"Those who spend their wealth by night and day secretly and publicly, then for them, their reward is there with their Fosterer, and there will neither be any fear on them nor will they grieve" (Surah Baqarah, Ayat 274)
When is the last time any of us actually did something nice for the other... not because we HAD too... but just out of sheer RANDOMNESS?!
I thought long and hard before actually preparing this post. This was mainly because I did not want anyone to get the wrong idea and think I was trying to show off... I will say it again, to renew my intention once again, as a practicing Muslim I strive to live my life while always seeking the pleasure of Allah (God) while that may not always be possible, it sure as heck will not stop me from trying!
Soooo now that we got the elephant out of the room, I have been super excited to share this with all of you. I hope to inspire you and your families, as I too was inspired by a fellow blogger. Please get creative with your ideas, there was a lot of acts I was not able to document but I tried to take as many pictures so I could share with you!
Please add to the list and share with the rest of us Inshallah! Cannot wait to see what some of the other creative Mama's come up with!
And so here it begins... 15 Random Acts of Kindness
1) We delivered home made cupcakes to Nurses Triage in the Emergency Department of Toronto General Hospital
2) Gifted a gift certificate for massage to a friend who is a very deserving Mommy
3) Offered to help an elderly person take her groceries to her car, she said her husband was coming (hey! its the thought the counts- right?)
4) Baked for some friends and then dropped off boxes full of cupcakes to their home
5) Dropped some treats off to our Building Management Office
6) Randomly surprised Hubby with fresh gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan blueberry pancakes with organic maple syrup (only the best for him!)
7) Found money, a lot of it... donated it to the Hospital (regardless of this project, I would have never kept it!)
8) Started a weekly Quran Class with my younger cousin
9) Hand wrote Jummah Mubarak notes and had Zakariya pass them out randomly at the Mosque
10) Dropped off/gave away Zaki's baby clothes
11) Gave my hairdresser a $20 tip and told her to treat herself to some lunch
12) Bought my parents a card and left it on their dresser
13) We surprised my in laws at 10pm during the weekdays randomly to tell them I was missing them
14) Helped a woman who slipped on her back while getting out of her car- on ice. Waited with her until the paramedics came
15) This last one is my favorite =) Alhumdulillah (All praise be to Allah). I Doula'ed and helped deliver a healthy baby boy, say Mashallah please!
While book shopping last week, I saw "Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul"... I remember the Chicken Soup series from wayyyy back when I was in highschool (specifically Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, I cant believe I was ever a teenager! SIGH!)
I did remember the books having several positive and uplifting stories in them, so I picked up a copy. I wanted to share a little bit with you... be prepare to melt your little hearts out.
All Those Years
My friend Debbie's two daughters were in high school when she experienced severe flu-like symptoms. Debbie visited her family doctor, who told her the flu bug had passed her by. Instead, she has been touched by the "love bug" and was now pregnant.
The birth of Tommy, a healthy, beautiful son, was an event for celebration, and as time went by, it seemed as though every day brought a new reason to celebrate the gift of Tommy's life. He was sweet, thoughtful, fun- loving and a joy to be around.
One day when Tommy was about five years old, he and Debbie were driving to the neighbourhood mall. As is the way with children, out of nowhere, Tommy asked, "Mom, how old were you when I was born?"
"Thirthy-six, Tommy. Why?" Debbie asked, wondering what his little mind was contemplating.
"What a shame!" Tommy responded.
"What do you mean?" Debbie inquired, more than a little puzzled. Looking at her with love-filled eyes, Tommy said, "Just think of all those years we didn't know each other."
Ever since our little guy has made the jump from a baby to a toddler (which was about 5 months ago Mashallah) he has refused to do anything baby like! He has a new found Independence and he refuses to compromise at any cost. He insist on doing things the hard way. It's as if he has something to prove to himself- or maybe to us.
He has been trying to imitate the sounds, words and actions that the adults in the house use. He takes an interest when I am in the kitchen; he wants to be able to peek over the counter and see what I am doing. He wants to try and open the faucet himself when its bath time. He wants his own prayer mat when we are ready to pray, Subhanallah it truly is amazing.
However, with that being said, as parents we have to be so much more aware around our children. Aware of our behaviour, language and over all energy. I would not go as far to say that all of the parents behavior can be fully downloaded onto the child, but I will say it EASILY has an effect on the child.
What are some tips/words of wisdom and advice you can share with all of us about enriching our children's lives with positive vibes and energy? How do we involve our children in our daily activities without being bothered by them? For example, if the child keeps pulling out the pots and pans from under the kitchen sink, how do change this into productive and learning play, rather than saying "no" constantly?
We have to understand the long term effects of shutting our children out from our day to day activities, even if it is a simple as, a child constantly wanting to play with her mothers purse. How do you solve that dilemma?
I am really eager to start discussion and hear your thoughts on this!
Here are some pictures of Zakariya at his grandparents home. These are a few *small* examples of how we have allowed Independence in a safe and secure way.... Alhumdulillah and it is working really well for us. Just remember, a little goes a long way and you may be surprised at how well your child adapts to some freedom and things that are sometimes out of routine (like using the adult table to eat instead of the high chair for a change, without allowing fear to stop you from influencing that decision)
Always trying to use Baba's briefcase, so we finally got Zaki one that was just his size!
Fridays are a very special day in our house hold. Here are some simple things we do to make Friday stand out- and not just seem like a boring ol' regular week day:
1) Listen to Surah Kahf first thing in the morning
2) Make extra morning prayers and duas
3) Shower, get dressed in our nicest clothes
4) Apply some athaar; perfumed musk (to the men in the family- esp little Zaki)
5) Go for Jummah Prayers to the Masjid or pray at home
6) Read Surah Kahf
7) Go somewhere special for lunch/dinner or eat something special at home
8) Do something nice for our neighbours or those around us
9) Constantly say things like "Jummah Mubarak" to each other
10) Email or call our family/friends
11) If we are out, we try to get Zakariya something small (even if it $1)
12) Put some money for sadaqa (charity)
As Zakariya gets older I really want to add to our list Inshallah. I have some creative ideas in the works... like a piggybank I have ready for him (I will open it once we move) I want him to put some change aside and then we will take it to the Masjid and donate whatever we have saved Inshallah. A couple of weeks ago, we took some hand written notes and passed them out to others at the Masjid (more to come in a later post Inshallah).
Please remember us in your duas, especially today because its Friday =)
What are some idea you can share about making Fridays special with your family and children? How do we encourage our children to love Fridays so much so- that they will not miss celebrating the non-muslim holidays (birthdays, valentines day, halloween)?
Come on super MAMA's share your tips/ideas!
Zakariya loves to copy his grandfather praying. Please say Mashallah!
It's been awhile since I have done the whole shopping thing... but Zakariya grew out of all his jeans, for the first time ever I had nothing in stock (he has out grown all the future jeans I had ever bought for him Mashallah) this called for an emergency jean run.
We stopped in at a couple of places... my husband insisted that we wouldn't need the stroller and that he would watch Zakariya. Of course, in my head I knew how that would work out- but I thought it would be fun to witness my husband deal with our toddler running around the ENTIRE store (insert evil laugh: muhahaha)
Anywho, so we get into the store... and Zakariya made friends pretty quickly bbbbuuuuut not with who you would think... not other children his age, not the friendly store staff BUT the mannequins! So while I wanted to keep him from running around, we focused on becoming friends with the best dressed mannequin. Several games of peek a boo and some conversations later, Zaki waved bye and tata to his new friend and happily left the store.
We went to the next store... still stroller less... and this time, he was not about to stand still- that is until he saw the TODDLER sized mannequins!
I have an absolute new found love and appreciation for mannequins!
I decided to post about a real life beautiful mama, Michelle Dugger. This post has been in the works for awhile now- but I figured after a much controversial post about Heidi Klum's gorgeous pregnant belly, I would bring it down a notch and bring it back to reality, life without a trainer and make up team. Not only is she in amazing shape for her age but she does not at all look like she has 19 children! Kuddos to Michelle for keeping fit even after having all those babies.
Michelle Dugger is mama to 19 children! Subhanallah, I remember when they were 16 and it was shocking. Now at 19, it leaves me speechless. I have to applaud her bravery. There were several doctors who told her to stop, but she kept going and still has healthy children. If I remember correctly, the last one was in the hospital for a few months but she is also at home with the rest of the children now.
Here are some fun facts:
Michelle has been pregnant for over 144 months
Michelle has had 4 C-sections, 15 vaginal births
All the children are home schooled
All the children have names that start with the letter J
She avoids medications during labor and delivery, which can slow down the labor
She has used a number of different birthing techniques and practices, including home birth and epidurals
So do we have any contenders... anyone willing to give Michelle some competition Inshallah ;)
Seriously, I wouldn't mind looking like Heidi Klum during pregnancy. This goes to show that staying as active as possible during pregnancy goes a long way! Four children later she still looks amazing. She is often photographed in the last weeks of her pregnancies taking her kids to the park and working.
Comparable to those of us slumping on the coach, eating peanut butter out of the jar while watching a "Baby Story" on TLC and then wondering how we gained all that weight?!
For some Khala's (aunts) it was just love at first sight, while others did not even make the list.
Last night, my cousin and Zakariya's aunt Zirak came over. He absolutely adores her. All evening he tried to impress her with all sorts of cool big kid behavior. He read salaat all by himself and kept peeking over his shoulder to make sure she was watching. They both chased each other around the whole house- until Zakariya practically fell asleep in her arms. Alhumdulillah, for a good night.
Interesting how children have their favorites... but it boils down to who is the most interactive with the child. If the child's needs are met, if you really are listening to them and hearing what they are saying- then good behavior and favoritism will follow.
I love favoring my nieces and nephews... you can't spoil your own kids the same way.
Zakariya's first love was short lived... they were already long distance, she lived in Florida- but it became too much with the time zone change when she moved to California and got married- but here are the love birds before her big day!
I think the expressions on Zakariya's face say it all... love struck much?!
What about your kids, who are their favorites?
Zakariya: Maaaaaayn, Marium Khala is soooo dreamy!
I was going through some old pictures of my little guy, just thinking about how Mashallah by the grace of Allah he has grown up so fast. Every day with him amazes me. As if seeing him outgrow his clothes were not enough, now I have to deal with the fact that he has rights and opinions! He is totally his own person- every now and then, his soft and loving nurturing side comes out and he takes a moment to hug his mom... but once he is re-energized, he is quickly back on his way to explore the depths of the kitchen cupboards and to whatever lays beneath the sofa.
Zakariya is well into his months of toddler hood... we are also growing as a family. As parents we have grown so much. We are maturing as individuals as the months pass by but parenting has introduced us to another level as a family unit, Alhumdulillah.
One thing I am learning to do- more than ever, is to trust my maternal instincts more. I feel that Allah (swt) has given mother's this ability over all other relations for a reason. I feel tired of trying to convince or justify myself others... whether that be for habits, discipline, diet or anything kid related. Sometimes people just don't get it because they are not living it.
I will always welcome better judgement, wisdom, advice and words of encouragement- I will always be open to it and willing to hear it... but when resistance, doubt and uncertainty enter the picture... than I think my maternal instincts need to outshine everyone else.
For the first time ever this week, someone applauded my efforts as a Mom in a specific area, Alhumdulillah. Not just any person, but an expert, someone who ACTUALLY knows what they are talking about. It was the push I needed to know- that I am keeping my super MAMA cape on... and I am not taking it off, for anyone.
My new mantra: if you have a problem with this approach, please take it up with their next child. In the mean time, I will be busy with mine =) Mama's need to trust themselves and not let anyone tell them otherwise.
How have you grown with your baby? Please talk about it, so we can all benefit.
I know I know... its about time I wrote another post, I am sorry for the delay in between post, but I have not been feeling well. Please remember me in your prayers.
So of course everyone wants to know what kind of products does the Doula have in her diaper bag?! What are my baby must have essentials? There are not many actually, I believe if you get the right products- you only need a few! I figured why not blog about it and save you the time and money. Having been there and tried several products, if I have not tried it- I probably know someone who has and I have probably done some extensive research...
And so the review begins...
My favorite baby wipes! These are especially great to use on the go, they are the only wipes that actually last a long time in our diaper bag. Each pack comes with a whopping 80 wipes! The other wipes I have seen come in such a small quantity, I would imagine moms are constantly worrying about having to refill their wipes container. Leave the extra work behind, get these wipes- they are convenient and have no harsh chemicals or fragrances. The wipes are thick in texture so one wipe goes a long way, even better for those stinky poo diapers!
Soft Bamboo Wipes enriched With Natural & Organic Oils to Gently Cleanse Baby's Face, Body and Diaper Area. 80 pack.
-Ultra Soft Natural Bamboo Cloth Wipes
-Certified Organic Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Natural Tea Tree and Lavender oil
-Gentle on Baby's Face, Body, and Diaper Area
This cream stick is a bit on the pricey side but works wonders. I never used it much until the fall/winter weather. It works really well on chapped cheeks. A combination of vegetable/mineral oil, beeswax- this cream is hypoallergenic- but is not an organic product. It goes on thick and smells amazing. Most everything we use is unscented but this product is scented. The cream comes in a super small but convenient package... a little cream goes a long way. It is readily available at Babies R Us and Sephora.
Once our little guy started growing some real hair, not just baby fuzz... let me point out that I am a total germaphobe and bathe my kid daily but his hair started to smell a little funky... you know that sweaty little boy smell? It was from sweating while nursing and napping and the only shampoo that kept the smell out was this Burts Bee shampoo. This shampoo is 98.3% natural and absolutely smells yummy, it is well worth the price as you will use much less than Johnson's baby products, the shampoo lathers really well and you will not need nearly as much. The shampoo and wash is also available in a fragrance free formula.
Simple suds for baby’s bath. This all-in-one, tear-free wash combines a natural plant-based cleansing complex with sweet orange and lemon oils to create a nourishing formula that leaves baby's hair and skin silky soft.
Disposable scented diaper bags... the only thing that can come close to masking the smell of exploding baby poop! If you get these bags, everyone in your house will be thanking you. Although plastic bags are not environmentally friendly, in all honestly these are just way too convenient to give up. These are perfect for outings, taking baby/toddler out- to parties and other peoples homes, travelling and in the car. They come in
handy when there is no trash can at the your disposal. They are tiny and easy to fit into any bag without adding bulk and get this they are SUPER affordable.
Review from Tiffany (a mother of five): "I always carry these in my diaperbag so that I can dispose those used diapers in a friendly way. If there is no trash can around, I can easily hold on to this nice little blue package until I find one. These work so well, I don't even bother with the more expensive diaper disposal cans for the nursery. It eliminates the chore of empting that stinky heavy thing. I just toss them in the kitchen trash and haven't had any problem of nasty smells. I always have them at home so replenishing the diaperbag is a cinch. They've come to the rescue for other wet items, since they were available in my diaper bag. They are sized big enough to fit a complete baby outfit, or a baby blanket, or even two stinky diapers."
My sister in law introduced me to this one, so all credit goes to her, Alhumdulillah for her experience with her two kids and passing it on to me. This is by far the best diaper cream- or actually CREAM we have used in our house. In fact, we use it for everything. If I get a burn/cut/itch I just dab some on and my skin is noticeably better in a short time. The same goes for a diaper rash- apply this to your baby/toddlers bottom and by the next diaper change you will notice a SIGNIFICANT difference. I have not seen any other cream like it, I mean if I could be in a commercial or do some sort of endorsement for this product, I absolutely would... Anywho I am sure you get the point, so what makes this so great? Calendula is actually a plant, you should google it to find out all of its amazing benefits. I would encourage all of you to keep some regular calendula cream in your first aid kit. Weleda actually had an entire baby line, it is readily available at Nature Source and Loblaws.
Review: "I am completley in love with Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash creams! My daughter has very sensitive skin. She would get rashes so bad that the doctor had to prescribe her a special prescription for it. The only explanation he could give was her skin is very sensitive. I mean these rashes were so bad! Anyways, one day I ran out of refills for her prescription and it was a weekend and you know how that goes, I called my doctors office and was told to call back on Monday! I was so mad! I told my husband I had to get something, I couldnt let her go all weekend in pain, So I picked up the all natural Calendula cream, my husband told me it wouldnt work just like the other stuff and that we would be wasting our money just like before. Well you know me being a hopeful Mom and hoping to get my daughter out of her misery I ignored my husbands protests and bought it anyway. I went home and put it on her, It only took one time and it practically took it away. Then I put it on her a second time, and it completley took it away! It has been months and she hasnt had a rash again! This stuff is a miracle workers, I recomend it!"
For those of you who like "girl versions" of stories, this is for you. For those of you who don't like to read long posts, this is not for you. For those who don't like detailed birth stories, this is not for you. Just look at the pictures. So, here goes...
At about 5:00, I suddenly felt a small gush. I had the thought that my water had just broken. However, it wasn't a large amount of fluid. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to just wait and see what happened. Around 5:30 I decided I had to admit that my water had in fact actually broken. I started gathering things I would need to bring to the hospital. I could feel that I had started to cramp. I was kind of surprised, because I didn't have any cramping to speak of with Audrey. I was really glad when Scott finally got home from work, because the cramping was getting more obvious. As soon as he walked in the door I said, "Mom and Scott, I think my water broke about 45 minutes ago." Scott looked very surprised. As we were driving, I could tell that I was having contractions and not just cramping. They were surprisingly close together. I would say they were about 3-4 minutes apart. However, they weren't too painful. When we arrived at about 6:30, I made Scott leave the bags in the car just in case I was wrong. I was admitted to a room and changed. She checked me and said my water had in fact broken, which was a relief. I would have been annoyed at that point, because the contractions were picking up. I had dilated to about a 3 and was 80% effaced. Scott went down to the car to get the bags. When he got back, he gave me a blessing.
The contractions were coming about every 1-2 minutes and took some concentration to get through. I was hoping for more of a break since I didn't have pitocin. She came back in about 7:30 or so to say she was starting an IV. She finally had everything set up about 7:50. By this time, the contractions were getting really uncomfortable. I was a 5 and 100% effaced. She said I'd probably deliver in an hour or two. Scott was massaging my hips to try and help with the contractions. He was really sweet and was trying to help. I was just in so much pain and I just wanted it to be done. I felt like it took her a long time to come in with the fentanyl. I was so pleased to see her when she finally came in! That was at about 8:15. I did get a little fuzzy feeling from the fentanyl, but I don't feel like it really made any difference at all. When she was done, she checked me again. I was at an 8! She left to make sure my doctor was hurrying and on his way. She sent someone in to set up the delivery instruments table. I was really struggling during each contraction.
I finally asked Scott what time it was and he said almost 8:30. I was in so much pain! Then, I could tell I was complete. I knew I needed to push! Scott said, "Don't push!" Now, I don't know if I said it or just thought it, but I knew I had to push! I started pushing and he kept saying, "Don't push!" I guess the nurse walked in, because she later told me she heard me say, "The baby is coming! The baby is coming! The baby is here!" I felt the baby descend. I felt the baby come out. I don't think I pushed for more than about 15 seconds. I was fully aware of what I meant when I said, "The baby is here!" Well, Scott and the nurse apparently didn't fully understand, because the nurse put a glove on to check where the head was. Scott said they were both stunned to pull back the sheet and there was a baby on the bed! The baby was a girl! I was surprised, because I'd just figured the "probably a boy" was in fact a boy! The nurses rushed in the room and cut the umbilical cord and raced the baby over to the warmer and respiratory table. I was just trying to catch my breath on the bed, because I had a definite decrease in pain. A random doctor walked in. They had called a code white which is "We have a baby being born and no doctor! We need a doctor NOW!" He felt my uterus to make sure I was cramping down. He said, "You're still really high. You have something else in there!" I said, "What?! Are you serious?!" I felt my uterus and could tell it was still basically up by my ribs!
Scott came over and said, "What's going on?" The doctor again said I had something else in there and asked if I was having twins. I said not that I knew of. The nurse rushed an ultrasound machine in the room and th doctor started scanning my tummy. He said, "You have another baby in there! Find the heart tones!" I started panicking! How could I be having twins?! I kept saying, "Are you serious?!" He checked me. I guess he did that to see if he could feel the other baby's head and my second water broke! That's when I knew I really WAS having another baby! I was in shock! I could barely think! Scott started to cry. The nurse was trying to find the heart beat and was saying, "Where should I look?!" The doctor said, "Anywhere! Just keep moving it around. You'll find it!" I was just stunned and couldn't think straight. I guess they found the heartbeat and that it was low and the baby was stressed. I don't remember hearing it. The doctor said, "You need to push! You need to get this baby out!" I was so shocked that I hadn't even registered that I needed to push. So, I started pushing. I was in a lot of pain again. I could tell this baby was bigger, because it took more effort to push out. I probably didn't even push for a minute and a second baby came out! I was just stunned and in shock! This one was a boy!
The girl, Marie Margaret, was 5 lbs 6 oz and 18 inches long. The boy, Peter Hardy, was 6 lbs 11 oz and 18.5 inches long. In all the commotion and chaos, no one really noticed the time the babies were born. So, we said the first was born at 8:30 and the second at 8:38. After a few minutes of taking care of me, my doctor FINALLY walked in and said, "Twins! How did I miss twins?!" During fixing me up, he said, "I have never missed twins! I guess never say never!" Scott asked him how many babies he's delivered and he said, "Probably 6000! How did I miss this!" My doctor also commented on how it worked out that we didn't know I was having twins, because they would have done all kinds of tests and talked about c-sections and made things a lot more complicated. I just feel blessed that things went so well considering we didn't know! I guess we already knew one baby was head down, because my doctor had confirmed that. We were VERY lucky they didn't come earlier, because we have supplemental insurance that didn't kick in until October 1!
Scott also found out later in the nursery that it's very common for one of the babies in a set of twins to end up in the NICU. So, we're very lucky they were both doing so well. Things finally calmed down in the room. It had been absolute craziness since about 8:00! The nurse told me that she looked at me when I came in and that I just looked like all baby. I didn't look exceptionally large. She said if she'd been told I was having twins, she would have said I was too small! She said I gave her two great stories! Not only did I deliver my baby on my own onto the bed, which she's NEVER had happen before, but I found out while delivering that I was having twins! With ultrasound, it's very rare for someone to not know! I never suspected, because I only gained 17-18 pounds and was measuring only slightly larger than what you should! I measured 38 cm when I was 37 1/2 weeks and they say those two numbers usually go together. I knew "the baby" was very active, but it never occurred to me that it was because I had two! My doctor said at my ultrasound that I only had one in there! We still can't figure out how it was missed. We have a video copy of the ultrasound that we are going to watch and see if we can see evidence of a second baby.
I'll post more later. It's late, but I wanted to get an update posted for all you eager readers out there. I've found our story is the talk of the hospital, my family, Scott's family, my ward, my parents home town, Scott's ward, etc. We've been overwhelmed with offers to help and are so grateful to have so many people who care about us.