family

Happy Halloween from the Dinosaurs

Finding magical corners with our son and capturing as many moments as possible is always my goal. This is Azai’s first Halloween and I have become really nostalgic when it comes to the shows and songs I fell in love with during my childhood. There was a show that I use to love called Dinosaurs, especially the little pink baby dinosaur. Now that my son is starting to find his voice, I thought this would be perfect for this year’s Halloween theme. The beauty in having your own family, is getting to create your own traditions along the way (as long as my son will let me dress him up anyway lol).

XoXo,

Nicole

 

Safety Tips from Bloggin’ Mamas Safety Academy Presented By Nissan

When it comes to my son, Azai, his safety as he rides around in my car is of the utmost importance. I could possibly be a little tiny bit over the top since I am a first time mom but then again you can never be too safe when it comes you baby. Throughout my pregnancy, my husband and I searched through consumer reports to determine the best and safest car seat, went to a child safety class put on by our birthing hospital and tried to gather as much insight as we could on keeping our son as safe as possible when we hit the road. And because I am a busy mom, my son spends a lot of time in my car rolling with me. We decided on the Britax Travel System, because of the reviews and how user friendly it was to connect all the pieces to each other. But to add another layer of safety to Azai’s transportation experience, we had the pleasure of getting tips from the Bloggin’ Mamas Safety Academy presented by Nissan. Since I think it is absolutely unnatural to withhold information that can save a child’s life , I have recapped everything I learned below. Please share your own tips, so that we can update this post, your favorite car seat systems and your feedback below.

 

 

Six Tips For Being As Safe As Possible On the Road With Your Little One:

 

  1. Buckle Up – Did you know seat belts saved 14,668 lives in 2016 alone. Also, seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
  2. Follow Child Restraint Guidelines – All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car seat until 2 years of age of more depending on their size and weight (not just their age) and one thing I learned that I did not know is that children should ride in the backseat until they are 13 yrs old.
  3. Avoid distracted driving – In 2017, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. Babies are eight times more distracting to the driver than adult passengers (this is so true for me, because I instinctly want to keep turning around to check on him every 5 minutes). Children are 12 times more distracting to the driver than talking on a cell phone while at the wheel.
  1. Never leave a child in a hot car – The temperature inside a car can reach as high as 125 degrees in a few short minutes, and children have died of heatstroke in cars when the outside temperature was as low as 60 degrees. Children are much more susceptible to heatstroke than adults. In the majority of cases of vehicular heatstroke deaths, well-meaning parents just lost awareness of their surroundings, were functioning on “auto-pilot,” and forgot to double-check their back seat before leaving their cars. Parent Hack – when you download the WAZE gps app, you can add that you have a child to your setting and it will remind you to grab your child every time you hop out the car.
  1. Employ vehicle safety features –Make sure you utilize ALL the features that car has to offer  – blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings, Nissa even offers and around view monitor for a 360 degree view of your entire car.
  1. Check your car’s VIN for open recalls – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides an online search tool to check for open safety recalls: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls

Now you are a #NissanMama !

 

My Birth Story: What I Knew & What I Thought I Knew

I knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that I would be getting a C-Section, due to the extensive fibroid removal surgery I received prior. I tried to research as much as I could leading into this experience but as with anything in life, there is just so much that you can not be prepared for when it comes to how the human body works. Before I got pregnant I always wanted a water birth at home, and after watching “The Business of Birth” my mind was set. But there definitely comes a trade off when you start to intervene with science. One thing that gave me peace with having a C-Section, was listening to a birth specialist that talked about women not being filled with regret and lessening their chances of postpartum depression when they went into their birth experiences making their own decisions and not being pressured to do things outside of that. So I was at peace with knowing how my birthing process would go.  

///A huge, heart-filled thank you to the following people that helped me get through this part of my life:

  • My husband  – Artis Scott. This entire process has been a two man job , even breastfeeding …someone has to hold those little high strung arms down in the beginning.  Thank you for hitting the ground running from day one.
  • My Parents, brothers and In-Laws – so needed….so appreciative
  • My Doula – Mia Peak for answering my 1 Million Questions and being my coach/ support team & the true plug for all things baby and breastfeeding
  • My Best Friend – Creseda Hawk for helping me to transition into motherhood and dealing with all my fears week 1
  • The Snoo Bassinet – best night nurse ever lol

 

Here is how my day & night went….

 

12:00am // Can’t eat anything else to prepare for cesarean section surgery . Nerves and prayer

8am // Arrive at hospital dilated with my husband (I brought my own food since I am vegetarian, I brought my essential oils and diffuser to be at ease & I brought extra pillows – the nurse warned me that the hospital pillows sucked lol)

Doula arrives , Family arrives (ask family to wait in the waiting room for the beginning process)

10am // Gave my birth plan to the nurses, the medical team tried to enforce vaccination shots which I clearly outlined that I did not want in my birth plan but it was ignored. One of the nurses even told me that babies die from not getting vitamin K shots and although I stuck to my guns, this entire process caused me so much stress. My doula had to step in during this part

 

My nerves…

11am // The speed of everything became a blur. I am pushed into the hospital operating theater, which I remember being extremely cold, stark white and filled with extremely bright lights. They wouldn’t let my husband in their at first and I felt so alone in there in the beginning. They proceed with the spinal epidural, which kicked in immediately and I could barely flip my legs up on the bed because the entire lower half of my body had gone numb immediately. At this point they lean me back under a birthing curtain, so I couldn’t see the surgery. I requested a gentle c section curtain in the beginning, but this hospital did not offer that as of yet. At this point, they let my husband in – he was wearing his scrubs and he sat on a rolling chair right next to my head. I started to feel somewhat nauseous but was at peace at this point because now it was go time! I absolutely couldn’t feel a thing, I hear mumbling and my husband had focused his attention on watching every part of the C section and then in only a matter of minutes I heard a cry and they showed me my baby over the curtain. Everything was so surreal, that I started crying. Like wow, the cry that filled this room is MY child’s cry.

My son enters into the world at 9 full pounds! Once they cut the umbilical cord, we do skin to skin and his baby smell is intoxicating. As I start to really come back into focus, they bundle the baby up for me and wheel me out of the operating room back into my room, and that is when real life begins….

 

1:00pm // A lactation specialist comes into my room and I get to witness my son crawl his way right into breast feeding. This was truly an act of God to me, like wow …how did he know what to do so quickly and he had only been on this earth for less an hour

The Rest of the Day //  After this I wanted to sleep. But this starts the cycle of the nurses coming in and out of your room, the doctors coming in and out, the pediatrician coming in and out, family members coming in and out, the baby crying …. Sleep went out the door (the door that never seems to stay closed)

The first night, my son slept for a few hours straight. You should have seen me and my husband rejoicing, like yay we have a baby that sleeps through the night…look at God! Lol, well he never slept through the night again, while we were at the hospital and when we brought him home… EVER lol.

My baby refused to sleep in the baby bed provided by the hospital, so my husband and I took turns hopping up and running on fumes to make sure that our baby enjoyed his first few days on planet earth and also I could not bare to hear his tiny little cry without it breaking my heart.

 

Hello Baby Lungs…..

 

Back At Home //  No one told me how ridiculously hard it is to care for yourself and your baby, when you’re being held together by dissolvable stitches and tape. How you really do need help for at least a week, because it feels like your lower half is on fire due to having to get up hundreds of times throughout the day and night to feed the baby and tend to his needs. I don’t think I understood the severity of having a very serious abdominal surgery and then being thrown right into the game of raising a child IMMEDIATELY. On the second night of being home, it was around 2am – my husband had passed out due to his sleep deprivation and my baby just wouldn’t stop crying (this was before I knew you were suppose to feed on demand). My baby was staring at me crying and I was staring at him crying and we were just standing in the hallway of my home in the dark crying with each other and I was praying to God  to make all of this easier. Then you finish the pain pills and you have to bare the sensation of feeling everything, every little thing (side note, don’t hop out the bed the wrong way to get the baby or you will feel like you tore something internally again). No one mentioned how you will need major rest to heal from such a major surgery and how you will be getting none of that if you are breastfeeding. Holding such a precious miracle in your arms, helps you get through this time as best as possible but I wish I would have known the reality of it a bit more. I did get a stepping stool for my bed after day 3 , that helped a lot with getting in and out of the bed easier.

Now that we are coming to an end of his 4th trimester and I reflect back over the first few weeks of bringing my baby home, black girl magic has taken on an even higher level of meaning for me and my confidence in my ability to mother has reached an all time high.

Can I ask you a favor? If there is a new mother around you, check on her. See how she is doing, stop by and help. Like really help her as she jumps head first into a whole new normal.

XoXo,

Nicole

A Child’s Voice

Fact: validating a child’s voice early on can be life altering. It let’s them know that their voices matter and should always be heard. We can’t understand each other’s words yet, but we are learning each other’s sounds, looks, & love right now.
⠀⠀
The juggle is real … and I’m just praying & paving my way through it!

 

XOXO,

Nicole

Creating our NEW family budget

Creating our NEW family budget 

 

For the first 30 years of my life, I have only had to worry about my finances – mine and mine alone.  Then I got married and had to readjust my money mindset, to being transparent and open financially. 

2018, enter in our baby.

Becoming a parent is the most life-changing event that many will experience. You are suddenly not only responsible for yourself, but also another person who depends on you for everything.

Since his first day on this earth our son, Azai, has been the an indescribable joy in our lives and an unexplainable love in our hearts. But, he has also wracked up a pretty penny as soon as he exited the womb. From hospital bills, to insurance fees, to lactation consultants, and more. No matter how prepared you are, there are always a few surprises that are sure to catch you off guard with a baby. 

I want to share my checklist with you of things we needed to handle when Azai was born. My adulting has reached a whole new level so quickly, lol. I would love to hear your feedback and additions to this list. 

P.S. Also, another tip in the world of money, is to freeze your child’s credit for now. This will keep any identity theft from happening, since you are usually not actively paying attention to a young human’s financial reports. 

Our Gender Reveal

Our Ferris Wheel Gender Reveal

As we crossed into the safety zone of our second trimester, it was time to start thinking about our gender reveal. I knew I wanted it to incorporate the spirit of Atlanta, my city that I truly adored but I was stuck on how to bring it all together and make it make sense. My husband came up with the idea of doing it at the SkyView ferris wheel downtown. When you are pregnant at 35 and up or what the medical field likes to call,  “a mature momma”, you are tested throughout your pregnancy way more frequently. I actually had the test results of my baby’s sex at month two. So I had to sit on this secret for longer than my nerves could bare. Luckily the results were stored in my online patient portal, which I let my brother log in to and he was able to set up the details of the gender reveal with the ferris wheel company. Doing it this way allowed my husband and I the opportunity to surprised right along with your family and friends at the reveal. 

The night was beautiful. One thing to remember is that you have to do the ferris reveal once it gets dark so the light show will shine vibrantly. We had our guests meet at the wheel and had our out of town family log onto our Facebook live so they could get in on the fun. After everyone rode the ferris wheel, we stood below it and watched the pink and blue light show on the wheel until it ended up on the last color which was blue (#TeamBoy). I’ve included some of our pics below.

Theme: Curious George

STYLED BY: F.I.L.A. *wink*

Occasion: Baby Gender Reveal

Location: SkyView Atlanta

 

Photography: Shawn Bell 

Video Of Our Crazy Countdown: https://www.facebook.com/thegarnercircle/videos/a.10160126181835051/10160126182375051/?type=3