making memories with sand in my toes

Sometimes you just have to go for it. Abandon the fear, anxiety and "what if" scenarios that spiral into the abyss of our minds. As adults, our thoughts are capsuled by these very things - especially as parents. Worrying about anything and everything. But if we simply watch - our children are the very ones that teach us how to be fully free and present among ourselves...

Feeling Free

Watching Ava run out into the water upon arrival of our annual trip to the beach - was a refreshing reminder that everyday should feel like that. Without her floaties... without us hovering over - we watched her run over the sugary white sands and welcome the cold water. We watched in envy of their fearless spirits and were deeply humbled with gratitude for the week ahead... to be together, rejuvenate and let go - at the edge of the earth...

Aaron & Noah

For the past 2 years, Dad's travels back and forth to Afghanistan prevented him from sharing these summer jaunts to the white sands of Seacrest Beach with us. But this year - the timing worked out just right - and instead of walking the dusty streets of Kabul, he is walking and holding his grandchildren beneath a forgiving sunset...


Grandpa & Sophia

So much of what I love about traveling with family is how magnified the routine of days become with loved ones around. Mornings are sublime - waking up to different cuddles and laughs...


One of the things I often dream about is raising my children near the beach. But seeing as how I'm not much of a swimmer, nor a fan of seafood or swim suits - makes this a much prettier idea in my head. Still - it's nice to live on the beach - if even for awhile - and take in this scenery every moment of the day. Ava and Noah sit on the back porch here - on our second day - and talk about how they will divvy up their animal crackers before they spend a morning at the beach...

A&N Shirts



By the time the sun peaked at high-noon, we were ready to enjoy the beach - from
inside our cottage - where the views and comforts of home still took our breaths away -

Family Room

This is probably one of my favorite photos - or moments rather - for anyone who knows my father will know that he has a serious distaste for photos. In fact, I believe he has an allergy with cameras. I don't blame him - I take a lot of photos. When I turned to snap one of him, he frowned. I put my camera down, sighing at the routine of him running away from my lens - but was surprised when he went behind the counter and grabbed his son-in-laws and said, "now I'm ready" with a big smile on his face (thank you Dad!).

Making Lunch

Although most people don't like to cook while on vacation - it was something we all got to do together (like in my case, where I accompanied the chefs on the other side of the counter). The variety, freshness, and gathering around plates of home cooking was like our palettes were on vacation too...


That evening, as Mom and I watched the sun set, the wind picked up - and so did our spirits for some adventure to fly our kites!

Kite flying

Flying a kite


By nightfall, Roshana and I joined Wagma and Dad laying on the hammock - watching the stars turn on their lights one by one. Mom joined us, and before we knew it, my entire family was swinging on this one hammock - laughing hysterically, and watching shooting stars. We listened to Dad tell stories of places so distant... of when he was governor and touring one of his provinces on horseback alongside a mountain and then separated from his guardsmen. Before losing hope, there was a sliver of flickering light at the bottom of the mountain - which turned out to be a small tribal village. Not identifying himself, he was nonetheless welcomed, and given hot tea... Or the time my father didn't stop at a border patrol and turned to look back and see an Afghan holding a machete behind his back... or about the time when he and Mom drove to the countryside and were robbed by gypsies...

The stories fluttered one right after the other - completely capturing our attention as we tried to imagine and piece together these stories with our eyes. This was the kind of experience where memories are made out of memories - where on this perfect evening - my family came together like never before. I was lost in my humility and love - for the family I was born into and for the family I have created - and the chance to blend these two are true blessings. This memory - and this one night - will live much longer than I will...


On our second day - unfortunately the AC gave up on us. After 3 technicians, we decided to part our ways. In less than 2 hours, a new beach vacation was underway... and Masaud booked us a five-star condo with gulf views 30-min east, in Destin. And as a bonus to this extra bit of luxury, the children's slumber parties officially kicked off...

Finding Nemo

Roshana flew back home to start her summer session in college, while the rest of us resumed full beach bumming mode...

Going to the beach

Strawberry coladas on the beach

Making sand piles



Including participation in a hermit crab race... and treasure dig -



Using a bamboo place mat (I mean pirate's map) of course... arrgggh...


Spending time alone with Grandma is a treasured past-time for Ava. Holding hands - and bridging the past with the future - both generations walk fulfilled with so much more than just seashells today...

Collecting sea shells

Although none of us is a real huge fan of excursions, we ventured out to Harborwalk Village and took a boat ride out on the gulf...

Boat ride

Mom and Me

Dolphin Sightings

And sure enough - a dozen or so dolphins put on a good show. Afterwards, Ava safely steered the boat back into the harbor - whew....

Aye Aye...

After dinner one night, we went out for ice cream to Sandestin Village of Baytowne Wharf - a picturesque community with something for everyone. While I tried to entice Ava and Noah to ride the carousel, they both had their eyes up in the air. So, I bit my lip and asked if their was an age minimum. To all of our surprises - especially Ava and Noah - there wasn't. And so up they went.... And it was every bit worth the wait in line on this very hot and humid night...

Dare Devil

Dare Devil

On this particular sunny afternoon, we managed to steal some wonderful candids with the girls musing over the beauty all around...



On our last day - we attempted to take a family portrait on the beach. There were sheer moments of laughter - as well as pure torture - as the kids wriggled this way and that while the camera snapped away...

Family Portrait

Florida Family




The end to such a beautiful week wasn't easy. From the moment we returned from Seacrest last year, we began dreaming up of plans to go back. The impact of the oil spill, the uncertainties of illnesses, the stretches of long work hours... they were all forgiving for this one amazing week - allowing us to let go - and just be...


Saying Good bye

Each day unfolded a different story - and each one of us gave a little - and took a little - one from the other. And we are all better because of it.

Walk on the beach

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