Balancing Act – Working Mother

I feel like I am in a constant balancing act.

I console myself by telling myself: I am not the only one with a family. This is do-able.

  1. Being the best professional and healthcare provider and perfecting my craft
  2. Being a great mother and wife
  3. Being whole and one with me

Continue reading Balancing Act – Working Mother

Erinma Turns One

Can you believe I have been a mother for one whole year? I definitely cannot, it flew by so fast!

I still remember bringing my baby  home and wondering if I would ever sleep again, wondering if I would ever hear the sounds of bird chirping outside the window, wondering if I would ever regain my sanity. Now I have watched her crawl, fall and take her first steps.

  • She runs across the living room and into my arms.
  • She squeals with so much emotion, babbling in her baby jargon.
  • She still isn’t eating, she refuses solid food or anything not in her bottle.
  • She is in the 99th percentile for height, the 87ile for weight. Her pediatrician is worried about her speech, but we feel she is doing just fine. She has the motor skills of an 18 month old.
  • She chases the big kids.
  • She investigates everything, opens the toilet and tries to reach for the water before I swoop her away and make a bee-line for the nearest sink.
  • She has the most perplexed expression when she is pulling clothes out of drawers and papers out of binders. Determined, she sets out to pull items of low counters.
  • She only lets you make her hair when she is watching ChuChuTV.
  • She enjoys long walks in her stroller and cries when you arrive back home.
  • She has 10 little teeth that she will not allow you to brush.
  • The only word she says is “Daddy” but anything can be “Daddy” so we are waiting for her to use the term correctly.
  • She always steals the show.

Many say she is such a cute baby, but all babies are cute, however I would love to think my babe is the Queen of Cute.

I have been a mother for one year! I still can’t believe this. We made it!! And  we are gonna keep making it!

Tips For Your Baby’s First Birthday Party!

No one wants to spend too much money, and no one wants to look like a joke when that special day comes. But to be honest, at the end of the day, you are celebrating one year of motherhood and your baby surviving through one complete year. What a feat! But it shouldn’t depress you, nor should it be something that brings you troubles.

1.  Keep your celebration to your budget!

We have all heard of the extravaganzas and celebrations, with the celebrity set-ups, thrones and golden high chairs, bounce houses, snow cone machines, clowns and larger than life characters. Some folks spend upwards of $5000 on these parties. And while it may sound great, if it isn’t in your budget, why fret over it? There are many affordable ways to throw a memorable birthday party that your friend and family will cherish with you.

2. Try to decorate yourself

You can search many online party retailers like: Oriental Trading Company, where many party decorations are sold in bulk or at a discount. They have several themes you can choose from and many of their items are color coded to make it easy for you. If you are planning on shopping in person, ask around, there may be a party retailer in the area that sells items at half the price of the Party City store. You can save some money on table cloths, streamers, balloons and all the little things you never thought could come so much. Get a disposable helium tank for under $50 and blow up all your own balloons! I was able to save on decor and use the money elsewhere, I decorated myself!

3. Hire some entertainment.

Its a one year birthday party so expect children to be there. If you are anything like me, and you don’t have a bubbling personality that can entertain both adults and littles for hours, then hire a clown, fairy, or entertained. Usually they charge for 3 hours, which can range from $100 – $300 depending on what you want them to do. Our entertainers painted faces, blew balloons into creatures, brought crafts and played with the kids the whole day! They were so excited. And it took a lot off of my hands that day.

4. Choose a low-cost venue

If you can host it in your house, so be it, if not then consider a park, community activity center or a nearby neighborhood clubhouse. You won’t believe the prices they will quote you. Be prepared to make a deposit and be prepared to clean up!

5. Hire a photographer

You have to have some way of capturing those precious memories. If you can’t, then there are so many apps that allow you and your guests to upload pictures of the day into one place to be accessed later. You don’t need a wedding photographer, ask around and you can find someone reasonable who will charge by the hour. If you are in Houston, contact me and I can refer you to someone great!

6. DIY (Do it yourself)

What you don’t want to buy, make it yourself. Youtube is full of instructional videos, and with a little bit of elbow-grease and craft spirit you can create props that you never thought you could. I actually created these giant photo frames from styrofoam.

 

7. Get your cake early

Many grocers like Sam’s Club and Costco sell beautiful cakes, with multiple tiers and well decorated for a fraction of the cost. Give them a call. Remember to set up your order at least 48 hours in advance. I personally like the taste of the Sam’s cake… very moist and decadent. Never fails.

8. Food, food, and food

If you don’t want to cater then make it yourself or order pizza. Fire up the grill. Make some finger food and appetizers. Chip bowls and Salad Bars are also easy inexpensive ways to feed your guest, they will appreciate you, trust me.  Little Caesars has a $5 pizza, if you order 10 of them you are good, you just have to like the taste of the pizza, lol.

9. Gift bags!

Gift bags for the kiddos does not need to be a drag. Head to the dollar store where you can stock up and lots of fun items to stuff into baggies that the kids will enjoy long after the party. We find small books, crayon packs and even dolls. Two words: Dollar Store.

10. Have fun! Take pictures. Dance Dance and Dance!!

Everything you work for will pay back. At the end of the day it will be a great event and you will cherish every moment of it. It was worth all the trouble for me.

Lactation Room

Staff Lactation Room.

How accommodating is your employer? Do they provide a designated space for you to privately pump breast milk, do they make this transition easy for you? These things are very important! I made sure to make my concerns known, now not only is there a sanctified space but also a recliner, ottoman and Symphony pump! Hospital grade pumping for the doctor pumping in between patients. I don’t ask for much but I’m glad the hospital delivered on this request. The setup is easy, I don’t feel I’m producing miraculous amounts of milk compared to my Pump In Style, but the easy and speed are notable.

I hope every hospital has one of these for the staff!

Natural Hair Journey 

3/2013
10/2012
12/2012 in Nigeria
Natural hair is not easy!

3/2017
1/2017 in Nigeria
1/2017 in Nigeria
4/2014
3/2013
2012

I started in 2010 and have had several big chops, blunders and meltdowns. I’ve fried my hair trying things that didn’t work for me, and finally I just stopped. I stopped reading, I stopped fretting, I stopped letting people convince me to do stuff. I just sat back and let my hair grow.

I have 4b/c hair. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s not what the natural kingdom considers “beautiful.” There aren’t many tutorial or advices given for management. When you think you are learning about 4c hair… it turns out her pattern is more 4a. 4C land on google is a desert compared to other textures. There are hardly any testimonies or Bildungsromans. Just nothing, dry, crinkly, jealous hair. 

Then I just fell back. I’m not the only one with four cee could in the world. Hell, there is like at least a million of us out there. And pride is in the heart. I did what I could with moisture and protein, examined my strands to figure out what worked for me. I puffed it, twisted it, bagged it. Wore protective styles and it grew and grew and grew! Now I love my hair! 

My BFF has the most beautiful 4b/c hair and it’s down to her waist. I wish she would start a blog but OB/GYNs are far too busy. But although her texture is looser than my, she is my hairspiration!

I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Water, good diet, and good styles. And let’s see how long I can go!

Follow my journey! Pictures below.

Crochet vs Individual Braids

Recently got my hair crochet. To imitate the look of individual box braids. I am a loyal individual, being that my zodiac is cancer (not like I really believe all that stuff), but I’m loyal. I stick to my braids and don’t venture out, but I’ve been hearing the buzz about crochet braids and decided to give it a try. I intend to break down several aspect as I review each style and give you some take home points for next time you want to get glammed up. Crochet vs individual, let’s go!

Crochet: this is a style by which you natural hair is plaited down in a pattern (hopefully not straight back as this leads to more breakage) and the hair is then attached peice by piece in loop fashion with a crochet hook.

Cost: $7-10 per bag. You will need approximately 6 pages for a reasonable, full look.

Cost for install: it seems it can range $50-150. Usually better or more renown stylists will charge more. Be careful, more $$$ more problems, as some bad stylists can be greedy.

Time: 2-4 hours, depending on the speed of your stylist. 2 hours is reasonable. 

Protective styling: it’s ok as a protective style. I’ll give it a 6/10. There is tension especially on any braids that go straight back as the hair pulls on the braid. Also pulling the crochet needle through then pulling each hair under the braid… was sheer torture! I felt little strands snapping at the root in my tender crown area where the braids were smallest! I don’t want to endure that again!
Look: not always natural looking. My. Raider did a decent job although I wasn’t happy with the bag as I felt styling was limited, couldn’t pull it up into a ponytail. However from some angles looked like real box braids, but I don’t think I could fool many from up close.

Longevity: until your roots grow in. The braids don’t have your hair braided in so you don’t have to worry about frizzing.


Individuals: each braid is braided individually by an experienced bRaider.

Cost: $1-10 per bag depending on the type of hair. I usually use Xpressions which is about $5/bag.

Cost for install: $80-300, this too is stylist dependent. I think $120 is a fair price give or take, but It can vary with experience. I would pay more than $200 and I like my braids perfect, but I am also willing to have my hair braided in the braiders home which cuts costs for overhead i.e. salon, supplies, advertising.

Time: 4-12 hours. This depends on the size and length you choose. I usually do medium size mid back braids which take about 6 hours. If you want small or an even longer length then plan to clear out your day. You can also ask to have more than one stylist on your head, but I find this is stressful, all the jerking and pain coming from different areas. I’ve had up to three braiders at one time, back when I was naive. I’m a bit more demanding now, I need my peace.

Protective styling: score can vary based on braided experience but with a good braider who values hair health it can be up to 7-8/10. Just be careful with tension on each strand, tightness at your edges, and breakage when you leave the braids in for too long and they start to twist on themselves. Also remember to moisturized while still in braids.

Look: hands down beautiful.

Longevity: 2-3 months, maybe as long as 5. I don’t recommend leaving in for more than 8 weeks or all the protective-ness flies out the window and you are left with dread. 


So that’s my comparison.

How do I feel, while crochet can fool some… I am still a braid-head by heart. Also, crochet can get pretty costly when you add up the bags of hair which are expensive. And the tension and pulling each braid under the braid can be unbearable. I prefer my individual, even if they take forever and can be painful to get. The look is priceless!

*but I plan to update you however in 6 weeks.

Why organic?

Why organic? What is the big deal? Why spend and extra dollar or two on an item when you can eat what everyone else is eating, hell, we are all going to die anyways.

We are all actively commiting suicide, homocide when we are feeding our children! Do you know what is in your water? Your coffee? Your juice? Boxed cereal? Wine and spirits? No? Why the heck not?! Why not?

Do you not care?

Does what you put into your body everyday not interest you?

Chemicals. Chemicals. Chemicals. Chemicals make food processing faster, easier, cheaper and they are harmful for you. Look on the back of that box or bag, you will see a list of chemicals you can’t even pronounce let alone spell at a spelling bee. You avoid processed foods, good for you! But do you still drink wine? Do you know how many chemicals are in your wine? You though it was just berries and fermentation right, wrong! Wine has a very chemicalized processed, that’s why you are able to have millions of bottle rolling into every grocer at $5- a pop. Grossed out yet? I’ve just begun. You house is INFESTED with chemicals!

Detergent, it sticks to your clothes to give the appearance the color are cleaner and brighter. Oh… and they leach onto your skin too. Accumulate. That brand that promises a fresh smell for 7 days, yeah those are all harmful chemicals that stick to the fibers of your clothing and then leak off onto you precious skin cells to cause internal destructions. Still using bleach sprays that promise to rid your counters of 99% bacteria. Those things don’t work, but they are fuming into your nostrils, causing headaches, dizziness, fatigue. Your furniture… little chemicals are joining the atmosphere from your wood and plastic furniture every second, all for you to inhale. Your dust, well that’s a chemical rain, waiting for you to re-inhale. You feel sick now? Want to reach for the medicine? That’s full of chemicals too… don’t believe me? Check the label. So you’ve put that down and you want to drink water instead. Not so fast. Ask your county supplier what exactly is in your water. Ammonia? Check. Chlorine? Check. Hard mineral and more toxic chemicals used to clean the water? Check, check. You need a filter to safely drink water in your home. Don’t wait for the government to tell you anything is safe. Flint happened!

So what do you do?

We live in a capitalist country. Everything is about money, not the poor human that riddled with cancer and suffering in MD Anderson… hell, that’s about money too believe it or not. If you want to live long you are going to have to think hard and work hard. If you don’t want to do that, if your rather acquiesce into a slow chemical death, be my guest.

I refuse to be a product of the economy.

This industrial cesspool.

I choose organic.

And while I will not be able to control everything, change everything, I can at least change what I can and make a dent in my livelihood. Am I perfect, no, I occasionally indulge in snack and fried food from McGraveyard… but I am working to make sure this is not a lifestyle.

I Juice. I filter. I shop organic. I read labels. I refuse to feed my daughter anything I can’t pronounce or can’t say where it is derived from. I make my own soaps and lotions. I use oils and herbs. I run and exercise. I detoxified my home, threw out all my chemical and rely on vinegar and more gentle products to clean my home.

I want to live. So I go one step better than “natural” (which can be misleading), I check for the USDA seal on what I buy!

Did you know the process for making wine is not natural. The fermentation process relies heavily on GMOs, sugars and chemicals to make the process cheaper and easier? Try organic wines! Skip the headache.
Did you know regular wine has over 80 additives, most of which are “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA. There is no ingredient list on your wine bottle because they don’t want you to know. Buy Organic wine. Know what you are drinking!

Wine and coffee have been tainted as well. I used to say: I only drink water, wine and coffee. But then I realized that coffee is one of the most heavily processed products in the industry. To grow it quick enough from production means more chemicals, pesticides… wine is no different. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for the bottle, the industry is hiding what you are sipping on. Water, do you know where it comes from? Please don’t say rain. Do you know how it is cleaned? Please don’t say magic. Answer those questions, then get a powerful filter and protect yourself and your family.

Look for this USDA seal on product, buy with a little confidence. Don’t trust anything that says NATURAL.

Live longer, don’t let yourself go. It’s worth the hassle. Eat organic and detoxify your home!

I threw out all the chemicals in my house last week!

Baby refusing the bottle!

The unthinkable just happened. My baby has refused her bottle.

We just hired a new nanny, our last nanny gave us notice so we had to move on. It seemed she had more interest in maintaining a tele-ministry that she was building from the ground up in our home… Her passion was elsewhere. It was best she moved on. While it was heartache searching again, my mother found someone just in time. It was a last minute decision, the flight was booked same day.

Let me tell you something about my mother. She is very rash. Often times I have difficulty figuring out if this is a good or a bad trait. She had a list of nannies she obtained from Lord-knows-where and God only knows if she interviewed or screened them, but we trusted her. Our nanny, isn’t the very best, but she is good and our daughter likes her.

Now. On her arrival, baby girl decided she was now too good for the bottle or any other device that could be employed to deliver my breast milk to her. What did this mean? Because she is awfully persistent, it meant that if I left the house she would cry for HOURS until I came home to breastfeed. Luckily, I have not found a permanent job so she can get away with this now. Unluckily, it meant I could not leave the house to do ANYTHING. Going to the gym was out of the questions. Grocery shopping, was now out of the questions. The nanny was frustrated, she insisted on many times to FORCE the bottle!

No Ma’am, no nanny of mine will be FORCING food into any child of mine! Not today, not tomorrow, not ever!

She got my point sharply. We would have to wait. I even book a pediatrician appointment to figure out if there was some sort of underlying illness causing my babe to act out. Nope, clean as a whistle. Just stubborn as an ox. The Pediatrician did tell me a daunting story about her own child refusing the bottle even when she worked, having her mother in law bring the baby to work for a midday feeding. Scary. Would not work for me as I work in a hospital with busy shift, and I am more concerned about the baby picking up MRSA or VRE… yuck.

Things we have tried

  1. Spoon: she knocked it out of our hand
  2. Solid: She purses her lips and knocks this out of our hands
  3. Fruit, baby held: She squishes it and rubs it into the carpet. Chai!
  4. Small cup with breast milk: She knocks down the cup. Breastmilk everywhere. This gehl oh!
  5. fresh breastmilk: She turns her head. What now?

We are trying everything. And we are still everything and offering her the bottle daily.  I am holding off on going back to work with hopes that she will take the bottle soon. She is almost 8 months. That is 8 months at home without income. I love being a stay at home mom, but I have to make some sort of income! Something has got to give.

My neighbor told me a story about her baby just refusing the breast one morning. She preferred the bottle and would cry like hell if her mother put her to the breast. It seems she had been in daycare since 10 weeks and had grown accustomed to bottle feeding with moms milk. But how sad and scary to have a child not want your teat. Im sure it happens all the time, and I even wondered if I would rather be faced with this challenge. Its too hard to delve into, I believe God gave me the challenge I could handle.

I pray for mommies struggling with baby feeding problems! Pray for me too!

Continue reading Baby refusing the bottle!