Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Paperwork YIKES!

I am probably one of THE most unorganized people you can ever meet.  When it comes to paperwork, I have a big problem! The most frustrating moments are when you are looking for a piece of paper deemed “important”, yet you find it buried in the most unimportant pile.  I’m definitely “that” person who will often say, “I just had that paper somewhere”, “where did I put it”, “ok let me retrace my steps”.  Really, it is horrible and has been since kinder garden, the year when you get your first notebook. This notebook often times used to keep and take home papers and assignments. In those papers, you were often required to get at least one paper signed, and little ole me developed then, this bad habit…I often misplaced my paper. Field trip permission slips, progress reports, lunch payment information…all papers somewhere lost, or as I would prefer to say…misplaced. Well, after several years, nothing brought on more panic than when I was asked for Reagan’s social security card.  Here is this small card, with numbers on it that validate my daughter’s legal existence, and I could not for the life of me remember where I put it.  Keep in mind, Reagan is only a year and a half, and in that time, I misplaced this card?  Well, luckily I found it, but it struck a nerve in me and it motivated me to get my Reagan’s paper work in ORDER! So here is what I did:

1)      I found all the most important documents
a.       Social security card
b.      Birth Certificate
c.       Christening certificate
d.      Medical Records
e.      Shot Records (even though I can easily obtain these from her doctor)
f.        Emergency contact information
g.       My info (Full name, SSN, and Address)
h.      Her dad’s info (Name, SSN, and Address)
2)      I emptied out an old accordion style folder that was filled with useless paperwork (go figure).  However, you can get one of these simple folders from pretty much any store that sells office supplies.
3)      I neatly organized each file of important information.  In addition, I left a few blank ones in the back for pictures or other keepsakes I didn’t want to lose. 
4)      I stored it in an obvious place.  I didn’t put it under my bed or in my closet, trust me it will get lost.  I placed it where it’s not so hidden and easy to access, yet still secure.
You would think this was simple right…why didn’t I think of this before!

Hope this helps the less organized like me!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

At Home Facial

I remember the days when I was carefree and “spend happy” as I wanted to be.  Not too many bills and definitely no baby expenses.  Now…that has all changed and my number one priority is baby and then after baby, it’s saving for baby.  So there went my facials, frequent massages, weekly pedicures, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge in those luxuries, but not as much and not so often.  However, I have found ways to pamper myself.  I recently posted a picture on facebook via instagram of me teaching my little sister how to do her own facials.  A few people wanted to know what I used, so I decided to include it in my blog.  What fabulous mommy whether single or not wouldn’t want to know how to do an amazing facial!  
Giving yourself an “at home” facial is all about just dealing with the proper steps of cleaning and exfoliating your face, meaning you need to wash, unclog, exfoliate, and moisturize.  There are so many products out there, but with me being careful how I spend my money, and not having sensitive skin, I’m not limited to what I can put on my face.  Below is what I use:

1)      Wash.  The first thing I do is wash my face.  I use pure organic oatmeal soap. Honestly, someone gets the soap for me from an African-descent salesmen who sells at a local flea market.  I’ve also tried black soap, but I like the oatmeal soap because it cleans and moisturizes my face and makes it feel so good.  I use this daily, but it is still part of my facial.
2)      Exfoliate.  To exfoliate my skin either use a store bought solution or I use some things out of my kitchen.  If I go the store bought route I use St. Ives exfoliation scrub.  It does a great job of getting all the dead skin cells off without leaving my skin feeling “abused”.  Plus it’s pretty cheap, like maybe $4. If I use things out of the kitchen, I use olive oil and sugar.  What I do is take the oil and rub it on my face, and then I take some sugar (brown sugar) and rub it on my face the same way I would do St. Ives.  I focus on my nose, chin, and forehead.  Once I’m done I rinse it off really good with warm water.
3)      Unclog.  For this step I use witchhazel.  I take a cotton ball, soak it, then gently apply it to my face, wiping away any excessive oil and dirt.
4)      Mask.  Depending on how I’m feeling, I can again use something store bought, or use something out of my kitchen.  For store bought I use a clay mask by Freeman (pretty cheap stuff).  I let it dry and usually by this time, I am in a bubble bath, really relaxing! Once its dry and I’m done enjoying the moment to myself, I wash it off with warm water. If I am using products in the kitchen, I use either honey or avocado.  With honey, I just apply it to my face and let it sit for about 15 minutes.  If I use avocado, I peel it, mash it, then apply it to my face and let it dry for about 15-20 minutes.  I then wash it off with warm water.
5)      Moisturize. I only use one product to moisturize…100% Shea butter.  Some people may disagree and say this clogs their skin, but I LOVE this product! Where do I get it….where else…another pick up from the flea market! And when I say  100% raw, I mean “scooping it out of the tree” and putting it in a plastic container raw.  I only use a little but it goes a long way! Honestly I use this all over my body, including for my hair after I wash it.  It’s my number one beauty secret.
There you have it! I absolutely love giving myself a facial; it truly gives me a little bit of “me” time.  Now, please remember, I’m no expert on skin.  This is strictly what I use because I know my own face.  So be sure to consult with your doctor or test a small portion of skin out before you indulge in smothering something that could be a potential FAIL all over your face!!!  Good luck and enjoy!

Cris :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cheers to the "Girls"....BREAST is BEST

Before Reagan was born I made the conscience decision to breast feed.  Honestly, I didn’t know “Jake” about breast feeding.  So when I was pregnant, Reagan’s dad and I attended a breast feeding class sponsored by a local hospital.  It was free, and took about two hours of our time.  Here we are, sitting in a class with a fake baby (dark brown of course…how sweet) and I’m holding this flimsy baby up against by fully clothed and covered breast.  We practiced different positions, in which the only one that interest her dad was the “football hold”.  All in all, I left that class still not knowing “Jake”! But I was determined! Then after having complications with Reagan’s birth, infection, her being sick, me being sick and recovering from a cesarean, I again struggled to continue breastfeeding.  What motivated me?  I’m not really sure.  I think it was a mix of finishing something I started, pride, saving money, encouragement from my physicians saying how breastfeeding was the best thing you could do for your child.  But I will say, once I started, got comfortable with it, I would HIGHLY recommend breast feeding.   Now, I don’t know all the statistics, but here is what I personally found true in my experience.

1)      It saved TONS of money! One of the lactation coaches called it “Liquid Gold” and she was not lying! I saved tons of money breastfeeding.  Think of all the money you can spend on formula.  I priced some one day and they range up to $30 a canister! I cannot imagine how fast that could add up!
2)      Reagan has rarely been sick.  I can literally count on one hand how many times Reagan has been sick (knock on wood).  I have read several articles that encourage breastfeeding because it strengthens the immune system (especially the first secretion known as colostrum). 
3)      We bonded! I’m not sure how I can explain this, but something about breastfeeding made me feel extremely close to Reagan.  It was our bonding time.  Our perfect little peace.
4)      Convenience!!!! So imagine its 3 am in the morning, not the 3 am that you are leaving the club after having a good night out, but the 3 am that feels like you just went to sleep and have been up taking care of a new baby all day. Then imagine having to get up, fix a bottle of formula, warm it up, do that little trick where you test it on your arm, all while holding a crying baby.  Now, imagine the same scenario, but instead you just gently place baby on your breast in that perfect “football hold” as you rock baby to sleep.  The milk is already warm, no testing it on your arm, and no marching all the way to the kitchen!!! PERFECT!!!!
5)       Weight loss! Yes ladies! If I could just breastfeed for the rest of my life to lose weight I would! I lost my baby weight very quick breast feeding! Now I won’t go into the entire medical “how and why” (maybe I can get one of my physician friends to blog about that) but I will raise my hand proudly and say breast feeding does make you lose weight! Now, with that being said, I must also say that you can’t do it by breast feeding alone; you have to work out as well.  I remember when Reagan started slowing down breast feeding; I slowly saw my weight increasing again!

However, breastfeeding is not easy! It takes a lot out of mommy and definitely took a lot out of me.  Below are a few disadvantages and challenges I faced while breastfeeding.
1)      Sometimes I felt completely drained! In the beginning when I breastfed, I would just as quickly fall asleep with Reagan.  I’m sure that coupled with taking care of a new baby and not getting adequate amount of sleep had a lot to do with it.
2)      It hurt!!!! In the beginning it’s a pain that you cannot describe and you experience your breast doing some crazy things! But remember, it’s worth it, and once you get through that, it will be a breeze!
3)      Pumping! Once I returned to work, I had to figure out how to pump milk and save it, freeze it or whatever I had to do.  That’s where a good pump comes in handy along with a very cooperative work environment.  Which I had both.  But it was still very hard to carry around pump equipment, keep the milk cold, get it home to baby, freeze it, etc.  I remember when I started a new job; I had to go away for training for a week! Here I was in Charlotte, NC at a hotel without a fridge or freezer.  So I did what any mother who didn’t want her milk to dry up or waste milk do…I walked it down stairs and asked the hotel clerk if they could freeze it for me…and they did.  When I checked out I had several frozen baggies of “liquid gold” and faced another dilemma.  How the heck was I going to get THIS on a plane? Those bags were WAY over 3oz! So I find myself at security trying to discreetly tell the flint face airport security I had breast milk.  He then takes it, gives it to at least two other people, until the last person does a test on it, to determine that it wasn’t some foreign explosive disguised in breast milk baggies. How embarrassing!
4)      Public feeding.  Now I’m not sure how others feel about feeding in public, but I just never felt comfortable enough to do it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know some moms who would do it with no problem, but that just wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing.  I did try it however, and found it awkward trying to keep a blanket over your child to cover your breast and keep that blanket so it doesn’t fall off and expose your “milk machines”.  So, I would usually carry a pre pumped bottle with me. But I often times found myself in the handicap stall of restrooms breastfeeding my little Reagan. 
5)      No drinking.  Not that I’m a lush or anything, but not being able to have a cocktail when you want was pretty hard.  You have to think of your breast milk and you definitely don’t want baby to get any! But there are definitely ways to get around that.  I usually pumped before hand and the milk I produced after a drink, I would dump, hence the common phrase “pump and dump”.
All in all, I would definitely agree with physicians, researchers, and the “know alls” of what’s best for baby and whole heartedly agree that BREAST IS BEST!

-Cris J

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Inspration

Being a mother is tough work.  Sometimes I stretch myself extremely thin as I try and provide a life and lifestyle that is nurturing, loving, stable, and dependable.  It’s a stressful life to live.  However, each day I look at my daughter and realize it is well worth it.  I think back to when I found out I was pregnant with her.  Here I was a well educated woman, unmarried, and pregnant.  Although I was in a relationship at the time, I had no clue exactly where my journey in parenting would end up.  I could have taken the easy way out.  I could have took alternative routes and got an abortion.  But something inside of me said, regardless of whether her father and I are together, whether we get married, or whether we have to raise the child as co-parents, THIS child was mine. She grew inside of me and so did her love.  Now, I look at her in amazement.  God gave me the privilege, the honor, to take care of one of his handpicked angels.  HE entrusted in me the ability to use his principles and discipline to provide for this little person.  I think of that each time I get stressed, each time I wonder what her life will become.  I work hard, I take no moment for granted, and I seek each and every day to provide the best possible life, the best possible situation, and the greatest amount of love I can possibly give her.  I give God the glory....Amen.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Its Friday, the end of another long tiresome week, and all you want to do is RELAX.  Yeah, right….Fridays rarely means that your work is done.  As a single parent, this means that it’s time to catch up on laundry, house work, run your kid or kids to birthday parties, festivals, etc.  It can be hard, and often times you want to scream “ME TIME PLEASE”.  Below are a few things I do to relax after a long week. Some are pretty simple and some are just a tad bit on the “cooky” side…but all in all, they help me!

1)      WINE WINE WINE! Nothing like curling on the couch with a good Lifetime movie with a glass of wine.  And to be honest, I don’t have to have some 20 year old vintage wine from the hills of “whoopty-do”.  I can drink my wine from a bottle or a box.  Moscato is my preference.  A nice sweet wine, which most wine connoisseurs label as a “dessert wine”.  If not moscato, I prefer white zinfandel.  Be sure to pour it in a nice wine glass! Everything taste better out a wine glass!
2)      BURY MY FEET IN SAND.  I know you are thinking…wth?  But have you tried it?  If you have a toddler size kid, take them to a park that has a sandbox.  Then, take your shoes off and bury your feet.  RELIEF! Something about putting my feet in the sand just releases all this stress and anxiety! It brings me to a happy place, and that happy place is buried deep down in that sandbox.  No wonder kids are so happy there!
3)      Bubble Bath. This one you may have to do when the kids are asleep.  Run you some nice warm water.  Put those bubbles in there.  I don’t do anything fancy like going to buy some expensive $20 bottle of bubbles, that’s so unnecessary.  Just use one of your body washes under the cabinet or steal your kids Mr. Bubbles.  If all else fails pour a little dish detergent in there….who really cares what you use, unless you have sensitive skin.  After you get your bath together, set the mood by turning the lights out and burning a candle.   Play a little music and don’t forget that glass of wine! If it’s been “that” kind of week, upgrade to a little cocktail. I won’t judge….
4)      Call a friend. Now this one can be tricky.  The key is to call a friend who ALWAYS has words of encouragement.  Someone who you can spend hours on the phone laughing and joking with.  Please do not call that friend that always has some drama going on.  You know the one, everything in their life just sucks! Don’t call them; you have no time for that.  Call that friend, who seems to carry sunshine sundaes in her pocket, and sees the light at the end of the tunnel even if all the electricity has been cut off! You know what I mean.
5)      Exercise.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…who wants to run after such a tiring week?  But I promise you, it will make you feel great.  It gives you all these endorphins and gives you this high that even cheap wine can’t give you.  If you aren’t a runner and the thought of running sends you into a bout of depression then skip this one and go straight to the bubble bath with wine…again it’s about YOU and what relaxes YOU!

Put those single parent, let me conquer the world and make it home to cook dinner thoughts away and find you some “ME TIME” and RELAX!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

So, you have a child, you do most of the parenting if not all of it yourself.  Your days start earlier and end very late.  On top of that you have work, parenting, errands, meetings, and extracurricular activities to get through each and every day.  Exactly WHEN do you have time to take care of yourself and stay in shape?  Yet, you see yourself falling apart before your very eyes.  You don’t feel at your best because you truly aren’t at your best.  Your clothes don’t fit right and every time you go to try on that favorite dress, you see the bulge, the rolls, and the cellulite. So, you opt for a pair of sweatpants and maybe a nice vacation t-shirt.  Every woman has been here, and if not…you will get there at some point in your life.  BUT….there is hope.  You can be the best YOU, it just takes….dare I say it….discipline and a true love for yourself.  We as women owe it to no one other than ourselves to keep ourselves up.  Not just for outward appearance, but for mental sanity and confidence.  We do better, feel better, and are in a better mood when we are in shape.  We accomplish so much more and build sustainable self esteem when we are on a great health track.  Not only that, but if you are not at your best and you are a single parent, what’s going to happen to your children if something happened to you?  That thought alone pulls at my heart. So how do you do it? Below, are tips to help you stay on track when it comes to your health.  It is not all inclusive, but definitely will set you off in the right directions.  These are tips I use, so I hope you find them helpful.

1)      Drink plenty of water.  Pretty simple right.  We all know water is essential for the body.  It does wonders! Here is what I do; I take a thermos full of water each day before I leave the house.  Throughout the day I refill it at the nearest water fountain.  Not only are you doing wonders for your health, but you are also saving PLENTY of money on drinks that we purchases  each day (coffee, sodas, juice, frappes….you get the hint).
2)      Eat more whole fruits.  When you leave the house in the morning, take two whole fruits (apple, banana, orange, pear, peach, etc).  Eat one piece on your way to work or when you get to work.  Eat the other when you leave work and are on your way home or to after work activities.
3)      Play.  When you get home from work, PLAY with your kids.  Whether it’s playing catch, or letting your child teach you how to shoot a basketball, play with your kids.  You can even get creative with it and play hide and seek or tag with not only your kids but also the neighborhood kids.  In addition, if you child has extracurricular activities, use this time to get your work out in.  If your child plays baseball, walk the edge of the field as he practices.  Encourage other parents to join you; you never know who may be interested.
4)      Take vitamins.  Vitamins give us the nutrition that we sometimes starve ourselves from while we hustle each day.  Be sure to consult with your doctor before you begin a vitamin regimen, and also be sure to follow directions listed on the bottle.  I love the gummy vitamins, they taste great!
5)      Work out when you can. Being a single parent your schedule will not permit you to be a diehard gym “rat”.  There is no way you can go to the gym everyday and spend hours upon hours working out and that is NOTHING to feel bad about.  In addition, the gym may not be budget friendly.  But you can and you must still work out when you can.  If you can’t find time throughout the day to work out, commit to doing a few exercises before going to bed, or when you wake up. 
a.       100 jumping  jacks
b.      3 sets of 20 push ups
c.       3 sets of 30 crunches
d.      3 sets of 15 lunges
            In addition, you can buy a few workout videos and rotate these every other day. 

Hope this helps! Be active, stay healthy, and I promise you a fierce, sexy, sassy SOMEBODY will emerge to TACKLE those day to day challenges of being a single parent.
-CRIS :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I finally DID IT! I finally created a blog.  After much encouragement, prayer, and thought...I decided to create a blog about one of my most challenging aspects of life....Single Parent Hood! Many people find themselves in the circle of single parenting for numerous reasons, some situations not as pretty as others, but one thing is for sure, most people do not deliberately plan to be a single parent.  However, we are a circle that is growing steadily and with such growth are challenges, joy, defeats, and unfortunately set backs.  I created this blog for a specific reason, to promote positive single parenting, give advice, a little of my life, and create a platform for single parents who are looking for resources, positive energy, and hope for their situation.  So, if you are visiting my blog to hear me bash fathers or mothers who are not apart of childrens lives, you won't get that...because I firmly believe that single parenting does not mean their can not or is not balanced co-parenting.  I hope you enjoy!