I unexpectedly (and reluctantly) moved back to my hometown. I unexpectedly fell for an old high school classmate, and he unexpectedly proposed to me. We unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, and we got married sooner than expected. Now, we're experiencing the unexpected daily...the good, the bad, the funny, the frustrating. Read all about it...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jamari Isiah's First Christmas!!

We received an abundance of blessings in the form of gifts from family and friends. Some of the gifts came at clutch moments (like a gas card from my father!!). Also, Jamari being 4 1/2 months old around the holidays is perfect timing because he is at the age when he can enjoy a lot of fun infant toys!!  



Santa came around 4 pm this Christmas because he had to wait for my mother to come home from work. Then, the fun really began when Jamari tore open presents and was more interested in the wrapping paper than what was actually wrapped. He was blessed with clothes and toys, and gift cards for more clothes and toys! 

I never forget the reason for the holiday. Jesus is my Savior, and so the celebration of his birth means more to me than receiving and giving presents. However, I lost the other part of the Christmas spirit around my senior year of high school. Meaning, I lost the excitement and drive to go out and buy presents for people, to help decorate, to watch Christmas movies, and so on. It all just started to feel routine, like robotic, I guess? Here it is, Christmas, so we have to put up the tree and the lights, and find some presents for each other. We open presents, we eat, and the big holiday is over before noon. Big whoop.

However, the spirit is back on! Jamari has rekindled Christmas in my heart. He helped me remember that the essence of Christmas is family, and the presents are tangible symbols of their support and love. Giving presents is not about making sure your friends and family get what they want. It's about buying or making them something that lets them know, "Hey, I'm here for you."

The massive amounts of presents under the tree for my son made me feel so grateful that there are a lot of people who are here for us, who love us and want Jamari to have everything he could ever need. This Christmas beat all of my Christmases past.


HAVE A JOYFUL HOLIDAY SEASON AND NEW YEAR!
- Sirron, Jamie, Jamari Isiah, & Stax
(Holiday card created by JennC Designs)


Friday, December 17, 2010

I Helped Feed a Man

He came up to my car. He told me he was hungry. I handed him $2.00 in quarters.
He said, "Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas."
I said, "Same to you."
Then I prayed for him to receive more blessings than cold shoulders.

Other people might not do the same because they'd think...maybe he's addicted to drugs, and he should be putting money towards feeding himself than getting high. Others might also say that it's his own fault that, for some reason, he's on the streets begging, and he shouldn't get any kind of attention because he brought this situation on himself. People might think there are plenty of places he could go. There are soup kitchens and shelters. He needs to help himself. Try a little harder. But maybe he did try, and tried and tried again.

If You Don't Know, Now You Know...

 Unemployment hiked up homelessness, and so shelters are over capacity in an attempt to accomodate everyone in need. Some shelters have to turn people away. It is even harder to accomplish this in the winter months! Here are a few links of news stories regarding this issue between 2009 and 2010:

Shelters lose funding, are forced to close or reduce services and beds, sending the homeless back to square one. This is like a double whammy for those who sought help because they were affected by the recession. Again, articles between 2009 and 2010:
On some level, we all could use a hand out, a boost, a little "suttin, suttin" to get us through. I would hope it wouldn't matter if I were homeless, on drugs, supposedly "not trying hard enough" to make my life better. I would hope it wouldn't matter if the reason I couldn't find work was because of a criminal record or because I have a drinking problem. I would hope someone would figure out a way to help me somehow, even if it is putting some pocket change in my hand.  It is also important to recognize the new faces of poverty: former teachers, receptionists, fast food workers, etc. Working class people.

The bottom line is that even if I were out on the streets, whatever my history, I'd essentially still be a human being trying to survive in this world...a whole lot like you. I don't think it's fair to judge or blame the men and women on the streets who may need a bite to eat. In this economy, you could be next.

After the gentleman and I exchanged our wishes for a happy holiday, I drove off a happier person, and I am confident he walked away a little happier too.

Check Me Out on BlogHer.com!!!

I am so excited that one of my blog posts has been chosen as a feature on BlogHer!!

For those of you who don't know, BlogHer.com is a community of women who love to blog and who share an interest in social media. It is an avenue for women to voice their opinions, learn about other people's views, and gain insight on topics ranging from politics to family.

I am so grateful and I feel very honored that I will be featured on their home page today.

Please check it out!! Find me on BlogHer and discover what makes millions of readers flock to this site every month!! Take a step further and register to be part of this community of funny, intelligent, and supportive women!

Thanks, BlogHer for this amazing opportunity to reach out to millions!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

F* Without Guilt!

ANYWHERE!
ANY TIME YOU WANT!
DO IT!
AND DO IT WITH PRIDE!
YOU CAN DO IT BY YOURSELF.
OR WITH A PARTNER.
OR YOUR BEST FRIEND.
HECK, YOUR NEIGHBOR.
EVEN YO’ MAMA!

Huh?! What?!

Just listen (or read, rather).

I felt two types of guilt.

The First Type: I felt guilty because I thought my husband felt left out, and I wanted a way for him to feel included.

The Second Type: I felt guilty because, when I chose to do it, I thought I was a bad person.

I’M TALKING ABOUT FORMULA FEEDING, PEOPLE!

Get your mind out the gutter.

While I was pregnant, I was adamant about being the type of mother who breastfed for at least the first six months of my son’s life. I planned on pumping out bottles like a Coca-Cola factory when I had to go to work, or if I ever just needed a break. I was prepared to have my son attached to my hip, so that I could feed him every two hours, round the clock, day in, day out.

I was convinced that the best moms breastfed their babies.

However…

The First Type made me realize that if I breastfed exclusively, my husband might feel useless (for lack of better words). If my baby cried out of hunger while my husband held him, I felt so bad having to take him so he could eat. It seemed like I was taking away quality time between father and son.

The Second Type made me feel like a lazy, careless mother for not going the all-natural route of exclusive breastfeeding. I felt selfish for wanting a break from constantly waking up to feed my baby. I felt selfish for wanting to go back to work, instead of being at my son’s beck and call 24/7. I also felt bad because older mothers were proud of my decision to breastfeed, since it does take a lot of dedication (and pain tolerance!).

I came to the conclusion that combining breast and formula feeding would please both sides. My husband could feed him and I would not feel bad about them not being able to bond at all. My son takes to formula well, unlike some babies who get sick from it. I could still give my son what’s considered the best diet for his growth and development.

However…

My son screeched constantly after feedings, and unless I gave him a bottle to supplement, he was not getting enough to fill his little tummy.

Then I realized that my own diet was actually hurting my son. I barely ate anything, and when I did eat, it sure as heck wasn’t the right amount of vitamins and minerals and stuff like that. It wasn’t enough for me, let alone me and him. I figured that formula would always supply my son with the important stuff that may not always be available from me. Sometimes, people do not realize that breastfeeding is a lot like being pregnant still. You have to eat for two, meaning eating sensibly for two. I could get by with eating only a sandwich or two, with a few snacks in between. But that wasn’t going to be enough for both me and my son, nope!

So I came to the conclusion that formula works better for us.

Oh no! (Gasp!) No way! Not formula!!

Whatever.

My son is developing very normally, even slightly faster than some breastfed babies. He is extremely happy - I’ve said this a dozen times - he smiles and laughs way more than he fusses and cries.

And most importantly…he is healthy.

In the battle of Breast Milk v. Formula...ding, ding, ding! a happy child with either diet wins.

If you feel alone in the world because everyone hates you for being a "quitter" for turning to formula, don't worry about what other people are thinking. Every baby is different. Every situation is different. Formula is made to be almost exactly like breast milk (unfortunately, it's the word "almost" that gets people's panties all tied up in knots). I say...

F* all you want, sister!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's World AIDS Day

But why does it seem like nobody is as aware of this as they are of, let's say, Breast Cancer Awareness Month? (It just seems this way, but I hope I'm wrong!)

Why am I surprised to find out that a lot of people on Blogger are not posting anything about this?

Why am I shocked at the fact that Google chose to commemorate Rosa Parks' defiance on the bus, instead of increasing awareness of AIDS facts and research developments, on its homepage?

Why did everyone turn their Facebook profile pictures pink in October, but not red today?

Is it because people think that, since it is spread through unprotected sex, those who have it deserve it for not being more careful?

Is it because people believe that it is a gay person's disease, and they are against homosexuality?

Is it because people think that only promiscuous people have the disease?

Is it because people think it is really only a big problem in Africa?

Is it because people think it is rampant within poorer populations, those who are already "taking advantage" of the system?

Or is it because drug users who share needles contract the disease, and so because they are addicts, they should not be helped?

I don't care.

Because it's not true.

HIV/AIDS affects more people than drug users, sexually active people, homosexuals, and disadvantaged communities. Sadly, there is a social stigma on this disease. And that disgusts me.

Any person could unexpectedly contract the disease, especially when engaging in unprotected sex. Let's be real with ourselves and admit not everyone uses a condom (or uses them correctly) every time. That's how babies are made, silly!

HIV/AIDS is not a dirty person's disease. Many people are going about their daily lives who don't even know they're infected! Unless you and your partner get tested, you'll never know for sure if either of you have the disease if you've had previous sexual partners (including those with whom you've only had oral sex).

WORST OF ALL...

Children are born with HIV/AIDS, or contract the disease through the breast milk from their infected mothers.

These children could not prevent themselves from getting infected.

ONE, a non-profit organization committed to diminishing global poverty, stated on their website that 1,000 babies are stillborn in Sub-Saharan Africa every year due to HIV/AIDS.

However, it also states the brighter side...research and medical advancements (aided by funds raised by people like you and me!), is helping. Access to healthcare is improving. Immunizations are helping children survive and live longer, giving them a hope for the future, hope that as they grow up, a cure will be discovered.

But it's not just affecting children in Africa. This is a global issue. It affects people, no matter who they are, how much money they have, or who they choose to love.

HIV/AIDS is an illness that is way, way beyond the stigma that it is a poor, drug-addicted, homosexual's disease.

We need to be less ignorant and more helpful.

http://www.broadwayhouse.org/ (I used to intern here, and by the end of the semester, I learned that a lot of the employees were HIV positive. I would've never guessed by looking at them...because that's impossible.)
http://www.one.org/
http://www.keepachildalive.org/
http://www.projecthope.org/
http://www.youthaids.org/
http://www.ejaf.org/
http://www.fhssa.org/
http://www.actionaids.org/
http://www.gmhc.org/
http://www.aids.org/
http://www.unaids.org/
http://www.worlded.org/
http://www.who.int/hiv/en/

Now you can't say you have no idea where to get information or how to get involved.

Help make change.