Travel

2014 Week 1

I know. It’s been more than a while since I posted on Z’s weekly progress. MIL’s been here for almost a month now and the kids are enjoying her and we’ve been having halaqa for the girls at the masjid twice a week since the break in December, so I’ve been really busy, alhamdulillah. N’s been making sweet treats at every halaqa with her cookies and cupcakes. Z’s been my recording manager at the halaqa, ready with the IPad to start the recording once I start the halaqa. Once, I didn’t bring it and he whispered to me,

“Where’s the Ipad?”

Last night, as we were about to leave, he asked me, “Did you end the recording?”

Well, I tend to be more tech illiterate at these public speaking moments so I said,

“Oh no! I didn’t! Can you end it for me?” And he tech-savvily did!

MIL told me that when she was putting on her telekung to join the jamaah last night, Z went and told her,

“In the masjid, you don’t need to put that on. At home yes.”

LOL. Apparently, the boy has been observing and making his own conclusions!

Well, N is doing Algebra 1. H has started with Algebra 2, using Teaching Textbook, grudgingly since I told him to look out for MUS ALgebra 2 on vegsource everyday and he couldn’t find it before Jan2014. Our agreement was that if he couldn’t find it by Jan 2014, he will be using TT, because I cannot be bothered to peruse vegsource everyday and look for it when he can. S should be done with her TQ this June inshaaAllah.

All the older kids finished their Biology lab report during the break  and N has been reciting to me after Zuhr and Z also has been picking up again on his daily IQRA reading and surah, though for his surah, it’s been going slow. It’s ok. Better slow and steady than fast and furious. Literally.

With Z, I’ve been working with him on reading terms like author, problem, resolution, beginning, middle, end and have been using some simple book report forms from TPT. For math, I’m focusing on drilling him now and he’s improved a lot on doing subtraction. I also introduced Place Value to him using the TPT activity which I made into a file folder game. For 2014 calendar notebook, he didn’t want it to be the same as last year’s, so what I did was to put one worksheet per day instead of the typical daily work like in last year’s calendar. I also added a reading list for each month and so far, he’s been filling it up every time we read a book. I plan to up his math drill before we go into regrouping inshaaAllah.

Today, we read Ella Takes the Cake, which he read all by himself, somewhat reluctantly, but he got through it alhamdulillah! We also read Yucky Worms, and now, I stop and ask him to see how much he comprehends. He seems to have pretty good emotional intelligence, like N, but in terms of retainment of information, it’s pretty weak. He’d always say “I don’t know.” Then I’d have to ask again and sometimes show the answer in the passage and then he’d get it.

I plan to extend those readings into finding contractions in Ella Takes the Cake and in filling out a book report form that asks 3 interesting facts and 3 new things learned for Yuck y Worms. I also showed him a youtube video of a drawbridge after he finished reading Ella takes the Cake.

Today is my busiest day but alhamdulillah I feel like we accomplished quality this morning. I had him do his work in my room while I was in class. He’s also doing Arabic vocab copywork everyday now and I’d give him a star on the neatest written word.

I do worry about his information retainment and have a feeling like he might have the same issues as N. I hope not. InshaaAllah I hope those issues are addressed now so he doesn’t face as much difficulties as N is facing right now.

By end of this semester, I hope to significantly increase him in his narrative comprehension and retainment of exposition, have him learn addition and subtracting with regrouping, money with dollars, getting used to doing simple book reports, more fluent in his IQRA and better and more consistent with his surah, and I want him to know the meanings too. With the older kids, I hope to do more of Stossel’s video streaming, especially good for critical thinking and for N’s exposition comprehension. May Allah put barakah in all of this ameen!

And we have been watchng Salahuddin in Arabic, with the hopes that it would expose us to the Arabic more and be forced to learn and pick it up at least, especially for Zeyd. This happened after I came back home gushing with how Ust Nouman uses Salahuddin in his Bayyinah class to show sarf with some words.

Before this we were watching Umar series, and after it was done, we were missing watching something together. Salahuddin, we already watched it too, but Z is the one who keeps insisting on it now. Alhamdulillah. At least for the Arabic.

 

We had gone to Houston to attend Fiqh of Chilling and studied together for the exam. Of all the kids, S got the highest score. They enjoyed the class.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Al Huda Institute, AlMaghrib Institute, Arabic, Bayyinah Institute, Biology, Community, Copywork, Grade 1, Homeschooling, Log, Math U See, Quran, Reading, Teaching Textbook, Teaching To Read, Travel, Youth Girls halaqa, Youtube, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Road Trip

I have been really bad at updating this blog and don’t even know what to title it anymore other than ‘updates’. Anyway, we’re getting ready for an upcoming road trip to Oregon through California. We plan to drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, and Z is excited about the possibility of seeing orcas ever since he found a snapshot of a whale’s flukes on google map when he placed the man on the coast  of the Pacific Ocean by California. I’ve also been busy making his food for the trip and researching where we should stop on the PCH. We are somewhat limited in our time on the PCH, so I chose to stop at McWay Falls because it’s the shortest hike I can find and even though it’s a bummer than you can’t access the beach, the sight is supposedly breath taking, that it should be worth it. And if we’re lucky, we might see some migrating whales too! I hope! From a safe distance though. H is taunting me with “sharks”. The reason those whales will be swimming close to the shore (from what I googled) is to protect their babies from predators such as sharks in the deeper waters.

I also told the kids to research The Golden gate Bridge, the PCH, Seattle, but they’re not really taking me that seriously. I was too busy preparing Z’s food that I forgot all about making them research the stuff well before hand. I wanted to have Z have something like a map or a binder where he can mark our locations during the trip too but that would take time for me to make or search, so I don’t know. I don’t want to make things complicated and stress myself out, so maybe we can just do it the simpler way – Vlog, Photos, Atlas, and talking it through.

I did recheck out the book Humphrey The Lost Whale by Wendy Tokuda and Richard Hall for the purpose of this trip. We had read the book before (Z and I) and he liked the story. He now would ask me whenever he or I read a story,

“Is this a true story?”

Humphrey The Lost Whale is a true story about a whale who ventured into the Sacramento River and got stuck in shallow waters. The people had to take him back out to sea, so this story in itself is a fascinating one to read. I am thinking that this story is a great jumping board for our trip since we are also planning to go on the Golden Gate Bridge inshaaAllah. It should also spark a discussion on whales migrating.

H gave up on his QSL project and I emailed Mr. Phillips and he generously allowed H to join the next class. H wasn’t too keen on it however, and this made me mad, so I took away his Ipod and told him to work on it and not waste that money we had paid for the material and the course. I am still holding his Ipod until he catches up with where he is supposed to be in hie Algebra 2. He keeps making excuses in his Algebra 2, though the solution CD is already there. He keeps saying it’s hard. He keeps on wanting to go back to Math U see too even if there is no solution CD. We agreed that for Geometry, he can ask Vc if he has any questions about it since I am already saying I might not be able to help him with it. That was the reason I wanted him on Teaching Textbook in the first place.

S has started her Coursera course the beginning of last week. She is taking Irrational Behavior and seems to be enjoying it. Her writing is getting so much better too mashaaAllah. I was just checking her essay response to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and it was really good in terms of vocabulary and fleshed out analysis. I may start her on Statistics soon and then she can start focusing on doing those Bio and Chem labs.

I’ve already started to plan out N and H’s high school study plan. InshaaAllah in fall, they will both take Biology with Kim on Currclick. That way, S can maybe join in the lab too and have the labs done this way rather than on her own. N and H will also then take Mrs. Tetsch’s Homeschool Book Study for their high school Literature. I want to enroll them all in summer with a writing course on Home2teach, but I have yet to decide which course to enroll them all in. N is to finish her Pre-Algebra hopefully by May, and start on Algebra 1 soon after. She is doing pretty well on her hifdh alhamdulillah, and I told her we might have a party after she finished Juz 29. That will give me a reason to bake a cake! Not that I need a reason…but it’s also something to celebrate and encourage inshaaAllah (the hifdh, not the baking)

Z is done with the last two pages and is now on Al feel. It’s challenging working with him when we start a new surah as he resists and starts to jump about wanting to do this surah instead or that one instead. He seems ok once we start on a surah, but doesn’t seem to like starting a new one. However, he has accidentally memorized surah Al fatihah, so I wonder if I should try a different approach for his hifdh.

Z has also been working on his workbooks on his own, to my surprise and pleasure. Makes it that much easier on me and it surprised me that he actually understands what I thought he didn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve actually done anything with him in terms of activities. Subhanallah…when my schedule gets disrupted, it’s so hard to get back on track. May Allah help me. Ameen.

 

 

 

Categories: Books, Course Planning, Family, High School, Math U See, Memorizing, Quick Study Labs, Quran, Science, Science labs, Teaching Textbook, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tubing in Ruidoso

We had guests recently, our long time college friends and their 6 kids and we had a good time alhamdulillah.

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Hubs pulling Z in the double tube after coming down the slope

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Hubs and Z going back up the slopes on the elevator. Z LOVES tubing. He kept on going and by the time he was done, his eyes looked so tired.

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Altitude puffed up the bag o’ chips.

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Lanes 5,6,7 – 3 of the highest and fastest lanes to tube down in. Whee!!

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Then we went Go-Kart-ing with our friends. I sat out on this one and worked on my hifdh page (much needed).

Z kept asking on the way back home that evening,

“Is this a trip? Why are we not staying in a hotel?”

On the way to Ruidoso, he kept asking,

“Is this a trip?”

Well, so far it looks like he is the only one who enjoys road trips! No wonder! He gets his own home made allergy free baked products, and he particularly loves staying at hotels! The older kids complain about the long hours of the road trip, and the hassle of packing, feeding Z in the van, getting stuff from the trunk, etc.

Categories: Family, Outdoor, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tucson, AZ & Productivity

008 We went to Tucson last week, tagging along with hubs for his conference. This time, for Z’s food, I asked hubs to just ask for a fridge in the room and so I just cooked food as I would if we were eating at home, froze them in small ziplocs and we brought our cooler and I put them in insulated lunch bags. By the time we reached the hotel room, they were still frozen so I just transferred them to the fridge. The ones in the insulated lunch bag stayed frozen the longest (since the fridge doesn’t have a freezer section). Hubs even asked for a microwave, which we used to heat up leftovers of Chef Alisah’s delicious food!172

We drove there Monday after S is done with her TQ class, and dropped by Whole Food for greens before going to the hotel. On Tuesday, all of us except the girls went to the pool, and they slid on the 180 feet water slide. S had her TQ and N didn’t want to come. That evening, we all went to this Bosnian restaurant, and it was our first time (not hubs) eating Bosnian food. It was a LOT of meat for us. It was supposed to be for 4, but for us carb-eating Malays, that was too much meat, so we took them home and put them in the fridge and they lasted us for the rest of our meals till we left on Thursday! Alhamdulillah. It was delicious though, the chicken was moist and flavorful and the meat, delish! For Z, we heated up his pasta and brought it with us and he ate it before our food reached the table.

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S in her TQ class. It was nice to hear her class even while we’re traveling. And mine too! And this time, Nouman too!

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I had brought along Z’s calendar notebook but only did it with him on one of the days, because by sticking to our regular schedule and taking them swimming and I had to make up my missed class on Thursday, it left little time for me to work with him. But at least we got something done, alhamdulillah. I foresaw January as being very tight for me, so whatever I am able to get done, I am grateful for, alhamdulillah.

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Z loved getting on this golf cart. We were transported by it the night we arrived and the day we were checking out(since it was raining then).

On Wednesday, because I had class, hubs took the kids hiking in the late afternoon. I was left alone in the room attending my class. That morning, all the kids had classes, for N, throughout the morning, from 7 – 11 am. We still stuck with our Tafseer and Arabic With Husna routine throughout the stay in Tucson alhamdulillah. Though on Wednesday we weren’t able to finish watching CNNStudentNews.

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We don’t have any saguaros in New Mexico, so you will only see these in Arizona.

On Wednesday and Thursdays, I took H and Z swimming and alhamdulillah, using the noodles, 3 of them wrapped around him front and back, Z used his feet and arms and swam a lot with H. H is able to swim pretty well from what I am able to assess, alhamdulillah. Z is still a little scared, though he could stand in the pool with his head above water, he refused and relied completely on the noodles keeping him afloat. But at least he swam a lot, and I hope it helps in making his upper body stronger as that is the focus in his occupational therapy.

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On Thursday, before we left, we dropped by the Asian grocery store to shop and of course, where there are Asian grocery stores, there are Bubble Tea! I’ve been looking for tapioca balls and we finally found them at the Asian grocery store. So hopefully we can make our own bubble tea soon. When we arrived home Thursday night, Z kept saying he wanted to go back to Tucson and he kept asking for it the next day too and the next day. He loved watching the video clips I took of them swimming. We all enjoyed our time there alhamdulillah.

Now it’s back to work. Last night, the girls were asked to fill in for a sick teacher for Sunday school and today, both S and N went to the masjid to fill in as Islamic studies teachers. While S was preparing for it last night, she showed be the book they are using, and in it, it says that the fruits that Zakariya a.s. found with Maryam a.s. were brought in by the people and that when she said, “This is from Allah,” she meant that it was a blessing of Allah that those people brought her those fruits. This is the first time we heard of this interpretation, so it became a bit of an issue, and eventually we decided that it is best that when she does this passage with the students, that she inform them that based on what she is aware of, this is not the case. So on Saturday, all 3 kids went to volunteer at the soup kitchen, and today, the girls went to teach at Sunday school. They said the students were pretty well behaved alhamdulillah and listened to them! One of our concerns of having S teach was that they might not listen to her because some of the older ones would be close to her in age, but alhamdulillah they listened. And in Tajweed class, where an older Saudi sister is teaching, S was suddenly asked to translate ayatul kursi in English to the students, and alhamdulillah, as S had already done it in TQ, she was able to do that. Subhanallah, a blessing from Allah. To be able to read from the mushaf and translate it. Alhamdulilah, Allahu Akbar! It’s an indescribable feeling! Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah!

So alhamdulillah, it’s a productive weekend for the kids. H spent time playing basketball tonight with a boy, which is part of an effort to have my friend’s kids to like coming to the masjid inshaaAllah. May Allah bless the effort and give the taufeeq for our youth to be attached to the masjid. Ameen.

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Community, Family, Homeschooling, HotelSchooling, Living Islam, Outdoor, Productivity, Soup Kitchen, Travel, Volunteer Masjid | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Want To Go Back To The Hotel

“I want to go back to the hotel.”

That has become a refrain now in the house, coming from Z. Ever since we started driving back home from Dallas, he’s been saying this. It’s funny too, because of a particular mishap that occurred in the room.

I asked him,

“So what did you like best about the trip?”

His eyes rolled upwards in trying to give an answer and his face took on this delighted expression of recalling wonderful moments, and he said,

“The hotel, oh maybe the pool, or, the fridge.”

“The fridge?!”

“The fridge is the hotel.”

Don’t ask me. I don’t know what is going on in his head. Obsession with the hotel fridge? He didn’t seem to be playing with the fridge a lot when we were there. Maybe he;s just fascinated that a small hotel room, well technically a motel, would have a fridge. Since we also cooked using the rice cooker and did laundry, it was as if we were ‘home’. Maybe he thought it an awesome ‘home’. *Chuckle*

We had read the book A Drop of Blood, and when showing the circulation and digestive system, I told him the pathways of the the oxygen we breathe in and the food we eat. To this day, he is repeatedly asking me,

“When I eat, why doesn’t the food go to my heart?”

“Because your heart is for pumping blood. If your food goes there, your heart would choke.”

Ok, maybe not the most intelligent answer, but that’s the best I could come up with for now.

Having a kid really gives you a lot of mental exercise. No joke. It even beats doing a doctorate.

We resumed going to the library yesterday because I had books and DVD overdue, and even though I felt like passing out from lack of sleep and food, we went. Plus, our scanner didn’t work and I had to mail in my test that day, so I went to Hub’s office to use his scanner. What a way to start ‘catching up’ with life.

N told me she wants to take the 2nd quarter of Mammals, and so hubs paid for it yesterdy. She also said she would like to take the invertebrate class coming up.

We actually released our hawkmoths yesterday on campus, after the visit to hub’s office. H is supposed to compile a video of it that we will put on Youtube. It was an interesting experience. Z was devastated that we had to let them go.

H also started weeding the back and front yard and looking for jobs he can be paid for because he needs to pay back his debt with S. So he cleaned my vanity and I’m supposed to assess his work and determine how much he should be paid. He also has started working on his cardboard couch.

They are to start reading Where the Red Fern Grows soon and I need to recheck out that book so I can read it too. Right now, they’re still doing Huck finn for their BookStudy class.

The house is still upside down, but better than yesterday and I need to get enough sleep. The weather is getting cooler alhamdulillah.

As for hifdh, Hubby told H to review half a juz per day, so that he is reviewing 1 juz per day. I’ve been telling them about the importance of reviewing for months but of course, hubs doesn’t take my word for it until he hears it from other people who have credibility. He had talked to an imam from Dayton during the workshop, and I have been doing my random interviews too on the topic and other parenting issues. We really need to hang out more with good company, especially since hubs doesn’t take my word and random interview results.

As for N, I realized that she had forgotten the tajweed rules I had taught them months back, so while she recites to me, I would ask her random tajweed rules questions. Yesterday I forgot to do this, but I intend to do this pretty consistently inshaAllah just so she has a solid grounding in tajweed. I need to list and relist what I need to do. Oh boy, never ending.

Categories: Family, Memorizing, Quran, Travel, Z's learning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Back Home

Alhamdulillah we arrived home after a 10 hour drive from Dallas last night, and struggling to catch up with life right now. I had group and S has class. N and H have class today too. Busy busy busy. Then of course there is a sizeable amount of laundry, unpacking and resuming life at home to be done.

I have to say this. Every time we return home from our road trips, I feel sad. I love our road trips. This past weekend, I attended a public speaking workshop, from Thursday to Monday. It was an 8-5 daily workshop, and towards the end of the workshop, I was getting very stressed out because they had assigned us a 10 minute speech with only an overnight to prepare. While I was in the workshop, hubs and the kids hung out in the hotel. S did her math and studied her Taleem but the rest simply hung out. A couple of mishaps happened, and I felt like a working mom, coming home to hear that this happened, and to still have to nag at things that are not done. But mashaAllah, they pretty much took care of cooking. We hd brought a rice cooker and that was our stove, steamer, kettle all in one. They did a pretty good job with handling food. Hubs really did a great job. He dropped me off and picked me up, and for every night, he offered to go get something, so we’ve been indulging in Iced frappe, shakes, bubble tea while we were in Dallas. This is something out of the ordinary because we don’t usually do this. Hubs is a very frugal guy and so this was a big deal. But it was a beautiful gesture.

The workshop was amazing. I love it! Hubs and kids got to hear parts of it too, and especially Wisam’s tajweed session. Hubs would stay for a bit after dropping me off before going back to the hotel to the kids so he could listen to parts of the workshop. Even though I was the only one attending this workshop, it was as if the whole family did.

At lunch break they all came and brought lunch and we ate together. Reminds me of our AlMaghrib days. Every day, after the workshop, I’d share what I learned with hubs. He could have attended the Khateeb workshop but he let me attend the Sisters Public Speaking one. Subhanallah.

On Sunday, I prepared my speech, and practiced it on the family but it was difficult. I was only able to properly articulate what I wanted to say after they had all gone to sleep and I was coming down with a headache due to accumulation of lack of sleep, and after a while I just went to bed. On Monday, I thought to myself, oh whatever happens, happens. I wasn’t ready for the speech. But alhamdulillah they gave us some time to finish it. I didn’t really write out my whole speech, I skipped that and jumped straight to te note card bullet points. As English is not my native language, I worried about stumbling over my words and up till the time we had to present to our evaluators, I was in that condition.

Hubs and the kids checked out of the hotel earlier than 12 so they got to attend Wisam’s tajweed session. I realize that whenever I am attending classes like these on my own, I feel a bit wistful. I wished the whole family was attending, because the benefit of these classes are such that I don’t want them deprived of it. So when I saw hubs I was happy. The kids I know were also listening at the musalla because the sound system was such that the whole masjid can hear.

When time came for our speech presentation, my evaluator was Wisam and a sister. I was already panicking, and having Wisam as an evaluator made me even more nervous. But mashaAllah they both gave very nice positive affirmations and constructive criticism. During my speech however, Z came over and subhanallah, when I saw him coming towards me, I thought to myself,

“Of all times, he has to come and interrupt me now?”

I only patted him and went on with my speech though. From the corner of my eyes, I saw H coming and he took Z away. But when I was receiving feedback from our evaluators, they said that it was great that I wasn’t fazed by the kids coming when I was presenting. Thinking back, I’m surpised myself. At home, I’ve never been really able to block them out. I don’t like interruptions and can’t really tolerate them well, but alhamdulilah, I guess, I do have the ability to tolerate them in a fairly good manner.

I also got to ask Wisam some tajweed questions that have been plaguing me for years now alhamdulillah. We left earlier than planned because I got to ask Sh Abdunasir my questions and I had finished my speech. We drove back home, but of course, like whenever we visit a bigger Muslim community in other cities, we felt wistful. At least hubs and I was. We want to move. But it’s all in Allah’s hand. We can only plan and put in the effort. InshaAllah. Whatever Allah decrees is best for us. Alhamdulillah.

Now, back home, back to work. I have a lot to catch up with and the kids do too. S’ PSAT is next week and I still have to call the high school since we just played phone tag all of last week.

 

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OKC Day 4 & Back to Dallas

Today is our last day in OKC. We’re to check out at 12, when S has her 1 hour break from class. So we got ready, and around 11, hubs came back up from the conference and we got ready to go. I cooked some rice and reheated the leftovers from last night, and just as we’re getting ready to get the second batch of our bags to the van, an alarm went off. At first, I thought it was the smoke alarm, but turned out, it was the alarm that requires immediate evacuation.

We rushed getting the stuff ready, and after a few minutes we heard the fire truck coming. I looked out the window and saw people walking out of the hotel. It was eerie. I was just reading the emergency drill action plan on the room door the night before or the night before that, and to actually have that alarm go off that day was interesting.

After a while though, the alarm in our part of the building was turned off but the alarm still was going on at the other part of the hotel. We hurried and soon had all our stuff in the van. People seemed to be taking it easy. Hubs even went down to check us out and he said people didn’t know what was going on, but they seemed relaxed. When we drove out of the parking garage, the fire truck was still on the street, but nothing seemed to be wrong.

We headed for the Myriad Botanical Garden to have our hot lunch. It was a very breezy and surprisingly chilly afternoon, subhanallah. I didn’t expect the weather to be like that. Then again, we didn’t check the weather when we were packing, though I had told H to but he didn’t do it.

We hurried through lunch too because S had to resume her class in half an hour. We unpacked our hot rice, leftover chicken, and Z’s ride and serunding and we ate at a table in the children’s area. it was a nice lunch picnic. It was really cold but our food was hot.

Hubs went to drop S off back at the hotel to get the internet to resume her class and the rest of the kids just played around in the park. The park is really nice. When hubs came back, we decided to go to the Oklahoma City Memorial.

On the way, hubs asked the kids,

“So do yuo guys know about the Oklahoma City bombing?”

‘Yeah, Ummi told us to read a book about it and we did,” said H.

“What does it have to do with Muslims?” asked hubs

“Nothing.”

“Yeah, but the first hour after it happened, they accused the Muslims.”

I wasn’t aware of this but it’s not surprising. Subhanallah.

The visit to the Memorial was an informative one and a somber one. I couldn’t help but feel somber when I looked at the picture of the bombed federal building on the brochure that was passed to us when we entered the memorial. It was a beautiful memorial. We listened to the park ranger giving us the tour, and we were standing by the survivor tree. Subhanallah…I was thinking to myself,

Those people lost their lives, but this tree, which apparently survived a disease that was very destructive to elm trees, lightning, drought, storms, torn limbs from blast, fire from the exploded cars under it when the bomb went off, survived, by Allah’s mercy. It made me think how life is such a fragile thing. And that it is completely in His hands. It was time for those people’s lives to end in such a way, but it was not yet time for the this tree to die. Despite everything, it continued to bud, and grow. Subhanallah. But there will come a time when it will also die. It’s just a matter of time.

The park ranger said that some people would dip their hands in the pool and put their wet handprints on the walls. The kids did that. We spent quite some time at the memorial. Hubs went to pick S up and brought her back and she walked through the Memorial with my 3 minute briefing on what it was all about. It was quite an experience. As the park ranger was talking about the lives lost in this tragedy, I couldn’t help thinking also of all the lives lost in other tragedies going on in the world. Not to undermine the lives lost in the Oklahoma City Bombing, but there were lives lost there too, and they were not mostly known to the world. Some died slow painful deaths, torturous deaths. This is the reality of life in this world, that bad things do happen to good people. That evil do lead to such destruction. That the oppressors do sometimes get away with oppressions because those oppressions are not checked. That fasad is part of the reality of this life in this world, and that there is life in there hereafter. Allah is just and those who are oppressed, will get just compensation in the life of the hereafter if not in this world.  May Allah protect us from such ends and such trials, and may He give us husnul Khaatimah. Ameen.

We drove to Dallas right away, and of course, encountered traffic on the interstate. Turned out, there was an accident on the other side of the interstate.

“This is the thing about living in Dallas,” hubs said.

Alhamdulillah, we did get to the hotel in good time, H and Z got time to go swimming, and then we drove to the Carrollton masjid. We were late, but they also started late, so I technically made it in good time. Subhanallah, twice, I had begged Allah to let us get to class on time; the first one, last weekend, for the AlMaghrib class, and we did, despite the recurring traffic and rain, and now this. Subhanallah. He does indeed respond to the caller when the caller calls on Him. Subhanallah…Glorified is He from all people associate Him with, any partners or child.

Hubs and the kids waited outside while I attended the intro session of the workshop, but they got to listen to it too because the sound system at the masjid was such that the whole masjid could hear it when they used the mic. May Allah reward hubs and the kids immensely for bearing with this and letting me have this opportunity to attend this. Ameen.

Not many husbands would do this for their wives. He used to also do this when we were in Columbus. He let me attend AlMaghrib classes while he babysat the kids. He even stayed on campus throughout the whole weekend when Z was about 3 months old, and he would bring him to me for nursing during breaks. Subhanallah. I cannot enumerate the blessings He has bestowed on me even if I try to count them. May Allah make us of the shaakireen! Ameen.

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Categories: AlMaghrib Institute, Community, Family, Qalam Institute, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

OKC Day 3

Wednesdays is one of our busiest days in terms of computer use. Juggling this at home is hard enough. In a hotel room, with 2 laptops and 1 Ipad, it was harder still. But alhamdulillah, it went okay, except N did miss a video showed in her mammals class. But at least she can watch the recording for that one. I was worried about my tajweed class, but alhamdulillah it went much better than I expected. H’s Magnetism class was okay too. All problems was on the teacher’s side.

I also managed to get in some Quran Center activities for Z this morning. He finished gluing the missing words for Al Ikhlaass, with a lot of prodding and coaxing. His therapists also face resistance from him, and what they do is just be firm and tell him he can do what he wants after he does what they want him to do. So that’s what I do too. He wanted to do the memory game, so I had leverage. After he finished gluing, we played the memory game. While playing, I read out the words and asked him what he got. It went something like this,

“Oooh! Mama got Ahad! What did you get, Z?”

Seems like he recognized As Samad, lam, qul, and surprisingly, even yoolad. Then we played the board game, and I did the same thing, just to try to get him to recognize the words and ‘read’ them by sight. I also had him do the matching activity for surah An Naas, but when he saw those words, he began to say he couldn’t match them. I prodded him and he managed to do it, but it was clear that those words are new to him. We have been working on Al Ikhlaas only all these days, so he was quite familiar with those, but not An Naas. He loved the games the most, and I can’t help but thank Allah for giving Umm Nu’man the taufeeq to come up with these various activities mashaAllah!

Amidst all the productivity, I realized that I had forgotten to tell the kids to do their math. So this morning, I told N and H to do their math but they weren’t able to watch their DVDs because the mac doesn’t work for those DVDs for some reason. I also didn’t do their Wordly Wise that I had painstakingly scanned and printed during the chaos of planning and packing for this trip! And I’m about to have class in about an hour, so there is no way I can do it with them now. starting tomorrow, I will be busy with the public speaking workshop, so, looks like they’re going to have some kind of ‘vacation’.

All I can do now is rely on hubs to be productive with them. Travel – Dua. My most reliable hope.

We didn’t go out today though I did think of letting them walk to the Downtown library by themselves, but I also keep thinking of child abductions and missing children incidence in this country and so I think I’ll keep them in the room even if they are a bit noisy. They’re playing games on IPad. Sigh. Oh well. They did read up Oklahoma a bit on Monday, but that was it. Whenever we travel, I am always interested in reading up on the place we are traveling too, and I have always tried to share this passion with them, but they don’t seem very interested and it frustrates me. All I can hope on is that these experiences do have an imprint in their memory and will one day make meaningful connections in their brains that are of some benefit.

Allahuman fa’na bi maa ‘allamtanaa wa ‘aalimnaa maa yanfa’una.

Oh Allah benefit us with what You have taught us and teachh us with that which would benefit us.

For there are a lot of things out there that one can cram into one’s memory that are of no benefit whatsoever. May Allah make us of ulul albaaab and fill our minds and heart with only beneficial things. Ameen!

When I was in class this evening, hubs went out with the kids. They walked to the Botanical Garden, and took some photos. Then they went to Bricktown to get some photos for me since Z had deleted the photos I had taken when we went on the water taxi ride on Monday.

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They came back with Briyani for dinner. They had also gone to pray at the masjid we saw by the OK Halal Meat & Grocery, and said that it was huge, had a water fountain and that there are 4 masaajid here in town! Wow. I don’t know much about the Muslim community in OKC, but I am of the impression that it’s not that big. but 4 masaajid! Wow. They even have a school. How come I don’t hear much about the Muslim community in OKC though?

Poor Z. We were eating Briyani for dinner and he just had his white rice with serunding. As a mother, I was torn between feeling sorry for him, heartbroken, and wanting him to learn to live with his food limitations. The kids keep saying I am spoiling him when I dote over him but how can you not dote over him when he is so patient over this? He usually looks at us eating and he knows he can’t eat, and there is this forlorn look on his face. He doesn’t usually say anything though. He looks at his own food, doesn’t say anything, and eventually, when he realized it’s eat that or nothing, he eats it. When we do get food for him in restaurants, which is a very rare occurrence, I LOVE seeing the joy on his face. He doesn’t complain, he displays no tantrums. The most he does is turn away from the sight of us eating what he can’t eat, and eats his snacks. He would now even say he doesn’t want to eat something that I’ve prepared. Sometimes, he would state that he wants it this way and not that way. I can’t stand fussy eaters. I really can’t, and I don’t want to raise sons who are fussy eaters, who might burden their future wives, so when Z does this, I put my foot down, even when I feel sorry for him. He can’t afford to be fussy. He had low iron during his infancy, and I think he’s short on a lot of other nutrients too because of his allergies. But Allah is Ar Razzaaq, He will nourish and nurture him as long as I put in the effort to do what I can. So I’m worried but not that worried. His rizq has already been decreed. What he will get, he will get and what he is not meant to get, he will never get. Alhamdulillah.

Anyway, hubs bought him a bag of halal marshmallows that is exclusively only for him. That is supposed to make up for not being able to share our dinner. While we were eating and I was looking at him being left out, I asked Allah to make him patient and strong from this, and so, May Allah strengthen him through this and form his character into one of perseverance and utmost patience. Ameen. And yes, of course, may Allah also cure him and make him outgrow all of these allergies completely! Ameen.

Categories: Activity, Family, HotelSchooling, Productivity, Quran, Teaching Challenges, Travel, Z's learning | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

OKC Day 2

We decided to go out in the morning today, just the 4 of us excluding S, who has class all the way till 2:30. I had a little trouble getting to my group this morning and S missed a bit of her class because we switched laptops due to technical difficulties.

For a downtown library, it looks pretty new, which is nice but surprising. Then again, this is not the east coast. I remember when we went to Philadelphia and went to the downtown library. You could tell the building was very old.

Around 11 am, we went out and decided to take the trolley or walk to the Downtown Library. We ended up waking because the trolley comes every 30 minutes. It was surprisingly cool. I was expecting it to be hot. That’s what happens when you live in New Mexico and it’s always hot. So we had quite a nice walk through part of downtown. H led the way.

The library is very nice. I spent quite some time looking for books to read to Z. I was looking for non fiction science books but I ended up spending a long time in the picture books section before I realized that the books I was looking for was in the tween section.

I had a stack of books and called him and we sat in one area, and I asked him to choose which books he wanted me to read to him. He really loved Hey Diddle Diddle A Food Chain Tale.

I had to read it twice.

We also read Stanley Goes Fishing

and A Kite Day

and In the Garden: Who’s Been Here?

We read some other ones too, but these are the ones we remember. We didn’t read all the books in the stack, and I didn’t have the energy to anyway because after reading Hey Diddle Diddle twice, I didn’t have the energy to read anything else anymore. He also said he was done.

N and H were in the youth area, reading books. I think they finished 1 book during the time we were there. We left around 12:30 thinking we might get on the trolley but we ended up walking back to the hotel and as we reached it, we saw the trolley pass by us. We missed it!

On the way back, they left me way behind.

They had their HSI at 3:30 pm and discussed the Boston Massacre. I was too tired I just fell asleep in between. But the day felt somewhat productive alhamdulillah because in the morning, Z did some of Umm Nu’man’s Quran Center activity sheet set. He glued all the words for surah Al Ikhlass. He also asked to play the memory game with the Quran word cards, and he played it with N and H while I listened to the review of Juz 2. Alhamdulillah! At least he’s not completely aversive to it.

I hope Z is getting better because he is having runny nose sometimes and is still having coughing fits. We’re still giving him honey lemon, thanks to N and H making it for him.

I’m also getting increasingly worried about his food. I had made chicken nuggets for him but he doesn’t seem to like it. I had brought his serunding too, but I want him to eat his chicken. We bought Briyani tonight but of course, he can’t eat it. So he ate white rice with his chicken nuggets. Poor boy. This is the challenge of traveling with a multiple allergic kid. May eh outgrow these allergies completely soon. Ameen!

Categories: Activity, Allergies, Books, Family, HotelSchooling, Quran, Reading, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

OKC Day 1

I didn’t really want to drive in OKC. I hate parking garages with steep spiral ramps. It reminds me of the days when I learned to drive my father’s old manual Toyota in my teens. Balancing the clutch and accelerator was particularly embarassing at steep points as my engines would usually die and I’d be the center of attention. Even though we drive automatic now, I still have that fear that the car woudl stop, stall, and roll backwards.

But the kids are bored and want to go out. Z has been asking me to go out. I want to stay in the room where it’s nice and cool. But I will have class on Wednesday and today and tomorrow are the only days I can go out with them so I guess I’d better. Poor them.

Since S has class since 7:30 am this morning and will end at 2:30 pm, we’ll wait for her. In the meantime I told N and H on Oklahoma and particularly the Oklahoma City National and Memorial Museum. I told H to look up downtown trolley info, and he drew the map, and is supposed to be our guide for getting around downtown. It’s time for delegation of work and they’re old enough to handle it. If we get lost, the blame will completely be on him *evil laughter*.

Well, as it turned out, hubs was able to go out with us, and so we all went out. We went to the Water Taxi in Bricktown. Passed by Peachwave, a frozen yogurt place that N eyed on the way to the Water taxi ticket counter.

We got onto the water taxi and received a good history lesson of Oklahoma City. I love going on these types of tours. Even though I love reading, it can get a bit too much reading a lot of info on a Museum visit. The kids are usually always rushing anyway so I never really get to do all my reading. I’m more of a visual than audio, but in this hectic life I think I’ve sometimes become more audio just because I have so many things to read and can’t spare usage of my strained and dry eyes anymore as a result.

Z loved getting on the water taxi but as we cruised along the man made canal, he seemed to grow restless. He did love seeing the ducks though. After the ride, we went to the souvenir shop and the girls got some earrings. Then we went to Peachwave and alhamdulillah, those whose birthdays are today get a free 16 oz frozen yogurt of their choice! So N got one for free. I had actually forgotten she turned 14 today.

We walked back to the hotel. Z’s cough seemed to be increasing and I’m getting worried. It’s hard enough having him sick at home but during travel, it’s even more worrying. I hope he gets better inshaAllah. N and H are making him honey-lemon but without the fenugreek or black cumin seed. I’m doing ruqyah on him. After all it’s Allah who cures him and we are traveling so insha Allah he should be ok.

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, I will be extremely busy inshaAllah. N and H did their HSI homework just now, and I had to remind them too. H did an infographic.

Tomorrow, they don’t have their Literature class, but they still have their HSI so I’m thinking that I will go out with the 3 kids in the morning and leave S alone because she has class. We are inshaAllah going to the Library via trolley, hang out there, read and then go back to the hotel. Afternoon they have class, so we’ll stay in the hotel from then on. I need to study and review too, so I should be busy too. Alas! Z deleted all the files in my camera, so I am not able to put any of the photos I took during our water taxi ride,  Peachwave visit, and Bricktown. Well, on Wednesday, hubs went out with the kids while I had my class, so I told them to take pictures of Bricktown while they’re out. So I do have some!

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