Friday, September 28, 2012

Lil Love Bird's Train

As crowded as NYC is there are times that you find moments of privacy and having certain things all to yourself.

One of those moments was on my birthday

We Love Birds had our own subway car . . .

Well for just a few minutes before it filled right up on our way to Harlem.

Lil Love Bird took full advantage of the moment before that happened:

 

Have a good weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How the Love Birds Do Vegas - 11 Things to Know Before You Go!

 
Six years ago Mr. Love Bird and I made our first trip to Las Vegas for his 25th birthday and we've been hooked ever since. In a few short hours we'll be leaving to head there (sans Lil Love Bird) for Blogalicious. We booked a day after the conference so we can spend some time together and act like we're 21 again!

Besides his birthday, Las Vegas has been the location of many other important occasions for us:

Basketball tryouts - when Mr. Love Bird was playing professionally tryouts were often in Las Vegas

Taking a break from basketball try-outs to eat at Bellagio's steakhouse Prime

Girlfriends getaway/my birthday

With my friend Mildred
Engagement

Mr. Love Bird downtown Las Vegas on our engagement trip

Babymoon - We were too exhausted to take pics and just wanted to chill for the weekend.


Guys getaway - Remember this post last year when I sent Mr. Love Bird to Las Vegas with his BFF? No pictures exist from that trip. Hmmmmm...


Just to relax

Our room at the MGM Signature - this was a low-key off-strip weekend
Sometimes we go together and sometimes we leave each other behind to go with friends either way our number one reason for visiting Vegas is that we can create a completely different experience each time we go - Vegas is a chameleon! 

After nearly 10 trips combined to Vegas in the past 6 years, here's my top tips for how to do Las Vegas:


1. Stay on the strip your first time 

Our upgraded view in 2006 - the cables are from construction during the conversion of the Aladdin to Planet Hollywood
We stayed at the then-Aladdin, now Planet Hollywood, our first time, and it was hands down the best way to get the complete Las Vegas experience. It was Mr. Love Bird's 25th birthday, and we were upgraded to a view of the Bellagio fountains. The best way to get upgrades (and other free stuff) is simply to ask!

2. Consider getting a rental car

After our first trip we realized we were spending way too much time (and money) in line for taxis so on subsequent trips we bid on rental cars via Priceline, and it's been great. Now when we visit we always get rental cars. There's tons of free parking, valet service is free, if we need it, and we barely move the gas needle since the Las Vegas landscape is flat and traffic off-strip tends to flow smoothly (we love to take backroads and explore a bit to get around faster!). This trip we'll have a rental car and will be using quite a bit of gas since Blogalicious is about 30 minutes off-strip at Red Rock Resort and Casino and we're staying comped (i.e. FREE!) at the Hard Rock which is closer to the strip but a bit behind it. 

3. Eat for cheap 
Our #1 favorite Las Vegas restaurant - surprising, right?
Pretty much any big chef that's in LA or NYC has an outpost in Las Vegas. I've eaten at some of the more fancier restaurants (Bellagio's buffet, Hugo's Cellar, Mon Ami Gabi etc.), but hands down it's places like Ellis Island and Terrible's that have the best food. Sure these places look seedy when you walk in but thanks to tips on forums (more on that below) we know to go there for the food and nothing else. I dream of Ellis Island's sourdough bread and homemade root beer year round, and Terrible's half chicken special tastes like something my grandma would have made. The best part is Mr. Love Bird and I can both eat per day for under $50 TOTAL! We love going to In-N-Out Burger (although we agree Shake Shack is better) and our favorite restaurant is Lotus of Siam, a Thai restaurant in an unassuming strip mall off strip (yet another bonus of having a rental car!). Overall you get so much food for so little that at first I thought it was some type of scam but that's just how things are in Las Vegas - a bit over the top!

4. Shows 

The changing seasonal displays at the Bellagio - Mr. Love Bird is not a fan but indulges me every visit!
Similar to the restaurants, there are big time shows in Vegas. Our favorite shows are Cirque du Soleil and it is a MUST to at least see one. We have paid full price for tickets (about $150 on average), but I've heard good things about discount tickets via Tiks 4 Tonight and have seen both Mystere and O (we found Mystere more exciting while O put us to sleep). This time around we're hoping to fit in Ka. There are also many free performances in theaters and just on the strip as well. From TI's pirate show to Mirage's volcano and Bellagio's fountains you can get plenty of entertainment without having to pay a dime. And although it's not technically a show, a must-see for me is Bellagio's changing seasonal lobby display. It's stunning! 

5. Spas and Shopping 

You can make an entire trip to Las Vegas centered around these two things. In addition to all the high end, 5th Avenue stores, there are tons of outlets and fantastic spas abound. Fashion Show Mall is a must-see too! Between the shopping and the spas there's not even a reason to step foot into a casino when you visit Las Vegas. Even with the chain stores in Las Vegas I've found the inventory is very different from what we have in NYC and I like that! Our stay at the Hard Rock includes buy one get one spa treatments so I'm hoping to fit in a facial on this trip as well.

6. Clubs and Gambling 

These are the two things that everyone thinks of when they think of Las Vegas and these are two completely optional things IMO. You can engage if you want to but you can also avoid them altogether if you so choose. I've had a lot of fun at many clubs in Las Vegas with and without Mr. Love Bird, but I do have to say going with your girlfriends is a completely different experience! Guys will try to wine and dine ladies who they see traveling with other ladies and you will get into places easily and for free. The best part vs. my club experience on the east coast is that the guys actually DANCE - guys of all races too; they have rhythm! I think this is a west coast thing ;-) For my birthday my friend and I were invited to Entourage's Kevin Connelly's party at the Mirage's villas and let's just say that was a very interesting experience. I may or may not have had an alias . . . ("What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" is a true statement!). If you are interested in gambling there are tons of free classes and free play that you can get to try your hand at slots, craps blackjack or pretty much anything else. If you do play make sure you get a players card (that's how we get our free/deeply discounted stays each time we go).

7. The People 

All of these things are so much more fun because of the people in Las Vegas. I've met some of the coolest people there! Being so close to LA, Las Vegas has a definite West Coast chill vibe to it that I love. The weather's great, people are relaxed and love to talk, talk, talk. And pretty much every trip we've seen celebrities so keep your eyes peeled! 

8. Getting Off Strip 


While we've stayed on the strip before we've also stayed downtown at the Golden Nugget for a different vibe and really enjoyed ourselves. We've also stayed at MGM Signature, a non-gambling resort, which was a great experience. We just wanted to have a getaway in a comfy suite and it fit the bill! Also, we love bowling and Orleans has a great 24 hour bowling alley and we go in the wee hours to bowl for $1 per game. It's usually empty too! 

9. Resources 

We're huge fans of Trip Advsior and love the forums and trip reports (TRs) that people post there. One of the most epic ones I've ever read is this one from May 2012 (beware this guy loves his escort!), but it offers some non-traditional ideas when visiting Vegas such as visiting the Hoover Dam, visiting the Grand Canyon, skydiving and museums of interest (thanks to this trip report I think I'm going to check out the Mob Museum or Mob Experience on this visit!). We've also loved the features that the Travel Channel usually runs on Las Vegas. We're cable free now over 2 years so I haven't seen them in a long time but check your local listings especially as some run on-demand as well.

10. Going it Alone 

I've considered it but have never done it however you totally can! I know this is especially true for those attending Blogalacious. Not everyone is coming with their partner or kids. One of the best reasons it's great to go alone is all the security. There are cameras everywhere and people are around all the time! Even so it's important to be smart and safe. Here's a great post on going to Las Vegas alone and another on taking yourself on a vacation in general. 

11. When to Go/Being Safe in the Heat 
We've gone to Las Vegas pretty much every season and hands down spring and fall are our favorite times to go. With Mr. Love Bird's birthday in May and mine in September this works out perfectly! July is just way too, too hot, but you can save money going during this time. Everything's air conditioned year round anyway, but it can get intense walking on the strip in the heat especially. Sunscreen (even for us brown folks!) is important as is staying hydrated. I down water like crazy leading into my visits, throughout and after. Additionally with the heat and walking you are bound to get blisters so take along some Liquid Bandage and blister guards as a precaution. Comfy shoes are a must most times but those sexy shoes are great for nights out of course!

So that's it! I'm off to finish packing now and can't wait to share all the things I learn at Blogalicious, fun people I'll meet and generally typical Las Vegas experiences that happen to me and Mr. Love Bird every time we go. It's definitely an adult playground and a place Mr. Love Bird and I will be going to well into our old age! 

Have you been to Las Vegas? Have any tips to share? If you haven't been, what would be your top reason for going - shopping, shows, spas, a bit of adventure, hitting the jackpot?
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Of Course The Crazy Happens Right Before Vegas

Engaged in Vegas, September 2007
We leave for Vegas Thursday and usually I don't post too many details about our logistics for safety purposes, but I think we'll be ok this time, right?

Anyway, I was feeling confident on my to do lists and everything and was thrown a (actually AWESOME) wrench in my plans that has turned things upside down. Again it's along the lines of some of that good news I referenced last week that I just can't wait to share. I feel like I'm going to explode or something! GAH!

Just know that God is so, so good and hard work pays off. They work together!

So I'm working through the positive wrench in my plans and then some other things happen including Mr. Love Bird misplacing his wedding band and somehow it was found in the sofa cushions (thanks Lil Love Bird!) then while playing basketball last night something bad, bad happened to him.

I was all excited playing with my Galaxy SIII (which btw BLOWS my mind that it hurts bad, but in a good kind of way) when I get a frazzled call from Mr. Love Bird telling me he's heading to the ER.

What?!

I had finished a conference call, put Lil Love Bird to bed and made homemade pizza and was looking forward to him coming home and settling down to get some packing done for our trip - since Uka's family's watching Nia in Queens and our flight departs Thursday morning out of JFK it makes sense for us to stay over there tomorrow night so we can get right to the airport easily.

I'm all confused at this point and scared (he rolled his ankle playing ball last Friday and was hobbling around on my birthday) but I wait a while before calling his BFF who was playing ball with him and who accompanied him to the ER. He assured me that Mr. Love Bird was fine - the cut was under his eye, but didn't affect his vision. If anything his BFF told me he was pissed that his charming good looks would be ruined for Vegas. {Yes, Taurean men can be a bit vain sometimes!}

Mr. Love Bird arrived home around midnight, not before calling me to unleash his hatred of hospitals, and informed me I would have to help patch up his face since he stormed out of the ER after 90 minutes of not being seen. 

Fun times.

So I was on You Tube watching videos like this. And scrolling through the videos I saw too many things that made me nearly lose my dinner. 

All in the name of love.

Mr. Love Bird's face is now patched up and he's still hot to me - I assured him of this. And I'm thankful that in all his hotness he will have his wedding band on his finger while we're in Vegas.

So how was your Monday? 
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

How Mrs. Love Bird Turns 32

Harlem was good to me on my birthday this past Saturday. 

Since returning for Sundae Sermon a few weeks ago I could not get my old neighborhood outta my mind. I miss it badly and now 8 months since we moved I know that feeling is not going away. 

I'm sure it's here to last.

We started our morning attending to some Harlem Toastmasters business - we're still proud members but have been on hiatus due to distance and lack of a club that fits our schedules in Jersey City. It was good to catch up on how the club is doing and we look forward to going back this fall to attend a meeting.

We left 145th ST and headed down to 125th for brunch at Corner Social - a new restaurant across from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster. I was invited by Corner Social to enjoy their DJ brunch and it didn't disappoint. 


There was fantastic people watching, a cool vibe - thanks to a great DJ, and most importantly delicious food. 

Corner Social prides itself on local ingredients and is becoming known as a neighborhood spot that Harlemites of all ages can enjoy. It was definitely a mixed crowd. 

In the time we sat at the patio we were fascinated to see just how much Harlem has changed in the past 8 months since we moved. It was the same feeling we got when we attended Sundae Sermon - Harlem is definitely the place to be!

I ordered the cornflake crusted French toasted filled with bananas and marscapone. It was divine! Mr. Love Bird has officially charged me to recreate the crust at home for my stuffed French toast. It wasn't overly sweet and the crust was perfectly crisp. It came with two savory sausages which were the perfect salty compliment to the meal. 



Oh! Mr. Love Bird and I did have fruit to start, but Lil Love Bird devoured both of our plates of fruit. She had a side order of bacon and most of Mr. Love Bird's fresh cut French fries that accompanied his burger, which with it's juicy blend of meat just might be giving Shake Shack a run for its money . . .


We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and it was the most food I have ever seen our Lil Love Bird eat! Her little tummy was so hard after!

She just wanted to be held after eating all that food - she says "hoe-to me" when she wants us to hold her!
From there we headed to my college roommate Maria's daughter's 1st birthday party. It was something out of a Pinterest pin! From the bunting to Alessandra's homemade dress with adorable pink bow and homemade strawberry cake it was such a labor of love - everything was delicious and so well done. 

Cuties in their dresses (and yes, I'm still trying to master low light photography)
Nia was a bit sad when it was time to sing Happy Birthday (she still sings it to herself at least every other day since her birthday), but she was a sweetie and gave Alessandra a birthday hug and kiss!

Nia made a new friend at the birthday party
I remembered right before it was time to go that we should get a family photo to capture the day (thank you to Greg, Maria's husband for taking it!):


We came out the train on the other side of the river and saw we had just missed rain. It never fails to rain on my birthday! {See past birthdays here and here.}

I was so happy to get home early because . . .

To Sir With Love came on PBS. Yes, I was such a nerd and had an alarm set on my phone to remind me. It's one of my favorite movies (and this is my favorite scene), thanks to my mom who made sure I watched lots of old movies growing up and for that I am forever grateful!

Speaking of my mom some of you may remember that yes, it was her birthday too. She had the wonderful privilege of being in labor with me on her birthday. Thank you Mommy!

Here is my beautiful mother with the family dog Tanner and her birthday bicycle:


I'm so excited because as part of my birthday gift arriving later today is my Samsung Galaxy SIII (after over 5 long years years it's good riddance to BlackBerry - I'm nervous about touch screen though, but Mr. Love Bird assures me that swipe is amazing!) then we're off to Vegas in a few days.

I'll see about being a good blogger and publishing a few scheduled posts before we go but if not I definitely will be tweeting (@HarlemLoveBirds) and maybe Instagramming too if I can get up to speed quickly with my new phone.

Thank you to everyone who sent their birthday wishes and to Corner Social for my wonderful birthday brunch!



P.S. Will any of my readers be in Las Vegas for Blogalicious?? I still have a form up here if you want to connect.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On My Mind

What do you think is on her mind?
I was reading one of my favorite blogger Awesomely Luvvie's confession that she has over 170 draft posts and suddenly I don't feel so alone! There are so many things I see that spark post ideas and lately I've been trying to cull through them finding similarities so I can consolidate topics.

Sometimes this approach doesn't quite work out and I end up with randoms.

Today is one of those days . . . 

Here's what I'm thinking about: 
  • Megabus crashes - we're in the midst of making plans to visit my parents in MD next month and we usually take Megabus, but with the news of their crashes this summer (you can read about them here and here) coupled with the fact that my parents told us it's actually closer for them if we take Bolt Bus, which we used to take when they lived in VA, we're now going to switch back. I think Bolt Bus is better than Megabus quality-wise. Do you agree? The entire RT will only be $45 for all of us - can't beat that price!
  • Thoughts on parenthood - Not only The Truth About Parenthood (I know I referenced it in my Ambitious post, but it's one of my favorites right now), but also this humorous take on not being ready to undertake the challenge. The latter includes a hilarious compilation of "readiness training;" here are my top 5 which are pretty spot-on: 
    • Wake up every two hours at night, punch yourself in the face, walk around for 28 minutes pleading in jibberish. Go back to "sleep." Repeat.
    • Watch 38% of any film or television show; never see the ending or resolution.
    • Read the same three paragraphs of a novel once every two weeks; fall asleep.
    • Make 24 hours of baby-crying audio; hit play the moment you take a phone call, fire up your computer, or begin speaking any sentences to another human that contain important or useful information.
    • Imagine a mental written list of your responsibilities for each day, tear it in half, burn one piece, take a (literal) s@!* on the other one. (Sorry.) 
                    {Thank you Melinda A. for posting this on Facebook!}  
  • Can we afford Whole Foods? - We don't have a Whole Foods in Jersey City (and overall the grocery stores aren't that great), but I'm very interested in this post on how to buy organic at Whole Foods on a budget
    • What happens when Rockettes retire? - Since my BlogHer Rockettes experience I was kinda wondering about this so I was delighted when fellow blogger Taylor Morgan shared in this post how a couple Rockettes handled their retirement
    • Ode to Ghetto Snacks - It's been weeks since I saw this, but Mr. love Bird and I can't stop singing it especially when we notice all the ratchedness at our local playground {Thank you Alicia A. for sharing on Facebook!}
    • Shhhh! - I'm bursting at the seams wanting to share some exciting news (no, no, no I'm NOT pregnant!), but I just have to wait for a few final details before sharing.
    • An early birthday present that was ordered for me yesterday (thank you Mr. Love Bird!), which better will come in time for . . .
    • Blogalicious '12 - It's almost unreal that at this time next week Mr. Love Bird and I will be boarding Virgin America (one of my favorite airlines) heading to Las Vegas (without Nia!); I'm so thankful to our family for taking care of her while we're gone. {BTW I'm working on an epic guide to Vegas - Mr. Love Bird and I were engaged there and have traveled there so many times over the years that I've lost count. If you think Vegas is just about gambling and clubs you're so wrong! Stay tuned . . .}

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    My Big (Brave) Girl Has a New Style

    We've been relishing in the mild weather lately and trying to take Nia outside as much as possible before the cold sets in. Last week Mr. Love Bird was on his way out the door with our Lil Love Bird to practice on her balance bike and he exclaimed, "You need to do something with her hair!" I do admit I haven't been as adventurous with her hair and have mostly been doing either 4 puffs or two-strand twists. I go super quick since Nia doesn't have much patience. Well this particular time her hair was a big mess because I had just taken down her braids. She was going to have her helmet on anyway while riding her bike so I just swooped all her hair on the top of her head into a messy ponytail and clipped down the sides. It didn't look that great but I could see the makings of a cute style for her so I re-did it a few days later and loved how it came out:

    Next time I want to detangle more so I can make her poof bigger!
    I know it sounds vain and superficial, but I'm really observant of awkward head shapes and that was one of my concerns with Nia when she was in utero (remember her Harold and the Purple Crayon silhouette from her first ultrasound???). I was so happy to see her little, perfectly round head when I pulled her hair into a ponytail - no lumpiness! LOL! 

    I admit she was a bit dressed up for the playground, but it was a good photo op and she decided to give the monkey bars a try (I was so nervous and wanted to help her with the first grasp, but she would fuss when I came close, as you can hear):


    While I'm definitely a fan of her new ponytail, I'm very careful about not leaving it like this and changing up her style regularly so she can keep her edges in tact. 

    Oh and about the monkey bars, I was more of a scaredy cat as a kid on playground equipment (I would be so nervous for the kids climbing ON TOP of the monkey bars - they were CRAZY!), but I can already tell Nia is completely opposite!

    {For one mom's interesting take on letting her toddler explore read this.}

    Were you an adventurous kid and if you have an adventurous kid how do you cope?
     

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    PSA for Childless Folks Who Have Friends With Children

    I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I was out and about enjoying the gorgeous weather here in NYC, but I kept cringing when I heard people remark that it's fall. No, it isn't! We still have a few more days of summer.

    How do I know this???

    Because I was born on the first day of fall! Yes, this Saturday, September 22 is my birthday! It's not a milestone birthday - I'll just be turning 32, and we'll be celebrating in Harlem actually. Can't wait!

    Anyway, I've been doing a lot of thinking about actually being 32 vs where I thought I'd be when I was 32 as well as the stages my peers are at. I've tried to be the type of friend who didn't become so enraptured in my home life that I left my friends by the wayside - especially my single, childless friends. It's been very important to me to be the friend I want to have. And with that in mind I offer up a PSA to all of my friends:

    Please, please, please do not call me on my cell phone outright.

    I do much better if you text first. I follow this rule especially for my friends with children as well as sometimes with others as well who I know tend to have hectic schedules. I know some people think texting is rude and impersonal but when your hands are full and you're not exactly in a position to answer a call (like when you're trying to stay quiet while your LO naps) it can be a very good mode for communicating.

    Additionally, if you cannot help it and you just want to call me and I do pick up please ask this simple question before you launch into whatever it is you were calling me for: 

    "Is now a good time to talk?" 

    This makes all the difference to me.

    Wanna know why? Check this out: 


    {Image Credit}
    {And for more on a similar topic, check out Clutch Magazine's How to Be A Childless Friend to a New Mom; this advice is GOLDEN!}

    What are your PSAs?

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    How I Weaned My Toddler

    My big girl (that's a tattoo on her arm!); when I ask her if she "drinks boobies" anymore she laughs and says, "Noooooo!"
    Nia turned 2 years and 1 month old yesterday (you can see the fun video I posted in honor of the occasion here), and rather than be annoying and continue counting Nia's age in months (drives me batty!), I've decided not to continue the Life With Nia series on this blog but am working on another fun way of documenting her development. Speaking of development, since Nia's weaned several months ago, just shy of 22 months to be exact, I wanted to share how it all went down. . .

    Birth 

    Post-nursing nap in the hospital after birth
    I went into breastfeeding with the goal of making it to the 1 year mark - I had done a lot of research while pregnant and knew this was what I wanted to do. The benefits of breastfeeding to 1 year far outweighed any other option, and I was committed!

    The first 8 weeks of nursing were so intensely painful. I had written before about why there was such a discrepancy between lactation consultants saying it wasn't painful and most of those actually nursing saying it was. There was definitely something fishy going on there! Hands down: nursing hurts like nothing else, at least at the beginning and at least for me. I found solace in Kellymom which helped me find a latch at last that worked. Also, one of the most honest breastfeeding posts that I can relate to over at Bower Power was something I wish I had read before I started breastfeeding. I posted the following reply:




    6 Months - 1 Year

    Nia's first time having solids at 6 months - homemade brown rice cereal
    At the 6 months mark I felt Nia was pulling away from nursing as I introduced solids, and it actually felt natural to me at that point to wean but she didn't continue her enthusiasm with solids and then got sick and turned back to nursing more than ever so we continued. 

    Nia at 6 months
    I decided to start the gradual weaning process at 10 months knowing that at 1 year I wanted to be done with it. I fed Nia on demand, which I learned is the hardest to wean from, but with our schedule and her needs I found it worked best. I always thought Nia would show a strong interest in solids at some point, but it never happened. Actually when she started walking just shy of 11 months her demand to nurse increased substantially! We kept on . . .

    1 year - 2 years

    When Nia was 16 months old we went to Nigeria and with the challenges of international travel/food Mr. Love Bird and I discussed it months beforehand and agreed we'd continue breastfeeding. Honestly, it was such a blessing on the trip, but with my busted ankle and heat I really was worn down nursing on the trip and was quite agitated! Mr. Love Bird even (secretly) shot of video of me complaining about breastfeeding - I would post it, but it's really, really awful and makes me so embarrassed, but I was at my wits end at that point. I really felt ready to be done with breastfeeding especially with the impending move from Harlem to Jersey City we had once we returned (all with my injury). 

    I had read that the bedtime feeding was typically the last to go, but for us it was the morning feeding. I remember calling my aunt and talking to her about how she weaned her 3 boys. She suggested I simply explain to Nia  - that the milk is "all gone." Surprisingly, this really helped to get us to the morning-only feedings and I actually preferred just the morning feedings.

    From the beginning Mr. Love Bird and I had a "no baby talk" policy (much to my mother's chagrin!). We talk to Nia just like we talk to each other and I guess I should have figured it out sooner that I could simply "explain" weaning to her. Unlike stories of babies/toddlers who self-weaned, I could tell that despite me explaining Nia would just keep going and although mornings were fine since we got it outta the way and kept on with our day, knowing that I had overnight trips planned (BlogHer and Blogalicious) I needed her to be completely weaned. So . . .

    Over Memorial Day weekend I sent her away. 

    I got the idea from a friend who had a friend with a toddler who weaned this way. She was the one who actually went away to stay at a local hotel for the weekend for some pampering while her mother and husband stayed at the house to be with her daughter. When she returned her LO was weaned!

    I arranged with my parents to have Nia in Baltimore over the long weekend. I took her down on Thursday night and the following morning before I left for NYC this was the last time I nursed her:


    I had heard that many mothers cry during the last breastfeeding session, or post-weaning but instead I felt ELATED and relieved that this would be the last time! I was grinning pretty much the whole Megabus ride home.

    Mr. Love Bird and I ended up winning a Zip Car for the long weekend and had a packed schedule. We went to every borough in NYC visiting our friends and it was such a fun weekend, however I was painfully engorged after about 24 hours which I was surprised about especially since I was only down to the morning feeding. I did fear mastitits but thankfully didn't get it. I took prescription strength ibuprofen for the pain and slept on my back throughout the weekend. It was extremely painful but worth it knowing I had weaned at last.

    I went back to Baltimore to get Nia on Memorial Day and we came back Tuesday. She asked a few times to nurse and I deflected her and after a few fits of crying that week she was fine. 

    What really helped while she was with my parents is that they took her to Columbus, Ohio my hometown. They kept her so busy and around her older cousins that she fit right in seeing them eat and she did too. My parents said they co-slept with her and throughout the night she'd wake up trying to nurse them! My dad even shared a picture of him up at 3a.m. blowing bubbles to keep her distracted from trying to nurse. Thank you Daddy!

    It really was a family effort to wean. 

    Since weaning here's what I've noticed:
    • Nia mourned weaning and started acting out; lots of hitting, screaming tantrum-ing. She seemed generally less happy than she used to be. She just started calming down in the past month.
    • Nia's picked up eating solids and now drinks so much cow's milk we had to cut back sometimes only giving her water with protein powder in it.
    • I didn't go through crazy weight gain; I've stabilized at less than my pre-pregnancy weight which I think is due to all the physical activity we've continued with going out and about NYC - we keep it moving if you can't tell!
    • It took about 5 days from the last day I nursed Nia for the engorgement to go down; breastfeeding definitely took a toll on the perkiness of my breasts (before breastfeeding I heard time and time again it was just pregnancy and aging that did this NOT breastfeeding; I, and Mr. Love Bird, beg to differ!)
    • I've reconsidered my thoughts on feeding on demand; baby #2 (and maybe beyond) will not be fed on demand past the first few weeks. As my mother did with me and my siblings, I will work towards getting a feeding schedule implemented early-on.
    • I had read that mentally it can cause the onset of depression for the mother when weaning; I did not experience this. It has been very freeing to be done with breastfeeding! I'm more upbeat, if anything. 
    So that's my toddler-weaning experience! Of course, every mom is different, but this is what worked for me.

    Here are my favorite thought-provoking articles/posts to share on the topic of breastfeeding and extended nursing:
    • A mother posts about her experience with BLW (baby led weaning): It's food time!
    • Sibling rivalry and extended nursing is discussed in Baby Dickey's post Sibling Rivalry: Ryan's Adjustment to Rebecca {This post really made me cringe especially because Nia is so protective of me even when Mr. Love Bird hugs or kisses me - I can't imagine how she'd react to her little sibling being close to me!}


    {Image Credit}
    Have you nursed to toddler-hood or considered it? What was your experience like?
     

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Lil Love Bird Gets Goofy on Her Balance Bike




    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Mrs. Love Bird's Scoth Expressions Pinterest Submission

    At Mom Central's pre-BlogHer party I stopped by the Scotch Brand table to check out their new developments. This is not your mother's tape!

    Speaking of mother, my mom was completely obsessed with the high heel tape dispenser I received in the gift bag. How cute is it???


    They're currently running a Pinterest project contest that ends this Friday, September 14. The winner and a guest will go on a crafting cruise via Cruise and Crop, and two runner-ups will receive $500. Not bad!

    Check out my submission:


    To read the official rules go to HunterPR.com/Expressions. 

    Good luck!

    Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The Scotch Brand product used in the project was provided in the gift bag, and the Pinterest project was my own idea.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    How Harlem Goes to Church: Love Birds at Sundae Sermon

    Before leaving Harlem I told myself I would someday make it to Sundae Sermon and funny that it took leaving Harlem to make it there at last.

    Yesterday was gorgeous, and we couldn't have had a more perfect day.


    Imagine a huge, diverse dance party - it was chill, no drama, and provided tons of fantastic people watching, bubble blowing and relaxation. 


    With Aunty Ariane
    With our friend Melissa





    Our Lil Love Bird joined in the dancing . . .


     
    I highly recommend going to Sundae Sermon; similar to our experience at the Jazz Age Lawn Party next year I'll pack a picnic and get there early.



    {To learn more about Sunday Sermon check out their website here.}

    How was your weekend? Don't you just love this transition into fall?
     

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