6/25/18

Baby on Board! #12weeks

OMG! Something pretty unbelievable has happened.....I am pregnant! It is like a whirlwind of emotions. But I am excited to finally let people know. The longest 12 weeks ever!

What a way to get me back blogging more regularly. I would love to share my experience, not only for public consumption, but mostly for the baby to view one day (after learning how to read at a very early age of course ;). Also, it will be good for me, so that I can remember, cherish and reflect on the journey.

Sooooo......the first 12 weeks!

How did I find out? Well, let's just say this...it was no accident. My boyfriend and I had decided that we would start to try. So, I got rid of my last packs of birth control pills, downloaded an app called "Flo" which tracks your ovulation and ordered an ovulation kit (March 2018). Well, we never got to use the ovulation kit because the app worked pretty well. I was a bit nervous about this "getting pregnant" situation because since I have been sexually active, I had never been pregnant. I was a bit worried that maybe I could not get pregnant. These thoughts had no basis. BECAUSE I had done everything I could do thus far, not to get pregnant. So literally, we did what we had to do especially during those days that the app suggested. Fast forward to when my next period was suppose to come (May 2018). Literally I was 1 day late, and I just knew I had to check (I had been on birth control since forever, so I am regular lol
). I took out one of the at-home dip sticks test we had and went at it. Immediately, I seen the two lines. I'm like "what the heck am I reading?" LOL. So, I called my boyfriend and needed him home fast. I show him, and he casually says "What Raven, you're pregnant." Ohh so nonchalantly. I'm over here freaking, and he is like "yea okay, isn't that what you wanted?" LOL. So, I took it again, and we had the same results. But, I was still in disbelief. I needed a blood verification. Immediately, the next day, I went to the urgent care and took the blood test. So, I take the poke, and the doctor says "well it will just be 20 minutes". I am thinking it was going to take like a day, but no I was going to get my confirmation there. So she comes in like "Congratulations." And my mouth just dropped, and she started to get into estimated due dates. I am crying and just trying to take it all in. This had me officially BLOWN!!!


So, over the last few weeks, I have had several doctor appointments. I have been experiencing mostly your normal pregnancy 1st trimester symptoms. Talk about exhaustion. Like, it is not human to go to sleep for 12-13 hours, and get up to go to work, and then have to take a 20 minute nap before going into work. It was madness, Morning sickness? Never heard of it! It should be called "all day sickness." I was so nauseous, and my equilibrium was just so off. I was convinced, I was experience a serious case of "body snatchers." 

Cheese, cheese, cheese, somebody just give me cheese! This whole cravings things is serious. It had me eating like a disrespectful toddler. Because my appetite had been all over the place, I had no inspiration to cook (sorry Marvelous). Just within the last week, I have been feeling like a grown-up again. I have regain my energy and started to cook again (slowly). 

Bloated and constipation. I'll just stop there, but yes, it is real!

How did I break the news? Well, I took the flick above and texted it to all my loved ones. I thank God for everyone's positive response. Ya know, it is not the easiest thing starting a family thousands away from your loved ones, but I want to send a special thank you to my boyfriend, Marvelous, he has been very supportive. Even when my mood swings are horrible, he has managed to keep a cool attitude (mostly) and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure I am okay. I'll love him forever for that. 

Today was the first day I seen my little fufu-nugget (that's what I am calling the current invader lol) looking like a human being. It's an active little nugget. Stretching its arms and legs, swimming around in there. The medical assistant noted "this is a good baby, normally they aren't so cooperative while I am trying to do this test." I'd like to say, sounds like my child already :)

I want to end by truly thanking God and giving him the Glory for blessing us to bring another life into this world. I look forward in helping to guide this child to live out God's purpose. 

AMEN!!!

1/4/18

Bye, Bye 2017 and welcome 2018!

Yes, so it is a new year. A chance to start the year of with a new start, with a new state of mind, with new intentions. I have to have a better year than last year, I just have too.


Last year, yes, there was some beautiful moments, but when I think it through, geez it was pretty rough. I only worked for half of the year. And in that half of the year, I was super stressed. I was so depressed. And I was having a hard time finding help. Real help. I was in a very low place, but I was making money. I realized more and more that money does not rule me. And yes, sometimes money can make life easier, but it doesn't when it comes to stress. It can make life really feel like sh*t. I felt very alone also. Because most people just didn't understand what I was going through. Most people cannot understand someone else's level of stress. Because we all handle and process our problems very differently. So what may seem small to you, can be explosive to me and vice versa. For a long time, I had not been handling my stress well. And it would send me into a very deep dark place. 

I then finally decided to rid myself of the stress. Making one of the boldest moves I had ever made in my life (outside of packing up my things and moving cross country, lol, pretty bold...ohh, yes and traveling all the way to Asia by myself, also pretty bold...look at you Raven, being bold :). I decided to quit my job without having another job lined up. Yes, sounds crazy right. But I reminded myself that I was not the first person that have ever done that before,. It was bold, it was crazy, but it was necessary. Now about 7 months later, I am still on the job market. Yes, it has been tough. I have spent every dollar I have to my name. For one of the first times in my life, I know the true meaning of being broke. And it is tough. Especially with someone who is as prideful as I am. Its very difficult for me to ask for help or for me to accept help, but I had to humble myself during this last 7 months. Because I would not have made it by myself. 

One thing for sure, it has helped me to become more faithful and closer to God. Its a great feeling when you feel like you are not alone in this or that this is apart of the plan. I believe that it is. This is a learning lesson for me and I am learning a lot from it. They say all in God's timing right. I don't want to rush it, so I work hard every day to keep that faith burning. 

I also seen clearly those who are in my life to really help me in many different ways. There are people who said they would help, but it seemed like I had to jump through hoops for their help. And bet, I never really got their help. But God put someone in my life to be that help. And as I would, I tried pushing him away. For many reasons. Partly because I just was not used to that type of love. Partly because I have control issues and its hard for me to give that up. Partly because I have lived with a certain image of what it means to be a man. Partly because I live vicariously through other people and believe my life is suppose to fit some-type of mold. And through all of these different levels of insecurities, he was still by my side. He is willing to do whatever it takes to make me happy. He has made so many sacrifices. He has ignored my attitude and still loved me. He wants to be my provider when I feel like I have nothing. He is patient. He has taught me more about having faith. He has made me a top priority. Something I am not used too. I am used to being behind the kids, behind the work/career, behind baby mommas, behind family, behind ego. But, he's made me 1st. He has helped me to handle my stress. He has been God-sent, and still I fight the love he is offering. But I am thankful everyday for the love and support he has been to me during this trying times. It is times like this that we will one day reflect on and I know its only going to make us stronger, together. 

In the stress of 2017, one thing that sums up my lesson learned is to be humble. Raven you cannot control everything. Raven, sometimes things don't look the way you thought, doesn't mean its not right. Raven, you are living this journey how it is suppose to be lived. Raven, you gotta love yourself. Raven, you gotta have faith. Raven, you gotta trust. Raven, its okay to be loved. 

Results in 28 Days: Results & Reflection

Yep! So I tried it, ya know...one of those internet fitness craze. Its called Resultsin28days.com. The reason I tried it was because 1st: it was super cheap (about $40), 2nd: I was convinced with the routine, it looked simple enough and the food regiment was something that I was used to when I am on my conscious eating hype, 3rd: I looked at the before and after pics, and they looked believable. I know I needed something. My body was getting out of control. I just hated how I was looking and feeling in my clothes. Most important, I was become less and less comfortable with myself. I had a conversation with a girlfriend about us both feeling the need to get rid of our half-shirts. Knowing, it's one of my favorite clothing items. So, I said...forget that! I am getting back in control of this body of mines.

Okay, the Exercises. So the exercises are fairly simple; however, I can see how it can be challenging for people who have never done any working out or may have more weight on them. This is why I think they should have also made videos with modifications. Apparently this month's challenge has that. But, I ended up having to make my own modifications because it was a lot of work on my knees. It was about an 8 minute video of exercise that you repeat 4 times. That's cool because you get a hang of the workout, however, it gets a bit boring just repeating the same movements over and over. ALSO, it weighed a lot of my knees doing the high cardio like that over and over. But, I managed to do all of the exercises. When I would miss a day, which wasn't many...I would pick up right where I left off. 

Okay, the Food. The nutrition plan is pretty basic, if you have ever gon' on any health kick you are aware of what foods are healthy and what foods are less healthy for you. My motto is everything in moderation. So I followed the nutrition plan mostly; however, I was not crazy strict. Why? Because I wanted to condition myself to something that I could do after the challenge. Its crazy to think I am going to totally eliminate red meats and rice, but I do not need to have it as often. I drank a lot of water, even added apple cider vinegar to it (I actually really like the taste of it). I also made sure to up my dosages of veggies. When I am eating a lot of fruits and veggies, my body begins to crave it once I am off. So, like I said...everything in moderation. 

Okay, the No Alcohol policy. This can be a challenge. Especially when you are surrounded by friends who like to drink. However, I am enjoying drinking less and less these days. So it was not as hard for me to say no. I did drink a few times during the challenge though; however, not nearly as much as I had been doing. And I know that it really did make a huge difference. My drink of choice is beer, and it goes straight to the belly. 

Okay, would I do it again? Me, no. Why? Because I feel like it has done what it was suppose to do for me, which was motivate me. I am now self-motivated. I know I can get great in-home workouts via youtube and I am quite aware how I should be consciously eating. I also don't have a facebook, which mean I did not have a community support system (RI28 has a facebook group) to keep me motivated throughout the process, so I felt alone in it (well besides my friend in Cali who also signed up, we would check in periodically about it). So, I just feel like I have all the right tools to keep up with my health and wellness as I know I should.

Here is to a great start for 2018 (well in terms of health and wellness, lol)

9/5/17

Growing older and growing apart.

One thing that I have been struggling with lately has been friendships. Friendships. Seems as you start to get older, you start to drift apart from friends. Also, as you get older, it becomes difficult to make new friends. 

Now that I have lived in Maryland for 2 years, it has been difficult coming to terms with the distance that I am away from friends (and family) back home. However, I think I believed I had a different expectation of how our friendships may evolve due to the distance. Yes, we are no longer in the same physical area, but that wouldn't caused a wedge in our union. (I now beg to differ). I do not hear much from my friends back home. Hell, I haven't had anyone visit either. Maybe a casual group text or a #shoutout here and there, but not the way I would like. I do not have social media, so I do not have that instant gratification of knowing what your friends are up too. BUT, I know I do what I can. I call, I text, I Marco Polo (a more intimate social media platform), I send pics. But, I just don't feel like it is reciprocated in the same way. Yes, I do know that you cannot expect someone to be the friend to you that you are to them. We are all individuals. We all relate to people differently. We all need people in our life in different ways. BUT, I do know that it is now becoming exhausting for me to feel like I am giving so much of myself away without getting it in return.

How come it feels like as we get older, people invest more time in their intimate relationships than they do their friendships? I get it. As we grow, we are focused on our households. We are focused on our careers. We are focused on building a family of our own. However, does those things truly distract away from our friendships? Can it be a balance? BUT as soon as one is heartbroken (God forbid), they run back to their friends. Must we chose between our intimate relationships and our friendships?

Being in a new area, with no friends and family, obviously I have had to make new "friends." In the two years I have been year, that has been more than a challenge. I think the older you are the more content you are with your person. You are more sure of yourself, of your likes and dislikes. At 32, I know the kind of woman I am. I am aware of the energy that I seek to have around myself. And let me tell you hunny, it has been hard finding that compatible energy in a friend. Yes, I do have people that I enjoy, but you know that deep kinda friendship, someone who just really gets you, yea...I can't say I have found that. 

I am a social butterfly. I thrive on having others around me. I really do enjoy it. Now, what do I do now that I have become pretty much a party of 1 (outside of the significant other). How do I grow into this new phase in my life? As I am writing, I hear Goapele saying "sometimes you just have to let it go." And that is exactly what I am focused on. I need to focus more on myself and stop looking outside of myself for happiness.

Ohh happiness, a constant battle. 

WWJD?

7/31/17

Just for funsies

Just wanted to share the cutest little walking thing on earth...

Oh sh*t, I'm 32!





Like, I need to get my sh*t together. I have been waking up the past few months and looking at myself in the mirror and really unhappy with what I see. What I do know, is that I have the discipline to do what needs to be done. However, I am tired of it going in waves. Like I go through these phases. A lot of this has to do with stress and depression. It will really kill you. I recently turned 32. Like, when did that happen though. I swear time be moving. You better move with it or you will get left. I know right now my body and my mind looks and feel sad. And, I really want to have a better hold over both. I need to take the reins back on my health. I need to do what is right for Raven. I am getting no younger. And, I know I want to be in the best health before I start popping out little Raven's lol. OMG! Like, I am seriously in baby-making age. LOL, thats pretty scary, I cannot lie. But I gotta have my body and mind right. Sometimes we get so focused on the body, and we forget the mind. But I know my mentals have a lot to do with how my body looks right now.


So today, I said, enough is enough got dammit! Back to conscious eating! Back to daily meditation! Back to feeding the mind and soul with postivity! This is no easy feat. I work really hard not to be hard on myself, but I want to make my discipline my dedication. If that makes any sense, lol. Anyways, we always gotta remember to love ourselves; even when we don't want too.


Can I get an Amen!!


(I'll give a 3 month update ;)

Proud to be American.

One my ongoing self exploration journey,lol, I have longed for something to connect with. I have always thought there had to be more. Not feeling as if this place we called America really belonged to me. Not feeling like it is my rightful place. Not feeling like my culture is deep enough. After traveling out of the country 5 times in 2 years (crazy! I know, I am sitting my a** down lol). I have found a new sense of pride in what it means to be American. 

I know I would see the American flag and not know whether or not I can identify with it. Looking at America as it being the White man's country. Not being appreciative for all the blood and sweat that my elders put in building this country.

I had for a long time envied my friends that were from other countries. How they can wear their colors proudly. How they can come together and enjoy their homeland food. It all clicked when I was in Togo. Like wait? We have all that in America. 

I am proud to be American. I am even more proud to be Black American. We are a resilient group of people. We are survivors. We are dreamers. We are inventors. We are trendsetters. I just love our swag. We have our foods. We come together. We love family. We have religion. This is OUR land too! And I am not ashamed to say I am American. I am proud! And I say that in all sincerity. Yes, we have a f*cked up history, but sh*t what country doesn't. Yes, our present can be kind of shady. But, have you watched BBC lately.   

America. We come in different shades, we come in different cultures, we speak different languages, we dress different, but doesn't make it any less than any other country. Makes it more unique actually. And I am grateful for my place in this land.