My Love Below

my journey through motherhood and other complex matters

Gender Revealed

And, we are having a . . . {drum roll, please}. . .

photo

GIRL!

Now to planning the nursery.

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Boy or Girl?

Honestly, I could care less about the sex of the baby as long as he or she is healthy. The first time I was pregnant, I really wanted a boy. I mean I prayed for a boy. I saw myself mothering a boy and I knew with everything in me that I was carrying a boy. My nerves were definitely calmed when it was prophesied that I was carrying a boy. Yes, I do believe in prophesy.

Despite all this . . . my intuition is telling me I’m having a girl this time. It could be that this pregnancy is much different than my first. I’m not craving hamburgers and cupcakes. I’m not craving anything at all and I think it’s because I’m having such a difficult time digesting food. What’s even more frustrating is that I’m experiencing the worst hunger pangs an hour or so after I eat. It’s down-right frustrating. There are the usual sleepless nights and fatigue, but I don’t let that stop me from doing anything. In the back of my mind, I can hear my mom say “pregnancy is not an illness” even when I have my husband begging me to sit down. After-all, I’ve got things to do. Clothes and dishes don’t wash themselves and there are those little things that I just enjoy doing, like organizing and tiding spaces. Some would label it nesting. If that was the case, I’d be nesting all the time – pregnant or not. It calms my nerves and prepares me for what may lie ahead. It’s my nature. I’m okay with it.

Now, back to the purpose of this post. . .

The big question is . . . am I having a boy or a girl? One of my coworkers did the necklace test on me a few weeks ago. It determined that I would have three children — one boy, one girl and another boy. I even reviewed the Chinese Gender Chart. Results? Girl. My close friend asked me to check the heartbeat of the baby to determine the sex. I did that last time and based on the heart rate, I was supposed to have a girl.I ended up with a boy. You got to love an old wives tale. The only being that knows what I’m really having is God, but it’s fun to dabble in the unforeseen.

Anyway, I find out on Thursday and I’m really excited. Now-a-days, couples are having gender reveal parties to announce the sex of their babies. Others send out the cutest little announcements. I went over to Pinterest to see what I could find and these were some of my favorites:

Gender Reveal Ideas

1. 2. 3. 4

I Heart Pears also has a list of its top 15 gender reveal ideas. Some of them are really awesome.

Next post should be my big reveal. Any guesses on how you think we’re going to do it? I got some really great inspiration.

Kids and Veggies

So, here’s my dilemma . . . Miles won’t eat anything green, other than a lime flavored Popsicle. I’ve received tons of recommendations on how to “disguise” carrots and peas in everything from rice to pasta (something he loathes).  Gone are the days of homemade pureed veggies disguised as baby food. I’m so happy I loaded him on the good stuff early and for as long as I could.

Miles is a meat eater. He gets giddy at the site of ham. Loves him a good Chick-fil-a six piece nugget and could eat a whole de-boned filet of fish. I kid you not. Oh, and he loves beans and the occasional carrot – not steamed or smashed. In its natural state.

This is great and all, but how do I get this tenacious toddler to eat his veggies, especially the green ones? Enters the juicer and blender.  I purchased this Breville after watching the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

Breville

Throw in a couple of apples, carrots and spinach and you have a sweet treat even your hubby will drink minus all the extra preservatives and added sugar. Get creative and see what kind of recipes you can whip up. Martha Stewart’s Green Vegetable Cocktail is really tasty. I wouldn’t call it kid friendly since it calls for ginger, which can be a bit spicy for a child’s pallet, but it’s great for adults.

I won’t lie, juicing takes some time and then there’s clean up. If you don’t have a couple of hours to spare, I suggest creating smoothies. It’s quick and easy and great when you are trying to grab something on the go that’s filling. I usually prepare a kale smoothie for me and the “boys.”

The recipe:

  • 1/2 cup purified water
  • 1 banana
  • a handful of strawberries (I prefer frozen to chill you smoothie)
  • Chobani plain yogurt
  • a handful of blueberries
  • a handful of frozen kale (blanched, diced and frozen myself)

This is actually the smoothie I made for Miles and me today. I found more smoothie recipes on FoodNetwork.com that I’m eager to try. Do you have any smoothie recipes that you love and are willing to share? Are they mother-approved and kid friendly?

***Update: February 28, 2013

I came across this great smoothie infographic on Pinterest and had to share. There’s even one that claims to cure a hangover. Bottoms up!

Happy Go Texan Day!

He's all boy and all Texan, even if he looks a bit like a farmer. Love this kid!

He’s all boy and all Texan, even if he looks a bit like a farmer. Love this kid!

Sexy Bump

Gone are the days of looking like Mrs. Roper when your pregnant. Men everywhere are thanking the Lord. You know how miserable Mr. Roper was. I digress.

Today, women are not afraid to debut their growing bump and new curves. Just ask Kim Kardashian who has already been dubbed the sexiest pregnant woman alive. If, you like that sort of thing. She’s made a few fashion faux pas, but as a fellow mommy who appreciates style, I’m happy that women are synching their wastes, wearing skinny maternity pants and opting for the occasional 4-inch heel instead of flats. They’re bringing sexy back . . . to the bump.

Here are some examples of my faves:

Here I am bumping my own maternity style.

Stop by my Pinterest board to view more stylish mamas. Maybe you’ll get a little inspiration of your own.

Breathe

Today, I left my toddler at home with his dad, because he’d had another asthma episode last night. If you have ever seen a child so uncomfortable because he couldn’t breathe properly, you understand the type of anguish we go through. It’s pretty horrible. Despite this, I know that things can always be worse. Hopefully,  Miles will grow out of this. However, some experts say, you don’t grow out of having asthma, you just learn to manage your triggers and reduce your symptoms.

I write all this to say that while children are a blessing from God, there are times when being a parent can be ever so stressful. While pregnant with my second child, I’ve often said that raising a second baby will be easier. The first child was a run-through for those that follow. We can’t possible go through the same issues with the second that we experienced with the first. God wouldn’t allow us to deal with this a second time. Womp, womp, womp, womp, womp. Then reality sets in . . . nothing in life is guaranteed. You play the cards you are dealt. In my case, I say you do your best and let God do the rest.

When I was pregnant with Miles I was anticipation of something new and exciting. Now that I’m pregnant with the second baby, I’m wondering if I can continue to balance it all. For now, I’ll just continue to breathe.

A cure for stretch marks?

I know there is no such thing as a cure for stretch marks. I know the only thing that can prevent you from getting stretch marks is to gain your pregnancy weight steadily. Some women swear by cocoa butter and all types of oils or homemade remedies.

My last pregnancy, I didn’t get any stretch marks . . . on my stomach, but I did get a few elsewhere. Here I am pregnant with the second baby and I find myself worried about the battle scars I could potentially receive from carry this little bundle of joy.

Am I going to completely ignore the issue or attempt to prevent it?

After reading a tweet from Tia Mowry ( I love the Mowrys) that she used Organic Coconut Oil morning and night, I decided to give it a try. It couldn’t hurt, right?

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil

Enters Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil.  I picked it up from my local GNC. Now, mind you. This is the same coconut oil my mother-in-law cooks with. Could it possibly be good for my skin? It absolutely is and it’s even great for my hair. It’s light, not greasy and it smells so good. I’m surprised my husband hasn’t tried to eat me alive.

Here’s to a stretch mark-free pregnancy! Well, one can only hope.

Round Dos

I knew instantly when I got pregnant. Instantly! I mean, I pride myself on being that person who is very in-tune with their body. My parents, on the other hand, have once labeled me as  bit of a hypochondriac, but I don’t care. I was pregnant for the second time. I had cramps, I had constipation like I’ve never had before, but most importantly, I’d missed my period.

Who was I going to call first and could I keep this secret from James until Christmas? I knew the answer to the first question. I called my mom. By the tone of her voice I could tell she was “cautiously” excited. She was probably thinking, alright am I ready for a second one? You see, she watched Miles until he was 18 months old. If you know Miles, you know that he was a good baby, even though he didn’t sleep through the night until he was about 12 months. At 18 months, he proved to be a bit of a handful so we decided to enroll him in preschool (notice I didn’t say daycare . . . not for my money), so he can exert all of that wonderful toddler energy with little people of his same age, height and temperament. Thank God for Ms. Chriss!

But, I digress.

After telling my mom, I thought I could keep this secret from James until Christmas. What’s two months? Not long if you didn’t suffer from extreme fatigue, weren’t showing, didn’t have nausea or didn’t just happen to catch the flu. I didn’t make it to Christmas, let alone Thanksgiving. The look on James’ face was priceless, because I had mentioned being pregnant several times before it  actually sunk in. The chap didn’t believe me when I told him the first time. I told my immediate family next, followed by my in-laws, who were staying with us the weekend of Miles’ birthday. My father-in-law brought a bottle of wine and offered it to me, but I told him as much as I’d love to have a drink, I couldn’t share it with him anyway. My mother-in-law knew exactly what I was talking about. She lit up like a Christmas tree. It was pretty wonderful.

We are having another baby. Another baby. Another baby.

The first time I was pregnant I had so many emotions. This time, I’m like “cool”. We kinda know what to expect as far as pregnancy goes, but my concerns have more to do with the balancing act than the actually birth of Baby T. Our little family has our routine down packed. How will I manage having a second baby? Will I do all the things I did for the first one? How will my love grow?

I’m back . . . Sort of

I’m six months into this thing called motherhood and by the date of my last entry, you can see that’s it’s been a pretty long time since I’ve put my thoughts to electronic paper. Let’s just say my schedule has been pretty full. I did plan on blogging about Baby T’s entry into the world, his firsts, the baby blues (aka Postpartum Depression), re-entering the workforce, yada, yada, yada. Instead, I’ve spent the last six months trying to balance motherhood, marriage and employment all while trying to be a good daughter, sister, American citizen and a child of Christ.

Lord help me!

Let’s just say no one is perfect and I’ve had my shortcomings, but who wouldn’t? Have you tried this thing called parenting? It’s a strong drug with a crazy trip, and boy is it expensive!

Anyway, I’m posting this entry to let you all know that I’m back. Who cares? Well, those who bought tickets to this crazy side show, that’s who. You know, the ones out there who know me well, who thought I’d never get married, let alone have a kid or be able to balance it all. Not naysayers as such. I’m talking about serious non-believers. Let’s face it back in the day I was a selfish, goal oriented, single, motherless “young lady” FULL of dreams and ambitions who could not conceive that there was a single nurturing bone in her body.

Fast forward to December 2010 and . . . well . . . you have a woman whose heart is a bit softer. She’s a bit sleep deprived from early morning feedings and sweet conversations that are always lost in translation, because who can decode giddy jibberjabber from a happy baby? What can I say, he’s a talker. Have you met his daddy? She’s had to adjust to occasional disorganization, a fete with in itself, 10 minute showers, missing most of her friend’s joyous occasions and scarfing down meals in 15 minutes or less to keep her baby on “somewhat” of a schedule.

Lord, how did my mother do it all or appear to do it all? She was a swan, paddling like HELL under water and even on her worst day, if there was such a thing, she was the BEST.

Each atrium of my heart is full of something greater than love. And even on my worst day, I know that in Miles’ eyes I’m supreme. His smiles turn me to mush and with each milestone I feel proud that God has granted me this extraordinary experience.

Now, back to this blog thing. . .

I can’t promise you that each post will leave you warm and fuzzy, because if they did, then I’d be lying about this whole thing. I’d hate to delude some poor girl who is thinking about taking on such responsibility. You can say that this may be the strongest form of birth control yet! Needless to say, every day is not a bed of roses. What I can promise to do is be honest about my experience and my experience alone.

These days, I notice every baby that passes my line of sight and it prides me to let their parents know how adorable they are. I get all wrapped up in age, discovering twins and asking about stages of development. (*disclaimer: every baby is different and doesn’t develop the same, so I try not to compare.) I baffle myself sometimes. But, that’s the effect these things (babies) have on you. They melt your heart and can leave you joyfully speechless at times. They can also make you want to pull your hair out strand by strand, but I digress. They really do make the world go round. My world at least.

My Love Has Surfaced

My Love Below has surfaced and on December 3, 2010 at 5:57 p.m., after 16 hours of labor, I gave birth to the most precious baby boy. Yes, all eight pounds of him. Since then, our lives have drastically changed . . . for the good, mind you, but there continues to be a few bumps and bruises and major adjustments along the way. Everyone knows I had a wonderful pregnancy. I gained 40 fabulous pounds (10 of which I have left to shed) and worked well up until the day before I gave birth.

Flash forward to 5 weeks later. I’m sleep deprived and dare I say already feeling a bit guilty about what has taken place in the last 20 days, and yesterday, I had a moment. I had one of those moments that I will never forget . . . I felt a bit disappointed in my role as a mother, a role I’ve only had for a measly few days now. A role in which I have the rest of my life to improve on. Humph. What’s even more interesting is that I was not alone in my feelings. Seems as though many women feel somewhat helpless at times when caring for a newborn. I’m not alone. I mean, I didn’t think I was, but the outpouring of responses that I received made me feel hopeful. I know motherhood is a sisterhood and as humans, caring for and rearing other humans, we’re going to make mistakes, even when we think we’re doing the absolute best for our children. I couldn’t contain my feelings though and wondered why we don’t address this more. Why do we, as women, believe that we have to be so strong all of the time? I’ve never been more vulnerable than I am now, as a mother. I question every day whether or not I’m making the right choices and to be honest, I won’t know if some of my decisions are the best for years to come. One of my friends got it right when she said, we act this way, because our mothers made it look so damn easy. Yup, at least mine did and I know Mrs. Sheryl did and Mrs. Girsel and uh all the other women in my life who raised children, some even did it single.

I have help (my husband) and what the heck am I complaining about again? Oh, I remember now, I thought I lived in a very organized world, one that I tried relentlessly to control. I had a baby and all that got shot to you know where. Now, I find myself planning, well hoping to get 5-10 minutes in for a good shower and a bite to eat three to five times a day (did I mention I need to do that to shed the baby weight) and hope my body and mind shut down when my head hits the pillow as soon as my son’s eyes close. And, I haven’t mentioned anything here about bathroom breaks. I would dare to say that some women probably go holding their babies on their laps. Now, that is a visual. It’s definitely an adjustment, but what I have to remind myself is . . .like my mom and Mrs Sheryl reminded me . . . this too shall pass. Never have a clinged to such a simple statement until now. I mean, it’s so true. Six months from now, when I look back on the first few months of motherhood, I’ll laugh and 15-18 years from now I’ll have a slew of embarrassing stories to share with my son . . .about my son. Each day I learn something new about his little development and each day, I do have a few laughs. Right now, at nap time, you’d think there were a slew of barn animals living in my house. The noises this kid makes as he sleeps and stretches is beyond me. All I hear is a donkey, a couple of cats and a goat.

Despite all of this, what remains the same is that my family has grown and so has my love. Day in and day out. In laughter and in,at times, tears. This continuation of my blog is just my interpretation of this incredible journey that I have embarked upon and that I share with so many others.

My Love Below makes his appearance . . . Look at those cheeks!

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