A Role Model for my Little One

I really enjoyed watching Amanda Gorman, the young poet who spoke at President Biden’s Inauguration. I caught myself wishing that my little girl would one day dream big and then work towards achieving her goals and desires. Go girls, go!!

34 Books in 2020

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Given how crazy the year I restricted myself to very light reading and only female readers. Also, as a reminder, here are my 2018 and 2019 lists.

Key: *** Highly Recommend ** Yeah, why not read it *Nah, only read if you have nothing else (No star) I have no feelings on the book

See the full list below.

  1. What She Wants – Cathy Kelly
  2. Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane ***
  3. A Child’s Play – Danielle Steel
  4. The Most Fun We Ever Had – Claire Lombardo ***
  5. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid ( Overrated)
  6. The Giver of Stars – Jojo Moyes
  7. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo ( BEST overall book of 2020. If I have not already said it, please read this book) ****
  8. Intercepted – Alexa Martin
  9. Fumbled – Alexa Martin
  10. Blitzed – Alexa Martin
  11. Dominicana – Angela Cruz (Such an ordinary story that was so well told) **
  12. A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes **
  13. Red at the Bone – Jacqueline Woodson
  14. How to Love a Jamaican – Alexia Arthurs ***
  15. Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory ***
  16. The Proposal – Jasmine Guillory ***
  17. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett ***
  18. Big Friendship – Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman ( BEST non fiction)
  19. Last Tang Standing – Lauren Ho (liked it but it kinda dragged on. Sadly, will read the sequel and again it made me want to visit Singapore)
  20. One to Watch – Kate Stayman-London ( BEST Fiction )
  21. The Guest List – Lucy Foley **
  22. All Adults Here – Emma Straub **
  23. The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley ***
  24. The Beach Read – Emily Henry
  25. The Book of Two Ways – Jodi Piccoult ( not her best )
  26. The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary ***
  27. The Herd – Andrea Bartz (Fantastic) ***
  28. The Switch – Beth O’Leary ***
  29. The Jetsetters – Amanda Eyre Ward
  30. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot **
  31. On the Come Up – Angie Thomas ***
  32. The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi *
  33. Three little truths – Eithne Shortall
  34. Self Care – Leigh Stein ***

For the first time this year, I decided to include a tried-to-read-and-didn’t-finish list. Here goes:

  1. Ordinary People – Diana Evans
  2. Weather – Jenny Offill
  3. The Shadow King – Maaza Mengiste
  4. The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Dare

A Book on Female Friendship

Big Friendship: Call Your Girlfriend hosts Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman on  their memoir | EW.com

Here is the blurb:

Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.

An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them. (less)

I read this book in August and it was amazing so get it. But I don’t want to do a review as much as talk about the one thing it made me think of.

The authors talk about a challenging period in their frendship where they were not getting on and they went for therapy together. Either in the book or in the many podcasts promoting their book I listened to they ask how people resolve conflict in a friendship and the process to get a “friend” therapist a specific type of therapist different from most other relationships.

This made me think of a troubled friendship last year that just fizzled out. We had a misunderstanding – not the first we had in the years of friendship but I suppose we are both moms of little ones now and pressed for time and sleep which probably accelerated it all. And then since then we have just ghosted each other. So this is what the book made me think of:

  1. After all the many fights over the years, why was this the one that finally led to the estragement?
  2. Over the years, were there many “missed” moments where we didn’t see the other and that escalated over time?
  3. Could we ever move past this and if not, what would it look like to formally dissolve the friendship (especially where we have so many friends in common)?

Having thought that, I think the impasse is a resolution because in the past when I have cared, I have formally spoken about it with a friend so this is an answer of sorts.

How do you resolve conflict in you friendships?

What Story Will You Tell?

And I’ll testify of the battles You’ve won
How You were my portion when there wasn’t enough (That’s right)
And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed
The waters You parted, the waves that I’ve walked

I am having a tough week and this song has been challenging and speaking to me. Hope you are blessed through it.

Sunday (Cooks)

Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

Some meal prep help is alway helpful

A Bookclub of Two

The little Miss is “reading”:

I am reading this book, struggling to get into it but I really loved Beneath the Lion’s Gaze so I am sure it will be good too.

The Shadow King - LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020 (Paperback, Main): Maaza Mengiste

Of all the things I want to pass onto my daughter, I want her to love to read, read widely.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Family Rituals I grew up with

There are some things I randomly think of and I am reminded of growing up.

  1. A big Sunday breakfast with all the trimmings, then Church followed by a late big lunch and something light for dinner.
  2. For all our birthdays, we would buy a birthday card and hide it from the birthday girl as we all signed something heartfelt.
  3. Attending Carol service on Christmas Eve then coming home together to prepare for Christmas Day.
  4. Hearing your birth story from my mom and now that we are all dispersed, she calls at at the exact time you were born. I get my call at 8pm.
  5. When I was in high school, my sisters and I on a Friday night would dance together and just unwind.

What are some of your own family rituals?

Parenting rituals I want to incorporate

I love Cup of Jo. The blog content and the community of readers that gather around it. It is a very beautiful space on the internet and what I secretly wish for this here little space.

She recently had a blog post on family rituals and I decided to steal a few to start with my child(ren) as they get older. So here goes and please also check it out.

To keep things simple at Christmas, we each get 4 gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I am planning to use this model with my children (someday)!

My MIL had three curious kids who would shake gifts put under the tree before Christmas day. She invented Christmas “code names” to write on the presents. From then on the kids didn’t know whose presents were whose and would stop peeking. On Christmas day each kid gets to guess who’s assigned to each code name and she reveals the results at the end. My husband is now 33 and the tradition is still alive! She always chooses a different theme. Sometimes they are so abstract we spend hours just trying to guess what the theme is. Last year it was types of dairy cow (Holstein, Normande, Guernsey, Belted Galloway) and the year before it was cities in Ireland (Cork, Killkenny, Limerick, Dungarvan). One year she did locations of WWII battle sites. She keeps us on our toes and I always look forward to it.

“When my (very adult now) kids were smaller, I began asking for their self-portraits as my birthday gift. Many years later, I enjoy the most incredible archive of their growing artistic skills, evolving concepts of self, and interests at the time. It’s still what I ask for, and they happily explore new media, formats and methods each year — often their portraits coordinate incredibly well with no overt communication. Can’t recommend this enough. Only wish we’d begun even earlier!”

A nice tradition I have started with my kids is giving a special book on their birthday. Instead of a greeting card, we pick a book that means something that year (a book we borrowed many times from the library, a little story about a place we travelled to, about getting a sibling, etc) and we write a note on the front page or wherever we can fit it talking about memorable things of that year and hopes for the year ahead. I plan to give my kids a book with a love note every year for as long as I live

She doesn’t know it yet, but I invest money each month for my goddaughter, in the amount of her age. $1 a month when she was 1, $2 when she turned two, ect ect. She will be 11 next month! I plan to give her the money when she graduates high school or turns 18. It is a fairly low financial commitment from me each month, but should hopefully be a very nice gift for her one day. AND it will be a great lesson in compound interest and investing in your future 😉

The night before the first day of school we eat under the dining room table instead of on top of it. My kids are little (4 and 7) so they find this exciting and a wacky way to end summer and start the year!
Video

An 18-month olds Jam

She jams to this HARD

A 16 month olds’ Jam

This tickles me to no end because its a great song but it also highlights her beautiful East-South heritage.

Jam away ….

The remix you didn’t know you needed

Happy Friday also, I am not a Burna Boy fan but this one ….

Lockdown Lesson II

Do not trust a recipe that asks you to to make meatballs with quinoa. NEVER EVER AGAIN!!

Our love is safe

Talking of love yesterday made me reflect on the type of love I have with my Mr and why it is the perfect love for me/us.

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Very early on when we were dating we had a discussion and decided that while we felt we could marry each other we probably needed a longer dating period to confirm this decision. So each year since then, we would discuss whether we were both committed to continuing with each other. Even now on our anniversary dinner, we still ask each other this question as well as reflecting on the past year and dreams for the next.

More than this though was the fact that very early on, he was very clear in his intentions but he also went out of his way to accompany his words with actions. And this meant so much to me especially given the last two people I had liked who couldn’t be bothered with decency. So, our love is thoughtful, not about fireworks but stability – which I have learnt is a value that means so much to me – but it is true to both our characters.

How would you describe your love?

Of Crushes and the Bible

I grew up in Church and mostly attended Christian schools right until I completed my Undergraduate studies. So obviously when I started feeling attracted to boys, the Bible somehow also came in.

I am currently doing this study of Philippians with a friend and was reminded of this guy whom I had a crush on and would frequently send him this verse:

I thank my God every time I remember you.

Philippians 1:3

As I have since learnt, it was so out of context but boy did each text message always end in this verse and how thrilled it made me (and I hope him) feel.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12

Urgggh to be young and silly again.

Parenting under Lockdown

The lockdown has shown me that there are two types of working people: those with children and those without.

I have occasionally thought that of the working parents, some were better than others but today, it hit me as they say in Kiswahili kila mtu apambane na hali yake (each one to contend with their situation / bear their cross). I also read this post that chronicled how some parents are sharing their child care needs – each of us is doing what needs to be done. That is all.

So how are we sharing the responsibilities?

  1. We discuss calendars on Sunday evening and coordinate so we do not have clashing calendars. This is necessary because one parent works in the morning as the other does child care/ house and all those demands.
  2. We each took on more around the house based on interest and strengths. Having said that, I suspect as the mom I do more 😦
  3. Early on, we shared with our respective bosses and teams the situation at home and the impact on overall availability and deadlines.
  4. We regularly check in with each other because its tough for each of us, on different days and in different ways. And we need to carry each other because as I keep saying to the Mr, if we think we are hanging on by a thread now, we cannot afford to break down or get sick.
  5. I/ we both dropped our house cleanliness / tidy standards because no one has time or energy to keep those up. Also, no one is visiting the other so whatever.
  6. Lastly and most importantly, to be easy on myself. I had some grand plans for this year, both in terms of school, work and personally but God in His sovereignty has placed me here and now. So I occasionally say to myself, chill, be easy.

Underscoring all of this is such great privilege that we both kept our jobs and work in fields that allow us to work remotely. Coupled with this is a child who has the beginnings of being resilient and who rolls with the punches given by Mama and Papa.

So how are you coping?

Video

A 14-month olds’ Jam

something about this jam makes her smile and sing along

Have a lovely Monday and week ahead.

Lockdown Lesson 1

two laptop computers on white table

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

This being Day 8902 of lockdown (not really, it’s Day 54 here) and working remotely as we take care of the 14-month old. I wanted to share the one thing I have learnt about my Mr and new work mate:

He is really passionate about his work. He is genial and well liked and regarded by his workmates. They really respect him too. He is also very serious when at work. Less positively, he hates to do any kind of project admin. Oh and his day involves being in so many meetings / calls.

It’s been interesting to see this side of him as the last time we worked so closely together was back at Varsity.

What have you learnt about yourself or your partner / housemate(s) as you worked from home? If you and your partner regularly work from home, what have you learnt from each other at this time?

Dreaming of traveling

photo of brooklyn bridge new york

Photo by Arthur Brognoli on Pexels.com

If I could travel today I would go back to New York, New York ❣️ In addition to Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala I am also routing for the city that never sleeps

Where would you go if travel bans were lifted tomorrow. 

Thought for Today

photo of woman holding book

Photo by Ree on Pexels.com

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

The verses in bold are the ones that are ministering to me in a special way. God is watching out for us and protecting us. He is Sovereign and even the current uncertainty does not diminish His hugeness.