2018 Recap – February Chronicles

Will you guys judge me if I confess that I think I went out 3 weekends in February? Considering Cheri had three birthday parties, I can put the blame on her. So it was the season for Kiambu Road, Jikonis to be specific. Youth ends at 35 so allow me to continue prospering. I actually appeared on their Instagram page, shhhh don’t tell anyone. Yes, one of my friends always sleeps in clubs, when their gauge gets to maximum. That power nap, I must admit does a good recharge. I have a picture but let me not risk it 😉. Back to Cheri, with three maybe even four birthday parties. I went to a few, had loads of fun and was proud to see her start off another transformational year. I also had cake and a few drinks, they never hurt anyone. One of the parties though must have been the kind where amnesia takes over and you automatically remember ONLY what you want to 😂😂😂

Wakanda Forever, the long awaited. I watched it with my peeps. It was a treat, my peeps are cooler than yours. The worst part was only one person was a committed follower of the Marvel series. That just means some of us, I won’t say who, kept on asking who that random guy, Captain someone or is it Dr. Someone was? You will get upset again when you read this, yes YOU. We were in agreement with the gals though that M’baku and T’Challa were ooooh so handsome…. Black Panther was really dope for me, I wish I could have some vibranium at my backyard.

My gal Jo, was my valentine. I am telling you she sent me a bouquet of flowers and a beautiful hamper. So loved and spoilt. I might have blushed. And yes, I had to give the husband an explanation lest I was chujwad😂😂. He later took me out.

On the parenting front, I was beginning to think about a new school for Nate. Something was off with his school, he had gotten totally disconnected. The teachers were changing so often, I once asked him his teacher’s name and he didn’t have any clue. Not good.

The red Subaru, yes I am happy to listen to all you haters after this. Well, apparently it had spark plugs for a Rav 4. I won’t sit here and pretend that I would have even know them if they were handed to me now but the man verified, I promise 😂😂😂.

It was quite an active month, I was happy. I remember that. I was in a good place.

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2018 Recap – January Chronicles

January was the usual, longest month, sun so hot I got the opportunity to rock my chiffon tops and sassy dresses. Of course, I sometimes had a light sweater coz I am conscious of my arms and mummy pouch, it’s still my excuse despite my daughter being 2.6 years old. I digress. This was an inspiring month for me coz my nanny’s daughter, Cecilia got to join form one. It was a special thing to me, because her mum did not think that she would get to high school a year back, finances and all. God’s grace was sufficient as Ritings and I were enabled by God to make it possible. I remember seeing her picture in uniform and feeling so proud.

This was when I did my first newspaper interview, it’s the picture here. This was a bitter sweet feeling as it was the first time I was talking to someone I didn’t know about Hubby getting sick. Did I shed a tear? Yes I did, actually two and a half, nothing wrong with crying. My interviewer was a very nice lady called Jacqueline, who took it at my pace, listened really keenly and was a gentle soul. I was grateful for that. The article came out two weeks later, of course a couple of things omitted, I understood it had to be edited though as the number of words must have been approved. It also reminded me of being part of media training, where you are taught that you can not be in control of what comes out. The one thing I wish I did better, was dress up for that picture, then again this was just the first interview, I will look dope moving forward. Yes, I anticipate doing many more interviews. I will live my dreams and impact the youth.

Clearly the notion of having utensils for visitors still remains, passed down from generations. I bought cups, while taking my lovely cousin utensils’ shopping. Who shops in January?? I also don’t know. The point is, we are now in December as I narrate this story. Those cups are in the box I stored them that last week of Jan. The next person who comes to visit me, kindly demand to use those cups. You are a visitor in your own right.

My sister went to high school, so enthusiastic with a little fear that she tried really well to hide. I consoled her because my folks were sweet talking and so encouraging to her, as opposed to me who was told I would go to the school I had been called to, no discussion. Being a last born is so dope. My dad turned a year older, and he doesn’t discuss his age. If you have met him though, he looks 20 years younger than he really is. Oooops, did I let the cat out of the bag?

Yap, that’s what I remember about January Revs the Subaru….

December Writing Challenge

I am on a journey to proper self discovery. I say proper because I am being shaken and transformed in an interesting way. Things that would never be within my radar are now what I consider doing. A few months ago, I went to Two Rivers, sat in a restaurant and spent the next three hours reading a book. Don’t roll your eyes, I am for real. It wasn’t ever in me to hang out with myself, my company wasn’t attractive, at least not to me. What do you guys see? 🤔 The beginning of this season started when my hubby was sick (story for another day). It has grown in me for sure and currently ME TIME is something I crave and absolutely love and enjoy. I won’t bore you with the details, it’s just all about me.

Anyway, I have been running from writing and I have no idea why. Procrastination is another horrible habit that I have. You are welcome to come help with the policing. Mr. Police, right this way… So I am challenging myself for this entire month. I will write a short Instagram / blog post daily with my experience monthly, through this year. As always good and bad. Its part of She Life Xperiences that I hope will encourage one, two or seventy seven humans, make you shed a tear, maybe laugh out loud or just get you reflecting.

Get in to the car, put on your seat belt and get ready for speed thrills with this Subaru driver… Yeah yeah go ahead and stereotype me, I am used to it. Worse still, the Subaru is red. I am those people.. I love cars, just by the way

*Kenyans have a stereotype around Subaru drivers

Follow up, keep at it

Hello, welcome to my channel…Oops blog post. These streets have been quite cold. This girl has been hiding from everything. Is the right word hiding (insert thinking emoji here)? Maybe, maybe not!  I actually have realized that increasingly, my friends have been saying I have been a little quiet, I don’t show up as I did previously and maybe I am a little reserved. Is it true? Yes. There are some holes that you can fall into unconsciously.

For those who know me a little more than the surface, you know life has sometimes thrown curve balls and given me lemons or should I say guavas? And yes, I have made the best guava juice I could possibly be able to, with both ripe and unripe guavas. I hear many call me strong and partly I believe it. But I also know that strength is relative to the observer. For a long time, when the Mister was sick, I stood through it all and fought and held on to my faith with every little thing I had. It worked. I made it. He is a walking miracle, one I have seen literally being pulled from the enemy’s jaws by a faithful God. Fast forward to now, healing continues by the day and truly I am still in awe.

What happened to the “strength” I supposedly had? I think it was a defence mechanism. Super girl, just jumped out and took charge. She prayed, believed, worked, nurtured, basically stretched herself out completely. It worked well for as long as it could, until the reality of carrying the load that came with it began to show. Slow at first but catching on pretty heavy lately. This sounds so strange because from the normal eye view, I should be less stressed, relieved and getting back to normalcy. And for some time, I honestly thought I was until I started to feel exhausted and frustrated with everything. I do literally mean, EVERYTHING. Its hard to manage running a home in all its aspects, tough times at work, your mind (which fights with itself) and many other dynamics.

The answer to the question how I was doing, became automatic without even thinking through it. I would always answer, “I am good / okay / fine.” The inner circle though began to see the strain, but I still saved face or at least tried to. Friends and family would say, if you need help, feel free to ask. Does one ever really feel free? I am not too sure. Everyone in life is going through something tough, the magnitude I believe, is what is different. And yes, you know the help is genuinely offered but you are afraid. I’m not really sure of what.

Back to the present, I am grateful for the people who don’t give up at the “I am good answer”. Those who push a little further, those who pray for me, those who call to make me laugh or even talk about themselves (especially because they know I will only give the fake answers when they ask about me) and throw an encouragement in there because that’s the best way they know how, the ones who say they want to hangout and sample food or a drink (flavoured milk of course). For those who ambush me and force to show up at my house, especially because they know I will always say I am busy. Thank you very much for cracking the shell in your own way. I have been going to a dark place without me fully realizing it and to be honest that’s how depression creeps in faster than you can butter the second slice. Yesterday in the middle of my insomnia and chest issues, I watched an amazing video about a couple who have been married for ten years with a blended family of six lovely children. My greatest take home from them was they got professional help to be able to sustain they family and get along. It was difficult and, on some levels, still is. And they do visit counsellors once in a while, both at an individual and at a family level. Point of my narrative is I will also go back to my professional help. I have been dodging it, I don’t even know why. Even as I do that, always check on your people. If you notice something different, be persistent enough to follow up. Don’t think of being in their space, you are required to be there during such times. They will appreciate you more for it, once they are back to their normal state of mind. I will continue with my narration, even though it’s a bit personal for the purposes of helping someone else or even myself. This is a heavy one so I will leave it there for now.

Feel free to leave a comment or encourage. Chao

 

 

Belief

Most teens in urban areas are extremely conversant with technology. Ask me, my younger sister was born in 20** well let me just say she is a teen because she will might read this.. 🙂 They are able to use phones much better than we can. They have easier access to the lyrics of favorite songs and artists, heck they even have videos real time. Some of us would have to wait until Young Nation is published each Sunday, for us to cut out the lyrics section and stick it on our Kasuku exercise book. Most probably, it was the 32 pages one as you had to buy it from your savings. It would be placed right next to your bed, at the risk of being asked if all you do is just cram lyrics as opposed to reading. Reading then was considered the ultimate. It probably still is.

My sister got her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results yesterday and I must say she is the brightest in our family with 433 marks out of 500. If I convert my marks, yes when I did KCPE it was out of 700, I scored 375. I remember being disappointed as I had truly hoped for 600 above. Anyway, I digress. There was a lot of excitement and celebration at home yesterday and this will carry on for quite a while. She already has a good exemption from house chores for a while. But then again, remembering the fact that our parents are Africans, hoping mum and dad are not reading this, that exemption won’t last very long. Hahahaha

From a big sister perspective, I am extremely proud of her. I celebrate her, her hard work, tough spirit and especially her belief in herself. She reminds me a bit of me with her bubbliness, loudness and the belief that she can do anything. In fact, that has given me a renewed spirit. As we grow older for whatever reason, we become more reserved, some of us, and we start doubting the belief that once had of ourselves. I know I have. So today, I am encouraged by that beautiful teen who totally believes in herself / himself and views the world as the place where they can grow their abilities and faith. For the ones who attained their desires, remember it’s easy to get to the top but maintaining it is tough. Keep at it. Put in the effort and follow your dream.

In the same exam, there are other young girls and boys who are like me, when I was 13 or is 14. They feel a little or a lot disappointed that they did not make it to what they desired. Dear teens, we are gifted in different categories and talents. For some, the level of grasping is fast and simple while for others, we have to read a little more. For others, talents like playing football, singing, playing an instrument, cycling, public speaking among very many different talents come naturally. They will be others. Accept the marks but don’t let it pull you down. Let it be a motivator. When you are admitted to that high school, start a fresh. Put your best foot forward, yes in education but also in the talent you have, give it your best. Continue to believe in your dream and work hard for it. I believe in you and so do your parents, relatives and friends. Believe in yourself, it makes a difference and a big one at that. I know my audience may not be teens, but whether it’s a family member, a friend, a younger sibling, please encourage and celebrate them.

Always remind your cool self

 

Ladies and Gentleman, with that in mind, I am looking at setting up a forum before Christmas to celebrate and encourage these young ones before they go to high school. Do you have some words of encouragement, a story to share? Do you remember what you scored in KCPE? How did it make you feel? What are you doing today? In whichever field, employment or entrepreneurship. This will help them face their future with hope, self-belief and determination seeing people who have made it. Guiding them and walking with them through the journey of life. Kindly get in touch with me, click here to send me an email and let’s ensure that we make a positive impact to our upcoming generations.

On a separate note and project, do you remember when we used to write letters to each other while in high school? Did you have a pen pal? I remember my grandmother would write letters to us, my cousins and I, and she would send the stamps inside the envelope so that we would not have to incur any cost of replying to her. This really helped with my writing skills, it also gave me something to look forward to while in school, especially high school, on the days we would receive mail. And yes, I mean an actual letter, hand written and put in an envelope with the receiver’s name written in calligraphy. Good old times.

Anyway, we are in the process of setting up a local (by this I mean Kenyan) pen pal club, a place where our children, sisters and brothers, in high school will get to write actual letters, have pen pals. The main aim is to open up their minds, writing and communication skills to their age mates in different regions, environments, school and or counties. This will help them appreciate the various parts of our country, the magical places that each has grown around, the various sites that they have and enable them to be able to one day visit and be in the other teen’s shoes for a day or two. In addition, they will learn how to step just a foot away from that computer, tablet or phone and just do some old school writing. Maybe even have a pile of letters to show for it. Are you a parent of a teen and would be interested in growing these skills? Do you have a younger sibling or have a friend with a teen? Click here to send me your details and I will reach out you.

A hearty congratulations to all the great teens that sat for their KCPE exams and may your dreams come true. Continue to work hard in both your education and talent. Above all, ALWAYS believe in yourself and thank the Almighty. You can do anything you set your mind to.

 

Mama Munchkins’ tales

I remember the concerns of family that Munchkin 1 was late to speak. I remember how I would say words to him, hoping and praying that he would repeat only for him to give me the cutest toothless smile. On the good days, I would wake up and say each child has his/ her own timing for their milestones. On the tougher days, I would remember all the questions of “Bado hajaongea?”,Does he have a heavy tongue?”, “Have you seen a speech therapist?” And to be honest, I actually thought of seeing a speech therapist. And I doubted myself and even wondered if it had anything to do with me being his mom.

Today the little man is 4 years old and is a major chatterbox. I sometimes find myself saying we should watch the cartoons in silence, or asking him to go play outside, I am human. The responsibility of being a mother, a parent at that, is one of the toughest ones. It has no unique manual for their personalities, their milestones, their way of communicating. Prayer and mom’s groups and sharing with friends and family is what gives a guideline.

My Munchkin 2 was born in April 2016. She was a unique beautiful girl who put her hand on her face, at an angle. This meant that she couldn’t pass through the birth canal without breaking it, her hand that is, or crushing her skull. When they checked if I had dilated while in labor, she actually had her hand to say hi to the nurse and Doctor Kigen. So yes, the caesarian section happened. For me, it was horrendous, especially because I compared it to the natural delivery of Munchkin 1. The first few nights, I cried daily. And Munchkin 2 cried a little louder. She had colic. So here I was barely able to pull myself up to breastfeed, and her cry would already wake up all my neighbors. I almost got to postpartum depression. I always remember heartily how Dad would come home to help me bathe her, and thankfully he didn’t mind. It actually became our ritual. And he helped me get out of the darkness.

Each clinic we went to, the pediatrician would ask if she cries that much as she looked for a better option to calm the colic. Finally Bonnisan offered a sort of relief, at least it was better than the two other options we had tried. Dad would be present for all the clinics, to the point the pediatrician thought he was the better option to calming Munchkin 2 down. With time the colic faded off and we now enjoyed more coos than cries. I enjoyed breast feeding as I always had until one warm October morning when things started changing. Dad got sick. At first I thought it was a short illness but it ended up being really serious. He was admitted in hospital for over a month. (That’s a story for another day, I am still not ready.) Life changed. In between the running to the hospital and home, thinking about him, munchkin 1 & 2, not eating or taking fluids well, the breast milk started reducing. I decided to go the formula way while still trying to substitute. Dad’s condition was getting worse. He had brain surgery. I would rarely see my children as I spent the day in hospital. In the evening, I would try to balance the energy between chatting with Munchkin 1 while trying to breastfeed Munchkin 2. The milk was so little. She would cry until I substitute. It took me a while but finally I accepted that it was torture to her as she wanted to suckle but there was nothing. I finally gave up breastfeeding. And for the first time, I will accept and share that I thought of myself as a failure. I wondered if she had gotten enough immunity, if I had been unfair to her and yet her brother had a longer time to enjoy it. It took a while to accept it. Its tough being a mummy.

I introduced packet milk to her as the cost of formula was too high in between all the other things we were experiencing. She loved it. She became less edgy and soon enough she slept longer hours. In fact in a week or two she mastered the art of sleeping through the night. As dad got better, I got more time to spend with my babies. Now she is one and a half years, I am grateful that she is doing well healthy, chatty and the sweetest ever.

Munchkin 2Her brother, whom I thought had an issue with speech is teaching her how to talk. I am so grateful for my nanny who hang in there with me and took up a greater responsibility to allow me to balance between hospital and babies. Today dad is well, he is almost back to his optimum. Thanks to the 2016 April mums who stood with me and encouraged me, we have a lovely bond because of our babies.  Thank you to my family and great friends.

Mums be encouraged that it always gets better. And babies grow, a day at a time. And God protects them and gives us grace for each new day. I just might get a third born to enjoy the breastfeeding experience once more.

Dare to follow your own path

Greetings earthlings…

I have had such an interesting time with the crazy feedback that my friends have gotten lately from the “new craze” app Sarahah.

Before I get into my perspective, clearly most people have zero chills. I have gone through the couple of messages shared by friends and people I follow on my social media platforms. Popular questions have been along the lines of whether one is dating, when they will get married, why they are not allowing others to be involved in the planning of their wedding, (the funniest one yet) among others. Then there are the comments that you should definitely marry that girl or get married by that guy (nyakua mjamaa juu kuna shortage). From this, it shows people are quite curious to know what exactly is going on in one’s personal life, with others actually giving you the statement to go ahead and marry them. My main question, is this based on our posts and shares on social media that always portray a smooth, fun life with successes, zero failures, lots of love with bae and all things going perfectly? And no, I am not excluding myself, I am in this bandwagon. For people who probably believe social media to be where their whole world revolves around, this is a dangerous angle of looking at life.

Onto the positive comments, they were defining how strong, hardworking, dedicated or committed the individual is which is great. The ones I would that caught my eye a bit more were the ones that ended with when I grow up, or when I get to a certain level,

………………………………………… …..wait for it …………………………………………………………

“I want to be just like you.”

I have been in this situation as well, until not too long ago. Remember the way you use a certain cooking oil because your mum used to use it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because mums are always right, right? Munchkin 1 and 2, I already know your answer is yes. I digress. I totally understand how you would appreciate and love how someone you have admired. One who has set a certain standard for you, one who has achieved great milestones, getting themselves to become forces to be reckoned with at work, in entrepreneurship, or through their talents. I just want to challenge us to work towards greatness – Yes, BUT thrive to do things differently, instead of  “I want to be just like you,” dare to follow your own path, be the best version of yourself.  I have at some point in my life wanted to be like someone I truly admire and one who inspires me. And until about a year ago, I wanted to do so many things as they had done them, heck I wanted my career to grow like them, to have my own home at the age that they had theirs, wanted to do my wedding in a similar way. I actually wanted to be just like them (this might have required going round the mugumo tree seven times, If this even works, anyone tried??).  They were role model, they still are! I would never have been exactly like them. I can however, be the best version of myself.

Learn from others, consult, read wisely, network, travel and expose yourself to the many opportunities and experiences that are available. Be inspired by the people who you consider exemplary, successful, those who have such an organized way of doing LIFE so to speak. However, open up your mind to different ways of getting there, heck your limit can be a different type of sky. Have that uniqueness that differentiates you from everyone else. Allow yourself to move from a Copy Paste situation into your own way of getting to the proverbial TOP.

Back to Sarahah, how do you pronounce this?, my perspective on it is that it can be a great tool to honestly give positive feedback or criticism that will help an individual to build a stronger, more effective version of themselves, tackle their weaknesses and embrace a channel towards self-improvement. Would you like to try it from that angle? If yes, feel free to leave a note for SheeGal on ShirohRuby.sarahah.com

As I am about to leave, the other one that this app has brought out is matters regarding depression.

An example of a message speaking about depression.

A couple of us have gotten it asked or commented about on this platform. This is a very crucial matter that I would like to join hands with friends, who would be free to speak about it,to start a sort of group, a safe space that can help. It has happened to many of us, it can get really dark, but you can also get out of it. Friends willing to partner, hit me up.

Until next time.