Thursday, May 31, 2012

Historic Marietta

We met with some friends on our recent visit to Georgia. The venue was a nice Thai restaurant in Marietta. We had just a few minutes when we reached there, enough time to take a quick look around historic Marietta Square. The locomotive captured the little one's attention, of course.

And then we went in for our meal. Bilal ordered Teriyaki chicken from the kids' menu, and this is what he got:

You might not be able to tell from the photo, but it was presented on a huge boat that made the meal look even larger than it actually was. Talk about a whopper of a kid's meal! Bilal could barely eat a fraction of it. Can anyone say childhood obesity?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back to the Aquarium

On our second day in Atlanta we were planning to visit the Georgia Aquarium (a place we've visited several times, but enjoy going back to) and the World of Coca Cola. But evidently the rest of the world had the same idea. We had no clue that the crowds would be so huge. It was virtually impossible to walk anywhere without bumping into people, and taking photos was even more difficult. However, thanks to some advance booking we were able to get tickets for the new Dolphin Tales show, which was sold out by the time we reached there.

We just got pushed through the crowds and were out before we knew it.

And then we had to scrap the Coke plan, because we had not pre-purchased tickets for that, and the lines were horrible. We had no desire to stand outside in the heat, waiting to get into another building packed with too many tourists to enjoy the place.

Whose idea was it anyway, to go to Atlanta on Labor Day weekend?! Oh, never mind, it was my idea!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Legoland Discovery Center

We fought the crowds during our trip to Atlanta.

Apparently, since it's Memorial Day weekend, both a long weekend and the first one of the summer holidays, everybody decided that it was a good time to visit Atlanta. The crowds were horrible. But the trip to LLDC was kind of fun.

The fabulous Fox Theater:

We met Farah and the boys there for a little while. They built cars,

and had a chance to race them too!

That was on Saturday afternoon. And on Sunday,

The Georgia Aquarium. Pics to follow soon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer starts with a party

Bilal was invited out to his classmate's birthday party at Pump it Up, our local inflatable place. He was so excited about the party, he kept asking me if it was time to go. Six o'clock is a little late for him; he's usually in bed by seven on weeknights.

But finally it was time for the party. Pardon the poor quality of the pics, it was quite dim in the play areas since it was a glow party.

After play time it was time for pizza and cake.

He would have stayed there all night if I let him! What a great way to end the school year! Bilal is asking to have his birthday party at the same place too. Might not be a bad idea. We've got two months to plan it, so let's see what we'll do.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Picture this....

.....It is late in the afternoon. I am in the MINI, driving with the top down, and with the kids in the car. Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer is playing on the radio. Safa and I, in the front seats, are singing loudly and out of tune, along with the song (although secretly, I'd rather be singing Bohemian Rhapsody). Bilal is sitting in the back seat, yelling, "I don't know the words to this song!" And Hamza is gradually shrinking lower, and lower into his seat, trying to disown the entire experience. Evidently we embarrass him.

Oh yeah, Summer has started!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My (other) boys

I had a great day yesterday, playing with these little guys.

So much fun!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A beautiful bride

This weekend we attended a Pakistani wedding. A friend's daughter got married on Saturday, and there was a Mehndi (henna) ceremony for the girls on Friday. So two evenings to dress up and have fun!

Safa opted to go, instead of hibernating at home at she has been lately. And it's good that she did come, because she met a lot of her friends there on both days.

Don't you love their colorful outfits?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Choir Concert and other school news

The Shades Valley High School choir typically has several events throughout the year, including a winter and spring concert, and the dessert cabaret, a large fundraiser which the kids have to audition for. However due to various reasons, there was only one concert this year, and no major fundraiser event.

This year Safa was part of Concert Choir.

Next year she is going to be in Valley Singers, the advanced choir. She was assigned choir as an elective when she was in 9th grade, not something that she chose herself. However she stuck with it and has been really enjoying herself. She is also working towards going to New York City next year as the designated choir trip. I hope she takes me with her!

The school year is winding down. Hamza has exams on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then he will be out for the summer. Safa will go on Monday and Tuesday, and check out early both days after he exams. And Bilal's last day will be Wednesday. School officially ends on Thursday for the three of them, but they won't have a reason to go that day.

And speaking of school and exams, JCIB ranked sixth this year in Newsweek's America's best High Schools report. That's pretty darn good if you ask me. So glad that Safa is going to a public school that has ranked consistently high for the previous several years.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Karate Saturday part 2... after the test

The new belts were presented and everyone in their uniforms had a quick change of clothes. Then it was time for water fights.

And frisbee,

and a picnic of some delicious sandwiches.

Safa was the official photographer. But she paused long enough to have her picture taken too.

And after some food and fun it was Pie Time!

There has been a contest going on in the Dojo over the past several weeks. People have been contributing money to vote for which Senpai and which Sensei they want to see pied at the day of the picnic. All the proceeds go towards accommodation for the upcoming karate tournament. Our kids are not participating in the tournament, but since Hamza is a Senpai, his name was one of the ones to be voted on. And he received the most voted to be pied. Along with Sensei Michele. For each dollar contributed, the contributor also had their name placed in a jar, to be picked as the person to pie the Sensei/Senpai.

First the pies were prepared.

Five per person, ready to go. Hamza obviously wasn't thrilled.

But he was a good sport about it, as was Sensei Michele.

And then as each name was drawn, they took them in the face

And on the head

Since I had also contributed a couple of bucks my name was in the jar too. And with the odds of about 1 in 100, my name was actually drawn!

And who did I choose?

Hamza of course! When would I ever get the chance again?

And after it was over, Hamza decided it was time to give me one of those rare hugs he tends to hold hostage.

And I took it graciously. I guess I did deserve it!

So we both went home and took showers. Somehow whipped cream doesn't smell that nice when it's all over you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Karate Saturday

So Bilal was awarded his yellow/black belt on Saturday. The testing is usually conducted either at the Trussville or Montevallo Dojo. But this time there was a record number of students testing, so it was held at the park behind the Trussville library. The students aren't used to training in sneakers, and on the grass, but everyone was a good sport about it.

The test requires a lot of concentration. I love the expression on Bilal's face. So serious, so much focus! But he was much less inhibited when his name was called to collect his new belt.

 So proud of him and all the students!

But the exciting morning didn't end there.

To be continued....

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