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Family Time and Changes Galore | Weekly Snapshot

There has been so much going on over here and so much changing soon. I wish I could say I was reading a lot, but it's feeling like a luxury at the moment. 

Family visitLast week, we had my husband's brother and his wife drive down from Boston and stay with us for the week. It had been months since we enjoyed anyone's close companionship for that long so we all enjoyed the time together. We were very sad to say our goodbyes. I hope we can all return to the pre-March era soon. 
While they were here, we celebrated the girl's birthday. (I feel like I have been talking about birthdays on this blog for the past many weeks but we are done for the year! Next birthday is in March.) My daughter had wanted a unicorn cake, and that's exactly what we got, so that made her day. For her birthday present, we wanted to take her to a store and get her a bike but stock is incredibly low. Last week, she had just mastered riding a bike (no training wheels, she went straight from balance …
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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi | Thoughts

Published in: 2016 Format read in: ebook Location: Ghana, US Rating: 5/5
Why I read it: This has been on my books-I-want-to-read-but-am-intimidated-by list for a while but after sampling a couple pages one day, I realized that putting the book down was not going to be an option.
One line review: The entire time I read this book, I had the Interstellar soundtrack playing on repeat in my head - the vastness of the scope and impact of this book is as huge and amazing as in that movie. 
Who should read it: If you're looking to read about the human impact of slavery not just on descendants in the US but also on those in Africa, this book tells a thought-provoking story.

About: Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of other…

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui | Thoughts

Published in: 2017 Format read in: ebook Location: Vietnam, US Rating: 5/5
Why I read it: Always a fan of graphic memoirs, I had this one on my list as soon as it was released. 
One sentence review: If there ever was a book that showed the resilience of the human spirit or the sacrifices someone made for a loved one, this was it. 
Who should read it: Pick it if you enjoy graphic novels or memoirs. Pick it if you like to read about the immigrant experience. Pick it if you want to learn about the human impact of the Vietnam war on one family. Just pick it.

About: This illustrated memoir is about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting …

Decision Stress | Weekly Snapshot

I didn't mean to disappear for the past couple of weeks but there was too much to think, to decide, and to do.

School decisionsFor the past two weeks, I've been mostly stressed out about Fall school for the girl. On the one hand, I was certain I didn't want to send her to attend classes in person. It's going to be challenging supporting online learning, taking care of her brother, and also working from home but I may be able to wing it, even if it's going to be stressful. With very little data out there about the impact of reopening schools on kids and teachers, I prefer to err on the side of safety. That said, she is just turning five, so my decision is a little easier to make. I truly don't envy being a parent of high schoolers right now - I know many of those parents are wrestling with the decision. The online curriculum offered at the public school here, while good, does not offer AP or honor classes and that has upset many parents. I wish this district star…

A library haul after months | Notes from my Reading

Despite so much going on over here between work, house projects, yard work, and just daily living challenges in this pandemic era, I've been able to squeeze in time to read as well, which I'm thankful for, because the news has been abysmal these past few weeks for various reasons and I'm continually worrying about where humanity is headed, even more so than I did before.

A library haul after months...My biggest highlight in books this past week was that the library opened for holds pickup. I'd been checking their website every week to find if next week was going to be the week it opened. So when the notice finally came through last week, I was beyond thrilled. I was also very unsure what books to request from the library since I had gotten very used to reading online. Still, I had a few requested when they called me to schedule a one-hour window for pickup. I did request a ton of books after that though, so I expect a bigger bag this week. 

Some of these are books to rea…

A Birthday Weekend | Weekly Snapshot

Happy Independence Day to those in the US! 

CelebratingMy birthday was this past Friday, which was a day off at my workplace to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. We didn't do anything big this time. The husband and the girl baked and decorated me a birthday cake, and that was delicious. We also ordered takeout for lunch, beyond that, we didn't do anything major, unlike past birthdays, when we would at least hang outside. July is also when the girl is celebrating her birthday (in another couple of weeks). Earlier this year, I had my eyes set on a bouncy play place to celebrate her birthday with her friends. Sadly, that's scratched off obviously but I'd still like to see if there's something special we can do. She does want a unicorn cake that she once saw at a local bakery so we'll be ordering that. 
Working on It's been a busy weekend so far, working through several projects at the house. The husband added a few shelves to our laundry room closet - it'…

A lot going on | Weekly Snapshot

Hello everyone on a very wet day, at least in Southwest Ohio! We are expecting so much rain this week that I'm feeling happy on behalf of our garden. It's going to make stepping outside a little challenging though but there will be plenty of dry breaks with beautiful cool weather, so that should help. 

Life last weekCouple of weeks back, we had a Covid-19 scare. A consultant who visited my husband's office the same day my husband was in office (he usually works from home) got diagnosed with Covid-19 couple of days later. Many who were in the office that day got tested. My husband thankfully drew a negative but a few others got positive results. We've overall been extremely careful when outside - always wearing masks, often sanitizing hands and frequently touched surfaces, and doing the same routine once we reach home. That said, it's always sad and scary to hear about someone close or nearby having tested positive. Sometime last year, when the flu season was in full…