Happy Fall!- with our 3 Pumpkins on the front Porch

Happy Fall and Happy All Saints Day to all of our friends and family who enjoy keeping up with us through this blog. We really wanted to take a picture of the kids at a pumpkin patch this year, and there is still time. But, it has just proven to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be. So, we opted for our front porch instead. Grandmother got us some pumpkins (Bakri and I actually picked them out) and some flowers to decorate. I also sang at an event for Millenium Relief and Development Services last week and was given the table arrangement, so I added that to the front porch as well. Maddux, Bakri and Baby Trinity

Here they are giving sweet kisses.

Bakri loves to hold her!

Bakri’s turn to give kisses.

Aren’t they the cutest pumpkins ever???

Trinity Smiles- one month old! and Sleeps through the night!

Moustapha is getting to spend more time with Trinity now that he is able to use his hand more. Since part of his ring finger was cut off before she was born and he had to have surgery before and after her birth, he hasn’t been as “hands-on” with her…forgive the punn. But, anyway, he is getting to hold her a lot more and has even changed a couple of diapers. It’s not really important to me that he change diapers that much. It’s just that I want him to be willing to change diapers without complaining. That is all that really matters to me…just be willing to help and most of the time I won’t ask or need you to do it.

She is getting so big already. I weighed her while I was standing on a scale a couple of days ago and she weighs somewhere around 12 pounds…she was 8 pounds 10 ounces at birth and just under 10 pounds by a couple of ounces at her 2 week check up. So, she is growing really well and all she is getting is breastmilk. I’ve also been pumping a bit more with her. Not so much in the last couple of days. But, I try to pump once a day, so that I can have a nice supply of milk stored up in the freezer- sorry if that is too much information for any of you. But, it is obviously a very natural thing.

Our sweet baby, Trinity is already sleeping through the night. I know, it seems early. And I did check the boys’ baby books and they didn’t start sleeping 8 hours (which is what I consider sleeping through the night) until they were 8 weeks old. I guess she is happy with her milk and bedtime routine. Or, maybe with the two brothers constantly giving her attention in the day, they just wear her out. Whatever it is, I am not complaining. It is great.

Bakri’s Last Baseball game of the Season and His First Base hit!

Saturday, Bakri and James had their last t-ball game of the fall season. T-ball? Yes, t-ball. I know, they are 3, but the league by Michael and Patricia’s house allows children to play in the fall if they are going to be 4 years old by April 2009. Bakri barely makes the cut, but he made it. And he really wanted to play baseball with his cousin.

These two cousins love each other so much….now that Trinity has arrived, James may have a new favorite cousin. But, he still loves running around with his buddy, Bakri. Those boys are very close to one another. I hope they will always have a special relationship and I believe that they will.

Bakri has really come a long way in his baseball skill. It was kindof a rough go at first. And, seriously, no one really expects a lot from a 3 year old. He started off the season with a great swing and hitting the ball off the tee really well. The problem was….as soon as he hit the ball….he ran really fast….in the wrong direction! Sometimes it was to 3rd base and sometimes it was to 2nd and sometimes it was to the pitcher’s mound. He definitely ran fast…I mean, he would dash off in the wrong direction while everyone is screaming…”run to first base!” Which meant nothing to him until he figured out where first base was!

Then, he learned where first base was, but he lost his swing. I know, how does a 3 year old have a swing and then how does he lose it? I think it was just the fact that he wanted to run the right way so badly that he just forgot to swing and some of the games it was difficult to even get him to swing.

But, on Saturday we reached the final game of the season. And it was the 3rd inning and Bakri was finally up to bat. He was 3rd in the batting order that inning. There were 2 boys on base with no outs. So, he had a good shot of getting on base and maybe even bringing in a run or at least advancing the runners if he could get a hit.
And, he did! He hit the ball off the tee and got a base hit…and he ran to first base! It was very exciting and a huge difference from the start of the season. WAY TO GO BAKRI!

Here he is on first base! Yeah, Bakri!

Here is Bakri running to second base…the player after him got a base hit too, so round the bases here we come!

Here is Bakri on 2nd Base! When Bakri was on second base, his cousin, James had a base hit that advanced Bakri to 3rd Base. James Cullen gets a base hit in the 3rd inning and Bakri runs to 3rd base!

Run, Bakri, Run! Moustapha was there to give him a high-five!

Bakri is headed home!!!! He got his first hit, and his first run scored all in the same game! What a way to finish…it was very exciting….

Here he is “baseball ready” in the outfield…it is really funny to see these kids when there are distractions that we can’t do anything about. Sometimes you can hear a train. One Saturday there was a blimp. Another time there was a helicopter. And one by one, they all notice and have to let their parents and friends know. It is hilarious. They are also really into the coolers of water in the dugout. That gets a little out of control as they start pouring water everywhere.

Here is Bakri’s first baseball team. All of the kids are 5 and under.

Trinity enjoyed her morning at the baseball game too! She is one month old in this photo.

Poe Co Carnival

Bakri’s school had their fall carnival on Friday. We had no idea what he was going to dress up as. It’s not as if I hadn’t asked him…a thousand times…but, he never responded. He did tell me once that he wanted to be a dinosaur, but I was thinking that even if I found a dinosaur costume, he would probably get tired of it quickly. Luckily, his Grandma gave him a Train Conductor costume last Christmas and we had never pulled it out of the closet. The reason being, since we’ve been doing work on the house all year, we haven’t built Bakri’s train table. It is supposed to go into our study upstairs once it is painted and everything is put away. Then, our train conductor, Bakri could have enjoyed running the train.

But, this worked out really well, because to him, it was a brand new costume that he was really excited about. His school is so great. The parents are very involved and the teachers are wonderful. We all went to the carnival. Maddux was dressed as a Texas football player and Trinity rode in the baby bjorn in her pumpkin “my first halloween” pajamas. We had a wonderful time.
Here is Bakri after he won a mini-mr. potatohead in the go-fish booth.

Maddux enjoyed being a football player and carrying his football helmet.

Maddux wearing his football helmet. Isn’t he cute???
Trinity sleeping during the party…the picture is sideways.

Bakri watercolor painting outside. His school is great about providing the children with lots of options and things to do both inside and outside.

Here is Bakri when he first arrived to school. He was very excited!
Little Miss Trinity relaxing at home after the carnival…her first Halloween celebration!

Trinity is 3 weeks old and pretty in purple

What is she thinking? I spend most of my days (among other things, of course) wondering what is she thinking? What does she know? She seems really comfortable and content most of the time. And sometimes when she is awake she just looks a little unsure and curious. Who knows what she is really thinking. I just hope and pray that she is happy, healthy and grows up knowing how much she is loved.

Aunt Haley sent this adorable little lavender pajama set. Doesn’t she look sweet…that’s almost a smile there. I feel like this is just going by so fast. Too fast. Sometimes I wish I could just have more time to spend with her. But, then I also wish I had more individual time to spend with each of our children. I can really see the benefits when I do have time to spend focused on each of them.

Trinity loves to hang out in the den on the chaise lounge part of the couch. She likes looking outside. She can see the leaves gently moving on the trees as she watches the light bounce around the room. This is how happy she is taking it all in.

Singing, Belated Birthday Celebrations and crying babies

Grandmother and Trinity

The Maddux family (and El-Hakams)

Some of the children and grandchildren

Cousin James LOVES Trinity!

Well, Sunday was one of those days. Not a bad day. Just one of those days where some things go right and some things don’t and some are just crazy.

The day started out with worship at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. I am currently leading worship over there for the next few weeks. It is a wonderful experience for me to worship in a community that is so close to our home and to be surrounded by friends (some new and some old.) That experience was wonderful and it was also a little chaotic. There is a lot of tradition in the church- like, for example- the handbells perform an opening song in each service one Sunday a month. Which I think is really great. By having these traditions, it helps the members of the congregation to invest and stay involved. But, because there was a lot going on, some things didn’t work as well as they should. The sound had many issues. The microphones were popping and making all sorts of noises when the pastor greeted the congregation. Then, I was told that the screens were not working. This meant, no one would be seeing the lyrics to the songs that I was leading. This was a problem. But, I didn’t worry about it. I just prayed and figured if there were no lyrics, I would just have to speak the lyrics more than I planned. 🙂 Luckily, just before we were to sing our first song, the words came up on the screen and we were saved.

The rest of the service went off without a hitch. The songs were all appropriate to the morning sermon and the pastor really had a gift for making that point when he spoke. He is quick on his feet and able to adapt and let you know how things apply to your life. I really enjoy that. So, all the music turned out really well. I sang 3 songs- Your Grace is Enough, Be Thou My Vision and Give us clean Hands. For the offertory song, we sang Hosanna by Brooke Fraser. Tonight I am singing “Lamb of God” for Millenium Relief Fund’s Gala at the River Oaks Country Club. The congregation seemed to really respond to the worship music and many of them stuck around after the service was over to talk to me. It was nice. They are a very warm and friendly group of believers.

We met with the young married sunday school class after worship. This was the first sunday that they had this class in a while. There were probably 10 couples present. I was in and out of the room, because I had to feed Trinity. 3 hours was the longest I had ever been away from her. Speaking of feeding Trinity, she is 1 month old today. And on Sunday night, (her 4 week birthday) she slept for 6 hours. She did the same thing last night. I am very excited about this. She is such a wonderful baby.

After church, we met up with my parents, Melinda and Michael and Patricia’s family to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was actually one month ago, but that was just after the hurricane and I was due with Trinity at the same time. So, we decided to wait and celebrate when things were less hectic. We met at Guadalajara. And they piled every possible person they could fit into one room, so they wouldn’t have to use an empty section of the restaurant. It was seriously so crowded in there. And we took longer than anybody else around us. We saw many other tables come and go while we were still there. But, we had a nice time. It is always a little hectic eating out with so many kids and when they seat us in an area where we can’t hear each other, it makes it even more challenging. But, we enjoyed being together and celebrating Grandmother’s birthday. After lunch we had cake and sang. Then, we attempted to take a picture outside. That was impossible. The dad’s put their oldest children on their shoulders and well, that didn’t sit so well with Maddux, who then wanted to get on Grandfather’s shoulders (uh, not happening!) So, Maddux is then crying in all of the photos. I’m not sure if we’re going to get a Grandmother and Grandfather Christmas card out of this celebration.

A day in the life of the El-Hakam Five

Well, we are finally getting into a routine, sort of. I don’t know how one calls it a routine. But, let’s just say, we are finally getting into what is our normal life. Normal? now that is a funnier word than routine. Things are definitely not normal around here. But, they are our version of normal. So, here is what a normal day around here consists of. Bakri is usually the first to wake up in the morning. My hope is that he’ll wake up at 7:30, but he usually gets up before then. We try to convince him to lay down and be quiet until 7:30, but that also doesn’t work. By the time 7:30 hits, everyone is awake. Maddux wakes up happy and ready to get dressed and get downstairs for breakfast. We still don’t have a fully functioning kitchen, so breakfast is usually a cup of milk, a kolache and/or a pancake on a stick. By the time we convince Bakri to go to the potty and get dressed it is usually after 8. We then make our way downstairs as a family and the boys eat their breakfast.
Moustapha takes Bakri to school (school is a 2 minute drive and 12 minute walk from our house) on his way to work. Currently, Moustapha is working out of his dad’s office at MEECO which is about a 12 minute drive from our house. He does all of his law office work out of there. And he also does other work for his dad’s company. He has been approached recently about a couple of different attorney position opening up at companies that are downtown (which is really close to our house.)
So, when Moustapha takes Bakri to school, that leaves me, Maddux and Trinity to enjoy the rest of the morning together. Trinity usually has her morning meal and then heads back to sleep after some “awake” time. Maddux enjoys singing to her, talking to her and giving her lots of kisses. Then, its just me and Maddux. He loves what he calls his “lessons.” We have flashcards that he likes to look at while I tell him what everything is. Now, he actually tells me what things are. His favorites are air vehicles- like Flyer I, Space Shuttle Columbia and Montgolfier Brothers Balloon. You should hear him say Montgolfier Brothers…it is very cute! After we finish with Maddux’s lesson time, it is usually time for baby sister to wake up. Lately, my mom will pick up Bakri from school- his school only lasts for 3 hours. So, it is a very quick turnaround. My mom doesn’t live that close, but she comes into town to do her physical therapy as part of her recovery from heart surgery and she’ll pick Bakri up or help me out for a little while afterwards. Once Bakri gets home, it is time for lunch, naps and fun time when we wake up. Nap time has become more of a challenge since Bakri and Maddux started sharing a room. So, Maddux naps in their room and Bakri naps in my room. As long as everybody is napping, I don’t really think its important where they are napping. 🙂 I just desperately need all of the kids to take a nap. It is my time to try and get SOMETHING done around here.
Once we wake up from naptime, we do something fun. Bakri likes to watch Sesame Street as a reward and yesterday we walked down to the baseball park and ran the bases and then played on the playground for an hour. By the time we finished, it was time to go home and prepare dinner. My sweet friends from Tapestry have been bringing us meals since we brought Trinity home. So, I usually just need to heat dinner up. By the time we sit down for dinner, Moustapha is usually home to join us. After dinner, we play, read, work on puzzles. Bakri has a 50 piece dinosaur puzzle with 14 different dinosaurs pictured on it, that he has completely mastered. He takes it a part and puts it together completely on his own. It is pretty impressive.

Our bedtime routine consists of baths, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading one book, singing “hush little baby” along with the book by Sylvia Long and getting into bed. Once the boys are in their bed we recite “good night moon,” turn off the light, say The Lord’s Prayer and pray together, say good night and close the door. And that is the end of the day! At that point, I’ve been going to sleep too…its only 8:30 or 9, but I am exhausted!

Here is Trinity after her first Sunday at church. We went to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church this week. We have been visiting there since Bakri went to their vacation bible school in July. I’ve also been talking with them about the contemporary worship service and possibly leading worship. So, I am going to be leading for the next 5 sundays as they begin their search for a worship leader. I am totally excited about this opportunity. I just hope I can get the players together soon. I still need a bass guitar player and lead guitar player. It’s difficult finding christian players that are available on sundays at such short notice.
Trinity wore my cherry dress for her first sunday at church. My mom saved this dress along with a few other things that I wore as a baby. Doesn’t she look beautiful? She is 3 weeks old in this photo.

The Blessing of Trinity

Doesn’t she look peaceful and sweet??? And the truth is, that is exactly what she is. Everyday she is surrounded by the sweetest brothers in the world who are also a little wild and like to run around the house a lot and in the middle of it all she is at peace. And she brings peace to this family. It is amazing really. I know she probably won’t be like this forever, or maybe this will be an inherent part of her makeup- she’ll be one who brings peace. When we thought about naming her, we wanted something with a powerful meaning, something that was beautiful and something that you wouldn’t hear everyday. When we decided on Trinity (basically the first time we ever discussed the name) it was for so many reasons. We loved the meaning- the Holy Trinity- God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. And we loved that it was 3- that she was our 3rd child and her initials would be TRE- also representing 3. In the bible, the number 3 represents perfection. I know my daughter isn’t perfect, obviously. 🙂 But, God created her for a perfect purpose. And it is my hope and sincere commitment to raise her to fulfill that perfect purpose. I know God has given us an amazing gift in all of our children. I am so thankful for them. Here she is sleeping sweetly in her crib.
Having a little tummy time in her room.
On this day, she rolled from her back to her side, to her front. She was 2 weeks old.
She spends her “awake” time very alert and curious about all she sees.
Bakri loves her SO MUCH!