Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Zahra's Fourth Birthday Party

Zahra designed her fourth birthday party.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

We started the gift giving with a very merry Pakki Christmas Eve. Nani and Nana collaborated on their first ever homemade biryani and it was quite a hit. Add that to samosas, daal, raita, naan, and baked ziti for a little variety and we had the perfect dinner with family that we love. The Texans were playing and secured their conference championship, which I suppose is quite the gift.

Though I've struggled with how to explain Santa and all of the mythology that comes with Christmas to my kids, this is first year that Zayd is fully bought in. He devised an infallible plan to leave carefully counted cookies out for Santa and then count the number remaining in the morning. Less cookies proves Santa. He was adamant about it and I helped him bake cookies.  He left a note for Santa, "enjoy the cookies" and I figure all writing exercises are useful writing exercises. I did happily eat those cookies, so don't worry. I'm no Grinch, and I'm playing right along.

Christmas morning was everything you want it to be: joyous, generous, and family-centric. The kids were spoiled rotten, par for the Christmas course around here.

I really thought hard on their three gifts this year and I think I did a fantastic job.

Zayd received 1. A large spinosaurus that roars and walks and a real spinosaurus tooth fossil! 2. A huge (too huge) Batman and Superman monstrosity of a playset that he has already played with for hours. 3. A custom mommy-made snake modeled exactly after a drawing he made.

Zahra received 1. An awesome marble run. 2. A custom etsy-made baby carrier modeled exactly after my pilot print Tula. 3. A mommy made pop-up princess castle in a festive Frozen fabric.

Ziyan received 1. An awesome rattle made from dried nut shells in Indonesia. 2. A snowsuit - Baltimore here we come. 3. A walker that he had to receive just a few days early because he's so eager to get up and get moving.

After gifts and donuts and Nana's new tradition of Pakistani omelets (smashing!) on Christmas morning, the kids and I played with their new robots until it was time to head out for our big family festivities.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zahra's Four Year Checkup

We might have the best pediatrician.

Zahra loved the appointment because she got to do many new things: get her hearing tested and read the vision chart. I wasn't completely convinced that she passed that vision assessment as there was lots of squinting but her 20/32 was apparently good enough. And despite getting three shots, she didn't cry. She winced and moaned but she was tough as nails for the second year in a row. I wish I could hear her internal monologue sometimes.

The Big Chop

Zahra has always hated having her hair brushed. It's such a fight that Sam will no longer even attempt to brush her hair. We have even sent her to school with her hairbrush and let the teacher deal with it. (Mommy is usually already at work before the kids wake up.) Basically it's a nightmare of beautiful curls that she has grown to hate.

And so... She's been taking an awful lot about cutting them lately. It's been a month of asking repeatedly. I finally told her that if she still wanted to on the day of her party, she could go get a chop. I envisioned an adorable bob. Something adorable tucked behind her ears. In the days leading up to Saturday, she informed me she didn't want it to be long enough to get in her face or need to go behind her ears. She wanted it "like Zayd's". Once she said it, she became a broken record. Zayd can get away without brushing his hair! Zayd has never has a tangle! When Ziyan grabs Zayd's hair, it doesn't hurt! And she's right on all counts.

And then it was Saturday. I asked and she was still up for it! So we called my adult salon and sent her off with Nani. I sent her off with a photo of a short bob and her repeating mantra of " hair like Zayd's" and couldn't imagine what she'd look like when she returned.

My mom says the stylist was almost unwilling to cut Zahra's hair. My mom actually soothed her, "don't cry about it". To be clear, the stylist was choked up (not Zahra!). She tried to find someone else to do the appointment. Ha. I laugh to think about my strong, brave, determined little lady who probably made quite the impression in that salon. I hope she lives her whole life with such fearlessness.

I, on the other hand, can't believe how adorable she looks. And i can't believe how "OK" I am with the whole thing. I have come so far from the young woman who went off to Bryn Mawr. I can't imagine all of the ways she will continue to help me grow over our life together. She makes me want to get a big chop.

Daddy's Soccer Game

Because we live in the best neighborhood in the world Sam has been very involved with a pickup dad's Soccer League. Last weekend the Mahncke Park men played against Alamo Heights and so the kids and I came along to watch.

It was muddy and kind of gross but the kids have never had so much fun playing in the mud. I'm not so sure they've ever been allowed to play in the mud like they did that day. They gathered sticks, we went walking through the woods and they attempted to get a bunch of mud stuck to the bottom of their shoes, repeatedly. Being outside with my 3 kiddos is one of the happiest places I can imagine being, mud or not.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ziyan's First Tooth

It's finally happened! All that practice of chewing on darn near everything has resulted in a tiny tooth bud popping through.

Congrats to my Z3!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our Last Day in Hawaii: aloha

For three straight days in Hawaii, Sam watched all three of our Zs while I went in to work smack dab in the middle of paradise island. We were both scared, I think, but he did a great job and most impressively, he survived!

On our last day, we had the entire morning and afternoon to galavant around Oahu before our evening flight. We definitely had a Mammen-style whirlwind tour of "all the things". I wouldn't have it any other way!