Saturday, December 28, 2013

A first

There will be many of these, I'm sure, in our new home. Last night it was lighting the first wood fire in our fireplace.

Such a warm and fuzzy feeling!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From our office.....

.... Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

We are taking a few well earned days off this week, so that our staff can spend time with their families. Yesterday we had our staff and their families over for dinner at our house, where we enjoyed some delicious food and company. Today we've had a low key kind of day; aside from spending a couple of hours at our old house cleaning up, we've mostly hung around the house. Zakir went to work for half a day, but not many patients showed up. I suppose everyone is too busy getting ready for the holidays. We might plan a day trip or two over the next few days, otherwise we are mostly going to be home. Hoping to see a lot of the nephews. Today they came over and we all had dinner together. Tomorrow we'll go to their house, and possibly catch a movie.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fun time at school

Last Friday, Zakir and I went to Bilal's school to watch his Christmas program. It was a western themed show, with fun songs and dances, not something you'd typically see in a Christmas show. I'll have to share some photos later, but his teacher emailed us a group photo of the class. So cute in their plaid shirts and bandanas!

And there's been more than that going on. The students have been collecting new teddy bears and other stuffed toys for the local fire department. A very successful teddy bear drive.

And this week was his Christmas party. The kids exchanged inexpensive gifts, and enjoyed cupcakes, pizza and lots of other goodies. And evidently the class was raided by some mischievous reindeer too!

Today was the last day of school before winter break. The older kids have been out since yesterday, so we let Bilal stay out today too. Hamza spent a couple of hours helping paint the new karate dojo; today is the official move to a new building. Safa and Bilal mostly hung out at home, while Zakir and I spent time taking care of car maintenance, and other boring, but necessary stuff. We actually made it over to our old house today, to do some more clearing out, since Zakir is finally recovering from being sick with the flu. He's had a rough ten days, but kept working through it. We still have things in the attic and garage that need to be cleared out, before we have the carpets shampooed, and possibly some paint touched up. After that we hope that we can be more proactive about selling.

Monday, December 9, 2013

My young lady

Safa had her Winter Formal banquet last night. The event is for seniors only, and was held at McWane Center. It is still so hard for me to realize that she is so grown up now!

She has been accepted, with presidential scholarship at both places, to the University of Alabama and Auburn University. I am thrilled that she has made peace with the idea of staying in state for her undergraduate degree. She has yet to make her final decision.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Home construction, part III

August 14, 2013: The roof is nearly up.

The view of the back yard from Bilal's future bedroom, we have woods that are great to explore:

Looking through the window of Safa's future bedroom:

August 18, 2013: More work on the roof.

The front doors are up:

The family room, photo taken from the kitchen:

The raised hearth in the keeping room:

After the framing was complete it felt that the work slowed down a bit. There are a lot of details that have to be attended to, inside the house.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stack 'em Up

There has been one definite advantage of our move, and the construction of bookcases in our loft. All of a sudden we have a great place to store our many, many board games. Somewhere they are within reach, and readily visible, instead of stacked up on shelves in some kid's closet. So we have been taking out some old classics and reviving them. This evening Bilal and I played Life. It's been several years since I last played. In fact, I don't think I've ever played against Bilal.

But I have to admit, we have a new favorite. Last weekend we went to the store to buy a birthday present for one of Bilal's friends. While we were there I saw this game:

I remembered how much fun my brother and I used to have playing Jenga, and I couldn't resist buying it for us. And of course it didn't hurt that all games were 'buy one, get one 50% off'. So I jumped to the opportunity. Who would have thought that a handful of wooden blocks could mean so much fun? And Bilal is a worthy competitor, with a very steady hand!

Do you see the look of focus on his face? Priceless. Even though the older siblings have been wrapped up in school work and their computers, the two of us can still have some serious fun!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Home Construction, step by step: Part II

Things progressed even more rapidly during the month of August. During the first two weeks it became easier to discriminate where the rooms would be in the completed building.

August 4, 2013: Framing on the second story has already begun. Starting to look more like a house.

Looking up the stairs from the basement:

The hearth room/kitchen area:

The foyer, looking out the front doorway:

August 7, 2013: Deck is under construction in the rear of the house.

August 9, 2013: Future tray ceiling in the master bedroom:

August 10, 2013: The foyer from the upstairs landing:

Home construction, step by step: part I

As promised, I'll start showing how the home progressed, during the five months after acquiring the lot and signing our contract with the builder.

June 28, 2013: The lot has been cleared.
July 9, 2013: Digging has commenced.
July 21, 2013: Basement walls, concrete has started to be poured.

July 31, 2013: The basement almost completely framed. This is when we realized we should be going to the site more often.

The daylight basement from our future back yard.

In the next post I'll show the progress made in the first couple of weeks of August.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

And, I'm back!

This time it's not that there hasn't been much going on; there's been too much going on! Moving house is not a walk in the park. We are still shifting boxes from house to house, sorting through usable discards to donate, and trying to find homes for every item that we actually want to keep. With the hope that when I put an essential item in a drawer or cabinet, I'll actually remember where it is when I need it! We moved just over two weeks ago, but it's going to take at least that much (if not twice as much) more time to be fully organized. Every time I start to get overwhelmed I pause and think about how much has been accomplished in two weeks, and it reassures me, for a little while, at least.

The family has adjusted, but the pets are still adjusting. Atlas is pretty much back in his element, except once in a while he gets into these whimpering moods. Tiny, our 9 year old, has given up her fight for the role of alpha cat, but is pretty much settled. Sammy, on the other hand, still cries a lot, almost every night. He loves to go outdoors and explore, he loves lying in the sun and 'hunting' for prey, so becoming an indoor cat has been more than a simple adjustment for him. I know he pines for the outdoors, but letting a 12 year old cat learn to find his way in a brand new neighborhood, where coyotes are known to roam at night, and snakes have often been sighted, doesn't sound like such a good idea. So they are both strictly indoors. Eventually he'll settle down, I'm sure.

With Thanksgiving coming up I wanted to share a letter mailed to us by our second grader. The class assignment was to write letters to parents, address envelopes and mail them out. I though Bilal's was very cute:

"Dear Parents,
This Thanksgiving I want to thank you for the great things you have given me. thank you for a house and a bed. Thank you for being the best parents in the world.

And here is a cute class photo of a bunch of kids with crazy mustaches:

Obviously Bilal is the goofy one making bunny ears!

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!

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