On June 18, 2019, Liasor and I welcomed our precious son, Simeon, into the world. He is already quite the character and a sweet companion!
Pregnancy was such a journey - one that I enjoyed. Early on, I realized how little I actually knew about gestation and childbirth - despite high school and college biology - so I mustered up the courage to ask my doctor one embarrassing question after another. Books, classes, pregnancy apps, and Google were also helpful!.
My favorite parts of pregnancy:
The toughest parts of pregnancy:
Simeon was born on his due date after 26 hours of labor, including four hours of pushing! (I pushed for one hour, then rested, then pushed for three more hours!) Towards, the end, I was falling asleep (i.e. passing out) in between each push. I also experienced labor tremors, which caused my body to shake throughout the experience. As my friend Audrey said so eloquently: childbirth is synonymous with intense.
Reflections on childbirth:
Our Hospital Stay:
Adjusting to New Life:
Sleep...what is that?
Before Simeon was born, I cannot tell you how many people told me: "Make sure you get rest now before the baby comes!" "When the baby is born, sleep when the baby sleeps!" All these people were so wise! We are still functioning on very little sleep, but Liasor and I have been taking turns letting each other nap. Having our moms help out the first couple weeks was invaluable, but things got real when they went back to work! I'm proud of us for how we've grown as parents and as a couple in just a short time. The learning curve was steep, but learning comes quickly when thereʼs necessity!
Time Flies! I try to take as many pictures and videos as I can because Simeon changes so much week to week. I rejoice - and cry a little inside - each time Simeon reaches a new milestone.
Breastfeeding can be difficult for momma and baby to learn!
I used to get so flustered when trying to feed Simeon and watching him get more and more upset as I floundered around, trying to figure out how to feed him. It was heartbreaking to me at first, but I quickly found out I wasnʼt alone and got so much support and help from family and lactation specialists. Now, Simeon and I are becoming pros.
The illusion of balance.
I'm a perfectionist by nature, but I've had to learn that sometimes the dishes wonʼt get done. Guests may come over and the house may not look like Pinterest and thatʼs okay. It was okay even before Simeon was born, and itʼs okay now. Still, this lesson has been hard for me. Even as I'm typing this, I'm staring at a basket of clean laundry that has been sitting in our living room for what feels like eternity. I remind myself of gratitude. Being thankful for all the blessings so that I donʼt have to sweat the unimportant. Yes, at some point we should put our clothes away, but if it doesnʼt happen today, we will survive and life goes on.
I'm also learning the new rhythm of motherhood. I have historically been very independent and I like to get up and go do something fun and interesting when I get the urge. Now, I'm learning the beauty of sacrificing some of that independence in order to pick up new responsibilities and sweet cuddles! There are times when Liasor will take Simeon so I can go out for dinner with family or friends, and I'll do the same for him to go to his soccer games. But I recognize that life is very different now that our little guy is here. It is an adjustment for sure, but I'm thankful that we had 9 months to prepare for this new stage and that we have support as we continue to learn and adapt.
Liasor and I are also in the process of learning more about Simeon and his quirks. We are discovering that he makes certain sounds and cries based on his different needs, and he has quite the set of lungs to accomplish this. He also likes to fall asleep on our chests and has proven to be rather cuddly so far. He loves to make animated faces and do exaggerated stretches all day long!
Celebrating my 28 years and his 1 Month:
On July 18, Simeon turned one month old. The next day, on July 19, I turned 28. We spent the past two weekends celebrating. Our friend Suzanne also took the beautiful photos below!
Other Life Updates:
Uduk Hope and international projects: Visit liasor.com to read more about Liasorʼs time in Ethiopia this past winter. For those who follow Uduk Hope, be on the lookout for updates via our newsletter, which should come out in the next few weeks (or sooner), Simeon permitting. You can receive the newsletter by joining our mailing list through udukhope.com or you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@udukhope).
Thank you everyone for your support, prayers, visits, and sweet gifts. It has meant the world!
I often get lots of questions about my hair and the hairstyles I do, so I will dedicate the next couple posts to highlighting some of my favorite natural hair styles.
The first style: THE CURLY PUFF
First and foremost, I cannot achieve this style when my hair is freshly washed, in its most natural state. This style came as a result of wearing my hair in braids for a few days and then taking the braids down.
If I were to pull my hair into a puff right after washing it, it would look like the picture below. I love both styles, but when I put my hair in a puff right after washing my hair, my tight little hair coils tangle around each other and I have to spend hours detangling them again and again. Not fun. So I mostly create styles that stretch out my natural hair texture to avoid tangles (I'll write more on this soon). I still love doing an occasional wash-n-go style but not very often.
So how did I get the non-tangly, curly puff in the first picture?
First I braided my hair in about 10 cornrow braids. Here is a GREAT instructional video on how to cornrow:
I could have stopped at this step, wearing the cornrows for a few days and then take them down to create the curly puff. However, I don't enjoy wearing cornrows outside of the house yet because I'm not so skilled at making them nice and neat (I'm still trying to inherit my mother's amazing braiding skills!), so I chose to cover up my cornrows by crocheting mambo-twist extensions into my hair. Check out the tutorial video below from a Natural Hair Youtube Channel I follow. I've used videos like the one below to learn how to crochet extensions into my hair, to give my natural hair a break from time to time.
Click Here to Watch one of my favorite YouTube tutorials on How to crochet extensions into cornrows/braids
Crochet braids are a great protective style! Natural afro-textured hair can be rather fragile and break easily, so wearing protective styles where you can tuck your hair away for a couple days is great for hair growth and length retention.
The twist extensions I purchased were super inexpensive at my local hair store. I do NOT like spending much money on my hair if at all possible, and I'm a huge fan of DIY natural hair care. I used the 1B (extremely dark brown) hair color, and added in a few burgundy-colored twists for a fun look.
When I finished crocheting the twists into my hair, this was the final result:
It looked so natural, and it gave me a HUGE break from doing my hair each day.
After wearing this style for about two weeks, I took the twist extensions out, and I was left with my cornrow braids underneath. I then un-braided my cornrows, which gave me a super curly fro like the one below.
Then I pulled my hair back with a silk hair scarf and tied it on the top of my head to achieve my favorite curly puff ever!
I wore this puff for three days and each day it became puffier and puffier until it was no longer a curly fro, but an awesome huge afro puff! I loved it, but it was time to tuck my ends away to protect my hair from wear and tear. So I took down the puff, detangled, washed, and deep conditioned my hair. (I'll write a post on my wash-day process soon!). Once my hair was freshly-washed again, I went on to try another protective style.
There are a lot of great protective styles that you can do using your own hair (without extensions), such as buns, mini twists, and much more!. Just type "protective styles for natural hair" into Youtube, find a Youtuber with a similar hair texture as yourself and have fun with trial and error. I'll try to write a blogpost soon showing some of my favorite protective hairstyles that I do using my own hair, which are the styles I usually wear 90% of the year. More on that coming soon!