I’VE MOVED!

Hi Friends!

Today is a special day for me because:

1) My daughter is 10 months old today

2) I’m featured on the awesome website, Black and Married with Kids

3) I have a new blog home! Yep, that’s right. I took the training wheels off and have graduated to my own website! I’m so excited! Here’s the link to my new home. See you there!

http://www.theyeyodiaries.com/

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks, favorites, and weblinks!

Happy 10 Month Born Day, C.C.!

Dear Baby Girl,

You’re ten months old today! I can’t believe it. It truly feels like just yesterday that you were this quiet little newborn that stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on you. Boy have things changed! You still hold my heart captive (and you always will), but that quiet part is done and over with!

You have a laugh that’s full and infectious. The way your little nose crinkles up when you’re happy…makes me happy. Beyond measure. You’re babbling and ba-ba-ing every word. I swear it feels like you’re actually talking!

You are a scootin’ pro and now with your walker, no area of our home is off limits to your curious little mind and feet! That thing is like your very own, personal bumper car.

At ten months it’s fair to say that you got a pretty heavy dose of the personality gene from me and your dad. Every time we take you out, it’s a show. You’re hamming it up for the sales people, smiling, waving, and pointing at people like a celebrity. You’re such a rock star! And I think you know it. You’re starting to push the boundaries a little bit with doing things you’re not supposed to and throwing mini tantrums…but as you know, mama ain’t havin’ it! Teaching discipline, even at this early age is a difficult transition, but it’s my and daddy’s responsibility – and we won’t shy away from it.

Wanna know what I love best about this stage you’re in? You give the BEST hugs. A hug from you is one of the few things in this world that can calm me when I’m anxious, excite me when I’m sad, and teach me about pure love. All you do is spread your tiny arms out across my chest and lay your head on my shoulder. And with that, my dear, all is well in my world.

In just a couple short months you’ll be on official big girl status! I can’t wait to celebrate your first birthday. And it’s so appropriate that December is your birth month, because your presence in my life is the gift that keeps on giving…just like God’s gift to us in His son Jesus. You have given us so much to look forward to in the coming years. But for now, I’m thankful for each day I get to see your million-dollar-eight-toothed-smile that beams brighter than the sun.

Love always,

Your Mommy

How an Argument Brought Me Closer to my Husband

My husband and I had a huge fight recently. Huge. It was one of those cyclical arguments where the point got lost after the first ten minutes, and the other fifty minutes were rounds of jabs, stabs, and cuts (with words, of course). Needless to say, it was ugly!

There was no resolution to the argument that night. Sorry, folks. We typically follow the, “never go to bed angry” rule, but it was a no-go this time. Per the usual case whenever that happens, we woke up the same way we went to bed: upset and exhausted. Things were tense as we went about our daily activities…baby, work, school, dinner, etc. There was little to no communication between us. It was bad.

These extreme moments of strain are rare for us. When they happen, it takes EVERYTHING out of me. I can’t think straight, I’m in a terrible mood, and nothing seems to go right during my day. Life is hard and stressful. My husband often experiences the same thing. The longer the issue lingers, the thicker the tension grows. I hate it!

Within a of couple days we got the chance to talk and resolve things. All of the emotion had passed and we were both able to communicate more effectively. There were apologies, hugs, and words of support. Things were good again.

What I realized through all of this is that although things were off track, they way we were affected by the aftermath of the argument proves how strong the connection is between us. Things were intense and we felt it. When you join in holy matrimony with someone, your heart, mind, and spirits are uniquely tied together. It’s a powerful thing. A bond for life.

I love sharing a closeness with my husband and I recognize that it’s not to be taken lightly. Part of his soul rests in my hands. That’s a huge responsibility, but one I proudly carry. I hope to be reminded of that the next time we disagree (on such a major level). I expect that it will cause me to think twice about how I handle myself and as the Bible instructs, to be slow to anger.

Moral of the story: Marriage includes conflict. It isn’t always about roses and kisses. It’s hard sometimes and it takes work. But just like in baking a cake, after you’ve mixed together a bunch of different ingredients and made them work together, you get a sweet, yummy treat in the end!

If I had to offer any tips on handling conflict, I’d say remember to be respectful, listen to your spouse’s concerns (without your defenses up), and know when to pause or start over when things get too heated! Every couple handles disagreements differently. Get to know your spouse and find better ways to both approach and respond to them, in order to make dealing with disagreements more effective.

My Latest Blog Obession: Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care

Hi friends!

You all know that I will never fail to share with you things/people/blogs/stuff that I like to obsess over. Today’s object of my blog-reading-affection is the hair care blog, Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care. The blog is authored by a lovely woman named Rory. She and her husband are parents to an adorable, three-year-old little girl whom they lovingly call, Boo. They adopted Boo when she was just a few days old and have given her the warm and loving home that every child is deserving of.  The blog offers a front seat view on what trans-racial option looks like, with the focal point being how Rory learned to care for the hair of an African Amercian child. That’s a daunting task for any new mom, let alone one that may not have any point of reference on what natural hair looks and feels like, much less how to care for it.

When C.C. was around three or four months old, I began to search the net for tips on how to start caring for her hair. Sure, I’ve been combing my own hair for almost twenty years (gosh, I’m getting old!), but combing someone else’s is an entirely different story. I wanted to get a jump start on what I could expect, even moreso with me being on my own natural hair journey. Some people I know thought I was jumping the gun a bit, but I’m a firm believer that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

After doing some Google searching, I happened upon CHVC one night. I think what struck me about the site (and what continues to make it successful, in my opinion) is that Rory offers step by step instruction on how to braid, cornrow, wash, detangle,etc. her daughter’s hair. She offers tips and PICTURES of styles and maintenance, which is what I was craving. I wanted to see examples (ya’ll know how I feel about pictures!) and she presented exactly what I was looking for. I was thoroughly impressed.

To be completely honest, however, I was slightly disappointed that this new insanely helpful resource that I had literally been searching for, was done by a white woman. Not to mention, another leading blog/site on natural hair for children, Beads Braids and Beyond is also run by a white woman. I asked myself, “Why haven’t WE done this for ourselves?” But as quickly as that thought came, it left (I’m seriously talking a matter of minutes, here). I realized that none of that really mattered. Rory is a mom of a beautiful-brown-girl, to whom she wants to give the best care…just like me. That’s it. Black, white, whatever. It’s a mother’s love. Period.

Since then I have become a faithful reader of CHVC. The site is growing and I’m a full supporter and believer in her success! We’ve chatted online a bit and I find her to be incredibly sweet and hope to meet her one day (she lives in California, too).

For your clicking pleasure, here are some more links that will help you get to know more about Rory, Boo, and the blog!

Feature Loop21 Article: The Creator of Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care Speaks

Feature Black Girl Long Hair: White Mother’s Opinion on Touching Daughter’s Natural Hair  – This post has garnered a whopping 294 comments! The subject matter of hair touching (in this case, Rory’s open letter about it) sparked a huge debate. Most of the comments are supportive, but there are a bunch that are mean and plain old nasty, which I find unfortunate. I wish people can get beyond the color issue (like I did) and appreciate her efforts to be a good mom, instead of tearing her down. SMH!

Please make sure to check the site out and show her some love!

How We Make This Work: The Grices

With the How We Make This Work series, I’m giving  married couples a chance to give insight into how they work out common issues we all face on the other side of “I Do.” The goal is to show that despite what marriage may look like in the mainstream, there are many couples that are willing to put the work in to maintain happy, healthy relationships with their spouses!

Let’s meet The Grices!

Hezekiah and LaTessia Grice are recent transplants from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina. Hezekiah is a Gunnery Sergeant for the US Marine Corps, and LaTessia is an Administrative Assistant for the Marine Corps Community Services. They have been on the other side of “I Do” for four years, and are the proud parents of two sons, Christopher (10) and Matthew (1).

Before we get to their interview, please join me in THANKING this military family for all of their hard work in serving and protecting this county. Work that often goes unnoticed. Behind every man or woman in uniform, there’s a family – and we should be here to support them all. Thanks for all you do!

1) We make communication work by… talking everything out with each other. Sometimes it may be a hard task especially when you are upset, but it’s really important that each person gets their point across when they have something to communicate.

2) We make child rearing work by… doing it our own way.

3) We make our finances work by… being good stewards over our money. We own everything we have and we also have discussions before making any big purchases.

4) We make romance work by…keeping the love alive! We try to go on date nights as often as possible. We also feel that making each other laugh is an essential part of our lives especially when you have kids. You have to make sure that you remember what it was like before the kids came, when there was only the two of you. When the kids leave there is going to be the two of you. Pure romance comes from the soul. So we try and keep the romance going at all times.

5) What advice would you give to newlyweds (or even oldyweds!) on how to make marriage work? Do what works for you. You can’t listen to everyone’s advice, because everyone’s situation is different.

Got some tips you’d like to share and want to be featured?

Send a request to be featured to theyeyodiaries (at) gmail (dot) com and include “How We Make This Work” in the subject line!

Life as I know it, is over…

…because I seemed to have lost my digital camera. This is a terrible, terrible thing for someone like me. I’ve always been a picture fanatic. Always. Ever since I was little. So now add to that my status as a mother and a blogger? This is a tragedy of the worst kind! You see, inside of every blogger lives a world-renowned photographer. Pictures help to tell our stories and bring them to life beyond our words. Snapping pics is a way of life. It’s what we do.

So imagine my heartache yesterday, when I wasn’t able to take pictures of Chocolate Chip in the KUH-YU-TEST outfit that her Nana brought her from Paris. Like, I can’t even put into words how adorable she looked! But I couldn’t document this moment of supreme adorableness because I my camera was nowhere in sight! I took pics with my Blackberry, but anybody that’s ever owned a Blackberry knows what a joke their cameras are.

I’ve looked everywhere it could possibly be, but to no avail. I normally have this gut feeling of surety on whether or not I KNOW I’ve lost something for good or if it’s still hiding somewhere. And for the first time ever, I’m split either way. It could be somewhere around the house…or gone forever. Buying a new one is not in the budget at all!  What’s a girl to do? I even wrote a post on my old blog about how happy I was when my husband bought the camera for me two years ago. This is no bueno! #sadface

I miss you, old friend.😦

Do Not Read This Post Unless You’re Ready to Completely Change Your Life!

I have stated before that the book, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey changed my life. How so, you say?

Well, it basically ripped to shreds every preconceived notion I’ve ever had about personal finance. This term is slightly overused, but Dave is truly a GURU when it comes to ridding your life of debt and thereby changing everything about your life. Permanently. If you purchase the book, I would venture to say it’d be the best $25 bucks you’ll ever spend. The thing about Dave’s message and plan is that it’s useless to you if you’re not ready to commit to making some serious changes to your financial behavior. My husband and I were ready back in 2007 and Dave has become an honorary member of our family as a result!

Today we got the chance to see him live, right here in our hometown. We bought tickets back in April. Yes, you read that right…APRIL. When I saw that he’d be coming to the Los Angeles area, there was NO WAY we were going to miss the opportunity to hear him speak! We waited a long time for this event and he didn’t disappoint!

His presentation was thought provoking, inspirational, and funny! He has an incredible sense of humor and he’s a dynamic speaker. If you’re starting to feel like this is a Public Service Announcement on the awesomeness that is Dave Ramsey…well…it is! His teachings are simple, sound, and Bible based, and  proven. No tricks, no gimmicks…just real talk.

Anyway, I posted on Facebook about us attending the event and a couple people asked for notes. I decided a blog post would be a perfect way to share the info with everyone! So here are the key things that stood out to me when I read the book a few years ago and that he went over in detail again today. Please note that this is all taken from the  “See Dave Ramsey LIVE!” workbook and promotional material.

  • The average American household has $91,000 in debt, and the total consumer debt has doubled since 1980. (Federal Reserve and U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Conflict over money is still the leading cause of divorce today (Multiple Studies)
  • 28% of Americans spent more time watching reality TV last month than they spent planning and preparing for retirement over the past 10 years. (AARP poll)

Myth: Car payments are a way of life, and you’ll always have one.

Truth: Staying away from car payments by driving reliable used cars is what the typical millionaire does. This is how they became millionaires.

Myth: You need to take out a credit card or car loan to “build your credit.” You must build your FICO score to prosper.

Truth: The FICO score is an “I LOVE debt” score. Why would you want to go into debt so you have the opportunity to go further into debt?

Myth: You need a credit card to rent a car, check into a hotel, or make a purchase over the phone or web.

Truth: A debit card will do all of that, except for a few major rental companies. Check in advance.

Dave offers 7 Baby Steps toward financial freedom. They are:

1) Start an emergency fund of $1,000

2) Pay off all debt using the debt snowball

3) Build a fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses in savings

4) Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

5) Create a college fund for your children

6) Pay off your home mortgage early

7) Build wealth and give

My husband and I got to step two and living debt free was the only way we have been able to keep our heads above water during the recession and survive my husband’s layoff. After today, we are charged up and ready to pick up where we left off – building our fully funded emergency fund. We are proof that this plan works and look forward to getting all the way to Baby Step 7!

If you’d like more information, check out Dave Ramsey’s website. He’s got a variety a products that can help you get motivated and get started! You can also pick up a copy of “The Total Money Makeover” from any major book retailer and/or on Amazon.

I wish you the best in your financial endeavors! It’ll take a lot of hard work, but the result will be WELL worth it!

Boots, Scarves, and Lattes…Hello, Fall!

Hi Friends!

Happy Friday and Happy Fall to all of you!

Today is the first day of fall and with that, we bid farewell to summer. I had a great summer and I hope you did, too! I got to do a lot of fun things like visit the OC Fair and the Grammy Museum. We took family pictures, hung out with friends, and simply enjoyed life.

Now it’s time to trade flip flops for boots, strapless dresses for sweaters and scarves. Now that I think about it, I’m kinda ready for fall. I’m ready to sip Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks and eat cozy comfort food like homemade chili. Not mention, the baby’s first birthday is coming up in December! My, how time truly does fly.

What do you most look forward to during the fall season?

How a New Towel Made My Day

Last night I enjoyed one of life’s  truly simple pleasures that I had forgotten about. After my shower I found myself literally wrapped up in the cozy comforts of a brand new towel! Don’t laugh, okay?!

A couple of weeks ago I realized how hard and raggedy our towels were. Then it dawned on me that I hadn’t really bought any new towels since we got married. That was FIVE years ago! I guess I have to give it up to Bed Bath & Beyond for their high quality towels that have lasted us so long!

I bought some new ones (from JC Penny this time), and then strangely forgot that they had been washed and folded, waiting patiently in the linen closet, ready to be used! I grabbed a set last night for my shower and fell in love with how AMAZINGLY soft they were. I was in towel heaven!

It may sound crazy that something as ordinary as using a new towel could make my day. But so often we get so busy with life that we forget to stop and appreciate the little things!

What are some of the oddly simple pleasures that you enjoy?

I’m being featured today!

Hello Lovelies!

I’m being featured today at this super cool blog that I love, called, Keeping Up with the Joneses! The blog’s author, Angela, is doing a series on confidence (what it is, and how you define it) and I’m so happy to be apart of it!

Click HERE to stop by and check it out! And while you’re there, hang out for a bit and show her blog some love!