rockstarHello Sweetie,

You’re such a rock star. My favourite thing in the world right now is watching you dance. Whenever I play some good tunes on the jambox, you stand up, throw one hand in the air and start bopping to the beat. It’s hilarious and I love watching you enjoy yourself.

Then when I pick you up so we can dance together, you scream and kick in delight. It’s like you think you can fly.

You’re nine months old now and still a big-hearted little baby — making sure that you share every smushed strawberry and soggy cookie from your mouth to ours, just so we can share in your enjoyment. You still scream in protest and shriek piercingly when you’re hurt. I imagine things will get interesting when you turn two. I’ll have to buy earplugs for the neighbourhood, because you are fantastically loud.


Just a little chaos under the story tent.

Just a little chaos under the story tent.

An ant runs screaming as the ground around her shakes with a boom, boom, BOOM. Suddenly her cries are overheard and a great king yells, “stooOOOOoop” to his advancing army. Then, with a wry look on his face and a goofy edge to his voice, he points wildly to the ground saying, “There’s an anthill! We have to go around.”

The army changes pace and chants “oh wee oh” like the witch’s guards in the Wizard of Oz — much to the delighted giggles and coos of Eryn and Ivy.

At certain times throughout the day, we have Blue Meanies, grandiose Kings and Queens, Jinn, and honoured Qur’anic historical figures marching, singing, running and dancing under the “story tent” (made from a decorative scarf hanging over the bed).

I’ve been wanting to write them down, not only to keep them for the girls’ memory books — but also because they’re really fun to tell. But they’re never told the same way twice, and you can’t quite capture spontaneous goofy voices or the girls’ reactions to my antics in a random blog post.

So I recorded one for kicks.

It’s a little reserved because we were conscious of the voice recorder, and Eryn politely sat through the story just to hear herself say, “BLAH BLAH BLAH” at the end. So I’d say this is only a small example of our story time. A story time that is often chaotic and funny and that doesn’t always have all the historical facts correct — but at least is making the Qur’an and seerah accessible and entertaining for my kids.

Here’s a quick story about the first revelation to the Prophet Muhammad. And if you have any, I’d love to hear about other techniques, songs or stories making the Qur’an fun.

(Also, OMG, it’s my voice!)

Hello Sweetie,

Your hand. It does amazing things. You’re learning how to feed yourself, and love to sing while sucking on your fingers.

This morning while in the bath, your hand grabbed mine and guided it to the tub. Then up-down-up-down, you shook my hand to splash in the water. Your eyes searched for mine and the biggest smile broke out on your face. It was like you were saying, “Look mama! Look how much FUN it is to splash in the water! It’s your turn!”

What an amazingly big heart you have.

You’re crawling my dear. Seriously crawling. Last month you started creeping and rolling around the house to get to where you wanted — usually near me or your sister, or better yet, a toy or computer wire to munch on. Now I can’t take my eyes off you for a second. You’re fearless, and if I’m not careful you’ll crawl right off the bed, or put yourself into a corner. And no one puts baby in a corner.


So much for colour coordination.

The other day the Hubby took Eryn so I could have some well-deserved girl time with a good friend. We had a fabulous date at a swanky restaurant — two Muslim girls drinking faux cocktails, laughing into our high-calorie salads, passing a chubby baby back and forth, and gossiping about our respective academic-stressed and dirty diaper strewn lives.

By the time I got home, Eryn was fast asleep — worn out by her own lovely date with Baba. He let her watch TV, they learned some sign language, then they went to the mosque before laughing into halal burgers and acting all cool playing with pretend mobile phones at a local cafe.

We’ve been extremely successful with potty training over the past month and recently started venturing out without diapers. So naturally, after finding out how the evening went, I just had to ask about bodily functions:

Me: So how’d it go?
Him: She had to pee when we were at the mosque. While I was praying.
Me: Oh no! What did you do?
Him: Well, I tried speeding up, but it was going to take too long. So I left prayer and took her to the bathroom.
Me: You stopped praying? You gave salaams?
Him: No. I left prayer, took her to the bathroom, came back to the musalla and picked up where I left off.
Me: Can you even DO that?
Him: *shrug* Not sure? Guess it’s time for a fatwa.


On a Tuesday, I know.

I saw them from across the crowded room: white, succulent, fluffy, sweet, melty goodness. Beating back a crowd of women decked out in their ‘Eid finest I grabbed two bags and squealed in delight — mouthing my two favourite words to Eryn. Marshmallows. Halaal.

Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately, finding halal marshmallows was probably one of the few highlights of our ‘Eid.

Babies make great covert props.

Other highlights included getting fantastic parking, having an excellent breakfast and jumping on a few bouncy castles. But outside of making it a fun day for the kiddies, it was a status-quo Eid with a generic khutbah, and the same old oh-geeze-I-have-to-sit-at-the-back-and-listen-to-some-man-tell-me-that-my-non-existent-8-year-old-son-should-lead-me-in-prayer-when-my-husband-is-out-at-the-mosque.

True story. You can read more about our Eid celebration here.

Not a vampire princess. With these teeth Eryn insists she’s a princess of the paper bag variety.

After some henna and putting Eryn’s enthusiasm for repetition to good use with three days of repeating the takbeerat every chance we got, it was time for a little Halloween fun.

Now THIS is a veil I could wear every day.

We always dress up for Halloween (or for just a little cosplay) and stage a faux Glamour Shot portrait session. But this year was a special treat for me. You see, I’ve been collecting steampunk-inspired clothing for the day I could pull off an authentic look — and this Halloween was the perfect occasion.

Seriously, I think steampunk makes the wearer look just a little more fabulous.

Now all I need to do is join the local Steampunk Appreciation Society to get away with wearing these clothes at least once a month. *wink*

I’ve also already gone through one bag of marshmallows. By myself.

With pouring rain since the early morning, today was a literal washout. So we all played hookey and stayed indoors watching movies, eating junk and crafting up a storm. Why not top the day off with some lazy photoblogging to boot?

Ivy is doing well masha’Allah. I’m over the moon that she’s in the 90th percentile for weight, and am humbly smug when people gape to hear she only drinks breastmilk. Eryn was on the lower end of the scale, and I quickly grew tired of hearing how small and hungry breastfed babies are. Bah, the baby contest is all in my mind anyway.

She’s such a chunky monkey, even her toes are hungry.

Eryn is going through an interesting transition at the moment. She’s terribly independent, but descends into spirals of despair each and every time she can’t do something by herself.

She now plays the role of “mama” to her own “Ivy” doll — and will nurse when I nurse, change when I change and speak to me as “the other mama.” It’s all very sweet until she can’t dress her baby the way she wants to. Why does no one ever mention that 3 year old tantrums are 500 times worse than the “terrible twos?”

I try not to laugh when she cries because the doll’s arm won’t move the “right way” or her baby-wearing comes in-between Eryn’s mouth and a tasty treat. I try anyway (not very hard though).

It’s tragic if she can’t get to her chips with the baby in the way.

This week millions of Muslims are performing the pilgrimage to Mecca — aiming to complete the Hajj rituals and fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam. The end of the Hajj will be marked with ‘Eid ul-Adha, or the “celebration of the sacrifice” commemorating Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

So in gearing up for ‘Eid, we made a construction paper Ka’abah and a couple of sheep.

The one on the left isn’t so happy about the ritual slaughter — while the one on the right is totally saying, “Why so serious?”

I’ve taught Eryn the chant pilgrims say throughout the Hajj season and today we sang it while reenacting a couple of the Hajj rites — including circling around her new green paper Ka’abah. Green is totally the new black.

Here’s Eryn pretending that her purple monkey is Hagar and they’re running in-between the mountains, desperately searching for water.

Since Isma’il is being played by the brown monkey, I’m going to say that Ivy is the Angel. *awwww*

It’s nice that ‘Eid falls in such a special time this year. The leaves are changing colour, the air is crisper, Christmas decorations are showing up in stores and people are carving up perfectly good vegetables.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon making tissue paper ghosts.


A very flat land makes for some spectacular sunsets.

There’s something truly peaceful about sitting on a back porch, staring off into silent, golden filelds — watching the sky turn from a dusty blue into bright shades of orange and red as the sun dives down into the earth. It’s grounding to stare into the face of your own history by returning to the place where your family settled, built their home and thrived. Life seems so fantastically whimsical and easy watching your child make fast friends with distant cousins — running from one end of the house to the other shrieking joyfully, trying to race the train that’s literally running through the backyard. The mind flows blank, when the blackness of night is interrupted by streaks of green luminescence — God’s own paintbrush forcing you to reflect upon your own universal insignificance and simultaneously marking how very important you are in the lives of others.

We arrived in Regina after a short and trouble-free flight. The Hubby wasn’t sent to secondary screening for fingerprinting. It was the first time EVER that my hijab didn’t require a pat down. We didn’t even have to take off our shoes. The ease of flying domestic was tinged with both sadness and annoyance — literally showing me how much we’ve lost in the last 11 years. Annoyance that Muslims are regularly chosen for additional security checks, and sadness that I’m forced to recognize the difference between a hassle-free trip and profiling.


Ivy enjoying one of our practice 5K runs.

Well folks, the woodturtle clan is all packed up and heading out to Regina.

I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to my amazing readers who donated to our fundraising efforts for the Run for the Cure.

With help from people across the pond in the UK, Germany, Kuwait, and closer to home here in North America we’ve almost reached our goal! It’s been amazingly humbling having your support. And thanks to everyone who sent messages “cheering” us from the sidelines. We’ll be thinking of you all on Sunday!

Posting will be light until we get back next week. I’m sure there will be plenty to say about Muslims on the Prairies and flying with a rambunctious 3 year old.


It’s always surprising and mildly infuriating — in that, “aren’t toddler just so cute” kind of way —  when in the middle of taking video of Ivy laughing for the first time, my camera runs out of space.

It’s only when I desperately try to delete photos before she stops laughing, rolling over, or serenading us, that I discover my picture-space-eating-monster is Eryn.

She’s turned into quite the little photographer.

And will take 50 photos of the same image — getting right close and personal with her subjects.

Most of the time I don’t recognise the people, objects or fingers she’s decided to snap in her impromptu photo sessions. Here however, is a very close friend of mine displaying some #MuslimRage.

And much to my delight, playtime with a Dalek.

“Would you care for some tea?”



Two years ago I marked my aunt’s breast cancer survival with a post.

This year I’m marking it with a run.

Insha’Allah the wood turtle troop is travelling to Regina, Saskatchewan at the end of September for a family reunion and to run with my aunt in the Run for the Cure. Specifically, Ivy and I will be running the 5K along with our family team — while Eryn cheers from the sidelines.

The run is only 28 days away — and I need your support.

If you are able, please help the fight against breast cancer by donating — or on September 30, please send Ivy and me a tonne of virtual cheers. Every donation for the fight against breast cancer counts toward funding for research, education, awareness, advocacy and health promotion initiatives. And cheers are needed to honour those lost, celebrate survivors and work toward a cancer-free future.

This link will take you to my personal fundraising page.

I’ll be keeping you all updated on our progress by live tweeting the event and sharing pictures on the day of the run.

With many, many thanks.

« Previous PageNext Page »