Rediscovering Me.

I was thirty-two years old when I had my first child. A child that I was uncertain would ever be, due to years of immense pain and complications from endometriosis. On August 8th, 2013, my life changed and my heart grew bigger. I no longer wondered if I would ever become a mom. I had become one. I was so enamored with my son and amazed by his presence that I became less concerned with myself. The pre-baby me who enjoyed writing, pedicures and jogs in the crisp morning air diminished. The book I once cradled while falling asleep was replaced with a snuggly infant. My identity had been erased and replaced with new titles – wife and mother.

Two years after my son was born, I gave birth to my daughter. My love for her was instantaneous and effortless. I enjoyed watching my children bond and grow together. Although an addition to the family meant there was more love to spread and cherished memories to create, it also meant less time to invest in me. I was so focused on my family that I developed a microcosm consisting only of them. I was inadvertently shutting friends, associates and even some family out of my world. After my son began to experience developmental and medical challenges my bubble became even smaller. I am typically a private person, but suddenly I became even more guarded. I was anxious, cranky and frumpy. I gained nearly thirty-pounds, and my clothing selection was so dreadful at times my son looked at me with bewilderment. My devotion to my family was unwavering, but the difficult question I had to ask myself was, “are they really getting the best version of me”? It hurt to look at myself in the mirror and pose the question because I knew they weren’t.

Lately, I have been carving just a bit of time out the day for me, and I feel better. I call it my “protected time.” My days are now less stressful and even more productive. I knew I must have given semblance to my former self when I stepped out of the bathroom and my daughter complimented my styled hair. Her focus shifted from my styled tresses to the picture on the wall as she exclaimed, “Mommy, that you!” Her statement was a clear indication she assumed the woman sitting next to her daddy in the picture was someone else!

It has taken nearly 5 years for me to realize that self-care should not be considered a treat. It is a dire necessity. Motherhood is a gift from God, but at times it can also be challenging and tiresome. As mothers, we manage households, transport our children to school, doctor’s visits and extracurricular activities. We clean our dwellings relentlessly. At the end of the day, we are tired. Very tired. Yet, we still muster up the strength to prepare a decent meal and assist our children with homework and baths. We read to them at least one of their favorite stories before the lights are turned off and sweet good nights are rendered. Some of us do this while working full-time, and with or without a spouse. Women truly are phenomenal beings, and we don’t give ourselves enough credit!

I love my husband and children but consider my story a cautionary tale. Marriage and motherhood will change you as a person, and it is okay to embrace many of those changes. They’re beautiful in countless ways, but you must try to maintain some balance in your life or you will fail. Cleave to the fact that you were a unique individual before you became a mother and wife. You once had hobbies, goals, and dreams. They may evolve or change in some ways over time, but they shouldn’t cease simply because a new chapter in life begins.

It is awesome to be a supermom and get the job done. However, it is also okay to have someone care for your children while you enjoy a bit of “protected time.” Invest in yourself and don’t feel guilty about it either. You deserve it!

Make sure you check out my new book that is certain to inspire any child.

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https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baby-boy-what-will-you-be-terquoia-bourne/1128800434?ean=9781732318410

Until Next Time Friends,
The Mommy Behind The Pen

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Freakin’ Socks, Man!

Sock Blog

Am I the only person in the world who has a love/hate relationship with socks? Please tell me I’m not. They are such a nuisance to live with, yet, I dare not be without them. Please allow me the opportunity to vent for a moment. First off, where on earth do socks disappear after they are placed in the washing machine? Is there a sock heaven? Better yet, is there a single sock meetup going on somewhere? If so, please tell me where it is so I can reclaim my kids missing socks.

Honestly, some mornings getting my kids up, fed and dressed is such an arduous task that I hurriedly pick up anything that fits their little feet, shove their shoes on and make a dash for the door. Or at least I did until one day during a conversation with my son’s preschool teacher she informed me he takes his shoes and socks off to scratch his feet after playtime!!! Dang it, what was he thinking? No! What on earth was I thinking, sending my poor child to school with mismatched, overstretched socks? Okay, I will tell you what I was thinking. “He’s going to play in the sandbox, get dirt in shoes and ruin his socks anyway; so, it really doesn’t matter what they look like.” Clearly, I underestimated my son’s ability to embarrass me, and send me into mommy guilt times 1000. Leave it to little Mr. Scratch and Sniff to yank his socks off and scratch to his contentment while the other children are listening intently during story time.

So, what did I do? I did what any utterly embarrassed mommy would do! I hopped on Amazon and bought new socks for the entire family. That’s right, you get new socks and she gets new socks too! Even daddy gets new socks because he is still clinging tight to those hideous tube socks from the 80’s with the grey toe. Babe, this is my public service announcement to encourage you to step into 2018. Ankle socks are now an option.

Not only did I purchase socks for everyone, I bought safety pins as well! Before every wash, I matched everyone’s socks and secured them with a safety pin. For a few weeks, this worked perfectly. Honestly, I thought my sock game was airtight. Everyone’s socks were neatly paired and stowed away in drawers. No more worrying about my son’s socks while he was away at school. I was giving myself imaginary high-fives and doing the cabbage patch in my mind. My triumphant euphoria came to an abrupt halt when I saw my son using his socks as a catcher’s mitt during an indoor game of baseball with his sister. Mind you, he has at least 2 catcher’s mitts in the house. I love that he uses his imagination, but really son, socks? What about a towel or a big sheet of construction paper? Really, I don’t care what he uses, just as long as it’s not socks!

Now let me tell you about the little one in our house that my mom affectionately refers to as “Boss Lady.” My 2-year-old daughter has an affinity for boxing. It’s quite bizarre and entertaining at the same time. Sometimes when we attempt to engage in horseplay with her, or even shower her with affection, she responds with a punch between the eyes. Pray for her. I don’t know where she came from. One day I heard something banging against the sliding (glass) closet door. I hurried to the bedroom only to discover my aspiring Laila Ali throwing swift punches at the closet door with a pair of freshly washed socks on her hands! Darn it! That’s it, I give up! I am finding socks in the toy box too. Now I am contemplating buying socks and putting them under the tree for Christmas instead of toys!

While you are scrolling through check out my new book that is certain to inspire any child.

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https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baby-boy-what-will-you-be-terquoia-bourne/1128800434?ean=9781732318410

Until Next Time Friends,

The Mommy Behind The Pen

Because You’re Never Too Young (or old) to DREAM BIG!

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I am so excited to share with you all my newly published book that affirms children and teaches them that no goal is too great for them to conquer! Now available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Please see links below. Get your copy today! Please share!

https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Boy-What-Will-You/dp/1732318417/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528130740&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+boy+what+will+you+be

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baby-boy-what-will-you-be-terquoia-bourne/1128800434?ean=9781732318410

 

Teach For VIPKID

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Do you have a passion for teaching children? Are you looking to supplement your income? If you answered “yes” to either question then you should definitely consider applying for a teaching position with VIPKID! This rapidly growing company is based in China and provides English instruction to children ages 5-12. The curriculum is developed by VIPKID’s education department, and based on Common Core State Standards.

I have been teaching with VIPKID since March, and it has been awesome. I enjoy teaching the curriculum because it is engaging and requires minimal preparation time. The students are fun and eager to learn. I set my own schedule, and the only requirement is that I make myself available to teach at 7.5 hours a week. In addition, those hours must be scheduled during peak times in Beijing. Teachers can earn additional income through frequent contests and projects, which is also a huge plus. Working for VIPKID has been an awesome opportunity for me to work in my profession while being at home with my children.

Based on my experience VIPKID contacts prospective teachers that they are interested fast! In fact, I applied and received a response regarding the next step in the application process within 24 hours. I have included a link to the website. Check it out! Make sure to pass it on to your friends who are educators!

http://teacher-recruitment.vipkid.com.cn/home.shtml?refereeId=1253262

Until Next Time Friends

The Mommy Behind The Pen

Feel Good Foods

Summer is coming to an end and most children have embarked upon a new school year. Although one can hardly tell by this hot California weather, fall is rapidly approaching. I can’t help but to get excited because the arrival of fall means the holiday season will soon be upon us.

The holiday season is nostalgic for me. Growing up, the holiday season was ALWAYS a very big deal in our home. Friends and family from near and far gathered at our home. We played board games and shared laughs after enjoying a delectable spread of holiday favorites. Food preparation began a week early with never-ending morning trips to the grocery store. Nights were spent dicing vegetables and seasoning meats. When the actual holiday arrived the aroma of buttery candied yams, with a dash of cinnamon consumed the house. Counter tops and tables were filled with desserts and baked goods that were a true labor of love. I say that not only because the food was delicious, but because my parents worked together to prepare the holiday meal. It was their special way of bonding. By the end of the day hearts were consumed with the love of family and friends, and our stomachs were full.

Now, that I have my own little family I want my children to experience all of those special feelings and tasty foods that I enjoyed growing up. However, I must admit. My cooking skills are not even remotely close to skill set of my mother or father. Therefore, I always keep a cookbook nearby. I will also confess that I have even called them incessantly on some occasions to have them talk me through recipes, step by step.

Last fall, I stumbled upon an excellent recipe for buttermilk pie, which is considered a southern comfort food by most Americans. What I like most about this recipe is that it’s nearly fool-proof! There is minimal preparation time, and the ingredient list is very short in comparison to most pie recipes. This recipe is so simple that it is a perfect opportunity to have your  little ones hone their fine motor skills by cracking eggs and pouring. They can also work on their counting skills by measuring. I found this recipe on Facebook under Janet’s Appalachian kitchen. I also found a direct link for the website which is as follows: http://www.janetsappalachiankitchen.wordpress.com.

Nannies Buttermilk Pie

1 3/4 Cup of sugar

1 Stick of unsalted butter (1/2 C.) room temp.

3 Large eggs

1/4 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 Cup of buttermilk

One 9 inch pie shell, unbaked

Cream together the sugar and butter till well blended. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add in the vanilla, salt and flour. Beat in the buttermilk until well combined. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet lined with foil (catches any overflow). Fill the pie shell with the buttermilk mixture, just to the top of the shell. Pour any remaining into an ungreased custard cup. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set until almost cooled before serving. Store covered in the fridge.

Here’s a look at my finished product.

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It was so tasty that my then 2-year-old kept saying “more pie please, mommy !”

What are some of your holiday feel good foods? Let’s swap recipes so that we are all fully prepared to create wonderful dishes and special memories!

Until Next Time Friends,

The Mommy Behind The Pen

Always Believe

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For this child, I prayed. Those were the words that kept resurfacing after I received a phone call from Ellis’s neurologist late last week. I wept throughout the remainder of the day after ending the phone call. Many of you know that this blog was birthed last year after I witnessed a sudden developmental decline in Ellis. I later wrote a post about his diagnosis of seizure disorder. Overall, I continue to see a tremendous improvement in his development. Per therapist recommendation, Ellis was discharged from speech therapy early. He continues to receive in- home therapy services. But I am pleased to report Ellis is again performing at age level and even higher in some areas. The seizures have decreased tremendously. However, I did notice an increase in seizure activity in the months of November and December. It could have been due to the arrival of the new baby. I also noticed some temporary changes in his behavior and sentence patterns during that time. Ellis had his second EEG completed last week. It has been nearly a year since his first EEG was completed and abnormal activity was noted. I went to the appointment extremely optimistic. In fact, I was hoping that the results would be normal, and the doctor would discharge Ellis from his care. I was wrong, very wrong. It showed more abnormal activity than the previous EEG, and medication is now necessary. When I received the news I was upset. Not because I felt sorry for Ellis, but simply because he is and will ALWAYS be my baby. I don’t care if Ellis is 50 years old, he will still be the same baby that I prayed God would bless me with, long before I even learned I was pregnant with him. When things affect our children it is only natural to become emotional. I have talked many times before about my faith in God and that phone call caused me to grip my faith even tighter and pray even harder. I believe in the power of God and I know He can perform miracles. I believe what I am witnessing with Ellis is a miracle in the making. When this all began a year ago it was hard to believe that I would ever hear Ellis talk in sentences, or see him play again. Thankfully, I have seen both of those things ( along with many other things) happen again. Ellis has even gained new skills.

Friends, I want to let you know that challenges come, and at times life is just downright hard! Sometimes we are undeserving of the misfortune and adversity we face. But yet and still believe. As for me, I will follow the doctor’s recommendations because I know that is the responsible thing to do as a parent. However, I will also continue to stand firm on my faith and believe that Ellis will be seizure free one day! I will never stop advocating for Ellis.  I will never stop believing that the silver lining surrounding this dark situation exists. I will never stop challenging Ellis to learn new things and to strive for greatness simply because – for this child I prayed.

Until Next Time,
The Mommy Behind The Pen