Confessions: My New Norm

My post baby weight in May - My post baby weight last month.

Well.. Hello there. 
I took some kind of impromptu "Summer Break". It wasn't intentional, but life literally got away from me - to the point where I just did not have the focus or the time to sit and get a blog post done. So much has happened within the last four months, specifically with Gracia that I will have to do a separate catch up post.

In short -
within the last four months I have:
1. Been raising a now 9 month old
2. Started a Business
3. Travelled 4 times 
4. Gone to Concerts
5. Lost weight - down 2 sizes since I started my new regimen
6. Had a Birthday
...and so much more

 But what inspired me to write this post today was the fact that I am working from home and got motivated to tear my house apart and rearrange some things. The question I asked myself was what took me so long to do it in the first place? I realized, the reason why I hadn't done it was because it was against "the norm". I also realized - I was never normal and have been doing things my own way for quite some time so time to get to it. 

It started when THIS has become my recent reality. 

I guess its something that we never talked about when we were trying to have a baby. I guess we both just assumed that we would ask our friends and then do what felt comfortable for us.
I was so afraid of talking about co-sleeping when she was a baby just because of how many people are so opinionated about it that I literally avoided talking about it on my personal blog. But, now - truth is... I have been in this mommy swing for enough months now that I realize now that we are ALL different and have dealt with mommy shame now that I realize that those moms that shame and offer unsolicited advice to other moms deserve every bit of attitude that comes there way. We can all do different things "in theory". But in the end, there is no wrong way. Each child is different. Each parent is different and you do the best you can doing what is best for you.

So either who, Gracia has been in our bed for the most part since she was born. Not because she is a clingy baby and we can't "break" her from wanting to be with us. But moreso because we are the clingy parents. She is our first and we really miss her if she is not next to her. We broke all rules and let her sleep in her Boppy lounger in our bed above our heads. So that we would not roll onto her. Then when she got too long for the Boppy lounger. She slept and still sleeps within my pregnancy pillow. We kind of use it as bumpers like bowling alley bumpers. Now we only did this because she could lift her head up and roll over fairly early and now this little girl is so on the go that she pretty much runs our bed!

Since she was 6 months we have been saying "she is going to have to go to her own bed soon". So the compromise was to bring a pack and play in our room. This month for the first time she slept in her own bed, in her own room - BUT for only one night. I couldn't sleep - even though she always gets great sleep no matter where she sleeps. 

It wasn't until this week that I my husband admitted to me why he too is having such a hard time letting her go to her own room. That is when I realized we had never really talked about it. For him, he grew up in a close family and a family that were immigrants who moved to New York into what they can afford. He was always in his parents room. I remember seeing pictures of his crib right next to his parents bed. Then he and his older sister always shared a bed until he was 13 years old. When they moved to Florida thats when he was able to have his own room. Which then means, his norm is having baby in our room. My norm is wanting her close but wanting her in her own space. 

I was torn because we decorated this awesome nursery that she was not using and there was nothing in either of us that felt comfortable letting her be on the opposite side of the house. 
Today I got over it!
Time to find a balance and create our new Norm. 
I disassembled her crib and dragged it into our room. I also dragged her changing table in there. Her closet is so well organized as well as her dresser, so that stayed as is. Basically, I created a semi-permanent space for my daughter in the sitting room area of our Master bedroom. It works for the both of us. We will worry about her going to her own room when WE feel comfortable. So for now her room is an upstairs play room and dressing room. 

Some people feel comfortable letting their newborns be in their own room from the day they bring them home from the hospital. We just aren't those people... forcing ourselves to be those people was just not working for either of us. I have to have her set, in a routine, settled in a place so that I can feel ready for the next one... 
(oops did I say that?) 

The funny thing is- when I finally admitted to my friend that I did that - she finally said to me "well thats how it is our house." I for once didn't feel alone. Her son has a place in her room with decorations and all. My neighbor - the same way - daughter is in their room with a nursery set up and all. I'm like yay! my people! I get shamed at work for being that mom that lets her daughter sleep in her bed. I get shamed for basically changing my whole work schedule so I could have valuable mommy and me time. I literally get the speeches and the "she's STILL with you guys?" I felt rushed to let her grow up but she is only 9 months. It's bad enough that she is so independent as it is. We want to savor the baby side of her. She is acting like a toddler already. It's what is important to me... to us. Its my normal. My daughter gets sick every time she is in her own bed. Not to mention she has had more sickness than my little heart could handle - it could be worse - thank the Lord its just some congestion, colds, pink eye and two double ear infections. But it still makes for some very interesting moods from a baby.  I think with this new arrangement, we all will be happier.

Well have an awesome day! I will be typing to catch you up from when I last left you. 

What's your "new norm" in your house when it comes to your kids?

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Gracia's Baptism and BBQ

This past Sunday, our daughter was offered back to God through Baptism by water.
My mother, the Bishop baptized my daughter along with the help of my Senior Pastor and god brother at my home church. 
We decided that we would Baptize her in the A.M.E. tradition and then do a Naming Ceremony, which is in line with the African Tradition. This ceremony is inclusive of the congregation and gives the village a responsibility. She was surrounded by her family and was given gifts in the ceremony by her godparents just as African princesses would've been given. Gracia was given her first Pandora bracelet and diamond earrings from her godparents.

My Pastor and My Mother

As she was named she was held in the air by her father a la Lion King. 

Afterwards, we had a BBQ at our home to celebrate the glorious occasion. 

We had a "couture" Minnie Mouse theme for this occasion. 
Now, to be honest, I decided on this theme within the 12th hour and spent a few hours trying to glue, paint and tape things together for her BBQ. 

Here are one of the centerpieces that I put together. 

I hand painted little buttons on the red bowls to mimic Mickey Mouse's pants and made additional Minnie Mouse' decorations using whiffle balls and some glitter. 

We had a dessert bar including Red Velvet Minnie Mouse cupcakes. 

A Hot Diggity Dog Hot Dog Bar with every topping you could think of for your Hot Dogs and Bratwurst. 

We had a house full of people, my husband was on the grill all afternoon whipping up some mighty thick burgers, chicken and hot dogs. He did his thing. 

Everyone brought their kids and we really had a good time. I think this was the first time where we had a cookout at our home with so many children. I guess this is what our life now looks like, now that we have a chid. 

Thanks so much to our village for coming to celebrate with us. 

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My Infant Daughter's Natural Hair Care Routine

Hair is very important. 
The maintenance of my natural hair has pretty much taken over the last ten years of my life, which is how long its been since I decided to go Relaxer free. 
I remember sitting in the kitchen as a child getting my hair hot combed and then spending the majority of the day in the hair salon getting relaxers at a young age and having it in my hair until it itched or burned. 
I always said that what I know now about how to maintain natural hair will be helpful if I have a daughter because as long as I have a say, she will never get a relaxer. 

My Friend Rekita, wrote a post about how she maintains her daughter's hair.
Her beautiful daughter has a hair care routine even though she has little hair. I think its the cutest thing to see her with rollers in her hair. 
And just like we all have different hair care routines for our different types of hair, I thought I would share how I maintain my daughter's hair, which is the complete opposite of Rekita's daughters hair. 

My daughter was born with a head full of hair. 
Something that shocked me and the doctor who said that she thought my daughter would not have a lot of hair based on her sonogram. 

When she was this little, she would get her hair wiped down during bath time and then Vaseline in the hair was good enough to get it back to laying down. 

By two month old, her hair was growing even more than I knew what to do with because she was so little. However, a quick wipe down and vaseline was not cutting it anymore. 
Now she was getting a wipe down with her Aveno wash and shampoo and then ORS Coconut Oil.
I didn't want to add to many chemicals or anything to her hair at the time, but her hair was getting dry. The front and back was one texture and some where in the middle where she would have her head on her car seat or slept on was beginning to turn into a thicker texture. 

My daughters hair has the tightest coil that I have seen on a five month old. 
I can't put heat on it or stretch it like my own head but I have to keep it moisturized or I fear it may loc up. 

These days not only is it long, however tightly curled, it is also very thick. You have to comb it in sections. Usually I wait until she is eating where I can sit her in her high chair just so I can comb her hair without much fussiness from the little one. 

So now I use Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Super Softening Hair Butter. It definitely keeps her hair moisturized and it keeps it from tangling and breaking off as well. 

What do you do with your infants hair?

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My Very First Mother's Day

Sunday was my very first Mother's Day... ever. (Here is where I had to pause for a good hour before I could even get this post together because my daughter has needed two baths due to poo explosions... whew so happy to be a mom *sarcasm is strong in that sentence right about now*)
... so where was I.. 
Yes, Sunday was my first Mother's Day ever. 

For once, as people who are being so kind as to say "Happy Mother's Day" to every woman they pass on that day, could say "Happy Mother's Day" to me and I wouldn't have to say "I am not a mother yet, but thank you anyway" or take it and on the inside know that its not really true to me, but they didn't need to know that. 

This Mother's Day was different. Reflecting on all the things that I do for my daughter, caused me to reflect on just how much my mother does for me and my daughter. It also further solidifies that no matter how old you get, you will always need your mother. Not even marriage or becoming a mother yourself will stop that need for your mother. My mother is absolutely amazing! I can not say it enough. Boy if I didn't feel like I should've taken more notes on just how to do it all... I hope she knows (as I am sure she does) that every single day I wish I could pay her back for all that she has done for me. Everything that I wrote about her here still rings very true.

Mother's Day used to be tough for my husband as well. He lost his mother fifteen years ago and still thinks about her daily. 
He said this year was different because for once instead of being depressed on this day, he could find joy because he sees so much of his mother in our daughter. 
I absolutely agree. 
She is her daddy's twin but may have my eyes. The jury is still out on whether or not she has any part of me. LOL. 

I am so very thankful for the very person that can call me Mommy. She has been truly the love of our lives. We learn each day to see the world through her young learning eyes. She can't say a single thing but its funny how you know that she absolutely loves us. 
My husband made sure that my first Mother's Day was absolutely wonderful. 
He took me to the restaurant where we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. It's ironic because the last time that we were there, I was pregnant. This time, she is here "dining" with us. She was fed before we got there so that she would be content playing with her toys while we ate a beautiful three course meal. 

Can we say yum?! I can not turn down a Rack of Lamb no matter how hard I try.
Everything was absolutely delicious! 

The best part about this restaurant is the view of lakes and trees. They also have these huge Koi fish in a Koi pond and waterfalls. It was such a lovely day that we had to go outside and enjoy it. 
Of course when there is good weather it means ... impromptu photo shoot. 

I talk to her often and tell her how much I love her. She may not remember or understand but just in case she does, I always want her to know it.

My little BIG baby... My five month old looking like an almost one year old. 

My husband was able to capture these moments. I am going to love looking back at this day as she gets older - my little diva princess. 

We were so stuffed and sleepy that we went home and despite an offer to attend a free concert with Gladys Knight, Marvin Sapp, James Fortune and others.. we opted for the nap. Didn't even wake up until late that night. Best present ever... REST.

This morning I woke up and asked the hubby to make me breakfast in bed, just like his Bishop said he should. 
Gracie pretty much sums up his reaction best.

Now, to give you a glimpse into what being a mommy to this happy baby is like...
Sunday mornings are usually the time where I can get a quick picture to send to my mother for "weekly Gracie photo".

It used to be so simple - sit her up in the bed or the couch and snap a few pics while she smiles (because yes she recognizes the camera phone because I have been stalking her since birth) LOL. 

Well now she is more mobile, so I just have to snap away while she does whatever it is that she wants and pray that I get at least a few good ones to send. 
This is pretty much how a Gracie photo shoot goes these days. 

Hope that all the Mothers, Soon to be Mothers, those that are Mother figures, the not yet Mothers and all those who just have a nurturing spirit had a wonderful Mother's Day.

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