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Trying to make a decision about an 

intervention during labour? Ask yourself,

and your caregivers, these questions:


How could the recommended course of action help me or my baby?


How would the recommended course of action harm me or my baby?


Are there any other courses of action I could consider?


What are my gut feelings about this?


What happens if I do nothing?


Can you give me some time to consider my choices? Then . . . 


Now that I have the information I need, I'm ready to make a decision.

Source: Lucina Birth Services






Hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire, flood - disaster can hit without warning, and your family could be ordered to evacuate. With a baby to care for, you need to be prepared. Some items you'll want to have in a prepacked duffel bag or backpack:

For the Family Dried foods, energy bars, at least four 1-liter bottles of water, high-calorie canned foods, can opener and eating utensils. More options: flashlights, cash, plastic bags, matches, hats, gloves, rain gear.

For Baby Carrier or sling, meds (e.g., infants' Tyenol0, diapers, baby wipes, a few bodysuits, sweater and blanket. If you're not breastfeeding, pack formula, bottle, baby foods and cereals. -Rachel Ng

{After Labor}

  • Skin-to-skin contact for mother and baby immediately after birth: Have your baby placed on your stomach for skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. He will naturally began to try to nurse within the first hour. Baby doesn't need a bath right away, doesn't need to be weighed right away and doesn't need to be swaddled until after they have had that first successful nursing session. Skin-to-skin will facilitate the first nursing session and will regulate the baby's temperature.


  • Rooming in: Kept  baby in YOUR room at all times. You need your baby with you to nurse as often as you can.


  • Frequent nursing: Nurse constantly in those first hours and days after your baby is born. Every time your newborn makes a peep, feed him.  This helps the milk to come in quickly and it establishes a good supply right from the start.


  • Seek guidance and help immediately: Utilized the lactation consultants at the hospital, getting them to show you how to get a good latch within 12 hours of birth. If your breasts and nipples are sore, uncomfortable or they hurt, ask for help right away, do not wait even a day. Ask lots of questions. It's easier to fix little issues before they turn into bigger problems.                                          Source {Adapted to fit context of my blog}



Avoid Nipple Confusion

Nipple confusion occurs when a baby is bottle-fed too soon, and then forgets how to nurse on mom's nipple. It's not very common, but you can easily avoid it. If you're planning on introducing bottles or a pacifier, wait until baby is between 2 to 4 weeks old. But don't wait too long after that to introduce a bottle or you may have trouble getting baby to accept one.


Should You Wake Baby to Nurse?

Yes, in the first weeks. Newborns need to nurse about eight times a day, with no more than four hours between feedings. To help baby wake, try removing blankets, changing baby's diaper, massaging baby softly, or placing your little one against your skin.


Should You Use Both Breasts?

After breastfeeding for a few weeks, start letting baby drain one breast before switching to the other. The reason? There are two types of milk during each feeding: the thinner, thirst-quenching fore milk, followed by the creamier, fat-rich hind milk. Your baby needs both. If baby finishes only the first breast during a feeding, offer the other breast at the next feeding.


Is Baby Drinking Enough?

So long as your baby is gaining about a pound a month, nursing every two to three hours, and has about six to eight wet diapers a day, you can feel sure your little one's eating all she needs. Good news: By the second month, some babies no longer need night feedings, and may even sleep through the night.


Does Your Diet Affect Baby?

What you eat affects your breast milk, but usually not as much as most new moms think. Generally you can eat and drink what you enjoy, so long as you strive for a healthy, balanced diet.  But steer clear of very spicy or gas-producing foods, and watch for allergy symptoms in baby -- which should appear in the first four to six weeks.


Bonding Without Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is just one way to bond with your baby. The connection between parent and child grows every time you hold and cuddle your infant, each time you talk and sing to him, and with every bath and playtime. If mom plans on pumping for use in bottles after two to four weeks, others can do baby feedings, too. ~Source: Web MD


What are the advantages for mothers of planning a VBAC?

Accumulating cesarean surgeries increases the likelihood of:

  • Placenta previa, placenta accreta, and having the two in combination
  • Severe bleeding
  • Hysterectomy
  • Maternal admission to ICU
  • Maternal need for postoperative assistance with breathing
  • Thromboembolism
  • Ileus
  • Operative injuries
  • Adhesions {Source}



  • That law makes it illegal to sue any vaccine manufacturer in the United States for any reason. Lawmakers and industry lawyers felt that convulsing children have a tendency to generate sympathy amongst jurists, and attorneys actually mentioned this in their justifications. Despite its known risks, the DTP vaccine was sold for use on infants and children for 48 years before the "safer" DTaP formulation was marketed. Wyeth (now Pfizer) blamed the F.D.A. for having an approval process that is too slow, but it was more likely due to the fact that they stalled the process themselves, because DTP is more profitable than DTaP. The newer DTaP vaccine still causes the same brain swelling reaction (encephalitis) that is blamed upon shaken baby syndrome. The biggest change is that it has become illegal to sue vaccine manufacturers, which is an unconstitutional privilege that is shared with no other industry. (Source)
  • As stated in the image above, the United States has the highest vaccination rate in the world, yet we also have the worst infant death rate in the developed world.  (Source)
  • Why Don't You Vaccinate? (Source)













Public Health Doula





 Anyone who has the mental and physical strength to sit through strong, painful contractions without budging a single muscle, in the bent-over, uncomfortable sitting position required for getting an epidural, for 10 long minutes, on a raised bed, under bright fluorescent lights, while a strange, unknown anesthesiologist sticks a large needle in her back, can have an easy attended labor in the comfort of her own home, without any need for pain relief beyond a few Tylenol capsules. This is a fact that needs to be told to her. Source





How often are babies cut during cesarean surgery?


Why you shouldn't "try" to have an unmedicated birth


What to Expect When You Go to the Hospital for a Natural Childbirth

Vitamin K Shot @ Birth? Yes or No


Smear Campaign Against Midwives

Why do Women Pay Dearly for CSection for Rest Of Their Lives


A Few Simple Truths About ADHD and Stimulant Drugs

The Child Who Never Sits Still


How Public Education Cripples Our Kids, and Why


A Breech Vaginal Birth With Pictures

How We Hate Women

Estimated Due Dates

Vaccine Exemptions 

58 Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk

Most Drugs Never Tested for Safety in Children

CDC Lying About Safety of Tetanus Vaccine in Pregnancy






I Can Teach My Child

  • What to Expect When You're Expecting: 4th Edition
    What to Expect When You're Expecting: 4th Edition
    by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
  • The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy
    The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy
    by Kimberly Seals-Allers
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     Trying to breastfeed anywhere outside

    of my home is often a challenge. Here

    is a list of the unconventional places I've

    had to breastfed Lil' D.


    • -On a marble bench in the main lobby of City Hall in Newark
    • -In the backseat of my car in a Walmart parking lot
    • -In a bathroom stall, sitting on a toilet in a Christmas Tree Shop
    • -This one is pumping on an Amtrak train on the way to Baltimore
    • -Walking down 6th Avenue in Manhattan with Lil' D in my arms-- walking and nursing









    {1} Bottle-fed babies - no matter what they're drinking - don't self-regulate their intake the way breastfed babes do, and this can lead to obesity. Bottle-fed babies are overfed by an average of 25%, research shows. 


    {2} DVDs for tots are hot-selling items, but don't expect your toddler to learn from them. In fact, those who had watched such DVDs from an early age scored lower on vocabulary tests. It could be that too much screen time interferes with the activity that really does promote language acquisition in babies: having real people talk to them. - S.R. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine


    {3} A breastfed baby will begin to have six to eight bowel movements daily, a few days after birth. If your baby is formula-fed, he will likely have one to two stools per day. 


    {4} Permanent growth in a woman's foot . . . can occur from the release of the same hormone, relaxin, that allows the pelvis to open to deliver the baby. It makes the ligaments in your feet more flexible, causing feet to spread wider and longer - Marybeth Crane, DPM, FACFAS, a Dallas-area foot and ankle surgeon.


    {5} Any other position, like squatting or standing up, is the best way to go rather than lying on one's back. This gives the mother a better allowance for movement and it results to a less painful, easier delivery.


    {6} Nearly 3,700 elective c-sections must be performed on women with an estimated fetal weight of 4500g (9 lbs., 15 oz.) to prevent ONE case of permanent brachial plexus injury to a child. ~Rouse DJ, Owen J, Goldenberg RL, Cliver SP. The effectiveness and costs of elective cesarean delivery for fetal macrosomia diagnosed by ultrasound. JAMA 1996;276:1480-6.


    {7}Many mothers do not realize that they have the right to refuse ANY intervention , including tests, induction, heparin locks (IV’s), fetal monitoring, epidurals, pain medication and cesareans. It is your choice to deliver your baby in a hospital. It is your choice to consent to each and every step along the way. ~Avoid an Unnecesarean


    {8} Think twice about getting an epidural. Epidurals, known for slowing labor, inhibit and often prohibit your ability to use gravity to your advantage by getting off your back to push. Squatting, standing or sitting in labor helps to open your pelvis. Going with your body’s natural urge to push can prevent coached or “purple” pushing and consequent tearing or generous episiotomies. ~Avoid an Unnecesarean


    {9} IV fluids can cause over-hydration and edema in the breasts. It is speculated that this prevents the milk from coming in. Antibiotics can cause thrush in your breasts, which makes nursing very painful. In some cases these are both required or necessary and receiving them does not mean that you won't be able to nurse your baby.  Drink lots of water and stay hydrated during labor and if an IV is required by the hospital ask if you can get a heparin lock instead. Source

    {10} Regarding blood loss during birth, she mentions that average loss is 300-500 mil and over 500 is considered a hemorrhage. She then notes that during a cesarean the average loss is 1000 mil. Reading that, I thought so essentially with a cesarean you have a 100% chance of a uterine rupture AND a 100% chance of a hemorrhage. Source

    {11} Did you know? In the early '90s, Cytotec (misoprostol) was used to induce labor in women who had previously had a c-section.  This resulted in thousands of women with ruptured uterus'.  This practice was abandoned in 1999, and this same drug is now used for abortions. {Source}

    What’s best for women is best for babies and what’s best for women and babies is minimally invasive births that are physically, emotionally, and socially supported. This is not the kind of experience that most women have. In the age of evidence based medicine, women need to know that standard American maternity care is not primarily driven by their health and well-being or by the health and well-being of their babies. Care is constrained and determined by liability and financial considerations, by a provider’s licensing regulations and malpractice insurer. The evidence often has nothing to do with it. Source


    Racism + Black Women + PreTerm Labor

    African-American women are significantly more likely to lose a baby in the first year of life than white women, in an enduring medical mystery. It exists at all income and education levels, but is widest among more affluent, highly educated women. A college-educated black woman in the United States is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with only a high school education. An African-American woman who starts  in her first trimester is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with late or no prenatal care. A black woman who does not smoke has worse birth outcomes than a white woman who smokes. Read more here.

    I am currently in the ninth month (36 weeks) of my third pregnancy. At 33 weeks I experienced the biggest scare of my life when I began to show signs of preterm labor. On Sunday night, during one of my fifteen nightly trips to the bathroom, I noticed I was spotting. I told myself I would wait until the morning to see if the spotting continued. Sure enough I woke Monday morning, with heavier spotting, unusual pelvic pressure, and contractions. I immediately called my midwife and was given a 9:00 am office appointment. At the appointment I was placed on the tocodynamometer to monitor any contractions. After an hour of showing no signs of contractions, I was given a fetal fibronectin test (FFT). During this exam my midwife noticed the bleeding and said I was 2cm dilated. She gave me a speech about the data showing Black women have high rates of preterm labor, but Black baby girls in NICU fare better than any other race of babies. At the end of her disquisition she got on the phone with the hospital to tell them she was sending me with my FFT to get a sonogram, steriods, and blood tests.


    In the end, I had a negative FFT, but was put on modified bed rest for three weeks (until week 35). This experience lead me to do more research on the disparity pre term births in African American women. Below are some of the facts I've found during my preliminary research.


    What is preterm labor?!

    Preterm labor is the birth of a baby at less than 37 weeks gestation. According to the CDC's website here,


    "an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year. In 2014, preterm birth affected about 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States... Preterm birth is the greatest contributor to infant death, with most preterm-related deaths occurring among babies who were born very preterm (before 32 weeks). Preterm birth is also a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children. A developing baby goes through important growth during the final weeks and months of pregnancy. Many organ systems, including the brain, lungs, and liver need the final weeks of pregnancy to fully develop."

    What are the consequences of preterm birth?!

    There is a higher risk of serious disability or death the earlier the baby is born. Some problems that a baby born too early may face include—

    Preterm births also may cause emotional and economic burdens for families. Learn more about preterm birth.


    What are the stats worldwide?!

    Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born (Source). In 2014, the premature birth rate in the United States was about 9.6%. The percentage of premature births in the United States has decreased 8% since 2007; however, large differences in risk of preterm birth remain for racial and ethnic groups. In 2014, black infants were about 50% more likely to be born preterm than white, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander infants. 

    The infant mortality rate among black infants is 2.4 times higher than that of white infants, primarily due to preterm birth. In the United States, the risk of preterm birth for Non-Hispanic black women is approximately 1.5 times the rate seen in white women. 

    The 10 countries with the greatest number of preterm births:

    • India: 3 519 100
    • China: 1 172 300
    • Nigeria: 773 600
    • Pakistan: 748 100
    • Indonesia: 675 700
    • The United States of America: 517 400
    • Bangladesh: 424 100
    • The Philippines: 348 900
    • The Democratic Republic of the Congo: 341 400
    • Brazil: 279 300

    The 10 countries with the highest rates of preterm birth per 100 live births:

    • Malawi: 18.1 per 100
    • Comoros: 16.7
    • Congo: 16.7
    • Zimbabwe: 16.6
    • Equatorial Guinea: 16.5
    • Mozambique: 16.4
    • Gabon: 16.3
    • Pakistan: 15.8
    • Indonesia: 15.5
    • Mauritania: 15.4

    Why are African America women more prone to preterm labor?

    "The more complex answer, some researchers say, has to do with stress - not only during pregnancy but during a lifetime of being black in America. Stress elevates certain hormones that are known to trigger labor; it may increase susceptibility to infections that are linked to premature delivery." {Source here}

    As I do more research on the topic I will post interesting findings on the blog. Until then be well, stay healthy, and enjoy each day as if it were your last.




    Vaccinated Shedding

    Interesting video, with research based evidence that addresses the question, "Are virus outbreaks due to the unvaccinated?"



    Is Annual Pap Necessary?!

    This morning I read an article published on Slate.com titled, "Doctors are examining your genitals for no reason". Author, Amanda Hess, introduces new research presented in the Annals of Internal Medicine that states the following:

    there is no established medical justification for the annual procedure. After scouring nearly 70 years of pelvic exam studies, conducted from 1946 to 2014, the researchers found no evidence that they lead to any reduction in “morbidity or mortality of any condition” among women. In light of the study, the American College of Physicians, a national organization of internists, has crafted a new set of guidelines warning doctors that exams conducted on otherwise symptomless women can “subject patients to unnecessary worry and follow-up” and can “cause anxiety, discomfort, pain, and embarrassment, especially in women whohave a history of sexual abuse.”

    Now this excerpt had me think of all the poking and probing I have experienced since leaving the care of my pediatrician. "In 2010, doctors performed 62.8 million of these routine pelvic examinations on women across America. In total, gynecological screenings cost the U.S. $2.6 billion every year." As with most of the "interventions" proposed by this country's medical profession is this about women's preventative care or the all mighty dollar?!

    Other article tidbits:

    In 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society released new recommendations suggesting that women should undergo routine pap smear tests every three years, not once a year.


    And in 2009, the USPSTF changed its stance on routine mammograms, recommending that women begin undergoing mammograms at age 50, not 40, and that they do them every two years, not every year.

    Please read full article here.


    The Contracting Power of the Uterus 

    We think in pictures and we should be painting accurate pictures. The cervix nor the vagina bloom. The cervix is not a zip lock bag. The purpose of labor is NOT the creation of an opening or a hole... The purpose of labor contractions and retractions is to BUILD the fundus, which will, when it is ready, EJECT the baby, like a piston. Without a nice thick fundus there is no power to get baby out....the cervix does not dilate out....it dilates UP as a result of the effort to pull muscles up into the uterus to push muscles up to the fundus. The cervical dilation is secondary to that. The cervix is pulled up as a result of the building of the fundus. Assigning a number to cervical dilation is of little consequence and we make a huge mistake by interpreting progress or predicting time of birth to that number. Any experienced midwife or OB can tell you that the cervix can be manipulated and that a woman whose cervix is at 7 could have the baby in a few minutes or a few hours. 

    If more providers and educators knew the truth about birth physiology, we could make a huge difference for mothers. What is important is to keep her well supported for the purpose of the appropriate chemistry, to keep her well hydrated and nourished for muscle strength, and to believe in her. We should be supporting her so that her physiology and that of her baby are unhindered, so they can finish what they started. 

    We should not be measuring, poking, or interpreting her labor. THIS CHANGE in teaching about labor could make such a difference for women who are imagining what is happening in their bodies during labor. How much more strength might they have if they have an accurate picture?"

    Source: Carla Hartley



    Catching Up in 2015

    It's been almost nine months since I've blogged and I have so much to share. I am going to definitely use this as a platform to share my daily journey through life with two little ones and a hubby, but I will add the bonus element of sharing my views on the current state of the world. So much heartache and strife is rapid and I just need to let go, release, and put my opinions in the mix. Get ready because I plan to be candid, to the point, and I'm sure offensive to someone out there. 

    Here are some pics of the family from the last nine months.

    SJ's recital where they said a prayer for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    Shelby's bday party



    Mommy's 34th BDay weekend

    Mother's Day

    Mommy's LEAP Graduation


    CC is 2 Years Old

    Our little CC is two years old!!












    Daniella is 4!!

    SJ is four years old! It's quite bizarre how time seems to be on steriods. Our first born is officially a self-proclaimed big girl.


    Adventures at the Plaza



    Our 6th Anniversary

    Today D and I celebrate the covenant we made to each other, our families, and future children on January 18, 2009.

    Loving him has been the challenge of a lifetime. I think there is something to be said about the relationship dynamics of mates who are both oldest children. According to Women's Day:

    The ultimate political power couple, two firstborns, is a classic combination of control, dominance and striving. Two firstborns often butt heads, says Cane, because both want to be in control of every situation. “They may fight over what movie to see, how to raise the children, where to live.” All relationships have these issues, of course, but these two strong personalities, used to getting their own way, may feel them more intensely. Source

    COMPROMISE has been the key to getting over many hurdles in our relationship. This past year has been the most chaotic and turbulent for us as a couple. It's been a true testament to UNCONDITIONAL love and compromise, and just understanding that our end goals are the same. Like I always say, you have to go through some heavy shit (my last curse, because my sister says I cuss too much) in order to truly experience life and love to its maximum capabilities. Many will disagree with this sentiment, but the proof is in the pudding. As long as you keep it on the Wheel of Equality and maintain a healthy nonviolent relationship things will be productive (the reference is to a workshop on Healthy Teen Relationships I just had with my students). The key is shared responsibilty, negotiation and fairness, RESPECT, trust and support, non-threatening behavior, ECONOMIC partnership, HONESTY and accountability, and RESPONSIBLE parenting.  



    As a math teacher and lover of science I'll relate our sixth year of marriage to Newton's three laws of motion.

    Law one states an object will continue to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. The eighteen month process of selling our house came to a head towards the middle of the year. It required us to pack nine years of our life in a sixteen foot  POD in two weeks and vacate our home. All while finishing our school year, launching my new company, and managing two little ones. Oh I forgot to mention we moved into a one bedroom apartement. YES hunty! Close to 3,000 square feet to 600! Before deciding on the apartment we wrote down S.M.A.R.T goals for the next 36 months. S.M.A.R.T goals are definited as goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound. These goals have kept us focused and moving with a constant speed in the direction of house number two, in spite of any bumps and hurdles.


    Law two states that the more force acting on an object, the more the object will accelerate. Our driving force for 2014 was to sell our house and begin the process of acquiring our "dream house". We pushed the limits of our comfort zones by moving into a one bedroom, but it was a sacrifice that was vital to ensuring our goal of a second house. Thankfully our children as small and don't require their own personal space, so it works. With cheap rent and no more house related expenses we are accelerating to reaching new heights.


    Law three states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Oh how we've learned this one! The months before our big move we contemplated taking the easy route and just stop paying the mortgage and let the bank dictate what was to become of us. After researching the many outcomes of such an action we chose to start the process of a short sale. We kept in mind that our mortgage was underwater and our hands were tied. We knew without a doubt that we did not want our children to grow up in our current "neighborhood", primarily due to the ever increasing taxes and poor schools. The action was an upsetting move, the reaction was a great burden being lifted from our shoulders in the way of true financial freedom. 


    We welcomed 2015 with open hearts and ready to face the challenges of a new year. I truly feel privileged and favored to have such a loyal, supportive guy by my side. Birth order and all. Cheers to another year of marriage!


    Our Visit to Thomas Edison National Historical Park

    Being a historical fact finder and interested in anything to do with people of African descent I decided the family should visit Thomas Edison's home and laboratory. What I know of Edison was that he used the U.S. Patent office to take the credit for many inventions he himself did not produce. I wanted to see how this National Historical Park would portray him (factually or fictionally) and I was curious to see if any mention of Lewis H. Latimer would be on display. Welp . . . you can probably guess the answer to that one . . . nope. Who is Latimer you say? Well he was an amazing, Renaissance man who helped create the electric industry as we know it in the 21st century. He was also a Black man living in the late 19th century. 


    Let's give a list of Latimer's contribution to the world:

    • Was the draftsman who drew the blueprints for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone in 1878. Source
    • Three years later, in 1881, he and assistant Joseph Nichols were the first persons to receive a patent for the direct forerunner to today’s commonly used light bulb. Prior to this, the electric lamp by Thomas Edison and others had no real practical use because it could not emit light for an extended period. But the new light bulb by Latimer (with assistant Nichols) used a revolutionary method of manufacturing carbon filaments that produced light for effectively extended periods. It was because of this ingenious invention that Latimer was asked by numerous countries, states, and cities — including Philadelphia — to write an instruction manual (which he did in 1890) and to supervise the installation of incandescent light plants. In addition, it is quite interesting that he was the original draftsman for Edison (inventor of the 1879 temporary electric lamp) who relied on Latimer as the expert witness in Edison’s patent infringement suit. Source


    • In 1890, Latimer published a book entitled Incandescent Electric Lighting: A Practical Description of the Edison System.


    • “Latimer invented and patented a process for making carbon filaments for light bulbs,” and helped install broad-scale lighting systems for New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. Latimer holds the patents for the electric lamp, issued in 1881, and for the “process of manufacturing carbons” (the filament used in incandescent light bulbs), issued in 1882. Source


     Needless to say, in negating his existence the powers that be continue the notion that Blacks Lives truly Don't Matter, even when the evidence and history proves otherwise. As I walked through Glenmont, Edison's home, I wondered how often Latimer and his family were able to dine in such a fine home. Also, was Latimer able to live just as lavishly, being the master draftsmen and all. Question, if you can draw the plan and write a book about it, how is someone else allowed to take credit for it?! Anyway, the girls had a blast and once they are older I will tell them the story of Latimer and Tesla as well. 



    Halloween 2014

    For Halloween this year we ventured to South Orange for trick-or-treating. This was the girls' first experience dressing up in costume and going door-to-door. It was extremely windy, but they seemed oblivious to the climate. 


    SJ was an Indian princess.

    CC was a Penn State cheerleader.

    Thanks PopPop for the cheerleading custome





    My Visit to Flushing, Queens

    My coworkers decided to visit Flushing in search of the best pork dumpling from one of the various food vendors in Flushing. They did the research on Yelp and off we went on the 7 train to the last stop in Queens.

    We started our journey at Long Island City's Court Square stop and went to Flushing-Main Street.

    After an uneventful forty minute ride we exited the train station to the sites of fruit stands, crowded sidewalks, and Asian language storefront signs.

    Mrs. Bag Lady: I can't go anywhere with out at least three bags.

    After trekking to street stalls we settled at the Crazy Cab for wine and more good eats.

    As you see my protective style for the summer was a donut bun at the top of my head. I attempted to do other styles, but this was the easiest.

    The Burmese Salad was great!







    Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and My Classroom

    Our school year is coming to a close and the summer break is finally on the horizon. As I reflect on my "teaching" year all I can do is shake my head. I'm shaking my head to rid myself of the negative thoughts and feelings about my effectiveness as a teacher in my current assignment. This was a challenging year. I have reached my tolerance level for the classroom. What I mean is I no longer feel I can do my job effectively without loosing a part of myself. My job is no longer psychologically safe for me. The students I "teach" are so in need of so many things . . . loving parents, educational advocates, a warm bed, therapist, and psychologist. As I think about the behaviors that many of them exhibit I reflect on Dr. DeGruy research. My work in my school always leads me to think about this research. Dr. DeGruy. She developed a term called Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. 

    WHAT IS P.T.S.S.?
    P.T.S.S. is a theory that explains the etiology of many of the adaptive survival behaviors in African American communities throughout the United States and the Diaspora. It is a condition that exists as a consequence of multigenerational oppression of Africans and their descendants resulting from centuries of chattel slavery. A form of slavery which was predicated on the belief that African Americans were inherently/genetically inferior to whites. This was then followed by institutionalized racism which continues to perpetuate injury.

    Thus, resulting in M.A.P.:

    • M: Multigenerational trauma together with continued oppression;
    • A: Absence of opportunity to heal or access the benefits available in the society; leads to
    • P: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. {Source}

    Under such circumstances these are some of the predictable patterns of behavior that tend to occur {all of which I see in my students on a daily basis}:


     Vacant Esteem


     Insufficient development of what Dr. DeGruy refers to as primary esteem, along with feelings of hopelessness, depression and a general self destructive outlook.

    Marked Propensity for Anger and Violence
    Extreme feelings of suspicion perceived negative motivations of others. Violence against self, property and others, including the members of one’s own group, i.e. friends, relatives, or acquaintances.

    Racist Socialization and (internalized racism)
    Learned Helplessness, literacy deprivation, distorted self-concept, antipathy or aversion for the following:

    • The members of ones own identified cultural/ethnic group,
    • The mores and customs associated ones own identified cultural/ethnic heritage,
    • The physical characteristics of ones own identified cultural/ethnic group.


    Below is a video of a lecture in which Dr. DeGruy discusses her research:


    Visit to the Green Festival 2014

    We ventured into the City to attend the Green Festival at Pier 94. The Festival is "America's Largest and Longest-Running Sustainability and Green Living Event". The mission and vision of the Festival 

    Mission and Vision:

    Green Festival is inspiring and empowering consumers, communities and businesses to work green, play green and live green.

    At Green Festival, we are committed to:

    • Showcasing the best and latest green products and services in the market
    • Making ‘green’ practical, viable and accessible to everyone by promoting sustainability in everyday life choices and actions
    • Providing the ultimate marketplace for green brands and consumers who want to integrate sustainability into their lives
    • Striving to be a zero-waste marketplace where consumers can be assured that companies are committed to environmental sustainability
    • Representing a diverse, sustainable community that is socially and environmentally responsible
    • Encouraging companies to adopt green and fair trade principles through Green America’s certification process
    • Supporting vegan-vegetarian diets that are focused on organic, non-GMO and local artisanal foods as part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle
    • Serving as a launching pad for Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and consumer programs in sustainability



    Mother's Day 2014

    For Mother's Day this year we went to the Manor in West Orange for a dinner buffet. The food was great and there was an extensive selection. We were even able to eat in peace, as the girls where on their best behavior.


    The Manor



    Happy Birthday 2 Me!

    Today I opened my eyes (at 4:09 am) and my first thought was to thank the Creator for my life. A life I have purposely structured (as an adult), guided by hard work, optimism, and love. In my 33 years of life the hardest lessons for me to learn centered around me accepting myself as simply, Onida LM Haskett-Cruz.


    Let me explain, I've never had low self-esteem or confidence issues, I am referring to my acceptance of  the fact that I am more than a lot of people are used to. Not to be conceited or narcissistic in anyway, but it's the truth. No longer do I try to "fit" in or stifle myself to be more like everyone else. How I see it most people are just complacent with being average, so they do average shit then throw shade at you for doing more. You feel me?! I will always be that person that is "Doing To Much" or "Overly Ambitious" or "Busy". Why because when my last day is on the horizon I want my loved ones to know and see that I was never afraid of change and I always did exactly what I dreamed of doing. Mama got dreams to fulfill and a mission to accomplish.  


    This birthday commemorates my fifteenth year as an adult. I looked back at my journal from 1999 and read the goals I had for myself. As is my nature, I accomplished most of them with the exception of being a millionaire by age 35 and learning to speak fluent Spanish and Japanese {working on Spanish goal}. Birthdays always make me feel nostalgic and hypersensitive, mainly because my loved ones make each one very special for me. In this life of  constant struggle and strife I have been blessed. Blessed to have the support of an amazing family. Blessed to have the love and loyalty of an amazing husband who make me feel "so God damn fine". And blessed with my greatest accomplishments to date, my precious baby girls. Happiness is truly a journey and I am walking on the road. Life is truly what you make it and I'm making mine as outstanding as I can. My anthem for the last couple of months has been "Flawless" by Beyonce. In the world of one of my students, this song "Gives Me Life".


    33 is a grand old age. It is considered Christ's number because he died at this age. According to numerology, it is often thought to be a powerful and mystical number. The life path of 33:

    People with the life path of 33 are born to lead others in an influential manner. Their view of the world is what others will aspire to. The life path of 33 can influence a person toward being a teacher, pastor, an author or some other form of educator. Some people will look at those with a 33 life path as a messiah to their life. The number is most powerful in the manner that it can uplift others. Some refer to the number as the "sunshine on a rainy day" or the "silver lining in a cloud". The life path brings wisdom beyond age and a devotion to inspiring others. Source


    Be blessed and Happy Birthday to Me! I'll sip a strawberry mojito and eat a box of Trader Joe's macaroons in honor of being 33.

    turning 24

    Turning 25

    Turning 27

    Turning 28Turning 29

    Turning 30Turning 31Turning 32


    CC is One!!

    Our little CC is one year old! Time has gotten away from us and before we knew it our little one went from a baby to a screaming, bubbly toddler in a blink of an eye. I feel bad because I haven't even planned her first birthday party yet. In the next two weeks I will get something together for her, I'm thinking a beach themed soiree.