Almost at the End

I’m writing this at 39 weeks pregnant. I’m almost at the end of my pregnancy and can’t believe it!

I had so many more ideas for posts to write about my pregnancy journey, but for some reason or another, they never happened 🙁 But better late than never, right?

I wanted to write this at the end of my pregnancy to reflect on how it’s been so far and all the emotions I’ve been feeling lately. I went through a state of disbelief (first trimester) to excitement (second trimester) to can’t wait to meet my baby (third trimester)! Add into the fact that I moved back to Canada and am currently living with family into the mix and you’ve got a 9 month long roller coaster!

It might sound weird but there are still some moments of feeling disbelief, even at the end. It usually happens when I see my belly and can’t believe that I’m 9 months pregnant and about to give birth. I went through a lot of this at the beginning of April. When I first found out I was pregnant in August and heard the due date of April 2017, it felt SO far away. I couldn’t imagine myself being 9 months pregnant with a huge belly and a baby on the way. And as the end of March approached and April dawned, I couldn’t believe I had finally reached the end of the line.

Even now, as the weeks have been flying by, it still all seems surreal. I always knew I wanted to be a mom one day, but now that it’s almost here, I still feel a tiny bit scared and wonder if I’m ready. Apparently you’re never truly ready to be a mom, or so they tell me… I don’t know if I’ve done everything I wanted to do before I had kids, but it’s a little too late now.

But that’s only half of the emotions I feel! The other half of me is ready to have this baby NOW. 9 months is a long time, but it mostly flew by for me. But these last few weeks have felt SO long. Being 9 months pregnant is no picnic in the park, especially as your body definitely slows down and you long for the days when you could bend down to pick things up easily and when you walked, instead of waddled.

More than that, I just can’t wait to meet my baby. After 9 months of carrying her around inside of me, I feel so excited at the thought of holding her in my arms (soon, inshAllah!) and being able to hug her and kiss her finally. I know my life won’t ever go back to the way it was once she’s born, and there’s definitely some anxiety I feel over that, but at this point, all I can think and dream about is seeing her finally. It’s the end of pregnancy, but also the beginning of motherhood.

Anyway, here’s hoping that the next time I post, I’ll have a sleeping baby next to me. Hope you all had a great long weekend 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Recipe: Tandoori Shrimp Tacos

I might have mentioned this already, but I’ve had no cravings during the entire duration of my pregnancy. I’ve still got 2 months to go technically, but I figure if they haven’t shown up during the last 7 months, it’s unlikely for them to show up now…

Maybe this is because I used to have cravings even before I was pregnant? I’ve had a love affair with food ever since I can remember and I’ve never needed an excuse to say “I’m craving this…” So maybe that’s why I never noticed my cravings as being unusual during pregnancy?

Whatever the reason, I have been ‘craving’ something light and healthy for a few weeks now. I know, I know, craving and healthy are complete opposites (at least in my books), but after a few weeks of eating heavy and oily food, my palate has been itching for something light and refreshing. Enter these Tandoori Shrimp Tacos!

So first of all, excuse the unprofessional picture. I currently don’t have access to all my blogging and photography stuff. So I just snapped a quick picture of this taco yesterday before literally stuffing it in my face and decided to share it with you all since it’s been awhile.

I usually make these with chicken, but was craving some scrumptious shrimp yesterday. But you could also easily make these with boneless chicken. Just be sure to cut up the pieces of chicken into small, bite-sized pieces before marinating them so that they’re easy to put into the taco shells.

I love these tacos because I always have the tandoori masala or seasoning at home. It’s pretty much a staple in most Pakistani households, but if you don’t have it, you can easily grab it from the international aisle of most major grocery stores. The brand that’s most easily accessible is Shan but if you can’t find that, feel free to use any other brand. Marinating the shrimp in tandoori masala adds a nice kick to the tacos; the guacamole usually tends to cool the taco down so feel free to add as much as you want. Now let’s get to the recipe!

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12 Weeks to Go

Hello everybody 🙂

I can’t believe it’s February already! It seems like it was only yesterday that we were all welcoming the new year and now it’s already the second month of 2017. A lot has happened already in the first month of 2017.

I’m 28 weeks along, more than halfway through my pregnancy and into the third trimester. I can see the finish line! Apparently this is supposed to be the toughest trimester, with lots of aches and pains coming as your body prepares for birth and I can definitely feel it.

I definitely had a surge of energy in the second trimester, which was perfect because I was moving from one country to another, and somehow I was able to get everything done. But now that I’ve started the third trimester I’ve been feeling much more lethargic and lazy. All I want to do is sleep. I wake up at 10, and after a few hours of being awake and up and about, my body screams for a nap around 2 or 3. By the time I wake up, the sun is going down and the day is pretty much done. SIGH.

Lately I’ve lowered my expectations of myself and all that I get done, but at this point I’m getting bored and don’t feel stimulated. I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but I took a break from blogging on my other site because I was so overwhelmed with everything prior to the move but now that I’m doing nothing, I’m itching to get back to something. I figured it doesn’t hurt to get back to this blog first.

But back to pregnancy: I only have 3 MONTHS TO GO. Holy Cow. How did I reach the end so quickly? It seriously feels like yesterday when I surprised my husband with the results of the test and how weird the news felt for those first few weeks. We’re going to have a baby?!?! But now I’m close to the end and it’s something that’s become part of our new reality. Not long to go…

Baby has been kicking like crazy as well lately. The first few times I felt those flutters several weeks ago they felt strange and foreign. I wasn’t even sure if it was the baby kicking or my own hunger pains! But the further along I get, and of course the bigger she gets, there’s no mistaking those little kicks and jabs! I can definitely feel her getting stronger because her movements are a lot more forceful. I can actually feel them with my hand on the outside now and sometimes even see the skin move. It’s an amazing experience.

But the funny thing is that whenever I try to get my husband to feel her movements, she immediately stops! I’ve tried so many times and there’s been only one time where he said he thought he felt something. Every time she’s doing karate inside of me and I try to get him to feel it, she decides to be all shy. He’s like all I feel is your breathing and rumbling of your stomach. >_> Apparently this is a common phenomenon that many women experience!

As the months have progressed, I feel like I’ve gotten to know my baby better, especially as she gets bigger and stronger. The more she kicks and moves, the more I feel a bond with her. And the more time that passes, the more excitement I feel to finally meet her!

The thought of labour still scares me but the thought of meeting my baby is even more exciting. So I’m choosing to focus on that rather than the process it takes to get there (eek).

Anyway, I hope your new year is off to a good start!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Goodbye 2016

Over the past few days, I keep seeing posts on Facebook that talk about how much 2016 sucked. There were definitely some sad and appalling things that happened this year, especially considering media-wise and politically. But it wasn’t all bad! At least not for me.

A year feels like so long, but it can go by in the blink of an eye. And when you look back on the whole year, it can seem so hard to remember what happened in those 365 days.

As I was sitting down to write this post, there were 2 distinct things that were obvious accomplishments for me this year. Other that that, I was drawing a blank on what else happened. But then as I began searching for my goodbye 2015 post, I saw a bunch of posts that reminded me all the other things that happened this year. Thank God for blogging, right?

Last year was an especially difficult one. It was my first year of marriage, my first year of living apart from my family, and my first year of being an adult. There were also 3 major deaths in my family, which I wasn’t present for. It was a year of challenges and struggles.

2016 was also a year of challenges and struggles, but in different ways. There were also lots of really good things that happened in 2016.

We started the year off moving into our first official home. It was so nice to have a place of my own, a place where I could organize and decorate to my heart’s content. I went a little DIY crazy with spray paint and house accents. My husband and I also started to renovate the powder room downstairs, which still sits unfinished, unfortunately.

Soon after that, one of my dreams came true: I got an agent! It was through my other blog, but it was still a dream come true. I spent a few months working with my agent on a book proposal. Unfortunately, the proposal was rejected several times and hasn’t been picked up yet. But I’m still so grateful and thankful to God that I am one step closer to my dream of becoming a published author. Here’s hoping I hear some good news in 2017!

Despite my setback with my nonfiction book, I still decided to self-publish my adult novel Aisha after releasing a chapter every week on my other blog. In fact, it was Aisha that first got my agent’s attention! After the positive feedback, I decided to release it as a Kindle ebook. It hasn’t exactly broken any worldwide records, but it still warms my heart to read the messages and comments from readers who loved the story and related to the characters. Maybe one day it will be released as a physical book…

In terms of baking, I managed to try a few new recipes, but didn’t get around to really sharing that much, unfortunately. But one thing that I did learn to bake that I was most excited about were macarons! I have been obsessed with these French delicacies for a few years now and have been dying to learn how to make them. I took a baking class and brought home a box of my very own handmade macarons that I proceeded to devour in a matter of days. It was such a fun class, and I loved learning all the little tips and tricks that help in taming these difficult-t0-make cookies! I also tried once at home, but wasn’t that successful. I’m definitely planning on trying again soon!

I also picked up a new skill of photography! I still don’t know a lot, but I spent some time practising with my DSLR camera finally and did this with my food- my favourite thing to photograph! It was so much fun to be able to style the pictures and get some professional-ish looking shots that were a thousand times better than my old point and shoot! It’s been a few months since I picked it up, but I’m hoping I get back into it.

Another skill I picked up was brush calligraphy. I sort of became obsessed with this after learning how to form letters to make them beautiful. Eid and birthdays became so much more fun as I loved lettering everyone’s names in calligraphy. It was something I wasn’t so good at in the beginning, but with lots of practice, I definitely got better! It’s something else I haven’t done in a few months, but it’s something that once you know, you remember.

2016 was also the year I found out I’m going to be a mom! I found out in August, but kept the news pretty quiet on social media for a few months. Those were months that were super challenging as I tried to get used to my ever changing body. But nothing about the changes stayed the same; each week was an adventure unto itself! And it still continues that way. But it’s all worth it, especially as I can’t stop daydreaming about holding my baby in my arms in a few short months inshAllah. 🙂 <3

Phew! That was a pretty busy year! To be honest, when I was thinking about what happened this year, I could barely remember anything. But as I went through my old posts, I remembered all the things that I did and that happened throughout this year. Things that I had forgotten, but now that I remember, make me oh-so happy.

As important as it is to look forward, it’s also important to look back at everything you’ve achieved. It’s not a way to be proud, but to think about how far you’ve come. And how much farther you still have to go.

So I hope you all had a fabulous 2016! And an even more fabulous 2017 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy

Being pregnant is an amazing feeling. Once I got past the first trimester and when my belly slowly, but surely started to come in, things started to finally sink in. I’m going to be a mom! There’s an actual human being inside of me! One that has to come out eventually! Eek!

It’s definitely equal parts excitement and fear, especially the first time, and there are days when it’s either one or the other, and also both.

Being 6 months pregnant means that I’ve had plenty of time to Google the heck out of what I’m feeling and whether it’s normal or not. But there’s still lots of stuff that you would think is obvious, but is not…

You might not have all the popular symptoms 

I blame movies and TV shoes for this one. I was so convinced that morning sickness and crazy cravings were a mandatory part of pregnancy, that I started thinking something was wrong with me when I didn’t have those symptoms. Instead, I should have been counting my blessings, but they have been so ingrained in me that when they didn’t arise, I started to worry (as usual). But apparently, not every woman gets morning sickness. And I just happened to be one of the lucky ones!

As for cravings, that’s one symptom I do feel cheated out of during my pregnancy. It seems like such a rite of passage to go deliriously crazy craving things and I was kind of excited to see what sort of weird things I would crave. But alas I never had them! So I never had that funny situation of making my husband running out in the middle of the night for a tub of specific ice cream. People keep telling me I might still get them, but they still haven’t come in yet.

You might not get any of the so-called benefits

The same goes for the ‘benefits’ of pregnancy. Again, I’d heard so much about the glowing skin, the thick hair and nails that I was so excited for them! Who doesn’t want to be told that they’re glowing and to have their hair grow in thicker?

But again, I didn’t get any of these! My skin has actually gotten worse, so I don’t feel like I’m glowing, and my hair and nails stayed the same. So sad.

You feel like a baby

Ok, this is kind of a weird one, but it’s so true. You might be having a baby, but pregnancy suddenly makes you feel like the baby, especially towards the end. I’ve started needing help putting on my shoes because it’s harder to bend down. I also need help walking across with all the ice and snow, and because my balance is totally off. I get tired much easier and can’t get half of what I used to get done in one day. I take naps constantly.

So it feels like you become a baby to have a baby.

You’ll grow overnight

It honestly feels like I did! Ok maybe not overnight, but literally over the span of one week. From a tiny baby bump that was so easy to hide to a blooming belly that pops out of my clothes now. 2 weeks ago all my clothes fit and all of a sudden none of them do! I went from wondering if I looked pregnant to knowing I’ve reached the stage where I can’t. And as big as I feel right now, I know I’m only going to get bigger.

 

Pregnancy is such an amazing, but weird time. There are so many things that are happening with and inside your body that sometimes it feels like there’s an alien inside of you. And sometimes your body feels like the alien, as it changes and morphs into something you barely recognize.

But when you feel those first flutters of movement in your stomach, your heart begins to swell with love and excitement, and it all seems worth it.

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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