Countdown Begins to the Big 1st Birthday

Mary-Isabella’s first birthday is less than two months away. The pressure is on to plan a party she is sure to forget. For me, this party is extra special. Outside of celebrating her birthday, this is a celebration of love and it marks the day God answered my deepest desires. From the moment I saw her in the hospital, I loved her. I knew she was mine.

Now, that I’ve shared the reasons why I want to make it special, let me share my ideas. I’ve enlisted the help of our family and friends to pull off our Princess Mary theme soiree. We are using the Princess and the Frog as inspiration. The invitation list has been shaved down from the original 50 to 15. Our Aunt Anne is allowing us to use her home. We will have a face painter, customized coloring books, inflatables, gift bags and customized tshirts for the family. I would like to have ladies in waiting to attend to Mary. To pay for this big day, Anthony and I will need to save our pennies and make sacrifices. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure this a day Mary can look at the pictures and see was surround my love.

I will keep you posted on our party planning adventures.

My first Mother’s Day

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My very first Mother’s Day is now in the history books. It is still hard to believe I’m a mother to such a beautiful and precious baby. I prayed for her so long that sometimes it is overwhelming to know God actually granted my prayer. She lights up my world. She is at the center of everything I do. I’m so blessed. She and Anthony are more than I deserve.

Leading up to mother’s day, I daydreamed of the different gifts I would receive or what Anthony would do to make the day special. Once Mother’s Day arrived, we were jammed packed with activities; from worship service, then brunch with his parents, followed by a visit with family, trek to the grocery store before heading home to prepare for Monday. At the end of the day, I realized all I really wanted was a day of rest and relaxation.

So, I’m asking forgiveness now of my mom and pastor. I won’t be travelling to Mississippi, brunching with in-laws or going to church. You will find me on a beach hopefully or on my couch. Anthony, a nice gift, card and taking care of Mary-Isabella for the day will suffice.

Mother’s Day = Me Day. I say that now. We’ll see.

A Shot of Love

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E! News Anchor, Guilana Rancic, recently came under the fire for saying she puts her marriage before her baby. It is hard for some to believe that a new mother would entertain the notion of putting anyone or anything before her child. I have to say I completely agree with her. The best gift Anthony and I can give our daughter, is a strong healthy marriage. I want Mary-Isabella to know what a healthy love relationship looks like.

The controversary over Rancic’s statements reminded me that Anthony and I were beginning to neglect our relationship. Since Mary-Isabella’s arrival, we haven’t wanted to take anytime away from her. After nearly 5 months of hibernation, it was time for us to take some much-needed time for us. I took off, so we could plan to spend the entire day together during his Spring break. I arranged for my inlaws to keep Mary-Isabella all day and night.

We couldn’t have chosen a better day as the weather was beautiful. It was like the old days, we didn’t an agenda or time constraints. It felt great reconnecting with Anthony. My husband is the funniest, smartest and caring (despite what he wants you know). We laughed, talked and enjoyed doing what we do.

I absolutely loved every minute of it. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where we missed our precious baby girl.

My husband enjoys firearms, so we ended our night with a trek to the gun range. I’ve never shot a gun, so I was a little nervous to say the least. I knew it was important to him, so I open myself up to it.

While I’m terrible at shooting the targets, taking the time out to do something he likes was the shot of love we needed. I really hope we are able to find ways and time to invest in our marriage and one another.

A Lesson for My Daughter

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This is the male half of TeamSpraggins…my first post !!! I worry so much about what to teach my daughter, to ensure she becomes a strong young lady….this is a lesson I pray she learns: Grandmother says… Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; “Which are you?”

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point,grandmother?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

—AUTHOR UNKNOWN —

New Mom at 40

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I’m a first-time mom at the age of 40. Yes, I said it. I’m the BIG 4-0. Let me tell you 40 doesn’t feel like the new 30 or 20 anything. Although, a great number of women are waiting to start families, it seems society and media haven’t gotten the message as we are continually indundated with images of these 20-something thin beautiul; often blond and blue-eyed mothers.

There is nothing wrong with these images. I simply don’t connect with many of them. I’m a African American, curvy, professional and happily married woman who also happens to be a new mom. Do I represent too small of a niche? Surely, there are more women like me. Where are the resources that speak to who I am and where I am in my life?

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of issues that all new moms share regardless of age or station in life. However, there are some issues that are unique to older mothers. I worry about a lot of things; albeit, some are more serious than others. For instance, I worry someone might mistake me for her grandmother at a future PTA meeting. Will my husband and I be around to see our grandchildren? Will we be a burden on our children? How can we plan to retire and pay for college at the same time. With aging parents, how long will be they be around for our daughter? Do we have time to expand our family?

I guess I said all of this to say, it woud be nice to see blogs, resources or websites that have more of a diverse voice and a broader point of view. Please let me know if you know if these types of blogs, websites or communities exist.

Fears of NOT being a SuperAnything

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There is a gospel song, “I Won’t Complain”.   So I hope this post doesn’t come across as complaining. I have a GREAT LIFE. I’m so blessed. I’m married to a wonderful man whom I adore. We have a beautiful and healthy five month old daughter and a rambunctious Shih Tzu.  All things considering, we are living the good life. Despite this line being a little trite, “the best is yet to come for TeamSpraggins”.

With that said, I do struggle with self-doubt.  I want to be a SuperWoman/Wife/Mother/Daughter, but today I feel as if I’m failing miserably on all fronts and here is why:

As a working mother, I often find myself feeling guilty for not spending enough time with our daughter. I worry about my daughter not attaching and bonding with me since we adopted her. Like all mothers, I want to be perfect. I want her to know how much she is loved and cared for.  To compensate, I attempt to be a super mom. I rush from work to home so I can spend time with her. Once home, I do most of the heavy lifting, from feeding, playing, bathing, reading and getting her to fall asleep. I also do all the night-time feedings and comforting. By the time morning comes, I’m so tired. I don’t feel productive or competitive at my corporate position. On top of all that, I try to keep up with community and other family commitments.

Then, there is my husband. Before our daughter, I took pride in being a super wife. I cooked dinner, made lunches, ironed his clothes, and was acutely attentive.  People would say all that attention you are giving your husband is going to change once you have a baby. I scoffed at the idea and promised myself I would prove everyone wrong. Well, five months in as a new mom, I feel like a EPIC failure.

As a woman, I’ve gained weight. I hate walking by a mirror. To save time and money, I’ve virtually stopped all of my personal treats; shopping, regular salon hair and nail salon visits. When I do indulge I feel guilty for spending the money and time away from home I have a gym membership I don’t use because of my fears of being away too long. 

As a daughter, I worry about my parents; especially my mother.  She is still grappling with my grandmother’s death and she is embroiled in a nasty work situation. I want to be there for her. I wish I had the right or comforting words to share. I want her to feel connected to my daughter (her only grandchild). I worry that I’m not being a good daughter.

On top of all of this, my husband and I are in throws of finalizing the adoption. Let me tell you, this process has been a bitch. Excuse the profanity, but there is no other word to describe it. I constantly find myself worrying about this or that form or next fee we will have to pay. We are in a constant state of hurry up and wait.

The questions I asked myself daily, I’m cut out to be the SuperWoman/Wife/Mother/Daughter, I so desperately want to be.  Can I keep up at this pace. When I will drop a ball? What’s the next shoe or problem to drop?

While I don’t know any of these answers, I try to remind myself to “be here now” and to breathe.  Some days I’m better at it than others.  I guess today is one of the days when I feel as I’m missing the mark. There is always tomorrow.