Tag Archives: weusi baraka

A Moment in Time

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Wyntr_1month

Hi y’all. Just popping in for a quick minute to let you know that baby girl is a month old now and doing very well! She is such a sweet, easy-going baby and we are so in love. Of course, it’s all about her right now. Eat, sleep, change and repeat. Man, everyone told us that we would need a ton of diapers, but I don’t think anyone explained the collateral damage diapers!! You know, the ones that never actually make it ON the baby because they are getting dirty catching stuff coming OUT of the baby WHILE you are changing the baby. Man … a case of 100+ diapers gone in less than 2 weeks?!?! What the … what?? LOL! But, it’s all good as she’s so worth it. Of course, this laid back demeanor is possible because baby girl is such an angel and Mommy is getting PLENTY of sleep as Pops started taking the night shift at 2 weeks (but think we need to switch off sometimes so Pops can get some quality daylight time).

Okay, gotta go! But, before I do, here are a couple of pics from our newborn photo shoot! Can’t share them all yet as the baby announcements haven’t been sent. But, once they are, I’ll post more!

Lata Gatas!

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The Countdown Continues

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IAN_0355by Weusi

More things on my mind …

  • People take the miracle of pregnancy for granted. Pregnancy isn’t an easy thing. Although science can describe many things about it, there are still moments in the process that happen and science can’t tell you how or why. So many things need to be in alignment for it to happen that it in my eyes it is nothing short of a miracle.

send me a text

28 weeks

  • Because I believe in the Nguzu Saba Principle of Kujichagulia, which is the Kwanzaa principle that says we define ourselves … I am redefining fatherhood … I am calling it DADDYDOM! Because, when you are a daddy, you are responsible for another’s well-being, like a king. The other parallel is that often others look at the position as one of power, but it is really about responsibility. I know this is a little stretch, but it’s a fun word to say … “DADDYDOM!”
  • At the last ultrasound, the technician said that Baby Girl had a head of hair. I feel comfortable doing a ponytail or afro-puffs, but gotta learn how to cornrow hair, do box braids and flat braids now! Awww hell, I’m not fooling anyone … I gotta learn the difference!
  • In the future, more fathers will be called Pops and it will be a term for older fathers that are cool because they are who they are, not because they are trying to be young and cool.
  • I have times when I lack tact. It’s not often, but it happens at times. I think part of it is because I come from a  family where we talked more about being honest and not much about being nice. Being nice was something that was expected as a norm. But “niceness” is something that is taught. How will I teach it? Hmmm … how about, “Do like your mother.”
  • I will have to make more decisions on aesthetics without Shelli’s assistance.
  • The other day, we saw the movie Selma. Without giving anything away, let me just say that everyone should go see this beautiful movie. And don’t get there late because you are trying not to see all the trailers and previews. Make sure that you see it from start to finish! The movie moved me to tears more than once for a variety of reasons. In the end, it was the reality that my generation of Black people is the first to have the FREEDOM to move around the country and to vote. We’ve had the right, but it wasn’t until LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act outlawing public racial discrimination in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that we had the national governments support to engage us to experience these FREEDOMS. Afterward, I cried in anger, sorrow, and in angst. The feeling that I haven’t done enough hurt SOOOOOO bad. My daughter still has to deal with those who are resistant to the dismantling of the “good ol’ boy” systems and have infiltrated the fields of politics, academia, media, military, and underground covert movements in their quest to maintain the ways and ideologies of the Old South. This isn’t a depressing thought. It is inspiring. Please see this movie and allow yourself to be moved to tears and to take action.

  • People take living for granted. Each breath is a gift from God. We shouldn’t just cherish life, but figure out what it is to us as individuals that get us excited about life.

I am thankful for so much and yet I keep asking God for favor and to continue blessing me. I owe God a lot. Everything.

SHiNE

Some of Weusi’s 2014 Highlights … and a Happy New Year!

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then comes
by Weusi

I know that neither of us have been writing much. And I know that many of you will be disappointed that there are no hair tips in this post. But, as many of you may know, we are a little distracted. We have a baby on the way! But as we sit here … Shelli, asleep on her side, with a pillow tucked under her pretty little tummy, I have a computer on my lap and a mind full of words. So … what do I do? I decide to write! The past year has been full of ups and downs. I just want to share a few of my favorite moments …

release the beast on the soccer field

My big lil’ cuz, Ebony E-Boogie Thomas (she’s younger than me but is like 5′ 9″), shared this great pic with me early in 2014 and it’s my favorite #TBT pic … oh, yeah … that’s my pops looking like a light skinned Shaft unleashing a young Weusi on the football/soccer field.

giant stadium super bowl

I worked on the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which was an amazing experience. And I can’t front … Bruno Mars did his thing!

send me a text

Then this happened!

shelli 10 weeks to 24 weeks preggo

THERE IS A PERSON IN THERE …

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And science says she kinda looks like this. We’ll see in a week!

weusi hands up hood up

I know that this isn’t a positive thing in the eyes of many, but it should/could be an empowering and motivational thing for many. The hands up and hood up poses are undoubtedly a piece of history. We’ll see if the USA owns up it is as their history!?!

This also led to one of my favorite musical moments of the year … BE FREE by J. Cole. I love the emotional content he’s able to convey. “All we wanna do it take the chains off. All we wanna do is be free …”

granny neecy weusi f brown

My grandmother turned 100! Here she is with my Aunt Neecy, myself, and her 95 year young brother F. Brown (RIP).

anthony avery weusi and the pumpkin

I won another pumpkin at the pumpkin toss thingy! Thanks for inviting me out to Anthony, Avery and Jaclyn (not pictured)!

jayz and beyonce as frida and basquiat

I can’t front. This is one of the freshest halloween costumes ever! Frida & Basquiat! (i don’t know who Blue is)

My FAVORITE commercial of the year … I’m getting some cold cuts. I laugh out loud EVERY time i see it … and I don’t even eat cold cuts!I think I really enjoy the fact that someone is out there celebrating something that most people see as a mundane, day-to-day occurrence with such exuberance!

weusi overwhelmed at the baby shower

The baby shower. I was kind of overwhelmed at the expressions of love that this baby is coming into. I find myself thankful and humbled almost daily by the well wishes and love from close friends and acquaintances.

And then there is the end of the Colbert Report. That didn’t mean much to me, but the excitement of a powerful performance of a POWERFUL song and the anticipation of new music from Kendrick Lamar has me really looking forward to 2015.

weusi and shelli ugly sweaters

I also wanted to say that I REALLY thank you all for being so supportive of Shelli this past year. We really appreciate your prayers and well wishes. This has been an INCREDIBLE year. God is good! I wish you all the best in 2015!

#SHiNE

The Next Chapter: Third Trimester Update

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25weeks_dressy25 weeks 

I know, I know. I haven’t posted in forever. Again. Sorry. But, now that I have entered my third trimester (29 weeks 5 days as of today), I wanted to come out of blog hibernation to give an update on my pregnancy and answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)!

Q: When is your due date?
A: My due date is officially February 6, 2015. However, due to a prior and significant myomectomy in my early 30s to remove multiple large fibroids, I have to have a Cesarean section at 36 weeks. My doctors don’t want to risk me going into labor or rupturing. So, right now, we are expecting our new arrival on January 16th! It’s kind of crazy for us right now as we were expecting it to be at 37 weeks! Though it’s only a week earlier, we know the time is going to fly with so many things to do, including holiday gatherings, Christmas shopping, showers, and nursery preparation!

Q: Do you know what you are having?
A: Yes. We have known since the last day of week 12.  We are having a girl :). We found out due to a relatively new, non-invasive screening test called MaterniT21 that tests for 4 different chromosome defects, including defects to the X and Y chromosomes. It’s a blood test and they are able to isolate the baby’s blood from mom’s in order to look for defects. I surmise that if they don’t find any Y chromosomes, it’s a girl and if they do, it’s a boy.

babyGC28weeks28 weeks

Q: Do you have a name?
A: Yes. We’ve had that since 13 weeks. But, we are keeping that one on the DL for the most part until little miss lady arrives :). We told our close family and friends though and most seem to really like it. It’s relatively unique, but not difficult or weird (we think. lol!). There is also a reason behind each part of it.

Q: How do you feel?
A:
I have had a great pregnancy! Well, I should say, once I found out I was pregnant, I did! LOL!! The thing is, before I knew I was pregnant, I busted my head in the bathroom (slipped and hit my head behind my ear on the countertop), had a bad allergy attack for two weeks, eye infection, cold sore, and was horribly fatigued for two days. On day two of the fatigue is when I had a twinkling of hope … I went home after work and took an ovulation test (which can detect the pregnancy hormone) and it was positive when I knew I should be getting my cycle in a day or two.  Then, with bated breath, I a real pregnancy test with bated breath. Lo and behold, I was pregnant!!

Anywho, after that, other than being tired earlier than normal, I really have had minimal symptoms. I never had morning sickness, food aversions, rabid cravings, or mood swings. I’ve had sporadic heartburn, but Tums have been adequate to treat that and it’s never been horrible. On occasion, I’ve had a little back pain, which is usually resolved with a few pelvic tilts/ab contractions. The back pain is usually when I feel like baby girl is going through a growth spurt! That is really the worst of it … the distended, stretched, my skin can’t expand any further, stuffed like every day is Thanksgiving feeling that won’t go away with a nap or extended trip to the bathroom, if you know what I’m saying ;-P! LOL!!  But, knowing what symptoms others experience during pregnancy, I’m not complaining! Because, it really has been smooth sailing for the most part!

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Q: What has been your favorite part of being pregnant?
A: Feeling and SEEING baby girl moving has been one of the most miraculous things. Weird. But miraculous. We KNOW that we are so truly blessed to be experiencing this. This is a first child for both Wei and me at 44 and 42, respectively. I always knew that I wanted to get married and have children, but wasn’t in any rush. However, as the years passed, I definitely became nervous, wondering if it would ever happen. The constant bombardment in the media with the “statistics” about getting pregnant after 35 didn’t help. And, I had seen friends and co-workers try for years and using fertility specialists to get pregnant. But, whenever I would feel down, I would see the stories of women having babies over 40 and call up Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT):

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

It would ground me every time. And at 42, in 5 months time, I was pregnant with a healthy baby girl. Some days I still can’t believe that I’m so blessed to be experiencing this. It’s still surreal and I’m awestruck every day. God is so good.

Q: Do you have stretch marks/how do you prevent stretch marks?
A:
So far, so good. I haven’t gotten any stretch marks. But, from what I’ve read, it’s mostly genetic and not prevented by creams and/or butters. However, I do think that controlling my weight gain for the most part and keeping moisturized helps. At 29 weeks, I’ve put on about 16 pounds so far and I have been using a combo of lotion, an oil mix (coconut, jojoba, and castor), and shea butter to lube up each morning. Through the summer and early fall, I only used the coconut oil and shea butter. But once it started getting cool and dry, that just wasn’t cutting it, even when I added the thicker jojoba and castor oils to the coconut oil. My skin would be CRAWLING with itchiness. So, I started using the St. Ives Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter lotion as my first layer, prior to applying the oil mix and shea butter. That helped immediately.

25weeks25 weeks: Linea nigra in effect, but stretch mark free.

Q: Has your navel popped?
A: Y’all, I was not feeling my deep innie belly button popping. Like for real, the idea of it was freaking me out! I’ve heard mixed things on this. Some say their navel never popped, others said it didn’t pop until the last few weeks. There’s a little bit that is out on the top edge of mine, but I think it’s only going to stretch flat as there doesn’t seem to be anything that can pop now. Guess we’ll see!

Q: Have you continued to exercise?
A: Yeah … no. At least, not consistently. I was working out when I first got pregnant, would fall off a couple weeks, start again, stop again, start again, stop again … I’m still on a stop. I just haven’t been focused enough in the morning to get going and at night, I’m too tired. I’m promising myself that once I’m pulled out on disability that I’ll walk at least 15 minutes a day and do yoga as well. At least I can get a month of working out in before the little lady arrives as I know I won’t be able to do too much in those weeks immediately following her birth and the C-section. Fortunately, Wei will be home to help me.

longwalk18 weeks when I was “on.”

Q: What about your diet?
A: 
Yeah. That hasn’t been the best either. It hasn’t been horrible, but I definitely could stand to eat a lot more fruit and vegetables. Though I haven’t had crazy food cravings, I have caved to my sweet tooth far more often than I normally do. Meaning … almost daily. But, I can’t eat a lot at one sitting or I’ll suffer the consequences, so I think that has helped with portion control. That is probably why I haven’t gained excessively. I also tend to have a protein shake with almond milk most mornings, green smoothie style sometimes, water is a must, and I take my pre-natals religiously (I get the free ones from Shoprite and take DHA separately; I take them at night because they made me feel off/a little sick if I took them during the day … plus fish oil tasting/scented burps? Not cute). Oh, and I do have my one cup of instant coffee every morning.

Q: Has your hair grown a ton?! 
A: LOL! So, as a hair blogger who has researched a lot, I knew that pregnancy hormones can cause the hair to “freeze” in the anagen (growth) phase (it’s not the prenatal vitamins ;)). However, I hoped that my hair would continue its normal shedding so that I could be spared post-partum shedding (i.e. the telogen phase resuming en masse 3-6 months delivery). Ummmm … I don’t know how that is going to work out for me. Though my hair has continued to shed, it does look like it’s a lot less than normal. The length hasn’t changed much, but it feels denser in the upper half. So, guess we’ll see.

photo 5-1After 8 weeks of straight hair.
Only washed it twice in that time.
Hence, why it was straight.

Q: Is the nursery ready?
A: No. No it is not. LOL! We know our colors (pale teal and coral, NOT pink) and we have a crib, dresser, rug, bookcase, and paint. But the room and condo still have furniture that needs to go to make room for baby girl (a dresser set, leather couchcoffee table, ottomans, drafting table, and a Lot of size 6 1/2 women’s shoes are up on Craig’s List, if you live in the NJ area and are interested :)!!).

Q: Are you registered?
A: Okay, so I put this one here because I feel like someone is going to ask, not to be self-serving! But, yes, we are registered. It took some doing, but we registered at Buy Buy Baby (with a “personal shopper” in the form of an awesome friend) and Amazon. And let me add this little disclaimer. Weusi had been losing his mind and adding things to both registries late at night, unbeknownst to me. But, I do think it’s cute that he’s so excited and looking forward to our new addition. Oh, and our ground rules? No princess, pink, or glitter. But Batman items are welcome any day in my book ;)! LOL!!

batcaveonesieAlready got gifted a Batman sleeper and Batman onesie with tutu.
Don’t think they’ll be a dirth of Batgear! LOL!!

Q: Are you scared/nervous?
A: We are excited and nervous at the same time. We are preparing as best we can. But we both know that we only know that we don’t know. That being said, we are surrounded by friends and family who support us enormously and know our faith will carry us through. So we ask that you continue to pray for us and that we will bring a happy, healthy baby into this world in a few weeks time. We thank EVERYONE who has shared prayers, a kind word, positive thoughts, encouragement, well-wishes, love … all that. It really means the world to us!

And that’s that! Hope I answered some questions and gave hope to those ladies who may have started to become discouraged due to age and/or relationship status. I’ll leave you with another verse that resonates for me and pray that it will bless you, Isaiah 64:4:

For since the world began, no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him!

28 weeks

Lata Gatas!! 

The Next Chapter …

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shelli announcement

 

And the radio silence ends. LOL. So yeah, I’ve been a little preoccupied … and fatigued … because this happened. Just dropping a quick line to let you all know that the Hairscapades family is about to get bigger by one naturalista in early winter 2015 ;).

We are so very thankful to God for we KNOW that we are beyond BLESSED!! We are humbled by and grateful to Him for allowing us to be part of this miracle.

#NEXTCHAPTER

 

 

 

6 Months Later … Now What?

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IAN_0224by Weusi

In my mind … I’ve been married for a long time. I’d committed myself to Shelli long ago. I didn’t need the government, our friends, or family to validate my love. God knew my heart and my commitment. Shelli also knew I was married … in my mind. I told Shelli all the time, “You’re my wife.” Not in a creepy, over-possessive, “it puts on the lotion” kinda way. Moreso, in a voice of reassurance. Letting her know that my love is forever and that I was committed and wasn’t going anywhere.

Because of my love and commitment to her, when she let me know that a legal marriage would make her happy, I didn’t fight it. I can’t say it was a no brainer though. In my mind, I’m a little revolutionary and can be kind of anti-establishment. When I realized how happy it would make her, I knew what had to be done. Then, on December 12, 2013, I did it. I said those words … “I DO.” And no, I didn’t go the Kevin Hart route and “say it with my chest,” but, I meant it with all my heart. I wake up daily and say it to myself as a reminder. But now what? What happens after “I DO?”

When I decided that I was getting married, I sought wisdom and advice from as many people as I could. I talked to a bunch of people, both male and female, about the dynamic that marriage brings to a relationship. Many of them said that after you say “I do” and the honeymoon is over, things change. And they said that we’ve got to work on learning how to evolve and grow as individuals and together as a unit. The great thing about that is, since we’re both people with positive spirits, positive change is inevitable! AND lucky for us, we plan to live the rest of our lives in a honeymoon like bliss!*

*please do not equate the honeymoon like bliss with ignorant bliss!

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We’ll just have to wait to find out what happens as time goes on. We are 6 months in today and I’m ji like, still excited about it all! I’ll try to keep you posted on things, but y’all should let me know when you would like an update too. Until then (and forevermore), join us as we rejoice in love. And know that we are in honeymoon mode … eternally! At least in my mind!

SHiNE

(p.s. In case you were wondering, “ji like”is not a typo, it is slang for “jive like,” which is DC’centeric slang for “kind of like.”

AND … I’m sorry if you are getting tired of them but … I will continue to write pieces about and use pictures from our wedding … FOREVER! I LOVE SHOWING OFF OUR LOVE!

CLAIMING SPACE: The Man Cave

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IAN_0224by Weusi

I looked back and saw that my first post of 2013 was about claiming space in the madness of a product junky’s bathroom. As we are almost half of the way through the year, and I review my vision and plan for 2014, I think there is a need for another Claiming Space post. This time, it’s about what is called …

“MAN CAVE” noun: humorous 1. a room or other part of a home regarded as a refuge for the man or men of a household.

It’s important that your home feels and looks like a space that you would want to live, BUT if a Man lives with a S.O. (Significant Other), then they know rule #1 is … Keep them Happy to Keep a Happy Home! This may mean that at any given time, when you look around, you may not realize that you even live in a space. This is, in part, due to the FACT that discussion about aesthetic conflicts are more than likely tabled (or trashed) because there will undoubtedly be “more important things to discuss.” Anyway … earlier this year, I visited a friend and he had a new man cave. The wall behind his comfy couch said, “Life is Beautiful.” Some of his other friends thought that this was a little too “soft” in the midst of the lounge chairs, flat screen, and booming bass heavy sound system. But, it made sense to me. It was the man cave of a married man. He’s a happily married man, and little touches like that remind you that there are other things in life that make you happy besides food, drinks, music, and sports. And this is important to remember in the midst of testosterone-filled man cave interactions.

There are a few simple reasons why having a man cave is a goal for me in upcoming months …

1. Solitude: I love Shelli’s smile and sometimes we man cave dwellers need to get away and find a place of comfort and inspiration … without distractions. You know how easily we can be distracted! And sometimes … you just want us to get out of your way!

2. Library: Real men read. ‘Nuff said! stacks of books 3. History: I think of a Man Cave as one of the places that will one day be a historic landmark. “The Office of Weusi Baraka.” “Weusi Baraka Slept Here.” The Man Cave is a museum space. It speaks to your interests, personality, and where the Smithsonian will come to collect archival pieces of one’s history. I want to be able to define how I will be remembered. I want a role in writing my history (see the Kwanzaa principle of Kujichagulia: self-determination).

My dream man cave is part office, part library, part music studio, and part creative laboratory. This sounds fancy, but in its simplest manifestation, this just means it’s a space that has a desk with a computer, pens and paper (I have my analog moments), books, speakers/good headphones, some space to pace and either a dry erase board or a chalkboard. A TV would be cool, but it can be a hindrance. Although a bar would be mandatory for most, there isn’t really a NEED for a bar or furniture because I don’t do well with entertaining, nor do I really enjoy it. I know to some this sounds weird, but I like to be alone at home. I’m kind of an oxymoronic social recluse?!?

I share all this with you because it is important that you know that when you share space with Significant Others and agree to a Man Cave, it’s not because we’re trying to avoid you … It’s because we love you so much that when we share space with you, you easily steal our focus. Sometimes we need to excuse ourselves from the presence of your spellbinding beauty so that we can get things in perspective. A smile is a helluva thing! Ok … and yes … sometimes, we do want to just get away and/or refuel our superpowers. We’re not asking for a Batcave! We just want a spot to go read, play a video game, and/or maybe watch a sport’s game!

BatmanArkhamAsylum_batcave pic(You know he’s reading an e-book in this picture right!?!)

SO … ask me about how my Man Cave planning is going in September!

Oh, and when I say I like to be alone … I mean alone … with Shelli! (We’re still honeymooning newlyweds … what do you expect?) IAN_0357

SHiNE