One step forward

The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity

From bridal shower

To vacation and babysitting!

But this weekend was mundane and time was spent organizing and getting back to routine. College kids have trickled into town and classes at our University start today.img_20180426_174511

My oldest daughter started a better job and moved to Seattle. She was kind enough to leave behind some of her furniture which was added to our guest room as well as the living room. Old, worn items were replaced with new and fresh and a cute chair, dresser and a queen bed were added to our guest room.

She also purchased a new vehicle and gave us her cute little black car. The next day it was totaled. My children are alive and healing both physically and mentally and everything else is just a speck on the screen.

2017- my three precious babies who were in the car when the accident occurred. IMG_2613

Life moves forward with lessons, heartaches and so many blessings. Children graduate, start new jobs, get married and move away. Each step I push, encourage and let them know it is ok and even mandatory that they move on with their lives. They worry, feel stressed and it is not easy for them to leave us behind. We were formed into a unit, a well oiled machine of protection, preservation and cooperation making sure each member of our team was taken care of.

We laugh, argue and support each one who moves forward with love, encouragement and the occasional toaster! They come back to spread joy and inspiration to the rest of us and of course board games, cards and cooking commence bringing back old times, memories and even some of the good times in Saudi. Pans bubble with sauce and new dishes are introduced to what has possibly become a boring routine. Laughter, hugs and new additions are all welcome under my roof.  It is sad, heartbreaking and joyful but it is my job and my mission to watch them grow and thrive no matter how it makes me feel. How does it make me feel?

            Proud and blessed in every way!IMG_7768



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.

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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)


As you may have noticed I have been absent for a couple of weeks! A break was needed and a beautiful beach vacation followed!

Here are some highlights, meanwhile we are busy babysitting our little ones! I am preparing a post of the bridal shower and will also give you an update on life in our household.

Sweet and salty tray -Bridal shower

The Oregon coast


Seven days


Seven days in the life of a large household can be chaotic, stressful and of course joyful. This past week was no different and included last minute preparations for the bridal shower, a trip to the lake for the fourth of July and an extended visit from the middle child.

Soos with the fan wall she created that will hang above the check in area where I will greet guests and guide them to the photo booth.IMG_E8657

Games and decorations have been finalized and as always the kids are willing to test new ideas!

A break from planning meant big sister taking little brother out for cinnamon roll French toast. As you can see this was a highlight of his week!IMG_20180629_124344

Mid week it was time to head to the lake for the traditional fourth of July celebration. Things are much quieter these days with fewer guests and simple food. It is always a great time and as usual one of my favorite people was present, KK. When asked how long we had known each other she said it was 1975. She was hired by mom and they became best friends and have been ever since! She and her husband John are truly family.


Fattima decorated the brownie cake mom makes every year, the kids swam and played basketball and then we made our way back to town.


It is basically countdown week for the shower and I will be sharing more throughout the week. As always blessings are numerous along with the many freedoms that our family holds dear!




We had a fairly quiet weekend with the exception of a visit from my middle child!  He arrived while we were out running errands and typical of this particular member of our unit, he found the photo wall and our props and sent us a picture of his version of the girls’ pose and also let us know he was home!

Of course the usual noise from games, cards and movies could be heard from downstairs. We also spent time testing more of the bridal shower recipes. A solid timeline has taken shape as well as the final menu! Jobs were assigned to each member of our team and arrangement of tables, photo wall and various other decorated locations were discussed.


The shower will take place at Fattima and Ben’s home and so a mock up of these plans has been made. Soos and Deeja were surprised to see the old Lynn, arranging, planning and making sure every detail was perfect! Below are just a few of the things we have tried and the second time around we have new plans and ideas for perfecting everything.

The kids had fun making Chinese cotton candy which didn’t quite turn out but was still a fun project.

I am on my second course of antibiotics to get rid of strep throat but am finally feeling better. Today will be spent looking over the first chapters my daughter has edited for my book!IMG_8539

Countdown to love



IMG_8498As the days tick away the little workshop gets more and more crowded. The girls ask me if I am o.k. with “stuff” being everywhere as they know I am prone to picking up and discarding or storing little bits and pieces of things left lying around.

I reassure them that anything goes in the untidy department as they work daily on numerous bridal shower projects.

Their creativity amazes me as they carry on the family tradition of “making do”, bonding over projects and ultimately stepping up to help their sister while sharing in her joy!

Games are stacked near the work area and breaks are taken to challenge their brothers to tournaments and matches! Movies and shows play in the background and there is no shortage of laughter as the carefree days of summer pass by.

I am a planner so I check things off of my master list, add and take away until I feel everything is just so. Testing bridal shower food and planning activities is ongoing and much of the day is spent consumed with new ideas and more creativity.

Bridal shower games, food, tables and decorations are the topic of discussion for the next few weeks and bring joy and excitement.

The family unit is once again solid and any positive aspects of our past life and traditions are now evident in the younger kids as well. Working hard to help each other, respecting differing opinions and making sure everyone has a voice, these are all integral parts of our family structure. There is always hope and for us there are pieces of love, joy and undeniable happiness that we shared even in the darkest of times. IMG_E8491


The last birthday


The first half of the year we celebrate 12 of our 16 family birthdays. Our last birthday until October was yesterday and now I am left with only two teenagers! I took last week off and tried to just feel better and luckily no one else in our household seems to have come down with strep throat.

I spent the week tending to my plants and flowers


Packages for the bridal shower kept coming in and we spent more time working on our menu.

The week came to an end and it was time for a favorite meal and the last birthday for months to come!

Beef szechuan, Chinese cabbage salad, fried rice and brown rice teriyaki noodles!

Turtle caramel cheesecake topped with fudge sauce and caramel, pecan, mini chocolate chips and peanut butter cups! 

Happy birthday to my 7th child and a huge piece of my heart! I love you Mude!

Countdown love


Bridal shower invitations have been addressed and mailed, a menu is taking shape and the theme continues to evolve.


Meanwhile the wedding arrangements are in full swing and the countdown has begun. Fattima worked hard on wedding favors and encouraged me to share some pictures but my lips are sealed until the wedding! Ben, as usual has been there helping, working hard and being supportive.


This past weekend they attended a Mariner’s game while visiting Yusuf and Alicia.

thumbnail_IMG_0303The happy couple still amaze and delight me each and every day! Fattima’s new family has welcomed her with open arms and her mother- to- be is excited at the prospect of having her as part of their clan!





This weekend was quiet and a nice lull in the schedule! I managed to get back out to the garden and did some jobs that were overdue. Blue skies prevailed along with warm temperatures!

We received the invitations that were designed for Fattima’s bridal shower and in general just had a nice relaxing two days.

The older kids are still fighting a virus but Heme seems better each day. An old board game was rediscovered by the younger generation kids and hours of laughter, arguing and bragging commenced!  Sumaya got out her special weed wacker from Grampa and did some work, roses were pruned and general upkeep was completed.

A Teriyaki bowl was the scheduled dinner. I marinated chicken, stir fried some veggies until crisp tender and in the end we all had a good meal!


Towards evening a storm whipped up complete with lightning, high winds and rain. The sky eventually turned an ominous black and the patio cover Osama set up threatened to come loose, but in the end it stayed put.

This summer will be full of gardening, babysitting our little ones and planning a bridal shower and wedding!


These blessings are especially sweet and remind me of how far we have come. It’s been nine years since our relocation from Saudi to Idaho! Thank you for being part of our journey!