Sunday, September 28, 2014

Visit to Auburn

Yesterday we drove down to Auburn to visit Safa. We were supposed to make a weekend of it, but didn't make hotel reservations in time. Since it was family weekend, all the hotels in the Auburn/ Opelika area were booked up, with no rooms available. Instead, we left Birmingham early, and were in Auburn before 10.

We spent a little time at Safa's apartment, before she took us out for a walking tour of the city.

True to my mommy self, I helped clean up the kitchen a bit, before we headed out.

This weekend was Auburn's homecoming game, so we encountered a sea of people dressed in orange and blue, everywhere we went. This is the famous Momma Goldberg's Deli, just beyond the campus.

At Toomer's Corner:

Cater Hall, where the Honors college is housed:

And more sights around campus:

Bilal had enough of sightseeing, about half way into our walk, and started getting grumpy. Fortunately, it was nothing that a smoothie from Safa's favorite smoothie place couldn't fix!

It was great to see that Safa is very happy, and settled in college. But I can't wait to see her again in a few weeks!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


One thing Hamza is definitely passionate about, is math. So today's event was not unexpected, but still, a great accomplishment. ASFA held the Mu Alpha Theta honor society tapping today. The students who were inducted needed an average of at least 88% in math in high school, and there are additional criteria for other subjects also. It was supposed to be kept as a secret from the students, so that it is a surprise; I went to school under the guise of volunteering with set up and clean up, for the ceremony and reception. So glad I had the opportunity to go. Please pardon the poor quality of the photos, I'm going to blame it on low light.

The students had actually been tapped and received their pins earlier in the day. They were seated on stage, while the president, vice president, and other members of the honor society spoke.

After receiving their certificates:

The junior and senior Mu Alpha Theta members together:

After the ceremony, there was a reception with cake and other refreshments. Mrs. Chin, the head of the Math and Science department, cut the cake.

 The pin:

 Some junior and senior members:

Congratulations to Hamza and the ten other new inductees!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A new look!

Look who got glasses?

Turns out that Bilal is a little bit far sighted. But he needed glasses mostly because of his astigmatism. He won't need to wear them all the time, but definitely during school work and reading. I think they look cute. And he's definitely not too disappointed to have to wear them!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eight years ago today...

... we placed our precious eight week old baby, with his broken heart into the competent hands of a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon. It was a difficult time, with a lot of uncertainty. But with faith, hope and prayers, difficult times do pass.

And here we are today, celebrating Bilal's eight year heart anniversary with cupcakes!

We don't make a big deal about the date, but it is nice to do something a little special for our little guy. Sharing a sweet treat is perfect!

Happy Heart Day, Bilal!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What's been going on?

After the hustle and bustle of the weekend (shuttling Hamza back and forth from karate, volunteering at the Old Firehouse Shelter on Saturday evening, then Sunday School with Bilal, following by attending a national college fair with Hamza on Sunday afternoon), it felt like work on Monday morning would be a reprieve. It just happened to be my Monday to work late (it only comes once a month), so I didn't get home until late (for me, at least. I know, for most, 6pm isn't late). Fortunately it wasn't a crazy busy day, and I managed to more or less stay on top of my work. I came home to a delicious, freshly cooked meal. Thanks to Zakir for the pan seared trout and sauteed cauliflower, with baked steak fries.

So, with dinner served, and Bilal's homework completed before I came home, it just felt like game night. Who cares if it was a school night? Plenty of time until bedtime. So, while Hamza did his homework and blared his selection of obscure rock and electronic music, Bilal and I squeezed in as many games as we could.

First, a couple of games of Guess Who. I didn't even remember we owned this games until I found it while rummaging through some old boxes in the basement one day. Makes me wonder what other treasures I might find downstairs?

Sammy made himself very comfortable in the already collapsing box. The loft is his usual hangout, and perhaps this was his way of showing us that we were invading his space.

After Guess Who, it was time for Frog Rush, a Lego board game that you build before you play. Not my favorite game, but Bilal loves to play, so we did, but capped it at just one game.

Of course, Bilal won, with his crazy luck!

Finally, one of my favorite games, Sequence!

This is Bilal just 'pretending' to win the game. This time, I actually won! Rather unusual.
We ended the evening with our usual snuggling in bed, and reading a book until it was time to turn out the lights. Lately Bilal is into the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. He is on his sixth book, out of the eight that have been published. Not sure what he'll read once he has completed them all. He has really lost interest in picture books now, although once in a while we will enjoy a well illustrated book together.

Tonight was Husky spirit night at our local Chick-Fil-A, when a percentage of sales support our local elementary school. So I took the boys there after school, to pick up dinner. An improptu mid-week treat for the kids. And Hamza, happy to get his spicy chicken sandwich and milk shake, indulged me by allowing a photograph.

My boys!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Home construction, part XI

October 6, 2013: More painting continues. The master bedroom ceiling is complete.

October 11, 2013: A lot has been going on in the common areas. The lighting is up above the kitchen island.

The desks are in place in the keeping room. Eventually there will be a hutch between the two windows:

The fireplace surround, with slate in place:

More cabinetry is in place in the kitchen:

The oven and microwave are installed. Only the microwave trim is missing. Backordered!

The landscapers have been busy too!

The sod is being laid in the back yard.

October 12, 2013: Pretty rose bushes, next to the driveway on the side of our house. We look forward to lots of color in the future.

The gaps in the sod is the future location of our veggie patch. There is always room for home grown produce!

And on the inside of the house, Safa's room is almost complete:

The master tub in place:

Most of the remaining work is electrical or plumbing related, such as the lighting and bathroom fixtures. Of course, they can't be installed and completed until the vanities are all in place.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Home Construction, Part X

September 30th, 2013: With most of the carpentry complete, more details on the interior and exterior of the house are starting to be completed. The slate for the entryway has been delivered:

Tile in the laundry room, ready to be grouted:

Painting has started simultaneously, so there are protective sheets up all over the house.

The primer coat of paint in the keeping room gives us an idea of what it will eventually look like. We have chosen a warm, neutral beige, to keep the space open.

October 3, 2013: The screens are in place on the back porch.

The exterior shutters have been painted:

The dining room has got its first coat of paint:

The laundry room cabinets are in place:

And the slate has been laid in the entryway, outside the front door:

October 4, 2013: Work is progressing at a rapid pace. The workers are often there late, despite the shorter October days. Safa got her one request fulfilled, a lovely deep orange in her bedroom. This is still just the first coat of paint. Even Zakir was surprised that he liked the color once it was on the walls.

Tile in the master shower has been laid, and just needs grout. We went with porcelain tiles, but a slate-like look.

The beautiful chocolate brown in the dining room. I don't think I'd dare choose a color this dark for anywhere else in the house!

The tile surrounding the bath tub upstairs, protected by plastic while the painters are still working:

We're in the home stretch now, since closing is only four weeks away!

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