Heat Ain’t Stop the Show

So Philly is experiencing a heat wave. We are in a Red alert. So with that being said hydration is our friend. Staying cool and protected is the name of the game.

There are several events happening this weekend. I took the liberty of researching the options for the month and have linked my husband and I’s calendar to be in sync with the activities. This doesn’t mean that we will attend them all but at least we are aware. Today we decided to attend #phillyscoopfest. It is an ice-cream festival that has many vendors, some samples, music from all diversity, and it was located this year inside the Reading Terminal.

Little secret, I have never been to the Reading Terminal before. I know, I know why?! I’m not sure. But that is a thing of a past. I was there which is super surprising as much as I love my hometown market and one would think I would have ran to the Reading Terminal but nope! I finally made my presence known.

My family and I walked around and our first stop I tried a pineapple basil from Mom Pops. I loved it. They were dairy free, gluten free, everything free but what wasn’t free? Taste. I loved it. Since taking dairy out of my diet I’ve always on the hunt for non dairy dessert. The gentleman gave me a lot of coupons that I’ll be using going forward.

My kids all had a strawberry banana popsicle and I doubt they heard everything that was taken out of them and finished it before we made it to Bassett’s and we had such great ice-cream. I elected to have sorbet for the reasons already stated. It was good. The kids enjoyed their cups and my husband his cone. The staff was super organized and treated us well.

We made our way to enjoy our icecream and listen to music which was my personal highlight of the event! They also had prizes, a kid spot, tables to enjoy your icecream and food and it was great to see the diversity and fun without drama!!

Also if you purchase something at a vendor for at least 10 dollars they validate your parking for a discount. So all together it costs us 5 dollars for parking, for almost 30 of ice-cream, and memories were made for a family of 5 that is a win!!

After going to a friends house warming we decided to give the kids a break and recoup before heading to the Fireworks at Penn’s Landing. Naps went over and we missed the Army Band’s performance. Listen parking in Philadelphia is no joke and definitely during a holiday weekend. It took about 20 or so minutes to find a non paying spot but we found one.

The crowd was plentiful. From Spruce Street Harbor to the actual fireworks it was a great night!

So here’s to more events, family time, and not letting anxiety hold me into the house!

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Good Reports: My Hysterectomy Update

So I’ve blogged about having a full hysterectomy last year. Although it might be quite private for some, this was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me to push my life in the right direction.

I’ve been super honest about the journey. I’ve talked about how I started to attempt to lose weight and then hit a wall. I found that I was getting a lot of the areas of my health in line and then bam I was sick, having horrible headaches, and my cycle was so off it made no sense.

After losing so much blood and my blood being so low and at the point of having a second dose of iron infusions, I decided to have a complete work up. I went to two specialists who worked together and came up with the plan and because of them and always God my life has improved tremendously. My hematologist walked me to my OBGYN specialist in person and we all sat down together and came up with a plan. They were hands on and made sure I didn’t feel stuck.

Yesterday I went to the doctors and was told that everything looked great. I had lost the weight and more, my body had healed, and that I was the model patient. I also had a note from the nurses who said I was a joy and made them laugh even though I was in so much pain. To be honest that had to be more pain medication induced than anything. I also was told that I would still need to come back to have my exam done but that I didn’t need to send off anything to a lab since go figure there is no uterus. Such a great turn from last year when I was at my wit’s end, sleeping all the time, etc.

Sleep Patterns

So let me tell you real of what I had to get used to while I healed. There are a lot of women who have had and will have a hysterectomy for various reasons. I personally had already had my tubes tied before the surgery and yet I felt a weird sense of lost after the surgery. I had various dreams of babies quite often and if you add that my body’s clock was off, the insomnia took over the first few weeks. I was sleeping like a baby. No not let men do (some) when a new baby comes home, the kind where day is night and night is day type of sleep. I didn’t regulate my sleep pattern until well over 2 months and I had been back to work by then. It may have been well into 3 months after the surgery.

Sex

Please like I’ve said if you’re coming to read this part to hear about my bedroom secrets let me stop you now! Sex does change after surgery. Some women experience dryness that makes sex super painful. Some have no drive. A lot of that depends on the healing process. Let me also note if your doctor hasn’t cleared you don’t try it. That means do NOT have any form of sex or place anything in your vaginal area. If you do you will regret it. Get a new hobby as you heal. Make your partner wait a minute too. It’s either that or find yourself back in the hospital or injured! It ain’t worth it! Sex was the last thing on my mind during healing. I was trying to master things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and pain management! I had zero issues waiting. However my paranoia did creep in once I was cleared. I did have to find a good rhythm and relax. I was scared that there would be a lot of pain. My husband and I waited 1-2 more weeks after I was cleared.

Hair Growth/Hair Falling Out

My hair didn’t fall out. That is a blessing. I honestly thought it would since I had braids AND when I was postpartum with my kids my hair was falling out in clumps. I figured hey this surgery is sending me into menopause surely my hair is going to hit the floor! It did not!! However I found hair in other unwanted areas. It has leveled out and I personally think it had a lot to do with me being on hormone replacement therapy patches for a while. I got off of that soon after the hair discovery subsided and also it caused me to have heart palpitations. I thought there’s no way I’m going to look like a Chia Pet and feel like I’m having a heart attack too!

Weight Gain

After I had lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery I was paranoid that I would look pregnant as I recovered. I had a plan! I ate what I wanted for the first few weeks and by few I really mean 2! Uber Eats got all my money after my husband went back to work. Standing to prep food or cook was team too much! However I could use my strength to track those deliveries answer make my way to the door. After that food fun was over I stuck to the portion size and types of food for the remainder of the time since working out was out of the question.

Do I still get hot flashes? Yes. I think they honestly started back up in the last month. I had several months where it didn’t happen at all. I do think with the start of the new job and adjusting is contributing to the increase of the flashes. I am confident I will level out soon!

Overall I would do it again. I had 3 c-section with my 3 kids and I felt like I was prepared for the surgery and knew what to expect. Thankfully due to a little prep I had everything ready after I came home too. Shout out to Dr. M for all that he has done. I’m glad of the support of my family and friends during the journey. Now I’m just glad to be able to live a true healthy life! I’m glad that unlike many women who find themselves having to have a hysterectomy that I have my 3 kids. Not every women will experience childbirth and I’m grateful. Again I encourage all to be on top of their health. If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right then speak up. I don’t even want to think would could have been had I not put myself first!

My Mother’s Day hope for my children

I absolutely love being a mom. I get so much flak about what I do but honestly I love the tight schedules, the prep, and the joy from being on point with them. I’ve learned from trial and error that there is no perfect Mom. So there are many more times now where I can look at my to do list and roll my eyes and get it done at a later time. That’s major for me! I do a lot of self care to get through! However with my children when I look back at the memories we have created it makes me have some reference in the art of being a mom. Here is what I want for them:

  1. To be dope and know it: this means that they understand what they bring to any table, own a room and never compromise themselves for anyone!
  2. To be respectful but stern: I want them to give respect and command it but handle habitual line steppers! There is no settling for bad behavior for any reason not even from me! Gasp! How can I teach them if I’m dishing it and hiding behind “I’m your mom so I can mentality?”
  3. To be what they want! This is such a large statement and I pray daily to enlarge my love even in the areas of disappointment. I know it’s coming and I would hate to be the type of mom who turned their back on their kids when they needed me most!
  4. To love themselves! This is a daily thing! I want them to show themselves they are worthy so anyone friend or foe will know how to treat them!
  5. To make a stand! I’ve always been one to go against the grain and I can stand even alone! I need to be passionate about what they believe in!
  6. For long lives- I pray that they can live out their dreams and that this world doesn’t kill their spirit with all the negativity and foolery that is around

Of course there’s more for them I desire! But if I can raise them to love God, love themselves, and show love towards others while commanding respect and not taking a bunch of crap along the way, I’ve done my job! I’m not the usual mom! I’m okay with that! My husband and I’s job isn’t to have a bunch of folks stand in agreement with us. It’s our job to create a home full of love, acceptance, guidance and a few side eyes along the way!

No one laughs harder than our home and we will do what we can to keep it that way! I love my children and grateful I was chosen to be their mom!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms near and far!!

Motherhood the No Manual Life

So Mother’s Day is coming up and we as moms will be thanked for all the things that we do. But I need to take a pause on the things that we as mom get, the no manual life.

There is no manual yet a thousand fingers point in telling you how it should be done. They tell you what’s acceptable and what’s not. Outside of neglect and abuse these fingers that point don’t get how much all the criticism breaks you down.

When I first became a mom my daughter was sick due to being born 6 weeks early. All of a sudden I had a thousand folks telling me how to dress her, how to stay home and never go out, how I was doing it wrong and I was gonna mess around and make her worse. The crazy part is that due to her health I had to rely on my doctor and even with following every protocol, guess what? She was hospitalized too many times to count. I sat in the hospital with great support BUT the ones pointing their fingers wasn’t visiting or calling to check on the baby. The same ones wasn’t lifting a finger. My second hospital visit I made up my mind to trust my instincts and that I wasn’t allowing folks to tell me what to do with my baby.

Now don’t get it twisted that didn’t mean I wasn’t listening to sound advice. It simply meant I wasn’t allowing folks to stress me with their bad advice who wasn’t going through what I went through nor had they been around a preemie who had asthma and all that it entails. It meant walking away mid sentence when people crossed the line. It meant shaking my head and disregarded 80% of folks. It meant not even giving information to people who too many times would only want to know so I could hear later down the line “you know she messing that baby up.”

Guess what?! As I ignored the negativity, my confidence spiked. I was able to let my guard down and enjoy motherhood. I was able to develop my own protocols. My daughter and I became closer. We were a pair and we were happy and eventually healthy. She will be 9 this month and my support system has changed but not by much. The reason is simple, smaller tighter circles is how I roll. Simple parenting works for me. No more high stress. And now with 2 more kids since my first one, we are doing quite well.

Every first time mom I encourage them to trust themselves. To get around like-minded parents or those with sound advice that works for them. To worry less about trying to please everyone! There is no manual but you can get through those first years weeding out the bad or outdated information. You can mix some old school with new! You can trust yourself!

Women’s History Month: Jasmine D.

Jasmine Drake is 32 years old. from Philadelphia, Pa, but she currently resides in California. She made the move to California with Ty (her hubby) about 4 years ago. Jasmine and Ty have been together for almost 17 years. She is an elementary school teacher. She is a Sagittarius. She loves sunflowers and French fries.

Sometimes we place so much pressure on ourselves that it makes it hard to pull oneself from that heavy load.  What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself to see the beauty in my flaws. I would tell myself to love myself. I grew up with very low self-esteem and I just wish that I could tell my younger self to not be so focused on my physical appearance as compared to social norms and to really truly see the beauty in myself inside and out. 
There isn’t a woman who hasn’t made many mistakes in life, love or career.  We are always striving to find a balance in the things that we are, where we want to be, and we constantly beat ourselves over where we think we should be.  What are the lessons you have learned thus far?
I have learned that happiness is all that matters in love, life and career. What makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make another person so happy, so we all have to first find what makes us happy and then build up from there. If it doesn’t make me happy then it’s not for me. If something doesn’t make me smile, then it’s not for me.
My Nana used to tell me that, life is what you make it. If you want something in life to change you have to make the change. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. I choose happiness in life so I fill it up with things that make ME happy. Ty brings me happiness and creates the loving and caring environment for my happiness to grow, bloom and rejuvenate. I was so lucky to meet Ty at such a young age and for my first love to be my only love. We have ups, downs and all around, but at the start and finish of everyday we choose each other. I went to college the first time to get a job that I will make good money. I later learned that just working a job that pays good was counterproductive to my overall goal of being happy and that my work itself should make me happy, so I changed that and became the teacher that my kindergarten aged self always wanted to be. 
I have also learned that there is a lesson is every mistake. It took me a while to get where I am today. I don’t regret what I have been through to get me here, because it has all helped guide me to the woman I am today. I still make mistakes and I am still learning and getting better from them. 
That’s truly beautiful. It often takes folks years before they learn to be happy in their career and what they do verses only chasing the money.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself reaching new levels of happiness in my life. As I grow some things that used to make me happy, don’t have the same effect and vice verse. I want to be more in tune with myself, I want to make memories and inside jokes with Ty, I want to make more time for family and friends, I want to create new streams of revenue, explore the world, and become a mom.  
What is on my heart that I look forward to just “crushing” in the future is motherhood. My new focus in life is beginning a family. After the loss of our first baby during pregnancy, recovery was the focus. Recovery not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It was one of the toughest things I have had to go through in life. 
I always wanted to be a mom, but was very cautious about when to begin that journey in my life. I just wanted to make sure that I was fully prepared for parenthood and that we would be ready for the life long responsibilities that would come. My mother did it by herself and made a way and sometimes made it look easy, but she also struggled and I just wanted to improve on that with my family. When we said that we were ready, it was almost to easy- we got pregnant that month. We were looking forward to welcoming our baby girl to the world, but we lost her at 20 weeks and it was devastating to say the least. The physical pain was brief compared to the emotional pain that will seemingly always linger on. 
We are still working to start our family and becoming parents. When the time is right it will happen and we will “crush” it for sure!
Again this is why I dislike for people to put pressure on someone else who is either not a mom or desires to be a mom.  Sometimes people mean well but be careful on how you address women.  Let them go through their processes without the added pressure.  Jasmine from Toitime we are so sorry for you and your family and your daughter.  I pray continued peace as you continue to process that pain.
What are your accomplishments to date?
I don’t give myself enough credit for my accomplishments. Getting my masters degree was quite an accomplishment for me, because I proved to myself that not only can do it, I was awesome at it and graduated with a 3.97 GPA. Some other accomplishments I am proud of, learning to forgive the right people, learning to let go of toxic relationships, learning to speak up for myself, learning to let my light shine, overcoming depression, learning to be more vulnerable and open and learning to put myself first, just to name a few. 
What I liked about your accomplishments were the fact that you chose to highlight the accomplishments that will overall make you a better person.  I am grateful for any accomplishment but the ones that go past, education, past status are the ones that will pull you out on a dark day. The ones that will keep you grounded.
How do you feel about the #metoo movement?
I feel encouraged by the Me Too movement and how it has empowered people to speak up and expose those who have violated their human rights. I think that it is wonderful that the Me Too movement is challenging “social norms” and helping those effected to stand up and be seen and heard after being silenced for so long. I think that the Me Too movement is going to create a lot of change for the better for women’s rights in the future.
One thing that I do not like is how the Me Too movement can be taken advantage of and used for personal gain or notoriety. I have heard the stories of all the celebrities who have been guilty of abusing their power to mistreat women and I am glad that they are being held accountable for their actions. I just do not like a few of the stories that I have heard of women just trying to get fame or notoriety from using the Me Too movement to get in the spotlight.
How do you practice self-love?
I can be really hard on myself and sometimes I only see my flaws, so I have to remind myself to practice good habits of self-love. I practice self-love, by being gentle with myself and treating myself with care. Self love for me can be making healthier meal choices, treating myself to something I’ve been wanting, reading a book, exercising, indulging when I want to have a dessert, distancing myself from negativity, etc. Anything that can help me enjoy life, make me smile and be a better me is self love and I try to practice that in someway everyday.

So we ended this month-long celebration with a bang.  Jasmine thank you for being vulnerable and stepping out of your comfort zone. I speak continued blessings as you educate our young people and that every goal that you have for yourself, your relationship and for your future!

jasmine

Daily Women Crushers

As we continue to celebrate women’s history month, I want to shout out all women who are crushing their dreams.  Wednesdays are designated as #WCW or women crush Wednesday.  However daily women are failing, dusting themselves off and getting back out there and making it all happen.

Single women who are lonely and longing for relationship and finding ways to enjoy their single days and taking trips, starting businesses, becoming sound individuals without someone in their company. Those are daily women crushers.  They want to be with someone but aren’t allowing the lack thereof to stop them.  Until love finds them, they are out here making life happen for them under their own guidance, salute.

To the married woman who gives daily to her husband and attempting to be united, you are a daily woman crusher.  People think that marriage is a cure-all but it’s not.  It’s hard work to put someone else above your own.  It’s a union that actually makes you confront a lot of who you are or who you think you are.  Marriage is being there for someone and trying to keep the spark going regardless if that woman is tired or not, salute.  FYI the same should be done from her husband towards her.  If you find you are in a one way marriage, there are a few talks you and your husband need to have.

To the mother who is tired and feeling overwhelmed and still continues to get up before her house, getting things in order, and making it look effortless, you are a daily woman crusher.  To the days when those around you takes you for granted, and forget to say sorry or appreciate what you done, salute to you.  Salute to you when you lose yourself and literally have to pick yourself up before you can give again, salute to you.  Salute to you as you endure your body going through hell and back to deliver, salute to you.  Salute to you as you almost sometimes die on those tables waiting to hear that first cry, salute to you.  Salute to the women who have lost life many times and feel like their worth is tied to being a mother and can’t.  We salute you.  Just know that is a real pain. A real fear.  A real cry.  A real emptiness and I stand behind you and with you.

To the business woman who has to have her work checked twice just because she doesn’t have the same “member” as those on her team, salute to you.  Salute to the woman who is making moves after she was denied financing, salute to you.  Salute to the woman whose ideas failed many times before it took off, salute.  Salute to the woman who while accomplishing her goals, had the very folks who now want to stand with her after the fact and those same ones laughed, talked about, and ridiculed for that venture to pop, salute!

To the woman who has or is facing many demons and finding herself alone as she pushes towards getting her life together.  The ones that seem and feel like constant failures while others around her is flourishing.  The ones who say why not me too but they seem to be saying this only to themselves and there is no one around who understands you.  We salute you.  We get it.  We understand because as a woman regardless of what we have all accomplished we have all been public goals and secret failures.  Trust the process, understand that it will work out. Even in the dark, there will be light.  At the second you go to fail, you find a solution. At the moment you decide today is the day you will give up, light shines.  You are purpose and you were created for purpose.  The world has something that you have inside of you.  We salute the process of growing in the dark with limited water and resources.  The best flowers sometimes have thorns but are the prettiest in the end.  Don’t give up!

Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information: