Countdown to love

This past weekend we went for the final dress fitting

I wont show much of the dress quite yet because both bride and groom want it to be a surprise! Ben has seen these pictures but other than that has no idea what is to come!

We are only weeks away from the big day and most everything is now ready! A special candy shoppe for kids

Table number holders

Centerpieces Fattima has put everything together, from activity packets for kids, to special favors that highlight the uniqueness of who they are as a couple.

With the big day just weeks away all attention is directed towards thoughts of the happy couple. It’s hard to believe that a gift card and a well meaning co-worker (he knew they were both interested and pushed for a first date) were the starting point that would lead to a lifetime of happiness!

Cuddle bug days

This is our last week babysitting the kids! For the past couple of  weeks we have been making the two hour drive and staying four days, then home for three. This time it will be shorter and then we are back to routine.

It is amazing to be part of their lives

To see their kind hearts

And their beautiful souls

Those days

Naptime, selfies, a cuddle bug day

Sweet dreams and ice cream I wish we could stay

Carefree are moments when I am with you

Dance party, touch your head, sticky fingers too

Young people, infants, we all grow up

Wipe the floor, turn the page don’t spill your cup

Look back remember deep inside your mind

Hold it close and treasure it won’t be hard to find

Love you, Gaga

Summer love-6

This is an ongoing series explaining how things all began. Links for the first five installments can be found here:



Spokane Wa. 1982

His hands had brushed wet hair away from sleepy eyes and a kiss landed on my cheek and lips. He was reserved, even unassuming but somehow acted as if he belonged just where he was. I watched him walk with Dad to the pickup and found myself in a haze of emotions, unsure of what to think or feel.

Ice bags teetered on my shoulder until I delivered each one to the counter where they were scooped into a container. Orange butter was dropped into a machine followed by popcorn and seasonings. Condiments were refilled along with hot dogs and lunch meat. The morning routine never changed and soon the doors for Bingo would be opened.

Denise raised a neatly manicured eyebrow and stared through steamy glasses after filling paper bags with freshly seasoned cheese corn. An ongoing play by-play was expected and given to my middle-aged co-worker who delighted in these youthful exploits. Her full attention was focused on the morning’s events and the idea that the man from just a week before was now staying at my family’s home.

Each hour was marked by the large clock that hung opposite our counter and the continuous round of games that cycled on the hour;  diagonal, X, Letter T and postage stamp until they announced the blackout. “BINGO” and finally it was done, we packed up supplies, washed counters and Denise motioned for me to leave. Her smile melted into a quizzical and almost cautionary look as I waved and made my way out the back.



Family affair

img_1076.jpgBoxes, bags, chairs and remnants were piled into the trunk along with plastic containers and bits of brownies and crackers. Clean up from the shower was underway and the next big adventure would be a trip to the Oregon coast. My oldest son continued my mom and dad’s tradition of taking us to Lincoln city each year of my childhood. Last year he paid for rooms at our usual hotel and then started planning for a trip this summer. He and his younger siblings looked over houses for rent and the older siblings all pitched in to make this trip possible! A fb group was formed and the back and forth banter continued between everyone for months leading up to the final day when we met Fattima, Ben and Mude at the Country Mercantile, a stop that has always been made with Mom and Dad.img_8787Osama picked up chocolate covered nuts for mom and Carmel corn for Dad. We all had snacks and then the three car caravan switched passengers and we were on our way!

Meanwhile Mom and Dad gave in and agreed to fly to Portland where they would meet up with Saleeha and her fiance, Edison. They found that the trip missed certain traditions but in the end they arrived relaxed and sat on the deck in agreeable beach weather!img_20180721_171155690_hdr

Nine hours later and several stops at various locations for bathroom breaks and we arrived at the house that had been rented months before. A glorious view upon entry was just what I had wanted and as usual the kids delivered! Everyone settled in, selecting rooms while others put supplies into kitchen cupboards.

The following day was spent on the beach where the little boys enjoyed digging, building and watching.

img_8856                                       While the older kids had a kite competition

Yusuf and Alicia arrived and joined in the fun

Each morning and every night a couple was assigned to make a meal and another to clean up. Mom and Dad arrived to eat our morning meal and stayed until evening when they returned to their room at a favorite hotel. Siblings had hoped for a cooking competition and were disappointed when that fell threw but you can be sure that will be part of the planning for next year!thumbnail_IMG_8998Of course the usual games and even new ones were played well into the night and siblings, sister-in-laws and new additions all jumped in with the crowd!

Shopping, a visit to the aquarium and more time spent on the beach were all part of our experience. The main themes appeared to be; playing games, flying kites and competing in every way possible! It was pure family time and everyone had fun watching babies!

Aquarium with the kids

Shopping and whale watching

Four days later it was time to head home and we started our little trek back to the real world.



She had noticed him months before and what started as innocent flirtation now turned into a combination of mixed emotions. He was cute, no, handsome and he talked to her when she walked near his area. He was different, respectful and clean cut, navigating the boundaries that she had carefully erected over years of conditioning.

Several opportunities had been missed as he slowly tried to engage in small talk dropping hints that ended up being cast off as normal conversation. His demeanor sparked her interest and now questions swirled through her mind. She had never imagined dating or getting married and could not think of entering into a relationship with someone who was not from her faith. It had been planted in her brain that this was forbidden and only now did she falter explaining how he made her laugh.

He sent her an instant message at work and nonchalantly posed the question” I have a gift card, want to catch dinner sometime?”


After Ben popped the question a flurry of planning, testing, creating and hard work began!

As the day drew closer we went to Fattima and Ben’s house to decorate and organize.


Prep work was completed during the two days that lead up to the big event until there was nothing else to do but place the final touches on our project!

The big day finally arrived and it was time to put it all together. Tupperwares full of fresh veggies, boxes of supplies, cream puff shells, oreo pops, bread and fresh lemon bars were all packed up and carted off to our venue (Fattima and Ben’s place).

The bride nervously paced and inspected, jumping in to help when allowed, meanwhile Ben decided it was wise to sit on the couch eating ramen noodles from a pan, keeping clear of the organized chaos.

Guests started to arrive around 1 p.m. where they checked in and were given an overview of events.

A quick turn to the photo wall and then onto water, coffee and a little snack.


The bridal party

Family and friends from both Bride and Groom’s side attended and the day began with Bridal Bingo, the apron memory game and finally a cute surprise video of Ben answering numerous silly questions that had been previously recorded!

Guests won prizes, people laughed and then it was time for a bite to eat!

Shortly after lunch the bride-to-be was asked to open gifts and of course that is when the real fun began!

Jacki kept track of the gifts and Alayna made her way around the room.

While people looked at a variety of bridal gifts including; bedding, cookware and even outdoor accessories, we assembled and arranged the dessert area.

IMG_20180715_144419 (3)

As the Bridal Shower came to a close the men started trickling in and with them our two special boys!

It was an amazing day and one that was never imaginable. It was assumed that my girls would marry men of their father’s choosing until I flat out declined and ultimately made the decision to stay in the U.S. nine years ago! This is a huge milestone for our family and one that will help guide us in further choices!IMG_8777 (1)