What we’re reading: Sarah Stewart’s The Gardener

Gardener

We went to the library last week and came back with a huge pile of books for the girls. Claire couldn’t wait to start reading, and we sat down to enjoy a book right away. We picked a real beauty: The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart.

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This is the story of Lydia Grace, a young girl in Depression-era America whose family falls on hard times. She leaves the countryside to stay with her grumpy Uncle Jim, who runs a bakery in the big city. A lover of gardening, she packs her bag full of seeds to bring a bit of her beloved countryside to the grey cityscape. Bit by bit, Lydia Grace brings life to their building, filling the window boxes and flowerpots with colorful flowers and vegetables. Best of all, she creates a spectacular rooftop garden in the hopes of bringing a smile to her cranky Uncle Jim’s face. Spoiler alert – it works.

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You guys, this book MADE ME CRY. It is so beautiful, and the heroine is so strong, tenacious and resolute. The final page of the book shows Uncle Jim giving Lydia Grace a big hug on the train platform before she leaves for home. Tears. So beautiful.

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I love stories that make me want to be a better person, and this book is full of inspiration. I hope my daughters are moved by the strong, kind, generous girls in books like this one. The Gardener is already in my Amazon shopping cart so we can bring a copy home with us. Find other fun reads for your kids here, here and here. We’re looking forward to reading a few more books on our list this summer – stay tuned!

What are your favorite books you’re reading with your kids?

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The best trick for coping with jet lag

travel

Last year, we dealt with some pretty horrendous jet lag when we came to the U.S. In fact, Heidi never really got over it, and it was the start of a year of VERY LITTLE SLEEP. This year, I had a whole new approach to jet lag, and it saved us! Jet lag with one kid is really tough. But jet lag with two children is a whole other ballgame! Continue reading

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Children’s theatre: The Golden Goose

Golden Goose

We took a family trip to the Children’s Theatre this week to see a summer production of The Golden Goose. Claire and Heidi love plays and musicals, and this was a really fun show for the whole family. (We’re still hoping that the popularity of Tinga Tinga and The Jungle Book means that we’ll get more family-friendly arts in Nairobi!) Continue reading

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Trip review: 4 airports, 3 continents, 2 kids, and 1 mommy

Trip

Last week, the girls and I embarked up on our annual trip to the U.S. As is usually the case, I flew alone with the two girls, and Jesse will join us later in the summer. Flying alone with two kids is always daunting. I was particularly nervous about this year’s journey, because Heidi is no longer interested in being worn. I was terrified about making my way through four airports on three continents with two mobile, overtired, jet lagged children. But the trip never goes just as I think it will go! This year was no exception – the parts of the trip that I was worried about went surprisingly well, and the parts that I thought would be easy were the big challenge! Continue reading

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Away we go! Summer travel to the U.S.

travel

Heidi, Claire and I are off on our epic trip to the U.S. to visit family for the summer. We’re leaving the cold, damp weather of Nairobi to enjoy some summertime heat and sunshine for a few weeks! Continue reading

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Anxiety, a lost tooth, and the tooth fairy

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As you guys know, Claire had her first loose tooth a few weeks back. Shockingly, the tooth took almost 2 weeks to finally fall out! Claire was very careful with the tooth, afraid of potentially swallowing it and losing the chance to leave the tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy to collect. Continue reading

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A playdate and a wonderful, unexpected break!

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I love to schedule lots of playdates to keep the girls busy during school holidays. The kids love to have playmates over, and I always find that having an extra child or two in the house makes parenting that much more manageable. Today, Wanja and her 9 (almost 10!) year old sister Isa came over to play. Wanja is a good friend of Claire’s from school, and Isa is one of those wonderful kids who doesn’t mind playing with the little ones. All four girls get along famously, and they had the most wonderful day together. Continue reading

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Childhood drawings

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Claire is becoming quite the artist, so I recently decided to show her some drawings that I had made when I was about her age. My grandmother included them in this wonderful book she filled out for me, Grandmother Remembers. Continue reading

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Weekend treats – CUPCAKES!

cupcakes

I decided to treat the girls to cupcakes this weekend. Full disclosure – I did not make these! As much as I love baking, I’m in my second week of solo parenting, and my energy levels are pretty low. Since I have been craving something sweet, I decided to organize a Saturday afternoon surprise for the girls and order some treats from Sugarpie Cupcakes. Continue reading

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Who is your parenting guru?

parenting guru

Do you have a parenting guru? Someone you go to with all your questions every time your child reaches a new stage? When Claire was an infant, starting to go through the many milestones of her young life, I always sought answers from my own mom (of course), but it was also really great to have friends with kids just a bit older than mine, who have gone through all those milestones recently. For me, those parents were my friend Lindsay and her husband Leith. Continue reading

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