Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Frio Adventurers

We spent one of our last summer weekends at the Frio. Just like real Texans.

We rented a house at the Concan Country Club (unlike most Texans) and enjoyed days at the river and evenings in the pool.

The kids had a great time with 12 kids running around and we enjoyed having some one else (neighbor kids) entertain them!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Big Bend

You don't need words.

Just go!

Marfa! Because we are the hippest!

Early one morning, Ziyan, mom and I escaped our west Texas house (and those men and big kids!) to drive forty five miles to Prada Marfa. If you're unfamiliar, it's an art installation in the middle of the desert that is an unopenable building stocked with Prada merchandise from 10 years ago.

Hmmmm. I'm no art critic but I felt convinced the artist would laugh at us. I think you can juxtapose our excessive trip into the desert to see Prada things behind a glass to the excessive expense of actually buying one of those things. And thus, we're all fools. Everyone but the artist? Isn't that how art works? I wish my dear friend Payal had been there to critique my critique.

Afterward, we did a little shopping and because there weren't enough stores by our big city standards, we bought entirely too much hand milled soap.

To cap our art-filled day, we had the guys+Zahra meet us at Donald Judd's artist compound Chinati foundation. We enjoyed 100 aluminum cubes housed in an old military barrack that once served as a  POW facility for German soldiers we captured in North Africa during WWII. The best thing to help me enjoy art more is definitely art mixed with history! I love math and I love performance but sometimes inanimate art is hard for me. (See Prada Marfa, above.) While the experience was lovely, the pictures are phenomenal!

Marfa, check! This trip is almost complete!

West Texas Traipsing

Back in early July... Two vacations ago...

After arriving in the stillest of the night, Sam and I were up and at em searching Ft Davis for breakfast tacos first thing the next morning. Just as in San Antonio, Zahra wanted to accompany us (as on any adventure out of the house) and it would take a considerable bribe (or threat) to get Zayd out the front door. So we took our Littles and headed into town. We found a tiny shop at the base of Sleeping Lion Mountain. My goodness. This was the view walking into the taco shop.

It was breathtaking. I was glad to have arrived so late and thus experience the Davis Mountains with fresh morning eyes at the very start of the vacation.

Through out the trip we enjoyed our home base of Fort Davis. We enjoyed ice cream at the local drugstore and soda fountain, ice cream out of a train car, and fresh honey lollipops. Yum! The kids both discovered awesome finds at the rock and fossill  store. The town was tiny but the mountains we unbeatable. Most of us took a quick hike up a mountain on the second morning. The kids complained quite a bit but I'll make adventurers of them yet. Ziyan was beyond eager to hike and actually walked down the last little stretch while I held both hands firmly so he didn't just tumble all the way down. I loved seeing that at least one of these Zs is going to be exuberantly Lonely Planeting with me. (I knew I needed a third baby!)

For Sam and I, a highlight from trip was absolutely the McDonald observatory. We went to a Star Party that we would do again any day... Without our kids. We saw Saturn, Jupiter, and some nebula before we had to whisk Zahra off that freezing mountain.

Ziyan, Zayd, Nani and I ventured to Alpine to catch the Big Bend Cowboys in their win over some other tiny Texas town. I think it was Zayd's first baseball game and he enjoyed it. I'd been to Jon's little league games in bigger stadiums and loved the down home feel... Mostly.

Honestly, the entire trip I thought repeatedly about the things I've learned about America over this past year or two. That lots of Americans don't like immigrants, for example. Not all, by any means, but apparently lots. That's not even getting into religion where we know I, again, don't fare very well with "many" Americans. Throughout the trip, I repeatedly questioned my decision to traipse all of the beautifully pigmented babies out to meet "many" presumably good and loving Americans. I would never claim there are more of the "many" out in Alpine than right here in San Antonio, as I have no idea. I will say, when suddenly you (and the people you brought) are the only people who look like you that you've seen in five days...it can be unnerving. All of that said, everyone was pleasant and my worries were for not. My occasional discomfort though, is a useful resource that serves to keep my family safe. A depressing, realistic resource.

Just as we started that first morning, this vacation was wonderful for giving each of us special time together in different little groupings. I don't know if Sam, Zahra, Ziyan and I have ever done ANYTHING alone as a foursome. Ziyan spent so much extra time with Nani and Nana that he likes to video chat them these days! It's amazing how you create and then evolve unique dynamics when on a big family vacation. It was an opportunity to experience each other more fully, which is probably exactly the purpose of family vacation.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Oh, my Zahra

My sweet, intriguing, inspiring little Zahra kindly asked to see one of my work notebooks, then wrote all over it.

So, now it is hers. That's perfectly fine with me.

While planning our next vacation, I used a page to jot down some day trip ideas out in west Texas.

She responded as such.

I asked her what it meant and she informed me that she was writing "Mom, why did you write in my book?"

Ah. It's like that!?

I put the book down and went on my way.

Two days later, I wanted to flesh out some more of our vacation and returned to this mischievous little book.

The first page I opened said, "mi mom loves me ZRM too the Moon (and) back". It's nearly all backward and adorably confusing for my little lady who makes very few mistakes. She prides herself on how hard she works and I'm both amazed that she wrote this and in awe of what a baby she still is.

Be still my heart.

I had to write a note back.

I cannot wait to spend my whole life with this amazing little woman. I look at her and see the future that reflects a past I had with my grandma and the present I'm enjoying with my mother. What lucky women we all have/will come to be.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Eid Mubarak

We started the first night of Eid by joining our cousins at their masjid for İsha prayer and an Eid bazaar. Uncle Amaar gave the kids candy for a 10pm snack, Nana bought each kid a neon light up toy and even our super-loved Nini joined us! It was fun to get mendhi all together and tour her around the mosque. (I mean letting her see their mosque but I'm sure the mosque was noticing her blonde hair right back.)

After staying up way too late, we woke the kids to open gifts and prepare for morning prayers. For the first time ever, I think Zahra really liked her gifts! A big girl frozen backpack, a frozen castle, and a paint it yourself cupcake piggy bank. Zayd is easy to please with Batman legos, pokemon cards, and magna tiles.

Eid prayers were great and the khutbah (sermon) was affirmative. Being a Muslim over the last year can sometimes feel lonely out in the regular world. The word isolation comes to mind. Eid, the mosque, and family countered that by enriching my feeling of connectedness to the good energy abundant in this life.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Independence: Ziyan feeds himself...

... or call it what you will.

He truly loves holding the spoon.

I can see his thirst for independence in all sorts of ways. He wants to hold the spoon. He wants to use a straw to get water from a cup but is completely incapable. He wants to walk. He wants to feed me. And, all of a sudden, he prefers to sleep in his own bed all night. He still wakes twice, but wants to return to his bed. I loved the first night and even the second. But last night was the third night and I felt a little blue.

Luckily (?) the two other Zs were in my bed somewhere between 5 and 530 this morning, when this littlest Z and I woke up. So, I know they always come back. I will say Zahra almost never comes to snuggle, so when she does its a special treat. Zayd appears in the super early morning about once every week or two. It's perfect. I love these three amazing people. I'm so glad to have each and every one of them beside me...night or day.