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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

10064633SittingPrettyToiletSeatCover.jpg

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!

AI7871_01_standard.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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.

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.

IMG_0080.JPG

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.

photo 3

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.

IMG_2866.JPG

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.

IMG_1189.JPG

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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

FullSizeRender.jpg

….then I made my parts.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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

FullSizeRender.jpg

FullSizeRender.jpg

Milly + RJ’s Shared Bedroom

The hubbs & I went back and forth with the idea of a shared bedroom for the kids since we have a boy & a girl. How long is it ok for them to share a room? Pros? Cons? Will they love it or will it be a breeding ground for civil war?

We decided to try it out and I think everyone loves it! The most difficult part is deciding how to decorate. (I use the word “problem” loosely.)

I decided on white & light wood as the foundation for the shared space which I thought would be great for incorporating “boy” & “girl” items into the room.

Milly’s crib has transitioned into the toddler bed phase. Side note: The crib was once RJs and I was very into grey furniture 4 years ago. In a couple of years, I’ll get her a bed that goes better with the room….If I haven’t changed my mind….again.

Luckily, one thing never changes about my sense of style: I am not into the fru-fru girl stuff so finding a look that is pleasing to both kiddos is fairly easy.

While I don’t like the super girly stuff, I love a good pattern play so this is what I’m working with right now.

FullSizeRender 4.jpgFullSizeRender 5.jpgFullSizeRender 3.jpgFullSizeRender 2.jpgFullSizeRender.jpg

Protective Styling:002

This, my friends, is one of those 3-hour hair styles I mentioned in a previous post. I have to be in an especially good/all-together focused mood to get this kind of style done.

IMG_3585.JPG

These particular photos are from Mothers’ Day weekend and, as moms tend to do (put their kids first.duh), I decided that little miss Makenzie Alice need to look extra extra pretty for my special day.

As I have mentioned before, braids just look better and prettier if they are done on clean, wet hair. I washed, deep conditioned, moisturized and oiled her hair down before I started braiding.

It probably stems from the fact that I, myself, am “tender headed” in the middle of my scalp but I almost always leave the middle of the head for last if I can help it. For this design, that is exactly what I did.

FullSizeRender 4.jpg

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I parted her entire head into four sections with my parts going from ear to ear. I wanted to be able to see a bantu knot in every section of the hair that was braided down no matter what angle you looked at her so I staggered the bantu knots to achieve that look. I didn’t want there to be “gaps” in the style because of the cornrows.

Once I figured out where I wanted all of the knots to be placed, I parted the four sections accordingly and cornrowed her hair from root to end. You can see in the picture that the knots are made up of braids–not loose hair. That is so all of her hair would be in a “protective” style and I wouldn’t have to comb and re-do the knots every morning.

IMG_3584.JPG

IMG_3582.JPG

IMG_3583.JPG

I left this style in for a week. Once I took the braids out, baby girl had this amazing braid-out (excuse the very literal, unimaginative style name) so I put her hair into two ponytails and let her rock that for a couple of days. I would still consider this part of the protective style since I didn’t comb her hair to achieve the look (this would have taken the curl pattern away).

FullSizeRender.jpg

Just look at those beautiful poofs!

Crazy Carting-Brass Razoo…Again

In this episode of “Crazy Carting” I will give you my last experience with Elise Vaughn’s highly coveted Brass Razoo brand. If you are a big small shop lover (& I know you are!) and you are lucky enough to have a little girl that you are spoiling rotten, then I’m sure you know about Brass Razoo. Elise is an Australian native, living in the U.S., and her brand has moms around the globe setting alarms and readying their computers (&ninja hands) for a race to the cyber cart.

Brass Razoo sales out in 10 minutes or less. Thankfully, Elise posts each piece weeks in advance on her IG feed (@elisevaughn). This gives all us mamas a chance to choose our favorite pieces and make a plan to get them.

FullSizeRender 3FullSizeRender 8FullSizeRender 4FullSizeRender 7

There is literally no time-I repeat-no time to choose once the site goes live. Gone are the days that you can calmly peruse items for a few minutes and make decisions as you go.

Before the last launch, Brass Razoo transitioned to a new site. fun right? Wrong. Many of the moms ended up on the old site that mirrored the new site–but it wouldn’t allow you to shop. Yikes. Unfortunately, because items sale so fast, if you ended up on the old site first, in the 4-5 mins that it took you to realize the issue, most items were sold out. Woe is me. I  didn’t get anything.

FullSizeRender 6FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRender 5FullSizeRender 9

Be warned, before you fall head over heels for these pieces, be prepared to drop $98-$120 for each piece. The upside? Elise is a one woman shop–designing, cutting, & sewing each beautiful piece by hand. Most designs only have 5-10 made and some are one of a kind, depending on the fabric Elise has chosen.

These are heirloom pieces. You can keep them forever…if you can cart one before they’re gone.

 

 

For You on Mother’s Day

Let’s be real: as a mom, you are always putting your family first. The little humans get the best and newest things that can be worn, played with, and read. Meanwhile, you are still wearing maternity jeans 9 months past delivery.

I’m guilty of this as well. I didn’t buy myself new clothes until I went back to work a year after my daughter was born. I figured my maternity jeans and my favorite “You & Me, Baby” maternity tee were not office attire. (I finally got rid of all my maternity clothes. I’m trying my best not to become a hoarder.)

I put together some items that I would love to get for Mother’s Day (or any day). Everything from a new favorite tee to a cool spin on some of the most common gifts given around this time. I hope you find something you love in this short list. Pass it on to friends or, better yet, your significant other. I’m not above giving blatant hints to get what I want. We deserve cool gifts too!

MothersDay.jpg

1//But First Coffee Mug [here] – From one mom to another, this mug seriously says it all.

2//Super Mom Azaleas [here] -Flowers just advanced to a whole new level with this vase!

3//Hoppa Bunny Candle [here] -New take on gifting a candle. As it burns, prepare yourself for a little surprise!

4//Fierce Like Frida Tee [here] -New favorite tee in a perfect color for spring/summer

5//  Forestbound ESCAPE Traveler [here] -If I’m not gifted with this soon, I’m buying it myself. It’s just too good.

Unicorn Birthday Party

For Milly’s birthday, I decided to throw her a unicorn themed party. I was super excited and went to work trying to find all the best decorations and planning the little details. I had my mom reach out to all Milly’s cousins to see if they were willing to come to a “play date” for Milly’s birthday.

I learned after my first child that huge parties are a pain/stressful/hectic and you leave with war scars and all for what? RJ is not going to remember his first birthday party nor will he be super interested in re-living it when he gets older. So I decided to save my sanity the second time around go smaller, more intimate, and less hectic.

IMG_3001.JPG

This ^ is what Milly woke up to on her special day–a ceiling full of balloons. Like a maniac, I woke up at 4:30 am to pump helium into these bad boys and release them into the room she was sleeping in at the time.

(Didn’t I say that I was going smaller & less hectic? Oh well)
IMG_3002.JPG

She thought it was the coolest thing. “Mom! Look! Prettyyyyy!” While she laid there admiring the balloons, I was able to snap this photo.

I put these unicorn balloons together for decorations/party favors for her little cousins.

IMG_2999.JPG

IMG_2998.JPG

IMG_3007.JPG

And I decorated the counter top in the kitchen.

IMG_3006.JPG

The cake was seriously the cutest thing ever. That chubby unicorn was everything!

IMG_3005.JPG

IMG_3008.JPG

I also had a bubble machine which I thought would have a whimsical effect. It didn’t. I should have known seeing as how the toy was called the TORNADO. It was shooting bubbles everywhere. Maybe I’m a little dramatic but after being attacked by a swarm of bubbles, I decided to put them away for another time. So…..no pictures.

IMG_2985.JPG

Birthday Party Aftermath