Meet Rania!

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If there is a single childhood memory that shapes who you are as an adult then mine is bound and held between the pages of our family photo album. The Historical Family Album. That’s what we call it. Contained within its pages are my most cherished childhood memories – the photographs from our birthday celebrations. My parents would go All. Out. We are talking food, and party decorations. So many balloons and streamers. We would dance and play games. Even now, I can hear dance music and how my dad’s voice would waver as he sang Happy Birthday, and how my mom would holler when I blew out the candles.

Those tangible moments, printed for us to revisit and remember are my most cherished childhood memory. It is why I first picked up a camera. I wanted to capture moments for my own family and friends that had the same kind of impact that my parents had on me.

Jake is my husband.  We don’t have some epic love story, at least not in the Hollywood-sense. We were friends that fell in love and our journey was not easy. Coming from a cultural Lebanese family, my parents were not really excited when they met Jake for the first time. However, truly our story is a romance built on intentional moments and gentle expressions of love. He is quiet. I am not. There are times I wonder how we work, but like two sides to a coin, we fill in the gaps for each other, strengthening in the areas the other needs most. We have been together 11 years, married for 7 and have two little humans that are the perfect blend of the two of us.

Maya is our first born. We call her Monkey (she may hate us for that when she’s older!) or Mayabear.  Noah is our second born. We call him Buddy (though our Elf on the shelf is named Buddy, so December gets a little confusing around here!). It’s true what they say about your last baby. You really do want to keep them little for as long as possible. There is a slowing that happens with your last child, where you become content to enjoy each stage, begging them to stay a little longer as you see how fast childhood flees from your grasp!

Our family loves to vacation together. Trips to Mexico are our favorite! We love the Riviera Maya. We try to go every year, in fact, last year, we took Maya for her birthday weekend instead of celebrating at home. Just like my parents taught me, we do birthdays HUGE. There is something about making a child feel truly honored that solidifies their place in your world. Themes are significant for us and my favorite of all time was Noah’s 2nd birthday theme – Taco TWOsday! It was epic, and I don’t know that it can ever be outdone! (We owed it to him because, in true second child fashion, his first birthday was a total dud.)

I live life intensely, seeking experiences over things. I believe in laughing every day – often this comes in the form of a funny youtube video or a clever meme. I watch Friends on repeat, and I am a sucker for the Bachelor & Bachelorette!

With two littles and a business, free time is a precious commodity. Honestly, when I do manage some downtime, it always ends up with me on the phone with my mom (or playing Candy Crush lol). I see that lady almost every day and yet, we can yap on the phone for hours! My parents immigrated from Lebanon to provide a life away from a country surrounded by war. I visited as a teenager, and while I haven’t been in years, I would tell you it is the place I recall feeling the most at home. Being surrounded by so many relatives who love you unconditionally does that to you, I guess. My mom and dad now go back to stay for months at a time each year, and I miss them deeply when they aren’t close by.

I look forward to sharing that piece of my culture with my own children someday. And, of course, making sure the images are printed out in their own Historical Family Album!

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