Friday, December 30, 2005

Sleep Over, Red Light, and Precision!

Moody, Anes, and Tala

Tala has a planned sleep over with Morgan today. It could still be called off for Morgan's aunt might arrive today from out of town. In this case, they will just have a play date.

Moody has a sleep over with Anes on Sunday. His first time out of the house--we're sure he'll be fine. He's been asking when he's leaving and when he's coming back.

Tala has grown and "matured" so much in the past week or so. She's past the toddler stage, I guess, and gets sweeter and sweeter by the day. She has been testing a lot with behaviors and phrases. Yesterday, we stopped by a store and as she was getting out of the car, she said, "I promise I will behave in the store, Mom." Of course, that didn't happen! She wasn't bad, just being silly with her "broder." later at home, she said, "I'm sorry for writing on the table and chair, Mom." And she showed me where she did that with the crayon. A third time, she came to me and said, "I'm sorry for making a mess in the bathroom." She had unrolled the toilet paper off the roll! I explained to her that it's better not to do what she knows is not right, rather than do it and then say sorry. She has also been doing not-so-good things to Moody and saying sorry immediately after. What's her point? Just testing how the sorry word works and if it saves her any consequences and makes the actions OK? Don't know!

It's getting tiring keeping up with them two jrabee3! I have to be on guard all the time... It seems that everything they say is to somehow set Sol or me up for something or the other... long gone the innocence! lol

Moody and his linguistic precision: It is amazing, but sometimes gets to be annoying. He does not let a sentence or a word pass by without testing it, evaluating it, and correcting or commenting on it. On the one hand, I want him to keep this ability and develop it further, on the other hand, I don't want it to become some sort of a social hindrance for him.

Tala has figured the traffic lights and the color codes. If I'm turning right, she would say, "You can't turn on red! The light is red! You should stop!" And then I start the sermon of explaining it; but then comes another red light and another right-turn and we start all over again! If a traffic light--that is a mile away--turns red, she would say, "Mom, STOP, it's red!" I guess red means freeze wherever you are--immediately!

Her latest fascination nowadays is directions. Wherever we're going, she'd ask, "Where's the way to..." We just tell her to wait and she'll find out once we're driving there. She has been recognizing streets and knows our destination if it's a place she's been to before. Amazing! When I came to the US, it took me a while to distinguish the different streets and intersections. Most of them looked the same to me with no landmarks. It was just very different to Europe. How could a 3-year-old know one street from the other, even when they look pretty much the same!

Raising children is such an enlightening eye- and mind-opening experience in itself. Every stage of my children's life revives the same stage of my life. I'm reliving my childhood, enjoying my life, and learning along with my children.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy birthdays, up and down the family tree!

Safia and Ru'a

Mama turned 62 today! She was born December 28, 1943, in Derna, Libya.

Ru'a, my niece, Noha's daughter, is 5! She is a Dragon, born December 28, 2000, in Benghazi.

Moody and Tala got to sing them both happy birthday on the phone. Mama was happy with the call and liked it even more when Moody said afwan in reply to her shukran. He ended the call by "masalama." I had nothing to do with him saying these words.

Nahla told me that Ru'a was excited with the call. She kept saying, "They sang to me in English!" Though everybody sang her the same song over there before we called, it's not the same coming over the phone all the way from the US from her English-speaking cousins!

One more time, to Safia and Ru'a:

Happy Birthday!

Picture courtesy of Ayman, taken today... Thanks Moony xox!

Monday, December 26, 2005

A very long weekend!

Red nose reindeer
On Friday, we went to the Rigneys' Christmas carol; a tradition they’ve been having for 35 years. I don’t think we have missed it for at least the last four years. This year, both Moody and Tala were enjoying themselves, and we got to mix more with adults and enjoy it too. Previously, Moody was too young and we had to alternate chasing him and keeping him under control, and then Tala came, and it was time to keep an eye on her too. This year,they were both "mature," having fun with the friends they made for the night and were not tempted to storm the cookies table in the back! At one point, Peter asked Tala, "Do you look like Mom or Dad?" She looked at him and said, "Tala!" I have a picture of Moody for every year we were there; I will post the pictures once the computer is back.


Jingle Bells
On Thursday, something went amiss with the computer; kept turning itself off. I made many calls to try and solve the problem; one person concluded "It’s a virus!" Ha, a virus, "get out of here!" was my response. We never had a virus—we have a Mac. I love the Mac for its high immunity; it is just uninfectable! The price is high, but it’s worth it. Sol had a Mac since 1996, a G4; in January we added the magnificent iMac G5! When Sol got home, Tala told him, "Our computer died!" She must have heard me talk to the technician at the Apple store, and I must have mentioned "dies off," or something of the sort. So now, we’re confined to using the G4 till the other baby gets home. I cleaned it up yesterday, reinstalled the OS and everything "needed;" --about time to do that. The only drawback is that it’s not configured to transfer pictures from the camera and the printer/scanner is not connected here! We’ll just have to wait.


On Saturday morning, the "boys" went swimming, and the "girls" went shopping! We, the girls, had fun shopping for toys and home décor items. On our way to meet the "boys," Tala said, "I love going shopping, Mom!" We’re going for more shopping today--it’s the big sale day. We rearranged the basement the other day and discovered that the computer desk is about to fall down with one leg almost completely detached!


Yesterday, we went to see the Chronicles of Narnia--a great movie. Moody and Tala loved it; Moody kept saying, over and over, "It’s a great movie!" Tala didn’t flinch for one minute and the suspense was very high. It’s a must see... over and over!


Grandma Amna!
Moody and Grandma Amna
Today is a holiday... At least retail and food places are finally open; it seemed like they closed for a long time! While we were having breakfast, Moody said to Sol, "I’m sorry Grandma Amna died." She passed away in October of 2000, shortly after her return to Libya from her visit with us that year. She came when I was pregnant with Moody and stayed till after his birth. I don’t know what made Moody start this conversation about the dead. He asked about "uncle Khaled," Noha’s husband who passed away in 2001 at the age of 38, and about my uncle with the "three fingers." He was asking if uncle Khaled was buried, who buried him, where is he buried, and could he see the burial place when he goes to Libya; then he asked the same questions about Grandma Amna and uncle Faraj. Now he’s set to visit these places when he goes to Libya. Last summer, Noha, Rahaf, and Ru’a were planning to come visit (they were denied the visa!) When Moody noticed that we were only talking about the three of them he started asking about their dad, we told him that he's dead and answered all the questions he had about that. He got very interested in learning more about death and talking more about uncle Khaled. For sometime, he would say, out of the blue, "I’m sad that uncle Khaled died." Toward the end of today’s conversation, I just wanted to talk about something else--it still hurts deep to think of Khaled, Noha, and the girls, and the way he died...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What a Wonderful Time!

Darth Nader
Star Wars freaks!
Nick et al left on Monday and Tala and Moody had a real long nap after school. They did a lot during the weekend, from watching Star Wars, to playing Star Wars, tea parties, and Cinderella. Nick is a Star Wars fan himself, and that broke the age barrier between him and Moody. The boys were two Darth Vaders look- and sound-alike with the lightsabers, helmets, and voice changers; princess Leia was there too and joined in the fights!

Tea Party!
Tea Party
Tala, on the other hand, wouldn't leave Nick alone for a minute. If he's out of her sight, she starts calling at the top of her lungs, "NIIIIICK!" The amazing thing is that he didn't seem to mind; he would just roll his eyes and hurry to her every single time! Of course, how could he resist such a charm as hers! What a patient pleasant guy himself. He's now no longer the "yother" Nick, simply Nick! Got upgraded, I guess. I have noticed that Nick, the moose, has been dropped; he even lost his spot on her bed! Poor fluffy thing!

Easton's huge tree!
At Easton
The Bazeen was another adventure. Nick surprised us by how much he ate from it! As for the rest, a picture is worth more than thousand words... Look for yourself, the most expressive is this one with the notes from "big" Moody. Nick, Nikki, and AmuZam (he he he,) your visit has become a favorite yearly event to us.

Today is the kids' last day of school. Tala is going with her friend Morgan after school today. When Morgan's mom told her that Tala will be coming with her after school, Morgan didn't like it and said she wants Tala to have a sleep over not to come and play. We gotta do that soon!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Nick!

Nick!
Nick, the moose!
The kids are absolutely thrilled that Nick is coming today. They just had lunch and can't stop asking, "are they here yet?" and "Is he coming today?"

I don't know if Tala really remembers Nick from last year. She knows he gave her the little moose called "Nick" ever since. And she refers to him as "the yother Nick," with the "y" in there. So Tala knows this yother Nick is a boy who seems close to the family, and it is important to impress him by tidying up her room , etc., but she is not really sure. Earlier today, on the way home from the gym, we were of course talking about you know who, and Tala asked me,"Is Nick a nanny?" When I said no, she asked, "Is he a brudder?" OK, Moody just popped in to ask, "Is he coming at midnight? How many miles from Canada?" Now I'm getting anxious, too. When IS Nick gonna come and take these critters off my back! lol.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

'Tis the Season!

Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays!
It is beautiful outside... everything is white, and it's snowing still!

I finished the quarter last week, but only felt the load lift off when I received the last grade Tuesday night. I'm actually impressing myself with my grades! I guess I've been out of school, out of work, for a long time that I forgot how good I am! Something more to brag about to Sol... lol.

Saturday the 10th was our seventh anniversary. Sol and I had a crazy night out. I enjoyed uploading the pictures and going back in time to that day seven years ago, and the Sousa and Tunis trips.

Getting started
Kathy and the gang!
This year, we decided to have a holiday tree. Well, the kids are very good at nagging and sometimes it is easier to give in. We tell Moody that he's so lucky--he gets to celebrate more holidays than any other kid. We picked up a real tree on Saturday and got the ornaments and decorations on Sunday. Kathy offered to help with decorating it, which we did on Monday--thanks Kathy and Conor! I am amazed: Tala hasn't even taken one ornament off yet--very unlike her. Well, she did pull Moody's stocking off the mantel. It fell along with the holder and broke some of the glass beads. Luckily, she didn't get hurt.

Angel in the making!
Angel in the making!
Azzam, Nikki, and Nick are coming this weekend. Hope they don't bring more cold with them from up there! We're all excited and looking forward to having them over. Tala has been asking non-stop, "Is Nick coming? When?" I don't think she remembers him from last year. She said, "I will show him my room, and introduce him to the 'yether' Nick. He will say, 'What a beautiful castle you have!'" The 'yether' Nick, is a stuffed moose they got her last year that she named Nick. Moody, also, is very excited. He told me yesterday, "I'm so excited Nick is coming. I have a long list." When I asked him about the list, he said it has what they will eat for lunch, what movie they will watch, and where they will sleep. The whole experience of anticipation and then having the delightful company is so wonderful; thanks guys!

Moody, Tala, and Kaitlin
Kaitlin, Moody, Tala, snow!
Tala has been talking non-stop lately. She had some speech therapy at 18 months of age; she wasn't saying much then! Maybe we shouldn't have done that! lol Last night, I heard her come out of her room. I went up and asked her what she was doing. She answered, "nothing; I don't care!" She loves using big expressions even if they don't fit the occasion or she doesn't know what they mean. I tucked her back in; minutes later she came downstairs and asked that "Dad, give me a good night kiss." We told her not to come out of her room again; she said, "When you guys go to sleep, I will come downstairs." At least she's honest!

I don't hear Moody; hmmm, very alarming! Gotta sneak on him... I just checked; he's listening to music, Phil Collins' Brother Bear; and reading a book, Transformers.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Like it was yesterday!

Sheep with a scarf
This December 1st is the 7th anniversary of our Fatiha, the legal marriage ceremony. In the picture are Hana's uncle Faraj Naas, who has passed away since, my brother Mohamed, the lamb-with-scarf, and Hana's brother Ayman. It was Tuesday, Dec. 1st, 1998 in the Naas house in Benghazi. Some representatives of my family had driven from Tripoli and Misrata. I was not there, but I guess I didn't have to be, and actually the groom is usually not present at this ceremony, even if he is in town.

I am not sure where the pink scarf tradition started or why exactly, but... I guess that the scarf is an attention getter; after all, you don't often see a lamb sporting a pink scarf. Yeah, it's usually blue, right? I remember once seeing a lamb wrapped in a Haseer (a matt made of soft wicker-like stuff called Dees that grows around the spring of Tawargha) only its head showing with the pink scarf around it, all on top of a car leading a motorcade. First the car horns get your attention, then you just follow the pink scarf to know who's getting married in the neighborhood.

The funny little detail about the lamb in the above picture is, I later found out, my family actually did not get the scarf in Tripoli, where it is widely sold for this purpose. Also, you can't use just any old scarf. It is special: square, pink and larger than the ones meant for humans. Now imagine my relatives roaming all over Benghazi looking for this thing, where most people thought they had to be drunk or playing some sort of Misrati joke. Sure enough, they found one, a pink one to be sure, and the rest is history. Yes, you can say, it was all meant to be.

Lots of things had to fall right in place, I remember. Hanu's dad told me, she was not gonna leave for the wedding in Tunisia until I assured them that her visa was ready! The Fatiha was on the 1st, I got confirmation from the embassy in Tunis on the 7th, flew out the next day, and the wedding party was on the 10th, a Thursday in keeping with tradition! That's the subject of another post, maybe in 9 days or so. Of course a lot of arrangements had been made in advance (remotely by guess who) including all the party reservations, hotels, music bands, etc. There were only minor glitches, really, everything went very well because it was meant to be. Lots of beautiful memories of those few days, and lots more since. Thanks, Hanu, and happy seventh.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh... Baby!

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Nadia's baby, Akrem, is here. He landed on November 28 around noon. It's so nice to hold a baby that's not yours; he's a bundle of joy nonetheless, but without the mess... diapers, feeding, crying...
Oh, what fun! He sprayed me actually while I was changing his diaper, but luckily the receiving blanket was close by, lol!

Mabrook, Nadia, and welcome to parenthood... We're all so happy for the three of you! Moody and Tala can't wait to meet Akrem in person.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Good Times Pass Fast!

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A nice long weekend we've had! Back to the routine tomorrow... oh well, no escape! The good thing is, two more weeks and it's winter break. Hurray!

We went to see the Wild Lights at the Zoo yesterday; lots of fun! Moody was so exited to go ice skating; he didn't want us to take any pictures or stop anywhere so we won't "waste time," he kept saying! I was the one to skate with him being the more experienced (ha!) I think the last time I ice skated was in Switzerland, late 80s.

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Moody's first!
We got into the rink and he had a hard time staying on his feet. I kept telling him that we can get out, he doesn't have to do it, but he insisted on staying. Once he managed to stand straight, we kept moving slowly, with him holding on to the edge with both hands. He fell many times! He actually enjoyed falling down and kept doing it on purpose. He also liked lying flat on the ice... ha ha ha. By the mid of the first round, he was holding my hand and moving in small steps. Toward the third round, he was going by himself with no support for short distances. He kept refusing to leave and wanted to keep skating. I was impressed; another test that he passed and astonished us. I think we sometimes undermine his abilities just because of the hardship he has on other areas. Ice skating: another activity for us to explore!

Moody gets the yellow

Moody and Maser Circle
That's Moody with Master Circle after the belt ceremony. He was so thrilled he asked if we could celebrate by eating out, which we did.

He really did work for this! Just the test day alone was hard enough. The low ranks go first, and he did fine, answering questions and doing the moves. That wasn't the hard part, if you ask me, it was sitting still on the floor for almost two hours to go through the higher ranks. I was impressed because I had never seen Moody sit still that long before unless he was strapped to a car seat. That's part of passing the test on another level.

Age of Conspiracy

I can understand why Tala is always getting set up by Ahmed because I had not one but two older brothers. I'll never forget that filling one's mouth with sand does not really qualify as eating until you chew and chew and... but they just spat theirs out so they could bust out in laughter. Tala is also trying to fit in, and Moody is now able and willing to take advantage of that.

The other day, Moody was scheming to get back his light saber, which was taken away from him and put out of reach on top of the fridge. He tried climbing up the front of the fridge but didn't succeed. Then I went away for a few minutes and by the time I got back, they had already gone down to the basement and dragged up a drum set stool, a little plastic chair of theirs and a bucket for leggo blocks. The good news is I got there before they had thought of stacking those things! I told them sternly to retun all of their props, of course, doing my best to hide my pleasure with their sense of collaboration and problem solving. As they went down the stairs, I overheard this exchange:

"It almost worked, right, Tala?"

"Right, Mood."

I smiled freely-- ear to ear!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thankful For...

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Moody:
Lightsaber; bed-time kisses; Fall (autumn); Mom and Dad

Hana: My freedom; my mistakes

Tala: Mom, Dad, and Mood make me happy (I was surprised Cinderella didn't make it to the list!)

Suliman: My family; my health

Moody came downstairs while Sol was getting him and Tala ready for bed. He hugged me and said, "Thank you for making the dinner, you make the best food in the whole wide world! You will always be with us, Mom." That was so sweet; nothing I could be more thankful for than such a sweet, sensible, appreciative, polite son! After some more hugs, he added, "Maybe Kathy should try some of the pecan pie. Can we take some for her and Conor and Kevin to try?"

Toward the end of dinner, Sol said, "Everybody say this: I love you Moody; I love you Hanu; I love you Tala." So we all did. I think I saw a hint of tears in his eyes... Like son, like father; more reason for me to be Thankful!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A White Thanksgiving

Tala's Turkey

Turkey birds are different.
From sea to shining sea,
And you'll never see another bird
Like this one to you from me.

Can you see what makes him different?
Do you need some helpful hints?
I made him from my very own
Thumbs and fingerprints!!!
Love,
Tala

Thanksgiving--our favorite holiday! It's the holiday the whole country celebrates with us. And... it's snowing, and we're enjoying it! The kids can't contain themselves; they so much want to play outside. I told them we would if the weather gets better later; it's a bit windy and freezing now. Today's low is 30°F, high is 35°; it's now 21° with the wind chill... brrrr! Tomorrow's expected to be 30° to 15° with more snow.

Moody's yellow belt ceremony is today. And the turkey is arriving today.

White Thanksgiving!
Dregias Thanksgiving menu:

- Turkey
- Gravy
- Peach and mango chutney
- Rice with almonds, and pine nuts
- Green beans casserole
- Yams (maybe. Nobody likes them here!)
- Pecan pie


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mice, Midnight, and Bad Things... oh my!

Maddy babysat the kids last night while we went to the concert. Of course, Tala was dressed in her Cinderella dress. That's all she's been wearing the whole week--on top of her clothes since it's been cold. We had our first flurries on Thursday! She told Maddy that "my mice made the dress for me," and that "my fairy godmother made the pumpkin." She's really acting out the role and living it! During the day, she "blasted off" upstairs shouting, "it's midnight, it's midnight." I was wondering what came onto her, and then it hit me that she's dressed up as Cinderella!

Maddy said Moody came out of his room a while after she put them to bed, and said, "I can't go to sleep, the bad things are going to get me." She talked him into going back to bed. Then he came out again and said "but I can't go to sleep without my parents here!" ha ha ha, Sneaky! He has been going to sleep without his parents since he was months old.

Elton John hit the top of my list, along with Phil Collins and Michael Jackson. Yep, that Michael Jackson. I saw him in concert in Ireland, in 1988. It was something I'll never forget; can't deny it. Phil Collins was September of last year; he's my favorite artist! We took Moody with us since he's a big fan too; darn it, we paid full price for his ticket, but it was worth it. We wrote Phil beforehand telling him that his youngest fan is going to be there, and he sent Moody an autographed photo... very sweet. We have also been to Eric Clapton's early this year. I wasn't impressed, not at all; actually more disappointed. So anyway, Elton John was worth it; he's weird alright, but show me a creative, talented person that's not weird! When Elton introduced his band members, every one of them was cheered, except when he introdueced the guitarist and said he is from Detroit. The guy was booed! ha ha ha! It is OSU-Michigan game today--the renowned rivals.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sleepy Heads!

I left home at 8:30 and the kids were still sleeping! We were at the Sherry's yesterday for dinner and the kids stayed up till past 11; I think it is the first they've ever been up this late. Dinner was great and the atmosphere was so easy and relaxed. I believe all 8 adults had such a wonderful time, so did the kids, and Kimi and Madi... I love Madi; she's the sweetest dog ever! But not the cat... no no no, nasty cat! lol I don't even know his name. OK, back to humans. Kathy and Kieran's company is so nice; I can't say enough about Kathy--such a wonderful person and a wonderful friend!

Moody is testing for his yellow belt today; yay! We're all excited. We promised him to go celebrate if he passes the test, and he chose to go to Lone Star--some taste, huh! He has to know the names of his master and grand masters. The master's name is easy, but the grand masters... I had trouble figuring out how to pronounce them myself! lol Lee Jee Hwoon and Jung Tae Ik. I wanted to be there for the test, but I have the case-group meeting...

So here I am at the library waiting for the group and typing away instead of getting ready for the discussion! Oh, I have to say, our previous case about the Aluminum industry went so well... we got an impressively high score on that!

Bright thoughts: Four more weeks of school... can't wait! Elton John next Friday! Thanksgiving in two weeks... awesome!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Role Switching

I wonder when kids notice that their parents have become dependent on them. Tonight, after dinner, I was filling out a form and needed to copy an address from a card. All went well till I got to the zip code. I just couldn't see the difference between an 8, a 9 and a 0. Ahmed was nearby, so I called him over and he kindly read off the numbers and went back to his important work. I'm sure he thought nothing of the whole 5-second affair, but it caused me to pause and take note. There I was ,truly dependent on Ahmed to read something to me! It was a bitter-sweet experience, you might say, facing your disability and being rescued by your own 5-year old son. Funny things happen when you're 45 and 5.

Eid... Now it's here; now it's gone!

Dregia Eid Flag
The sign of Eid at Windemere!
Our Eid started Friday; no use to pretend it's Eid during the week if it does not feel like Eid. This Eid was good in some ways, but not as good as other Eids in other ways. The good thing is that it was limited to just the four of us--sometimes I love that! With Sol and I being extremely busy, we didn't have time to see, call or visit anybody.

Nationwide Blvd., Downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus
We saw Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit at the theater for Friday Movie Night. It was lots of fun and entertaining. On Saturday, we went to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna show. The horses were beautiful, really! The kids had a blast there at the arena with many things in display, and of course the nacho. At one point I asked Moody if he's there to eat or watch the show, and he replied, "to eat! Maybe I'll watch later." Innocence... what a gift!

Moody kept asking why nobody is coming for Eid. We usually have a gathering with food, and magrood, and goodies for the kids... oh, magrood! I miss making it this Eid; I will have to make some during the holiday. I promised Moody that we'll have a Eid party for next Eid in January. Sol and I were up till 1 last night stuffing Eid goodie bags for school. I usually give the teachers my homemade magrood, ghrayba, and whatever else I bake for Eid. This year, it's a variety of baklawa and Middle Eastern pastries from the store. Not bad, but not as good as mine--of course!

Blue Jackets tiny house, Nationwide Arena
Blue Jackets tiny house
On Wednesday, Moody asked to take Ramadan and the Eid books to school so the teacher could read them for class during circle time. He told me when he got back that he showed the pictures to his classmates and told them about Eid himself. He said he told them "when the new moon comes, it's Eid." I asked him, "did you tell them what we do at Eid?" He said, "I told them we eat when it's Eid." I wonder if the kids thought that we only eat at Eid, lol! He also told them that we get new clothes, new shoes (very important for him and Tala; don't know why), and gifts. I was glad that he remembered all this and that he asked for the books. Sol and I, with our chaotic schedule, completely forgot. Tala took the books the next day. It makes me happy to see how they relate to Eid and find joy in sharing it with friends. I hope they keep the memories and remind us when we forget about such things.

Happy Eid, and many happy returns!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Daddy's Girl!


Father and Daughter!
Tala woke up this morning very exited, saying "Dad is back, dad is back." I told her he's not, and won't be back till tomorrow night. She chose to ignore that! When she got downstairs, she ran to the office, looked out the window, and went into a crying frenzy saying, "Dad is not here. No more Daddy. No more Daddy's car! Dad is gone!" I tried to calm her, but didn't work.

I called before class to check on how things were going here. Bree told me that Tala wasn't OK; very unusual, whining and crying. She said Tala was crying and saying "my flu shot hurt!" lol! Tala hasn't taken the flu shot yet; it's scheduled for tomorrow!

Bree also wrote on the log book that Tala didn't eat pizza because she "was sad," and kept talking about Daddy coming home.

Mary and her daughter Brie (another Brie) took over from Bree at 7:30. Mary said that Tala kept telling them that "Dad is coming at 12:30." Why 12:30? It beats me!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween...

Pirate and the Sweet!
Jack Sparrow and Cinderella

Huuuh!

Getting Ready!

Conor, Luke, and Moody
Conor, Luke, and Moody


Tala, Hailey, and Kaitilin
Tala, Hailey (Luke's sister), and Kaitilin (Conor's sister)

Lisa, Tala, and Kathy
Lisa (Luke's mom), Tala, and Kathy (Conor's mom)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Apple Pickin'

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Apple Picking
Yesterday was such a nice day... bright and sunny; a little chilly though. On the road to the farm, Tala was talking non stop! She was that way the whole day actually. Her line of the day was "What did I say? What did you say?" Moody was feeling under the weather, stomach flu, so that gave her the opportunity to non-stop talk! Here's some of the entertainment we had during the day.

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Driving to the farm:
T: What did you say, Dad?
S: I was talking to Mom Tala.
T: What did you say, dad?
H: He was talking to me, Tala.
T: Don't talk mom. But, what did you say, Dad? We might see more hot balloons?
S: I said we might see more hot air balloons on the way.
T: We might see two hot air balloons?
S: Maybe.
{H and M giggling}
T: Don't be funny guys!
{H, M & S giggling more!}
T: Guys, stop being funny, guys!

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At the pool: I was putting a float on her so she could get in the pool alone. While in the water the float climbed up high to her chest. She came out and started this exchange:
T: Look Mom, the float is up.
H: Yes, let me fix it for you.
T: It's funny.
H: You think so?
T: It is sillier than me!

At counting: Tala would count us and say: "one falimy, two falimy, three falimy, four falimy! We are four falimy!"

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At the office: I was working in the office and she came and asked out of the blue:
T: Maybe when you're happy you'll change your mind.
H: What, Tala?
T: Maybe when you're happy, you'll change your mind.
H: Change my mind about what?
T: About my candy, when you're happy.
Apparently, she was refering to a conversation we had in the morning. She asked me to give her one of the Halloween candy she got from school, and I told her she can't have candy early in the morning and before she eats her breakfast.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's Goopey!

pumpkin.jpg
Pumkin Invetigation

Moody has extra ordinary linguistic skills. They had a pumpkin investigation in class this week, and one of his lines was "It's goopey!" This skill of his surfaced as early as 2 years of age. Sometimes he could be a pain in the neck though. Everything has to be called its proper name, and specific language has to be used. He keeps correcting people, starting with me; as if Sol is not doing enough of that--now, there is two of them. Yes, Sol is this way and more--I have to remind him frequently that not all people have the same level of intelligence, and that he has to give room for that... so far I haven't been completely successful, but making progress. Yesterday at lunch, I asked Moody to "eat your soup." He answered, "You should say drink your soup, not eat your soup!" And yeah, Tala is a highly absorbent sponge!

I can't wait to take Moody to Libya and see how he interacts with people there, with them using general terms for everything to the point that sometimes you can't follow what they are talking about. Have you noticed how they would say "that thing... the other... the one... or ehnee (هني)." They rarely call things by their names, let alone people. It's the culture and also an indication of how much the new generations are lacking in proper education and directions.

Week note, October 28
Week note of October 28
Finally, we're back on track with Moody. This week's note from Ms. Mason was a relief! He had an adverse reaction during and after his first therapy session, but I was expecting that. Introduce something new to him, and he goes bizarre... that's my boy! Oh, one more thing I have to mention. He was grumpy one morning (not that he's not most of the time he he) so Sol asked "what's up with him?" And I said "You're asking me! Ask little Sol!" It's amazing how much alike they are... in so many ways, more good than bad! I'm just glad that he got all the brains his dad has, and some which comes from me.

Tala-artwork.JPG
Tala, the artist!
Here's Tala with the fall artwork she did at school. They don't call it Halloween anymore, to be politically correct! Just like they don't say Christmas season, but Holiday season instead. Public schools are very specific about that now and I like it. Actually, the first year Moody joined the school, we had a meeting with them after we had noticed that they do things that are symbolic of Christmas. Our point was that we don't mind if they expose them to all religions, but not just one of many. That year, Eid, Christmas, Hanukah, and Kawanza were around the same time, and we insisted that they either do it all or none. They listened (oh, how I love a free country!) and asked us to help them do something about Ramadan and Eid since they don't know much and don't have the material. We got children's books and have been holding Eid parties at class every year, with goodies for the kids and teachers and other activities. It is nice to feel that you're part of the big picture and that you matter--first time in my life! But where else could one experience that but the US!

I drifted... Back to Tala, she's the sweetest, even her tantrum fits are so mild and sweet (have I mentioned this before?) Sol and I were talking about that yesterday, and I told him she takes after me. Not unexpectedly, his answer was "So, what happened to you then, where did your parents go wrong?" Arrrrr! lol. Seriously, I was that way, my parents always told me. I still am... in some ways.

M&T.JPG
Moody reading to Tala!
Last night was Home on the Range... not bad. Flubber is still on top of the list; Moody kept comparing the Professor to Sol and wondering if Sol does the same crazy experiments Professor does. Well I told him that all scientists are weird. It's true, I live with one! Weird but make life very interesting, fun, and worthwhile!

On a different note, a friend asked me what book I have read recently and would recommend. My recommendation is The Mystery of Capital by Hernando De Soto. The book talks about the dead capital in the developing and former communist countries. Egypt is used as an example a lot; the writer did some research there. Here are some of the shocking facts:

- Savings in poor countries is 40 times all the foreign aid received throughout the world!
- Egyptian poors have 55 times as much as the sum of all direct foreign investments ever recorded there!
- Egyptian dead capital is $240 billion! 30 times the value of all shares in the Cairo Stock Exchange.
- "By our calculations, the total value of the real estate held but not legally owned by the poor of the Third World and former communist nations is at least $9.3 trillion." $9.3 trillion is almost as much as the value of all companies listed on the main stock exchanges of the top 20 developed countries!

A very good, eye-opener read indeed!

A long week ahead of me. Sol is going away for 3 days; I still haven't found someone to stay with the kids during my classes at night! I have to finish setting up the Tibra Awards for this year which starts November 1! Trick-or-treating is Monday night; we were going to drive Sol to the airport, but we will miss the trick-or-treat then. I still have to decide if I would take the kids around or stick here and greet the trick-or-treaters. Guess I might do a little of each. I also have to prepare the Eid goodies for the kids' teachers and classmates.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rain, Go Away!


Hana & Moody

It's been raining here for two days straight now with no break! Rain is expected to continue till Wednesday. Well, a forecast is a forecast, so I'm hoping it's wrong this time. Fall is our favorite season; the scenery is beautiful, the weather is crisp, fresh and nice, not to mention Halloween! Rain kind of ruins the foliage if it's a lot. The Sleeves (Tala would say) start falling early before the foliage peak. These pictures were taken in New River Gorge in West Virginia, late October '99. The gorge looked like a painting with splatters of all different colors in a nice harmonious way. I have never seen anything like it before. I have a lot of awesome pictures, but scanning them lost a lot, so I'd do with these two for now.


Sol, West Virginia, 1999
Back to the present. I admit, I don't like Ramadan, for many, many reasons. The only thing I like about it is that Eid comes after! Yay, Eid! The kids and I went Eid shopping yesterday... a fun outing we enjoy every Eid. We had a blast and they both were terrific; I guess it's because the shopping was for them not for me! We did quite a bit of driving around, and it was nice to see the foliage and enjoy it despite the rain.

We're having Nadia et al for dinner tonight. The menu so far is: Lentil soup, rice, pumpkin stew (we call that Eid stew in Derna and only make it in Eid. It's yummy: pumpkin, raisins and chick peas), pumpkin salad, khushaf, and pumpkin cheese cake. Yeah, lots of pumpkin.. hey, 'tis the season! I made the rice last night at 10:30, khushaf and stew this morning (got up at 5!) Everything is set to put on the table later. This morning, I have a review session for Tuesday's exam. Sometimes I wonder how I manage!

Halloween decoration is up. We did them on Wednesday. As soon as Halloween is over, Halloween flag comes down, Eid flag goes up. Actually, we're getting better and better every year at the decoration.

MFN was the Emperor's New Groove-- a good laugh, really.

Back to work now. Hope it clears out and the nice weather comes back. Tala would say: "The clouds are letting the sun out!"

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ahhhh... I Love Fridays!


Ouch!
We had a wonderful week! Moody is back to the sweet, loving, considerate boy he normally is! We are working with him on three fronts: home, school, and specialist, and it's going very well. Hurray! He lost privileges last week, but earned them all back this week, one-by-one. Of course the order was, Light Saber, one hour of PBS Kidz, boombox, and Red Alert. But, I wonder... He received a bump on the forehead on Monday at the playground in school, could it be the bump that fixed things ;-)

Tala, the cutie pie, wet herself twice this week while in the nanny's care. It is unlike her, but is a sign for her seeking attention. Even her reactions are mellow!

A cake I made!
Movie Friday Night: Mulan! I won't be here... Moody was not happy about that. I explained to him that the baby shower I'm going to was scheduled before we started the MFN. And hey, a girl is gotta have some girl-time! He got excited about going to pick a gift, he wants to buy something for the baby himself! Kathy and I are having the baby shower for Nadia. I'm usually the cake-maker for baby showers, but not this time, I ordered it instead. Nothing would make me happier than to make Nadia's cake; unfortunately, a day is only 24 hours!

We three had a good time at the gym. I got a 2-hour workout; my exerlog showed 300% of target for aerominutes and calories, yeppy! Now we're off to shop and get the cake. I sure am going to have fun tonight, Suliman and the kids will too. Hey Sol, I can't ask for a better partner... We make a good team and I love it!

Meme: Hana

Got this meme from Tareq. Here is my go at it.

1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER:

Valiant

2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?

Deadline Busting, J. Ford & L. Ford (textbook for OB class!)

3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME?

Haven't played one in a decade... Monopoly probably.

4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE?

Harvard Business Review (regular reading for OB, I like it!)

5. FAVORITE SMELL?

Lavender

6. FAVORITE FOOD?

Libyan steamed rice (that's no regular steamed rice!) رز مبوخ

7. FAVORITE SOUND?

Leaves ruffling in the big tree behind our house. Have you asked me about ugliest sound, I would say Canadian geese sound... hate them!

8. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?

Moving, leaving friends and family behind... done that a lot :'(

9. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP?

Gotta get goin'

10. FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE?

Mc Donald's (crispy chicken caesar salad, my fav!)

11. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME:

Too late! Done... no more!

12. FINISH THIS STATEMENT. IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY:

I would still need more!

13. DO YOU DRIVE FAST?

Used to. Not anymore--kids on board and they need me alive.

14. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?

Depends: Sol is a stuffed guy, with love not fluff hehehe

15. STORMS-COOL OR SCARY?

Cool and cozy.

16. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?

Fiat Uno, 1984 Benghazi.

17. FAVORITE DRINK?

Water... now I'm into Fruit2O

18. FINISH THIS STATEMENT, "IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD...":

Hmmm... typically, I would take on more projects!

19. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI?

When it's cooked don't know what's stems and what's not!

20. IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE?

Tried red, didn't work. Now I'm back to dark brown... covering the white!

21. NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS YOU HAVE LIVED IN:

Tripoli, Brussels, Benghazi, Vienna, Sweqi(Malta), Dublin, Geneva, Beirut, Athens, Westerville

22. HALF EMPTY OR FULL?

Empty

23. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH:

OSU football games, only at the stadium. No TV sports for me.

24. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS!

Hmmmm... third-cousin of mine ;-) (does that make you nice, T, or does it make me nice?)

25. MORNING PERSON, OR NIGHT OWL?

Morning, sometimes both!

26. OVER EASY, OR SUNNY SIDE UP?

Over medium, scrambled is best though!

27. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX?

Hocking Hills log cabin... need to get there sometime soon, for my sanity!

28. FAVORITE PIE

Pecan with chocolate lining...mmm

To you, Suliman and Safa. You are the toughest two to get to do something... please for me this time (am I pleading enough?)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Daddy's girl!
Hana and AbdelRahim, 1967, Brussels, Belgium

Today is Baba's birthday, 76! We called to wish him a happy year, but he was not there... went to Derna. So, here goes:

Happy Birthday! 2002

I love you, I miss you, and wish you continued health and happiness. I wish you would meet Moody and Tala soon... you'd love them!

Aymen told me why Baba went to Derna; Walid, who answered the phone would not tell. I knew something was wrong and I hate it when they try to hide things from me (حركات قرعة). My aunt, عميمة سليمة, had her second leg amputated--Diabetes! She suffered so much since her son, Khalil, had been taken to Chad and never made it back. She never received a word about his fate... She still can't find peace! I wish her well...

Sometimes I like Mondays

Yesterday was a good Monday, and it came after a nice weekend.

Ahmed had his best soccer game ever! He was running the whole time, which is not his usual reaction to the whole affair. Actually, I've noticed that Tala, too, is not always "in the game." I think they both have an old family bug called rationality! I often see Tala, standing in the middle of the field, looking like the most beautiful exclamation point, just wondering: why are these people running with no purpose whatsoever? Oh, she has a wonderful time despite all that, and so does her brother with a gang of 5-yr-old boys chasing girls on the sidelines with Light Sabers. I take it all as a form of free entertainment!






I think Moody had his best game yesterday because of what he ate for dinner: bazeen! 24-ct.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rough Times...



What a week!

Moody is not adjusting to the changes in our routine very well. We are still working on that. He does very well with us, but not so well with care-givers. The previous note from his teacher 10-4.jpg was very upsetting and alarming. He literally walked out of school--wanted to come home! He is looking for ways to make me stay home. "I don't want you to go to school," he said in more than one occasion. Sweet Moody, I wish life works the way you want... unfortunately it does not. My heart aches at the thought of what he's going through!

Grad school, though interesting, is very hard and challenging, and it is taking a toll on me with all the stress at home. Now is the time of the quarter where everything is fast-paced and assignments are piling up.

Ramadan! It is another factor for the rough times. It is a reminder of home, family, and many other things that we miss. Truth is, Ramadan does not land lightly on our household.

It's Movie Friday Night; Flubber or Mulan. We are all looking forward to it. I hope this and the weekend bring some peace to our minds and hearts.

Thanks to the friends who left us phone or email messages! We promise to get back to you soon. We just can't find the time nor the mind to do it now.

Ramadan kareem!