Category Archives: Art

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“Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger’s touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.” ~ Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber

It is an interesting thing to simultaneously have a 7 year old and a 7 month old. One with gummy grins potentially growing teeth and one in the process of losing teeth.

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One who wakes up showing a gummy smile behind crib bars and one who grumpily gets dragged out of bed to go to school. In these situations, chilled cinnamon rolls that are baked for 12-16 minutes definitely help in luring a 7 and a 5 year old out of bed.

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Each age has its own beauty and of course challenges!

Baby H has morphed from a tiny newborn into a round featured baby.  And I have morphed into an older child’s mother back into the mother of a baby. Where basic needs are attended to, over and over again. Where little arms reach reach reach for you and the weight of a baby in one’s arms feels refreshingly heavy and just right.

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IMG_5182It is an interesting thing to spoon feed a baby real food after having fed it only milk for so long, and am finding the process more fun than I thought. A, who is now 5 year old, will sometimes offer to feed baby H, hence the pictures above. I remember when Z was a baby and how she did not like to eat and the challenges around that! But when a little baby is willing to eat, it makes the whole process much easier! If anyone has any suggestions of food for a Desi (Indo-Pak) baby, please let me know. I have been making kichri (mushy lentil rice) for her over and over.

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And over-and-over seems to be what happens with the movements and process around baby. Feed Baby. Nap Baby. Take Baby to school to drop and pick up Big Sisters Z and A. Change Baby. Bathe Baby. Feed Baby. Sleep Baby.

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So that when someone asks what you did all day, you look around at little toy animals scattered on the wood floor, sticky dishes in the sink, scratch your head and can’t really remember what you accomplished per se, but you know that your mind feels mostly full, but the good type of full…

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More later!

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Metamorphosis

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“When they are a few months old, they lie and look around and wave and smile and undergo a constant gentle agitation, as though they were sea anemones, gently waving in some other element, delicately responding to currents we cannot feel.” – Margaret Drabble.

Baby H is not a newborn anymore.

She has already morphed into a one-and-a-half-month old. In baby days, that seems farrrr away from that of a Newborn. The itty bitty size NB onesies already seem small and when I look at old photos like this one from below, I am struck by how fragile she once was.

Baby H a month ago!

 

Baby H now!

 

I love the delicateness of babies.

IMG_2683Of how they really stretch their bodies as far as they can go, which isn’t really very far. Of how their bodies stretch into a curly question mark after you lift them out of a car seat. Or how their legs and arms cycle, cycle, cycle. The above anemone quote and image of baby A here reminds me of the constant gentle motion.

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When you have an infant in the house, it is easy to sometimes forget to take photos of the bigger ones. The bigger ones suddenly seem more giant like and savoring them becomes a feat when you have to deal with issues like homework, morning routine, and bathing because they lack that sweet newborn smell that reminds me of cocoa puffs.

With that in mind, I picked up my camera with the goal of photographing the older two. When I pick up my camera, I love the perspective it gives me. I love how raindrops freeze in motion, how vibrant the colors look from behind the lens, and how happy jumping 7-year-olds are suspended in mid air.IMG_3247

Z’s ice cream art

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why can’t adults have nifty pockets like above?!

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–More later!IMG_3213

2 New Books (!!) and 5 Fun Things…

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Today is Z’s last day of first grade. I can’t believe she will be a second grader, the grade I used to teach.

It doesn’t seem like yesterday in which I packed up my crayon-filled second grade classroom and had a newborn in the sweltering June summer. It seems ages ago. To be precise 7 years ago! For me, those newborn baby days were long and slow, tiring and tedious. But to have that slow time was a gift in which I could find pockets of peace.

Once Z transformed into a running toddler and child, that was when time caught up with Z and then A and started to run too.

Ramadan for Muslims starts this Saturday. It’s nice to see my book Lailah’s Lunchbox pop up on people’s radars again and to see it displayed proudly for Ramadan.

I love seeing how creative people get with their displays. If you do use my book in a Ramadan display, please send me a picture. Sometimes while I sit on a computer cranking out words on a plain old Microsoft Word document, it can be hard to see my words as a book.

Speaking of books, I am excited to say that I should have two picture books coming out in a couple of years I believe!

Amira’s Picture Day (Holiday House) for Spring 2019

Ramadan is over and Amira can’t wait to celebrate Eid. Spotting the new moon, she celebrates because Eid is tomorrow and she gets to miss school to go to the mosque for the Eid prayer and brunch.  But then she realizes that tomorrow is Picture Day at school. How will her class remember her if she’s not in the class picture? What will Amira do?

         2. Let Me Show You The Way (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) TBD

The main character often happily volunteers to help a fellow classmate who needs a little extra assistance in school. It is only when she gets picked on by two popular students for helping him, she decides to distance herself from the fellow classmate to fit in more with her popular classmates. Later, she feels regret for her actions, but it is too late. Now, she decides to take matters into her own hands…

I will share more about these two projects soon. A big thank you to those who helped me thus far with these stories, editing, critiquing, printing, submitting! The publishing industry is quite a prooooooooooooooocesssssssss. And a long one at that! And an additional thank you to all of you who have read Lailah’s Lunchbox and supported me. I hope you all will like these two picture books as well.

I hope for all those of you who will be celebrating Ramadan that it is a beautiful and peaceful month full of growth, renewal, and that you find time to enjoy the slow moments. Meanwhile…

Five Fun Things:

  1. a heartwarming Middle Grade book I read recently by Lisa Graff with a strong, emotional male character’s voice:

“My dad’s face, you should’ve seen it. It went from normal to chili-pepper red in seconds. He was angry. [. . .] The fire, it was all the way to the tips of my fingernails. Digging down to the bottoms of my heels.”

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2. A teacher’s blog post I liked about my book.

“Lailah’s Lunchbox is a fantastic story based on Reem Faruqi’s own life experience moving to the United States and explaining what Ramadan is to classmates and friends in Peachtree City, Georgia. This story captures many different and important social issues, including moving somewhere new and different religions. This story emphasizes the humanity of the children and their experiences and promotes understanding and empathy of others.”

3. A beautiful Ramadan Read Drummer Girl   by Hiba Masood and illustrated by Najiyah Maxfield about a spunky female character Najma and the tender relationship she and her father share during Ramadan. I love how author Hiba Masood loosely based this story on a true one of a female drummer girl. The imagery, language, and pictures are gorgeous. I am a fan of Hiba (Drama Mama)’s words and this book showcases beautiful language. I have been saving this story for Z and A to read during Ramadan so I know they will savor it this Ramadan.

“Najma held her breath. Would he be angry? Would he say she was being foolish? No woman had ever been a musaharati in her neighborhood…”

4. A fun activity to do. Envelope decorating with nail polish. It kept Z and A busy for a while…

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5. the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta will be doing a Ramadan puppet show at the Children’s Museum on June 24th for your children. Check our newsletter here for more details. (scroll to bottom!)

Have a Blessed Ramadan and Beautiful Summer!

Regina’s Family Photoshoot

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“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart,” – Winnie the Pooh

Regina’s family session was my last fall session. Their little baby Zayna is 6 months and this was her first photoshoot. Regina said she missed out on newborn images at the hospital, so I was honored to take their baby’s first professional photos! Regina was looking for pictures of Mom and Dad interacting with baby, pictures that would show their love for Zayna. When I see these images, I can see their faces and expressions soften toward her and their smiles grow; I hope you can see it too.

Their session was cut shorter when their little one started to cry. I’ve noticed sessions of six-month-olds tend to end quickly since the babies are vocal through their cries about what they need and their moms are able to read their signs.

Zayna hadn’t given me many smiles, but when her parents started to play with her under a tree, lifting her gently into the air, she was all smiles so was glad I managed to capture those images!

Below are a few images of them enjoying autumn at Tanyard Creek Park.

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Eggs to Eggs, Smiles to Smiles…

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This summer I haven’t strung my words together just so. Rather than write, I peruse blogs of mothers who have triple the number of children I have, whose homes are built on meadowy farm lands, and who collect warm eggs from hens.

I click and browse, browse and scroll and admire and bask in the warmth of their images, the smiles of their children, and their golden light at sunset.

I eventually exit out of the window, put down the screen, drive to the grocery store, and buy cold eggs from Kroger.

I do the grocery shopping mostly lighthearted because it is summer and I have nowhere to rush. Smiles emerge from my children when they choose the trolley with the plastic pink car or if they get a free balloon at the counter. Eggs to eggs. Smiles to smiles.

This summer has been good because it has been slow and it has been slow because it has been good. I love the feeling of waking up in the morning lazily not having to rush somewhere, not having to be somewhere at 8 am, not have to be on-the-go is deliciously free.

I love not having to bark back-to-school orders  Hurry Up, Brush Your Teeth, Go sit in the car, orders peppered with the occasional questions Do you have your book bag? Where are your shoes?

 

I would love to soak up the sun this last week before school starts, but Atlanta’s weather promises rain everyday. Not to worry. Rain promises blessings. Blessings promise good.

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pockets of rain on the left and right!

I only hope that when the school year begins that I can still create space and patience and time to do the things that sometimes only the season of summer promises. Late nights for children with cup fulls of Ovaltine, later nights for their parents and still Ovaltine. Visits to an aunt’s home with lake swims and hammock rests. Swim lessons for the girls in which a big sister comforts a small sister and her fear of water. This is Summer.

This is what Summer has promised us so far…

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Flower shopping at the farmer’s market

 

IMG_6768Under-the-Apple-Tree Reads with Cousins

IMG_6775Apple Trees and Golden Sunsets

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IMG_6756Hammock Snuggles and Comfort Children Stories!

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Me on the rowboat!

IMG_6849Pure Gold

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IMG_6848A flustered ant on the boat!

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Grassy Toes
IMG_6527The Quest for the Perfect Lily Pad

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Surprise Popsicles from my aunt

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Summer Food

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5 year olds transformed into Helfpul Bag Pulling 6 year olds

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Comforting Hugs given to little sisters scared of the water!

Hoping that all the seasons to come will be savored as much as this one and that we each savor our time wisely!

“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” – Prophet Muhammad

12 Beautiful Things

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12 Beautiful Things I’ve Enjoyed:

  1. Video: Japanese high schoolers seeing a chick hatch outside its egg. Mind boggling!

  2. Do you dream of having kids one day? Touching article

  3. Ramadan series I’ve been enjoying – videos, or daily lectures here.

  4. Two brand new Ramadan picture books I want to check out: Drummer Girl and Owl & Cat: Ramadan Is…

  5. They’ve left me. Is this what an empty nest feels like?

  6. Can’t wait to read this memoir of Muhammad Ali (already put it on hold at my library!)

  7. Beautiful middle grade novel I loved

  8. Love this Blog lately for everything

  9. Heartwarming children’s book classic.

  10. never knew he had so many beautiful quotes; hence why I’m checking out #6 – article: 12 Times Muhammad Ali Showed Us The Incredible Power Of His Faith

  11. This hair brush helped me attempt to get Z to school on time

  12. I like this nail polish color in Sea Shell

Newborn Photosession!

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Living in Atlanta and being a photographer has its challenges in spring, mainly the possibility of rainy showers! I was lucky in that the Saturday I took these images, the day proved to be sunny and cloudy and with a cool breeze whereas every day surrounding it was quite stormy!

A was 4 weeks old and K, a first-time mom, had a radiant smile! Grandma, K, and A had a peaceful session outside. I believe newborns really enjoy the outdoors and are quite soothed by the sounds of the breeze, birds, and they love the fresh air!

A’s grandmother was quick to point out Aubrey’s perfect swirl of hair on his head, and once I noticed it, it was so mesmerizing in real life and on camera!

My favorite photos are those of parents and grandparents with the baby as you can really see the love they have for their little one.

Enjoy!

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“Happiness is a baby holding your finger with his whole hand,” – Unknown

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Perfect swirl of hair!

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“A baby is sunshine and moonbeams and more brightening your world as never before.”‘
— Author Unknown”IMG_5104-4