was on the same day as my son’s 13th birthday. I don’t know if that’s what made it not easier but made me more accountable? Maybe? The fact that I try to be extra aware and present on my kids birthdays especially.

Day 1/Don’t raise your voice:

I succeeded this challenge!!! Everyday, my kids were told what my challenge was for the day. I know some of you might think that it could backfire to tell my kids because they could be extra and use it against me, if anything LOL but I wanted someone other than myself to help hold me accountable. I’m glad I chose to tell them because they’d remind me “mom, your goal” and I’d be like “I know” lol!

This day, I did not raise my voice. It was a beach day for us over at my faves, Ko’olina beach. We spent a few relaxing, beautiful hours there. Then we celebrated with a very small dinner, cake and ice cream at home later that evening! Was feeling extremely accomplished and proud of myself. It felt good!

Day 2/Don’t complain for the day:

I failed this challenge! Ahhhhhh! It’s a shame to admit out loud! Day 2 and FAIL! My husband said I should’ve been more specific with my challenges, what I told him I complained about I guess he felt didn’t count. But it does! First thing in the morning on this day, we were all getting packed and things ready for our weekend at a beach house in Makaha, Oahu. We live in Nanakuli, Oahu, Makaha is about 15 minutes or so away.

In the midst of packing, mind you LAST MINUTE packing UGH, I was also trying to tidy up. It was when I said, “When you guys see things, you guys can pick it up without being told, I’m tired of bending down (because of my big belly of course LOL) and JUST LIKE THAT, I failed.

It doesn’t end there, though, we got over to the beach house and we were cooking for a birthday dinner for my son. I complained about the heat, how hot it was, the flies that irked me, there were so many, complained about a few more things that I can’t specifically remember but those were the ones I can. Point is, I failed this one this day. It made me realize how EASY it is to complain. How often we tend to do it and how sometimes, we really don’t even realize that we’re doing it. Until it’s maybe too late, like me!

Day 3/Spend 15 minutes of complete alone time:

I succeeded this challenge! This day was day 2 at our beach house. I made it a point in my mind to set aside some alone time, even if we were there on mini-vacay, I knew I still needed it!

After I laid my son down to nap, I read my verse of the day;

Hebrews 12:14

“Try to live peacefully with everyone, and try to live holy lives, because if you don’t, you will not see the Lord.”

Man did that hit me hard. Such a short verse that means so much. Hard to do sometimes, but the consequence, I would say, is even harder. I spent my alone time on this verse, dwelling on it, said a prayer, then scrolled through some IG before I took a short little nap!

Day 4/Spend time doing something Meyah likes WITH her:

I succeeded this challenge! This day, I remember the feeling. The challenge started to stress me out on this day, it started to feel like a burden. I found myself kind of stressing to get it done. I started over thinking and wondering “what can I do with Meyah, what does she like to do, what if we can’t do it here at the beach house?” Just overall, completely being extra in my head.

That’s when I knew I had to recheck and reanalyze what I was doing this for and the purpose behind it. It was to challenge myself as a mom but definitely not to do things out of obligation. So I made it simple instead of complicating things. I shot some hoops with my baby girl. Sometimes, I forget that it’s not just about where we are or what we’re doing, but most importantly, WHO we’re doing it with that matters.

In this case, she LOVES basketball. She played for our local park league and she loves the game. AND, she got to do it with her mommy. She was so happy. Played the game HORSE and PIG with her because this mama is ready to pop, cannot play an actual game and does not even know the game anyway LOL!

Day 5/Spend time doing something Mason loves WITH him:

I succeeded this challenge! The plan was to go fishing with him. I wanted him to even maybe teach me how to do the whole thing. Since I am completely clueless, but the water was just not set up this past weekend for a calm, friendly/pregnant-friendly fish. It was definitely too rough for me.

We enjoyed shave ice together. We all LOVE to grab some shave ice especially after a hot day at the beach. This was the day we packed up and left the beach house to go back home. We were in the mood for some shave ice and we got some. Though I didn’t spend time with him doing the fishing thing he loves, like I planned, we did something else together that we love, we love eating some shave ice! LOL!

Day 6/Spend 5-10 minutes on self-care:

I succeeded this challenge! It wasn’t much, but it was definitely relaxing, overdue after the long weekend we had and I enjoyed it! With my shower, I shaved LOL, shaved the legs and underarms. And I also enjoyed exfoliating my body with some of my orange peel exfoliating scrub. My current fave! It doesn’t take much self-care for me to feel great and this was short, sweet, quick and just what I needed!

Day 7/Wake up before the kids:

I failed this challenge! I failed this one hard. Here’s the thing, I had an intense debate with my oldest, my son Mason, about the fact that I in fact DID technically wake up before them. I was up at 630a and I was all happy because I was like YES! I did it! I succeeded my last day’s challenge. Felt so good.

However, LOL, after I read my verse of the day, I laid back down and fell back asleep, so my son said I can’t count it! LOL!!! And I couldn’t agree more! I know exactly what I meant when I made the challenge. Waking before them meaning being productive, doing some chores maybe and STAYING up until they got up and that didn’t happen. Pray for me on this one guys?? Will ya? Lol. Probably the hardest thing of them all is for me to get up before my kids DAILY. It is a definite and absolute goal of mine to master this!

So…..all in all, I am mutual about the way I feel. I don’t feel 100% great but I don’t feel horrible and down on myself either for not getting them all and succeeding at each one. I did fail 2 out of 7. However, I am still going to set goals for myself as a mom.

Maybe I’ll try this challenge again, soon. Maybe you can try it just to challenge yourself. It was a great experience. I learned a lot and analyzed more than I thought I would. I did things intentionally and it felt good and refreshing when the goal was met.

Let me know if you want to try this challenge yourself or if you already did. How did it go for you? Email me or comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Mommying Challenge

Have you ever thought to yourself? Why are these kids (or this kid) so CRAZY!!!!!? LOL jk! But seriously, ever wonder if you could challenge yourself to do the MOST challenging tasks as a mom? I’m talking about the ones we normally over-see, don’t think of til later or don’t think of at all! This would look different for every mom, of course.

For some reason, I had the urge to challenge myself. More than the daily life of having four kids, a teenager, an only daughter and TWO toddlers???? LOL YES! For some odd reason, I’m also asking you folks to follow along with me. Over the next week, I will be giving myself ONE daily task to do. I will give little updates via my IG handle and sneak peeks BTS on that day of but won’t give it completely away if I accomplished each daily task or not until my blog post about it next week.

SAVE NOW FOR LATER 😉

So here are my tasks that I’ve come up with that I’ll be starting first thing come none other than my son’s birthday, Thursday, July 11, 2019!

The purpose of this challenge?? Well, I just wanted to simply challenge myself as a mom to do MORE! More than I am already doing and with more intent I guess. I wanted to pin-point my struggles and break them up to see if I can hold myself accountable for that designated day and make it happen for myself, my kids, as a mom and maybe show other moms that they can do it too. I thought it would be both fun and challenging. So here are the tasks I’ve come up with….

  • Don’t complain for the day!

YES! Hard! This one is hard! I know! But it is specifically why I chose it. It is most definitely a challenge for me as I KNOW is also for other mommies too. Wanted to see if I make myself accountable by starting off my day with this in my mind and as the goal, if it can be accomplished! Put your mind to it, put your mind to it!!!!! We shall see!

  • Don’t raise my voice for the day!

Another hard one! But I am determined to give this a try as well and see how this goes! We shall see, we shall see, we shall see with this one LOL!!!!

  • Spend 15 minutes of complete alone time!

I didn’t always see the benefit and value in having time for JUST ME! It took me a while, a pretty long while to realize my sanity and the clarity of my mind is important for my kids. But first and foremost important for myself. I always pushed that aside for “another time” or “who really needs that anyway” and the answer is WE ALL DO. All us mommies need the alone time. Even if it’s just a completely alone and unbothered pee or poop! LOL!

  • Wake up BEFORE the kids!

This one is DEFINITELY a challenge for me. During this pregnancy, I have random tired spells when I feel I could sleep forever or like “I need a nap now” randomly! It hasn’t been helping, either, that my two boys have been sleeping horribly lately. We are slowly on the mend with that one though, thankfully and prayerfully! But, regardless, if I have a well rested night’s rest, sometimes, getting up before the kids is STILL hard for me. So I wanted and NEEDED to challenge myself with this one!

  • Spend time doing something Mason loves WITH HIM!

I find myself not getting involved as much as I would like to with the things my kids are interested in doing. Even if it’s an app, a game, an activity. I want to partake in something he loves today and do it WITH him!

  • Spend time doing something Meyah loves WITH HER!

As you can see, these are challenges for me. This is something that I hope one day is the norm and isn’t a “challenge” anymore where I always find myself doing the things they love. I want to support them and encourage them! I don’t want to push them away or make their interests feel like they’re not cool or fun enough for me to give a try!

  • Spend at LEAST 5-10 minutes on self-care!

Another example of me tending to put myself on the back burner. I am getting used to and “practicing” if you will, putting myself back up there on that “take care of” list too! This is a struggle for me so including this one was a no brainer!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN NOW FOR LATER 😉

After making this list, I thought to myself how to keep myself accountable and how I could assure you all I’m being honest. Well, for the most part, you’d just have to trust my verdicts lol but I could also have my kids and husband vouch for me.

Also, I wanted to think of a way I could celebrate or reward myself if each daily task was met. And to me, the first thing that popped into my head was a pedi LOL! I could treat myself to a pedi as a reward for completing all the tasks in my mommying challenge.

So here we go, starting tomorrow, I will be taking you guys along with me via IG on the BTS. Be sure to check back next week for my blog post on the results and maybe you could join the challenge too 😉

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Summer Must-Haves (for Kids)

=This post contains affiliate links=

This summer here on Oahu, Hawaii, is a hot one! But every summer is like that here. Even when it’s not “summer” it’s summer lol. But, specifically in the months from around April to sometimes even October, it is thee hottest!

When the kids are out of school and we have all the summer plans, bbqs, family trips around the island, beach days, lots of them, camp outs, family gatherings, you name it, there are necessities. Especially for mommy me who has 4 kiddos. A 12 year old, an 8 yr old and two toddlers, 3 & 2.

When we are going to the beach, it feels like just trying to get out of the house and get everyone and everything into the car will never happen. It is a task and it is a struggle to say the least! Well, actually, that’s how it feels almost everywhere we go! Lol!

SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER 😉

I did, however, compile a list of things that I use extra often and specifically most during the summer time. These are our must-haves and these are things we definitely cannot leave home without for a successful summer day out!

  • Sunscreen

Surprise, surprise lol! Yes lots and lots of sunscreen! We are out in the sun extra whether we’re at the park, outside water play in the backyard or of course, at the beach. We need tons and need to carry it on us at all times!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MQXX9US/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01MQXX9US&linkId=8b8500ca058741570202ce011d0260ed

  • Keenz Stroller

Though a bit spendy, this is probably our most used baby product, our keenz stroller. It is amazing for the swap meet, for the mall, for parties, for water days in the backyard, bbqs and most definitely, beach days! Our keenz can comfortably sit our two toddlers while we also have room to pack our house and then some. It is great to have and having it with us on these days is definitely a necessity! Makes logging everything so much easier!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075779N1C/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B075779N1C&linkId=ea1801d69d042e5db2ba528787c49922

  • Bucket hats

These are amazing to have. Especially when my two toddlers are in the yard playing or at the beach playing in the sand. Having their bucket hats are great for protecting their little heads. Even with the protection of sunscreen, these are a great addition!

  • Sippy cups

Though we often will bring with us a cooler of drinks, I still like to bring my toddler’s sippy cup. It’s great to have on hand because it’s leak proof and just really, his comfort thing he likes to have. I can leave the house with it filled with milk and then fill with water later on to hydrate him while we’re out. Don’t like leaving home without it!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077VNX7HX/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B077VNX7HX&linkId=6f0b76b89ffd575f27e3860bc8586e03

  • Plastic bag for wet clothes/towels

Though we are trying to use less plastic, I do often keep a plastic or gallon ziploc bag with us to store wet clothes in them. Keeps the rest of the clothes or car from getting wet. Try not to forget this must-have!

  • Beach toys/pool toys/floaties/vest

Can’t forget the entertainment! Beach toys can occupy my kids for a while, even when we’re at the beach. It’s great to have. Though my kids aren’t fond of wearing their floaties, I like to have them on us anyway and have them put it on, still. It is a piece of mind that’s great to have while we’re in and near the water.

DON’T FORGET TO PIN FOR LATER 😉

This is definitely not ALL the many of things that we will bring with us when we are going out for a day at the beach, but these items are probably the most important. These are the TOP items, I would say, and that are especially for the kids.

What items do you absolutely have to bring along with you when you’re heading to the beach, pool, or lake? I would love to know if there’s anything that I should be adding in here via email or in the comments below.

Til next time 🙂

Monica <3