About El Momma

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Easter Bonnet!

Trinity got her Easter Basket from Grandmother and Grandfather a couple of days ago. So, I pulled the boys baskets out of the closet along with lots of eggs and bunnies. Everyone is enjoying playing with them. Our little T girl especially loves the bunnies in her Easter Basket.

I think she's already learned what a camera is and how it works, because when I point it towards her this is what I get! It is this ear to ear grin that lights up the room. She is so funny!!!
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yesterday's Rodeo Adventure

On Wednesday we went to the rodeo...me, Bakri, Maddux and Trinity. What an adventure! Here is some pictures and one video of our day from start to finish...

Here is Miss Trinity in her rodeo best...this outfit belonged to our niece. Isn't it cute? And the shoes were Bakri's, then Maddux's and now Trinity's!

Maddux and Trinity ready for the rodeo!

Bakri, Maddux and Trinity getting ready to head to the rodeo.

Maddux, Trinity and Bakri....rodeo ready!

Amira gave the boys these adorable cowboy boots for Christmas. Maddux would wear his everyday if I let him!

The biggest challenge of the day was getting to the rodeo from the parking lot and back. We had to board a tram with a double stroller, one adult (me) an infant (trinity) and 2 kids (Bakri and Maddux.) Whoah! Thank God I had the help of kind strangers...

This was a big Longhorn we saw when we first got there. We also ran into some of our family there. We didn't get to hang out with them much, because they had already done some of the things we were there to do. But, it was really fun seeing them!

I guess Mr. B. found these hens to be quite shocking! Maybe it was the fact that they were laying eggs.

My little cowboy, Bakri!

At one point T lost her patience with being in the Stroller, and she was much happier to be out enjoying the livestock show.
We waited in the line for the pony ride for 30 minutes. When I bought the tokens they told us it would be an hour or an hour and a half. Thankfully, the wait wasn't nearly that long. But, since the kids look forward to this ponyride every year, its not something we could avoid...and they loved it as always!

Maddux riding the pony "gem."
Bakri riding the pony and having a great time!
This is a video of the boys when the ride first started. Click on it and listen to Maddux as he goes by for the first time...he's already asking to ride again. Kids are so funny!

Here comes Bakri! He's looking at Maddux. Bakri's pony was named "dolly."

We were on our way out to have a snack before leaving and I asked somebody to take a picture of all of us just to prove the kids weren't there by themselves.

We grabbed a snack before leaving. Here's Maddux enjoying some gatorade.

This is as much of the corndog as Maddux ate.

Bakri, on the other hand, ate two corndogs! He was really hungry after that ponyride!
So, remember how I said getting from the car and back was the most challenging part? Well, thankfully there are no pictures of this. But, we go to get in line for the tram and Miss Trinity has a dirty diaper...like really dirty all over the place. So, I have to get out of the line and get her cleaned up before we can take the ride on the tram. Meanwhile, Maddux falls asleep in the stroller...which is not a good thing, because he's about to have to get out and sit up on the tram ride. So, we finally get on the tram after 5 people try to help me. Then, we arrive to the parking lot and I have Trinity in the baby bjorn so Bakri can ride in the stroller out to the car. He was exhausted and already complaining about how tired he was. The only problem was, he wouldn't let anyone help him get in the stroller. So, I end up carrying Trinity, pushing Maddux alone in the Stroller and walking holding Bakri's hand as he complains and cries the whole time about how tired he is. By the time we get to the car, I was seriously having heart palpitations...either I'm anxious, out of shape, or something is wrong with me??? Anyway, I finally get everyone in the car and Bakri immediately falls asleep. Which meant, no baseball (tee-ball) practice for him that afternoon.
All's well that ends well. And this one ended well. We had a great time at the Houston Rodeo. Until next year!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Maddux and Trinity

We were in the backyard playing last week and all the kids were dressed alike. Trinity was playing on a blanket and the boys were running around. I asked them to come over and take a picture with her. Bakri was interested in something else at the time, so Maddux and Trinity ended up sharing some pretty precious moments together. I just love all of these photos, so I put them together in a collage.

The boys are so in love with their little sister and she is so in love with them. She just lights up every time they enter the room she is in. And now she is starting to talk to them. It is so sweet to watch them together. What a blessing they are!
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Keeping up with the El-Hakams is so much fun!!!- and so exhausting!

So, keeping up with these three kiddos is pretty tiring. I've definitely got my work cut out for me. I love being a mom and having this opportunity to nourish and teach my children. And I've learned that in order to make the most of our days, I have to have a plan and stick to it.
Since Bakri has been staying home with us, the four of us have been busy nearly every morning. We either have a play date, bible study, zoo visit, rodeo day, music class or concert to go to. There is literally always something to do. It is super fun. But, I am completely exhausted. Last week we had a birthday party to attend at the zoo and a concert at our local Pottery Barn Kids. We had never been to a concert there before. We did go to a free Chick fil A concert which KSBJ puts on once a month back when we were expecting trinity and the boys both still talk about it. So, I try to take them to things (particularly music things) that I think will interest them.

This is Bakri with the "Non-Toxic Band" performing in the background. Joe- the guitar player, writes music for Sesame Street.
Check out Maddux sitting in the front. :-)
One of our recent zoo visits included an orangutan with an attitude. See him up next to the window??? When his 6 year old son would come over to him he would slap him away. The zookeeper said he was playing. But, Bakri said "he hit him. that's not nice." I told him that wasn't nice, but remember he's an orangutan, not a human. It's kind of hard to explain away the misbehavior of a daddy animal. Anyway, I tried!
Maddux enjoys playing with all of the kids at the children's zoo playground.
And Trinity, of course, can sleep anywhere. Here she is sleeping in the double stroller. I've finally gained enough control of the kids that I can let Bakri walk around and he doesn't run away from me. I'm very thankful for that. It has made traveling with 3 kids a lot easier for me to handle on my own.

Bakri really loves the California Sea Lions. We can not leave the zoo without seeing them and telling "Cali" the sea lion "goodbye."

Maddux loves the sea lions too. I think that is Cali in the background...

I can find inspiration in all of my friends and they way they mother, how they interact with their husbands, how they balance work and family, their relationships with God, etc. One of my friends I met since returning to Texas just had her fourth child. That, in and of itself is inspiring. But, she not only has 4 children, she is an amazing mother that devotes her life to raising her children with a love of Christ. And no matter what, she's always doing things with her children. And they are super smart and well-mannered because of it. Her son that is Bakri's age, just turned four last week. We celebrated his birthday at the Zoo on a cold and rainy day.
Every kid loves to get in this tunnel with the fish!
Here's an alligator, the birthday boy, the birthday boy's little sister and Maddux. They had a great time together.
This was in the reptile building. I try not to look at anything too close. I totally get freaked out at the sight of snakes. But, my boys love to get up close to the windows and peer in at these very large scary snakes. EEEK!
So, on our way out, we had to visit our favorite animals- the sea lions. And guess what?? They were doing their daily show and this was our first time to see it. It was really impressive. These sea lions can do some great tricks for fish!
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maddux, Grandfather and the beautiful watercolor painting

In June of 2007, Maddux was 7 months old. One afternoon, we went to Jason's Deli with my parents and sister. While we were there, there was a man with a very fancy camera sitting close by with 2 friends. He was watching Maddux closely and soon a friend approached and asked us if he could take Maddux's picture. He explained that he was in America from China. He was a master watercolorist and had an exhibit in the museum district. They handed us a card and we agreed that he could take photos of Maddux - in Jason's Deli. He even invited us to his watercolor exhibit and we went later that week. It was the most beautiful watercolor work I had ever seen. The details were simply amazing. I had hopes that one day he would paint a beautiful watercolor of Maddux and that I would somehow discover it on his website. Well, today was the day. Randomly, I went to his website, clicked on 2008 and there was a painting called "Love of Grandson." This is the one! Perhaps we'll be able to get a print of it someday. It is just so beautiful and captures our sweet baby Maddux and the love of his Grandfather perfectly. I just love it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My new job....

So, I have a new job as a worship leader at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in West University. It is really an amazing journey we've been on for the last several years to get to this place. I don't know if this will make sense, but the place we are in right now is a moving place. We're moving forward in the direction and on the path that God has for us. It has just been an amazing adventure so far...and I wanted to share it with you.

As most of you know, I've been singing all of my life. And in church, I was always singing growing up. Once I went to college and then to LA, I was still active in the churches I attended, but never in music. When Moustapha and I were led to First Pres in early 2004, things were soon in transition there and they were searching for a new worship leader for their contemporary service. They found that leader in August of 2005. - Our friend Jasen and his new wife Amanda (I think they were married the first week he started the job) came to Texas from California and he began his job as the new worship leader of the service. Once he arrived, I was put in touch with him. I met him in his office one afternoon, he played guitar, sang a familiar tune and I sang harmony. It was great! And he asked me to sing that Sunday. I pretty much had the opportunity to sing praise and worship with them every weekend for 2 years. (until Amanda & Jasen hooked it out of here and headed back to California :0) It was so amazing. And I was really happy with that. One thing that I really learned from Jasen, was being open to the gifts and talents of others. It was because of this openness, that I was given the chance to lead songs. I really can't thank him enough. I love working with other singers and musicians. It is such a gift to be able to be a part of worship in this way.

For the past year and a half I have been singing at various non-profit events in Houston and at church events. I've also led the worship for a couple of women's retreats. But, I haven't had a steady- every weekend- worship leading job. I didn't even know where to look for one...and so it turns out, it was looking for me.

This past Summer. we visited St. Andrew's. We planned our visit around vacation bible school, since we were going to send Bakri there. A couple of weeks later, I received an email from the pastor about leading worship for their contemporary service. He had heard about my experience at First Pres. So, we had coffee and I met with some of the other church leaders. A couple of months later, I led their services for 7 weeks while they were searching to fill the position. And now, I am leading there 2-3 times a month on a more permanent basis.

As a worship leader, I work with the band and choose music for each service, that I then lead the congregation in singing.

Here are Last Sunday's songs:
opening song: Sweetly Broken
worship songs :Jesus Paid It All
Take My Life
offering: Prayer of St. Francis

This Sunday's songs:
opening song: Lord, Reign in Me
worship songs: Your Grace is Enough
Prayer of St. Francis
'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
communion: Lamb of God
offering: When I Think About the Lord