Bellamy's 1st Dance Recital

Capture.PNG

Bellamy’s 1st Dance Recital

Its hard to say exactly when I started to envision when my daughter would begin her journey in creative arts, but I always knew she’d have some level of exposure to it. As a little girl my favorite thing to do was dance. In fact, I began dancing at 4 or 5 at my nursery school that had an informal program for kindergarteners. From there I joined a credentialed dance school in my area that I loved! This is where my passion was ignited. The diligence, focus and commitment to perfect a craft was so obvious by the fellow studio dancers. In addition to my Saturday dance classes, I also was featured in local talent showcases, various drill/step teams and even cheerleading; needless to say, its in Bella’s genes.

In 4th grade we had to complete a project on our desired career path and I vividly remember wanting to be a choreographer, struggling to spell the word choreographer, but crystal-clear on the end goal. In the era of MTV Jams, TRL and BET’s the Basement; fascination about the next music video was at an all time high. Id watch, learn, practice and repeat until it stuck. I was so specific with my vision I recall listing who I wanted my mentor to be (Fatima Robinson – the beloved choreographer for Aaliyah) and ultimately claiming my dream job as a staffed dancer for Janet Jackson –  aim high, right??! That chapter in my life led me to want to expose my future children to the arts.

With my love and passion for all genres of dance I set out last summer to find a dance program for Bellamy. What I learned was that a majority of dance schools actually don’t have a curriculum for 2 year olds, most programs start at 3 or 4.  This was frustrating to say the least, but I kept digging and found a school in our area that did have a class for the 2 age group and actually had a curriculum that focused on the basics of dance; as opposed to just free “movement”. We found a school with a long history and track-record, plus passion for building little dancers through foundational learnings and fun.

Fast forward through juggling Saturday dance class among our busy family schedule all fall and spring to her spring recital day! The theme for this years’ show was “Fairy Tales & Bedtime Stories”, Bellamy’s group performed a number to the 1994 literary fairy tale; Thumbelina. The little girls and boys looked adorable in their costumes and makeup.

 This past weekend was nothing short of amazing! Our ‘village’ showed up and out for our girl. Bellamy did not know who was traveling from near or far to witness her introduction into performing arts but once folks began to arrive the night before was when it hit her of who would be in the audience the next day.

Bella's 1st Dance Recital June 8, 2019

If you’re looking for dance options for your little one(s), my Top 3 Tips to keep in your consideration set would be:

1.      Make sure the school has a track record – either the center and/or staff. They should have professional experience and be qualified to work with children. Create your own criteria based on what you feel comfortable with.

2.      Observation rooms are not always the best thing as they can act as a huge distraction to the children (especially the toddler ages) but I would say ensure the school allows parents time throughout the season to come and observe your child’s progress.

3.      Diversity is key! I loved that Bellamy’s school had boy and girl students in some of their classes. They even had an all boy performance!

Check out some pictures & a clip from the recital day. We got a superstar on our hands!

How I Survived Birthing My +10.5LB Baby :: Postpartum Issues

I’ve taken a two week break from writing and being present on social media, not because I needed to limit my intake of the massive amount of messaging that I’m constantly inundated with, but because I was tending to my mental, emotional and physical health – for real!

As we approach my baby girls’ 2nd birthday I am reminded of my birth story and postpartum changes I went through that I’m still affected by; so I thought I’d share some the details of my journey, particularly about the changes with my body.

Having a baby we all know will forever change a woman’s physical stature but more recently there has been a lot of media coverage around the mental changes as well, such as postpartum depression.  All of these alterations have significant impact on life – I personally still feel like Im suffering from postpartum related issues.

THE BIRTH DAY

My husband and I both were larger than the average 6-7 pound baby so by genetics alone we knew our little one was going to be a chunkers.  My baby was born at 41 weeks and 4 days; just a few days shy of being induced. I had gained 30 pounds during pregnancy but I wasn’t laser focused on my gains, instead I did lots of walking, prenatal yoga to help ensure my body was strong and healthy enough for the natural birth I desired. Despite my efforts to be as active and kind to my body while carrying I was unable to deliver Bellamy vaginally due to a number of factors. My water had been broken for over 24 hours, I would not dilate beyond 5 centimeters and Bellamy wasn’t responding to the number of “interferences” my midwife was introducing. She had inserted her hand in to touch her head, pressed all over my Belly during contractions to see if she would kick, move or anything – Bella wasn’t budging.

At 7:30am on July 12th, 2016 (6 hours post arrival to Labor and Delivery) Sean and I made the decision to have a cesarean. Talk about ear screeching crying – I had a meltdown, I threw the oxygen mask on the floor and proceeded to get off the bed as if I wasn’t hooked up to serval monitors. When my feet hit the floor I was swiftly humbled by the puppy pad that was laid out because during contractions I could not control my urine. I turned to my husband and quickly pulled it together as time was of the essence. After coming to terms with my fate I put my South Philly mug on and said, “I want to see my baby now!” 27 minutes later I was lying on the surgical table having battles of shivers and chills from the anesthesia listening to the staff shout “NOW that’s a big baby!” And I hear more and more voices chiming in and finally was able to find the strength to belt out “HOW BIG IS SHE?” “Someone tell me something, please!” Keep in mind, I’m still being sewn back to together, Bellas umbilical cord was also still attached as we requested a delayed cord cutting. I also hear the pediatric nurse that was assisting Sean with the cutting say, “I think this is the biggest umbilical cord I've ever seen!” They finally shouted to me that Bellamy was 10 pounds 7.2 ounces – DAAMMMNNNN. Literally, she was the biggest baby I've ever known personally… and she came from my body, this was a major pause moment for me.

THE AFTERMATH

So what happens to your body after major abdominal surgery? After carrying a baby the size of mine? Fast-forward to my first appointment with my midwife, I was 1 week postpartum. It was at this visit that I found out one of my dissolvable staples had come out (likely from me doing the most and not staying off my feet as instructed). And yep my gangster and very much old school Midwife sutured me back in that very moment, no warning! Scaring memory #1.

NOTE: Your doctor or midwife will set up a 4-6 week birth appointment to check on your physical recovery from pregnancy and delivery, see how you're doing emotionally, and address your needs going forward. However C-section moms, for example, will have an appointment a week or two after delivery to have your incision site checked to ensure its healing properly.

I also learned at this appointment that my abdominal muscles were separated permanently. This condition is known as Diastasis Recti a.k.a the mommy pouch. I was immediately referred to a physical therapist that I was recommended to see once per week. I tried to keep up with the visits but traveling 20 minutes with a new born in the dead of summer, coupled with some horrific diaper/carseat blow ups and on demand breastfeeding sessions, I was OVER it. I took what I learned from the PT and tried to do my exercises at home.   I also researched some helpful mommy blogs to get through, here’s one that I used: DA Helpful Exercises

In more recent times, my heartburn saga continues. This symptom was introduced to me during pregnancy but never left and has gotten more intense. My insides were so compressed that the band at the top of my stomach loosened allowing stomach acid to escape – this is probably the most painful lasting side effect of pregnancy. I am still dealing with residual effects of it. I think I will forever be on a Rolaid and Tums regimen, sadly. The most disappointing thing is I will never have a jalapeno margarita again L

Despite my hardships on this journey and physical transformation nothing will ever take away the pure joy my baby brings me and this blinding and powerful feeling is the very thing that allows us moms to do the pregnancy thing again.

Signing off and thanking GOD for the amnesia.

Helpful exercise tips for DA sufferers.

Helpful exercise tips for DA sufferers.

Stepping Up Your Self-Care Game!

Man... let’s talk self-care and attention this week. I don’t know about you ladies but these past couple of weeks have kicked my butt! All aspects in my life have been pressure testing my patience, literally. At one point I thought I was going to just lose it! The to-do list kept growing, new news at work (a lot to digest frankly), Bella was sick; now my husband is sick…I traveled for work, my rod set got ruined in the rain AND on top of all that I still have laundry to fold from our vacation last month lol . Let’s just say the breaking point was in sight.

When I feel like the walls are closing in on me I wave that white flag to surrender myself to that “mama needs a sec” place. Realizing that taking a step back is hard for us moms to do, it’s so necessary. It’s necessary for all those in the house... recharging that 9Volt battery that we run on is imperative so that you can be your best you for those you love and to maintain the stamina for that thing called work.

Self-care has become a buzz term these days but it’s what moms have been doing since the beginning of time to cope with existing as the heroine she is. I vividly remember my mom taking her moments, she would cut on her music, pour her bev of choice and tell us to take our asses outside and play!

Its not only critical that we remain thoughtful and intentional about carving out the time but that we also remain consistent! On the blog this week I wanted to share some ways and things that Ive done to take some ME time and hope that you ladies will share your ways of escape with me as well! You want to have fun and be creative, right?

I personally love being groomed! Even before all of my added responsibilities in life; manicures, pedi’s and waxing have been a part of my monthly routine. The only difference now is I have to get these appointments in where they fit in!

I’ve been trying to step up my “selfcare game” with some of these things:

 

IMG_6350.jpg

CANDLES & WINE [PATIENCE JUICE] – Any time I can remove myself from my responsibilities around the house and take a breather is ME time as its best. Lately I’ve been obsessed with this soy candle line based in Brooklyn called LIT Brooklyn. My favorite scent is 1989 which is Sweet patchouli & almond scent—AH-MAZING! I light my 1989 and grab mama’s red wine goblet for a couple hours of mindless internet searching or TV. I call my red wine my patience juice because I’ll be honest Ive blurted out things in anger; yelling NO! STOP! and sometimes F*CK J! When that F-bomb is dropped I know I have to step away...Im predominately a red wine drinker but when stuff sh*t hits the fan anything will suffice. I like to stay within the $10 price point per bottle but I recently tried this Argentinean Malbec named Alamos that’s around $17 and its Superb! There’s nothing like quiet, the aroma of your favorite scents and some wine to take you to a different dimension.  So treat yourself to the good stuff and save the house wine for another day.

 

landscape-1516985484-galentines-day.jpg

GIRL TIME! – Oh how I miss my girls…our lives today are consumed with too much to do and too little time to chop it up like we use to. The feeling of being in the presence of like-minded women who just get you regardless if you are in the same stage of life is immeasurable. When I need a good pick me up or someone to vent to, to be my sounding board, I call my crew. Whether its over dinner, drinks or just a night in…the bonding that happens in a judge-free zone will do wonders for your soul & attitude. Though its not as frequent as we would like when we do link up, magic happens!

VAGACIAL – I’m a sucker for a good Brazilian wax, it redefines me - legit. It makes me feel like a NEW woman [Insert Cardi B Face with tongue out]. The last several times I visited my esthetician I decided to up my service with this post wax GEM! A vagacial is a facial for the outside of your lady parts [vulva] and its the latest in genital grooming trends. Its a deep cleansing, exfoliating, smoothing, and a variety of masks and serums. The best part is the steam machine works down there as well…talk about heaven!

TREAT YO SELF! Next time you get your pedicure or mani – opt for the deluxe, get the extra service or add the extra hour to your massage because WE deserve to.

What are some ways that you take care of yourselves?