Happy birthday Zara! Letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday…

Dear Zara

Happy birthday my dear baby girl! You are 2 years old today. 2 years ago today at 10pm you came screaming into this world and changed my life forever. I still remember the day you were born as if it was yesterday. I was tired and scared and in so much pain. But I remember the exact moment I heard your cry for the first time and the sense of relief and awe that I felt when they put you on my chest. You were finally here!!

The past 2 years have flown by. You are my big girl now. You tell me every day ‘ I am not a baby’. And it makes me sad to hear you say that because I actually miss the ‘baby’ years. 

You are such a smart, caring and kind little person. I am so proud of the person you are becoming. You are stubborn (like your momma), but laid back like your Dada. You can count to 10 and sing your abcs. Your favourite nursery rhyme is Humpty Dumpty. You love Peppa pig and ever since you discovered Peppa, you call us Mummy and Daddy. You don’t like to see anyone get hurt and always ask ‘Are you ok?’. You love your papa Puggles the dog and kitty. I am amazed at how well you can communicate. You surprise me with your energy and positivity. Your laughter makes my heart explode with happiness. 

I wish time would slow down a little. It doesn’t matter how much time I spend with you, it is never enough. It hurts me deeply when you hold on to me in the morning and don’t want me to go. I want you to know that everything I do is for you to have a better life. It’s for you to have opportunities and choices. Everyday I can’t wait to come home to you. 

I want you to know that being your mommy is the greatest accomplishment of my life. I love you with all my heart and more. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. 

Love 

Mommy aka Momma 

Baby Zara at 4 days old

Zara at 1 years old


Zara Now (week before turning 2)

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It’s my birthday! 

Today is my birthday. I am 36. I am not going to lie, the thought of getting older is not fun. I am getting closer and closer to 40….

Celeberating, birthdays in my 20s and in my 30s are very different. In my 20s, I celeberated August as my ‘birth month’. I was obsessed with my birthday. The morning of my birthday felt like Christmas! In fact, it was better than Christmas because I didn’t have to get presents for anyone else (side note I LOVE Christmas). It was all about the presents, new clothes, cake, parties. It was awesome! 

Fast forward to the present. My birthday is now just another day. But it is also the day I reflect on, one how old I am getting and two what have I done in the past year. It is the one day that I give myself a pat on the back for the things I have accomplished. So here are some things I have done in the past year:

  1. I went back to work, part time at an awesome organization (I am a Recruiter at Hootsuite). I don’t give myself enough credit but I am great at my job. It is not an easy task to work part time and keep up with a fast paced organization. 
  2. I started this blog in January 2016. I was wary of sharing it. I did not want to be judged. But in January 2017 I decided what the heck! There are others moms out there going through the same thing. So I hit the share button. Since then, I was selected as one of the Top 30 Vancouver mom bloggers for 2017 in Vancouver. For a new blogger like me who hasn’t been doing this for a long time and still learning, this is a big big deal! I am still in awe that I was selected. These are some very talented moms and it is an honor to be part of this group. 
  3. I am an anxiety ridden worry wart of a mom. From the day Zara was born, it was like a switch was turned on. How is this an accomplishment? Well it isn’t, but I think acknowledging it, is an accomplishment. Over the past year, I have tried to be less of a worry wart and more of a fly by the seat of your pants mom. The other day we walked by a splash pad. I had no swimsuit for Zara orswim diapers. But I decided to go for it. I undressed her and slathered her with sunscreen and let her run around. Old Husna would have been too scared to do this. So I will count that as an accomplishment. 

There is a big difference in birthdays before baby and after baby. It’s not about the parties and presents anymore. It’s about reflection and counting your blessings. At 36, I am finally starting to feel more like an adult. Do I miss the 20s? Yup definitely. Would I want to go back to it?  Not a chance in hell. 

My favourite places to go for a Staycation in Vancouver with a baby

The long weekend is coming up pretty soon and the weather forecast calls for SUN! It is very tempting to go away on a road trip during the long weekend, but unfortunately it isn’t always easy or financially possible to go away, especially when you have a little one. And I am sure no one is excited about tackling the dreaded long weekend traffic. Staycations are the next best thing and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Another bonus is you get to sleep in your own bed! Today I am going to share my favourite places in Vancouver that are perfect for Staycations. 

  1. Trout Lake:  Vancouver is a beautiful city and we are blessed with parks and beaches without having to drive too far. Trout lake is an oasis in the middle of the city. They have an amazing farmers market every Saturday that has everything from organic veggies, organic eggs and meat, coffee, food trucks and sometimes wine tastings! If you are not a farmers market kind of person (who isn’t though!), they also have a sandy beach and multiple playgrounds. There is also a dog friendly beach area, where your pooch can take a dip in the lake. If you need to take refuge from the sun, there is a community center at the lake, with a new coffee shop called Carousel that has great coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and gelato that is open till 6pm. And parking is free!
  2. Steveston Village : Steveston Village is located in Richmond, BC and is a short drive from the city. It is one of my favourite places to spend the day. You can grab a bite at one of the multiple restaurants and cafes in Steveston. My favourite is Sockeye City and Pajos Fish and Chips. Recently we visited the The Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum. It was an amazing experience to witness a part of BC history. They have a great little kids play area that Zara loved. Also, as part of Canada’s 150th birthday, entry is free. How great is that!
  3. Queen Elizabeth Park: We got married at Queen Elizabeth park so I am biased, but I love this park. The grounds are breathtaking and perfect for family photo shoots. There are also  beautiful views of the entire city as it is located at the highest point in the city. Another gem is the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth park. It is home to 120 free flying exotic birds and 500 exotic plants. Admission for adults is $6.50 and kids under 3 are free. You can’t beat that price! In addition to the bird conservatory, there is also pitch and putt and a tennis court. If you get hungry, I love the Seasons in the Park restaurant. Get a seat on the patio and grab a drink and take in the views of the city.  You won’t regret it! 

We are very lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. So take advantage of it and plan a staycation in Vancouver this summer. 

Trout Lake
One of the playgrounds at Trout lake. It’s a large sandpit.
We love watching the ducks at Trout Lake

Play area at Cannery Museum
Play area at Cannery Museum
Sockeye City- Drinks on the patio
Steveston Village – walking along the Dyke.

Bloedel Conservatory
Bloedel Conservatory – just taking a walk and admiring the scenery
Watching the birds eat at the Conservatory
View from Seasons in the Park

Melia Puerto Vallarta – My Review

Today I am going to share with everyone my review of the last all inclusive resort we stayed at in June: Melia Puerto Vallarta. We booked the package through Expedia.ca and the trip was through Air Canada Vacations. We have been to all inclusive resorts in Mexico twice prior to this resort with my baby girl and we have also traveled sans kids. In my experience, this was by far the best resort we stayed at. We recieved amazing service from the minute we landed and were pleasantly surprised at the service and authenticity of this resort. I loved that it is a smaller resort and caters to locals. 

Check in: We had a taxi take us to the resort which is 10 min from the airport, so there was no waiting for a bus/shuttle. The taxi was included in the package. Air Canada vacations also includes VIP check in and check out so there was no line ups. Check in was super easy and smooth. And bonus, we were also upgraded to a room with an ocean view.

The room: The room was large with a king size bed and seating area. The balcony looked out to the ocean and it was wonderful to wake up to the sounds of the waves. The bathroom had a tub and shower and the water pressure was amazing!! The bathroom was large enough for us to fit our pack and play in for Zara. The room was stocked with water, pop and strongbow ciders (my fav!) Unfortunately there was no room service, but the snack bar was literally down the staircase. 


Food: I was very surprised at the food. We ate at the buffet quite a bit and and we were never disappointed. They always had fresh grill stations, tacos, and a pasta bar. We ate at 2 out of the 3 restaurants onsite where you had to make a reservation. The downside was you had to make a reservation every day in the morning between 9 am to 2pm, for that night. But, there was never a line up as we always went after breakfast. We tried the Italian and Mexican. The Italian was pretty good but the Mexican was amazing. All of the restaurants including the buffet had kids menus and options for gluten free and vegan dishes. 

Drinks: The drinks were not watered down, in fact, they used premium liquor. I stick to mimosas if I am going to have a drink at the pool and it was pretty good. Rj had the rum and was happy with it. 

The kids club: This was the main reason we picked this resort. They have a babies club for ages 4 months to 4 years. It’s a large indoor, air conditioned area with tons of toys and a sleeping area. The area also is video monitored and no one but the teachers and the kids are allowed in. They had at least 2 to 3 certified baby sitters in the center at all times. They had organized activities for the babies and the teachers were amazing. Zara was sick one day and we were notified very promptly. When we got there the teacher Anna, had taken her temperature and gave us run down on her condition. Zara asks for Anna to this day.

They also had a kids club for kids age 5 to 13 and they had calendar of different activities for them everyday. There was archery, crafts and kayaking. They also had a kids spa, that looked super cute and offered mini mani and pedi for young girls. 


The beach: The beach is small. It is a public beach. However, we felt very safe. And we always found beach chairs. It was never very busy.  And it was clean. There were vendors selling knick knacks and fishing tours but they were not pushy.  


The pool: The pool is not fancy and did not have crazy water slides for the kids. But it was always a good temperature. There were a couple of broken tiles, but the resort workers were continually fixing them. Zara loved the pool. 


The entertainment: The resort held nightly shows starting at 9:30. Sometimes they had kids shows staring at 8:30. The shows were a little late for us. After spending a full day on the beach and in the pool, Zara was pooped and could barely make it to the show. However there were a couple of nights when we did catch some of and it was very well done.

Overall, I truly loved this resort. It is not fancy. It does need some upkeep and maintenance as it is an older resort, but the grounds were beautifully kept. The furniture in the rooms is worn but again very clean. The food was simple, but authentic. This resort caters to families. It is not a party resort. So if you are looking for an all inclusive resort to go to with your family (specially with young kids/babies), consider the Melia. 

Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are solely based on my experience. 

Vacationing with a baby: Part 4: How to ‘do an all inclusive’ like a pro

All inclusive vacations are awesome when you have a little one. For me the biggest thing I am looking for on vacation is to rest my brain. I don’t want to think about groceries, laundry, breakfast, lunches and drinks. If I did I would just stay home! We have been on three different all inclusive trips to different parts of Mexico since Zara was born. Over the past 2 (almost 2) years of traveling with Zara I have learnt a thing or two about how to ‘do an all inclusive ‘ with a baby.  Here are my tips:

  1. Get direct flights: Yes sometimes it’s cheaper to get connecting flights. And yes sometimes it doesn’t look that bad with an hour or two layover. Trust me when I say it is not worth it. We took one trip, where we had an hours stop over on a return flight. Zara was 9 months. It was pretty stressful. So keep things simple and say no layovers!
  2. Book a resort close to the airport: Out of the three all inclusive resorts we stayed at, the last one was 10 min from the airport. It made a huge difference. When we got to the resort we felt like we didn’t lose a day traveling. We were also able to have a pretty quick and smooth ride back to the airport on our return.
  3. Book a small resort: This is pretty crucial with kids. You don’t want to spend all your time walking to the beach or lunch and dinner. You just want to get there. You also want to be close enough so you can run to the room if you need anything. 
  4. Kids club:This is a must have. The first two resorts we went to had kids clubs, but Zara was too young to go. The last resort had a kids club and babies club. I checked the ages and reviews before we went and parents raved about the care. Zara had a safe fun place to go for a couple of hours, so that mommy and daddy could relax on the beach.
  5. How to eat at the buffet– A lot of people complain about the food at all inclusive resorts. I have a tip for this. Go for the fresh grill stations. Every all inclusive resort I have been to has them. Also, do not be tempted to fill your plate with everything. Pick a couple of items. You are going to be there for at least a week so you don’t want to get bored with the food.
  6. Room with a view and patio: I have mentioned this in my previous post. Pay the extra money and get a room with a view. On the last trip we spent a lot of time hanging out on the patio with a cider/wine at the end of the night while Zara was sleeping. 

I would love to hear what tips worked for you mommas on an all inclusive vacation. Please feel free to share my post and comment below. 

Next week I will be doing a review of the all inclusive resort we stayed at on our last trip. Stay tuned! 

Happy Vacationing! 

Vacationing with a baby Part 3: The 4 must haves to pack when leaving the country with a baby

Last week I talked about how to have a ‘real relaxing’ vacation with kids. This week I am going to share with you what I pack when I am leaving the country. Sometimes being away from home makes it harder to relax because you are away from the comforts of home. I am also a worry wart and tend to play worst case scenarios in my head. So to cope with my anxiety I try to be ‘extra’ prepared. I have had people laugh at me for packing certain things when I travel. But these things have saved me more than once. So today I am sharing with you my top 4 must haves when I travel outside the country. 

  1. Medication– Before I travel I always make a doctors appointment and let them know I am traveling. I ask for prescriptions for any common ailments. When you are traveling with a baby, the number one common ailment is ear infections. I get a prescription for antibiotics for ear infection before I leave. At the pharmacy I let them know that I will be traveling and the medication is for emergency use. The pharmacist is able to give me the medication in powder form as well as a bottle of distilled water. If you need to use it, you just mix it and use it. My doctor recommended that I carry this with me when I fly outside the country. The first couple of times I flew outside the country I did not have to use this. However this last time, I actually ended up using the medication and it was a life saver! In addition to this I also always carry baby Tylenol or baby Advil. 
  2. Pack and play: The first two times we travelled, outside the country we did not take our pack and play with us. We were in Mexico both times and were able to get them at the resorts we stayed at. These pack and plays were pretty worn out. However this last time I brought it with me and it was so much better. Babies like familiar spaces. Zara loved sleeping in her own pack and play. Bonus, you can also check in a pack and play for free as a baby item when you fly. 
  3. Stroller: We have a City mini GT stroller and we love it. It is great on all terrain and folds flat. I have flown with it 4 times. I thought about buying an umbrella stroller just for traveling, but this stroller is so handy and has a little basket which is big enough for a small dog ( my 20 pound pug rides in it). It also has a recline feature and Zara was able to nap in it while we were out for a stroll. So a stroller is definitely a must have for me when I fly outside the country. It is also free to gate check.
  4.  Playtex bottles with liners: If your baby is still taking a bottle, Playtex bottles with liners are great to travel with. The liners are sterilized and  you don’t have to worry about washing bottles. This is especially a concern if you are in a country where tap water is unsafe to drink. This way all you do is rinse the nipple with bottled water and some dish soap. And now you have more time to relax by the pool! 

Tune in next week for Vacationing with a Baby Part 4: How to ‘do’ an all inclusive like a pro. 

I would love to hear what is in your bags mommas. Happy Vacationing! 

Ps- I am posting some vacations pictures below from our most recent trip to Peurto Vallarta. I will be writing a blog post about our trip soon.

My Canadian story: Happy Canada Day

I am an immigrant. I moved to Canada in 1998 with my parents. I was 16. We came to Canada with a couple of suitcases and nothing else. We did not know anyone here. We were excited but scared. My parents are from India but I grew up in the Middle East, so there was a big culture shock. But this country welcomed us. When we arrived at YVR, we picked up our suitcases and grabbed a cab. Our intention was to stay at a hotel/motel and figure things out from there. The cab driver, asked us where we wanted to go and my dad told him to take us to a nearby hotel/motel as we did not know anyone. He looked at us and said, ‘Now you do. I have a house that has a vacant basement suite. I can rent it to you. You can live there.’ He did not know us and we did not know him. My dad did not have a job. But he took us in. His wife made us dinner when we got there. We lived there for almost a year. 

This is the generosity of the Canadian people. Today I celeberated Canada day  at Wesbrook Village, with my family, alongside thousands of other Canadians. We had fun in the splash park, and grabbed a hotdog. There was a 5k and 10k run for adults and a 1k run for kids (which I did not get a chance to participate in). In the community center there was a map of the world and people put stickers on to show where they are ‘originally’ from. It made me think of this story and where I came from. 

This country has given me opportunities that I would have never gotten. Yes we are not perfect, but who is. I am proud to call myself Canadian. Happy 150th Birthday Canada!