Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amelia's Arrival!

This isn't the full birth story, I left out many details,  I'll get around to writing that one of these fine days, but for now I wanna show off my new bundle of joy. She came into the world just one day before my mom's birthday.

My water had broke at about 1 am on February 11.  I remember clearly when my water broke, I heard a snap, and it woke me up. I was a bit confused and wondered if something broke in my belly. LOL!! I then sat up and water came gushing down into my bed, and I had a huge smile on my face.
The contractions started about 2am and only last about 1 hour of consistant contractions.  I called my midwife and doula and let them know that she's coming.

I went back to sleep, and hoped that the contractions would continue, but with my luck and anxiety, the contractions completely stopped. My doula Cherie actually arrived around 10am. I was a bit surprised that she showed up so early, in fact I thought to myself "OMG, what if I dont go into labor today, I didn't want Cherie to waste a day".  Cherie and I went for a 30 minute walk to my aunt's house to get a bottle of good ol' Jamaican castor oil, and then to the grocery store to buy ingredients for a veggie soup that Cherie made later on.

When we returned home, I was a bit annoyed at that fact that the labor didn't begin, I had a few strong contractions during the walk but they weren't consistant. Sakina (my midwife) had called to check on me a few times just to see if the labor had began, and each time i told her no.

Finally. 1 hour after chugging 4 oz of that gross smelling castor, a contraction hit, and it was no joke! Sakina called again, but even a that time I told her, I've only had just a few contractions and I asker her to call me back in about 1 hour. Ha! who was I kidding ? After hanging up the phone, I went to the bathroom thinking I had to make a quick bowel movement, but I didnt. Instead I sat on the toilet and had 3 INTENSE contractions. I was thinking to my self "lemme get off this toilet before the baby comes out."

After that, everything went way to fast for me to even think. All i know is that Rakiem walked into the room and was shocked to see that I was already in transition, I remembering saying to him "Get Sakina on the phone NOW!!!" But by then it was too late.

Sakina was actually in the area, just 7 miles away and coming, but Baby Jones wasnt waiting. The fact that I would be giving birth at home without my midwife just NEVER crossed my mind. With Sakina on speaker phone, rushing through traffic, Rakiem anxiously waiting to catch his baby, and Cherie holding my hand and talking me through each contraction, and each push, Amelia arrived into our world.

My mom was the kitchen cooking curry chicken, and chatting on the phone with her friend. I remember she came into the room with a surprised look on her face and a spoon still in her hand. She had no clue that I had given birth so fast. My brother was in the living room watching movies on his laptop with Olivia. Sakina arrived just about 5 minutes later.

I couldnt ask for a better birth. It was a beautiful day, a full house, a warm home, a comfy bed, the smell of food cooking, and I was surrounded by my loved ones.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

and We're back!

So much time has passed once again. I guess i just go through these "missing episodes" and life gets  very busy and blogging is the last thing on my mind.

My life has moved on to another level since the last time I blogged. Here's what I've done:

we celebrated a happy new year at home

we received a beautiful surprise baby shower

I've been doing some extreme couponing and cutting my grocery bill in half (I'm addicted)

we had another wonderful home-birth, and this time my hubby delivered

I did the BIG CHOP

I've been juggling a blooming toddler and a beautiful newborn with 2 different daily agendas

and so much more . .

I will try to blog atleast 3 times a week going forward, but i'll do a post very soon with tons of camera phone pictures just to recap!

Stay Tuned!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Olivia's Winter Skincare

I am newly obsessed with the California Baby product line. I've had my eyes on this stuff for a long time now, but I never gave it try because I already had an over load of other baby care products that I received as gifts. In fact, I am just recently getting through half of my supply and Olivia's 14 months now.

I remember at one particular point,  I reconsidered changing products not only because  her doctor recommended it, but Olivia suffered a terrible "baby rash " episode and that didn't come about until I started bathing her on a regular basis with these so called "delicate" baby soaps and lotions. My only thought was,"it couldn't be the soap, its made for babies!"

So now, here we are in the cold dry winter months,  our well heated apartment,  and still an abundance of that baby care stuff. The perfect concoction to send my baby's smooth skin into eczema overload, NOT HAPPENING this time!

With the winter being so cold and dry here in NY it doesn't help that we have dry heat in our apartment as well. Therefore my humidifier is always on,  keeping our sinuses intact and our skin soft and supple. Besides the humidifier, here are the products by California Baby that I have tested out thus far and love:

  • First I set her bath with the California Baby® Calendula Shampoo & Bodywash already in the warm water. I put a little extra on a wash cloth and lather her body from head to toe then rinse her off.
  • When I take her out the bath, I give her a good towel pat down and then I coat her skin with the California Baby® Calendula Cream (helps with eczema too, thanks Letannya). 
  • I immediately follow that up with a mixture of 100% all natural Shea Butter mixed with Jojoba Oil to seal in that moisture. 
  • I then dress her and if it's night time, I use the California Baby® Overtired & Cranky™ Aromatherapy Spritzer. I spray it on her clothes, and on her neck and sometimes her face, I also spray it on her sheets right before i put her down to sleep. 

And there you have it, thats my bath time skincare routine for Olivia, so far it's been amazing, the products smell wonderful, her skin is softer that ever before and that spritzer really seems to sooth her when she's tired and cranky. I look forward to buying tons more of the California Baby product line for Olivia, and her baby sister.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day

This year was Olivia's second christmas, but really the first one she's able to participate in. Last christmas she was only 2 months old.

Christmas morning was great. I must say that I got into the spirit very late. Like seriously, I didn't even decorate the tree until the night before. On Christmas Eve, Rakiem, Olivia and I made whole wheat sugar cookies. I know, why the whole wheat, right ? Well because I don't normally use white flour, so it's all we had, but they were great! After we ate the cookies and watched a few movies, Rakiem and Olivia went off to bed. That's when I started to get into the christmas spirit. I wrapped the gifts, decorated the tree, cleaned up Olivia's toys, hung our stockings,  placed the remainder of the cookies on the table for santa, turned on Rakiem's Christmas music playlist, lit the tree and went off to bed.

On Christmas morning, Rakiem woke up first and then woke up Olivia and I. We had a big family hug and wished each other a Merry Christmas. We made our way over to the living room where Olivia just walked over to the tree and begin pulling the ornaments off.

And then she began to open her gifts, we didn't even have to help her or tell her what to do. It  was so funny.

She even cheered as she opened her gift.
After playing with her toys and wrapping paper, she sat and ate some of the ginger bread house that we made. earlier in the week.

 Here are pics of Olivia's ornaments. She loves them so much that she wont even let them hang on the tree.

 Overall, we had a great Christmas, one of the best that I've ever had before. I made a great breakfast  after opening gifts and then we laid around watching old movies before heading out to dinner with family.

So that was our Christmas in a nutshell, hope you had a great one as well.
Happy Holidays!

Styling Olivia's Hair

Just a few months ago, Olivia barely had any hair on her head for me to play with. She had lost all of her newborn hair around 6 months, which is normal. Her new hair began to sprout in late August to early September. Since then, I've been very careful about how I've been grooming her hair. I know for many parents, this is the least of their concerns. African American hair care is very different from other races, as far as its needs for constant moisture and delicate handling. Because of our extremely tight coils, our hair tends to be extremely dry and delicate. 

I've worn chemically straightened hair for almost 20 years, and out of those 20 years, I had spent about 2 years experimenting with my natural hair only to return to relaxed hair. Now that I have a little girl whom's hair I do not plan on relaxing, i've decided to stop relaxing my hair as well for many reasons that I will blog about at a later date.

I've read 2 books about maintaining my natural hair, and I found that many of the practices are very opposite of what we're taught about our hair from generation to generation. I've adapted these new practices and used them on the both of us, and I've seen dramatic difference.

Here is one of the styles that I do in Olivia's hair that save me time from combing her hair on a daily basis.
It's not the normal cornrows, this is actually a two-strand twist, which puts less stress and tension on her delicate hair line.

The twist are very soft and loose, because of that, they don't last very long. I actually don't mind being that I wash her hair at least every week.

So there it is, we went from having very little hair to almost a complete full head. Still waiting for her hairline and nape to grow in.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toddler Schedule

So my mother said to me: "YOU NEED TO HAVE A SCHEDULE FOR LIVY!" Yes, just like that in a very stern no nonsense voice, and me being me, I didn't take kind too it. I was a bit offended because my mom doesn't live with me (or even near me) to know whether or not I have a set schedule for my daughter.

At the end of the day, no matter how offended or upset I wanna get, she's right. Everyone needs a bit of a schedule especially when dealing with children. I have a schedule, but its completely outta wack at the moment, and I have a perfectly good reason: I'm 8 months pregnant! What does this mean ? I am always tired, sleepy, hungry, and a bit lazy. So when it comes to meeting the demands of my 1 year old, it's not easy! It may not get done on time, but it gets done!

So I'm interested in finding out from other SAHM's, What's Your Toddler's Schedule?
Leave me a comment, and I'll create a compilation of some of your schedule to re-create my own, and I'll share it with you guys!

Thanks In Advance!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How To Relieve a Baby's Stuffy Nose

I found this video to be very helpful. My daughter is 13 months old, and we still use these techniques on her.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Happy Thanksgiving

This is where I spend my Thanksgiving every year since 2006. It's my home away from home, my parent's house. This is also where Rakiem proposed to me, Thanksgiving 2006. Although this is really Olivia's second Thanksgiving, it's the first time that she's able to part take part in the eatings and other festivities.

This was Olivia's first time visiting Grandma and Grandpa's home,  and she had an amazing time running around and exploring her new surroundings. My dad stayed up late with her a few nights just to play and spend quality time with her. My mom made her a very comforting pot of cornmeal porridge or oatmeal porridge every morning.

On thanksgiving morning, my Dad went into his garden and picked some of his finest crops, including the delicious collard greens. (That's my mom in the background cooking a big ol' pot of cornmeal porridge for Olivia.) My Dad has a pretty elaborate farm behind that house, He's got sweet potatoes, collard greens, peppers, cabbage, rosemary, and much more.

Olivia sat in the living room and played with her Lego's until her breakfast was ready. She hung out around the kitchen all day and pretty much tasted everything before Thanksgiving dinner was ready. 

Here's a shot of everyone getting busy in the kitchen. Dad's prepping food, Mom is cooling down that porridge, Lisa's laughing at jokes, and Livy's just waiting for her food!

After all the cooking was done, we sat down to a lovely meal that everyone contributed to. It was so much fun, and I was so thankful to be able to share this day with loved ones.

Our Thanksgiving Menu:
Oven Roasted Turkey
Baked Ham
Fried Chicken
Sweet Potato Casserole
Garden Salad
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Steamed String Beans
Collard Greens
Fried Tilapia
Bulgar Wheat & Peas
Red Wine
White Wine
Egg Nog
Apple Pie
Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Casserole from the Garden

Garden Salad

Fried Chicken

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Steamed String Beans

Collard Greens from the Garden

Fried Tilapia

Baked Ham
Olivia sat in my brothers lap for dinner, and munched on her dinner right out of her own plate. She had a few bites and then she ran off to play.

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, and wishing you Happy Holidays to come! From my family to yours.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Olivia's Vocabulary - 13 months old

  • Bella - her first word, used in correct context.
  • Daddy - used in correct context.
  • Mommy - she just chants mommy here and there but does not refer to me as mommy
  • Mama - used in correct context, yup that's what she calls me!
  • Yeaaaaaahh - used in correct context when I ask "Do you love me?"
  • Uh Ooohh - used in correct context.
  • Baby - another word she just chants just because I call her baby
  • Bobby - she refers to everyone as such, its so funny!
  • No - unfortunately, she uses this word correctly, LOL!
  • Gabba Gabba - another rambling of hers, she loves to watch Yo Gabba Gabba!
  • MyBaby - strangely this means pick me up and hold me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just for Little Girls

Can you resist Etsy?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

27 Weeks Pregnant (second pregnancy)

  1. How far along? 27 Weeks
  2. Total weight gain/loss: gained 6 lbs total!
  3. Maternity clothes? Sometimes! But I can still get away with wearing my regular pants, just have to put the waist below the belly. And no I don't wear that silly gimmicky belly-band that's supposed to allow you to wear your normal clothes throughout your pregnancy. That thing always ends up rolling up into a tube under my breast cutting off circulation to the rest of my body!
  4. Stretch marks? Ummm, yeah. from previous pregnancy
  5. Sleep: Getting better sleep now that i have a schedule figured out for my 12 month old! Yippee! 
  6. Best moment this week: Seriously ? Ask me next week please.
  7. Movement: She moves way more than Olivia did, she is constantly kicking and grooving, cant wait to see this lil kicker. I bet she'll be all calm when she arrives.
  8. Food: Occasionally, I'd have one strange craving, sometimes i'll go out and "take care of it", other times I ignore the craving.
  9. Gender: It's a gurl!
  10. Labor Signs: o, but I've been having labor dreams, and they all go very well.
  11. Belly Button in or out?  It's way out there
  12. What I miss: Dieting, and focusing on losing weight and exercising.
  13. Planning Update: We're still planning on making a move,  and still haven't found THEE house yet. House hunting isn't all that great, and now that the weather is cold, I don't wanna go out look at homes, but this may be a better time to get a look.
  14. Weekly Wisdom: Be positive, everything will work itself out.
  15. Milestones: None . . . .idk. . 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Homemade Boston Market Dinner

My husband and I love Boston Market, mainly for the sides, I don't care too much for the chicken, it's a bit too salty for me. So when I am in the mood to have  Boston Market Dinner night, I don't always hop in the car and make a run, I turn to one of my favorite websites for copy cat meals:

So I wanted to share with you these wonderful copy cat recipes that my family and I enjoy so much. I hope you'll be able to make it a Homemade Boston Market Night, I know I will.

On the menu for tonights dinner will be:
Oven Roasted Chicken (with the spices and herbs that I enjoy the most)
Boston Market Creamed Spinach
Boston Market Sweet Potato Casserole

Boston Market Creamed Spinach

  • 1 20oz Package Chopped Spinach Frozen
  • 1 C. White Sauce (Thick)
  • 1/2 C. Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1/4 C. Water
White Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 4 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 C. Whole Milk
Prepare the white sauce using a medium low setting melt butter in a saucepan add flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt until creamed together. Add milk a little at a time on medium heat. Constantly stir with a whisk until mixture becomes thick and smooth.
Place butter in a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat, add onions. Cook until the onions are transparent. Place spinach and add water to pan, lower the heat and place lid on pan. Stir several times until the spinach is almost completely cooked. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. When spinach is almost done add white sauce and sour cream, stir well and simmer until 

Boston Market Sweet Potato Casserole
Yield: 8-10 servings.
  • 6 cups mashed sweet potatoes (5 to 6 potatoes-see step #1)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • Oatmeal Streusel:
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter

Rub a little vegetable oil on the skin of each sweet potato and bake them in a preheated 400 degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until they are tender. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scrape out the insides and use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the potatoes until they are mashed and smooth. Measure exactly 6 cups of the mashed sweet potato into a large bowl.
Add 3/4 cup brown sugar, heavy cream, melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt into the sweet potatoes and mix well with the beater until all the ingredients are incorporated. Pour this mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make the oatmeal streusel by grinding the rolled oats to a fine flour using a food processor. A blender will also work.
Combine the oat flour with 4 tablespoons brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut the cold butter into the dry mixture using a pastry knife or a fork. You should have a crumbly mixture with pea-size bits. Sprinkle this oatmeal streusel over the sweet potato mixture and pop it into the oven for 70 to 80 minutes or until the top begins to brown slightly.
When you remove the casserole from the oven immediately spread the marshmallows over the top. Let this sit for about 10 minutes. The heat from the casserole will melt the marshmallows, and then it’s ready to serve.

Oven Roasted Chicken

Boston Market Creamed Spinach (came out a bit runny)

Boston Market Sweet Potato Casserole (i left the marshmallow topping out this time)

Teething Treats for your Toddler

Olivia currently has 8 teeth. 5 of them are completely out, and the others are still making their way through. I always just assumed that teething ends after the first 2-4 teeth were out, don't know why I thought that at all. I guess the teething stage isn't over until all teeth are completely in, and that can take almost 2 years.

So from time to time, we have these cranky spells that she experiences, and the methods that I used when she was about 6 months old, doesn't really hold her attention anymore. We did frozen rags dipped in water or fruit juice, baby orajel, Humphrey's Pellets, and one method that I still use today, the apple juice ice cubes crushed and stuffed into mesh feeders.

I notice that anything cold and flavorful will do the trick. The coolness is soothing and the flavors are so yummy that the pain becomes tolerable. So last week as we made our way through BuyBuy Baby (remember, we were stroller shopping) I browsed the baby feeding section and came across Kidco Healthy Snack Frozen Treat Trays and couldn't resist! 

Here are the FroYo treats that I made for Olivia: 

 The Recipe is VERY simple. I altered a sample recipe that was included in the box

  • 4oz Strawberry Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mixed Frozen Berries
  • 3oz 100% Berry Juice (unsweetened)

Blend, Pour, then Freeze!

After handing her the ice pop, it dawned on me that she wouldn't know how to hold to hold the pop. But she eventually figured it out.

 Other fun and tasty ideas:

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