First Day of Kindergarten

Our first El started kindergarten this week. It has been a stressful week for all of us.

I said many times that I was not going to cry when this day came. And, I didn’t. Well, at least not because I was sad. Since, I still have 3 more little Els to take care of at home, I don’t really have time to be sad about one starting school. It’s time. I’m ready. I miss him. But, I know that this is a part of growing up. And, like I said, I’m ready. But, to be perfectly honest, I did cry this week. It’s hard wondering what my child is doing all day. Wondering if he is ok. Will he adjust? Will he make friends? Will he relax and be himself at school?
Oh, I hope so. Everytime I think of him, I say a quick prayer.
God, please take care of Bakri. Help him to be the best Bakri he can be.

Our First Baby Turns FIVE

Happy Fifth Birthday to our First Baby Boy, Bakri!

Our Bakri turned five last month. He loves Mickey Mouse, so he had a Mickey Mouse party at our house with a MM jumpy house, MM cake, lots of friends and family AND an appearance by Mickey Mouse himself. It was a great day and a great way to celebrate our Bakri.

He is a very special and loving boy. When teachers describe Bakri (from his school now and church activities) the first thing they say is how sweet and loving Bakri is. And, it’s true. He has so much love to give and flourishes in environments where that love is returned.

Before Bakri’s fourth birthday, we withdrew him from the school he was attending at the time. It was absolutely the best decision for Bakri and our family. We spent the entire Summer together. Bakri also did a couple of camps- including a Warrior Prince Camp and Vacation Bible School. We spent a lot of days at the pool and enjoyed the Summer. In the Fall he started at the preschool where he is now. It has been a world of difference from our experience at the previous school. Bakri is doing so well. He loves his teachers and they love him. He does well in circle time, art class, music class and chapel and loves playing outside with his classmates. He seemed to really mature over Christmas time and has had a wonderful Spring semester.

Bakri is fun. He loves Mickey Mouse, Goofy, telling stories, Buzz lightyear, playing pretend, being with his siblings- especially his brother, tussling with his brother, reading books,  counting, reciting facts, puzzles, watching home videos, spending the night with both sets of grandparents, his cousins, talking about camping, sharing a room with his brother, riding his bicycle to the park and back, running the bases, hitting the baseball, being a part of his tee-ball team, and his family. I’m sure there are numerous other things that Bakri loves, but if I wait to post this until I think of them all, I never will.

We love our Bakri and our so proud of the five year old boy that he is. I never want to forget this age. I hope I won’t, because like all of the other times in our children’s lives, they will only be this age once.


Bakri and Elizabeth- The Flashlight

Bakri stayed the night with my parents last night. And my mom emailed me this story this morning. I thought it was so cute, that I didn’t want to forget it and I’m sharing it with you.
When Bakri went to bed last night he asked my mom to get the flashlight- she needs it to get around in the dark. 🙂 Anyway, she must have named it once and so he asked “what’s the flashlight’s name?” and my mom couldn’t remember. This is the rest of the story as told by Bakri’s Grandmother:

“Bakri is still asleep. He went to sleep right after we went to bed. Bekah, he is so smart. I let him point the flashlight on the ceiling after I went in there. It actually looks like a face of a woman when it projects. Anyway, I told you I couldn’t remember the name I gave the “flashlight lady” so as he was shining the light on the ceiling he said “Elizabeth” “Elizabeth the Queen”. That’s it! I called her Queen Elizabeth and he called her Elizabeth the Queen. I said “Bakri, you are so smart”. He smiled and said “Thank you”. He is so precious.”

Tee-Ball, Art Car Parade and Michael’s 45th

I can’t believe it has been 2 weeks since I’ve posted anything. I guess I have some catching up to do. So, here goes.

Bakri’s tee-ball season ended last week. He played tee-ball with his cousin James again. They were the youngest on their team and they really improved throughout the season. They will stay in tee-ball until they turn 7. So, they really have a long way to go. It’s exciting and Bakri has so much fun. He says, “I love baseball so much.” Maddux, James and Bakri after the final tee-ball game of the season.

We celebrated Michael’s 45th birthday at his house after Saturday’s game. We couldn’t help but reflect on how much God has blessed all of us over the last 5 years. When my brother turned 40, it was a happy time, but also kind of sad. Just because he and Patricia really wanted to have a family. But, look at us now. They now have 3 boys and my parents have 6 grandchildren. It is so fun!

Christian, Michael and Patricia’s 2 year old- riding the pony.

I think this was a dance move James was trying out…Christian fell asleep at the table…so tired.

Bakri sprinting to third base! Go Bakri! Go!

Bakri actually stays in his position now. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching a tee-ball game, you know that is an accomplishment for the youngest players. We are super proud!

I love this picture of Trinity looking through the fence at the baseball game.

The same day as our Saturday tee-ball game, we also went to the annual Art Car Parade and saw some pretty cool cars!

And, we got a surprise visit from Cousin Shawne. Melinda was totally shocked…but, eventually she figured it out.

Miss T with Shawne.

Maddux meeting Cousin Shawne for the first time. She ended up down in the dirt with him.

Opening Day with Bakri & Daddy

So, Bakri’s birthday party was baseball themed for one reason and one reason only- Bakri LOVES baseball. His grandparents- Moustapha’s mom and dad (Grandma and Jiddy) gave him Opening Day tickets for his birthday to see the Astros at Minute Maid Park. I don’t think a day has gone by since Last September, that Bakri hasn’t asked “Can we go to Minute Maid Park today?” He loves Minute Maid Park and loves the Astros.

Moustapha and Bakri at the Astros’ Baseball Game! Thank you, Grandma and Jiddy! We had a great time!!!!

Bakri totally happy to be at the game!

It was a cold night. Luckily the roof was closed for the game. But, Bakri bundled up to get ready to go home. Baseball cap- check! Hoody- check! Jacket- check! Backpack- check! Picture with The Little Pumas- check!

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These are The Little Pumas. They are fans of Lance Berkman (The Big Puma) and the Houston Astros. Bakri and Moustapha met them after the game.

Bakri turns Four!

Our first son, Bakri was born on March 24, 2005. Unfortunately, my disk driver is not working on this computer, so when I went to put in a picture from the day he was born, it wouldn’t upload. So, I’ll just add that later. For now, we can look at this cute one from when he was 19 months old.

I would like to say a few things about our Bakri. He is an incredible kid. He is talented. He loves music, drums, guitar, piano, dinosaurs, insects, memorizing things, spelling and baseball. He has a vivid imagination and loves to act out scenes from books, movies, songs, or episodes from sesame street. And he is really good at it. He has filled the last 4 years of our lives full of surprises, firsts, laughs, and so much joy. It is amazing how much he has changed and developed in the last year. There is such a huge difference between a 3 year old boy and a 4 year old boy!- Thank you, Lord! I know there will be many more challenges and many more blessings ahead. We look forward to them and to a life of growing with Bakri as he grows into the man God intends for him to be. We are so thankful that God blessed us with Bakri. Our hearts overflow with love for our beautiful boy! Happy Birthday, Bakri. We love you!

We recently celebrated Bakri’s fourth birthday with one of his most favorite activities- a baseball game! We live down the street from Rice University and are now fans of Rice Owls Baseball. And why not? They are a great team. The ballpark is really nice and its an inexpensive way to see good baseball.

Grandfather and Bakri!

Grandma and Jiddy!

Bakri hanging out with the Rice Baseball players.

Aunt Patricia, Maddux, Christian, James and Uncle Michael having fun at the game.

The birthday crowd! We were quite a crowd!

The kids lined up in front of the field at the birthday party.
Baseball cookies courtesy of el-hakam momma’s kitchen.

The party under the tents…it was a windy day, but it only barely sprinkled once. We were thankful to have no rain!

The birthday boy! Jiddy, Bakri and Maddux (in Jiddy’s hat)

Singing and cake!

Arriving to the game and party with Trinity.

Group cousin hug!

Bakri’s friend Janie! Isn’t she adorable!?!?!

After Bakri blew the candles out (and spit on the cake, oops) he enjoyed removing the evidence. Every kid got a cute baseball ring from the cake. I thought that was a clever idea. I wasn’t in charge of the cake, so I’m not sure who thought of it.

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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