You’ll never know, dear.

As a live in nanny for my beautiful girls, it is not unknown for me to put them to bed at night.

When I am there for bedtime, I make sure they take baths, comb hair, get jammies on, and read a bedtime story.

Most of the time they are playing a game called “stall bedtime for as long as possible”–by asking for drinks of water, or saying they need to potty again.

Sometimes, I just don’t have the patience for it at all.

I’m ready for them to be asleep.

I have other things to do and finish before I go to bed as well.

But lately, they’ve been asking me another question. They want to know if I will sing them a lullaby.

(I like to think that it’s because they have a genuine love for the sound of my voice, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.)

When they ask me to sing for them, my heart melts. I calm down and look into their big, round eyes, glowing from the light that peeks in from under the door.

I can’t say no.

I’m not versed in many lullabies–but I do know one:

You are my sunshine

My only sunshine

You make me happy 

When skies are gray

You’ll never know, dear

How much I love you

Please don’t take my sunshine away

They will never know how much I love them.

That my love for them is more than just a habitual phrase, or a cliche, that I say to them every day.

It is a physical and overwhelming ache in my heart that I feel, now, as I write this.

It’s a tear rolling down my cheek at the thought of not seeing them every single day.

It’s a smile on my face knowing that they will grow up to be intelligent, creative, and talented young women–each in their own way.

Four years ago, I showed up at this house expecting not much more than a job and a paycheck.

What I received was so much more than that.

It was a profound and amazing privilege, that has made me a better person.

I can’t stress this enough:

I AM A BETTER PERSON for having had them in my life.

IMG_6441copy2

Today, I leave, blessed by the lives of 3 beautiful young ladies, each holding my heart in their own unique way:

Ruthie,

Your empathy for others inspires me to humble myself and to always be kind to everyone who comes into my life–to show them true charity.

IMG_6264copy

Vivian,

Your stubborn fearlessness reminds me to have the courage to stand my ground and fight for what I believe in, despite what the world tells me.

IMG_6370copy

Frances,

Your smile lights up the world, it’s contagious.

It reminds ME to keep smiling no matter how difficult life can get.

IMG_6279copy

I love each of you,

more than you will ever know.

And I will keep you in my heart.

IMG_6820 copy1

xoxo,

Monica

Dusting off the blog:

Soooooooo,

…time passes really quickly when you’re planning a wedding, get married, and then go to Hawaii for nearly a month!

It’s been 4 whole months since my last post! I can’t believe that–almost half a year!

That was definitely not intentional. Mostly, it was STRESS of wedding planning, and then travel + editing client photos.

So, obviously a lot has been going on–the biggest of which was that I got MARRIED!

11_sneakpeek_m+m

Photo credit: Karen Obrist Photography

Words can’t describe how it feels to FINALLY be married to the man of my dreams!

I really meant to blog the whole excitement and prep for the wedding, i.e. showers, bachelorette party, etc…buuuuut that didn’t happen.

So here is a quick overview of everything that went down before I walked down the aisle:

Bridal Showers

IMG_6092copy IMG_6170copy

IMG_7165copy

Stock The Bar Party

IMG_8977copy

IMG_9030copy

IMG_4798copy

Bachelorette Party!

IMG_3385 copy IMG_3423copy

Bachelor Party

IMG_9244copy

Rehearsal Dinner

IMG_9258copy IMG_9331copy IMG_9271copy

The “Honeymoon”

IMG_9402copy

IMG_9376copy

IMG_9455copy

So there you have it — the whole shebang.

Minus the wedding, of course, but that’s another blog for another day.

I am now in my last few weeks of nannying for my beautiful girls and I’m trying to soak in as much of their sweetness as I can.

The last 4 years of my life has been spent watching them take their first steps and speak their first words, having dance parties with them in the kitchen, and  pushing them on the swing. It’s difficult for me to imagine a life where I wake up in my bed and hear silence, rather than the sound of their little feet running around in circles upstairs.

487941_10200440756284294_1098645795_n

972247_10200349830531207_83870887_n 994223_10200231747899215_728352069_n

On the other hand, the last 7 years of my life have been spent away from the man that I Love more than anyone in the entire world. Since the very beginning we’ve been away from each other, always ending each phone conversation with “I miss you.” Twice, we were separated by oceans through military deployments–forcing me to spend my days, and especially my nights, with an inconsolable ache in my heart. A feeling of being incomplete until I was in his arms again.

Homecoming

[circa 2009]

Despite the tears running down my face, I know it’s time.

It’s time for us.

Time for us to have dance parties in the kitchen. Time for us to snuggle up on the couch and watch movies. Time for us to wake up every morning and not only hear each other’s voices, but actually getting to see each other as well.

I know it will be different, and it will be difficult, to say goodbye.

But, little by little, I will learn to let go.

I will watch the girls grow up, from far away.

And I will  keep them in my heart,

as I grow up too.

1176382_10151847322294901_1160107752_n

Photo credit: Karen Obrist Photography

xoxo,

Monica

Sunshine

Sunshine.

For those living in a place like Nebraska, where there are 4 seasons (sometimes seemingly predominated by Winter). Sunshine can  become a rare commodity.

This is something that people tend to use as a reason NOT to live in Nebraska, or other such places.

However, I am a firm believer that it is a blessing.

A BLESSING, you say!?

Yes, a blessing.

Because without the cold, gray, long winter–how else would we TRULY appreciate when the sun does come out again?

It’s kind of a metaphor for life.

In life, without suffering, one cannot fully appreciate their blessings.

For example: A cold.

It’s easy to take breathing through your nose for granted–right until the moment you are completely stuffed up and absolutely miserable. It’s only then that you realize how good you had it. It seems like such a distant memory that you were able to sleep with your mouth closed without fear of asphyxiation. The good old days.

That being said,

it’s easy to see why Nebraskans are like horses out of the gate when the sun decides to come back into our lives.

Colors seem brighter.

Songs seem more catchy.

Those pesky allergies seem practically tolerable.

And the grass is finally green again.

Just perfect for a few photos:

IMG_7740copy

IMG_6847copy

IMG_6881 copy IMG_6908copy

IMG_7730 copy

IMG_6467copy

IMG_6512copy

IMG_8034copy

IMG_7930copy

IMG_7927copy IMG_7960copy IMG_7964copy IMG_7987copy IMG_8002copy

IMG_7972 copy IMG_8038 copy IMG_8053copy

IMG_7513copy IMG_7522copy IMG_7123copy

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

Make the best of today and every day!

Have a lovely Wednesday!

xoxo,

Monica

Spring!

Today was beautiful!

Perfect weather to play outside and break in a few of my new estate sale backdrops.

Here are a few photos that I’ve appropriately named “laughter”…the girls have an easier time laughing than they do making normal looking smiles sometimes. As we all do.

IMG_2748copy

IMG_2826copy

IMG_2765copy

Love those goofballs!

xoxo,

Monica

1st Blog-aversary!

Happy 1st Blog-aversary to The Nanny Diaries!

YAYYYY

It’s hard to believe it was a whole year ago that I decided to take the plunge and start this blog.

It all began in an attempt to get away from the stress and deadlines of real life. I was in school and had a lot going on with my photography business, all of which were good things–but I felt like I wanted an outlet that I could express myself creatively, with absolutely no guidelines or rules to follow. As a person who feels a need to create, it has been an amazing experience, as well as a source of inspiration in many other parts of my life!

I had absolutely no expectations for people to see, or care, what I have to talk about – but after a year of doing this, I’ve grown quite a base of followers and have reached people all over the world!

Screen shot 2013-03-23 at 9.39.37 AMIf you look closely, you’ll see that people in FIFTY countries have read my blog!

It is absolutely amazing (and terrifying!) to realize just how many people I can reach with this little thing.

Besides feeling like people all over the world can hear my tiny voice, it has also been amazing to see my progression of the quality of my writing, as well as my photography.

It’s fun to look back and laugh (or cringe) at how I used to write, photograph or edit, just a year ago — and to see that I am indeed making progress and becoming better and better every day.

The photography industry is very visual, and there is a lot of pressure to compare yourself to others photographers. By having this blog, it has made it easier for me to ONLY compare myself to ME and to try and to become a better photographer than I was yesterday.

Compare

Case in point.

And, to take a moment of vanity–it has been nice to BE in some photos! As a photographer, I find that although I’m not exactly as comfortable in front of the camera, it’s always nice to have proof that you’ve actually been to places, or were part of an activity.

As much as I LOVE being “the photographer” of a group, I am often sad that I don’t get to be a part of the fun, candid photos that I take. This blog has pushed me to be more vocal in asking someone to take a photo of me, rather than shying away and keeping my mouth shut, only to be disappointed later that I don’t have any photos of myself doing something I enjoyed. If you have a photographer in your life–be courteous and ask if they’d like to be in a photo every once in awhile! You’ll probably find that they really, really do!

And finally, it has been so amazing to see the girls grow!

IMG_1600copy6

FrancePantsI have always known my time with these girls is limited, so to be able to have this diary documenting the years of my life that I have been blessed enough to share with them has been something that is priceless unto itself.

I’d like to thank everyone who has expressed their kind words and thoughts about the work I have put into this blog–it really does keep me going some days!

Here’s to the journey!

IMG_3902 copy

Thanks for being a part of mine!

xoxo,

Monica

Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice

Every once in awhile, at our house…

…we have an impromptu photo shoot.

(Probably more often, here, than at most other households)

As the girls get older, they have learned to grasp the concept of getting their photo taken.

They have also learned that their dear Nanny Monica will pay a hefty price for good photograph.

So this little photo shoot cost me my stash of M&Ms that the girls somehow knew I was hiding in my room.

Anything for some “choc-oh-let!”

IMG_1435 copy IMG_1520 copy IMG_1559 copy

IMG_1721 copy1 IMG_1679 copyAs I looked through the spoils of my bribery, I couldn’t help but feel an ache in my heart–an overwhelming feeling of love for these sweet girls.

Their gorgeous smiles and contagious laughter bring such light to my life.

I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to be a part of their lives.

They don’t know it, but they have given so much more to me than I have, or would ever be able to give to them.

xoxo,

Monica

Valentine’s Day

Hello!

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day!

I was lucky enough to be able to spend the day with my 3 little lovebugs!

Here are a few photos from our day!

IMG_0471 IMG_0484 IMG_0492 IMG_0495 IMG_0503 IMG_0516 IMG_0522 IMG_0533 IMG_0553 IMG_0561 IMG_0590

And they are still riding their sugar rush!

Oh, and for my 21 and over friends, I made these fun little Valentine’s.

IMG_0647

Affordable, easy to make, and really cute.

I’m a sucker for miniature versions of anything.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo,

Monica

Chilly Sunday

Today is a perfect day to make cookies.

Which is exactly what Ruthie and I did while her sisters were still napping.

And she made herself a nest to watch them bake.
IMG_0042copyI’m so thankful to be able to capture these small moments of her childhood.

I feel like just yesterday she was learning how to walk, and now she is a beautiful and smart young lady.

Who loves cookies.

Happy Sunday!

xoxo,
Monica

A Little Weekend Inspiration

 

It’s Friday!

I LOVE Friday!

It is a day deserving of a little more inspiration:fa9688efb4283e49fef3afa595a3dc25

 

(For those of you waiting for a sign to do something–here it is!)

I say this because it is usually my day off, and therefore my day to get things DONE

Today I’m going out to scout photography locations/take photos with my new photographer friend, Kaylie!

Hope you all have a wonderful, beautiful, fantastic, and SAFE weekend!

I’ll leave you with some of my iPhone photos from the week!

xoxo,

Monica

BCdv7q1CcAAHEf3 BCdvEveCAAAOJTk BCi0d6mCQAAYkTS BCiyZElCMAAOWDJ BCNurNqCQAADsXV image image1 image2 image3 image4 photo photo1

 

Funtivities

 Hello again,

The weather lately has been FAR TOO COLD to go outside–so yesterday I got a little ambitious, and had TWO fun projects for the girls and I to work on INSIDE! It was rated as the “Best Day Ever” by household 2 and 3 year olds. No big deal.

Anyways, we started out by making a Strawberry-Pineapple-Orange Smoothie! Originally it was supposed to be a raspberry lemonade smoothie, but we had strawberries and Pineapple-Orange juice, so I improvised.

I got the recipe here

And it called for:

IMG_7758copy

1.5 pounds of raspberries (or strawberries)

1 can of frozen lemonade (or whatever juice you want–obviously, we used Pineapple-Orange)

1 can of water

1 tray of ice

IMG_7769copy

Ruthie got to add the juiceIMG_7774copy IMG_7777copy

And Viv got to pour in the water!IMG_7780copy

Carefully pouring…IMG_7782 copy

Then add ice, and blend!

IMG_7787 copy

Voila!
IMG_7791copy

I added some sugar & a strawberry on the rim to make it an EXTRA special treat.IMG_7800 copy

IMG_7801 copy IMG_7833 copy

They were a HIT!

IMG_7851 copy

After finishing every last drop of our delicious smoothie…

We made lava lamps!

I found the idea here:

You need:

A bottle

(We used the plastic Voss water bottles and peeled the labels off, they worked PERFECTLY for this project)

A bottle of vegetable oil

Water

Alka-Seltzer tablets (you can use the cheap knock off kind)

and food coloring!

IMG_7843copy IMG_7847copy

You start by pouring in a little water…it doesn’t have to be specific, but the place I got the directions from said 3/4 a cup of water for a liter bottle. We had a 16oz bottle so we just cut that amount in half.

Then you fill up the rest with vegetable oil, leaving about an inch at the top empty.

IMG_7863copy

Let the oil and water separate before putting in about 10 drops of food coloring. Let the food coloring dissolve into the water and change it’s color fully.

IMG_7854copy IMG_7857copy IMG_7878copy

Finally, drop in half of an Alka-Seltzer tablet.

IMG_7882copy

…and enjoy the show!IMG_7897 copy IMG_7902 copy IMG_7916 copy

Cool!

These 2 projects were both SO easy and SO fun to make.

The girls played with them for a long time–luckily we had plenty of alka-seltzer tablets to keep them going!

I definitely recommend trying it if you have little ones–we thought about putting glitter in there also,

but couldn’t find any at our house. Just an idea if you decide to try it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo,

Monica