Thank God it’s Friday!! 

 

Hello Everyone! So today is Friday, and Friday, to us, means a fantastic, full of flavors and inviting lunch with our very close friends! We love everything about these lunches, it is a tradition we created, my friend and I, as a way to cherish both our families and show our kids the meaning of family love (because our friends are part of our family) and that no matter what, family is always an important pillar in our life, and simply to give them something to look forward to every week.

So yeah, every Friday we have lunch together, we cook some awesome dishes, and I thought why not make Friday even more special and share my recipes here with you!  This will be a weekly feature in my blog! (Yaay!!)

Today I am making Couscous with Chicken and vegetables. I am Moroccan so this is our famous dish and this is my simple way of making it. I am also vegetarian so usually I cook the vegetables and the chicken separately, however it is much easier for you to cook it all together. You can use meat if you please and cook it the exact same way.  So Ladies, get your aprons ready and let’s dive in!

You will need the following: (for about four people)

For the couscous:

500g Couscous

1tbs olive oil

1 cup of warm water

A pinch of salt

1 tbs of butter

For the Sauce:

1 onion (1 big or 2 small)

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp Saffron powder (or paprika or turmeric powder)

1 cube chicken stock

1Litre warm water

2 tins of chickpeas

1 Kg chicken cut into pieces

1 carrot

1 potato

1 zucchini

1 capsicum

½ pumpkin

1 cup of green beans

(You can use about any vegetable you have in the fridge, just cut it into pieces and add it)

Instructions:

Add the oil to the couscous and a pinch of salt with half of the water and steam it for about 20 minute, take it out add the rest of the water and steam it again for another 20 minutes, when done, add the butter and mix.

The Sauce: in a pot, mix the oil, the onion and the spices, stir for 5 minutes, and add the chicken, mix. Then add the water, the chicken stock and leave it to simmer. After about 10 minutes add the vegetables cover and leave it for another 15 minutes (or until the vegetables are soft) then add the chickpeas, lower the heat, leave it for two more minutes and Voila! you are done!

Mix the Couscous with the sauce and Happy Friday!!

Ouiam

 

Mornings with Adam 

Little noises coming from the monitor on my bedside table, and before I even open my eyes, I have a smile on my face, I know exactly what he is doing: sitting on his bed, playing with his blanky and his “teddy” the bear. Talking and laughing, entertaining himself while Mama gets ready and comes to make her grand Entrance with her “Good Morning” song. I will still be lingering under the blanket until I know that he means business! The minute I open the door, I am instantly  received by his delightful lovable “Apple Face”, with his biggest smile on, his arms up, ready to be carried. Sweet kisses and the warmest hugs follow. Now we are ready to kick-start the day and make it the best we can!

I love every bit of my mornings, I know they will change soon, sooner than I think, so I try to keep them safe in my heart and my mind, I take plenty of pictures and videos and just hope I can stop the time right here and right now.

Adam knows what is coming next, he comes to our favorite corner in the room, snuggles with me while he has his milk, then playtime is on! Hide and seek, throwing things from the bed, dance parties, getting under the bed, opening drawers and taking all the clothes out. Any random activity that will make mama sweat while cleaning up, seems to be a favorite game of his. Who needs toys anyways!

8:30am signals Breakfast time!!  Here we are, downstairs, and the house suddenly gets so busy and noisy. A fading “Ding ding dang” coming from the play area in our living room, where Adam is tackling the little piano, A “Tak” from the toaster, the fridge opening and closing, plates and spoons on the move, Pharrell Williams on full volume, while we all (well mostly me) sing along with him “ Because I am happy”. With the occasional whining and complaining coming from a little peanut who is so ready for his breakfast! Adam usually has either a toast with Dada’s homemade jam ( because Dada makes the best jam at home and we love devouring it!) ,or  lots of fruits either as a puree with some vanilla or cinnamon or just pieces with some yogurt, or pancakes with some oatmeal cereals. Next to him, Mama has her fruits too! And this is one of my favorite moments of the day, while we are both having our breakfast, listening to some music, and talking about what we will do during the day (I do the talking and Adam responds in his baby language lol). And deep down I know that this is one of the things I will miss terribly as the time flies by!

Once we are done, I take Adam for a shower. By then he starts showing signs of tiredness, so we go back to our favorite corner in the room, we snuggle again while we read our morning story “Pluche mon doudou prefere” a French story that I was reading to him since he was in my womb, and now it is his favorite.  I tuck him in bed, we cuddle for some time until he lands safely in “Lala land “. Happy morning nap!

The house succumbs in a dreadful silence. Glimpses of my mornings before Adam crawl into my mind, reminding me of how different they were, how serene and calm and so unlike this one and the previous ones.  I take few sips of my long awaited for coffee and cherish every minute of this deep and comforting silence, while I make plans for the day, from what is for lunch, to what are we going to do today, to what we will both wear! Then I set my hand on my kindle and get lost in a good book, until my little friend wakes up and we go through our day with every intention to make it the best yet!

I love my mornings with Adam, they are bright and full of joy and happiness, they are my favorite kind of days!

Ouiam

A Ray of Sunshine!

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After posting about Adam’s birth story (to view post click here ), I was showered with text messages, phone calls, messages on my Instagram and Facebook account, so much love, kind words and lots of sweet comments, that went straight to my heart and made it shine with happiness. It felt phenomenal to be supported by close friends and not so close ones, by family members and friends of friends, people I admire and people who had a great impact in my life. All this positivity and good vibes made me think: what if that’s how we treated each other, each and every single day? What if we were always kind and sweet to each other? Showering each other with compliments and positive thoughts only? What if we told a friend how beautiful she looked that day (everyday)? What if we smiled at strangers in the streets? What if we only posted positive comments online? What if we said more of “Thank you” and less of “Now” or “I want”? What if we looked at the mirror and told ourselves that we are beautiful/smart/ kind/ funny/ sincere/ honest/ understanding/ caring/ wise ….. etc. What if??? What if these things are no longer a “what if” and they become part of our daily routine?

Why is it 10 times harder to give a compliment than to criticize someone? Why is it so hard to be kind all the way even to ourselves, mostly to ourselves? It seems almost impossible to acknowledge all the qualities we have, we focus so much on the negative part that we can barely see any positive left in us. I am not talking about people with high ego; this is about people like you and me, simple people who are seeking to find themselves and experience an existence of peace and love.

I once heard this: “We have the tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve” and it just hit me so hard, we always question ourselves: “Why did he say that” or “Why did she do that”.  We get so frustrated with other people’s behaviors as if we all HAVE TO react in the same way, as if we all analyze things the same way. Not only we cannot change other people‘s behaviors but we shouldn’t even try to! Each one of us is responsible for their actions. While something might seem terribly wrong to us, it will make perfect sense to someone else and that is how life goes on.

Today and after I saw how wonderful I felt with nothing but few kind words from some very kind people; I make it my mission to be more tolerant of other people’s actions and behaviors. I will create a mantra that I will recite daily to remind myself of how only kindness should take over my judgment, a mantra that should say “Only positive vibes today”. I vow that I will smile to strangers, nod to moms like me in the streets, let someone go before me while queuing at the cashier, I will only write positive comments online, I will support and encourage not only people I know but anyone who deserves to be appreciated. Who is with me in this? Who wants to use my mantra? Let us do this today, because we all can!!

Ouiam

Adam’s birth story : When God Has Mercy!

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Today I finally decided to get it out of my chest; today I decided to share, not only an experience, but a piece of my soul. I decided to allow myself to be vulnerable in front of the whole world.  If you were wondering, why would anyone do such, well the answer is simple, to raise awareness, to help women out there who have been where i was and can’t figure out yet how to deal with it, women who are at risk  and might go through what I have been through. Mainly to tell the world that giving birth is no piece of cake.

I have to start from when I was only 12 weeks pregnant, when I suddenly had some mild pain in the lower abdomen, being a first time Mama, of course I rushed to the hospital, where my doctor has reassured me (or at least she tried to) by saying that I had a case of “ placenta previa” I had no clue what that was, and she didn’t seem to care about explaining some more. However after long hours spent on Google I finally got it. “Placenta previa (pluh-SEN-tuh PREH-vee-uh) occurs when a baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the opening in the mother’s cervix. Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding before or during delivery.” My doctor insisted though that at 12 weeks of pregnancy,  it was way too soon to predict anything, since the placenta had plenty of time to migrate to its usual place.

This revelation never caused me any doubt about the kind of delivery I was going to have, my birth plan was ready ( yes at 12 weeks). I had a doula with her number on my speed dial. I was going to have this beautiful baby in the most natural way, with some Margot Reisinger’s music in the background, my doula right next to me, my husband holding my hand, while my Hypnobirthing lessons pay off. I had it all figured out. Little did I know, God had other plans for me. This being said i have to admit that i enjoyed every single minute of my pregnancy. Having  a high risk pregnancy, never stopped me from celebrating everyday with my big rounded belly .

This might be long so you might as well grab a cup of tea, sit in your most comfortable sofa and just bear with me, while I take you back  to the 6th of February 2014.

It was a cold icy Thursday in New York City, piles of snow everywhere ( as if mother nature was trying to give me signs of how complicated this day would be) , Me,  with my surreal optimism, chose to look away!

There I was, laying on a hospital’s bed, with my husband and my dearest stepmother in law, all excited and giggly. That’s it, the day I had waited for, for 36 weeks and 5 days, has finally arrived! I was going to meet my beautiful baby very, very soon. I had no idea of the gender of the baby as I refused to know all this time, I wanted to keep it a surprise, to when I see him/her for the first time, it really didn’t matter to me whether it was a boy or a girl, all  I cared about was to have a healthy little baby.

At noon I was being taken by few nurses to the operating room where I was going to have a C-Section done, due to my severe case of a complete Placenta Previa( yes you have guessed right, my placenta hasn’t moved an inch). I am laying in that bed, shivering, not sure whether it is from the cold or if I am just a tiny little bit scared from what was going to happen, after all, C-Section is a major operation. I close my eyes in a failed attempt to relax, a beautiful nurse “ Tracy” by my side holding my hand telling me that it was going to be OK.  My husband finally comes in, I think that is when I finally got my breathing and heartbeats under control.

My doctor comes in, a man who lacked any facial expressions, ready to do what he does every single day, what he is extremely good at, and in no time it all started, it was painful, I am not going to lie about it, however it was very short. In about 10 minutes I could hear a tiny little baby crying and as I have requested, my husband hands me this beautiful baby saying :” It’s a boy!” I have given birth to a little baby boy!

It took me two hours to wake up and realize that i was not dreaming, I did give birth to a baby boy! And while waiting for him to come to his mama’s arms, I started having the worst kind of pain. My sister in law calls the nurse who in turn calls the doctor, it didn’t take him long before he transformed the room to a scene from Grey’s anatomy: curtains closed, my husband thrown away, the one doctor becomes 4 doctors and about 5 nurses. I had no idea what was happening,  all I can remember is the agonizing pain I was feeling. I was rushed back to the operating room for the first surgery after my C-Section. I was having a severe postpartum hemorrhage.

Everything was hazy and foggy; I could remember a nurse on my left stroking my hair, and my arm, telling me I will be fine. I remember asking her how long it will take. It was not painful, it was just uncomfortable, just like when you are at the beauty salon getting your hair colored, waiting for the lady who applied the color to reappear and tells you it was finally time to wash that hair!

When it was eventually done, I remember seeing my husband who was waiting outside, he was talking to the doctor, whose face now was full of complicated expressions that I could not discern, yet my husband’s face said it all: something was very wrong with me!

I wake up at around 5 am, my husband by my side as always, he was asleep though, he must have been exhausted. I remember being exceptionally thirsty, I hadn’t have water or food for the last 32 hours.

Shortly after that, my doctor appears, in his white coat, with a blond doctor who I thought looked exactly like Katherine Heigl (Izzie) from Greay’s anatomy ( I have no idea why Grey’s anatomy was all I could think of then, I don’t even watch the damn series!)

With the steadiest voice, my doctor tells me that results were back from the lab and I am losing way too much blood, I needed to have a hysterectomy done within 20 minutes. I could not believe what I was hearing! I close my eyes for a second, reopen them again, No, I am not dreaming, this is real! Me a 27 years old  healthy young woman, who just had her first baby, will have to be stripped from her womanhood forever! I could almost hear my unborn children crying for help! Asking me to do something to make their coming to the world a possibility, I look for my husband’s eyes yet I couldn’t meet his gaze, i guess he was as shocked as i was. For about a minute every muscle in my body collapsed and it felt like I was dying right there. Then I gathered every ounce of courage I had (which then, I wasn’t even sure I had). And I looked at the doctor straight in his eyes, I told him “NO” with the most convincing voice ever, at least I hopped it would be. I wasn’t going to have a hysterectomy! This is 2014! We are in New York City! In the USA for god’s sake! There must be something else we can do! And if I had to die then be it! But I will not live my life without my beloved uterus!! All my life I was called stubborn, I never liked it, yet this specific day I thank god I was nothing but a stubborn strong woman who knew exactly what she wanted!

Not to bore you with details, the doctors did come up with a solution: two more surgeries to bring up the total number of surgeries I had to 4. They were not the least sure whether it was going to work or not but they listened to me and tried! After 10 days in ICU, I was reborn! I was there with my uterus and my little baby boy in my arms! I was never happier in my whole life, I was not dead, I was not WOMANLESS! I was outstandingly grateful and thankful to god for this blessing! I was also thankful to the doctors who chose to listen to me instead of listening to the voice of reason and science! I never intended for my delivery to be this way, but God wanted it to, he gave me the strength to go through all that with a smile and an angelic attitude.  It really doesn’t matter how nor  what happened while delivering my little baby boy, all what i care about is that he was a healthy baby! who is 1 year and few weeks old now!

Through this story, I wish every woman gets to know how strong we all are! How strong our bodies are, to what extent they will go to deliver a healthy growing little human being! Future Mamas Listen to your bodies! Let it determine how it wants to bring this baby to the world, it is not the call of a bunch of people in white coats. They do not know you, they don’t know what you are capable of! Women are God’s greatest creation! Yet we are never appreciated the way we need to be, so let us start from here, let us appreciate our selves! Let us cherish our bodies! Let us be the women, God created us to be!

Ouiam

About friends….

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Few days ago, my little one was down with a flue, so you can imagine the kind of days we were having. I was completely drained, physically and emotionally. Physically because of the sleepless nights and emotionally because I could see what my little baby was going through and I could do nothing to help him! So right in the middle of all this craziness, I received a text message from a very sweet lady, whom I have met few weeks ago, and we instantly clicked (she is a great mama of 2) she was asking about Adam and checking if I needed anything. This one single text message brought tears to my eyes. It felt wonderful to know that there is someone out there, a friend -even if we met not that long ago- who has got my back. This got me to think about the very precious people I have in my life, to whom I am insanely grateful in so many levels.

When you become a mother, relationships in your life change, it is simply impossible to keep the same kind of life you had before, specifically when it comes to friends. You no longer have an hour to spare with them on the phone, you no longer can visit as often as you did, you can no longer follow their news as you once did. You cannot do any of that anymore, you no longer have the time for it, and even if you do, you now have a cascading “to do list “that never ends.

If you are fortunate enough, you will be blessed with some close friends, who you will always be in touch with, whether with text messages or phone calls. Then there are those other friends, who you might not talk to every week or even every month, but there is never weirdness, you pick up right where you left.  Because you both know how hectic life can be however they are always there for you whenever you need them.

Our conception of friendship grows and evolves as we grow, the kind of friendship I had a decade ago (or even 5 years ago), is not what I have now, It is not what I look for now when in the hunt for new friends. My life has changed drastically and with these life changes, my friendships have changed and in turn, became redefined. This was not an easy thing for me to understand, I used to feel guilty that I am no longer a great friend, I used to even feel sad and disconnected from the people I love, luckily, I was changing too, I was slowly yet steadily getting the bigger picture. I accepted that this is my life right now a busy hectic but a happy life; I accepted that as we grow, an infinite amount of things change, within us and with the kind of life we lead.

Quality over quantity, I think this is the secrete to having great friends, in the obvious way: 1 great friend is better than 5 not-so great ones; as well as in the time spent together.

Now at 28 years old, I am happy with the few close friends I have. Real friends, with whom I can be 100% myself. With whom I can be me, the always chatty, the incredibly emotional, the occasionally moody, the mother, the woman and the little girl.  And they can too. We never judge each other, we are all different, we think in different ways, we live our lives in different ways, we love and show our love in different ways, it is not a must to always understand these ways yet we always accept them, we accept each other just the way we are.

Friends are our chosen family, sometimes and at certain occasions, they are our only family. I am blessed to have a small handful of real friends whom I intend to keep around for a very long time.

Ouiam

 

10 things i do that piss my husband off ;)

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Before I start right into this, I feel I need to address my husband first:

Honey, I know you love me very much and  I also know that sometimes i display bizarre and downright crazy tendencies that drive you crazy, everyone has their own little weird traits that grind away their partners, family and friends. However admitting it should give me some credit 😉

So here is my list:

  1. A steamy bathroom; whenever I take a shower, I first have to turn the hot water on for about 10 minutes then I get into the shower, as a result, you obviously can’t see a thing for about few hours, the toilet paper is all crumpled and useless, ooh and of course no hot water lol (sorry)
  2. I am completely and perfectly aware of how I can never seem to close any of the drawers or cupboards I open ( you can’t possibly blame me for that, I simply forget)
  3. I know how annoying I must be whenever we are at home, in our living room, at any given time, the minute you’ll stand up, I would ask you straight away “where are you going?” Daaaah I am at home where will I be going? I feel this is what you always want to tell me, but you are sweet enough to just ignore my question and instead reply : “ I will be right back” lol
  4. I am not the only woman on earth who does this, whenever we are watching a movie for the first time, I keep on asking questions about the movie as if you have watched it before!! Whaaaat!!! Ooh well you actually should be flattered, because somehow, I just assume you are smarter than I am and that you got some kind of secrete hint that I missed! Easy right?!
  5. Whenever we go to sleep, I spend an extra hour reading on my kindle, with a minimum light on, but I know how sensitive you are to any kind of lights when you want to sleep, so for that, I love you forever!
  6. This one is my favorite so far! How out of nowhere I will just turn to you and ask you: “So?” I totally get you when you give me the silliest answers ever, but it did serve the purpose right? We had a small tiny conversation woohaaa!
  7. This is no mystery, you knew it way before we got married, I just cannot stop talking, I am a woman so it is THE most natural thing ever.
  8. This is actually funny, myself, I can’t understand how I always ask you: how is your food, before you even take your first bite!! Alright I promise you, I will work on this!
  9. I always put perfume on, inside the car with the windows closed ( my bad I always remember too late)
  10. Every single night after I put the little peanut down for the night, I come back downstairs and switch off all the lights in the house along with the air conditioning. No, I am not a cave woman but I do enjoy darkness, silence and warm weather, I am a mom!

I am sure there is more to this, but let us just agree that we are done here 😉

So here, Thank you my very sweet husband for your tolerance and patience, I wanted you to know that I am aware of this list, yet I am not sure anything will ever change, Thank you again, you are the best!!

If any of you ladies out there, share one or two things from this list with me, please let me know, it will make me the happiest to know that I am not alone! Thank you!

Ouiam

 

Words from an ex Flight Attendant.

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It seems like an eternity, yet it has only been few years since I left a job I started when I was twenty. Being a flight attendant when you are twenty years old, is actually living the dream.  It is spending your Monday in Paris, your Tuesday in Bahrain, your Wednesday in Bangkok, Thursday in Kuala Lumpur and the weekend, by the pool, after having a manicure, a pedicure and a massage done. It is the real meaning of Shop until you drop because you can. It is being among tons of friends who have the same job as you do, the same messy schedule and messiest habits, the same perception of how easy life can be.

I was still a little girl, who hardly knew anything in life, a girl who smiled at strangers and could never remember names of people she worked with. A girl who thought life was all about fancy handbags, shoes, and expensive clothes. A little girl, who simply could be a little girl, in the most selfish ways!

Now I look back and I can barely recognize this girl in the woman I have become, most importantly, in the mother I have become. When Adam was born, last year, in that very moment I held him in my arms, his little face against my chin, I knew something deep inside of me has changed forever. I felt this way when we took him home, when we took him to his first doctor’s appointment, when he first said Mama, and every single day that followed. When I became a mother, it was as if some dark parts fell away. Like if, my mind did some kind of restructuring and came up with a new list of things that really matter. Every morning I wake up with a deep feeling of fulfillment and contentment, knowing that I was given an opportunity to be better, to be my best.

When Adam was about a month, I realized that he would never be a month again; this hit me like a bucket of cold water! I realized that nothing was as important as spending every single second of my life cherishing and loving this baby in my arms. This was my real happiness, my pure joy.

When I am running around after my little baby boy, trying to catch my breath and keep up with him, when I am busy in the kitchen trying to fix a meal and I hear in the background a baby’s laughter and the most caring fathers doing the silliest things to amuse the little one, when I wake up in the morning to some “ daaa” and some “mamaaaa” coming from the monitor beside me.  I just take a second to close my eyes and soak it all in. I am terrefied to miss a moment from this beautiful chapter in our lives, If I could, I would lock them all up in a very safe place, and run to them every time I feel the need to!

I no longer long for designers bags and shoes, I no longer need to go out every night to fancy places, I no longer feel the need to put make up on every time I leave the house, I am no longer eager to please everybody around me, I no longer need a job or a career to feel content, I no longer care about who said what about me, I am no longer the little girl I was once. This is how my life changed since I became a mother; this is how small things never seem to bother me the way they used to; this is how I only focus on the positive and only see the big picture.

I love the little girl I was, and if i were to do it again, I will still be that same little girl.  It was a stage in my life, it was who I once was, and I am proud of it, I would have never reached where I am now if it was not for that little girl.

I have grown much since, became more mature and much wiser, I am who I am now because I am a mother and  motherhood is a badge I proudly wear and will wear forever.

Ouiam