December 25, 2013

A belated update!

My hijabi shadow with Li'l Miss :)

Salaam, peace, and a great big howdy from East Tennessee! Cap'n did, indeed, make it here as did H. We have been living the family life and LOVING it, masha'Allah!

I cannot say enough good things about having our family complete and all under one roof. H is acclimating to the US but of course the chilliness is hard for both of them to get used to!

I am feeling faaar too lazy to blur faces so there will not be any pictures today but soon, iA, soon, I will. :) Cap'n is THE most private person I know so I'll have to see what his comfort level is.

Oh on a culinary level we are really enjoying exploring southern food together! Cap'n is a definite southern food aficianado! And masha'Allah he cleans after I cook so it's a total win/win! Biscuits and gravy, beef bacon omg yummmm!, and chili have all made appearances much to his delight. H is also LOVING my way of cooking which is nice, too. :)

We went to the dollar store to grab some helium balloons to make the occasion festive and look what we found! Jamaican flag colors AND an American flag balloon. Fitting!

Li'l Miss is absolutely adoring having her Daddy here, someone to wrestle with and dote on. It's been so sweet seeing them together and knowing she feels like she has a full family. :) Right now she coloring little shapes on paper and cutting them out and presenting them to us as gifts, mA. I love her little heart!

Feeling blessed beyond blessed, happy my husband is FINALLY here and just alhamdulillah at ease for the first time in a long time!

As for my health, my kidney function had declined yet again. :( Creatnine at it's highest at 5.41 and I just did a 24 hour urine; today is Christmas so the doctor's office is closed so iA I'll get the results tomorrow or the next day. I'm hoping the 24 hour test will show it's actually higher than the daily result so duas, please. :)

Oh Sis Umm Ibrahim at Old School Hijabi does a feature on covering muslimahs and I submitted my "story". A lot of time us plus-size sisters aren't shown on websites, etc. because our style is more dowdy or less exciting or whatever. :) I wanted my other larger-than-life sistahs to know you can be modest, on budget, and not look too shabby with a few tips and tricks. :) Mostly long khimars, cheap sundresses, and tissue tee cardigans. :D

Alright, iA I'll be back, I needed my "honeymoon" time (please no naysayers from the haram brigade telling me it has pagan roots, blah blah blah... just a phrase) and now we are settling into our routine alhamdulillah.

Ma salaama ya'll!

December 3, 2013

This is the day!!!!!!!

Salaam and peace ya'll! What a lovely lovely day! Cap'n and H are on their way as I type. :) On a bus to the airport then straight through to Atlanta. My best friend's husband (who, as you know by now, is Cap'n's best friend) is driving to get him. It's about a 3 hour drive from here and it's just too much for my body to handle. :)

So I am going to spend my day being excited, making a cake, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Whew! Li'l Miss needs her room straightened again too, Allah help me! :)

But I am so happy there is very little which could dampen my mood today. I feel so blessed today, ya'll. :) Ma salaama!

November 30, 2013

...and then there were...

THREE days til Cap'n and H arrive. :D Alhamdulillah, subhanallah, allahu akbar! Tickets purchased, details co-ordinated, bags packed. It's been a long 2 years but sooo worth it.

November 24, 2013

We cleaned out Old G :)

Old G is what Aaminah named our 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Supercharged GTP. Yes it's a muscle car of sorts. It's fast. It has an all-leather interior. And she was OLD. Past her prime with a cracked dash, cracked windshield and cracked heads. ;)

But we loved Ol' G. She was pretty dependable but of course her issues were many. No a/c, heat works but the blower wasn't connected to the duct work so it didn't blow out, bad struts and shocks, overheating, etc etc etc. Oh my, it was a lot of work to keep her running!

I wanted a new car but I had a few issues. One, Muslims are forbidden from usury or interest and being sick and two, on disability did not make it easy for me to save up money for a new vehicle so we were stuck. With Cap'n and H coming we really wanted a bigger car, definitely not 2 door Old G. Something not threatening to break down every couple of days.

Then I found it. My new vehicular love. :) Look isn't it purty? And a GREAT price! It's a 2002 Isuzu Axiom, a 6 cyl SUV that seats 5. I wouldn't have minded a 7 seater but the price on this was unbelievable! I really feel like Allah swt blessed us with the opportunity to get this car:

Sweet ride! ;)
Alhamdulillah it does not look 10 years old and it drove great! I get it on Tuesday; we had to wait for the man's daughter to be able to come and sign the title. Make dua it does, indeed, go through, because I am really looking forward to having a nice, comfortable vehicle for us as a family iA. :)

I think we might save Old G for a secondary car for Cap'n to use if I am out and he needs to run somewhere. Never bad to have 2 cars when you live where we do and it's not easy to access things without a car. Speaking of Old G, look how purty she cleaned up:

Aaminah's booster on the left and her friend J's on the right. :)

She doesn't show her age too bad, huh?
Aaminah was a great help! We detailed Old G, rubbed her plastic/rubber parts with lemon oil wipes (gave it a great shine!) and cleaned the windows, too. We even took her and vacuumed her out! I laughingly told Cap'n I sure wouldn't have spent an hour in the freezing cold detailing the car if I thought we were gonna keep it! ;)

We were going to sell her but to be honest, we couldn't get too much out of a 16 year old car and decided it was probably better just to keep it for Cap'n to drive as a second car. I did put an ad on craigslist but only got a couple of replies and one of those wanted it on payments! lol I think my exact reply was, "I need cash in hand up front. If I were wealthy I would not have been driving a 16 year old car!" LOL

So make dua for us this is good for our family. Oh tentatively, Cap'n and H should be here on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day! The tickets are cheapest that day so it makes sense to travel then. Unsure yet though because he is still waiting on his passport/visa to be delivered. It was officially issued on THURSDAY and H's was on FRIDAY so of course the weekend was wasted time. Praying for them to be ready tomorrow or Tuesday so we can buy 2 tickets!!!

PLEASE, make dua for us that they arrive here safely. Ya'll all know how long we have waited, how patient we've really tried to be and I really feel Allah swt is blessing us for our constantcy.

Insha'Allah he will be here this week!!!!! ma salaama ya'll!

November 17, 2013

Still no Mr. Ummi of Aami :)

Salaam and howdy, ya'll! :) Still waiting on Cap'n's passport to be returned with his visa stamp. This long, arduous process is almost over and I.can't.wait. :D This part is sooo hard though because we know we are at the finish line and just waiting on the embassy to send his passport back via DHL.

Le sigh... ;)

On a slighter gloomier note, my kidney function dropped down a bit again. On a brighter note, I am responding well to the procrit injections and thus my H&H (hematocrit and hemoglobin) have risen a bit. Alhamdulillah! I feel stronger, less out of breath, just better. :) So a little give, a little take and insha'Allah khair for it all.

I have been making preparations for Cap'n and H's arrival. My stepson has requested...wait for it... corndogs! If you are from the southern US or midwest you definitely know what these are! Hotdogs dipped in a slightly sweet cornbread batter and fried. Decadent deliciousness dipped in mustard. :) So we have a brand here made with chicken meat and H is very excited. lol Kids are so cute!

Aaminah is prepared to share her room until we are able to get approved for a 3 bedroom. H will take the bed and Aaminah will sleep on a pallet on the floor or a large bean bag we have. Hopefully we'll get to move in 2-3 months so it's a temporary situation. :)

Cap'n is finally letting himself get excited now and make plans. :) I always make plans I love to think about what we'll do when he is here, etc but Cap'n is a bit more pragmatic and after our past denials and heartache, has tried to not let his hopes get up. Now he is finally feeling confident and iA before too long I'll be on here tell ya'll about it!!!

Oh Li'l Miss and I made homemade granola for the first time. It was insane! Pretty basic recipe; I culled it from many different sources but was originally inspired by an episode of Guy Fieri's "Diners, Driveins and Dives" where a lady made some.

We used oats, chopped almonds, and coconut mixed with coconut oil, butter and maple syrup. Bake it at 300 for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 to ensure even browning. After you remove it from the oven, let it cool then add your chopped dried fruit. We had a mix of cranberries, cherries, and blueberries. Amazing! I keep my empty peanut butter and pasta sauce jars (clean them of course!) to store leftovers in and that's what's keeping our granola nice and comfy. :)

Think I'll have some now. :) Ma salaama ya'll!

November 12, 2013

"Anonymous" strikes again :(

Salaam and peace, ya'll. :) So I had this in my comments today:

Anonymous said...
I just want to say that I read your profile and I am horrified that you said 3 of your children were created from birth, and one from love. I hope your 3 older children never read your blog and see that there was no love involved when they were created and born. You may not like your ex, but there is no reason your children should ever think they were born from anything but love. You are a horrible HORRIBLE person for saying, thinking and believing that. You are a sad excuse for a mother, after saying that about your children God will NEVER allow you to enter your Jannah.
November 12, 2013 at 9:34 AM

BloggerUmm Aaminah said...
Anon, you are an idiot. I have 3 children by birth that I gave birth to so they are indeed my children whom of course I love. I have another child that is a stepchild so we are not blood related but only by love. That is one way people say stepchild instead of saying "step" and making them feel less. Idiot. Pure and simple.
November 12, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Now, is my little "About me" blurb on the side really confusing? I assume Anon thinks I am talking about Aaminah as the one from "love" but they would be wrong. I gave birth to her, just as I did my two sons whom I also love. My stepson, Hamza, I love also but he is only my son through love ie the love I have for his father and now of course for him.
I thought it was a sweet way to say I have 4 children but only 3 are my born children from my blood. I don't like the term "step" because to me it denotes less or different from the others. I was trying to be sweet. I said "four great children" so how does that make them not loved??? I swear, some people make my head hurt. And they weren't brave enough to put a name with their comment. AND... said I was a horrible mother and didn't deserve Jannah
Are you freakin' kidding me?? Subhanallah, who says that to anyone, but especially to ANOTHER Muslim??? Allahu rabbi, it really shocked me. I don't wish that on anyone, even people who have done me wrong. I sincerely hope Anon reads this and realizes their ignorance. I mean, what part of me seems like I don't love my kids? I don't talk about Zack and Alex as much because they are teenagers now and don't like to have their business spread around; Aaminah is still small alhamdulillah and doesn't have an opinion.
And if God forbid Anon really thought I meant that, why wouldn't they kindly say, Sister that isn't correct. I mean, wth? OK so that's that and alhamdulillah. Ma salaama ya'll!

November 9, 2013

Allahu akbar!!! Yes! Score! Woo hoo! :)

Salaam ya'll! Can you guess? Do you know? Have you EVER read my blog??? Yes you are right, Cap'n has his approval!!! Subhanallah, alhamdulillah, wa Allahu akbar! It's been a LOOOOONG two years and not without its bumps.

*Being apart

*Being sick and hospitalized and in treatment

*Being a single parent

*Being sad and lonely but reallllly trying to stay positive and trust in the mercy of Allah swt

And then the topper... he was denied. Temporarily, on his interview Nov. 1st. We were devastated. Gutted. I mean, how, why, What???? It turns out our application was awesome, he had a great interviewer who totally understood we were in love, we were in a real relationship...

But India. Oh India, you came back to bite me in the butt. :( They had an issue with my divorce paper from Mumbai. From 2009. Seriously??? Because at this point, we had turned in that SAME paper to the USCIS twice and ti has been accepted. They considered me divorced for purpose of remarriage so I thought we were all set. How could THAT be a problem?

It went to the embassy and someone there said, Huh, this doesn't look like a standard divorce decree. Well, its not. It's from India, the land of twisted bureaucracy and inept officials. Come on now, you all know it's true. Our divorce was officiated by a Qazi, the head Qazi in Mumbai. He had letterhead, for Pete's sake! And a stamp, there was a stamp! You don't get more official than that in India.

So I sent an email. Then another one. I quoted the State Department website which said they accept foreign divorces. Oh the wating was so hard! A week of tears and prayers, trying to stay strong and make plans "just in case". Alhamdulillah our steadfastness has paid off!

He got a call yesterday to come back and bring his passport! Oh yes, thank you Allah! I cried, all I could say was "Alhamdulillah, Allahu akbar!" over and over. It's been a long time and we have been patient. We have kept ourselves pure for one another. We have trusted in Allah and He as NOT failed us. He never does. We plan and Allah plans and He is the BEST of planners.

Has it been a long journey? Yes. Has it been hard? Definitely. Has it been worth it? A 1,000 times over! It's hard to find osmeone you love so much and are so well matched with. I am grateful the waiting is almost over.

Please, remember to keep us in your duaa. iA Cap'n should be here by December. :)

October 29, 2013

Procrit 40,000 units...yes!!!

So happy to have you, my sweets
Salaam ya'll! I'm a happy happy mama today. I finally got my Procrit injections started. Yay me! It is cray-craz expensive (over $4000 for what you see here) and it has to be shipped overnight in a cooler with an ice pack. Subhanallah. I am so grateful I have the opportunity to start these injections again.

This is a synthetic form of epoeitin alpha which is the hormone that tells your body to make more red blood cells. We have to constantly replenish our RBCs as they get damaged and die off; they typically have a "shelf life" of 100+ days so our bodies are always in the process of making more. When you have kidney failure your epo production slows down drastically and you can no longer make enough red blood cells to get the oxygen to all your parts and pieces.

This type of anemia can't be treated with iron or B12; I have all the components just not the catalyst. So iA now, within a couple of weeks, my blood count should rise and I am looking forward to feeling much stronger again. Right now, I get a lot of headaches and feel "fuzzy-headed"; not cause I need to brush my hair ;) but due to the lack of oxygen. Also in kidney failure toxins build up so there are a lot of factors.

Anyway, headaches and confusion, memory loss, cold especially extremeties, shortness of breath (panting) and extreme lethargy and exhaustion. I have nothing wrong with my breathing just that even though I breath, I can't get enough oxygen simply because my body cannot transport it to my cells. So my body tries breathing deeper and faster which normally works but not with anemia of course. I also have a condition called acidosis where my blood is acidic due to yes, again, the kidney failure, so with each breath my body tries to right the base/acid balance by breathing out more CO2 except it's a temporary fix and keeps me panting subhanallah. I take a different med for that but together they make my life difficult, to say the least.

Mimzy keeps walking on my keyboard and interrupting me. :) She's the black and white kitty, not our bobtail kitten. Anyway...

So here is how it was packaged:

They asked if I wanted signature required for delivery; uh yes please!
And inside it has 2 big ice packs:
I actually saved them and the cooler. :)
I also had some paperwork, syringes, alcohol preps, and a used sharps container. Sweet, all set up now just waiting on Li'l Miss to come home and help out; she loves all this stuff. :)

Oh Cap'n's visa appointment is on THIS Friday, please please please please please make dua for us that Allah swt brings him here and unites our family soon. Amin!

October 25, 2013

The Best Darn Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili Ever : )

This was like a symphony in my mouth ; )
Salaam ya'll! Just wanted you to know that I made THE best chili ever today. Seriously. I don't know what exactly I did differently this time exact possibly add an extra dose of AWESOME, mA! ;) Seriously, this is the first time I ever ventured into the land of non-summer squash. I had been thinking about using butternut squash in a recipe when I found a nice vegetarian recipe at Cookie + Kate's blog. This gave me the idea but from there I just branched out in all kinds of directions!

That's what's nice about having years of experience; you finally know (usually!) what detours you can take and what results to expect. I didn't know it would be this delicious, tho. :D

The players :)
Here is a line-up of my ingredients. I'll be honest, I started heating my pan before I got my stuff out but I totally wanted to do a real-deal recipe photo shoot so I had to turn the heat down while I got it all set up. :) See that pretty squash? It was only $1.29 at Aldi! I just discovered the store and it was really nice! I saved about $4 on my squash alone which I consider a major score. :) If you are wondering if the cocoa powder is an error it is not. It's a very common ingredient in Mexican cooking and I love the depth of color and flavor it gives the chili. :) Also in the bowl with the red lid is pureed chipotles in adobo sauce. A little goes a long way so I just keep it in the fridge to use as necessary.
Hmmm onions...
 Dice your onion and throw it into a pan with a bit of oil. Fry it for about 5 minutes then add in a tbsp of cumin, 2 tbsp of chili powder, about a tbsp of onion powder and a few good shakes of smoked paprika. If you don't have all the ingredients (like smoked paprika) of course go ahead and make it but really, all of these ingredients just add layers to the flavor. :) Add a nice hefty pinch of salt and fry for about 3 minutes to release the full flavor of the spices.

The ground chuck is NOT necessary but we enjoy meat : )
 I added about half a pound of ground chuck; it would be good without it but I decided to go ahead. Next time we'll just make it totally veg and see how we like it. Brown the beef for about 5 minutes on medium heat til cooked through.

The tomatoes look pretty ; )
 Add a can of petite diced tomatoes. I prefer petite dice but of course feel free to use what you have/prefer. It's important to cook this stage well to temper the acidity of the tomatoes. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
The squash was a pain to cut but look at it!
 Then add the squash. Now, butternut squash is NOT easy to cut. I ended up briefly microwaving it (for about 5 minutes) while I was doing the beginning of the recipe. Then I proceeded to peel it while the mixture was simmering. It wasn't easy but not too hard either. I used a knife to peel it as my peeler isn't up to the job. It took several minutes to peel and chop. I only used half of a good-sized squash; we used the leftovers in another recipe.
See how nice it's looking?
 Mix it all together well and cook for about 10-15 minutes to soften the squash. Now if I had my 5 qt pot I would have cooked it all on the stovetop; however I lent it to a friend so while this was simmering I put a can of drained, rinsed black beans in the crock pot to heat up; I put all the mixture in there to finish cooking.
Chipotles, how I love thee!
 Secret ingredient #1: the pureed chipotles in adobo sauce. I added a scant tsp; it's pretty spicy. You can always add more but you can't take it away! Mix it in well.
This stuff is yummy
 Secret ingredient #2: This is super-concentrated beef flavor. It's also salty hence the hefty pinch of salt earlier and no more. I add about a tsp of beef base and stir it in well. It smells sooo good. :)
All happy together
 Carefully add the hot squash mixture to your crock with the black beans in it. Again, use whatever bean you like but the black beans were super tasty! I let it cook on high for about an hour and half; just check the squash for tenderness. :)
The humble cornbread
 I decided to whip up a skillet of cornbread; my cast iron skillet is small so my pan was really full. I prefer it thinner but it was good nonetheless. I added half a tsp of the chipotle puree here too, to carry the flavor through. :)

Baked butternut squash
I had about 2 cups of squash left so I tossed it with 3 tbsp melted butter, 3 tbsp brown sugar, a pinch of salt and a shake of nutmeg. It cooked alongside the cornbread but it did take longer. It was really good!
Again, the final product. Yes it's good enough to be shown twice!
 I hope ya'll decide to try this sometime. It is so delicious, it will freeze well, and with the squash and black beans it is a guaranteed healthy home run. Aaminah loved it, I obviously enjoyed it, and I'm already looking forward to leftovers! Ma salaama ya'll. :)

October 22, 2013

A sweet little craft: Mama and Me journal

The background is my dialysis blanket. Comfy but kinda blends in with the journal! lol
Salaam ya'll! Crafty mama is back! Well, sorta. :) I saw this on a facebook page and just loved the idea! I take NO credit for the idea or even the printable; I downloaded it from this website, Mama Jenn. She probably has a lot of other cool ideas but this is all I've discovered so far!

Anyway I was able to go there and print off the cute little "Mama & me" cover; she also has it in blue tones if you prefer. :) I had some composition books here that had just been hanging around, waiting for a project that never took place. This one seemed much more doable!

I liked the black and white of the cover so I printed off a leopard background (it IS for Little Miss Animal Rescuer, after all!); just do a google search for "printable background" and whatever parameters you want. So I printed off the label and the background. A little judicious use of Elmer's glue saw them affixed to the cover. :)

I don't have a fancy cutter, just scissors, and I am a little too lazy to dig out a ruler, etc. so I eyeballed it. Alhamdulillah I had some ribbons a very sweet sis sent to me in a gift pack a couple of years ago. (Jazaki Allahu khair, sis, we've had so much fun with those supplies!) So I glued that on the edge and it really tied it together AND hide my not-quite-plum edge. ;)

Up-close of the ribbon. Yeah, I'm inordinately proud of it. ;)

As is par for the course, I didn't plan out anything. I knew the printable was pink so I looked for pink cheetah/leopard? print and then alhamdulillah I had a cute ribbon to match. :) I did cut the ribbon a bit longer than the front cover, tucked it in and glued it to the inside.

Now if I were crazy crafty and worried about little things, I would now cut more pink cheetah paper to fit the inside cover to hide those ribbon ends. I don't think I'm that person today so it'll just stay that way. :)

Aaminah loves those glittery stickers so I put the year on; we ran out of "A"s a loooong time ago! ;)
I hope you'll think about making one of these. It was a fast, cute, and easy craft that will help preserve memories. The idea behind it is to write "love" letters to each other. So for example, now since Aaminah is small I'll have to help her, or she might opt to draw a picture. When she's older, I hope to save this (and more?) to give to her when she is a mom. Our kids do so many awesome, sweet, and sometimes frustrating things, I think this is a pretty cool way to document them.

Let me know if you make one, I'd love to see how crafty ya'll get. I am probably a 6 on the crafty scale; more than your average but faaar less than most of my friends and family. I have the spark but I really have to see what other do and then I can make my own spin on it. I like seeing how others approach the same project.

Ma salaama ya'll!

October 21, 2013

How to: have end stage renal failure and thrive!

This has nothing to do with my post but aren't Mimzy and Ocho cute, mA? :)

Salaam ya'll! Unfortunately being sick takes up a LOT of my time and thought. I don't let it take center-stage, per se, but it's always rearing it's ugly and annoying head. For example, Li'l Miss has her FIRST ever field trip to the local zoo (which is AWESOME btw!) and I can't take her. I am too weak, too tired, and just too, well, SICK to go. It sucks. I try to take it in stride and not let it get me down but you know, sometimes it just (cue whining) "doesn't seem FAIR!!!!".

However, for the most part I take this disease in stride. By the way, I have IgA Nephropathy, an auto-immune disease that causes my IgA proteins to destroy my nephrons or filtering units in my kidneys. :) I have End Stage Renal Failure from a) a return of my IgA Nephropathy, b) some acute rejection which damaged my transplant, c) long-term chronic rejection which is always eating away at any transplant and d) damage from repeated kidney and UTIs (urinary tract infections). I am SO aware of all the blessings Allah swt has graced me with. (I like ending sentences with prepositions so there!) I am grateful for all the wonderful things in my life and yes, even my kidney disease.

I could be sicker. I could have heart disease and if your transplant goes kaput, usually, so do you. :( I could have a really PAINFUL kidney disease like polycystic where you have so much pain and swelling. So alhamdulillah for it all! Here is a short list of how I cope:

1. Denial. Yep, good ol' fashioned denial. I ain't sick, I don't feel bad, and you can't make me! This works some of the time. During my less defeated by this disease moments I just carry on as if I have nothing wrong. I grocery shop. I clean house. I take Aaminah on really cool eid excursions. I travel for hours to go visit my husband. ;) Yeah those kind of things. Now, even in the midst of my denial, I have those reminders. Out of breath, muscle pain, debilitating fatigue. Just sometimes I'm strong enough to ignore it. This is really my preferred method of coping. :D

2. Changing my expectations. This one, I don't use as often but have to pull it out sometimes. Ya'll, I've told you before, I used to be a HORRID homemaker! I was ill-prepared for it; during the 80s and 90s we were never told "It's awesome to be a mom and there are blessings in taking care of your kids!" No, we were told, "go to college, work, keep your home immaculate, do the shopping the cleaning the cooking AND make your man feel like a man!" You know, all the Cosmo bullsh*t. Anyway I didn't want to be a homemaker, I failed at it miserably. I loved my boys, I was miserable in my marriage, and I was over-worked (and sick to boot).

Anyway that's a different story. I eventually learned the art of being a homemaker, of caring for your family through good healthy food prepared with love, that having a clean floor and clean, pressed clothes was a really awesome way to SHOW you love someone. I kept a spotless (more or less) house; dust dared not enter! Bathrooms and counters stayed clean. Dirty dishes? Not on my watch!

Let's just say all that's changed. :D I love even more now being a homemaker. Now, as a Muslim wife and mother, I see it as more than just an expression of love but also as ibadah (worship) of my Creator. If I do it with the intent to make my family happy, to give us a nice place to live and pray. :) But I've had to really lower my expectations and I'm finding out, that's ok. :)

Now if you were to stop by unannounced (oh please Allah don't! lol) you might find my carpet NOT freshly vacuumed that day. You will almost definitely find a few dishes in the sink and probably a bit of laundry (or a lot!) in the hamper. Even (gasp!) on the bathroom floor. You will not find filth alhamdulillah but mess? I'm pretty sure you will.

And I'm getting ok with it. It's hard, I want to operate on the same level I always have but I know that isn't possible. There are days I do good to make Aaminah food and the rest can just wait. I spend time with my daughter, I laugh with her, I make memories. :) I please my husband with my attitude, I encourage him, I send him messages and emails throughout the day to bridge the distance and let him feel my steadfastness and love. And it really does make up for the messy house. If I can't do them both, I choose to love my family over laundry.

3. Humor. I am the Great Deflector. :) I steer the conversation away with laughter, I do NOT like pity! I want some empathy, I want Aaminah's teachers and my friends and family to understand why I can't go on the field trip but I don't want them to feel sorry for me. I don't want them to feel sorry for Aaminah either because, despite my sickness, she has a great life. A mama who loves her and teaches her about Allah and His Prophets, a lot of family who thinks she's amazing, aunties and teachers and friends, oh my! So if the conversation gets too "poor Ummi of Aami!" I just turn it around. Soon we are all laughing and it just doensn't seem so bad.

4. Perspective. Yeah, I keep it all in place. I remember my goal for this life, to be a good Muslim, to raise my family, to be a good daughter and sister and wife. I work my hardest (MY hardest, not yours!) to fulfill my obligations which are also my joys. Most of the time. :) I fail but I try and I know Allah swt is merciful and He does NOT put on us more than we can bear! So with this little dose of perspective, I soldier on, I keep moving forward, and I just keep trying. :)

Please, make dua for me, that I start my shots soons (iA this week!) and that Allah swt gives me shifa. Amin!

October 20, 2013

Eid fun!

Ocho exploring the eid lights :)

Salaam ya'll! We've had so many days of eid fun, I've lost track! Alhamdulillah for all our blessings! As ya'll probably know we are not wealthy people. We have most of what we need but things like car repairs and holiday presents are a big drain on our tiiiight budget. This year Aaminah is in KG at our local Islamic school and they just started a Beta Club there. Like a service organization for good students is the best explanation I can come up with. :)

Anyway they decided to take a collection for a few students to buy them eid gifts and it was such a blessing to us! They sent home a note and asked for a list of 3 things Aaminah would like as well as clothes and shoe size. She received so many gifts from them and it was just humbling and amazing. She got 2 DVDs (The Little Mermaid and a Princess Sofia), 2 dolls (Little Mermaid and a Princess Sofia) and she also got a Princess Sofia messenger bag that you decorate yourself. It was so sweet and so much more than I had hoped for. :)

I did take her to Target and let her pick out one eid gift from me; she got a pretend cash register. Every kid loves to play with those! It has fake coins and beeps and the drawer opens and shuts. :) She and her friend Jayanah played with it for hours.

I also bought her a few very cheap surprises; I got her some flarp (ooey gooey slimey stuff), a bag of her favorite chocolates, some lipgloss, a new watercolor set (the cheap stuff lol) and I blew up 17 balloons! I bought purple, pink and pink and black zebra striped. I set up some colored lights I had in my closet (from where? I don't know! lol) and when she woke up on eid morning she was so surprised! It was really fun.

The eid card Aaminah made for me, mA :)

After that we went to eid breakfast at our local Islamic school. I couldn't make it to eid prayer because of the parking situation; it's just too far for me to walk in my condition.

Outside our Islamic school BEFORE the celebrants arrived! :) Gorgeous mA!

Oh speaking of, I have good "bad" news. Bad news is I am sicker but the good news is I can finally get treatment! ;) If you are anemic due to kidney failure you have to reach a certain level before insurance will pay. I was right on the cusp for the whole past year. :( You can take injections of a synthetic erythropoetin (called Procrit or Epogen) subcutaneously (in the fat!) and it will help your body make more red blood cells.

I had to prove I had no iron depletion issues (none) and no Vitamin B-12 deficiencies (nope) and finally I hit below the level to start treatment. I am looking forward to feeling stronger and iA it will really improve my quality of life! Now if I do too much besides being horribly tired and out of breath (with even the smallest exertion) my muscles hurt. A deep, deep burning pain that doesn't go away for about a day. I'll be paying tomorrow for taking Aaminah to the eid picnic but so be it! :)

Oh we also did a few more things for eid! We went to see Monster University at our local "dollar" movies, you know, the theatre you go to see older films. After their first run they go to the cheaper theatre. For only $12.25 we got 2 admissions, 2 drinks and a popcorn. I thought it was a great deal. :) Then we also went rollerskating with some sisters. Aaminah loved it but it was really hard on me. I can't skate due to my transplant (and fear of bruising my kidney) but even just my anemia and kidney failure prevents me. However, Aaminah needed to be held the entire time; I had to hold her hand and walk or, more often, grab her under the arm to help steady her. Shew, it wore me out!

Her little stocking feet, glowing in the blue light :)
Then today was the annual Siddiqui Family Eid Picnic and masha'Allah they do an amazing job! A picnic for up to 1,000 people, Muslims and our neighbors and friends. :) The grown daughter does most of the organization and it was amazing! They had 4 bounce houses, 100s of goodie bags, food food and more food!, free sno-cones, free balloons animals and organized games. Masha'Allah, may He bless this family! And they are all so humble, giving all the praise to Allah swt. :) Here are some pics from today:

One of the bounce houses

Some of the food: Tandoori chicken, falafel, salad, and gyros mA, to just name a few!

They always have a balloon archway so pretty!

A far-away view of some action!
Anyway it was amazing and we had a great time. :) At the end, my friend and I took our girls down to the lake and let them play in the sand and the edge of the water:

Cute and totally accidental it was blog "proof" :)
Insha'Allah your eid was beautiful and wonderful and spent with family and friends. Praying Cap'n and H are here to celebrate with us next year!

October 12, 2013

Aaminah made Hajj! Well, sort of ;)

We did this today at home. We didn't have quite enough cotton balls so we had to separate them to make enough. ;) I cut out the shapes then she glued all the cotton balls and body parts on. She also stuck on her name in glittery stickers.

Here are some of the projects the older children did, mA!

The hallway decorated so nicely mA! They made sai in this hall. :)
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Aaminah is a little hajji now! Her school had an amaaaazing Hajj program on Friday which they invited the parents to watch. It was awesome! I didn't find her a white outfit; the prayer outfit she has is a hand-me-down and it's a bit stained and snagged. So she just wore a black abaya we got at Sunnah Style a couple of years ago. I got it for like $8 because it was a factory-reject. Misplaced snap or something. :)

Anyway the school looked AWESME and jazakum Allahu khair to everyone who helped! I wish I had better pics; I borrowed a few pics from a friend but I don't really wanna put up pics of other people's kids. They were so cute btw and mA! Little boys in their ihrams (sheets and towels mostly lol) and the little girls all in hijab and abaya. Every year they make a new Kaaba so the children can participate. Here is how they made sai between Safa and Marwa. :)
Great idea!

They even had a sacrifice station. What a cute idea! Aaminah gently slide her hand across the sheep's throat and I explained the meat is donated to the poor. It was so much fun! I got to do tawwaf with her at the end of the Hajj and we went around chanting the dua.

Cute little sheep mA!!! :)
They ate their snack while "camped" at Mina. I can't explain how great of a job they did!

 I didn't walk over when they went to Arafat; it was at the other side of the parking area and I was really tired that day. But I joined her when she went to stone the pillars (and shaitan!). I can't show pics of it because there were so many cute little brown, white, and beige faces in it! :) But the pillars looked so nice and they got to go and pick up 3 little smooth pebbles. Nice small pebbles so the excitable kids do not hurt anyone. :)

Next time I'll try and remember to get better pics that I can share. Just didn't feel like blocking out 10 faces in a pic. :)

Hope ya'll have a great eid if I don't update before then and may Allah swt bless all the hujjaj and accept their ibadah amin!

October 9, 2013

We heart Indian food!

A feast fit for a Queen...and her princess ;)
Salaam ya'll! Well we finally got Old G (our car) back and boy are we happy! We also are still on cloud 9 in regards to Cap'n's interview being set so we decided to celebrate! Take-out Indian was in order. Delicious!

We have a little local Indian restaurant called Sitar. In the past I've been pretty ambivalent about it; sometimes good, sometimes sucked. :) This time it was AWESOME. With the exception of the paneer pakoras (chickpea-batter coated cheese appetizers). They were horrid but they had waaay too much batter, not used to htem that way.

Everything else was delicious. Hot and fresh. Apparently being the first diner has it's pluses! ;) We called in before they opened and made our order to-go. We also saved about $10 on drinks and tip so I consider it a good thing. :) And we live about 8 minutes away so it was all hot and fresh.

I've been craving veg laterly so we got the veg thali or platter. It has palak paneer (spinach with cheese cubes), veg korma, and dal makhani (buttered beans). It came with a piece of plain naan, pappadums (papad, lentil crackers) and 2 kinds of chutney, mint and onion.

I asked for mild and it was very mild. I could have taken a bit of heat but I didn't want too much; I like to enjoy my food, not be annhilated by it! lol We also ordered the paneer pakoras (won't do that again, tho) and one order of kheer or rice pudding, as well as 1 piece of peshwari (fruited) naan.

Peshwari naan, how I love thee!

In total it was like $26 but I am not kidding when I say we have enough for at least 2 more meals! Now Aaminah's fave is the palak paneer but minus the cheese. She just wants the spinach with plain naan! We enjoyed our meal and I'll be putting it away in a bit; I'm just too full and tired to right now!

Funny tho because this is supposedly just enough for 1 person. We did not buy a 2 person thali. Subnanallah! We have 3/4 of both the veg korma and the dal makhani left, maybe a bit less than 1/2 of the spinach as Aaminah adored it. Loads of rice, all the pakoras, and still almost an entire piece of naan. I eat very little now that I am so sick.

I had (literally) 2 cereal spoons of rice and 2 cereal spoons each of korma and palak paneer. One of the makhani. I did eat half a piece of naan tho and a small papad. It was so light and fresh it almost felt as if you weren't eating it at all. :)

Anyway we fel tliek celebrating a little but with the cost vs how much food we received, it wasn't much of a splurge. I don't have to cook tomorrow either. :)

Alright, ma salaama ya'll!

October 7, 2013

Blessings we don't deserve

Salaam ya'll! This verse came to mind today. I met with some very good, awesome, EXCELLENT news regarding Cap'n's impending immigration and I was awestruck. I feel like every little good deed I do, Allah rewards me ten-fold.

Take this morning for example. I almost missed fajr then remembered at the last moment. It was really dark today. Anyway I almost missed it but alhamdulillah caught it just in time. I felt really great, like I had started my day off on the best note.

Everything went smoother. I got extra chores done, dinner in the crock pot, I just felt on top of everything. It was awesome. Had a great conversation with my husband. I had emailed the embassy just a few days before because we were concerned we still didn't have an interview date yet.

I check my email later and, lo and behold, we had a reply! He has an interview date in the beginning of November, barely 3 weeks away. I was ecstatic. I praised Allah, I prayed 2 rakat voluntary prayer as thanksgiving, I called Cap'n, we rejoiced. It's been a loooong 2 years, ya'll, a long 2 years.

I don't think of everything I do in terms of rewards and punishments. I try to do things for the love of Allah and His messenger, to try and show just a smidge of the beauty and compassion of Islam in my actions. So sometimes it catches me off-guard when a blessing just falls on me like this.

It was the same during Ramadhan. I offered to do the babysitting. It's not without remuneration but it's not a great amount. I did alhamdulillah go above and beyond what was required. I did crafts with the kids, entertained them, and picked up the slack from some other sisters that I really like but who just aren't suited for child care. I was feeling kinda put-upon, you know when you do more than others and you start feeling like you do EVERYTHING and NOBODY appreciates it.

Then, we get our immigration approval. I was through the roof and it made me feel so warm and loved, to know Allah loves me so much, despite my imperfections, because that is how He made me and He knows my struggles, my triumphs, and my intentions.

Now this morning, I didn't miss my prayer and it would have been easy, so easy. It's called right when it's time to get Aaminah ready for school and I'm rushing. But I made time. Not a big deal, really. It's the least, and I mean the VERY least I can do as a Muslim. Make salat. It's a pillar of Islam, right? After saying there is NO God BUT Allah swt and Muhammad is His last and final messenger, we must make our prayer.

So why reward me for doing the very minimum? Because, my dear sisters, Allah is merciful. He loves us more than our mothers, more than our husbands and children. He loves us and wants what is good for us. So even when I come crawling, making my prayer at the very last minute, almost forgetting to worship my Creator in the mad rush of the morning, He comes running to me. He comforts me. He encourages me. He blesses me.

Alhamdulillah I am Muslim and I serve the One, the Only, the Eternal, the Absolute. Allahu akbar!!!