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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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

NYC: 24 hours, 1 toddler & a Go-See

If you follow my IG account @aliceonsunday, you know that I am completely obsessed with taking photos of my babes. Especially of Makenzie because she genuinely likes it and has fun. Most of my photos of RJ are candid which I also absolutely love but my baby girl has a gift for posing.

When I realized this, I decided to send her photos to a few agents and see what feedback I received. A couple of months went by and I had pretty much forgotten about it. My mind is in the habit of jumping from idea to idea at a ridiculously fast rate.

That was when I got the email. One of the agents whom had told me that she was going to keep Makenzie’s photos on file thought that she might be a good fit for Gap’s holiday campaign and turns out, she was right! Gap requested Makenzie to come in and get in front of the camera for an audition.

Honestly, I was a little confused at first, scrolling through my emails trying to figure out how that even happened. Then I found the communication between myself and the above mentioned agent and my memory was jogged. I was so excited because, how it was explained to me, a casting by request is way less hectic, fewer kids (as opposed to an open-call) and your child is already on the radar of the casting director because s/he chose your child specifically.

Here was the catch: the casting was in New York. New York, in regards to me traveling there, is not a big deal.

Love New York.

It’s amazing.

Any chance I get, I want to go.

The tricky part about this trip, specifically, would be that I’d be traveling with a small child to a city where I love the subway but only if I’m alone or dealing with other adults. I had many reasons for dreading the idea of moving around in the big city with Makenzie:

1- NYC is too fast paced for me to be aware of my entire surroundings AND keep up with a toddler that absolutely loves to walk on her own and then takes off running like she is in some kind of “Tag” game that goes on for all of eternity.

2- I would need a stroller. Have you been on the subway? There is barely enough room for a slender individual with a fanny pack let alone an object on 4 wheels.

3-I am not comfortable driving in NYC. It’s like driving in Puerto Rico (yes, you too, mom). People are crazy or aggressive or a scary mixture of both and I don’t have the nervous system to handle it.

4-If I were to rent a car, I would need a car seat…I wasn’t about to travel with a car seat to the airport. Airport travel is already crazy enough. Add a child and the stress level, easily, bumps up 3 levels. But adding a car seat to the equation?! I would need an hour with a therapist and a shot of tequila after it was all said and done and I don’t even drink.

Luckily, my day job requires me to plan events and coordinate travel on the drop of a dime. I went into “Corporate-Mom” mode and got online to find some solutions to my issues because I had already decided that I was going to take her to meet these lovely people at Gap. I mean…come on, right?!

This was when I found Kid Car, a business specific to NYC, reminiscent of Uber, that gives you the opportunity to reserve a ride with a car seat included. Kid Car has gotten rave reviews on a national level for answering a problem for travelers who have children and locals alike. The drivers are put through a series of qualifying test–drug, background–which is great because they are asking you to trust them with your child(ren).

The app lets you set preferred drivers (if you use the system a lot), put in the location and time of the pick and where you need to be dropped off, pick a car seat specific to your needs based on your child’s age/weight (that way your driver doesn’t show up with a front-facing car seat while youre traveling with a 4-month old), and it also gives you an estimated cost. IMG_4402.PNG

It was perfect. I reserved our plane tickets, hotel and Kid Car rides for the entire trip and we were all set.

This was Makenzie’s first time traveling (out of the womb) so I was a little nervous but she was a ROCK STAR. She went through security on her own, sat in her seat, drank the juice the flight attendant gave her, and went to sleep for the majority of the ride. Not one tear. Not. One.

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We got there late on the night before the go-see and got settled in our room.

Side Note: The Kid Car experience, through and through, was great.

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When we got to the studio, the energy was high, the holding room and shoot area were all crisp white and open–very industrial looking,at the same time, with concrete floors…it was as you have seen in it in the movies (I guess Hollywood doesn’t alwasy lie)!

In all honesty, I had never seen so many gorgeous kids all in one room. Even more incredible, I had never experienced so many well behaved kids all in one room. Everyone was happy and playful and well mannered….not at all like the little terrors I am use to seeing in my own home from my own children. Makenzie, thankfully rose to the occasion and was a complete delight….until they called her name….she had a melt down. Of course.

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Luckily, it was the shortest melt down (all of 5 seconds) I have evered witnessed and she said “Pictures?”, I said ” Yes” and she walked over to the set and showed out. I was a proud mama bird. I was a little intimidated by all the kids and their big time representations : Wilhelmina, Generation, and Zuri just to name a few…but Makenzie impressed the casting crew because she got a call back for the final cut! I think I am officially a “momager”.

We headed back to New York for the final cuts and she was right at home. I think I may have a star on my hands, people.

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I have learned a lot from this experience. Mainly that the modeling/acting life is no joke. It is a whirlwind. A fun whirlwind but a whirlwind, nonetheless. I was exhausted after both castings and so was she. During the experience, she had an amazing time–I could tell she was happy and having fun and it only confirmed what I already knew: she loves being the center of attention.

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That was the best part.

 I hope everyone has started their week out well! I am already craving next weekend. As a corporate mom, my weeks are full– as well as most holidays–so the weekends that are completely free from work, I try to jam pack adventure in with my kids. I have a lot of ideas for next weekend but we will see how it all works out.
Until next time!
 

Brand Review: Amae Co.

Amae Co. is a business locally owned in the San Francisco Bay Area by Stacie Lucas who is the co-owner and designer. I not only follow the brand’s IG account @amae.co but her personal/family account @thelucasdaily and I absolutely love her.

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She is very genuine and funny and off-beat and her kids are super cute and she makes it a point to interact with her followers in a meaningful way which keeps her accessible and lovable and one of the reasons why (I would think) people support her business. I know it is one of, many, the reasons I do! Not that I have tried to talk to her–I am very much an introvert so randomly starting convo is not my forte. But if I was one of those people that easily interacted with others, I’d totally choose to @ Stacie. Fact.

When I first became pregnant with my daughter (as I’ve said a million times before), I immediately began seeking out original, heirloom pieces for her closet. Amae Co. started out as Duchess & Lion, an Etsy shop–that’s where I was first introduced to Stacie’s work.

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Back when she wasn’t making clothes more than a handful at a time and mamas were setting their clocks to get pieces when D&L would drop a new line. You know me, I love a good “crazy carting” experience.

Since then, D&L has grown and been rebranded to the current Amae Co. and I am still as in love with (if not more) the pieces. The photos below are from The Fish Bar drop, Amae Co.’s latest line.

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I have been buying Stacie’s pieces for almost 3 years now and every item is superb. I fall in love with the shirt, dress, head-wrap, every time I put it on my baby girl. Another plus is that a wider range of more affordable pieces are showing up in her lines, all while remaining responsibly and ethically made. AND she has added a boys line as well! Now RJ and rock this brand with his sister. Win-win.

Protective Styles: 003

I am a big fan of the 2-pouf hair-do. Like most things, too much of one thing gets boring so I played around with braided bangs and simple designs to spice things up. On clean, damp, hair I parted the hair into the sections I planed on braiding: horizontal part for downward braids in the back…

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A vertical part to separate the sections for my two poufs and then I used that same vertical part as my center point for the section I planned on braiding into bangs.

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After parting the hair I just kinda winged it. Makenzie’s hair is pretty long and I soon realized that maybe bangs weren’t the best idea since I have zero interest in cutting baby girl’s hair….

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….so I improvised–I added some Motions foaming lotion onto the hair and threw some curlers on the braided bangs. Side Note: Since going natural over a year ago, I have chosen to keep my hair products as natural as possible. I’ve also chosen to support black owned business in this process because it really just makes the most sense to support hair care products that are made by people who care for their hair in the same way I do. On the flip side, I abhor wasting things I’ve bought with my hard earned money. It doesn’t matter what it is: bananas, lipstick, candles, and yes hair care products. So……the point I am trying to make is, I no longer buy Motions brand–there are way too many ingredients that I can’t pronounce in their products and I would just rather not. However, that foaming lotion was about 3/4 used, in the back of my bathroom closet and since I refuse to throw it away I used some during this hair session. I am all for all-natural, all-local, family-owned, minority-owned; I’m also all for getting my moneys worth. I think my karma won’t suffer much from this decision.

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I braided the rest of the hair up and over to where I wanted to tie her poufs and VIOLA!

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I also varied my parts for the braids leading up to the poufs to give the hair style a little more flavor–a little more style.

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And always remember–NEVER forget: leave those baby hairs out of your braids. Your [and your child’s] edges will thank you later and always.

Around Town- ATX Coffee

Like most people with Caribbean backgrounds, coffee has always been part of day-to-day life. After becoming a mom, coffee became a necessity to managing a sense of normal. Now, I’m a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur. Strong emphasis on “self” proclaimed.

Honestly, after plenty of k-cups and grande/non-fat/3-pump/iced-white mochas (yes, I am a Starbucks snob. Don’t judge me.) I decided that I would make it a point to try out new coffee wherever I traveled.

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I mentioned going to Austin for the Renegade Craft Fair in a previous post, remember that? Well while my mom was tucked away at the hotel with the kiddos, fast asleep, I snuck out onto the streets to check out the coffee shops.

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Vintage Heart Coffee is a locally owned coffee shop on 7th street. It’s super hip and tucked away and had an amazing Bob Marley playlist playing–the barista’s look and sound gave me strong Ellen DeGeneres (seriously) and I had about 30 mins of drinking coffee and feeling “cool” again.

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I had a macchiato and this amazing lavender lemonade.

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The macchiato was so good, y’all. And that lavender lemonade was the best part of my walk back to the hotel.

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I also visited Wright Bros Brew & Brew before heading out to 6th street on my first night in Austin. Brew & Brew stays open late with a full espresso bar and 39 rotating taps of beer or cider.

It was completely tucked away on a back road. Industrial style building, the barista had purple hair and a huge personality. She made a vanilla latte for me that trumps all lattes.

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kisses + milk foam mustaches

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.

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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)
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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.

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And I decorated the counter top in the kitchen.

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

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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.

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Birthday Party Aftermath

Festival Fever- What To Wear

Growing up in Texas, Austin was a hot-spot for getting away, getting out, and having fun. ATX is considered the “Music Capital” of Texas and it definitely lives up to that name. You can barely walk 2 blocks without hearing live music. Everything from starving musicians to nationally acclaimed bands who just happened to stop by. It’s just the culture. For those reasons, and many more, festival season is near&dear to my heart.

With SXSW (South By Southwest) just passing & Coachella rolling into it’s last weekend, I thought it would be fun to put together some cool festival-inspired looks for you and your littles.

Of course, a lot of these brands are considered small shops–hand sewn, personally curated, well made/loved items for your littles. As you know (because I’m always harping on this topic–sorry! (not sorry)) , I really think it’s important to support the entrepreneurs (or mom-preneurs) in the world and these brands know what they are doing! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll shop any and everywhere- from second hand stores to Neiman Marcus-but my heart is with the small shops and if it fits, I support. Check ’em out!

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Mama Bear

1// I think I love you Dress [here] – channeling my inner Stevie Nicks with this one

2// Skinny Scarf [here] – if you’re someone like me who loves a scarf but lives in 90+ degree summers.

3//Platform Sandal [here] – for me, black is “in season” all year long so a black sandal is the obvious choice.

4//Camille Fringe Bag [here] – fringe for dayyyssss

Little Miss

5// Studded Gladiator Sandals [here] – these little sandals are to die for

6//Flutter By Top [here] – it’s the perfect mix of edgy & whimsy which I love for my little girl

7//Susies Custom Shorties [here] – as seen on all the cool celebrity kids

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8//Bliss Tour Concert Tee [here] + you’ve got to check out the tour dates graphic on the back of this tee!

9//Arizona Shorts [here] – a good wash can take a pair of jeans a long way and you can be fun without going crazy with your little man

10//Tartan Socks [here] – I’m a sucker for grid patterns

11// 574 Acrylic NB Sneaker [here] – New Balance is really hitting the “super cool” mark this summer!