Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas and Bislama (for a while)

A late Merry Christmas to you all. We had a wonderful day yesterday- my Uncle Jeff (Mom's brother) and Aunt Terry came to visit and Mohamed cooked a delicious Moroccan-style turkey. Mohamed was happy to have meat, again, and has been gnawing on various turkey bones all day.

I made Amira a doll for Christmas. Yep, I sewed. It is a Waldorf doll (google it if you are interested, they're pretty great) and since the dolls retail for $140 I decided to make my own. It turned out really well, thanks to a lot of help from a friend, but I'm not dying to make another one in the near future. We took pictures of the doll, and the rest of our Christmas happenings, but our camera is on the fritz. Alas, another post without pictures of my girls.

Anyway, I think I'm rambling. I spent the entire day today shopping- quite the exhausting task with two little ones in tow. I think, including my purchases today, we now have presents for every inhabitant of Mohamed's village in Morocco. That is only a very slight exaggeration. In 36 hours we will be on our way to deliver those presents.

So, on that note, I will be taking a break from blogging. We leave the 28th and I will be returning, with the girls, on February 4th. Mohamed is coming back January 15th, he couldn't get more than 2 weeks off work.

We are terribly excited. Mohamed's parents have not met either of the girls and they are the first grandchildren on his side. We will also be reuniting with Mohamed's father- Mohamed hasn't seen him in 9 years and I have never met him.

In addition to excitement about seeing Mohamed's family- I am looking forward to traveling, in general. I love everything about traveling- the airports, the airplane food, the endless flow of diet coke, the airplane movies, the people from all over the world. Airports are the best place for people watching. And Morocco is such a beautiful, mysterious place to be traveling to. I look forward to the piles of vegetable-topped couscous, the enormous marketplaces selling everything from women's underwear to bright yellow pottery. They have a market there that is famous for its orange juice- several dozen vendors sell freshly squeezed orange juice for around a nickel a glass. I can't wait for Amira to learn about the world her dad grew up in- to learn about that part of who she is. We may never want to come home!

So goodbye, friends. Make sure to check the blog around mid-February. I promise to post more pictures than you care to view. Oh, and if you think of it, say a little prayer for a peaceful, uneventful, sleep-filled flight for my little ones :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wonderful World of Disney

When people post links on their blogs I am usually too lazy to click on them. I know that I am admitting to a whole new level of laziness, but it is true. So, I will understand if you don't click this link:
However, I really wish you would. And then tell me what you think.
Basically the article talks about the "global domination" of Disney Princesses. My feelings on the article were mixed. I do think it is sort of creepy that the princesses (Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, etc.) are so ubiquitous- they are on everything from diapers to cereal to bedding. Although Little Mermaid is the only princess movie Amira has seen, she knows the names of each of the other characters. I also realize that Amira can certainly find better role models- but is Cinderella really so awful?
The most convincing argument the author,Barbara Ehrenreich, makes is that, basically, the Disney Princess conglomerate adds to the hyper-sexualizing of young girls. If you would have told me that a few years ago I would have laughed. But now that I see Amira wishing she has long hair and a coconut bra "like Ariel," I'm not so sure.
On the other hand, the article made me want to tell Barbara to just simmer down. Ariel and Cinderella were a magical part of my childhood (remember our Part of This World choreography, Jana?) and I don't feel watching those movies made me grow-up too fast.
What do you think? Do you see the dark-side of Disney, or do you plan to purchase your children all the princess paraphernalia? My ultimate thinking? Honestly- I like the movies but all the "stuff" is a bit much. Plus most of it is plastic/barbie/sugar-cereal type stuff, which we try to avoid, anyway.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Almost burgers

Yesterday Mohamed was helping me unload the groceries from my trip to the store when he spotted some hamburger buns. "We're having burgers?" exclaimed my vegetarian-by-force husband. He was so excited I almost sent him off to Wendy's to buy himself a slab of beef. I informed him that the buns were actually for black bean burgers. He misheard me and his whole face fell. I am not exaggerating when I say he looked like he was going to cry as he told me, "I am NOT eating burgers made out of flax seed."

In order to get the full impact of how funny my husband's misery was at that moment, you have to understand I've been on a real health-food kick for some time. We don't really eat meat, or cheese, or any processed food- you get the point. And I am always "sneaking" flax seeds (the ground kind. Ask me about them and I'll tell be happy to share why everyone should eat flax) into smoothies and oatmeal and muffins. So, the idea of an entire burger made out of flax seeds put my meat-loving man over the edge. And made me laugh. For a long time.

I made the burgers today, and they were okay. Amira enjoyed making the patties, and once we put enough lettuce and onions on the bun they tasted quite good. Next time I'll definetly add avocado and also make sure I make the patties thinner so that they will be crispier. And, for the record, although I'm sure no one would have noticed them at all, I did not add any flax seeds to my burgers.

Here is a recipe, courtesy of

This is not the recipe I used, but my kids are starting to whine so I don't have time to type out the one I used. This one actually sounds better. Oh, and a few of the comments on the recipe said that some people used oats or brown rice, instead of bread crumbs (thought that might work better for you, Ame.)

Black Bean Burgers

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs

If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Faith Like A Child

Amira: (sobbing) I am really sad, Mom. I don't want to go to naps.

Me: I know, baby, but you have to sleep so you can grow.

Amira: I'm going to tell God I am sad. (praying)Dear Heavenly Father, I am sad. I love you. Amen. (She pauses and looks at me, confused) Mom, I still feel sad.

She was so sure that God would instantly make going to naps less of a tragedy for her, and He had not.

Me: I've had times where God didn't take my sadness away, either, baby. Sometimes God doesn't do exactly what we want, but what He wants is always right.

Amira: Okay, mommy.

-A few days later:

Mom, God is in here (pointing to her stomach)

God's in your belly?


Why is God in your belly?

Because I love Him.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

“An insular and isolated America doesn’t cut it.”

Due to the extensive and wonderfully heated conversation following my last political post, I thought I'd try my hand at another. The Democratic debates on NPR, today, left me thinking a lot of different thoughts.

1. If I have to hear one more discussion about immigration reform I am going to SCREAM. Am I missing something? Are Mexicans suddenly arming themselves and forming a secret militia set to overtake our country? Do any of you know someone who has lost their job to an immigrant willing to work for less? What is the big deal? Fortunately, the democratic debate didn't have the offensive (and may I say slightly racist) undercurrent that the republican debated did regarding immigration, but I'm just so sick of hearing about it at all. The title of this blog is a quote from the debate. Darned it if I can't remember who said it, and I'm too lazy to find out. But he said this in response to the "concern" posed in one of the questions about Spanish overshadowing English as the predominant language in our country. Which brings me to my second point.

2. What in the world would be so wrong with Americans learning other languages, or at least learning to communicate with people who (gasp :) ) don't speak English? We all know that countries all over the world are full of citizens who speak a wide array of languages. Are Americans particularly ill-equipped to handle Spanish? I certainly hope not. I have faith in our yet-untested language abilities.

3. I think politicians, as a whole, are a pretty amusing bunch. When I find my mind wandering during one of the debates I like to play a game called (yes I name the games I play in my head) "Guess the question." If I miss the original question I listen to responses of the various candidates to see if I can get a clue about what the question was. (make sure not to look at the TV while playing, the Networks know that the original question gets lost in all the politic-ing and so they occasionally flash the question in order to remind viewers.) Usually my guess is way off, as the answers are varied and seemingly unrelated enough to make me wonder if the candidates, themselves, have forgotten the question. It is a fun game. You should try it.

4. Finally, I must mention that my love for Obama grows stronger with each passing debate. My favorite thing about him is that I believe he really thinks about what he says. I don't ever get the "I have rehearsed these answers several times with my speech writer/campaign manager/whomever, and cannot deviate or I will get lost" feeling. Not saying, of course, that he doesn't play the political game, but I feel like he really believes and means most of what he says.

Well, the girls are up from their naps, and having them near me erases all the political ire I was previously feeling. I'd rather play with them than do just about anything else. Lucky for me, that's exactly what I have planned for the rest of the day.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sick Days

Just in case anyone is worried about the fact I haven't posted in a few days, I want to assure you this blog is not going the way of my last one. I haven't posted because we are sick over here. Amira and I both have nasty colds- I even have a fever. Being sick and a mom is NOT fun. Mohamed always gets really stressed when I am sick, and subsequently a little snippy.

Anyway, Norah is healthy and happy as usual (due to her all-breastmilk diet, no doubt) so that's a blessing. Amira says she feels much better if she can be "nakey." She is currently eating grapes and watching Robin Hood in the nude.

And me, I'm missing the sick days when my mom took care of me. Whenever I stayed home sick from school I would watch Hello Dolly (a wonderful musical starring Barbara Streisand for those who don't know) and my mom would get me a Wendy's chicken sandwich and a frosty. Those were the days. . .

Oh, and for your viewing amusement here is a completely unrelated picture of a time I brushed Amira's hair into a 'fro:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Last night, while watching the republican debates, I had an epiphany; I am no longer a republican. Now, this may not come as a huge shock to some of you who have had political conversations with me over the years, but I was genuinely surprised. Not only was I dismayed by the candidates in general (Fred Thompson can barely put a sentence together), but I was also put off by the topics they were debating. I found the entire opening minutes of the debate to be particularly offensive. For those who missed it, the candidates spent several minutes discussing immigration (Governor Romney did get a few good jabs at Giuliani). I understand that republicans are historically tough on immigration, but the way all the men were speaking had an undercurrent of "illegal immigrants= lesser human beings here to sap all our resources." Maybe I'm just more sensitive than most about immigration because Mohamed is an immigrant, and I saw firsthand how difficult and sometimes degrading it is for "aliens" to do things the legal way in our country.

So there you have it, I'm ready to admit it. I'm a democrat. Terry, I hope somewhere you are reading this and smiling to yourself.

Unfortunately I do seem to have my timing off a bit. According to the oft quoted cliche "if you aren't a democrat in college you don't have a heart, and if you aren't a republican after you graduate, you don't have a brain." I guess that leaves me both heartless and brainless.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Up the Tall Mountain

By Amira Elizabeth Baayd

I thought since Norah got to tell her story I should let Amira do the same. The day after Thanksgiving we hiked to the top of Diamond Head- an inactive volcano. The hike was less than a mile, but quite steep. Amira decided to hike almost of all it herself. She did a great job and was so proud of herself when she reached the top. Several Japanese tourists applauded her effort, adding to the drama of the moment. Here are a few pictures and Amira's explanation of them.

" I went up the- what's that? The mountain. Playing and playing with my friends."

"I got excercise and I was so tired. Scary. I'm nice and happy."

*Amira quickly tired of explaining the pictures so I'll just post a few more.

My happy girls:
At the top

Mohamed got some great shots of Amira once we finished the hike

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life as I know it

by Norah Aziza Baayd

Okay, so my parents are really awful at remembering to take pictures and keep in touch. Because my sister and I are so incredibly adorable I've decided to do my parents' job for them. Here is a summary of the last six months of my life:

I knew I loved my sister, right from the start. She loves me right back:

She can do lots of amazing things like talk and walk and hop on one foot. Once, she almost got eaten by a dinosaur:

I was pretty upset about thatAmira makes sure things never get too boring. She likes to dress up in all different costumes:

Sometimes I try to dress-up, too:

Everyone is always hugging me and kissing me and pinching my bum. Mostly I'm okay with that

So, there's my life. I'll try to make sure that my Mom and Dad share more pictures with everybody. Oh, and Adelyn- thanks for giving me the idea to write this post, myself.