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Unapologetically me written over a yellow box

I’ve always been a try-er. I can’t remember a day I wasn’t a part of some challenge I had set for myself. I can’t remember a time where I was just exsisting with no goal in mind. Granted, as a preteen my goals were less elaborate than they are now. “I want to stay up for 24 hours!” I remember, was one early goal. Little did I know I would get to complete this goal many times over ten years later in college.

“I’m going to read this book in two days!” Was another. There was no prize, nobody assuring I completed it, but it was FUN. And that’s why I still do it to this day. I find challenges fun. It’s probably the gamer coming out in me. A quest, a challenge, something to beat and win and accomplish. It gives me motivation, purpose, excitement and entertainment!

I know I can be a bit much for people. I am intense and show all my emotions pretty clearly. I’m excited often and I get loud and overwhelming to those not prepared haha. I have, in the past, felt shame for being the way I am. That negative self talk would set in… “You talk too much, you’re going to overwhelm people, you need to calm down, you need to care less…” I never saw this as negative self talk though, I always thought it was constructive critisism. It wasn’t, it was my insecurities about how others would see me trying to change who I was. Trying to tone me down from a ten to a five. Lower the volume, speak less, don’t be so passionate. WHAT.

Maybe it’s that I have a kid now. Maybe it was just the stars aligning to allow me to see. I would never want Eli to think anything like that! I want him to express himself fully, openly, without shame, without fear of what anyone may think or say. Just be exactly who he is and let the world think whatever they want. I want him to be loud if he wants to and express his thoughts as often as he wants to. So why should I “calm down”? Why should I tone myself down? Why should I feel sorry for overwhelming people?

It’s pretty clear in my mind now. As this lovely woman I met recently, Lindsay Tompkins, says, “If I’m too much for you, then I’m not for you.” I’m going to try all the things, and I’m going to talk about them. I will fail at things and I will more openly share my faliures, and just as openly share my successes. I will try things that seem insane to you. I will try things that you may want to roll your eyes at. But I will try them, and I will have fun with it all. Because just like some people get enjoyment out of movies, video games, going to theme parks, etc, I get enjoyment out of trying new things and seeing how I do. I get enjoyment out of setting weird challenges for myself and trying to complete them.

So if you’re that eye rolling, unsupportive, “Maria is too much,” type person in my life. Chao! And because my word is gratitude for the year, Thank you! Thank you for making me learn some lessons about sticking up for myself, for making me learn that you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, for making me learn that sometimes in life you’re going to be faced with negativity and it has nothing to do with you but with them. All we can control is how we react to situations, so I will continue to grow and work on not getting so worked up when someone is rude or dismissive but rather smile, flip my hair and say “Thank you, NEXT.”

“You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? You’re on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.” 

— Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass
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A baby with the word grateful written on top

Last year for the first time I chose a word of the year. I didn’t make any New Year Resolutions. I didn’t focus on specific tasks for the year but rather embodied a word for the entire year.

It was a new concept for me. It was refreshing, and almost freeing. I felt like I could focous for once! One thing to focous on. I could do this. The word was balance, and oh how I needed it last year.

Last year…
I was recovering from yet another miscarriage.
I was pregnant for the third time.
I threw up 6 times a day (I wish I was exaggerating) for 5 months straight, my most prominent pregnancy symptom.
I was trying to fit in with a new team at work.
I gave birth.
I didn’t workout for a good portion of the year.
I started seeing a pelvic physiotherapist and chiropractor to help with the changes and pain my body was in post and pre pregnancy.
Bounced back after pregnancy and then ate so many cookies I put on extra weight.

Overall, balance was very much needed. Balance saved me from being critical of myself.

This year when thinking about a word for the year, I struggled for some time. It felt like the word I wanted to pick was a good one but there was a part of me that felt like it wasn’t the right year for it. Not yet, not now, something inside me said. Nothing else jumped out at me.

It was New Year’s Eve, about half an hour before we would be kissing and cheering for the beginning of a new calendar when it just came to me. Maybe because it was the end of the year and I was reflecting, or because I held Eli close to me as I swayed to music on the couch, eyes closed, taking in his scent. In that moment there was only one thing I felt, and it was grateful.

Grateful. I was overwhelmingly grateful. I have read much on gratefulness. On what being grateful every day can do for your mood, your joy, your life. It’s one of those things that I practiced before. But, how could my life and happiness be affected if i spent an entire year really embodying the word? How could I grow? I’m going to find out, because this year, I choose to be:

Grateful

Adjective / [greyt-fuhl]

  1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful: I am grateful to you for your help.
  2. expressing or actuated by gratitude: a grateful letter.
  3. pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing: a grateful breeze.

I leave you with an excerpt from my journal. In it, I looked to the end of 2019 and described the woman I am then.

She is glowing and overjoyed as she looks upon her family. Her heart fills with love and she is grateful for all that has happened in her life to allow her to live in this precise moment.

Love,
Mariangelica

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A photo of a baby with a stuffed bear next to him.

I gave birth, and what a magical experience it was. I loved it, I can’t wait to do it again. I love how in control I was. I love how I handled all those hours of surges. I love how supportive Christian was the entire time. I love that my mom was there to witness it. I love that Eli came into this world healthy, and well, and perfect. 

Having a baby has changed me completely. In every way imaginable, and all for the positive. I have become more sure of who I am, more grounded, and more willing to say no to things in my life that drain me because it will ultimately affect him in some way. 

I love him, my baby. More than life itself, more than any word in this language or others could let me describe. I am tethered, we are one. I cannot exists without him. He is incredible. I have loved him since the first time. Because it was always him. He tried to join us a couple times and finally, everything was perfectly aligned for him to make his entrance. 

We are parents. We have a son. So many words that have so much meaning now. It’s been an incredible 5 months with him on the outside. I love what my life has morphed into, who I am morphing into. Not much else to say on the matter. This is love in its rawest form.

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40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

It’s week 40. We made it. The baby is fully baked and ready to see the world. Any day now he’ll come knocking and it’ll be go time. It’s quite crazy to think how far we’ve come. It’s been such a long journey with this little guy. Every emotion has graced my life during this pregnancy. From panic and fear in the early days to gratefulness and overwhelming love.

I have carried this little tiny baby for 280 days now. He has changed my body and my heart. He has changed our lives and ways of thinking about the world. And he hasn’t taken his first breath yet. How incredible what such a little person can do.

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

Pregnancy this last trimester has been incredible, it has by far been my most enjoyable time. Perhaps it’s because it was during this trimester that I finally achieved roundness. I looked the part now and that made it so exciting. Dressing the bump has been fun, and seeing people’s eyes divert downwards towards my bump have made me smile. I also didn’t get my belly touched by a stranger ever! So major props there!

I threw up MUCH less these last three months, and baby moved constantly all day at all times, reminding me he was in there having fun and being silly. We talked to him much more this last trimester. Waking him up in the morning so Christian could feel him before we left for work. Baby loves wiggling his bum and sometimes sticking it in my rib cage and often poking out a foot or a hand.

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

All this counting down to this one day, only to start counting up from here 40 weeks +1, 40 weeks +2… All we know is he’s very comfy in there, and I really hope he makes his entrance before any medical procedures start becoming a possibility, but we’ll just have to see what he wants to do and when he wants to do it!

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

Being home and on Maternity leave these last few weeks has been nice. I’ve had plenty of time to be on my own, with my own thoughts and I’ve done anything I have wanted to. As the days have come closer to this date I have been quickly running out of things that will hold my interest. There’s only so much I can write, read, play, watch and create before I start wanting to sleep so that the next day will be here and we get to see if it’ll be THE day.

There’s not much to say, I feel ready and am patiently waiting this little dude’s arrival. I’ve been joking that he’s already a little rebel like his mom and is deciding to choose his own birthdate, so that’s what he’ll do! Soon enough he will be here, and I feel like I’ll have lots to say then.

Until then,

Mariangelica

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo


All photos taken by Ahinsa Maza. You can find her on instagram either at @amzsphoto on instagram or on her personal account @ahinsamzs

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10 years ago a boy asked a girl to be his girlfriend in an elevator while speaking in the third person. That boy is now a man, and a father to a little boy who we will meet in a couple short weeks.

10 years ago I said yes to a question a boy I liked asked me in an elevator while speaking in the third person. I’m really glad I said yes, because that little word changed my life forever.

Christian and I didn’t know each other super well when we started dating, we had been flirty in those last weeks of highschool, but we didn’t go on a date until the first week of summer. We went on a date every single day for seven days straight that first week. The seventh day we rode in that elevator. I used to think I had to be really close with someone to want to date them. I thought I had to be on best friend terms before I’d feel comfortable dating in general, but I didn’t hesitate when he asked. I just knew I enjoyed being with him, and he made me laugh and happy, so it made the answer pretty easy.

Neither one of us were Canadian Citizens at the time. I was close to the end of that long journey and he was only getting started. We were youngsters. 17 & 18 with big dreams and similar backgrounds that bonded us more than we knew at the time.

We attended the same college, which was a huge bonus, but our hours there were very different. I often say Christian has always been an incredible cheerleader in my life, but this isn’t a new quality of his. He’s uplifting and motivating, and he’s been that way for me since the day I met him. He dreams big dreams and he’s forever reaching for the next big goal, and it’s hard to stay stagnant with someone like that by your side, so I too have reached and dreamed and together we’ve achieved some pretty remarkable goals.

I once called him from the warehouse of a place I worked at soon after graduating. I was crying and telling him how I couldn’t have sacrificed as much as I did in school just to end up doing this. I felt like my morals were in question constantly with my job forcing me to photoshop women and young girls and I just couldn’t do it. I had a job, and right after graduating too, a job many would be thrilled with doing but my heart was so conflicted and my skills were barely utilized. I felt stuck and upset because this was the job we moved away from home for, this was his gift to me, letting me start my career first while he did whatever job he could do. He very clearly told me that we were to focus on me first, and once I had some experience and felt good with being able to apply at other places, then, and only then would he make his career a priority. Yet here I was, being ungrateful and not able to get past the nature of the job. Without a moment’s hesitation he just said, well hand in your two weeks, we’re too young to feel stuck anywhere. You will find something else and we’ll live off my income for a while, just quit and let’s try something else.

Self-less, always.

When we got married, 5 years ago, I knew I had won the lottery. This man was all mine, and we had already done so much in our first 5 years, and now we had a lifetime to accomplish goals together, what an exciting beginning.

The first 5 years of marriage have been incredible. In some aspects it feels like we have been together for much less, and in other areas it feels like it’s been so much longer and I have no idea how we fit so much growth and change and love and life in only 5 years. We’re celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary while preparing for the delivery of our baby boy and it is so incredible for this event to mark our anniversary and the first five years. The next five years are going to be so different in so many amazing ways that I can’t even figure out the words to tell you how excited I am.

In these first 5 years we have raised Congo from a little ball of adorable fluff to a doggy adult who still gives us the warm and fuzzies. Dogs have different levels of importance in some people’s lives, but for us he’s been the little guy that has depended on us this whole time and look at him thriving, healthy and well. We love this little munchkin and I can’t wait to see his relationship with his little human baby brother grow in the near future.

We have grown in an incredible way in both of our careers but I watch Christian work in admiration. At his focus, care and passion for the work he does. He’s grown so much and I can confidently say neither one of us expected him to be doing what he’s doing now at the level he’s doing it. It just speaks to his determination and his goal driven mindset when it comes to work. He inspires me to shoot for my career goals and he was the one that encouraged me to make the switch from Graphic Design to Product Design, a decision I am very happy to have made at the time that I did.

We have grown in our health and nutrition together. There’s something about getting older and how your body decides to process food differently. Bloating, Acid Reflux, Weight gain, Back Pain and reduced flexibility, and we’re not even 30 yet? We had to work through a lot of these together, learn about food, learn how to cook proper food and learn what foods affect us in negative ways. We’ve gained weight, we’ve lost weight, we’ve worked out together and kept each other motivated through rough days. It’s been a journey of health and discovery and it has been a great ride, knowledge is good in this department! Though we still would like to feel awesome after eating pizza like our teenage selves used to, haha.

We’ve also lost some amazing people in our lives while we’ve been together, Three grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and two babies we lost too soon. It’s no question having that rock there when tragedy strikes is extremely helpful in going through grief. No matter how painful these moments were we have relied heavily on each other for comfort rather than tried to keep it all to ourselves and it has always lifted the sadness when it’s been shared.

We’ve made lots of money mistakes and good money decisions! We purchased our first home together got a brand new car and many of the other ‘normal things’ people do with money, but we also celebrated a huge accomplishment just a month ago, we became debt free of everything but our home. That means no student loans, no car payments, no line of credit, no credit cards.. All our money goes into our pockets now, into our mortgage, our savings, our retirement and our lives. We are so excited to be able to travel more often and live and give like no one else. Together we have become so responsible, so smart, and so consistent with our financial goals that this little baby is being born into a debt free family and he’ll be taught good money habits early in life. Suddenly the family tree has changed and it’s an incredible feeling.

Overall, our life together has been filled with an overflowing abundance of love, compassion, trust and respect. I thank God for all the blessings in my life but most of all for this man I get to call my husband. I am grateful for his life, all that he is, his childish humour, his ridiculous jokes, his kind and gigantic heart, his selflessness, his admiration and love for me, his protection and his health. I am so lucky, so very lucky to have found him early in life and I pray for a super duper record breaking long life ahead by his side.

Love,

Mariangelica

 

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