Back to school Blues?

On the side Mom to Mom convos:

I was having a conversation with a fellow Mom at work-we were discussing back to school attire. Uniforms vs. Non-Uniforms. And we both definitely agreed on Uniforms/Dress codes. While she is already experienced in this area. This will be my first year where there will be a dress code in place. Well, at least for one of my kids. My youngest two however, have no dress code-which well…sucks! When I tell you I crossed my fingers in hopes for a dress code for my elementary duo- I ain’t lying. Why do I have the blues? Why am I going so hard for this Khaki/Polo situation?

Let’s get into it:

How many times do you wash clothes a week? With amounts of spaghetti stains, paint stains, and some stains that are questionable-you know the “what is that?” face. Yea, that. I wash at least twice a week-maybe three-depending on how bad it is. (I could be over-doing it or slightly OCD) Just trying to keep up with life…Which means when its time to head out for the weekend their clothes look like last years clothes.  Looks like they have been walking on their knees (as my co-worker homie would say) their long sleeve shirts turn into quarter length, and jeans turn into calf huggers- but seriously when it’s time to go out as a family…Let’s just say we don’t look good as a unit. Last year , I found myself putting away a few shirts and jeans that classified as ” Weekend attire” yes, it got that bad. These particular items of clothing I would avoid putting out for school-just so they could have a decent fit for the weekend. Simply because I refuse to buy school clothes and weekeend clothes. No, that’s not happening in this house. It’s called mix’n match and rotate…lol!

I mean don’t get me wrong -obviously you would wash the crap out of the uniforms because they would acquire the same stains -but they (here comes that word I love) “ROTATE” and they are uniforms forms for crying out load- only to be worn at school. Think about it-you spend all your hard earned money on clothes just for them to go through the fire at school. That just doesn’t make any sense. I seriously wish ALL schools required a dress code. Okay,  okay, with an exception of picture day and dress down days if it means that much.

Think positive?:

So , my tweenager has a dress code this year-which by now , ya’ll know I am here for it. However, he despises the khaki and polo get up. I explained to him that it wasn’t that bad- It’s a basic polo shirt and khakis (with a choice of colors to rotate in between) Easy..well since he is stuck with a dress code -he had the bright idea to “THINK POSITIVE”and inform me that more sneakers should be an option to also “ROTATE” clever? I think we can work that out (with a huge annoying sigh) I just can’t WIN. Now, I’m back to my old tricks-stashing clothes for the weekend for the younger two-and breaking the bank for the middle schooler’s sneaker fetish.

 

Do your kids go to a uniform based school? If not, what do you do to keep their clothes weekend ready? Are you stashing clothes? Tell me your secret below↓

 

Thanks for reading ♥

Posted by: Ivy B.

Big Chop #2

7/14/07 -Marks the day of my 2nd BIG CHOP.  It’s been close to three years since I joined the natural hair community. I’ve learned so much- what my hair likes, what it doesn’t like-styles I will re -visit, and styles I wouldn’t dare do again.

What I will do differently: I will no longer be co-washing my hair. I have put a stop to this for sometime now- this technique does absolutely nothing for my hair- My hair is not completely cleansed and I still have a good amount of build up on my hair-my hair feels almost waxy. I’m not a fan of that at all. So, I have gladly added shampooing back in my wash day routine. I figured- how is your hair suppose to grow when your scalp is not completely cleansed ?

What my hair likes: My hair likes to be shampooed lol! My hair likes gels with a firm hold, butter cream products-I cannot use stylers that are light weight-like that lotion consistency. I can’t achieve not one thing with runny products. I have to use what’s going to hold my hair in place and super moisturizing. I also, can’t use too many products at once in my hair-I need at least a leave in, butter cream and gel-I can’t be doing all this extra-ness- my hair NO likey!

Less Manipulation: Protective styles have been my friend since I have been in the in between stages of trying to grow out my damaged hair- Now that this is my second big chop- I have gotten use to all the different styles I can do to my hair-Now, I can calm down and give my hair the breaks it needs to grow and flourish. I have noticed such a big difference when I tuck my hair away. Of course, continuing to give my hair a good wash day in between with a great deep condition session.

The difference in BC1 and BC2: BC1 I did it myself- I transitioned for seven months, and my roots were not acclimated to their natural curly state-My roots were wavy , but not completely in the curly state- so that took some getting use to-it was like my hair was hesitating to curl up-until it started to grow a little more-which didn’t take long at all. I also missed a few spots. I didn’t cut all that needed to be cut because I was scared. I just hid the crazy looking parts! BC2- Was done by a pro hair stylist, and since I have been natural going on three years-my hair new what to do-It was use to it’s curly state and it acted as such. Would I take matters into my own hands and BC my own hair-Nope! Not after having it professional done. My hair was cut precisely and even. Just what I needed to get my hair to grow back out even and healthy.

Do I regret the BC for a 2nd time: Hell No! May hair needed it. I would rather have healthy short hair, than long damaged hair any day. This time round getting my hair cut wasn’t so shocking considering I have been around the bin once before. It was more relieving because I knew I was making the best move for my hair-and I am so excited about this healthy natural hair journey. Learning the do’s and don’ts the hard way definitely paid off . Now that I know better- I will only do what is best for my hair.

 

Thanks for reading ♥

(second time around Naturalista)

Posted By: Ivy B.

Get ya Sexy on

Damn, I am 32 years old. I totally didn’t mean to start this post off this way. It was the first thing that came to mind lol!

Signed-my split personality- (ignore her) Let’s get into it…

 

Sexy in my own right:

I think there is a misconception of what sexy should be. After you become a Wife and Mother your focus is a little different.  I am realizing my sexy is getting dressed for a date night or a girls night out.  I feel sexy when I am at dinner with my husband, and I get to wear that lipstick I bought 3 months ago for the first time. I feel sexy when I am out with a home-girl, and my hair is laid and my jeans are fitting right. I feel sexy when I’m laughing and swapping Mommy moment stories with my girls, or having those deep conversations about the expectations on life. That’s when I feel my sexiest- Let’s REWIND a little (before I realized this.)..Funny thing is just a week ago my husband asked me  “When is the last time you felt sexy?” And I couldn’t answer him. I remember thinking  “Why don’t I have an answer?” It wasn’t that I didn’t have an answer- I just wasn’t sure if it was the right answer? The word SEXY can be intimidating. Your mind reverts to things that are “sexy” Like: lingerie, heels, and so on. Depending on what sexy is to you. I thought about it some more-and what my husband was really asking me was ” When was the last time you have felt your best?” I was looking way to deep into it (which I always do) I remember automatically thinking well I haven’t worn lingerie in a while, I have had so much anxiety with our new move around the corner, and with the kids getting out of school, and summer approaching with no plans for summer camps.  ” I don’t have time to feel sexy” But I am absolutely wrong.  Just because I’m not walking around in nighties and fury high-heels – doesn’t put a cap on my sexy. I am me! And that’s sexy.

 

Age ain’t nothing but a number:

As I get older I am always questioning if what I am doing is appropriate.  I could pick up a top that’s cut for cleavage, and clearly put it back-because I’m in my 30’s- like what does that have to do with my choice in a top? I guess I am cautious on how I dress because I am a wife and a mother-and I don’t want to give off the wrong impression. Now, this definitely doesn’t mean I have to dress in skirts that touch my ankles and turtle necks, but there is a line- and there is a sense of being comfortable. It’s not my age that matters it’s my position in my life, and my responsibility I carry. And honestly I am much happier in a T-shirt. I have always been this way-I literally have to force myself to put real clothes on most of the time. Sexy shouldn’t be measured by what you’re wearing, but by how you are feeling. You could be dressed to the max, but feel like crap on the inside. Sorry, not sorry- I don’t want to to feel like that.  To be completely content with who you are is sexy. My answer to my husband should have been.. Now! I feel sexy right here and now sitting next to you in the passenger side of this car. Your age does not define who you are- be youthful , and be FREE- 30’s is not old by far-but time is flying and you can’t help but look back in retrospect, and try and figure out where the hell did the last ten years go.

 

The best I have ever felt:

I can honestly say in the past 5 years I have grown in knowing who I am. I have become so much more confidant in my own radiance. True story- I hated taking pictures as a child. When my Mom would come and try and take a picture of me- I would throw my hands up in front of my face. For so long I was shy Ivy…. but now I am snapping selfies left and right- It sounds vain, but I have grown to love myself and who I am.  I have grown so much mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And I am loving who I have become as  a Woman. At this time in my life I am feeling the best I have felt about myself in a long time. Now, are there days I feel like blah? Sure. That’s natural -we are human beings. But at the end of the day when I look at my 32 year old self in the mirror… I am happy and sexy.  Be you and get ya sexy on!

 

When do you feel your best? Comment below ↓

Thank you for reading♥

 

Posted by: Ivy B.

 

 

 

How to balance Mom Life and Work Life

This is not a Stayathome Mom update: I can no longer claim the title of a SAHM. Well, not full time anyway. I started back working part time January (So, I’m 4 months in)- I’m home in time enough to get the kids off the bus-with an hour or so to spare. The hour goes by so fast. So, I guess being at work 5 hours a day-It shouldn’t make too much of a difference right? Seeing as though you get off early, and you have the rest of the afternoon/evening to collect. Well, I’m here to tell you it does. It’s something when you don’t realize your role as a stay -at- home Mom has really impacted the bulk of your day. Keeping the house tidy, constant grocery store runs (kid free) doctor appointments, personal errands, and just some free time to yourself. The routine mornings to relax , drink your coffee and catch the latest on your favorite morning show. Yeah, those days are null and void now. Now, I’m back trying to balance it all again. I am exhausted when I get home-and I would really like to throw my face in my pillow, and sleep for at least four hours. I’m sure that’s pushing it. I feel like I’m moving in slow motion when I get home. I’m not sure if I should run errands, eat, or take a nap. Sometimes the nap wins overall 😉 But at times a nap is a must because I need to re-boot or maybe a flask filled with Rose` would also do the job…. I’m totally joking- as a MOM with three kiddos in route to the house it is imperative I get my thoughts together. Because when they get home it’s on and poppin! Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom…for the next 5 1/2 hours.

How to balance?: Hell, I don’t know! I’m trying to figure it out myself. It’s a day to day task for me really. All I can say is…

  1. Handle the task as it comes
  2. Weed out the unnecessary
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff (you waist your time when you could be figuring out a solution)
  4. Learn how to let go of things that are beyond your control
  5. Make a check list-and check off in the order of import a once even if its not in the order you placed it on the list (after all you are checking it off)
  6.  You can’t do it all! If you have the help-pass on a task or two that won’t kill you if you are not in control of it-ask your spouse or if you have older children that can for sure get the job done.
  7. Try and keep your work life and personal life separate. Try not to fixate on work so much at home and vice versa. We don’t need to deal with unnecessary situations while we are tending to our loved ones.
  8. Be sure to have your wind down time-if it’s taking a bath, having a yummy glass of wine in silence, indulging in your favorite book or staring at the wall (hey, whatever floats your boat boo!)
  9. Pay attention to the things that aggravate you the most -and try to avoid them, or figure out a better way to handle them.
  10. And last….BREATH!

At the end of the day…it’s all good Mama’s- this is what we were made to do!

 

How do you balance Mom life and work life? Which of these steps do you take? Got any suggestions for me? Let’s Chat- Comment below ⇓

 

Thanks for reading ♥

 

Posted By: Ivy B.

The Highs and Lows of my Natural Hair Journey

It’s been 2 1/2 years since I BIG CHOPPED. Let me tell you…I have learned so many things about my hair and myself. Let’s start from the beginning…

Why did I Big Chop?: I was at a stand still with my hair. My hair never really grew past a certain length. I have fine hair and relaxers I felt did not do my hair any justice. Of course I definitely enjoyed getting relaxers and how my hair behaved, but for the health of my hair- there was no benefit there for me. I attempted to go natural about three times-Which means starting the process of growing out my relaxer (transition) I would be a few months into it, and quickly give up-back to the “creamy crack” as they call it in no time-soon regretting my decision shortly after. The fourth time was the charm for me…. This time around I researched (watched YouTube tutorials), watched natural product reviews, watched a million “why I Big Chopped” for months in. I finally decided I was ready. I grew my hair out for seven months and one morning….this happened.

Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-59-09-1[1] Relaxed Ends…

 

August 29th 2014- was the start of my Natural Hair Journey. And I was so here for it.

Screenshot_2017-04-19-17-00-32-1[1] The results…

 

The Morning of my BC: I got up and realized that day I was tired of dealing with two different textures-my roots were curly and wavy, and my ends were straight like wet dog hair Lol! It was a disaster, and way too difficult to deal with it. I was over it. I remember calling my Mom and venting to her about how I could see my natural hair coming through, and how I was so tired of my hair and blah blah blah…on the other end my  mom proceeded to tell me to do what I feel, and what every makes me happy….as she was talking… I was cutting-and she didn’t even know it! As I was cutting…the inner me was freaking out-but I kept my cool and proceeded to chop away. Mind you my husband was in the living room this entire time while I was locked in my bathroom. After making sure I had finished the job-I came out the bathroom to reveal my new look to my husband. As I looked him face to face…his eyebrows were together- I assume he was trying to figure out what just happen. I sat on the couch and as quite as a mouse I asked him ” Do you like it?” His answer was as comforting as it could get. He told me ” See, I told you you would look good with short hair” Whew! Later that night I washed my hair, and it felt amazing guys!! Gosh, I just loved how easy it was. I did it!! I faced the fear!! I felt so free and liberated.

 

The morning after my BC:  My feelings had changed… I don’t know what happened…but I felt like I made a mistake. I chopped my hair over the weekend. So, facing Monday and going into work with a new look was weighing heavy on me. I wasn’t sure I could pull this off. I was thinking of trying to get braids as a protective style to cover up what I had did. My mind was going crazy… I was all over the place, girl. I went throughout the weekend trying to get use to the new me. Trying to just embrace my natural. Let’s just say after all the encouragement from my Husband and my Mom- and a little self talk- and a few new cute headbands- I was ready to take on this natural journey. It’s funny how we can be so set on making a decision that initially is a healthy decision for US-and soon we slowly feel guilt because we are scared if we are going to be accepted by others…not just by others but how we accept ourselves. There is a lesson in everything. Yes, I have experience highs and lows in this journey-but I can say I have learned to embrace who I am, and to trust the decisions I make for myself. Yes, decisions as small as cutting my hair. I can honestly say I have never embraced myself the way that I do now.

The Highs: Coming to realize all the different things I could do with my hair was amazing. And an eye opener, and I was ready to experiment. All the hair products that were out there- I felt like a kid in a toy store. All the deep conditioners, co-washes, gels, creams, moisturizers- I was becoming a product junkie and loving it! As my hair was growing I could figure out what hair styles worked for me, and how to tweak them to fit my head HA! Watching my waves change into my own curl pattern and gorgeous juicy curls-that was giving me my life. It was so exciting watching my hair convert after I washed it from wearing stretched styles. Being fascinated by the way different products worked on my hair, and which products my curls loved, and which ones not so much. I enjoyed tracking my growth and was excited about the day I could slick all my hair back in a sleek  bun! I was wining at that point, girl.

The Lows: Okay, so here it goes. When your hair is growing out into a funky fro because you haven’t quite gotten it cut into the proper shape. The low points when you get your hair straightened and colored, and realized you have heat damage…like severe heat damage. When you go to wash your hair, and your curls do not revert back after only getting your hair straightened twice in the two years (9 months in between) you have been natural. When I tell you I was devastated….The feeling you get in your chest when you think you may possibly have to start all the way over- It’s crushing. You work so hard to grow your hair out-all the patience you’ve gained. Feels like it’s all a waste. But it’s hair! And it’s all a learning experience.

 

What I would have done differently:  I wish I would have went to a professional to cut the strains I missed when I big chopped-and shaped my hair to grow in the look I was going for. I had a few stragglers of hair behind that I basically just dealt with until my hair grew out more. I wish I had of really thought about coloring my hair- I wish I had of waited until I really understood my natural hair- I was bored with it and wanted to do something different-#FAIL. And last but certainly not least, I wish I would have pumped my breaks on straightening my hair . I was so curious to know how long my hair had gotten in the result of my big chop. Well, curiosity killed the damn cat! That’s for sure.

 

It’s all good: I cut off my heat damaged ends for the most part-my hair suffered the most in the front-When I tell you I went to town chopping like Edward Scissor hands. Luckily the back of my hair was not damaged as bad-and it’s pretty long . Basically, my hair looks like a mullet LOL! So, that has given me hope. It’s all good… I have pretty much been nursing my hair back to health. Doing protein treatments, deep conditioning my hair, and protective styling. And of course taking my Curls  Blissful Lengths Liquid Hair Growth Vitamin’s on a daily. I haven’t decided  if I am actually going to start over and completely big chop for the second time,  or just continue to allow my hair to grow and get a big trim. I can say experiencing heat damage has truly made me appreciate my hair and my  journey.  Protective styling it is for now and throughout the summer. I have posted pictures  below of some different stages I went through…. Enjoy!

Screenshot_2017-04-19-17-03-51-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-17-03-36-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-52-48-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-50-59-1[1] Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-51-11-1[1]

Embracing my cut                  Started seeing real growth          1st time straightened

 

Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-44-40-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-41-31-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-41-24-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-43-21-1[1]

2nd time straightened               DAMAGED                            Protective Styling

 

Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-42-45-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-19-16-40-39-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-05-21-40-00-1-1[1]Screenshot_2017-04-05-21-40-04-1[1]

After take-down       Trying to cope     Back to protective styles

What are some of your highs and lows in your natural hair journey?

If you are not natural, but plan on going that route- I hope this post helps you not make the same mistakes I made.  Happy Healthy Natural Hair Journey!

 

P.S. (I have a heat damage video on my Youtube Channel-Be sure to subscribe while you are there 😉  YouTube: Ivy’s Vine

 

Thanks for reading ♥

 

Posted by: Ivy B.

 

 

 

Did I drop the ball?

The Letter:I was recently informed my son (the nine year old) is not during so hot on the standardized testing in school. We got a letter informing us that he may face retention if he does not show any progress in the next  quarter. (Heart dropped in my stomach) I immediately got a stress headache, and paced the floor-calling my husband who was working at the time. We were both trying to come up with a game plan.  Which we have been down this road before-When CJ was in the second grade he was threatening retention because of those standardized test scores. We got him a tutor and starting the beginning of this year he showed much, much improvement. Throughout the year his scores would fluctuate. The students test all throughout the year-and towards the end of the third quarter, if your child/student scores low parents are then notified. So here we are… We know there is a focusing issue CJ deals with-which we have know for a while- I just don’t know what to do about it. Our goal as parents is to provide our kids with as much access as we can. My husband and myself continue to help our son in the areas needed- but we are not educators (as far as the field of education goes in the school system). So, maybe the help he is getting from us is not helping as much as we think?  When swapping out to help our son-he seems to be doing well with drills, and practice work we give him. Where there is struggle we work harder .As far as coursework in class, his grades are fine-but when it comes to those standardized test-it’s just not his jam. After receiving that academic progress letter-I immediately asked myself -“Did I drop the ball?” “Where did we go wrong?”

The delay: Earlier this year when CJ began to show improvement we got so excited-and felt like he could fly on his own without the EXTRA help-maybe we let go a little too soon. We stopped pushing him as hard. CJ has had a intricate journey in his development- To give you a little bit of history-CJ did not start talking to where you could actually understand him until he was four years old. We took him to get evaluated at two years old-we were told he had a developmental delay, and that Autism  and ADHD we could mark off our list- So when CJ turned three years old-we noticed something still was not right. And you know as a parent- you just know your kid. Even when outsiders told us he was fine- we just knew. So, we were able to have CJ see a Speech Pathologist during the summer- CJ started coming around as far as forming sentences, and being able to express to us what was wrong -and clearly expressing wants and needs. But still something still just wasn’t right. Fast forward to Kindergarten we were told not to express CJ’s hiccups until the teacher says something about his development (just to give the teacher a chance to spot something on her own-rather than expecting him to do what we have told her-basically allow her to form her own opinion of what she sees vs. what we see. All of CJ’s teachers informed us they are not concerned with a learning issue- and that further evaluation is not necessary(we even went as far as having meetings with the education administrator and his second grade teacher at the time to see if CJ could be placed in development programs at school-we were told his test scores were not low enough for the school to approve him to attend the program because it was funded by the school-and if the scores did not reflect (low enough to get extra help) they were not going to pay for it-

Rewind: prior to CJ starting Kindergarten we were able to get him tutored because we wanted to ensure he was ready to start elementary comfortably and be able to  keep up with his classmates- during tutoring sessions, there he learned the basics but still a focus issue. Every since kindergarten it has been a struggle for CJ. During his first year in school we took CJ back to his doctor to see if there was a need for further evaluation and we were told no-Basically he had a delay and it’s just taking time for him to come around in certain areas.  Fast forward to third grade- and we are still concerned.We have been told on many occasions not to compare CJ to our oldest and where he was at this age-because all children are different , and learn differently. And we definitely understood that.  But when you have an older child that performed totally different you can’t help but raise an eyebrow.

Now : CJ is at the grade level where these standardized test count and depend on the passing of your grade- What do we do? We can work with CJ all day long at home until we are blue in the face-but when it comes time to take those test- we can’t be there with him. I can’t turn to him and say “CJ stay focused, baby” It’s all up to him. And as parents we are scared. At this point my husband and myself feel it’s time CJ get’s another evaluation-an extensive one now that he is nine years old. We have to get this focusing issue under control. Every report we have received from CJ’s teacher’s have been great news as a student-it is just hard for him to focus, stay on task and work independently in class. (This has been the same report since Kindergarten. At home the school provides an app called RAZKids which allows him to practice reading a few passages, and answering ten questions (to prep him for the real test) The EOG (End of Grade testing)-which he gets every question right- At school the standard practice test are attached with passages- but there are twenty-five questions. And I feel that’s what has him hung up- Somewhere in between that 15th-25th question he gets completely aggravated and just wants to get it done. Which leaves him, selecting  (All of the above)-and ends up scoring low.

As a parent I have learned and I am still learning each of my kids are different, and require different attention to certain needs. With CJ I know it’s consistency. He has to continue to be pushed for however long it takes-

Have any of you Mommy’s out there experienced anything similar to my situation? What did you do? Any suggestions for me?

Thanks for reading ♥

Posted By: Ivy (a frustrated-but hopeful Mom)

Back to the basics-getting back to the plan

Back to the basics. What does this even mean? Sometimes you can get so caught up in what’s going on around you-that you forget what your goals are, and what’s ahead for you. That means going back to the drawing board. What was the initial plan? Refer back to notes and bullet points you created for yourself. To live a fulfilling life is to put your best foot forward. What does that mean? It means never half step-if it’s not your best don’t do it. Go back and figure out how to make it better. How? I have compiled a list of ten things to check off below.

  1. Reassure yourself you got this/I am capable
  2. Mute the background noise/the worse thing in life is to have a bunch of people around you who don’t believe in you
  3. Be honest with yourself-there is always time to refocus.
  4. Be BRAVE
  5. If your only reason to do what you do is for the applause from the crowd… then your’re DOOMED!
  6. Be determined-to be discouraged at times-that comes natural, don’t stay there long. Brush it off (quickly)
  7. Never become complacent-always find ways to build.
  8.  The areas you are weak in…don’t run from it, and don’t be afraid to work harder in that area it will end up being your strong suit.
  9.  Be able to identity yourself. If you find yourself doing things that are totally out of your character-you may want to give yourself a friendly reminder of who you are
  10. Stay focused on your outcome not someone else’s.
  11. * BONUS- Live. Every. Moment. It is so important to be present in your life right now. To actually be AWARE. If going back to the basics is what it takes- Do it!

Loving you and who you are is so important. It can be a struggle for some-but investing  in yourself daily is the goal-investing in yourself spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally all play a major part in your journey. Take care of you.

What are some things you do when you find yourself going back to the basics?

Thanks for reading ♥

Posted by: Ivy B.