Thursday, August 29, 2013


Who says cats and dogs have to hate each other? After a couple of years Sammy has determined that Atlas really doesn't pose any threat to him. He is actually a little curios, and will even sometimes walk up to him. Today, after our walk, Zakir stroked our kitty's head while they actually sniffed each other. No ruffled fur on either side!

I wouldn't say they are friends, but they have definitely learned to accept each other. And after that little interaction they sat down, at a safe distance from each other.

Tiny, on the other hand, prefers to watch from a distance.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Battle of the Dojos

Not too long ago Bilal participated in another karate tournament. We had other commitments for the same evening, so we had to split up; Safa took him to the tournament, while the rest of us went to a party. They did have a chance to join us later, so didn't miss out on too much, but I wish that I had been there to watch Bilal compete. Fortunately, Safa acted as official photographer, and took a lot of photos.

Goofy boy!

Waiting to compete

He participated in Kata and Kumite (sparring)

He ended up winning a bronze medal in Kata and silver in Kumite. And had a blast doing it!

And this year Trussville won the Battle of the Dojos trophy. Until next time!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trip to Atlanta

We headed to Atlanta the last Tuesday of summer vacation, with every intention to make that second promised trip to Six Flags. What we didn't realize was that the park is now closed on weekdays until the end of the season. So, we decided to do number two on the kids' choice of attractions, the World of Coca Cola.

We parked a few blocks away and had a leisurely stroll through Centennial Park. Would have been a little nicer if it weren't so hot and humid. But the kids at the splash park behind us didn't seem to mind the heat!

I love the collection of Coke memorabilia on display. Just look at those pants!

The vault, where the coveted secret recipe for Coke is kept.

The displays are quite interesting. Bottle Works is a favorite for sure.

And then we went through the Taste It area and sampled a variety of Coke products from all over the world. After the tour I took the kids to one of their favorite places to eat, Karachi Broast, before heading home to Birmingham.

So, not the trip to Six Flags as we had planned, but we did manage to make a good day of it!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School's in!

Today was day 3 of back to school for the kids, after what seemed like a super long summer. I actually enjoy it when the kids go back to school; it makes work easier for me. In the summer I dread having to go to work, while the kids languish around on the sofa at home. And even though I am not a morning person, and I have to leave home one hour earlier during the school year, I still like the routine that it brings along.

Each child had a slightly different attitude, Monday morning.

Bilal was super excited. I awoke to him marching around the kitchen, chanting, "The first day of school, the best day of school!" I think he was looking forward to the school year more than anyone else. Three days in, he is still loving it (thankfully!), although his bed time is becoming a tiny bit earlier again. School really does tire him out! Today he was tucked in by 7:45pm. So not much earlier, but by the time his head hit the pillow he could hardly keep his eyes open to hug me goodnight.

Hamza was also looking forward to school, but the harder thing for him is getting up around 6am, instead of the usual 12 noon or later he's been waking up over the summer. School lets out at 4:40pm so by the time he gets home it is often pushing 5:30. And homework has started up already too, so no screen time for him (except for homework, of course). Tenth grade won't be easy, but he is enjoying math, and especially Computer programming. Today he actually made it to karate for an hour of training. Got to work that body too!

And Safa, my senior? She was not thrilled about going back to school at all. The only thing she is thrilled about is the fact that the graduation countdown timer has been set. If you ask her, she can instantly tell you how many days she has left before she officially graduates. It is definitely going to be a challenging year for her. But we all know she's up to it. If the last three years of high school are any gauge, she will hopefully be graduating with great grades, and many good college options ahead of her. And admittedly, she does love the social aspect of school! We have another college campus tour scheduled for her in September, and there are a couple of others she wants to squeeze in before her applications go out.

There is a lot of progress on our house that is being made; cabinets and bathroom fixtures have been selected; and this Friday morning we meet the electrician to decide about what lights and switches will need to go where. It's an interesting ongoing journey, and I'll be sharing more of it later. As far as we can tell, we're still on schedule for closing at the end of October. Getting excited with a little over two months to go!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Twelve hours left...

... before the 2013-14 school year officially starts, and yes, my child really is doing homework!

Evidently there just wasn't enough time over the summer! At least the boys went to bed on time.

This afternoon I took Hamza to his school for the mandatory Math/Science specialty meeting, always scheduled the day before school starts. Learned about some of the new teachers that have joined the school. With all advanced math/science classes it sounds like it is going to be a challenging year for him. Good, he won't have time to get into trouble, hah! We also learned about the school's placement in the most recent Mu Alpha Theta math convention in San Diego. Apparently the school placed twelfth overall among the fifty-one participating schools nationwide. Considering ASFA had only nineteen participants across all the divisions, compared to close to one hundred that some other schools had, that is a great accomplishment! Proud of our students!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Our Eid

After a delicious breakfast and before we went for Eid prayers, we ran outside to take a few photos.

And after prayers we brought Farah and the boys with us to hang out for the day.

It's not easy getting everyone to cooperate at the same time, but we made do with Mobeen's 'silly' face.

Later we changed and took the boys out for lunch. Mohsin helped out in the kitchen, while I made some chocolate cake for dessert. He poured the oil with no spills!

And using the hand mixer was a lot of fun too!

I let him lick the whisks and tried to catch a photo of his cute little chocolate face, but he was in too much of a hurry to clean up!
And sometimes, when you're done baking and playing, you've just got to chill.

Cute cousins!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Birthday Party

Finally, a couple of weeks after Bilal's actual birthday, it was time for his party at Chuck e Cheese. Definitely not my choice as far as birthday party venues go, but it was his request, so we decided that he should have it there. I have to admit, it was easy, considering there was little to no prep involved (I just custom ordered his birthday cake and made goody bags for the kids). Everything was taken care of, including the entertainment, and at the end we didn't even have to clean up! And the kids definitely had a good time playing all the games and collecting tickets.

The birthday boy with his crown
Bilal's Lego Star Wars cake with Anakin and Obi Wan Kenobi

 The party host was nice enough to take a photo of the entire family. Those are rare!

The boys, waiting for the guests to arrive

And as soon as the guests arrived, Bilal was off to play! Safa tried to chase the kids around to take some photos.

 The older boys got in on the fun too!

And after play time everyone sat down for some pizza.

Followed by some Chuck E action.

And some air guitar.

After blowing out the candles,

And a photo with the big furry mouse,

It was time for the ticket blaster. The REAL reason Bilal wanted his party to be at Chuck e Cheese!

The older siblings were so excited that they collectively won enough tickets for a bag of cotton candy! Do you see the delight on their faces?

And to make the day extra special, we had some old friends join us. They moved away from Birmingham a few years ago and are back this weekend, visiting for a few days. Great to see them and their kids!

This evening we are again eating with friends; we really haven't cooked much at home since the end of Ramadan. Still enjoying the Eid festivities and all the parties that come with that. It's going to be hard to go back to work on Monday, after an extra special 4 day weekend!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ready for Eid!

The new moon has been sighted, and that means that the blessed month of Ramadan has come to an end. And tomorrow morning the celebrations begin. We will meet at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex tomorrow morning for Eid prayers, and the rest of day will be spent doing fun stuff with the kids.

Since yesterday was my day off I took Safa to the mall to have henna applied on her hands. It's a great Eid tradition. One of her friends joined us there, but for her it was a new experience. I think their hands turned out lovely.

I got some applied on only one hand, since I was the designated driver. And by this morning the paste has dried and been washed off, leaving a loving, deep red color on our hands. It will last for a couple of weeks and eventually fade off after several washes. At work today, almost every patient asked me if I had a tattoo on my hand. Uh, no! Nothing that permanent ever goes on my body!

Looking forward to a festive day tomorrow!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

St. Louis Zoo

Yep, I'm only about 1 month behind in my blogging, but  will catch up, I promise! This month priorities have been different, and I haven't been on the computer as much.

While in St. Louis early last month, we made a trip to the St. Louis Zoo. It was quite hot, but still great to walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds.

I think my favorite were the incredibly adorable prairie dogs!

Look at those cute little critters, awww!

The tortoises stayed cool in the mud.

And we saw a family of elephants, how sweet!

And this is sweet too! My babies.

After visiting the zoo we walked over to the Art Museum.

You can see that by then Bilal was a bit tired, and in a rather grumpy mood.

Neither boys were very interested in the art exhibits, so the visit got cut short. Although, the rest of us could have probably spent a whole day there. So many interesting exhibits!

Hopefully we'll be back another day.

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