Thursday, October 31, 2013

Feeling so blessed!

After five months of eager anticipation, we have come from this:

to this:

Today we closed on our new home. The process went very smoothly, and it's such a blessing to have a new place that we have put so much thought and love into. We plan to do some gradual transitioning over this weekend and the following week, and November 8 is scheduled as the Big Move. As long as it goes as planned, that should be our first night in our new home.

I haven't shared much of the progress over the past five months, but hope to start chronicling the construction process with photographs over the next few weeks. It will give me an excuse to start blogging more consistently!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mobeen is Five!

Mobeen turned five today. Such a big boy!

We joined the family to celebrate his birthday at iJump, one of his favorite places to play.

Bilal had a great time too, but it seems that his older siblings have outgrown the place. Safa brought her iPad to read for a homework assignment, and Hamza spent a god deal of time playing with his phone.

But he did have the chance to climb the rock wall.

And even though Hamza was taller than the height limit, Bilal managed to ride a go-cart around the track. He was a bit disappointed that his brother couldn't ride with him.

After play time, there was pizza and cake.

A fun afternoon. Happy birthday, Mobeen!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Halloween Program

Today, Mrs. E's second grade class hosted a small Halloween show for the parents. And Zakir and I were both able to attend.Bilal was thrilled to see us both there, a very rare occurrence.

They had songs and jokes planned for the parents. Bilal's joke: "What do you do with a green monster?" And the answer, "Wait for it to ripen". Haha!

The kids sang 'The twelve days of Halloween', and they danced the 'Hookey Spooky' (a version of the Hokey Pokey).

We snapped a couple of selfies. As you can see, I haven't quite mastered that yet!

And after the program there were lots of sweet and spooky treats.

Ghost cookies and scary teeth! And skeleton brownies too!


To end off another fun school week for Bilal, Zakir took him to our local carnival, where he enjoyed the rides to his heart's content. I didn't go; the temperature was already dropping close to freezing when they left, and I opted to stay at home. But our cold weather loving pup had a blast there!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Late Bloomer

It seems as if our confederate rose is blooming later and later every year. We used to see flowers in early September, but the last couple of years it has been well into October before we have seen any color on our plant.

And as soon as the temperature hits freezing, everything withers away for the winter. Temperatures are supposed to drop by this weekend. Considering we had the air conditioner on just a couple of days ago, there is going to be the typical flip-flop in the weather that we have become accustomed to, living in Alabama.

So we have only a few more days to enjoy the pretty pink flowers.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hamza's party

Hamza had a few of his classmates come over for a party earlier today. The party didn't require a lot of planning; if you put a group of teenagers in a house together they can find ways to entertain themselves. We just made sure that there was lots of cake and pizza. They spent most of the time hanging outside in the back yard with the dog (thank goodness it quit raining), and playing video games. We did take them to the local arcade to play a couple of games of laser tag, but most of the time they figured out things to do.

 Hamza and I made cake last night, and this morning I frosted it with homemade cream cheese icing. The icing was delicious, but sadly my hand mixer died just as I was finishing off the first batch for our large cake. So it ended up rather scantily frosted. Still, it was delicious.

And evidently the lack of adequate icing wasn't too big a deal, because it sure did get consumed!

What else has been going on? We have a closing date scheduled for our home, right on target, on the 31st. Less than two weeks now, and it's very exciting to think about the move soon after. I may not be as excited when we begin the actual move, but the end result is what counts!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What to do on a lazy weekend morning?

Bilal has a tendency to get up bright and early in the morning, it doesn't matter what day of the week it is. It also doesn't matter what time he went to bed the night before. When it's his time to get up, he's bouncing around. And although he has mastered making his own breakfast (popping some waffles into the toaster oven, or nuking some french toast), he still can't handle the fact that the entire household is not awake to keep him company. So after a failed attempt at having a sleep-in, I decided to get up and spend time with him instead. He loves board games, and in particular strategy games, so yesterday it was Sequence.

The board set up, ready to play

Strategizing his next move

The board is filling up
And after a game that went on for far too long, guess who won? Bilal, of course! I get beaten almost every time we play. That child is great at planning ahead, and also has eerie good luck when it comes to playing board games. A lethal combination!

Today it was UNO attack, and my fate was much the same. Yet I am a sucker for punishment and keep coming back to play more!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hamza's 15!

Happy birthday to Hamza! My boy is fifteen today. and growing like a weed. I think he is really going to eat us out of house and home.

Since we had plans this evening we went out yesterday evening to celebrate his birthday. He chose to go to Red Robin for burgers.

The kids actually posed for a pleasant photo together (one of those rare moments).

The food was delicious, but we decided not to torture our introverted son, so did not sing 'Happy Birthday' to him.

Today I picked up cupcakes to celebrate his actual birthday; this was what was left after round one:

I am proud of the young man he is becoming, though his energy still needs to be channeled every so often. He is bright and curious, and loves his numbers, as he always has. My boy!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Concert Night

Safa and I went to another great concert at the awesome music venue, Workplay. We have been to several concerts here over the years, and like the others, this one did not disappoint us. The headliner show was Green River Ordinance, which has performed various hits such as On and On, and Heart of Me. Along with Safa, I chaperoned a couple of her friends from school.

The show was opened by the lead vocalist of Honor by August, Michael Pearsall. Some of their songs have become quite popular on satellite radio.

His act was followed by Nashville's Andrew Ripp who also performed a song with Green River Ordinance's lead vocalist.

Then it was time for the headliner show. They started with such a bang that my ears were ringing long after the show was over! But they were very entertaining for sure.

Great evening!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dear Government,

Please fix this mess you've created. Today my daughter, who was trying to do online research for an important homework project, marched into the kitchen, ranting, "I am one Google search away from driving my car into the White House!" It is impossible for her to do any research when all the websites she needs to access are down. And that is only a small inconvenience, compared to what many, many Americans are experiencing. Trust me, this ridiculous deadlock is not improving your popularity the slightest bit.


One frustrated mom, who really doesn't want her daughter to turn into a raving lunatic.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Visiting Cousins

The best part of our trip! The initial plan had been for just me and Safa to go to Nashville for the college tour, but Zakir jumped at the opportunity too when we decided to stay with Shaheena. After all, it's great to visit family. I admit, Shaheena is actually Zakir's first cousin, but I claim her as mine! We had a great time, including a couple of really, really late nights.

Shaheena and Asad have three sweet girls. Amna, the middle one, is best buddies with Safa. They are only a couple of months apart in age, and evidently have a lot in common. Lizzy, the youngest, loves to bake. Her specialty is cupcakes, but she made some yummy cake pops for us.

I love that sweet girl! And not just because the cake pops were delicious!

They also treated us to a delicious dinner at a local Turkish restaurant. Yum!

The Asads have the cutest kitty cats, four of them, to be precise. Darby was especially friendly, and came up to greet us in the morning.

He also spent most of the night curled up in my lap while Shaheena and I chatted about everything under the sun. Almost until sunrise. Now that's something that we rarely ever do. Can't wait until we get to see the sweet family again. We are hoping that they will pay us a visit during Thanksgiving, perhaps?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another college tour

We were all in Nashville this weekend, for a college tour at Vanderbilt. Safa is still narrowing down places she wants to apply to, but is starting to think a little more seriously about staying in state. We'll see what happens during the application/ acceptance process.

Vanderbilt is a beautiful campus, within a very busy area of the city. The first part of the tour involved a narrative about what the university has to offer, and another 1.5+ hours were spent actually touring the buildings.

The weather was gorgeous to be outdoors, it definitely cooperated more than our last tour, at Washington University in St. Louis. That was during July, but the temperature was a coolish 65, with lots of rain.

Visiting Vandy was the primary purpose of the trip to Nashville, but definitely not the highlight. More about our visit with our awesome cousins in the next post!

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