Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Ol' Pen and Paper

Our family calendar
After my phone woes a couple weeks ago I was so thankful that less than a week before Mr. Love Bird and I sat down to create our first ever family calendar and sync everything ON PAPER. Sounds so simple but it was a lifesaver after my BlackBerry went swimming in the toilet.

I think this family calendar will be a mainstay in addition to our smartphone calendars and I have grandiose visions of more fun and design-conscious calendars as I get our office in order.

Apparently we had missed a few things so Lil Love Bird filled them in on her own:

Does a family calendar work for your family? How do you sync your schedules? 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Save the Date: April 5 Metro Minis Hosts Harlem Babywearing Event

I'm so excited to share that Metro Minis is hosting a special babywearing event at Kidberry coming up on April 5, 2012:

Metro Minis is the go-to place for all things babywearing/cloth diapering in NYC and they are so helpful and friendly that I just know this event will be a success!

I see so many moms babywearing in Harlem and Metro Minis is right on target setting up this special event.

I will be there with Nia in her Boba and would love to meet some of my readers face to face.

Will you be going?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trayvon and The Hunger Games

I saw a mention in my Twitter feed about how all mothers should be speaking out about Trayvon and if not, we are complicit in wrongdoing. I don't agree with this, but it spurred me to catch up with what social media has been saying about the investigation and to understand why things like that are being said. 

A fellow CSG alum of mine, Hot Black and Bitter, wrote a thought-provoking post entitled Why I Won't Sign Your Trayvon Martin Petition, and after someone had posted a request on my Facebook wall asking me to sign said petition I decided instead to think more on this. After the recent events surrounding KONY2012 I think it's best to proceed with caution. 

Social media has made us so quick to "jump on the bandwagon" of so many issues but after speaking with Mr. Love Bird, who is very familiar with racial profiling from NYC cops, and hearing more about other racial issues going on in our country lately, especially surrounding The Hunger Games I have some thoughts to share.

Mr. Love Bird brought up an issue that I've noticed as well: many times when a black kid is assaulted/killed etc., they show the family in mourning discussing how he was a wonderful person and such an angel then the true story comes out about how he was really a street thug. Honestly, I was surprised hearing this come from Mr. Love Bird especially knowing the awful, embarrassing run-ins he's had from a young age since he's so often "fit the description." He also remarked how yes, hoodies are typically worn by a certain demographic so he could understand why Trayvon might appear to be threatening. 

I countered that wearing a hoodie in the early evening or even at all does not warrant killing someone. Obviously, there is more to this story and Mr. Love Bird agreed. 

A recent article about the smear campaign against Trayvon was shared on my timeline by a friend and it addressed many of the issues that are now being discussed including the hoodie issue.  At the same time my sister brought an article to my attention about fans' racist response to The Hunger Games.

To me, this is what it boils down to:

Obviously, there are some deep-seeded racial problems troubling our country right now and granted The Hunger Games is fiction and Trayvon Martin's death is real life, but the sentiments that are being expressed are real and ugly reflecting the fact that yes, race is still an issue in our country (and I think it will forever be) and no, just because Obama is president doesn't mean the U.S. is post-racial.

So what am I going to do about it? 

At this point I'm not sure, I'm outraged but that doesn't mean I'm going to sign a petition or join a march. I'm just being honest.

As a sister and wife to young black men and hopefully, a future mother to one I'm going to be smart about having open, honest conversations (a la "The Talk") with them about how they are perceived. My husband is already fully aware of this, but I definitely want to speak more with my brother about it. And I don't mean this in the way that I've seen it discussed online about "blaming rape victims for wearing short skirts." I mean it as being real about the world we live in.

What are you going to do about it?


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Night Out With Toni Braxton and Babyface

Love Birds at MGM Grand at Foxwoods
Friday afternoon Mr. Love Bird, my BFF Van and I headed to Foxwoods to catch Toni Braxton and Babyface. We had been looking forward to the concert for about a month after Van had suggested we go. Thank you Van for mentioning it AND to Mr. Love Bird for making it happen!

I hadn't been to Foxwoods in years and had heard about the property's upgrades as they were one of my former employer's clients as well as the news of how the renovations helped to bring on Foxwoods' recent financial woes

Now Mr. Love Bird and I always know that we are beacons for foolishness and this trip did not disappoint. We took Greyhound up to Connecticut and thought all was going well until about 45 minutes into the journey when a young woman started shrieking about how she wanted off the bus. Mr. Love Bird, Van and I were seated in the first row behind the driver and had been making small talk with her along the way. The woman kept getting louder and louder and stood up. She appeared to be about 18-20 years old and was disheveled. When the driver picked up her speaker and announced, "Marisol, sit down. You are on the right bus and will get off at New Britain!" I was like O____o.

Apparently there was a history between Marisol and the driver. 

Long story short, Marisol had wandered off the first bus she was on and had to be put on another. Her brother met her in NYC to get her back on track and an altercation ensued in the station where he let the staff know she was schizophrenic. In the end we made it safely to our destination, but not without Mr. Love Bird and Van "holding down the fort." 

On to the concert . . .

We split a bunch of desserts - sadly this blueberry pie wasn't good

After stuffing our faces at the buffet (it was MUCH better than how I had remembered it when I first went to Foxwoods with my senior class at Wellesley in 2002), we went to the new part of the casino where the MGM Theatre was. It was a TREK! We knew the concert wasn't going to start on time and got there about 8:30p.m. and Babyface was up first. The place was packed and full of energy!

Van and Mrs. Love Bird enjoy the concert
Let me tell you: he sounded just like he did on his CDs! So crisp and clear - the man is immensely talented. He worked his way through his own songs and many of those he had produced/written. Mr. Love Bird and I were surprised at how many songs he was behind. The best part was how diverse the audience was especially one middle-aged white man across the aisle from us who was SO into the music and knew every single song - no lie!

Babyface onstage
There was a 20 minute intermission before Toni Braxton and she opened with one of my favorite songs of hers, He Wasn't Man Enough for Me (LOVE the video too!). The first thing I noticed was how hard she was to understand. I get that she has a husky voice, but the sound engineers/acoustics team could have made adjustments to the background music/singers to bring her voice to the forefront.

Toni on the screen - her lighting was too bright to get a good pic of her onstage
I thought it was just a fluke for the first song, but for the rest of the concert I noticed the same thing, as did Mr. Love Bird and we heard others talking about it later on the ride back. Toni even mentioned it herself during the concert saying she's been told she's hard to understand and how R. Kelly recently told her she sounds like Elvis! I can see how that's true.

Anyway, the concert was a lot of fun, but I have to say Babyface was definitely better. I would've been happy just having him perform the whole time!

Asleep on the way home

We had fun after walking around, NOT winning any money (!) and meeting people. We slept the entire ride back which was quicker than going (about 4 hours) and are looking for another chance to go with a larger group next time maybe to Mohegan Sun for a comedy show.

It was a fun date trip for me and Mr. Love Bird and a fun chance for us to chill with Van (he knew us back when we were dating in Boston and moved to NYC a bit before I did). 

Oh and about being away from Nia . . .

This trip was definitely great for weaning as I then went from CT to PA for a bridal shower. I did not leak at all but was engorged and in some pain by the time we were reunited at 8p.m. She didn't run for me at first just looked at me, smiled a little, walked in for a hug then a 2nd and after about 5 minutes asked to nurse. Of course I let her but it was extremely brief (less than 5 minutes!). In the morning however, she was not a happy camper and was very cranky as she wanted to nurse 2 hours earlier than normal. I wouldn't let her and she was completely bent out of shape but after she did that was it for the whole day. 

This was an awesome weekend!


P.S. Shout out to my sister Ariane for watching Nia! Thank you sis!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunny Days Ahead

Yesterday was one of the hardest days I've had so far if you couldn't tell not only by the content but the grammatical and spelling errors in yesterday's post. 

I'm so thankful to those of you who shared supportive comments, emails, phone calls etc. Thank you so much!

When my DSLR arrived unexpectedly and the sun came out it felt good to get dolled up a bit and head out to enjoy the late afternoon/early evening. Nia and I met up with Mr. Love Bird at his company's happy hour at our local beer garden. It was a great night and complete 180 from the crappy day I had earlier. I got some great practice in shooting manual:

She was asleep when we arrived

In a few short hours Mr. Love Bird and I will be joining my BFF as we head out overnight to enjoy the Toni Braxton/Babyface concert then I'll come back and head straightaway to PA for a bridal shower. I'm gonna be one tired lady but I know the time away from Nia will do us good.

I had a good cleansing talk with my mother and weaning is definitely at the root of a lot of my frustration lately, and I know for a fact we are at the very end of our breastfeeding relationship (as of this writing, I haven't nursed Nia in 15 hours - the longest yet). 

There are definitely sunny days ahead.

What are you looking forward to this first weekend of spring?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Do You Do?

When you're told "you're not pulling your weight in the family" and "taking care of a toddler is not that hard" and "lots of moms run businesses with more kids than you without outside help" and you're trying to successfully launch your business yet your toddler won't stop crying for "milky" and you deny her and she's screaming her head off and you can't focus on GETTING THINGS DONE for your business?

What do you?

I'm serious - I need help.

There has to be a better way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Feel Like This a Lot

{Image Source}
And speaking of giving credit where it's due, shout out to Hot, Black and Bitter who I saw posted this. 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Revisit: Squeaky Wheel #4

I have over 100 draft posts in my Blogger dashboard and came across this one and decided to resurrect it:  

{Photo Credit}
My squeaky wheel update 4 had been about my experience at Society Coffee. If you don't have time to click over and read the whole thing, essentially, the owner attempted to make-good on a poor review I gave on Yelp and offered me a free meal to come back and try again. I brought Mr. Love Bird with me and he definitely wasn't impressed and in all honesty, although they tried hard they failed miserably. 

Well, I guess I must've been on to something because last fall I came across the news on Harlem Bespoke that Society closed. It's a shame this happened because a little bit of effort and customer service would've gone a long way for that shop.

Mr. Love Bird and I often lament about our customer service experiences and how it really doesn't take much to outshine so many other competitors who fail miserably. 

Farewell Society, and I hope the owner learned from its mistakes and can try again. 

Have any of my readers been squeaky wheels lately? Please share!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Lil Love Bird Visits Imagine That!!!

Since moving across the river Nia and I have had a lot fun enjoying outings with a moms group we joined. It's been a great way to jump in and meet families and get to know our new area. 

Last week we went to an outing to Imagine That!!! a giant hands-on museum. I had mentioned wanting to take Nia to Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum, which I still want to do perhaps this summer, and when I saw this event I knew immediately that Nia would love it. 

I was right!

There were so many discovery areas for Nia to explore:

It was her first time with glue and I've never seen her so focused! She sat here for over 15 minutes.

She wanted to free the puppies

Lil Love Bird was not a fan of Bernoulli's principle - she kept fussing!

The nondescript entrance - who would know all that fun was inside?

She was exhausted and quickly fell asleep on the ride home


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Life With Nia: 19 Months and a Visit to Maryland

Sadly, this post has been delayed as I'm without my DSLR temporarily - it's having an error so it's back with Canon and I hope it will be fixed and returned quickly! I've also been without my BlackBerry for over a week now as it fell into the toilet and I missed the delivery to my parents' house (I waited allllll day and of course they delivered it in the evening after I had already left to return to NYC - this after showing it was out all day for delivery as of 5a.m. O_o) so needless to say it's been a bad technology week. (AND on a sidenote if I get one more person telling me to call them after I clearly tell them via email I'm without a phone I'm going to lose my mind!)

Anyway, we were in Maryland visiting my parents for the weekend, and I did get some great pictures when my camera was working so that's good news!

I wasn't able to get my usual monthly chair photo, but hope to capture it when my camera's returned ASAP!
 Here's the official update: 
  • Toddler's Weight: Nia's gained 3 lbs since her 18 months appointment and is now 26lbs
  • Toddler's Height: At her last appointment she was 33 1/2" so I'm sure she'll be 3 feet or more by her 2nd birthday
  • What size of clothing does toddler wear? 24 months for sure and 2T socks (I overheard a fellow mom at a playdate say 2T and 24 months are not the same - all I know is my child has long feet!)
  • Any milestones toddler reached during the month:  
    • Still showing an interest in the potty and getting very vocal about it! She's also using going to the potty as a distraction when she wants to get out of doing something (ex. going to bed, eating, etc.)
    • Nia's very much still obsessed with breastmilk and from what I've researched she will not self-wean at her age so it's going to require some tough love from me; she gets mad when I deny her but including her in the kitchen activities has continued to make her more interested in eating solids
  • Special outings toddler had during the month:  
    • A visit to Maryland over the weekend to see family; here are some highlights:

Mr. Love Bird's brother's family came over for a visit the night we arrived

We enjoyed monkey bread at Miss Shirley's the next day

She couldn't get enough of the monkey bread
Nia had fun getting spun around by "Papi"
Exploring with Papi
We met up with a fellow Destination Wedding friend, Normailed and her daughter Elena for a train ride
After we hung out at Wild Wings to watch some basketball
Nia makes her stank face
  • What are your thoughts about the past month? Nia is a very passionate child! All the playdates we've had as a result of our new moms group are helping her socialization and weaning. She loves making friends, kissing and dancing but gets very nervous about receiving public attention. She's not quite shy but gets an attitude about being bothered and has started hitting and being quite aggressive. It's kinda embarrassing for me actually! I've had someone ask why we don't spank her and advised that she "needs to be straightened out" but for us we can't justify telling her not to hit others then turn around and hit her. It would make us hypocrites and would be very confusing for her. Mr. Love Bird and I are brainstorming discipline options as we don't want to use her bed as "timeout" since that is her designated sleeping place and don't want it associated with punishment and we don't have stairs to place her on timeout on the bottom stair which is a popular technique I've seen used. If we stuck her in a corner she'd simply get up and run away and "time-ins" (holding her facing me) would be time intensive. We'll see . . .
Nia's a typical toddler and likes to play! We get a lot of discouraging comments indicating that she's overactive like, "Is your daughter like that all the time?" It's very frustrating, but her dr. assures me that she's super healthy and advanced!
  • What was toddler's routine? With the time change we haven't had adverse effects like we had the last go around. A couple weeks ago we were going through some sleep challenges with her waking up to play around midnight and wanting to play and a few nights (or mornings I should say!) at 3a.m. We had to revert to CIO for 2 nights and we were back on track as of last Tuesday and haven't had a problem since. Nia goes to bed around 8p.m. and is up around 7a.m.
  • Reflect about the highlights of the month:  
    • Definitely getting out and exploring our new surroundings and meeting new families. Nia and I get out 2-3x/week and she usually doesn't want to leave our outings when it's time to go. That's a good sign that she's having fun!
  • Did any big changes occur? Nope!
    • What are toddler's favorites - toy, food, person, etc... 

        Nia also loves her Uncle Tanner! (He just loves waiting for her to drop food!)
      • Still loving Elmo and her dad! Nia looks for Elmo underneath tables especially when we're out to eat. It's very odd!
    • What I'm looking forward to? 
      • Still learning to braid

    My mom braided Nia's hair
      • Going away for a brief overnight trip next weekend for the Toni Braxton/Babyface concert and leaving Nia at home; I'm not one of those moms who is bummed about being away from my child. I CANNOT WAIT!!!!! I'll miss her for sure but I'm excited to get a break. 
    Bed sharing when away from home makes Nia think she's at an all-night buffet!
      • Weaning - I just have to say that I've asked around, including my mom who had 4 kids, and it sounds like everyone just goes cold turkey with toddlers. After watching Nia's nursing habits my mom told me none of her children were as obsessed with nursing as Nia appears to be. Oh well.


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