22 May 2006

the graduate

I'm always shocked when I see my brother. I guess sometimes I still expect to find the 14-year old kid I remember from when I first left for California. But my little brother has evolved, he's grown. He has become a pillar of a man, and I am so proud of him. He is strong, driven, charming and still eligible?!?!?

Tolu graduated with his MBA from SMU this past weekend. We were fortunate to celebrate with him and the rest of my family. It was good, GOOD time.

Friday night, we all (Tolu, Folayo, Mom, Dad, Auntie Sade, Dayo, Paul, Maya, Cole and I) went to dinner at this great restaurant in the West Village of uptown Dallas called Mi Cocina. The food was delicious - ESPECIALLY the tacos! We enjoyed margaritas (some a little more than others) and lots of laughs together.

Maya and Cole loved staying up late and swimming in the attention and affection of their grandparents, uncles and auntie. Maya seemed particularly fond of the music that night. She had a personal dance party right there in the restaurant.

Saturday was graduation day. After a mellow morning, a little shopping and no naps (oh my) we left for the Cox School of Business ceremony on campus (which is BEAUTIFUL, by the way. I had no idea Dallas is so green). The program was short and sweet and before long, Tolu emerged from the building with diploma in hand!

The fam

Mom and Tolu

Tolu and Dad

Tolu with John (our long-time family friend who drove in from Arkansas)

Miss Maya

Paul and me

Abi, Tolu and Folayo (aka the FAT Posse)

Later that night, we met up for dinner at Kirby's, a steakhouse near campus. Tolu once said there is not much to do in Dallas other than to eat and shop. Beyond the graduation and an excursion out west the following morning, that's what we did, isn't it? I guess you could say that we've done Dallas!

After four days with little routine, three late nights and virtually no naps, the kids were just nutty by our last night. They were bouncing of the walls (literally) as we packed our suitcases, Maya decided the hotelroom floor was just the spot to relieve herself, and our night... oh our night! It was definitely... memorable. It was kind of a hard way to end such a great trip, but certainly worth it.

We are back home now. Tolu is a master. The kids are sleeping soundly in their beds. 'Twas a good weekend.

17 May 2006

british virgin islands 06

Paul and I just returned from our trip to two of the British Virgin Islands: Virgin Gorda and Tortola. We were blessed to attend Detria and Darrin's wedding at one of the most breathtaking treasures in the world and to spend six days together... alone. Our trip was tranquil, renewing and poetic. We were overwhelmingly aware of God's presence and favor in each moment. It was precious... a vital experience we will always cherish.

A fire and outtage in the Houston control tower left us hovering above the airport for an hour. Rather than enjoying a barbeque with good friends in paradise that night, we were stranded in San Juan. To our surprise, the change in plans actually turned out to be a blessing. We stayed in a great hotel on the beach and spent some much needed time together. We had good conversation, good dinner, and even turned $5 into $20 on the nickle slots! It was a great way to start the trip.

After some drama in the airport the following morning, and a goodwill gesture by a pilot, we boarded a TINY 10-passenger plane and headed for Virgin Gorda. You can imagine the emotion of finally joining our friends and the awe in the moment we finally arrived at Baraka Point.

Baraka Point

The main Villa

First, we were escorted by Darrin and Detria to our private villa, the Mandarin. Then, we met up with the family: Leah (Detria's sister), Victoria (Detria's mom), James (Detria's dad), Noah (Detria's son), BJ (Detria's youngest brother), Jada (BJ's daughter), Lauren (Darrin's daughter), and Fran (Darrin's Mom). We were also greeted with blended fruity drinks by Aaron and Kim, the villa managers, chef and masseuse. It didn't take long to kick back and relax.

Paul enjoying the view from our private deck

That view I was telling you about

A view of the main villa from our deck

Sunday afternoon, we all went for a hike to the top of Gorda Peak, which was memorable on a number of levels. We were surrounded by lush green shrubs and trees, and we made the trek with crabs and lizards that had traveled all the way from the sea. It was inspiring to watch Leah, with just a cane as her eyes, attempt what seemed impossible. She was led by her big sister and trailed by her mom... "big rock to your left"... "skinny steps just ahead..." "watch that branch above you..." Witnessing the teamwork of this threesome is one of my favorite memories from the trip.

Hiking to Gorda Peak

Monday evening, twenty of us witnessed the sacred event that took place on this point kissed by God, surounded by the sapphire sea. Detria was stunning. Darrin was smitten. The ceremony was simple and serene. It was an invaluable opportunity for me to reflect on a 15-year friendship with Detria, to celebrate the blessing of my own marriage and to thank God for the gift of my best friend and lifetime companion, Paul. The evening ended with 14 of us sitting around a candelit table draped in crisp white linens. It was the most intimate reception I've been a part of. Both Paul and I were honored to listen and share as we discussed our hopes for the future of this marriage. Dinner was impeccable. The company and conversation were better.

A few more snapshots from the day...
Me and Detria

The fam - (l to r) BJ, Leah Darrin, Detria, James, Victoria
Lauren, Noah and Jada

Darrin's cousin, Desiree, taking it all in

The following morning, we bid Baraka Point and our friends adieu and headed for "The Baths," where we snorkled and swam with fish in crystal blue water fortified by sandy white beaches and gigantic boulders.

The Baths

We borded a ferry that afternoon and spent our final day and a half in Tortola. We toured the island in a Landcruiser, spent an afternoon sipping cocktails and soaking in the sun at Smuggler's Cove, and continued our tradition of fine dining at the Bananakeet (it was SO good, we ate their twice!).

Sunset at Long Bay

Our last night, we strolled on the beach and talked about what's been and what will be. It was yet another precious moment that will stick with me forever. In just six days Paul and I were transformed. We are better and closer because of this trip. God spoke to us and cared for us and our kids while we were away. It was monumental.
It was perfect.

"Above all things, have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins." - 1 Peter 4:7

16 May 2006

try again

As promised, here is a quick potty update... Last weekend, we went to the store to pick out big girl panties for Miss Maya. She's donned them proudly (and successfully) ever since... HALLELUJAH!!

I am so proud of this little girl. Not just because she's peeing in a potty, but also because of her character and resilience.

We picnicked and played at a new park today. Like always, we b-lined for the swings, but at this particular park, there was just one infant swing and three big-kid swings. Maya was up for the challenge, so I put Cole in the little swing and her in the big one.

"Higher, HIGHER," she squealed as I pushed her.

Perhaps I got a little carried away, because out of no where, I watched my child let go of the swing and drop to the ground. Her fall was broken by gravel and sticks just below.

She cried, of course, but assured me after a few moments that she was okay.

I rinsed the blood from her mouth, gave her a few sips of water, and was ready to call it a day when she said something that completely caught me off guard.

"I think I should try it again," she said.

She did.

"Higher, HIGHER," she squealed once again.

Absolutely amazing.

01 May 2006

potty talk

It's been a big week for Maya. She has been ALL ABOUT the potty for the last week (to my absolute delight). Her sights are set on big girl panties, and she's not looking back. This afternoon we celebrated 60+ hours of dry Pull-Ups... GO, GIRL!!! I think she is just about "trained." I'll keep you posted.