Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Handmade Stuffies Craft for Anya’s Birthday Playdate


Last week, we had a little Birthday Playdate to celebrate Anya turning 4 with her closest friends and their mommies (More on that later). For a kids activity for the party I decided to have them do a little painting project they could take home with them. I had been wanting to try this via A Beautiful Mess, for the longest time ever and finally did it for this little celebration.




SUPPLIES Some Cotton Fabric (You could even use old T Shirts I’m guessing but I bought mine at Joann), Fabric Marker or Pen (I got this one), Polyester Filling (I already had this one sold at Joann and Michaels). Fabric or Acrylic Paints.

PROCESS I drew the illustrations freehand, some inspired by Elsie and some inspired by images I found online. I ended up hand-stitching them, I KNOW, even though I own a sewing machine because well :p It worked okay though because I didn’t have to make too many (Incase you’d like to know I used the Overcast Stitch to make it a little more secure).

(Once the kids are done, it also helps to draw over the black lines once the stuffies have dried to redefine them as they might have painted all over them!) 




Pictures above from the party by my talented photographer friend Sumera. 

I spread a plastic table cloth on the floor in the living room and the kids looked so adorable working on their little painting projects. We did the project at the start as kids arrived so by the time they had to leave, the stuffies were mostly dry and they were able to take them home in their goody bags :)

Here is a glimpse into what Anya’s butterfly looked like!


More from her party to follow:)

Thanks for reading. Lots of love.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Conversations with Anya

A bilingual household means a bilingual kid! I'll try to translate most of the conversations but sometimes its not that easy. Hope you’ll excuse that :)


After we got back from Pakistan and after trying to explain to her where we speak in English and where we speak in Urdu, my poor girl got too confused and would keep asking me: 

Kya mein Urdu bol rahi hoon ya English? (Am I talking in Urdu or English?)

First day to school after we got back from Pakistan, I was walking her to school and explaining to her that her friends understand English so she should talk to them in English. As she said something, I asked her to try to repeat it in English.

Anya: Lekin ap ko to english nahi aati na. (But you don’t know English)

Me: !!


Me scolding Anya for standing on her piano: We won't get you a new one if it breaks.

Anya, walking away to her room and singing to herself: My dad gives me everything..

Me: ?!

Bilal and I discussing something and day-dreaming different career paths that we could take. As we talked about what we should become,  Anya, panicking: But phir mere baba mama kaun hoenge?! (But then who will be my baba and mama?)

At bedtime one night.

Anya: Walu keh pass jana hai mama. Pakistan jana hai. (I want to go to Walu, Mama. I want to go to Pakistan.)

Anya: I miss everyone that was in Pakistan. I was having fun in both countries.

Leaving me, heartbroken! 

After bedtime another night, after I had left her room.

Anya, from her room: Mama jab mujhe koi problem hogii to mei apko batayungi (Mama when I have a problem I will tell you)

Me: Okay

Anya: Lets pretend mujhe vomitting aarahi hai.(Let’s pretend I’m about to vomit)

Me: !! 
Before bedtime when she doesn’t want to go to her room, Anya to Bilal: But, I want to live with you!

My mom has always wanted Anya to call her something other than Nani, but somehow the word has stuck. I guess Anya remembered this because, one day she says:

Mama nani ne kaha tha keh meine apna name koi aur rakhna hai, nani nahi rakhna.Mama, nani said she wants me to call her something else, not nani)

Me: Yes she did say that.

Anya: Ap unhein call karo aur unko kaho keh aisa karte hain hum ap ka naam rakh dete hain cuckoo bird. (Let’s do this, call her and tell her that we’re going to call you cuckoo bird from now on)

Anya at bedtime: Mama! I don’t like you if you're mad and angry!

During a morning of crafting, Anya: Mama aisa karte hain sab logon keh liye crowns bana lete hain. Humans keh liye bhi aur toys keh liye bhi. (Mama let’s make crowns for everyone, for humans and for toys)

So Anya keeps insisting that Waliya, our youngest sister, is older than Nadiya, our middle sister, and as she was skype-ing with both of them one day, Anya: Dekho walu ka sar kitna bara hai.(Look how big Walu’s head is)

And another time as Nadiya was pretending to lecture Waliya on something, Anya to Nadiya: Choto bachon koi sikhaate hain cheezain!! (Do little kids ever teach others things!!)

At bedtime another time: Mama I'm so so untired.
If you live in the US you have probably seen the advertisement for this hair removal gadget, Anya gets so intrigued by it every time she sees it asking questions which I try to dodge around. Yesterday after I brought the mail in, she found the advertisement for it and brought it to Bilal telling him,
Anya: Baba you need this if you don’t want your skin.
Bilal: LOL
Thanks for reading. Lots of love:)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Of hugs on Skype and this long distant love


This morning as we were Skype-ing with Waliya, my sister, Anya suddenly grabbed the laptop and ‘hugged’ her Walu, and as she did it she had the biggest smile on her face! It left me and my sister both teary eyed and quiet for a second. I thought of this road we have ended up upon, a lifetime of living so far away from the ones we grew up around.

On our last visit to Pakistan, even though she was having the most fun with everyone all day every day, at night when I would lie down with her she would tell me how much she missed her home, her room and her baba and that she needed to go back. And once we got back home, she was so excited. As I was drowning in nostalgia and missing my family, Anya was all happy! And yet now though, almost a month later, at random times she will tell me that she had so much fun with her khalas, or that she misses her nani, or wants to go her phupo’s or apa’s1 house, and sometimes with such a sad tinge to her voice that my heart aches, knowing specially that that cannot happen in the near future.

It broke my heart a little as I tried to explain the bittersweet reality of our life and how it feels like our heart is always being pulled in two directions. When we’re in Pakistan we keep thinking of our home and our life as a family, but when we’re here back home, it aches so much many times for simple every day moments with loved ones. For a 4 year old, the concept is probably hard to grasp but it seems she’s already begun to understand this reality of our life.

Some days each of us living the expat life wake up thinking of our families and questioning our choices. It does become a part of our life, of who we are. And we learn to make the most of whatever time we get with our loved ones. I always tell myself, I would rather have them happy and healthy even if I don’t get to see them for months or even years at a time. Hopefully Anya will grow up to realize that sometimes near at heart is what matters more in the end.


So thankful that we have been able to visit every year since she was born Alhamdullilah2 and that she already has so many memories of our families.

If you live away from family, how do you deal with it? Would love to know.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love.


Photos from our visit to Pakistan in Winters of ‘13-‘14

Also if you missed it before: Sharing ideas for keeping your baby/toddler connected to your families when you live away from them and how to celebrate big days the long distance way.


1. Urdu is a beautiful language in the sense that it has specific words for each relation on the mom’s side and the dad’s side. Khala is for mom’s sister, Nani is for maternal grandmother, Phupo is for dad’s sister, Apa is for elder sister which Anya calls her cousins.

2 Alhamdullilah is an Arabic word that is commonly used by Muslims and means thanks be to God.