Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weekend, what weekend?!

We had another insanely busy weekend this time. Safa was at a debate tournament until almost midnight on Friday, while Zakir, the boys were invited to dinner. Then on Saturday I took Safa back for day two, and she and I spent another twelve hours in the dungeons hallways of Vestavia Hills High School. It really isn't very enjoyable to spend an entire day and them some, inside a school that has very little natural light coming into the building. I judged a debate round in the morning, while Safa and her five other teammates competed. She did not win any awards this time, but three of the other five students from her school did. There is a lot of down time during these tournaments, so they spent a lot of time, in the lunch room, snacking and playing card games, besides tweaking their speeches (or in some cases, rewriting them) between rounds.

This was the last tournament of the year for these kids, however they intend to continue meeting every Tuesday until the end of the school year. Are they really that dedicated that they are getting prepared for next year already? I think they actually just like hanging out after school and trying to procrastinate on their homework. But as long as assignments are completed on time, a little down time doesn't matter. Goodness knows they work hard enough anyway!

Hamza spent most of this past Saturday at a math tournament, and performed very well, ranking 13th out of fifty something students, and fourth in his school's eighth grade team. Only the top 10 got prizes, so he didn't actually win an award, but ASFA's team did win overall. Granted, it was a narrow win. He goes back for another tournament, this time to Hoover, this Saturday. And then on Sunday he is testing for his next karate rank in the morning. In the afternoon we will take him to the mosque where he is going to give a presentation to some kids from a local church. The Islamic Society is very pro-active in interfaith efforts, and it gives all the kids an opportunity to understand each others' religions, and perspectives.

And how is Bilal doing? He spent the entire Saturday with Zakir, and was rather needy most of the time, so Zakir didn't get much accomplished. And he was grumpy at Sunday School the next day, still with his squeaky, nasal voice. Little Stinker has learned to complain about his neck hurting any time he was expected to do something he didn't want to! But this week has been a transformation. This Tuesday he woke up in the best mood I have seen him in since before all his sinus infections. He had a great day at school. And yesterday was even better. His cough has almost gone away, it has been days since he has had to recurrently blow his nose, and guess what? His voice is finally coming back. Yay! Some of his 'm's and 'b's are still mixed up, but we can actually understand him now. Three weeks later we have our happy, energetic, talkative little guy back. And no more recent complaints of neck pain or headaches either! Yesterday we enjoyed reading together. He was so excited that the book assigned to him from school had three chapters (even though they were small ones), and level 1.4 as far as 'accelerated reader' points go. This means it is a book that a first grader should be able to read by the fourth month of the school year. He is reading with much more pride and enthusiasm now, finally! And after missing about 8 days of school he easily caught up. Luckily kindergarten isn't too challenging!

So that sums up the weekend and this week so far. As you can see, the next weekend will be just as busy. But we are coming close to Spring Break, which will mean a whole week off for all of us. A nice goal to work towards.

Farah and family drove in from Mobile last night. Their move is complete! We didn't see them last night because they got in late and drove straight to their new home here in Birmingham, but we will be seeing them today after the movers have delivered their furniture and boxes this morning. It will be so great to be able to see our precious nephews much more often.


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