Tag Archives: Chanell Nicole

Random Blog: Post-Holiday Haze

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Happy Holidays! I had such an awesome time celebrating my baby’s first Christmas. I wanted to recreate the sandman in the picture above but we did so much running around that time did not allow it. Maybe if this Florida weather cooperates (and I have enough energy) I’ll go to the beach to make one before the year is out. Thank God for sunny Christmas days!

I’ve heard a time or two or three that your purpose is what wakes you up in the morning. For the past 11 months or so, I’ve been awakened at some point of the night or morning by the darling whispers (read: belting cries) of my baby girl. So, I guess my purpose as of late is being a mother and I am content with that. Sure, it’s one of my many slashes (wife/mother/student/…) but it has become the role that requires the most from me. 

Last night/ this morning I was awakened by something different: Anxious thoughts of the next few weeks. I’ll return to work, start classes again, host BK’s first birthday party, make newer, better, more perfect mistakes, and be better overall. That got me to thinking about my priorities. Rewind close to three years ago and I thought I wanted to be a lifestyle maven who attended great parties, wore fabulous vintage clothes, traipsing around town in high heels that cause no pain and my fro in the wind. Fast forward to today: my day-to-day is nothing like I’d imagined. I’m okay with that.  Life has shown me more perfectly what I need. While I’m always searching for a more balanced approach, I no longer want to pressure myself to be on any scene. Maybe this will change. One day. 

Based on this morning’s thoughts I want to be a little more under the radar and do more than I say. I guess as a resolution of sorts, I plan on living. Not spending an insane amount of time trying to pose for the perfect picture. This will require me to detach from social media a bit (aaaah!) and just live my life out loud no matter who likes it or not. I will live with intention and purpose and just be. 

I want to live like my BK: she’s not afraid of making mistakes, she’s fearless, she’s adventurous and she speaks her mind (as best she can at this point). She smiles and laughs and growls and is just fine with being herself. She’s pretty awesome and I get to be her mom!

With the holidays ending I’m looking at the upcoming year with promise. A year flies so quickly and we are often pressured into creating change quickly for other people. On a personal note, I had a baby almost a year ago. sure, I lost some baby weight but gained it all back (sure, this is a struggle for me but I’m human enough to share it). I realized that I had a household to run, a baby to raise, classes to take and a few jobs to do. Not making any excuses… like, none at all. I also, didn’t set any goals (this will change). So, there was nothing to look forward to. Enough about me,  I dare you to set reasonable goals but challenge yourself in every area of your life. Do something that scares you and just live. I have to do better and I hope you will, too. 

Be. Do. Live. 

 

Be Blessed and Live Well. 

 

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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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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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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From the Desk of Chanell Nicole, Exhausted Mom/Vacant Teacher

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Are You there, God? It’s me, Chanell. Right now, if I wasn’t typing these words, I would probably fall face down on my desk and succumb to the tiredness that is my life. I am beyond tired and I just gave a busy work assignment to a group of 6th graders who need to be given step-by-step instructions on how to live their lives.

This is my "do your work" face.

This is my “do your work” face.


Did I mention how tired I am? Jeesh! When people (with kids and a sick sense of humor) told me to get my rest while I was pregnant, I took that lightly. While you can’t possibly sleep enough, I think I took those words to mean during the first few weeks of the baby’s life I would need extra rest. I had no idea they were referring to the REST OF MY LIFE!
When I close my eyes, my snoring immediately wakes me up, which means I should probably refrain from blinking while at school. Is this real life? Like, really? Is it?
On the phone with my sister trying to stay awake

On the phone with my sister trying to stay awake


Sleep-deprived is my first, middle, last, maiden, and married name right now.I am in dire need of a vacation, well, not even a vacation, but a nap would be nice.

While I have slept over four hours in a row since giving birth, a few more hours added to that would be GLORIOUS! Who am I?
I’m talking about a nap like it’s a slice of carrot cake cheesecake (mmm, that sounds good right about now).
With close to two hours to go until school’s out, I’m thinking of a way to “go home early”. Aaaahhh! I’m soooo tired.

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So tired that I’m letting my class talk right now. So tired that I’m overlooking the group of students that are blatantly cheating (I’ll get them later).
So tired that I’m wearing flats (for the rest of my life).
So tired that the thought of wearing heels exhausts me…
So tired that I want extra energy for my birthday, Christmas, and every day of Kwanzaa…
So tired that my next class will have a “free day” and do a computer-based assignment.

You get the point.
I’m a new mom who wakes up way too early to get everything done and is still just “on time” (not early) to work.
I have to come up with a way, a system, a method of expending less energy or using the energy I have more wisely.

Any suggestions?
Until then, I’ll be napping with my eyes open…..

Live Well & Be Blessed

Chanell Nicole

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Getting the Hang of Things

I’m slowly adjusting to my ever-changing role of wife/mom/teacher/friend/blogger/whatever else I am these days.

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This week I have been blessed with so much more than I could ask for.

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I returned to my old school and it’s been a seamless transition. Kids are still kids and I appreciate the time spent teaching and learning from them. It makes me miss the baby and cherish our time at home even more. I thought I would have severe separation anxiety but I’ve been fine so far.

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However slowly, I’m finally getting the hang of things. I feel more competent each day. Even when nothing goes according to plan (see picture above, it’s so hard getting her dressed sometimes), I can always get a smile out of the situation.

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I can’t believe she’s two months already! Time is flying by and before I know it she will be walking and talking.

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At her two month check up all went well. She is gaining weight and growing like a baby should. I’m so proud of her. She’s so observant and gives me smiles when she feels like it.

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Yesterday, while talking to a friend, I was encouraged. She had made extensive plans this weekend and not everything panned out in her.favor. Did she cry?  A little. Did she wallow in pity and doubt God? No, she counted her blessings. Given the extent of the situation, I may have reacted differently, but she offered me another option.

All in all, things could be worse so I count my blessings daily.

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How many blessings did you count so far today?

Until next time Live Well and Be Blessed.

Chanell Nicole

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Random Blog #2

So, I’ve been a parent for close to 8 weeks now. What a rollercoaster ride it has been. There’s so much to learn, absorb, and apply. I learn a new lesson or two or three every single day. Just last night, while preparing the family to go to evening service for the first time since having the baby, we got a little scare. The baby was inconsolable and would not eat. She just cried, squirmed, and screamed some more.

As new parents, we were puzzled. None of the tried and true techniques worked. My mother in law even tried applying her personal touch but that didn’t work either. After two hours of tears, jerks, and attempted feedings, we decided to go to the E.R.

 

Upon arrival to the E.R., I had to write down her symptoms: woke up screaming, inconsolable, puts hand to mouth, turning head side to side, won’t take breast, temperature. My mother in law had thought she may have had an ear infection and to be sure, we wanted to let the professionals have the final say.

The Patient Care Assistant called us in and began taking her vitals. Daddy had left her pacifier (yay, she’s taking a pacifier now!) in the car, so she began screaming. “Would you like a pacifier for her?” the PCA asked.

“Sure, but that wasn’t working for us earlier,” I replied.

In an instant, Baby BK calmed down.

Her temperature  and blood pressure were fine but we still had to take her to a room to be examined by the doctor. The nurse dressed her in the cutest little hospital gown and  picked her up. Baby BK began cooing and laughing upon examination. “There’s nothing wrong here. She’s just growing,” the nurse said. “But I’m not the doctor so stay  put, he’ll examine her further.

She left and Baby BK laughed and wiggled while we waited for the doctor to arrive.

“I think she just wanted to take a trip to this hospital,” I joked with The Husband.

In the end, we were given a prognosis of Classic First Time Parents. There was nothing wrong with the baby. She just wanted to be in a new environment, I suppose. My motherly instincts were in overdrive and I would rather be safe than sorry.

In hindsight, it was kinda funny; but seeing your baby suffer to no end is the worst feeling. I am so grateful nothing was wrong but I’m sure she enjoyed her first trip to the E.R.

 

Until next time, Be Blessed and Live Well.

 

Chanell Nicole♥

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