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


look who turned 1

Happy Birthday Sophia! You look marvelous at 1...

Sophia Turns 1

But don't worry... you can't fool your Aunt with that to-die-for toothy grin of yours. I'm on to you....

eid mubarak!

Eid Mubarak {blessed festival} to all of you! Eid fell on Sunday this year - after 30 days of focusing on our faith and patience - bringing us all closer together as a family, community, and around the world. Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days, where children gather among their elders, and a celebration of family encircles us all...

Visiting Grandparents




It was a festivities of gifts from family all around - each bag revealing a new activity the kids couldn't wait to dig into - especially the candy. We joke that really, that's all the kids would want since candy isn't an every day norm for them. But still, we couldn't help but give each child a toy embracing their characters now - like binoculars and a safari view finder for Hamazah who loves everything wild in the jungle... a tu-tu and pink glittery slippers for Ava who loves to twirl... cars and trains that make Noah zoom even in his sleep... and a new doll and books for baby Sophia...





Their calendar chain didn't survive the 30 days [mental note, use a poster calendar next year. Ava & Noah thought Eid would get here faster if they ripped off more loops off the chain!] but come Sunday morning, they were ready to enjoy the celebration of joyful living, new beginnings, and family...



From our family to yours - Eid Mubarak!

water pops!

Summer's are not summers without an icee melting in your mouth. I remember walking to the corner store with my sister on hot days just to buy a 10 cent popsicle that would be finished before we'd turn the corner back to head home. Those posicles are still around - and now you can buy them even in bulk. So when Aaron brought a box home, I knew I was in trouble.

For starters - there's nothing healthy about them - full of sugar and flavoring.... and of course - the kids love them. So when the box ran out, we knew the extra effort of homemade popsicles would be better for us all around. Aaron's been so great about filling the molds with natural juices, or blending a concoction from the fruit bowl for the kids to enjoy after dinner, swimming, or an episode of their favorite show.

But we've recently been slacking off in the snack department for Ava - and she's taken notice. So much so, that she has taken the making of special treats into her own hands - Ava style.

After dinner last night, Ava declared, "I'm going to have a water pop!" I disregarded her comment about the water - and informed her that we only had ice cream sandwhices left in the freezer. But to my surprise, when I opened the freezer door, there stood 6 beautiful pops in their stand.


I pulled the sleeve out for Ava and immediately zoomed in for a closer look. What kind of fruit did Aaron blend this time? It was crystal clear - like water - when all of a sudden Ava said, "It's a water pop!" and then grabbed the iceberg dessert out of my hand.


"Did you make those with Grandma when she was here Ava?"

"No. I made them all by myself," she said with a squeak in her voice, licking the water drops quickly reaching her wrists.

Ah yes - it's all coming back to me. When she was in the kitchen a little bit longer than usual the other day - I didn't think twice when she said she was going to go make water pops. I registered that to mean she was going to go get a drink of water. I figured the sounds of all the drawers opening were of her looking for towels because she spilled water while trying to fill her cup from the dispenser. Although I'm surprised that she did all of this all by herself, I am also very proud...

Because there's much to be said from this experience - even with just water. To start with, children should be very much involved in the kitchen and seeing how different foods react together to create something else. Cooking is basically science with food and they get to see first hand what happens when you boil, freeze, whisk, mix... and so on. Ava has picked up on these different methods, and learned that one of her favorite desserts - popsicles - is actually made from such processes - ones that she isn't afraid to do alone - especially with water - her most favorite...


the grace of friendship

It's been a difficult past few weeks for our family - with lots on our minds and hearts - emotions stretched so deep that our bodies responded with unique symptoms and ailments. And how fitting, that during Ramadan, we face such challenges... and turn to our faith to help us look even deeper inside ourselves, count our blessings, and draw on our humility and patience to help overcome these trials...

But some days this month - it has been especially difficult. Especially challenging - when the unexpected happens - laws of nature? Good karma? Grace? that flows through the door to help us get back on track - reminding us instantly how our faith in all that we know and don't - are powerful.

Moments after watercoloring today - we looked out the window and saw Aunt Corbin and Uncle Dave walking towards the door ...


Our best friends - going back to college years, where the four of us have shared many of life's blessings - from double dating to being in each other's weddings... helping each other fix up our homes to vacationing on beaches. From published articles, film productions, starting a company, and a family - some of the best of times - sprinkled across the last decade - spent together.

So I guess I shouldn't be too surprised when our dear friends, unaware of all our trials, stopped by today -- just because. Inbetween their errands, they stopped by to give the kids love and hugs, and quickly catch up with life's crazy details that has us all running. Corbin carried in with her a very thoughtfully beautiful Corbin-esque gourmet dinner spread -- Their kind gesture gave Aaron [who also has the flu] the night off from cooking so that we all could enjoy our favorite family hour without its pre-stress woes, wondering what to make.

It was a divine gesture indeed. My work meeting this afternoon ran until 8:30 - but dinner was ready and delicious from start to finish...





Well.... almost. The kids didn't finish their chicken florentine, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow before we can devour these cupcakes [smile]. Thank you Corbin & Dave!


And thank you for being a part of our family.
Much love,

Zarlacht, Aaron, Ava & Noah

the funny faces of picky eaters

a: I don't like it!

me: How do you know you don't like it if you haven't tried it?

a: because I don't!

I Don't Like It

me: ava, please don't act like that. Your brother is watching you and he is going to copy you. No whining - behave right now!

a: but I'm NOT whining [raising her voice and squinting her nose]



me: ava, can you smile for the camera please?

Funny Face

Noah laughs...

Funny Face

and then the copycat makes his funny face too...

Funny Face

Dinner time can become somewhat of a dramatic show. There's a plethora of parenting articles speaking about this subject, from tips on table ettiquete, to handling negative behavior, to even converting picky eaters - Too many scenarious to list here.

Maybe she's declared she doesn't like peas because they are round or green - and she wasn't referring to the taste... so in that instance, her proclaimation was very valid. Her reaction, squinty nose and all, was also warranted - because I raised my voice first - frustration fueled by my own exhaustion. I realize I won't get it right every time, but I think the key to happy dining is consistency.

Here are some of our tips:

  • Offering a variety of healthy veggies with their meals should be ongoing and not just at meal times. Offering veggies as snacks are a great way to catch them in a different mood and time of day. There's no telling, when green will be in again.
  • Dish out smaller - more realistic portions so we don't keep repeating, "finish your plate," over and over again...
  • Keep eye-contact with the kids. For Aaron and I, it's the first chance we're both sitting together in the same place - so we're tempted to converse and catch-up. This is the quickest way to disengage the kids - giving them the opportunity to get bored - and play with their food.
  • And most importantly, we never force them to eat anything. I had traumatic experiences as a child with food - my parents thought force feeding would prevent me from dying of starvation. That's a little exaggerated, but still - they didn't realize at the time of its side effects - and its impact on me with food in general. I know that our kids won't let themselves go hungry. But if they do ask for something long after the table has been cleared, and they picked at their plate during dinner, then I know we need to do a better job with our menu plans.

    [sigh] to be continued...

laptop art

Our art corner has currently taken residence in Noah's bedroom, which complicates matters during Noah's naptime. So Ava sometimes finds herself in the living room, or my office, to get creative. I sometimes let her sit on my lap and type on the keyboard. She'll type her numbers 1-10 [she even figured out the 1 and 0 made 10 on her own!]. Or she'll use Aaron's swively tablet laptop to doodle some fancy art... experimenting with the options of colors and brushes with her "digital pen."

Ava's Laptop Art2

On this particular morning, Ava ran into my office and said, "check your email Mommy" and then zoomed back out -- "email!" oh my -- and this is what I found :-)

Ava's Laptop Art

zoo days

When I was little, a trip to the zoo was a once-a-year field trip we did through school - It was a big deal. And in fourth grade, my mom was actually able to take off from work and chaperone the event - Which was an even bigger deal. I can still remember her sitting with me on the bus... the vanilla ice cream cone she bought me and my two best friends... Perhaps I've cataloged these types of memories because they were so few and far inbetween... which has me wondering if I am stealing that away from the kids by making field trips to the zoo the norm....

By the time I debate my own theory, I decided that a f
amily membership to the Dallas Zoo was perfect for us - for the simple fact that it allows us to be spontaneously adventurous - without breaking the bank. The thing is - our children are growing up too fast. And there is much to discover about our world with them - not just as their parents, but as their first teachers. We have to create the opportunities, prioritize each day, and strike that balance that fits our family. Even if that means we take unpaid time off from work to do so.

Ava and Noah themselves are a little different each time they go - they are older, funnier, more curious and daring...

Trip to the zoo

Trip to the zoo

Trip to the zoo

Trip to the zoo

Trip to the zoo

Trip to the zoo

... and the best part is that each time we go, we all take away something different too...

Trip to the zoo


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...