Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: Dance, Celebrate and Ride the Train

A continuation of our ever busy weekends! 

I don't know why there are no official US holidays in April. I feel like we need one! Between March and May, there's only one holiday and that one occurs at the end of May so technically, it doesn't count. Oh well...I am glad we are getting towards the other part of the year where we get more holidays and more sunlight. Woohoo!!!

I haven't done one of these in a while so here's our weekly mommy-daughters selfie. We all have messy hair. Excuse us. It was early on a Saturday morning :-D. #wewokeuplikethis

We were watching TV on Friday evening and I caught JAE watching TV with her hand under her chin. I guess she was concentrating? No matter...I thought it was cute and had to take a pic :-).

And this is how you do when you're tired but still want to watch TV :-).

JOE did so much better at dance last week. So much so that JAE was glued to the room door watching her sister intently. I had to snap a picture of it. 

And the little ballerina herself. 

When my mom was here, she asked that I make a bag for JOE. I did one and she liked it so much that she paid for one for JAE. JAE really loves her bracelet bag and loves putting her mega lego blocks in it then walking around. 

Yup...JAE loves her bracelet bag so much that she carries it around the house.

J and I had our first date in a few months (our last date was for Valentine's day). We were really excited to be going out without the kids!

I'm loving my hair bow! I got new fabric patterns recently in my shop so I of course had to showcase a piece right? These are perfect for a great mommy and me look so go check out the store and get one for you and your little one.

Yup...we're happy :-)

To celebrate our anniversary, we went to the place we had dinner the night J proposed back on 12/9/2009. Its been almost 7 years and that place will forever hold a great memory for us. 

When we got there, we were greeted with these on our table :-D. J had called ahead and told them we were celebrating our anniversary.

So of course, while waiting for our food, I was sure to "write" using the hearts. 

I ordered the same yummy salad I ordered so many years ago. It tasted just as yummy as it did then.

And that's me! :-)

And as a throw back, here's one of us from the night we got engaged. 

We got a very delicious complimentary dessert. Although, J was a little disappointed because he wanted to order a full size cheese cake but instead, we got the samplers. Hey, you can't beat FREE!

The 5th anniversary is a "wood" anniversary so I got J this picture frame. I'll be printing out a picture of both of us to put in the frame.

Funny enough, J had ordered this one from the same vendor as well. It is scary how we are both starting to think alike! LOL :-)

J also got me these absolutely beautiful roses. Guess what? They are made of wood! They'll never die!!! I just love them so much!!!

The next day, we headed out to spend a day with Thomas! A few weeks back, we got tickets to take J. She was really excited and I just loved the expression she had on her face when she first saw Thomas.

Oh and yeah, I had to wear a bow in my puff. We were in a rush and I couldn't find the adult bow so I just took the kid size one :-). Hey, what can I say? I was having a bow-tas-tic weekend :-).

Kidding aside, these are awesome accessories for your hair :-).

They were both so excited to see Thomas.

J and 2/3 of his girls. 

JAE was absolutely mesmorized by Sir Topham Hatt! She couldn't wait to meet him while we were standing in line. When she finally met him, she didn't want to give him a high 5. Too cute!

There was also an area for coloring. Check our my little JOE coloring within the lines!

And JAE trying to color :-)

I wanted to get a picture of the girls here but JAE was having none of it.

And we're finally on the train. JAE was hungry at this point so she had no smiles for the camera.

She was fed and ready to take pictures. 

My little JOE.

JOE even got a water tattoo.

And JAE got to drive her own train. 

JOE also enjoyed driving her train car.

This was pretty cool. The kids could control these miniature trains remotely.

It was an absolutely fun time and we enjoyed spending the day with Thomas. If they're in town or nearby and you have a little one, I definitely recommend you take your kid. There was a lot to do and all you pay for is ticket price. Everything else (except for food) was included. Definitely a bargain deal!

AyoBE Handmade Wear

For some beautiful  handmade items (like the ones above) for you or a loved one, please visit my Etsy store.

I make items for babies, toddlers and a few adult pieces. I also make some unique and beautiful gifts.

Accepts all major Credit Cards and PayPal. Just send me an email with the item(s) link or name.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I am rich and have the perfect relationship!

First of all, I hope you don't believe the header you just read. I used it because I want to call attention to something I have been noticing lately on social media.
If you look at the picture below, you'd think "aww...such a happy couple and they're going out on a date." What you don't realize is that this date was planned at least a month in advance because let's face it, babysitter fees are not cheap. 

I follow quite a few pages on social media. Specifically, Instagram and Facebook. Over the last few months, I have found myself comparing what I see to my real life. Humans are very visual by nature. When it comes to believing something, people would rather see than hear about it. 

Social media has grown tremendously in the last few years and a lot of people (myself included) have taken advantage of it in helping to reach more people. I have used it as a way to connect with other like minded people and also as a way to document life in general. 

However, in the last few months, I have caught myself comparing different aspects of my life to what I have seen on Social media. Some of the sites I follow have featured elaborate weddings that have me wondering just how these people are able to afford such a big wedding when J and I had to budget and save up for 16-months to have a debt free wedding. 

I have also seen young people post pictures of their very nice expensive cars. I don't drive a hooptie. Not by a long shot but seeing young people drive expensive often foreign cars makes me wonder just how they were able to afford so much at a young age while I am still trying to live debt free. 

Let's not forget the lavish and frequent travels and the awesome and endless posts about just how in love their are with their lives, husband/significant other. Those posts make me wonder "geez, J and I often have one good argument at least once a week so perhaps we're not all that in love?" or "wow...3rd vacation this year huh? Would love to..." 

A while back when I was in college and during my first year of graduate school, I racked up a TON of credit card debt. As in to the tune of almost $10,000. Mind you, my parents paid for college and I had both a scholarship and assistantship to fund 75% of my graduate education so there was absolutely NO NEED to have that much in credit card debt outside of using the cards to purchase things I had no business buying on credit.

It took me moving back home with my parents to save on rent (thanks mom and dad!), paying $500 a month towards my debt, bagging my lunch EVERYDAY. Using a "need it versus want it" approach for all purchases to pay off the debt in about 3-years. 
After that ordeal, I promised myself I would NEVER again live on credit. If I can't purchase it on with my own cash in the bank, then I certainly don't need it. Thankfully, it has been 16-years and I have been able to stick to that promise. This also means that J and I have to spend wisely and budget for everything. Our yearly vacations are planned well in advance, we are always looking for groupon deals for online purchases and/or using eBates. I do a lot of comparison online shopping as well. 

Don't get me wrong. I hold nothing against someone who has and uses a credit card wisely. I give people the side eye though when they use their credit card to "keep up with the Jones" 

J and I have had several discussions about how our perception of what we see can be skewed from reality. Like the couple who has a seemingly perfect marriage may look so on social media but be trying hard/working on their relationship in real life. Or the person who purchases a new car may have decided purchasing a home is just not at the top of their priority list and they have no immediate expenses. 

The truth is we all put our best foot forward when interacting with our peers. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll quickly learn that not all that glitters is gold. 

I am writing this post not to point fingers at others but as a reminder to myself and certainly to others that you shouldn't let social media influence you to the extent that you can't distinguish between reality and perception. We may think we know what's going on with others but the truth is, the only reality we can absolutely 100% know about is the one we are living. 

I am learning each day to work on ME and not focus on what others are doing. My life isn't all peaches but it is my life and I am thankful to God for it everyday. 

I'd love to hear from you. What are some of the things you've seen on social media that's made you question your own life? Was it a positive or negative influence?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: 5 years later

It has been a busy couple of weeks. First, we had JAE's birthday and then last weekend, we had her baby blessing at church. In addition to that, last Saturday was our 5th wedding anniversary. 
I can't believe it has been 5 years! I still remember our first date and then the night we got engaged, the evening of our Nigerian wedding ceremony and the day of our wedding ceremony. It feels like last year but time doesn't lie. 

In the last 5-years, J and I have had quite a few milestones. We have welcomed 2 beautiful girls and purchases our first home together. We've also had our share of disappointments, hardships and yes, many arguments. But in all of those years, the one thing I know is that I have a life mate and there is no one else I'd rather take the journey with than with J. He has seen me at my worst and my best. He was there through the births of both of our daughters. He coached me, rubbed my back, gave me encouraging words when I was going through a tough time and was the first to hold our daughters when they first came out. 

Marriage is NOT easy. Not by a long shot. In my humble opinion, anyone who says it is either is lying to themselves OR one person in the marriage is lying. However, marriage when married to the right person is great! We both love each other, love our family and know that to make it work, we have to work at it. 
Being a parent to young kids often means we have NO FREE TIME! But we find time to talk (even if it is in the evenings when I am sewing). We take the temperature of our marriage ever so often to see where we can make changes. 
I am guilty of holding things in when I am upset and letting it fester but over the years, being with J and knowing I won't be judged has helped me to open up and encouraged me to communicate more when something upsets me because holding it in solves nothing. 
He is the ying to my yang and we are thankful for the last 5-years of marriage. We have done a lot of growing up in the last 5-years and have matured together. 
Because we had family in town, we didn't go out for our anniversary. We plan on doing that next weekend.

Anyways, here are a couple of throw back pictures from 5-years ago. I'm sure you've already seen them but whatevs! I love looking at them :-D

Switching gears. On Saturday, JOE also had her first dance class. She's been asking to take one for the longest time and we kept "forgetting" to register her. So we finally got her into a class not too far from us. It is a ballet/tap dance class combo. JOE was not too keen on it. As a matter of fact, shortly after she got in the class, she asked to leave. J had to convince her to stay. I mean, this is someone who had been asking for MONTHS to take a class. Anyways, we have to incentivize her by telling her we would let her pick a toy from her treasure chest at home if she stayed. That helped :-).

Only one parent was allowed in the studio so while JOE and J were in there, JAE and I hung out outside. JAE wanted to go in there so bad. I already know that she'll be taking dance once she turns 2. 

JOE was so happy she stayed and was all too eager to show me her butterflies :-). She said she'd love to go back next week. YAY!!! I hope she doesn't expect another toy from her treasure chest every week. It could get expensive.
Side Note: I have a box filled with stuff JOE likes. I let her pick something out of it whenever she does something that she ordinarily doesn't want to do. Basically, I try to give her incentives. Often, she gets to pick something every week for doing her hair and not screaming her head off. We call the box her treasure chest.

On Sunday was JAE's baby blessing at Church. Coincidentally, her baby blessing fell the same weekend as her sister's did 3-years ago. I was concerned that the dress wouldn't fit since JOE was much younger when we had her church blessing. Thankfully, J's aunt who made the dress made allowances to ensure that an older child would fit. JAE got to wear the same dress which JOE wore. The dress is made from my wedding dress. I hope to pass it down to future generations as a family heirloom. 
My mom stayed on after JAE's birthday last weekend and I am so grateful that she and my dad who arrived on Friday were able to attend JAE's Church blessing (also known as a baby dedication).

JAE with her godparents. They flew out from GA to be there and we were so thankful to have them there. JAE is a lucky girl!

I was also happy that J's parents and brother were in attendance as well. 

Beautiful uncle and aunty with their niece. We had a very small reception at our home following the service with close family and friends.

My parents with JOE. 

These 2! I love them so. They really are the best parents to me and my siblings. They always encourage us and I wouldn't be who I am without them. Thanks mom and dad for always being there for us!

With their grandkids. 

It was a lovely weekend. I am thankful for time spent with family and the gifts from family and friends to our little JAE. 

Next stop, J and I will be celebrating our anniversary next weekend. WOOHOO! Looking forward to it. 

AyoBE Handmade Wear

For some beautiful  handmade items for you or a loved one, please visit my Etsy store.
I make items for babies, toddlers and a couple of adult pieces. The items I make can be an excellent gift for a friend or relative or a great addition to your home for you or your little one.

I have also added a non-Etsy link for those who would rather not create an Etsy account. You can use a credit card or PayPal.


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