I love when I make myself cry, lol.

I love when I make myself cry, lol.

This morning I got an email with the subject teaser “I love you.” Hmm. What’s this? It was a letter from the July 2013 me. I wasn’t going to share it, but why not? It’s my 2nd mommyversary today, and I am super blessed to be able to celebrate the milestones my baby has made over the last two years AND the milestones I’ve achieved myself as the sole caretaker of a bustling, precocious, charming boy. I’m so proud of him, and I’m even prouder to be his mom. He’s an amazing soul, and though this journey hasn’t been easy, it has been beyond worth it. I look forward to being Frederick’s safe place throughout his adventures. Watching him evolve is an almost unbelievable experience. I can barely even believe that at one time he was a butterbean in my body. Now he’s over half my height! If Frederick has taught me nothing else, it’s that life keeps moving through it all. He’s a daily reminder that life is mysterious and beautiful and hope-filled and worth living to the fullest. Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet thang!

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 June 6, 2014 vs. June 6, 2013

Anyway, here’s the letter from past me to present me.

Dear FutureMe,

Congrats on your second anniversary of pushing an almost 9 pound human out of your body! Frederick is 2, and you have even more to be grateful for than ever before. I hope that as you’re reading this you are saying to yourself, hey old me, I can barely remember the heartache from that time. I hope that by now, you have fully reclaimed your confidence and your passion and your “I can do it” attitude and have been slanging it around for all the masses to see and feel. You MADE it through the roughest time of your life so far, but just like the other rough patches you’ve been through, you are better for it after it was all said and done. Can you believe you actually thought you were less of a woman because of situations out of your control?? But I am confident that today, you know and OWN the fact that you are MORE than a woman. You are a WARRIOR and an extremely loyal, dedicated, and gifted person. Do you realize that in the worst of times, you conquered your depression, your hurt, and your bad outlook on your own life to do whatever was necessary to give Frederick everything he needed and more?? That’s powerful, young lady. Even when you didn’t want to take care of yourself, you did it anyway so that Frederick could have a strong foundation and a solid connection to his mother. Even when you despised his father, you swallowed all your hurt, anger, and sadness to try to have a cordial relationship with him for the sake of Frederick. That’s not WEAK, honey, that is STRONG. Can you believe that your sweet thing was once an arm baby, then he started teetering everywhere like he would tip over at any moment. OMG I can’t wait to see what he is like at 2!!

I hope this letter finds you in a brand new, loving, positive, promising place in your life, where you wake up with happy thoughts and new ideas and a fresh outlook on the day ahead of you. Continue to leave the past in the past, and know in your heart that your future is #winning. And live today like the star you are.

I love you for all you are today, all you have been throughout your life, and the wonderfulness you will be in your future.

Love,

Your Past Self on July 3, 2013

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ONE is the magic number!

ONE is the magic number!

Every year on my birthday, my mother tells me “Happy birthday, even though I did all the work that day.” And I always laughed, but I never truly appreciated the true essence behind those words. Until today. Today is the day that I celebrate the life of my precious son, but it is also a day that I pat myself on the back for laboring for nearly 19 hours then pushing an 8 pound 9 ounce real-life person from my nether region and for holding us down for a full year. Who is the bomb???? I AM! Lol!

Frederick Daniel has changed my life, and boy, is he a character. He is one of the most charming and expressive and funniest little people I’ve ever known. Watching him grow and develop and discover daily is so astounding and amazing. He went from being able to only lie there looking up at me to crawling up stairs in one year! And I must admit, there is nothing I can compare the feeling of when Frederick reaches out and hugs me now. Those chubby little arms around my neck or hands on my face just make me melt every single time. There’s always a moment every day that he does something, whether it be looking so peaceful while he’s sleep, or pointing at a picture of a dog and saying “Dog!”, giving a laugh from  his gut like I’m the most hilarious person ever in life, or trying to run with his bowed legs, that I just stop and think “Man, I love this little boy.” I’ve always spent lots of time looking ahead and not living in the moment, and since he’s been alive, I’ve managed to slow down and just enjoy time with my son.

I love me some him. Can’t you tell? Happy first birthday, Frederick Daniel Todd! I look forward to many, many, many, many, many more!

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Counting down

Counting down

19 days and counting. I’m full term (and sorry, I haven’t taken any pics of the 37 week belly yet!), which means if this little guy comes early, he should be a-ok developmentally.

This was a pretty rough week, but I’m feeling better and more positive. I get really overwhelmed and really down in the dumps at times, but as usual, prayer and long conversations with my mom and text messages from my pastor go a long way. Of course, it doesn’t help that people keep telling me they want this baby to come early–not like a few days, but weeks. Maybe women who have solid, nearby support systems like early babies, I don’t know, but him coming close to his due date is what I need but no one seems to really want to get that. And it’s not that I think I can control when he comes–I know I can’t, but I don’t like when people just disregard what I’ve said I need. Why not understand that I must need the time if I’m saying I’m ok with spending 3 more weeks with my physical ailments just so I can get as much stuff as I can done. Hopefully, my baby is feeling me and not all the people who mean well but need to understand that their excitement and rush are not well-received. Besides, I don’t know how I’d do with being a mama of a Taurus. But Gemini? Exciting times ahead, lol.

I see progress in my house, but Lordy, there’s a long way to go. Transitioning from an almost carefree, always-on-the-move, safe enough for me and Smokie lifestyle to a baby-centric, organized, secure one is definitely going to be a long-term process, but there are some things that I really need to happen before I bring Butterbean home from the hospital. And even more than that, my last day at work is not until May 29, so I really would like the ability to let my brain chill (or at least try!) just for a couple days before I go through the biggest physical challenge/emotional rollercoaster I’ve ever had. Is that too much to ask? My doctor and I talked this morning during my appointment just about what I want, and it almost threw me off because that’s almost never a topic of discussion. What I want. Not what I think is the easiest route or what will make other people feel comfortable or what I can do to bridge gaps or to make things run smoothly. Just simply what does Ranada want. And she told me that it is okay to be selfish in these last weeks and through my labor and delivery because this process of having a baby is about me and what I need to get through it. It’ll be stressful enough without me letting other people encroach on what I need right now. And what I need is support, period. I need to feel like I’m not doing this alone. I want to know that I can count on people without begging them for help. And if you can’t give any of that, just leave me alone till July (or just leave me alone, period, if that’s an option). It’s funny because I keep getting disappointed because despite my mom’s constant warnings not to have expectations, of course I have them (and I’m trying my best to stop!) and they’re not met. My ma says my problem is that I expect from people what I would do in a situation, and I can’t do that because they’re not me–they’re them. And that sucks. I want to scream at people, Hey, I’m pregnant every day. Not just Wednesday night or Sunday afternoon. I’m emotionally burdened almost everyday. The stuff I need done are ongoing projects. I don’t know why I should keep asking people to help me. So I don’t unless it is a single specific task because I understand that I’m just not a priority, and that’s just is what it is because people have their own lives and things to deal with. But because I can’t make myself keep asking people over and over if they’re going to help me, especially in this final stretch, I end up frustrated and overwhelmed as usual because I feel alone, and my parents aren’t here yet. And it makes me resent my “persona” that I’m a strong person who never lets anything get me down and who seems to be able to handle and do anything. Ok, compliment, I guess, but I’m human. But whatever I guess. It is what it is.

Earlier this week, my cousin Kesha reached out as she’s been great about doing over the last 8 months because she’s starting to get worried about me being at home alone. So last night, she and her brother and friend came over to help with my cable connections, but of course because I know nothing about TVs, one wasn’t able to be hooked up because I have to go back to the store and get equipment that I didn’t know I needed when I went to the store by myself. I think that’s funny though. The look on all their faces when I said I’ve never had TVs upstairs was hilarious. They were all like well what do you do?????? I really am not all that keen on having this one in my room (and I’m fighting not feeling like it’s a sign that it’s still not hooked up) because I just really want it for the weeks after I have him that I’m pretty sure I won’t feel like going up and down my staircase.

Anywho, (that was a tangent, huh?) I am really looking forward to my daddy coming because he’s an organization specialist, and that’s my biggest house (and car) need. Having stuff where it has a place so I won’t be tripping over stuff or throwing stuff in random spots because I didn’t have room where it needed to go. And frankly, making my house look like a home and not a storage bin, which is kinda what it’s been since I bought it since I haven’t spend major quality time there until now. My house has unfortunately been like a hotel to me. Before I had a baby in my belly, I went there to check on Smokie, feed and play with him, and to sleep at night. Besides that, I didn’t spend any real time there so I never really made it a home. And so I’ve had to take 4 almost 5 years of accumulated random stuff and put it somewhere, whether in the trash or in a box or in a designated space. And with my energy levels and physical restraints, it just hasn’t been an easy task. But I truly can see progress, so that’s a blessing! And like I said, my dad is coming so hopefully, when he leaves, I’ll really be able to breathe and feel like I’m not bringing my baby into a hazard zone.

I’m also excited that he’s coming just because he’s my daddy and always makes me feel important to him. I don’t have to wonder if he’s going to say screw it and leave if he doesn’t agree with me about something or if I ask for one more thing. And I don’t have to wonder what’s too much to ask because he’s my dad, and he’s always treated me like I matter. And I like his cooking, so I’m hoping I can get a couple meals out of him on top of the organizing, lol. Last week, I was craving some oatmeal, toast, and bacon–Rickey style. I don’t know why his tastes so much different than mine, but it does!

I’m also excited about him coming (and don’t tell him this part) because it makes the time between now and my mom getting here seem a little shorter. He’s filling some of that space. And if I go into labor while he’s here, I will be happy I have one of my parents to be with me in the hospital. <Flashback to him in the hospital with me in 1999. Car accident. Sigh.> Back to my ma, though–she’s really been my main artery to not crashing and burning since October, and I really just feel like I need her here with me. Which makes me feel a little demanding sometimes because I know she’s dealing with so much, but I really need her. She has been who I can call and just say I feel like I’m drowning and she’ll remind me of whatever I need to get me floating again. She has been the one to make me know that although I’m in Atlanta and feel isolated that in the grand scheme, I’m not because she’s thinking and caring about me and how I’m doing. So I can’t imagine going through this without here hopefully holding my hands and not screaming at me for holding my breath instead of breathing, lol.

I can’t believe I have 19 days or less before I am holding my little stinker in my arms. I can’t wait to stare at him and to kiss him and to say hey little dude that’s been playing soccer with my organs, nice to finally see your whole face and not the part you didn’t hide in the ultrasound! I wonder how big he’s going to be. One of my friends had her baby a couple days ago, and her little boy was a whopping 10 lbs 4 oz. WHOA NELLY! And I wonder if he’s going to be testy since I’ve been not so calm and collected while carrying him. (Babysitting nightmare much??? Ooops.) But maybe since he’s been the true anchor keeping me up in a sea of angst and discontent, he’ll come out the yin to my yang, lol. Not yelling all the time since hopefully, he has already witnessed how much mommy likes her quiet time, lol. Ok, I know, wishful thinking. But you never know!

Now, I’m rambling. I’m just happy it’s Friday, and I’m happy that I have been marking things off my to do list and that I can see a dot of light as I’m looking for the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be a long journey once he gets here, but first I need to conquer this one. I can say that at this moment, I’m proud of how strong I can be even though I don’t want to have to be so strong, and I’m proud of myself for coming this far. And I’ll be a proud somebody when I see this little boy in the flesh. Happy Friday!
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100 Days Left!

100 Days Left!

I cannot believe that in 100 days (give or take) I’ll be a full-fledged mommy. I have so much to do. I’m hoping that I can get the bulk of what I need done by the end of March–(finding a new bedroom suite that will add storage options for all of the clothes I decide to keep (I’m giving away ALOT of clothes to make room for this little guy), getting his nursery area emptied out and painted and baby furniture set up, getting my guest bedroom up to par for the uber awesome people who decide to come help me :-D, getting my downstairs better organized so things will be easier when I’m rushing, etc., and getting Smokie acclimated to not going in the nursery and familiar with new smells so he’ll be as ready as spoiled-dogly possible). Whew, I’m already tired! And I start all my classes in a couple weeks!

This morning, I came across this on Pinterest.

At first, I thought easier read than practiced. But then I kept reading it and considering it (and trying not to be a pessimist), and really, this is in line with my Lent goals. Thinking about all the good things that come with having my baby has been very helpful to coping with all the things that are/seem overwhelming. And when I feel I’m in trouble, I can either lash out, acting on my fear and anger, or I can be patient and believe that it’ll work out even if I don’t see how. And added to that, God keeps sending me people who help me by saying a kind word, sharing their own experiences with me, lending their talents to my plight (thanks Shannon (talent: throwing stuff away) for helping me sort through my massive amount of clothes and thanks Vonetta (talent: shopping for baby stuff and being persistent about it) for making me go to stores I would otherwise avoid, e.g. Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us), sending unexpected cards that make me smile (and of course get misty because I’m a big cry baby), crossing stuff off the things I need before I even ask (thanks Rashida and mama!), and just making me laugh when I didn’t think it was possible.

Here are a couple of songs I’ve been trying to keep on my mind.

and

 Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand <– I can’t find a YouTube video where they’re singing like my Zion Travelers does! But basically, the song says that life isn’t always easy but to build your hope on things eternal.

So far so good with Lent. And I will admit that when I’m not worrying or wading in anger and negativity (it happens but either immediately or after a couple of tears, I remind myself to shift my thoughts to something else) feels much better. And I know it’s better for the baby. Saturday, one of God’s messengers (thank you Niki!) suggested I go get a pregnancy massage so I’m gonna look into that and I gotta get my schedule synced with my photographer friend so we can finally do my maternity pics. 🙂 And I’ve finally started doing better with my scrapbook pages. I have to get pictures printed but I’ve gotten four pages done to the point where all I need is to paste the pic.

Ok, gotta go. Hope everyone has a productive week!

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My Baby is going to be awesome!

My Baby is going to be awesome!

Today after getting over a mini-scare (not really a scare–more like a pause to raise my eyebrow) this morning when I had a stomach cramp that wouldn’t go anywhere. Turned out to be a little gas that went away after being a little gross, especially for the office. I took a walk, ate some cereal, had a good burp, passed a little gas (I know that’s TMI but it’s so the truth), and took another walk, and then Butterbean (who is now Buster Bean to my ma since he’s a boy) started back moving around like he was in a marathon.

Anyway, almost everyday I find things that I know I’ll enjoy taking my lil man to. From trips to DC to see the future black history Smithsonian to simple things like Sunday Funday (read: a cheap day) at the zoo to community opera to telling him about/showing him pics of other countries since I have well traveled friends (and I’m not so shabby myself), my baby is sure to be exposed to lots. I’m looking forward to finding low cost ways to enrich his learning while having lots of fun. My ma already made the observation that I have way more books than the average person listed on my registries. Well, I’m just hoping that people will include a little book with whatever gift they graciously bestow to my baby. I want him to be an avid reader like I am. To enjoy a wide array of stories and learn from them. To stretch his brain and fill it up with useful information and make him open to all the possibilities life has to offer him. I’m holding off a little while on picking DVDs for him, but I’m excited about that too because I remember my niece used to love love love to watch VeggieTales with my dad, and one of my personal faves is still School House Rock (which someone has loaned me so I need to find one of those places that makes copies!). I mean I learned some French before I ever took any classes at school from tapes that my mom bought with nifty songs. I love incorporating learning for myself with fun stuff, so I’m sure this will be a mere extension of what I already enjoy! I still have very fond memories of family trips to various cities and all the black history museums and aquariums we visited. Can’t wait to make those memories for my own family. 🙂

And of course I am hoping for a well-rounded child. He should have some predisposition to athleticism since everyone on my dad’s side of the family plays baseball (including his cousins who are all becoming forces to be reckoned with in t-ball and youth baseball), his dad plays basketball, one uncle played baseball, and another played football. And he should have some musical talent since both his parents sing and love music and play or have played instruments (I played the violin for years and his dad plays piano). Both his parents have artistic skills too. So much promise growing in my belly!

If you can’t tell, I’m getting excited about meeting this little fella and seeing what kind of person he’ll be.

Happy Love Day

Happy Love Day

If you know me or have been reading my blog over the years, you know that I love Love Day. Regardless of your boo status, it’s a day to focus on all kinds of love in your life. This year, it’s a little difficult for me, but hey, that’s what my own words are for, right? So, I went back and read a couple of my own posts, and here are a couple that made me go ok ok ok, I shouldn’t be feeling bad on a day I’ve always enjoyed.

Happy Love Day!

MLM: The Time of My Life

Happily Ever After

 Love Quote of the Day

Showers of Blessings in 2008

And then yesterday, while listening to my fave Whitney songs (I really thought I would wake up today and just post my fave Whitney love songs, but you know I operate on the whim as it relates to this here blog), I heard a song that I hadn’t heard in a while but hadn’t HEARD in even longer. Sometimes lyrics come alive when it’s something you need to hear. This all-time favorite talent show hit seemed to explode on me, and I started crying in the middle of it. Like not a tear here or there, but seriously crying. A song can never be too throwback to send a message.

The greatest love of all is easy to achieve <–[note from Nada Jo: not always]
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all

And if, by chance, that special place that you’ve been dreaming of leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

 So any of you that may be having rough time in your life, listen to Whitney. Find your strength in love. And if love is part of your issue–maybe a romance gone wrong or a fallout with a friend or family member or something that has made you a little distant in your relationship with the Most High–you have to focus on those people who do give you love and remember who you are and what you’ve already made it through. It’s not always easy. Whatsoever. By any means. But you can’t wallow in the negative or it just keeps getting worse and worse. And the worse it gets, the harder it is to pull yourself back into the pleasant parts of life.

Now, I guess I’ll do something for myself today to show myself some love, which I haven’t been doing much lately. Not sure what. Maybe a manicure or something since my polish is chipping, lol. And maybe some lunch that I hopefully will keep down. And of course I have two special Valentines. One I carry around with me, and one who patiently waits for me to get home every day. Here’s my Valentine for my little sweetheart who’s been a brand new anchor at times.

And here’s my Valentine for my super brave and resilient pooch.

Happy Love Day, all! Focus on the positive and love yourself and appreciate those who love you today. Tootles.

The Newness in 2012

The Newness in 2012

Many of you have been wondering what in the world is this password stuff Nada Jo has been on lately??? Well, I just wasn’t ready to share with everyone yet. Here is my news:

I’m expecting a little boy in June! I have definitely gone (and am going) through a myriad of emotions. This journey has definitely been completely new, but I’m looking forward to seeing my baby’s face in about 4 months. And sometimes when I’m not feeling my best, the amazement from seeing this little Jackie Chan who weighs only one pound make my stomach move makes it a little better. I can’t express enough how great my family is and has been from the beginning. I’ve needed a support system more than ever, and although it’s really really tough living away from my parents, my family has done everything it can to fill my space with love and encouragement. And they have been instrumental in helping me with my focus and perspective, which can be tough but it’s necessary.

So now I’m back. Of course, you will probably get more posts about my pregnancy than current events, but I’ll try to be versatile in my writing. I haven’t gotten my RRR plans for the year together yet, so just stay tuned. I’d like to do a couple conference calls of some sort since I end up talking about the books and films online with folks who don’t live in Atlanta and thus, can’t come to the discussions. I think that would be fun, but of course, I have to explore technology possibilities. I have a couple in mind already, but I have to get the motivation to make it all happen. And I have to get a webcam (yes, in 2012, I do not have a webcam). In case you’re interested, I’m currently reading Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant. More on that later.

I do hope that you are following me on Twitter or liking me on Facebook! I post lots of articles on there and would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. And although I don’t always blog about various topics, I do comment on many of them, particularly on FB.

So I hope all of you are well and that your life is balanced and pleasant. Until  next time!

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