Today on Find-A-Friend Friday we’re meeting a friend who’s even new to me, which is why I’m loving this feature. I also wanted to point you to a few of my favorite posts I’ve read this past month across the blogosphere, you know, just to spread the love.
And now, let’s meet Monique, shall we? Isn’t she pretty?
Hi! I was so surprised to be asked to do this, but I’m super happy and excited to share a bit about my life with all of you! My name is Monique and I’m 24 years old. I’ve been married to my sweet husband since December 2007 and our handsome baby boy was born February 2010. We live in Provo right now, but we’re moving to Boston in June!
I grew up in southwest Missouri/northwest Arkansas — but from 4th grade through high school graduation I lived in Branson, MO. My parents divorced when I was just over a year old. My father remarried shortly after and had another daughter with his new wife, then they divorced when I was about 13. My mom has remarried twice, but I’m her only child. My sister and I didn’t get along well growing up, but she’s one of my best friends now. I joined the Church when I was 15 and I moved to Utah in 2004 to go to BYU. I graduated in 2008 with an English degree and worked as a paralegal for a while, first at a family law practice and then in a bankruptcy office, but now I stay home with our son full-time. My husband is double-majoring in math and economics at BYU and graduates this year, then we’re off to MIT for a Master’s in Finance in June!
What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
I love being overwhelmed by how much I can love. I love hearing my baby boy laugh. I love watching him experience new things. I love mornings when he crawls all over us and snuggles. I love when he wakes up from naps and just wants to be held. I love knowing that he’s mine forever.
Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.” (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)
I want to travel EVERYWHERE. So far I’ve been to Canada, England, France, Germany, Ethiopia, and Zambia, and next on the list are another trip to Africa, South Korea, and Australia. And then wherever else I can manage to go! I want to run a marathon. I’ve recently started running more and while I’m currently only getting in about 2-3 miles 3 days per week, I’d love to be able to have a full 26.2 miles under my belt someday. And, while this is probably the most improbable of the three, I’d love to write a book. Something on nutrition, or motherhood, or a combination of the two: childhood nutrition! I don’t know … I have a lot of other ideas swirling around in my head, but we’ll see if anything ever comes of it.
Brag for a minute. Do it. What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
I’m really good at making homemade bread, Indian food, crepes, and salads. I love to cook! I’m not a big recipe person, though. If I want to make something, I’ll usually do a little research to see basically how it’s done, but then I like to just throw stuff in until it tastes right.
I’m a good teacher. I’ve held callings as gospel doctrine teacher and relief society instructor, and although I’m nervous at every lesson, I love how much I learn in the process and how uplifting it is when people participate. My patriarchal blessing talks about how I have the gift of being a “gifted teacher and speaker” and knowing that has made it easier for me to put effort into developing these talents.
I’m good at learning how to do things. When I wanted to design my own blog, BAM, figured out HTML. When I wanted to learn how to alter some of my clothes, BAM, figured it out. When I wanted to train for a triathlon, BAM, did it. And, when I’m not good at teaching myself, I’m good at asking lots of questions and getting help.
What are you loving lately?
Running! Our gym membership ended last month and I’ve had to give up my favorite exercise — spin class. I love yoga more, but it just doesn’t get my heart pumping like a hard cardio workout. But running? I can do it anywhere, no equipment or membership required. I love being able to get outside and enjoy 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted ‘me’ time. It’s hard, to be sure, but I love that feeling of accomplishment and the complete de-stressing that I feel after a good run. I’ve signed up for a 5k next month (my first since my son was born) and it’s a great motivator to keep me going on days when I’d rather curl up with a book.
Do you have a favorite scripture or quote? Why?
Proverbs 3:5, Matthew 11:28-29; Alma 37:37
All three of these just remind me to have faith in the Lord and that he is there for me through everything. I have the Matthew scripture framed in my house and the Alma scripture taped to the fridge. The Proverbs I have memorized and repeat to myself often.
One of my favorite quotes right now is
“Each mother and father should lay aside selfish interests and avoid any thought of hypocrisy, physical force, or evil speaking. Parents soon learn that each child has an inborn yearning to be free. Each individual wants to make his or her own way. No one wants to be restrained, even by a well-intentioned parent. But all of us can cling to the Lord.” –Russell M. Nelson
I remind this to myself nearly every single day lately. My 14 1/2 month old son is SO independent, and I have to remember that he isn’t trying to overwhelm me, he’s just trying to figure out who he is, even at so young an age. That’s probably one of the biggest surprises to me as a mother, that children express their desires and independence so early. I love how much my son has taught me already.
What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?
Definitely reading. I love to read anything — children’s books, young adult lit, novels, nonfiction (about health, politics, history, biographies, on and on). I’m not really into romance novels or mysteries or anything like that, though. I like to read fashion & health blogs in my free time, too. And I love to sit at Barnes & Noble and read magazines.
What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
I know that when I’m living the Gospel, I’m a more loving wife, a more patient mom, a kinder friend, and a happier woman. I feel confident that I am pursuing a course of life that is pleasing to God, although I know I’m not perfect and I need His help every step of the way. I know that Heavenly Father loves me, and I know that through the Atonement I can be made whole and achieve my divine potential. I am so grateful that I was given the blessing of receiving a testimony in high school and that my life has taken the course that it has. I am very, very blessed and I am thankful every day for all that I have been given.
Desert Island Question. If you were stranded on a desert island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?
I would want my Kindle (with Internet access, of course) so that I could read any book I wanted, peacefully, for hours on end; the most comfortable bed on earth so that I could sleep blissfully to my heart’s content; and a notebook, so that I could record my thoughts and ideas — I’m sure I’d be pure genius if I had extended amounts of time to meditate and ponder without interruption.
Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight. What would you eat for your last meal?
An enormous fruit salad — blueberries, pineapple, peaches, grapes, bananas, strawberries, mangoes, kiwis, and cherries. Then probably a vegan cheese quesadilla with avocado and salsa on top. And I’d chase it down with some coconut milk cookie dough ice cream.
What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?
I love baking homemade bread. It’s so rewarding. The feeling that I’m feeding my family pure love in the form of whole-wheat goodness just makes me so happy. I also love having a clean kitchen sink and counter, a freshly mopped floor, and all the laundry in its place. If all of these things happen in one day, you can be sure I’m experiencing total domestic bliss.
Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.
Expect that there will be ups and downs. One moment you’ll be totally in love, the next you’ll wonder why you ever married him. But no matter what is happening, it will pass and new happiness and challenges will come. Just remember that you love each other and that no matter what, you’re committed for eternity. For the new mom, I’d say that it’ll be amazingly better than you could ever imagine. Expect the worst and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. (I suppose these bits could be applied to newlyweds, too). Most of all, remember that you are not the first person ever to go through what you’re going through. If they could do it, you can too. Reach out for support and encouragement. And don’t forget to pray for strength and for the Spirit to be with you!
If you could make a pie chart (graph) of your thoughts during the last week or so, what would take up most of the space?
50% when-are-we-moving?!/when-am-i-having-our-yard-sale? (My husband is trying to sell our lease early to save on rent and things keep coming up, then falling through. It’s definitely been a bit stressful around here).
25% preparing for my talk on ‘the resurrection’ this Sunday
15% focusing on making sure I get my scheduled strength training & runs in, making sure my meals are healthy, and avoiding sugar
5% trying to help a friend get a slide show prepared for his wedding on Saturday
Tell us about your blog.
I actually have two blogs. The first is a family blog that I started in 2008, simply titled “The Kamosi Family.” I mostly write about things that happen in our lives, but occasionally I use it as a way to share thoughts I have about motherhood, health, the gospel, or whatever else strikes me. My favorite part of this blog is something I do every week called “Friday Favorites,” where I write all the best things that happened during the previous week. It’s been a great way for me to keep track and remember all the things I have to be grateful for in my life.
My other blog — “Yoga and Pencil Skirts” — is silly, and I’ve hardly told anyone in my real life about it because it’s a little embarrassing. It’s a hybrid fitness/wanna-be fashion blog. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the last couple of years, and I decided I wanted to have an outlet to experiment with fashion and learning how to dress myself (since I’ve never been especially fashionable). I’ve only been writing on it for about four months, but I feel like it’s given me a new confidence that I’ve never had before, and I’m loving it.
Thanks Monique. It’s been fun to get to know you.