Category Archives: Beauty

18 Month Photosession

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“There is an endearing tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart. “- Washington Irving

Below are some images of this beautiful mother and son duo! I have captured this little one since he was a few days old so it’s been a true joy to see him grow and to watch mom celebrate the days with him.

Please click here to see how far they’ve come! This mom just emailed me a couple of days ago as she ordered some holiday cards on Minted.com and was approached by the personnel to see if our photos could be featured. How exciting!

I have some more photos I may try to share later and some of my family moments these past couple weeks, but have run out of photo space (the joy of running a photo blog!). Once I’ve added more photo-space, I hope to be blogging some more images soon. Spring is approaching and I’m looking forward to some more sunshine images and an allergy-free season! I am looking to open bookings for spring on March 4th and/or 11th! Message me if you’re interested!

Below, this mom and son braved a chilly wintry day, but when I see these images, I don’t remember the cold. I see golden warmth! What do you see?

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A Sealed Book

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I was driving through my neighborhood when I saw a couple of other mothers strolling with their toddlers in the neighborhood. Meantime, I was rushing home from the drop off of my now mostly school-aged little ones. The sunlight was just spilling over onto the road and I couldn’t help missing my days that were slower paced, more rush-free. Less Car. More Home. Less Drives. More Strolls.

I drove back home where the sunlight hadn’t reached my kitchen yet, where the eggshells were still on the counter.

Reading blogger and author Kelle Hampton’s blog, I found her words resonated with me. Kelle talks about being in the Middle Stage of Childhood where she says,

“The introduction of my parenting book is over, and the relentless work of the middle place is here where rewards aren’t as shimmery as feeling newborn baby breath on my neck. And yet, they’re here…

I have similar answers for all the “Do you miss?” questions.

“Do you miss teaching?”

I miss the first day of school. Pencil boxes. Memorizing all my students’ names in one day. Making them feel loved. Writing lessons. Taping great vocabulary words to the wall and seeing them pop up in the kids’ stories. After lunch read alouds.

But…I look for, find and create what I miss: the homework corner in my office with the jar of freshly sharpened pencils that smell like September. Tucking my kids in bed at night, nailing all the character voices from another chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Tagging along for field trips. Guest speaking about memoir in my friend’s 8th grade writing class.

“Do you miss when they were babies?

I miss fingers curled around mine, snug sleepers, nursing in the middle of the night, walking into their rooms to check on them sleeping only to find them peeping through the crib slats. I miss sandwich bags stashed with Cheerios and peach puffs, tiny bodies glued to my hip, heavy heads resting on my shoulder as they fight their naps.

But…I look for, find and create what I miss: tickling their faces to put them to sleep, big-kid sleepers that still fit snug, catching occasional pincher grasps for goldfish crackers and pretzel stick snacks, nose-to-nose bedtime snuggles, holding little hands as I lead them into classrooms, mispronounced words, so many firsts still to come.

I too am like Kelle where I am in this middle stage where my little children are not-so-little. Where frantic school-drop-offs replace late morning walks on weekdays. Where Z’s teeth are all sorts of wobbly and it’s amazing how with one tooth missing, the faces of children all of a sudden look so big!

Sometimes I miss the old stages where my children’s cheeks were softer and fuller and where their first footsteps were still wobbly and unsure. I can see an old photo or watch a video of their first steps, but I can never go back.

And as much as I want to skim the pages forward in these chapters of life to get a sneak peek of what’s to come, I can’t. The past pages are glued together, and no matter how much I pry to get back, I can’t. The future pages are blank and I hope full of promise. I don’t know how many pages or chapters I will get though. It’s like life is a sealed book and the only pages we are on are today.

A Sealed Book. A reminder to me to focus on today. Sometimes so hard when emails are flurrying back and forth, meat is defrosting in the microwave, saucy pots await you in the sink, and laundry likes to take its company quietly with other likeminded items slowly piling on the floor. Hard to focus on today when children need to be picked up, dropped off, homework checked,

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and so much more!

But trying to find a little bit of peace here and there …

img_7663leaves that beg to be picked up!

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a broken winged, yet beautiful, butterfly enjoying its lunch on our deck! Harsh sunlight forced me to try different angles to capture more compelling images.img_7462img_7455img_7435img_7384Post Eid-Mehndi-Fingers!img_7382img_7381img_7274

my brother’s homemade eclairs on Eid!img_7275img_7221img_7223img_7222img_7225

The $3.29 for pre-rolled-out-Publix-Dough is worth the price as the effort is cut in half! Just bought it yesterday and was much quicker!img_7241img_7251img_7254img_7218img_7210img_7194img_7186img_7159img_7154Peekaboo dolls in my bowls cabinet!

More later!

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures– none knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a clear book.” – Quran 6:59

 

 

 

 

 

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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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

Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun…

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Right as the sun starts to swirl down, down, down away from the blue of the sky, everything seems less bright. The dishes suddenly start to loom closer to my line of vision and seem dirtier. The things on the floor seem a little more scattier here and there. The crumbs a little more crumbier. At moments like these, it is easy to wonder, Where am I? 

Under my ‘About Me’ in my Facebook profile, I had written sometime ago, I am like a plant. I crave sunlight.

Well, I must really crave sunlight because at a recent doctor check-up, it was noted that I was pretty deficient in Vitamin D. You can get Vitamin D from … the sun! (And in the form of Vitamin D pills which I now take.)

When the sun is up and bright and happy, it is easy to feel up too. When the sun is down, it is easy to feel down again. There’s something about sunlight streaming through the windows that makes me feel most at peace and productive. At certain times of the day, I gravitate to the room that has the most sunlight. In the morning when the kitchen is dark, I love the living room.

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In the afternoon when the kitchen is bright and airy, the kitchen.

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no filter with this photo! the sunlight was that powerful and I love how it overshadows the dishes. Chores-be-gone!

On grey bleak days, it can sometimes be a struggle for me to get stuff done. With spring peeking in, it is as if a new chapter of Life has turned and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.

Enjoying….

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Eric Carle’s recent work from his Facebook page titled, “Spring is in the air!” Seeing his beautiful work makes me happy. It makes me want to read every one of his books again. If I was Eric Carle, I would paint a wall of my house like this.

 

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Miniature helpers helping with rainbow utensils…

 

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Matching fingers and toes…

 

Father Daughter Lake Time…

 

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Sisters Shadow Silhouette Hugs Given While Admiring Sunsets…

 

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Lailah’s Lunchbox with an ALA Notable Seal!

 

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Fan Mail from a 4th grade class! I hope they write back again!

 

‘A’ loves to doodle and will grab my favorite pen and sit and doodle for quite some time. I sent my uncle her work on a whim as he is an artist of Zakaria Ink and he sent me back the work on the right! I love how he took a simple doodle and made it a work of art!

 

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Love A’s swirls and interesting shapes!

Also enjoying this beautiful book from the library…My Name is Yoon

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Happy Almost Spring (official date is March 20th)!

 

 

Reassuring Weight

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“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

There is a reassuring weight in good things.

The other weekend I got to go to Houston, TX and read my book over there. Holding my book and reading out loud to the eager first graders felt natural and right and fun. The first graders wore bright orange T-shirts proudly saying, “First Grade Rocks! Kindergarten is so Last Year!”

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Reassuring Weight of the Library Stamp on this book!

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I loved the the flier was in both Spanish and English! Thank you to the Houston Libraries for having me!

Another exciting thing for Lailah’s Lunchbox , the books were given away in a raffle at the Islamic Speakers Bureau gala. Mayor Shirley Franklin, the mayor who served Atlanta last time got a book. Do check out the ISB’s initiatives about making a difference/anti-bullying for Giving Tuesday–a great article here about it!

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Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin with my brother Talha and my book!!

I used to travel alone quite frequently back and forth to Karachi, Pakistan. I forgot how reassuring the weight of holding your own bag is, no one else’s, and pulling it behind you and hearing the sounds of your bag’s wheels clickety-click on shiny floors felt. I enjoyed a weekend at the Doubletree Hotel and was glad to receive my warm gooey chocolate chip cookie upon checking in and to eat it all by myself.

Being on your own, getting your me-time, is a beautiful thing, but once you’re back in your own home, and you have little children clamoring for your attention and needing constant feedings, bathroom stops, and needs, you can feel like your day dissolves around them. The back and forth to school, the packing of school lunches, the constant pile up of dirty laundry followed by the occasional putting away clean laundry. The trying to find pockets of time to write and churn out manuscripts. But there is a reassuring weight to that lifestyle too. A repetitive routine that can be soothing.

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Reassuring weight of this beautiful book-The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

 

I had another trip, a road trip this time in which I was responsible for not just my bag, but for the bags of others.

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Was also responsible for the coats, hats, boots of others!

I was responsible for holding little hands clutching tight across the road, for squashing bags of clothes into the already-packed car. Not as glamorous as the first solo trip, but grateful for family, beautiful mountain views on the road, the peek-a-boo sun that stopped being shy, and for leaves, leaves, everywhere.

 

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I enjoyed both trips, although vastly different from each other. One trip, I was an author, a sort of professional person, a person the first graders took delight in greeting. A person with my own scannable-neon-green lighted-hotel-key, bathroom, and room.

On the second trip, I was a mother, a wife, a grand-daughter and daughter-in-law.

Back home, it is reassuring to be home, but I forgot what it feels like to be in charge of one’s home, to be responsible for making meals, buying groceries, filling up an empty gas tank, depositing a check in the bank.

Trying to find little bits of happiness and peace here and there that make me feel like I’m exploring new places or going on a journey, even if it is a mini-one to Target or a new coffee shop, or an actual real journey like apple picking! photo 2 (13)

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–Hopefully, more sooner rather than later!

The Shape of Stories

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“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
Annie Proulx

When I first started this blog, it was wonderful to have a place to post photos and document life.

Life has gotten naturally busier.

I photograph not only my family, but others when I get the  chance.

I write not only here, but am writing behind the scenes. I am trying to chip through a cold block of icy-writers-block with gentle taps, warm words, and determination.

Trying to get through writers block, I silence the podcasts while I attempt a sink of dishes. I’m trying to freshen my mind and silence the sounds.

Trying to get through writers block, I move my laptop near the window and admire the dancing trees which are still dressed in green. I make doodly mental lists of the benefits of a cloudy sky — there are many, by the way, the top one being how the white light slices through the window victoriously as if it were much better than golden, which it very much may be.

So if I don’t post as much on here, it’s because I’m writing in a different window, on a Microsoft Word document, in size 16 font (makes me feel like I’m making progress), and trying to get lost in characters! I am seeing the shape of a story and I have to commit time and energy to make the shape come to life.

In the meantime, a smattering of snaps below…

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sight words on a slightly crumbly floor

IMG_9270kitchen mats that entice toddlers to slide down them!
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A new family for a doll house!

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and a golden Atlanta skyline!

Eid in Atlanta!

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Sharing a few of my Eid photos as well as this article on Atlanta Muslim that featured the many diverse Eid celebrations in Atlanta! Was happy to see a few of mine in the article! What I love about Eid are the colorful dresses and excitement of the little ones whether it’s from getting a goody bag chock-full of candy or catching bubbles in silky Eid joras!

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baby-greeting always brings spontaneous smiles!

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‘Eib’ is so close to ‘Eid’!

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