Thursday, December 18, 2014

is two is better than one ?

I'm losing now but it's a win later. Right? 

A friend of mine just had her second baby. While she was pregnant, the subject came up a few times & even checking on her lately, it still comes up. Having more than one child, in our cases having two is hard.  Ironically I have two boys and she now has two girls.  

Whenever I think about life before Karter it's always life with Keyyon. It's rare I'm referring to any situation before Keyy.

I was having my nightly phone call with my sister and I was venting and that long winded vent inspired me to write about it. It's not completely rare for people to have more than one child nowadays, right! 

I'm going to break it down in three parts
 | 1 | just Keyy 
 | 2 | with Karter 
 | 3 | the two together 

part • one - my soldier

Keyy was planned. A very stupid plan, but in the end a blessing I didn't know I needed but saved my life. 

Keyy is my soldier. Since he was born it's been us. Me and him. My little partner in crime. I'm 110% sure I learned more from him than he did from me before his second birthday. 


What do I mean?

I mean we had it rough. We rented a basement from a stranger together (twice). We moved to a new state together. We lived in a shelter together. We've struggled together. As weak as it may seem, Keyy has been my everything his whole life. So when I say he's my soldier that's exactly what he is. Not that he had a choice, but he's been my backbone, strength, reason to smile and everything in between. 

Raising him was hard but we always had fun. I got pregnant at 18 and had him when I was 19. I was a "teenage" single mama. So we've been growing up together for the past 6 years. Being so young I had no idea how to be a mother. All I knew was a little boy depended on me, I did not want to be like my parents, and I had someone who loved me for me , all ways, always. And that's all I needed.

Because it was just me and Keyy I was also VERY protective. He was mine , I was his and if anyone didn't like that, was mean to him or tried to interfere I was full on mama bear, full of tears and armed with claws. 

He's very much a mama's boy and to this day no matter what anyone says I feel like I need to cater to him in a way no one else understands whenever he needs me because every night for almost 6 years he's been there for me. 

part • two - my surprise 

Karter was not planned. I was with Anton for four years . I knew he was my soul mate and the man I was going to marry but that was it. I WANTED to marry him but he didn't ask me. & in 2008 when I had Keyy I promised him I wouldn't give him a brother or sister until mommy was able to fully take him/her on the right way. 

I was shocked but honestly my birth control was making me sick , I stopped taking it to see if that was in fact the reason & I was not denying Anton any loving. So bam Karter was baking; we were having a baby! 

I was happy. We had three miscarriages already & I was afraid I would never get pregnant & carry it full term. BUT I was mad at myself for a few weeks because the single mom struggle was real in 08 and it was going to be extra real in twenty thirteen. 

But my co-worker Briana prayed with me & for me, everyone was happy for us & Anton was on cloud nine! 

During my pregnancy aside from the vomiting and torture Karter put me through, some of the people in our life made me feel insecure about our newest edition! 

"Is Anton hoping for a boy, it will be his first boy, I know he wants his first to be a boy" Those words cut so deep. His first IS a boy; Keyyon. - but more on than later. 

So in June , Karter Eli was born and everyone , ESPECIALLY his big brother , was excited! 

Karter was my love child. He was made with love, surrounded by love, smothered in love! 

I got to enjoy my pregnancy (when I wasn't sick) & I got to enjoy his first few weeks! I was officially a stay at home mom with my only worry being my boys. 

Karter was gods way of reminding me of how phenomenal I am. He was here to bring our family of three more life and love. And since June 10, 2014 that's exactly what he's been doing. 

He's six months & doesn't even know what it's like to be without mama for more than a couple of hours. I'm able to nurse him to fully belly, to sleep & for comfort. We can play all day while we wait for brubs to finish school. I'm here to witness major milestones when they first happen! 

I'm able to enjoy motherhood to the max without the stress of working and missing out on things. & I love that. Karters my sunshine. 

part • three - the juggling act 

I always knew that having two kids wouldn't be the same as having one. But what I worried most about was how I would parent them. A friend once told me "the first one is made of glass, the second ones made of rubber." No. I'm a helicopter mom - a level 6 on a 1-10 scale. I'm involved & overprotective . Having my husband be in charge of certain things gives me anxiety. But in just six months I realized that I can't always be right there like I was with Keyg. I only have two hands & there's two of them. One for each right? No. Keyy needs me to cook while Karter needs me to nurse. Karter needs a bath while keyy needs help with homework. It's a struggle , it's new, it's motherhood of two boys; six years apart. 

The age difference matters. They have completely different needs but that keeps me on my toes. It allows me to experience the crawling and baby talk full force but this time I have a sidekick. I use Keyy to influence and help Karter, he can teach him all things I taught him, that we learned together. I use Karter to remind Keyy to be little and laugh and snuggle with mommy even if it's not cool. 

As I said before, people had me feeling insecure about something that I should've been swooning over! And by default Anton got the bulk of my hormonal rampage. 

Keyy is our first baby, OUR. Anton has been there since Keyy was nine months old. He's his daddy; and nothing and no one could tell us any different. People are so rude , why would they even say those things. 

Even after Anton told me that none of that mattered and people don't get it, reality hit me when Antons family came to visit Karter for the first time. They were all excited. Anton is an only child to his mother and an only grandchild to his grandmother. So Karters arrival was a big deal. They had bags and boxes to prove it. 

And then there was Keyy , pouty lips whispering to me "where's my present". I instantly cried. He's left out. How dare anyone make my baby feel left out. How could I let this happen. 

D R A M A T I C ! I'm blaming it on just having a baby - right ;) 

It wasn't even like that. His family didn't make the baby shower so of course they had a truck load of stuff. Plus when people hear "baby" they melt and credit cards get swiped with no remorse. 

So like the mama bear that I am I went to my God mother and cried my heart out. And she told me something very hard to hear but very honest - "I have to let Antons family have their joy. Karter is in fact their first grand baby and great grand baby . They're allowed to be smitten with such an amazing blessing. A blessing made with love. Does that mean Keyy is less important - no. They all love Keyy as their own, he's been in their lives for five years. They welcomed him with open arms and including this day have never made him feel like less than their grandson. All I can do is take this time to love on Keyy more. When they're holding Karter I can hold Keyy. And there's a good chance I'm seeing it as way more than Keyy is. To him he just didn't get a present and his baby brother did." BINGO - mama always knows. 

(Btw they ran out and let Keyy choose a toy) 

But that was something I had to deal with. And even if Keyy was Antons first born I still would've had to deal with it.

When you have two children the first thing in your mind is "how in the world can I love someone else like I love my first born."

My answer is - you can't. What I had and have with Keyyon is very different than what I have and will have with Karter. 

Keyyon made me a mommy. Keyyon saved me and brought me joy when I was broken and at my worst. Keyy showed me what parenthood was all about. Keyy is my soldier. He's Antons kick in the butt. He gave Anton another reason to love me. He gave Anton the opportunity to step in and be apart of a little boys life in a way they both needed. He made Anton a daddy. 

I love Karter. He's my sunshine. I fell in love with and married his daddy and we made him with love. He's the reason I'm able to spend all my time loving on my children in a way I couldn't working. He's the reason Keyy has matured and turned so protective. He's the reason my husband brags about "his boys" . He's our chunky monkey, our baby "brudder".

Is it easy having two kids? Yes; at 10pm when I'm laying next to my husband and they're both asleep. Or on Saturday mornings when Karter is drooling on daddy's chest and Keyy is showing me how to build legos without actually letting me build. It's super easy when I get to capture them loving on each other because Karter eats Keyy up & Keyy uses Karter as the star in his karate show :) 

Is it hard having two kids? I was late to every appointment the first 3 months of Karters life. So yes; first thing in the morning when one has been awake for two hours and is "starving" while the other one has a poopy diaper and wants nothing but to nurse. Or when it's raining and I'm alone at the store and I have to decide to maneuver the baby bjorn in the front seat and squeeze the three of us under an umbrella. Or when Keyy needs both of us and so does Karter. Especially when I'm home all day and need a break but that break doesn't and won't come for hours. But it's hardest because they are almost six years apart. 

Was it nice with one - yes. One other person to get ready and shop for. Sitting a table of three is easy right. Fitting one extra person in the bed at 2am is easy. We got to enjoy Keyy and give him all of our attention until he made the big boy leap to kindergarten! 

BUT.....

The perks of two - they will protect each other. They will entertain each other. We will have both of them to take care of us. We can experience some great times in different ways because of their age gap. We get double the wrestling, laughs, hugs, kisses and LOVE. Squeezing two cuties in bed at 2am is hard but great Saturday morning. We are doubly blessed. 

Is it amazing having two kids? Yes . 
Is it hard having two kids? Yes. 
Do I want another? Eh. 

I love both my boys. That's it. I don't love one more than the other. I love them equally for different reasons. ❤️

- xoxoxoxox 


To my sweet Tori - you're a bad ass level 9 helicopter mom. Rose & Daphnee are very lucky little girls and you're already doing an amazing job. love you ;) 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

homemade Christmas goodies


 this year on my lovely SAHM salary I gifted homemade goodies! This one is for Keyyons kindergarten teacher! I also made 6 other ones for my closest friends





• lavender rose bath salts 

- I didn't get to take step by step pictures; but here is the bag, label & a picture of the finished bath salts! 

Ingredients: 


  • • 1 Cup epsom salt
  • • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • • 3 drops scented essential oil 
  • • mason jar / container
  • - ( I used treat bags that you use for goodie bags at birthday parties) 
  • • optional: 1 – 2 drops of  food coloring  {to slightly tint the bath salts}
  • • ribbon or twine 
  • - I used twist ties 
Directions: 

  • • Mix together epsom salt, baking soda, essential oil drops, and optional food coloring.  Stir well.
  • • Transfer to jar, and tie a bow with a pretty ribbon or some twine.

  • [*] add approx. 1/2 cup of bath salts to your bath.  Relax and ENJOY!!





coconut rose sugar scrub 

- again ; I didn't get to take step by step pictures; but here is the container, label & a picture of the finished scrub! 

Ingredients : 

• 2 cups of sugar
• 1 cup coconut oil 
• 1/4 tsp essential oil 
• mason jar / container

* sticker letters to decorate * in the picture above the stickers spell out his teachers name; for my friends I just added the first letter of their name to the top of the container :) 

Directions: 

• in a medium bowl mix the sugar and coconut oil ; the oil is solid because it's at room temperature so it make take a few minutes to mix completely. 
• add essential oil & mix well
• scoop into containers


DIY sharpie mug 

What you'll need:

• white ceramic mug
• oil based sharpie 

Directions : 

• hand wash the mug and let dry
• wipe the mug clean with an alcohol wipe 
• write your quote or name on the mug
- nail polish remover should take away any unwanted access markings 

• let the mug dry 24 hours before baking it . 
• put the mug in the oven and set it to 425 degrees (yes put it into a cold oven)
• once the oven reaches 425 set the timer for 30 minutes.
• after 30 minutes turn the oven off but LET THE MUG COOL INSIDE . 


Enjoy ; xoxoxoxox 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Baked blackened tilapia


Blackened Tilapia 

Ingredients

• 1 lb tilapia fillets
• 1/2 tsp garlic powder
• 1 1/8 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tsp oregano
• 1 tsp thyme 
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 3 tbsp paprika
• 1 tsp salt 
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Combine dry ingredients

2. Line a sheet pan with foil. Add 2 tbsp olive oil - rub / brush it to cover the area the fish will lay. 

3. Rinse and pat dry tilapia. 

4. Brush tilapia with olive oil. 

5. Cover the fillets with spices; rub it in on both sides. 

6. Place in preheated oven and bake until it's nicely brown and flaky. Approx 10-15 minutes. The time depends on your fillet size. 10-15 for bigger fillets! 


Creamy Garlic Pasta

Ingredients: the origin recipe called for penne pasta but we had ziti so I used ziti and it was still yummy! Your call . 

• 1 box pasta - penne/ziti
• 3 tbsp butter 
• 2 tsp minced garlic
• 3 tbsp flour 
• 1 cup chicken broth 
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tsp dried parsley
• 1/2 - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook pasta according to package.
2. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan ; add minced garlic.
3. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat. 
4. Add flour & cook for an additional minute. Stir constantly. 
5. Add broth and milk , stirring constantly. Cook until sauce boils and thickens. 
6. Add parsley and cheese. Add salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted. 
7. Pour over pasta & enjoy! 
 


In the blink of an eye

 || • in the blink of an eye • || 


In the blink of an eye my boys will be successful , God fearing, married , fathers living life & I'll be a phone call or car ride away and not just a walk down the hall. 

I asked a few mothers 3 questions I find to be both important and interesting. Mothers who are all different; some are single , Mexican, thirty-five, or homeless. I wanted to ask a variety to see if that mattered in the answers. It didn't . A lot of us want the same things for our children. So before I reveal their answers , here are mine.

1. What are three things you want your child/children to be in life? 
 → passionate- about everything they believe in. I want them to be passionate about their love and belief in the lord. Passionate about their dreams. Passionate about everything in a way no one & nothing and negatively influence them. And I don't mean closed minded; I just mean I want them to stand up for what they believe in.
 → strong & confident - so many insecure children turn into insecure adults. Insecurity breeds & harbours a lot of emotions that change you for the worse. When you're confident you respect yourself and that respect and confidence allows you to be kind & respectful to others. When you hate yourself you take that unhappiness out on others. 
 → humble - So far we've raised our boys with everything they need and not everything they want. A couple of weeks ago it was a tough time financially for us. But Keyy had a school spirit night at chuck e cheese; my husband whispered to me "it's amazing how he has no idea that we can't really afford to go tonight yet here we are." That's how it should be, to an extent. As parents were very open with Keyyon about money. Everything cost, and daddy works super hard to make sure we have all that we NEED. As a child it's hard to understand that all the toys in target can't get tossed in our cart and rushed home right? So I thought ; we were walking out of giant & Salvation Army was outside ringing the bell; Keyy reaches into his pocket (after BEGGING for a toy) and says mommy I'm going to give him this 💜 I asked him why, he said because he needs it . As much as I wanted to let Keyy donate I didn't. Instead we talked about why that man "needed" the money and how that was extremely kind of him to offer. And if he still wanted to , next time we would.


2. Your biggest fear raising your children/child when the world is so chaotic? 

Everyone who knows me, knows that I can be a "helicopter mom." Im literally a mama bear 2000% . I wasn't guarded, protected, and "smothered" growing up so I give it to my boys 100X more. But I fear that as they grow this might hinder their growth as independent functioning men in such a crazy society. I don't want them to be blinded or sheltered ultimately turning them "green." I don't want to take their independence and confidence away because I'm always there. I want them to take my extreme mama love and turn it into good in their own lives. 

3. Does your child's/children sex affect the way you raise/plan to raise them? 

Anton and I argue about this all the time, however we don't currently have a daughter so don't quote me! I think having boys instead of girls will affect how they're raised. I'm sure we will be a little tougher or them in order to shape them into the men we could only hope they'll become. As children me and Anton disagree on the emotional side of it because I want both my boys to be in touch with their feelings. You don't always have to be rough and mean. He disagrees! And as they get older I'm sure we will parent them differently than girls in the sense of curfews and punishment. 


So many times I've heard women & men complaining about how others raising their children will affect their own children. This is only half true. When Keyy was in pre-k there was a little boy who bullied him. He was mean to Keyy a lot of the time for no reason and it changed Keyy. It changed us as parents. We went from telling Keyy to ignore him, to telling Keyy to respond "I don't like that , leave me alone", to finally saying "if he hits you, hit him back" . The little boy's parents didn't care, he was an angel in their eyes. It was always someone else's fault when he misbehaved; another child, the teacher, his parents waking him up too early! I think people need to worry about their own children. If you raise your child a certain way MOST situations they involved in will allow them to come out the way you've expected. That runs from bullying to underage drinking to sex before marriage. As they grow we are the example! Being honest with our children and setting a great example ; being our best in their eyes will set the stage for their lives. Because in the blink of an eye they'll be adults and it'll be too late. 










I set a few goals for my family: 


❃ less electronics - more interacting - we already have a rule of no electronics at the dinner table. That includes restaurants. But I have to remind myself and Anton that even if we're just watching tv/watching Keyy play lets actually be there, not just sitting there. We also taught Keyy the category game; which he always wants to play in the car. 
❃ praying together more often - my family prays a lot separately. The only praying we do together is over meals. & sometimes with Keyy at bedtime. Definitely want to change this! 
❃ seasonal family "bucket list" - a sweet ig friend of mine Kelly inspired me. It's new & fresh but I'm excited.
❃ random acts of kindness together  - I want Keyy and Karter to see that we're very fortunate and blessed , in most cases more than others. We're starting with toys for tots at his school, not "random" but it's causing Keyy to give to someone in need. 




Here are some of the answers I got for my questions above: I asked 16 mothers; (1) divorced , (5) married , (5) in a relationship (4) engaged (1) single . Races; African American, Mexican - Hispanic , Caucasian , Filipino , mètis/ French Canadian , Japanese . 

1. What are three things you want your child/children to be in life? 
• men/women of God
• happy
• successful leaders 
• self respect
• morals 
• values 
• respect women 
• be successful
• never forget important things 
• independent
• ambitious
• empathetic 
• respectful
• giving
• kind
• authentic
• strong men
• compassionate 
• a gentlemen 
• loved
• protected 
• healthy
• feel supported 
• blissful
• grateful
• God fearing
• loving , open & honest
• comfortable 
• God loving/ fearing 
• a blessing to others 

2. Your biggest fear raising your children/child when the world is so chaotic? 
- this one is tough to write everyone's answer so I'll pick a few : 

• "That they be on drugs and unable to rationalize"
• "The fear that she'll believe in anything she hears or relys on social media to control her feelings"
• "getting hurt"
• "lost themselves and their faith in the face of hardships or tragedy" 
• "history repeating itself" - shes a single teen mom 
• "not being there enough to guide him the right way" - she works a lot 
• "I'll undermine their inner confidence unintentionally , to weaken their drive , also for them to be destructive and not cherish a women's heart like so many men do now"

3. Does your child's/children sex affect the way you raise/plan to raise them? 

Only 3 moms said their child's sex affects/will affect the way they raise them. Two of them have daughters & the other has boys! - I'm not included - 

Thanks so much to the mommies that responded to me :) 




Sunday, December 7, 2014

Duct Tape Sword & Shield




duct tape sword & shield 

supplies:

duct tape 
scissors 
cardboard
pencil/pen

steps one & two:  

1. Trace your shields shape 
onto the cardboard - cut it out. 

2. Trace the sword onto the
 cardboard - cut it out. 

* cut a piece of cardboard from the 
bottom of the shield for the handle! 

steps three & four : 

3. Cover the cardboard front & back 
with duct tape - trim the excess . 

4. Bend the handle at the ends to secure 
it in place with the duct tape -
 tape to the back of shield . 
* I chose not to cover it with duct tape - your choice!