Friday, October 24, 2014

Conversations with Anya

A bilingual household means a bilingual kid! I'll try to translate most of the conversations but sometimes its not that easy. Hope you’ll excuse that :)



After Bilal explained to her that we shouldn't call anyone batameez (literally, ill-mannered, in Urdu) and that its not a good word.

Anya listens carefully: Phir kis baat peh batameez kehte hain, batao. (Then when can I say batameez tell me)


In the car one day 

Anya: Baba, say snowman.

Bilal: Snowman

Anya: Good job. See AP ne seekh liya hai snowman kaise kehte hain. (See you have learned how to say Snowman.)


I took her to an open house for an indoor play gym, where they had a character with a big head called Buddy that would show up on the screens around and the kids would run towards it. Anya kept calling it Body as I tried to explain to her how buddy meant a friend and that’s why it was called that.

Till Anya told me: Uss ka body hee nahi hai iss liye uss ka naam body hai. (He doesn’t have a body, that’s why his name is body).


Anya asked about something and if Starbucks had it or not and Bilal told her they may have it.

Anya: Might kehte hain, they MIGHT have it. (You got to say might, they MIGHT have it)

Bilal and I: OMG. 

This came wayyyyy sooner than we expected. And then I prepared this whole lecture on how our English might be different for her sometimes because we were more used to the British version, but how its perfectly fine too! Lecture to use at a later time of course! :p


Anya, scared one night: Monsters mere room mei fire lagaye ga (Monsters will put a fire in my room)

Me: Yeh kahan dekha apne?? Monsters aren’t real and Allah mian dekh rahe hain, He wont let monster do anything. (Where did you hear that?? Monsters aren’t real and Allah is watching, He wont let them do anything)

Anya, after thinking a little: Allah mian apne laptop mei dekh rahe hain? (Is Allah watching on His laptop?) 


Anya loves the Frozen song of course like every other kid, except she thinks the song is Merry Go. I know! And determined that she is, she won’t hear otherwise.

Telling me loudly over the song playing in our car, Anya: See, uss ne merry go kaha tha uss ne L-E-T I-T G-O nahi kaha tha. (See, she said merry go, she did not say L-E-T I-T G-O)


Anya: Baba, do you know why I love you?

Bilal, feeling all loved: Why?

Anya: I don’t know.

Bilal: !


Anya jumping around me as I opened a package, and I scolded her because it would break like that.

Anya: Mama jab bhi mei school se aati hoon ap mujhe daantna shuru kar deti ho. (Mama, everytime I come from school, you start scolding me)

Me: ?!


Anya, telling me at bedtime one night: Why are you being so grumpy?

Yes I am very loving for the first five minutes at her bedtime, after that I AM totally grumpy. Hmph!


Thoughtful in the car: Mama jab mei big ho keh baba banoongi, to meri bhi daari nikle gee? (Mama, when I get big and become like daddy, will I get a beard too?)


At home she mostly talks in English and I constantly have to remind her to use Urdu, at school or random places, of course she chooses Urdu. My poor baby is still learning!

Anya excitedly to random girl in library sitting next to her on the computers station: Apko pata hai mere pass bhi yehi show hai!! (Do you know, I have the same show at home)

Random girl, smiles blankly!


At dinner table today.. after saying Nooo to everything i offered her to eat…

Anya: Mama mujhse kha-raa nahi ja-ra, mujhse pee-ra nahi ja-ra

Me: Mera dimagh khaya ja raha hai?

Anya: Yes!


Frustrated with her hair clip one day, Anya: Itna fazool sa clip hai yeh

Me, in my head: that is totally how I talk!!


More posts in this series here.

Thanks for reading, and lots of love.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Family Yearbook using Blurb


Hey you guys! Those that follow me on Instagram might remember my excitement on receiving our first family yearbook in the mail a couple months ago. I knew I wanted to display all the photos we take and have been figuring out the best option for us for a while now. After considering the traditional photo albums (I have a few of those already and because I grew up loving our family albums, it is very nostalgic for me), and Project Life (another interesting way to record your daily life), I was finally convinced on using Blurb and making a photo yearbook after seeing a few posts like this one. And I am so happy with the results!

I used the Lightroom Plugin for Blurb which was awesome and so easy to work in, even though the template designs available are a little limited. It is so simple to use and even shows you the estimated price as you’re making the book.

Here is a peek into our yearbook for the previous year.


I couldn’t figure out how to write captions in the Lightroom plug-in at that point, which I have figured out now, but I think I love the look of the freehand writing. I used a fine tip Sharpie permanent marker to write directly on the pages, dates and memories or anything I wanted to remember for the future (Thanks to Elise for the idea).


I went along with the 8 by 10 portrait size because I thought it would be a perfect size for smaller hands to pick up and go through whenever they feel like it. And also because I want the collection of yearbooks to have a shelf in our bookshelves and the size is easy to fit amongst books.


I had a hard time going through all our photos and selecting the ones I wanted to use. I like the idea of making a folder within your main folder to collect best images from your photos every time you download photos, so its easier to make your book at the end of the year. And I made sure to include cellphone photos even though sometimes the quality of photos was far from great. They have a way of showing our daily life much more sometimes and I’m glad I included those.

Just having the book in my hands inspired me to start working on one of the previous year and our trips to Pakistan. Cant wait to have a shelf full of these yearbooks.

Hope you’ll excuse my super creative way(!) to hide Anya’s face where there was need. Haha.

Thanks for reading and lots of love.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On faith and our journeys.


Religion or Faith are issues that strike such heavy cords in our conversations and relationships. Each one of us wherever we are in our journeys in faith or not, consider it the only way to be. And as we get stronger in our beliefs, we also get closer to being judgmental and intolerant of other people's beliefs. This world and the Muslim world specially, is ever increasingly facing problems due to intolerance. In these days, there is no perfect way to follow any religion. When millions of people from different cultures and backgrounds consider themselves a part of one religion, they will bring their own understanding to it and we have to be respectful of that.

My sister and I were just remembering how a decade earlier, she was the one between the two of us who had stronger ideas about faith. She was studying the the Quran with tafseer1 and passionate about understanding it better. A couple of things which she believed were important in her practice of religion were things I considered not very important then and we both would discuss it but stand our own ground. Now years later as we are in our own places with our faith., the same point came up in a conversation. This time I was inclined towards what she used to believe in then and she was where I was at all those years ago! And as we talked about how a person and his faith changes, she said something to the likes of 'I have learned never to judge anyone. Our Imaan (faith), is not constant, it changes, our beliefs change’.

I kept thinking of her words later on too. We never know our journeys, our life/faith/beliefs/us as humans, nothing stays the same. The things we face in our lives make our faith stronger and sometimes even weaker. We might be the reason someone turns towards faith or we might be the reason someone turns away from it. We won't and shouldn't be in the same place ten years from now. Life is a journey, not a destination, and so are our beliefs. We should make an effort towards learning and understanding more than anything, and if we’re not becoming a better person in our journey of faith, there is something lacking. I find it so interesting how Allah time and again mentions in the Quran how He dislikes arrogance and yet we notice it around us and in ourselves as we think we are becoming more ‘religious’. Lets try to pass on the good that we know and learn, but lets try not to judge, try not to think ourselves better than the other person. Who knows what journeys in faith are in store for us in the years to come.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share. Thanks for reading, lots of love.

Photo above by my sister Waliya Najib.


1Tafseer is a detailed commentary of the Quran. Many scholars have written their own detailed accounts. One favorite is by Muhammad Asad.

Monday, October 6, 2014

IN PICTURES: September


Celebrating 8 years to our wedding (Rukhsati) early in September.


Loving trips to our little local Farmers Market this year.


Will miss this beautiful sunshine streaming in the house.


Celebrating Nadiya’s birthday on skype which turned into an all morning celebration with the stuffies at our home. Loved how she decorated those hats with her hair bows.


My not-so-litte girl started school this month and got a sweet starting-school gift in the mail thanks to a college friend of mine :)


As her artwork grows, a place to hang it up in her room!


Day trip to Mt Baker. More here.


Anya’s bestie’s super fun birthday party at Paint Away


Finally got my first full-frame camera and having fun trying it out!


Enjoying the smell of fall in the air, as we took trips to the park when the rains stopped for a bit.


More in this series here.

Thanks for stopping by, lots of love.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014



Mount Baker, a spectacular active volcano in the North Cascades that Seattle gets to enjoy a view of on clear days, is the 3rd highest summit in the state of Washington and one of the iciest mountains in the Cascade range. A favorite for mountaineers it also makes for a great family outing because the highway takes you right to the center of it all and you get absolutely beautiful views of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan, along with many trails, quite a few of them kid-friendly too. The views from Picture Lake and Artist Point are beyond amazing.


Photos from our visit in mid September.