Category Archives: The Woman: All about me

Natural Hair and My Beautiful Brown Baby Girl

So much of who we are as Brown women and how we’re seen, is tied to our hair.  As moms we have so many things we want to teach our children, such as manners, the importance of an education, and respecting others. One thing I desire to teach my daughter is how to embrace and love her natural hair.

Right now, natural hair is an exciting topic among brown women everywhere.  The term natural is defined by most as hair that has not been chemically altered, but worn in its natural state.

I’ve been relaxer free for ten years, but a press-n-curl was my primary styling choice. I recently made the decision to embrace my natural curls and back away from the hot comb! I have had so much fun getting to know my hair! I love the versatility of being able to wear a bun, a puff, or twist out. The options are endless!

What I love most about being natural is this…I’ll be able to teach my baby girl how to love all of who she is, from the top of her head to the bottom of her cute little feet. She’s eight months old now and I love having her sit in the bathroom with me while I condition and twist my tresses. I want her to grow up seeing me wear my hair in a variety of different styles while, most importantly, taking care of my hair. I hope to teach her not only to care for her hair, but to love her whole self as a natural, beautiful, brown girl!

Let’s discuss!

How does hair play a role in your relationship with your children?

*Note: This post was originally ran on the lovely e-magazine, Beautiful Brown Girls that I’m a guest blogger for, on 8/24/11. Visit the site and show them some love!

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Birthday Reflections of a 31 Year Old Me

Today is my birthday and I’m so thankful to have made it to see another year! As I mentioned in my vlog post from yesterday, the age of 30 was good to me. So much about my life is completely different than it was a year ago. The last twelve months have been full of incredible highs and some unforgettable lows, but I made it through it all! All thanks and praise go to God!

If I had to sum up how it feels for me to be turning 31, I couldn’t say it any better than Taraji P. Henson did in describing her life during a recent interview:

“I’ve experienced things. I’ve had a child. I gave life. I’m confident in who I am. I make no excuses about my butt, my breasts, my stomach; whatever it is, I love it, I’m comfortable. And that comes with growing up.”

Indeed.

Love & Hugs,

Amber

My Time Deep in the Heart of Texas!

As you know I spent a little over a week in Texas last week, supporting my sister with the arrival of her baby girl. I had a great time and I really feel the experience brought us closer together as sisters, friends, and now mothers!

I hadn’t been back to Texas (I lived there as a kid) since I was a teenager and some things really struck me! I loved how there was an overall slower pace, everyone was so friendly, and there was so much space! Living in a big city in SoCal almost made me forget that your neighbors don’t have to be SO close to you that you can see them pick their boogers at night. LOL

I wanted to take lots and lots of pictures, but it just didn’t happen that way. So here are some things that caught my eye.

First, let’s talk about this Target. This was the BIGGEST Target I have ever seen in my life! It was ginormous! Obviously you can tell by the number that there are 24 cashier lines, but look how far they seem to go back. And a bunch of them were open, to boot! I was astonished.

Here’s another shot to give you a feel for the Super Target. Targets here in California include a grocery ‘section,’ but Super Targets have a full on grocery store. Aisles and aisles of things to further induct you into the black whole that is any Target in America. If you look closely, you’ll see to the left that the two team members are ACTUALLY working. That is a sight unseen these days!

The pictures above and below are of my sister’s doctor’s office. No, not his house…his office. I mean, seriously! How fancy can you get? It was so warm and cozy all that was missing was a fireplace! #lovedit

I found this fountain to be so striking. It was in the lobby of the hospital. I especially liked the fact that all of the money collected in the fountain goes to charity. What a sweet gesture!

This was hanging on the door next to my sister’s hospital room. I forgot how popular mums are in Texas. It was just too cute for me to pass up taking a picture of! So creative!


And last but not least, allow me to introduce to you the newest member of the Yeyo Diaries (and my real) family: my niece, Sugar! No, that’s not her real name. 🙂 Auntie love you!

I kept saying this to myself the whole time I was there! Loved this moment in the movie!!!!

What do you love the most about living where you live?

What’s Gonna Work? Team Work:10 Tips for Stay-at-home Moms and Dads

For many two parent households, the decision to have both parents work outside the home, and/or have one stay home to care the for the kids is never an easy one (even moreso in these tough economic times we’re facing). In either circumstance, it takes a strong team to create a balanced household and ensure that things run smoothly on the financial and domestic fronts.

For those families that opt to have a parent stay home, it’s quite common that the mom takes on that role, while the dad goes out and works. In my case, however, I’m the primary wage earner and my husband stays home with our daughter. We had very few examples of what this family dynamic would look like, as it’s such an uncommon scenario – at least in our social circles. So, we’ve set out to define for ourselves what our roles are as husband, wife, mommy, and daddy.

Before I went back to work from maternity leave, I took some ‘reflection notes’ to refer back to when I wanted to remember how it felt for me on those days I cared for the baby by myself. I hoped doing this would increase my level of sensitivity for my husband when the tables were turned. It’s been a few months now and after recently re-reading the notes, I thought they might be helpful reminders to other families out there!

For the parent that works outside the home, try to remember these things:

  • After you get settled in, offer to spend time with the kid(s) for a few hours (feeding, play time, bath time, etc.) to give your spouse a break.
  • Don’t be judgmental if the house isn’t clean or in order. You don’t know what kind of day your spouse might have had that kept them from busting out the Pine-Sol before you walked through the door.
  • Do your best to be supportive in whatever way you can, however you’re most needed.

Conversely, for the parent that stays home, try to remember:

  • Working an 8+ hour day can be long and hard, too. Just because your spouse wasn’t chasing after a child all day, that doesn’t mean they’ll come home with untold amounts of energy.
  • Coming home can essentially be a second shift of work with a whole new set of tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but be clear about the things you need help with for the evening, such as dinner, helping with homework, etc. (unless your spouse is a professional mind reader…which, isn’t likely).
  • While it shouldn’t be an expectation or mandate by your spouse – making the home a calm and welcoming environment can do wonders for de-stressing from the day and switching gears. Doing things like having the television turned off for a little while during the evening can go a long way!

Ultimately, what I’ve learned so far is this: the key to running a well balanced household requires a collaborative effort from both parents. It helps when you both try to consider the other person’s day and meet them at their point of need. The more things you do together as a team, the quicker they’ll get done and you both will feel better because the workload will be distributed evenly.

Some other ways to do that are:

  • Whoever cooks, the other one can help clean up the kitchen and wash dishes.
  • Offer to do a couple of loads of laundry if you’re not the one who regularly does it. One can wash and fold, and the other can put the clothes away.
  • Take turns going to the grocery store.
  • Give each other free days. A few times I’ve come home and kicked my husband out the house! Whether it’s for him to see a movie, grab a burger, or make a coffee run…I have forced him to have his own ‘me time,’ that didn’t involve me or the baby in any way. Likewise, I’ve had dinner dates with my girlfriends, trips to the nail salon, a visit to the mall, etc. to do the same.

Lastly, if you’re a single parent but have a solid support system around you – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Call on those grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends that promised to be there for you and hold them to their word!

Good luck and don’t forget: team work makes the dream work!

Note:  This post is featured today on The Young Mommy Life  🙂

Twenty Five Things That Make Me ME

We all have quirky, random things that in some small way, shape, or form, help to make us who we are. I saw this list on Blogher.com and decided to do one too!

Here’s a list of twenty five things that make me ME, that maybe you didn’t already know from reading this blog.

1) I went to three different high schools in three different states (no, I was not an Army brat, either).

2) The only book I remember reading while at one of those high schools was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I never saw the movie because I felt there was no way it could compare to the book.

3) I’ve had all four of my wisdom teeth removed.

4) I have a little brother that will be 18 years old when I’m 36.

5) My right foot is bigger than my left, and I first noticed that discrepancy in the 5th grade.

6) I simply cannot fathom how people go to public places like coffee houses to read, study, or write. I’m way too much of a people watcher to ever be productive in that kind of setting.

7) I’ve got scars on my body that essentially form a happy face: one underneath each breast and one from my c-section. Consider my belly button the nose of the happy face. : o )

8 ) I don’t sleep with my wedding ring on.

9) If I had to guess, I’d say that there’s only one week out of the year that my toe nails aren’t painted.

10) I’m starting to really, really, feel that wearing my hair straight is overrated.

11) I married a man that legally has two last names, but I only took one of them.

12) My daughter’s middle name rhymes with my middle name and I did that on purpose.

13) At Thanksgiving time, it’s not likely that I’ll eat dressing without cranberry sauce or yams without mac and cheese. I made up a name for the latter combination: yamaroni.

14) Every car I’ve had since I got my license, I’ve owned.

15) I’ve never had a beer. I can’t stand the way it smells.

16) Because of item #5 I have a huge fear of growing a bunion in my old age.

17) My great grandfather is from India. I’m not kidding.

18) I’ve had to use an outhouse before to go to the bathroom.

19) I interned at a major record label when I was in college and got hit on by one of the execs that was looking for some brown sugar in his life.

20) I love ice cream. Love it. But I think frozen yogurt from my favorite frozen yogurt place is giving ice cream a run for its money in the quest for my love.

21) Purple is my favorite color.

22) For a long time whenever people used to say that Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, I thought they were saying the garden of Yosemite.

23) I can say the alphabet in three languages: English, Spanish, and ASL.

24) I have a tattoo.

25) I’m extraordinary.

It’s Friday, and I’m ready to swing…

If you grew up in the nineties…you can finish that lyric!

This has been a marathon week that simply would not seem to end! I’m too tired to even recap the week’s events, so I won’t. I’m just happy that the weekend is here!

I will say though, that I’ve been featured today on a fitness blog called Fit Momma V about my endeavors to work out and enchance my sexy (let’s be real…I never lost it! hahaha). Check out the link to see my feature and peruse the site for some great tips and advice on working out!

Fit Momma Fridays: The Yeyo Diaries

Have a great weekend!

How Beyonce Makes it Better: My Week in Review

This has been a great week for me and The Yeyo Diaries!

I started out sharing a very personal post on Monday – and the response of love and support from my friends and readers has been overwhelming. Thank you to all of you!

Then on Wednesday, TYD was featured on #commenthour, which is an online meeting on Twitter where 25 random blogs get featured and thus exposed to hundreds of other bloggers. I’ve got a record 70-something comments (including my replies) on my post from Wednesday (plus – that Facebook status from my husband still has me swooning)! I’m really looking forward to finding a whole new set of blogs to obsess over. 🙂

Something un-blog related happened yesterday that sealed the deal for this being a good week. After a week long hiatus from working out (blame cramps, bloating, and cravings…need I say more?) I got back in the gym. My workout yesterday was particularly enhanced because I finally got to use my iPod. For some reason I’m allergic to charging it up, so my babe charged it for me (thanks, hun!) and I took it with me to the gym. Sometimes using it can be a hassle, but this time it was so worth it!

After my warm up I put on some Beyonce and BAM! I was transported to another place (picture – a night club). I was shaking it, grooving, it, and if I could have – dropped down low and the swept the floor wit’ it…but hey, I was on a treadmill! Safety first! LOL

In short – I had a good time. I was mouthing the lyrics to her songs like an extra in a music video! I’m sure I looked a little silly…but who cares? I broke a good sweat and it made my workout go that much faster. It feels good to do good things for your body. Wouldn’t you agree?

Happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend!!!!!!!

 

What's your favorite Beyonce jam?

Breaking the Cycle: A Word about Mothers and their Daughters

There’s a history of poor mother-daughter relationships in my family. My mother and my grandmother’s relationship has been strained (to say the least) for a number of years.  Poor communication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, animosity, competition…yep, that about sums it up! When you’re a child you can’t really process these things, but now as a woman and a mother – they’re all crystal clear, and it’s a pretty sad sight.

Unfortunately a lot of those same issues have found their way into my relationship with my mom because, well, to put it plainly…she chose not to break the cycle. Instead, she passed the drama right on down to me and my sister. And now as a result, our relationships with her aren’t in tip-top shape. But that’s where the buck stops.

When I was pregnant, I felt in my heart that God was going to give me daughter. I told Him that if He did, I’d do my best to make it different. I refuse(d) to repeat the cycle of broken mother-daughter relationships with my daughter. I didn’t know how I was going to do that or what it would look like; but, I made the choice then and I try every day live that choice now.

I know that I won’t be the perfect mom to C.C.  We’ll have our own set of issues and I certainly won’t have all the answers to give her. My hope, however,  is that when I’m long gone and she reflects on my time here with her – she’ll always be able to recall that I was there. That I was physically present and emotionally available for her. That I listened…not just to her words, but her heart. That I tried with all that I had, to love her unconditionally and put her first.

To me, that’s what breaking the cycle means. Despite what type of situation, circumstance, or family you were born into, you have the choice to make your life different. It’ll take a lot of hard work, but knowing that you planted a seed and grew out a new branch of your family tree will make it all worth it. This is my hope and my prayer.

“Fathers, be good to your daughters/Daughters will love like you do/Girls become lovers who turn into mothers/So mothers, be good to your daughters too…” ~ John Mayer

The tale of my first major mama-bear moment

On Sunday while we were out with our friends we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was kind of small and it was packed! As we looked around for a free table, one family signaled to us that they were leaving and we could take their table. We do so, get settled in and waited for our food to arrive.

Lunch was pleasant…the food was great! As we were preparing to leave, I remembered that the baby hadn’t been changed in a while, so I picked her up and headed to the bathroom. I walked in, did my usual scan of the room only to find that there was not a changing station in sight! What was I gonna do now? Sit on the floor? I think not.

Since she didn’t have a poopy diaper I took her back to the table to change her in my lap. I try not to do that because, after all, we were in a restaurant. But again, what was I supposed to do? I wasn’t going to let her sit in a warm, heavy, mushy diaper until we 1) walked allll the way back to the car or 2) got back to my friend’s house. It would only take me a couple of minutes anyway.

I commence the changing process, only to hear some young, teenaged girl at the table next to us loudly proclaim, “Eew, that is so gross!”

My mommy-radar was fully activated in that very moment. My eyes turned red like the Terminator and my neck drove straight up with razor sharp precision like a robot. Oh. No. She. Didn’t! I looked that girl straight in her eyes and she looked away from me as if she didn’t say it. No, no, boo-boo…I heard you! If looks could kill she would have been dead.

I calmly and simply stated (while still staring at her in her face): “There was no changing table in the bathroom.” *shrugs*

I wanted to go over to her table and tell her and her texting teenage friends, “One day, this will be you. And one day some one will sneer at you as you do what you can in an inconvenient situation to care for your child. One day, miss missy. One day.”

Let’s discuss!

Do you find it difficult to walk the line of doing what’s appropriate in the sight of others in public places? Or do you go into straight mama-bear mode when it comes to “doing what you have to do” for your little one(s)?

This is a lion, not a bear...but it still conveys the same message: Don't mess with me or my baby!

How Mark Twain, a gold nugget, and s’mores made for a perfect weekend

Happy Memorial Day, Friends!

Please take a moment to remember the men and women that serve this country and say a prayer for them and their families.

We just got home from a fantastic weekend trip to Northern California ( a six hour drive). We went to visit some friends in a small town so quaint and off the map…even Mark Twain was compelled to write about it. No, I’m not kidding. THE Mark Twain. 

We witnessed some for real-for real small town livin’ in the California country! There were wild turkeys, cows, and donkeys posted on the road at any given time. It was definitely a site to see. LOL It was definitely a change of pace for this city girl, but a welcomed and much needed change.

Our friends’ home was so warm and inviting – it was like staying at a bed and breakfast! Delicious home cooked meals, a cozy fireplace, laughter, and most importantly…LOVE!  Tiff, I can’t thank you enough for being such a gracious host.

My little C.C. did so great on her first road trip! I’m so happy to have crossed this first milestone as a family and look forward to many more family trips.

Enjoy this photo summary of  our first family getaway:

 

How was your holiday weekend?