Holiday Break

We are halfway through break and I am counting down the days. I am finding it extremely stressful to have everyone home with the rainy weather and lack of activities for them this time of year. The girls and Isa were supposed to go to my inlaws and my parents, but things didn’t work out as planned. I have been recovering from strep throat as has my husband. Neither one of us ever had it before and thankfully the children didn’t catch it.  Anyway, my parents really didn’t want to take the chance of having it passed on to them, so they will take the girls and Isa next week, Insha allah.
Yahya will stay home and work extra hours.

I have been trying to keep them busy with swimming, library time, volunteering, reading, and games. They have also had way too much screen time. Thankfully, we have the Y as an option for work and play.

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Hannah and Jamilah volunteering at the Y.

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Other than that, Hashem has just been running around getting into everything. Recently, we rearranged the living room to make things more toddler friendly for Hashem.  He is still getting into everything.

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Playground Day with the Boys

It was a beautiful, warm day and Isa had been begging me to take him to the playground up the street for awhile. We don’t visit the playground as much as we used to due to time restraints and the hectic schedule with the older children. So even though I was totally worn out after trying my first  cycle/core class at the Y. I decided to go ahead and indulge the boys in some playground fun.

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We stayed until the baby barometer went off which was time to pray Zhuhr anyway.

Late Fall/Early Winter

At this point I feel like my main job is being a scheduler for the children and coordinator of their activities. Trying to fit all of their needs into the weekly schedule is challenging.

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It has been a bit slower recently due to the “holidays.” Hannah and Jamilah went to stay with my parents and worked on their applications including essays to the high school specialty centers.  They hope to finish up the application over the winter break coming up in a couple of weeks. Yahya just worked a few extra hours over the break. He is attempting to save up for a driver’s ed course.

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Isa’s preschool is over until January. I hope to be able to sign him up through the winter and spring. He really enjoyed the fall sessions and misses this twice a week excursion.

Jennah and Hawwa are working very hard in school. Hawwa earned straight As for this last nine weeks. Jennah also earned honor roll for this last nine weeks. This week her teacher awarded her a plate for her behavior and hard work in the class.

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Sitting Outside the Bookstore

I have been waiting in the car quite often lately waiting for Yahya and Jamilah on different days while they receive tutoring  in math. I usually pass the time by chatting with my mother on the phone, but today I am blogging. Yahya has also begun meeting with a chemistry tutor now that football is over. He needs to spend more time on both subjects in order to pull up his grade in those classes.

This football session was the best season in over 20 years for their JV team. Yahya was injured a few times so had to sit out for a couple games, but overall he had a great season too! Here is a link to his highlights.  http://http://www.hudl.com/athlete/4308140/tafari-wall All the games are filmed and each player is able to see their highlights as are college recruiters.
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He decided against trying out for the indoor track and basketball teams. Instead he will just condition on his own  at the Y and pick up more hours working there as well.

Hannah and Jamilah continue to participate in the Jr. Leader’s Club by volunteering, going on bonding retreats, and attending weekly meetings. Even though it is quit time consuming, they absolutely love it.

Jamilah also had a wonderful time at an Investigation Now class at Virginia Commonwealth University’s arts program. They studied contemporary art.  There was an exhibit at the end which coincided with a First Friday’s monthly art event. One of her pieces was a projection of what looked like the universe.

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The fall field hockey season for her is over. She didn’t enjoy playing for the Y at all. I am not going to get into much detail, but overall we feel like it stunted her growth in the sport. On a more optimistic note, there may be an opportunity starting in March as a new league is forming and they will practice closer to home than some of the oth

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er leagues we looked into.

I haven’t yet been able to add the younger girls into the mix much with after school activities during the week at least. The girls have participated in a few art classes through the county such as Chinese brush painting, nature’s art kit, and modge podge leaf collage. The older ones keep my pretty busy with taxiing them around. My husband stays home and cares for Hashem and Isa and dinner, so he isn’t able to drive them around either. I am sure they will have their turn as time progresses though.

Rain, Rain, and a Hurricane

For the past week, it has been raining. This weekend is supposed to be rainy as a storm is upon us and this is even before the hurricane has approached. All of the outside activities have been canceled. This is the second weekend Jamilah’s field hockey games have been canceled. Yahya’s football games did go ahead as scheduled this week. His school won both of their games and he is injury free, alhamdulillah. Isa began a soccer skills class with the county this week. They practice in the gym thankfully.

Hannah is set to begin Tae Kwon Do at the Y next week. She is going to try it out for three months to see if she will continue. Now, I just need to get the three younger girls back involved with some sort of sport.

Jennah and Hawwa have signed up for Destination Imagination which Jennah did last year. They also have some upcoming art classes along with Siddiqah through the county.

As for academics, all seems to be going well overall. The only change in schedules will be that Yahya has decided to withdraw from the online Personal Finance and Economics class. It is a required course, but he just wasn’t ready for that type of format plus time was also a factor. After speaking to his counselor who gave us some other options, we decided that he will take the course next year as a recovery credit course. That is a self paced type of course that he will have time to do at school. The faster he completes the course, the sooner he will be able to have a study hall. The study hall this year has turned out to be invaluable.
With a tight sports and work schedule, he needs to finish as much work at school as possible.

In other exciting news, Yahya purchased his first smartphone this week. My father added him to his plan and Yahya will pay him monthly for this phone plus service plan. Yahya was very happy that he was able to do this for himself with money he had earned himself.

Also, I wanted to give a belated Eid greeting to all. Eid was pretty uneventful here. I find the community is more seperation on Eid al Adha due to the sacrifice. There really wasn’t anything special planned for the children. We spent the day together though and the girls baked a cake.

Off to a Great Start

I am really pleased so far with how the school year is going. This week did pick up in terms of after school activities, but the older children seem to be able to manage it so far.

We have seen an improvement in Yahya’s time management skills with the addition of the part time job. I have yet to see his grades though. So we will continue to give that time.

Jamilah started recreational field hockey at the Y this past week and is very disappointed as the coach is a parent volunteer and most of the girls on the team haven’t play before. Their first game is Saturday.

Hannah got braces this week and has been adjusting to that. She isn’t eating very much at this point besides yogurt. I take Jamilah for a cleaning today and we will probably start the planning for her braces as well.

Isa has really been enjoying his 2 days a week of preschool and has even been asking if he can go everyday. At this point that isn’t an option for us, but we will see in the next few months. He is also doing well with swimming lessons. I was able to take him to a preschool science workshop at the library this last week where he learned about electricity and circuits.

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While they have been at school during the day, I have been trying to get back into shape from having a baby. I have added different types of exercise to my repitoir such as core exercises, biking, and water fitness. I have just been constantly sore for the last several weeks. It is fun though and definitely a positive part of my day.

Transitioning Back to School

Last week the girls along with Isa spent an amazing week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my parents. I had wanted to go but I had to stay home to taxi Yahya to and fro work and football practice. Also, it was necessary for me to be here to pay the school fees in addition to figuring out school supplies.  The trip was challenging for my parents but overall everyone enjoyed it and they all made happy memories together.

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The weekend before school started I took the younger girls to the opening exhibit called ArtCycle which was related to the upcoming international bike race that will be coming through the area in a couple of weeks.

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As for the start of school, everything has gone smoothly so far. There isn’t too much homework for them the first week. There is more for me actually with signing paperwork and such. Yahya has jumped right in with AP European History and seems to be able to manage his time so far between the academics and sports.
Next week will bring more extracurricular activities and news, Insha allah…