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Mom Chronicles: I wanted a baby, not a husband

This post has been sitting in my ‘Draft’ box for a couple of months now. Mainly because my feelings on motherhood and the choices I am making along the way are mixed and personal.

I am finally sitting down to write this post because I can’t get it out of my head and I believe if something stays with you (in your heart, your head, your gut…), you should see it through.

I also think that many women struggle with what I struggle with and I want to use my blog as a sounding board for all things related to motherhood.

“Why?”, you ask. Good Question.

Motherhood is a hell of a thing to go through in life. Everyone’s story is different-the where, when, how, why you became a mother varies. The process of conception, trimesters, delivery–all different. When that feeling takes a hold of each mother is different–The love for my children started the moment I saw their human-shaped bodies on the ultra-sound. Not the sea-turtle body that babies evolve into after a couple of months. The beautiful thing is, that even with all of its differences, there is one absolute constant: motherhood changes your way of life forever.

Becoming a mother absolutely rocked my world. It was something I always wanted and I wasn’t picky in the manner that it came to be. Due to my overly independent personality and the mind-set that I was going to become this Corporate America, female powerhouse, I was totally ok with raising a child without the presence of a father, having my own or adopting–it didn’t matter.

It just so happened that I fell in love, got pregnant, got married and now I am living the “2.5 kids and a dog (Junior, our German Shepard)”  American dream. And, let me tell you, I am so incredibly grateful that it worked out that way.

When I first met my husband, I was completely smitten– he was tall, dark, and handsome, smart, funny, super kind, we liked the same music, had the same kind of off-beat personality–it was amazing.

During our dating phase, I received news that I had abnormal blood cell formation, possible tumors, blah blah blah. I started spiraling through the memories of being 14 and having surgery to remove half of one of my ovaries which caused ridiculously abnormal periods and a more difficult (they claimed) path towards pregnancy.

Returning back to situation at hand, I went through a couple of procedures and the doctors determined that I could (in the most layman’s terms possible because it’s the best I can do) have my uterus frozen to prevent future issues. I could do this and my chances to have babies at that point would’ve been slim to none….more like “none”.

I decided that I needed to have a kid before I would agree to anything like that. After all, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t married–I had never really dreamed that up as my life. I knew that my boyfriend was head-over-heels in love and that the feeling was mutual, we both had good jobs and came from good families–no brainer, right?

Wrong. I was so wrong.

After I got pregnant, he did the most “ridiculous” thing and asked me to marry him. Seriously? Did he seriously ask me to marry him and potentially ruin this lovely relationship by throwing marriage into the situation? I declined his offer. I broke his heart and pissed him off simultaneously because, really, why would he be good enough to father a child with but not to marry?

I had no real answer besides the fact that I didn’t want to. Marriage seemed like the end of my anonymity, my…..everything.

Later on into the pregnancy, he asked again and I declined….again. It was getting ridiculous and when I say “it” was getting ridiculous, I mean that I was being ridiculous. I absolutely loved this man…the father of my unborn child…the person I actually saw my future with. The only difference was that the future I saw didn’t have me wearing a wedding ring.

 

 

 

 

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Outside Essentials for RJ’s sensitive skin

RJ, bless his heart, has my skin. That “high-yellow” (for lack of- and no interest in finding- a better term) skin that burns easily in the sun and the “sweet” blood that attracts every kind of mosquito and ant in a 15 mile radius. Did you know there have been studies that show that certain blood types do, in fact, attract mosquitos? It’s true. RJ, in addition to being the sweetest kid on earth, must have one of those mosquito-loving blood types.

Side Note: I was always so miserable growing up with all my mosquito bites and scars. My grandpa use to tell me that the mosquitos only messed with me, and not my cousins, because I was the sweetest person in the world and the sweetness ran in my blood. Way to make a girl feel special, right? It takes a special gift to turn a travesty to a honor but, let me tell you, I was honored.

Any ways, my poor, sweet, sweet, RJ has this same problem. After a couple of summers and island trips, I have curated some products that are the best at protecting skin against insect and nature (sun) attacks.

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  1. Lavender oil is great for preventing mosquito bites and soothing skin. Apparently, lavender is also known to stop bleeding, act as an antibacterial agent and an anti-inflammatory.
  2. Coconut Oil is, in my non-professional opinion, like a holy oil. Just bath in it, eat it…you get hit in the head with something? coconut oil…..Not really but it’s pretty amazing and it is another antibacterial oil that is great for itchy bits. You can also mix it with the lavender for a preventative method aaaaaand a smell good–RJ still has that perfect baby smell most days (bias mom, here) but the lavender is a strong second best.
  3. Citronella was a life saver during our trip to St. Lucia. We were shining like the sun but the mosquitos kept their distance.
  4. I’m an all around fan of The Honest Company and the sunscreen works.
  5. If a sunburn happens, and with skin like RJ’s it will, aloe vera gel is a soothing, natural way to cool the skin and give relief to an uncomfortable, unhappy baby.

 

Favorite Metallic Finds

Since I was (still am) a big, huge, fan of the unicorn trend it should come as no surprise that I am equally loving the iridescent/metallic trend that took Summer ’16 by storm.  I curated a short list of items that I love for Makenzie….and for me…I’d totally wear those wings and headphones with no shame.

Side Note: I love the word “curated”…it sounds so official when really I just spend way too much time window shopping (read: trolling the internet) for unique/cool/fun things for my little people.

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one: Iridescent Keyring by Numero 74

two: Adidas Superstar Athletic Shoe in Iridescent

three: Frends ‘Layla‘ Oil Slick Headphones

four: Angel Wings in Metallic Gold by Maileg

five: Kane Backpack in Metallic Purple by State Bag

Texas Summer is Still Strong- Swimsuits Needed

One of the few benefits of the Texas Summer Heat is that swimsuits go on sale waaaaay before southerners pack them away for the fall and winter. I mean, even though we are in hurricane season, we had 100+ degree weather a couple of weeks ago and that heat isn’t going away over night.

Also, I’m planning a trip to Puerto Rico in January so I’m still on the hunt for swimsuits for the kids. My babes are growing like weeds so I’m putting my scientific-mom brain to work to guestimate what size my kids will be in 5 months [insert a rolling eye emoji here].

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While my kids are about 17 months apart, I can’t help but think it’s adorable to match them like they are twins sometimes. Hopefully they won’t hate me for it when they get older. Hopefully I’ll realize that they are too old for this before they turn 12…..

Anyways, I found some super cute swimsuits that tend to my “twinning” obsession. Bobo Choses, Noe & Zoe, Tiny Cottons, and Nununu for the win.

Travel Essentials

Traveling can always be a little stressful, right? Add a couple of kids in diapers (or freshly out of diapers) and the stress level can reach astronomical levels.

I have had some serious fails in that department.

Like sending my entire supply of diapers in my check bag and thinking I could make a trip (with a connecting flight) with 3 diapers and a travel size wipes pack. Two poop diapers and one pee stream that managed to travel out of the diaper and onto my kid’s pair of pants later and I realized that I was the worst mom on earth.

I’m also very dramatic–I’m sure there are worse moms but still.

I realized I was in way over my head. I’m a firm believer in Jesus Christ but there was some serious karma mojo that followed me on that trip and evened me out for some wrong doing in some previous life.

After the first debacle, I smartened up and have incorporated some #momlife hacks into my travel arrangements.

This primarily pertains to airport travel because, to be honest, every kind of travel calls for different things while traveling with toddlers.

 

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Toilet Seat Covers. Because, Airport Toilets. No more wasting wipes on toilet seats…wipes are for cleaning toddler booties and that will happen too many times to go wasting wipes on other things.10068141BaggalliniTicketOrganizerCor.jpg

All-in-one carrying pouch. Money, I.D., plane tickets–all in one place. I was the lady with the kids that had to set her bag down and dig through 3 zipper pockets to find everyone’s boarding passes & I.D.s. People hated me. I know they did. Staring lasers at the back of my head. I smartened up. I keep this in my hand until we get to the gate.

If you are so inclined, a fanny pack is also a good option and now that they are back in style, there are some really cute options!

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Another good idea is to make “single use” potty packs. (I made that name up. I think it’s cute. heh.) I take a sandwich sized ziplock bag and put one diaper and 2-3 wipes in it. This way, you don’t have to take the entire diaper bag with you every time a change is needed.

Can we also just acknowledge that neck pillows are awesome? Everyone should have one and they come in kid sizes now. A wobbly-necked toddler gives me anxiety.

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Let’s also just, acknowledge that dry snacks are the best snacks in terms of travel. If you’ve ever had an apple sauce pack make its way onto clothes and into hair then you know that there is no sensible way to argue my view point.

While the obvious choices are goldfish, pretzels and the like, here are some healthy options. I was introduced to Teo Foods by my local Starbucks community wall (thanks, Starbucks!). It’s a start-up company aiming to tackle the conflicting issues of global waste and hunger. I never thought much about that specific idea but, as Teo Foods explained, there is something fundamentally wrong with the fact that 40% of all U.S. food goes to waste and yet, everyday, people are dying of hunger.

They offer healthy dried snacks produced from reclaimed and rescued produce including trail mix, banana bites, granola, and the list will, hopefully, continue to grow.

Win.

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RJ- My Wishes for you are…

RJ, I love you more than life itself. My first born, you changed my life like no other person ever has or ever will. You were the perfect baby–sweet and beautiful and happy and my first example of the profoundness of motherhood. There you were, needing me for food, comfort, love, cuddles, all in a moments notice without any hesitation as if you instinctually knew that I was for you. You are the overwhelming love of my life. I’m sure your father feels the same. I distinctly remember the moment I felt myself become the second love of his life. It was like you were a magnet for all the love in the room. You are still that way. You light up a room, you draw love out of the people around you.

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Named after your father, who was named after your grandfather, I knew I would need to make sure you had a strong sense of self and individuality. How would I grow you into a strong, caring, respectful, thoughtful young man? I lean on your father for a lot of this but I have my own ways.

For you, I wish that you always remain respectful and thoughtful to women–that you see me and your sister in all the women you come across. By that I mean, realize that they are people with families, their own thoughts and feelings, and that they are deserving of respect (even if they, themselves, do not feel deserving). I wish this for you because I can tell that you will be smart, handsome, athletic, and charming–all the attributes that lean towards society giving you “passes” for certain behavior. I wish that you realize that this is a falsehood and reject these ideas.

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You are old enough now that you are fine sleeping in your own room. You are, after all, a “big boy” now. Sometimes I carry your sleeping body into my room so that I can cuddle with you because I know the day is quickly approaching that you will be too big for me to sneak in these cuddle sessions. It is already a task to carry you as it is, big boy.

For you, I wish that you always remember that you have a mother who loves you–who will be there for you no matter what but will always hold you accountable because I refuse to raise up brats. You are not owed anything besides the respect that comes with being human. The respect & life that comes with being a good man, an honorable person–that, you have to earn. I wish that you choose to be that kind of person and I hope that I am laying a foundation for you that will make that choice an easy one.

I wish that you choose to go through life with enough understanding that the world will not always see you for who you are but for what you look like and that you make decisions that will always lend to you making it home safely at the end of the day. I wish the world was not this way.

I pray that you will always love your sister as you do now. You are a great big brother.

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I wish that you could stay a baby forever but I am looking forward to the man you will become. I am already proud of you.

I wish for you an extraordinary life, my big boy.

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Makenzie- My Wishes For You Are…

Milly, my love, my wishes for you are endless so, in order to keep this letter to a length that isn’t a chore to read, I will try to be short. Lord knows, I can be long-winded in conversations that are important to me and that personality trait transfers to my writing so forgive me if I don’t live up to the promise of a concise letter.

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I have loved you from the moment I saw your little bean-shaped body on the ultrasound. To be completely honest, I was not planning for another child so soon. I imagined RJ would’ve been out of diapers before you came along. When I found out I was pregnant,  “shock” is the appropriate word to describe how I felt. But when I saw your little bean shape, I was absolutely in love.

When I found out that you were a girl, a whirlwind of concerns, thoughts, questions, vows, etc. ran through my mind. How was I going to raise a strong, intelligent, thoughtful, kind baby girl in a world that consistently undervalues and diminishes women–women of color? How was I going to make sure that your self-worth remained strong enough to overcome the need to “find love” in all the wrong people and places? I’m still figuring it out and, even though I find myself calling your grandmother in tears because you are a hand full (to say the very least) and I am scared that I may not be doing your spirit and willfulness much justice, I think I’m doing ok.

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For you, I wish the world changes just enough to not taint you beyond repair. I wish that, when society tells you that you can’t, my voice will remain in your ear to remind you that society, as a whole, is a small minded idiot and you, absolutely, can do anything.

I wish that you will always love your hair as it grows out of your scalp–that you never feel the pressure to change your unruly curls in a manner that makes the people around you who are unlike you, more comfortable. I wish, for you, that you never feel the burden of making everyone else comfortable in your presence. I wish that you never seek to diminish yourself to fit into groups with people who will never fully understand you. I wish that you never seek to diminish your shine for anyone. ever. SAMSUNG CSC

I wish that love always outweighs hate for you and, at the same time, that you do not fall victim to the idea that everyone is deserving. I hope that you love yourself. I wish that, in making mistakes, you realize how easy it is to go astray and, because of that, you not judge others too harshly.

I wish that you could stay a baby forever and at the same time, grow into a phenomenal women and a genuine person.

I wish, for you, a sharp mind and wild eyes. Take it all in. Notice everything, ignore nothing, and store it away in your mind in a manner that gives you the ability to be no one’s fool and to be able to speak with purpose every time you open your mouth.

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I wish and hope and pray that you will always see me as your mother, your best friend, your confidant and your safe haven. Even if this is not always the case (because, realistically, most teenagers don’t really want to be best friends with their parents) just know that those things are always real. I will always be your mother, your best friend, your confidant and your safe haven. I will always be here for you, even when your preoccupied with the idea that you know better than I do and you can get along without following my advice.

Side Note: You will always know me to be real with you so let me just say, you will never know more than me and your life will go along much smoother if you listen to my advice. But if you want to do your own thing…whatever. I will always be around to help you when things fall through and to look at you with those eyes like, “I told you so. You’re hard-headed like your daddy.” But I will never say the words–because you will already know.

For you, my baby girl, I wish an extraordinary life. I have every reason to believe that this will be so because you are an extraordinary girl. You are the best parts of me and, at the same time, you are karma, reminding me of the headaches I’m sure I gave my own mother and that’s ok.You are everything I every wanted in a daughter.

I love you.

-Mom

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Protective Styles: 004

In my mind, this style was going to be two really high, braided poofs (you all know, I love me some poofs). However, anyone who has a child knows that “plans” do not always, or hardly ever, go accordingly when toddlers are involved. As soon as the comb hit the hair, little miss made it very clear that she was not having it. 

Mom-3, Makenzie- approx. 10,000.

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I did a co-wash with Mielle Organics detangling co-wash and it is amazing. It smells so good and, while I roll my eyes when I see the word “detangling” on a bottle, this product really does live up to the name. If you are a woman who grew up as a child with curly/kinky/coily hair and had multiple, unfortunate experiences with combs breaking in your hair then you understand my disbelief of a product that claims to be a detangler. This, however, is not your average product. Even the rat tail come slid through those curls like butter. BUTTER. You know what I mean.

Side Note: I mean, look at those curls and that color!

Anyways, after I realized that little miss wasn’t going to give me the time of day, I decided to do two bantu-knots on top and two-strand twists in the back that could stay in for a few days and would then give her some pretty texture in the back after I untwisted them.

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I brushed the hair up to see exactly where I wanted the knots to go….

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….then I made my parts.

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The entire back side of her head was twisted into two-strand twists while the front was cornrowed in small sections and twisted into a bantu-knot.

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And there you have it, folks! Simple and sweet.

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NYC Eats: What I discovered on my last trip to New York

During my first trip to NYC, I binged on pizza and hotdogs. That just made the most since to me at the time. After I got that desire out of my system, I made the better choice to search out some foodie-fun during my last trips.

The shop happened to be in the same building as the casting we had just left. We walked outside and I noticed the hanging sign. Makenzie and I stopped in at ‘Wichcraft–I thought the name was amazing..that’s why I chose to drop in. I figured, we had about 45 mins until the Kid Car driver arrived and this would be far more satisfying than airport food.

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Totally correct on that last thought: the food was so good. I don’t even remember the name of this version of their grilled-cheese, pressed sandwich but just look at it. It was delicious.

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Their bakery selection wasn’t bad either. A lot of gluten-free, vegan options. There was a variety of muffins like the one below. Croissants, scones, cinnamon rolls and other deliciousness.

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We really just sat around, enjoying the atmosphere and our lunch. It’s nice to just disconnect for a moment and live in the present. I find it easier to do when I’m spending time with one of my children at a time. There isn’t the constant need to make sure portions are just the same to avoid melt downs, that one child isn’t pouring drink into his/her lap while I’m wiping the hands of the other. You get the idea. It’s refreshing to just enjoy food as it is and in that calm moment. I always get that feeling when I’m eating with one child. Parents with multiple children understand this–the jump from one child to two is ground breaking.

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We also visited Pat Lafrieda Meat Purveyors during our visit. It was located in a food court (of sorts) that was connected to Maddison Square Garden. Since we were staying directly across the street, it made sense to walk on over and see what the food court had to offer. La Frieda was the first option in a line of restaurants. We made our rounds and decided to circle back around to La Frieda.

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The set up was super cute–like a farm. Ironic, since we were in the “concrete jungle” but maybe, as a Texas girl, the farm vibe was what drew me to La Frieda. Either way…they had some delicious options for lemonade, grilled cheese (clearly, that is my go-to while traveling. Go figure.), burgers (what they are best known for), yuca sticks, and other eats. Small menu, for sure, but it packed a punch. Everything we ordered was delicious and their were other items on the menu that were calling my name.

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I hope everyone had a good weekend! Things are starting to pick up at work–as it does around this time. I am definitely seeing my schedule getting tighter around the edges which means less time for my weekend adventures. I’m soaking in all the time I can at this point.

Until next time!