That’s My Breast Friend

Growing up in a traditional Hispanic family there was no shortage of newborn babies. Between all of my aunts, cousins and our church family it seemed like we were welcoming a new little munchkin into the family every quarter. So when I had my first baby, I knew what to do. No it wasn’t that my “motherly instinct,”that we hear so much about kicked in. It was because I had years of practice.

Don’t panic. Your “motherly instinct” will kick in eventually, but for now, all you can do is educate yourself from the experts: Your friends who are already moms! You know, the ones you lost touch with when they were pregnant? Yeah, they noticed but don’t worry they had their hands full raising their bundles of joy and I am sure they will be willing to welcome you in to the fold known as Motherhood.

One of my dearest childhood friend is expecting her first baby! She’s been texting me asking my opinion on certain baby products and advice on breast feeding and it dawned on me that not everyone grew up with a bunch of babies crawling around for on the job training as I did.

So this post is for you, the newbie in Mommy Town. I am here to welcome you with open arms and a glass of wine after your nine month sober stint. Don’t worry you won’t have to pump and dump that liquid gold.  Pumping and dumping does not speed up the elimination of alcohol in your milk supply. As long as you let two hours pass the alcohol will be filtered out of your milk. But if you are like me, you may loose track of time while your having fun drinking.  So just think of it this way: if you are sober enough to drive, you’re probably sober enough to nurse. Some experts say to wait to drink until after your baby is at least three months old. I would have to agree with those experts, newborns have very immature livers at this stage of life. It’s just not worth the risk.

I like to be up on the latest trends, and baby items are no exception. In the short six year gap I had from buying baby gear for my girls to now so much has changed!  Even with constant change in the baby gear industry there are a few items that are timeless.

Take a look at a the starter list I have already curated here: Baby Product Reviews

In that list I talk about breast pumps but I am going to touch on that subject again here because well, there have been new changes in the breast pump world! I have said in the baby product reviews post, I have owned three different breast pumps. Hands down my favorite is the Medela Pump in Style breast pump. However, I kind of wish I would have bought the Medela Freestyle model. I work now and the Medela Pump in Style is too big to fit in my purse (I had bought an oversized Kate Spade tote style purse thinking I could fit the pump, cord, and bottles but the actual pump is just too bulky.)

The freestyle model is much smaller and I hear the motor is quieter.  I said I kind of wish I bought this model because reviews aren’t as great as the Pump in Style model. I would say have your insurance pay for the Pump in Style model, and maybe save up for a smaller one to transport back and forth to work. I know it sounds like a bit much. But when you think about going back to work think about everything you have to carry:

Your babies diaper bag for daycare

Cooler for your pumped milk for daycare (I used to put my cooler in the diaper bag but now that I started cloth diapering it all doesn’t fit)

Your purse

Your breast pump bag

Your lunch box if you brown bag it work

And your babies car seat, with the baby in it.

Visualize this: it’s January, it snowed last night, and it’s freezing outside. You will have to carry all of those things I just listed to your car. That is  five bags and a heavy ass infant car seat. You see why maybe having a smaller pump you can throw in your purse might benefit you?

If you have insurance they should send you a free pump of your choice, and you can pick up a travel breast pump second hand off Craigslist, or apps like offer up for as low as 40 bucks. If you do this I would say you should buy all the accessories new (tubes, bottles, flanges can be bought at Babies R Us or Walmart.)

Medela just came out with a new model called the Sonata  I haven’t seen any reviews for this pump yet because it is new. But it does look smaller than the Pump In Style.

There is another pump that just hit the market called the Naya pump and I wish I would have known about this one sooner. I would have forked over all my money for the Mercedes Benz of breast pumps. It uses water suction to pump your milk. It comes with a super chic breast pump case and if I have another baby I plan on buying this one. 9

It is very expensive ($1,000) but they offer financing through Affirm to break up the price into affordable payments and getting approved for financing is pretty easy. You could order it while you are pregnant and make the payments before baby comes.
It Gently massages your breasts to help you relax and release milk. Their website states that you can say good bye to chafed, cracked, and sore nipples with Naya’s soft silicone flanges (Win!) They have an app that automatically tracks production. And Naya’s water-based system eliminates noise at source, creating a quieter pumping experience (Yaassssss)

And according to their website moms Expressed more: beta users pumped up to 25%+ more milk per session with Naya’s flanges (every drop counts!)

It’s also travel-ready at only three pounds (woohoo!) and it  includes a rechargeable battery!

And to top it all off this Double electric hospital-grade breast pump is proudly made with in the USA!

My friend had asked me ways to prepare for breastfeeding. My answer would be change the lyrics to Rihanna’s Work song from Work, work, work, work, work, work, to Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink drink. No not tequila. Water! If you are going to breast feed go buy yourself a big BPA Free or stainless steel water bottle and get to drinking.

Buy nipple shields and pack them in your hospital bag. Most hospitals have them but each time I gave birth, I would forget that nipple shields were even a thing, and the nurses only offer them to me after my nips look like they just lost a fight to Mike Tyson (Three babies, born in three different hospitals and they all only offered them after my nips were starting to crack.) So it’s best just to have one in your bag, next to your tooth brush so you will remember you have it. (I have packed things in a pocket in my hospital bag that I totally forgot were in there until I got home and unpacked my hospital bag. I’ll make a hospital bag packing list later)

I also packed a MilkMakers Lactation Cookies to jump start my milk. I am not a big producer, in fact my breast do not even leak (I know it sounds perfect but the caveat to that is the fact that I have to work twice as hard to fill a bottle of milk.)

Truth is, even if you have bought everything to prepare for breast feeding, there is still something you need that money can’t buy: Support.

Get yourself a “Breastie”. A Breastie is a fellow preggo who is planning on breast feeding.  You would be surprised how pregnancy bonds women together if they are going through it together. When I was in the military, there were soldiers I did not get along with, but we ended up pregnant at the same time we ended up with a super close bond to this day 8 years later. And when I was pregnant this time around I reached out to a girl I went to high school with on Facebook who was two weeks behind me in her pregnancy. We were cool before being pregnant but we never hung out outside of high school. Now we almost share a sister type of bond. We both discussed how we wanted to REALLY try to give breast feeding a real shot this time (both of us had given up breastfeeding earlier than we intended to the first time we became moms.) When the babies got here we encouraged one another, sent each other pics of the bottles we made (lol I know this sounds crazy but at the time this was someone I could share my excitement with about being able to fill a whole bottle with and I knew she was genuinely happy for me and equally excited because she was going through the same exact thing!)

Second, talk to your partner (Husband, boyfriend, baby daddy, girlfriend, wife or whatever) about your decision to breast feed. Tell him how important it is to you and why. Let him know how much money you guys will save. And most importantly tell them you need them to get through this. That there will be times where you will be ready to quit, and that you need him / her to give you pep talks to keep you going.

There were plenty of times where I was so ready to give up on breastfeeding and just switch to formula and I would have done so had my boyfriend not been there to keep me going. Even today, my baby just turned seven months and I went back to work and my supply has gone so low. I am barely producing enough milk to send my baby to daycare with. My boyfriend texted saying

I went to Babies R Us and bought you those cookies.

He was talking about the MilkMakers cookies, he supports my decision and wants me to keep going so this was his way of showing support.

I didn’t  have a support system the first time around and I feel like in part this is why I didn’t stick with it. But now I already hit my goal of six months and am still going strong.

Share this post and Tag your Breastie if you had one! Or tag a friend saying “Will you be my Breastie?” If none of your friends come to mind when sharing this post, share it anyways and write in the status “Who wants to be my Breasty?” I am sure that one of your friends will step up to the plate and offer you support and get the conversation going about a successful breast feeding journey!

New Year, New You?

Every time the New Year rolls around we are overloaded with Facebook status updates that say things like “New Year, New Me,” “Taking no Ls next year” or my favorite lie “2017 will be MY year.” 

Let’s be real here, turning 2016 into 2017 will not magically transform you into You2.0, nor will it fix the mess that is known as 2016. New Year’s Resolutions are stupid. Yeah, I said it. 

I know as a blogger I am going against the grain by not giving you a list of 20 things to put on your New Year’s Resolution list but the truth is: New Year’s resolutions only add pressure. 2016 has been rough on us all. 130 celebrities died, Brangelina split, America sold its soul to an orange con artist, and worst of all, the killings of unarmed people of color were at an all time high.  We deserve a break. 

How about instead of “New year,  new me” try “New year, same me, different outlook.”

We live in a world where people don’t go out and experience things just to say they’ve done it or for adventure. They go out to take a damn Instagram pic or check-in on Facebook to say “look at me and all the cool shit I do in life. Hah! My life is better than yours.” There is all this pressure to be  the perfect, photo ready, super mom, who has all her shit together. 

But the jig is up ladies: no one has their shit together. That is why we call it the human race. We are all just running around trying to get our shit together!

So in 2017 let’s not add pressure on ourselves to loose weight, find a husband or whatever. Let’s just follow three simple rules that any Mom Jawn can follow:

1. Learn to say “no” to people who expect too much from you and don’t offer anything in return. 

2. Be okay with saying “no” to these people. They will find someone else to suck the life out of. Trust me, you will thank me later. 

3. Cut out anything in your life that is not making you happy. 

Cut off Examples:

Shitty lovers: cut off

People who post things online that annoy, offend, or bring you down: cut off/unfollow 

Friends you have outgrown (people who have been in your life forever, but now bring you down because they are full of negative energy or limit your potential by not being supportive of your ambitions): cut off

Toxic people / relationships: YOU NEED TO CUT IT 

Unnessary spending: cut it

Excuses: cut it.

Saying “I’ll see you next year” at the end of December: cut it, that shit is played out.  

So since 2016 was the year of stupid freaking internet challenges I have a Mom Jawn challenge for you that may actually bring some positive change in your life if done right: 

Instead of writing down your New Year’s Resolutions, write down your Cut Off List of 2017. Post your Cut Off List on twitter and tag me in it @momjawn #MomJawn, or write your Cut Off List on your Facebook status sharing this post. 

Maybe next year I will write a list of resolution ideas for my readers, but this year I want everyone to take the pressure off themselves and just be happy. Happy with themselves, happy with their lives, happy with their parenting, happy in their relationships. Above all I hope you Mom Jawns truly have a HAPPY New year! 

. Military Story Time .

I was in the Military for six years. from time to time I will write blog posts about my experiences.

-SPC Winter Olivia

 

You own everything that ever happened to you.

Tell your stories.

If people wanted you to write warmly about them,

They should have behaved better.

 -Unknown

 

Is this it? This is how I am going to die? In the backseat of a Nissan?  Oh my God, I feel myself fading. What? He just called me a ‘Fucking cunt!’ That can’t be the last words I hear on this earth. ‘Fucking cunt’ out of all the words in the English language, those will be the last ones I hear? Fight Winter…Fight… Murder? Why did I even agree to come out tonight? It’s not like I had a choice, I was sick but he pressured me to go out drinking with his friends… He always does that. No, my life will not end at the hands of my husband.

His brown eyes looked black as he watched the light fade out of mine. What is going to happen to your little girls? Why are they not stopping the car? Why won’t they help me? “Chill bro!” I hear the driver say.  There was a girl in the front passenger side. Say something! Please! Why are they just sitting there? Stop the car please! The female in the front seat stayed silent. Weak bitch!

Fight back, Soldier…you’re not a weak bitch!

              Somewhere buried deep within me a rage arose. I shoved my thumbs into his possessed eyes. He bled and screamed, “How could you do this to me? You fucking bitch!” Bam! I was hit directly in the jaw. I saw stars. My jaw felt like it became unhinged as the side of my face slammed into the car door window. Tinggggggg is the sound I heard. His and the driver’s voices went into a slow-motion muffled sound. I was disoriented, and here came another blow came from this six-foot-two, twice-my-size infantryman. The words started to speed up from slow motion and I could make out the words, “Bro you need to chill, we’re almost at base.” I prayed for a red light but my prayers went unanswered as we neared the highway exit and the street light turned yellow. It’s now or never. You have to get out. I pulled the car door handle. Shit, the door is locked! As the car slowed down I unlocked the door and threw myself out of the moving vehicle and landed on the pavement. I rolled so I wouldn’t get hit by incoming traffic into the grass. I hadn’t noticed while we were driving that there was a thunderstorm going on.  Bloody, bruised, and broken I ran towards the Army base.  

“Ma’am, are you okay?” the military police on guard at the gate asked me. A group of military police started to gather around me. Everyone’s eyes were wide staring in disbelief. I tried to open my mouth and couldn’t. I can’t open my mouth. I need to tell them to stop that car. No words came out of my broken jaw, just gurgling sounds. Blood was spewing out of my mouth, and I didn’t notice that my peripheral vision on the left side was gone. The sounds that came out of me were hoarse, my vocal chords strained from the strangulation. I pointed to the car. In all the commotion, they had not checked the driver for his military ID, and he had to wait at the gate. They looked at the car and told the driver and passengers to exit the vehicle. The backseat passenger was covered in blood, scratches and bloodshot eyes. They immediately cuffed him and put him in the back seat of a squad car. He looked at me, and the damage he had done to my once symmetrical face did not seem to faze him. He looked angry like this was my fault. “Fuck you, bitch. You see what you do? This is your fault.” People were talking to me, but all I could hear were his insults. “Stupid bitch.” He began beating his own face into the back of the partition in the squad car. Slamming it over and over again. With every slam came an insult, bam-fuck you- Bam- ugly bitch- Bam- you’re going to regret this! I just stared in a daze at this man. Who was he? Why did he do this to me? I don’t know this man. Slowly I watched the realization of his actions creep on to his face as he stopped his self-harm.  He began to cry crocodile tears of empty regret. “Tell them to let me go…I’m sorry…I’m sorry… I’m sorry.”

The sound of the ambulance woke me out of my daze. I was whisked away from the crime scene and taken to the hospital. I don’t remember much after that. Pain meds and regret filled me for a while. Why did I agree to go out that night? I should have stayed home that night…  Days fused together and time seemed to run like pond water. I couldn’t cry; I did not have it in me.  I didn’t want to face my children. I was a soldier, supposed to be strong. However, when I looked in the mirror all I saw was a broken woman. Who am I, where did I disappear to? She was strong, I don’t recognize this weak battered woman. Soldiers are supposed to be able to defend themselves against predators. This girl let this predator leave hand print strangle bruise marks on her neck and swell her left eye shut.

 

 

 

“You have to understand your position in this company is very important and has high visibility, we can’t have a soldier who has ‘issues’ running the show downstairs so I think it’s best we move you,” my commander who was only a few years older than myself said. “You mean I am going to lose my position? Sir, I did nothing wrong, this happened to me. It will not happen again,” I pleaded with him. I loved my job. I worked on a base that was strictly for training civilians into soldiers (boot camp). I had my own office working with ‘broke soldiers’- civilians who were injured in training to become soldiers and who are waiting for a medical board to review their medical jacket and determine if they can continue their training. This job gave me the opportunity to mentor young people, and that was the aspect of my job I loved the most. “Sir, you do realize that before I got here this office was a mess, I fixed a lot of the issues within the office, this office runs smoothly now because of all the work I’ve done.”

“I understand that, Olivia, but I need someone that I can count on day in and day out. You taking all that time off left us scrambling.” Taking all that time off? I was on convalescent leave. The doctor put me on convalescent leave so I could heal. I wasn’t on vacation on an island. I was nursing my wounds. “Night IRB volunteered to take you in, so effective immediately you are assigned to them. I need you to go downstairs and pack your things, clean out your desk, email any current work to Carter, and head over to IRB.” Carter is replacing me? She’s an idiot! She’s overweight, she should have been chaptered out of the army years ago! Why am I the one being punished? I didn’t break anyone’s face. Night IRB? Really?

I was assigned to Night IRB, meaning, that I as a single mother of two children under the age of three was put on permanent night shift. The daycare center on base was only open during the day so this meant that I would have to find nighttime child care for my children on a single mom budget.

I had never seen the Night IRB soldiers but I had heard stories. These were the problem children of the battalion, essentially an orphanage for lost boys and I was the first female to be assigned to the unit. The first night I arrived to my shift, I quickly learned that the horror stories were true, this is where they sent Soldiers to die. There were two male soldiers sitting in the windowless, 80s style, fluorescent lit room. Their name tags read Thompson and Bronson. Thompson, a balding blond haired, pale skinned mouth-breather who looked like someone on the sex offender registry spoke to me first. “So you’re Olivia.” Bronson looked up from his work and chuckled to himself. “Nice to meet you Olivia. I’m SPC Bronson.” Bronson was definitely 8 months pregnant, and was sweating through his uniform even though we were in an air-conditioned basement. They both smelled.  This was my punishment for getting beat up. Sadly, this was not even the worst aspect of being in Night IRB. “Well I better show you how to work the machine.” Bronson smiled at me. Dear God, please do not let this fat fuck flirt with me. I will lose my shit. I walked over to the back of the room where giant typewriter-like machines were lined up. Thompson smugly said, “Bet you never had to make a dog tag up at Headquarters, huh?” Dog tags… I am going to be making dog tags? I’ve been in the Army for five years, I’ve worked with heavy brass in the army handling classified information. I’ve been the right-hand woman to a Commander of a Military Police Company, God dammit, I worked at Battalion level, what is this? DOG TAGS? They called me Loophole in Korea because I could find the loophole in any Department of the Army Regulation and make the system work the way I wanted. I was that good. Dog tags…I could cry right now. They sent me here to die, my career is dead. I will be doing mindless work for the rest of my tour here. Smelly Thompson showed me how to punch in the names into the keyboard. With every punch of metal I could feel my brain withering away. You don’t belong here, Winter, you should be out there with the troops like you used to before the attack. It became apparent to me that I was being punished.  People shunned me. I was banished to night shift never to be seen again. I didn’t deserve this. I was the victim. Yet, I was treated like the monster.

A few weeks later I was called in to speak to the Battalion Command Sergeant Major (CSM). I did not know why, but naturally I knew it could have not been for anything good. I knocked on the door and was instructed to enter. I pushed the heavy door and there he was, standing at parade rest, my attempted murderer. I knew that I had to stand there next to the real monster at required position of parade rest in front of the CSM. My heart was pounding, the air was hard to catch, Tinnggggggg, the ringing came back to my ears and I began having flashbacks of that horrific night. I could feel my skin shifting between being cold and red hot at the same time underneath my uniform, my combat boots felt like they were filled with lead. But I was a Soldier, strong, resilient so my face remained stoic, and I took my position next to the animal who had tried to take my life a few weeks earlier.

“Well God damn, Olivia, I read this police report. You really got put through the ringer, I saw the pictures. Once I put that blotter report down all I could say to myself was Goooood damnnn.” He smiled, as if this was water under the bridge and something that we could now all laugh about. I stood there at parade rest, knees locked, stomach in knots, heart pounding with anger. I could feel the blood rush into my face. I hate him. How dare he think this was funny. Then again what did I expect from the CSM that called me into his office months ago to tell me that ‘there are two ways to have a family – a right way, and your way.’ He was a misogynist and had the rank to be arrogant about it. “What on earth did you do, Olivia, to make him so mad?” IS HE BEING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? WHAT DID I DO TO MAKE HIM SO MAD?  I froze, my mind was screaming obscenities, and I wanted to cry because I was so furious but I had no words. I knew that if I opened my mouth my thoughts would come flying like daggers out across his overpriced mahogany desk, and I would be in even more trouble. In the Army you cannot speak your mind to someone who outranks you. Everything you do can be perceived as disrespect. Perception is reality here. Disrespect can make you lose rank, money, and time. “Well come on now, what do you have to say for yourself, Olivia?” I specifically remember him saying to me. I desperately tried to gain my composure and decided what to say internally that would not land me in the hot seat. “I don’t know, SGT Major” were the only words that I could put out.

I was waiting for the CSM to begin to interrogate the criminal standing beside me. I wanted him to tear him down, like I have been demeaned for the last few weeks since the attack. I was ready to hear justice be served to this monster. “Alright, SGT, as for you, I feel like you’ve been punished enough, having to sit in jail. Going to court and all. To take your rank or anything like that  at this point would just be overkill. I want you two to go to marriage counseling. There is a retreat this weekend for couples in the battalion, you know for morale and such. I want you to be on that bus and go to the retreat and regroup, tighten up your shot group and come back to work on Monday and we will put this whole incident behind us.” His words felt like they were being tattooed on my skin, I was enraged; how dare he?

My husband, the monster, kept his rank, got to keep his job, had heavy brass show up with him at civilian court and was granted Pre-Trial Intervention. He worked the system that was specifically designed for him. But that’s what happens when the system slogan is Boys Will Be Boys.

. A Note from Winter .

Hey Mom Jawns! 

I have been neglecting my writing. I am sorry that I have been unable to post in the last week and a half. It was the end of my fall semester and I was terribly busy. Studying for finals, writing ten page papers, my six year old came home with head lice (😨😱,) and I also returned to work this week for the first time since the baby was born. 

I was busy. I was tired. I was pissed (about the lice.) Truth be told: I felt like I was ready to give up on life, so the blog fell by the wayside. Now that the semester is over (yayyyy!) and my body has adjusted to waking up at 5 AM to get three kids to three different schools in the morning. Let’s get back on track! 

After realizing that it was not the greatest idea to return to school so soon after having a new baby. I knew I had too much on my plate. I decided to reach out to one of my professors and plead my case. She offered me an alternative class that she created for me called Writing / Editing and told me to start a blog. If you are reading this Professor C., thank you again! 

Starting a blog was something I ALWAYS wanted to do, but I was unsure how to start or what to write about. So having this class actually gave me the motivation to put myself out there. Now that the class is over, I plan to continue with the blog and keep writing. I am going to share my life experiences, my advice, the stuff I care about, the stuff that makes me angry, basically whatever the hell Winter Olivia wants to talk about. I am really not concerned if my blog ends up being read by the masses. I am tired of being talked over and not getting credit for my ideas so this is where my voice will be heard. This is where my views on the world will be unapologetically shared. So I hope you stay for a while, comment, share, tweet and read…. and discover your inner Mom Jawn!

Up-Coming post: Elf on the Shelf ideas! 

Military Story Time 

And a funny tale about online dating! 

Black Friday Deals 2016

Last night I went to Target with my boyfriend and little ones to buy a Black Friday special TV (We got a 50 inch for $250!) While we were there I wanted to go look at the Dyson vacuums that were also on sale. As we were walking through the crowded store we found ourselves behind an obnoxious group of adults who were playing soccer in the aisle and holding up foot-traffic with their game. I kept my thoughts to myself and I tried to walk through the aisle around them. My thoughts must have crept onto my face because the overweight woman in the group yelled “Wow people are so cranky this time of night” (it was only 8:45 :/ ) Again, I keep quiet and kept walking. She proceeds to provoke me once more by saying “Watch out! Cranky Pants coming through!” I turn around and say “You know what you are doing is really immature. People are trying to walk and you are holding up the aisle with this game.” I walked away, both of my daughters holding my hands and boyfriend behind the group with the baby. The woman’s face looked embarrassed and I thought that was the end of our encounter. Until I hear, “I bet she voted for Hillary!” and the group all laughed. She might as well had said “This is OUR American now Senorita!”, because that is what her jab sounded like in my head. I told her who I voted for has nothing to do with the fact that she and her friends are acting like assholes and called her a racist. (I don’t know if she really is a racist, but at the time that’s what came out of my mouth.) The group ALL looked embarrassed and quickly left the area. I was really upset. I was upset with what they said to me and I was even more upset that my children were there to witness me lose my cool. I go Black Friday shopping every year and always enjoy going. But this year, I am not feeling it. So I curated a list for you guys if you want to avoid the crowd and shop online! Happy Shopping Mom Jawn has some deals for you on Black Friday 2016:

For Baby:

 

sh_albt-6361-srgb_large

Dockatot

Use my exclusive code: MomJawnCode for $10 off!

Dock-a-tot is expensive, but the internet is raving about them so I just ordered mine. You can even finance your dock with their affirm financing program.

 

 

12

MilkSnob

I love my Milk Snob cover! This is a must have in my opinion if you are planning on breastfeeding. Use code: EarlyBird16 for 25% off your purchase.MilkSnob

 

 

10054012

Ergobaby

With my first two kids I was unable to get an Ergobaby carrier because it was too expensive. This time around, a professor at my university gave me one in a box of hand-me-downs! I was thrilled! I absolutely love this thing. I use it when I’m at home and the baby gets fussy. I strap him in and go about my day cleaning or doing schoolwork.

Right now they are offering 30% off their Newborn Baby Bundle through 1/2/2017 Ergobaby

 

beaba-babycook-pro

Beaba

I got one of these off craigslist, however it was very hard to find secondhand. I looked for months and had to travel an hour to pick it up. This babycook is great if you want to know exactly what your little one is consuming. Right now if you use this code: VIP30 you can snag one for 30% off! Beaba

 

infant_seats_accessories_banner-c64527c0b39b56ebed1b75bce20182ef

4moms

4moms is expensive, but justifiably so. I have the RockaRoo swing and the Breeze playpen and I Love Love Love them! They are offering 20% off all gear with the code NOV16 and 50% off of the Bounceroo. 4moms

 

ptru1-23575477_alternate1_dt

Britax

If you have been reading my blog posts, you already know how strongly I feel about having a high safety rated car seat. My tried and tested favorite for all three of my children is Britax. Right now they are offering 35% off car seats and strollers through Amazon.

For you:

Banana Republic

Banana Republic is having their annual Black Friday 50% off sale. Use the code BRFIVE and get 50% off five regularly priced items! Sale ends 11/28.

 

Herbivore Botanicals

25% off with my exclusive code for new customers: MomJawnCode

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Effect: Trickle Down Racism

The day of the election I made it a point to grab my three children, dress them up, and take them to the polls. I wanted show them the importance of exercising their right to vote. As a woman I take my rights to vote seriously. I was so proud to take my little girls into the voting booth and have them press the button to vote for the first time ever in history for a female presidential candidate! In my heart I believed that America was ready for a Madam President and that Donald Trump was purposely put in the running as an alternative by the powers at be to give Americans no other choice other then to vote for a woman. During this long and ridiculous race to the White House I truly believed that there was no way an outright racist, sexist bigot, sexual predator would ever be entrusted with America’s secrets and be allowed to run this already great country. I believed that the good guy (good girl in this case) would always end up with the win.

A little back story: when I was pregnant with my first child I was stationed in a foreign country while serving in the Army. My daughter was not born in the United States. My children are aware of the fact that she was born overseas and it was never an issue to them until the morning after election night. I stayed up all night watching the results of the election in shock. I woke my girls up and told them to get ready for school. The first thing out of my youngest daughter’s mouth was “Is Hillary the president? Did she win?” I had to tell her the truth, “No baby she didn’t.”

I was woefully unprepared for her response. Her six year old face changed from excited to sorrow. She began hysterically crying. I tried to hug her, and asked “Baby why are you crying?”

She looked up to me with her big dark brown eyes and said “I don’t want my sister to be sent back!” and began to wail with tears.

I sat there in shock. I had never discussed Trump’s policies on immigration with my children, nor do I have cable TV  in my household. I thought my children were sheltered from Trump’s hurtful rhetoric. I was unaware that my children’s peers at school, were watching, paying attention, and talking about it at school.

I hugged my daughter again and told her that her sister was not going anywhere, that she was a citizen and had every right to stay in this country and not to ever worry about her sister leaving her side. It took a lot of convincing but she finally believed me and started to get ready to go to school.

This left me thinking. If my children, who I thought were blissfully unaware of the great divide plaguing this country were worried about the future of the United States. Then what were other kids around America thinking?

Later that day my twitter feed was full of tweets expressing horror of the all too common occurrences of hate crimes sparked by Trump’s triumph. It seemed like the world had lost it’s shit. Closeted racists let their confederate flags fly free and the hatred trickled down into our education system. So began the hate spiral of 2016.

Children, were now chanting- “Build that wall! Build that wall!” in their cafeterias. Bullying has become out of control since Election day. The Southern Poverty Law center has collected more than enough data of election related attacks nationwide and it shows that “more than 1/3 of the incidents tracked by the SPLC took place in k-12 schools.”

 

hqdefault

Royal Oak Middle School

 

As a mother I am alarmed. As a Latina, I am concerned for my fellow minorities. As a Veteran I am disappointed. As the matriarch of a bi-racial blended family I am outraged. As a woman I am furious that a man who once said “Just grab her by the pussy” is going to be in charge of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. As a decent human being I am truly saddened that this country would entrust the future of the Land of the Free to an outright racist, bigot pig.

I try to teach my children to be good people, but with Trump winning the election by basically bullying his way into the White House, who knows what the kids will take from it.

maxresdefault

I urge you, regardless of who you voted for. Please talk to your children about the dangers of their words. Teach them to have compassion for one another. While the Royal Oak Middle schoolers were chanting build that wall, some of their Hispanic classmates who have undocumented parents were crying because they are in true fear of their parents being taken from them. Tell them that years from now when they decide to get jobs, these images of hatred will be lurking somewhere on the internet for potential employers to see.

Please share your children’s reactions the morning after the election in the comment section!

.Secret Santa Helper.

This year I got voluntold to be part of a Secret Santa. The only restriction that was placed on the  Secret Santa gift exchange was that the gift be about ten dollars. I scoured Pinterest for ideas, and every Secret Santa guide I came across was outdated. Every gift on the suggested lists would either be sold out or the web link would not exist. So here is a list of gifts you can buy off Etsy.com for your Secret Santa exchange:

$10 and under:

BB No.1 Blissful Mind Organic Bath Tea- Single $5.77

il_570xn-1081918540_4lfe

From BoticaBliss

Handmade Luxury Coconut Milk Soap $4.50

il_570xn-680729728_iudo

From The Glitter Farm Soap Co

For these gifts you could buy two, wrap them in brown paper, and tie with twine for your friend who needs some me time.

Tiny Hexagon necklace $8.50

il_570xn-1026440999_oa1s

bySiukwan

Tiny jewelry is trending and looks so chic. Get this one for a friend who is a minimalist. This Etsy shop has a lot of beautiful pieces of jewelry for sale at very affordable prices.

Personalized Notebook $10

il_570xn-1102274305_ha3s

PleaseandThanksCards

People are attached to their own names, so getting a notebook like this one from Please and Thanks Cards is sure to be an instant hit for the writer friend in your life.

$20 and under:

Personalized Wine Glass $10.00 + Wine Me Socks $10.00

 

Who wouldn’t want a pair of these? You might as well get yourself a pair of these comfy socks as well!

Nasty Woman Mug $16.95

il_570xn-1113681623_emeu

BootsTees

Perfect for your favorite feminist colleague.

Personalized initial bracelet $20.39

il_570xn-1077714955_b8m8

LaLaCrystal

 These bangles are adorable. Rose gold is really in now.

$30 and under:

Soy Candle $21

 

il_570xn-544844472_bt1h

Bad Ass Candles

If you have a friend with a Chelsea Handler-ish type of sense of humor, she will love this! (I would want one of these haha.)

 

 

4 organic herb indoor gardening gift set $25.50

 

il_570xn-1059893645_8z9n

The Gifted Tomato

If you have a friend who is hands on and into the whole grow-your-own-food movement, this is the gift for her.

 

Succulent Christmas Box $28.95

il_570xN.1124311217_fl0a.jpg

SucculentTreasures

Perfect for your nature-loving friend! The winter is dull. This gift is sure to bring life and color to anyone you know experiencing the Winter Blues.

.Turkey Day.

Thanksgiving Day  

Thanksgiving, is my favorite holiday. In 2009, it was my second year in the Army and I remembered how it felt to be away from my family for the holidays and I knew first hand it was really depressing to spend Thanksgiving in the barracks. I hosted Thanksgiving dinner in my apartment and invited all the junior soldiers who lived in the barracks over to my apartment. That year I had my Thanksgiving dinner catered. The next year I decided to try and cook by myself. Each year has presented new difficulties but this year I feel like I have everything down pat.

Here is a list of my go to recipes:

The Turkey:                                                                                                                                     I found this guide to be very useful when picking out my turkey:1445705929592

Two years ago, I started smoking my turkey. The turkey comes out SO juicy and crisp on the outside.  

I start out by thawing my turkey in the fridge five days prior to Thanksgiving. Then the night before Thanksgiving I brine the turkey. Each year I clean out my fridge to make room for a 5-gallon The Home Depot bucket.

fa44ab91-78eb-4e86-8928-995abe6aa993_1000

 

You can get one for $2.97.

Then I pour in the spices:

Garlic Powder

Onion powder

brown sugar

sliced lemons

Parsley

Thyme

Pepper corns

Adobo

Salt

Rosemary sprigs

Mix all items in bucket. Then add some boiled water and let it cool. The first year I brined the turkey I only had a small pot to boil water so I just added the boiling water in the bucket, but generally you boil the water with the spices in the water for five minutes. Honestly, I was unable to taste the difference. Add defrosted turkey and fill the rest of the bucket up. When I was single I would put the bucket into the fridge prior to filling it up because it was too heavy for me to lift, but now I just make my boyfriend do it!

Let the turkey brine for at least 12 hours and then rinse the brine off the turkey when you are ready to put it in the smoker.

Prior to putting the turkey in the smoker, mix together the same spices and rub the turkey down with the mixture. I cut up lemons and place them inside of the turkey and onions. 

 

I buy flavored wood chips from The Home Depot as well. First soak them in water and make an aluminum foil container for them and poke holes into the make shift container.

I place this at the bottom of the smoker and put water into the drip pan bowl. Also, place the charcoal into the smoker.  Then place the turkey into the smoker and let it smoke for a few hours.

  You can buy a smoker here http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cuisinart-Vertical-18-in-Dia-Charcoal-Smoker-COS-118/300721566

My boyfriend loves baked mac and cheese. I use Pattie Labelle’s mac and cheese recipe. http://www.food.com/recipe/patti-labelles-macaroni-and-cheese-17186 Every year this mac and cheese is a hit. (He told me it was better than his aunt’s baked mac and cheese so that says something!)

 

Another family favorite is Ensalada de Papa (Potato salad) that my grandmother taught me how to make:

 Russet Potatoes, mashed                                                                 

Apples, sliced or cubed

Yellow onion, chopped

Mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Roasted red peppers, sliced

Boiled eggs, sliced

 

Last year I made cranberry sauce myself for the first time and was not happy with the results. I think I put too much orange zest in it. I followed the recipe to the tee, but it tasted too tangy. This year I will either tweak the recipe I used or go back to canned cranberry. 

I am also going to try a new stuffing recipe I got from Kourtney Kardashian app

Corn bread stuffing:

Vegan butter

Spanish onion

1 celery stock, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

¾ cup water

6 cups cubed into 1 inch pieces

1/3 cup fresh sage leaves

2 large eggs beaten 

 

Sweet potato soufflé:

Everyone’s favorite at my house.

You will need:

3 Cups of mashed yams: I peel them then boil them. You will know they are ready when the yams begin to float. 

3/4 cups of sugar

1/3 cup of softened butter

2 eggs

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of milk (we use Lactaid milk you can not tell the difference)

Mash the yams and add the rest of the ingredients. I add the eggs last so I can taste it to make sure its sweet enough. Bake it for 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.

 

This year I am also trying something new: gluten-free pumpkin pie. I never made pumpkin pie before because I felt like making all the Thanksgiving fixings AND dessert was just too much for me to do on my own.

My daughter is allergic to dairy so I will also be making coconut whipped cream. While researching a recipe to try out I stumbled across this website called Petite Allergy Treats. And I am thrilled that I did because my daughter is pretty much allergic to everything. Here is the link: http://petiteallergytreats.com/ Check it out! 

I also make a pasta salad because I feel like it’s something people can munch on while they wait for the food to be ready.

Pasta Salad:

Its super easy to make. Boil the pasta, drain it, put it in a bowl. Add sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mini pepperoni, chopped onion, and dressing. Then mix. This is something that is best to make this the night before and place in the fridge.

Tri-color pasta

Red onion, chopped

Cucumber, sliced

Cherry Tomatoes, halved or whole

Hormel mini pepperoni

Ken’s Light Ceasar salad dressing

Shredded cheddar cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.Trump Card.

During this long election, my thoughts were always on the optimistic side: I believed that the country I fought for, that the six years I spent away from my family defending freedom mattered. That the daily misogyny I experienced in the military was isolated only to the military. Last night I found out that I was so wrong. Donald Trump’s victory has taught me one thing: that being a racist, sexual predator is more acceptable than being a woman in this country. Those of you who failed to vote, let this day be a lesson. For those of you who pissed away you’re vote on a third party, I hope your happy. Lastly, to the poor white Americans who voted for Trump, you have been conned.

I see these numbers below and can only think, what were you thinking, White Women?

img_0327590

And then I saw a tweet from @thecapitalv that said “What a privilege it must be to be able to look past a presidential candidate’s racism because it won’t affect you.” And understood.

img_0328589

.I’m with Her, she’s with Him.

Mpolly best friend voted for Donald Trump. Now for the first time in our twenty year old friendship, I am questioning why we are still friends. She and I have a mutual friend named Ashley*, who is white and is married to a black man. I called my best friend one day after seeing an outrageous post, supporting Donald Trump and condemning abortion from Ashley. It is ironic because I remember Ashley* telling me on a drunken night ten years ago that she had had an abortion while away at school.

I said to my best friend “Did you see Ashley’s* post?”

My best friend giggled and said “No, but I know it’s some dumb shit.” (We both find our mutual friend annoying but we have all known each other for a long time so we tolerate each other.)

“She is voting for Trump. Like, seriously, I bet her husband is pissed!” I told her.

There was a long, uncomfortable pause… “Hello?” there must have been a bad phone connection I thought because I expected her to immediately start throwing shade with me.

“Well…” She hesitated. I interrupted her and said “What you are going to vote for Trump now?” half jokingly. Over the summer she was with her while we chatted about the crazy election.

“I mean, yeah, I think I’m going to vote for trump.” She said.

I was shocked, my best friend, my homie, my ride or die, the girl whose family questions our friendship sometimes for an actual relationship was standing with a man who stands for everything I am against. How could this be?

I asked her to explain why. I was baffled, I couldn’t understand how someone who had exercised her right to be pro-choice wanted to vote for someone who said she should be punished for her decision to choose.

She started spouting out facts about Hillary and what Trump is promising. I know my best friend. In and out. I knew in the pit of my stomach that she did not come up with these conclusions on her own. I let her express her opinion and I expressed mine. We were at a stale-mate. Right before we hung up  I quickly asked “Hey, who is your new boo voting for?”

There was another long pause. She knows me in and out as well. She know what I was getting at.

“Uh, I think he’s voting for Trump.” :/