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Welcome Back Sports!

Basketball Is Back!

Juju and Daddy are so excited that basketball (all sports really!) made its return this week. The are completely unbothered by the lack of actual fans and aspire to become virtual fans at least once this season.  Sports is something Daddy has shared with Juju ever since he was just a bump. It’s no surprise that Juju came out loving  the energy around the house on game day.  

Go Sixers!                       

These Two Are Ready For The Season!

Shop Juju and Daddy's Weekend Looks!

*The links featured in this blog are from affiliates who compensate me a vey small commission if you purchase from my site. Of course, at no additional cost to you. However, this does not influence my evaluations. We only share and promote items that we personally own or recommend*

Splish Splashing At The Spray Park!

Sunday in the Park!

Most weekends we love to get up early make coffee at home and head out to the park after breakfast. We have a favorite park but didn’t have much time and decided to head to the park around the corner from us.

Plot twist…

I totally forgot this park was remodeled last year and had been upgraded to a SPRAY PARK! How lucky are we to have a fairly off the radar spray park within walking distance from our house?!

Much to our delight when we arrived there was not a child or parent in sight. Juju enjoyed the unpredictable bursts of water and splashing and jumping in the puddles that would form. 

I think we found our summer weekend hideaway. 

Juju had a blast!

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Birthday Reflection

                                   Hello Friends!

Warning: Full transparency ahead

I was scrolling through my pictures the other day and noticed something…

I completely stopped taking selfies.

As a former selfie queen, this was a bit shocking to me, but in reality it’s not surprising at all. Ever since I had Juju, I’ve become hyper sensitive about my appearance. I don’t think I look the same. My face has more weight in it and my gut, although it’s not that bad, it certainly requires a bit more effort on my part than holding my breath to look slim in a photo.

Having babies is hard. I never thought it would be easy. I had a pretty perfect experience with pregnancy and motherhood though. I had no issues outside of your typical first trimester sickness, from there I was able to work out multiple times per week, take pregnancy yoga from my 4th month until week 38. Great delivery experience (to the extent that this is possible). Our biggest hurdle has been that Juju never liked sleeping through the night (it took 15.5 months) but otherwise he was a great and happy baby. I have an amazing village to support me and unlimited vacation days at work.

I don’t have it hard at all…I am blessed!

But there are still some days when I feel overwhelmed. Days when I feel like this can’t be the next 18 years. I could not imagine being a single parent, or having post partum or having relationship problems while trying to parent or any of the multitude of things tons of moms deal with everyday while flawlessly juggling their kids.

And because I don’t have a lot of barriers between me and good parenting, I am even more critical of myself because I didn’t “bounce back” to myself. I felt like I needed to be pre-baby weight, killing it at work, growing my own vegetables, all while teaching my  infant how to sign,” systematic racism” and walk before his 1st birthday. It is TEW much!

Why are moms under so much pressure? And before you say we drive ourselves into these frenzies, there is an undeniable pressure coming from somewhere that leads us down these unhealthy expectations for ourselves.

But the fact that I had to face was after you have a baby you are a new form of yourself. The pre-baby me is a memory. That doesn’t mean that I’m not the same person, it just means that I have to get in touch with the new me.

And I can’t lie…

This new version of myself doesn’t enjoy working out as much as the old self did. But I’ve been working out long enough to know that it is critical to my wellbeing and overall health. So begrudgingly I push through.  

The new me can’t say no to food as easily as the old me. Oh and about that Quarantine baking hobby…

Most of this is likely a result of still breastfeeding after 18-months . My hormones are still wacky and I’m just as hungry as I was when I was pregnant! Also my hair and nails are thin due to the nutritional strain making milk puts on body. These are a large source of my confidence.

And let’s not rule out this being quarantine blues…

When outside and work we’re open, I  ate reasonable and worked out anywhere from 1-4 times per week. I was fairly consistent but my workouts weren’t quality.

And insert silver lining…

Mom blogger phillyIn the last month, I have definitely stepped my workout game up. Having no other choice, I finally got over my inability to work out at home. I’ve done everything from Yoga on my deck to running the bleachers at the park up the street. Now I do some sort of physical activity pretty much every day with 3-4 of those days including a legit sweat session.  But then there is my quarantine diet undermining it all.

But now that Daycare is back in session and working from home feels more professional, my diet has significantly changed. I’ve gone back to fasting until noon. Working out, although I’m not getting as much walking in now as I was when Juju was still home.

But I am getting much more strength training.

I already feel better and looking better will come. My goal is just to tone up and lose maybe 5-10 lbs.

I wrote this as a reminder to myself and to you, to allow yourself grace! If you get up and give your best on the daily you deserve praise! Quarantine has been hard in so many ways we can’t even measure yet. We have to celebrate ourselves for surviving. 

 

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Happy Half Birthday Juju!

toddler blog philly

Jujubear is half way to 2!

He are smart, funny, silly, thoughtful, and affectionate! Mommy baked him a cake that he will probably take a picture with, but not get to eat because…yeah sugar! 

                      

Mom and Dad love you lots Juj!

toddler blog philly
toddler boy fashion

Shop Juju's Favorite Van Styles!

*The links featured in this blog are from affiliates who compensate me a vey small commission if you purchase from my site. Of course, at no additional cost to you. However, this does not influence my evaluations. We only share and promote items that we personally own or recommend*

18-Month Check-In!

Thoughts On
Motherhood.

                                    Hello Friends!

As I approach my 18th month as a mother, I‘ve been doing a bit of reflecting on my journey thus far.

What can I say about Motherhood?

It really is everything everyone made it out to be…from the immense joy to the bouts of unexplained sadness. But there are some things I was like…Nah!

 

So here is a short list of the myths I discovered about parenting in my first year and a half! 

Myth: There’s no love greater than the love of your kids.

Fact:

Having Juju has brought me indescribable joy. Watching him experience every single aspect of life for the first time is truly amazing. BUT I have also experienced GREAT love in my marriage and would have still felt VERY fulfilled had we not had children (although I am glad we did!)

Myth: You can’t buy that....you have a baby now.

Fact:

What if I told you I could afford diapers AND a new shirt?? Putting aside every aspect of yourself for your kids is the notion that made me delay motherhood for so long. I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping my spending in check while also saving and paying bills. Thank you very much...

Myth: You’re not truly happy until you experience being a parent.

Fact:

I was very happy before having a baby. I travelled the world, slept as long as I wanted and had abs (memories) . Parenthood is so rewarding and wonderful it really is, but I still believe that you can have a completely satisfying life WITHOUT having kids. I will never change my mind about that.

Myth: You’ll never have time for yourself.

Fact:

I think I invest more time into self care post baby than I did pre-baby. It’s vital for me and non negotiable. Luckily I have a close network of friends and family that can take JUJU if I need a break. And let’s not forget Daddy! Daddy doesn't just jump in to give me a break, he is a full-time 24/7 parent just like I am. And we sure love him for it!

Myth: As a parent, I am automatically more knowledgeable than non-parents.

Fact:

This was a hot button for me as a non-parent so I was excited to finally partake in the larger brain parenting provides. But maybe my infinite knowledge got lost in he mail, but a good deal of parenting is a proper mix of instincts and common sense. Common sense as it relates to kids is something some non- parents lack, but I’ve seen a few parents missing the same marbles so I’ll keep checking my mailbox for my mom degree.

Overall, motherhood has been the absolute best and I still have so much more to watch my baby discover! It is surreal to wake up to a walking, almost talking manifestation of my husband and I everyday. I am excited to keep learning and growing right along with my little one.  

           Happy 18-month anniversary my love! 

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Shop Juju's 18-Month Fit!

Refinancing 101

Let's Talk Finances

Refinancing
101

For many people in this country the Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented and daunting time. Many were out of work and really strapped for cash.

Thankfully, we are blessed with jobs that allow for us to work from home, so the transition was seamless.

We did do some furloughs at my job, so I found myself out of work for a total of 4 pay periods. In the grand scheme of things, that’s very mild!

This pandemic really reminded me of the age old, but often unrealistic finance tip of having 3 months of bill money in your savings. For us, that means about $10,000. This newly realized goal led me to a review of all my monthly expenses to see if there was anywhere we could trim fat and save more. 

This post was sponsored by Diamond Bloggers. All opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that interest rates right now are at a record low. So I contacted my mortgage company to inquire about refinancing.  30 minute into that  call, I was half way through the application process. My lender assured me it was a quick process, which wasn’t exactly correct but I digress. We don’t have a ton of equity just yet, so we aren’t looking to cash out, we just wanted to take advantage of a lower interest rate if we could. We were paying  5% interest and we would drop down to 3.625%. Saving us  $50,000+ over the life of the loan. We will save even more if we continue making  our extra monthly payments. The reduction in interest rate offers us instant gratification in roughly a $200 cheaper mortgage payment. We usually pay an additional $200-250 per month, so this will allow us to keep making our extra payment at the same price we are currently paying. *SCORE*

Warning: The Refinancing process is just as annoying as buying a home.

Lots of paperwork, lots of watching your credit score, and lots of evasive questions about your spending from underwriters. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. Due to the timing of our closing and everything just beginning to open up, the title company sent out a mobile notary for our closing. We signed a bunch of papers but overall it took less than an hour.

This is a big decisions as you are taking out a new loan. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Compare how much you owe to how much your new  loan amount will be. Having only been in our house 2 years we hadn’t made a huge dent in our note so the impact was minimal. 
  • Compare how many years you have left of paying vs starting a new term of 15-30 years.
  • Access your plans for the next 6 months. Your spending  will need to be put on freeze during the month or two of underwriting. So many sure you aren’t planning on taking out any other loans, spending, or even depositing large sums of money.
Need a loan but have less than perfect credit? Consider hard money loans!

If it makes sense for your family, you should certainly consider refinancing!  This is a wonderful time to shop low interest rates and almost anything can be done remotely (Docusign is your friend).

Have a great refinance story you want to share? Maybe you have the best lender on the planet? Tell me all about it in the comments! 

A mobile notary came to our house and made the closing process super easy!

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July is Ice Cream Month!

Black Business Corner

Healthy Sweet Treats.

Whimsicle Gourmet Fruit
Pops.

Did you know July was Ice Cream Month? 

Neither did I, until my mom called me and told me all about this Black Owned Business she saw featured on ABC 6’s FYI weekend segment. Whimsicle Gourmet Fruit Pops is a Philadelphia based company featuring all natural, vegan, and gluten free frozen fruit pops. 

And it’s actually REAL fruit you can see!  

Grandma knows I am always looking for healthy and most importantly all natural foods for her favorite little guy. I was looking for something that won’t have him bouncing off the walls but has enough sweetness to pique his interest.

And these did the trick!

We contacted Whimsicle and within 10 minutes we were placing an order. Delivery was fast and the pops were delicious! I highly recommend you visit their website or Instagram, which you can both find linked in this blog! 

Did you miss our last Black Business Corner feature? Read it here!

Follow them on Instagram!

Whimsicle IG

Click Here

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Summer Reading: Juju’s Top 5 Books For Brown Kiddos!

Hello Fellow Juju Lovers!

Can you believe Juju is approaching 18-months?!

I cannot get enough of watching him grow into his personality and start to develop personal interests. 

I am an avid reader. Before Juju even came into the world, his bookshelf was stacked with books. While they aren’t the first item he gravitates towards in a room, slowly but surely they are getting and keeping his attention for much longer than they ever have. 

A mom in one of my groups on Facebook was looking for books featuring  positive images of dark skinned black characters. I search far and wide for books by black authors and with black and brown characters to line Juju’s bookshelf with. Why? So that Juju can see himself represented in popular stories, that’s why! After seeing that post, I was prompted to compile a list of our favorite books for brown kiddos! Don’t have a brown kiddo? No problem! Normalizing the black experience is important so its also a great idea to purchase these books for kids of any color! 

So without further ado…

Juju's Favorite Books Featuring Brown Characters!

*Some of the links featured in this blog are from affiliates who compensate me. However, this does not influence my evaluations. All opinions are my own.*

Brown Boy Brown Boy What Can You Be?

This is a  cute story with simple rhymes that Juju really loves. The illustrations are a great talking point  to review words and sounds with your little reader. 

Jabari Jumps

This book exhibits great images of a strong father and son relationship. It also promotes themes of positive male masculinity. Added bonus that it tackles risk taking and establishing trust. 

Sulwe

This is a book we have been waiting to get our hands on. Brought to us by Hollywood It Girl, Lupita N’yongo and illustrated by Vashti Harrison. This book dives head first into colorism in an easy to digest kid-friendly format. 

Chocolate Me!

Written by Taye Diggs, this is another book that perfectly  deals with instilling a sense of pride in ones skin color. It features characters displaying a healthy attitude towards being a beautiful chocolate kid! 

“Bloop, Bloop!” Goes the Poop

We are nearing potty training age so I had to go on a hunt for a potty training book featuring black characters. And this is the only one I found. 

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Black Owned Business Spotlight!

I’m getting

Quarantine Cute with...

Last
Minute Nails!

Hi Friends!

I hope you are all enjoying this short work week so far! I just wanted to pop in and write a quick blurb about an amazing business I had the pleasure of patronizing.

Last Minute Nails!

Last minute Nails is a black woman owned traveling nail salon and Spa. Yes, you heard that right a traveling nails salon. Owned by total sweetheart and true hustler, Keesha Brown.  Bruh, Keesha will literally pull up in her magic school bus and do you nails, pedicure, wax, and/or lashes right in the convenience of your own doorstep. I found her on IG a few weeks back and had to give her a try. I won’t lie, my main motivation was just GETTING THESE NAILS DONE! I loved that she was a black woman so the decision to check her out was made instantly. I booked her first opening (a few weeks out, so plan accordingly!) and was excited when my appointment day finally arrived.

A little before my appointment, I received an automated text from Keesha with tracking on her location so I knew exactly how close she was.

I got a Dip Powder Overlay on my natural nails. Dip Powder is LMN’s specialty. I loved the way they turned out since my go to Gel mani just wasn’t  cutting it anymore for my brittle and weak from breastfeeding, natural nails.

Keesha checked in all along the way to make sure I was happy with her service and was comfortable. Ladies, if you are in the Tri State area please visit her  IG page to keep track of her specials, pop up shops, and even to book an appointment. You won’t be disappointed!

Check out 6 ABC News’, Ashley Johnson’s coverage of LMN during my appointment. Talk about random!

Follow Her on Instagram!

Last Minute Nails IG

Click Here

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Juju’s Latest Obsession

                                                 Hello Friends!

Juju is so smitten with this weaning Table!

What’s a weaning table?

A weaning table and chair fosters your little one’s independence, self-confidence, and competency. The table and chair are purposefully made for your baby’s size and honor their dignity by meeting them right where they are.

While the high chair allows your little one to participate in family meals, it is too large for them to climb in and out of on their own. They have to be lifted in and out of it, and can’t participate in setting their place or cleaning up after themselves. It’s not designed with their needs or abilities in mind. By giving your little one a place to eat that suits their size and capability, you give them a sense of ownership over their own life.

This chair was passed down to Juju from his Grandumi and had been used by many of his older cousins. It was a family right of passage almost. Juju is taking good care of it and we have some snacks on it but usually don’t actually use it for eating. We do use it to focus on Montessori activities and toys or arts and crafts.

Basically we use this any time we want him to focus on just one thing. 

Right now, climbing up on the chair and being able to  move the chair on his own is very gratifying. Most of the table time is spent sitting, getting back up to adjust the chair and then sitting again. I am not exactly sure what developmental dots he is connecting by doing this, but the proud look on his face proves he certainly IS doing some act of self-care. 

How old was your child when you added a small table and chair or desk to their play area? Drop me a comment and tell me all about how its done around your home! 

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Shop Our Favs

*Some of the links featured in this blog are from affiliates who offer me a small compensation if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. However, this does not influence my evaluations. All opinions are my own. We only promote products we personally own or would use*

Shop Juju's Personal Collection!