...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


the art to balancing family life - a refreshing reminder from my 2 yr old

Start your day by taking care of your needs first... like enjoying a delicious hot cup of coffee all to yourself... until the very last drop.

A cup of Jo All To Myself

Call your best friends and meet for lunch at your favorite hangout...

Breakfast with cousins

If the rest of your day begins to heat up - grab hold of someone you trust... and let them help you reach new limits...

Aunts are the best

Be sure to make time for your elders as often as possible - and learn from them...

Making homemade fresh bread with Grandma

...even if you have to do what they want to do instead. Just being with them may bring unexpected and sweet memories.. to have forever.

News with Grandpa

The series of pictures portray many different stories - but the captions I wrote remind me of how important it is to balance ourselves within family life. Watching Ava spend time with her grandparents on Sunday reminded me of myself - and how valuable our times are with transitioning generations.

Beginning with a quick trip to the mall's play area, the kids [Ava, Noah & my nephew Humzah] each explored with amazing energy - not recognizing time or the urgency to meet a dinner curfew... or the intimidation of others watching them whizz by. The important thing was that they had fun - even if they got pushed by bigger kids - or carpet burns from running... it was all about making the most of the moment - and the people we love dearly to spend it with [Aunt Roshana climbing, jumping and running beside them..]

We retired to my parents' house and all of us worked in the kitchen preparing a family dinner: bolani filled with mashed potatoes or green leeks - homemade yogurt for dipping, and stewed meat with caramelized onions paired with Mom's fresh homemade Afghan bread. Beverages of carbonation or tradition followed - like Mom's hot rosy sweet tea milk.

When Ava showed a sudden interest to "help Grandma" in the kitchen - Mom couldn't resist - and slowed down to give Ava her own handful of dough to knead, pound, poke and flatten for the oven. It not only gave Ava an opportunity to learn, play and bake - but it also gave the rest of us an appreciation for tradition [mom has been baking fresh bread at home since I was little - the aroma is always mouthwatering], and the wonderfulness of eating home-made.

Working together to prepare dinner, then feasting around a table afterwards - emphasizes the art to celebrating and honoring family traditions- from older generations to new. The food simply tastes better - and the nourishment we gain actually benefits our soul.

Later that night - the TV switched on, and Ava noticed Dad watching the news alone. She stumbled over to me to inquire watching Snowwhite. With a quick "no," she gravitated back over to the sofa, this time getting close enough to lean - and doing exactly what Dad loves doing. Noticing the attention she was giving him as she inched closer - Dad pulled her onto his lap, and began telling her a story about a little bird stuck in a tree... using her hand to gesture how it climbed [in between her fingers]...

What a small event to recount - yet monumental in my eyes because of the valuable lesson Ava learned with patience - to let go of what we can't have and enjoy the people we are in company with. I'm also proud of Dad for not being quick to soothe Ava's itch for Disney but instead seizing the moment to engrave a spontaneous storytelling time with Grandpa.

Looking back at Sunday's photos was a refreshing reminder to value my time and what we do with it - making some for ourselves everyday [preferably at the start of each] and enjoying the rest doing things we love with the people we love...

And as Ava retells it with hands waving in the air... there's still a little bird stuck in a tree.. from climbing up... and up...

I wonder if that little bird is me - perched on a tall tree thanks to strong roots - but forgetting that I have wings because I enjoy the view here soo much...


  1. A number of things change in the way kids behave when they reach certain milestone ages. When a child reaches age 2, they are notorious for causing trouble and wreaking havoc - but more than that, I have noticed that at this age Ava really is trying hard to 'fit in' with the adults in her life. If it is sewing with Mom, toting her toolbox around with Dad, making bread with Grandma, watching satellite TV with Grandpa, etc.. she is truly making an effort to be like those around her.

    A sign of intelligence? Compassion? Understanding? Or is it just Ava being who she is? Whatever it is, I love it.

  2. I loved the post, Zarlacht! And also loved Aaron comment. He's so good in commenting on your blog!
    I believe in every word you say. We got a special unexpected chance to savour this family-different generations-bonding a few weeks ago, when my mom had to stay with us for a few days after having knee surgery. She couldn´t walk, so she stayed in our house. Zoe spent zillions of time with her. She started calling her "abuelita" which means something like Grammy or Granny (she used to call her just grandma). My mom spoke to her about so many things, and in a different tone that we do, teaching her new things then... They played together, read together, painted and drew, and even watch some TV together (something REALLY special and to do just with grandma, because Zoe never watches it)...
    So I myself came to start reevaluating these things, such as the need of family company and the respect for what different the older people in the family have to tell us, and our kids.

  3. Oh! I almost forgot...: you should check on my blog, there's a little something for Ava there...

  4. Amazing! I remember your mother's meals! My mouth is watering just thinking about it LOL. This is truly a great point to make about not giving into the child's wants. Instead of catering to her desires at the moment, your dad turned it around and taught her something valuable. So many parents and families don't do that. I really admire you and your family. I was just visiting with my brother Joey last night in Lewisville, and in just a short month, he and his wife will have their first child. We talked about reading to him, and instead of over-involving him in extracurricular events every night of the week, they would prefer to have him choose certain things he wants to participate in. My other brother, however, is overexposing Shoobie to too much, in my opinion. I don't say anything because I'm not the parent, and for me to say something would overstep the boundary that he has. I think it shouldn't be about the biggest extravaganza but rather simplicity. It's important.

    Your essence of family is right on! Very well written. Thanks for sharing that!

  5. I absolutely adore reading your postings! You not only have such a way with words, but the passion you have for life is one to make note of. Your children are absolutely precious. I'm so glad Michael ran into you and added you to his blog. I've thoroughly devoured your posts!

  6. Julie - how wonderful to take such full advantage of your mom staying with you. Zoe's time with her is timeless and precious. I often forget that because I see my parents every weekend. Funny how our children come to show us, or remind us once again that family roots don't have to stop with the changing generations. They can be experienced the same, if not better. I see my parents being so much more gentler - and taking the time to enjoy who Ava and Noah are. I don't remember much of that with my parents when I was young - and that wasn't there fault. Different times lead to different choices - and I know how hard my parents had to work to get to where they are today.

    Which today - is when they can now enjoy us - their children - who now has children - and all of us - together, are embracing the moments as best and hard we can.

    Oh... we are sooo connected.

  7. Michael! I can't believe you remember mom's cooking! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to replicate her recipes yet - but I do make a mean fish taco! ;)

    That's fantastic about Joey and how they are planning ahead. It really does help to put these kind of future decisions into perspective and make sure you and your partner agree on the upbringing of your prodigy.

    It makes reaching that point much easier. When I was pregnant, I insisted on homeschooling. But it was through watching Ava and learning about "her" interests, that we had to relook at that path and decide otherwise. She still talks about "camp" - and school and asks me almost everyday when she will go back...

    Oh - and I was thinking about this today again. Ava said at lunch that the "little birdie came down from the tree...remember mom?"

    I nodded and took another bite out of my fish taco.

    Then she said, "remember Papa was sad, the little birdie came down the tree?"

    "Papa wasn't sad," I said. "the little birdie is happy to come down the tree because now it can fly."

    She thought about this while her remnants of the fish taco swooshed in her mouth from cheek to cheek.

    Then she said, "Papa held me."

    And I almost choked. She remembered how my Dad held her while telling the story. Here we are, a week later, and Ava remembers her Grandfather telling a story.

    It's like you said - simplicity is more important than the next biggest extravaganza. It teaches kids in profound ways than we'll ever know.

    Thanks so much for appreciating and commenting on this - xoxo

  8. Bianca! Thank you so much for your kind words! You are one of those circle of friends I always hear about but just never had the pleasure to meet. It's been so exciting running into Michael and re-connecting after all these years. To me, it's like a link to my past - and the opportunity to extend that into the future is a gift! So glad you two have remained the strongest and bestest of friends - always!

    I too have been reading your blog -and have enjoyed reading about your personal insight to everyday life - which is humorous and real... and absolutely wonderful. Thank you for joining me here and I look forward to keeping posted with you ;)


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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