Day at the Park

4.28.17-slide14.28.17-park24.28.17-park4.28.17-slide3

Click any of the photos above to watch our day at the park!

Photography by Crystal Iman — April 2017

Advertisements
Day at the Park

Details

cowrie

I’ve been incorporating cowrie shells and gold cuffs into my hairstyles lately. In my opinion, not only are the shells beautiful but they play a fascinating role in our history.

Did you know that cowrie shells are considered to represent womanhood and fertility because of their vulva shape? They are also viewed as symbols of healing, protection, the power of destiny, and wealth.

It’s said that many slaves carried the shells, onto the plantations of southeastern America, from the coast to remind them of their African lives and identity. Interestingly enough, European slave traders also bought slaves using cowrie shells as currency.

— Crystal Iman

Details

Procrastination.

A while ago I read a great quote, by Leonardo Da Vinci, that says, “…people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

There are numerous times that I’ve held myself back due to procrastination. It’s nobody’s fault but my own for not following through with things left undone, especially when it comes to my artwork. But, I have managed to have a brighter outlook, and I’m vivaciously working toward completing my new goals.

You don’t want to be your own biggest downfall. You can’t be afraid of failure, and you can’t be afraid to fail if you haven’t tried.

FYI, I’m the person that will do loads of research before getting started on a new venture. And of course, I’ll stumble over text that will stand out and make me rethink everything about my “bright idea”. But, then I have to remember to not be afraid to take risks.

Stop finding excuses to not get things done and just do it! Once you have outlined what it is that you’re jumping into, it’s time for you to make your move. You should know better than anyone else your strengths and weaknesses. You’ve done the research. You’ve studied the greats. What’s holding you back now?

Try completing something you started but found an excuse not to finish. Today, I challenge you to jump over the roadblock that’s holding you back from running full steam ahead.

Your time is now!

Thank you for reading. Please comment and share with your friends and family.

– Crystal Iman

Ps. It’s great to be resourceful, but don’t share your ideas or aspirations with everyone. Practice some discretion. There will be people in life that aren’t always happy for you – just being honest.

 

Procrastination.

Early Terrible Twos?

TumblingKimani

Ugh. It was bound to happen. Right?!

She hasn’t always acted so defiant.

Her falling and rolling on the floor in tears is the last thing I want to deal with.

I think it’s time to show her who’s boss, because it’s definitely not her in her little 2T pants.

I’m guessing that she’s hit her “Terrible Twos” and she’s not even two-years-old yet! But hey, 18-months is close enough.

Woosah! This behavior is considered normal.

My daughter Kimani Lee is at the age where she’s talking, but she can’t quite articulate everything she wants to say. Therefore, she gets frustrated with me when I don’t understand her.

But her screaming and crying…  No ma’am. Not today.

Honestly, I just think at times that she’s trying to test her limits, but Kimani needs to understand that my rules are to be followed.

I encourage exploration. I want Kimani to have fun while learning and further develop her imagination. But there are boundaries set for her protection. Even if it’s not safety related, there is a reason behind everything. I’m sure the lesson of “Mama knows best” will never get old in our household.

I have to put everything into perspective. She’s actively testing her newfound mobilities to navigate in this big world. And I will have to be consistent and remain patient, because this is common behavior for toddlers at this stage.

This is all part of her growing independence. My baby isn’t quite a baby anymore.

Thank you for reading. Please comment and share with your friends and family.

– Crystal Iman

 

Early Terrible Twos?

DIY: How to Make Cupcake Toppers

For my baby girl’s 1st birthday, she had a Sesame Street themed party. And of course, I had to keep it creative and make custom cupcake toppers with her favorite character Elmo!

cupcake1

They were super easy and fun to make. Cute, right?!

Here are instructions on how to make your very own…

What you will need:

  1. card stock paper
  2. scissors
  3. glue stick
  4. tape
  5. toothpicks

Instructions:

  1. First, you will need to decide on a design. There are tons of free printable designs offered online, but you can freestyle and make your own. I suggest printing on cardstock paper, because that is what I used to create my toppers.
  2. Once you have decided on a design, what you will need to do next is make multiple copies of the image based upon how many toppers you plan to make. For example, you will need two of the same image for 1 topper.
  3. Cut out the design and tape a toothpick to the back of it. Then, take the duplicate design and glue it to the back of the piece you taped the toothpick to. Make sure to perfectly align the images when you glue them together.
  4. And now, your topper is ready for a cupcake!

Wasn’t that easy?!

cupcake2

Of course, mine are a little more intricate compared to what’s shared in the instructions. Only because I used different colored cardstock paper to create Elmo’s features, by gluing piece by piece to create a full face. I also used a stencil to create the block letter “K” and the number “1”.

Hopefully, you were able to follow my instructions. If not, I hope I was able to at least inspire you.

– Crystal Iman

Extra: Other Party Decor Details…

IMG_2629

DIY: How to Make Cupcake Toppers

My Breastfeeding Experience: The Transition from Nipple to Bottle, What Happened and Didn’t Happen

Before giving birth to my 8-pound, 1-ounce baby girl, I was overly concerned about whether or not I was going to be able to breastfeed. Nursing turned out not to be a problem at all, it came to me with ease. But weening her from my breasts to the bottle, when it was time to return to work was not the easiest task.
IMG_2547
As a first time mom, I wanted to fully experience the joys of breastfeeding. During my pregnancy I learned about the benefits of breastfeeding, which motivated me to try it with my newborn. As you may have heard before, mother’s milk is truly “liquid gold.” Mother’s milk provides essential nutrients that can’t be found in formula milk. Breastfeeding also helps a new mom to lose a couple of pounds. And it’s readily available, so it saves time and money. On average breastfeeding can help a mother save over $1k in the first year, which would have been spent on formula. And most importantly, nursing creates closeness between the mother and child with its skin-to-skin interaction. But what happens when your newborn baby becomes so adapt to your breast, that he/she doesn’t want to transition to a bottle?

I first introduced my daughter Kimani Lee to a bottle at 3-weeks-old. With her first bottle down, I thought that this would be as easy as breastfeeding. But she fooled me wrong. Every bottle following her first she would refuse, and I had a freezer full of milk that I had pre-pumped and stored. I tried introducing different bottle brands and nipples, and giving her freshly pumped milk. I even tried having my daughter’s grandmother give her a bottle while I was in another room, and she took one bottle but refused the next at the following feeding time.

My baby started daycare at 3-months-old, because I had to return to work. My thoughts were, “it’s my milk in this bottle, if she gets hungry enough she’ll drink it!” But luckily I have a patient daycare provider, because Kimani was still being stubborn and refusing the bottle. It was considered a good day for us, if she would even take an ounce or two.

Practicing at home practically turned into a comedy show. She would play with the nipple of the bottle against her gums, and just smile and giggle. And of course, I was still giving her my breasts, because she had to get her fulfillment from somewhere.

By no means did it look like my baby was missing any meals with her chubby stomach and full cheeks, although she was practically starving herself at daycare waiting upon my return. I was concerned with her lack of milk consumption while at daycare, so I asked her pediatrician for advice on feeding at our next doctor’s visit.

I was informed at our doctor’s appointment that her refusal of the bottle was not a major issue, because she was on target for her weight. I was also advised to keep practicing with the bottle at home, and informed that the introduction of solid foods was right around the corner.

Oddly enough, my daughter started latching onto the bottle two days after her doctor’s visit. Kimani Lee is now 4-months-old and drinking all of the bottles I pack for daycare. I truly believe she caught on because she was constantly seeing other babies drink from their bottles, and wanted to be able to do what they were doing.

Transitioning to a bottle with a newborn can be frustrating, but I have learned that patience is key. And I encourage other mother’s going through the same predicament to remain patient and calm as well. I also recommend, that if you are concerned about your child’s weight or feeding habits, please do not hesitate to contact a pediatrician.

Inhale. Exhale. It’ll be okay.

Let’s fast-forward…

At 13-months old Kimani transitioned smoothly from bottles to sippy cups. She still prefers nursing when she is with me, and gives her daycare provider no problems when it comes to eating and drinking.

Yes, you read that right. She is still nursing.

She almost has a full set of teeth, and is a pro at latching without biting. Thank God.

At home, I feed her solid foods and she loves water from her sippy cup. She’s also getting better at drinking from an open cup. She’s never been a fan of diluted juice, which I am perfectly fine with. The more water she has the better!

drinking collage.png

I promised myself that she was going to be done breastfeeding once she had her first birthday, but of course that did not go as planned. Kimani is extremely demanding with breastfeeding. I tried restrictive clothing, and she would pull at my top and beat my chest in a tantrum.

I know at this point she prefers nursing more for pacifying herself rather than for my milk. It was extremely easy to recognize, because she always depends on nursing to calm her down when she’s fussy.

Since Kimani’s 1st birthday, she’s also tried cow’s milk. But let’s just say she prefers mommy’s milk more than anything.

It looks like we are stuck self-weening.

But let me be honest… I’ve complained numerous times about how I want my body back, etc. But I’m not upset with the responsibility of nursing her. Kimani hasn’t been sick outside of the effects from teething and/or vaccination shots, and I contribute that to her receiving the remedy from my breast milk. I am amazed at what my body has been capable of. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish as mother and daughter.

I think once we finally stop co-sleeping, that will be the end of our breastfeeding adventures. What do you think? She’s 17-months old.

Feel free to place your bets now.

– Crystal Iman

Update: Kimani self-weaned at 25-months. I jokingly said “no more” and she surprisingly agreed.

My Breastfeeding Experience: The Transition from Nipple to Bottle, What Happened and Didn’t Happen