MOTHER’S DAY PHOTO SHOOT

Mother’s Day has taken on new meaning for me. For years, I used to stay in bed, eat Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream….and just cry – mourning the death of my own mother. While it has gotten easier over the last 14 years – last year, I found myself in that same position. Weird how the emotions ebb and flow over the years. But the reality is that my life has greater meaning now that I am a mother…and that has made facing this day a little easier.  I treasure the relationship that I have with my sister and her kids on another level because I know that we are a reflection of my mother’s love and life.

So that led me to ask one of my fave photographers – Erica Rodriquez to meet me at Greynolds Park to capture mommy moments doing one of our favorite things..us all hanging out together. I wanted to do it with my sister in celebration of Mother’s Day.  Even though I take lots of photos of my kids – I’ve never done this…and it was a special time for us. It was a gorgeous day at the park. The sun was shining so beautifully…you can see the sunrays in lots of our photos. When I first saw it…I knew then that it was my mother shining her light on us in approval of the moms we are today.

Sharing a few of my favorite pics from our day.

Mothers Day Shoot One Balanced Mama
This is us! Me and my two babies and my step-son Khari…My sister and her two girls and son. We come as a package deal.

Mothers Day Shoot One Balanced Mama
Mothers Day Shoot One Balanced Mama
Mothers Day Shoot One Balanced Mama
Mothers Day Shoot One Balanced Mama

One Balanced Mama Mother's Day Photo Shoot
AJ and his silly smiles…cracks me up!

Mothers Day Shoot One Balanced Mama

FAMILY DATE: PICNICS IN THE PARK

This year started off non-stop…and it shows no signs of slowing down.  And I don’t mind it because I love my job and I love traveling…but having two toddlers can be challenging when your career is demanding.  One of my challenges is to ensure that the energy that I put towards work and my passion projects – I give that and more to my kids.  And by the time I get home at the end of the day..I’m barely at 5%.  So the weekends are when I look forward to spending the most time with them. My Saturdays and Sundays are devoted to my children and what they want to do.

I had to leave town this past Friday for a quick business trip – but before I left – Miss Bobbi requested that we have a picnic over the weekend. Genius idea on her part.  Open park time (run free children – burn all that energy!!) beautiful weather, and an excuse to have wine and cheese in the park sounded great to me.  But after flying back home on Saturday morning…running home to get the kids ready to head to their big brother’s birthday party, I was really looking forward to a Sunday in bed – catching up on all of my favorite ratchet TV shows.  Wishful thinking.

I reached out to two of my mom friends.  We all have toddlers around the same age – just months apart….and there’s even a 4-month old baby in the mix.  We all lean on each other for advice, to vent, to watch each other’s kids and even pass down clothes. (With a stylist in our group – we’re winning!)  I appreciate having other moms and dads in my circle that I work with, vacation with, party with AND play date with!  It gave me a boost of energy, knowing that they would be on-site with their kids as well.

Picnic in the park; Family date
A few members from the cool kids crew: Miss Bobbi, Nyla and Prince hanging out on the rocks at South Pointe.

We went to our favorite spot – South Pointe on Miami Beach.  It’s the perfect setting with beautiful scenery of the water and lots of greenery.  There’s a CLEAN and safe playground that offers something for toddlers and the big kids.  There’s lots of space to play football or just run around…and you’re steps away from the beach if you want to take a dip in the water.

Playtime; picnic in the park

Playtime; picnic in the park
Miss Bobbi and AJ’s favorite spot
Playtime; picnic in the park
Pouches, pouches, pouches…makes life easy!

Picnics are quickly becoming one of our favorite family past times.  I created this list of helpful reminders that I thought I would share to ensure a successful picnic day!

Picnic Checklist

Picnic Blanket:  love this one from Amazon.com.  Or you can always use an old quilt that no longer works from your bedroom.

Picnic Basket:  While I love the look of a gingham lined picnic basket; its just not practical with kids.  I love the picnic backpacks that leaves you hands free to wrangle your children.

Snacks:  I like to pack a cheese board and fill up a nice rectangular sized tupperware with a variety of fruit.  My kids faves are grapes, apples, watermelon, strawberries and bananas.  Most of them can be cut up the night before and stored in the fridge so you can grab and go day of.  The pre-cut cheese cubes or cheese sticks wrapped in turkey slices are great options for snacks throughout the day.  My cheese board includes gouda cubes, brie slices and mozzarella sticks.  Don’t forget the crackers!  Mini sandwiches (Peanut butter + jelly, turkey sandwiches) are easy to pack as well.

I try to feed my children lunch before we leave the house.  That way – I just need to worry about light food and snacks at the park.  If you’re feeding your child a hot meal for lunch at the park – pre-pack it in tupperware and warm up before leaving the house!

Drinks:  My choice of drinks for the kids is Honest Kids juice pouches.  And I fill their thermos with water.

Paper goods:  Your normal paper towels, plates, disposable utensils.  And I also pack a garbage bag to collect trash throughout the day and jumbo ziplock bags for any leftovers that I want to take back home.  Sidenote:  I don’t leave home without ziplock bags – they are the perfect catch all!

Music:  We actually forgot our portable boom box at our last picnic – and interestingly enough – no one missed the music.  Between talking and hearing the families playing, kids laughing – we had enough background noise!  But next time – we won’t forget it because there’s nothing like Bob Marley playing on a beautiful breezy day.

Toys for kids:  For my son, I bought a mini-football and soccer ball to kick around in the park.  And for my daughter – I bought along her tea set so we can have a tea party on site.  Those were perfect for the moments that they actually wanted a break from the playground.  And it kept them from climbing all over me and distract me from the main event of the picnic – which is….

Wine!  For the adults who have to endure hours of playtime, don’t forget to bring a chilled bottle of white wine or Rosé for the occasion.  And I love these Govino Shatterproof Wine Glass to take on the road.

Other essentials:

  • Cutting knife
  • Bottle opener
  • Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Trash bags
  • Sunscreen

Pack it up and enjoy a FAB picnic!

AMARII JOSEPH – THE FIRST YEAR

Last year, I spent nine months carrying a baby not wanting to know the sex.  I was nervous about what I was having but also wanted to be surprised.  Part of me didn’t want to have a boy – I was scared of boys…didn’t feel I was a “boy’s mom” and that I would do much better with another girl.  Also, Bobbi Elle would have a playmate, a sister and a friend for life.  Kind of like my sister and I.  I also didn’t know if I would have room in my heart to love another child – it felt like Bobbi had all of me.

Boy was I wrong (no pun intended!),  Amarii Joseph came and rocked my world.  I wrote about our birth journey and shared personal moments from the delivery room in my blog Birthing With Fear…My Birth Journey.  And since his grand entrance – life has never been the same.  Some day I’ll share my thoughts on juggling life with a toddler and an infant…but for now – I just wanted to share a snipet of my life, my AJ.  Words can’t express the depth that my heart has opened to love a second child.  Nor can it explain the joy I feel to be blessed with a son.  It is an incredible feeling to know that I get a chance to raise a man…and its something I so look forward to.

Bobbi – well she’s still adjusting…but the one thing I know for sure – she absolutely loves her little bro…as long as he doesn’t have any of her toys or getting all of the attention.

The last few days has been a little emotional for me – just going thru old footage and seeing his delivery and moments after his birth.  I’m sad that he’s no longer a newborn…a baby.  He’s starting to take a few steps and I know it’s just a matter of time before I completely lose him to his newfound freedom. But I’m so looking forward to what’s to come.

Thanks to my husband and Edward from Elite Media Concepts for once again putting together an amazing video.  They knew how much I loved the one done for Bobbi that I posted for her first birthday Bobbi Elle – The First Year.  And a special thank you to all of my amazing family and friends that have walked this journey with me.

 

 

A DEEPER CONNECTION…AT THE MUSEUM

I’ve been traveling A LOT lately – the last few months have been a whirlwind…and my biggest challenge has been finding time to really connect with my children. Technically, I am connected everyday when I’m at home with them doing normal mommy duties – like bathing them, putting them to sleep, feeding, etc…and I even stay connected when I’m on the road via calls and FaceTime. But what I’m talking about is a deeper connection outside of normal mommy duties…like just having a fun day and bonding with my kids…with no outside pressures of deadlines I have to meet or worrying about emails that I need to return. The type of connection that you have with your child when they are truly the sole focus. And I decided that those moments won’t just happen…unfortunately in this day and age where everything goes so fast – you have to schedule it like a meeting…or a date with your kids.

This past weekend – I made up in my mind that I would take a day to do just that. I wanted to do something fun and create a new experience that they haven’t had. So I decided to take them to the Miami Children’s Museum. The first step in me having this connection with them was having NO HELP. If you need it, by all means get it. But for me, I tend to have a lot of help around – I call them The Village. Whether it’s my Dad, the nieces, my sister, a cousin or an aunt…I roll with a tribe!  And when you have a lot of help around…you tend to LEAN IN on them because you figure – BREAK TIME!  But, with my husband out working on a photography project, I was going all in tackling this adventure with an 11.5 month old and a sassy 2.5 year old! (for full disclosure, my stepson is with us for the summer and although he is not considered help, he did his fair share to help keep an eye out when I needed to get ready or pack the car!)