Baby Prep

Clearly this isn’t my first time on the “baby train”. With an 8 year old and 2 year old, I’ve been a frequent passenger. As I get closer to my due date in March, I want to plan and prepare for this baby like no other. I know that my other kids will be understanding when the new baby comes, but there will still need to be a lot of adjustments that need to be made so the transition isn’t too rough.

For starters, the first couple months are usually the roughest. I always tell myself to sleep when the baby sleeps and that almost never happens. To prepare for this mentally, I’m already practicing staying up late and operating on a few hours of sleep. Okay this “practicing” hasn’t actually been intentional, but the way my back feels on top of y mind racing, I don’t have much of a choice.

I’ve been proactively preparing freezer meals that I can thaw and serve for dinner. I’m not concerned about breakfast because my family can eat cereal like it’s nothing and everyone’s pretty much a fan of French toast sticks. Lunch is also easy because all I’ll want is a sandwich; if they don’t want it too bad! Nine months without lunch meat is almost as bad as nine months without wine, but that I can handle the latter a little easier.

Thank goodness that it’s almost winter. Clothes and like have been sprinkled in the mix over these past couple months, but I really plan to stock up on more things in January during those lovely midwinter sales. Long sleeve onesies, pants, and more. That also includes a few more blankets and towels to add to the collection.

Furniture, diapers, and bottles are on reserve. We’ll probably get a new mattress for the crib, clean it out, and raise the height. I was looking into bassinets, but I didn’t find anything too appealing via Amazon, Target, or Walmart. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments.

I’m probably missing a few things, but don’t worry I’ll make a list in the coming weeks to make sure everything’s accounted for.

-Jay

Updates

Hey everyone!
It’s been awhile. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. We found out that baby number three is arriving in March and we can’t wait! I know what you’re thinking: You can’t wait for sleepless night, changing more diapers, and an unpredictable schedule?? Well, that’s already my life right now. 

My son just turned two and that’s not too far from the whole newborn experience. He did, however, start sleeping in his “big boy” toddler bed. Literally, I went in his room one night and his father had put him in the toddler bed. I was prettyyy much in shock and quickly walked (ran) out of the room, but it was about time so I let it slide. He already sleeps on a cot at day care so it’s the same experience he’s used to, just for a longer stretch of time. 

So far so good! He loves his Lion King bed set and the fluffy throw I put on him to make sure he’s securely on the bed. The bed has short railings at the top, but I wouldn’t be a real mom if I didn’t worry about something. 

I’ve also got back to this whole career thing, so that I can secure my level 2 certification. Grad school is my new best friend (ugh)! It’s actually not too bad because the program is completely online, it’s just hard to write papers and and read discussion board posts after long days at work. (I already talked about the long days that teachers have.) Oh and let’s not forget about the required readings and additional research. I hope that I can keep up the momentum and finish in no time (2 years is nothing right??). Atleast my student loans are deferred!

The holidays are around the corner and we’re excited to decorate with the kids. Not sure too much about Thanksgiving plans, but as long as I have a plate with stuffing, dirty rice, and macaroni and cheese- my day will be made. Sorry, I don’t really need anything else in my life (maybe some greens, don’t really crave such things these days). 

My husband insists that we purchase a real Christmas tree, but I’m not sure I’m prepared for that. Everyone that I’ve talked to says NOT to buy a real tree. I guess we’ll see what happens in a couple weeks. I saw some cute tree decorations, but we have yet to pick a theme (time is ticking). Gold and white is definitely an option or we could go the traditional route with red and green. TBD. 

I hope life is treating you all as well. Stay warm during this fall season. 

-Jay

Mary- Ann #momsonthemove

A mother that is inspired by her own mother is a success- that’s what I think. Mary-Ann’s mother inspired her to speak from within. “…character speaks volumes, work ethics, and balancing a family.” These are words for Mary-Ann and others to live by. It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

Mary-Ann is a mother of two children, a healthcare professional, and spends her time making a difference in other’s lives. As a graduate of John Bartram Motivational High School, she plans on pushing herself even further. Mary-Ann hopes to become a hospital administrator, get married and explore entrepreneurship in the next five years and then move onto operations management in 10 years. With so many goals on her list, Mary-Ann lives by the quote: “Don’t Quit” by Edgar A. Guest.

Outside of work, Mary-Ann spends free time with family, shops, eats, attends church and makes sure to get in some “mommy time”.

“My children are my priority- a job can come and go, family is always there. I set aside time to do things with them…”

Well said because the time that we get to spend with our children is precious, we can’t get it back. It can be difficult to find balance, but there’s always a silver lining. If a job is forcing you to choose it over your children and/or family it may not be a good fit.

 

Thank you for sharing your story, Mary-Ann.

Instagram: @glamourgirlma

 

Hot wangz

It feels so good to say that we have been cutting down on our fast food intake! Let me tell you, with life, jobs, kids, etc. it’s so easy to get defeated and pick-up/order something to eat. Some days after work I literally just want to crawl into bed (oh, and I have actually done that a few days last year, but thank God for summer vacation). When we do get take out I try not to go to chain restaurants because I know they are focused more on quantity than quality. So to fill this void, we’ve been trying to make our own versions of our favorite fast food dishes at home! It’s ironic because these dishes aren’t the fastest meals to make, but they are delicious and by making them at home I know that we are cutting soooo many calories. 

Below I am going to share one recipe we have been tweaking at, hot wangz aka wing dings with hot sauce. It’s such a favorite all around for us because I FINALLY realized that I live in a house full of car-ni-vores: bacon, chicken, even turkey does not stand a chance! I can eat my own small share of meat, but honestly I can also be okay without it.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the most delicious hot wangz: 

  • Bag of wing dings
  • Vegetable oil (or the variety you prefer)
  • Hot sauce (Frank’s)
  • One stick of butter 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Onion powder 

Once you gather all your ingredients, you’ll just need to grab your oven…oh, wait that’s there already. Well get a frying pan, baking pan, mixing bowl, tongs, and paper towels (an essential). 

                             Directions: 

  1. Make sure your wing dings are already thawed out. If not, soak them in cold water or defrost them in the microwave. 
  2. Season your wings with spices: salt, pepper, and onion powder. Completely cover chicken with paprika so that it gets a nice brown color once you fry it. Depending on the level of heat you want, add 1-2 teaspoons of hot pepper seeds and 1/2- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. (If you desire, marinate the chicken in the seasoning for 30 minutes in refrigerator or until ready to cook.)
  3. Once you have seasoned the chicken to your liking, get your frying pan and turn the heat to medium high heat. It is crucial that you allow the pan to warm evenly before adding the oil or your chicken will cook unevenly (nobody go time for that!). Once the pan has warmed for a minute or two, add your oil to the pan. There should be about 1/2 inch of oil in the pan (a little more than enough to cover the bottom of the pan). 
  4. Allow the oil to heat for a few minutes. Test to see if it is warm enough by flicking a tiny amount of water onto the oil. If it bubbles you’re good to go! If not, wait another minute and then test again. 
  5. Carefully add your chicken to the pan, being sure to give piece enough room to “breathe“. (You may have to cook them in batches depending on how filled your pan gets). The chicken should cook on each side about 7-10 minutes/until it’s nice and crispy (the crispier the better for us). While your chicken is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  6. Layer and lay your paper towel on your baking sheet and place cooked chicken on top to drain some of the oil off. While the chicken is draining you can make your sauce. In your mixing bowl combine the stick of butter with 2 cups of the hot sauce and put in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is completely melted into the sauce. Be sure to mix tother the butter and hot sauce for a even coating for your chicken. 
  7. Place your chicken wings into your mixing bowl and toss them around in the sauce. When the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce it’s time to bake in the goodness! Lay the wings evenly on your baking pan and bake them for 5-7 minutes. 
  8. At last, eat and enjoy your “homemade fast food”!!

Variations:

  • I make some barbecue hot wings for the kids and myself if I’m not feeling like all the spociness of the wings. Just use little to none of you hot sauce mixture and/or smother with Sweet Baby’s sauce instead. 
  • You could also bread your chicken by coating it with egg and then flour after seasoning. 
  • Use a different parts of the chicken, such as breasts or thighs if you don’t feel like dealing with bones. It will be much easier to quickly eat them this way (warning)!
  • Instead of baking in the flavor from the sauce, you could take those wonderful pieces straight to your plate or belly. I’ve done this plentttyy of times. 

Consistency

I’ve learned that my job as a mother is to be the glue that holds this little crazy family together. On the days when I “sleep in” or have errands to “run”, I can understand how vital my role is to my family’s survivial. My husband is a great father and enjoys devoting his time to both of our children (fur babies too). He is so wonderful that he often has to encourage me to go out and do those things that normal adults do like buying something for themselves or engaging socially with each other. 

However, that moment when I stop pretending to be sleep (by covering my face with a pillow), I see my phone ringing before I’ve even started the car, or tiptoeing back through the front door during nap time, I’m bombarded with conversations, questions, hugs, shouts, etc.- I know they can’t survive without me. 

I do my best to make their lives easier by staying one step ahead of them (mostly). 

Daughter: “Mom, have you seen my…” 

Me: *Gives her what she’s looking for before she finishes her sentence.*

Son: *Walks into room behind husband. * “Morning, Mommy. Morning!”

Me: “Hey son, let’s go get you a snack.”

Husband: “Hey, you remember when we were talking last night…”

Me: “Your pants are in the dryer, here’s your water, lunch is in the fridge.”  

I would rather stay ahead of their needs than trying to catch up, which means more planning and preparation for me (yayyy). This reminds me of when the kids were younger, I would try to prep bottles and boobs before they even realized they were hungry (they both were SUPER greedy, but I  really tried). I can’t take all the credit for having a relatively peaceful and well run home (thanx honey 💜), but I must give some credit to planning, preparation, and a consistent routine

We have (had) a great morning routine until we welcomed our puppy to our home a few weeks ago. We’re still working to get back on track! Anyway, let’s start with our morning. I usually get up with the puppy at 5:30am to cuddle, walk, and feed. By the time I get back, my son is usually in my bed with my husband or calling out for me from his crib. Depending on his mood, we get back in bed or go downstairs for a snack because I need to take a few deep breaths and wake myself up before indulging in such whole body moving. 

If the kids are home during the midday (eek), I keep a few fruits, crackers, and chips available for them to nibble on. I’ve noticed that they are more snackers than full meal eaters. Most kids right? Once they filled most of their nutritional needs on snacks they have a little room for lunch. Chicken fingers, hotdogs, sandwiches, etc. 

Once late afternoon arrives I am usually all tuckered out from house training the puppy, changing/potty training my son, and all the other things in between. Making sure we get in some time outside is important or we atleast do some type of physical activity. (My son might be the next Usher or Bruno Mars because he requests and watches their movies daily, lookout!) Luckily, my dinners are usually quick and simple! I’ve mastered the art of 30 minute or less meals. A few of my favorites are fajitas, turkey burgers, or spaghetti. 

After dinner is mandatory digestion! We usually sit and read or watch television for a few minutes before heading up for bath time. Some days are long baths where we sing songs and play, but most days we are in and out to ensure we don’t exhaust ourselves! Believe me, exhaustion is the devil (seriously). When my son gets exhausted he gets super whiney and cranky, my daughter gets sluggish and delirious. Either way, I don’t want any parts of either- so bed time it is. 

The key here is sticking to a schedule that works for you. Some days will definitely be easier than others, but the more you consciously think about how you want your day to go, the more likely you are to stay on the schedule. This is especially true when you have children because deviating from your schedule can cause major melt downs for you and your child(ren)

May the force be with you! 

-Jay

🔥 Fire 🔥 

The thought of missing something.

Now it’s all clear. 

The time we spent wasn’t real. 

Figments. 

Apparitions. 

Hallucinations. 

You must be lost, guided by Osiris.  

Maybe your heart is made of fire: 

White as falling snowflakes on that neglected mustang. 

Yellow as an egg yolk split and fried.  

Orange as used and abused construction cones. 

Red as an unwanted apple, macintosh. 

That’s some fire.  

Let me avoid you. 

That flame is insane. 

Dim down, slow up

Nobody else needs to get hurt. 

I say this is a form of forgiveness.

Especially since you came from dirt.  

Twigs, moss, lint- God only knows

Go ahead and repent. 

Time is of the essence. 

We’ll never more forward. 

You can be you. 

I’ll be me. 

The day I’m dead is when you’ll see. 

I choose to play the game. 

You chose to walk away. 

But they were your rules. 

So how, exactly, did you lose?

You weren’t invested. 

Just like anyone else, your life was tested. 

You flunked. 

Now it’s time to repeat this course. 

The material is the same. 

Which professor did you choose? 

Footsteps

Knock, knock. 

It’s someone at the door. 

Who could it be? 

Is it that Amazon package you’ve been hoping for?

Open up. 

Nothing’s there.

“What’s going on?”

You whisper to no one there. 

Slam that door. 

“Man…I’m hungry.”

Walking to the kitchen, looking for some grub. 

A tap on the shoulder. 

“Turn around.”

“What the hell is going on?” 

No time for games. 

Footsteps tapping on the ground. 

Turn left, turn right.

Still no one around. 

“I’m here for you.

When you least expect it that’s when I appear.”