Saturday, December 31, 2011

I actually like this one

One of those rare photos of myself I actually like. Maybe it's because my handsome hubby is standing next to me.

Happy New Year to all our friends and family. Praying for 2012 to be a year full of blessings to all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Party Pics

Some of the ladies at last night's party.

And the girls.


They used the top hats as props in the dance they choreographed for the party. I'd share the video too, but Safa would kill me, hah!

And one of our favorite families is visiting from Cincinnati. So nice to see the friends back together again!

I love the colors of all the outfits!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Maybe I should leave the boys at home more often...

... because yesterday afternoon Bilal insisted he wanted to wash the dishes. There were only three things in the sink (the rest were already in the dishwasher), but he brought the step stool into the kitchen and got to work.

First he emptied the coffee grounds from Zakir's pot into the compost crock, and then he washed it thoroughly. When I cautioned him that the water might feel very hot, he insisted that dishes need to be washed in hot water because that's what Baba told him to do. Normally he squeals if the water is barely more than tepid. Evidently Zakir has been teaching him well!

And of course, that means that Zakir will have to do even less work than usual when I'm not around in the kitchen. His minions can do it for him instead!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A party... one of many

Last night was the third evening in a row that Safa and I were invited to an all girls' 'Dholki' party. December has been busy with all these parties, which will end with the wedding at the end of the month. Another evening to dress up.

And the guest of honor at the party, none other, but the 'Dholki' itself, a small drum that is beat, while the women sing various songs (hoping that they remember the words!)

Well, not really the guest of honor, of course, although the party is named after the drum. Here are the bride and her mom, the real guests of honor.


Today we have a lazy day at home, while we watch the rain coming down outside. Nothing planned for this evening. Tomorrow and Tuesday night, more parties!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's done!

 And put back together too! Yesterday Zakir and I worked hard to empty the remainder of the dining room of kitchen contents. And place them back where most appropriate, without cluttering the kitchen drawers. We also donated several bags of kitchen and other household items, and clothes, which got collected yesterday morning. I refuse to become a hoarder! I can't believe some of the things that came out of our kitchen drawers, before the remodeling. Broken bits and bobs of items, rusty screwdrivers, business cards of businesses that probably no longer exist, lots of Lego bricks, pens that are out of ink, and sticky notes; lots and lots of sticky notes. And the cabinets? How many travel mugs does one house need? Not to mention mismatched tupperware. Lids that didn't belong to containers, and containers with no lids.


Now, at least, I would not be embarrassed if someone came to our house and opened one of the kitchen drawers or cabinets. Even our junk drawer doesn't have much junk (yet). What will happen over time is yet to be seen.


And we have new light fixtures too, to finish off the relatively modern look we were going for. This is the one over the kitchen sink.

And a new one over the kitchen dining area too:

The LED bulbs cast a very interesting 'spotlight' on the ceiling. Still getting used to that. But with 3 watt bulbs giving as much light as they do, you can't really go wrong. Talk about energy conservation!

And the kitchen wouldn't be complete without a picture of my early riser, wearing a snuggly fleece robe, that only a few years ago fit his big brother perfectly.



Complete with a fuzzy pair of slippers which are perfect for cooler weather!

Now the kitchen has a warmer, more contemporary feel, rather than the old, outdated look we lived with for over eight years:


Much better!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Karate!

Bilal has been so excited since he got awarded his yellow belt that at times it has been hard to persuade him to take it off. He has also learned to tie his own belt properly, yay!

And even more refreshing is the fact that Hamza is eager to be back in the Dojo. He chose going to karate over driving down to the mall yesterday, wow! The dojo will be closed for a week, so they will have a necessary break, but I'm sure they'll be back with the same enthusiasm after New Year's Day. Now to get Safa up off the sofa and moving around!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Office Christmas Party

This year we hosted our office Christmas party at the office, instead of our house. It's a great opportunity for our staff to bring their families and mingle with everyone, while enjoying some tasty food. Due to too many scheduling conflicts we had the party on a weeknight; it was just about impossible to find a Saturday or Sunday that worked for everyone.








The younger kids had a blast running and sliding around on the concrete floors with just their socks on. They didn't slow down long enough for me to capture a photo!

We have more parties planned for later in the week; it's going to be quite busy through the weekend!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

First Test

The kids before Bilal's first ever karate test this morning. 

And another one:



Bilal was so excited about testing today that he could hardly contain himself. We needed a 'before' photo of my kiddos; two are second degree black belts and one is a white belt.

We headed to the Dojo, dragging Safa along to take pictures. Hamza went in uniform to help out with the junior students as needed during the test. This is a mix of photos taken by Safa and me.

First they stretched to warm up.


Bilal got called on by Sensei Michele to lead the class in jumping jacks. You can see he took the job seriously and very enthusiastically. Quite a jump!


Then the actual test began.




And once the test was over the Senseis consulted each other for a few minutes, while the students waited patiently, and watched a weapons demo.

Then they were presented with their certificates and new colored belts.


And then the best part! Hamza helped Bilal change his belt.


Yay, yellow belt!



And every student that tested got promoted today. Here they are with the Senseis and Senpais.

So proud of all their hard work!

By the time we got home, Bilal's clean, white gi was coated with frosting from the cupcakes and brownies he ate during the karate Christmas party. So when he insisted to keep his uniform on until bedtime I didn't argue too much. But it's going to take a lot of scrubbing and maybe even bleach to make it look clean again! On the positive side, he finally learned to tie his own belt! He is so thrilled about his new colored belt!

Friday, December 16, 2011

How can this not brighten your day?

Look at that precious face!

I took one picture of Mohsin while he was eating breakfast. And he said, "Again!"

So I took another one.

"Again!"

Another one.
Then, "Cheese!"

Adorable! I love it when the nephews come to visit.


And I wish my kids were that eager to get their pictures taken too!


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