10 Ways Alexa Made This Mommy’s Life Easier

10 Ways Alexa

So I bought my hubby an Echo Dot for Father’s Day, but I’ve fallen in love with it. Sure the Dot’s virtual assistant software, Alexa, is not as snarky, fun, or quick witted as Siri but she’s super useful, especially for a busy mommy like myself. Here are the ten Alexa commands that have made my life a easier.

1. “Alexa, add my 2:30 appointment on the 23rd to my calendar.”

Alexa is my assistant. She helps me keep up with my schedule just by telling her when and where. Sure I could do this with Siri, but I never know where my phone is when I’m at home. I’m always asking her for reminders. Remind me to pack this, or remind me to write that… She’s the best because the way my memory is set up…

2. “Alexa, add diapers to my shopping list.” Or anything else.

If I wait to get to a pen and paper while the baby is screaming or the 5 year old is tearing up the house, I’d never remember what to add to my list. Not only that. Once I tell her what to add on my list it shows up in my app, which is perfect because I always leave my list on the kitchen counter anyway.

3. “Alexa, send hubby a text.” 

This, and her ability to make calls, are my favorite voice commands.

4. “Alexa, let’s mediate.”

This will open a quick 1 minute meditation to help you relax and relieve stress.

clarke-sanders-254796Photo by Clarke Sanders on Unsplash

5. “Alexa, let’s play Jeopardy.”

Having a little fun makes this mommy happy. I look forward to playing Jeopardy with Alexa. It’s quick and challenges the brain to think fast. As of today, I’m in the top 1% of Jeopardy players on Alexa. She asks six questions everyday and you answer in the form of a question, just like on the show. It’s actually kind of nerve racking but it’s so much fun. You can also just ask Alexa to “play a game.” On our stay at home date night, we played 21 questions and Alexa had to guess what animal we were thinking of. That was hilarious.

6. “Alexa, what time is it.”

This is my most used command. I’m usually screaming it through the house when I’m trying to get ready in the morning. I hate mornings, but she helps me get out of the house a little faster.

7. “Alexa, play Rock-a-bye Baby station on Pandora.”

Or sometimes it’s play Beyonce station. Whatever it is, it seems to brighten up everyone’s mood in the house.

8. “Alexa, Turn the TV on.”

Yeah. I’m that lazy sometimes.

9. “Alexa, how are my stocks doing.”

Yeah, this one makes me feel a little bougie, but hey why not. Even though I’m investing long term I still like to know how my stocks are doing or when it’s a good time to buy more.

10. “Alexa, set the livingroom lights to warm light.”

She works perfectly with my Hue lights, which I sometimes hate because I can never find my phone to turn them on or off. Now I just set the mood with my voice. (Yeah we love gadgets in our house).

 

Other reasons Alexa is Bae

She Orders Pizza

She allows you to buy things with Amazon Prime

She can get you a ride with Uber

She can set a timeout timer when the littles need time to think about their actions.

 

Another great thing about Alexa is that she is always evolving and gaining new skills. I can’t wait to see how intelligent she becomes and what other ways she can help busy mommies out. For less than $50 she’s more than worth it.

 

What’s your favorite Alexa command? Are you team Alexa or Team Siri?

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Books on Racist Policing

Books by former Dallas police chief David O. Brown and the law professor Paul Butler, and a collection edited by Angela J. Davis, call for transformation of the system.

via Three New Books Discuss How to Confront and Reform Racist Policing — Book Reviews

New African-American Book Release: The Griot

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My novel, The Griot, is finally complete and the feeling is out of this world. Self-publishing was quite the journey, from beginning to end. Each step seemed more impossible to complete than the one before, but it’s finished.

 

Here’s the synopsis.

“Blacks have never belonged in America,” was Father Malcolm’s mantra. In the year 2014, he created a settlement in Africa’s Serengeti for African Americans. Two hundred years later, the kingdom of Za and the citizens who inhabit it are thriving until one of them is forced into a secret world that will challenge everything she’s ever believed about herself and the kingdom she calls home.

Zen’s life is seemingly perfect. Set to marry the love of her life, she believes all of her dreams are about to come to fruition, but when she’s forced to join the Griothood, a secret society of storytellers, her life takes an abrupt turn.

When Zen learns the truth about herself and the kingdom she so loves, she is handed the responsibility of stopping a treacherous band of rebels before they destroy the kingdom. If she doesn’t stop fighting her calling and learn that no one is who they seem, Za is doomed.

And then there’s the breathtaking prince…

Torn between the life she knew and the stories she hears; Zen is left bewildered. Was her entire life a lie?

With so much at stake, can Zen save her kingdom and all she holds dear?

 

10 Ways I Overcame Postpartum Depression

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Cairo and I

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Please seek help from a doctor should you feel any symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Now that my precious baby boy is 3 months old I can gladly say that this has been a wonderful journey so far. I am having so much fun watching him grow and develop a personality. It’s just as exciting as watching my first baby grow. Having my first child was very different however. At that time having a newborn was one of the darkest, most depressing, and scariest times of my life. It wasn’t until I was out of that darkness that I realized that I indeed had postpartum depression (PPD). I was exhausted but because I was so anxious about everything (her not gaining enough weight, painful breastfeeding, and just being a new mother) I couldn’t sleep. I felt as if I was barely existing, and I felt so alone. I was highly irritated with my husband who was not the most supportive person at the time. I had no family nearby once my parents went home. Being a military wife who just moved to a new state with my husband, I had no friends.

This time I can happily say that Post Partum Depression did not come visit me. Although it may not have been in the cards for me this time, I took some steps to avoid it at all costs. These are the steps I recommend if you’re a new mama and you’re not feeling like yourself.

1. Tell Your Doctor

Things are different this time around. Every doctor screens for anxiety in the mother including the pediatricians. Be truthful on those surveys that ask how you feel. If you’re depressed and anxious, say so. Don’t be afraid. Don’t wait for things to get better. Because I knew my history I talked to my doctor during my pregnancy so that we could come up with a preventative plan. This made a big difference and fortified by support system.

2. Keep in touch with your support system a.k.a. your tribe

Let your true friends know that you’re not yourself if you feel out of sorts. Go out with them to lunch or have them come over and vibe with you. They can raise your vibrations or listen. Make sure that these are girlfriends that you trust. After the fact, I told a few people about my depression and they actually laughed. Many people don’t understand this type of illness.

If you have no one, join Babycenter.com. They have many different groups and it feels good to express yourself to strangers sometimes. I’ve also joined groups like the Babywearing International lending library for baby wearing moms and dads. You can check out a new sling or wrap every month, and you get to hang out with other parents. Click this link to find out if there is a chapter near you. Babywearing International Tribe

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3. Keep your routine as normal as possible

One thing that kept me grounded was watching my reality and house hunting shows, playing games on my tablet, listening to my Audiobooks. I went on quick shopping trips with my mom, yet I was careful not to over do it. I just made sure to keep the things that I loved in my life, including watching the foolishness unfold on Babycenter. For me it was important to get out of the house!

4. Talk to someone

My mother and father saved my life. I would call my mom and tell her how horrible I was feeling and she realized that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t just having problems adjusting and things had gone far beyond baby blues. She said “I’m sending your father up there.” My dad and baby brother came up here and would stay up with the baby so I could rest. My dad is an excellent cook and kept the kitchen spotless. He’s also funny and fun to have around. My brother stayed for a few weeks to help out after my dad left. Within a week of my dad being there I felt like Valarie again.

5. Meditate james-douglas-730

In order to stay grounded, I have my husband take the baby so I can get a few moments to check in with my spirit and quiet my thoughts. This keeps me grounded and it is in these moments of silence that I sometimes find solutions to my problems.

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6. Know that you haven’t done anything wrong.

I felt embarrassed and like an awful person when I was going the PPD. I was supposed to be in bliss. I was supposed to be in love with my beautiful baby, but instead I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be a mother. The embarrassment that I felt kept me from calling a doctor. I didn’t want to be labeled as a bad mom. I was even irrationally scared that they would take my child. Now I know that being a good mother means getting help if you need it.

7. Let people help you.

Last time I think I was too proud for help. I told my mom that we wanted to enjoy the baby by ourselves. This time I said, “stay as long as you like.” I allowed my mom to do anything she wanted to assist. I allowed myself to be spoiled. The spouses club from my husband’s squadron set up a meal train and I welcomed it. We ate well for a long time.

 

8. Get a lactation consultant

One huge source of anxiety for me was my issues with breastfeeding. I had trouble getting my daughter to latch. I had sore and cracked nipples, I had clogged milk ducts, and my baby wasn’t gaining weight the way the doctors wanted her to. In the hospital I had no lactation consultants, and although the nurses tried to assist it just wasn’t working. I finally gave up and when I did I felt guilty which added on to my depression. This time I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding another try, but I also knew that my little man would be just fine if I wasn’t able to breastfeed. This time breastfeeding started off just as hard as before even though I watched a million YouTube videos on how to get newborns to latch. So when he was 1 week I called a recommended lactation consultant that my insurance now covered and within five minutes I was nursing like a pro. I truly think that lady is an angel.

9. Sleep when the baby sleeps

I didn’t take this to heart the first time. I was running around the house trying to sterilize her bottles and my pump parts after every feeding and doing other unnecessary chores. Now I sleep whenever my baby sleeps, which is often. If something doesn’t get done, oh well. My husband is fully capable of doing the dishes and cooking something simple.

10. This too shall pass.

Before you know it. Being a mother will be second nature and you will barely recognize that depressed you. As your hormones return to normal and baby grows and starts smiling at you, you will find yourself in complete bliss.

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You got this. Are there any tips that I missed? Please Comment below.