Waking up in Trump-land.

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What a week it has been! Just a few days ago, even on the day of the elections I thought about how exciting it will be for my little girl to see a woman president. Despite the fear  of what the opposite happening could mean, I think most of us felt THAT sure of the outcome. And then on Tuesday night, it felt like the ground under our feet was taken away and everything we knew about this adopted country was wrong! Could America really elect someone who had spewed so much hate throughout the last year, who had uttered unimaginable things that many of us could not even repeat to our families? Waking up the next morning was terrible, knowing what had just happened the night before. Living in a blue state Alhamdullilah, we might have been a part of our own bubble and it was even more unexpected for us!

As parents, I think most of us worried about breaking the news to our children. Because whether we had explicitly included our children in our conversations about the election, our kids got that one of the candidates was a bully and a bad guy, and they wanted ‘Hilary to win’. We had to wake up that morning, put our shock and our fear aside, and tell our children calmly that the ‘Bully’ had actually won! Right after breakfast I told Anya that I had to talk to her about something and broke the news to her. My little girl was so disappointed and sadly told me ‘ But I wanted Hilary to win’! I explained to her that we did too and we were sad too but it was okay, that we can give him a chance and after a few years we get to choose a new President again. I told her what is great about America is that there are laws and rules which will prevent Trump from doing any scary things that he said he would do. And that satisfied her! Somehow it also felt like the perfect time to remind her just one more time that it was even more important to choose kind over mean, in words and actions. And that if she sees anyone teaming up against a kid because he/she was different, one should always stand up for them! She proudly replied, ‘Yes, that’s what we should do!’

For months, Anya has been excited about the elections, following the debates alongside us, and playing “dabates” with her dolls. ‘Mister Trump again!’ became her favorite thing to say as she overheard his name in the news almost every other day as a new controversy sprang up.  I think most of us specially us immigrant/minority citizens of this country have been left wondering what these results would mean for our children and specially for our daughters…

On Wednesday night, I showed Anya HRC’s concession speech, specially the part where she addressed all the little girls and Anya was so proud, eyes shining! I especially wanted to show her how gracefully she took the loss. We talked about that , that even though she must’ve been so sad that she didn’t get to be the president how kind her words still were and how she was still smiling 🙂 Anya spent the rest of the evening pretending to be Hilary Clinton, carrying around Chelsea Clinton (her Dora doll was Chelsea for the evening) and their pet bunny!!

As Immigrants, as Muslim-Americans, of course we are scared of what this election result can mean.. but fear is just what we don’t need. In fact on many levels it was fear that lead people to put their trust in an untrustworthy person and we don’t want to walk down that path! America has a lot of greatness in it and us immigrants have witnessed enough of that in our time here to get disheartened by recent events!

For our kids sake and for ourselves, we have to work even harder than before for our children’s better future in this country! People fear the unknown. I personally have realized that we need to be even more active in our communities, talk to more people, share and listen with an open mind! We can all start in our own circles with friends / family / neighbors who have different views than ours. Let’s be kind, let’s speak and listen to understand! On social media since the day of, it has been so disheartening to see all the negativity! To the extent that I even witnessed working moms blaming stay-at-home-moms for not supporting successful women which lead to Hilary’s loss! This is exactly what we do not need!

In HRC’s words ‘Let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.’

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There will be a better day!

Let’s start in our own houses and in ourselves to counter hate with love!

Thanks for reading you guys!

PS: I have missed this space and it feels good to press ‘PUBLISH’ on this.

ALSO FROM EARLIER ON THE BLOG: Hate cannot drive out hate // This country we call home

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Time to take a break.

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Sweet readers, I’m just stopping by here today to let you all know that I am in an odd place right now where I’m finding it super-overwhelming to keep up with my blog. I have lots of half-written posts and ideas in my head that I’m not able to follow through and that leaves me feeling frustrated and uninspired. I also feel I should focus more on my business at this stage. For those of you that don’t know, I have run my photography business as a hobby and just last summer my husband and I decided the time was right to finally register it and take it more seriously. It has been amazing and I’m so excited about that but as a result the blog has to take a step back. I might be posting on and off as all those words in my head force themselves out but I’m taking the pressure off of myself to have to post every week.

You can follow me on Instagram and the Facebook page, where I will continue to post on and off and share whatever is currently going on.

Would really appreciate it if you checked out my work too and if you like it, I would love a recommendation/referral for anyone in the Seattle area looking to get some photos done. I do Portrait sessions as well as cover Events. I also do the occasional Bridal photos + Weddings. 

My Work: Website // Instagram // Facebook

This stage might last just a month or it might go on for the next six months, whatever it might be, thanks so much for understanding!

Lots of love.

The day you turned 5

As per tradition now, a photo story of the day you turned 5.

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Your baba and I stayed up the night before to blow up these balloons for you to wake up to on your big day.

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Waking up the next day, super excited to be turning 5. A little post-breakfast celebration in the form of a mini donut tower.

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I made you a little treasure hunt for your birthday gift and you were so excited as you tried to find each little clue leading up to your present.

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Exploring your brand new little robot. // And later helping me make our birthday cake.

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Talking to your nani on the phone and telling her about your gift // More robot exploring with your daddy. (This is the one Bilal got)

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I told you I wanted to take some birthday photos + do a video-interview of you and you excitedly decorated the space for me. (Here is an example for you guys.)

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You chose Cheesecake Factory for your birthday dinner because of the Happy Birthday song they sing for you and it made me reminiscent of your 3rd birthday dinner there. How time flies!

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I had been feeling bad that I hadn’t baked your birthday cake after your 1st and 2nd birthdays when you were too young even to enjoy them and wanted to make the rainbow one that you wanted. Sadly it was an absolute disaster (Please don’t ask why). So sorry baby girl. Thank God for the tiny extra cake we had made that we were able to decorate instead!

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Hanging out with us as we couldn’t stop remembering the day you walked into our lives. 5 years of being your parents Alhamdullilah!

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All day we got messages from all over and we tried to read as many out to you as we could. Ending the day with some Skype with some of your favorite people.

PHOTO STORIES FROM EACH OF HER PREVIOUS BIRTHDAYS HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! Lots of love!

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.

 

 

Looking back. Looking ahead.

Found this in my letters to Anya from two years ago, “It is 2.30 am, 19th Feb 2014, you’re 3 years old. I want to stop time, I want to go back. That baby smell, those chubby rolls. I want time to go on, see you grow and discover and learn, see the world through your eyes, re-live my life through yours. And I can’t decide what I want more. “

Last Friday Anya turned 5 mashaAllah, and I feel the feelings again so for today just some looking back and remembering!

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TURNING ONE: Photos taken by A’s Waliya khala in Islamabad as she turned 1 // This is how we celebrated her after we came back home.

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TURNING TWO: The day she turned 2 // Here is a photo story of her day.

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TURNING THREE: The story of the day she turned 3 // Photos from our Birthday Tea Party

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TURNING FOUR: The story of the day she turned 4 // Birthday Playdate with her friends.

More from her big day soon.

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.)

Room Tour: Nora’s Nursery in Kirkland, WA

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Hey lovelies I have a special treat for you lucky guys today. Ever since I first walked into Ayesha’s house years ago, I have been inspired by how beautifully she makes a house feel like home and I am so excited to be able to share her little girl’s nursery today.

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Ayesha is a design student and even though she has taken a break from her studies to be with her girls full-time, she has an eye for beautiful things and putting them together in such a way that it seems like they were just made to be together! Her whole house is a labor of love and Nora’s room is just her latest project!

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I asked her to share a little bit about the inspiration behind this room and this is what she had to say.

“The moment I found out we were having another girl, the first thing I thought to myself was no pink for sure. I love the color but I don’t like how it is associated typically for everything girls. “

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“This room served as an home office for my husband initially and I painted the walls metallic blue to give it a masculine feel. So it all started with the paint color. Who knew it would serve as a perfect color for a baby girls nursery! I opted for white accents to balance the space and wanted the window treatments, crib and accessories to brighten up the space against the dark walls.”

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“I knew I was going for a mid-century modern nursery and it worked perfectly, when I incorporated the mid-century dresser I found at value village in the room. It’s my absolute favorite piece.”

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And here she is letting in on some of the resources behind this room.

Crib: Amazon (link) There are some great modern crib options these days at fairly affordable prices.

Rug:  Amazon (link)

Rocker: Amazon (link) My husband loves to buy everything from here whenever possible, lol

Gold Pouf: Land of Nod (link)

Shelves: DIY by husband, bought at Ikea.

On Shelves: Globe from Anthropologie  // Zebra Print Courtesy from a friend who took it on a trip to South Africa

Throw: West Elm

Dresser: Value Village from one of my trips there way before Nora was born. I initially used it for my guest room and knew I had to incorporate it in the nursery somehow. I later painted the drawer knobs golden to somewhat incorporate it with the other accents in the room.

Mirror: Anthropologie. I had to buy this sailor mirror. It’s my all time favorite.

Elephant wall sculpture: Marshalls

‘LOVE YOU MOSTEST’ Print: Land of Nod I loved the words the moment I saw this at the land of nod store.

‘DREAM BIG LITTLE ONE’ banner: I did this small DIY banner inspired by my beautiful friend Nataliya.

Yarn Wall Hanging: Handmade gift from a dear friend. She did a wonderful job making it and I love how it looks on the wall. Adds so much texture and warmth.

Lamp: Target

Throw Pillows in crib: West Elm & Ikea

Curtains: West Elm.

Crib Bedding: Land of Nod.

Gold Table: West Elm.

Light Fixture: DIY by me using Y sockets from Home Depot. Here is a similar tutorial
 

Basket : Land of Nod holding stuffies borrowed from big sister.

Metallic Baby Moccasins: Freshly Picked. Gift from a friend. Cant wait until she grows into them.

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While she was here I asked her for her expert advice for anyone wanting to decorate a child’s room and overwhelmed by the whole process. Here is what she had to say.

“My advise when designing a room would be to think outside the box. The baby furniture stores look too appealing with all their matching room themes but they do not necessarily give you the look and feel you want.”

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“Go with the flow, pick out the key pieces first and work your way around them. Never shop at one store for everything in a room. Go to thrift stores, flea markets, shop Craigslist for treasures, or go to fancy home stores for accent pieces. It doesn’t have to be a certain theme. It can be anything you like, find or make on your own.  I love that this room can transition seamlessly from baby to teen with only minor tweaks.”

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Thanks for being here Ayesha and letting me sharing this sweet nursery. Hope to be able to share more of your home projects in the future.

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If you’d like your space to be featured please send me a message on nataliyanajibkhanATgmail.com. If you live in the Seattle area, I would love to come by to take the photos for you.
And thanks for stopping by sweet readers. Lots of love.