Embracing the Chaos…Again

The kids working on our Summer Musical “Aladdin”

So, after my post about embracing the chaos and how crazy life with 3 little ones under the age of 4 can be, I really felt encouraged by all of you.

I know many of us are in the same boat, or we know someone in the same boat, or we captained that boat many years ago and survived. So, there are plenty of similar stories to tell.

Just thought I’d give you a glimpse into my day today….

Today, started off pretty normal for us. None of the three Els typically wake up at the same time. It is a staggering process. T was the first to rise this morning. She was awake 3 times last night and I was awake with her. She is 11 months old today and has 2 bottom teeth, 3 top teeth and another coming. So, I’ll blame her restlessness on the teething and move along.

Maddux was next. On most days, he’s our first to rise. We call him our early-riser, but it’s usually not before 7:30, so I consider myself pretty lucky in that department. Well, he was up. And looking for us. Normally we are in our bedroom in the morning, But, yesterday we moved out of our bedroom to remodel it and into our fourth bedroom (which we use as a multipurpose room- an office/ playroom/ laundry room.) That room has all sorts of fun things for kids to do. But, all Maddux wanted to know was where did I sleep? We moved a bed in there, so that was the obvious answer.

Maddux and Trinity and I went downstairs and made a big breakfast. Since Trinity has started eating scrambled eggs, her breakfasts have become a lot easier for me. So, everybody had scrambled eggs and avocado. Perfect! And, we’re done…oh, wait. The 3rd El was still asleep.

At 9:30, Bakri made his way down the stairs and announced “I’m hungry for breakfast. I want some bacon, please.” And, so I obliged. Bacon for breakfast and a pancake on a stick…

Get dressed, turn on Sesame Street…Mommy gets dressed…baby takes a quick nap….and, we’re out the door to the Y. I can’t ever seem to make it to Yoga class on time. No matter what I do. I am ALWAYS the last one in the door. I do have a million good excuses – had to put 3 kids in car seats, had to get 3 kids out of car seats, had to walk with 3 kids from the parking lot to the Y, had to check 3 kids into the Youth Activity Center, etc. It goes on and on! So, when I am five minutes late- I consider it an accomplishment. Way to go, me!

Finished my class and went back to get the kids. This is when I get a little nervous as I casually ask “how did they do?” The answer today was they did great. Middle El pushed Baby El down once….uggggghh….but, other than that, they were good. My goodness, is there any chance one of my big kids won’t push my baby as she is innocently walking around the room cute as a bug in her little tennis shoes and purple leggings??? Come on!

Ok, quick scolding session “don’t push your baby sister. You know better than that. Good job behaving the rest of the time. Don’t push your sister again…blah, blah, blah. Do you understand?” Answer: “Yes, Ma’am.” Alright, moving on.

Now, we have to make it back to the car safely. Everybody grab a hand and let’s go!

Home again. Time for lunch. The requests start pouring in.

Bakri: I want Sausage

Maddux: I want grilled cheese sandwich

Trinity: Num num

Turn on the griddle and get lunch started. Light the fire. Bakri breaks out into song ala Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire.” So, we turn on the music and everybody joins in as we make sausage and grilled cheese sandwiches on the griddle and steam some broccoli. It was a great lunch! Everybody gets a cookie or 2 for such good behavior at lunch! Way to go!

While eating cookies, we must all grunt like cookie monster. Have you ever thought about some of the not-so-positive habits that are reinforced on Sesame Street? Just a side note, but there is Cookie Monster (really bad table manners,) Baby Bear (mispronounces most words,) and Elmo (talks in a really high annoying voice.) I still love it, but seriously it is pretty funny when you think about it.

So, now it is naptime. 2 out of 3 are sleeping now and one is rolling around (aka fighting a nap) on the couch.

Hope you are all having a great day.

Enjoying Our Day

Life is good around here. I’m not kidding myself- I know that times have been hard for us…we’ve been without a working kitchen for nearly a year! And living in the middle of an unplanned remodel for most of that time. But, we have a beautiful angel of a daughter and the best boys in the world. So, what is there to complain about?? We are immensely blessed.
Trinity is getting SO BIG! Here she is relaxing with one eye open! She doesn’t want to miss any of the action around here. She will be 8 weeks old on Sunday. I really can’t believe how much faster the time seems to go by with each child. She has been sleeping through the night for nearly a month and has been wearing size 3-6 months for nearly as long. She’ll visit her pediatrician this week for her first set of shots. I expect she’ll get a great report otherwise. She seems to be growing like a weed!

Here she is sporting a “hand me down” from her favorite girl cousin- ATHENA! This outfit looked brand new. Of course, we made a mess in it! We tend to do that. Oh well! I still got her photo in it before I had to change her. Speaking of her favorite girl cousin- that is because she is her only girl cousin so far! We find out this week if Michael and Patricia’s new baby will be a boy or a girl. As of now, there are 6 boys and 2 girls on the El-Hakam side and 4 boys and 1 girl on the Maddux side. So, we’ll either have a Maddux basketball team with 5 boys or Trinity will have a girlfriend her age! Either way, we are very excited about the newest Maddux baby. He or she is due to arrive in early May!Bakri is getting better and better at helping with Trinity. I think he is trying to burp her in this picture. He loves her so much! The difference between 3 and 4 seems to be huge. I am seeing so many changes in Bakri this year. We’ve always heard about the terrible 2s and we are learning more about those with Maddux (at least with the fits he throws) than we did with Bakri. With Bakri, 3 has been more challenging. But, now as he gets a little older- we notice him listening more, talking more and asking “why?” And when he asks “why,” he really wants to know. It kind of makes the parent have to think about the answer and decide if it’s important. It is really an interesting stage of development. Reasoning with our son is becoming easier. He is great at sitting at the table, eating with his fork and then asking to be excused from the table before washing his hands. This has been quite a treat for all of us and Maddux has followed suit. He now sits at the table with Bakri, eats with a fork or spoon and asks “may I be excused from the table?” before he gets up. Maddux usually answers to by saying “yes, you may!” 🙂 I sometimes think that Bakri growing up, forces Maddux to grow up faster than he would otherwise. I guess it’s related to having a big brother close in age. He wants to do everything Bakri does.
Bakri really enjoys his school- PoeCo. I sometimes have a difficult time convincing him that it is time to leave the playground. He does like to check on Trinity or as he sometimes calls her “baby sister.” He is the puzzle master. The child is seriously advanced at puzzles. Right now he has 4 wooden puzzles- each with 50 pieces. All of which he can put together very quickly and he will do it over and over again. He definitely needs more puzzles. I’m afraid he’ll be bored of his puzzles soon.
After church on Sunday we went with some friends to Hermann Park for a picnic lunch. The boys love the train at Hermann Park so much! We live very close by. So, we rode the train on the last day before the old train closed and have really enjoyed the new train. It is SO MUCH BETTER than the old train. The new ride around the park takes about 10 minutes. They are also building a new train station and there will be a couple of additional stops around the park. I think it is scheduled to be complete in March. Maybe we’ll have Bakri’s birthday party at the zoo. It would be fun to ride the train around and visit the carousel. First, we have Maddux’s birthday to plan. We plan to have a small party at home…depending on our house being ready!

One of the great things about our visit to the park last Sunday was the discovery of Maddux and Bakri’s shadows. I love this picture! My little boys are growing up so fast. I can’t believe Maddux is already turning 2. He is such an amazing little boy. We went to a music class at St. Andrews Fine Arts School on Thursday and Maddux was such a star. At first he was hesitant, but it didn’t take long for him to warm up. He ended up being a very active participant. He tried everything and was really great at keeping rhythm. It is probably attributed to the drum set in our living room, piano in the den and guitars we keep in the red wagon. I told his teacher that we could probably host a music class at our own house! We have all of the supplies. In fact we also have a keyboard in the den. The kids have figured out how to get it to play jingle bells. It is this really upbeat version of jingle bells with a jazzy intro. They love to make it play and sing along.

I am really excited to start this week. Painters are scheduled to start on Tuesday. So, if everything works out, our house will be like new very soon. I can’t wait! Lots of love to you all!


So, we are up and going this morning and headed to Deer Park…Deer Park? you may ask, where is Deer Park? Well, I just looked that up and it seems that it is about 20 minutes from my house. So, it’s not that far, but not really somewhere I want to go!
Bakri is starting preschool at PoeCo– 2 blocks away from our house, in 2 1/2 weeks. To prepare for this, Moustapha and I both have to have extensive background checks and have to go to this place called “Drug Screens Etc.” to get fingerprinted this morning. 🙂
We also have a home visit scheduled with Bakri’s teachers next Friday. That was the latest possible time I could schedule. I’ve basically given everyone I know that date as the absolute date that everything must be finished in my house. So, I am demanding…errrrr….requesting that I have a kitchen and working bathroom downstairs by that day.
It’s one thing to be living in a house with no kitchen and no running water downstairs. I know it could be a lot worse and I am very blessed. I just can’t stand the look on people’s faces when they come in and see how we are living. It’s depressing. I’ve had really sweet people bring us meals or a new contractor come and give us a price on work and I just see the shock on their faces that I am for one- 9 months pregnant and dealing with this and two- that my two boys are running around in the middle of it all. Truthfully, the boys seem to be doing great. They are a lot more flexible than we are. And, once the kitchen floors were finished and that area was no longer off-limits, they’ve been so much happier. In their little lives with controlled freedom comes happiness.
Wish me luck on my background check…. and pray the contractor shows up today. If he works all week, we will surely meet our next Friday goal. I’ll post pics if there is ANY progress today.