Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nine months to Heaven, Happy 20th Birth Day to my Sunshine!

When I stop and look at my daughter it still amazes me 20 years later that I carried her in my stomach. That she developed in my body and came out of my "lady parts" lol.
We often have joked throughout the years where we reenact her being in my belly. We joke and I share about her nine months of development. She loves to hear about herself. The months before she got here what her dad and I were doing during those nine months and the things that took place shortly after she got here. I always tell her it was one of the best times in my life and I loved every second. I know many women who have a very rough ride of it and I know every one's story is not the same but I do feel that who ever has been on that journey can agree it is like nothing else ever before.

My Nine months to Heaven I call it because I was just beside myself.
I'm a planner so as I have shared my daughter was planned. By this I don't mean a meticulous calendar regimen, I just mean I set a goal of age I wanted to be a mom and stayed the course. When time drew closer honey and I sat down for chat and set plans in motion.

My 1st three months I didn't share much of the news. I had a little morning sickness but nothing my grabbing a good breakfast didn't fix. I felt a little bloating but nothing else. You would have never guessed I was expecting. We made tiny adjustments when it came to intimacy just to insure the baby would be unharmed.
I started a journal/ book to document this journey and one I would hopefully give to my child years later. I set out a house budget, baby budget and emergency fund to keep the stress levels low. I rubbed and talked to my baby daily and shower time was our relaxing time. I played music for the baby both through headphones and just regular radio and I read out loud when I looked through my magazines or read my books.

My 2nd set of three months, we shared news with close friends and family. Belly was slightly bigger but no drastic changes in my clothes etc...I usually would loosen the top button or wear a top to cover the open top of my pants. Mentally and physically I felt great, I still did my own groceries and cleaning. I still walked a lot and did mild exercises. I still ate all I wanted but of course in moderation. No such thing as oh I'm eating for 2 excuse for me. I even use to go out dancing. I started to purchase baby needs and stock up on daily items. I prepared a list of must haves keep track of our purchases. 
I worked my regular hours, no adjustments were required in my daily routines. Intimacy was still part of our lives, it was nice and fun to try different things since there was a bit of a belly in the way. I could start to see and feel changes in my Boobies, I started to ask for assistance in my shaving needs which always caused a lot of giggles and jokes I actually think my honey enjoyed this part a lot and the baby began to move! Now that was something, I was very excited indeed. To see my skin pocking out was creepy but awesome. I would rub the spot and talk to the baby and ask to please do it again and it would, oh I could swear the baby heard me.

My 3rd set of three months and end stage of the game was really fun and full of lots of new moments. My routines still were pretty much the same. I began to wrap things up at work and prep our house. Picked out the crib and rearranged our room. Washed and folded all the items we bought for the baby. Had more frequent doctor visits and blood drawn. That was not cool, I hate needles. Sex was a challenge by now but no fun was lost trying. You would be surprised the things you can come up with if you keep things lite and fun. This is suppose to be a happy time in your life not a burden. These months had my honey painting my toe nails for obvious reasons and by now I needed a little extra hand carrying things around more often.

It wasn't until mid April 1995 when my belly really expanded. I stopped trying to handle the grocery shopping on my own at this point and had my honey help with all house chores etc...I had my office Baby Shower on April 14th 1995 on April 15th I went shopping and had dinner with my girlfriend Cynthia in Brooklyn. We walked slowly back home from Graham to Bedford Ave where she lived. Had lots of laughs throughout the day. Dinner was great she made my favorites, I sat on her couch and her cat Pookie laid on my belly. We planned on getting some last minute things the following week.

I left her house in a cab shortly after 10:30pm. By 11:30pm I was in the shower, got out was drying off when I felt a stream of warm water down my leg. I continued to dry and it continue to come down. I called my girlfriend J she said "your water broke, the baby's coming". I laughed and hung up to call my doctor and he said "your water broke, are you in any pain?" I said no he said "well you may start to feel some cramps soon so get dressed and be ready to go." I hung up called my honey who was visiting his mom a few blocks away and told him what was going on. He didn't believe me because we weren't due till early May and 1st babies aren't suppose to come early. Yeah right.

I made a few more calls assuring everyone we still had plenty of time don't bother to come over. Yeah right again. Within 25 minutes of J getting to our house that slow stream of warm water became a full dam. The more I wiped the more that came down, we called a cab and left. We didn't even wait for my honey I told him to just meet us there. I felt so bad during the cab ride because I was wetting this poor mans whole back seat. The cramps got a little sharper and more frequent. When we got to the hospital, my girlfriend J handled all the talking I was wheeled into room and prepped. I was asked if I wanted "drugs" I said a firm yes and laughed because J had had 3 with no drugs. Hey better her than me.

Shortly there after with Honey and J by my side we welcomed Erica Dymonique into the world, April 16th, 1995 Happy Easter Sunday!!! As she cried and took in her first breaths outside of my belly I counted fingers and toes and did a full body scan. They cleaned her up and laid her on my chest. My little angel. She hasn't left my side since.

On this her 20th Birthday I want to say I love you I am blessed to have you and for you to have chosen me as your mother. 
Happy Birth Day, you are my piece of Heaven.

Always stress free xo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Someone just Like Me

Have you taken a moment today to look around and see if anyone else looks like you? Has the same shaped eyes or nose? Skin tone or hair texture? Mouth or even the way you walk? Have you opened a book lately and a reflection of you stared you in the face?

Imagine if you will that the answer is no. That the reflection you see in the mirror you rarely run into elsewhere. That unless you are with your family or around your neighborhood there is no other representation of you. The magazines you love and the shows you watch don't reflect anyone you know or the things you do. How your mother cooks or the games you and your cousins play. Where you go shopping or the music you enjoy.

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I have a wonderful teacher and she is I am proud to say, my daughter. I can't express enough how much she means to me and all she adds to my life daily. If you happen to be blessed enough to have younger people around, please listen and learn. They have plenty to teach and we have yet so much to still learn. I must start recording our conversations because I just can't retain all the info sometimes coming from just one session lol.

Our chat the other night bought a few tears to my eyes and a pain to my heart. As a mother it is always difficult to hear when our children have suffered unfairly, been bullied or felt out of place and questioned who they were. It is tough to realize that at some point they may have thought they were just not good enough. It was a tough pill to swallow for me when this conversation was over.

Innocently enough it all started with comments about her going to see the new Disney movie Home. Voiced by Rihanna, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin just to name a few. I asked if she had a nice time, was it fun etc..her response was "I had a great time but got a little teary afterwards when I left the theater." I asked why and she said "because I saw a little girl stand next to Tip's poster and tell her mom look! she looks just like me!!!" As my daughter recounted this moment her eyes swelled up with tears again, that shocked me.

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As she continued to share, she expressed that when she heard that she could relate. For the character Tip, voiced by Rihanna has a head full of curly hair. She looks like some of her friends and family and people in our neighborhood. She looks like her! I've never heard my daughter talk about feeling different ever but it goes to show and showed me, that society's views do affect those in the outside of what is considered normal. My daughter continued to share in detail the many years as a child growing up around other kids that didn't really look like her and the things they would say.
She spoke about times she wondered why her hair was so curly or if it was indeed so different. Times when she questioned if it was wrong of her to like her hair as it was. Should she straighten it, relax it, cut it? Days that people would make comments but think they were being nice as they said it. Both children and adults alike. She said even today when people comment "oh your hair reminds me of Diana Ross" and look at her sideways. Or when she gets stopped and asked if its all hers and is it soft.

All this made my eyes get wider and wider because I couldn't believe it. How rude, cruel and nasty. Is anyone asking Britney Spears or any of the Kardashians why they put extensions in their hair? Why some people pay hundreds to get some waves on their flat hair? Why Tanning Salons are such a big business? So many questions could be asked but aren't, why? Is it because some people can get away with stuff just because it could be the latest style while others who look and live this way on a daily are not normal?

I don't like to ride in the car where every thing that happens leads to a town called racist but more and more each day I see that when I don't acknowledge it or understand it I will always have it parked right outside my door. I am baffled to still hear comments in relation to skin color, hair, style of dress etc...When a commercial or a television program shows a loving non white family it's not realistic but when it shows non whites acting like fools its totally believable. When a non white sports a nice hairstyle it can't be her real hair but if the same style is on someone else everyone wants to copy it.

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This is a plea to all mothers. We have more power than we know. Yes fathers matter but I am speaking to the moms. Why? Because females are known for our excessive sensitivity or so that is what we have been told for far too long.
-next time you see a little girl that doesn't look like your daughter instead of seeing what is different look instead at what is the same.
-next time your son wears his hair a certain way don't gravitate to an exclusion but instead praise his creative form of expression, its only hair!
-next time your teen visits a tanning salon or goes to the beach to get "dark", remember some people already are a variety of these shades naturally and it isn't a fashion statement. If you find it "cute" to tan then why is it not "cute" to already be dark?
-next time your daughter picks up a book to read, be grateful she can find a character to relate to because for a very long time many of us couldn't.
-next time you're about to use the word bad to describe someone or something that is not like you why don't you try to replace it with the word different?

I don't want to bash anyone I want to start a conversation, provoke a thought. I want words to be used carefully and wisely. The same way we want as females to be treated equally and fairly is the same way we should treat those that are not a reflection of what we see in the mirror.
I am not a b word because I speak my mind but when I do men call me that. I am not cocky because I am confident in my skin and love who I am but others that are not like me say I am. Some people say "everyone" has their place, I say "my" place, my daughter's place and every one's place is the same.

Thoughts that come from a mother daughter chat. What do you say? Share your experiences and views, respectfully please.

Always stress free xo.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Turn it Up Tuesday!

Happy to be back for another fun filled week of treats and tips! Last week we had 396 links love to see such high numbers keep them coming! Now please come join the fun, look forward to see what you have to share this week.


Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic...and having fun! Link up your favorite posts (old or new) and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments -- anything at all. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!


Our sponsor for April is Great Escapes Travel Agency.

Great Escapes Travel is a full service travel agency specializing in Leisure and Group Travel.
We plan land based vacations, cruises, destination weddings, and honeymoons to U.S. destinations, as well as the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico.
At Great Escapes Travel, we are not mere order takers who book your trip and then leave you on your own. We are "Escape Artists". As Escape Artists, we act as an adviser and a resource for our clients. We take the time to talk with our clients to really get to know them. Then we are able to create the perfect vacation experience created just for them. We provide personalized service that is tailored to meet each of our client’s needs. We work with our clients every step of the way – before, during and after the trip. We make ourselves available to our clients by phone, text, email, and Facebook. And we guarantee that someone will respond to you within 24 hours.
Are you looking to get your blog or website in front of numerous people per week? Do you enjoy Turn It Up Tuesdays? Interested in having your blog or website featured for an entire month?
Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month by clicking here!

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

(from the top - left to right)
Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma's Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Jillian from Baby Doodah | April from April Noelle | Tina from The Happy Creations | Melissa from The Coupon Chronicles | Cindy from Mom Maven | Tiffany from MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter | Kelly from Making-More | Yolanda from That's Mashed Up | Tenns from Bliss & Faith | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Mari from Living in Mommywood | Rose from What Rose Knows | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly | Kimberly from Being a Wordsmith | Nancy from Afro-Chic Mompreneur | Kelly from Mum-bo-Jumbo | Zografia from Bisozozo | Elaine from Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess | Lisa from Blogghetti | Latisha from Ask Latisha | Ginger from Does Your Sister Have Normal Hair

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for April!

TUT Apr 2015
(from the top - left to right)
Mionna from Just Mi! | Kori from Just Another Mom | Cathy from Brand New Mom Blog | Rachel from Rae Loves | Free from Couponin Diva
(not pictured)

Interested in being a guest host for the month or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly guest hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

Blackberry Cornbread Pudding with Caramel Corn Poster

Rachel chose Caramel Popcorn Day! from A Sprinkle of This and That. "This recipe combines a few of my favorite things: blackberries, cornbread, ice cream, and popcorn. I also love that the steps are so simple and the recipe makes a ton of these desserts at one time. It's perfect for summer coming up and looks so great for a cookout or party."


Rachel chose Pretty Zombie Cosmetics - 3 Witches Liquid Lipstick from Red Lipstick & Champagne Dreams. "I love this makeup combination and it's my typical go to - pretty yet simple foundation with a bold lip color. This purple is bold but not shiny so it works for everyday wear. It's also supposed to stay on all day which is a must for a busy woman. Pretty!"

how i increased my g+views graphic

Cindy chose How I Increased My Google+ Views 600,000 Views in 4 Weeks from On Bliss Street. "This method makes total sense, duh, why didn't I think of that? I know there are lots of rumors about G+ going away and/or changing but it does help us with Google so I think that we should invest our time in it while we have it."
Cathy also chose this post.
Free also chose this post. "I chose this one because I’ve been thinking about putting more time into Google+. I wasn’t sure if I want to focus on Google+ or not. I now think that I will be give G+ a try."
Jillian also chose this post. "I am looking to increase my G+ following, and this post explains EXACTLY how to do that! Another fantastic post!"
Kimberly (Being a Wordsmith) also chose this post. "This post was right on time for me. I like how she tracked her progress and gave tips on using Google+. I wasn't doing nearly enough with this awesome social media network. But I will now!"


Cindy chose 10 Minute Baked Banana Bread Doughnut Holes from Sweet C's Designs. "I LOVE banana bread and these cake pop-donut holes are so cute. I really need to get myself a cake pop maker."


Stacey chose Bully Me Bitches from Chronicles of a Lumpy Person. "What an amazing and oh so true post! I have always struggled with my weight and it is of course something that often happens as we get older...those few extra pounds. I find it so sad when I see people bullying others, when it is adults especially, it is just unnecessary. At least for kids, maybe they have just not been taught any better than to behave in such a way. We are all beautiful in our own unique and amazing ways! Thank you so much for sharing!"


Mionna chose Tips & Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World ’15 from Tabler Party of Two. "This post was great because as a blogger trying to expand, it's always helpful to read information about how to get your brand out there! Social Media is important in the world of blogging, so always being on your toes and staying on top of information is helpful."


Mionna chose Bacon Mac & Cheese with Roasted Hatch Green Chiles from Pink Heels Pink Truck. "I love creamy mac and cheese so this recipe grabbed me when I saw it. I've never tried cooking mac and cheese with other ingredients in it, but I have got to try this one!!"

Coconut Key Lime Pie Bites Poster

Cathy chose Coconut Key Lime Pie Bites from A Sprinkle of This and That.


Mari chose Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramelitas from Just Us Four. "I chose Shannah's treat because it just looked so flaky and sweet. I can't wait to try it myself I love caramel treats!"


Tina chose Potty Training in a Weekend - Success! from our very own Jillian from Baby Doodah! "A hot topic for moms with toddlers!! I really like this post,very informative,I didn't know about this method,thanks so much for sharing:)"


Tina chose No-Sew Quiet Book: Barn and Finger Puppets from Sunshine and a Summer Breeze. "I'm a big fan of simple crafts and this is so simple and adorable!! I absolutely love these Finger Puppets, thanks for sharing:)"


Free chose Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Tips for Potty Training from The Resourceful Mama. "I chose this one because I have a 2 year old and I’m about to start the potty training process with her. I haven’t potty trained a toddler in 15 years so this is a great refresher for me. I need to breathe and relax and not sweat the small stuff."
Kori also chose this post. "Even as a seasoned mom, I always appreciate practical potty training tips. My youngest is not even 2, but I found this post to be helpful."


Jillian chose The 5 Truths You Learn From Shopping at ALDI from Frugal Foodie Mama. "I love Aldi, and completely agree with everything Carries says about the store. I love how I am able to save on groceries there, which ends up saving my family money! Such a great post!"


Elaine chose Basket Case from The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl. "Great tutorial at an opportune time. I am working on my garden this week."


Elaine chose How to Create a Child Theme from Budget Girl. "Have always been afraid to alter the stylesheet and now I don’t have to!"

collage-fave photo editing apps

Kimberly (Being a Wordsmith) chose 5 Favorite Photo Editing Apps by Seven Graces. "I really want to make my blog photos POP! This post tells me how to do that with 5 different photo apps before I spend time downloading them."


Kori chose Snickerdoodle Paleo Cupcakes Recipe from My Natural Family. " I love Snickerdoodle cookies so seeing a paleo recipe and in cupcake form was an innovative twist."


Lisa chose DIY Frosted Vase from Michelle James Designs. "I love this idea of re-purposing something you would otherwise just throw away. The plastic container once frosted and designed looks wonderful as a vase. I can't wait to try this."


Lisa chose The Pasta Salad Round up from Summer Scraps. "Living in the south, I am always looking for dishes that I don't have to heat the oven up and this post is great for that. Pasta dishes can be a side or a main meal with little heating of the stove!"


Latisha chose Spring Style with Pink Blush- Maxi Dresses from Sandy a la Mode. "I love these maxi dresses and totally wish I could wear them. My sense of style does not match my height. I love long flowing dresses like these ones, but with my height, it would be easier for me to wear shorter dresses. I often end up wearing dresses too long for me."


Latisha chose Best Things to Do in Hollywood Studios from Simply Designing. "I love being able to hear about this family's experience with Hollywood Studios and also gain some practical tips for the day I get to take my family there."


Natasha chose Happy Easter! My Visit with The Rabbit from Divorced Kat. "Although it's a topic that people rarely like to talk about, I absolutely LOVED this post. If you've ever experienced anything like this in your life, you will completely understand. Great post!"


The post with the most clicks is How To Double Your Pageviews In 2 Months from Logan Can.
Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I'm sure they'd all appreciate it!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!

Epic Mommy Adventures
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And the Best of the Best is...

This week we have a tie for 1st place and another tie for 2nd place, so all 4 posts will receive the Best of the Best recognition...Congrats!

how i increased my g+views graphic

How to Create a Child Theme from Budget Girl

collage-fave photo editing apps
Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!
Best of the Best Bloggers - make sure to showcase the button below on your blog!

Epic Mommy Adventures
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This month, we're going to do something a bit different with our giveaway! Each week this month, we will be selecting one entrant to win $50 Paypal cash! You will increase your chances of winning by stopping by each week and entering to win!
$50 Paypal Cash Giveaway
This week is our Pinterest week - so be sure to follow the host, co-hosts, and guest hosts below for your chance to win $50 Paypal cash!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
So now that you've met our Sponsor for the month, our hosts and guest hosts, our Featured, the Best of the Best, and checked out our Thank You $50 Paypal Cash Giveaway,

let's get started!

    • Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.
    • Link up as many posts as you'd like! The more, the merrier!
    • Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!
    • Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!
Epic Mommy Adventures

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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week! **Disclaimer: Adding your link to this link party gives permission to Epic Mommy Adventures, along with co-hosts, guest hosts, and participants of Turn It Up Tuesday, to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features, roundups, etc. with an explicit link back to the original source.**

Interested in reading all of our favorite posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays - past or present? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter's board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bag Lady

Music can heal the deepest of wounds if you just take the time to listen. Be it Rock, Country, R&B, Instrumental, Salsa or Pop. I am a lover of all music. While in my office I am blessed to be able to spend my time there with my music playing. No one dictates what genre I can listen to. It's just me in my space.

I use a variety of options to move me through what I may be feeling at that moment. If I think about for example, my journey with my feelings and interactions with my family over the years I log into my Spotify and listen to Frank Sinatra's "My Way". If I am feeling nostalgic about my H.S. years I go on You Tube and play Freestyle music and say hello to Judy Torres and TKA. If I am thinking about how in life we put undo pressure on ourselves that bring us pain and discomfort I visit my girl Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady". My musical ride is a blast for sure.

Today I am going to ride with "Bag Lady". If you aren't familiar, no worries I will include video so you can take a listen. On this song Erykah Badu is speaking to a "Bag Lady" but listen carefully to her word play. With lines like "one day all them bags gon' get in your way" or "pack light" or "you can't hurry up 'cause you got too much stuff". For years I would rock to that song, I loved it so and I enjoy her music in general but it wasn't until a few years ago that I listened to what she was saying.

As we grow older we carry some history. We hope that some parts of that history don't hinder us or stain us in some ways but unfortunately at times it can and it does. We meet people that add to our history that at times don't leave good things behind when they are gone and we walk away carrying that load. We go in and out of a variety of relationships with bags that can totally be dumped. Sometimes our own attitude and views can add to that load.

Healing from any lose or from years of negative chatter is a process. It's part of the road to reaching freedom from those "bags" You can't rush through it, you can't push it aside, you have to sit with it and sort through the bad to get to the good "pack light".

Today, when you approach a situation that may bring you discomfort, try changing the way you handle it. Sometimes our old ways get in the way. Tweak your approach, "pack light". Lighten your load so you can move about with more ease and a bigger smile.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced being the "Bag Lady"?

Always stress free xo.