Browsing Category: House

Traveling Without a Baby

Last week we returned from our trip to Colombia. I had booked this trip much earlier in the year thinking that by the time Nouri was one, we would be ready for a break and a little adults-only time. As the trip neared, we started to get worried that we wouldn’t enjoy it without having Nouri around. Although we ended up missing her a lot, I am so glad that we took some time to ourselves. It was reassuring that throughout the trip I was constantly thinking, “Definitely couldn’t do this with a baby!” From uneven sidewalks, to long travel days, to excursions down rivers and up forts, there were so many things that would have been downright impossible with a baby in tow.

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As the trip was approaching, we became nervous that Nouri would take her first steps while we were away. She was showing all the signs of being ready to walk but wasn’t making that final push. Luckily, about five days before we were set to leave, she took a few steps. Two days later, she was full fledged walking all over the place. Her Aunties told us that she had spent all day in daycare just walking from one place to another. Once she figured out she could do it, she was a baby on a mission! I’m so glad that we are able to be there for that awesome milestone!

We had also worried a lot about how Nouri would cope without us. Would she cry at night when she realized that she wasn’t going to see us that day? Or maybe the next morning when she woke up and realized that we weren’t there to cuddle her? Or just all day long?

Nope!

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We got picture after picture of her laughing it up with her Khala (maternal sister). They had a ton of fun together going on outings, trying new foods and getting lots of cuddles in. I’m so happy that my sister was willing to take time off work so we could have out little adventure. (And I don’t think she minded toooo much since she got all that time soaking up Nouri.)

There is a certain narcism in being parents. I have seen parents who actually want their kids to cry when they leave, as if they will prove that the kid loves them. Not healthy! Of course I want my baby to be attached to me and think I’m awesome. But I also want her to feel safe and comfortable in different situations because we have helped show her that the world is a safe and loving place. That is a lot of weight for a 13 month old but I do think babies respond to the environment we create for them. So even though it was weird to us that she didn’t notice we were gone at all, I felt strangely proud of that little independent firecracker.

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We got home really late on the night we got back so we had to wait until the next morning to see Nouri. When she woke up, I expected a big smile, maybe even a laugh. Or maybe tears of anger for leaving her?

Nope!

Nouri just put up her arms like she always does, I picked her up and she snuggled into my shoulder. It was like we had never left. A friend of mine told me that babies don’t really have a grasp on time, so you could have been gone an hour or ten days but they won’t really know the difference. After this experience, I believe that.

It was harder than I expected to finally leave Nouri but I’m so glad we did. We learned that it is ok to be away from your kid. The world doesn’t stop, they don’t fall apart and it is such a healthy thing to do. We also learned that We. Love. Nouri. So. Much. So even though it was awesome to have the new experiences that we did, we realized that we really, really love our life as being parents to her. When I booked this trip almost a year ago, I had thought that I would be in desperate need of a break. That parenting would steam roll us and we would have to go on some sort of trip to rediscover ourselves. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case and the trip reaffirmed for us how grateful we are to have Nouri and how much we value our everyday domestic life.

I hope this helps someone who may be thinking of taking a solo or kid-free trip. Over the next week I will share pictures and stories from the trip. See you then!

My weekend sucked. Or did it?

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Last night, as I was reflecting on the weekend, I thought to myself- meh, this wasn’t a very good weekend. I had a feeling that the weekend was boring and we didn’t get to do much. Upon reflection, I realized that there were two ways to look at the different things we did this weekend and I was just focusing on the negative.

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The Negative Nancy: Was exhausted after coming home and still had a social engagement to go to. Ugh.

Upon Reflection: Had a great evening with neighborhood friends.

On Friday, one of our neighbors hosted a ‘girl’s night’ where a bunch of the neighborhood women met up to eat, drink and have a general estro-fest. I was exhausted when I got home from work but told myself that I could go for an hour or so and then I could come back home. I walked over six houses and had such a good time that before I knew it, five hours had passed. It was so nice to connect with women in the neighborhood. We probably ranged in age from our 20s to 60s but we all connected and laughed and shared our stories. It was so wonderful and I was so grateful that we sacrificed living in some vision of a ‘dream house’ to live among people who are friends, who welcome each other into their homes and genuinely care about each other. I am so grateful that Nouri will grow up in such a unique neighborhood.

Saturday Afternoon

The Negative Nancy: I stayed home like a bum while Feraz and Nouri went out for adventures (pictured above).

Upon Reflection: I got to engage in self-care because I have a loving husband who gives me a break whenever I need it.

On Saturday, Feraz lived up the subUrban dream and walked to the park with Nouri and walked to get groceries, giving me some time to rest and recharge. I’ve been feeling under the weather and it was so nice to sit at home, color my hair, do my eyebrows and paint my nails. I even was able to eat some brownies I had made the night before while watching a romcom on Netflix. So grateful for a husband that loves being a dad so much and always gives me time to re-energize when I need to. Later that night, we got all dressed up, got a sitter and went to my work holiday party.

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The Negative Nancy: Holiday party was lame and I’m too old to ‘party’.

Upon Reflection: We got to check out a cool museum we had never been to and got a sweet present to go home with.

The party was at the National Museum of Women in the Arts to which we had never been. We took in some great paintings and sculptures, mingled a bit, took some silly photos and got to see some people I really like. There was valet for the event so we didn’t even have to worry about parking in the city. As our holiday gift, we got this cool gadget called an Echo, which is incidentally one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, so obviously it is awesome. We also tried out one of our neighbors for baby-sitting and both her and Nouri did great!

Sunday

The Negative Nancy: Did we do anything today? I just remember feeling sick.

Upon Reflection: We took advantage of the great weather by heading to Roosevelt Island and then spent more time together as a family getting some shopping done at an outdoor mall.

I am loathe to say no to doing things but lately I’ve been feeling like putzing around the house. On Sunday, I really wanted to get out and enjoy the awesome weather so when Feraz suggested going to Roosevelt Island, one of our favorite spots when we lived in Georgetown, I had to say yes. The weather was perfect and so many people coo’d over Nouri and she looked adorable as she practiced walking with her papa. It was such a happy sight to see. Afterwards, we did some shopping and I didn’t feel any need to buy anything for myself. It feels so good to no longer need stuff to feel fulfilled. On the way home, we played a fun game with the Amazon Prime Music (check it out if you aren’t already using it!) 80’s station. We raced each other to see who could guess the song first and I WON 7-6. This is amazing because I am the absolute worst at games like this. Granted, I was up 6-0 and Feraz made an amazing come back. But as we were pulling into our cul-de-sac, Faithfully came on and I got it in the first two seconds to pull the W.

I’m so glad I took the time to write up this rather long and rather mundane recap of the weekend. I’ve been feeling a bit letdown the last two weekends in a row and it occurs to me now that the weekends have actually been great, it’s just I haven’t been taking the time to reflect on the infinite blessings we have in each day of our lives. I hope this helps you take a look at your day, weekend, life and find the beauty in it as well.

Gift Idea – Toddler

I am the biggest sucker for targeted ads on Facebook. Although I won’t always buy the product, I will almost always click. That’s how I ran across these adorable “Lost MyName” books for little kids.

You simply go to the website, put in the name of the child you want to make the book for, choose a boy or girl and pick one of the three adventurers. Right now they have a white, asian and black adventurer for each sex. I hope they expand the choices because as much as I love the idea of there being personalized books for kids who have less common names, it is just as important for kids to see others who look like them in the media they consume.

The kid goes on an adventure collecting all the letters of the lost name. And eventually, after many adventures and collecting letters, the name is found.

I’m so glad I ran into this book. I love that it is so easy to make. You also get to have a personalized note printed on the inside cover which is such a sentimental touch.  I know I would have treasured a book like this when I was a kid. I think it’s going to be my go-to gift for now!

Movies Worth Watching – ALS and Amy Winehouse

We’ve had some good luck with movies recently. We watched two movies that really had us talking and reflecting afterwards- You’re Not You and Amy.

You’re Not You stars Hillary Swank as a young woman who seems to have it all and is diagnosed with ALS. The movie follows the heartbreaking story of that diagnosis but also the opportunity it gives her to face her life and certain choices. It also follows the development of her relationship with her somewhat misguided caregiver. It was really difficult to watch at parts, especially since I lost an aunt to ALS earlier this year. The cruelty and unfairness of the disease really come through in this movie and we both felt so angry and helpless after watching it. That might not seem like a strong testament for the movie, but please check it out. Though painful, the movie is a reminder of the uncertainty of life and how even the worst situations can present opportunities for growth and joy.

In a similar vein, Amy was also a heartbreaking story of the life and rise to stardom of Amy Winehouse. But it was heartbreaking in a very different way. It is compiled mainly of video footage and photos of different parts of her life with voiceovers by different people who knew her and were close to her. It begins by showing a witty and smart girl who is still very much a child when she is discovered.

The uncut footage of her voice is breathtaking. Her talent is just undeniable and so overwhelming. Towards the end, she is singing with her idol, Tony Bennet and she is completely starstruck and nervous. When I hear the two of them sing, there is no comparison in my mind. She blows Tony Bennett out of the water.

The movie illustrated that there were so many people in her life, people really close to her, like her husband, people who should have protected her, like her father, people who could only see the money she brought in and were willing to exploit her until it led to her death. There is no doubt that an individual ultimately makes the final decisions about their life but it is not hard to imagine how different the outcome of Amy’s life would have been if she had been able to break free from the demons, not only in her, but who were around her.

Renwick Gallery

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The Renwick Gallery recently reopened in DC and we had a blast spending some time there. I love galleries but a lot of times they can feel overwhelming or exhausting. Since there is so much to see, you don’t really get to appreciate each piece as much as you would like to.

The opening exhibition, Wonder, was amazing. Each of the nine installments were awe inspiring and done on location by the artists. Jennifer Angus has a show stopping installment made from brightly colored insects. There was a long line to see her gallery but it was worth the wait.

If you find yourself in the city, definitely stop by.

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We ended the afternoon at Pansaari, an adorable, if slightly overpriced, chai house and market.

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