Archives for September 2016

Thoughts on Becoming a Parent of a Teenager


Hello! How are you all doing? I hope your day is going great. It just hit me when I was getting out of my car this morning from dropping off the boys that today I officially become a parent of a teenager. Let’s all take a collective pause……….Nick is now 13 years old and I simply can’t believe it. I knew the day would come but wow, so fast.  Some rethinking is in order.

I have this thing that I always do with “milestone” birthdays with the boys. On the day before their birthday, I pump them up with statements that remind them that this will be the last time they do “x” at their current age. So last night I told Nick, “This is the last time you will have tacos at age twelve the next time you have them you will be a teenager.” I also said, “Today you were 12 when I picked you up from school, tomorrow you will be a teen when you walk through those doors.” They respond so cute to my comments. I think they appreciate the spotlight on the big change.

But as I stepped out of my car this morning, I realized this is officially a new time in my life as well. First, I have to wrap my brain around the fact that I am a mother of a teenager. What??? Nope..ah ok, yes. It’s not like I am a spring chicken but in my mind I have young children. So I now have to accept these new phases as they come at me. I always laughed when my girlfriend talked about her nightmare stories of her teenage girls because it seemed so far away. I used to skip over articles about dealing with your teenager in magazines but now, I know I will slow down and give them a glance. This is a big day for us all as a family. I can’t believe it was thirteen years ago I had my first child. I remember everything. I remember the bed rest, nursing, first steps, snuggling, those teeny tiny fingers and that oh so cute baby laugh. Time truly moves swiftly and I am grateful for all those moments and the new ones to come.


I hope Nick has an amazing day and moves into this new chapter in life with joy and openness. I know we will go through challenging times but am happy we have a great family to move through this process with us. He is a quite an amazing son and I look forward to all the growth he will continue to experience. Even though I complain at times, I wouldn’t change a thing. Love that boy.  I wrapped up some of his gifts this morning and a few have not arrived and a special surprise gift won’t arrive until the end of next week. But that’s all good.

Have a blessed day friends!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Behold the Dreamer by Imbolo Mbue


Title: Behold the Dreamers
Author: Imbolo Mbue
Copyright: August 23, 2016
Genre: fiction
Format: e-book and audiobook Pages: 380

I can’t remember where I heard about this book but I did and as soon as I heard the description I knew I had to read it because it sounded very interesting. As you know, I also review books for publishers and this book came up on the list a while back so I put my name down to see if I could get a copy for review. Time went by and it didn’t come right away so I put my name on hold for the audiobook version from my library as soon as it was released. The audiobook became available first so I started listening to the book. I had forgotten about my request to the publisher and completed the audio version.  Sure enough a few days after I completed the audiobook, the publisher released the ebook to me.

With this current election and the issue of immigrants and immigration under fire it only seems fitting to pick up more books on the experience of immigrants. Just as I believe strongly that it’s important to read about slavery in all the different slave stories I feel this too is important. Sometimes I hear people say oh I’ve read about slavery and I just don’t want to read another slavery book. But my thoughts on that, is that every story is important and every story has it’s own unique perspective. Each story can touch the reader in a different way if given the opportunity. So when I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. I had not read anything from the perspective of a Cameroonian before and thought it would give me new insights.

Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy…

My Thoughts:

The book is about Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant that has come to live in Harlem with his wife Neni and their six-year-old son. The time is the fall of 2007 and Jende gets a job working as a chauffeur for a gentleman named Clark Edwards was an executive at a company called Lehman Brothers.


Let me tell you something, this audiobook was such a treat to experience. The voice talent was Prentice Onayemi and he was amazing and I couldn’t believe how he could do all the characters. The audio version took the story experience to another level as I was able to really experience it with nuances I might not have inflected when I read the story myself.


Now let me tell you what I think about the story. I really liked Jende and his wife Neni. Jende had all the best intentions for his family when he came to America.  He believed all of the things that he heard regarding all of the opportunities that would present themselves to he and his family upon arriving in America. But he soon found out that this was not necessarily the case. Living in New York was very challenging especially when you’re an immigrant. Trying to locate a job was both challenging and degrading at times so he took many until he was able to secure the job as a chauffeur for this very wealthy business executive (Mr. Clark). The resources just weren’t in place to not only guide these new immigrants but even if they were, I don’t think they would as effective unless they read books like this that really get into the thoughts and fears of an immigrant.

The book allows you to see the contrast in the lives between Jende’s family and Mr. Clark’s family. Jende and his wife lived in a very rundown apartment trying to make ends meet. Neni was taking classes to pursue her dream of a pharmaceutical degree. You witnessed the triumphs and obstacles that she faced as an immigrant that lacked the resources that could support her endeavors as a student in this country.  At times I wished I could jump into the story and help them. But you still witnessed this amazing family dynamic between Jende , Neni and their son as they hung on to their cultural beliefs.  You also saw the influence America was having on Neni’s desires and expectations. Mr. Clark had two boys one was 18 and he was heading to India to go find himself and the other son was young but both very privileged. Money was not an object. His wife though not from money tried to adapt to the lifestyle and her issues were also examined in the story.

I kept wondering where the programs were that can truly help immigrants integrate into America while still bringing with them the richness of their own cultures. It felt as though they felt that they have to choose one or the other. I definitely felt some similarities to Jende and then Neni’s experience as a black person in America. So these ideas truly resonated with me.

I enjoyed all the characters in this book. I would find myself wanting to pick the book up again to find out what is going on with each person and how their lives might change. There were many issues explored throughout this book so I think that it provides a great opportunity for readers to reflect and think about the experience of an immigrant in more depth. I enjoyed the audiobook immensely. I highly recommend this book be added to your bookshelves because the more we engage with material like this the more compassion we feel and then we can position ourselves as citizens of this country to help.

Great books stay with you after the last page and this one has definitely done that for me.Read it!

I give this book 5 butterflies!


Happy Monday!!


Hello Everyone! Happy Monday! I went to pick up a Chai this morning and look at all these beauties that are already falling in my driveway. I hope the strange weather will not hamper the beautiful transition of the leaves.   By the way, did the prices go up for tea at Starbucks? I felt like I paid more but I wasn’t handing it back!! Too yummy.

I hope you are doing well and had a great weekend. I had a nice relaxing weekend with my family. I spent a long time on my deck on Friday reading and listening to the leaves blow in the wind. Saturday was another chill day and Sunday was football day. I hung out with Leao and watched football while the boys completed their homework.


Sunday was also National Comic Book day? Why do I know that? Well my oldest has had an interest in comics and creating comics for years. I always want to find ways to connect with him so, I started reading comics with him and even buying my own when we visit our local comic shop. So that’s how I find myself knowing when the Comic Con is in town or what day is the day of the National Comic Book day. I had big intentions of he and I reading in the morning some comics in honor of Comic Book Day but I realized I forgot to put in my spring bulbs. So Apollo came out and helped me plant my bulbs. By the time we finished, I didn’t get time to read comics with Nick. So today I will try to spend some time with him once he finishes his homework to read a few of his and hopefully one of mine.

I hope you all have a blessed day!


Happy First Day of Fall!!!


Sweaters, beautiful foliage, crisp morning air, bird watching, new beginnings, soups, books with a blanket, tea and pastries, walking the lake, pumpkins, apple picking, pies, fall fashion. What is there not to love about fall? It’s so yummy and truly my favorite season. Of course I realize a large portion of that list which wasn’t exhausted by any means, contains quite a bit of food, which is why I have to ramp up my workouts in winter!!

I remember last year, I couldn’t help but take photos all around town when I was running errands of the magnificent trees as they turned all their pretty hues of red, orange and yellow. When people ask me if I want to move from the northeast, I think of that list up top and despite the hard winters, I would truly miss this. I will never say never but right now, I love my falls in the northeast.

I hope if you are in the hemisphere that’s experiencing fall, that you take time to soak it in.

Oh and the photo above is of my miniature fairy garden.

Have a blessed day!



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