Baby Shower

I checked myself in the mirror. It was my best friend’s baby shower after all and I needed to look my best for her special day. I had put on my best dress and had used copious amounts of hairspray to style my curls. I thought I looked good enough. So I stepped outside in the afternoon in my red heels and set the maternity pillow present in the car. It was to be a gift for my friend.

I arrived fifteen minutes later at my friend’s house. There was already a line of cars outside the house. Most cars were parked on the side of the road since the driveway was cluttered with cars. The lawn was freshly mowed, chairs and tables were laid neatly in circles, with a white cloth draped over them and each table sporting a vase of flowers. I walked inside carrying the gift in my arms.

maternity pillow imageMy friend was seated in the centre of the lounge. She glowed with happiness as friends and family gathered around her, chatting cheerfully. I placed the gift on the table on one side which was loaded with gifts and nodded to her. She nodded back and grinned.

We spent the afternoon laughing and talking about babies and old times and our present lives and gossip from the neighborhood. The caterers appeared some time later with trays of tea cups and cakes and biscuits. The discussion turned to motherhood, and many women at the party became misty-eyed as they related that there is no feeling stronger than a mother’s love. I could see my friend’s face shining with joy as she patted her growing belly and nodded energetically at those women. I am not yet married, so I still don’t know that feeling. Even today I remember how happy she looked when she talked about the room she had set up for her baby, the names she had thought of and the clothes she had bought. The ultrasound reports had told her that it was a girl, so she had bought everything in pink, red and white. She showed us the room too. A cot stood in the centre while dolls lined the walls. Chimes hung from the ceiling, one above the cot and the other at the door. We all gave her a hug and said that the room looked beautiful.

Time flew like an eagle. Soon enough, the afternoon sun had descended close to the horizon and turned a fiery red. People began to leave with smiles and wishes. I stayed till after sunset, helping her clean the house. Then we sat down, drank some more tea and talked again about everything, chatting about how we would make this baby happy and how we would all take care of her. At eight o’clock, I decided that my friend should rest, so I left. Even as I swerved my car around the corner, I couldn’t stop smiling. This was the beginning of something huge.

Posted in Friends

Joining a Scrapbooking Club

Leaving your home and coming to a new town is never an easy experience. Apart from the hassle of moving and shifting all your belongings, being a part of a community is a challenge. But if there is anything that me and my family love and are very good at, it is making new friends and making our place in a new community. My husband had a job and often hangs out with his colleagues from work. All my children had friends in their high school and college. But what does a single mother like me do? Trust me, it was not long before I had the answer; I was already pretty good at arts and crafts, and I am always eager to share my experiences with other people, so the obvious solution was to join a scrapbooking club.

I found out about a scrapbooking club from a nice lady who was working in a store at a shopping mall I went to. We all always meet up at one another’s place over the weekend where we each bring our own things, and create our own scrapbook, or add to one of our previous scrapbooks. It really has helped me a lot to spend my time and make my place in the community as it has greatly increased my social circle. Sitting amongst a group of 10 or so jolly and humorous people, the distinctive sound of scissors just being heard from underneath the laughter and gossip of all us is always something I look forward to every few weeks or so. Then there is the added incentive of wanting to make the best scrapbook and inspiring everyone else to make theirs, and then helping them to do so. All of this is a joy that I always look forward and one that has made me feel happy about moving to this city, since I now have the company of what I deem as some of the best people in town.

The last get-together all of us had was in fact in my house; and among the scent of fresh baked cupcakes as well as homemade mini-sandwiches I tried to be the best host that one can be. We were all sitting together in my lounge right on the carpet and were doing what we usually do; gossiping and making scrapbook pages. This time even my daughter saw the commotion and finally came out of her room to join us to scrapbook; she always loves to try out something new and she really enjoyed this in particular. If she is not busy with her friends I will even bring her to the next get-together that all of us have so she can have create her own memories and portray them in a scrapbook. Overall, joining this scrapbooking club has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made since I arrived here in Macomb.

Posted in Community


Two years had passed since those two little angels were born. I remember everything about them. I remember their smiles and their laughter. I remember the sound of their crying. I remember the day they learnt that throwing things around makes loud noises, noises they liked so much they would throw everything hard on the ground again and again until it broke. I have almost every moment captured in photos and in my mind. As I flick through the photo albums, I enter into my past, reliving the day of Christening two years ago.

christening in a church imageIt was a huge celebration in a small church. Everyone was invited, friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. We all came in the morning whilst a cool breeze was blowing in the background and gathered in the small hall. A huge golden bowl was perched at the front, and behind it a raised slab on which a Bible was propped open. The Church itself was a beautiful form of art, with carved walls, paintings and stained glass windows. I remember sitting on the very first bench beside my friend and her husband who were carrying a baby each, both dressed in identical outfits to accentuate their twin appearance. As I turn one page of the album after another, I find myself staring at the babies fondly. They were dressed in pink and white frocks, with lace socks and white shoes that created noise when they hit the ground. The photos show the babies smiling or staring around in awe. Some other photos show them cringing and crying as cold water hits their bodies when they are Christened by a particularly old Father, who was bent over a crooked staff. As I look at the photos, the sounds of cheering and chanting and the crying of the babies seem to hit my ears once more. After the Christening, we all went outside to the great lawns on the hillside where the brunch was being served. There were tea, cakes and light snacks. The photos have captured everything. I think, as I look down upon the green hillside once more, crowded with white tables and chairs, ladies smiling at the camera and the men standing upright, cigars and pipes in their mouths. A few photographs show teenagers, boys in casual T-shirts and girls in tops and jeans. Cousins, I remember.

Then, just when I am about to shut the album, I flick over one last time to see a priceless photo. My friend waving from behind one of her daughters, with the sun shining right over her, the rays falling around like a huge golden canopy. She looks happy. If you look closer at the photo there is a watery gleam in her eyes. She was at the brink of tears that day, but those tears were tears of gratitude. They were tears of happiness to see her entire world gathered to celebrate what she still called the biggest event of her life. Belief is a strange thing, I think as I look down upon her. For a Christian as devout as she, the best moments are the simplest ones.

Posted in Friends

Moving House

Life was not easy as I moved to Illinois USA with my family. I had a hard time leaving my lovely neighbors, friends and family. We really got quite close last year although my family loves travelling and we move a lot, we got so attached with these amazing people we met. They were like a part of my family. We went shopping, camping, had picnics together and a hell of a lot of fun. I got to admit socializing is one thing my family is expert in.

We have moved to Macomb, which is a town that is totally new to us. We bought a cozy yet beautiful house here. It is in an attractive neighborhood on a tree lined street. It is a small city with cold weather and welcoming people. It was not difficult for us to find the perfect school for kids. And soon we met the most amazing, helpful and cooperative citizens of this town. It was easy being a part of such community. In no time we realized that this place is home. My friend circle increased to a great extent as I join a scrapbooking club. I was always very creative and I majored in Arts back then. Now, I found the perfect club to put my talent in. Collage and painting became my favorite hobby and I’m glad it opened my mind to the wonders and opportunities I had rather than just being a busy housewife. My kids love this place, as we went exploring the city, we visit some beautiful places, among which the shopping malls of course were my favorite. I’m a big shopaholic as my husband quotes. Being an arts student, I love decorating my house, keep everything organized and buy everything unique. The most of the decoration pieces in my house like sceneries, paintings, collages are made by me and I think my family loves this about me the most. My husband is a workaholic but never neglects family in doing so. We spend every Friday afternoon enjoying a family picnic once the kids have finished school. I fancy the restaurants around here too and the Cornish luxuries. I spend half of my day with either the community people or my club friends. I love cooking, hanging around, exploring different places and meeting new people. It might sound crazy but this is what I do the most. Drive around the city, day and night adventures, dancing with my kids, shop a lot, sleep less, it all make my kids call me crazy mama.

I have no idea about when my small family started loving this place. I hope this new life will come with more family craziness and the same bonding and love we shared all this time.

Posted in Moving

Find the Right School for your Children

How to Find the Right School for your Children when Moving to a New Town?

We all know that moving to a new town is a complex and difficult task but when it comes to offer the best and new living conditions for your children, including their schooling represents a real challenge for us, the parents. We have recently moved to Macomb, a big city in Illinois, U.S. and we found it exciting and interesting at the same time to start with new living condition in an unknown area like this city has been initially for us. We needed to find the right school for our children in this new location.

Because we have successfully found the right school for the kids, we want to share the way we preceded and you will hopefully find the following tips useful. I had my first conversation with our real estate agent who came up with the best schooling guide for the kids. I liked that he provided us information about local schools and neighbors and schooling options we can choose from. Of course, like everywhere else, there`s a chance to choose between public and private schools. I liked flexibility in terms of location, offered by private schools.

When we had the best schooling options provided by our real estate agent, we thought that it would be great to do further online research. I liked that I had all data needed to know about all school districts, in order to make the best possible choice for our kids. We could check school ratings, reviews, program, teaching quality and principal leadership. It was a great thing to have all of these aspects in mind because we had the chance to really look at which were the best schools.

Once we had all of the necessary information and schools considered, we move to the last step: visiting the schools, meeting the teachers, the principal leadership and the administration staff. I also highly recommend asking all of the questions you might have. Consider the following aspects as well:

  • available opportunities for students;
  • used technology for teaching and learning support;
  • the availability of an active parent organization (if valid);
  • the availability of free school buses (if valid);
  • the way of monitoring students with their performance;
  • the school`s disciplinary settlements.

It`s also crucial to discuss entrance requirements. You need to make sure that your kids fulfill all of the conditions and requirements to enter their new school. I have chosen a private school that my kids love and the school initially required them to pass through some tests because they needed to meet certain criteria, in order to become the students of our chosen particular school.

I also highly recommend planning ahead and doing all these settlements before you move to the new town. I liked a lot that everyone was besides us and guided us through the necessary steps. I`m very happy about my family`s new living conditions in Macomb and I am especially satisfied with the school I have chosen for my kids – they just love it!

Posted in Community, Settling In

Starting a New Life

There is no doubt that moving your home from one place to another is always a hassle; whether you move to a different place in the same city, or even in a different state, there is always some degree of hardship involved. We faced similar hardships when we moved into Macomb in Illinois. We were a humble addition to the 21,000 people that call this place a home. It has been about a year since we have moved, and I can safely say we do not regret our decision.

Perhaps the biggest problem which any family would face before anything else is definitely making friends and socializing. I guess here we got a little help as my family and I are extremely social, extroverted people. Making new friends in a community, I feel, is very important, because it is those friends that help you settle into that community. The only reason I know where the freshest vegetables and fruits were available was because a person I met at a hair salon told me about it. All of the hassle normally associated with moving into a new place was halved because we made friends very quickly. It was not long before my husband found a job, and I enrolled my son in the Macomb Community College and daughter in what I felt was a very good high school. While we did not have any initial contacts, it was easy for us to meet new people.

In any city, there will be good people and there will be some slightly worse people. To generalize any community in a negative light would be wrong, but even if I were to be completely honest I would say Macomb has some of the most helpful people that I have met. I have indeed had a few unpleasant experiences with a couple or so people while shopping in the supermarket. There are always some people who like to be rowdy with a person, but what I have learnt from my experience is to let those people be, and not ruin your day by getting annoyed by them. Move on to the better people. I remember the day we came to Macomb I saw a baseball field where some children were having a game and were accompanied by their mothers cheering them on, and not a month had passed before I was cheering on for my friend’s son. Not long after that I had joined a scrapbook club and from there my social circle grew exponentially. Now a year has passed since we have been living here, and I can safely say that we are as much a part of this community as the people who have been living here all their lives, we have went out on a few camping trips with another family like us who loves the outdoors, and I hardly have spare time as I am either at home driving my children around or running different errands, and the minute I get free I spend time with my friends in Macomb who are simply amazing people.

Posted in Moving


The sun streaked over the market. Women hustled and bustled all around us. Street hawkers called out to the passer-bys. We trudged down the road on foot, having parked the car a few miles away. My friend had asked me to help her out with the purchase of sheets and pillows, and I had gladly agreed.

Bed sheets and entire bed sets are never cheap. Even the ugliest ones are expensive. I, however, knew of a shop that had announced a sale on certain of its items, and bed sheets were among them. Shops were jumbled up on the roadside, sharing walls, while the shopkeepers busied themselves with customers or moved things around to make their shops more welcoming for the customers.

We walked around a corner and a huge shop with glass doors came into view. The marbled floor inside contrasted sharply with the dilapidated street outside. As we stepped inside, the smell of polish hit our nostrils, and I wrinkled my nose. The smell always made me nauseous. We climbed a staircase and came to the section of bed sets. The shelves were set back against the wall and cluttered up to the roof. They were stacked with glistening plastic covers from which the bed sheets could be seen. At the other end, pillows in same coverings were placed neatly. A board nearby read: “Soft feather pillows.”

white bed sheets with purple flower imageThe young salesman on duty began showing us various sheets in different designs. My friend had painted her room purple and white. Naturally, I thought, the bed sheet should be of the same color tones to accentuate the effect of the paint on the walls. I pointed this out to my friend and she agreed. We shuffled through the floor and racks, trying to find one which would suit us. There were three bed sets of the desired color. One was white with purple flowers. The other was purple with white flowers. The third had purple and white lines alternating with each other. My friend had told me that she would like to buy only two sets for now. So we selected the white with purple flowers and the one with the lines. My friend and I then turned to the pillows. She chose two fluffy ones, and I bought one for myself. On the way down to the counter, I also picked a bag.

When we arrived at the counter, we found that the sale had expired. Dismayed but not willing to give up any of the items, we bought them all and left the shop quickly before we could get tempted by something else. Our purses much lighter than they were when we entered the shop, we carried the shopping bags to our car. The only downside of this trip was that we did not have enough money left to sneak a bite from one of our favorite restaurants that was bustling, just one street away from where we were. So we decided to drive away in the opposite direction toward home, so not to be tempted by our favorite restaurant.

Posted in Shopping


My friend needed to go out for a few hours only, or so she said. She was clutching a newspaper when she came to my house, pushing a stroller and leaning away from a bag swung over her shoulder. She was applying for some jobs and had to go for interviews. There was no need to think or hesitate. I agreed immediately.

The baby girl was quite cheerful. She was dressed in pink fluffy clothes from head to toe, her round eyes peering up at me in an expression of innocent surprise. The bag, which was placed alongside the stroller, contained all the things I needed during my babysitting work. It had a box of diapers, a thick wad of tissue papers, two napkins, a box of cereal, powdered formula and two rattle toys. I gently picked up the baby from the stroller and perched her over my folded arm, using my free hand to wipe off her drool. I hummed a nursery rhyme to her, swaying her slightly, but she wasn’t interested. Her tiny arms swung out in a random manner, and she started to whine. Maybe she was hungry. I dissolved some powdered milk in pre-heated water and prepared her feeding bottle while she lay on the couch with cushions propped all around her for protection. The baby was, it turned out, indeed hungry. She sucked on the nipple of the feeder hungrily. When the bottle was half empty, she pushed away the bottle, and I knew she would drink no more. So I grabbed her and thumped her lightly on the back. She fell asleep almost immediately.

Babies are not such hard work. I thought, as I laid her down in her fortress of cushions once more. Hardly an hour had passed before she woke up again. I was sitting at the foot end of the couch, reading a novel. Then I knew how hard it was to pacify a baby, because the moment she woke up, she started bawling. No matter what I did, she would do not stop crying. I undressed her and checked her diaper. It was dirty. I threw the used one away, wiped the baby clean, poured some powder on her, and took out another diaper. After I had fastened the new diaper, I held her up, trying to make her happy and comfortable, but she was simply not interested in being quiet. My next thought went to the rattle toys. They didn’t work for long either because only after five minutes, she threw them down rather cruelly. I tried feeding her milk again, but she was not hungry. So all I could do, was to carry the bawling baby around the house, rocking her and singing songs. She would stop crying for a moment or two and then start again. Now I had a serious headache. Before I could have started crying too, my gaze fell upon her blanket and immediately thought about swaddling. I took the blanket and wrapped the baby in it. I had seen my mom do it. As soon as the wrapping was tight, the baby stopped crying. I patted it back to sleep, and it slept.

Two hours later, she was still sleeping when her mom came to pick her up. She asked if she could drop her off tomorrow as well. Though handling babies is difficult, I had enjoyed the experience. There was no need for hesitation. I immediately said yes.

Posted in Friends