Thursday, December 25, 2008

So much for feeling fabulous

I have given up girly in favor of functional for the past 9 years as I have raised little ones. There is no glamour in spit stains after all. I have been slowly getting back to body lotions and nice little grooming products...

So I was taking a long shower the other day, enjoying some new products and the 2 year old woke up and used her potty. Somehow she also knocked my glasses off of the sink INTO THE POTTY!

I learned two things from this experience. 1) There is no glamour in motherhood. 2) Clorox does not produce enough bleach to make you feel good about wearing glasses that have taken a dip in a toilet.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

10,000 hours, what are you doing with them???

I am reading an interesting book; Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. It poses an interesting question about success. Basically, what are the key elements of success. One thing that is discussed caught my attention. The author proposes that the number for being excellent at an activity is set; 10,000 hours. From hockey to computer programming, he found that people who we consider to be gifted in certain areas have all somehow spent more than 10,000 hours practicing their skill with the intention of improving it.

What is that? 1 1/2 hours a day for 20 years. 3 hours a day for 10 years. 6 hours a day for five years. Or, if you are really dedicated… 12 hours a day for a year and about 4 months. So could you, would you, do it?

It has gotten me thinking. We are all 10,000 hours away from being excellent at something we have an aptitude for. Are we willing to spend those 10,000 hours? Apparently, if you want to be a standout in your area you need to find them. And isn’t that crazy when you think about it?

It makes you think that all things are in our reach, if we only try. I’m not saying that you will be rich or famous if you spend that time… But you will have the potential to be. Maybe that’s why so many good writers have given the seemingly simple advice to fledgling authors, “just write every day”. They already knew the 10,000 hours thing even if they weren’t calling it that.

Kinda makes you think twice about that hour you spend in front of the TV huh? You could have memorized the entire Quran, written your first novel, painted your first work of art, built a piece of furniture, whatever you are good at. I think I will be writing for at least an hour every day myself… What about you???

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Salmeh's new friend!

Here is a new doll I made for the baby. I think I am going to try a second one and fix some of the mistakes I made this time. But overall I think she's pretty fun.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Study Centers

So here are the his and hers study centers for the kids... I have included some more detailed picture's, but basically they are a home for supplies and books that they need for studying. It makes a difference for them because they seem to have the attitude that when you are sitting there you need to be working. The detailed pics are of Aly's desk, but all the same things are on Layla's too.

This is the hutch area where there are little containers for homework and other papers, shelf area for books and the back of it is a bulletin board. You might also notice the little white thing under the shelf, it's one of those under-counter fluorescent lights. I am a big believer in the benefits of proper lighting!LOL Plus, then the light didn't take up desk space. There is also a timer, the kids read for set amounts of time and I find a timer useful for setting up how long it should take to complete a task. Sometimes the kids just seem to do better if there is an expectation of how long something should take.

This is the right hand corner of the desk. The Rubbermaid holds pencils, pens, glue, scissors, colored pencils, post it flags, note pads and star stickers. The calendar is for placing a star on days when they complete all their work. The clock, well the same basically as the timer, time management. And the little silver thing is a digital recorder. I like them for practicing presentations and reading aloud. I can have the kids use them (or sometimes I record something on them that they can play back to memorise) for practicing reading and speaking. They can keep recording and I can listen to their progress when I have a chance. It was DH's idea and it has worked out nicely.

This is the little closed area by the feet, it has a drawer, which I am using for stored papers and a little cubby area where I am putting the workbooks that I am using with them.

This is a little keyboard pull out that I am using for learning game things right now, but will be for laptops in the future, insha'Allah. Layla will get hers at the end of the school year if she reaches certain reading goals, and Aly probably not long after. Layla seems more ready for one right now though. Of course as a dedicated reader, no reading... No laptop. I'm mean like that;)

Anyway, nothing revolutionary... But I promised I'd share so here you go!LOL

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Muslims... Please!!!

I will be honest with you. My experiences at masjids have been less than transcendental spiritually fulfilling respites from the world... They have been more like smelling salts that shock me back to the reality of what Muslims today are like in large groups. Now I don't know these sisters and brother's hearts... But I do know their manners. And this Eid was yet another rude awakening to the reality that the ummah here in the US (I don't know maybe everywhere) needs some serious spit shining before we can even claim to represent this deen.

At my insistence we went to Denver to visit family the day before Eid so we would be able to go with them to the Eid prayer. This was the first time in 10 years that I have been in the larger mosque in Denver for the Eid prayer and it was CRAZY.

First, I was sitting on the side since I wasn't praying (ya'll know what I mean) and I tried to line up the older kids close to me on the ends. Sisters kept pushing them this way and that and no one on the edge was making a discernable effort to make a row, so the youngest got all flustered and came to me crying that he had no place to pray. OK, I can deal. Then after the salams all the sisters started getting up and going over to admire each other's outfits or something and no one seemed to have the slightest idea that there would be a khutba going on after the prayer... Uhhh, HELLO!!! So I made me way the center where the TV and speakers are and someone had turned the volume off. I could see, but since I don't read lips I have no idea what the brother was saying.

Then I went out to a patio area where people were milling around only to be leafleted to death. Of course said leaflets were flying all over the area in the wind within minutes. As were wrappers and balloons the kids had been given. My DH wasn't there so I started to people watch... Of course that means that I saw all the sisters with their scarves carefully perched on top of perfect hairdos which were revealed as soon as they stepped out of the mosque. And I saw the brothers drive up in customized Mercedes and Hummers which I KNOW cost more than you would ever imagine. Of course you can imagine that seeing the brothers driving their family of six off in their cab... Those cars can't be a good use of the wealth they have been given (IMHO).

So I started having my kids pick up all the trash before it blew away once the crowd was gone. Only to have a brother come and yell at them for stepping on the clothe they had spread for those praying outside. Now mind you about 10 minutes earlier the entire female congregation put on their shoes inside and then exited tramping all over that same carpet. But my kids were CLEARLY causing damage:P

Well, you see what I'm getting at. It's hard to have a religious experience when surrounded by this. I don't know what the solution is, but it's clearly a problem. So now I remember why my real religious moments in mosques have all happened during prayers that very few people attend!LOL