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


making memories... with sand in my toes

Sometimes you just have to go for it. Abandon the fear, anxiety and "what if" scenarios that spiral into the abyss of our minds. As adults, our thoughts are capsuled by these very things - especially as parents. Worrying about anything and everything. But if we simply watch - our children are the very ones that teach us how to be fully free and present among ourselves...

Feeling Free

Watching Ava run out into the water upon arrival of our annual trip to the beach - was a refreshing reminder that everyday should feel like that. Without her floaties... without us hovering over - we watched her run over the sugary white sands and welcome the cold water. We watched in envy of their fearless spirits and were deeply humbled with gratitude for the week ahead... to be together, rejuvenate and let go - at the edge of the earth...

Aaron & Noah

For the past 2 years, Dad's travels back and forth to Afghanistan prevented him from sharing these summer jaunts to the white sands of Seacrest Beach with us. But this year - the timing worked out just right - and instead of walking the dusty streets of Kabul, he is walking and holding his grandchildren beneath a forgiving sunset...


Grandpa & Sophia

So much of what I love about traveling with family is how magnified the routine of days become with loved ones around. Mornings are sublime - waking up to different cuddles and laughs...


One of the things I often dream about is raising my children near the beach. But seeing as how I'm not much of a swimmer, nor a fan of seafood or swim suits - makes this a much prettier idea in my head. Still - it's nice to live on the beach - if even for awhile - and take in this scenery every moment of the day. Ava and Noah sit on the back porch here - on our second day - and talk about how they will divvy up their animal crackers before they spend a morning at the beach...

A&N Shirts



By the time the sun peaked at high-noon, we were ready to enjoy the beach - from
inside our cottage - where the views and comforts of home still took our breaths away -

Family Room

This is probably one of my favorite photos - or moments rather - for anyone who knows my father will know that he has a serious distaste for photos. In fact, I believe he has an allergy with cameras. I don't blame him - I take a lot of photos. When I turned to snap one of him, he frowned. I put my camera down, sighing at the routine of him running away from my lens - but was surprised when he went behind the counter and grabbed his son-in-laws and said, "now I'm ready" with a big smile on his face (thank you Dad!).

Making Lunch

Although most people don't like to cook while on vacation - it was something we all got to do together (like in my case, where I accompanied the chefs on the other side of the counter). The variety, freshness, and gathering around plates of home cooking was like our palettes were on vacation too...


That evening, as Mom and I watched the sun set, the wind picked up - and so did our spirits for some adventure to fly our kites!

Kite flying

Flying a kite


By nightfall, Roshana and I joined Wagma and Dad laying on the hammock - watching the stars turn on their lights one by one. Mom joined us, and before we knew it, my entire family was swinging on this one hammock - laughing hysterically, and watching shooting stars. We listened to Dad tell stories of places so distant... of when he was governor and touring one of his provinces on horseback alongside a mountain and then separated from his guardsmen. Before losing hope, there was a sliver of flickering light at the bottom of the mountain - which turned out to be a small tribal village. Not identifying himself, he was nonetheless welcomed, and given hot tea... Or the time my father didn't stop at a border patrol and turned to look back and see an Afghan holding a machete behind his back... or about the time when he and Mom drove to the countryside and were robbed by gypsies...

The stories fluttered one right after the other - completely capturing our attention as we tried to imagine and piece together these stories with our eyes. This was the kind of experience where memories are made out of memories - where on this perfect evening - my family came together like never before. I was lost in my humility and love - for the family I was born into and for the family I have created - and the chance to blend these two are true blessings. This memory - and this one night - will live much longer than I will...


On our second day - unfortunately the AC gave up on us. After 3 technicians, we decided to part our ways. In less than 2 hours, a new beach vacation was underway... and Masaud booked us a five-star condo with gulf views 30-min east, in Destin. And as a bonus to this extra bit of luxury, the children's slumber parties officially kicked off...

Finding Nemo

Roshana flew back home to start her summer session in college, while the rest of us resumed full beach bumming mode...

Going to the beach

Strawberry coladas on the beach

Making sand piles



Including participation in a hermit crab race... and treasure dig -



Using a bamboo place mat (I mean pirate's map) of course... arrgggh...


Spending time alone with Grandma is a treasured past-time for Ava. Holding hands - and bridging the past with the future - both generations walk fulfilled with so much more than just seashells today...

Collecting sea shells

Although none of us is a real huge fan of excursions, we ventured out to Harborwalk Village and took a boat ride out on the gulf...

Boat ride

Mom and Me

Dolphin Sightings

And sure enough - a dozen or so dolphins put on a good show. Afterwards, Ava safely steered the boat back into the harbor - whew....

Aye Aye...

After dinner one night, we went out for ice cream to Sandestin Village of Baytowne Wharf - a picturesque community with something for everyone. While I tried to entice Ava and Noah to ride the carousel, they both had their eyes up in the air. So, I bit my lip and asked if their was an age minimum. To all of our surprises - especially Ava and Noah - there wasn't. And so up they went.... And it was every bit worth the wait in line on this very hot and humid night...

Dare Devil

Dare Devil

On this particular sunny afternoon, we managed to steal some wonderful candids with the girls musing over the beauty all around...



On our last day - we attempted to take a family portrait on the beach. There were sheer moments of laughter - as well as pure torture - as the kids wriggled this way and that while the camera snapped away...

Family Portrait

Florida Family




The end to such a beautiful week wasn't easy. From the moment we returned from Seacrest last year, we began dreaming up of plans to go back. The impact of the oil spill, the uncertainties of illnesses, the stretches of long work hours... they were all forgiving for this one amazing week - allowing us to let go - and just be...


Saying Good bye

Each day unfolded a different story - and each one of us gave a little - and took a little - one from the other. And we are all better because of it.

Walk on the beach


  1. Another Spring has come and gone and we were able to sneak in our yearly beach vacation... and just in time! When we booked our trip, we were given a 48 hour cancellation window and we did consider canceling.

    What if the forecasted rain did in fact come the entire week we were there?
    What if the kids ended up playing with tar balls instead of their sand shovels.
    What if we had to share the beach with people in HazMat suits shoveling dirty sand into trash bags and scrubbing oil covered birds with GooGone and wire brushes....

    We decided to do the only things we could do. We made phone calls, we checked blogs, scoured the Internet, and we kept a positive attitude.

    We decided to risk it (Thank God) ... and it paid off. The weather was perfect the entire week, we missed the oil by 1 day, and the kids had a blast.

    Zarlacht and I talked the way there and we both posed the question... "What do we want to get out of this vacation?" We both had similar answers... we wanted to share quality time with our children and make memories that they will not forget. We did. After we pulled into the driveway at 3:00 a.m. after a grueling 15+ hour drive home - I would have turned right back around and driven back if i could have.

    (I probably would have made it to the end of the block and then crashed into a mailbox due to lack of sleep.... )

    Here is to hoping that next year is as kind to us as it was this year.

  2. Z,
    This was so beautiful to read.
    Hope you're having a great summer!

  3. Totally enjoyed this - glad you are blogging again.

  4. Hi Zarlacht jan, Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and your commentary. I really enjoyed reading them. I do think should start writing short stories. Kiss the kids for me.

  5. Loved this post, looks like you guys had a truly magical time!

  6. yes Corbin, it was magical! thanks to Zarlacht - it was her phone calls and persistance that made the vacation a reality and we all returned happier ... Thank you Zarlacht. This post was one of my favorites,,, simply because dad was a part of our vacation somethings his children have always wanted to do with him. Thank you Zarlacht.

  7. Want to go back? Now? How about Labor Day weekend?

  8. Zarlach! Love the blog. Happy and sad to see how big the children are. They are more beautiful than I remember.

    The best part is the close family bond and experiences you share with your family everyday. Now a days, Americans look for easy entertainment and do separate vacations. Family reunions are far in between. Or families are too complicated with Dad's side of the family, Mom's side of the family, Half-sibliing's family. My parents are divorced but I still have close relationships with both "sides". Families define, develop, and praise the person you are. Maybe that's why I now chose to live back in my hometown because my family is my heart. It's always nice to be able to go to movies with mom or eat bbq at grandma's. Reading your blog and seeing the smiling faces reminds me how lucky we are to have our families. Love you much.

    Tia SaraLee

    Psss.....Tell Aaron to use tanning lotion. I was blinded for a second. he he he.

  9. Zar, my favorite blog post to date! Such amazing photos, and such a beautiful family, so happy for you guys to relax together!

  10. Zar,
    each time I come back to your blog I get a refill of happiness, hope and energy! I love it.
    What a fantastic trip and time spent together.
    You need to tell your dad that he is reaaaaally photogenic!
    Those pictures on the beach are stunning, all that aqua color! The kids are growing so beautifully.
    And you with that long skirt, like a mermaid...
    I am now leaving by the sea (and really close! It's three or four blocks from my house...), and it's pretty fantastic. But I AM a sea lover, swimsuits (no matter how much I want to hide, I will always wear them!), seafood, sand in my sandwich, and salt on my skin. I love it all.
    And I am enjoying this place so so much. I love it.
    I hear you on the first part, about Ava running into the water. Zoe did the same thing as soon as we got here. We watched her run down the dune, take her clothes off and go into the ocean all alone, 200 mts. away from us! Of course we ran to be closer, but we managed to stay and not run towards her to accompany her. And it was great. Since then, when she wants to go to the ocean, she tells us and goes by herself and we watch from afar (constantly, that is not negotiable). And she enjoys that freedom so much! She also doesn't go farther than she feels safe. So...
    Well, I am happy that I read this post, and that you all enjoyed this much your trip.

  11. Zarlacht jaan,
    wow- I enjoyed revisiting your website and reading your past posts. They rejogged my memory and the pictures were beautiful.
    You saved me a trip to Barnes and Nobles, I could sit here every night and read this!
    Mashallah, the kids have experienced so much and have grown so fast, this has let me remember every step of the way, and what a wonderful job you did along the way.
    Thank you for sharing and writing this. I'm very proud of you and your writing.

  12. I havе read sο many pοѕts about the blogger
    lovers exceρt this piece of wrіting is genuinely a
    faѕtidіouѕ parаgrаph,
    κeep іt up.

    my sitе - BlackChipPoker Offer

  13. Spοt οn wіth thіs wrіte-uρ, I rеallу fеel
    thiѕ web site nеeds far mοre attеntіοn.
    I'll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!

    My weblog - CarbonPoker Promotions **

  14. Hola! I've been following your website for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great job!

    Here is my weblog ... High Stakes Promotions :: ::


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


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...