We hit 2!

Our sweet baby boy turned 2 this morning! So many emotions running through me today. Id love to tell you why this day is such a significant day in our lives, especially mine.

Let’s back track to about 6 years ago. January of 2011, we received the news that my great-grandmother had passed away. We knew it was coming but at the same time we were all extremely heartbroken, especially my great-grandfather. This year my grandmother would have turned 99 over Thanksgiving. Fast forward the rest of the year, graduated college. My paternal grandfather came down for my graduation and my great-grandfather sent me a gift because he couldn’t make the trip. 2012- January, 11 days before the 1 year anniversary of my great-grandmothers passing, my great-grandfather passed away. I remember how much it broke my heart. He was such a strong man but he had a broken heart. I won’t get into details about it because today is not about being sad. My grandfathers were very close and I remember how much it broke all of us.

Fast forward to August, 2012. I went overseas with my aunt and cousins and remember having such a great time. I spent time with my grandfather and all of my dad’s family. I had never been overseas “by myself” so it was definitely a different experience but a good one. Growing up my dad’s parents would come and stay with us for 6-8 months at a time so we were extremely close to them growing up. Ill never forget sitting on the couch with him watching “Cake Boss” and him telling me, when you get married we’re going to go to New Jersey and he’s going make you a cake. Actually we were really close to all of our grandparents growing up. We’ve always been a house full of generations and I think that says a lot about a family and how close they are. Currently my grandmother, my moms mom is staying with us and I don’t want her to leave!

Back to overseas- I spent as much time as I possible could with my grandfather because I didnt know if he was going to come back to the states anytime soon. All I remember is him tell me he’s tired and that he doesn’t sleep much. My grandfather was one of the strongest men that Ive ever known and it truly hurts every time I think about him. If I had a genie I would wish to spend one more day with my grandfather. Came home, skip to December of that year. I was at a dinner for my friends birthday and Ill never forget getting the phone call from my mom that my grandfather had passed away. I broke. All I could think about was getting home to my dad to hug him because I knew how hard it was going to be. My grandfather passed away December 7th, 2012.

Fast foward to 2014, December 28th got married. Fast forward to April of 2015, found out we were pregnant. Due date was December 8th. Monday, December 7th went to the doctor for a check up to see when our baby would make his grand entrance. The doctor told us it could be any day now. She said it could happen in the next couple of hours or it could be up to a week. I remember going home and finishing up some work and I started to get really uncomfortable. Went and laid down, about 2 hours later I told my mom it was time to go. Of course everyone was in a frenzy and Im like I can drive if you want. Walked into the hospital, get situated about 4pm and of course had to answer a million and one questions from the nurse while having contractions. about 730pm little Qais made his grand entrance into the world. Let me tell you that kid had to be pulled out because he was so stubborn and didnt want to come. Qais was born on December 7th, 2015.

This day is bittersweet. Bittersweet in the sense that I miss my grandfather but amazing because we brought our son into the world on this day. I see mannerism that my grandfather had, his strength, his stubbornness, his loudness in my son. I hope he grows up to be just like his great-grandfather and loves unconditionally.

To my son on your second birthday. I love you with all my heart and know that your babe (dad) & I are going to give you the moon, sun all the stars in the galaxy. We hope you have the most amazing day and you know how much you are loved. You changed our world forever and I hope you continue to change the world.

Advertisements

Hurricane Harvey

i can’t, i just can’t. my heart hurts, i get happy for two seconds and then i look at the news or at social media and it starts all over again. its just getting worse. thankfully, my family and us are perfectly alright, safe and dry. we’ve got about 15 people currently in the house all going stir crazy so we took turns going around our area to see the devastation. this is so surreal, so unreal, can we just wake up from this bad dream and it all be over already? i know our city is strong and will recover but its so sad to see where you grew up to be destroyed and basically gone. places i go visit weekly, gone. people who are so near and dear to me loosing everything and having to leave their homes with their little ones. I’m so happy that everyone is being strong but I’m feeling helpless sitting at home waiting for the roads to clear to do something.

my brother, bless his heart, went out with his kayak and helped as many people as he could. he almost got taken by the current but thankfully he made it safe and sound back home. he can’t stop wanting to go out and help as many people as possible. they are asking that people be smart and safe when they are going to help victims and make sure that you get them to a safe area with other people. if you think you’re going to get hit, start clearing your most valuable and important items. leave everything else on higher ground, put it in bags in your attics but do not try and take it with you. material items can be replaced but your life cannot.

please stay safe, help your neighbors and stay strong. we will get through this. we felt the southern hospitality this morning when we went to the grocery store. even though the lines were wrapped around the entire store, everyone was so calm, so orderly and so helpful. there wasnt a sour soul insight and we are thankful that people are still being human around here.

just to give people perspective, we are in southern part of the city, just past NASA and before Dickinson. our area is okay to somewhat maneuver around but only if you have a big car. please be smart if you want to explore, either don’t do it and wait or be with people in a very, very high of of the ground car but even then 18 wheelers are under water. everything north of us is completely submerged.

i do not know what will happen of the city but i will try and keep everyone updated as much as i possibly can. I’m only sharing the information that i find. please be safe, stick to your curfews and keep the emergency numbers handy and keep your phones charged if possible. i can only urge what i am hearing from everyone else.

we have the national guard, cajun navy, red cross and so many relief efforts in town but thats not enough. we have tons of people opening up their businesses for shelters but thats not enough. we are going to need so much more. we are going to need supplies for people in need, they are going to need anything and everything you can think of. people of all ages, children, infants, elderly-everyone is going to need our help- so whether you want to pull from your own closet or you want buy and donate, donate money anything is going to help. just like NOLA had Katrina, we have Harvey and its nasty.

ill be posting relief hotlines below. shelters are everywhere, george r brown, gallery furniture, churches, masjids, hometown heroes, and so many other places. if you need shelter don’t be afraid to ask.

here are some photos from our area just a couple of hours ago, its much worse now.

Relief efforts:

Red Cross Houston 713.526.8300/Beaumont: 409.832.1644

Evacuation Routes: 800.452.9292

Elderly & Disabled: Call 211

City of Houston Help Line: 311

Centerpoint Energy: 713659.2111, 1.800.752.8036 (24 hour reporting)

City of Houston Office of Emergency Management: 713.884.4500

Harris County Flood Control District: 713.684.4000

Houston TranStar: 713.881.3000

FEMA; 1.800.621.3362

Texas Attorney General: 1.800.621.0508

Disaster Relief Donations:

Diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies.

www.texasdiaperbank.org

Salvation Army Hurricane Relief: 1.800.SAL.ARMY

Red Cross:

Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation

United Way for text donations,

Text UWFLOOD 41444

i will try and keep everyone updated as much as i possible. stay safe.

Astros Opening Day

I have to admit that I am not much of an Astros fan- I know, I know. BUT that doesn’t mean that I didnt have a great time at opening day with my little family! It was Qais’s first professional sports team game and it was our first time experiencing opening day. So much fun! Wish we would have gotten there sooner so we could have walk around more but nevertheless, we had a blast!

If you’ve never been to an Astros game, they are pretty fun and trust me there’s not a bad seat in the house. The food is delicious-there’s a Shack Shack- enough said. Qais was obsessed with the french fries, its safe to say that he ate more than Moe & I put together. That kid can down some fries.

Im pretty sure we’ll be going back when our wiggle worm actually can sit for more than a few minutes but he had a blast. The stadium is beautiful, the people are so friendly and its something that Im so happy we all got to experience together as a family.

xo

What a weekend

This past weekend was a whirlwind. So many activities and so much to do and see, just another weekend in our books. This was one was full of fights, BBQ, festival fun, rodeo & Zach Brown Band. My brother is a professional MMA fighter and had his first fight in over 2 years! He definitely made a comeback and won my tapout due to an armbar, it was an amazing win and we are all so proud of him.

Qais was cheering on his uncle, like he wanted to get in the cage too!

After the fights Friday night, went home and geared up for some BBQ on Saturday. My very skilled on the grill husband setup a pit at our fights on Saturday and sold completely out of his delicious BBQ! Just remember #spicerackshack coming soon. Im not a huge BBQ person but I will eat his any day!

So very proud of my nephew for training so hard and doing so well at his fight on Saturday.

Every year at this time, we have a huge festival in Houston called the Palestinian Festival. Its for two days and we all gather and eat delicious food, play music, watch live dance shows and shop! It’s one of my favorite times of the year and I love seeing everyone that I don’t get to see throughout the year.

On Sunday, Moe & I got a date night. I don’t think we know what those words mean but we definitely took full advantage of it and enjoyed us some rodeo & Zach Brown Band. This has slowly become a tradition of ours that when they close out the rodeo we’re there. This man introduced me to them via the song Free & Sweet Annie and it was love from there. Im pretty sure that’s what made me fall more in love with him when we were engaged. We’ve been going to see them for the past couple of years and he never disappoints. Im not a huge country girl but I definitely love me some Zach Brown.

Until next weekend & all of our adventures!

Jerusalem & Surda

For a little #throwbackthursday I am FINALLY getting a chance to sit down and share these images from our trip back in November (don’t judge me) with you all! This trip was such an amazing trip, I was able to go to places that Ive never been to before and experience Palestine in a way that I’ve never been able to before.

This country is so beautiful and there’s so much to do, our trip was definitely too short but I know we’ll be going back soon hopefully! We had such a wonderful time visiting family, touring the old city, drives through the village, shopping & so much more.

Here are some peeks at what we did while we were there.

This view is one of my favorites in the entire country.

Touring the old city at around 6 o’clock in the evening.

Some of the best street falafel I’ve ever had

Friday afternoon at the Dome of the Rock Masjid after Friday prayer.

I don’t know why we didn’t go in this time while we were there but I just wanted to soak up every minute while I was there so I don’t have many photos of our afternoons here.

Wailing wall

Hidden pathways are all over the old city.

This church in the old city is one of the most beautiful churches Ive ever seen. I could spend hours inside this majestic place soaking up every inch of it. I was an art history major in school and Byzantine art was my absolute favorite to study & well let’s just say I was in heaven walking into this church.

Friday afternoon shopping in the old city market

Our favorite spot to eat while we were out and about.

More shopping in Ramallah

Walking the streets of the village

Someone loved to play in the olive trees.

Going through these photos again makes me miss the motherland and I can’t wait to go again and have our little boy grow up in here, experience his heritage. Until next time!

xo

Our little family

A couple of weeks ago, we got our family photos done with Cassie of Cassie C Photography. Let’s just say I am blown away with these images, she couldn’t have captured us better. It’s always hard trusting someone else with my family photos as a photographer myself, Im a bit picky and when I saw her work I knew I had to have her take our photos. Im so glad that we got to do this because who knew the weeks after taking our pictures would be a whirlwind. Those are stories for another time.

For now, enjoy!

xo,

layla

Qais turns 1

First of all, I can’t believe this time last year I was headed to the doctors office to do one of my last checkups before our little man made it into this world. Some days Im still in shock that I have another human to look after and tend to. The year has flown by and I can’t believe how big our little man has gotten. A lot happens in a year, us as adults tend to grow a lot and learn a lot about ourselves but our children, those moments pass quicker than we realize and poof there went another year.

Babies are tough. There’s no doubt about that. They know how to push buttons on a bad day, know how to tug on your heart strings but they also know how to keep you warm & fuzzy as well as smoother you with all the love in the world. We have definitely had our ups and downs- pretty much every day between 4-7 months was a battle. I honestly couldn’t tell you why but I remember those being my least favorite months, too many changes and not enough consistency. All of the other months, spectacular! Loved every minute of it. But I wouldn’t change a single day that went by as we watched our little one grow.

This year has been nothing short of amazing and truly the best year of our lives. We have an overachiever and the busiest little boy there is. He is into every little thing and I anticipate him working with his hands because this kid loves to take apart and rebuild everything that he finds. He has the kindest heart and the biggest personality and if you’ve ever met him personally he will just want to make you laugh with his silliness. I pray he remains this way his entire life and only grows to love the people that cross his path even more. I say he got the best of Moe & I and I pray that it stays that way.

Happy birthday bug! Mama & Baba love to you to pieces! We can’t believe how big of a boy you are and how much more we have to share with you. We want this day to be the best day ever!