One project down….

This is the front of our house now!
Here are Bakri and Moustapha in front of the house with only a few more bricks to go up!

So, the brickwork on the front of the house was completed on Friday. Here are some pics of it being completed and the way it looks now. We’re pretty happy with the way things turned out. We also got our house numbers put next to our front door in stone. We love this! It is still drying, but it looks incredible and much better than it did before. Now we are going to get the door refinished. So, things are moving in the right direction. Here are me and the boys on the front porch…
We also met with a painter today. Jamil recommended her painter. He was very nice and gave us a good price. He can start the job September 29th…which will definitely be after the baby arrives. But, maybe that is a good thing. Because, at least we will know that we are staying at home until the baby is born and we’ll have a few days with her at home before we need to leave.

Brick by Brick

Well, we are nearly finished with the brick work on the front half of our house. Here are a couple a pictures as it is going up. This is the second time the brick has gone up…the first crew couldn’t line the bricks up. This crew is doing a great job, thankfully. They should be completely finished by tomorrow evening.

They will also be putting our house numbers up in stone next to the front door. I am really excited about this. We used to have numbers on a screen door that covered our front door. But, we accidently got rid of the numbers when we discarded the door. But, since this is going to look so much nicer, I am really glad that happened.

Here is what the front of our house looks like today. Hopefully it will all be completed tomorrow and I can post our “after” photos next to the before ones…it is quite a difference.

Surgery Thursday

Well, we had not so good news at the Plastic Surgeon today. It turns out Moustapha’s injury (crush-avulsion injury with ischemia) will require soft tissue replacement surgery. This is something that must take place within 10 days of the injury. He will have an initial surgery on Thursday morning that will leave him without the use of his hand. He will then have another surgery 2 weeks later.

We are grateful that there is something that they can do for him. But, disappointed that he won’t be able to use his hands during this time. I am hopeful that Baby Sister will wait at least 1 week to arrive. Now, I say that, but I will be delighted if she comes sooner. It’s just that I’d rather her come when he’s not in surgery or just recovering from surgery. Oh the drama!!!
Praise God it is not any worse and that we only injured one finger.

Keep us in your prayers. We need them! LOL…

Our First Dinner Party

So, now that we have running water in our kitchen sink and one countertop, we can use our kitchen. Still in a limited basis, but we can use it none-the-less. Thursday night, Michael and Patricia came by to bring us Michael’s truck. Our plan was for Moustapha to use the truck to do some of the loading and unloading of trash from our house. Unfortunately, Moustapha’s accident Saturday morning has left him unable to do any lifting and I’m obviously no help.

Anyway, they came over. And we were talking and having such a great time that it quickly became late. The kids were having a great time together and it was fun to see our house operating as a place where friends and family can gather, hang out, and have some fun. So, we decided to make sandwiches (our stove isn’t hooked up yet) and it was fun. Patricia helped me and everyone ate and enjoyed our time together. It gave us a taste of what life will be like when all of this is finished.

We met with a painter yesterday. He’ll give us an estimate tomorrow and then we’ll need to see his work before hiring him. We also just got another contact for a painter. So, hopefully one of these will work out, so we can get this house painted and finished asap!

Our Labor Day Weekend Trip to the ER

We started off the day with a new crew of brick layers…the first ones couldn’t keep the brick in a straight line. We had communication issues with them. We kept talking about lining up the bricks straight with the existing brick and mortar already on the house and they kept talking about it being “level.” Meaning they were laying the brick level with the earth….however, our house is not exactly level with the earth, so putting bricks on that are level, but not straight with the house, looked very very odd!

Meanwhile, after Moustapha and I went outside to examine the new brick work, we headed back inside the house. The kids had just finished breakfast and were still in their highchairs. Moustapha came in first and I was right behind him. He placed his hand in the door frame to balance himself to take off his shoes. Unfortunately, his hand was also in the hinge side of the door and when the door closed behind me, it closed on his finger. UGHH! It was horrible. I won’t go into the gory details. But, it was bad and part of his finger remained in the door….We rushed him to the Emergency Room. Thankfully there was no wait for him and they got him right in. They were able to stitch his finger back together, but we won’t know the prognosis until we meet with a plastic surgeon on Tuesday. It is unlikely that the portion that was stitched on will take, but we are hopeful and praying for healing. Hoping for some better days….

Waiting for Baby

WOW! I am so very exhausted right now! I can barely keep my eyes open. Things are moving along at home…so far we’ve had these things done this week:
1. we have a working faucet and running water in our kitchen
2. the brick was removed from half of the front of our house
3. new sills were installed and a concrete corner was poured to increase stability
4. the carpentry work was nearly completed inside and the house is ready to be painted
5. the brick is being put back on the front and side of the house as I write this….
Meanwhile, my pregnancy is full-term. I am officially due on the 18th or 20th of September, depending on which ultrasound we go by. But, I am 37 weeks pregnant now. So, that means the baby is fully developed and can be born anytime. My doctor won’t allow me to go past 41 weeks…so I’ll deliver by September 26th at the absolute latest.
I went to the doctor today. Everything is going great with the pregnancy. We are just in the waiting game now. I was told it would take 1 week for the painters to complete their work. So, hopefully she will wait to arrive until the painting is complete. 🙂 I’m not sure that she is going to arrive on our schedule, but I can hope. My doctor also said I could go into labor if the storm- Gustav comes our way. I guess women tend to go into labor when storms hit or the moon is full, etc.
Jen’s mom, Karen, made the baby’s bumper, some pillows and a bag to keep baby things in that will hang on the crib. Everything is absolutely stunning. We picked it up last night. I will take some pictures, but I have to hide the baby’s name. It is on the bumper. And is still a surprise. I can’t wait to meet her and introduce her to our friends and family. It is such a joy to hold a new baby….I can’t wait….

Musical Boys- Bakri 3 and Maddux 20 months

The boys are really into music. We all know this. They love to sing, play drums, attempt to play their child-size guitars and request violin lessons at regular intervals. They also love to entertain us all together. They call themselves “The El-Hakam Brothers!” Bakri has taught Maddux every song he knows…including the National Anthem. This one has become one of their favorites. Here they are singing it in the car today. We sure do enjoy them!

She’s a Brick House….

We really did and do love our house. When we bought it we saw so much potential and a few reddish colored flags. But, we moved forward. And still believe this was the best decision, ultimately for our family. For whatever reason, and there are a lot of them, we have been doing all the things that we’ve wanted to do to update our home and make it better. Some of those things are more glamorous than others and some are just necessary and unfortunately- costly. But, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Yesterday, a mason and his team began removing brick from the front of our house. It had begun to come loose from the brick ties and needs to be removed and replaced with more and better brick ties. We are going with commercial grade- whatever that means?! All I know is I am told the brick will never do this again and it is going to look so much better and be so much safer. We can actually play in the front yard when all of this is complete. Once the brick is finished, we are getting a gate that will attach to the side of the house. Bakri can now get out the back door. Which is a little bit terrifying. I will feel much better when there is a gate keeping him from getting to the street.


Our countertop finally arrived on Friday (four days after our expected day.) We finally had a break from the rain and the marble fabricator was able to come over with his crew of FIVE people! This picture shows them thinking about how they are going to lift that thing into place. B.C.- the fabricator, said the marble piece weighs somewhere between 600 and 700 pounds! No wonder they didn’t want to bring it over in the rain…

After some bigtime lifting and cutting and sawing, they managed to make it fit! It’s in! Yeah!!!!

The plumber came over on Saturday and installed the faucet and insinkerator (disposal.) We our amazed to have running water in our kitchen again. We never had a garbage disposal, so this is very exciting and we never had water or a working icemaker in our refrigerator. And now we have both!

Here is our island with a working sink and faucet. I am looking forward to washing lots of dishes!!!!

Thank you for all of your prayers that this would be completed before baby sister’s arrival. There are only a few more things to do now before we can have everything finished and painted.
Keep praying that it will get done in time.

My first Haircut by Maddux El-Hakam

Well, my mommy finally gave in and decided to take me to get a haircut. I am 20 months old, so it was about time. Not that I am complaining. I really liked my long curly hair. But, I was getting a little tired of the “would she like some apple juice?” or “she is so beautiful” comments. I am cute, yes. I will even tell you how cute I am. But, I am a boy boy. I am into everything. I like to throw things and stomp around the house. I love to take off my shoes and occassionally I will throw myself on the floor banging my head if I don’t get my way. I am definitely a BOY!

I enjoyed my first haircut and even got a lollipop. How do I look???