Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Heart Destination Weddings!

And not just because we had one!

Take a look at this lovely French wedding I saw over on Elements of Style:


Coco + James Wedding // Short Film from Coco Rocha on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recap: Our 2nd Anniversary

Heading out for our anniversary!
On Sunday Mr. Love Bird arranged for my sisters to watch Nia while we headed out for our 2nd anniversary celebration. Let me just say he did a fabulous job! I was completely surprised and even my sisters didn't know where we were going. . .

We went on a dinner cruise!

I had been tossing around a few ideas of where we'd be going and was completely surprised! It was the perfect night for it too: a comfortable 75 degrees, breezy and a gorgeous sunset. 

Our ship (it came out a bit dark!)
My handsome man!
Uka was a little nervous about the time (he had been told to be there at 6p.m. for boarding, but it was actually at 6:30p.m) and we got there with plenty of time to spare. I was pleasantly surprised by the mixed demographic! At first I thought it was mostly senior citizens, but I guess they just arrived early like us. Eventually 20 and 30 year olds showed up and even a Sweet 16 party.

The staff was gracious and so sweet to everyone. The waitstaff was actually the entertainment and while they were heavy on the cheese factor (let's just say tambourines were involved), I forgave them because of how attentive and nice they were. The music was also a good mix of old soul (our fave!), pop etc. The DJ was from Australia and did a good job the entire evening even announcing all the special celebrations (including our anniversary). 

Our Australian DJ/emcee
I was reminded of a wedding reception with all the line dancing and flashing lights, but it was ok. Although everyone was strangers the crowd was pretty tame and the ship was actually pretty full for a Sunday night.  

The Electric Slide was in full effect!
Now about the food . . . that was one of my favorite parts! It was buffet style and while I usually get skivved out by touching the utensil handles at buffets I just washed my hands a few times and dealt with it (Type A, I know)! The selection was great: mixed green salad with lots of toppings, warm bread with soft butter (like at our wedding I have a weird thing about butter being spreadable - I can't stand hard butter!), stuffed chicken breast, salmon, beef, pork, pasta salad, steamed veggies and some of the best mashed potatoes I've ever had. They had us go through the buffet line in sections and we saw a man ahead of us with a 6" mound of mashed potatoes and while we joked about it at first, after we ate them we completely understood why he piled his plate so high! He must've been on the ship before and we even went back for seconds ourselves. For dessert we had chocolate mousse cake and cheesecake with a special message:



After dessert we took a few snapshots of the gorgeous views:






We chatted about our memories over the past 12 years (!) and our conversation did steer towards our Baby Love Bird! 

My fave (yet blurry!) pic from the evening (looking as young as we did at 19!)
By 10p.m. we were first to get off the boat though because we were tired and ready to go home, but overall it was a fun and enjoyable 2nd anniversary.




Awesome Breastfeeding Commercial

As I near the end of my breastfeeding relationship with Nia I came across this commercial that I can't stop replaying. I've posted it on Facebook too, but couldn't help putting it here as well:




Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's Our 2nd Anniversary!


What a wonderful year it's been! Of course, the biggest blessing was our beautiful baby girl Virginia "Nia" Adanna Agbai. I just told Mr. Love Bird, if someone had shown me a picture of Nia and said, "This will be your baby," I would've been in denial! She is one of the best things that has happened to me and Uka.


We both feel good leaving our 20s behind and know that we have a lot of ground to cover together in our 30s. Since our 1 year anniversary, Mr. Love Bird officially retired from basketball and has started a new career that he loves. We have stepped up our involvement in personal pursuits and self improvement such as Toastmasters and volunteering with our church


I feel like this next year is going to be very exciting and I'm so glad that I have Uka by my side more than ever. Do I think marriage is hard? Sometimes, but it's something I'm willing to work at 200%. What's really helped me this past year has been The Power of a Praying Wife  and while I know I owe a formal progress report, as promised, I will provide a teaser and say the #1 thing I've learned is, "Shut up and pray!"


I will be back soon with an update about our anniversary surprise, but I'll spill a few beans already: I made Uka buttermilk (whole wheat) waffles for breakfast with bacon. This was my first time using whole wheat flour so I'll report back as well with how they went over, but I wanted to stop using white flour so Nia can enjoy them too!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Rock My Ring, Do You?

My engagement ring

With my 2nd wedding anniversary tomorrow I came across this article on Clutch about ringless spouses and was inspired to share my thoughts.

First, I have to say that I am not a jewelry person. I wear the same few keepsakes over and over again and despite being given jewelry I just can't bring myself to swap them out, even if it color coordinates with my outfit. 

My engagement ring was a surprise - meaning that I did not go pick it out. Mr. Love Bird did ask me several months before proposing what cut and setting I liked and I let him know: Asscher with a criss-cross band.  

Just my e-ring
When we got engaged in September 2007 my engagement ring became a symbol of my promise to Uka and of my fidelity to him. If I were to remove my ring I would no doubt still feel the same, but it's an outward sign that I'm taken.  

Wedding set
I sometimes go without my rings when I'm around our apartment or running out quickly to grab something at the store, but 90% of the time I wear both my rings. Besides a fear of losing them, I wear them so that it's clear that I'm married. Being in NYC there are a barrage of cat calls towards women when they walk down the street and it really grates on ones nerves. By wearing my rings I don't necessarily get rid of them, but they do diminish significantly compared to the times when I do not wear my rings.

Mr. Love Bird is good about wearing his ring, although it has gone missing before, but we promptly find it! I know as it goes with me, I'm sure there are many women who see he has a wedding band on but still flirt with him - just because the ring has significance to me doesn't necessarily mean it does to anyone else. I just think it makes interactions between the sexes more straightforward.

I agree with the author when she states:

I know what most will argue, a ring won’t stop the infidelities. I get it. I really do. But infidelities aside, to exchange vows and place upon my finger the very symbol of what those vows supposedly mean only to decide not to wear the ring, feels like a slap in the face. It is a blatant disregard of feelings and the ultimate disrespect.

Do you? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Movie: The Help



My mom, sister and I all read The Help and to me, the trailer is a bit of a disconnect from the book. While there were some humorous parts in the books, the trailer comes off as upbeat and sassy. I take it that this was because they were trying to market it to a mass audience without being weighed down by the subject matter: the segregated south of the past. 

I came across a couple posts from a black and white woman who both had help in their homes. In the post by the black woman she commented on how growing up comfortably middle class with both parents, they had hired help, but that they treated them with dignity and respect. The white woman's post described essentially the same but that she currently employs help and was dismayed to find that her help eats lunch in a closet in her home. 

Regarding my own thoughts on help, while my parents didn't have hired help growing up, I've employed cleaning services here in NYC and have had white and Hispanic help. Of course, I've treated all with respect. Additionally, while going to school at Wellesley I would babysit in between classes to make money. The community of Wellesley is extremely affluent and at times I felt conflicted about being a black woman taking care of white children, but many of my student peers of all races did the same. However, when I moved to NYC I was so shocked to see the prevalence of white children being cared for my middle aged black women mostly from the Caribbean. Compared to my student experience, it definitely brought back images of mammy from the U.S. slavery period. Of course these women chose to hold these jobs, just as I did, but at times it can be so glaring to see masses of white babies in strollers pushed by older black women while I'm out and about with Nia. I even get asked by some of these women if Nia is mine!

I'm not here to pass a judgement, but just state what I see in NYC and how The Help brought this observation to mind. 

I definitely plan on seeing the movie. Will you?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stomp Stomp!

video


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Priorities


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nia's Playlist

We have story time at our local library on Tuesdays and I picked these up from our library and Nia loves them:

Order here
Order here
Order here
I love exposing Nia to world music! She bobs up and down, claps her hands and wags her head. It's too cute! This past Friday night my sister and I attended a free percussion concert at Riverside Church. Nia was so excited to hear the drums and danced and clapped enthusiastically! She even won her own elephant shaped shaker for being the youngest person there. Too cute!

Riverside Church percussion concert
I used to say I never wanted to raise a child in NYC, but it's fun events like this that make me excited to be able to expose Nia to such culture (and FREE ain't bad either!).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mr. Love Bird's First Father's Day

Mr. Love Bird had a wonderful Father's Day! I gave him a Shutterfly photo book of his newborn photo shoot with Nia:


It was a gorgeous day too and it was nice to attend church as a family. The topic was, "What Should I Do With My Life." It was excellent! 

Later we had homemade pizza for dinner (an early dinner - we were exhausted from a lot of walking on Saturday). 

Here are a few Father's Day highlights:

Nia's morning Father's Day face
Snuggling in her Moby Wrap with daddy after church
Father's Day homemade pizza
More quiet time with Daddy
Nia's baby-thug face!
Bathtime!
Overall it was a great first Father's Day for Uka!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mr. Love Bird is Up to Something

Uka's "Plotting Something" pose from when I was in labor
I will not rehash the Mother's Day fail, but DH is indeed about to make up for it big time! He's been plotting and planning a couple surprises the next two weekends.

Our 2nd anniversary is next weekend (June 26 to be exact) and the following weekend we are going somewhere OVERNIGHT - shocking, I know! I'm pretty sure I know where we're going, but I won't say where until after it unfolds. I do know this means I need to pump some milk the next couple weekends so Nia's prepared for my extended absence. It's crazy how I've pretty much been able to feed her on demand for nearly a year. I never would've imagined that and I consider myself blessed, but boy, am I ready to wean! 

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a BFing post, so I'll get back on track . . .

Mr. Love Bird has declared that he doesn't like surprises, but I do! I'm very much like a kid when it comes to being surprised. Now certain surprises I don't like (for example not knowing the gender of my unborn baby - this would drive me bonkers as I'm such a planner!).

I tried to think back to when Mr. Love Bird's last surprised me and it was for my 30th bday last year. He had my friends come for dinner. It was a small group but very nice. Prior to that the big surprise was when we got engaged in 2007.

Have any of my readers been awesomely surprised by their significant others recently? How did it go?



P.S. I really wanted to insert a picture of one of my favorite Christmases. I have an image of surprise in my head when my parents gave me a piano. I can still remember that feeling to this day! It was one of the best surprises of my childhood!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wow! Cable Free for an Entire Year?!

I was over on YHL today and saw John's post about HGTV's latest shows. I realized I was seriously out of the loop! I LOVE HGTV but since being cable free the only time I watch it is when I visit my parents' house. 

This inspired me to look back and see just how long we've been cable free and lo and behold it's been exactly one year!

Wow! 

What's crazy is besides HGTV, I really don't miss cable. Besides saving $100 each month, we find most of our shows online and love watching them without commercials. However, even though they're online doesn't mean we watch them. Instead we are busy working on so many other projects, besides keeping up with Nia!

I wrote a few weeks ago about how our summer's shaping up, but since then it's become even more hectic. Here's what I'm working on now:
  • Planning Nia's first birthday party
  • Co-leading a summer growth group with Uka (every Saturday through the end of the summer!)
  • Harlem School for the Arts fundraiser (please donate here by June 30!)
  • Toastmasters
  • A secret project for a friend ;-)
  • Heading up the mom's ministry for new babies at my church
  • A freelance project
  • Hosting a fondue dinner party next month
  • Volunteering with my church's children's ministry
  • Planning trips {I was hoping to make it to BlogHer and Toastmasters Int'l conference but unfortunately looks like it's not gonna happen.}
    • Columbus
    • Baltimore
    • Philadelphia
    • Rhode Island
    • Nigeria (Nia needs her passport ASAP!)
Yes, so I really don't have time to be sitting around and watching TV! AND I'm definitely not one of those people who use the excuse, "I'm SO busy" for flaking out on people. I've vented about it before. WE'RE ALL BUSY! That's called life. HELLO!!! I just make time for what's important and will always maintain my integrity of checking in on my friends and responding to them in a timely manner.
    Anyway, Mr. Love Bird and I don't see a return to cable in our future. For now we're busy living and loving it!


    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Our Baby Love Bird Can Stand!


    {I know I've been posting a lot about Nia lately, but she is changing so rapidly that I want to keep up! I will resume non-baby posts soon!}

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Nia's New and Improved Fudgey Face!

    I am excited to share that Nia has a new fudgey face . . . with teeth!:



    {she has a gap like her mommy!}

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Life with Nia: 10 Months

    Silly Nia on her 10 month bday!
    Nia and I spent this past Thursday-yesterday in VA visiting my parents. My dad had invited us down for his company picnic and my brother Michael and sister Lauren came too. We had a lot of fun including a "sibling ascent" in a hot air balloon (I'll post pics separately!).
    How Nia spent most of her time on the bus!
    Anyway, Nia is becoming a pro at the Bolt Bus; going there she slept a little and played mostly and on the way back she slept for the first two hours and was quite pleasant the last two hours. She thinks everyone is her friend and tries to engage anyone sitting around us for playtime! Unforatunately, the ride down was very hot. It was nearly 100 degrees in NYC and our bus' AC was broken. Nia was a doll in her diaper and I kept her hydrated. She didn't know the difference!

    Nia and my dad at his company picnic
    Nia was excited to see Tanner again and was more talkative this time yelling at him and chasing him down! Tanner still felt the need to protect Nia during her nap time:


    We sang happy birthday to Nia yesterday and she smiled (I've been singing this to her regularly to get her used to it for her 1st birthday).

    I also took her to the pool and had been showing her the video of her first time in the pool for the last couple weeks since we visited my parents so when we got to the pool it was as though she remembered it was ready to play! She was too cute in her sun-safe hat:


    Now on to the full update:
    • Baby's Weight: She's 20 lbs according to our new scale we purchased (she was 17lbs 15 oz last month)
    • Baby's Height: Won't know for sure until her 1-year appointment, but probably up to 28" by now (she was 27 1/2" last month)
    • What size of clothing does baby wear? She's fully in 12 mths!
    • Any milestones baby reached during the month:  
        • Occasionally standing on her own
        • Picking up her pelvis when crawling instead of dragging herself (she did this 2 days after her 9mth appointment after I had voiced my concern to the dr.!)
        • Playing peek-a-boo:
      • Special outings baby had during the month: Just going to DC-metro area a couple times on the Bolt Bus.
      • What are your thoughts about the past month? It is as though a switch has been flipped and Nia's personality has come out in full force. I love that she "talks" a lot more now and can't wait to hear what she really has to say. She seems to have a lot on her mind!
      • What was baby's routine? It's pretty much the same as before: waking around 5:45/6a.m., morning nap and sometimes an afternoon nap. We're bathing her more frequently now that solids have been introduced (which makes cloth diapering very eventful!).
      • Reflect about the highlights of the month: Nia tried cherries for the first time and LOVED them! Here's a video:
      video
       
        • Did any big changes occur, such as baby started daycare, stopped nursing, slept through the night, etc... No changes!
        • What are baby's favorites - toy, food, person, etc... My sister Lauren gave Nia the book Color Bears and she is quite obsessed with it. She "talks" extensively after each color and likes to turn the pages herself. Here she is the first day she received the book:

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