Monday, February 28, 2011

Woo Hoo For Baby Wearing Dads!

I've been noticing the following two commercials on heavy rotation:




*Baby wearing dad at :10 mark!*

I'm so glad to see baby wearing dads on network TV, but I think it would be even better to start showing dads of color as well. One step at a time, I guess!

Here's a pic of Uka wearing Nia:


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hillsong's Coming to NYC



I absolutely love Hillsong and this song is one of my favorites. They'll be at the Manhattan Center on March 10. I would LOVE to go, but it's not quite in our budget right now. I hope to visit one of their services though at their newly launched NYC location.

Friday, February 25, 2011

NYC African-American Abortions Billboard Taken Down


Read more about it here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time for a Trip to IKEA!

At last we put up black out curtains in Nia's "nursery." They were $13/panel from Target. Her nursery is actually an office with a huge window looking into the yucky, abandoned building next door, and while she loves watching the pigeons go in an out of the windows, the view is quite unsightly as it's the first room guests see upon entering our apartment. It doesn't have a door, but it does have a huge closet. The nursery is more like an alcove actually.

Here's what it looked like before baby:



 
Here it is while we collected things for baby:


I had actually been in discussions with the Nate Berkus Show to do a room makeover, but alas it didn't work out. BTW, Nate is giving away framed maps on his site today! Doesn't this look divine?:


Photo Credit: The Nate Show
Anyway, since Nia's been born I've done little by little to the room on my own, but as the rest of our apartment has bare white walls for the most part, we really haven't decorated in the nursery. {We're still in the midst of some issues with our landlord so we're still nervous about getting too settled in although we're coming upon the 1 1/2 year mark of being in this apartment}. 

Here's what her room looks like now (it's nap time!):

For the doorless entry I'm thinking of getting these $20 sound and light reduction panels from Ikea:
Photo Credit: Ikea
They're a tad short at 98" but close enough and because Nia doesn't have a vent and the window doesn't open a bit of clearance will  be good for air. I'd like to get her a little fan too for her dresser. I'm taking inspiration from Young House Love's fan on their daughter's dresser:

Photo Credit: Young House Love
So yes, a trip to Ikea is in order!

Also, I'm a bit bummed that the Hemnes queen bed is now $100 less than last year.

Photo Credit: IKEA
We have the Malm, but Hemnes is the one I really wanted, however it wasn't on sale when we got the entire series in 2009. I love it because it has room for underbed storage. Oh well!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh Snap!

Photo Credit: The New York Times
This billboard just went up in Soho near Planned Parenthood and boy, is it causing a stir. Read more about it here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breastfeeding Update: The 6 Month Mark

My lil cuddlebug breastfeeding at 6 months!
With Nia turning six months I've now reached the halfway point in our breastfeeding journey. When I think back to those first six weeks I feel as though they dragged on forever, while the past six months have actually flown by. Kelly Mom was (and still is!) such a great resource for me during those tough first six weeks and while everyone said it would get easier, at the time it seemed so hard to believe, but suddenly it did.

Now some of the challenges we're facing are:
  • Keeping Nia focused while breastfeeding - she especially likes to stop eating to stare at Uka when he enters the room or talks to me while she's eating. She also tries to suck her thumb while simultaneously breastfeeding (weird, I know!).
  • BITING! Her two bottom teeth have done a bit of damage and for those who have said breastfeeding does not wreck your boobs, they are LYING! While I can be thankful that we've made it to the six month mark, I can totally see how easy it would be to wean at this point. However, I know the past six months have gone so fast that the next six will too then I'll go into recovery mode.
  • Still wanting to eat in the middle of the night - Her pediatrician as well as everything I've researched has indicated that she can indeed make it through the night without a feeding, but she still wakes up 1-2x in the night for a snack. Usually she'll eat only 10 minutes then fall back asleep, but I really want to stop this especially if I'm heading back to work soon. We purchased black out curtains for her room over the weekend so I'm hoping this will help to make her room extra dark and cozy to induce continued sleep.
As a black mom it's been important to me to breastfeed Nia especially when 40% of black babies never received breastmilk at all. For the general population the CDC reports while 75% of U.S. babies start out breastfeeding, only 13% are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months.

I'm very proud to be part of that 13%!

Why is it so important to delay solids? Here are a few reasons as shared on Kelly Mom:
  • Delaying solids gives baby greater protection from illness (Nia has not ever been sick!)
  • Delaying solids give baby's digestive system time to mature
  • Delaying solids decreases the risk of food allergies
  • Delaying solids helps to protect baby from future obesity
I'm so glad I've been able to share this special time with Nia, and I'm looking forward to the next six months!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saving Holiday Greeting Cards

Now that the major greeting card holidays have passed, I'm left with a stack of greeting cards. I definitely prefer the surprise of a mailed greeting card over and e-card, but after years of collecting them I'm not quite sure what to do with them. When I was a child my mom would make placemats out of my leftover greeting cards using contact paper. While I think this is a clever idea I don't think this would be appropriate at my dinner table now!

One of the blogs I follow, Small Notebook, suggested creating stacks of cards from those most important in your life and filing them away.  

Photo Credit: Small Notebook
Another method they suggest for Christmas cards specifically is scanning them, especially those with photos and saving them on your hard drive.

Right now I have Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's and Nia's Dedication cards to file, plus a host of others from years past. Rather than try to tackle them all at once I think I'll start with the most recent and work my way back.  

Do you have any other methods for tackling your greeting cards?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Random in the City

I was heading home on the subway with Uka and my sister on Sunday after Nia's dedication when we spotted this:


Subway posters are very common and mostly advertise upcoming movies and TV shows while providing something to mindlessly look at while waiting for the next train. 

Well, we didn't think much of the above poster until we walked a few feet down the platform and saw this:


Someone had taken Rango's eye and put it on Mufasa (or is it Simba?)! After much discussion we decided that the person must've been an artist to determine that out of all the other eyes on the other posters to replace that this would be the best according to scale and color. We even debated if there were any other posters where Rango's eye would've been a good fit, and we decided that The Lion King poster was indeed the best.

Here's the usual treatment of Mufasa's eye:

 Photo Credit: examiner.com
Now whenever we see a Rango or Lion King poster we think of this switcheroo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Life With Nia: Six Months Old

Darling Nia on her Dedication Day
There are so many updates that this is going to be quite a long post! I really can't believe Nia is six months already. I know it's cliche to say time flies, but it really, really does. I look at her sometimes and I can already see her graduating high school! As you can see in the picture above she has this mature look about her. She studies everything so intently and can make you feel like she's peering into your soul. Sometimes it really freaks me out, honestly!

Anyway, the two major highlights: Baby Dedication and introducing solids!

While some church's have a christening or baptism our church has a baby dedication. We believe that a baptism happens when a person can make a personal decision to follow Christ, but as a child it is the responsibility to "train up a child in the way she should go" (Proverbs 22:6). During the dedication the parents make a promise to do so. 

My mom crocheted Nia's dress and bonnet. She is immensely talented (she crocheted her wedding dress too!) and the picture she sent me via text didn't do it justice:


She wore lace tights and white satin shoes as well as the cross from a dear family friend. Nia looked like a little angel:

I think Nia was looking at my dad in this pic!



Nia wanted the mic!
As part of the dedication she received a certificate and toddler Bible; we'll be getting more pictures too as well as the DVD so if I'm technical enough I'll try to upload a clip in the coming weeks. After the dedication we had a small gathering of family and friends over for a light brunch - my dad made delicious cinnamon rolls. {When we get pictures uploaded from our guests I'll do a separate post with a link to the full gallery} 

Now about solids . . .

SUCCESS!

I could tell Nia was ready by how she eyed our food and boy, was she ever! I'm so glad I started getting her ready for solids two weeks prior to her six month birthday. The first week I let her sit in her high chair while we ate and the second week I gave her a bowl and spoon while she sat in the high chair. As a result, by the time we gave her cereal she was AMPED! 

My sister gave us this book from our Amazon registry, and I followed the homemade rice cereal recipe. 


Photo Credit: Amazon.com
It was very easy:
This is what we used to make Nia's food (a gift from my cousin, Aminah)
I made it quite watery the first time around; subsequently I made it thicker
Uka fed her, and she loved it!
Here's a video of the grand occasion:



We'll do a week with just plain brown rice cereal flavored with breastmilk then this weekend we'll add bananas. After a few days of that we'll introduce peas and so on. I'll keep providing updates on the blog as Nia tries new food. I do have to add that I was so happy to see Uka jump up and get involved with making Nia's food. He didn't just want to feed her - he wanted to help me make it, and I really liked that!

Now on to the update . . .

  • Baby's Weight: As of Nia's 6 month appointment on February 15 she's 16lbs and 7oz; at her last on December 8 she was 15lbs and 3oz. We're seeing a new pediatrician now who has a much better bedside manner than her old one; Nia took to her immediately and didn't cry like she did before. The new dr. told us her percentiles, which I never bothered with anyway, but for her weight she's 75%-tile. She said she's doing excellent on breastmilk and my solids plan is sound.
  • Baby's Height: She was 25" at her last appointment and now she's 26." (About 55%-tile; the dr. was shocked to learn how tall Uka was!).
  • What size of clothing does baby wear? 6-9 months is definitely tighter length wise but she still has width room although her Pooh-bear tummy is taking shape
  • Any milestones baby reached during the month:  
      • She can dance on command; we say "Go Nia! Go Nia!" and she starts bouncing. (I HAVE to get this on camera!)
      • She's sitting longer and is less likely to topple; the dr. said she's quite a good sitter for 6 months since she doesn't use her hands as a tripod (and of course Nia toppled over at the dr.'s office and hit her head on the wall - ouch!)
      • She's sleeping in her crib for naps and bedtime, but still wakes at night for a feeding (I think this might get better as solids progress, but so far it hasn't kicked in yet)
  • Special outings baby had during the month: Just out to Long Island on the LIRR for a Knottie get together (she loves riding the train)
  • What are your thoughts about the past month? Nia just keeps getting cuter and cuter. I love how curious and passionate she is about everything. Her voice and sense of humor are definitely getting stronger.
  • What was baby's routine? We're getting Nia down for the night now earlier! She's down most nights before 9p.m. and I find when we get up by 6a.m. with Uka for work the days goes much better. If we can both get up that early she naps earlier and subsequently goes to bed earlier. We get lots of playtime in, especially books and songs/dance. With the high likelihood that I'll be working outside the home soon, I'm trying to get a routine set as much as possible and am starting to write it down.
  • Reflect about the highlights of the month: Solids! I'll keep Nia on mostly breastmilk but I'll welcome the decreased feedings for sure. I plan to wean her at 1 year old.
  • Did any big changes occur, such as baby started daycare, stopped nursing, slept through the night, etc... No big changes this month; minor change was adjusting her cloth diaper to the next largest size cause of her chubbzy tummy!
  • What are baby's favorites - toy, food, person, etc... She still likes Cookie Kisses and we introduced new musical toys for her 6 month birthday; she would see them in the hanging caddy during diaper changes and I would jingle them and she'd start panting like a puppy and kicking! I finally gave them to her on her birthday and here she is playing with them:

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    She was mad I took the tulle out of her mouth!
    I had a really hard time getting a good pic of Nia's Valentine's Day outfit. It was a gift from my mom and she made the tutu (the shoes are from our cousin and matched the tutu perfectly!). Nia was more interested in chewing the tulle!





    Uka and I are heading to dinner tonight at Melba's (thanks Groupon!) while my lovely sister Ariane watches Nia. It's a balmy 58 degress in NYC and the sky's blue. LOVIN' IT!

    Enjoy your day everyone =)

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Happy 1/2-Year Birthday Nia!

    Photo Credit: www.nickismithphotography.com
    We're busy with family, introducing solids and preparing for Nia's dedication tomorrow so I'll wait to get pics and such then post the regular monthly update. Her 6 month check-up is also early next week so I should have the post ready on Wednesday.

    Have a good weekend everyone!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Harlem Apartment Tour

    Uka and I are fine renting in NYC for now, but we've been thinking about purchasing a brownstone. We've gone to one open house in our neighborhood and often check out StreetEasy and Harlem Bespoke just for fun to see what's out there. Apartment Therapy frequently features NYC apartment tours and sometimes they include a Harlem apartment. One of the Harlem apartments I bookmarked belongs to designer Nicole Gibbons, an interior designer who owns So Haute

    Nicole Gibbons; Photo Credit www.sohautestyle.com
    Nicole's 650 sq ft apartment is crisp and chic. I love her calming color palette too:





    {You can see the full tour here.}



    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Rethinking Swaddling

    Swaddled Nia, 8 days old

    I've posted before about how we let Nia sleep on her tummy and that it works fine with us. Since then I've been packing up some of her outgrown items and came across her swaddling blanket. It worked for all of two weeks then Nia wouldn't have anything to do with it.

    Now that she's in her crib she moves all around and will often suddenly flip to her back in the middle of the night and startle herself awake. We've put her to sleep on her back too but she hasn't figured out how to roll over from her back yet and tends to wake more often throughout the night when placed on her back.

    Perhaps we'll use the swaddle blanket with baby #2 (again, not happening for a REALLY long time!), but I came across this article which questioned whether babies actually like swaddling or if it simply causes them to shut down. The author's main point is that skin to skin is best for a newborn as often as possible and while I agree I do think each baby is an individual and what works for some babies doesn't work for all. This is why I get so annoyed when people say if my baby doesn't like swaddling then I'm doing it wrong. Ummm no! My baby truly does not like being swaddled. I know my baby! 

    One thing I am happy about is that Nia hasn't formed an attachment to being swaddled which means it's one less thing to wean her from. Same with a bottle and a binky. The transition to her crib has been easy and the last thing I'll have to wean her from is the breast which will happen when she's one year old.

    {A note on the pic: I know sleep positioners have been in the news a lot due to infant deaths, but Nia slept well with hers during the first couple months and then we stopped using it not necessarily because of the warnings. The deaths that had been mentioned were far less than those that occur by babies bed-sharing and other activities. Again this goes back to knowing what works for your individual needs.}

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    I Heart Downton Abbey

    Photo Credit: bemoretunedin.wordpress.com
    I've posted before about my obsession with BBC and all things British. Well the arrival of Downton Abbey on PBS has truly made me so happy!

    Downton Abbey opens with the sinking of the Titanic and how the loss of the male heir to the Grantham estate throws a family and its servants into disarray. While there is much to see in the ornate set design and costumes, Downton Abbey is also a commentary on progress and social structure. 

    My most favorite actress in the series is Dame Maggie Smith who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham. 

    Photo Credit: doctorwho76totterslane.blogspot.com
    I love Maggie Smith in any movie and she has the best lines such as: 
    • "What is a weekend?"
    • "Put that in your pipe and smoke it!" (when giving a piece of her mind)
    • "Last night! He looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."
    This clip of the Dowager in a swivel chair is hilarious:




    A bit of trivia . . .


    Each hour of the series cost over 1 million pounds to produce, and is the most expensive British TV show EVER!

    While Downton Abbey reminds me a lot about Gosford Park (Julian Fellowes is the same screenwriter), I found it held my interest longer and was more entertaining. It's amazing to think that it wasn't that long ago that people were living that way!

    The original BBC airing had 7 episodes, but PBS had 4, 90 minute episodes. The good news is you can watch them all here.

    If any of you have watched it please let me know your thoughts. Are you as excited as I am that the series will be filming a 2nd season starting next month? It will air this fall with a holiday special as well; I can't wait to see it!

    Also, for some interesting commentary on the series check out this article. {The line about the character who plays Edith looking like Michael Cera in a wig made me laugh!} 

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