Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photo Dump Wednesday: Randoms

Thank you all for your very sweet and thoughtful comments to my last post. It was MUCH appreciated and helpful.

Today is actually my first day back in the office. Late last week, I started feeling pretty crummy and ended up leaving work early. I just didn't feel like myself and wish I had stayed home. Well, turns out I had the flu! How could this be? I got the flu shot last November. It  took me THREE visits to the health unit before I mustered up the courage to get it because I DO NOT like needles. All that and I still got the flu? I feel duped! I have gotten the shot 3 times and 2 out of those 3 times, I have gotten the flu.
And yeah yeah...the media is reporting that "this is the first year they were so off with the predicted strain of virus." Ah huh...whatever! I am SERIOUSLY considering NOT getting it ever again. And if we do go for #3, I intend to plan my pregnancy around flu season to avoid taking it. Yes, it is THAT serious!

Anyways, my sweet baby girl JOE got it from me :-(. On Friday evening, she started coughing and had a runny nose and by Saturday night she had a 102.5 degree temperature. Needless to say, that scared us! So off to the pediatrician we went on Sunday. So thankful that her pediatrician has Sunday hours. Anyways, her temperature was down to 99.9 when we got there. Yay!!! It was going in the right direction. She tested positive for Flu A. My OB put me on Tamiflu and JOE's pediatrician put her on the same. Different doses of course.
For the record, that thing tastes NASTY!!! It took A LOT of energy just to get JOE to take it. Mary Poppins had no clue what she was saying when she said "just a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down!" We bribed with skittles (JOE's favorite candy) and M&Ms and none of them helped.

Here's my baby girl finally getting some much needed rest in my arms. I wasn't feeling well but having her cuddle up to me gave me reassurance that we'll be OK.



I have been seriously craving my mom's cooking and different Nigerian dishes but I don't have anyone close by to make any of these dishes for me so oftentimes, it has to wait until I can make them. 
On Sunday, when I started gaining a little more strength, I decided to make some Egusi soup. It is a Nigerian soup made with greens of your choice (I used spinach), ground melon seeds, assorted meats and spices. 
The soup was a hit! JOE loved it and said "hmmm...yummy in my tummy" while rubbing her tummy. She definitely inherited her mom's Nigerian taste buds :-). 

Here's a bowl of JOE's soup. I couldn't eat anything because I am still heavily congested so I had cream of chicken soup for dinner. My taste buds are still off and I can't smell or taste much. J even had to taste this soup because I didn't know what additional spices it might need. 


After almost 5-days of dreading it, I had to do JOE's hair. I didn't want to wash her hair during the height of her being sick so I waited until last night to do it. It was a tangled mess and took over an hour after co-washing to detangle it. YIKES! I was so tired afterwards, this was all I could do before calling it a day.


My baby is FINALLY starting to feel better. She is playing and jumping and eating more. I love seeing her back to her almost normal self. Now that annoying pesky cough just needs to go go go away!


The OK thing about having the flu is the weight loss. By Monday, I had lost 6-lbs since my last OB appointment (last Monday) and by yesterday, I had lost 2 more! Who knew I could lose 8-lbs in a little over a week? As of today, I am now at a deficit of 2-lbs for pregnancy weight gain. I am not too too concerned. I still have about 10-weeks to gain some of it back :-). Not complaining though. I figured the less I put on, the less I have to take off. And my OB says I am measuring right on track so no worries there.

Anyways, I had this as my meal of the day yesterday. This is a traditional Nigerian meal. It is Eba and Egusi. Eba is ground cassava prepared with hot water. I feel like I am making progress as far as eating more. I'll take that.


My after lunch entertainment was my little baby girl playing the xylophone and piano she received for Christmas. Notice how she even combined singing with her performance? Yup...a girl of many talents. Enjoy!


January has been a bit of a trying month but I am also thankful for so many other blessings. For one, the month of February will usher me into a new job (more on that later) and I am looking forward to enjoying the last few months of my pregnancy. 

For those in the Northeast US, hope you're staying warm and safe. For everyone, have a fabulous week!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Updates: In the midst of it all...

Its been a challenging start to the year for me but I am determined to make it a good year. I have had a lot on my mind and my hands and as a result, a lot have fallen by the wayside.

I used to always do a daily journal entry. I have had a journal since I was 16 and had daily entries until the middle of last year when I switched jobs. Things changed drastically in how I felt about a lot of things and some areas of my life have not gotten the attention they should have.

I haven't done a journal for this baby like I did with JOE. I don't have a record of all my visits with the doctor and how I am feeling on any given day with this pregnancy. It makes me sad sometimes but I try not to dwell on it. I often process my thoughts through writing in my journal and not being able to do that because I am just so tired or am not in the right frame of mind has me feeling a little off centered.

However, I am determined to make a change this year and work on my happiness. I want to be able to write down my thoughts and feelings and spend time doing things I love. I want to plan a vacation without thinking about all the obstacles. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel abroad and I want to get back into it. I have always said I want our kids to know the world and not just the borders of the US and this is something I'll start working on.
I would also like to spend some time exploring hobbies. I haven't sewn anything in a LONG time. I want to get into food photography but haven't even felt like it. No, I didn't get my camera for Christmas but I haven't given up just yet.
There is so much I feel like I am missing out on and I'd like to get back to my "happy place"!

With that said, here are some pictures of the last 2 - 3 weeks. As you can see, I haven't really taken a lot of pictures but these are some of the ones that have given me a chance to pause and take notice of the blessings I have around me.

I love this picture of JOE and I. By the way, her glasses are upside down. How cool are we in our matching sunglasses? Worn indoors in the evening :-).


Another selfie of JOE and I. I love taking selfies with this little one and I promise to do more of these. I'd like to get at least one selfie of the both of us every week. It reminds me of the simple things and why I work so hard.


Another area I haven't really focused on is the addition to our family. Like it or not, baby girl #2 will be joining us soon and we need to start preparing! She is certainly making sure I take notice now :-). JOE LOVES talking to and kissing her baby sister. I already know they'll be best of friends.


Talk about good friends who bless you. The week before last, I guilted told my friend the baby was craving a lemon pound cake. She makes the best pound cakes. This friend is one of my oldest and dearest and when I talk about someone having my back, I know she has my back and has proven it many times in the past.
Well, this time, she made me baby an entire cake! Baby has truly enjoyed it! The first night I let JOE have some, she closed her eyes and said "hmmm...this is delicious momma!" Yes, it is THAT good. And if you're wondering, I shared a sliver slice with J as well :-).


Yes, I started eating the cake before I got home. It smelt so good and tasted great with coffee :-D.



Another selfie of JOE and I from last Sunday evening.


We were about to go to church and I just had to take this picture. JOE insisted on wearing her own necklace for church so I let her wear this one. Why the face? Well, this is what I get when we insist she take her daily multivitamin. Its a struggle EVERY TIME!


We had a lot of errands to run on Monday but J and I decided at the end of the day that since JOE had been so great throughout the day, we would take her to the mall to play. She certainly had a great time. I love that she is starting to come into her own. After J helped her down a few times, she insisted on doing it herself.


Another reminder of baby girl #2 is this! Had my glucose test. This thing is YUCKY!!! I felt icky a solid 36-hours after taking this thing. Now the wait is on for my test results. Praying all goes well. This stuff can't be good for momma and baby. I spent my entire hour long wait before the blood draw trying not to throw up. Folks say it tastes like Fanta. Well, I think it tastes like Fanta on overdrive!


And in the midst of it all, this view made me pause and think of just how beautiful things are. The sun was just rising (I get to work early) and I happened to look out my office window. I know it doesn't look like much but the colors looked spectacular so I snapped a picture with my phone camera.


Well, there you have it. I hope you're having a great year/month so far. My last post talked about learning to be thankful and I really am learning to be thankful and making an effort to do things that'll get me more in a thankful frame of mind. 

What are some ways you've made changes in your life to alter how you feel about things around you? Has it worked? Did it last? I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Learning to give thanks.

The first full week of 2015 has flown by. Even though it is still early in the year, I am excited for all the blessings I can anticipate for 2015.

Earlier this week, it snowed. You might ask "so? doesn't it snow every year?" Well, yes it does. However, often times, I don't have to deal with driving in it since we get the option to telework. And driving in the snow where I live can be a pain in the behind because folks are not as careful as they should be or are overly confident of their driving skills and cause accidents.
When it snowed on Tuesday, I needed to drop JOE off at her child care provider because she doesn't drive in the snow and I needed to be able to work uninterrupted. Needless to say, the drive was BRUTAL! A typical 15-minute commute took over an hour. It was long and even though I grumbled about it, I was glad we made it there safe and I made it back safe.
The best part was when my daughter turned to me right after we got there and said "momma, do you want to build a snowman?" Its a song line from the movie Frozen. It was really sweet and it made me realize that what I saw as a nuisance, she saw as a way to enjoy some time with me. Thankful for that lesson.


Later that day, J left work early and picked up JOE on his way home so I wouldn't have to do it. He immediately went outside after changing to clear out the snow. I am thankful for this blessing as well. I offered to help and he said "no, stay and relax." Not a lot of husbands say that or they say it and come in the house upset. My hubby said it, went outside, cleaned out the snow and came in the house with a smile on his face and ready to play with our daughter. Another blessing for which I am thankful for.


My daughter now knows the word "selfie!" Yes, I saw selfie and she says "cheeesssseeee!" Its too cute! I love taking selfies with her. She also likes to put her hands up on her face. Not sure why but I think it is cute.
Thankful for that beautiful smile.


This pregnancy has been quite similar to my last with one exception. At 26-weeks, I am yet to gain any weight. I am not exercising crazily and with the exception of walking about 2-miles while at work during my lunch break, I don't do anything additional. Also, while I have an appetite for LOTS of food, I can't eat past 8-10 bites before I am FULL! I mean, so full that it starts to impair my breathing. Not sure what gives but I guess this baby might be using up more space inside of me than JOE did. Eitherways, I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy so far. I don't feel bloated, my arms and legs aren't swollen and with the exception of feeling tired all the time, I feel good.

26-weeks pic was from last week.

OK. This one is a toughy. JOE does NOT like to get her hair done. I only wash and condition her hair once a week then I either do single braids or cornrows. It is often a struggle but at the end of the day, she always looks in the mirror and says "thank you momma, I like it!" So while I do sometimes see it as a pain in the you know what, I am thankful for a grateful little girl who I absolutely LOVE. I am thankful that her hair is thriving despite the fact that I get frustrated and dread doing it on a weekly basis. I am also thankful for a hubby that allows his daughter to adorn his hair with lots of hair bows and clips on a weekly basis as a way to keep her entertained while her hair is being done.


I am thankful for every moment she lays on my chest and says "momma, I want to cuddle." It really reminds me of her innocence and I pray that we'll continue to have a tight bond as we grow. She is truly THE BEST part of J and I. 


I am thankful for my little comedian. The other day, I was on the phone with a friend of mine while cooking. JOE interrupts me and says "momma look, I'm a rock star!" I turned around and this is what I saw. It made me laugh so hard. Indeed, she is a rockstar. Loving that she put on a bracelet, sunglasses and even "lipstick" (from her bag on the couch) to make the transformation.


Overall, I have so many things to be thankful for. Sometimes, it is hard to see the sun through the clouds but the one thing I am always assured of is that eventually, the sun will come out. 

Have a fabulous weekend, be thankful for what you have and remember to be kind to strangers!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photo Dump Wednesday: Spending time with friends

Last week, while in North Carolina, J, JOE and I visited with Amy from Making Mrs. Mauritz. It was so nice to see her and her daughter again and this time, we got to meet her hubby. They are such a nice and welcoming couple.
JOE had a great time and when I asked her afterwards, she said "yes, momma, I had fun with Abby!" Too cute!

Anyways, here are some pictures from our meet up.

On our way there, JOE asked me for her sunglasses while in the car. I gave them to her, she put them on and promptly fell asleep. I guess the sun was in her eyes? :-).


Here are the 2 girls holding playing. Abby was so attentive to her guest JOE and JOE enjoyed playing with Abby's toys.


Here we are with our girls. The first time I communicated with Amy, she was a newlywed and I was still planning my wedding. Amazing how quickly time flies!


We had a great time visiting with each other and hopefully, we'll be able to get in touch again sometime in the near future. 

Looking forward to a new year filled with more friends, laughs and love. 

Have a Happy and Safe New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014 celebration. Another picture heavy post!

We had such an awesome Christmas celebration with family. My brother recently moved to North Carolina and the family decided to meet there.

I am not really a fan of driving long distances but J is a pro at it and since we figured we'd need a car to get around while there, driving was the best option for us. The trip was supposed to take a little under 5-hours but due to traffic, rainy weather and a stop, it took us almost exactly 6-hours. Not too bad huh?

We were so happy to see EVERYONE! Here's a picture of my sister with my niece (from my brother) and JOE. JOE was tired but she was so happy to see everyone and played so much! She is going through withdrawals even as I type :-).



My sister and her husband flew in from the Netherlands. They arrived shortly after we did. It was so nice to see her. We haven't seen each other since she left on her honeymoon back in September. She has the magic touch because here she is carrying my tired/sleeping niece. Love this!


Here I am. Tired from the drive but happy to be there. 



'Twas the night before Christmas. The presents were all wrapped and placed around the tree. This was just for the 7-grandkids. The adults didn't exchange gifts this year.


Early the next morning, here is JOE drinking her milk and watching the iPAD. Her favorite passtime activity.


Why was my daughter up early at the crack of dawn looking out the window and say "hellooooo...I see you!!!" My brother lives in a new development and apparently, the workers were coming in to work on some of the unfinished homes.


The next morning before the chaos ensued...


My absolutely gorgeous diva niece. LOVE her!!!


And let the unwrapping begin.


The adults sat around or helped the kids while presents were distributed and put together.


Then it was time for FOOD FOOD FOOD!!! My sister in law really went all out. She made 2 types of quiche and a DELICIOUS bread pudding. To say we were STUFFED would be an understatement.



This picture was too cute not to share. My niece has a thing for wearing other people's shoes. And she walks VERY WELL in them! Check her out in her cousin's sneakers!


And here is the newest couple amongst us. My sister and her hubby who came all the way from the Netherlands. They are so cute together!


And another member of our family. Sparky! He is such a good dog and everyone quickly took to him. Even JOE enjoyed telling him "Sparky, NO!" or "Sparky, stop!" or "Sparky sit!" Maybe one day in the future, we will get a hypoallergenic dog. This momma has allergies and even this dog who is hypoallergenic still had my nose itchy. Oy!



My awesome sister. Love her!


And here are the cousins doing God knows what?


One of the best things about spending time with my family was watching how my youngest niece and my daughter just loved hanging out with my dad. They couldn't get enough of "grandpa". He barely had any breathing room because they wanted to be around him ALL THE TIME!


How cute is this girl? My youngest niece. Love love love her!


And the matriarch of the family...my mom. She really enjoyed having her kids and grandkids around.


And here is my brother from another mother (my brother in law). He's been a member of our family for over 15-years! And he is the dad to 3 of my awesome nieces/nephew.


Not even sure of what JOE is doing here. But clearly, it was fun for her.


My parents and their youngest grandchild.


2 of my 3 sisters. Love them!!!


My dad and the diva. She really is a diva but the cutest one!


Me and my sister taking pictures on Christmas morning.


My youngest brother (front), my older brother (behind him) and my dad. The kids all had a fabulous time with my youngest brother. He loves his nieces and nephews and was very attentive.


And there she is. America's next top model.


Sisters and my dad.


From the left, my gorgeous niece, my awesome sister in law, my beautiful mom and my gorgeous sister.


And my other sister...I love this picture of her.


My nephew was always so busy, it was hard to capture a picture of him. He really is one cool kid.


The day after Christmas, here are the cousins "racing".


Yup. Our own biker chic.


My niece really bonded with Sparky. 


My nephew. Told you how cool he is :-).


My nephews. They were always playing one game or another. Kids...



The festivities were over and it was time for dinner. Another delicious meal by my sister in law, my sister and their neighbor.







The day after, JOE was clearly in a mood.


But she quickly recovered and played nice. 


Before folks started leaving, we decided to take family pictures. I love that we were all able to fit this in. We are definitely The United Nations! :-). I love diversity...tis the spice of life afterall.
Don't let JOE's reaction fool you. She LOVES her cousin and she walked over there to sit with him. 


And what better way to end this post than with my favorite picture to date. I love this group and am VERY THANKFUL to God for the blessings of family. These people truly have my heart.