Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our Baby

In our country, we have a famous proverb that goes like this:
“When a baby is in they belly, it belongs to its mother. When it’s born, it belongs to everyone.”
The “it belongs to everyone” part is really great, believe me. And here’s why:
First, when you give birth, you only stay in the maternity ward for a day, unless you have a caesarian, in which case you go home the day after (not enough room and it’s expensive). But that doesn’t matter because as soon as you get home, you are welcomed like a “queen” by everyone. (Your family will take care of you and your baby for awhile, and that’s great, because you won’t have time to get those famous postpartum blues.) The baby and you are promptly looked after. Your mother heats some water and massages your whole body, especially the belly. Next she slathers you in shea butter and you go shower. Then she slathers you in shea butter again and wraps your belly (if you haven’t had a caesarian of course). Afterward, she dresses you and does your hair (you couldn’t get better treatment at a spa). 
During this time, a team made up of your grandmother (if you still have one) and great-aunts takes care of your baby. They massage its head with a warm washcloth (so that its head becomes nice and round) and then its whole body (to make it nice and firm). When that’s done, the baby is washed, slathered in lotino and dusted with “Bébé d’Or” talcum powder or other things, then dressed in pretty clothes.
Meanwhile, another team made up of female cousins, sisters-in-law and tanties* makes a delicious meal, and then it’s time to sit down to eat! You come out of your room beautiful and glowing (thanks to the shea butter) and you enjoy the special meal (that you requested) under the happy gaze of your whole family.
When you have finished your meal, your beautiful baby is returned to you so you can nurse it (yup, that’s right, you’ve got to work just a little bit). After it burps, you put it down to sleep, and you can take a well-deserved nap and rest easy because your baby is being watched over by dozens of people. … 
You’re helped in this way for some time. A few days before the aunts, female cousins, and sisters-in-law leave (your mother and grandmother can stay much longer), you introduce your baby to all the people in your neighborhood (even though they’ve all come by your house already to see you). This ritual is very important because you bring them your baby as a sign of respect and consideration. That’s how you get everyone to adopt your baby. 
That’s how children grow up in this community. When your children are old enough to play outside, they’ll always be watched by someone and they’ll get scolded by a tantie or tonton the minute they’re up to some mischief.
Your children will invite other neighbor kids to come eat at your house because your children have had meals at theirs. They’ll learn about sharing and life as part of a community. You’re probably wondering about the “mother-father-child” bond. Don’t worry, because the others will never get in the way of that bond. Just because you give your children to others for a short time, doesn’t mean they’ll love you any less. 
In any event, in our country, we don’t have to deal with those kinds of questions, because we don’t even think about them, and everything goes really well.
After all, we all want our children to be happy.
Excerpt from Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vegan Banana Bread

This is by far the hands down best banana bread I have ever had.

-3 ripe Organic Bananas
-1/4 cup Earth Balance Butter
-1/2 cup Sugar
-1/2 cup Coconut Milk
-1 tsp Vanilla
-1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
-1 1/2 cup Spelt flour
-1/2 tsp Baking soda
-1/2 tsp Baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Whisk butter, sugar, milk and vinegar (wet ingredients)
  • Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt (dry ingredients)
  • Mash bananas in separate bowl
  • Gently stir both mixtures together and fold in mashed bananas
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes

*This recipe is wheat/dairy free. However, you can substitute with any flour/milk/butter you like. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Welcome Ramadan 2014- 1435

Ramadan Mubarak from our family to yours! May he accept it from you and for us. 

I honestly was unsure if this post would ever make it up on the blog. Sayf is napping and Zakariya is having some independent play. Which he very much appreciates now that his little brother often disrupts him multiple times during the day. I should be cleaning out the fridge and stocking it up with fresh food. Which I will do...


While I have a few quiet and short (did I mention short?) minutes to myself, I thought to share what Ramadan has looked like in our home.

Mashallah with the arrival of baby Sayf our family now makes four. Four is a huge. Three was huge in its own way but nothing compared to four. However, this is something no one will tell you because most moms pretend to have it together most of the time. Including me. 
::: Points at self :::

I was not able to put much time or creativity into our decorations this year. I am a crafty Mama and this year did not live up to my standards. It's okay though. Alhumdulilah the effort was still there from my end and Mashallah Zakariya was so very appreciative.

Living here in the west Muslims are constantly competing with Halloween, Christmas and other nonmuslim holidays. These holidays are a time full of cheer and joy for our neighbors and many friends. So while we acknowledge them, understand and respect their importance in other cultures and religions, it does not necessarily mean we can relate.

With that in mind, I wanted to make Ramadan a magical time for my children. A time full of adventures and traditions. A time where we focus more on others than ourselves. A time where we ask Allah- how I your humble servant come closer to you? A time where we ask Allah to inspire us. A time where we give more than we receive. A time where the heart feels pure. A time where the quran is the light of our hearts. A time where our tongues are wet from dhikhr. A time where we feel fluttery inside.

Kind of like how I am feeling right now. 

This is the Ramadan I pray for this year- for your family and for mine.

Welcome O Ramadan. You are blessed oh month of the Quran. 

Ramadan Mubarak!

 Ramadan inspired activities and books

Sprinkle dust in the kitchen

The center of our home

A tray of full of tradition

Little trinkets, some which we painted ourselves

Our favorite Ramadan read

A mosque built by Zakariya, from a Eco inspired shop Eastern Toybox

DIY masjid canvas
No decor is complete without a Eid countdown!

A little boy who can barely contain his excitement- pretending not to peak! 
The basket has a letter reminding Zakariya of our family goals this Ramadan and encouraging him to always at least try. The envelopes are marked with a number for each day and filled with a single treasure to reward his efforts (no time to make this one fancy!)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Defending Your Birth Story

As beautiful as the delivery of a child can be for some women, it ends up being the complete opposite for others. As the saying goes, “we plan and Allah plans”… in this case, the Hospital plans as well.  Due to a lack of real education and preparation for birth, many mothers either go into a birth with no plan at all, or they find that there are many surprises during the labor and that their plan of ‘I’m going to last as long as I can and hope for a natural birth’… ends up changing.  The end result is that our intention for a natural birth ends up requiring some interventions.

Something I have recently noticed in the Muslim Community is Mothers are finding the need to defend their Birth stories, as though it needs explanation. It often seems like the friends and family of the birth mother are more interested in the “big question” rather than Mom’s emotional health. What? you don’t know what “big question” I am referring to? Let me paint a picture of what this looks like, for about 90% of new mothers…

Mom gets a few visitors at the hospital. She quickly pulls herself together hoping to look somewhat attractive. She finds the energy to put on a smile and greet her guests. Hoping the guests will do nothing but admire her baby, but after some initial meet and greet… the question eventually surfaces. “So I am guessing now that you know what labor is really like, your plan for a natural birth went out the window. Did you take the epidural when it was offered to you?” Mom hesitates, gulps and tries to avoid the question. She starts to tell the whole story, and ends up justifying and defending why her birth plan changed. She is Defending her Birth Story. However, at this point the visitors are not listening anymore. They heard what they wanted and that’s the answer to their burning question.

So, what exactly is wrong with this picture?  The thing is, Mom herself, has not had the time to process her own birth experience. She is burnt out from her adrenaline rush, eager to nurse her adorable baby and trying to remember where she put the extra baby blankets at home. At this point, Mom may not even remember all the details of her birth story.  The last thing she needs in an interview every time she meets an “experienced” mother.

People need to be more sensitive when it comes to how others have birthed. Just because you have experience does not mean you are necessarily qualified to truly educate someone on what birth could or should look like. Some will tell you that to aim for a natural birth is “unrealistic.”  Others may say things like “birth is too painful.”  That may have been true for them… but not for everyone.

I always heard while growing up that experience is the best teacher. Experience is a great teacher. However, there are two types of experiences: your own experiences and the experiences of others. We have all been to our own births. This means we are very qualified to talk about our own experiences, whether it is 2, 3, 4 or 5 births. But how many of us can say that we have been present for the entire time in the delivery room during someone else’s birth? What about 2, 3, 4 or 5 other women’s births?

The thought I want to leave you with is this: does the answer to the burning question really matter? Our community has become obsessed with the curiosity of birth. Sometimes even the Fathers will discuss births and ask the same questions as us women. When we wrap ourselves up in what doesn’t matter, we detract from what really does. A beautiful baby!  

Whatever route he/she came by, it is always a blessing from Allah to hold a new life in your hands.

Birth is intimate, it is private and it is memorable- so long as we let it be.

Friday, January 31, 2014

10 Days to Dairy Free

I was asked to make a food journal of our diet. Many people think when you follow any sort of healthy lifestyle you miss out on tasty foods. That is not the case at all! Still in doubt? Join me on my photographic journey for 10 days of 10 delicious dairy free, wheat free meals!

Follow Me to see more delicious meals! 

Day 1 

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Year, New You.

Welcome New Year.... Better late than never. I suppose.

I had high hopes to get back into the blogosphere. Wanting to jump back on the blog wagon. It has not happened and I have to be honest with myself. I use to blog for fun. Blogging now seems like a chore, another one of the items I strive to cross of my daily to do list. Blogging has taken a back seat. I have been focusing on prioritizing, especially with being back to work after baby. Even now while typing these exact words- I am thinking of all emails I need to reply to. The pile of messy dishes in the sink are practically staring at me, calling my name. 
(Insert crazy, messy haired, spit up stained pajama wearing lady face)

Have you ever heard that saying.... if you rip it off fast like bandage it won't hurt as much?!

SO.... here goes...

Blogger, I am not sure how exactly to put this. I am not breaking up with you. I am simply wanting  some time apart. It's not you... its me. OK fine, it is you. This relationship requires too much. I can't keep up with your demands and constant needs. I feel like we just don't belong together anymore... at least not for right now.
 This is not good bye. This is see you later. 

I found someone else. Someone who treats me better. Someone who does not require the same attention as you do. Someone who I can see myself with daily. 

Blogger meet my Facebook page. Facebook page meet blogger. 

I will still be blogging every now and then but my Facebook page will have daily updates, links, recipes, photos and more! 

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