IN PHOTOS : A weekend getaway to the Columbia River Gorge

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It was close to sunset when we left our place but made for some beautiful views of Mt Rainier on the way.

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Arriving after dark and Anya’s excitement at staying in a ‘hotel’

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Skamania Lodge on the border of WA and OR states where we were staying. I bought a last minute Groupon for this place and it was a pleasant surprise.

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Next day on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, driving past the Beacon Rock on this chilly day. The rock is a natural formation that was leftover by a volcano.

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On the Historic Columbia River Highway, that has views quite a few waterfalls, we stopped by really quick at the Latourell Falls. It was so cold and icy, specially for this area.

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The beautiful scenic highway

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And the famous Multnomah Falls. I have only seen photos of it in summer and so this semi-frozen version was very different from the image in my head.

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Driving up to the Vista House for some gorgeous views of the area. It was crazy windy here, so we didn’t even get Anya out of the car and slipped out only to take some photos ourselves. Gorgeous though.

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On the way back to the lodge that night, passing by the snow touched mountains and the views of the many frozen waterfalls and the city lights at dusk. I love how moody dusk time photos look.

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Hanging out by the fireplace that night sipping our apple cider and hot cocoa, with Anya inventing her own games with Tumbling Towers and us talking about random things. (Those little bunny slippers my mom bought for her last winters in Pakistan)

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Woke up early the next morning for some me-time with a view.

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Next morning we woke up to some snow and checked out from the lodge as snowflakes fell all around us.

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On the way back there was snow all along until we reached close to our home to Anya’s sadness

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ALSO: REMINISCING OF ROAD TRIP MEMORIES // PHOTO STORIES FROM AROUND SEATTLE // PHOTO STORY OF THIS ROAD TRIP FROM LAST YEAR // PHOTO STORIES FROM AROUND PAKISTAN FROM OUR VARIOUS VISITS

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love.

 

 

IN PICTURES: JANUARY

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The month began with us taking a little road trip to the Columbia RIver Gorge area. (More photos in a later post)

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After we attended a Kindergarten informational for our school district, it hit me that we just have a few months left where Anya gets to spend most of her day with me. And I have been capturing our afternoons and evenings a lot more and also trying to spend some quality time with her.

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I took her along with me to see this Pakistani movie that was playing and it reminded her of her fascination with ‘shadi’ and one day I got I got to do shadi with Ugly Doll. Yay. More about watching Ho Mann Jahaan here.

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Surprised my girl with a net canopy over her bed to find when she comes back from school one day.

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Trying to capture more of the imperfect pieces of our lives. Came back one morning after dropping Anya and took these to show how not-perfect my house looks many days!

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With Bilal working from home a lot too with his new job I miss my alone time at home and really cherish the one day I get most weeks! Also love watching ‘The View’, these ladies and their discussions remind me of my main girls and our discussions. lol. // And dreamy views on the way back from dropping Anya many days. // Making lists as I enjoy my guilty pleasure Coke one day when I reached early at pick up time.

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NOTHING LIKE GIRLFRIENDS : An evening with these same main girls as we got together to celebrate a friend’s baby who arrives this spring inshaAllah. Here is what our version of a baby shower looks like, a cozy night-in with a potluck dinner, chai and lots of gupshup. // Also got to meet the amazing mom behind UrduMom when she was in town. Bonding over chai discussions as our girls played around. How fun. // And happy mail when you find a card from the first ever friend I made online. Love her.

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Bilal playing his cricket and making me watch the replays and we’re not as excited as we were about the return of X-Files but watching it brings back so many memories.

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WEEKEND Evenings // Her sweet message to me before I left for a shoot,  Sunday evening walks, Skype with her taya. And finally we can do family movie nights (Though finding a movie is hard with her)

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We introduced her to our KInect finally and she has spent many afternoons playing Dance Central since then.

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WEEKENDS out when we go to our favorite park specially when its sunny

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NIGHT TIMES in our house: Finishing up dinner as she dances along before Bilal gets home // Random hanging out in the hallway one day as he was on the phone with customer service for our Internet Provider and Anya brought us a picnic // Finishing up some crafting one night

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NIGHTTIMES when I enjoy my chai and reading before bedtime in her room as she plays with her doll house More here.  // I put a note my dad wrote in a frame on my nightstand and love having it there

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HER ARTWORK: Her artwork, sigh. I can’t keep them all and its so hard to decide. One day she won’t write us all these love letters and I cherish them because of that!

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She has started to read and that has been so exciting Alhamdullilah

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And the countdown to turning 5 which she has been waiting for the past whole year, has finally begun! You might remember this from here too.

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My husband has finally mastered his Kashmiri chai after diligently getting after it for days.

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REMEMBERING MY DADDY He passed away on 17th January four years ago and I thought of him a lot this month. More about the memory journal here.

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Loving my Quran classes on Tuesday and trying to do a Quran time with Anya on Fridays.

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These little moments of me-time that help me stay sane.

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Previous Months-in-photos here.

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love.

(Except for the first few photos from my DSLR the remaining were all taken on my cellphone using this app.)

IN PHOTOS: DECEMBER

What our month looked like in photos and a little bit of words 🙂

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Trying to make the most of the first December we got to spend at home since Anya was born. Short short days, lots of rain and the holidays!

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Took a little hot-chocolate surprise for Anya one day when I picked her up at school and we stopped by at a tree farm where she drank it as I took photos (More here) // Because we don’t really celebrate Christmas, and her fascination with all things Christmas related, I bought her a teeny little tree of her own to decorate and she was happy!

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Enjoying holiday festivities around town

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Celebrating a friend’s birthday at our monthly potlucks with our group of friends. Always up for an excuse to get those birthday hats out 😉

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Weekend Brunches // And teatimes on the day B works from home

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Evenings with this one before B gets home // She loves jumping on my bed when I have to change the sheets and I love the fun photo challenge it makes for:)

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Most days while I make dinner she brings her piano and dances to the pre-made tunes on that, its very funny lol // Also love when we bring our stack of books from the library and she reads while I cook // She loves playing this particular game with all of her Elsa & Annas that her daddy has invented for her. It is really entertaining // She specially waits for her daddy to get home so she can play her crazy games with him.

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I finally finished this yarn wall hanging for Anya’s room // Usually what her room looks like at the end of the day, quite a mine field in the dark like you can imagine

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As December came to an end, we got some chillyyyy frosty mornings. Seattle gets so so cold when its nice and clear this time of the year.

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Took my girl to the zoo one day during her vacations and was so proud to know she has way more knowledge about animals than I do:)

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Wish I could hold on to all these little reminders of her love for the day when her teenage version will tell me she hates me. Sigh.

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Lots of time with this one once her winter holidays started as: Being my mama doing her shoot one day // Music time with her daddy // Playing teacher to all of her stuffies one day //Feeding our neighbor kitty while they were out of town // Little miss A planning a mama-daughter artwork time for us one morning

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Some daddy-lovin’ at Mod Pizza // After dinner time one day when I found them like this

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And a super fun impromptu new year get together as we had friends in town. Anya loved meeting up again with her friend she made last year.

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If you’d like to follow along on Instagram, I’m here 🙂

Hope your year is off to a fabulous start!

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love

For previous month-in-photos posts, go here.

IN PHOTOS: NOVEMBER

Here’s what our November looked like, in photos and some words Smile

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Beautiful fog over the valley on clear (and cold), fall/winter days. Just love driving through that fog on these days!

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Our current favorite spot for quick dinner or snack when we’re out.

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I took photos of Anya’s artwork from her last year of school to add to her photo book // And we finally made this cardboard doll-house we had been saving boxes for

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Some Skype and lots of phone calls, with my bestie of 17 years now. Cannot describe what an inspiring presence she is in my life.

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Bringing some tuberoses in the house because they reminded me of Pakistan and my mom. More here.

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I tried to start a photo project to photograph our mornings, but it was harder than I thought. Ultimately could not do it for more than 2 days.

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I actually enjoyed it more when I just tried to document our mornings with my phone.

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Almost didn’t happen and when it did, there wasn’t much fall around, but nevertheless our traditional fall photos with the besties finally happened exactly 1 year from the previous one. Phew, we didn’t break the tradition. lol. Read more about our tradition and see photos from each year here.

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Finally had some girlfriends over for a coffee party one morning. Have been thinking of it for ages and happy it finally happened!

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Love it when our nights are spent less on our gadgets and more in the hobbies we enjoy!

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The later part of November was so beautiful with an abundance of clear days but very frosty cold mornings. Anya and I finally bundled up one morning to walk around it for a bit and she loved it

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Our flooded valley that makes commute harder specially on this day when we had a flat tyre. More here.

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My Holiday Mini Shoots happened finally. More about my work here

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Anya’s first sleepover with her bestie finally happened and it was just so much fun. A yummy dinner followed by macaroons to celebrate her friend turning 5 and coffee for us. Drama watching for us mommies with some cookies and icecreams while the girls played endlessly until finally falling asleep close to 12 am as we barely kept our eyes open for the movie we were watching. Such a memorable relaxing sleepover and hopefully the first of more to follow.

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Playing Ludo with her is still kind of um, challenging.. lol // But she is getting so good at helping me Self Check-out at the grocery store!

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And this is what our Thanksgiving looked like. With family far away, we get to celebrate the day with our sweet friend’s that have us all over for a potluck. Great food, awesome company that always help to remind us of how blessed we are!

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We finally started re-doing her big-girl room and she is loving her new bed and her cozy rug.  The progress is just so slow though hopefully sometime in the coming year, will get to share I 😉

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Some days I try to give her an activity to do while I cook so she’s not on a gadget or driving me crazy with ‘Play with me’. Making a keys holder with a found branch this time. // Some spicy goodness for chilly evenings. Thanks to lots of practice my karahi is getting better even if I have to say so myself, specially made for mister B one evening.

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Followed by the Snowflake Lane. Because we’ve always been out of town around this time, the last time was almost 8 years ago when my family was visiting. It felt so nostalgic as I remembered them and specially my dad and the time when we were all together. I wish so hard that it had happened another time.

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Weekend walk and cycling for her on a cold foggy day right after we got some halwa-puri for brunch!

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My husband loves driving us to Snoqualmie Pass around this time to grab some coffee and touch some snow. A has an absolute blast throwing snowballs at us!

Previous Month-in-Photos here.

Thanks for stopping by.

All cellphone photos taken with my new favorite app on the phone for photos

IN PHOTOS: October

A photos+words recap of October. Enjoy!

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Every year fall brings some dreamy foggy mornings in and around our valley. 

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Trying out some mug-cakes with Anya on her day off. More here

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Potted flowers from a friend who visited // Beautiful sunsets.

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Absolutely beautiful fall around us and taking our breath away!

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Anya didn’t have a field trip to the pumpkin patch with her school this year, so we decided to make the trip ourselves. She took ages finding the ‘perfect’ pumpkins and as soon as we got home, she insisted on washing them and decorating them her way!

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Husband-made-dinner nights. More here.

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Meetups with friends in these beautiful fall afternoons.

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Cooler days also meant being tempted to stay home more than before and binge-watching some Netflix as well as some breakfast-in-bed kind of mornings

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Halloween ended up being really low key, and I realized kids don’t need much at this age to be happy. Anya was happy with whatever we ended up doing and totally excited about her ‘7 candies’ that she counted:)

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More from this series here.

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love.

PS: All cellphone photos taken with my new favorite app on the phone for photos


 

Around Seattle: Ebey’s Landing in Whidbey’s Island

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Photos from a quick stop at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island, WA last month.

The first national park to incorporate privately held property, Ebey’s Landing encompasses 17,500 acres of homes, farms, and businesses still operating in stately buildings that date to the mid-1800s. Ebey’s Landing is named for Isaac Ebey, the first European-American to purchase land on Whidbey Island and is a national historical reserve which aims to preserve a rural community which provides a historical record of Pacific Northwest history.

More photo stories from Around Seattle here.

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Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love.

#EidulAdha2015

Eid ul Adha for us was on the 24th of September. Here’s a little photo story of what ours looked like this year 🙂

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Eid prayers at our local mosque on a beautiful blues-skies and fall-is-in-the-air kind of a morning.

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A potluck at my sweet friend’s house the same evening with some festive décor, good food and fun-time-hanging-out-with-friends for the kids as well as the adults!

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Another potluck Eid dinner at another friend’s house the next day with some tasty food. This group of friends goes a long way back now and we’ve come so far together. They’re the closest thing to family that we have here and the kids are literally growing together. Alhamdullilah.

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This year again we did Secret Santa like last Eid. Thanks to a sweet khala, all the kids got to make their own treat bags full of yummy candies to take home. (Photos of the kids getting their treats by my friend Nabila.)

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Made these little goodie bags for Anya’s friends at her new school. Loved making them with her and explaining why we want to do this. Gift tags via here.

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Hope your Eid was fabulous too.

Thanks for stopping by and lots of love.


Check out previous Eid celebrations here, here and here as well as other Eid related posts here