Thursday, December 14, 2017

Time Flies! Looking Back 6 Months Ago...

Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Growing Family, Welcoming Our Seeds

We anticipated our due date in the later part of Spring this year, so we counted every second with eagerness, happiness, and a high sense of calm and accomplishment as we anticipated our seeds to take their first earthly breath. It felt good to think about hearing their first cry, touch and smell them, to see who they looked like : feel them within our soul and in the sole of our palms.

We barely had any names picked as we centered our curiosity more on their perceived personalities. We talked often about what traits they would embody, and prayed they engulfed our positive traits only. Thinking back, it really feels good to be writing about this. Not a single moment did we focus on something going wrong, there's really a uniqueness about positive thinking.

Anyway, during this process, I gained a new love and respect for my Queen, seeing first-hand the challenges she would face during her journey to motherhood, and how she overcame them, was really inspiring and enlightening to experience. I really enjoyed her maturity as a woman, her love, and her positive attitude in the midst of a high-risk pregnancy.

Her body transformed ( I don't know how many times i'm going to talk about her body) and so did  bodies of her seeds, as a soon to be mother, she cared for them with all her heart even before she met them. She would sing to them at night when they were so giddily racing with each other in utero-world. I would like to think I played an "ok role" being source to support and comforter, but she played the major role in nursing herself and her seeds making sure they synergistically benefited. 

We would go the medical appointments together, and we were both so eager to hear their 168- to - 169 racing heartbeats ; seeing them via 3D ultrasonography was so so cool and very assuring, and we felt blessed to hear the Physician say week after week "everything is fine". We came home each day after our appointments with copies of the ultrasound foto's and we plan to make a nice collage one day. 

I found myself calling her more during the day when we were both at work, more than before, I didn't worry more, I l loved more. As time went by, mummy would get tired more and more, but the woman she is, would work more, and give her all, and wouldn't let two new heartbeats slow her down. But the two new heartbeats came with demands, demands  that for the sake of their wellbeing and health, she had to take time of earlier than anticipated. A decision so tough, and challenging, but was the best choice for us all. 

She would later be admitted  for closer monitoring of her and her seeds. The hospital room became her new home until she would come Home. The warmth and hospitality from the staff at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Paterson, NJ was heavenly, and we thank God for all the team involved in our care, they were beyond excellent, and most importantly SAFE. We couldn't have asked for a better place to care for us. 

An evening in March, we welcomed our son and daughter, after an emergency caesarian section. They came out with a bang. We had stayed at the hospital for quite sometime, and was being monitored meticulously by an amazing staff, therefore we knew were assured  that everything would be ok. Our babies stayed in the hospital approximately 54 days after being born. Seems like a long time, but it was vital that they did. Seeing them grow was witnessing God at work. 

We visited each day, and saw them grow every second, we didn't miss a beat. It was quite challenging to see them in the hospital not at home after their birth, but God's plan is always the best, we stayed positive throughout, and they reached their milestones one day at at time...........They turned 2 months today.
Thank you for Reading, 
Love Always, 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Our Growing Family

This is exciting to write about.
It feels good to write about our growth and challenges, and how we overcome and remain positive. It's exciting to know that what we write here will be read by you and our growing family. Lilian and I have so much to be grateful for, and we promise that our unintentional  absence from our blog is excusable.

It hasn't been our intent to  keep our blessings to ourselves, however on a night like this,  when it is half past midnight, and when we've tried all the tricks in the books to calm our two beautiful babies have been unsuccessful, insomnia niched in excitement gradually sets writing about our novice parenthood experiences the only alternative.

It all started during the last quarter of 2015,  when we found out that our prayers were answered, so we prayed more and kept praying towards our due date. The emotions were beyond euphoric, we had prayed for so long and talked so much about how eager we were at becoming parents. At times, we had been slightly discouraged, but deep down, we knew we served a Living God who wouldn't fail us. In an awkward wait felt good to be able to limit others from continually asking, "When are you having children"?  Honestly, it was one of the toughest questions we've had to deal with. 

I was at home when Lilian called from work and told me the good news,  I was ecstatic, so much so that I sent her a video of my silliness at home; dancing, screaming and goofing of as usual. What a feeling!!!  Our lives changed from that very moment, our thoughts, our perceptions on life and family took an interesting turn. We smiled more, walked shoulder high, with more swagger than the usual, became closer, because deep down in our heart, it felt so good knowing we would soon be parents.

I enjoyed the transformation in Lilian so much, she touched her belly often, and I caught her in-front of the mirror more, and more as she loved her body transformation; also she meticulously watched every matter she digested. As her body transformed, her skin glowed and her teeth whitened and she gained a new silly giggle and silliness; however, she gradually got tired more, and attempted to eat more in the midst of nausea and constipation, which was tough to deal with. Most impressively, she kept on, worked 5 days or so every week, and I often wondered how she got through her days at work with such a workload.

I haven't taken that many pictures and videos as much as I did during this process, I took pictures and videos, daily as I anticipated each day with more poise than before. We tracked each second with What to Expect App  and wrote down some remarkable memories. We found the app very helpful, as  we got daily and weekly notifications of growth, expectations and and recorded our appointments with our OB/GYN team meticulously. In the midst of our excitement and enthusiasm, it was clear to us that becoming parents would be challenging, transformational as demanding, so we leaned more to positive thinking and knew that our family would be supportive as well, most importantly we believed God would be on our side.

A month passed, and two and three, and we finally decided to let the cat out of the of the bag, we couldn't hide Lilian's bump any longer. For three months we both avoided social gatherings as much as possible and enjoyed the high suspiciousness that lingered in the hearts of our parents. At times we got close to being caught, but we used denial as a successful tool.

On thanksgiving 2015, we shared the great news with our family, and the joy, happiness and thrill is still pulsatile in our thoughts. We sang and danced and cheered, shed some tears of joy, hugged and prayed to God for an answered prayer, and most importantly, prayed for our "seed" and the love we share to grow endlessly.

We took a trip to California, and spent some time with our friends and hid our secret well, but suspiciously. In December, 2015, we came to accept that it was impossible to hide, so sent postcards to our close friends and family to share our joy with them. We kept another secret though. Secret we shared with our family on Christmas- "we're expecting twins !" 

Than You For Reading. 
Love Always, 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Planning A Wedding? You Might Wanna Read This ...

Planning a wedding is exciting, however, it could be a challenging ordeal. With all the excitement comes many perceptions and expectations. Feel free to add or share your perspectives on this matter. In no specific order:

1. Pray It All Goes Well

Reading the decision to tie the knot is a blessing, and if you and your partner have made this decision, continue to pray and ask for God's guidance. This process could be challenging; in terms of communicating with parties involved, guest list delays, meeting family expectations, choosing a cake, leave requests from your employer, and meeting deadlines. Trust that this is not intended to scare you from walking the isle, however, prayer strengthens all things. 

We were both pursuing further education as we planned our wedding. At times, we could feel the stress involved, however, we were determined to blend the challenges with prayer, and were successful. 

2. Know Who To Invite   

Weddings are expensive, and thats the bottomline. 
This special day is intimate, and honestly, the friends, family and loved ones who will always be there to support you automatically earn invitations to this special day. Some might be upset for not being invited, however, your budget is the deciding factor of who comes or doesn't.  You want to see people who have prayed and sacrificed for you on this day, so make your invitations very classy and mail them out on time. Some friends would come, all they would need is date, time and address, some will not come if they don't get the original invitations in the mail. Others might fail to respond, might need to call to find out if everyone got their invitations in the mail, and keep a headcount. 

2. Set A Budget, and Stick To It

We had a big wedding, best party we've been to by far. Did we invite too many people???? Did we invite less??? Could we have invited more???? Honestly, we went above our budget in excitement of getting married and having a blast. It was fun, everyone had a great time, and that was our goal. Its important that you live within your means, please don't assume people will give you money for throwing a party they didn't plan with you. Some will be generous, don't get us wrong, but we're barely know more than a handful of people who capitalized on their wedding. 

3. Hire A Wedding Planner 

A well knowledgeable and passionate wedding planner will save you from making unnecessary and silly mistakes. Make sure you interview a few before you make your decision on choosing one. Read about them, ask them tough questions and don't be shy. By hiring a planner, we were able to choose from a pool of DJ's, photographers, videographers and florists. In most cases, our planner was decent in negotiating with us. 
The Wedding Wire and The Knot are great resources 

4. Bargain With Vendors

As stated above, do your research and know the average cost of each service you anticipate to utilize in your wedding. Make sure you don't hire someone who does not have the necessary bullets on their resume. Avoid the vendors who scratch their head to give you a price or the the ones who are uncertain about their calendar for the year. Most of them will have packages/deals on well articulated brochures, don't be afraid to bargain through those fonts. Ask questions, what can be taken out or added to bring the price down? 

5. Music Is Everything

A bad DJ will make your wedding day the worst day of your life. This is a day everyone gets loose and dance their hearts and minds out. The DJ has to bring his best to your wedding. All the hits, let's say appropriate wedding music for the sake of kids and other religious figures who might be present at your wedding. Don't be shy to give them a list of the songs and genres of music to play. Look them up also, find out about their last wedding, how did it go? How long have they been doing this? Make sure your DJ is passionate about what he/she does. Lastly negotiate a reasonable, budget conscious price. Lastly agree on an extra incentive if your night turns out the way you anticipated it. Click here to find out a list of best wedding songs. 
6. Food Is Everything

Trust that there would be a lot of empty stomachs at your wedding. When we plan on going to weddings, we eat less to make room to enjoy the "unknown" delicacies. The service might take a little longer than anticipated, the drive to the venue might be delayed (if your venues are different from service & reception sites), people might arrive late; or, not. Most people come to enjoy your big day by enjoying the catering services provided. Therefore, when you are planning your wedding, know what options you have. Its very rare, slim to none that most places would allow you to bring your own food, however, it is possible. If you have the resources to showcase your traditional delicacies, go for it. It's quite a unique entity and will be remembered a lifetime. We chose to use vendors and it worked out well also. It's important to negotiate well at all times, make sure the price per head, includes food services, if you don't choose an outside vendor. Also, make sure the price is discounted for children as well. showcases some unique wedding menu's. 

7. Involve Family As Much As Possible, When Necessary

Come to think about it, your wedding is not your wedding. 
Let that sink in for a second. Your wedding is for your families. This is the only and first time both families and friends from each side of the aisle come together to celebrate your union, therefore, they would want to be as involved and helpful as possible, so give them the opportunity to be involved, They will cherish it for a lifetime. They will also serve as a buffer to relieve you of the stress and anxiety which may be awakened due to the demands entailed in planning for your big day. 

8. Plan Ahead of Time

We planned a year or 2 ahead of time, so this allowed us to save and most importantly look at numerous locations before choosing one. Your first asses is a planner. We do advise caution if you decide to use a friend for a wedding planner, we've seen some salty outcomes; however, if you have a genuine pal as a wedding planner, we see the potential for heartwarming outcomes. Planning early allows you to work on your guest list, vendors, and most importantly, your budget. Every step will have something to do with money. The date you choose will have some financial impact. Take for example a Friday wedding date is cheaper than a Saturday, and in some cases a Sunday wedding is cheaper than a Saturday. Cheaper in the sense of price paid per person. Your cake, your invitations, gown, suits, bridesmaid, groomsmen, accessories and more, will all have some financial impact. Still want to get married? Off course! Go for it!!!!

9. Pick The Right Dress/Suit 

There are so many places for wedding suits for men, if you decide to rent, just make sure its the right fit. Talking about the right fit. Get a suit made if you can afford it. Or buy a slim fit suit, one that would make you look your best and own the night. No one should be better dressed than you and your bride, no way Jose'. Try on so many and different locations, and finalize on your fit. Her dress steals the night, be supportive as possible in her decision for her dress. She would have to make a couple of trips to the store as the date nears to make she sweeps you away that special day.  

10. Have A Blast

Dance your heart out. Don't forget to eat. Thank everyone personally for coming. Put on that "you mean so much to me face". Give lots hugs, takes infinite pictures, snap, dance, chat, laugh, cry, celebrate your big day. The night goes by fast, so make every second worthwhile. Thank your families, and everyone involved on your wedding day, put them in the spotlight, they might feel shy for a second, but will be grateful for a lifetime.

In writing all of this, we miss our wedding day, we live to plan another in a few years.

Thank you  For Reading,
Feel Free to Share

Dennis & Lilian