Friday, October 19, 2007

The Empire State Celebrates EID

The Empire State building routinely lights up to celebrate and honor holidays and special occasions. The colors of lighting differ depending on the event: Red, white, and blue for 4th of July, green and red for Christmas, blue and white for Hanukkah.

The building lit its all-green lighting, from October 12 to October 14, to celebrate the three days of Eid for the first time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's Wonderful Eid!

Ramadan gone in a flash! Now it's Eid and Toys'R'Us day. Taking the kids to Toys'R'Us reminds me of the old days in Benghazi when we used to go shopping for toys from the one and only toy store that almost had nothing to offer. It was in the late 70s early 80s.

The only flavor we had of Ramadan this year was when Fairy Godmother Magda visited. I came home on Friday that week, after she told me she was not staying for the weekend, to find the house filled with Ramadan aroma--for the first and only time this year. She was cooking all kinds of things. It was so sweet of her and so nice to have her and spend time with her.

Tala is growing and growing and growing. It is such a delight to see the changes in her. She has a remarkable logic, and is very analytical--taking after her mother. She calls a nap lower-case sleep. Think about it... She's right!

And Moody is growing and maturing... Yay! He said to me yesterday, "Life is doors, and doors, and doors; never ending doors. And the mind is like a big room with lots of doors. Every door you open shows you something new." I was amazed--I didn't think he could think at that level!

We are on the hunt for a nanny again. Alicja had to leave because Lech, her hubby, is relocating to an Indiana job. What a loss for us! When Moody knew, he told her she should leave Lech. And then he strated matchmaking and finding her another husband. His pick was not bad at all. A son of Alicja's friend who's 16 and extremely gorgeous. Anyhow, we found a nanny to replace her who had excellent references. In her second day in the job, I called Sol around 9 am and he was still home. He was making an ice pack for the nanny who now has a broken wrist. Wonderful! Aside from that, she sits all day and keeps giving the kids dimes for finishing chores for her and fetching things. Wonderful!

I am having a blast at work. My job progressed in so many ways and I'm making unprecedented headways and big impact on the business. I received an exceptional raise this month, with the plan to move to a new position--created specifically for me--in January, with more raise. My accomplishments at school seem to be never-ending! I received a message from Fisher this week that I am the recipient of the Fisher Scholar Award and the Weidler Award. More power to me and a pat on the back!

Our Eid started last night with the movie night. I ordered pizza from Donato's for pick up since we can't have them deliver (Sol's doing!) At the pick up window, I was handed 2 medium boxes. Of course, they messed up our order to something not even close to what I ordered. So, the kids and I had to wait in the parking lot till they redo it for us. Sol picked a movie from Blockbuster. 10 minutes in the movie, we decided it was not appropriate for our kids. He said there was another one he could get about a horse and 2 kids and had to do with heading to the West. I told him as long as it was not that Irish stupid movie that we once watched. Of course, he came back and it was that same Irish movie that we asked him not to bring! He had to go back a third time and bring a third one, which I slept through from beginning to end!

Last games for baseball and soccer today and tomorrow. After that it's lunch, the toy store, and maybe a movie. Later today we have 2 nanny interviews. Dinner will be out to a special place.

It's wonderful wonderful Eid... Happy Eid!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ahmed: Golden Eagle, Tiger Scout & Dad's Pal

At Ahmed's school, they have a Golden Eagle program for encouraging and recognizing excellence. When teachers "catch" students doing something good, they give them a Golden Eagle Ticket, and a copy goes to the principal's office. At the end of each week they have a drawing, and they give a Golden Eagle Award to the drawn students. Then at the end of the month they get to have lunch with their teacher.

Ahmed got his first ticket in September, but his name was not drawn that time. He got another one October 2nd and his name was drawn on the 5th.

He was just elated with the award. As soon as he got home he called. I found a message from him telling me the good news and adding, "I already called Mom. I love you, Dad." I went ear-to-ear! His first ticket was for academics, but the second was actually for good behavior and helping others. Hana and I were both surprised by that. Ahmed recognized for good behavior? lol lol we both said. Two years ago, when he was in pre-school, Moody was actually suspended two days for telling a teacher, "Tomorrow, I am going to bring my sword and slash you!" The school had a handbook to go by, and it did not differentiate between pre-schoolers and high schoolers. I told them that on the average day then, Moody slashes a half dozen villains, laser blasts a few monsters, and bombs a few enemy camps here and there. That did not matter, the handbook had a certain numbered rule for threats and intimidation, and they had to follow it. We went along but did not let go completely. We arranged a meeting with school board officials, in which we explained that having the same handbook for all ages just did not make sense. They agreed and promised to take it up in their discussion. The following year, the school handbook had a separate section of rules and discipline policies for the little ones. We felt good about that. Since that incident, I think Ahmed started to look at school differently. Last year, we were constantly getting positive feedback from his teacher about his good behavior. He was really concerned about putting a good impression on his teacher. That worked for us because we exchanged information with the teacher about his behavior at home and school, using the same card system (sunny, cloudy, rain, thunderbolt.) Ahmed was really concerned and it meant a lot to him to take sunny cards back and forth. He certainly made a lot of progress. He is also doing very well academically. He gets extra special reading assignments because he is ahead of his class level. Last year they had a special box in the classroom for his reading materials. By the end of the year his report said his reading was above 3rd grade. Yesterday, the teacher who looks after his special reading assignments had him take a spelling test with second graders. They might get the results today.

The Golden Eagle comes with an additional Super Student award and a free meal from Mimi's Café. We have not gone yet-- maybe after Eid.

Ahmed is a Cub Scout now, and Lella Sgheera is a Daisy! I am Moody's Akela. Every boy comes with an adult companion, his Akela, and there are 4 boys in Moody's den. I go with him for his weekly meetings and activities, and we do some things together at home. It seems to be a lot of fun so far. The bandage on his right hand in the above picture is covering up his first stitches. He fell running at the school yard and got a cut. The doctor took him off sports for ten days. Of course, he loved going to the games, sitting on the bench, and telling his mates about his ordeal at the doctor's office, all about the "huge" syringe they used to numb down his palm, etc. From a distance it looked like he was telling them a fishing story. His teammates would ask in complete awe, "Did you cry?" He mostly ignored that question. lol lol He did cry, but was pretty calm when the stitches were taken out. Next Monday, he gets his Bobcat badge and first set of achievement recognition beads. With the Eid this weekend and all the fun stuff on Monday, Mr. Ahmed will be very happy. For Eid, I think we'll take them to Magic Mountain and treat them to some fun. They both deserve it, and they have been very busy lately because they added new activities before ending others. Each one plays two sports, takes tumbling and hip hop classes, cub scouts, school work, etc. Outdoor things are now winding down, and come winter they will start ice skating lessons.

Today, Moody's class is going on a field trip to an apple orchard. He was excited for days, reminding us constantly that we had to pack his lunch, that he wanted a chicken breast and mayo sandwich, and that he would wear long sleeves and long pants if it is cold, etc. Yesterday we bought the lunch meat. He gave his lunch bag to Mom last night and reminded her. This morning he checked it a few times to see what Mom had packed for him before going to work. And it turned out to be a little cold today, so he couldn't wait to slip into his jeans jacket and run out to the bus stop. The jeans jacket falls in the category of Cool. He told me the other day that he didn't wanna look handsome anymore. I wanna look cool, he said. I hope he gets lots of good apples.