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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Mommy’s Night Out

Mommy’s Night Out

Last night, I had the good fortune and great timing to go to the concert of one of my favorite artists. Frederick was well-taken care of by Tee Rashida, and Mommy threw on a vintage sweater outlined in pearls, some red lipstick, and some thigh high boots with silver buttons running up the fronts.

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So, in music loving fashion, here are a few comments:

1. Rahbi is a trip. Wasn’t feeling his attire, but I loved his mashup of Loveeee and When Doves Cry.

2. Rahbi’s background singers outsang him, yikes. Those girls sounded wonderful! Let me add, though, that his voice reminds me of Stokely’s from Mint Condition. So his voice is nice, don’t get me wrong. But those girls behind him did their thing!

3. Roman GianArthur is a nice singer, but I walked away thinking about how that brother played that guitar. Great opening act! I’m going to have to check him out more than the brief research I did before the concert.

4. JANELLE MONAE has incredible energy. I feel like she blessed the start of my new year. She sang and danced and hopped all over that stage and never seemed to get tired. I left at midnight and she was still singing, lol (though I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything because she introduced the band before I left).

5. The first song she sang that’s not on Electric Lady is the song that made me a real fan (I was a fan before Metropolis, but this song sealed the deal). It’s def one of my top 3 fave JM songs. But her singing “Sincerely, Jane” at that moment was just like her singing Happy Birthday to me.

“Are we really living or just walking dead now? … Daydreamers, please wake up; we can’t sleep no more.”

6. She sang almost all of the songs I really wanted to hear live. Yes, “Mushrooms and Roses” from The ArchAndroid too. Love love love.

7. I loved that her encore was a whole new production, lol. We got our money’s worth fo sho.

8. One of my favorite things about Janelle Monae is that the music behind her vocals is ALWAYS on point. There’s a song where she yells out “Kellindo!” and you hear a ripping guitar solo. Well, I got to see Kellindo in action and that thang knows he plays that daggum guitar. And I would be wrong if I didn’t talk about his hair. I don’t watch the “My hair is laid like” videos, but I kept thinking he would be the perfect subject–his hair was part of the show!! She also has an 4-piece orchestra within her band. I kept wondering if Frederick’s future teacher would disapprove of me buying him the acrylic outline violin or cello if he decides he wants to play a stringed instrument like mommy. Probably so, but those instruments had me in awe!

9. I’m thankful for Alisha who came with me. We were co-workers at my job before my current one, which was over 5 years ago, and she’s still been in my corner ever since. Smooches!

10. I love connecting with new people too. I’ve been in an email group of people who are all friends with one person for years, and I’ve only gone to one or two group outings. But when one of the members (Tonda) emailed if anyone was going to the concert, I told her I was so we met for the first time, and she’s great! Definitely plan to keep in touch.

11. This was one of the best bday gifts I’ve given myself in awhile. Happy birthday to me!

It’s my birthday!

It’s my birthday!

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I’m spending my day doing what I seem to do best: reflecting. This is an Instagram post that is resonating with me. Everything happens for a reason, and just because your plans may not pan out, it doesn’t equal failure. Here’s to the success all around me. Happy, happy birthday to me, to me, to me! [In my Sprout/Chica Show/Sunny Side Up voice]

A letter to me from my past self

A letter to me from my past self

I started a ranting post about how depressed I have become, hoping it would help me like Kelly Rowland says her song Dirty Laundry helped her. And then my friend popped on my screen and reminded me without knowing that I never read the letter I wrote to myself in August 2012 set to deliver to me on my baby’s first birthday. (For anyone who wants to write a letter to your future self, visit futureme.org). I totally blessed myself. I take things one day at a time, but I’m glad I could reinforce what my mom tells me daily and remind myself of where I should force myself to focus my energy. Here it goes.

Dear Ranada,

One year ago, you joined the superwoman club and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after hours of painful labor that you can no longer remember. You didn’t have support from his father despite the love you thought you shared with him–but guess what–you’ve made it an entire year. With the love and support from your mom, the rest of your family (even Clint!), your friends in Atlanta, and your friends all over the country, you and Frederick are doing well and that’s no surprise. You’re the bomb, and Frederick is going to be an amazing young man because he has you for his mom.

Keep up the good work. Enjoy life. Appreciate the blessings of motherhood. Don’t focus on what’s hard–keep your eyes on what’s great. Remember that mantra from 2010?PERSPECTIVE. Things are as they should be. You are loved. Your baby is loved.

With self-love,
Ranada

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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31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 2 of 3)

31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 2 of 3)

Here’s the second installment, and I’m stopping on the special day that was my BIRTHDAY!! I’m blessed. 🙂

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12. I’m thankful for 3 day weekends. I feel as rested as a single mother of a five month old can feel, lol. Also, Happy Veterans Day to all who have served, past and present, especially my grandfathers and my cousins!

13. I’m thankful for God’s perfection. I appreciate him not always letting me have my way because he knows my future and what needs to happen to get me there. Who knows where I’d be if my plans always worked out. What glitters isn’t always gold. Or even if it glittered with no glitches, my imagination is small stuff compared to what God can do.

14. I’m thankful for my health and for Frederick’s health. We haven’t had any major problems since he got here. I’m also very thankful to have been able to nurse him thus far! <side note: as I was typing this status, a flu shot commercial came on–was that a omen???>

[update: I went and got a flu shot later that week and still got sick, lol]

15. I’m thankful for the gift of resourcefulness. I’ve learned how to think outside the box when I need to. Small example: I got to work this morning and realized I forgot to pack bottles for pumping. I found a couple of rubber bands, grabbed some storage bags, and made it do what it do. 🙂

16. I’m thankful for The Learning Village and my daycare provider Dianne Coggins. I can breathe more easily knowing that someone I know and trust is caring for Frederick while I’m at work. It definitely made my transition back into the working world easier. I’m also thankful that she gives parents a Parents Night Out, which I’m gonna use to go get my hair laid and treat myself to dinner and maybe a movie if I take a nap under the dryer. 🙂

[update: I didn’t go to the movies, but I did make a full spa day out of the afternoon/evening. I got my hair done as planned, then got a mani/pedi and visited Sweet Samba before treating myself to dinner!]

17. I am thankful for a reason to get glammed up! I love formal events, semi-formal events, cocktail events, etc. Any reason to put on a beautiful dress, get the hair in a special do, and use more makeup than usual. And to think, I was the rebel quasi-tomboy girl back when I was invited to participate in my first pageant in 10th grade. Boy, how things change. AND I’m thankful if you’re supporting The Twenty Pearls Foundation Incorporated tonight and attending A Hush Affair!

All dolled up

18. I’m thankful for the adversity my friends and I have faced, and we still find ways to thrive this year. No one told me 2012 would be rough, but God has a plan–and we are being made better! #muchlove

Peter 3:3

19. I’m thankful for solution-oriented friends. In the last 36 hours, JenniferVeeKendraRashida, and Ashleyhave figured out how to make something happen for me. Thanks ladies! Smooches!

20. I’m thankful for my neighbors. I always wanted to live in a neighborhood where I liked the people living around me, and CandaceLatoya, and Mary are awesome! I appreciate them more than they know!

21. I’m thankful for traveling grace. I’m also thankful for peace of mind. After you’ve done all you can, you just stand.

22. I’m thankful for our holiday tradition of attending church and breakfast at Zion Travelers Baptist Church. I am thankful for a church family that has been a support system no matter where in the world I am!

23. I’m thankful for 31 years of blessings, adventures, and laughs. And I’m thankful for a timeline full of birthday wishes. And most of all, I’m thankful to bring in my 31st birthday as a mommy to my sweet sweet thang!

Adventures and All the beef you can imagine

Adventures and All the beef you can imagine

I’m back! So last time I talked about the awesome. Here’s some of the great.

1. Remember the adventures due to rain I told you about? Well… After a full day of exploration, the gang decided to take the route home that would take us through a historical celebration. That’s actually when we took the best pics of the Pink Palace and the oldest church in Buenos Aires and the like.

Almost as soon as we got off the subway, the music stopped and people started packing up their instruments and stage way early (according to a random, they had just started). Did we take that as a sign? No… LOL. We took more pics, we talked to a guy who was walking one of the sweetest dogs ever, we basically snubbed our noses at the sprinkles. Then the sprinkles turned into slightly larger than tiny drops, so we started walking to the condo. Halfway there, the drops turned into a full out rain storm. We had no umbrellas, no ponchos, or anything. It is funny now. It was slightly funny then, but we were cold and wet. And my feet weren’t covered so I felt icky icky. We took streets where we saw awnings so that we could dash from awning to awning, walking with our backs almost to the wall like we were spying, lol. We took a break in a bakery and got a couple treats. Then back to the mad dash. When we saw there wouldn’t be an awning for awhile, we would take a break under the last one, then ask each other were we ready to run. By the time we got to the condo, we were drenched. And of course, Nervous Nelly (me) got to the door and started shaking so it took me longer than usual to unlock it. We all immediately took showers. Then we watched a DVD. (Well, the DVD watched me and everyone else watched it.) It was a wet adventure that really made for a memory.

2. The next morning, we headed to the zoo. That was one of the activities I was most looking forward to. We hopped on the train, got to the stop, walked over to the entrance, and crickets. All gates locked. No one in sight. Then a family walks up and they were looking like we were. Utterly confused and pretty disappointed. So what’s going on? Our resident Spanish interpreter Kendra read the sign about the hours (maybe we were just early??), and nope, sure enough, it should be open that day of the week at that time. So she kept reading and learned that the zoo has a right to close the day of based on weather condition. That damn rain storm last night!!! It was bright and sunny that day, but they had decided not to take the chance, I guess. Sigh… It was ok because we used that time to venture out to another part of town we hadn’t yet been to (with a superb mall where we got some super shopping done) and maybe wouldn’t have otherwise. And I still got to go to the zoo later that week on Thanksgiving. 🙂

3. The outdoor markets are just great. I loved being outside and seeing people peddle their (very lovely) wares. We got to go to two different markets on Sunday, both with their own personalities and both with plenty of characters. People like to bargain. And people like to pretend they’re bargaining, lol. Paula went back and forth with a guy flirting with Kendra about a pair of earrings and how much he’d take from her since she was out of pesos. I think she ended up getting her way with the rest of the pesos she had and like 5 American dollars. That scene could have been in a sitcom.

the hippie hustler

4. Leaving the markets, Paula spotted an ice cream stand. So we headed there, and I sat at a nearby table while everyone looked at the sign trying to figure out what the many flavors could be. Then I spied that this was not your average ice cream stand. There was also a restaurant inside and there was a couple eating at the next table, and I SPY chicken fingers!!!!!!!!!!!!! By Sunday, I was so tired of beef (gasp!) I didn’t know what to do. I am a beef eater, and I like an occasional steak. BUT GEEZ LOUISE. I had to have those chicken fingers. I don’t think anyone had even planned on eating for another couple of hours, but they were sports. Since we were there and since I was ordering anyway, we went ahead and ate. My ma and I ended up splitting a three course meal for 60 pesos (the chicken fingers by themselves would have been 30 so why not??). Sirobe got her normal cheese dish. Paula got that too. And Kendra got chicken fingers by themselves (hers looked different from mine–still not completely sure why). But they were a #win. I don’t really even remember the rest of the meal. I savored those chicken fingers.

5. Paula and American Airlines had a bad relationship throughout this trip so she had to leave early. 😦 BUT we couldn’t let her leave without seeing some tango! So we headed over to the La Boca area (which has a very rich history!) and had lunch. There’s a strip of restaurants there where they have tango in front of each to lure people to come in and eat. I think we picked the best one. We got tango, we got flamenco, we got this guy who had these balls on strings and kept backing up until I thought he was going to hit me with them, then he turned around and grinned. Jokester! That was a good lunch too. I think we all enjoyed our choices. (I didn’t have to eat beef there either, LOL!)

La Boca
Flamenco!

Ok, I have to run. I’ll be back to sprinkle in some pics. And I haven’t forgotten about the pics for the last post–I haven’t yet found my battery charger so I can’t upload my pics yet!!