Thursday, October 30, 2014

Empty bottle

At this moment, my son is rolling around on the carpet in his onesie - fascinated with an empty bottle.

A round cylinder of plastic with a hole on one end. He holds it up to examine it with wonder. Sticks his fingers in its mouth. Flips it again and again, marveling.

He is focused. Gaze unwavering. Lips parted in concentration.

He rolls with it. Grabs at it. Brings it close for a taste.

Minutes pass. One maybe two. Still he is enamored.  Until by fate, he catches a glimpse of himself in the nearby mirror.

On his belly he goes. Off to see his reflection. Bottle in hand, tapping the glass to signal the boy inside.

Off on the next adventure with his sword. Or maybe it's a shield. A friend.

I long to tell him it's just a bottle. A round cylinder of plastic with a hole on one end. And part of me wonders if he longs to tell me that it - all of it - is so much more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Saturday is my birthday. It crept up on me this year. With so much else doing on - new baby, adjusting to being home, finding my rhythm as a mom - I almost forgot I was aging.


The other day I looked in the mirror and saw wrinkly lines on my neck. Signs of aging.

Had a Danish. Gained 10 pounds. Immediately as a matter fact. Another sign.

Carried my 20-lb son up the stairs and had to stop for a breather at the top. (Okay, that's just a sign that I need to work out ...) But still.

"What do you want to do for your birthday?" Musa asked me more than once last month.

"I don't know. A spa day, maybe? I'm not in the mood for celebrating." 

"What does that mean?" he asked curiously in the tone that very naturally implies "you're going all wierd on me again, babe."

Alas, maybe I am. But this year has been full of so much transition. Moving pieces. Ups and downs. The emotions of being post-partum, the emotions of nursing full-time, the emotions of being emotional.

I don't feel settled. I don't feel like I'm where I want to be personally, spiritually or professionally. Most days it feels like I'm not making any progress toward any of my goals.

What's even more crazy is I'm rediscovering myself. At nearly 29! I always envisioned I would have a firm grip on who I was and what I want by now. Instead I'm surprised by myself. Daily!

So what are we celebrating, really?

I could go on and on, but just as I prepare to venture down the rabbit hole of depair, I hear that small voice whisper that amid all my unmet expectations there has been GOOD this year. My son was born in March. He is my greatest accomplishment. I transitioned to being home full-time, and I made it seven months (baby steps). I got a new car - the car of my DREAMS actually. I started working for myself. MY. SELF.

Well! There has certainly been good. 

Sometimes - more often than not - I don't see it or acknowledge it. And that's the shame of it all. But it's there. If I can just take my eyes off me for long enough. 

And while I still don't feel like confetti, I'm thankful. Another year of God's faithfulness. 

What's not to celebrate?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

who's reading & what's new

at some point or another - perhaps when i started this blog over the first, second or third time - i lost the ability to see everyone who has subscribed. in short, i have no way of knowing who is following all my randomness.

sometimes it's comforting just throwing thoughts out there in the ether ... not worrying about what anyone thinks ... writing for me ...

other times it's weird. like, does any of this make sense? do people think I'm crazy? weird? 

i mean to blog so much more than i do. there is so much happening at present:
  • i became a stay at home mom. i absolutely love being home with my son and witnessing all his firsts. don't get me wrong. it's not exactly the most glam job. i make baby food. i analyze poop. i nurse 24/7. i talk all day to someone who can't talk back yet. and it's mentally, physically exhausting work. but heck if it isn't the best job ever :-) 
  • i started my own business. it's been a dream of mine to work for myself and i can't believe it's happening. i'm doing independent public relations consulting and i submitted my first big proposal this week. it's been hard, tedious work positioning myself the way i would a client. but it's also really fun to build something from the ground up. excited to see how it all turns out!
  • lincoln started scooting: it's more like an army crawl where he pulls his body with his arms, but he definitely is mobile now. i am becoming more and more aware of how baby proofing pretty much takes over your house. 
  • it suddenly became fall: seriously, it's october? YES to baking, baking and more baking! we've already checked off apple picking, but we still need to make time for pumpkin patching and skyline drive in PA to see the fall leaves.

stay tuned anonymous readers. more to come from me :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

kitchen chronicles

I'm a slave to a good recipe. I love trying a new dish and getting rave reviews from the hubby.

I mention this because at present, I'm preparing to make my first roast chicken. 

This is a big deal for me. I've never been an amazing cook, and I was pretty ok with that. Then I got married and well, life changed. For the first time in a long time I actually wanted to be better. It's not uncommon for me to be hosting at our house and that means, well - putting food on the table. (Good decor only gets you so far unfortunately).

There are certain dishes I feel like every woman should be able to make (calm down to all the feminists among us). They don't need to be amazing but I mean it's like baseline family survival:

1. Fried chicken (check!)
2. Roast chicken
3. Baked chicken
4. Roast beef
5. Some kind of fish (salmon all day)
6. Mac & cheese (making this tonight too ... eek!)
7. Ribs (check)
8. Some type of dessert (on LOCK; I'm a baking MACHINE!)

Ok so maybe this is just my beginner's bucket list but either way I'm almost there!

I still wish I would have learned more about cooking from my grandma before she passed away. My mother never really enjoyed cooking and I wasn't all that interested in learning when I was younger anyway. But one of my role models said it best: "if you can read, you can cook." And I'm a pretty good reader.

I think my grandma would be proud. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Currently: listening to raindrops on our hotel rooftop in Cajun Country. Nursing Lincoln to sleep. Measuring the time between my husband's breaths.

I'm blessed.

And I know it, but I forget it so very often.

Today, again I'm thankful for this God- given moment. And I'm ok with sounding like a broken record. May this be my routine, lifestyle even.

"His mercies are new every morning ..."

I'm seeing them now like ever before. 

So here's to you God of everything, Lord of the universe. Morning thanks from appreciative me. I know you won't mind the repetition :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

don't play me, son

It's rather unfortunate that my son's favorite pasttime is napping at bedtime. 

He woke up three times last night and finally ended up in our bed at approximately 2:37a.

Lincoln - 1. Mom - 0. 

So today, I woke him up at the glorious hour of 6a. To my delight, he roused startled and confused.

"You keep me up, I keep you up," I tell those big, bewildered brown eyes.

This mom's no punk.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I love to sleep in whenever the opportunity presents itself but this morning I woke up at precisely 7:59a. I remember because as soon as the doorbell rang, I asked Musa groggily:

"Babe, what time is it?"

"7:59. It's the window people," he answered.

To self: "YES!"

They said they'd be here between 8 and 10a and they were right on time. (Gosh I love great customer service).

I can't tell you how excited I am for new windows. Jump up and down excited. New purse excited. New shoes excited. Heck vacation excited (and that's pretty exciting in my world).

I've lived in this house for two years with my husband. And in the time we've been here we have done a lot of home improvements to make it our own.

We've purchased new appliances, new furniture, renovated a bathroom, installed new drywall ... the list goes on. I've decorated and redecorated. (Musa often comes home to new artwork, pillows or a rearranged room. Thankfully he's a patient man!)

And the windows are another (huge) sign of our progress. Us building a life together for our family.

So yes, I'm excited about new windows and I can hardly believe I'm saying that. 

Feels like I'm becoming a grown up. (Yikes!!!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

my guys sleep

In the wee morning hours
I love to watch my guys sleep
Our son's head drooped back
Lips parted like the Red Sea 
Snuggled in my arms with no regard for whether they will tire
Soft breaths whispering gently
I'm here
(Sweet relief)
A man in the making
But for now
Within earshot 
Lay the king of the castle
Lips beckoning, even now
Broad shoulders at ease
Unbridled strength on guard
(Oh the irony)
A legend to be sure
But for now
In the wee morning hours
I give teary eyed thanks as my guys sleep

Monday, July 14, 2014

just do it ... consistently

"I need to write," I told my best friend on Sunday. "I've wondered for so long what I want to pursue and all this time it's been staring me in the face. I need to ... no I have to write."

She didn't break she contact, not even when my gaze shifted away nervously the way it sometimes does when I'm being vulnerable or when I paused to poke at my sausage, mushroom egg scramble more than once.

"And I know it sounds crazy," I continued.  "But I'm intimidated by it. It seems so big, so huge to write something worth reading. I'm so uninspired. You can't force art right? I want to do it and yet I lack motivation. Is that possible?"

She thought for a second. "I read a good quote that said habit is more important than motivation. Sometimes you just have to get yourself in the discipline of doing it whether or not you feel inspired. Look at Tupac. Do you know how many songs he had that were never released?"

"Or Michael Jackson," I chimed in. "They just released a whole album off old stuff that never made it out of the studio."

"Right," she agreed, nodding. "Just hone your craft. Write every day, no matter what. Even if you don't feel like writing, write that. And when you write something great, you'll know it."

My eyes met hers long enough for me accept the weight of her wise counsel. And for the first time in a long time, I was hopeful.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

west African hospitality

My husband's family is from Sierra Leone but he was born in the U.S. West African culture has touched every part of his life since birth. I, his very American wife, am just learning to master the subtle differences.

Like hospitality. On grocery trips my husband sometimes picks up things like crackers, nuts, cookies, "for guests." I love entertaining so I've always considered this a nice gesture from my kind husband, but it took me a while to realize that in African culture, it is more than a nice to-do. It is tradition, respectful (borderline expected) that if someone comes to visit you, you offer food & drink. 

For example, my mother-in-law (who I also call mom) lives nearby and comes to visit often. Right after hello, I always ask if she is hungry or thirsty.

Only once did she ask me, "what do you have?" I shuffled through the kitchen: granola bars, yogurt, nuts? 

She smiles politely. "Oh no, I'm ok. Thank you."

If that was a test, I failed miserably.

Since that day, when mom comes over, she almost always refuses refreshments or takes only bottled water or tea. I didn't put two and two together until one day we went over my sister-in-law's house around dinner time and she served us a full course meal without really "asking." We were really glad she did because as it turned out we were starving, but who would ask for dinner when you're coming to visit someone else?!

The light sloowly came on. Refusal is polite. Don't ask. And cooked food gets  brownie points. Got it.

When my mom came over a few weeks ago I decided to test my theory. As usual, I offered something to drink, and she asked for tea. While the kettle warmed, I assembled a tray to serve her adding a slice of homemade pound cake and some fruit ... because who doesn't like pound cake and fruit is safe.

Mom didn't even stop talking when I placed the tray in front of her. It was the most natural thing in the world. She ate as we chatted and I noticed upon returning the tray to the kichen, that she had finished it all down to the last blackberry.

To self: "SCORE."

So yesterday when mom said she was stopping by to see the baby I immediately wondered what I could serve.

Blueberries. I had three whole cartons of blueberries. And she was coming in the morning which was perfect because I LOVE baking and I had the PERFECT hubby-approved recipe for blueberry muffins, sure to impress.

I planned to make the muffins the night before and have them on-hand in a sort of "oh, I just whipped these up earlier this week," kind of way.

Except things don't always turn out how you plan.

The night before I was absolutely exhausted with the baby and the last thing on my mind was those muffins.

Mom did indeed show up the next morning though. What to do, what to do?! I offered tea and she politely refused. Except I now knew better. She said she could only stay a short time but I decided to make the muffins anyway.

While she visited with the baby, I was carrying on conversation from the kitchen, secretly mixing away and re-reading the recipe over and over because the last thing I needed was to serve mom a gross muffin.

Ironically, her appointment got canceled and she stayed longer than she thought she could. I mentally applauded myself for trusting my gut. When the muffins were finally done, I plucked the prettiest one from the cooling rack (still warm) and served her.

I watched nervously as she took the first bite.

"Are these from scratch?"


I then watched in horror as she scraped off the cinnamon sugar crumb topping. That was the BEST part!!!

"You know I am diabetic so I can't have too much sugar," she explained.

I inwardly sulked. Well it was worth a try.

We talked a few minutes more before this: "Oh, Chris! I think I will have another. This is very good!"

To self: "Thank you, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

And I'm pretty sure I get extra brownie points for making them fresh same-day. Or maybe I'm just pushing it 😏

Thursday, June 19, 2014


There are levels of tired. You know you've reached the bottom when you wake up after four consecutive hours of sleep exhausted and then can't go back to bed. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

mommy moment

I got a text from a dear friend who wanted to drop by for tea this morning. I knew without her saying what she needed - a mommy moment.

We chatted over tea, pastries and fruit while the babies napped and it felt so good to take a couple hours out the day to just stop, unwind, relax, talk, listen, laugh, sip, sigh, encourage, dream.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I made it through yesterday. Lincoln got a bath and we left the house on time. I managed not to leave anything critical out the baby bag. We had a great time visiting family.

(Pats self on back)

So why am I up at 1:30a? Thinking it all through. Taking time to breathe. Researching solutions to baby congestion.

A mother's job (and quite frankly her day) is never done :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


These time stamp titles are catchy :-)

4:30a and I am up thinking about the best way to crawl out of bed without waking the baby so I can pack his bag for tomorrow (yes, we co-sleep; another post on that later but judge if you must).

"Lincoln needs a bath," I announced to my husband at bedtime. I've actually been announcing this for the past couple of nights hoping to summon the superhero strength needed to balance our squirmy baby in his tub and once more wage the age-old battle against neck cheese.

"Too late now," he replies. Which is true.

"I'll do it in the morning," I sigh knowing this is the last day I can put it off. I held a friend's newborn today who smelled glorious while my 3 mo. old smells like wet dog (sweats in his hair, has lots of hair, you do the math). 

"Did you pack the baby bag for tomorrow?" hubby asks.


"And he's getting a bath in the morning?"

"Yes." Decidedly.

He chuckles. "And you're leaving at what time?"

Hesitance. "9:00 a.m."

Second chuckle. "You're not leaving at 9:00 a.m."

Hmph. To self: "We'll just see about that."

Which is how I got here, at 4:30a trying to sneak out of bed to pack the baby bag.

For those without kids, the truth is that is is quite possible for me to leave the house at promptly 9a with a CLEAN baby and a packed bag if and ONLY IF:

1. I don't sleep a moment past hubby's work alarm. But oh how I love snooze, especially if the baby stays sleep long enough for me to catch a few extra zzzs.
I'm too laissez-faire (read: lazy) to be a schedule mom.

2. There are absolutely NO surprises included but not limited to diaper blowouts, projectile vomit or unanticipated urination, all of which have the potential to cause outfit changes (baby AND me).

3. I am having a particularly mindful morning, meaning I can remember where I put essentials like car keys, sunglasses,  Lincoln's pacifier and his new favorite bear (which I swear up and moves around the house on its own just to keep me on the edge of insanity).

All three of these being true in the same morning? Yeah, not likely. So hubby is right, but I am determined (read: hard-headed) all the same.

Aaannd to make matters worse, his alarm just went off. Should be an interesting morning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

running again

I'm not sure if I run because I like it or because I need it. Either way, I'm back on the grind and it feels good.

I love pushing myself ... "push" being the operative word.

This baby weight has definitely been a challenge and for some reason it's been a struggle to get back into the rhythm of working out.

Maybe I need the challenge. Maybe I need to be standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up. Maybe I'm already at the top and just haven't realized it yet. Maybe I'm struggling too hard with these metaphors ... lol.

Someone great once said: Don't talk about it be about it. 

So this is me, shutting up. Let's go ;-)

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Today I had such a good conversation with hubby about The Lord. We were talking about how it's so easy to forget that this whole world is about God, not about us. 

"For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen." Romans 11:36

How easy it is to forget when we're going about the everyday living of life ... when time is slipping by so fast ... when we get caught up in busy-ness and doing ...

We exist for HIM. Not the other way around. 

As we talked, confessed, marveled, the Holy Spirit burned in me (does that happen to anyone else?) The truth of the Gospel is this: a loving God chose to save the insignificant, the unworthy, the ordinary and rebellious. Us.

Wow. It's all about Him.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

not quite the old me

I'm sitting in the nail salon on a Saturday afternoon which is monumental for a few reasons:

1. This is the first time I've been away from the baby in what FEELS like forever.
2. I haven't had a mani pedi in LITERALLY forever. (God, help my technician ...)
3. I just picked this crazy, bright neon orange polish that is uncharacteristic of P.B.C. (pre-baby Christina)

And maybe #3 sums it all up.

I haven't been feeling like myself lately. I look in the mirror and the woman staring back at me looks nothing like P.B.C. Between the baby weight, the stretch marks & bags under my eyes I couldn't pick myself out of a lineup.

Motherhood is hard on the body, hard on the mind and apparently hard on my hands and feet.

"What's wrong?" hubby asked this morning after his workout. I could say nothing so I just sat there in bed in my too small PJs changing the baby's diaper until the tears welled up and I couldn't see anymore and I accidentally missed three snaps on his sleeper.

And that's how I ended up here. At the  nail salon. Getting "me" time. Drinking my Starbucks green tea frap (w/ two pumps of raspberry, thank you) just to feel like P.B.C. who didn't need to count calories and could splurge on a fine beverage at will. 

And surprisingly, just as I was searching for my old self, the neon orange spoke to me.

Now I'm normally conservative. Normally I play it safe. Shades of nude and pink always suited P.B.C. just fine.

But I'm NOT P.B.C. And I'm not really sure who this new woman is. But I know she likes the wild side. She likes big hair (the bigger the better). She loves buying shoes even if she has absolutely nothing to wear with it. She LOVES being a mom and a wife. But sometimes, when the glass is half empty, she needs something spontaneous to make her feel ALIVE. 

And today, Starbucks and neon orange nails just might do the trick. 

Not making any promises for tomorrow ;-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I'm a loud person. Really loud. The words "inside voice" mean absolutely nothing to me and I'm pretty sure I've never effectively whispered anything in my life.

But as I age and dare I say mature, I've come to appreciate the beauty of quiet when all is still and I can actually hear the clamor of my own thoughts and anxieties.

It's here that I face myself and grapple with who I am and who I want to be, which isn't a bad thing considering that life is short and altogether unpredictable.

Seriously when do we ever just stop and sit and be honest with ourselves, with God?

For me, it's a cup of tea and a journal, my Bible, this blog perhaps. Time to reflect. Time to renew. Time to slow down.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


All is quiet. The baby has finally finished his tossing and turning. My husband is fast asleep beside me. And I am up. Mournful and teary eyed and pensive.

At 3:45 am.

Emotions run high in these wee morning hours when I have time to reflect on how tired I am and how imperfect and what needs to be done the next day. I've spent many a night searching Google for some indication of when my life will get better, when sleep will come, when freedom will return.

And for all that effort I've come up empty handed. 

Sometimes I feel guilty complaining or even feeling the way I do. My son is so beautiful and his smiles and coos literally keep me going when I'm on edge. 

But when my husband gets home and I really want to go out but he asks me what we will do with the baby and we end up staying at home watching two movies while my mother-in-law visits ...

Or when I buy that first post-partum dress three sizes bigger than I'm used to and then feel so depressed I eat two whole brownies ...

And when we make plans to see a Nats game with friends but then can't find a babysitter ...

I end up here. 3:45 am releasing one of the only ways I know how and hoping, trusting that my sanity is right around the corner after a good cry and at least two hours of continuous sleep (fingers crossed).

Sometimes motherhood feels incredibly lonely. Mostly now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

bath do over

it's hard to believe that this sweet face was screaming uncontrollably just half an hour ago.

believe it.

earlier today i made the startling discovery of dried milk in one of the folds of his neck. it was sticky and gross and smelled like death. although i despised the idea of a second bath this week almost as much as i knew he would, there was no getting around it.

he. absolutely. hated. it.

maybe he was thinking, "didn't we just do this yesterday?" maybe the water was too cold, or too hot. maybe he was hungry ... he's always hungry. whatever the case, those big brown eyes definitely shamed me with a confused, bewildered look as soon as hit feet touched the water. (aren't newborns supposed to like the water??!)

lesson learned, but not soon enough to spare him today's torture.

my late grandmother said it best: "these young mothers. i guess they do the best they can."

we do gramma. we certainly do.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

starting over

i've started this blog over at least three times. i'm pretty sure it's the editor in me. i reread my posts, question my word selection, wonder if i'm making any sense and then shut it down.

but for some reason i keep coming back. i need to write like i need to breathe. so here we go again. not so prim anymore perhaps, but still just as addicted to prose.

this tme without the filter.