Friday, November 30, 2012

Only two arms? Maybe you need some more!

“If Mom had three arms, she could put on a show. If Mom had four arms, she could make cars stop and go… But Mom has only two arms and that’s perfectly fine, 'cause when my mom hugs me... I know they’re both mine.”

Do you ever feel like you are having one of those days when you wished you had more than two arms? Maybe both your children want you to hold them at the same time, or maybe you want to unload the groceries in just one trip, or maybe you want to answer that call you’ve been waiting for all day right as you start cleaning up that chicken.  If you ever had a need for three or more arms, then you must read “If Mom had Three Arms.”
While a children’s book, I’ve actually gifted the book to mother friends of mine rather than their kids. Some days we just need some humor to make the day go by, and this book will certainly turn a rough patch in the day into a manageable one. Think of all the things you can do with multiple arms. Certainly the kid in this book saw many ways his mother could benefit from that luxury, if for nothing else except carrying his backpack.
But at the end of the day, moms have only two arms and yet they somehow manage to meet most, if not all, the family’s needs with them. And with hugging being one of the most important need, mom’s two arms provide ample room for regular snuggles and cuddles.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lessons from Bed: The crooked frame

Yesterday marked six weeks since I have been on bed rest. I wish I can say the journey to having held my unborn baby past the first medical milestone, 24 weeks, was easy and pleasant. I wish I could say I naturally took to being confined to the 943 square feet that is our apartment, or the 76 × 80 inches that is our bed. That I have been enjoying staring out the same windows to the same views watching random people passing by, and some times none at all, day in and day out. That it is pleasant looking at the walls and the frames and the mirrors and the floors for hours at end. That going through things that need to be done, dishes that need to be cleaned, potties that need to be emptied, laundry that needs to be folded knowing very well that I cannot do any of these things is not driving me crazy. That boredom is not so set in me that the mere thought of picking up a book to read or turning on the TV seems to require more effort, concentration and will than just lying down and slowly counting the hours until another day dawns.

One might think that I now have so much time to be productive: finish that baby book, work on that scrapbook, organise these photos, read, catch up with friends, when in reality having all this time is like not having any time at all. I am a person who thrives among others, who lives to be busy, who wants to have so much to do and so little time to do it. I crave deadlines, need chores, want to cook. I also like to have time to go to yoga, read a book, blog, get a facial, take a walk, talk on the phone. But not like this. I like that time to be carved out of the time during which I am already busy. I like that break in the middle of the day when JR is napping, or at the end of the day when Jeff comes home. I like that lunch date with friends on the weekend after I spend all week complaining about not having had time to get anything done. I want the time to relax to be part of my time, not all of my time. Bed rest is not my idea of having time to flourish and shine, to catch up and move ahead.

And so, I drag along. The days have turned into weeks, and the weeks will soon become months. What do I have to show for all this time? I proudly say nothing. The baby book is still unfinished, the scrapbook is still untouched and those photos are in no better shape than they were last year. I cannot say I have read any more books, watched any more movies, or talked any more to my friends than I did when I was not on bed rest.

But, I did do something I would not have otherwise been able to do; I started letting go. I let go of my ego, my to-do list, my timetable. I let go of my impulsiveness, my always wanting to make things better, to do things differently. I learned to sit still and observe, to ask for help, to silence my thoughts. I learned that not everything needs to be done right now, and that some things are fine just left undone. So, the frame still hangs crooked, uneven, lopsided; a reminder of what I can, but do not need to, do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a reserved parking spot

Gone are the days I have to circle around and around for parking, not that I am driving these days to start with! But this way, we are at least guaranteed a spot when we need it. To say I am thrilled to have a parking spot at my beck and call is like saying the condition that prompted its availability is enjoyable. Really it is not. But since I am eligible for it, I say more power to me to have taken advantages of it. I need it, so why not allow myself to benefit from it; others surely do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Story: What happens next ~ Another Miscarriage

... Fast forward to early 2011. After physically recovering from the D&C, I was still nursing and wearing JR. I had no intentions to stop anytime soon. I was committed to that lifestyle and it worked for me. The stroller was too much work, and nursing was comforting both for JR and I. I refused to think that nursing and baby wearing had a direct impact on the outcome of the pregnancy. And yet, after this second miscarriage I was “forced” to give both up, for good.

I found out I was pregnant with my third shortly before our family trip to Lebanon. We had booked the trip so far in advance that the news caught us by surprise. But after consulting with my OB, we were given the green light to go. Just watch out for clots, he recommended. And, watch out I did. I moved about that plane as much as I could and only sat down when I had to. We made it to Lebanon safely and I guarded my secret well, for fear of sharing too much too soon. But on the last day of the trip, a wardrobe choice gave it away. I was all too happy to share the news, but worried at the same time. What if this pregnancy had the same fate as the one before it? I did not know it at the time, but it did.

The first order of business when we returned home was to head to the OB and check on the baby. My 12 week ultrasound was not for another couple of weeks but I did not want to wait that long. For what it’s worth the visit to the doctor loaded me with good news. But a few days after my mother instinct told me something was not right. I felt like I was not “growing.” I was not gaining weight. I did not “feel” pregnant. I brought it up with Jeff and a few close friends. Everyone reassured me that everything was fine and that I was just being a typical mom who is concerned about the wellbeing of her children. Unfortunately, they were wrong and I was right.

Jeff’s mom happened to be visiting us at the time we were cast the dice. She had come with a gift to JR that I had commissioned; a “I am a Big Sister” onesie. I had carefully selected the garment, the color, the font, the wording, the location of the wording and was looking forward to JR flaunting it that Monday afternoon at the park. A day earlier we were invited to a barbeque gathering at our friend’s house and I was struggling with keeping the news a secret. But I kept telling myself to hold on for one more day, just one more day and I can tell the world. I had even received the pregnancy announcement postcards in the mail that same week, but something had told me to hold off on addressing and stamping them. I felt like it would be bad karma to do much beyond designing and ordering them. As life would have it, just doing the latter proved to be bad karma. As it turned out, JR would not get to wear that shirt and the postcards and the stamps would remain in a box along with the early ultrasound pictures of what would have been our second child from the third pregnancy.
the day before the news

On that Monday morning, Jeff, JR, Susan and I headed to the Maternal Fetal Medicine office looking forward to showing JR the new baby. And that is when the rosary unraveled. JR was not allowed into the sono room, and the tech could not find the heartbeat. “Look again,” I instructed, “I have two sacs.” “Are you looking in the right sac?” Jeff added. And that is when tears swelled in my eyes. We were left alone in the room, waiting for the doctor to break the news. While I was in fact 12 weeks pregnant, the baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks; roughly around the time I had voiced my concerns to my family and friends about not feeling pregnant.

And so it was, that Monday turned into Tuesday then Wednesday and before you know it I was being wheeled again into the Operating Room for a second D&C. We could have waited to see if my body would deal with the miscarriage naturally but we decided that since it had not done so in 3 weeks, waiting another would not make sense, and so we chose to have a human help us with that. And, the rosary continued unraveling. A routine D&C turned into a dark nightmare...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chain, not Change

This, my friends, is a reminder that JR leads a "normal" life outside the confinements of my bed and couch. Although I worry to death about how my bed rest is affecting her, and I am sure it is, knowing that she still "rings" gifts me a sense of relief and a smile.
Every child has a tradition, a favorite quirk that sets them apart from others, something that it theirs and theirs alone. JR has this water pipe chain that hangs above the landing to our apartment. Ever since she was able to reach it, her routine has been to stop, jingle it (although it makes no noise) and then continue about her way. Interestingly, she does that only on her way back home and hardly, if ever, on the way out. I wonder if that is because on the way out, the installation is to her back and she cannot really see it where as on the way in it is at her eye level. The other interesting observation is that she does not do it on other floors, like when we take the stairs up to our neighbors, but only on ours. Does she get some sense of comfort, belonging, ownership of it being there? Does it mark her territory? Does it evoke home?
I have not seen her "ringing" the chain in over 5 weeks, and almost forgot about it. I did not even think she was still interested in it.The times I have been out, I have been wheeled to the elevator and back, and thus missed noticing whether or not this was still part of her routine. So, when Jeff sent me a photo of it the other night, it came as a stark reminder that some things don't change. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Just Josie"

"This is Josie. Her full name was Josephine Emily, but everyone just calls her Josie." These are the opening words to one of JR's favorite books:  Just Josie and the Perfect Day. It is also one of my favorites. I picked it up on clearance at the bookstore and have not stopped loving it since then.

JR and I would huddle on the couch, or cuddle in bed, and read it time and again. We have read it so many times, in fact, that JR knows the words to the book herself. It light and humerous, with easy to grasp vocabulary and ideas. From it, kids can walk away learning about taking a "deep breath" and "count(ing) to ten." They will also learn that while a day may not start out the way they had pictured it, it may still have a happy ending. A little patience and a change in perspective can bring on a rainbow.

Josie had her mind set up on the perfect birthday party, but then things start going wrong. She tries to handle the situation as best as a kid can, and in my opion Josie did a good job working through the challenges, but as things worsen she has her meltdown. Rather than get upset with her, though, her mother helps her look out the window to see the beautiful rainbow that had just formed through the rain and the clouds.

Just Josie may be more fitting for a girl reader with all the talk about hair and clothes and shoes, but the lessons it portrays are gender-neutral. The book has since been discontinued but you can purchase it for your Kindle here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The things we (don't) see

Remember the glass door? Well, it is still painted, and considering my situation it will probably remain that way for a long time still. But that is all good, really. I have been staring so much at that door that I am starting to "see things," things I would have otherwise missed or dismissed. Pretty things, fun things, imaginative things. It turns out that if you sit still long enough, and look, things just come to you without you having to look for them. Wow! The magic of silence.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Story: What happens next ~ First Miscarriage

The story continues.

The months passed. JR grew and we grew with her.

One day in the Fall of 2010, JR and I were spending a day like any other: enjoying each other’s company, laughing and playing. Then, I started to bleed. It was a surprise, no strike that, it was a shock. I was nursing and this was no time for my period to be returning. But it was not my period. It was heavier and scarier. I was on foot; Jeff had the car. But I needed to get to the doctor. I put JR in the stroller, called my dad to put him on back-up alert, and took the 20 minute walk over the Key Bridge to Georgetown to pick up the car. We made one stop on the way during which my fears worsened; I was bleeding uncontrollably and the pad was not keeping up with the flow. On our way to the doctor we stopped and picked up my had and ten minutes later we were sitting in the doctor’s office. Poor JR had had such an eventful morning that she fell asleep in her Jeddo's lap while I was being checked.

Weight. Pulse. Blood pressure. Urine sample. Pregnancy test. It was positive. I had been pregnant and now I am not. I was having a miscarriage. I was in total shock, I did not even know I was pregnant to start with. Tears came to my eyes, but I held them back. It was only later that the severity of the situation hit me; I had lost a child, what would have then been my second.

A quick backward glance later revealed that I should have suspected I was pregnant and that the doctor I saw at the time should have done a more thorough job examining me. I remember a random summer day when I felt nauseous, queasy and light-headed. I almost fainted. I called my OB who told me to call my PCP. The PCP ran a number of tests then attributed my condition to “fatigue.” The PCP ran tests on this and that, but failed to run a pregnancy test. I still wonder to this day if the outcome would have been different had he ran that one seemingly unnecessary test and found out the real culprit behind my dizziness.
This part of the story would also have had a better ending had it ended there. But the pregnancy did not want to terminate itself naturally and I had to be hospitalized for a D&C. I was so traumatized. I was nursing and was so worried about how the surgery was going to affect my supply. Luckily it did not.

That D&C was fortunately uneventful, as so far as a D&C can be. Shortly after the procedure, we were discharged and home we went. But our Thanksgiving celebration was brought to an end. We did not have a Thanksgiving that year. And since then, Thanksgiving has not had the same meaning of feeling. To some extent I have been avoiding it like the plague, finding ways and reasons not to be at home or by ourselves for it. Life went on as usual. And while JR’s presence brought immense happiness and joy, some sadness never left me. The OB tried to persuade me to give up nursing in order to sustain a second pregnancy but I would not have it. I continued to nurse and wear JR religiously. I may have done it with even more passion after the incident.
We carried on, until...

Friday, November 16, 2012

JR's Lemon Tree of Friendship

JR's Lemon Tree of Friendship sprouted as the perfect conclusion to her Lemon Tea Party. I wanted the party to have a craft segment after the food and the drinks were consumed. I also wanted this craft to be meaningful, not just pens and stickers on paper that would eventually end up being recycled. I wanted to preserve the art and the memory. I wondered if the girls could produce an art that could then be used as decoration. I slept on the idea, and woke up to the Lemon Tree of Friendship.
Originally, the tree was going to be painted on a poster board and nailed to the wall in the spare room. I wanted the display to be "mobile." But, after further research and consideration I abandoned the idea; I could not find the dimensions I was after, and transporting art on card stock every time we moved was not practical.
Painting was my second option. We rent our condo, so I hesitated before I went down the painting route. What if our landlord objected? But, what if we did not even ask in advance! Bingo! We had already asked him if we could paint the spare room a different shade, and he had agreed to that, so why not take the chance on more paint on decorations. And, so it was.
After looking up a pattern online and enlarging it to the maximum dimension I could, I started my project. I had not painted anything before beyond what we did at school as kids. Art is not one of my talents. So, I was a little nervous when all I had to work with was a sheet of paper lying to my side, a plain wall, and brown tempera paint and a brush. I outlined in pencil. It looked good enough. I took the brush to the wall. And, I was taken in. I could do this. It was fun. And, it was rewarding. To see the finished product was worth the try.
And so, at the end of the evening we had our tree. All it needed was its fruit and leaves. Enter the girls. At the party, each girl decorated and labelled her own set of lemon and leaf. Then, JR and Mama taped each pair along with its corresponding name tag to the wall. With that JR got her Lemom Tree of Friendship and a lasting memory of a wonderful party and wonderful friends.
When we move, the lemons, leaves and name tags will come with. JR and I will paint a new trunk and branches, put the tree back together, and reminisce about the days gone by.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lessons from Bed: Rules to Live By

I don’t do Halloween. Jeff doesn’t like it either. So, once we had our own family we decided Halloween was one of many celebrations we were not going to take part in; the others being Santa, New Year’s Eve, the Easter Bunny, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s day, and others not directly related to our system of beliefs. Although we have our version of Halloween in Lebanon called Eid el Berbara, celebrated on December 4th, in all my childhood years I remember having dressed up in costume only once, and even then I felt ridiculous. St. Berbara had donned on different characters in order to escape the Romans who were persecuting her. She used to hide in wheat fields. Cooked wheat with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and raisins, something similar to American-style oatmeal, is served during this "holiday" and a special song is sung. My late grandmother used to call on Eid el Berbara as her excuse to make that treat for her grandchildren although she really did not need to go that far to convince us to enjoy that treat.
This year, however, Jeff and I made an exception and JR got to take part in her first, and possibly last, trick or treating expedition. The timing was right, and the distraction was perfect. I had just been admitted to the hospital for an emergency cerclage and we enlisted Sonia to help with JR. We were not prepared for the surgery but were lucky that Sonia came to our aid at a moment’s notice. She dropped what she was doing, picked JR up and headed back to her place where she kept her two girls and their friend engaged, fed, rested and happy for the rest of the day. And since the surgery happened on Halloween dressing up and knocking on people’s doors proved to be a most successful form of entertainment for the 3 year-old. It was so successful that JR did not notice that I was not there until it was time for her to go to bed and Mama was not there. And, “facetiming” Mama was a poor substitute.
Choosing to allow JR to dress up like a frog and knock on people’s door proved to be a decision that we won’t regret. She came back happy with lots of stories to tell. And while this decision may not align with our overall parenting style, being flexible and allowing room for the unexpected is. And while I would love to raise my kids with “rules and regulations,” I love being able to offer them adaptability more. Life is full of surprises and having the skills to bend with the change is invaluable. So yes, there are traditions we won’t incorporate into our daily life; but when the choice is between bending the rules to allow myself and my family space to function, or being rigid and thus crippling, I will chose to bend the rules.
And that is one of the many lessons this bed rest challenge has taught me.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Story ~ In the beginning

In the beginning, there was a woman of 32 who was pregnant with her first. There was nothing but the joys of an expectant mother, and the challenges of a first pregnancy. There was an office job, daily walks, prenatal yoga, healthy eating, and an online support group out of which grew incredible friendships. There was the planning, the anticipation and the usual nags of uncertainty now and then.
Then came the breech position. The growing baby refused to turn bottom side up. And, as time passed it became evident that this was the new reality. A c-section was inevitable. In spite of all our efforts: chiropractor visits, arm stands, cold compresses, music between the legs, the breech remained. We accepted our journey and filed it under: "a healthy baby regardless of the way." We dialed for dollars looking for an OB who had privileges at a closer hospital with private maternity rooms and moved on with our journey.  At 35 weeks we found someone as we drove to New York on our last babymoon and saw him only once before the baby made her appearance.

Ten days before she was due, and a week before the scheduled C-section, Jannah-Rae made her way into the world. A 7 pound 7 and a half ounce baby with a head full of hair, the girl was everything we had hoped she would be.

The recovery from the C-section was long and painful. I could not stand up without help, walked slower than a turtle, and was housebound for at least 6 of the 8 weeks of my recovery period, leaving only to take JR to the pediatrician. We had two snow storms during that time and spent the first two weeks of homecoming sleeping on the couch in the living room.

The story would have ended well after I recovered and was on my feet again. Little did we know, though, that the routine C-section surgery was only the beginning of the journey filled with pregnancy challenges.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The way the story ends...

We all know the way it begins, but do we know the way it ends? The story begins one random day, one normal day, one day like any other. Looking back you can mark that day, pencil it, circle it on a calendar.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." But what about that journey you did not know you were embarking on? The one you are thrown into, with no question, no consultation. The one that you are living now, with no way out, only through.
Yes, this could as well be your entire life. You came about the world the day your mom and dad decided to conceive you. You had no choice in the matter. You were born, and you were expected to make the most of it. To deal with it. To live it.
But within that story, the novel, lies a number of sub-stories, sub-plots. Some you bring upon yourself, like drinking and driving or choosing a major in college. Others just sneak up on you, take you by surprise and captivate you, like being caught in the war, in a hurricane, on bed rest.
You decide to get pregnant. You plan it. You draw the perfect scenario. Write your birth plan. Plan your meals. Chose an exercise routine. Set up your baby registry. Then just be. But one day, something happens and all your plans, get cast aside and you are faced with the present. And you sit, and you wait.
That, to me, is called bed rest. And this is what I am facing now. If I am lucky I will get 16 weeks of it, in addition to the 3 I have already been through. If I am less than lucky, I may get a few in before my story ends. My story will end.
One day, I will be back on my feet. But how will my life be at that point? I can speculate but not make accurate predictions. I will still have my husband, my daughter and my apartment. My mother and father and in-laws will still be there. My family in Lebanon and in the US will still be around. My friends will still call and stop by. The construction may be over, or it may not. My savings will have diminished some. My weight will have increased. My muscles will have atrophied. My daughter will have grown. I would have grown. A new year might have dawned. A Thanksgiving would have passed. A birthday might have been celebrated. A photo shoot might have occurred, or it might have been missed. And dust would have accumulated. Preparations would have been orchestrated from bed. Laundry done by someone else. Storage raided for the appropriate gear.
It would still be Winter.  I would still be me, albeit somehow different. Less attached maybe? More calm? Less restless? A mother of two? That last question is the biggest mystery of all. A mother of two. To me that is the only acceptable ending to my story, but the ending is not something I can write out myself. A mother of two at 30 weeks? 32? 26? 28? Part of me just wants to be a mother of two. The selfish part of me want to be that at 37 weeks. But that may be too much to ask. Maybe I should just content with what I am handed. Maybe I should stick with:
"A mother of two. The End."

Friday, November 9, 2012

JR's Hello, Goodbye Window

Do you have a Hello, Goodbye Window? If you don't then you certainly need one, or rather two - the book and the actual window.

JR and I discovered the book at our local public library. After holding on to it for as long as we could, we sadly had to one day return it. So sad to have had to part with it, I decided to purchase a copy for my home library. Now it is one of the most read books in our house, and I am consistently glad to have made that addition.

The book is narrated by a young girl who loves to go to her Nanna and Poppy's house. The kitchen window there is no ordinary window–it is the place where life happens. Through the window, the character watch stars, check the weather, wait for visitors, look out the garden and, most importantly, say hello and goodbye. The book is in prose format but very easy to follow. The first-person text is simple, the vocabulary ordinary but rich, and the story paints a perfectly child-centered world.

As for the actual window, well, that one has been in existence for a long time. I just never thought to name it, until one day soon after we started reading the book JR blurted out, "that's the hello, goodbye window!" And, it sure was! It is Jeff's office window in Georgetown where JR announces her arrival. I hold her up, she taps on the glass, and Jeff peers from behind the blinds. When he is not there, we wait while she sulks. But when he is, and he appears before her, she jumps for joy. I had been using that window for years, almost four years to do the same: let him know I am here and peek to see if he is there or not, with company or not, before I tapped my arrival. Then, when JR was old enough to do it herself, the torch was handed down to her delicate hands.

Jeff has since relocated offices but the windows in his new office are just too high for them to play the role of the "hello, goodbye window." Luckily, JR and I have not had the chance to visit him at the company since the move and so JR is not yet aware of the missing "hello, goodbye window." One day, though, she will learn of the change and I hope that she will take the news casually.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A blast from the past

Remember the 80's? I had a sister born in the 80's, I celebrated my first decade on earth, and discovered what having childhood friends was all about. I had a radio cassette player. It was red. It had batteries, naturally, in addition to its power cord. It went with me from room to room and accompanied me while I studied. One song that came to me yesterday as I drifted off to sleep is this. Ah! The good old days!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A seasoned traveller

A seasoned traveller never wastes time.

Checking and updating her calendar.

Catching up on phone calls.

Totally taken by the conversation.
Even on the plane. Getting one more call in before take-off.


T is for Trust; trust that things will work out as they should.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where I'm from

I am from here and now. From then and there. I am the product of my past, the meeting point of the present and the window to the future. I am a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a neice, a granddaughter, a wife and a mother, and, an in-law. I am a friend.

I am from Lebanon, the multi-factions country, the country torn by religions and wars. I am from Lebanese food, fresh home-made breakfasts, nutrient-packed lunches and family dinners. I am from avocado milkshakes, freshly squeezed orange juice from a juice cart, and vegetable vendors who push their carts to your building door. 

I am from the smells of freshly baked bread, manakeesh on Sundays, and every days, and kaak on trays on vendors' heads.

I am from Beirut, the Pearl of the Middle East, the City that would not die. From the bombs, the fires, the ashes. From a twice destroyed house, a childhood lost in the war, toys jumbled with metal, glass and concrete lying on the side of the street.

I am from power outages and water shortages. I am from bread lines and green lines. From walking on foot across town for fresh produce, then walking back home.

I am from days without school, without sun light and without song.

I am from Hazmieh. From a two bedroom, four bath apartment on the fourth floor. I am from the apartment building my late grandfather built as a gift to his sons. From the garden he grew underneath. From the hours playing with the neighbors in that garden.

I am from my neighborhood, from the gas station next door, the Iraqi Embassy up the street, the convenience store down the street. From my friend's house five minutes away, the pool at the hotel five minutes further than that, and the supermarket across the highway.

I am from the Apricot and Lemon trees my grandfather planted in his garden. From the apricot jam my grandma spent hours in the sun making. From the hundrends of tabboleh dishes she made with these lemons.

I am from the garden's red, white, and pink roses, from the huge lilies, and the tiny violets. From getting in trouble for picking the roses and breaking off the lilies. I am from the fragrant yasmine tree, the one that made the night that much cooler on a hot summer's day. From making yasmine necklaces and draping them from the car's rear view mirror.

I am from gardenias growing on the balcony and sitting in espresso cups on the bedside tables. From cloves spelling my name on an orange, from the hour it took my grandmother to make it for me, and from the second it took that bomb to shatter it along with all my other belongings.

I am from the shredded Quran that crashed to the ground that same day. The same one I still keep on display, the one that reminds me of my faith, the one that grounds me when in doubt. I am from the voices of the muazzins calling for prayer, at four oclock in the morning and at four other times after that. From the sounds of church bells on Sunday mornings. And, from the two of them residing in close proximity in a small country.

I am from Sundays at Teta's house, Eid lunches of riz bi lahme and laban, and a weekly allowance of lp 5,000 from Jeddo. I am from sharing birthday parties with my two cousins, wearing hand-me-downs from my other two cousins, and from new shoes only from Red Shoes.

I am from scrimping and saving to have a better life. From studying hard and working hard to get to where I am. From paying my way through college and graduate school, and from taking on four jobs to make enough to come to America.

From a working mother and a working father who did their best. And their working fathers and toiling at home mothers who also did their best. From Rana and Hassan, and Ramez and Ibtihaj, and Mahmoud and Inaam. From the Abiads and the Madhouns. From my small family of four and my extended family of many more.

I am from the fortune my grandfather built with hard work and no formal education. From his lands that have since been sold and his business that did not make it much past his passing. I am from his memory. From the day he died and I was not allowed to see him. From the visits I pay to his, and his wife's graves.

I am from the weekly calls I make to my current grandparents. From hearing their prayers for me, their wishes and hopes and dreams. From knowing that one day they, too, shall pass and that I may not be there to wish them farewell.

Inspired by this
template. Try it; it's worth the time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mothers Day Wall

because every day is mother's day...

A spot in my heart.
A spot in my home.

A wall.
A photo.
A frame.  

And the years go by.
To capture the love,
is impossible to do.
But to record the memories;
that I can do.

We take photos,
each year at the same time.
To keep track of the changes,
as time goes by.

Time goes by,
but one thing holds true.
She will always have a spot
in my heart and my home. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

JR's Apple "Tea" Party: Show Time

The party was well worth the wait. JR woke up bright and early to help with the set up and pose for pictures. All that remained to be done was bake the pies, make the mini apple-shaped red french toast and set the table. Everything else was ready to go.
At 10:00am the guests started arriving and the party was a hit. The food was the first order of business, then crafts, then free play. It was another sad goodbye, but JR's next party is just around the corner. Stay tuned for what JR has in store next. 
Once the platter was lined, JR wanted to pose with her "baby" for the photo.
The apple pie-french toast wreath.

Showing off the table.
Taste test; got to make sure everything is right for my friends.

More photos of the hostess.

With Mama, and Baba; got to love those two!
Craft time. Coloring apples and leaves for JR's Apple Tree of Friendship.

Don't forget the party favors.