My Feature On The Xander Blog

I am pretty excited to have been featured on the Xander Blog as a Xander mom. We are really enjoying their Swahili apps which I spoke about here and when they reached out to me to answer a few questions for the feature I was super excited.

Here’s the interview as featured on their website:

Xander Mom

Xander Mom: Wangari

This week and we have awesome working mom and blogger, Wangari, all the way from Nairobi, Kenya. She took some time out to talk to us about her lovely family, parenting and her blog.

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Wangari and I am a wife, mother, entrepreneur as well as a family blogger at inmamaswords.com.

Tell us about your blog?

My blog is a place where moms can be honest about their journey through motherhood. I had my first child at 23 which is why I started writing the blog. I was young and afraid and thought of all the women in my situation and just wanted them to have a place where they could feel less alone and where we could all learn together. It’s a place where we don’t know it all and aren’t afraid to talk about feeling overwhelmed. It’s a place where we learn from each other.

How do you feel about using technology as part of learning?

I feel that in today’s world, technology is a major part of a child’s development. Keeping them away from it is like locking them out of a world that offers so much more than human interaction alone can offer.

What are your kids favourite apps?

They are currently into the Pinkfong App, the Xander Swahili apps and Endless Reader.

What do you love about living and raising your children in Kenya?

My entire family is here. On both sides. That knowledge that I have them as a support system is very comforting.

Suppertime tips for parents with young children?

Serve dinner early so that they make it through the meal before fatigue checks in.

TV “Yes” or “No”?

Yes, with a mix of other indoor and outdoor activities.

What is in the lunchbox?

A cheese sandwich and an apple. This is our picky eater staple.

How do you balance it all – in one sentence?

I run my business from home.

Do your children do chores at home, if so what and how do you manage it?

My oldest is five and he just started making his bed in the morning and is now helping clear the table after meals. He is also learning to sweep the kitchen floor after I prepare a meal.

What is your favourite holiday plans/ activities with kids?

We love the outdoors. Anything that gets us out of the house like football practice or swimming on a warm afternoon or a vacation at a place where these activities are offered is always a winner.

You can check out Wangari’s blog In Mamas Words here and catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you haven’t tried their apps, be sure to. They are a fun way for our kids to learn Swahili (they also offer Afrikaan, Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana and English) especially for kids in schools where Swahili (or other mother tongue languages) isn’t offered as part of the school curriculum.

xoxo!

Our Top 3 Kids Apps

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Last year, for Christmas we (or should I say Santa) got Kamau the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition tablet. As parents we all struggle with how much screen time our kids should have and whether or not TV, phones, tablets and iPads are good for kids. I feel this is one of those things that vary from family to family and for which we all need to respect each other’s decisions on. (Hopes to avert a mommy war on the topic.)

I have mentioned, here , before that we allow gadgets in our house. They are great for keeping the kids occupied especially, truth be told, when you need some quiet time around the house. And when you are driving around with kids in the backseat of your car. One of the things that was most attractive to us about the Amazon tablet is the fact that you can set a total screen time limit. This means that after the set time your child isn’t able to use the tablet. This helps us limit how much time he spends on the tablet each day.

We also use goal limits which I found was especially great with Lisa, as an older child. The goal was that every time she wanted a new game, she’d have to read a book first. (There’s quite a selection of books available for free.) You can set up parental controls so that the kids cannot download any games without a password from you. You can go a step further, as we have done, and set it up based on their age so that they have no access to any games or activity considered to be outside their age bracket.

There are so many interactive apps out there, but we have three that are currently our favourites.

1. The PinkFong App

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We first discovered PinkFong when Kui and I stumbled upon the Baby Shark song on YouTube. It was our door into a whole other world. PinkFong has all kinds of apps. From nursery rhymes that Kui loves to sing along to (she will sing “doo doo doo doo doo doo” when she wants to watch some rhymes) to educational apps for Kamau. They have numbers and ABC Phonics and a Dino World app that Kamau loves because they had a school project on dinosaurs. He is currently into teaching anyone that will listen about the difference between a bulldozer and an excavator. Something he learned on this app. He gets excited when he spots them on the side of the road and will go on and on about which does what. We recently bought him a Lego that can be constructed into a bulldozer, excavator and dump truck based on this new found fascination.

2. Xander Swahili Apps

Swahili 123

These I personally love and have incorporated them as a part of our at-home studying. Kiswahili isn’t a part of Kamau’s school curriculum and when the guys at Xander asked if I knew about their Swahili apps I was pretty excited! We started out with Swahili 123 which helps the kids learn their numbers in Kiswahili. He got so into it and it became a fun way for him and Lisa to learn Swahili. I give him a few minutes to go over a section on his own and then I quiz him on what he has learned after. The 123 app also offers us a chance to work on our numeracy skills as they have this section where kids can hone their skills by counting beads and animal characters. I love that the app has a narrator whom I tell Kamau is his Kiswahili teacher. She has a soothing voice that walks the kids through each activity. They also have Swahili shapes and colours and Swahili wardrobe. I, honestly, wasn’t great at Kiswahili in school and still won’t speak it voluntarily (I have a Nyeri accent like our former president) so I am also enjoying learning things with Kamau. PS: To find the Xander apps on Amazon, you need to search for “Ever Africa Group.”

3. Endless Reader

Endless Reader

My friend Nancy told me about this app and we love it! It’s great for readers like Kamau that are just starting out. I love that on top of helping him learn to read new words, it encourages him to learn how to spell. This is great since they have dictation tests every week in school. This app makes reading, something I feel is a sensitive issue for early learners, fun. The way the characters appear from time to time to engage with the kids and the funny noises the app makes as the kids try to spell out words (Kamau is particularly into ‘f’). From my experience with Kamau, kids can easily feel intimidated based on their environment as they learn how to read. You need to be patient and make the child see how exciting learning to read on their own can be. I like reminding him that if he learns to read on his own, he can read his favourite bedtime stories whenever he wants to, and not just at bedtime. Endless reader brings fun into reading which I feel is a wonderful way to nurture reading in our young ones.

I think technology if used in moderation and with supervision can be a great learning tool for kids. If we can find a balance between screen time and human interaction, then our kids are constantly learning new things form different sources.

Let me know what kids apps you and your young ones are into. We’d love to give them a try.

xoxo!

Summer Break Hacks For The SAHM

Image Credit: Village Family Mag

Image Credit: Village Family Mag

Let’s be honest. Summer break has got to be one of the most difficult times for any SAHM. It can turn into one long, (seemingly) never ending nightmare if not properly planned for. I should know. Last year was my first year as a SAHM and Summer break hit me with a needy pre-schooler at my feet and an attached-to-the-boob five month old on my bosom.

The first thing you think of when you wake up is, “I need this day to go by as fast as possible.” This, I have realized, is pretty much the trick to surviving the two months at home with my kids. Anything that keeps them busy and makes the day go by faster is a win.

I am better prepared this year. Mostly psychologically. Also, the kids have grown quite a bit since last year which also makes managing them that much easier. Here are a few of my Summer Break hacks.

1. Summer Camp

If you plan this just right, and the kids start Summer Camp at the right time, you can actually pretend school never closed to begin with. The schools almost always offer some school sponsored programs that go on til noon. These are great because the kids get to hang out with their school friends. Karen Country Club have this even better schedule that has the kids away til 4 pm! Tennis, Golf, Crafts and lots of other fun activities. Summer Camp is great for keeping the kids occupied and I love that you don’t need to do it everyday- from a cost perspective. I feel like you get both- days where you can hang and bond with the kids and days where you get to take a break for the sake of your sanity.

2. Play Dates

This has to be the mother of all hacks. Honestly, what would moms do without play dates? The best are those with friends that have kids your kids age. The ones that you can sit with and compare Summer Break hacks with as the kids play. Even better, the ones that understand something pressing you need to do (such as sitting in a quiet house so you don’t lose your mind) and are OK with you leaving your kids with them for an hour or two.

3. Schedules

Planning is everything. Whether you do it every evening after you tuck the kids in bed, on a weekly basis or have a sophisticated schedule like Claire Dunphy from Modern Family. You cannot survive two months at home with children without some sort of planning. Schedules come as simple as knowing what time the kids wake up, what time they eat, when they sleep and how to plan your day around these times. It is about having some semblance of structured time so you don’t have little people hollering, “mommy!” every minute of the day. I have incorporated little chores for Kamau. Spreading his bed, cleaning up after himself, watching his sister, sweeping the kitchen. Like I said, anything that keeps the kids busy is good for you.

4. Taking Them Along For Errands

I bring Kamau along with me during my shoe deliveries. He is fast becoming an essential part of ShoestruckKe 🙂 If he is in the house on one of my delivery days, I will take him with me. It fills his day and also gives us a chance to spend some one on one time together. I also think that car drives are great in the way that kids cannot seem to stay awake while on them.

5. Early Bedtime

I don’t change my kids bedtime because we’re on school break. Nuh uh. 8 pm is quite likely my most favourite time of the day. It is only after 8 pm that I get to watch uninterrupted TV, eat a meal while it’s still hot and not worry about getting asked to find a toy. I love that early bedtimes during school breaks still, somehow, go hand in hand with late mornings. With Kui now out of our room and sleeping through the night, I am now getting in some much earned sleep.

44 Days to go!

xoxo!

Kamau, The Big Brother

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Kui is going through a stage where she wants to do everything that Kamau does. A stage where it seems that being just like him is her greatest aspiration in life. She wants to sit when he sits, drink from the same cup he drinks from, laugh when he laughs and even use the bathroom when he does.

Every so often it gets to him and he will act irritable and she, in turn, will too but for the most part he is patient and just amazing. See, anyone that knows Kamau will tell you that he is a caring, soft-hearted and sweet boy and this truly comes out in his role as a big brother.

When we first moved Kui out of our room and into hers, he moved in with her so that, “she wouldn’t get scared.” He slept in a bed tinier than he was used to (which was to be the bed she transitioned to after her baby cot) and even after she moved to her little bed, we moved a bed for him into her room as he still wouldn’t leave her.

There were nights when she’d wake up and we would hear him, through the baby monitor, trying to sing her back to sleep. He does a sweet rendition of ‘Baby Jesus’ which he sings as ‘Baby Kui.’

Baby Kui
Baby Kui
I love you
I love you
You are my baby
Everyday

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I will ask him to take me on an errand looking to spend a little one on one time with him, and he will ask me if Kui can come along. There have been instances where he has picked staying home with her over going out with me.

He sometimes lets her in on his wrestling games with his dad and gets thrilled at the site of her grunting like he does as she attempts to throw punches.

He is teaching her how to kick a ball. She is allowed to play with his Ben 10 aliens and on rare occasions allowed to wear his Ben 10 wrist watch. (She just napped wearing it, a few minutes ago).

He helps her down the steps and picks her up when she falls. Kui is stubborn and almost always doesn’t want his help, even when she needs it. Regardless, he rushes to her side again and again.

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Yesterday he asked if he could colour with her so that she can, “practise before she joins PP1.”

He compliments her cute, little outfits. I got her ready to take them out for ice cream yesterday and when he saw her shouted, “Oh, Kui! You look so pretty!”

He wants to teach her how to run, jump and read. He wants her to join school so that he can take care of her on the school bus. I am teaching him to be patient with her. She gets frustrated because she can’t communicate and sometimes throws things and he doesn’t understand why, but I am working on letting him know that she doesn’t know any better.

Here’s to our little, big boy who is doing a wonderful job as a big brother.

xoxo!

Walking With A Purpose

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On Friday, we walked with a purpose. We walked in support of the school’s community program. We walked for Kuwinda School.

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The kids were great sports and most of the prep kids walked the entire 10 KM. We had a warm up session before the flagging off. We set off at the school and walked down Langata South Road, past the police station at Hardy and all the way to the point where Masai Lane meets Bogani Road. There were several water points along the way where glucose was also provided.

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The school buses were on standby and the little pre-prep kids who couldn’t walk back to school got a bus ride back.

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We had a well deserved picnic lunch upon returning to the school. Those of us that hadn’t prepared picnic baskets had the option of food from from Rusty Nail who had set up shop at the school. The little ones also got to watch a movie after.

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I love the idea of the school’s community program because I feel it’s extremely important for our kids to know that we aren’t always guaranteed the things we have. I explained to Kamau that there are children whose schools don’t have the resources we have at ours. They had a sponsorship form for the walk and even as he called his grandparents and uncles and aunties asking for funds, I wanted him to understand what the money was for.

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If we can raise happy, well-adjusted children that are sensitive to the fact that there are people in the world who need help from us then I’d say we did really well at this parenting thing.

xoxo!

The Realization That Someday I’ll Want It All Back

with the kids

Here’s something raising my 16 month old daughter has made me realize: these little moments with our children are but for a moment and someday we will want them all back. I look at her and she takes me back to a time when Kamau was much like she is now. The excitement at being able to walk. The incoherent babble of attempted speech.

Sure, right now I dream of days when R and I will have an empty nest and we can go back to where it all began. Where our time is our own and our days are ours to plan as we wish. Yet when Kui is taking a nap and Kamau is off in school I sometimes think that a quiet house isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s often difficult to comprehend just how precious time with them is when it feels like they woke up too early on a Sunday that I had planned to sleep in. On evenings where I rush to tuck them in bed so that I can get back to watching a show. When I am in the throws of a flu from hell and one, or both, of them wants to play around outside.

Someday I’ll miss the fact that somehow, despite each one having their own bed, we all end up in a family bed. I will miss complaining how my sides hurt from sleeping on the edge of the bed because I had hands and feet in my face. And I will no longer have reason to complain about having to replace our bed because it will no longer be a makeshift wrestling ring.

One day I won’t have Kamau begging me to watch him play a video game. See mommy! Mommy look! Sometimes I barely glance at him, responding in a, “wow!” even when I don’t know what I was supposed to be looking at. Days when I am so caught up with what I am doing that I don’t even realize that I respond without looking up from what I am doing.

A time will come when I will not have them playing on the kitchen floor as I prepare dinner. Kui sometimes pulling on my clothes and Kamau insisting he wants something to cut up. Someday a kitchen where I am not tripping over them or one of their toys will be filled with memories of days that I often took for granted.

The evenings that are stamped with a banging door (that I always complain about) that announces his arrival from school. The ones where I get a hug that almost topples me over. The ones where I get to watch the glee on his sister’s face when he runs into the room.

Someday, and this I worry is approaching soon, I will want to be needed. To be the one they call in the middle of the night because the room is too hot and all they want is one less blanket. When I am the superhero that has the answer to everything. When they cannot get anything done without involving me. For every time I mumble about having to do everything, I am certain I will miss feeling needed.

I imagine there will be Saturday afternoons where I will have endless alone time and will instead be wishing I had to rush before football practice was over. Or swimming. Or make it back before the movie credits. It’s all I can think of today. Lazy Saturdays where I sip a Mojito as R plays Golf. Someday I’ll want to trade it in for the chaos.

This is the sad thing about parenting. It’s seems like one long journey on most days, but in the quiet moments- those you rarely speak of- you face the fear that it will all end too soon. I remember my dad telling us that he misses the pressure of having to look for school fees because those days remind him of days when he came home to a noisy house.

You know what I really pray for? That through it all I remember the happiness more than anything. That even when I feel the regret of mistakes I made or things I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have, the joys outweigh all that. I also pray that their memories are stamped with love. That they remember that even on my most tired of days, I stopped to give a cuddle and took a little time to pay attention to them.

I know that someday I will miss the days I have today. I am just grateful that it’s still today and that I still have a chance to live in the moment.

xoxo!

True Life Is Lived When Tiny Changes Occur

My hair after Kui- pregnancy has always been kind to my hair.

My hair after Kui- pregnancy has always been kind to my hair.

In November last year, I decided to grow out my relaxed hair and transition to natural hair. I remember the exact day that I made the decision. Tabitha, Craving Yellow, had put up a post about transitioning and I read it just before I visited my big sister, Wanja. When I got to her house and saw how beautiful her natural hair looked styled in a gorgeous up do, I felt like the hairverse was speaking to me.

I had been toying with the idea since Kui was born but was too afraid to actually make the move. Anyone who knows what my relaxed hair looked like will understand my reservation. I was convinced, like many with relaxed hair are, that my hair wouldn’t be beautiful unless relaxed. A fallacy that must be wonderful for the companies that produce relaxers.

While pregnant with Kui.

While pregnant with Kui.

A couple of years ago I read Shiko Nguru’s Having A Daughter Changes Everything but didn’t really identify until last year when I gave birth to a daughter, myself. Suddenly, raising her by example was really important to me. Questions Lisa had previously asked me about my hair started to feel like questions Kui was asking me. Why my hair was always straight and hers wasn’t. What I did to make my hair look so shiny. Whether once she turned 18 she could have done to her hair what I did to mine.

About two weeks ago I made the decision to “big chop.” I was frustrated by my hair in its two texture state and I woke up and decided that I was going to cut off the relaxed ends. I cut most of it in my bathroom before going to the salon where I asked the hairdresser to cut the rest off. She cut it a bit more but wouldn’t cut it down to the length that I wanted it. She convinced me to try a perm rod style instead which she promised would help me feel better about keeping it a bit long. A week later, I woke up determined to cut every relaxed strand off and convinced Patty to help me do it.

Transitioning

Transitioning

I had finally done the one thing I would never have imagined I’d do. I cut my hair! It’s liberating. I feel like it empowers you and gives you new found confidence. I always thought that a lot of who I am lay in the length of my hair. Looking at myself in the mirror lately, I realize how untrue that is. R told me, a day after I cut it off, that I am not my hair- saying that I looked just as beautiful with the short hair. There’s a freedom that comes with doing something you never thought you had the guts to do.

I am enjoying reading blogs and watching videos about styling natural hair. I am particularly obsessed with Sheila Ndinda right now. I would like to grow my hair back but instead of obsessing about chasing length right now, I am following bloggers that are playing around with short hair.

On Saturday, a friend of mine at the gym offered me some free samples of products that she sells. We had discussed my hair prior to my cutting it and when we bumped into each other on Friday, she graciously offered to let me try a few natural hair products she thought would be good for my hair. I did my wash with the Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and used the Restorative Conditioner as a leave-in.

Shea Moisture

For my umpteenth attempt at a bantu knot out, I used Obia Natural Haircare’s Curl Enhancing Custard and on Sunday morning took out the knots using the Curl Moisture Cream. I rocked my bantu knot out at Sunday mass 🙂 Yesterday, which was Day 2 of the knot out, I used a wide tooth comb to rejuvenate the flat hair and then used the Curl Hydration Spray to give the curls some definition. I thought it looked much better yesterday than it did on Sunday. I am also pretty excited about how it looks today and I can’t wait to try and style it.

Obia Products

I feel like the world of natural hair care can be intimidating because the more people return to natural (we don’t go natural- we return. Natural is where it began. I love this quote!), the more information there is out there about products and regimens. I respect all the bloggers that are sharing info for the rest of us newcomers but I’ll also say this- don’t be afraid to find your own regimen. Sometimes we want to emulate everything the people we look up to are doing, but I am slowly realizing you don’t need to stress about copying every detail to achieve great results. We each have different lifestyles and cannot all fit long, detailed regimens into our daily schedules. I believe in finding what works for you and your schedule and just staying true to the end goal which is healthy hair.

Bantu knot out

I am grateful that thanks to Helen- Mailuc Beauty– I now have a few products to kick start my journey. Products that I have tested on my hair and that have worked for me. I look forward to trying more as I imagine this is the only way to tell what works and what doesn’t.

True life is lived when tiny changes occur. I wouldn’t exactly refer to my cutting my hair as a “tiny” change, but I am excited about this new chapter. I cannot impress upon you how confident I feel since having cut off my hair. Coco Chanel said that a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. Here’s to a new beginning.

xoxo!

How To Make Mother’s Day All About Mom

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Mother’s Day- that one day in May that we look forward to each year, anticipating a day where someone will take care of business as we lay in our pyjamas all day. It really isn’t.

If we’re lucky, the first hour of the day actually goes as they had planned. Breakfast is done and everyone is at the table without our having to fight to get them there and a wonderful meal is had. If we’re even more lucky, the table is cleared and dishes aren’t left piled up in the kitchen sink. Things sometimes begin to unravel at the point where we are informed that a surprise lunch at our favourite restaurant awaits us. This followed by a reminder that the lunch reservation is in a few minutes and thus ends our short lived vacation. Someone needs to get the kids ready, after all.

Regardless, I appreciate that it’s the one day that the people who love us- namely husbands and children- will genuinely attempt to take care of business. We love you for this and we see how hard you try to make this day all about us. Thank you.

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On Saturday, Karen Country Club hosted a brunch in celebration of mothers. The best part- they made it all about us! It was a gorgeous day at the Wetlands which made for the perfect spot to sit a group of elegantly dressed moms.

First, it was an adult event. You don’t really appreciate adult only events until you have kids. Any event that comes with an open invitation to bring your kids really isn’t all that much fun for people that have kids. If we’re not trying to make sure they aren’t breaking stuff, we’re having panic attacks because we don’t remember the last time we saw them before they announced they wanted to, “take a walk.” I loved the fact that we had a day where we didn’t have to run around after our kids.

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The “welcome cocktail” was welcome. Nothing says baby free event like being welcomed with a Mojito or a Jamie Ginger! We checked our I-don’t-drink-before-baby’s-bedtime hats at the gate and just got down to the business of having a good time.

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The set up was divine and the best part was that we didn’t lift a finger to put it together! I mean, walking into a venue where great attention to detail was paid and you didn’t have to run around to bring it together is an amazing treat for any mother that has planned a birthday or get together for her family.

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We had our faces done by lovely ladies from MAC who also gave a talk on taking care of our skin. I am not big on makeup because I feel like it takes too much time to do a full face, but I got to sit down and have someone fuss over me and it felt really good. I could get used to it, honestly. I will be redeeming my MAC voucher for a free consultancy at either their Village Market or Garden City stores.

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Maureen from Amadiva salon and Wachu Wanjaria of Kurlly Diaries were on stand to talk to us about hair and this was the stand I was most excited about. I have been transitioning and did the big chop on Friday and wanted to ask about products and regimens they recommend.

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Carole Kinoti had a gorgeous showcase and talked about the inspiration behind her designs being flattering women’s bodies. Highlighting our best features and working around areas we aren’t too happy with. The dresses were stunning and the models made you want to own every single piece!

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The menu was wholesome. I doubt any one of us was counting calories as we indulged. It isn’t every day that we get to sit without worrying about spills and food stains on our clothes. There were no high chairs at our tables. Nah-uh. Grown ups only. We weren’t requesting for warm milk. Instead, we popped champagne and had wine as it should be had having listened to a very informative talk from a wine expert from Ethnovino.

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We danced, and not to nursery rhymes. We sang along, and not to round songs. There was waist shaking, getting down, head bobbing and none of it to the kiddie tunes we play in our houses.

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Our dates were fellow marvelous mommies and we got to catch up without talking on the go or while threatening kids with bodily harm. My good friend Joan (who took most of these gorgeous images) and I had a wonderful day and, honestly, not once did we pick up our phones to call home!

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To Karen Country Club. For putting together a celebration of moms that was all about us.

xoxo!

5 Shows I Watch Differently Since Having Kids

Blue Bloods

TV viewing has definitely changed for me since I had kids. Shows that I would watch indifferently or in a detached manner will now get to me. I have been following The Family and I currently have about three episodes to catch up on because I just can’t bring myself to watch it every week. I desperately want the guy that took Adam to be caught and I sometimes feel like it’s moving too slow and breaking my heart.

There are shows where I look at the so-called villain differently. The mothers, especially. I look at choices they make and think that perhaps I can understand irrational decisions made in the need to protect your child. I feel like I can almost identify with certain actions.

Here is a list of shows that I watch differently since becoming a mother.

1. Law & Order: SVU

My dad is a huge Law & Order fan and we would watch an episode together every evening (he still does this with my younger sister) during my three month school break when I was in campus. It’s also one of the shows that R and I watch together. SVU leaves you gutted. I think for me it’s the realization that the world has some really bad people that I must protect my kids from. It reminds me to teach my kids not to talk to strangers, enforces my going-everywhere-with-my-kids belief and has me praying every night that God keeps our kids safe.

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2. Grey’s Anatomy

There was a time when I watched Grey’s for the McDreamy-McSteamy drama and the interesting, sometimes bizarre medical cases they handled. Lately, I watch it on the verge of ugly crying during every episode. That two-hour episode two weeks ago had me angry and in tears, struggling to remind myself that it’s just a TV show. The thin line between everything being OK and everything going wrong from a family perspective is something we must live with everyday.

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3. The Fosters

I look at The Fosters as a lesson in raising teenagers. I think it’s the stage of parenting that I am most afraid of. This show makes me believe that if we instill certain core values in our kids from a young age, then they have a good base to fall back on when they make decisions in their adolescence. Do they make mistakes? Hell, yes. It’s the way they handle those mistakes that makes me feel like if we (parents) do our work right today, then we don’t need to worry too much about tomorrow.

The Fosters

4. Brothers and Sisters

I watched this show all over again last year during my maternity leave. This show is family. It is the complicated relationship between a husband and wife. It is children loving an overbearing mother. It is a woman asserting that being a homemaker is as important as any other corporate job. It is love and loss. It is happiness and tears. It is everything that family stands for. I look at Nora Walker (Sally Fields) as an incredible woman. There is so much to learn from her as a wife and mother and as a woman who doesn’t apologize for the woman she chose to be.

brothers and sisters

5. Blue Bloods

I am a Tom Selleck fan which is how I started watching Blue Bloods. Does he age? He hasn’t changed all that much since we fell in love with him as Monica’s boyfriend on Friends 🙂 I love the Sunday dinner concept. Bringing the family together once a week for a sharing of what everyone is going through. Our lives are so “busy” these days that we hardly do meals together. When busy isn’t getting in our way, gadgets are and we no longer just sit and catch up. Blue Bloods reminds me that families can have traditions that stand the test of time.

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Has your TV viewing changed since you had kids?

xoxo!

7 Lessons From Our Tinga Tinga Tales Musical Experience

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Yesterday afternoon, the kids and I watched the Tinga Tinga tales musical at The Elephant. We had an amazing time. The production was beautifully put together and it is so well done that it isn’t just the kids that have a good time, but the adults as well.

The costumes were perfectly suited for each character, the make up intricately done and the singing was heavenly.

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In the spirit of Tinga Tinga, or any African themed story past or present, I feel like there were lots of lessons to learn from the musical. Beyond the lesson that we learned from the story about Why Chameleon Changes Colour and Why Giraffe Has A Long Neck, I feel like there was something to borrow from every animal/character. Here’s what we learned:

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1. We need to teach our children about the importance of conserving our environment. His majesty, the Lion, upon his entrance was introduced to us, humans, and he went into a heartfelt aside where he chastised us (humans) for encroaching on land meant for the animals. I imagine he was referring to the current state of the Nairobi national park. He also mentioned the stealing of tusks, among other important issues. This made me realize that we need to teach our children that this is not only wrong, but that they too need to play a role in the conservation of our environment as a whole.

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2. Everybody is somebody. This, from Chameleon’s lack of belief in himself before his transformation into a vibrant, colourful reptile. I want to be able to teach my kids that people are different and that you don’t need to look, speak or act like the next person to be special. I would want to save them from insecurities that inhibit their growing into their full potential. I hope that I can always remind them that regardless of who you are, you are somebody.

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3. The importance of patience. We need to teach our children that sometimes it takes time to grow into the person that you become, and that starting/finishing late does not mean you cannot be great. Butterfly had some wise words for Chameleon on this. She shared how she too felt dull and unexciting as a caterpillar and how she morphed into a gorgeous butterfly with time. Tortoise also had a wonderful performance for the festival of colours despite being made fun of for taking years to master it. In a world where we want instant gratification, I feel like patience is an important lesson to pass on to our young ones.

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4. It’s OK to be down or sad. Giraffe was having a spot of tummy trouble and she tried to hide it from everyone before the other animals went into this beautiful song about how it’s OK to be sad. This reminded me about the counselling session I spoke about here. It’s important that we let our kids know that now all days are happy days and that it’s alright to feel sad. Equally, that it’s important to share what is troubling them because what seems impossible to them has a solution and sharing really is the first step in getting through it. Had giraffe not shared what was troubling her, she wouldn’t have learned that honey was all she needed for her tummy to settle down.

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5. The value of friendship. At the risk of teaching that it’s OK to lie to those in authority, I thought Elephant standing up for Giraffe was a great lesson in friendship. When Giraffe feared that she would get into trouble with Lion because of her tummy trouble, Elephant offered to take the blame. I think there’s value in letting our kids know that the connections they make with other human beings are a very important part of life.

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6. Loving the rain. This one’s as simple as that. We love sunny and bright days, just like Monkey, but the rain can be fun too and is a very integral part of our lives. Monkey felt he was tall/grown enough and didn’t see why we need the rain but tortoise reminded us all that we need rain for our food to grow. Also, because water- even away from the animal Kingdom- is life.

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7. Confidence, being ourselves, loving ourselves and everything else that Hippo brought us! She was my favourite character and she brought it! She just exudes confidence and self love and these are lessons I am still learning myself and I want to pass them on to my kids. From her strut onto the stage, to her singing and dancing, I want to be her when I grow up!

If you haven’t been to watch the musical, you need to buy your ticket now before they close off ticket sales. The last show is on the 17th of April so you still have a couple of shows to catch (there are two shows per day). You do not want to miss out.

xoxo!