Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adventure Park

Some weekends you just have to go out and do something differently, even if your siblings won't cooperate! While big brother and sister were acting lazy and grumpy, Zakir and I took Bilal (and Atlas) for an outing at the Adventure Park, about a twenty minute drive from home.

We learned that pets aren't allowed in the play area, so Zakir kept him outside the fence, as they watched Bilal play.

First he tried out the spider web climbing frame and slide. It took a bit of getting used to.

But once he figured out the technique to climb, he was up and down in a flash!

After the slide he had a try at the water roller. He didn't do too well, and gave up after just a couple of minutes.

But it was fun to have a try!

After spending some time there we took Atlas to the dog park for a little while. But honestly it was too hot, and we didn't last long there! Maybe we'll wait for cooler weather before we head back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A New School Year

We finally have all three kids back in school. Everyone I talk to seems upset that the summer has come to an end. Personally, I like the structure that the school year brings. The kids are sleeping less, and definitely being more productive. Less screen time, and more reading. Less lounging around, and more physical activity. Plus, it is hard for me in the summer to leave the kids to go to work; I'd much rather be home with them. During the school year, we are all out of the house around the same time, and although I have to leave an hour earlier every day, it's a trade I'm happily making. Yesterday was Hamza's first day of school. Today he came home with a boat load of homework. It's hard, since he doesn't get home until at least 5:20pm, and even later recently due to construction on the interstate. But he managed to finish it all in a couple of hours, and really didn't complain about it.

Safa's started classes at Auburn yesterday. We spoke yesterday and today; she is definitely enjoying college. She has settled well into her apartment, and has very nice roommates, who like to settle in early, just like she does. At present she is in the process of getting oriented to the campus and her classes, and buying/ renting the textbooks she needs for the semester. Even with an academic scholarship covering her tuition, college is expensive! But I know she is hard working, and will make the most of it. It's nice to hear from her every day, it almost feels like we talk more in depth now that she isn't living at home! It's so sweet watching Zakir in the evenings, looking forward to talking to her every day. I think he's missing her much more than I am! She'll be back for Labor Day weekend, so we don't have too long to wait.

And how is Bilal doing? We found our yesterday, that he has placed in the school's GaTE (Gifted and Talented Education) program. The program at Paine offers third graders in the program, 3 hours of specialized instruction outside of the regular classroom, once a week. There are typically only eight students per class, and they study various modules, including Botany, and Space. The GaTE students have been working on a garden, and have grown corn, muscadine, and a variety of other plants.

In addition, there is a trip planned to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Bilal scored high on the RIAS (Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales), and automatically placed into the program. Today, I went to the school to meet Mrs. K, who will be teaching him this semester, and to sign his GEP. She was very pleased with the fact that he demonstrates a lot of creativity that most kids his age do not have. She showed me some of his art work, and it surprised even me to see what she was talking about. Highly intelligent, and creative, but so much lazier than his siblings! I hope the little stinker learns to apply himself. But aside from that, we are so blessed that all three of our kids are very bright. Also, they all started their education in a great school system that provides services for the gifted, with highly motivated teachers. There's nothing like a strong foundation, when it comes to education.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Home Construction, Part IX

I'm catching back up on my home construction series. When I left off a few months ago, we were in the process of having the indoor carpentry completed, and the driveway poured outside.

September 24, 2013: Our section of the sidewalk has been poured.

September 25: Another view of the front of the house with the shutters up. they will eventually be painted to coordinate with the brick.

And inside the house, more trim has been added. This is the wainscoating in the dining room:

The tray ceiling in the master bedroom:

And the staircase looks lovely with the hardwood laid:

September 29th: The wrought iron railing is up on the lower part of the stairwell, as well as on the landing.

The fireplace surround has also been put in place.

 The built-in bookcase in the loft:

And a look at the back of the house with the deck and stairs completed:

At this stage in the construction we are still on target to close on October 31st. It seems like a lot of work still to be completed, but think about multiple subcontractors working together in different parts of the house. It can be done!

Thursday, August 14, 2014


This is what happened when our eight year old accidentally got his allergy medicine doses twelve hours apart instead of twenty four hours:

This is just a few minutes before the bus came this morning. I had to virtually drag him up off the sofa! Thankfully the drowsiness didn't last too long, and he ended up having a good day at school.

We started him back on his allergy meds a day or two before school started, since historically the start of the school year exacerbates his allergy and sinus symptoms. This year, despite having started the medications, he is already starting to stay congested. I just hope this isn't the start of another sinus infection!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Welcome Baby!

Another Rabbani baby has arrived! Farah and Adeel were blessed with a little baby boy yesterday. Mommy and baby are doing well, and big brothers are super excited. Mohib weighed in at 7 pounds and 4 ounces, incidentally exactly what Hamza weighed when he was born. He is a precious little one, with a head full of hair!

Safa Baji was thrilled to be able to hold the little one, before she heads to college today. And you can see that Bilal already loves his baby cousin too!

Looking forward to Labor Day weekend already, when all five of us will be home together again. We're going to miss Safa!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Moving In

Yesterday we drove down to Auburn to get Safa situated in her apartment. We loaded up the car after breakfast, and headed out.

She made sure to bring most essentials, plus items that I'm not sure if she'll ever use, but hope she does, such as a mop, and a crock pot. I have been working on a cookbook/ binder for her all summer, so I do hope that she decides to do some cooking. The compilation of recipes is a graduation gift she had specifically asked for. Even though it took me years after her original request to get it completed, I did manage to complete in time for her to leave for college.

As soon as Safa got possession of her key, we starting arranging her belongings. With all of us working together, it didn't really take very long.

She came back home with us, and tomorrow will be driving down herself, for her actual move-in. She is taking some pillows and a wall hanging to spruce up her room a little bit, and today she spent the last of one of her gift cards, as partial payment for a nice toaster oven and a few other kitchen accessories. So I think she is sufficiently stocked up and ready to go. The hard part will be actually saying goodbye to her. I am so glad that she is only going to be a little over 2 hours drive away.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Outsmarted again...

... by an eight year old! Honestly, he's been doing this since he was three.

It doesn't matter if it's Sequence, Uno Attack, or pretty much any other board game. This child is either very good at playing, or just plain lucky!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Third Grade

While his siblings slept, Bilal was up bright and early, excited to go to school. After breakfast, and a quick review of his backpack contents, he was ready to head to the bus stop. He could have got up thirty minutes later and still been ready on time, but how do you explain that to a very excited eight yer old, who has been waiting for school all summer?

Obligatory first day of school photos:

Waiting at the bus stop:

We were expecting the bus to be there at 7:25. But several minutes later there was still no sign of it. So Bilal just decided to take a little break.

And finally, almost twenty minutes late, the bus rolled around the corner. New bus driver, new route, and probably several parents of kindergarteners bawling like babies while dropping their kids at the bus stop. That could be some of the problem, I'm sure. So the kids made it to school a little late, but I'm sure tomorrow will be better.

He had a great day of school today, and it seems like he really likes his third grade teacher. He did comment on how much time the students spent outside the school in the heat (it went up to 96 degrees today), but that is only going to start to make up for the lack of activity over this lazy summer! We ended the day with a game of 'Spongebob Life', and some reading aloud just before bedtime. It sure is great to have him back in a routine again. Now if only the siblings would do more with their days too! But their day will come soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer comes to an end

This week started with school related activities. On Monday evening I took Bilal to meet his third grade teacher, Mrs. W. The same teacher that Hamza has in third grade too! She is wonderful, and very caring towards the kids. In fact, when Hamza was in third grade, one day he got confused about an after school activity and ended up missing the bus. Instead of calling me to pick him up from school, Mrs. W drove him home herself. Such a considerate gesture! Bilal warmed up to her as soon as he met her. Hopefully that means he will have a good school year.

Waiting to enter the school

With his new third grade teacher
School for Bilal starts tomorrow, so today I took the kids to six Flags over Georgia for one last summer activity. We left early, but by the time we reached the park it was already getting quite crowded.

It was hot, and we actually didn't do as much at the park as I had expected we would. After a few roller coasters and of course, the bumper cars, the kids had had enough, so we headed back home.

This evening was spent rounding up a few things that Bilal will need for school. He took his shower early, and was eager to be in bed to read before bedtime. Eight o'clock, lights out! No fussing or complaining. Just like second grade! He is so excited about heading back to school, I'm sure he'll be bouncing around early in the morning. He will need that extra sleep to be ready for school tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Eid al Fitr 2014

I know, I'm not even blogging in the right order. But I will try to get to everything over the next few weeks. At least I'll try!

We celebrated the end of Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, this past Monday. We had blocked the clinic for a holiday, well in advance. It's so refreshing, and so rare to see the kids dressed up, we had to pause for a few photos before we left for prayers at the BJCC.

The prayer service had a huge turnout, the east exhibition hall was packed with Birmingham Muslims from all nationalities. It's always such a colorful turnout. Safa managed to meet up with some of her friends, at the end of prayers.

After heading back home, we dressed down, went completely casual, and took the kids out to lunch. Asian Rim, delicious!

And after lunch, we took the kids to Toys R Us. Eid, for kids, is a time to enjoy family and friends, great food, and of course, presents!

The festivities of the day didn't end there. Later, we visits some friends, who were hosting an open house (with more delicious food, of course). Not long after we returned home in the evening, the nephews came over to spend some time with us. And Bilal had the chance to go to their house for a sleepover. One of his favorite things to do!

A great end to the wonderfully blessed month of Ramadan.

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