Monday, December 21, 2015

All the Judgmental Looks {My toddler melted down.. again}

Yesterday I took the both boys to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop. I have been wanting to do it since last month and since there is less then a week away from Christmas I knew I needed to do it this weekend. Bass Pro has the cutest set up; with tons to do and free pictures with Santa.
The boys had a nice nap, ate some lunch, and then we went to "Santa's house". 

They did so well with Santa too! No smiles... but no tears so I say it was a win in my book! MyBigBoy was a little confused and didnt know what he was so supposed to do and I have no idea what MyLittleGuy is doing with his hands... but its precious! haha. 

Once we finished with that we walked over to the craft table and MyBigBoy colored and then we looked at the train (his favorite!). 

Then, after a super fun and relaxed afternoon, MyBigBoy peed his pull up. Which really isn't a big deal to anyone.... except to him. He wants to immediately take it off -- right there, by the train, in a crowded room with strangers. There is no negotiating with this boy with big feelings. He tries and tries to take his pants off and I plead with him that we need to go to the car or to the bathroom. 
He falls to the ground in tears. 

I start getting the looks.

You moms know what I am talking about. The judgmental looks from people without kids reminding themselves to never have them. The sympethetic looks from other moms who remember what those days are like. The harsh looks from those moms who maybe parent differently and they think you are doing it all wrong. 
I stood there by the train track, MyLittleGuy in the shopping cart, MyBigBoy flailing himself all over and EVERYONE was staring. 
I scooped up my mess of a son and put him in the cart and started to walk out. 

Here is something I have learned about my boy in this short season -- if I try to repress his feelings - the feelings get bigger. 
Which makes sense. 
Have you ever been so angry and someone tells you to "calm down"?
What is your response? Mine usually isn't that pretty. 

So, MyBigBoy is in the cart basket and we are walking out. I am holding on to his shirt, attempting to keep him sitting down so he doesnt fall out. He is hitting the cart, crying, screaming. 
I am getting sooo many looks. 
Plus, can I just remind you that this place offers free Santa photos the weekend before Christmas. And there is a restaurant in there AND its a huge 2 story store! This place is massive and is packed! My son's ear piercing screams is all anyone can hear. 

We finally get outside and then MyLittleGuy decides to join in on the tears. It was small and off and on but he is very empathetic so he saw big brother crying and figured he needed to too. 

Outside they have a stand for kettle corn with a bench behind it. I take MyBigBoy out of the cart and let him "calm himself down" on the bench. Of course he falls to the ground still kicking and screaming. 
The whole time I am talking to him about how he is angry and I know he is upset because he wanted to take off his pull up. I explain that it is okay to be angry (because it is) but it is not okay to kick and hit. We are right by the exit so everytime someone walks by they hear my son yelling (and me letting him) and they give me the judgemental look.  

I mean before I had a very strong-willed toddler I probably would have done the same thinking, "why can't she control her kid?" Staring and judging and telling myself how that will never be me. My child won't throw fits in public place. 

But here I was.

And I realized something in middle of this meltdown. 
I really don't care what they think. They can stare at me, judge my parenting, talk about me while they walk away. I am not doing this for them. I am doing this for my son. Because I know how he operates (well... I am learning). Because I don't want him to feel like he has to stuff his very big feelings because I cannot handle them. Because I want him to learn how to control his feelings on his own eventually. Because allowing him to "feel the feels" helps him get in touch with his emotions. Because I want him to know that he is safe with me and his feelings are not too much for me.
And mostly because I know that he will get to the other side of this meltdown and the longer I try to control how he responds to his emotions the worse (and bigger) it gets. 

So, judge on, Judgey McJudgerson. 

MyBigBoy did stop crying. He ran into my arms "hold, Mom!". I held him and walked to the car explaining again about being mad and how to handle it. 
I buckled him in the car seat and he asked me "wipe tears, mom."
I wiped his tears, started the car, and we said "bye" to Santa's house. Then MyBigBoy did the sweetest thing ever! 
He said, "thank you mom."
Maybe he was saying thank you for wiping his tears or taking him to see Santa. Or maybe he was thanking me for allowing him to sort through his emotions in a safe place. Whatever the reason I knew that although it was embarrassing, frustrating, and just hard....... it wasnt the end of the world and we got through it.

So, to the moms of the screaming toddlers in public places. You're doing a good work! Keep it up. Its a hard and sometimes lonely road but remember you are a great mom and this too shall pass.
To the bystanders witnessing the melt down - try not to judge. Try to remember that we are all navigating through parenting differently and what works for you and your children might not work for me and mine. 

tantrums, big emotions, and love. - Monica

Friday, December 18, 2015

It was such a Holy Night - Arrows and Warriors

Happy happy friday!!! And happy one week before Christmas!

who still needs to do Christmas shopping?
*raises hand*

The boys are taken care of but I still have a few family members I need to get some stuff for. 

Today I wrote a post at Arrows and Warriors talking about one of my favorite Christmas songs - O Holy Night. 

You can click right here to read. Also make sure to check it out daily. 
A group of amazing mommas, including myself, post uplifting and encouraging messages for moms. Our heart is to inspire other moms that you dont only need to survive but you can THRIVE in motherhood with Christ at the center. 

Have a wonderfully blessed last weekend before Christmas! 

Christmas carols, blogging, and love. - Monica

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Meltdowns and Santa attempts

I cannot even believe that Christmas is only a little over a week away! I mean... really??? 

I probably say this every year but it went by so so fast! 

Our Christmas tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, Christmas movies are on everyday and I am a little sad that i will be coming to an end soon. I want to do all the Christmas stuff I can since I dont have much time left of the season.

The other day Husby and I took the boys to go see Santa. Well, we tried. 

We were going to go to the Bass Pro Shop since they have free activities and a free photo with Santa. We got there at about 3:40pm and they told us that the closest time was 7:30pm. We have to drive about 20 minutes to get there and since we had to eat and run errands we decided to take the ticket and comeback later. 

We went out to eat as a family and it was so wonderful! We havent done that in so long because Husby has been working so much. Both boys were in high chairs and it was so so cute! After that we went to Target to pick up a few things and walk around. We were just trying to waste time so that we could go back to see Santa. 
After about 30 minutes of navigating through a sea of people trying to get to deals at Target, MyStrongBoy went potty in his pull up. Which meant he needed to take it off. In the middle of the toy aisle. 
When we told him that he needed to go to the bathroom to do that he got so upset. Tears streaming down his face and frustration in his cries. Husby had to pick him up and take him to the car (since I left the diaper bag in there). At the car MyBigBoy was not wanting daddy to change him and continued yelling and kicking. I took MyLittleGuy (who was happy in the Ergo) out to find the car so that I could convince our 2 year old to get dressed. 
At that point it was 6pm and we knew we couldnt last another hour and decided to drive home. 

We thought the boys would like to go see Christmas lights. So we went home, put on comfy pjs, made mexican hot chocolate and made a quick stop at my in laws. 
But when it was time to leave MyBigBoy wasn't happy and another meltdown happened. Again he refused to put on a pull up for both my husband and I and my mother-in-law had to do it. 
We did eventually go and look at lights and it was fun. Then we got home, put MyBigBoy to bed..... which he got up just after I layed MyLittleGuy down in the crib, cried, and woke him up. 

I felt so angry.

Why?? I already have so many problems with MyLittleGuy sleeping in his crib! 

I yelled.

Then I went to bed, crying. I was so so ashamed of how I reacted all day. I just wanted to have a fun family day and it was nothing like I envisioned. 

- . - . - 

Sometimes I have those days. Sometimes I do cry before bed because of frustration or shame. Sometimes I do feel like I am a failing as a mom. Or that I could BE or DO better. Sometimes I am just so happy that tomorrow is a new day and I can start over. 

So, I am learning to give myself a little more grace. I am learning to take an extra second to breathe before I react. I am learning that my 2 year old has some pretty big emotions and he is learning to express them and I WANT him to have a safe place to do so. 

Motherhood is learning. its adapting. its changing. 

some tears, some hot cocoa, and love. - Monica 

Friday, December 4, 2015

5 things I would have told my first time mom self

I wrote a blog post today over at Arrows and Warriors about 5 things I would tell my first time mom self.

I have learned so much since having both of my boys and I wanted to share some things I wish I had known the first time or at least believed.

Let me know what is something you would go back and tell yourself as a first time mom (or any other first time mom.)

Advice and love, Monica

Sunday, November 29, 2015

MyLittleGuy - 7 Months

My sweet sweet 2nd born is 7 months old today! I literally cannot even believe it!

I really feel like I just had him last week. 

Second time around goes by so much faster. 

So, here are some stats of my handsome little guy. 

- MyLittleGuy is 18lbs (at least he was the last time I checked... we might have to edit after his appointment this week)
- He wears size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes. 
- MyLittleGuy is not a fan of food! I try every day to give him purees but he just isnt interested. 
- He is a full on crawler but will still army crawl since he is faster that way and is wanting to catch up with big brother. 
- MyLittleGuy wakes up 1-2 times a night to nurse and wakes up for the day between 5am-6am. He goes to bed at about 8:30pm. 
- He sits up unassisted so so well! He crawls and then sits up and plays with his toys. 
- MyLittleGuy coos and 'says' "momma" and "dadda". 
- He loves mommy's milk, playing in Seth's teepee, sleeping on his tummy, turning off the xbox, and anything he can chew. 
- MyLittleGuy has 0 teeth but it seems like the bottom teeth may be coming in soon. 
- He can pull himself up on the couch and his crib but plops down pretty quickly. 
- His favorite toys are: Sophie the giraffe, cars, a big Train. 
- MyLittleGuy dislikes food, when his brother cries,  and when mommy leaves the room. 
- He is still pretty laid back but is now expressing himself and will scream if you take something away from him. 
- MyLittleGuy is so so loved!

We adore you MyLittleGuy and feel so blessed to be your parents! 

baby stats and love, Monica

Thursday, November 19, 2015

its beginning to feel a lot like.......


I do not know what it is but I am like SOOOO excited for Christmas this year. 

i know i know. 

Its not even Thanksgiving yet. 

But I am still like beyond excited this year. 

Last year was different. I was joyfully pregnant and we were in our own place... but we decided not to get a tree. We didnt put up stockings. I did listen to Christmas music though! 
Martin was working a ton (which hasnt changed much this year). We tried to visit Santa but failed miserably (SethJason was TERRIFIED!). 

Of course none of those reasons are why we celebrate Christmas and we still had a great season. 

But this year I want to go all out.

I already had a local momma make our stockings (I realized that we have never bought Seth a stocking!) I am so so excited about them and will feature her shop once I get them.
I am planning to do the kindness elves (instead of The Elf on the Shelf) starting in December. 
I am going to do the 25 names of Jesus ornament to help celebrate Advent. 
The boys' gifts are already picked out (this year we are doing Kmart Layaway. Super simple and easier to budget). 
I am looking up fun and delicious recipes and cookies. 
I am hoping this weekend i can stop by the Target dollar spot and see any nice decor I can get (or possible stocking stuffers). I am also planning ahead to take the boys to see Santa. 
We have started listening to Veggie Tales Holiday on Pandora Station too. 
I am really hoping we can decorate our tree this weekend too. (: 

I just feel so festive. 

What about you? Are you feeling the spirit yet... or are you still holding off? 
What way will you be celebrating Advent? Do you have any Christmas traditions with your family? Let me know in the comments! 

ornaments, misteltoe, and love, Monica

{Also remember to follow my twitter and instagram: @thatbelovedlife
and 'like' my facebook page}

Sunday, November 15, 2015

ANOTHER rebrand.

Well, I am sure you have seen some changes to the blog... again.
I went from Captivated by Love.
To Top Knots and sippy Cups.
Last night I was laying in bed and tossing and turning ... like I do most nights trying to get comfy laying next to a toddler.
I started thinking about my blog and what I want for it.
I thought that I wanted to just write mommy stuff -- which is why I went for a very mom type title.
Last night I realized I don't want to limit myself.
I want to write mom stuff and updates on the boys. I want to post recipes and crafts I am doing. 
But I also want to journal about what he Lord is doing in my life. What I am learning. How I am growing. The good, the ugly, the scary, the lovely.  All of it.
So the last and final change.
Welcome to:
That Beloved Life!
Promise it will be the last change. Haha.

I made a Facebook page where you can like!
You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram:

Thanks so much friends for sharing in this blogging journey with me!
More changes and love, Monica

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Update

Wow. Well that month went by fast! Am I the only one who thought that? 
October was filled with pumpkins and love. hehe. 
Now we are in November and realizing the dear is almost over has me in shock! But lets recap on the month of October. 

October Update. 

 What have you been reading this month?
- I am so so excited! I have been reading my Wife After God devotional. It has only taken a few years, lol. I have been trying to get up with the boys and while they play I will do my devotional. I also got the One Thousand Gifts devotional by Ann Voskamp that is transforming my thinking. Other then that... nothing. The Bible of course. 

What has been your favorite or new foods this month?
- Well of course it was October so I had a lot of pumpkin stuff. haha. I really enjoyed the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea from Trader Joes this month. It is so so good made with milk instead of water. Also since we moved into our own place this month I have been able to cook dinner again. Mmmm... mayonaise chicken is sooo yummy! And so so simple! Just mayonaise, herbs, garlic salt, and pepper all mixed up, slathered on chicken, and bake in the oven until done. The flavor is so so good and the mayo makes the chicken so moist! mmm. 

What movies/shows have you been watching this month?
- Once Upon a Time! I just love this show so so much. haha. I havent really been watching anything else besides that. Grey's Anatomy a little bit too. But really I dont have much time to watch shows. Plus MyBigBoy is always bugging to watch his shows. lol. Right now all he will watch is Little Einsteins on Netflix. 

What has MyBigBoy been up to this month?
- MyBigBoy is a talking machine!!!! He has been repeating so so much it is just incredible. So many people would say that it happened overnight and really I didn't believe them. But I was wrong. One day he is was saying one word at a time and now he says sentences! haha. He will tell me "Its dark." when we get up in the morning (well then go back to bed, prince). He is repeating a lot too. Pretty much everything I say he repeats. Its absolutely adorable. We were having a few potty accidents when we moved into our new place but he is already doing better. We decided not to put him in preschool until next year because he was having seperation anxiety pretty bad. Now that he is already talking and understanding more I am kind of sad we arent... but it will be nice for him to get into a routine better. 
He still wakes up once a night and isnt normally napping during the day. BUT falling asleep for bedtime is getting easier. 

What has MyLittleGuy been up to this month?
- MyLittleGuy is ACTIVE! He is army crawling all over the place. He sits up unassisted and can sit up on his own from the crawling position. Right now he is teething... and its the worse. He has an amber teething necklace that seems to help a little but I can tell he is still in pain.... especially toward betime. He is still joyful and laughs a lot! He is now in size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes. I am not sure how much he weighs but he is 6 months old! So crazy to think that in 6 months he will be a year old already! 

What are some new/old products that you have been loving?
- I bought a beauty blender spongue in october and I am really in love with it. I am not a makeup guru at all and even though i am almost 30 (shudder shudder) I feel like 15 year olds do their make up better then me. lol. But this little pink blender ($5 at TJ Maxx) is just amazing! It applies my makeup so so nicely and blends perfectly. Makes my life easier too since I dont have much time to mess with putting on my makeup now that both boys are mobile (and fast).
I also was loving Bronner's soap. (Trader Joes) Its a super duper concentrated soap that is plant based. I add some with water to a foaming soap dispenser and it is the perfect hand soap. Also it takes stains out of carpet like a champ! MyBigBoy has been having accidents and this stuff lifts up any stain. new and old! I got a cut and didnt realize it on my leg and saw that I got blood on the carpet and the couch. I mixed the Bronners with some water and rubbed it in and it came right out! No one could even tell!!! 

What is something you were proud of this month?
- I was really proud of us as a little family this month. We moved into our apartment at the end of October and I just feel so so proud and happy that we are here on our own. It was a long 6 months of living with family in various homes and it feels great to be in our own little home sweet home. We got everything moved in pretty quickly too. 
I was also proud of MyBigBoy and how he handled Halloween. lol. I dressed the boys up as Woody and Buzz. They were so so cute!!!! MyBigBoy drew on a pumpkin and then we went to the church's trunk or treat. He had a good time and everyone was super impressed with his throwing skills. haha. 

What is something you look forward to next month?
- Thanksgiving! I love love love thanksgiving food, so I am really looking forward to that! I am thinking maybe I will make a dinner here at my place too. I am not sure my in laws will do traditional thanksgiving food and it will be fun to make my own dinner. 
I am also looking forward to SLEEP! I am planning to move MyBigBoy in his own room this month and hopefully somewhat crib traing MyLittleGuy. I am going off of about 5 total hours of interrupted sleep with having at least one boy in bed with me. My back is hurting and my coffee needs coffee in the morning times. I am noticing that its affecting my parenting too... so time for a change! 

What is something you look forward to in November? Tell me in the comments! 

updates and love. - Mrs. V

Saturday, October 24, 2015

fresh start.

Today is an exciting day for our little family. 

Today, after a long transition season, we are moving into our apartment! 

The past 6 months has been filled with driving, suit cases, unpacked boxes, squishing all in one bed, staying with family, and being on someone else's schedule. 
We have enjoyed this season of seeing family we havent seen in years and having help with our boys as we mesh into a family of 4. 

Now, JaydenMichael is about to be 6 months and crawling all over the place.... and SethJason is a typical two year old. It was time we got into our own place. 

We were so blessed and were able to buy everything we needed or were gifted by members in the church my in laws go to. And to be honest with you...... we have never had this nice of stuff. 
I am so so excited to have my own place to decorate again. 
Our apartment has a work out room, pool, and even a playground! It still is a commute for Husby for work but it was right at our price point and with everything, we couldnt pass it up. 

This whole getting back to our own place really feels like a fresh start.

Husby and I have had some really great conversation the past week about changes we wanted to make in our lives to better our marriage and family. I wouldnt say we were struggling but, as always, there is room for improvement. 
We have made the decision to start doing family devotion time again so I bought both of us our own daily devotionals as well as a couples one to do once a week. I even got SethJason a little toddler one (Jesus Calling for Little Ones by Sarah Young. $5 on amazon)! 
So every morning we will have some family devotion time in our new apartment with delicious coffee made from our Keurig (my splurge item). 

It was easy for us to decide to make all these changes with this new big transition. 
We want to invest more into our boys and each other. We desire to have Christ first in our marriage and in our parenting. This is truly a fresh start for us. 
I know we didnt NEED a move to decide to make these changes but it just felt right in this season. A lot of people do New Year's Resolutions to start doing things differently. These instances make us reevaluate how we are living and prompt us to change. 

Remember sweet friends, you dont need a new year, or big move, or different season to start fresh. His mercies are new every day (Lamentations 3:22-23) and His joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). No matter what is going on, what season we are in, what we lack, or what we are afraid of.... we can always turn a new leaf. We can always run to the Lord. Whether we are already living wholeheartedly after Jesus, feeling a little lukewarm, or just heard of His name yesterday -- He is there waiting for us. 
We can make a commitment for change. 

So, that is where I am at today. 

starting fresh.

new apartments, renewing commitments, and love. - Mrs. V

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I love Fall

The title of this post says it all.... I love Fall.

Like truly truly love. 

I have literally been picking out everything I can that is pumpkin spice. 

YUP. I am one of those girls. 

I have had pumpkin spice coffee, pancakes, mochi, m&ms, waffles, tea, and of course pumpkin spice lattes. I cant wait to go to Trader Joes this weekend and pick up some more pumpkin items too (mmm.. pumpkin chai is on my list).

I am only allowed to endulge in this spicy, sweet, delicious little  big gourd one season a year. So I get as much as I can, while I can.

Speaking of those beautiful orange vegetables, I am extremely excited to take my boys to their first pumpkin patch next weekend. We have been putting it off for so long but I told my Husby that we have to do it next weekend since there are only 2 more weekends left in October.
I am still debating whether we will carve them or just paint them.. but of course I have to take pictures of SethJason and JaydenMicheal in the pumpkins.

SethJason and I have also been enjoying the falling leaves.
He has been wanting to go outside everyday... which I am totally okay with.
He runs and jumps and throws the leaves all over.
Today I was editing a picture I took of him and tells me "pho down" and grabs my hand.
Nothing makes me want to jump up faster then my 2 year old telling me to unplug.
we ran and jumped over the leaves together.

It still isnt THAT cold... well, besides in the morning time... but I am so ready to walk around in my leggings, boots, and scarves.

Truly, I wish it was Fall all year round... but then maybe I wouldnt appreciate as much.

Whats your favorite season? Is pumpkin spice your friend or foe?

falling leaves, more pumpkin spice, and love. - Mrs. V

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

what you dont see {social media lies}

My little family of four had family pictures taken last week.
I try to take pictures once a year to see our family grow and get older. I really really love getting them done. My husband and kids done exactly look forward to it, the way that I do. hehe.

After getting some previews back and posting them to social media I realized something... social media totally lies!

You see this super cute picture of my guys and I laughing. Pure joy on our faces.
And although it is true..... it isnt all that is there.

You dont see that my amazing husband and I were arguing that morning while getting ready to go.

You dont see that I got maybe 5 hours of sleep (NOT in a row).

You dont see that my 2 year old is very strong willed and independant and even the simplest task can be a struggle.

You dont see that my 5 month old is starting to teethe and wanting to be held nonstop.

You dont see that we worry about bills being paid, that the house was dirty, and there was so much laundry to do.

You dont see that I have insecurites. About my looks, my mothering ability, my wife skills, and being adequate.

You dont see that my husband just worked 6 days straight and only had that day off to start all over again.

- . - . - . -

Now, I dont believe that we should share every little nitty gritty detail on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and instagram are not appropriate places to publicly vent to (in my opinion).
But just know that the picture or status you are envious of or comparing yourself to isnt the whole truth.
I know, for me, I look at other people's homes or activities with their kids and I look over at SethJason, who is watching his 3rd episode of Little Einsteins, and I feel awful!
I read a status about how in love two people are, while I am in mid-argument with my husband, and I feel jealous.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Social media is the highlight reel!
You see the filtered, cropped, sometimes staged, edited versions of their lives.
If your life is messy, crazy, confusing, frustrating, sometimes tough, know that you are not alone! Those moments just dont make it on to my instagram.

laughs, tears, and love. - Mrs V.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Today is a good day. 

Today is the first day of Autumn. 

My absolute favorite season of all!. 

My day started out with a delicious cup of Trader Joes pumpkin spice coffee, my littles playing, and my Bible. Really, it couldnt have been more perfect. 

t h e n ....

.... my 2 year old, who has been potty trained for about 2 weeks, had two accidents. My 5 month old did not have to be put down at all. JaydenMichael is usually really happy and laid back but today he was just not having it. He cried on the floor. He cried while nursing. He cried in the jumper. SethJason just wanted to play with me {and his little brother} but I was trying to clean the kitchen and keep JaydenMichael quiet. SethJason had a few meltdowns because he wanted to use his new sippycup {which was dirty}, he did not like what we were watching {because I can only watch Little Einsteins so many times}, and I wouldnt like him sit on his little brother {yup, just yup}. 

This is life.

Sometimes it isnt pretty enough to put on instagram or awesome enough to put on youtube. 

Some days you wake up and have an amazing morning and then it can get crazy and you are SOOO looking forward to bedtime. 

But i wouldnt trade this for anything. 

And now my littles are asleep and my husband is home. (: 

big cups of pumpkin spice coffee and love, Monica 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Moving, moving, moving

I feel like I am ALWAYS moving.

From California to Alabama. From Alabama to Missouri. Missouri to Kansas. Kansas to Missouri.  And our latest: Missouri  to California.

For the longest time we were looking forward to moving and living in California. Our family,  friends, church, in n out, and so much of what we love is in California.
I miss my family beyond words. I was so looking forward to having friends that are already in my life.

But ... it didn't work out.

Our home no longer felt like home.

It was such a strange feeling and really it left me sad.

Doors were being closed and it just didn't feel right.

We prayed and decided as a family to ...
... move back to Missouri.

Crazy, right?

But we really feel that God has guided us and continues to guide us.

We will trust Him.

And now I am just excited and relieved to make this place home!

No more moving and love, Mrs. Very

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Top Knots and sippy cups - rebrand


I am totally redoing this little blog i call "home."

I have had this blog for many many years before ever meeting my husband and ALOT has changed in my life since then.
I know that I am starting to get into a routine again with life (not feeling so much like a first time mom anymore) and I thought with that, I should bring back this place I had fallen so in love with.

I am a journaler.

I don't have terrific grammar. I won't pretend to be the next great writer or use big words.
I cannot compete with the top blogger or even blogs I enjoy reading. I probably won't have great mommy advice (which really starts to confuse me... i read way to many articles). My marriage is not perfect and I promise to not try to put on that facade (trust me. we bicker and argue like the rest of them.... I am just not into putting that all out on social media).

I just want a place where I can write my thoughts, talk about my two amazing little boys, reflect on what the Lord is teaching me, and learn from my marriage. I also love getting insight from my beautiful friends (ahem, readers) and being inspired by you all!

- . - . - . -

I am sure you have noticed the new URL and new blog name. The rest of the blog will slowly get a makeover too (slowly because I have no idea what I am doing but i dont have hundreds of dollars to pay for a design).

Welcome sweet friends to:
Top Knots And Sippy Cups!

Still just me - with a different name (but dont worry... I am still and always will be captivated by love).

I also started a youtube channel for more of the fun family stuff. Type in TopKnots&SippyCups to find it and subscribe. {here is SethJason's 2 year well check video}

messy top knots, sippy cups of juice, and love, Monica.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Birth Story of Jayden Michael {natural VBAC}

11 days past my estimated due date I woke up at 3am to my son crying from his crib. I went in his room and rubbed his back like so many nights before. Except this time, I was having contractions. REAL contractions, not the false ones I had been experiencing for weeks before this. I rubbed Seth's back while trying to rock back and forth and manage these light contractions. I went back to bed and woke up again at 6am because my contractions were getting stronger. I decided to FINALLY time them. 

Lasting about 30 seconds and roughly 10 minutes apart, I knew that I would meet my second baby boy soon. 

I continued to manage through them since they weren't that severe while I fed my son breakfast and watched Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I told my husband that I thought today was the day and he called into work and got our son all ready for a slumber party at grandma's house. I called my midwife to let them know what was going on. The day before at my appointment she told me to take castor oil in the morning and I was delighted to tell her I didn't need to. I told her I would just keep timing the contractions and would call back when things picked up. I also let my doulas know what was happening and told them I would have them come when I couldn't handle them on my own. 

My doulas came over at around noon and were just a dream. My contractions were about a minute long and coming every 6-9 minutes at that time. They helped me with counter pressure, encouragement, prayers, and making me laugh. We would be talking and then when a contraction would come I would put my head down and they knew to be quiet and help me through them. In between these contractions we would talk and laugh while I ate some delicious trail mix. The contraction would come and everything got silent besides my low groans and breathing. 
I thought these were soo painful. At about 5pm I called my midwife and said I thought I should come in and see what was happening. The contractions were stronger and coming about every 4-5 minutes [ my birth center had a 4-1-1 rule before I could get checked in. Contractions need to be 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for 1 hour]. 
We got to the birth center so excited for some good news. My midwife checked me and i was only about 4cm and she sent me home until my contractions were stronger. 
My husband, doulas, and I decided to grab some dinner. I had contractions throughout dinner but I was managing through them well. I would squirm in my chair and just breathe through. 
I decided to have my doulas go home since I felt like we still had a LONG night ahead of us. 

At about 7pm My husband and I went home and he drew me the most relaxing bath with candles and worship music. I put some clary sage oil on my belly per my doula's advice to speed up the contractions. I drank a huge bottle of water and just laid in the bath while I was breathing through the contractions. At about 9pm I went to bed to try to sleep for awhile since I was just so so exhausted. I fell asleep inbetween contractions. {My husband even said he heard me snoring!} At 11:00pm my contractions were getting really intense! I felt a painful pop and when I got up i felt a gush. My water broke! We called my midwife and told her we will be coming. My husband also texted my doulas and told them to meet us there. 

By 1am on April 29 we were all in the birth center and I was 7cm and transitioning. The nurse made me a berry smoothie when we first got in the room, which I immediately threw up (something I said i didnt want to happen during labor. And i only drank like 2 drinks and then it just didnt sound good after that.) I got in their big birthing tub to help with the contractions. And honestly.... it didnt help much. 

A lot of natural labors and deliveries are always described so beautifully and like the mom was calm and serene during the whole thing. This was not the case here. I had all these beautiful mantras to say and things I wanted... but really what I said mostly the entire time was "ouch!!! I dont know if I can do this!" At one point I remember looking at my midwife and asking if I could just run away. I literally cried out to Jesus the entire time. "Jesus, please help me." I did not know I could experience THAT kind of pain and not just die. 
{Now remember [insert flash back music] my first son was born c-section and I got an epidural at 5.5cm WAY before transition. I had NO idea what to expect with a natural vaginal birth. Okay, back to this birth.}
At around 2am I got out of the tub and on to the bed to start pushing. The next two hours I pushed in so many different positions. Baby's heartrate would drop in every single position except the "traditional hospital position". No fun. I was so so exhausted. My midwife, nurses, and doulas were just so so wonderful. I kept exclaiming that I couldn't do it because I was just too tired. They were so so encouraging and uplifting. My midwife was tough. A good tough though. She kept reminding me that the other option was a transfer to a hospital to assist with a vacuum. I DID NOT want that... so I kept going. My midwife suggested the birthing chair. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I wished I could just give up. It had been 2 hours of pushing and I was just so so tired. I didnt think I could go on. Then my midwife showed me that my baby was so close and I felt his little head. That just gave me the motivation to muster up strength  I didn't know I had and push my baby into this world. 

At 4:32am on April 29, 2015 Jayden Michael was born into my arms. He was 9 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches long. I held him in just amazement that I helped create this beautiful baby and that my body was capable of bringing him into the world. I was impressed and shocked at myself. Through the entire 22 hours of labor and delivery I hit so so many walls but I was able to get over each one. 

Jayden, I am extremely blessed by you. You are our little miracle and our life has so much more joy now that you are here. I love you so so much my sweet one! We are thankful for you and truly the Lord had heard our cries! 

birth, strength, and love - Mrs. V

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

grief {honoring her name}

I wrote this months ago but never posted. It has no been over a year and these words are still incredibly true. I still wish to honor her name and all that she has passed down to me. If you are experiencing grief, please talk about it, write about it, and remember to honor their lives. 

Some of you may know that my beloved aunt passed away a few months ago.

"Auntie Gee" (as everyone called her) pretty much raised me when I was taken away from my parents due to their own struggles. I lived with her for about year or more when I was 5yrs old. And From 14 yrs old on... I lived with Auntie Gee.
I am forever grateful for her selflessness, acceptance, love, and constant sacrifice  in my life. She took me and my two younger brothers in after raising 4 kids of her own.

My grief will come and go. I feel it in moments where I want to call her to tell her about my day or how SethJason is doing. Times where I would call her because my husband and I were in an argument and i needed her encouragement.  Times where I would normally call just to chat - like on the way to the store, or when the baby went down for a nap.
I spoke to my aunt every single day. She was my best friend in every sense of the word.

Auntie Gee taught me how to be a strong, independent woman. She taught me to speak my feelings out and to never feel bad about my emotions. My aunt taught me to always stand up for what I believe in and trust in the Lord at all times.
Auntie Gee NEVER judged me, or made me feel bad. She was always encouraging.... even if we (my brothers and I) weren't doing well, she still always made us feel loved and accepted. She understood every emotion I was feeling. She would even have to explain to my husband why I was acting the way I was acting. haha.

I know that I wouldn't be the woman I am today without her.

So.... I will miss her forever. I dont think a day will go by without me thinking of her and how she made such a mark on my life.
But i do know that she doesnt want me to sit in my room and cry all day. She doesnt want me to give up on life and blame and question God as to why He took her from me. She doesnt want me to fear the unknown.
My Auntie Gee wants me to LIVE LIFE!

So that is what I am going to do. Live a bigger, better, more beautiful life in honor of her! I will take every wonderful thing she has taught me - from her words, her actions, and her impressions - and I will apply those in my life. I know the words she would say to me and I will honor that.

{my aunt, two cousins, and I when visiting on our way to Alabama in April 2012}

honor and love. - Mrs. V

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

my short marriage realization

Because sometimes marriage is hard

And messy.

Sometimes we forgive more then we laugh. 

Because there are days where we want to run away. 

Because there are moments where I need a lot of grace, and I need to extend the same amount. 

Sometimes I need to be reminded that my spouse is not perfect.... And neither am I. 

There are times in marriage where frustration takes over and communication is lacking

And in these moments is when I am reminded how badly we need Christ at the center. Forever

something I am learning and love. - Mrs V

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I found this quote on Pinterest and instantly fell in love. 

A mess is probably how I would best describe myself right now. 

Today marks one month before our second son's due date. My days are filled with toddler tantrums, cleaning, cooking, cuddles, naptimes, laundry, coffee, and waddling around. My bible/devotional time is short... if at all. I put on some worship music after naptime to make up for it.... or at least to regain my peace. 
I am trying to best prepare my son, my home, and my heart for the arrival of this new blessing. It is difficult. I am trying to look at my growing body and see the beauty that is in it. We are preparing for another cross country move just a month after baby is here. 

I cry a lot.

 happy tears. frustrated tears. mad tears. scared tears. overwhelmed tears. 

I am a mess.

But i know I wont get these moments back. We wont be a family of 3 for long. My almost two year old wont always want to me to sit and play with his toys with him. My husband won't always have this schedule or this job. I may not always have the beautiful experience to stay home and do all the tedius housework. I wont always have this opportunity to carry a child. 

So, i need to embrace it. Embrace the chaos. Embrace the crazy. Embrace the beauty. and Embrace this mess. 

I encourage all my beautiful readers to embrace the mess that you are. The quirks, the flaws, the fears, the indecisiveness, the confidence, the body, the scars. All of it! You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made!  

embracing the mess with love, Mrs. V

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday lovelies!!!!

Are you off today for the holiday? MrV has to work (boo!) but is getting holiday pay (yay!).

I wanted to just update you on what is going on here.

~ I am now 6.5 months pregnant with baby boy #2 and getting so so excited! He is kicking like crazy and I am just getting bigger and bigger. Its starting to get uncomfortable and I am not quite sure how I will manage another 3 months. AsherTate is super healthy and I just feel so so blessed. We still have a lot to get for him but we are good with clothes. Luckily we saved a lot from SethJason. We are hoping for a VBAC at a beautiful birth center here and I am just trying to prepare myself the best I can.

~ MrV is working and keeps working his way up in the company. I am so so proud of him! We have some transition we are figuring out with his job so prayers would be appreciated on that. He is playing football on the weekends with a group of guys he works with and he is just loving it. I am so glad he has a little outlet to just be a man. 

~ SethJason is now a year and half!!! He recently had a very traumatic haircutting experience ... even though it was his 2nd haircut. I am teaching him signs since he still isn't talking much. He will say
"mom" and "dada" but everything else is jibber jabber. He can sign: more, eat, and all done. I need to start teaching him some more because he is doing so well with it. And gets way less frustrated with me while trying to communicate. SethJason climbs on everything and loves to throw his little football (just like daddy). He is now sleeping through the night, completely weaned, and even sleeps in his crib!!!! This just happened about 3 months ago. hehe. Its wonderful to have a few months off before we start this process over with AsherTate. Everything is a phone to him and he loves to talk.... unless someone is actually on the phone and then he doesn't talk at all. hehe.

~ Our family is starting to pray about where we want to live forever. We miss our families in California sooo much and we are really just trying to figure out what will be best for us. MrV is looking into transfers for later this year and where would be best. Please be praying for us as we listen to The Lord and really decide where we want to plant roots. We have lived in 4 different states in the last 3.5 years and we really want to settle.

~ We found a church here that we are really enjoying too! Its a bigger church but everyone is so so friendly. SethJason even has a little class that he does too and he really LOVES it! He plays with all the little kids and is learning about sharing, songs, and The Lord.

We are really being reminded of just the love of God and that HE directs our steps.