Monday, March 31, 2014

The boys in Memphis

My three guys spent a little time in Memphis over Spring Break before I joined them on Tuesday. They managed to squeeze in a couple of key attractions, and although Zakir isn't snap happy like I am most of the time, he did manage to take a few photos with his camera.

Self guided tour of Graceland:

 Memphis Zoo:

It looks like they encountered better weather than I did in Nashville! They had clear, sunny skies, and I drove in snow!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Afternoon at the Park

We got home from Tennessee yesterday evening, too late to pick up the puppy from the vet's office, so today we picked him up and took him for a drive into Birmingham. We had talked about going to Railroad Park since it opened up to the public a while back, but hadn't made it down. So, today, as a special treat for Atlas who'd been boarded for the past three nights, we took him for a stroll in the park. It was a beautiful sunny day, with a slight cool breeze--perfect!

And it turns out, Atlas is a bit of a celebrity! So many people came up, asking to take his picture. We heard a lot of "What kind of dog is he?", "what is his name?", and "how much does he weigh?" A couple of times during our walk he was mobbed!

Seems like we were met by paparazzi! But Atlas loved the attention. I have a feeling Zakir will be taking him back soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A little break in Nashville

I drove up from Birmingham on Saturday to spend a couple of days with a dear friend in Nashville. And I left the boys at home, since Zakir was on call over the weekend. With Safa in Europe, that makes for quite a fragmented family! While I was in Nashville I has the chance to hang out with two little cuties. Made my trip all the more worthwhile!
Big sister is three, so I heard a lot of "Whatcha doing?" She has such an adorably sweet little voice, such a doll! And of course, at three months old, baby sister was adorably cute too!

I can't wait until I see them again soon, hopefully when they visit Birmingham in a couple of weeks.

And yesterday (Monday) Zakir drove the boys to Memphis for part of Spring Break. They visited Graceland yesterday, and the zoo this morning. Zakir has promised to share his pics with me, so hopefully I'll be able to share them soon. I drove from Nashville this morning, and met up with them at lunch time. We will all be here until tomorrow, and then will be heading back home to Trussville. We have some things in mind to do tomorrow; a pity that this far the weather has been rather chilly, with cool temperatures and huge gusts of wind. We are ready for a real spring, not just a little teaser every few days!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Promoted again...

... this time to 3rd kyu brown belt. Two more tests, and he will be eligible to test for black.

The Dojo was full today, I think it might be one of the biggest tests in a while. Look at that determined look on Bilal's face during the test:

Even though Hamza wasn't testing, he was in his gi, ready to help out during the test. Admittedly, Zakir had to drag him out of the house rather reluctantly, but he ended up being a good sport.

Of course, with the number of students testing, it went on for a long time. This mama was rather concerned, since it is a school night!

 But it was all worth it, when Bilal got his new brown belt.

Great job, everyone!

After a late dinner I still managed to get my exhausted little guy in bed by 8:30pm. Not too bad!

Today was also the day that Safa was leaving for Europe. After dragging her around with me to run errands for most of the morning, I dropped her off to the airport at noon. By 5pm (Eastern) she had made it to Philadelphia, and within an hour and a half she had already boarded the plane, en route to Paris. Hopefully we will hear from her as soon as she makes it to her first hotel. I realized it is going to take some adjustment, not having her around, when I set the table for five this evening, instead of just for me, Zakir, and the boys. I suppose I should get used to it though, since she will be going to college in the Fall, and we won't be seeing her that often. At least this time I get to see her again in ten days!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Honors Day

I took the day off work today to go to Safa's school, for her senior year Honors Day. Admittedly, it doesn't take a lot for me to take off work, but man, I had a heck of a busy day today! The event at her school was from 8:30 until about 10am. Safa is already member of a couple of honor societies; Beta Club, National Honor Society, National Forensics League (debate), but the school also joined another group for the first time this year: the National Science Honor Society. This tapping was a complete surprise of her and the many classmates who were inducted.

Pinning of the new members of NHS
The existing members of NFL
National Science Honor Society
After the ceremony we went to the library for a brief reception.

My baby girl and I, in a rare non-selfie:
After I made it home, I got on the phone and computer to make the multiple business related phone calls and emails that were due. I was only half way through those when I received a call from the school nurse that Bilal was at the clinic with a stomach ache. So I had to go and check him out. I brought him home and fed him lunch, finished my business calls, and was about to lie down and snuggle with my sickly little bug when I received a call from the manager of the rental company we have our house listed with. They had a client who loved our house, and want to move in.... this week! So I made a quick call to Zakir to confirm he was fine with the arrangement, and dragged Bilal out of bed and over to our old house, to empty out the attic and garage; something we have been procrastinating about for the past couple of months. There, I was met by a nice gentleman who does a lot of moving for the rental company. He loaded up his pick-up truck... twice, and delivered a lot of what will probably end up being mostly 10+ years of junk, to our new house's basement. It took the entire afternoon! Our minivan is in the process of having its air conditioner repaired, so we haven't had it since Thursday night. Now we have a handful of items left in the garage, which should hopefully fit in the minivan once we get it back tomorrow. Then, after a quick garage clean-out, the house will be move-in ready by Wednesday. The new tenants are moving to Trussville from out of state. Wouldn't it be awesome if they loved the neighborhood and the house enough to want to buy it?!

Oh, and amidst all this I had to make reservations at a hotel for the boys next week. So it has been a hectic day to say the least. Much busier that I would have been at work, hah! Tomorrow is expected to be just as busy, or so it seems, if you saw my 'to do' list. I have to call insurance companies and utility companies, make some clothing returns and exchanges, run by the bank, work on our office payroll, and pay some bills, among some other things. We are also finalizing the details before sending Safa off to Europe for 10 days, and have the final trip meeting tomorrow evening.

Maybe spring break will be relaxing? A girl can hope!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Young Poets

This morning Zakir and I had the opportunity to visit Bilal's classroom. The occasion was the second graders' Poetry Coffee House, a great way to share their creativity, and some coffee and donuts, with the parents.
Each student first recited a previously published poem of their choice, followed by an original piece of poetry.

The kids were all so cute! We had a chance to share a couple of hugs before we left.
Can't wait to discover what these kids have in store next!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

So proud of himself!

Bilal brought home a piece of foam noodle after karate class today. Such an odd thing to do, but there was a good reason behind it. After taking sword classes for about one year he was allowed to wield the 'sharp sword' tonight.

And he was able to slice off his first piece of the noodle with the sword. He was so excited to be allowed to do it. I have a feeling that piece of foam will be floating around our house for quite some time! Next Thursday he will be testing for his first brown belt. That also happens to be the day my baby girl will be headed to Europe for ten days. It's going to be an eventful week for sure!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Sometimes it gets you by, and at other times it just temporarily delays the inevitable. This time it was our 14+ year old washing machine. While washing a load of clothes I realized that the dial was starting to give out. I figured it probably wouldn't last more than another couple of loads. I wasn't really surprised; after all it has been used to virtual death over the past many years. We had talked about buying a new washer and dryer when we were moving house, but with all the other expenses at that time, we decided that we would hold off as long as we could. Honestly, when it comes to large appliances, we have never replaced a single one that was still functional, and possibly worthy of repair. This is true for our old fridge, stove, dishwasher, and built in microwave oven. We really do use them to death.

As far as the washing machine goes, by the second load I was doing this:

This helped it go for a little while, but it was more stop than go. By then, all I was hoping for was to load to finish. Then I was able to do this and let it remain hands free for a little while, but only a little while:

A little knife handle shoved between the dial and the panel! Maybe duct tape would have worked better!

So naturally, we went to Lowe's in the evening and bought a new, very nice, front load washing machine, and it was delivered and installed this afternoon. Back in business! I wonder how much longer the dryer will work?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring cleaning

Or rather, bathing!

With it becoming warmer it was time to give Atlas his first bath of the season. Shampoo,


and blow dry.

Full salon treatment, makes for a soft and fluffy white dog!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Great weekend for a party!

Our nephew Mohsin turned four on Tuesday. Today we celebrated his birthday at Treetop, a fun indoor/outdoor play place. There is a lot to do, with an indoor treehouse play area, mini golf, go-karts and an arcade, to name a few. Hamza had to spend most of the day at school; they are making up for time missed during the weather days of January and February. Safa stayed at home to finish homework. Plus she is still recovering from her sinus infection. But Bilal had a great time at the party.

The cousins together:

After playing indoors, we all went outdoor for putt-putt. The temperature was a warm 64, with sunny skies. Just perfect!

And after mini golf we had a spin on the go-karts. I drove with Mobeen so don't have any photos. It was a fun, but very jarring ride. Oh my aching neck!

It's almost impossible to have a group of four and five year olds all cooperate, and look at the camera at the same time, but it was a pretty good effort:

And then we went inside for cake and pizza. The best part of any party! Mohsin is very into Disney Planes these days, as you can probably tell by the cake.

After cake and pizza there was some time to play in the arcade.

By the end of this, we had a group of young children very ready to go home!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Day

Yep, I'm another yer older. Hate to admit it, but I have realized I really can't be perpetually 29. If you ask my kids, they'll say I don't act my age. Not sure if that's a good thing, but I know I don't feel as old as I am. And we'll leave it at that.

As far as work goes, today was a day like any other; and it just happened to be my one Wednesday out of the month that I was scheduled to work in the afternoon too. Yes, I'm spoiled, I do get to come home after morning clinic on most other days. Although, by the time I leave work it's usually mid afternoon! Anyway, Zakir had the unfortunate job of going to the DMV to get Safa's new car tag. He spent about 2 hours there, until he finally got the tag. Luckily he had stocked the fridge with fresh ingredients for dinner before he left, so cooking dinner fell on me, when I got in just before 6pm. But honestly, I'd rather work late and cook dinner than stand in line for two hours at the DMV, birthday or not. So we had Panko breaded, pan fried cod, with sauteed cabbage and buttered mushrooms for dinner, yum! And coconut cake for dessert.

I got a bouquet of flowers from my hubby, a beautiful orchid from Christina and a pair of extremely comfy 'old lady slippers' from the kids.

I guess they're hinting something! Soon I'll be the old lady walking into the doctor's office with my granny slippers and housecoat on. I see one of those almost every day at our office!

Oh, and I also got a ginormous Twix bar from the kids. I am sooo not going to share!

Safa has had a respiratory bug, and was sent home from school yesterday. She took the test she had to in the morning, and left afterwards. This morning she seemed much better so she went back to school. But within a few minutes of getting there she started getting sick, with chills, and a terrible cough. So, she got sent home again today! And because she was running a low grade fever today, she's not supposed to be going back tomorrow. Evidently, not only are doctors hard to treat, so are their kids! This is her senior year and the last semester, and she has already missed three days since January. Tomorrow would make it four. She hasn't missed this many days in the past three and a half school years combined! Poor baby, I hope she gets better soon, she looks and sounds so pitiful. and, I hope she doesn't give it to anyone else; finals are coming up soon, and I'm sure no one will appreciate catching her bug!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Home Construction, part VIII

We are now into the middle of September, and the exterior of the house looks almost complete.

September 17, 2013: The shutters are up and ready to be painted.

The bathroom window on the side of the house with the siding up around it:

 The side driveway is prepped and ready for the concrete to be poured:

And inside the house, the sheet rock is completed, with nice rounded edges. The next step will be laying the hardwood.

September 20, 2103: The hardwood has been laid throughout the lower level and some of the upstairs too. Can't wait to see how it will look once it's stained.

The side driveway is completed.

Now the circular driveway at the front of the house is ready to be poured too:

September 23, 2013: The open part of the deck, which is just outside the master bedroom

The front driveway has been poured too:

And inside the house there is more work on the carpentry. A lot of the trim has been installed.

The interior doors are up throughout the house.

Tomorrow we'll be back to meet with the carpenter about the built-in bookcases.

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