Happy Friday, Friends! I realize I’ve never properly introduced O on the blog and what better time to do it than on his birthday! Okay, technically his birthday is tomorrow. But here we are.
1. O grew up in Ontario, Canada. The “eh?” didn’t stick, but the kindness and love for maple syrup did.
2. He’s first generation Canadian. His parents moved from Nigeria when his oldest sister was 1. They are two of the most hard working and resilient people I know, which certainly contributed to O’s character. I hit the in-law jackpot, for sure.
3. O’s love for doughnuts knows no bounds. None. At six years old, he got his first job: a paper route. Despite being chased by an “evil” rottweiler named Roxy far more times than he can count, he kept his route for one reason and one reason only: doughnuts. He’d take his teensy tiny paycheck, bike across town, pick up a dozen doughnuts and while carrying the box with one hand and steering with the other, take his treasure back home to throw down. SIX you guys. The devotion has continued and he has a spreadsheet ranking his favorite doughnut places in the world with his own system, but now sticks to vegan delicacies.
4. Dude loves a spreadsheet.
5. O received an opportunity to play football and run track at Stanford University, which brought him from freezing Canada to sunny California. He’d only traveled in Canada, Michigan and Nigeria so his life changed in a huge way for those five years. He was pre-med and majored in Biology strictly because he had a life long dream of becoming Bill Cosby, The Cosby Show edition. He loves problem solving and still can’t get enough of learning.
6. O didn’t come to know the Lord until college. He noticed some of his teammates were different than everyone else he knew and was immediately drawn to them. One day he asked them what it was about them that made them the way they were. They took him to ‘Cardinal Life,’ Stanford’s life group for student athletes, and he figured it out pretty quickly. He got saved that semester and has never been the same.
7. He’s 9 years older than me. Funnily enough, before he met me he got down on his knees and straight up told the Lord “I’m never dating someone that much younger than me again.” (his previous lady friend was 6 years younger than him.) When we met for the first time, I was 16. When we fell in love, I was 19 and he was 27 about to turn 28. I’m convinced God just loves laughing.
8. His favorite sport is boxing. Hands down. If he’s not listening to a sermon or Systematic Theology…it’s boxing commentary. He knows the sport inside and out and is happiest when he can spend two nights a week in the ring.
9. Our first couple years of dating, O was playing for the St. Louis Rams and my dad was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. They were in the same division which made cheering for a team the hardest part of my Sunday all season long. He actually scored the game winning touchdown in the game my dad lost his job. Tricky times, friends. Tricky times.
10. I can’t believe it took me until number ten to get to this: he’s a Transformers collector. In a HUGE way. When he was that same little 6 year old doughnut scarfing kid, he started collecting transformers combiners with his leftover paper route money. A couple times a year, he’d earn enough for a new toy and the love was born. He’s the most mature, wise man I know and yet all he wants for his birthday is toys. (This always makes Oshiolema think he’s the coolest man in the world.)
11. O was the first one in our family to go vegan. I had to give up dairy for just shy of a year while nursing both kids, but O was the only one in our family that didn’t eat meat or fish for two years. The Nigerian athlete that legit ate at least 180 grams of protein (mostly from a steak, a chicken thigh or a big cut of salmon) every single day while he was playing football did it. He went vegan. His motivation wasn’t a loves for animals or the planet or any dietary restrictions-but the Lord made it so clear to him that he couldn’t deny it. Years after going fully plant-based, we found out that to be as healthy as possible with his genetics a vegan diet was key. His dad is now a plant based eater as well-another thing I never thought I’d see.
12. Every night, he plays “fighting game” with Oshiolema. They run around pretending to be various superheroes for a solid 45 minutes and do things I have to close my eyes and cringe to endure. It’s a part of our daily routine both kids look to with such tenderness and excitement. It should go without saying but he’s clearly the fun parent.
13. He craves adventure the same way I crave my bed and The Great British Baking Show. Before meeting me, his idea of a good time was hang-gliding off cliffs in Brazil. For real. I’m zero percent adventurous so part of me being the best wife I can be looks like stepping outside of my comfort zone. Since being married to this man, I’ve swam with sharks, swam with sting rays, ridden in a helicopter in Fiji and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. And he’s done a lot of not jumping/climbing/flying off things. Compromise.
14. The man chases after the heart of God. Early mornings, late evenings-he has devoted his adult life to knowing God and loving the Word. The thing I loved most about him from the beginning is that I knew he loved the Lord more than me, and loved me more than himself. He is a pleasure to call the head of our household.
15. He can’t sing. He’s good (like, ridiculously good) at just about everything, but his tone deafness is untouchable. Oh, but if you think it doesn’t stop him from worshipping his heart out at full volume in church, you’re wrong. It took a few years to get used to (i.e. to not cringe and sweat) but now I love watching him worship without a care in the world what anyone thinks. It’s just him and the Lord. No one else’s eyes or ears matter.
Happy Birthday to my very favorite guy. Thanks for letting me dress you for 9 years and counting.