Category Archives: children

A Rare Braid

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My fingers are clumsier as they form a braid in Z’s hair. The hair lifts and folds as I tighten the braid and I realize I am rusty at braiding. I will typically make a quick braid when Z goes to school, but the benefit of summer is that our routine softens while we take it slow. Meaning not many braids. I step back to admire the neatness that the braid brings to Z’s face.

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I thought this summer that we would have pancakes and eggs often for breakfast, and at the beginning we may have, but now Froot Loops and Apple Jacks welcome little hands in the pantry.

One of the beauty of summers is that is appears so Endless. Summer days are long and lazily stretch.

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So that when August does come around, and pencils, erasers, and notebooks grace the aisles of Target, it is easy to walk around wide-eyed, wondering Where did the summer go?

I read this article about how it’s good to take a leap when you’re almost ready. Reality is that you may never feel ready and you need a push to do things. Ready to go to college? Ready to walk across the stage to pick up your diploma? Ready to stand in front of a classroom of twenty students and teach? Ready to get settled and married?  Ready to give birth while in the painful throes of labor? Ready to nurse, rock, diaper your baby? Ready to sweep grimy floors, wipe sticky counters, and raise children? Ready to now send Z off to second grade and A to pre-K?

Sigh. But a Grateful Sigh.

We have a few more days before school officially starts, a few more opportunities to make French Toast/pancakes, to swim in cool, blue water, to practice easing back in a routine and sleeping earlier! A few more moments to savor time. Until then…

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pre-Eid mehndi

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scent of childhood

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When you have a box of crayons and nice paper

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biking into August…

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Rice Bubbling happens a lot here

Enjoying Cam Jansen books!

“By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran 103:1-3)

 

Jackie’s Family Session

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I love photographing repeat clients because I see to the children get so big! Last year I captured Jackie and Sam in fall and was so excited to catch up with them and make more new memories. Here is a collage from last year…

Below are from this year’s fall session!

A fun factoid about this family: Jackie and Sam met in the Target Lamp Aisle after Jackie had just moved to a new city and was looking for a lamp. Fast forward and now they have a beautiful family!

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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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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

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)!

 

 

The Calm Before The Storm…

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With schools closing early and things being cancelled all around me, I love the peace that comes before the storm. I love seeing the world blanketed in white looking all fresh and new. I don’t know if it will actually snow, but hoping for snow. When I used to live in Abu Dhabi, I would be mesmerized by the rare rain falling and the way drops would gather forming scant puddles here and there. In Atlanta, I am spoiled. Rain is a common thing and I no longer am as mesmerized by the constant fall of rain. However, when it snows in Atlanta, I am newly mesmerized all over.

Enjoying:

  • a cancelled gymnastics class became a time to bake brownies and facetime my grandmother in Pakistan
  • an early pick up at school became more playtime for A&Z and a time to blog
  • the birds! The birds have been feasting today at my bird feeder which makes me wonder if they are stocking up on food before the storm comes, or simply extra friendly today.photo 4 (12)
  • Instagram: In the past, I used instagram, but didn’t want to waste time by allowing followers or following people. Recently though I was told, “Isn’t instagram made for people who take photos like you?” so I now have an account that I follow people with and love the inspiration I see on there. Facebook for me is sometimes overwhelming, but Instagram is a nice way to see fellow bloggers work in a quick scroll. My cousin Ahmed or karachichaiwalla has the most amazing Pakistan photos – you can follow him here if you are an instagrammer or simply click and look through his images. Here’s a screenshot photo below!
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  • yarn again. I really want to crochet something warm in the next couple of days!
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    My computer is acting up so can’t delete the extra crochet photo. Ignore!

  • Love the confidence of 5 year olds! When we practiced for the spelling bee, Z kept spelling DOG as D-O-O-G and then as G-O-D! and WET as W-U-T and the list goes on! But she still thought she would win the spelling bee. I heard about a basketball player holding a basket ball asking kindergartners if they could throw a 3 point shot and they all raised their hands saying, “I can!” Such is the spirit of a 5 year old.

    Even with all her mistakes, Z said she wanted to win and tie the spelling bee with her cousin. She came back from school misspelling the first word she was given, Hand; she spelled it with an E. Her cousin misspelled the word ‘cow’! But she was still happy!

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    I also love knowing what words people love. Z loves spelling the word M-U-S-T and the sound of it. I love the sound of the word ‘tapioca.’ It just sounds so lovely.

     Target with ‘A’ below!

A new gallery  wall! My uncle Zia Zakaria’s painting is the first orange calligraphy one. You can look him up at Zakaria Ink here. I love his work.

Cozy Reading Time! I Love the blog A Beautiful Mess and was inspired by their book above. I also just read The Nesting Place book about having an imperfect home and LOVED it.

  1. Paint, 2. Cut paintings into strips, 3. Loop the paintings together to make a bedroom banner!
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Jeni’s Icecream – lavendar flavor Z loves!

Salty Fix

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The very below picture is one of my favorites. It’s my 3 year old ‘A’ running to her grandparents and cousins. Right now, I am in the sweet spot of my daughters having all their grandparents.

Annie Flavin, a blogger and poet whose work I love, recently lost her mother-in-law, and reading this post about how she had that ‘sweet spot’ of having all parents and now not having them is real and raw. I hope all those who have lost parents and family members both recently or long ago find peace.

I so appreciate having wonderful family on hand whether they are less than an hour away or a long road trip away. Just having them and knowing they are there is an amazing thing. To have little children form relationships with your parents and to bond with them is something I never get tired of. My girls’ chuckles get gigglier around their grandparents.

I hope that one day at the right time I get to be a grandmother with lots of people around the table, games being played, laughter being heard, and so much more!

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When you have 3 cricket-loving brothers, a father, a husband, and 2 male cousins you get … cricket on the beach!

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And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record. (Quran 6:59)