Sunday, March 25, 2012

Single Girl Sunday: June's Story - How I Accidentally Dated a Married Man.

I slept with a married man and carried on a relationship with him for almost six months.

I’m sure that you’ve already pegged me as a whore, a home wrecker, or some other derogatory term.  But before you are quick to judge me, understand that I truly did not know that the man that I cared for, even loved, was married.  It seems impossible, I know.  How could I carry on a relationship with someone for so long without knowing that he was married?  Did I mention that he also had two kids?  Well, unfortunately, it’s easier to find yourself in this situation than you think.

He was smart, handsome, and nice.  I met him while at work as I was eating my lunch alone in the cafeteria.  Just like in the movies, I was immersed in a book when I look up and saw him standing over me with his tray asking me if he could sit down.  Considering that I was by myself (in more ways than one) I told him to pull up a seat and from there we began to talk as if we were lifelong friends.

Soon after that, I saw him again and we decided to make our accidental meetings more purposeful.  He told me that he traveled for business but that he was new to town and our company.  I offered to help him pick out furniture for his place.  We would jokingly pick out things from the IKEA catalogue to trick out his “pimp pad”.  It took no time for our friendship to turn into something more.

It started out with an early Saturday movie and evolved into late-night dinners on Sundays.  When our relationship became physical, he would assure me that he had to leave my house so early in the mornings because he had to catch a flight…or to prepare for conference call…or to take his grandmother to the doctor. Though I wanted to see him more, I decided not to push him for more attention because I didn’t want to scare him away.  So I settled for believing the things that he told me although deep down I knew he wasn’t being completely honest with me.

The red flags started to pop up when I realized he wouldn’t pick up the phones during the evenings when he wasn’t with me.  Then he wouldn’t respond to my text messages during the day.  Eventually, our only interactions were when I saw him in the cafeteria at work or when he decided that he wanted to see me.
Everything hit the fan one day when I decided to follow him after he left my house at four o’clock in the morning.   As soon as I heard his truck pull out of my driveway, I ran to my car to follow him.  At first I thought I would get caught, which scared me more than actually finding him with someone else.  Because I knew that if he caught me before I discovered where he was really going then I ran the risk of him hating me and ending our relationship – possibly over nothing.

I trailed him for an hour outside of the city limits into a suburban subdevelopment that I had actually been to a few months before for a Christmas party.

As soon as he pulled up and got out of the car, my heart sank when I saw a kids’ swing set in the backyard.  And though the evidence was obvious I felt as if I needed conformation for myself.  So I decided to wait until his wife left the house for work.  I felt like I had to see his wife’s face for it to be true.

After three hours in the car, the door to his home opened and out walked my lover…and his tall, Amazon forest-looking, beautiful Latino wife.

I sat there watching them load their family into the car.  I cried.  I yelled.  I cursed.  I even considered ramming my car into theirs as they drove away.  I considered jumping out the car and telling his wife who I was and how I knew her husband.  In the end, I ended up just driving away, but not before shitting on their front porch first.

I never told the man that I was dating that I drove to his house, but the next time he came to my table in the cafeteria I told him that I knew he was married.  I figured that the pile of shit waiting for him when he got home would do all the talking for me.  For a fleeting moment, I was envious of the woman who had the man that I wanted to be mine, but I realized that she had bigger problems then I could ever imagine.

From that experience, I learned to always trust my instincts, and that advice stands true regardless of it you are single or married.  If something doesn’t seem right, you owe it to yourself to see what’s going on.  Ask the tough questions that you are afraid to know.  God willing, you will find out that the problem is something that can be repaired.  But if by chance, the issue seems insurmountable, face it head on because you will be mad at yourself in the long-term if you do not.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(MommyJD) Hump Day Randomisms

It's Hump Day! These weeks are going by fast and the warm weather helps!
  • Does anyone else get sad when you have to put away baby clothes that your child has worn once, maybe twice? It's even worse when the clothes are super cute. 
  • BUT, I have been known to squeeze KJ's chubby arms and thighs into an outfit that she has clearly outgrown just to get some wear out of it. 
  • This is a public service announcement for any man who may come across this blog post: dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, not the sink. Thaaaaaanks.
  • I went to Target the other day and saw a man walk in with not one but two kids in his cart. I later saw him walking behind a Target team member with only the younger child- the employee was on her walkie talkie looking for the other child. Dad looked like he could use a drink. 
  • During this same trip to Target I was childless (the only way to shop!) so I took my time and walked slowly up and down each aisle. I discovered that Target has a new aisle completely dedicated to natural black hair products! And I'm talking about the good stuff that you normally have to order online! I am such a product junkie, I spent the majority of my type plotting on which products to get. 
  • 2 Karats and a Kid and I are two months away from Treat Yo' Self 2012 and I can't wait! This year I think we will even make a video like this one:


So that's what's on my mind today- what's on yours? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

(MommyJD) The Devastation of Sleep Deprivation

According to Baby Center, and probably some moms out there, at 7 months old my baby should be sleeping through the night by now. Even I will admit that Gr was sleeping in his own bed all night when he was KJ's age, but I try not to compare my kids. The thing is, KJ has definitely been spoiled. Since my kids are 3 years apart I had at least a year and a half of getting a good night's sleep. So I've been dragging on giving that up.

At this point I'm not ready to let KJ just "cry it out," even though I know that method would only take 2 or 3 rough nights. Instead I'm trying to train her to first not feel the need to eat in the middle of the night, and then move on to her putting herself to sleep. But my baby likes to eat, and around 2am she gets the munchies real bad. If I let her cry for too long, her blood curdling screams would shock her fragile system. For those who did not read my previous post about needing a bubble, long story short is that anytime KJ catches a cold it takes a toll on her respiratory system. So for the sake of her health, I'm taking this sleep training thing slow. Unfortunately slow is not better by any means and every night KJ let's me know how upset she is if I don't let her sleep next to me and if I don't feed her before 6am. It also doesn't help that she's got two bottom teeth pushing through her gums.

Sleep training sucks. As does sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation means I do stuff like put orange juice in my cereal and miss the turn into my subdivision. Sleep deprivation means fearing I will say something unintelligent in court or falling asleep on the train and missing my stop.

This week is exceptionally difficult because my husband is out of town and my son has been sleeping horribly. We live near train tracks and now midnight trains plus every other sound imaginable wakes Gr up from his sleep.  His comes running down the steps like a wild banchee crying about something that woke him up. I try to remain calm and walk him back to his room, but there have been nights where I find myself arguing with a 3 year old at 4am.

So in addition to sharing my story, this post is a cry for help! What can I do to get my kids to sleep better?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Plight of the Single Girl: Tall, Dark, and a Complete Fool (Pascal's Story)

You always want what you can’t have. There are plenty of nice guys. They’re just all in the past where you left them. You don’t know how to act when someone is nice to you.

These, and many, many more idioms are common echoes in the single girl’s psyche. Our well-intentioned married girlfriends offer tips and tools on how to “close the deal.” Our platonic male counterparts warn us to be less “too picky”, more realistic and willing to let our ‘freak flag’ fly but not too soon. Our moms remind us to uphold our ladylike behavior at all times (especially in church) while our fathers encourage us to take no mess.

With all this instruction, you’d think we’d have our own secret society complete with rituals and the mantra…Get married, or die tryin’.  I sometimes fantasize about my shrinking group of single friends crashing the book club meeting of our married friends with a flash mob singing Jon Bon Jovi’s, “It’s My Life” – a signal to them all to support our plight as opposed to try to dictate it.

But instead, all of this makes finding “the one” more confusing than ever. To truly determine whether there’s any real point in a second date or meeting parents, or inviting over or…dare I say cooking for him, single women conduct an ongoing assessment from the beginning to help determine the deal breakers.

A True Story

I enjoyed a certain chemistry with a friend of a friend. He often flirted whenever we’d see each other which was usually at a party of our friend’s. But more or less, we always left it at the party under the dark lights with the rest of the fond memories. After a year or so, he asked me for my number. I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that although he was a deliciously dark piece of chocolate with serious charisma and a smile as white as elephant’s tusk, he was not at all my type. Our flirting was fine, but it had its place. I took pleasure in knowing that I’d bump into him at our friend’s parties. He’d charm. I’d smile. He’d flirt. I’d like it. And then we’d go our separate ways with a knowing “until the next time”… (glance).

This distance was a great part of the appeal of our interaction. It was superficially stimulating and we were both able to return to our lives after the party having caused no real damage to ourselves or anyone else. Like a daydream, it was a brief escape providing just enough pleasure and fantasy to distract from any current stress or dissatisfaction. It was predictable, reliable…perfect. As such, I was hesitant to breach the comfortable parameters of our interaction. And yet, I found myself saying “yes” to the possibilities and off we went-on an actual date.

And quite honestly, it was a fairly seductive scene. He was flawless in his attention and chivalry. He opted for a lounge with a live band and good food. I liked that. He opened doors, pulled out chairs. I was relieved he was still funny, still charming. I’d already decided I would not be sleeping with him anytime soon. (This is not a myth, gentlemen. Women know about 30 seconds after meeting you.) So, I was relaxed without the pressures of having to be hyper-feminine or hyper-sexual.

And so, we’re sitting there and enjoying our witty banter and intelligent but easy-going conversation, I’m starting to think to myself, “Well how about that. This is awesome.”

And then it happens.

Just when I start to entertain seeing this guy again, he looks at me and gives me an unmistakable look of yearning. I’m flattered but play coy and ask, “What?”

He pauses for only a second before saying, “ I was just thinking about something.”

Seizing the opportunity, I encourage him to tell me. I’m mentally preparing to be gracious in anticipation he’s going to tell me how glad he is we’re alone or how beautiful I am. I literally leaned forward just the slightest bit so as to fully receive the kind words that would surely challenge my cool fa├žade.

And as he parts those lips revealing those perfectly white teeth, he says, “I just keep thinking how good your tits look up against the table.”

And that there, folks, was that. I glanced over the scrumptiousness that was before me and let out a deep sigh. “Too bad he won’t be getting none…ever,” I thought.

And back to the drawing board I went. 

Written by:  Pascal*


[Names have been changed to protect the identity of the single girl.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

(MommyJD) Hump Day Randomisms

Here are my random thoughts on this beautiful Wednesday- each of which is too short for it's own post.
  • After reading Black Enterprises' most recent "Top 40 Under 40," which included one woman I know personally and two women who went to my alma mater, I was super amped to get back to lawyering work! But then I remembered the mantra "I is kind, I is smart, I is important"- and that's good enough for me for now. Plus, none of those women get to spend their day with my KJ- and she is my (second) greatest accomplishment. 
  • Damon Wayons, Jr. is the only reason why I still watch Happy Endings. While funny at first, the nuances of each character have become so exaggerated it's starting to get predictable and annoying.
  • Where is the craziest place you put something where it didn't belong? This usually happens with pregnant women. When my sister and I were pregnant at the same time she told me she put a bottle of orange juice in the cupboard. I replied that I had put salad dressing under the kitchen sink. Sadly this still happens to me as I just now took out tupperware, put leftover food in it, and put it back in the cupboard with the other tupperware. Smh.
  • Multi-tasking while on the phone- I know I'm not alone with this one because my sister does it to me all the time. You're "listening" to the person on the phone while completing the 50 million tasks you had going on before the phone rang. Then before you know it there's a weird silence on the phone as if the person on the other end is waiting for some sort of response. And all you can really say is "mmmmhmmm. Yeah." Smh. That is so rude of me- I'm gonna need me to do better...
  • My son has the negotiation skills of a 5th year associate. This of course should not come as a surprise considering his grandfather and mother are attorneys. He'll ask for 10 cookies and I'll say, how about no cookies, to which he'll reply, how about 5 cookies, and that will go on until he is happily walking away with a cookie in each hand. Maybe me studying for the bar while pregnant with him has something to do with it...the boy has skills!
Happy Hump Day! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

(2 Karats and a Kid) Introducing...Single Girl Sundays!!

Mommy-ism #24:  The grass is always...TURF...on the other side.

As a married woman and a mother, I often find myself having the same conversations with my single friends.  They tell me about their fun nights out on the town, their dating lives, and their Saturday shopping sprees.  I tell them about my playdates, dinner disasters, and impulse shopping at Target and on Amazon.com.  They rant to me about the lack of good men out there, I rant to them about how expensive daycare is in the city.

In the end, we feel equally grateful that we aren't in the other person's shoes while also wishing that we had a fleeting glimpse of the family life/single life/commitment/lack of commitment that the other person enjoys.

Some say that the grass is always greener on the other side, I say that the grass is usually turf on the other side.

Oftentimes, the life that we envy in other people is an illusion of our own design.  Because we oftentimes only see a snapshot of people's lives at any given point in time, we fill in the blanks of what we don't see with the ideals that come out of our own wishes, dreams, and desires.  This usually conflicts with reality and breeds unwarranted envy.

In part, the reason why I began to write is because I wanted to candidly share my experiences - both good and bad - with anyone who was curious or about to become a mother.  And since one good deed deserves another, I've rounded up some single friends to share the joys and perils of their dating lives with you.  Starting on March 18 and every Sunday thereafter, we will host, "Single Girl Sundays" with guest blog entries from as many single chicks as I can find who are willing to write.

Some of their stories may make you wish for a night out with your girlfriends.
Some of their stories may make you thank the Gods that you are no longer out there.

Regardless, I hope their stories make you laugh and appreciate where you are in life...no matter which side of the fence you may reside.



Sunday, March 11, 2012

(MommyJD) My Son the Homebody

Aside from singing the song, my son is unaware of the days of the week. Every morning when he wakes up he asks the same question: "Am I going to preschool?" 5 times out of 7 the answer is yes (unless it's a holiday). But on the weekends and days when there is no school, my reply is "No, it's ____ (Saturday, Sunday, Christmas, etc.) You'll go back to school on Monday." His follow-up question then is usually, "Are we staying at home? Me (usually): "Yes, we're staying at home." Then he proceeds to break out into a celebration of yesssses and yipppeeeees. Oh Lord, I've turned my son into a homebody.

When Gr was my only baby, we used to paint the town red, purple, and orange. Before his first birthday he visited every children's museum, aquarium, and planetarium in the Chicagoland area. I even made a Shutterfly photo book displaying pictures of all our outings. Great memories! Only thing is he doesn't remember those trips. And while he would love to go back (and I will take him back, I promise), he's gotten used to us just being in the house since KJ has come into our lives. Especially since she's been sick and can't venture out into the cold weather.

Now don't get me wrong, being a homebody does not mean that my son sits and watches TV all day (although he probably would love that too). He is actually more high maintenance when we stay in the house. For example, today is Sunday and it's 8:34am. My son woke up at 7am demanding his breakfast. Then we moved on to a phonics DVD. And since I've been typing this post he has requested coupons (yes I let him "play" with my expired coupons) and to do arts & crafts. Sticker mosaics should keep him busy for at least the next 20 minutes. If I'm lucky his grammy will come entertain him for a few hours because, and it still saddens me to say this, Gr does not take a nap anymore. Nope, no more nap time battles for us. The upside to that is he goes to bed at 7 on the dot.....and I'm thinking of pushing it up to 6:30pm...

If he is not entertained, my son has a tendency to follow me around the house. I can't even use the bathroom in peace- but I know I'm not alone with that sentiment. Sadly my son thinks he can walk in on anybody who is using the potty- even non-relatives. We're working on it though. There's a book called Potty Animals that addresses this issue and more.

Hopefully our days at home won't turn my son into a hermit. Although I wouldn't mind him staying home a few nights when he gets to high school so that I won't have to worry about him running around in the streets!


Friday, March 9, 2012

(MommyJD) What's your reality TV fetish?

This is a judgment free zone, so spill it. What reality TV show do you like to indulge in? Back in the day when I was of a certain age demographic I watched The Real World and Road Rules religiously. Then when the Real World/Road Rules challenge came I was obsessed. Those days are long gone but reality TV shows have been multiplying like crazy. I'll confess to have watched a lot of bad ones- think College Hill, Laguna Beach, The Hills, Wife Swap, and Flava of Love. Oh I'm embarrassed about that last one.

When wedding and baby time came it was fun to watch shows like Bridezilla, A Baby Story, and even John and Kate + 8. When I was trying to lose weight I watched The Biggest Loser. Watching obese people struggle to lose weight will make you think twice about complaining that you wear a size 8 instead of a size 4. And of course Supernanny is still my go to gal for discipline tips.

The Amazing Race has always been a good one. Even when the team I am rooting for gets eliminated, I still watch just to see the awesome cities they get to visit. I think I stopped watching America's Next Top Model after Eva won. I still can't believe that show still comes on. Talk about holding on for dear life.

These days reality TV is a bit more, um....ratchet, as Tamar would say. Speaking of- quoting reality TV stars is kinda fun sometimes, right? I could do an entire Tamar skit using her catch phrases, "Get you a life!" "Totally different!" and the infamous "DOT COM". So yes, I watch Braxton Family Values. I also watch T.I. and Tiny and sometimes Beyond Scared Straight. I watched Big Brother this summer only because my Spelman sister was on the show. I will never watch it again because I can't take how silly the games are.

I have never gotten into any of the "wives" shows, but from what I hear on facebook, they can get pretty out of control. And from the recent outcry about Basketball Wives, I'd say that's an understatement.

So why are we hooked on watching the lives of celebrities and wanna-be celebrities? Does it trigger emotions of empathy? Can we relate? Or do we just like looking at people with messed up lives because it makes us feel better about our own lives? Maybe it's purely for entertainment. What say you?

(MommyJD) Coupons are Genius!

Whether you are rich or broke, using coupons is nothing to be ashamed of. Coupons are money and are genius! Watch this short clip for some motivation to get clipping!
 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

(2 Karats and a Kid) International Women's Day: Treat yo' self, don't cheat yo' self.

It’s not often that the world comes together to celebrate women outside of rap videos, exotic movies and brothels. So on this day – International Women’s Day 2012 – I believe that women everywhere should celebrate themselves for the awesomeness that it means to be a woman.    We endure first loves and pregnancies.  We learn to cook global cuisines and wear dangerously high stilettos.  We do all of this because we have been blessed with a propensity to give extraordinary amounts of love to people outside of ourselves.

And though we make it look effortless, we know the truth.

Being a woman ain’t easy …but somebody’s got to do it.

Buy yourself that mocha latte today.  Even treat yourself to that pumpkin loaf.  All day long, feel free to swing your hair and say “girl”, “girlfriend”, and “bff” as much as you please.

You’ve earned it.  Finally, not having a penis has its benefits!

Rub your un-flat tummy and thank it for supporting your arms all these years.

Unclip that bra and allow gravity to do what it’s going to do.

Don’t freak over that chipped nail, put that bikini wax on hold, and it’s okay…just for today… to act like you are sleep tonight.

Pull your thighs apart, lean back, and sit like all the men around you.

Ask your mate if you look skinny in those pants and tell him that the answer needs to be yes.

Celebrate you for being you because we don’t get enough opportunities to do just that.

For a day, don’t consider that other girl in the office your enemy but a friend.  Understand that she, like you, simply wants love, a good massage, a martini, and a friend to talk to.
Let’s be kind to ourselves and others today. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and there will be more than enough reasons to fuss, shout, and pout.

Count your blessings and not your troubles.   Say a prayer for women who you know (and those you don’t ) because we all share common struggles.

Most of all, be grateful for who God made you to be.  Hug yourself.  Love yourself. Treat yourself.  And just for today, don’t cheat yourself from having exactly what it is that you want.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

(MommyJD) Hump Day Randomisms

I used to call this series "The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms" but seeing as how I am no longer sporting a bump, I'll stick to the generic "Hump Day Randomisms" (until I think of something more clever). Here are a few things on my mind that are not long enough to be their own post.
  • If my husband rolls over with his back to me when he hears the baby crying in the middle of the night ONE MORE TIME...he will be rudely awakened with a foot to his backside.
  • Why do people (usually of the older persuasion) avoid the self-checkout line at the grocery store like it's the plague? There will be a line 10 deep (along with 10 full carts) and no waiting at the self-checkout and I will see people peek over and then end up choosing the longer line. Why, just because there is a human touching your groceries and taking your money? Don't be afraid of technology people!
  • I recently redeemed a Groupon for a facial at a spa near my home. The facial was great but I could only chuckle on the inside at the esthetician who recommended that I 1) buy these expensive ass products because that's what my face "needs" and 2) come in at least once a month for a facial. Trick, if I could afford to do all that would I really be shopping on GROUPON! 
  • "As Seen on TV"- I am a marketer's dream come true. I do not often watch commercials or informercials, but I will occasionally catch them while at the gym. And I must have every thing I see. I have a wish list a mile long for everything from Pajama Jeans to Wen to Slice-O-Matic. Hide yo phones, hide yo wallet.
  • Anyone out there watch The Office? It hasn't been that funny since Michael Scott left but Pam (and sometimes Darryl) keep me watching. The episode where she was talking about texts and question marks was HILARIOUS! My synopsis would not give it justice so here's the video: Pam and the Art of Texting 
Two questions marks is kind of aggressive. It's like "WHA WHA!" lmao
Happy Hump Day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

(2 Karats and a Kid) The Good News Is...

Mommy-ism #23:  The good news is that babies are more durable than we think.

I read somewhere that a parent's sole responsibility before a child turns five is to keep them alive.  As the mother of an active and vicarious boy, I can attest that in the past 16 months of his life, I am convinced more than ever that this adage is true.

He has fallen off of sofas and out of beds.  He has jumped out of his crib and his high chair.

He likes to suck on computer cords that are plugged into walls.

Thankfully for me, the geniuses who design laptops make the voltage too low to harm a person who touches (or sucks) on the other end of the cord.

Jesus be a fence...

Within thirty minutes of child-proofing my house, my son broke into one of the cabinets and was looking for his favorite remote control.  If he can beat "the system" before the age of two, I wonder what my little Baby MacGyver will be able to do by the age of ten.

I write this because I know many mothers out there who, like myself, worry consistently about the danger that is awaiting our kids.  What I have began to learn, through my child who likes to complete death-defying stunts, is that we can only protect our children so much.  Despite our efforts, there will always be something that we didn't see, something that we didn't catch or notice.  It doesn't speak to our ineptitude as mothers, it simply reminds us that we are human...and it's okay.

It also reminds us that there is an invisible presence that protects our children.  As they grow older, the scenarios will change but the need for this presence will be same.  Be it God, Christ, or angels, I am grateful for the consideration that divine beings have afforded my child and the children of those that I know (as well as those I don't know).

We can look around at the times that we are living in and be afraid.  There are rumors of wars, violence, and other frightful things that we can not explain.  Yet, just like God has protected my son from concussions and electrical zaps, I can only trust that he will continue to do the same regardless of the size or the scope of any situation.  So every morning, I close my eyes and tell God that I am putting my son in the only place where I know he will be safe, and that is in God's arms.

But I'll keep fighting the good fight of trying to keep him as safe as possible, even if he mocks my efforts...cause hey, that's what a mom is supposed to do.

(2 Karats and a Kid) Developmental milestones and why most of them can kiss my a**

Mommy-ism #22:  Screw milestones...just screw them!

I know what you are thinking...uh oh...her baby must be behind...but that's the farthest thing from the truth.  My kid has been kicking ass and taking names - rolling over, crawling, standing, cruising, walking, and operating his iPad months before any milestone chart said he should.

But it's the little milestones that you will drive you nuts. 

Oh no!  My baby isn't waving.
Jesus Christ!  My baby isn't clapping to the beat!
Heavens Lord!  My baby has been calling everything, "daddy" for about six months!

Never mind that most of the time when the baby is lagging behind on a milestone that it's because you forgot to teach him or her to do it! 

And either way, more times that not...babies just operate on their own timing.

After months and months of walking my son down our long hallway to try to encourage him to take steps by himself, I felt like I had dropped the ball somewhere.  But just as I accepted that he would take those steps when he was good and ready, one day out of nowhere he looked at me while he was holding on to my parent's coffee table, held his hands up, and took his first steps as if to say, "see, I just needed you to give me some space!"

I know more than anyone that it's very nerve-wrecking raising a child.  Especially with statistics that scare you about Austism, ADHD, and other medical ailments that we don't know much about.  But the best thing we can do is trust and pray that our children will grow into healthy, happy, talking, walking, and intelligent adults in their own time.  And as they grow, they will be appreciative of the love and acceptance that they receive from their parents more anything else.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

(MommyJD) Kiss the Cook

In addition to my kids, hair care, and coupons, cooking has become my latest and greatest hobby. And Lord I never thought I'd actually say that. But yes, since becoming a bonafide homemaker and mother of two, I have gone from microwaving easy mac to making gourmet dishes from scratch. Lately my recipe collection has grown tremendously and I really am enjoying my creations, such as chicken empanadas, red velvet cupcakes, and tikka masala, just to name a few.

The desire to learn to cook better stemmed from my acceptance of the old school gender role of women as the household cook. As a newlywed I could only rotate my staple dishes of catfish, lasagna, mexican lasagna, spaghetti, fettucini alfredo- hmmm I guess all this pasta is the reason why I gained so much weight during my mid-20s. I digress.

Anyway, a slight nudge and a few subtle hints from my hubby and I realized I needed to expand my portfolio. So over the last 5 years I have come up with some awesome concoctions. My most recent claims to fame, including homemade pizza, fish tacos, and crab cakes, are courtesy of monthly rendezvous with Trader Joe's. That store screams yummy goodness.

Fortunately my husband likes just about everything I cook. He's a gracious eater, even when my experimenting goes awry. My son however is not so gracious. He's the type of child you have to sneak vegetables to by cooking them with other foods. Lately I've been putting ground flax seed in his oatmeal and applesauce and telling him that it's cinnamon.

My goal is to mold my baby girl into a more adventurous eater. I can already tell she loves to eat. I make her food from scratch as well and we haven't found a food she doesn't like. Even when she was sick, loss of appetite was not one of her symptoms. I recently started reading a book called Hungry Monkey that I saw Neil Patrick Harris talking about on The Chew. It's a good read about giving babies more than just fruit and vegetable purees. Now I can't wait for KJ to eat a pureed version of my enchiladas and spicy stir fry!

Check out our Recipes and Meals page to see some of our favorite foods and cooking tips!

(MommyJD) Along with a Fence, I Need a Bubble

If my baby girl gets sick one more time, I just might hire someone to design a plastic bubble for her to live in. I have a feeling Michael Jackson desired the same thing for his kids but settled on masks. That will be my back up plan if the bubble is too expensive.

You see, KJ is 7 months old now and and currently experiencing "Strike 2" as her pediatrician calls it. Strike 1 occurred in February when she caught a bad cold from her brother. After 3 days of her looking miserable with a fever and cough, my husband and I finally
got a clue that this was serious business. Since my husband was the only one in our house not sick, he took her to After Hours care as soon as it opened that Sunday morning. They were gone for 4 excruciatingly long hours. When they returned I found out that my baby had been through quite an ordeal- they gave her shots, an x-ray, and lots of drugs to get her 104 temperature down. I was told to take her back to the doctor first thing Monday morning to see her regular pediatrician, which I was happy to do as there was no real improvement in her condition. She was still wheezing and coughing and her x-ray showed pulmonary consolidation- basically there was lots of gunk in her lungs because she didn't know how to get rid of mucus.

Sitting in the doctor's office while the doctor debated over how to treat my little ladybug was more than overwhelming. But when he told me that he wanted to admit her to the hospital I nearly lost it. I didn't want to get on the phone while still waiting for clear instructions so all I could do was start texting my husband, sister, and mother-in-law. I'm sure my one line of "she's being admitted to the hospital" was scary for them as well. I managed to gather myself, hold in my tears, and make my way to the hospital to make sure my baby got better fast.

After 3 very long days in the hospital, KJ was discharged with a diagnosis of RSV, bronchialitis, and pneumonia. We came home with a nebulizer for breathing treatments and a can of Lysol to disinfect our entire house. My son began a new regimen of scrubbing his hands as soon as he got home from school.

Fast forward 4 weeks and my preschooler comes back from his germ-infested school with another cold and a low grade fever. He loves his baby sis to death and has to always be near her, up under her, next to her, across from her, etc. He has a conniption if she is not sitting chair to chair next to him at the dinner table and throws a tantrum if she cannot sit in his room to watch him play. So needless to say, I was nervous about her catching his cold. Despite my attempts to keep my two kids apart, baby girl got sick. Again.

I watched her cough develop for 2 days until one particular bark sent me straight to the phone to call the doctor. I took her in the next morning and, after examining her, the doctor applauded my instinct to bring her in before this advanced into something worse. So here we are with more meds, more breathing treatments, and a new pre-diagnosis of childhood asthma (which comes with even more expensive meds). This kid is determined to single-handedly reach our family insurance deductible for 2012.

Thus, for the past week I have been praying for Jesus to be a Fence around my sickly child and to heal her quickly. Before even reaching her first birthday KJ has stressed me out by testing coombs positive (jaundice), having an umbilical hernia, spouts of eczema, fevers, wheezing, RSV, bronchialitis, pnemonia...sigh, I definitely need a bubble.


Friday, March 2, 2012

(MommyJD) My Very Own Amazing Race

I do not claim to be an extreme couponer by any means. My basement doesn't look like a Walgreens and I don't have a year's supply of toilet paper. But I would call myself an above average coupon shopper. For the last three years I have saved an average of 50% on all household purchases, including groceries, toiletries, and even clothes. Already this year I have used $675 in coupons. How do I do it? I read (or skim) a lot of coupon blogs and try to only buy things that are 1) on sale and 2) something I have a coupon for. I post the best deals that I find on my Tumblr, To Save or To Spend, which are also posted on our Momma Deals page.

A few months ago, I was talking to one of my good friends from law school about couponing and how some people hoard things that they don't even use. It seemed to us that the better alternative would be to use our coupon knowledge to spend little to nothing on items and donate them to charity. I mentioned that some of the blogs I follow do like to donate their excess purchases to the Samaritan's Purse international project, Operation Christmas Child. As our conversation evolved, we both got excited at the prospect of each of us shopping year round to pack boxes for OCC. To put an extra spin on it, we decided to make it a competition between the two of us to see who could pack the most boxes. Our monthly budget is $10 and our budget per box is $2.50. Using those numbers we set a goal to pack 48 boxes each. The only kicker is that every box needs an additional $7 for shipping. Any tips on how raise that money would be greatly appreciated!

Read more about our shopping adventures and frugal finds on our blog, Operation Amazing Coupon Race!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

(MommyJD) Hair Overboard


My earliest hair memory is when I cut off my long side ponytail in the bathroom when I was six years old. I was under the supervision of my sister and she did a piss poor job of supervising. My mother was devastated.

My next memory is 4 years later later when I was invited to a swimming party sleepover. Since I could not bring my mother, the pressing comb, and our kitchen stove along with me, I insisted that my mother let me have a relaxer. To this day I cannot believe that she went along with this plan just so that I would have "manageable" hair and not look like a mini wildebeest in front of my caucasian friends. But in her defense she was probably tired of our hot kitchen sessions with the pressing comb.

After 9 years of getting regular relaxers I finally ceased putting creamy crack on my scalp and decided to go natural. One workshop from an older Spelman sister and I was convinced that my hair could do without the chemicals. I've never doubted my decision, but there have been some bumps along my journey to long natural hair.

I wish there had been blogs back when I was a freshman at Spelman to guide me through my hair woes. Perhaps there was and I just couldn't find it or didn't seek the information. But these days there is an overwhelming presence of hair blogs from Curly Nikki to Black Girl Long Hair that provide tons of tips and advice about keeping natural hair healthy. And this is my latest obsession.

Recently KJ and I sat down in my bathroom and inspected every (and there are several) hair product underneath my bathroom sink. Like I said, this hair business can get overwhelming, but from the few blogs I do read I have learned what ingredients are good for your hair, which are not so good, and which are absolute no-nos. I ended up throwing away half of my supply to make room for better products that will feed my hair. I'm such a product junkie! My newest products are currently in the mail and are courtesy of VAiN, a new company by another fellow Spelman sister. She has turned me into a bona-fide ingredient snob, lol!
 
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