365 Grateful

Day 118:
I am grateful for Sprout’s introduction to pears. He LOVED IT!


Day 119:
We went for a run at the lake today and Bean was intrigued by a man jumping on a rope and he wanted to try. So he did. I’m grateful to live in such a kid friendly environment.


Day 120:
Sprout is REALLY crawling now, on his knees that is. He still squirms a bit too but he’s actually started to crawl as well!! It’s so exciting to share my enthusiasm with Bean as we both watch Sprout grow!!

Day 121:
I am grateful that I get to start each day talking to my mom and each evening talking to my dad!

I had a great 3 month review at work today today!

Day 123:
I am grateful for creativity and costume birthday parties. Take a look at Super Reader and I love that I was able to make his costume AND that he loved it!


Day 124:
YAY for last minute quick trips to the zoo, funny faces and nursing on the zoo train😃


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Breastfeeding and the Black Woman!

I’ve been reading a lot about breastfeeding lately and all of the powers of human milk for a human baby. A question that keeps coming up is why is a breastfeeding strategy that is geared specifically for black women necessary? Here’s something I came across that made sense to me but I hadn’t thought about it until now. In “Lactation Management: Strategies for working with African American Women”, Katherine Barber mentioned the importance of understanding the history of breastfeeding for the African woman forced to come to America. A history that includes not being allowed to breastfeed their own children BUT being forced to breastfeed their master’s children. This psychological damage has been passed down BUT I believe it can be changed!

The history has to be acknowledged and once it is, we can begin to address our current state. There is very little support for breastfeeding in the black community but that is beginning to change. Deciding to breastfeed is a BIG deal when you have not been exposed to breastfeeding or especially if you’ve been discouraged from doing so.

It can be very challenging to make the decision TO breastfeed in a community where it is not the norm PLUS you have to worry about HOW to communicate with your peers, boss, neighbors, strangers…about why you’ve made that decision. The thought of having to defend yet another decision in your life can be a bit stressful and discouraging. So here are a few of my suggest. If you see a woman who is pregnant and you just happen to start talking to her about her pregnancy, why not just ask, are you planning to breastfeed? Or maybe just give a thumbs up or word of encouragement to a woman you see breastfeeding. I’m always amazed at how powerful simple gestures can be. And if you’re pregnant and see a woman breastfeeding and she seems to be chatty or willing to share some info ask her about her experience. The more we talk about breastfeeding the more normal it will become😊.

Are you a pregnant mama who is thinking about breastfeeding? What are your thoughts or fears about breastfeeding?

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365 😃

Day 111:
He ate my food!! This hasn’t been happening lately. Bean enjoyed curried veggies: carrots, peas, chick peas, cauliflower and onions with coconut milk and some seasonings. MMMMMM!😋


I wanted to find a black male doctor for my boys who wouldn’t make me feel bad about my choices and boy am I happy with our new pediatrician. Today we met Dr. Michael LeNoir and he was great with me and great with my boys. He gave us a prescription for something and attached to the prescription was a nice packet of information. LOVE IT!!

Day 113:
I had a great conversation with coworkers today. Actually 2 one about creating an inclusive work environment and the other basically ended with me needing to do research for finding of my future organization. I am grateful for a healthy working environment.

Day 114:
I can’t stop praising my boys’ day care. They are so great it feels like I leave my boys with family EVERYDAY!!

Day 115:
I’m grateful for one-on-one time with Bean!


Day 116:
Networking today with a local sister trying to create change in Oakland. I love working with passion people. #fuelformyfire

Day 117:
I’m grateful for interactive museums. The Oakland Museum of California was full of exhibits that allowed my boy to be hands on and not get bored. He was even able to mix on some turntables for the first time.

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Birthwork and Me!

As a way to bring more consciousness around the world of birthing. I’d like to feature something birth related each week. Shooting for Wednesdays. This will help me share and learn as I study so please tell me what you think (and know) and ask questions which will lead me on a search for even more answers. This should be kind of fun, empowering and insightful.

So let me start by sharing WHY I’ve decided to be a part of the village of birthworkers.

Black babies and mamas are dying at a much higher rate (almost 3x) than whites and Latinos and I believe this can change. I strongly believe that with more information about the history of birth among our people, rights as it relates to birth, support from each other and options in regards to caregivers, we can change things around.

While I was pregnant with both of my boys I was surprised and often hurt by the amount of negativity that was shared from all over, my doctor, some friends, coworkers, strangers you name it. It seemed like people just HAD to share a negative experience. WHAT THE HECK!! I just got to the point where I would just stop people in the middle of their story and politely say “I’m not even allowing that energy in my space”. I was constantly frustrated by having to leave my community in Newark, NJ to find support groups for breastfeeding, natural birth or just positive remarks.

After giving birth I loved (and still love) to share my experience because they were both positive. And yes my first boy was born in what is referred to as a ‘hood hospital AND I still had a great experience. The thing is, even with my positive story people still had negative things to say. Again WHAT THE HECK!! So I started sharing more about the facts and a little about the history that I was learning just so I could answer some questions or have a positive feedback for a negative comment. I started to realize that many of my peers were simply afraid and continuously being fed myths and reasons to fear birth and not trust their bodies. So I’ve decided to make a commitment to myself and my community to contribute to this world of birth in hopes of getting our community back to trusting our bodies, respecting our power and supporting each other.

As I continue to learn I am realizing how political this world of birthing is and how important it is to be aware of the injustices that are causing so many disparities. So I’m going to use this space as a place to share what I’m learning and hopefully start a few conversations that will normalize natural birth (or at least birth with no unnecessary medical interventions), breastfeeding, the right to choose how to birth or to birth at all and maybe, just maybe, more people in the black community will spread the word and fewer babies and mamas will die. I strongly believe that a woman’s birth experience affects the way she and her partner/community is allowed to raise her child.

So I welcome you all to participate! Are you currently a birth worker? If so how do you contribute to this work?

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Day 104:
I am so grateful that the bug that was going around at the boy’s daycare skipped my boys. Time to pump the elderberry syrup. Thank God for their immune systems.

Day 105:
After the week I had last week I was praying for a different experience this week. In today’s staff meeting I was given Tupac, which is passed throughout the office for inspiration to someone who has been doing a great job. This makes me feel a lot better. Sometime most of the time I am SUPER hard on myself and it’s nice to be brought back to earth. Thank you Linnea!! 20140415-132649.jpg

Day 106:
I’m grateful for the time to take a bath.

Day 107:
I’m grateful for a run with Bean. He ran the entire mile, 20mins. It was so worth taking it slow.


Day 108:
I had a really productive week. Thank goodness! And I’m grateful for smiling faces when opening mail.


Day 109:
I’m grateful for soccer and friendships. We went from Bean’s practice to soccer games for the boys’ daycare owner’s sons’ games. Bean was excited to see them and they loved the support. Oh and Sprout enjoyed the grass hehe.


Day 110:


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Day 97:
Bean CAN WRITE THE LETTER “A”!😆 Without tracing! I was so excited and surprised to see him do his “homework” which is usually drawings of what he calls elephants, lions and of course monsters, only this time they there were “A”s all over the place (oh and spiders too). Even though I’m not able to really homeschool my boys like I would love to, I do as many “schooling” activities as possible whenever I can which is usually on a daily basis. It’s also a great feeling to know that the boys are at a small Childcare place that has similar educational views as I do.


Day 98:
Oh my goodness today was a rough day for me. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and antsy and unclear (about what’s happening my life and my next steps) and frustrated and and and. So I am happy to have to search for something I am grateful for today and that is coming home to a clean room. It allowed me to just take a deep breath and slow down for the first time today. I was even able to add a few things to my vision board. So today I’m most grateful for this 365 days of gratefulness project.


Day 99:
Tonight the boys and I went to the gym, then home and ate dinner (I just had a snack since I am committed to eating dinner at the table WITH my boys every night). I put the boys to sleep, prepared my lunch and the bottles for tomorrow. AND THEN I ate my sandwich…with no one on my lap or breast or asking for a bite. I didn’t even turn the TV on it was just ME…AND…MY…SANDWICH!!😋

20140409-232920.jpgsalmon, portobello mushroom, a little arugula with a little mustard on a bun. MMMMM….

Day 100:
I’m grateful for the bond between my boys. It’s so nice to sit and watch/listen to them squawk and play together. And lately Sprout has been squirming in the middle of the night and finding his way to his big brother😘.


Day 101:
Oh my goodness it has been a rough week for me. And today I almost broke down in my bosses office😭! Thank God she is so great and notice that I was a little off and she stopped the meeting did a check in with ME not my work but ME and said we would try again next week. So not the norm for me and I am so grateful to have such and understanding boss!! Thank you Anne Marks!!

Day 102:
I came home from a meeting to find my boy sleep like this. He must have been having a good time.


Day 103:
Sprout pulled my Understanding Everyday Setswana book off the book shelf today. I guess he’s ready to learn his language. Hint hint mom!! I got it! 😳


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Gratefulness Continues

Day 90:
So grateful for a sit down dinner with my Aunt. It’s been a while and it was a great way to re jolt my drive! Thanks Aunt Shelly!!

Day 91:
Night time dance party!! We love to move in my house.

Day 92:
I am so grateful for my Majuta family in Botswana. Although we are far away I still feel a bit connected and even with things not being ideal I can ALWAYS feel the love.

Day 93:
We had a seemless, tantrum, chase free daycare to car transition today. YES!!

Day 94:
Oh my goodness I REALLY ENJOY working at Youth ALIVE! I had a great weekly update meeting with my boss Anne Marks! She is so clear about her vision and her mentorship (I don’t even know if she recognizes it to be mentorship) is awesome. I am learning so much about my work, trauma and being a passionate human and it is great!! #feelingblessed

Day 95:
I got to attend a Birth Justice workshop today at the 42nd Ethnic Studies Conference that was held at Mills College. It was a great discussion and motivation.
AND I love to see my boys play together!


Day 96:
Great day for a soccer game. We went to support the the son of one of the daycare teachers they were pleasantly surprised to see us and Bean had a great time playing in the stands.

20140406-155732.jpgcan you see him?

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Yup…I’m grateful!!

Day 83:
I had a great conversation with one of my co-workers today about parenting and just life. Thanks Demetria!! She’s always full of positive energy and inspiration.

Day 84:
Today I got to share the wonderful gift of human milk with a friend who just adopted a baby girl. And I had an extremely productive day that ended with a full out dance party with my boy Bean in the driveway!! His shoulder moves are OFF THE CHAIN!!

Day 85:
Great Facebook marketing training. I’m telling you, so much is happening via social media and it can be time consuming to REALLY make it work for you business or organization BUT the reward can be amazing.

Day 86:
Bean is learning to read and was able to recognize a few words in his new book. #proudmom

Day 87:
I’m grateful for all the supports of my organization, Youth ALIVE!, and the donations that were made during our fundraiser at Ethnic Arts tonight. I was very nervous about MCing for my first fundraiser ever but it went well, I learned a lot and got great feedback and constructive criticism. I count my blessings EVERY time I get to hear my co-workers talk about what they do out in the community. Cheers to you all who make Youth ALIVE! so amaaazing.

Day 88:
When I got home from day 2 of my doula training and I saw Bean at the top of the steps, he turned to his babysitter and said, with tons if excitement as he jumped up and down, MOMMY IS A DOULA!! I love his excitement and constant support!!

Day 89:
I completed my birth doula training! br />

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365 Grateful!

Day 76:
I am grateful for surprises!!

Day 77:
I’m Grateful for a great loonngg conversation with Sal. It’s been a while and is always great to get a man’s view on things.

Day 78:
Uuummm….oh I know, Bean recognized “mom” (the word) in a book today. YAY for site words and flash cards.

Day 79:
I LOVE HAND-ME-DOWNS!! My coworker gave me a bunch of clothes for Sprout today!! I love it when I don’t have to shop AND when I don’t have to waste (money or material).


Day 80:
Grateful for smiling faces after picking up some new soccer gear for Bean.


Day 81:
Got a great puzzle for $2 from a yard sale. It’s PERFECT especially with Bean’s new love for puzzles, letters and trains.


Day 82:
Bean ran in his second race today!! It was about 150 yards and it was up hill. He ran the entire way and received a beautiful medal. Healthy habits start at birth😊!!


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365 Grateful!!

Day 69:
A night with no TV!! Very productive. I got a lot done including some time to reflect and was in bed before midnight.

Day 70:
I’m grateful for complements from my boy. “You yook nice mommy. I yike yoy hair.”

Day 71:
I am grateful for Sprout’s lack of interest in consuming anything but my milk😆(insert nursing emoji here).


Day 72:
Today I sat still for 5 mins (which I’ve been encouraged to do daily for a few weeks now). It felt good I was comfortably seated with my feet hanging out of the car and a baby on my back but I was comfortable and made it 5 mins. I’ll have to try this again.


Day 73:
I’m so grateful for a board and staff retreat that allows everyone to feel free enough to share from the heart.

Day 74:
I’m grateful for a full day of fun and some firsts. First pool day of the year, sprouts first time in a pool, Sprout’s first time on a swing and Sprouts first time going down the slide in his big brother’s lap!!


Day: 75
I am grateful for creativity and brotherly love!


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