Category Archives: By Chanell Nicole

Motherhood Revisited

I can remember the months leading up to the birth of my daughter. I was excited, anxious, and scared. I had no idea what motherhood would bring. As I look forward to celebrating my second Mother’s Day, I see motherhood completely different.

 

Brooklyn (almost 3 months) at Camryn's 1st Bday 04/03/2013

Brooklyn (almost 3 months) at Camryn’s 1st Bday 04/03/2013

Having spent close to 16 months being a mother, I want to take back every piece of advice I’ve ever given another mother. Well, mostly the judgmental stuff. The “you shouldn’t let her talk to you like that” ‘s , the “why are they eating that” ‘s , all  the annoying unsolicited advice, would go out the window.  Why? Because back then, when I was super single, had enough time to shave my legs  more than once a month (judge all you want; mama is ti-RED), I had energy to spare and free time was my reality, I saw motherhood as something you did right or wrong.

 

Muah. BK (12 months) after worship service.

Muah. BK (12 months) after worship service.

Now, over a year into the most important job on the planet, I see my mothering and parenting as a learn by doing sorta thing. Of course there are still the advice givers and overly concerned family members and even strangers who comment on my somewhat free style parenting. I’m sure they’ll always be there. However, what I am learning is that there is no right or wrong way to do things. A co-worker of mine recently had a baby and in the card I gave her, I wrote something like: go into motherhood with an open heart for your baby and closed ears to everyone else.

 

Brooklyn's 1st Birthday!

Brooklyn’s 1st Birthday!

I wanted to impart to her that though people will have things to say (about your baby’s uncombed hair and lack of a sweater in “cold” Florida weather) God gifted you with the blessed responsibility of motherhood. That’s what my daughter has taught me. Especially on nights when I’m tired from work, school, and life and the last thing I want to do is breastfeed. Then I realize she won’t always be this close to me. One day, probably sooner than I can imagine, she’ll want to spend more time with her friends than with her Mama!

 

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In the meantime, while I parent out loud and in public, I’ll do so my way. Day by day, it gets easier and harder all at once. After I’ve conquered one challenge, here comes another. But you know what? Oddly enough, with each challenge, I become stronger and I am more ready than I thought I would be. No longer am I afraid or anxious. I greet each day of being a mother with joy. I relish in the moment that I drive up to the babysitter’s house and see my BK peeking through the blinds, waiting for me to come to the door or on the ride home when she’s singing “Happy” and waving her hands in the air.  It’s moments like those that fill me with gratefulness for the gift of motherhood. On tough days, I’ll revisit my mommy moments and my heart will smile.

 

Until Next Time….

Be Blessed & Live Well.

 

Chanell Nicole

 

Share a Mommy Moment with me 🙂

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On Waking Up Early(er)

Guess what day it is?

I will never understand why people ask questions like that. Like by guessing it’s Friday on Wednesday will change anything… uhhhh, never mind.

So today I decided to join the #5amclub and I’m so happy I did. I usually wake up early since I have to be at work  before 8 so it wasn’t too much of a challenge. 

I had to plan, prepare and press forward in order to get going at 5am. I prayed with my husband, ate half a bagel with peanut butter and grabbed a gallon of water and thought I would be out of the house. But noooo! Vanity came in and interrupted my flow!

Makeup! I forgot my makeup!  Gasp!

I rummaged through the bins in the bathroom and tried my best to locate the eyeliner, blush, and pressed powder that would turn me from frog to princess after my workout. Having wasted enough time, I grabbed what I could and dashed out of the house. Looking like a bag lady on the way to the gym, I loaded up the car and was on my way.

Three minutes later, in the parking lot at the gym, I said a prayer for strength and walked inside.

“Oh, hi, we can’t let you in here with that gallon of water,” said the front desk attendant.

“Huh?”

I didn’t debate just then but I saw the scheme of the enemy clear as day. I almost got angry and left but I remembered my goal.
Back inside the gym I asked the attendant if they had that policy written down on their contract anywhere.

“No, but see the picture? The guy has a gallon of water.”

I was beyond confused but still went to start my workout sans my illegal gallon  of h to the izzo.

My brief workout went well. I challenged myself for anout 45 minutes but was sure not to overdo it.
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I hit the showers and realized I didn’t pack lotion or a bra! I just laughed.

None of the two outfits I packed could be worn without a bra and wearing my sweaty sports bra was completely out of the question. (Besides, I still breastfeed, I could have an accident! )

I had two options: go home (which would cause me to miss the early shuttle bus to work due to my desire to cuddle with the baby) or run over to Walmart.
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I showered, brushed my hair up into a messy bun and got dressed then headed over to Wally World with ashy legs and… well you know, no bra.

(P.S. I’m a Target girl but they’re not open as early as Walmart; so Walmart it was.)

In my head I kept repeating Bra, lotion, lipstick. Bra, lotion,  lipstick. Bra, lotion, lipstick. Just to remember what I’d gone to Walmart for in the first place. I had no time to get sidetracked.

Once I got inside, my tune changed to Bra, lotion, lipstick, liner, moisturizer. By the time I got to the cosmetics aisle it had turned to Bra, lotion, lipstick, lipstick, lipstick, liner, moisturizer.

*I really think my Mother-in-love (not law) is rubbing off on me (another blog for another day).

Any who, I made it out of Walmart with only five minutes  to spare before I would be late  for the early shuttle to work or driving myself (which defeats the purpose of this Walmart run).

I drove on two wheels into the parking lot and grabbed my lunch bag and purse. As I was walking to the bus stop I realized I was double posted and had to go back to straighten up the car (didn’t want a ticket).
I hopped out of the car, ran to the bus stop and just made it in line for the shuttle bus.

With almost no seats left I found a cozy space in the back (which is where I’m writing this blog post). I laughed a little when I realized the bra I just bought was hanging out of my purse (I decided not to put it on in the car to save time).

I’m pretty sure people were staring but I didn’t have time to care.

It reminded me that everything takes a plan. I thought I was all prepped and ready to go but I forgot some essential things in the process. I’ll only get better. It will only get easier. All the while, I’ll keep sharing my growth and keep waking up early (er).

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Are you a morning person? What could you get done if you woke up earlier?
Let’s talk.

Chanell Nicole

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Tasty Tuesday! Chanell Nicole Makes Pesto Pizza

Happy Tuesday! I’m trying something a little new on le blog today.

Introducing Tasty Tuesdays: a day where I’ll share what I cooked, what I ate, what I might think about cooking, what I want to eat… you get the picture.

Today’s recipe is a quick, easy, healthy take on one of my favorite indulgences: Pizza!

My family loves pizza. I could probably eat it every single day. That would get somewhat expensive and I’m sure someone would get tired of it.

I used premade dough from the bakery section of my local grocery store which saved me a lot of time. Besides, who has time to mix and wait and all that? If you do, kudos to you.

Anywho, here’s my take on pesto pizza.

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Fresh,  uncooked pizza dough (or you could use prebaked pizza crust, wheat flour or any of the gluten free options out there)

Flour
Fresh mozzarella
Roma tomatoes
Pesto sauce
Egg
Garlic powder
Crushed Red Peppers (optional)
Coarse sea salt (optional)

Let dough rise at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat oven to 400° F

On a floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness.
Dust hands and rolling pin in flour to prevent dough from sticking.

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Roll out dough using hands or rolling pin.

Once dough is at desired thickness, use fingertips to make dents in the center of the  dough.

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Spread about two tablespoons of pesto sauce from the middle to an inch.away from the edge of the dough.

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Break pieces of fresh mozzarella and place on top of pesto.

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Salt slices of Roma tomatoes and place on top.
Make a egg wash and brush along the edge of the pizza.
Sprinkle garlic powder (or other Italian seasoning) on top of the egg wash.

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Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

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Enjoy with a family style salad and a glass of sparkling water with lemon for a fresh weeknight meal.

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It was absolutely delicious and it’s also great for meatless Mondays!

*my apologies if this meal is somewhat summery, I live in South Florida where it’s almost always summer time*

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Hope you enjoyed Tasty Tuesday!

What’s your favorite pizza combination?

Chanell Nicole

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Enough, Already!

I’ve had enough. I have enough. I am enough.

Lately, I’ve been waffling with the idea of being more and doing more. I feel like I need to do more but I don’t always have the time. As a new mom, who is still wrapping her mind around the fact that she REALLY has a child, I have had to prioritize a few things.

At the beginning of the summer (a whole season ago), I took on a new position; something completely outside of what I expected myself to do (nothing exciting enough to blog about).  It would be the first time I was in charge of adults (I’ve taught for years and being accountable for little people is a lot easier). So, since I was the new kid on the block, I had to prove myself. Or so I thought. See, going in to the position, I was qualified and in position to perform. The work environment was pretty easygoing but a few of my co-workers are in a “see who can stay at work the latest” contest and for a while I was, too.

So, there I was, putting in longer hours than necessary as part of this imaginary contest. After work, I was cranky, tired, and I didn’t want to deal with anything (cooking, cleaning, smiling) or anyone (The Husband, The Daughter, The Dwindling Pool of Friends).

Something had to give. I realized that if I could give my all to a job, a position, something that gave me experience and fed someone else’s dream, I could definitely give more than that to my family and myself. I made a change. I made a bold move and asked for a schedule change. (Now, this may not work for everyone but I stepped out on faith) My request was granted and things have been going a lot better since then.

I still have my struggles.  My internal conversation goes something like: What am I going to do with all this extra time? Now that I have a little more time to myself, how will I fill it? Will I write? Work out? Sleep? Do homework (since classes start today)? Pick up the baby early? What to do?

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How could I not want to pick this cutie up early?

With my priorities in order, I must be purposeful and plan. Being a wife and mom is enough. Though I sometimes deal with mommy guilt when I take too long to pick up the baby or spend time alone or do anything that doesn’t have to do with my family; I’m getting to the point where I can incorporate Wife, Mommy and Chanell.  But I’m getting there.

While I’m in the meantime, I know that this is all part of the process. Anything that I add on is just a plus. Chanell the Wife, Mommy, Student, Writer, Blogger is enough, already!

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Time Out

Today I decided to stop making excuses and take a Time Out for me.

 

Over the past year I became a wife, then a mom. Naturally, my priorities shifted and the needs of my husband and daughter kinda pushed mine a little further back.

My blogging assistant with me after a run.

My blogging assistant with me after a run.

I haven’t been feeling quite like my old self and that’s to be expected; I’m not her anymore. This Chanell 2.0 has different wants and needs and as the years add up, I’m realizing what’s most important.

Outside of my relationship with God, being a new wife (one year in) and an even newer mom, I must take care of myself.

With a new job that holds lots of responsibilities, I have little time for anything besides family. But the excuses stop here. I will make time for me and all that being me entails (writing, blogging, getting out more, thrifting, cooking, laughing, enjoying the little moments).

Celebrating BK's 1/2 Birthday.

Celebrating BK’s 1/2 Birthday.

Today, during my Time Out, I took time to run again. Thanks to the Couch to 5k app on my phone (and the urging from an article I’d read in Essence magazine) I reluctantly put on my running shoes again. Jesus be some muscle/endurance memory! While my goal is to be able to run a 5k at some point this  year, I want to be healthier.

Last week, before I left the house, my husband prayed, jokingly, “Lord, please give us what we need to lose this weight so we can run each other down the street when we get mad.”

He and I have both put on a few pounds since venturing into marriage and parenthood and I know that by putting these words down I’m holding myself (and him) accountable.

In high school, I was a distance sprinter. I could run a quarter mile in under a minute and a half mile in… well, less than four minutes (I hated the 800 meter run). While I’d love to get back to that speed, that’s not my aim. I’d like to be able to run – at a nice, steady pace – for an hour without fainting. Sure, it’s a hefty goal – one that seemed so far-fetched today during my 15 minute walk-run – but if I take a few more Time Outs I’ll be there in no time.

 

Slow and steady wins the race.

Until next time, Be Blessed and Live Well.

Chanell Nicole♥

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Brooklyn’s Mommy

One day, Lord willing, I’ll pick up my baby girl from school or camp or church or somewhere and someone will say, “That’s Brooklyn’s Mommy,” in reference to me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

That's Brooklyn's Mommy. Getting ready on Mother's Day.

That’s Brooklyn’s Mommy. Getting ready on Mother’s Day.

Though my motherhood journey has just started, I’m so grateful and I’ve learned so much. Some of the things I said I’d never do have been crossed off that list; including but not limited to:

  • co-sleeping/bedsharing
  • baby talk
  • baby shopping sprees
  • passing her off to someone else (babysitter, grandma, auntie) when I get a little tired
  • letting her go out in public wearing only a onesie (it’s hot in Florida)
  • posting pictures of her on social media (I tried but I just love her soooo much I have to share)
  • talking about her incessantly

I finally know what it means to have a piece of your heart leave you each day. Like, I really love this little person just because she is! I’m amazed at her growth and in four short months she’s formed a personality and has all these little quirks. Who knew?

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Reflecting back to last year around this time, I was only about two months pregnant and full of questions. I didn’t know what would come of the pregnancy. I didn’t know if she was a she, LOL. I just knew I would try and be the best mom possible.

The smirk.

The smirk.

Even towards the end of my pregnancy it still wasn’t real. Sure, I had a big belly and felt life inside me but I hadn’t experienced the cries, sleepless nights, coos, laughs or smiles yet. I had no idea I would have to learn how to be patient with this little person’s ever-changing demands. I didn’t know this love. At four months, she’s getting into a routine and trying to scoot around. She has teeth trying to break through and she’s gnawing on everything. When she cries, I soothe her. I even laugh at the funny faces she makes when she doesn’t want to wake up or when Daddy’s annoying her.

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I can understand the tears my mom shed, the sacrifices she made, how unselfish she was, how hard she worked for us and why she still works so hard to be an amazing example of what it means to be a mother. I only hope I can be the same for my daughter.

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Sure, there will be days when she disappoints me or makes me upset but I’ll be ready to roll with the punches. For right now, I’m cherishing the moments that she wants to hug me, hold my face in her hands, slobber my nose and have conversations with me.

 

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One day she’ll wipe off my kisses and immerse herself in friendships. But for now…

She’s my silly billy, my Teeta-Peeta, my Mamacita, my baby girl. And I’m over-the-moon happy to be Brooklyn’s Mommy!

Chanell Nicole

 

P.S.  Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all Mommies, mommies-to-be, step moms, grandmoms, aunts and godmothers.

 

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Mother’s Day For Me

Yesterday I celebrated my first Mother’s Day!

I started off the day in prayer, thanking God for making me a mother. That’s such a huge title and I’m learning that so much comes with being a mother.  I spent the early part of the morning with My Mommy! The Baby and I went to my mom’s church for a Mother’s Day breakfast. We had a great time.

Me & My Mommy

Me & My Mommy

Just before we were about to leave, I got a “gift” from my baby girl. She left it all over the front of my dress and on her clothes, too. We smiled off the little mishap and headed home. Though our plans to attend our place of worship were put on hold (due to a cranky, teething baby) I enjoyed spending time in bed; just the two of us.

Me & The Baby.

Me & The Baby.

Later on in the day, we went to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner. The menu was oxtail, jerk pork, coconut rice and peas, steamed cabbage, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and corn bread. I kept my portion rather manageable so I could later enjoy a slice of red velvet cake! My mother-in-law surprised me with my first Mother’s Day gift: a wonderful card, a pair of earrings and a matching necklace. She also bought me a notebook with a message that really touched me.

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Since becoming a mom, it has been hard for me to find the balance between wife, mom, and creative being. Her message encouraged me to keep creating and being purposeful. I couldn’t ask for a better mother-in-law!

My husband had made me believe that all I was getting for Mother’s Day was a singing card. I can admit, I was astounded! I could not believe that he didn’t see the importance of my very first Mother’s Day! Just before dinner, he asked me to come into the den and place a hot pink gym bag in front of me. “Open it,” he said, smiling.

Inside was most of what I’ll need to continue my journey to a more fit and better me. While some women want flowers and perfume, all I wanted was a spare pare of running shoes and I got so much more! I was cheesing for the rest of the day.

Later in the night, once the baby was asleep he said, “did you actually think I wouldn’t get you a gift?”

“I was hoping you got something but you really had me going,” I told him still cheesing.

“It was fun watching you almost spazz out though.”

I can admit, I get a little impatient at times; especially with my husband. The greatest gift I could have gotten on Mother’s Day was already given to me. I have a healthy baby girl and a husband who loves and supports me.

But who doesn’t want to be celebrated a little? Right?

How was you Mother’s Day?

Until next time Be Blessed & Live Well.

Chanell Nicole

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Random Blog #3

Hey!
I feel amazing. It’s a refreshing feeling. I’m not as tired as I once complained about and the feeling is priceless. BK is 3 months old! I can’t believe how fast the time is flying. She amazes me everyday. Seeing her smiling face (which looks nothing like mine) every morning is a blessing within itself. Some days I just want to stay at home with her and play all day long. Never have I known this kind of love.

I love being a mother. Though it took me a little while to embrace, I can actually say it’s the best feeling in the world. Last year around this time, I had just found out I was expecting. I was afraid and excited all at once. It was then that I began wrapping my mind around what it meant to bring forth life. What I have now is so much more than what I could even think of. (Ephesians 3:20 moment in full effect.)

I can remember being one of those women who bragged about NOT having children. I now chuckle when I read a status update that says something like: I’m glad I don’t have kids to tie me down.
Some women make the choice not to have children and that’s all fine and dandy. But my life didn’t have the same purpose that it does now that I have a child. Everything I do has an effect on her life. That’s so deep and intimidating at times. Even when talking about myself I have to remember that she’s watching and listening. I am her definition of what it means to be a woman. That’s so scary to me. I’ve been given a huge charge to mold and shape and be an example.

I take it day by day and I am confident that God has prepared me for every obstacle I’ll face in motherhood and life in general. Knowing that my strength comes from Him makes it so much easier. One thing I’ve learned in the past three months is that it gets better. When I brought her home from the hospital I had no idea what I was doing. I cried a lot. I spent a lot of time wondering if I would ever get the hang of things. Once my hormones leveled off and I treated her like a baby (instead of expecting her to be able to do everything on her own) I regained my composure.

I still don’t feel like my “old” self and that’s to be expected. I’m a different person with a new title: Fabulous Mommy! I embrace it and I know that being a mom doesn’t mean being perfect, but I’m working on it.

 

Motherhood: A Brand New Me

Motherhood: A Brand New Me

Until next time,
Be blessed & Live Well.

Chanell Nicole

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Mommy & Me Monday

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Happy Monday!

This weekend was quite busy for The Baby and I. My husband’s extended family came from all over to attend The 8th Annual Jazz in the Gardens concert. While neither of us attended, we enjoyed spending time with family, most of who had never met BK.

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I was on kitchen duty on Saturday. I made conch fritters and they were pretty yummy! BK spent most of the day in the arms of family members, being smothered with love and kisses.
Thank God she got her shots…. Mommy moment

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Since it was the weekend, and I had a few extra moments to plan, I decided to dress like The Baby. I had already chosen her clothes for the day and on a whim I searched the drawers for something comfy and complementary.

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So we ended up being twins for the day.

I always vowed not to go overboard with her, but now I see how things can easily get out of hand.
This is just a simple outfit, but it sparked such inspiration for future Mommy and Me collaborations.

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Hope you have an awesome day! Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, Live Well & Be Blessed.

Chanell Nicole

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Perspective

As a new mommy, I’m always interested in hearing about what other new, first time moms have to say about motherhood. I’m part of an online community of moms that share ideas. I’m not as vocal as some of the know-it-all, cloth diapering, perfect birthing moms but I chime in from time to time. Today, one of the moms posted about her motherhood experience. I shared most of her sentiments. I won’t post her words but she said, “I’m mourning the old me”.

It made me think. While I am in no way the same “me” from a year ago, I miss her from time to time. She was an awesomely single woman who wore high heeled shoes more often than not. She was free. She actually slept in on Saturdays and had brunch on Sundays.

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Do I mourn her existence? Maybe sometimes, but she lacked so much that I have. She may have dressed better than me and had more money to spend on clothes and sushi but there’s a certain joy she didn’t have.

Maybe that came with motherhood?

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it’s all in the perspective. What was once important to me is now insignificant. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is HARD WORK, and I know it will only get harder. I don’t LOVE waking up early or going to sleep way too late. I don’t LOVE being exhausted or not fitting into my prepregnancy clothes despite weighing the exact same amount I did before I became a mom. (Weight shifted around, I guess?) I don’t LOVE most of what motherhood is right NOW, but I do LOVE my daughter.

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The old me, however fabulous, didn’t have half my responsibilities or even a tenth of the love I have in my life right now.

So, do I miss the old me, sure? But I wouldn’t trade places with her… well, maybe on a Sunday. Boy, do I miss brunch with my BFF.

Until next time,  Live Well & Be BlessedImage.

Chanell Nicole

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