Life & Marriage Update

Hey, guys! I know you can tell I have not been around WordPress as much as we would like, but you also know why. My book launch is drawing nigh and I really am just trying to stay afloat with everything. Between Siobhán, my book, the launch and making some family moves, I’m wishing there was a spare Shandean or two to help.

 

Motherhood

Sio is such a sweet baby. She turned eighteen months old on April 13th and she’s growing into a fine, smart, entertaining, loving child. However, that doesn’t stop her from throwing fits when she’s tired and needs to take a nap or go to bed. Apparently, it’s somebody’s fault and she will miss too much if she gets some shut-eye. So no matter what else I’m doing I have to carve time out in my day to either hold her down or stay still so she can lay on me to her comfort and fall asleep. This can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the severity of tiredness. If it lasts more than half an hour, I may succumb faster than she does.

IMG_4899On the flip side, she more or less listens when I say to leave something alone or put it back. That doesn’t mean though, that I won’t have to repeat it about a hundred times, even if it’s for a hundred different things, or that I won’t have to endure the killing looks (because let’s face it, she’s my kid and she been giving bad looks since birth… literally) or the fit that is thrown if I dare to say she is ‘rude’ or has done something ‘unkind’. That my friends, can only be stopped if I make amends by offering or asking for physical comfort (from her). She needs the reassurance. If not, she’ll scream for the gods like she’s been slapped. #welp

IMG-20180327-WA0021.jpgShe’s counting a little, saying ABC’s a little, will try to say almost anything, shouts “Shan” a lot, understand “soon come” and will calmly wait if I say so. She’s quite the little helper, even if her help, isn’t quite so helpful. I appreciate it though, lol. As I type this, she’s “helping me”.

IMG_4974She is turning out to be the picky eater like myself, and I am honestly struggling with meal options. If she doesn’ t like it, she won’t eat it and I won’t force her. If you know any good local (Jamaican) toddler meals, please share!

Her personality is to die for, and she is such a little light for everyone in her presence. I can literally look at her when I feel overwhelmed and stressed and feel it melt away. She’s keeping me grounded.

 

Marriage

marriage-and-babiesIf you follow me on Instagram, you know I joke that Stella (Trina) got her groove back. I feel good, I look good. Finally, I feel like me again. It’s translating into my confidence and into me and husband’s relationship.

Dating

At the start of the year, my family and friends and I hosted a vision planning party. One thing on our vision board was that we would get back into dating and spend quality time together as a couple. That kind of took the back seat in late 2016 into 2017 as we focused on enjoying and integrating our young daughter into our lives and routine.

img-20180419-wa0009Five months in, we are definitely reclaiming our identity as a couple. We’ve also been hanging out more with friends as couples. That is something I discovered too. Now, if we could only find some couple friends with kids. Apply within, lol. I need local mommy friends and Sio needs play dates. *bawls*

Sex

Our sex lives didn’t wither and die, which honestly, I feared. The shift in our marriage was to be expected, of course, and if you believe the 101 blogs, marriage if where passion, love and sex lives go to die, particularly after children enter the picture. Then you have a cute little platonic friendship where you ignore your partner’s existence, have some boring, miracle-working, grace saving sex that’s supposed to make up for everything else and make the children the centre of your universe at a minimum of the next eighteen years. If that were my reality, I might be able to feel myself wither and die. True story. I became a mother, I didn’t stop being Shandean or being a woman.

img-20180211-wa0016Sure, it takes more work and commitment to the cause and some creativity, but it’s just as passionate and love-filled. And, we don’t have to “schedule” it. When your husband is a doctor that works overnight shifts, is always working, studying and tired and you spend your days trying to write and fend off a toddler full time, you tend to appreciate these moments that you can steal to just be into each other.

I’m so happy we have found some balance because before, it seemed like Angels whispered in the child’s ear to wake up and bawl if we even thought about trying anything. Yikes!

Still, on one hand, I don’t think the transition was too difficult, but we certainly feel the difference. For one thing, I certainly can’t parade around in my birthday suit like I used to, but I’m content with getting as close as I can. Our relationship remains mostly unchanged. We don’t squabble or snap at each other, but then, we never really did to begin with. Sure I get annoyed with him sometimes, but not too much. He’s still my sweet Boobles Woobles.

My Book

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On another note, if you have not yet heard, my book, The Dangerous Business of Pleasure launches on August 9, on my birthday. Also, the prequel, OFF Limits, which is a short teaser for the book, will be released on June 1! If you follow my blog via email, then you are already on the mailing list and will receive yours automatically on the date. If not, you will need to join by going to the landing page or by visiting my website www.ShandeanReid.com. Please share it with your friends and family!

 

So bear with me, I’m in the throw of things! XO

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FOOD: Blue Ridge Restaurant, Blue Mountains

One of the downsides of being married to a doctor is that sometimes, usually for months at a time, there are periods where you don’t spend nearly enough time together. Hello March! If my husband does manage to be at home, he is more or less sleeping or in a zombie-like state. So I decided we needed to do something on Easter Sunday and it was the perfect opportunity to go up the Blue Mountains to a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to since I first heard about it on my trip to The Gap Cafe, Blue Ridge.

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View from the restaurant

It’s quite the trip up, it took us a little less than an hour to get there from Papine, and my husband joked that the road was the gift that keeps on giving. Every time we thought we were close, there was more road. The view though is worth the trip!

The rustic vibe restaurant with random items much like artefacts had a nice mellow vibe. It’s bordered by large glass windows to maximize the surrounding view. It wasn’t packed but there were enough people to suggest folks go looking for it, just like we did. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the wait time not bad at all.

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Chicken Quesadillas with Cilantro Cream Sauce… half eaten! Haha
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Tortilla soup with tomatoes, black beans, corn, carrot, Chipotle seasoning topped with crunchy tortillas and cheese.

I had Chicken Quesadillas with Cilantro Cream Sauce for an appetizer. Now I didn’t order it, my husband did (bless his heart). I’m rarely able to mulch a three-course meal and I wanted to have an empty stomach for the entree. But the Quesadilla’s smelled good and I ended up eating most of it. It’s a good thing he’d ordered soup, too!  I think that might have been deliberate but who knows, I’m just glad. Turns out I still had a lot more belly space to go around.

 

A few minutes later our main course arrived. I forgot to mention the cute little props on the serving trays that ranged from world globes to Eiffel towers and large butterflies. They were an interesting addition, to add curiosity and maybe a conversation if nothing else.

 

For the entree, I chose the Smoked Pork in Guava Glaze and a side of Garlic Mashed Green Bananas. It was served perched on steamed vegetables and accompanied by a glass of fruit punch which came with a complimentary refill Now, I admit when I ordered the green bananas, they sounded a lot better than they really were, but as a green banana lover, they definitely improved when eaten with the guava sauce from the pork. The pork was tender and lovely and the sauce sweet and very flavorful. I regret not having the opportunity to eat my bone like I truly wanted.

 

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Smoked Pork in Guava Glaze and a side of Garlic Mashed Green Bananas.

 

Hubby ordered Linguini with vegetables and chicken in creamy cilantro sauce. In true wife/girlfriend fashion, I had some. Hehe.  I was pretty good and he was the one not able to finish his meal this time.

 

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Linguini with Vegetables and Chicken in Creamy Cilantro Sauce

 

Then, for dessert and one of the main reasons I went there, the restaurant’s signature drink, the rich blue hot chocolate. My first tip is, the drink is HOT, though the whipped cream on top will inveigle you to let your guard down. That is to say, I scorched my whole tongue on the first sip. Next, even though I was prepared for my tongue to be blue, I wasn’t prepared for blue lips and teeth too!

 

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Blue Hot Chocolate

Have you ever tried to flirt with blue lips? Cz I have and my husband laughed at me. Anyone lost a blue mouthed Becky? Sigh!

All in all, it’s a serene experience in a cool oasis. You should try it!

 

Join My Book’s Mailing List!!

Hi Guys,

Thank you so.much for the support and excitement surrounding my book release in August! I’m extremely grateful. To keep up with the happenings and details if the book release, please join my mailing list by visiting my book landing page here.

You’ll able to get first-hand information as soon as it’s available, pre-order your copy of The Dangerous Business Of Pleasure with your special subscriber price discount and… ta da da daahh!!!! Get your FREE copy of the PREQUEL in June!

Book Cover

Siobhàn Is Potty Training!

Okay, she’s really been training a few months now, technically. I started her at 12 months when I noticed she would poop and then march right over to me pulling at the diaper.

Now if you’re thinking it’s early, that’s true. But I don’t believe a child should still be wearing diapers if they’re talking to me. If the child can talk, he/she should be able to tell me they’ve pooped and if they’re able to do that, then they can say when they’re about to. In the Caribbean, Jamaica at least, kids go to school as early as 2. Most schools won’t accept a child not potty trained.

Step 1

So around her first birthday, Boobles and I started telling her “Poo poo!” whenever she pooped and told her we were taking her to change her diaper. The point was allowing her time to make the connections between poop, the words ‘poo poo’ and changing the diaper. She caught on pretty quickly, within a week or two, she would squeal ‘Poo Poo?’ while getting her diaper changed.

Step 2

10057359At 14 months, I broke out the actual potty. (Jamaicans generally say Chimmy). If you’re like most Jamaicans, one was included in the bath set laden with products purchased before birth in preparation for the baby. So she’s literally had it before she was born.

The first day, I put her on the potty around the time she poops in the morning after her bottle and spent the better part of about 45 minutes repeating the words ‘Potty‘ and ‘Poo Poo’. Nothing happened. She sat interested watching me and listening to me. Eventually fascination with her vagina set in and we concluded our first lesson.

The second day, I did the same thing. Give her the bottle and when she finished, took her into the bathroom to use the potty. I sat down and started the mantra of “Go Poo Poo, Shivy! Go Poo Poo!”

She did her business in less than five minutes. Once she did, I praised her. Clapping and saying “Wooo! Awesome! Good Job!” At the time she was really into high fives so we high fived as she grinned and watched my reaction to her “Pooping on the potty.”.

I’d been prepared that it was just beginner’s luck, but not so. She would sit down, relax with whatever I gave her to play with, do her business and get up. Eventually, I learned that if she didn’t poop after five to ten minutes of sitting down, she had no plans to for the entire morning.

Step 3

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About US$12 at Walmart

This is where we are currently. She started stooping and saying “Poo Poo” before she poops. I’ve bought one of the baby toilet seats for her. And I’ve put her on a couple of times without success. The reason is two-fold. She’s older and eating more regular food than baby food.

Her bowel movements are not as scheduled. She’ll even skip a day and go several times the next day. So I have no way to anticipate when she might Poop. So far, if she stoops and says “Poo Poo” and I rush her unto the toilet, she cancels the main event for a few hours.

The second thing is, even though I’ve been let her see me use the toilet, she hasn’t quite made the connection yet.

We’re working on it though. She’s only 17 months old and I’m not pressuring her. If she continues this way, we’ll be successful in at least getting her to tell me when she wants to poop as her vocabulary improves.

Way to go, Sio! 💪

Motherhood

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17 months old

If motherhood has taught me nothing else, it is the true meaning of the phrase “beautiful mess” and the preciousness in appreciating every day and not letting life pass you by. This whirlwind of a journey has been indescribable from the start, but more importantly, I now understand the true preciousness of time and living in the moment. Every day I’m one picture away from tears. Disbelief that my tiny 5 lbs 6 oz baby that I walked out of the hospital with is now a toddler, half my size and with preferences and such. A hyperactive, smart, beautiful toddler girl with all the trappings of a colourful personality to match. Where has the time gone?? I finally understand how mothers before me have bemoaned the swift passing of 18 years. For me, I seem to be unable to believe it, even though I have been with her for every single day of it.

 

UNPREPARED

IMG_5018Now that I am here, I can say with certainty that no woman is prepared for motherhood. We may be prepared for the trappings of it, but the experience itself as a first-time mother is not something I imagine can be conveyed. The first thing I was unprepared for was the love. The joy and sunshine this tiny human brings me with her presence are unfathomable.

Watching her learn and discover, be nosy and miserable, refusing from day one to eat carrots, to outright calling me mommy after making me wait when she’s been busy saying the most outlandish things. Her latest revelation has been that without warning, she absolutely refuses to have anything more to do with nipple bottles. It’s sippy cups or nothing at all. (By the by, spill-proof sippy cups are fire!) She’s done and will scream if she sees me attempting to make anything in it or just look at us with the bottle before turning away and leaving us with it. (Fada, help I!) I want her to start saying no more instead of crying as a means to say no, but I fear I might want to take that back when she starts.

 

Teething

IMG_4271Until recently, she’d teethed very mildly and was at 6 teeth for quite a while. Then around two weeks ago, the hail mary started. Fever, drooling, refusing to eat, constantly screaming (my quiet, quiet child), constantly needing the comfort of someone’s arms, hollering in pain from swollen, bleeding gums, not sleeping, sleeping on my head (in real life, folks). I am truly sure that if the break hadn’t come when it had, I would’ve been writing this post from Ward 21 at UWHI. I’ve always heard teething periods were rough, but I had zero ideas how bad it could be. She seems to be past the worst for now (KNOCK ON WOOD) and has been slowly morphing back into my lovable little Sio.

TIRED

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She loves to swing and let us carry her when we both hold her hands.

I am tired! So unbelievably TIRED! I don’t know how it’s possible to love this so much and be so TIRED! I can’t take a crap in peace anymore, I can’t eat in peace anymore, I can’t just sit and watch the TV, I can’t just work without interruption. Miss Sio is there to ‘help’ me every step of the way and try out everything we do. The kicker is, if I get a few minutes to myself, it’s not long before I go searching for her. It’s almost as though I can’t do without the madness anymore.

 

My living room stays a hot mess, littered with toys and shoes, she wears anything she sees even if it wasn’t meant for wearing, and is there typing away on my phone the very second I happen to not be looking! (She once sent a picture of my lady bits in my underwear changing her diaper to a friend! )*bawls*To think of whom could have received that picture instead! Sigh!

In any case, by now my contact know when Sio is online and giving them a hail.

 

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Live, Love, Laugh

 

I’M NOT READY

The truth is, I’m not ready for how fast she is growing up! It’s bowling me over. With all the struggles mothers face you would think the nice bits would last a bit longer. But her smile and joy make it all the more precious. She is such a happy, vibrant child. I thank God, the universe and my husband for her.

If you have any tips on how to come to terms with this, I would appreciate it.

 

Flustered Mom XO

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To Propose or Not To Propose… To Your Man

For a few years now, every so often a picture emerges on social media of a woman proposing to man, and the reaction is almost always the same. Women shaming the woman for asking the man she wants to marry her. I for one find the practice so annoying. Leave that woman alone and let her ask for what she wants.

Oh, The Hypocrisy!

I find it exponentially hypocritical of these women shaming the woman who chooses to propose, to say the least. The reason for this is that we preach all day every day for equality, and we want to dismantle patriarchy, achieve gender equality in homes and in the workplace. But as soon as it comes to a proposal, 8/10 revert to the 1920’s dimension where they squeal about how they are now acutely “old-fashioned” and strictly refer to their uncompromising belief in the bible scripture, Proverbs 18:22.

Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

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Now, these same women scorn the idea of waiting for marriage before sex, having children out of wedlock, a woman being a homemaker and the man as a breadwinner, submitting to their man or a myriad of other things they indulge that the bible speaks about. In fact, the same women are those who will spend 5 – 20 years living with a man, taking care of the entire household, having WHOLE children, essentially performing wifely duties and accepting husbandly ones, but refuse to ask the same man if they will marry them. How?

Hebrews 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 – For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

I am not judging anyone, I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of these women.

Rejection Is A Man’s Job

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Is it? I thought that’s what we were working against. ‘Men’s Jobs’ and ‘Women’s’ jobs. Why do we want men to be more in tune with their feelings and then we want them to accept hurt? If a woman is not willing to accept the hurt of a possible rejection, what makes her entitled to expect that a man should endure it for her?

Get It Over With

I firmly believe that a conversation about marriage should be right up there at the beginning of a relationship with those what’s your favourite food, what do you like to do for fun, how many kids you want conversations. It’s not hard ladies. Say “Do you want marriage?” and be upfront about whether it’s something you do or don’t want, and are you willing to compromise on it. Have a conversation.

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All this to say is, if there are two married couples, and the man asked in Couple A and the woman asked in Couple B, Couple A is no more married than Couple B. What matters is the foundation of the relationship, to begin with. I am one of those women who didn’t have a proposal at all. But we talked about it and deciphered a timeline. When the time came it was a post-sex “Are we engaged now?” (He doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body, but later for that). Six months later we were married.

Again, I’m definitely not judging anyone and their choices, I am just saying, it’s heartbreaking and aggravating to see all these Women Judges trying to make a woman feel less than for asking a man if he wants to marry her. Truly, they need to sit down, right over there in the ‘I’d rather be alone.’ or ‘Waste years waiting.’ section. Girl, ain’t nobody missing you. Leave those women alone.

Trina

Toddler’s Washday

Siobhan’s hair in its freest state has tight curls. It’s much like my own in terms of being extremely fuzz prone and dry. It didn’t take very long for me to realize the baby hair products weren’t going to work. So I tried a few. I’m still on the market for a good creme moisturizer (for both of us) so if you know of any, do let me know.

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Wet, Texture Shot

Currently, its products like raw shea butter mixed with coconut oil that helps to keep her hair hydrated during styling but it never lasts, especially when I attempt to style her hair for a day or to. I guess I’m trying to figure out and learn the ways of her hair. Now, if I could just get her to stop ripping it out, that’d be great. Currently, she clings to any accessories or ponytails and pulls so hard, she trembles sometimes. Thi started at about 8 months old and continues. There are ever emerging bald spots, which I am fighting the good fight using black castor oil, but it doesn’t stop new patches in the front third of her head every so often!

 

I am currently using the Lottabody line. It great except that the moisturizer really doesn’t do much for her but I use it anyway. I wash her using the Lottabody Hydrate Me Moisturizing Shampoo and the Lottabody Hydrate Me Moisturizing Conditioner, both with  Coconut and Shea Oils. These are perfect and leave her hair feeling nice and soft after washing.

 

 

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Dry, Unmoisturized Texture Shot

Once we’ve dried her hair completely, I moisturize it using the LOC (Liquid, Cream and Oil) method starting with the Creme of Nature Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner This stuff is my holy grail, but when I noticed that her hair would break a lot during styling, I started using it to test it. Again, I was happy to note, her hair responds to the product just as mine does.

 

Her scalp requires very little oil at this point because of the castor oil from the wash and so I just apply the creme Lottabody Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk. Again, this product does well enough, but both our hairs just do “okay” with it. I then apply either shea butter or coconut oil, before styling. Bear in mind her head is tiny, so it’s really a little bit that is required, except with the creme moisturizer. After that, I’m able to style her hair smoothly and problem free.

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Dried & Moisturize Texture Shot

I also try not to style her every day and use products on her sparingly throughout the week to avoid weighing her hair down. But if it so happens that she need a mid-week wash, I will give her one. I also promptly wash salt water from her hair if we’ve been to the beach or anything like that. I also put a little hair wax at the front the get her growing fuzz in neat. This isn’t every day, but definitely, if I’m going on the road and want her hair to look like it’s actually been done within the last week! Ha! The product is great too! Better than Eco-Styler. No white residue at all and the hold lasts a lot longer with just a tiny amount dabbed.

 

All of this takes maybe an hour at most, and she’s very good at sitting for her hair to be style as long as I let her play with the bottles and let her overturn the container with her hair accessories and play with them.

P.S. I tried to take better pics but… well… TODDLER! Haha.

 

Product List

  1. Lottabody Hydrate Me Moisturizing Shampoo
  2. Lottabody Hydrate Me Moisturizing Conditioner
  3. Lottabody Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk
  4. Shavout 100% Virgin Jamaican Black Castor Oil
  5. Creme of Nature Argan Oil Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner
  6. Ossion Ultra Aqua Hair Wax

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Siobhàn – The Story of Her Name

The one question I can now count on daily is someone asking the pronunciation of my daughter’s name, the origin and the meaning. There’s also the severely funny look we get when we provide her name to someone unfamiliar. Usually, if her name is to be provided for writing, I automatically begin by spelling it, then providing the pronunciation. Of course, this is not foolproof, as all too often someone believes I’m insulting them by indicating the spelling first. Except when they do go ahead and I provide the pronunciation and start to spell to avoid the error in spelling I know for a fact is looming, the offender proceeds to look at me as though I’ve lost all my marbles.

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This began the very day the registrar representative visited me in the hospital to register her birth. I already prepared to be a dragon because I have been embattled with the government agency more than once for frivolous errors the entity made with the affairs of the Jamaican people. These errors more often than not resulted in the customers bearing the costs (time and monetary) of correcting same, even if the error was the agency’s. No, mam! You were going to name my child what I want, and not what your fingers felt like. So when I started to spell and she gave me an exasperated sigh and asked for the names, I made a point of collecting her real quick. As predicted, with the conclusion of the spelling, she looked like I had grown a second head, before the fascination took over.

The Back Story

Ironically, the name itself is very old. It’s Irish and has been in use for many a year. (No, we didn’t make it up.) Back in 2012, when our relationship was pretty young, my husband and I would talk often about the children we wanted to have. What was a given, was that we both wanted a girl baby (We aren’t horrible, we’d have loved a boy just as much.). Oddly, at the time I was watching a series called Ringer and the name of the lead protagonist was Siobhàn. I favoured the name, but it wasn’t until the spelling of the name appeared in a closed caption episode that I absolutely fell in love. I got online and looked it up and decided I loved and would totally be naming my daughter that.

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BOOBLES VERSION: “I heard the name once in a TV series (Orphan Black) while at UWI before I took notice of the spelling… Then there was a lady that lived on Cluster 5 from Montserrat. I had always heard her name called. She was a part of the cluster committee. and I eventually saw the spelling, correlated it with the TV show. Looked it up, saw the origin and the meaning and was in love with it ever since.”

One day we were playing with names, and he mentioned that he loved this really cute Irish name, with an uncommon spelling. When I realized it was that same name, I giggled with glee, and my husband with his most serious expression, said

“That’s it then? Our first daughter’s name is Siobhàn?”.

In my agreement, her fate was sealed. Siobhàn was Siobhàn before she was ever really Siobhàn and for the remainder of the childless part of our relationship, we referenced her often.

There may or may not have been weird conversations about what our future children were doing at exact moments in time. The conclusion was usually hanging out in ovaries or chilling in the ball pool limbering up!

And Then There Were Three

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When we discovered we were pregnant in 2016 and the time to consider name came, I approached him (husband), afterall, this was his last chance to consider something else before we found out the baby’s sex. I was met with a fat, resounding, uncompromising “NO”. He wasn’t interested in looking at or hearing anything else. If it was a girl in there, her name was Siobhàn, and if it was a boy, I could name him whatever I wanted. So when the doctor told us there was a 90 something percent chance Lil Pepperseed was a girl, her fate was signed, sealed and stamped.

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Telling family and friends her name was high drama. I’m talking about horrid fits of laughter and deliberate tries to pronounce it “SIO+BAN”. We were good-naturedly advised she would be spelling her name her whole life, which didn’t matter to us since SHANDEAN and KEMOI required that rigour. Of course, it grew on them and she is affectionately called Shiv, Shivy and Sio (from the spelling).
There is the odd person who recognizes it, but let me tell you. Rarity isn’t even the word. Her paediatrician keeps a pronunciation record on file!

So, if you made it through all that, here are the particulars.

NAME: Siobhàn

ORIGIN: Irish

PRONUNCIATION: “shiv + awn”
MEANING: “God’s grace.”, “God is gracious.”
ENGLISH VERSIONS: Shevaun, Shavon, Chevonne

We love it. We love our Lil Sio. There just could not have been a better name for her sweet, bubbly, sassy personality. For us, it was written in the stars.

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