Affordable and Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas

There aren’t enough words to describe how important dads are. I mean for starters, they play an important role in creating you, then they spend the rest of their lives loving you outside the womb. Despite society knowing how vital dads are, for some reason, dads always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to Father’s Day. In comparison to Mother’s Day, it seems that dads don’t get as much appreciation. I mean, most restaurants don’t even offer dads FREE meals on Father’s Day. It sucks, because dads deserve love too!

Someone who once shared my same notion was, Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd founded Father’s Day in 1910 at the YMCA to celebrate fathers like hers. Her dad was a single father rearing 6 children. She wanted to dedicate a day of appreciation to him and others that shared his same plight.

Sonora Smart Dodd

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has us all forgetting what day of the week is. This means special holidays like Father’s Day feel as if their date is approaching out of nowhere! Don’t let this pandemic make you forget about Father’s Day!

So why not buy the gifts for all the special fathers in your life now? Let’s knock this thing out the park! Let me help you!

Dads might not be as straightforward about the gifts they want compared to moms, but it’s safe to assume that most dad’s don’t want another tie! Being in the midst of a pandemic has affected many American’s pockets, but what if I told you that you don’t have to break the bank to find dad the perfect gift? Frankly, I’m confident in my abilities in assisting you find the special man in your life the best and most affordable gift. Why, because I’ve already purchased all my Father’s Day gifts!

First things first consider what the dad your buying for likes. There’s no such thing as a one gift fits all.

My husband and children

Due to Covid-19, many stores are still closed. This makes ordering all your Father’s Day gifts online a no brainer! Thanks to quarantine my online shopping skills have enhanced immensely meaning; I’ve learned how to really navigate and shop purposefully online. I told you, I’m the perfect person to help you with Father’s Day shopping!

Below I’ll list some of my favorite gift ideas! I also enlisted some things we bought for my husband!

1. Running Shoes

You can never go wrong with running shoes and because we’ve all recently been enjoying outdoor exercise, it’s no better time than now to indulge in new running shoes. I visited the site bestproducts.com to find the perfect running shoes for my husband. The site details what sneakers are best suited for certain fitness activities. You’ll be sure to find the perfect shoes for dad!

Image taken from bestproduct.com

2. Jewelry

You might not be able afford the most expensive dad bling, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still purchase jewelry dad likes. Search for personalized jewelry. In the past, I got my husband a wooden watch with an engraved message on the back from the kids. He wears it everyday!

Image taken from Amazon.com

3. Clothes

I know when you think of purchasing clothes as gifts, you probably think you have to purchase expensive namebrand clothes. You don’t. In fact, my husband tends to cherish personalized tees the best. You can get a special message plastered on a shirt and gift it to dad. I promise he’ll cherish it forever!

Image taken from Amazon.com

4. Books

Buy your dad a book about fatherhood, honoring fatherhood, or a book that has a personalized story about him! There are books that give you the option to add names and personalize your stories! Gift a gift dad can keep forever.

Taken from Amazon.com

5. Art

If you have children, chances are, the kids have already made dad some type of art, and although dad will appreciate that art forever, consider making dad something more long lasting than a drawing. Visit an art center and make dad a plate or mug! You can customize your gift and guarantee that it’ll be safe for dad to use!

No matter what you decide, the best gifts should be heartfelt. I try to gift my loved ones gifts that are meaningful to them. This means that my gifts aren’t always the most expensive. Sometimes they’re not even store bought. Remember to buy gifts based off what you know the recipient would appreciate. Happy early Father’s Day and Happy shopping!

Xoxo,

Christian

I’m Scared.

It’s not that police brutality or the mistreatment of African Americans in America is new; it’s that before, I didn’t feel the same urgency to consider and protect, until I became a wife to a black man and a mother to black children. I’ve been black all my life yet I didn’t become vocal about black rights—human rights until I became pregnant with my son. It was in 2015 when I was welcoming new a life while many black parents like the parents of Sandra Bland were saying goodbye to a life.

Though pregnant, I hadn’t really comprehended what it meant to mother while black. I remember reading about Sandra Bland and acknowledging that her treatment was unjust, but still being unsure of the possible truth behind the evil accusations made against the police department. I couldn’t fathom such cruelty in modern times. I just couldn’t.

It wasn’t until I experienced the first disregard to my little black baby’s life that I realized, white society doesn’t feel the same urgency to respect or nurture black lives.

“It’s no big deal,” the nurse said to me rolling her eyes as I nervously ask her what was next. With little regard, the nurse pointed to the hospital gown I was to get dressed in and exited out the room. I dressed in my hospital gown to deliver my baby boy prematurely. Although Liam was full term, he was induced 3 days early due to lack of amniotic fluid.

“No big deal,” I thought. If it was no big deal, why was I being wheeled across the hospital and being told to remain calm? Why did my baby need to be born today if this was in fact, “no big deal.” It was in that moment when my body was consumed with fear, my mind monopolized by hypotheticals, and my family still 2 hours away from comfort that I realized, I, the black mother of this black baby had to advocate for his life—our life. The nurse with her biases treated me and my unborn child as nuisances. In those moments I quickly grasped the meaning of what mothering while black would entail.

That interaction shaped how I parent and love my son. It shaped how I maneuver in life. In that same hospital days after my son’s birth I remember a doctor’s astonishment that my son had a present father in his life. “Oh, he has his father’s last name,” the doctor asked with a raised brow. Liam, my sweet baby boy hadn’t even settled in this world, yet somehow society had already written his story.

So when I hear of stories about sweet brown baby boys now black men like Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, my heart doesn’t just break, it shatters. These men’s mother’s looked at their babies the same way I look at mine. The bond between mother and child is well established before the child enters the world and being a black mother to a black child enhances that bond times 10. Everything leading up to birth has been calculated, well thought out, and understood. For instance, black mothers know that the maternal rate for them is abnormally high. So a lot of consideration goes into choosing the best hospital to deliver. Black mothers understand that schools aren’t picked based solely on zoning. The school your child goes to has to be racially diverse enough to empathize with black plight, but white and wealthy enough to offer better opportunities. Black mothers understand that although they bring life into the world, they too have to acknowledge that there’s a possibility that at anytime life might be stolen from them by the hands of authority.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to let my babies grow up, “as if I have a choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared to let my babies “just be a kids,” “as if they have that choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared to send them out into the world, “as if I have a choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared for white society to be scared of them because of the color of their skin, “as if they have a choice.”

Times like this I question God. I do. Why? Why is this happening? Why is this still happening? Why is it happening to people of color?

My son matters. My husband matter. My daughter matters. I matter.

Today I have no powerful words or insight to share, because the truth is, I’m just scared.

The Journey to Becoming the Mother I Never Had

Coming of age memoir

The first vivid memory that I have of my mother is when she sent me to stay with my grandmother after my brother was born. The memory serves as small flashbacks; suddenly, my mother was rushed to the hospital to give birth to my baby brother, at one point I was asleep on a visitor’s chair in the hospital lobby. Next, I was handed a box of orange juice by a nurse, and the last thing sketched in my memory is my aunt’s car pulling out my grandmother’s driveway, and me, a newly promoted sister, 5 years old, watching as the car sped away. No one really explained what was happening. I was left to assume that mommy had gotten a new baby and no longer needed her old one.

Before my baby brother, my mom treated me somewhat like a burden. She took me places, and she bought me things, but often times, it felt like a tired routine that she was over performing.

I remember walking into my grandmother’s house the day my mom welcomed my new brother. The blinds were open to let in sunlight, but the eerie of truly believing that my mother was getting rid of me tented my vision with the darkest gray. Grandma’s house was dark both literally, and figuratively. My mom and my grandmother were never close. My mom had made it clear that she didn’t approve of my grandmother’s parenting. Knowing this while standing with my luggage in my hand at my grandmother’s front door solidified the feeling that my mother didn’t care about me.

Feelings of abandonment, and uncertainty consumed 5-year-old me, and even after my mom retuned to pick me up from grandma’s house (after what felt like a few years later,) the feeling of rejection never subsided.

I spent the latter part of my childhood desperately trying to gain attention from my mother. Any attention was welcomed, no matter how it was rendered. I gave my mom a hard time in elementary school, talking out in class, and constantly finding myself in disappointing situations. Although I didn’t always know why I behaved the way did, I remember just wanting to be seen, heard, and loved.

Old age and spankings quickly taught me that good behavior offered the best attention given to me by my mom. So, I took heed, and became an angel child. My favorite pastime was being around my mom on those “good behavior days” in front of company.  An audience fed my mom’s desire to appear as a doting mother, and with every ounce of praise she received, my mom performed harder.  These performances never mattered to me. I was always overly eager to indulge in any affection offered to me by her. This temporary acknowledgement that came with these shows was always worth it. People would eat up her act, and that made her perform even better. Our relationship was never organic, but situational. I knew this, but I didn’t dare accept it.

When I became a pregnant with my first child, I remember feeling lost—mostly unsure. I knew failed parental relationships dwelled deep within my family. I understood that the only way that I’d know if I had inherited this cancerous trait was after I too became a parent, vulnerable and new. It was only logical that I address my childhood traumas with my own mother before I could ever be someone else’s mom.

After my son was born, I fell into the deepest love with him. He was perfect in every way; I awaited the moment that I would fail to make him feel loved in the same way that my mother did to me. Late feedings would end with me mesmerized by a face belonging to a being that I loved more than myself. Acknowledging this admiration for my child, conjured unanswered questions as to why my own mother didn’t feel this way about me. The ache of not knowing the answer to my question began to haunt me. I was never alone in my thoughts, because every moment I was granted time to think; the ghost of, “why” persisted a fixation. The question “why” took the form of my child. Despite my baby being alive, they question, “why” haunted my child’s very existence. My son became a ghostly reminder of the love I always wanted but would never get.

Liam and Zora

 I didn’t know what to do, so I continued to do what I had been doing for the past couple of months; I nurtured him, I fed him, I talked to him, and most importantly I loved him—so much. My haunted baby might have become the Casper I never wanted to encounter, but still, I couldn’t fathom even a ghost feeling alone. So, I became a ghost whisperer and as soon as I started to accept my new norm, something happened. One day, I looked down at my son’s face, he once Casper, no longer looked ghostly. In fact, he looked new. It was as if I was meeting my son and he was meeting his mother, for the first time.

In this realization, I felt as if chains had fallen at my feet–invisible shackles broken. The ghost that once consumed my child was gone. Before I could fully wrap my head around what just happened, I had an epiphany. In that moment of cradling my baby boy in my arms, I realized what that ghost symbolized. It was a ghost from my past, a generational curse. When it realized that it had no place in my home—my life, it concluded that it had no ability, no power! By giving my son the selfless and pure love that I never had, I was discontinuing a long viciously and unhealthy family cycle. Selfless love had broken my family’s generational curse. I was free of burden! We all were. The ghost of my past no longer had a place to fester or feed. So, when the ghost and I realized that, I was immediately emancipated.

On that day, that’s how I became the mother I never had.

Liam & Zora’s Christening And Why We Waited So Long To Dedicate Liam

Romans 12:21

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

This is the Bible verse I chose to dedicate the children to. I chose this scripture because, one day, the kids won’t live under my roof and when they no longer do, I want them to understand that although they’ll come in contact with evil, their GOOD—God’s GOOD will always conquer that evil. I want them to stand firm in this truth.

With Liam, everything was trial and error. As years passed of his life, I felt like we had forgot to do something major. It all became clear when we welcomed his sister, Zora.

Haha, my husband and I had forgotten to dedicate Liam to Jesus. No worries. Rest assured. We were told that it wasn’t too late, and that we weren’t the only parents that dedicated older children.

We learned that the most common misconception is that baby dedications are just about the child and have to be done when the child is an infant. Dedications are more so about the parents and their willingness and commitment to surrender their children to the Lord and His perfect ways. Any child too young for baptism with eager parents wanting to dedicate them is eligible for dedication. Don’t be intimated to bring forth your toddlers! It’s not too late! During the ceremony, the parents confess publicly that they are dedicating their children to Christ. It’s such a special moment.

So, with this new knowledge, I didn’t feel too bad about forgetting to dedicate Liam sooner. Frankly, dedicating both kids at once made the moment even more beautiful.

Both kids were dedicated March 1st and we are elated!

Both outfits are from Amazon and eligible for Amazon prime!

The scariest part of parenting is knowing that one day, you have to send your babies out into this evil world. Cover them! Cover them with Christ! Don’t no blanket cover you like the blanket of Jesus!

Xoxo,

Christian

My Son’s Thirst For Christ Lead Us To A New Church Home

I’ve only been a member of 2 churches as an adult. Similar to finding you’re forever spouse, searching for a church home is just as a special process. I was a member of my last church home for about 7 years, and after marrying my husband, he joined my church too. Our young love grew, so did our family, and our love for Christ grew deeper, but something changed.

Last year, my son began to ask a lot of questions about Christ. His thirst to know and understand Him brought forth my own feelings of harsh realities. I hadn’t been honest with myself. Deep down inside I knew that I had outgrown my current church home, but feelings of disloyalty filled my heart. This church had been apart of my life for so long and I felt guilty for waning to venture out. My son’s newfound interest in Christ held me accountable for how I introduced Him to my child. When your enter that sacred spiritual space with God, you have to make sure to neglect all outside distractions to ensure that you really open your heart to Him.

You see, I had been battling with many conflicted feelings at my old church. I wanted a media accessible church. Living a busy life with my phone always in hand, I wanted to be able to feel connected to my church at all times, even when I was out of town. My old church didn’t have those amenities. I also dealt with feelings of alienation. My husband and I were one of a handful of young married couples. Sometimes, well a lot of times, I felt out of place. Although no one intentionally set out to make us feel “too young or out of the loop,” we did feel that way. Lastly, a scholarly children’s church and nursery was important to me. My old church didn’t have a nursery, and sometimes mommying my little ones took away from mommy’s praise and worship.

Although I love my old church and everyone in it, with the new seasons of my life, my spirit became weary. It needed to be fed a different way and my son saw this–he felt this. I knew that his first intimate introduction to Christ was a monumental moment. I didn’t want my son to think that he had to stay in one place of worship if it wasn’t where he wanted to be–where he needed to be.

So, like a mother duck leading her little ducklings, I decided to ventured out for a new church home. The decision wasn’t easy. In fact, I went back and forth. I felt guilty for leaving the church that reared and shaped me, but I couldn’t dwell in my unhappiness.

Pharisees get back, I had conversation with my old pastor. I expressed my reasoning for leaving his church and like the wonderful man of God he is, he smiled and gave me his blessing. (I love you PG & First Lady!)

So, back to my little spiritual child Liam. We got lucky and found our new church home on the first visit! What solidified my choice was Liam’s excitement to go! He yearned for his new teachers, friends, and Bible lessons! The kid came home reciting Bible verses and wanting to reenact Bible stories. This made my heart so happy!

Another plus was that my little Zora had her own friends and class too! Our new church also has an app, YouTube page, and a plethora of ministries to get involved in. The other exciting part is, I know a lot of my church members from school, which means, I don’t feel so socially awkward! (Yay millennials!)

Our new church fulfilled everything I wanted–needed. My husband and I were finally able to really focus on getting fed the word! After a couple of Sundays, I noticed a change within my house. We were all so full–full of Christ!

There’s a church for everyone! If you don’t have a church home, visit some of your local churches and find your home!

Xoxo,

Christian 

Proof That All Parents Have A Favorite Child

My second baby, Zora just celebrated her first birthday, and although we’re all head over heels with excitement and awe, I noticed that my husband and I didn’t make the same big deal about our daughters first year around the sun like we did for our son.

Maybe it’s because she’s our second baby and subconsciously we’ve unknowingly adopted the , “been there done that,” persona. Maybe it’s because we’re exhausted. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I noticed that her birthday celebration in comparison to our sons was um, lackluster–she was loved on, we sang happy birthday, but she didn’t get the same hoopla her big brother got on his first born day. Why is that?

With your first baby, you spend so much time perfecting everything. You ignorantly promise to yourself and baby to be this perfect mom and to provide this “perfect life.” No fast food, no television, and only the best organic cotton clothes; you actually hold yourself to these ridiculous standards until one day you realize, they’re stupid standards.

So, second baby comes along and you’re excited–not as excited as you were with the first baby, because you made it through your first pregnancy and you know now that ain’t nothing sweet about swollen feet, nausea, and crowning! Nevertheless, you’re excited to meet the sweet baby growing inside of you. Paired with your excitement is understanding, you understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect mom or baby! You do away with your crazy perfect mommy ways and celebrate each day you and the kids make it another day alive! You dwell in the messiness of motherhood and overall, you have fun! The kids are happy! Mom is happy! It’s a happy happy life!

So, here’s the proof in the pudding that all parents have a favorite child, every kid after the first kid will never get the same attention or preparation as your first child. No matter how hard parents try to fight this reality, it’s the truth. After the first baby, and all your attempts at perfection, you’re exhausted before the other babies arrive. There’s no doubt that you love all your babies and would do anything for them, but unfortunately, the other kids will never know what it’s like to wear organic cotton.

Happy first birthday Zora! Mommy loves you! I’m sorry that I forgot to pick up your birthday cake before your birthday party!

Luckily, her party was the weekend before her actual birthday so, I had time to make things right.

It’s ok mamas, motherhood is a beautiful hot mess!

Xoxo,

Christian

My 4 Year Old Asked Me For More Privacy

The other day when getting out the shower with his dad, Liam asked daddy to shut the door. He said, “I don’t want mommy and Zora to see me naked.” I think my husband was taken aback by Liam’s request, because Liam co-bathes with both of us. In fact, after every bath, the kid gets a 5 star rubdown with coconut oil at his request.

I’m aware that my little curious 4 year old is understanding that mommy and sister have different body parts than him and daddy. I get it. He’s observing and claiming his newfound independence and pride.

My husband asked me what did I think of Liam’s request and I told him that I felt like we should honor it. I want the kids to know that they have rights over their bodies. I don’t make them hug people if they don’t want and I don’t stifle their ideas or thoughts. I’m really big on empowering their voice.

In many cases of child molestation, the child feels powerless over their own body out of reference for the perpetrating adult. I never want my kids to be afraid to speak up in an uncomfortable situation. So, to answer Liam’s request, we obliged him. I shut the door out of respect for his privacy.

It’s so important to empower your child’s voice, especially when they’re young. If not, you risk them not understanding the rights they have over their bodies, space and mind.

Empower your babies!

Xoxo,

Christian