A year full of blessings

June 3rd marked the beginning of a series of thankful events and blessings… It was the day my bundle of joy Amir was born.  Having a blessing like him in my life is sufficient enough to be thankful every moment of everyday and being with him and there for him in the good and the bad gives me the greatest satisfaction of all. Below is my list of what I am thankful for today:

I’m thankful for my hubby for being there for me during those difficult early days of pregnancy when I was hooked to an IV and he would come home from work exhausted but always ready to take care of me.

I’m thankful that I had the chance to go home and spend some time with my family due to my difficult pregnancy, even on bad days when I missed Shaun too much I reminded myself that this will probably be the last time I will get the chance to stay home for this long.

I’m thankful for my mom for being by my side throughout my pregnancy, during my delivery, and after Amir’s birth. Not to mention that little stunt that saved my life and Amir’s when my blood pressure spiked… we owe our happiness to you

I’m thankful my dad got to whisper his blessings in Amir’s ear when he was first born and actually is proud to be called jedo

I’m thankful Amir has people who love him and miss him in two different continents

I’m thankful I was able to be present for planning and attending my beloved sister’s engagement party

I’m thankful for our friends in Monrovia who stayed by hubby’s side all night celebrating and drinking champagne when I gave birth to our son thousands of miles away

I’m thankful for Shaun’s short visit when Amir was readmitted to the hospital when he was three weeks old. I truly believe I would not have been able to hold it together without him

I’m thankful for those colicky nights and days, even though I never want to see my baby in pain again but it was on those long nights when it was just me and him that I learned to be his mommy and earned his trust.

I’m thankful for that long dreaded flight from Lebanon to Monrovia because I got to hold my baby close to my heart for 12 hours straight!

I’m thankful for today, for spending Thanksgiving with Shaun and our Amir even if we missed the Embassy’s holiday feast for a couple of smoked turkey sandwiches after our poor teething baby finally went to sleep.

I’m thankful for my ability to realize how lucky I am every moment of everyday, happy Thanksgiving!

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Ladies (and interested gentlemen) we have a winner: the best baby carrier

Its true what they say that you try everything on your first child and with the 2nd one u get it right because of the lessons you’ve learned. Amir is only 5 months old and I had to go through 2 pumps (more on that later) and 3 carriers to find the perfect fit.
Today I received my balboa baby carrier in the mail. All I can say is that I wish I heard about it earlier! I had to go through two carriers until I found this one. The first was a gift and it was just too stiff with too many hard to undo plasticy buckles that I just couldn’t imagine traveling with him in it and the 2nd was the bayblonia carrier which is not bad, soft, breathable was great for securing him in when I was flying from Lebanon to Monrovia with all the tying on my back and behind his knees but it was only good for carrying him facing me and not facing out and he really couldn’t move at all. Like I said I had to tie right behind his knees and his head was on my chest the whole time so I couldn’t keep him in that position for too long.
But this gem I’m wearing as I write this post is so perfect to walk in and to wear around the house for a long time … Ladies allow me to introduce my balboa baby carrier! This beauty allows me to carry my baby cradle and cuddle style, it also enables front and hip carrying its super comfortable for him. He fell asleep within seconds I kid you not! Ok it could be because I took two extra minutes chatting with my sister about her wedding dress and as a result giving him more play time with daddy which wore him out. Not to mention that warm bath and massage afterwards but it still worked! He was asleep as soon as I placed him in it! The best feature is that it allows baby to be close to mommy and I think that’s the main reason I love it so much! Can’t wait to venture out with him in it!

By the way I’m still doing well with my  post-pregnancy diet plan follow my progress here

Wonderful relaxing day

Not much to report today just had a wonderful blissful Saturday with hubby and baby, still on track with my diet check out my progress here….. actually I have to confess that I did sneak in two oatmeal cookies oops! just a little set back that I promise to make up for. As for baby Amir I can tell he is settling in his routine his teeth didn’t hurt as much and we had a long nice nap together in the afternoon. All in all very relaxed and thankful! Oh and I started working on a little project at Shutterfly to be revealed soon.

looking forward to another relaxing day with the family tomorrow … until then… here is a super cute picture of baby Amir and daddy playing around with the webcam earlier today

Today’s obsession: cooking from scratch

 

   I love cooking and just recently I’ve been into cooking from scratch. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that a few   items that we tend to take for granted in our daily life such as cake mix, liquid broth, frosting and any kind of bread other than white bread are not consistently available in Monrovia. And if you are lucky enough to find any they might be expired or worse – like the time when we found bugs in our rice bags and pasta (hence the rule of buying only see through rice and pasta bags). I have a checklist already and I’m checking them one recipe at a time, today I made  homemade chicken broth  try it out.

Psst ….  I’m still on track with my post-pregnancy diet plan, check out my progress here

Post-pregnancy diet plan and workout

I know its only been five months and three weeks since my C-Section and that I should give my body a chance until its been nine months to start seeing real weight loss results but the fact of the matter is I can’t afford to wait that long … my sister’s wedding – which is expected to be THE wedding of the season (Enshallah)- is coming up and I need to look my best! Its bad enough that when she had her engagement party one week after my delivery I still looked very pregnant! (Somehow the belly isn’t so cute when there is no baby inside anymore).

So back to the plan … While back home I went to this amazing nutritionist who gave me a personalized post-pregnancy diet plan … It actually worked well, I lost 20 pounds in two months but with my travel and taking care of baby Amir I somehow lost my way. I want to get back on track and lose my remaining 20 lbs it should be easy enough all I have to do is monitor what I eat especially when those hunger pangs kick in between pumping, play time, bath time and rocking baby to sleep. So I will post everything I eat everyday under my health and fitness page (an idea I borrowed from Relaxed Focus) to motivate myself and to refrain from eating unhealthy snacks (it’s so easy to rip open that bag of chocolate chips when no one is looking!)
I also researched some baby and mommy workouts and I stumbled upon this great exercise plan at Mama Moderne  that I really want to try … I spend most of my time rocking and walking around the house trying to put baby to sleep anyways might as well kick it up a notch wish me luck and look out for my daily progress. Here’s to no cheating!

Fast beauty tips for busy new mommies

 

Here I am again sitting in my baby blue rocking chair holding my sleeping beautiful muse as I write this post … Being a busy new mom the last thing on my mind was whether I looked presentable enough!
With a Lebanese background and a super stylish mother this is a big no no! Especially that every time I see a pale, frizzy haired, uncoordinated reflection in the mirror I heard my mother’s voice ” habibti always make time to brush your hair and put makeup no matter what” so I have learned some fast tricks to help me look decent if someone drops by and still be comfortable enough to easily tend to my baby throughout the day and to squeeze in those snuggling naps with him when I need an energy booster:

– use your hair conditioner instead of a shaving cream to shave in the shower it will leave your skin extra moist so u can skip the lotion application step (some people say expressed breast milk is good for dry skin but I’m not trying that!)

– pull hair in a bun or a braid right after a shower and you won’t have to worry about it all day. Apply some leave in conditioner to those stray hairs.

– Apply Vaseline or baby oil on your nails and cuticles, it will make them look shiny and healthy.

– If u don’t have time to put makeup on just apply some concealer on those dark circles and u would look much more refreshed.

– Use lip stain instead of lipstick it will last up to 12 hours. I use the body shop lip stain it looks very natural. The last time I checked they were out. I hope they don’t drop this product.

– clothing: a few clothing items I invested in were perfect to keep up my Lebanese standards and accommodate my much-needed relaxed American look. I wear bra tops for support and easy access when its feeding or pumping time, yoga pants and those pachmina cardigans (they look like pachminas with sleeves) this is my signature look nowadays!

– Shoes: instead of normal flip-flops I walk around with my FIT flops, they are perfect for toning your thighs! So when I’m walking around rocking my teething baby I keep on reminding myself that I’m getting a hell of a workout! The idea of burning calories adds a little spring in my step making baby drift off faster!

Any mothers out there with fast and easy beauty tips? Please share!

Can I Blame it on Hormones??

Its 3 am and I just finished some must-do errands such as buying diapers online, folding baby’s laundry, preparing Caroline’s (our cleaning lady) to-do-list for tomorrow. I decided to give baby Amir a bottle before I go to bed so he doesn’t wake up 10 mins after I shut my eyes. So as I carry my sleepy baby and admire his angelic face it hits me – he looked grown up not so babyish anymore, his new spiky hair and his big eyelashes his pouty lips… his features are becoming clearer I can actually tell what he is going to look like as he gets older. Suddenly this surge of emotions takes over me! My baby is growing I had to hold back the urge of sobbing loudly. Don’t get me wrong they were happy proud mommy tears but the emotion was so overwhelming that my body started shaking as I tried hard not to wake my baby … What is happening to me? Could it be hormones? Can I actually still get away with blaming it on unbalanced post pregnancy hormones or is it just pure motherhood?

My newest obsession: Picnik

Recently I discovered Picnik! An amazing free online photo editing tool! I always wanted my pics to look more professional and now they do! Check out the before and after pictures below!

I have spent all my weekend ( between diaper changes, bottle feedings,  rocking baby to sleep, doing laundry, and cooking dinner) editing pictures of baby Amir so I can start creating his baby albums and I have to say it looks as if we hired a professional photographer to shadow us day and night! My favorite editing tools are the highlight and color booster and the matte effect I think they make a real difference! If there is anyone out there reading my humble posts maybe u can share some pics you edited?

Yummy coconut chocolate balls

 

 

 

Not sure what these delightful chocolate coconut bites

are officially called but they are amazing! I got the recipe from my mom and it is surprisingly super easy!!

 

 

 

1/2 bag Coconut flakes

1 small box unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa

2 can Nestle sweetened condensed milk

3 rolls plain biscuits softened into crumbs

mix the biscuits with cocoa and condensed milk and then shape into small balls.  Roll each ball into a plate of coconut flakes and that’s it!!!! they look and taste amazing! I’m taking them to a potluck tomorrow and I know they are going to be a hit!

p.s. you can use food coloring on the coconut flakes to make it more interesting or if you’refollowing a certain theme

 

How our baby bonded with daddy

Baby Amir only got to spend 3 days with Daddy when he was three months old (long story). Anyways we reunited with my husband Shaun in Africa when baby Amir was almost 5 months old. I have to say I secretly worried about them establishing their bond. Amir is a social baby he smiled at his dad when we first saw him at the airport and babbled with him in the car on our way back to the house but that was it… Whenever he needed soothing or to eat he wanted mommy. We did some research and read some articles by Dr. Sears and decided to just have Shaun available for him when he cries. So over a long weekend Shaun was the one to pick him up from bed whenever he cried and stayed with him until he was calm again, he was also diligent in being there for play time and even changed a few poop free diapers. I think all of that established trust and just in 3 weeks Amir actually reaches to his daddy’s side whenever he is co-sleeping, falls asleep easily with him and is responsive to his daddy’s soothing strategies. They are now inseparable! Shaun looks forward to bath time and excitedly volunteers to change diapers (still only poop free ones) and he has been late to work every morning and lunch break because he can’t seem to be able to walk away from Amir’s smiling face! I love watching them together!