Wednesday, July 23

So, it's still summer...

By Ajike Akande

I don’t know if I have any loyal readers, but just on the off chance that you stop by every Wednesday to read my rants and whines, I feel that I owe you a few updates. 

1.  Less than a week into summer break, I wrote some early reflections on my increased time with the lovely young children that call me mommy.  You can read those early reflections here.  I regret to tell you that my children have done nothing to make me reconsider my theory that any school break longer than a standard weekend, is just too damn long.  My children think this extended break from school is a good thing because young children are not self-reflective.  They don’t see themselves coming completely undone.  They don’t realize how much happier they are with order and routine and a reasonable bedtime.  Don’t all of you message me with suggestions about creating structure in our home and establishing routines because all children crave routine, and autistic-y children and anxious children desperately need it.  I know this but first of all, FIVE little kids and second of all (and most significant), we be tired!  Damn, I need a break.  And not one of those, go for a walk and grab a cup of tea breaks.  I need a restorative break so I can sleep, do something I enjoy and plan how we’re going to manage the chaos that is our life.  Wife and I are teachers, and we can assure you that teachers need prep and planning time, and professional development so that we can meet the needs of our students.  Well you know that whole, “parents are children’s first teachers” slogan?  Where the heck is my prep time?

2.  Remember how I said here that I started walking every day because I really need some exercise.  Yeah well, that’s not happening.  But it’s going to happen again.  Maybe.  I’ll let you know. 

3.  We came home from our “vacation” visiting Wife’s family, earlier than we had planned.  The kids had an amazing time.  They love, love, love their grandparents, but Silverman-Akande love is loud and short on sleep and sometimes looks and feels like a tornado.  Wife and I were starting to lose steam and were feeling more defeated and less hopeful about parenting in general so we started discussing the great escape – with the kids, of course.  No leaving them behind.  We were feeling defeated, not irrational!  Anyway, we went from discussing to actually packing when G-Dog and F-Jammie got into such an intense physical fight in the elevator that they accidently pushed the emergency call button.  We had spent the whole week teaching The Littles not to touch the call button and then one crazy shove and it was pushed.  When we got down to the lobby, Wife explained to the concierge that there was actually no emergency.  He said, “I know.  I saw what happened on the video camera.”  After I ran through my mind, trying to recall if I had ever picked my nose while in the elevator, unintentionally letting the concierge know that I am, in fact, gross and still five, I told Wife that we had to go home.  The nice people at the Riviera Condo complex had endured the Silverman-Akande family for long enough!  If you’re going to move through the world with five kids under seven, you have to know when you are wearing out your welcome!  

So, those are my updates.  I just didn’t want to leave you wondering.  

In all seriousness though, Wife and I, have committed to focusing any energy not used up getting through the day to day this summer, on coming up with workable strategies to support The Middles.  Miss O and G-Dog are struggling and need some good lovin’ and attention.  We have things to sort out.  There are amazing community resources available, and we are certainly taking advantage of all that is out there.  We are lucky the girls are healthy and (mostly) happy and adored by many.  It could be very different.  It could be so, so, so much worse.  It’s funny, though, because even though we can take a step back and see all the blessings we have and yes, compare our situation to others who are much less fortunate in any number of ways, the feelings of frustration and disappointment, are just as real and big.  I am overwhelmed by the task of caring for our brood in general and with the needs of The Middles in the mix, I just want to run away some days. 

In the most challenging moments with the girls, and there are many, I remember what is probably the single most important thing one of the nurses said to us during Miss O’s assessment for autism.  She said, “She is not doing this (behaving in challenging ways) on purpose.”  Yes, there it is; the gem. We heard something similar when we sought support for G-Dog. 

She is not doing this on purpose.  Stop yelling.  She is not doing this on purpose.  Take a deep breath.  She’s not doing this on purpose.  Hold her.  Squeeze her. She's not doing this on purpose. Wait with her for her feelings to settle.  She’s not doing this on purpose.  

We have so much work to do with The Middles, and we are stupid tired, but we’re doin’ this.  We’ve got this.  As Glennon Melton of Momastery* says, “We can do hard things.  Carry on, Warrior.” 
What’s your hard thing?  What are you giving time and attention to these days?  Whatever it is, just remember, “We can do hard things”.

XO Ajike


Friday, July 18

What's In A Name?: The Recompense of #IAmJada

The fact that Jada chose to reclaim her name back after such public disrespect and degradation is extraordinary. The 16-year-old girl from Texas who woke up after attending a party and found pictures of herself  unconscious and naked online, believes she was raped, after being given a spiked drink. If all this wasn't bad enough the pictures of her body were being ridiculed under the hashtag #Jadapose.

In this age hashtags are as important as names, and just like a birth name they can take on a life of their own. Yes, Corruption and debauchery can be digitally personified and taken lightly. However in Jada's case Bravery, Awareness, and Resilience are coming out on top, as the power of good tends to do. Jada chose to stand up and make her voice heard. She made the choice to claim her true character under the hashtag #IAmJada.

In an interview with Marc Lamont Hill on huffpost live, there is a striking moment when Jada states the aim to "Get Her Name Back". For many people who have been a victim to such a crime the tenacity that Jada's shown does not come so easily, if at all. What's commendable is that she chose not to hold back. Her voice is uplifted, with much support. Given the many cases where so many voices have gone unheard because of fear. Her strength is helping to foster a world where survivors know they are safe, they are believed, and they're lives will not be consumed with shame*.

The names given to us represent our character and essence. The very name Jada is from Hebrew origin, meaning "wise", or "one who knows". It's fitting that Jada knew the power of claiming her voice. Her life and her name need not be consumed. Her story is a testament that our name and our true character can never be taken.

There is significant power in owning our strength, Your strength is yours and it belongs to no one else. In earlier reports Jada stated that her "reputation was over." but through this, It can be said that it has just begun and it's the best one yet. The very fact that Jada took a stand is a statement that there is power beyond her body. As a woman your power is not solely in your body or sex appeal. Women are often objectified in media, and we can play the blame game all day, but the truth is individuals need to be held accountable for their actions. The men in these cases, or any offender should not be excused. Stop blaming victims. Stop letting true criminals go uncharged.

In the interview with Hill, Jada is tired, and dealing with the issue seems very taxing, but her bravery has yielded a great reward. I imagine she would be tired, but may her strength be renewed, may she continue to run on because the cause is worthy.

Millions are standing in support under the hashtag #IAmJada. We will not let "Jada" go unheard. To every "Jada", understand that your dignity will not be stripped, your consciousness is your power, your raised voice of awareness is vital, and You Are The VICTOR!

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presences actually liberates others*. Jada's presence has made a difference online and off. She is #BOLDJada #BraveJada #FierceJada #WiseJada #SmartJada, #VictoriousJada, #ConsiousJada #AwareJada #FearlessJada! We stand proud to be a #Fearless Jada!

Follow the latest updates for The Truth According To Trey blog on Trey Anthony's Facebook Fan Page and twitter @aprilinspired

*Marianne Williamson quote.
*as quoted by For Harriet online.

Wednesday, July 16

Things I’m Learning on our Family Vacation

by Ajike Akande

The Silverman-Akande family has fled the nest and has set up shop in Wife’s hometown of Ottawa.   It’s kind of a big deal that we are here; last summer was our first visit to Ottawa since I was pregnant with The Middles.  We were waiting for life to calm down before we ventured that far from the homestead.  As it turns out, things aren’t going to calm down for-flippin’-ever, so we decided to take our beautiful mess on the road.  Anyway, I’m a life-long learner, so here are some things that I have learned on our family vacay so far. 

1. Actually I learned this first one just before our family vacation.  Packing up the seven of us is getting easier. I hesitate to admit this as I always want to reserve the right to lose my s*$t the day before any family trip and blame Wife for everything but in particular making us take this upcoming trip with the family.  I am not sure this has anything to do with our current situation; I had pre-trip meltdowns BK (before kids) too.   

2. Wherever you go, there you are.  Our inability to manage our children’s behaviour, our frustration, our stress – they all travel well.  Home is wherever your real messy, wonderful self is.  We are always at home when we are all together. 

3. The realization of the former is both depressing and comforting.  We know what to expect.   We know not to expect rainbows and sunshine, but something more like cloudy with a chance of sun, which may last for quite a while, followed by sudden thunderstorms.  This kind of temperamental weather is fine if you have the right gear at hand.  See below. 

4. Free feeding, as in “here is your food for the day, feed yourself as needed”, is very best way to do a road trip.  Meals and snacks are actually the enemy and quite possibly the biggest barrier to parenting bliss.  Simply pack a day’s worth of snacks in each child’s backpack, strap ‘em in and drive.  You are welcome for that helpful nugget! 
If your pre-trip snacks don't look like this, you may be doing things wrong. Just sayin'

5. Wife will insist that we play car games while the children watch DVDs during the five-hour drive.  I will groan about having to play a game instead of doze off.  I will not handle losing the car game well.  I will immaturely whine, “You see, this is why I hate these games!”  Wife will play by herself for the remainder of the trip.

6. Spending time with family that we see only once a year, gives us a chance to see our wild small humans though the eyes of others who are instantly taken by them and amazed by how much they’ve grown, learned and changed in a year (I’m talking about you guys, Uncle Mark, Aunt Sue and Cousin Greg).

7. I still totally hate getting wet.  Swimming?  Twice a day? Yuck!  When The Big Z said he doesn’t like participating in activities (with the family) that he doesn’t enjoy, he get a mouthful from this water-hating mommy who has been in the water twice a day because, dammit, I like to see my family happy!

8. Any TV or videos watched while driving to visit Bubbie and Zaidie’s in Ottawa as well as any TV or videos watched while staying at Bubbie and Zaidie’s totally don’t count towards the daily, weekly, monthly or yearly amount of appropriate screen time. 

9. When Wife and I don’t need to prepare any meals or go on field trips alone, our life is WAY more possible.   Staying at my in-laws is like being at an all-inclusive resort.  It must be noted that while they enjoy hosting and providing us with a family vacay, it takes them (and the residents of their quiet condo community) an entire year to recover from the Silverman-Akande visit. 

10. We will make use of the massive box of “just in case” medicine & other random cure-all ointments that we hauled from Toronto.  When I went out at 10 pm the night before we left for our trip to buy the contents of the “Just In Case” Box, Wife was all like, “We’re going to Ottawa, it’s not like we can’t just get whatever we need.”  And I was all like, “Pipe down woman, nobody wants to do a 6 am run to the drugstore.  Go pack the damn van!”

11. Wife and I did the most awesome, exhausting thing by giving our five wild children each other.  When we are not worried that they are all working together to break our delicate spirits, their connection is basically the most amazing (and loud) thing I’ve ever seen. 

I’m bound to learn a few more things over the next few days of this family vacay.  Let’s hope it’s not that there is no way we’ll have a successful second family vacation week scheduled for two weeks from now.  If we survive this week, do we really want to push our luck and try another week of togetherness?

Hope you're all enjoying summer, whatever you’re getting up to.
XO Ajike

P.S. Um... This. You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 9

I'm Exercising, People! Day 1

by Ajike Akande

When I arrived at the library today to write this week’s post, I thought I’d write about this article that has been circulating on Facebook about a mom who stopped yelling at her kids after she realized how it affected them.  I realized quickly, that I really didn’t want to write a post about how bad the article made me feel about the loud, probably soul-crushing, parenting I inflict on my kiddos.  I would really like to be a non-yelling parent, and I think I actually try hard not to yell, but I’m not there yet. If it’s any comfort to all of you, the more out of control yelling I do (is there such a thing as controlled yelling?), the more in-mommy’s-face laughing from my kiddos.  They think it’s hilarious to see me and Wife lose it on them.  While this is seriously annoying, I’m glad that their souls are not being entirely crushed by our yelling!

Then I thought I’d write about our Miss O who is going through such a hard time right now.  The wind down of the school year, its eventual end and the beginning of summer has left our beautiful O-Bear, who has Sensory Processing Disorder and rests on the diagnostic cusp of high functioning autism, is so out of sorts.  She pushes and hits when she doesn’t mean to because she just can’t help herself, and she “disappears” when life feels like it's all too much.  So I thought I’d write about Miss O but then “Fix You” by Coldplay started playing on iTunes, and the people at the big table in the library got to watch me cry and try to pull myself together.  Needless to say, I’ll have to get back to you about our girl. 

Oh here’s the song if you are sitting in a public place and you are in need of a cry.

Those two topics are out for today, so I have no choice but to share this beautiful photo with you along with an explanation for why I was wearing this get-up. 

I don’t know if you've heard, but just because parenting is exhausting and quite frankly, can make you sweat, it is not actually exercise.  I feel like I’ve been tricked!  With this new-to-me info in my back pocket, I’m making some changes.  Last night was Day 1 of my “Walking With Mike (Michael Moore)” adventure.  You see I have been giving this exercise thing a great deal of thought over the past, oh I don’t know, three years!  Sure I have tried a few times to get back into Nia (dance) classes, but seriously, I have not exercised in years. 

Truth is, I hate exercising.  Really, really hate it.  The only type of exercise I actually enjoy is dancing, but attending dance classes requires that I follow someone else’s schedule, be on time (not my specialty) and plan to leave the house.  That is a lot of work for someone who isn’t really into exercise in the first place.  Joining a gym?  Well joining is not the problem.  I’m a joiner at heart but going to a place, to do something I hate, alongside people who seriously look like they are experiencing their own slice of heaven, is not my cup of tea (or wine, which actually makes more sense, as I like wine way more than I like tea).  And I can’t take up running because honestly, I won’t even run for the bus.  Heck, I’d consider other options before running away from someone chasing me! 

Clearly, many forms of exercise have been ruled out by yours truly, who has been happily exercising my right to lie on the couch and watch TV.  I know that moving the body with some level of vigor is really good for one’s physical and mental health, so after lying on the couch googling “how to motivate yourself to exercise,” I flipped onto Facebook and saw a Michael Moore post about walking for 30 minutes every day.  Apparently people all over have started virtually walking with him and of course tweeting about it with the hashtag #walkwithmike.  Well, I love me a good bandwagon so I’ve decided to hop on – minus the tweeting.  I don’t get Twitter. 

So, last night I went for my first walk.  Not wanting to over do it with some fancy “See, I’m exercising outfit”, I slipped on a sports bra under my spaghetti strap dress, shoved my feet into my new runners, which I purchased only because they’re awesome looking, grabbed my iPod that I purchased years ago for the sole purpose of exercising, and put on my 7 year old’s Angry Birds headphones.  “Oh no you didn’t!”  “Oh Yes I did!”  I listened to music I haven’t heard in ages, walked briskly, bopping my head along with my tunes and thought about what treat I was going to have after my 30 minute walk.  Best part?  I came home sweaty!  Thank you very much! 

Now, don’t go thinking that one day is hardly a new exercise regime.  We are not here to discourage.  One problem though, it’s day two and it’s pouring rain.  I don’t know if I am serious enough about this Walking With Mike thing to do it even when it’s raining!  Alright, I am officially on an exercise kick, except when it’s precipitating or too cold, or too hot, or I’d rather watch Orange Is The New Black.  Okay, that last one is a bit pathetic.  Friends, this is happening.  I am exercising.  I’m one of those people! 

XO Ajike

Friday, July 4

Redefining The Meaning Of #LikeAGirl (Video)

The feminine hygiene products company Always recently created a "pantene-esque" type social awareness video to get down to the true essence of the phrase "Like A Girl". In May 2014 the brand conducted a study surveying 1,300 American women between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. The results were what we probably would have guessed already: The phrase was mostly considered demeaning, and not a lot of people had a positive association with it.

More than half of the girls surveyed in the study claimed to experience a drop in confidence at puberty. 89 percent agreed that words can be harmful (especially to girls) self-confidence. That's a rather high count. Maybe society has neglected the old "sticks and stones" adage, but the wrong words to a person with already low self-esteem can of course hurt like hell.  The truth of the matter is "Where there is no enemy within, the enemy outside cannot hurt you"...not verbally at least. This means when you know for sure who you truly are and all the light that you're created to be, you know that darkness is a non-factor because you in fact have power over it. doesn't matter if the haters throw shade, they can't dim your shine.

Words are big and powerful issues, especially now in this age where everybody has a platform. We don't have to eliminate them or ban them like Sheryl Sandberg's ostracized " Ban Bossy" attempt, but we can turn them around for the better. The nature of doing anything "like a girl" a girl or woman should be emphasized in strength, because women are the very essence of it. Any media's degradation of women is a lie and a facade.

The great thing about the #LikeAGirl video is that it indeed took a turn for the better. When the actual "girls" where consulted on the issue, they gave their actions all they had. They didn't put forth light or lazy effort, but operated in true strength and substance. One little girl when asked "What does it mean to 'run like a girl?" she replied "It means run as fast as you can."

Check out the #LikeAGirl Video (below):

What do you think about the video? did you think it was funny at first as well? Share your thoughts in the comments below and follow up on the conversation with Trey Anthony on her Facebook fan page.


April D. Byrd is a Writer, Social Media Producer, and the Creator of Breath Of Life Daily Online Journal and Praying Empress. You can connect with her on twitter @aprilinspired.

Wednesday, July 2

Day 5 - Silverman-Akande Summer Vacation

Don’t you just hate it when people lucky enough to be blessed with children complain about raising them? Don’t you just hate when parents, who have put forth considerable effort to acquire these children through say, adoption and extensive and expensive fertility treatments, complain about raising them? I totally hate them too, which is unfortunate, given the fact that I am most certainly the complaining, blessed, effort-full parent of five beautiful living children. Yes, that’s right, living, I even know what it’s like to lose a very wanted baby and I still complain about my brood.

This parent gig is crazy hard! I hate it only a fraction less than I love it, and I LOVE it. A lot. Every single one of my children was truly, truly wanted – including the ones that came in pairs. In fact, when my fertility doctor transferred our last three embryos into me, I spent two weeks rubbing my belly whispering, “You are wanted. All of you.” To some people, this may seem crazy, and poorly thought out. Three embryos becoming three babies? Who tries to make that happen? Look, we wanted another child. I didn’t think that I had actual embryo implanting powers, I was just putting out my intentions to the universe. I was going all “The Secret”. So yeah, we wanted a big family. Four kids, was probably our magic number, but how lucky are we to have one more kiddo to love? (Very lucky, Mr. Lee. Isn’t it funny that because he was the last one out, I think of him as our extra, unexpected blessing?)

So you get it, we love them. They’re beautiful. We can’t imagine life without ALL of them. What a blessing. We are single-handedly repopulating our city’s school board. We rock. But, holy mother of God (whichever you believe in or don’t believe in) who thought that summer vacation and quite frankly any school break longer than a standard weekend, was a good idea?

The Big and The Middles finished school last Friday. This is the fifth day of summer vacation and I can honestly say, I hate my kids a little bit. Okay that is not true, I hate much (so, so much) of what my kids do. The sad thing is, I’m not even one of those amazing, impressive parents who actually if they can, use this time to be with their children all day, every day. I send the big ones to camp. The only break from camp they get is when we are visiting their grandparents and when we are up north at my family’s farm. Out of a nine-week holiday, we are really only going to be with all of them for two weeks.

It won’t always look like this…

or this.

The problem is, camp is nothing like school. It lacks the structure and discipline and pressure of school. This is amazing for children. I am all for a break from the rigidity of school – for the children. Unfortunately, I find the happy, spirited, creative, fun-loving children that come home from camp utterly exhausting and fairly annoying! The “rest” that comes with seven hours of parenting only the little ones (with Wife who is off work for the summer) is completely cancelled out within the first hour of The Big and The Middles being home. It’s only five hours from them getting home from camp to bedtime and it nearly kills me! Furthermore, don’t even get me started on summer bedtimes. Damn you daylight savings time! If I wanted it to be light out until 9 pm and therefore totally reasonable to be at the park until 8pm because it’s way cooler than the house, I would have sent a memo to whoever is in charge of this time nonsense!

 Now, all of you parents rolling your eyes like I am some ungrateful, horrible mother, (“Doesn’t she know her children will read this blog one day?”) don’t think I haven’t noticed how many of you have posted on Facebook about your kid or kids heading off to overnight camp. Sure you’ll miss them, but if they’re absence improves your parent to kid ratio, sometimes down to one or two to zero (yes we mean you, our neighbours two doors to the west), I imagine you’ll find a way to deal with missing them and get your (own) vacation on!

Seriously, our blessed life is like a really bad start of a joke: A busy seven year old, two five year olds with sensory integration issues and one on the autism spectrum and the other with significant anxiety plus a couple of almost three year olds, appropriately called The Force walk into a bar (looking for their mothers)…

So what I am trying to say is, if how I am feeling today is any indication of how I am going to feel for the remainder of the summer, we are in truuu-bullll! You all need to pray for me, if praying is your thing, or meditate on it, or send the vibes; whatever, just do something! Help a sister out! I love these small humans of mine but so far, they’re kinda ruining what could be a perfectly good summer!

Stay tuned. I will let you know how the Silverman-Akande Summer 2014 is going.

XO Ajike  

Friday, June 27

"Say Yes" By Michelle Williams - Destiny's Child Gospel (Music Video)

By April D. Byrd

So, DC3 made a bit of a gospel reunion, yes it's catchy as anything else. Well when you're a "Child of Destiny" who can stand in your way? Michelle Williams new song "Say Yes" featuring Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland hit the web recently. 

At times with projects like this there can be a bit of cynicism, because whether you're christian or not, show business heads understand that there is a Christian Market...and it's a pretty big deal! At this time maybe we can look on the bright side and agree that THIS situation, is not that. The ladies of DC have a bit of a faith-based background together. Some songs from there premiere albums were gospel centric...and there was that whole Fighting Temptations stint.

Another praise worthy factor about the video besides the overall joyful feel of the song is...the actual visuals. It includes African (Judah) dancing. Authentic joyful praise dancing over a salacious Dirty Wind is good any day! We know even King David did a little "two step" now and then. There isn't too much to complain about with the visual. Check out the editing! It wasn't walking on egg-shells, but somebody knew how to limit some controversy! 

Well good job DC3! I Don't think Jesus will refute this one too much! Neither will I. 

"Say Yes" by Michelle Williams video (below):

What are your thoughts on the new collaboration? Did you Like it? Any Qualms about it? 

Keep up with the conversation on Trey Anthony's Fan Page.

Wednesday, June 25

Some End Of The School Year Thoughts

by Ajike Akande

Well folks, we survived.  This Thursday is the last day of school.  As we kick the school year to the curb, I’ve got three things I need to share.  
  1. I would be remiss if I didn’t send a little love to the Late Slip Lady given our history outlined here and here.  

Dear Late Slip Lady,
I am sorry about our daily lateness for the past few weeks.  It’s just that I feel no pressure at all to get the children to school on time anymore.  I refuse to fall for the principal’s claim that important learning takes place in the first ten minutes of the school day.  Let me remind you, I am a teacher; this is a lie.  In June, this is an outrageous, are-your-pants-actually-on-fire, lie!  The report cards have been written, signed and placed in manila envelopes.  The teachers are lovingly caring for their students and getting them to help tidy and pack up the classroom.  
This chill feeling about the morning school bell is precisely why the other day when a (killer) squirrel came into my house at 8:30 am, I was not at all worried about the time and getting the kids to school.  I hope that my neighbours also feel chill about not getting places on time because when I ran out of my house screaming for Wife, I also ran to the neighbour’s and asked that they come with a broom to help shoo the (killer) squirrel out of the house.  They were happy to help.  They are very neighbourly.  They may have regretted being so helpful when they realized that in rushing to my rescue, they locked themselves out of their house!  Ooops!  Sometimes there are downsides to being neighbourly!
Anyway, Late Slip Lady, as you can see that right until the bitter end, I have good excuses for our lateness.  I’ll miss you and I know that your summer will feel empty without the Silverman-Akande kids.  Perhaps you can get a job at their summer camps.  We will totally be late for camp too!  
Late Mommy

  1. I have a lucky bunch of school-agers.  While our kids are super challenging at home, they have captured the hearts of their teachers at school.  I know how fortunate we are.  There will be years when this won’t be the case.  There are kids for whom the end of a school year is a much-needed break from being misunderstood and poorly taught.  We will have years like that, I’m sure but we are so grateful that this year we got lucky.  On the first day of school I posted this on Facebook:

To my kids' teachers:
Today I am sending you three of my babies - two more than last September. Please know that they are not perfect. Oh no they are not! But they are perfectly precious. And they are my babies. And I know what it means to be in your shoes, so I know that it won't take long before they feel like your babies. I promise that I am sending you the best kids I've got. I am not leaving the "good" ones at home. 
I hope you have a wonderful day meeting all of your new school "babies". May there be at least one moment today that leaves you excited for tomorrow! 
Here is my end of the year message to their teachers:
To my kid’s teachers:

My kiddos are going to walk out of your room on the last day of school and they’ll say good-bye the same way they have all year.  They won’t stand on ceremony because it’s the last day of school.  They probably won’t hug you or say thank you or anything like that.  They have grown to take you for granted.  I know it’s not okay to take people for granted, and I wish they wouldn’t take you for granted but you’ve become a big part of their life.  They’ve grown close to you and have grown to trust you to love them.  It’s true.   They really believe that you love them because that’s how you’ve treated them.  They think you’ll always be there for them so there’s no need to make a big deal of saying good-bye.  The last minutes of the last day of school are surprisingly anticlimactic.  

I hope you have enjoyed your students as much as my kids have enjoyed you.  I hope you are as smart and right as they say you are about everything, because since you came on the scene in September, I’ve been wrong about almost everything!  

Thank you for making me feel good about sending my kiddos off to school every day!  


  1. I have a favour to ask all of you, particularly those of you who are in our lives or who are part of our Facebook or Twitter family (It scares me that I have a Twitter “family” and I truly do not at all understand Twitter).  Please do not brag about your wonderful magic moments with your children over the summer.   Don’t gloat about your camping trips and your 2-hour portages when even the youngest member of your family managed to pitch in.  Don’t post pictures of your hikes or trips to fantastic water parks and other special places that children seem to love.  This kind of show-offy behaviour just makes me feel bad.  Just because I have to take a few anti-anxiety pills and book a babysitter to allow for recovery time just to take our kids to the beach, 20 minutes away, does not mean they are not going to have a magical summer!  It’s just that when I am trying to ignore them and catch up with my peeps on Facebook, they gather around the computer and ask about all of these happy children in fantastic photos and then they want to know why we don’t do super fun things as a family.  It’s hard for them to understand that Mommy and Mama love them but they are truly out of control and therefore we avoid going out in public.  Clearly we hadn’t thought through how hard it would be to have so many children, so close in age!  So really, for the children, if you must have some kind of magical summer, could you just keep it to yourself?  

Alright, I’m glad I got all of this off my chest.  Bring on summer holidays (and the total lack of magical over-the-top experiences)!  
XO Ajike
Hope to avoid THIS next year!!

Friday, June 20

#SaveMeriam: Petition Created To Free Meriam Ibrahim

By April D. Byrd

Meriam Ibrahim and her newborn Daughter.

Sadly, a lot of popular media outlets right now are talking about a petition to comb a toddler's hair. The petition to Free Meriam Ibrahim and her two kids is much more worthy to be the center focus of mainstream media attention. 

A petition is circulating to the American government to  free  27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim. Meriam was convicted and given the death sentence in the Sudanese government which is primarily Islamic for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She married her husband who is a Christian and U.S. citizen, and was recently  forced to give birth to their child in prison. This is the same prison known to have an infant mortality rate of one child per day.

The petition created is strongly urging the White House to take action in the case by charging the Sudanese government to release Meriam and her children so she can escape execution and the possible death of her children and be rejoined with her husband in the U.S. 

Websites are being created to rally citizens, and Non U.S. citizens to get involved and sign the petition. The situation is expressed further in the video (below):

Meriam Ibrahim has been sentenced to severe punishment for converting to Christian faith, but this issue goes beyond freedom of religion, and into the freedom of people, especially women having the ability to make their own decisions. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said that "A threat to Justice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere". Desmond Tutu stated that "If You Are Neutral in situations of Injustice you are on the side of the oppressor". Use your Power to make a positive difference. If we don't exercise our political freedom, then it's subject to be weak, scrutinized, and taken advantage of. 

Please take action to help Free Meriam Ibrahim by clicking the link to the White House petition and making your signature count for her case and on behalf of her children.

#SaveMeriam White House Petition:

Learn more about how to help and get the latest updates at 

Wednesday, June 18

Radical Honesty and My Love For Wife

By: Ajike Akande

I’m considering getting a filter for my mouth. Sometimes, especially with those closest to me, I say too much. It’s like there is a select group of people with whom I practice radical honesty. It is possible that the radical honesty thing is something to which all involved parties should agree. Seriously folks, imagine what happens when one person is like “Hey, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think even when it makes you feel bad.” And then the other person is like, “Hey, why are you making me feel so bad? Don’t you know which thoughts need to remain just thoughts and never become spoken words?” Let me offer myself up as an example. This non-agreed upon radical honesty thing may be a seriously bad idea. Here’s why.

Wife is an incredibly loving, demonstrative, loyal partner. She will go out of her way, to lie and maybe cheat and steal to try to prevent me from feeling crappy because of something that she has said or done. By the way, the degree to which she tries to avoid causing upset has only a limited correlation to how frequently she is the trigger to my unhappiness or anger, but that’s not the point. Because of her great efforts to avoid causing me unhappiness she is profoundly distraught when she discovers she has done just that. I, on the other hand, accept that she will cause upset and heartache sometimes.

I’m not nearly as kind as Wife. I expect to upset her and anger her. We are married for crying out loud! We have shared a bed, a bathroom and a refrigerator for 10 years; of course I annoy her! I think that what annoys her most though, is my lack of mushiness and great pronouncements of love. I say I love you and stuff but I also say things like, “Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and having multiples and children with special need increases the chances of this happening.” I also say things like, “I knew that we could have children together because if we had to parent them separately, not in a relationship with each other, we would still be a good parenting team.” (This, by the way, sounds like the nicest thing ever, given that I have said recently that we are the worst parenting team ever, citing our poorly behaved children as proof!). These comments above, do not, in my opinion, call my love into question; they simply highlight my belief that in love there should be radical (bordering on mean, if necessary) honesty! This belief is probably the thing that Wife hates most about me.

So with my radical honesty commitment in mind, I told her earlier today that I read this article in Huffington Post by Shanell Mouland titled, “Dear Husband, I Don’t Love You More Each Day. YES! THANK YOU! Finally, somebody challenges the ridiculous, hallmarky statement: “I love you more each day.” In the letter Mouland argues that what is more truthful, is that she understands her partner more every day. Yes, that is it.

I told Wife that I so agreed and that there is no way that I love her more each day. How can I? Has she seen our days? Our life is not good fertilizer for love. It’s good fertilizer for commitment, healthy codependency, even respect, but not romantic love. I just don’t feel the love growing. Look, I explained back in March in this post about meeting and falling in love with Wife, that I choose her and our relationship, consciously every day. It’s hard people! I totally love this smart, stinky (seriously the farts), intense, dedicated, stressed, funny, loving woman, but for the love of all things holy this is not exactly the season of our life together when the love is likely to grow!

So I leave you with the thought that I left with Wife when I was done telling her that Mouland’s letter is brilliant and that I don’t love her more each day, and she told me that she totally disagrees and thinks I mean: “Honey, it’s not like I’m saying that I love you LESS each day. That’d be mean. That would be taking radical honesty too far. I just don’t love you MORE. So friends, go ahead and tell someone that you pretty much love them the same as you did yesterday. The truth will set you free.

*** Please do not get the wrong idea from this post. I truly, truly love Wife! In fact, if you must know, while this may not be the perfect season for growing love, it does seem to be the perfect season for expressing all the love that I do have for her (wink, wink).

XO Ajike