Friday, August 31, 2007

Overwhelmed but inshaAllah, only for a moment

Overwhelmed, by the amount of clutter and dust one small flat can hold, overwhelmed by the extraordinary amount of info out there on the net re home ed (if there are so many US ’home school moms blogging how many must there be who aren’t as well!), by the amount I need to memorise, improve my ibadah, by my kids behaviour and their relentless demands, by my own idea of leading a fulfilling life. On the one hand I have the hazy dream of me running a clean, tidy and organised household, with fresh organic wholesome meals prepared and eaten, whilst children are naturally self-directing their time to all things educational whilst baby sleeps her 3 hour nap and has a 7 pm bedtime. I am there on hand to provide the odd bit of support, help guide them to the answers of their questions, taking them out on exciting and stimulating trips. They keep asking when it is time to pray/ read Quran do some Arabic
. Or on the other hand, I am living in a nomadic tribe, where my main concern is finding somewhere good to set up camp and some food, and children are helping out and they are kept busy and learning in many practical ways. There’s no internet, no TV, no mobile no sms and life is simple. WAKE UP I should not be thinking all the time of that greener grass. Part of the deen is to be satisfied with whatever predicament we find ourselves in, whether good or bad. I remember a friend of mine related that her husband used to say when asked of his health 'alhamdulillah’ all praise is to Allah, whatever his condition good or bad.’ And I then found it strange. Islam, though, helps us to be at peace with whatever situation we are in. We get rewarded for our sabr (patience and perseverance whatever the situation) in difficult times or maybe sins forgiven.. Arabic terms such as ‘sabr’ which have no direct English translation, but have such a significant meaning in my life, reinforce my belief that this religion is not man-made, but from the One who knows us best.
It is not the actual practical problems I face that I think get me down, it’s the feelings of ungratefulness, resentfulness, dissatisfaction that try to pop in my head. If I didn’t have islam, I don’t know what I’d do. Allah (swt) has only made us to worship him, and that doesn’t just mean the 5 pillars, it’s through our reaction to the daily trials in accordance with the way most pleasing to Him. May Allah make us steadfast in our deen and ibadah, and take away any feelings of despair amin,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Now and again

I post specifically on H's 'mutism' on this blog, and there's a recent post there, that's why I don't talk about it so much on this blog........

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It was the 15th Shabaan day b4 yesterday and the full moon was SO beautiful mashaAllah. The sky was lit up almost as if it was day and the swirling clouds were highlighted by its beams. The Moon was moving very fast, as whilst my DH was searching around for his better camera, it disappeared behind the house opposite. So it's the moon for those of you thinking I've uploaded something by mistake taken by the kids with hands over the lens! 2 weeks til Ramadhan inshaAllah, I'm quite excited as I haven't been able to fast in Ramadhan fora while!

The bed on the right hand side is what the puffing and groaning was about, thanks to the furniture of monopoly of Sweden, oh I mean IKEA. So now S has his own desk, hasn't seen as much use as I'd have liked, but maybe its cos I have to fold down the chair or remove it so Biryani doesn't climb up on the desk. She has scaled the top bunk a few times, which even I feel like I have mild vertigo on, it's quite worrying. And oh look, some floor space in the middle there.... S's side of the shelf and desk...

M's side, neatly arranged, no involvement on my part!

M's bed which looked so inviting in the sunlight, it is where I often take a cat nap, if I go in my room where Biryani sleeps she normally wakes up, v light sleeper.

A go at weighing things by M and H. They wanted to get it to go off the scales, so printer paper is a good start. I said it won't always be the big things that are heavy (They had tried a plastic tennis racket)

H's Duplo guns,they don't have a Duplo weapons set in the catalogue, just farms and train sets. The labels are price tags with 'numbers' written on there. They had devised this game at a friend's house and continued to open their own shop when they came home. I'd better watch my back from the politically correct early years providers!
Some blackberries we picked at the local park, and what we managed to make them into:

Friday, August 24, 2007

More questions and progressions

Maybe I have noted these questions of S before, but I know I haven’t yet found the answers to all of them!
How are cucumbers pickled? (They have them for sale in a big tub in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket.)
What is ‘astromycin’?
How do they make butter, oil?
Why poisonous berries can be eaten by birds (I always wondered this as a child, but never thought to find out, it was pre internet though!)
What can eat ‘flotsvamp’ (the red toadstool)
What’s a rain shadow?
How do they make the special effects in films? e.g. cutting off hands, falling down a deep hole in Star Wars.
Can you live without saliva?
Which is the heaviest rock? Ayres?
Which is the highest voltage power plant in the world, actually now I remember we did check that one but I can’t exactly remember was it in Japan or Russia. Hope M15 doesn’t seize my computer anyway….
What’s the best conductor?
How is marmite made? Yes we did find out it is a bi product of the brewing process, assuming its still halal though.
He wants to learn more about Isa (as)
Have also been having lots of queries on dangerous insects – am thinking of starting ‘lap books’, I think M will especially like this. Any advice on websites, books willingly received. I think there was an article in the IHSAN newsletter I’ll have to look up inshaAllah.
Hmm I think we have a years worth of work here, who needs a government-concocted curriculum?

M said recently re his little sister: 'She doesn’t talk, I think she knows what we mean’ Very observant, as she is understanding a lot of words now mashAllah, esp. those that come up on a daily basis e.g. tissue, yoggi, TV (hmm)

H’s has been asking:
What’s zero not more than?
Why is zero nothing?
He’s managed somehow to pick up basic addition and likes to repeatedly ask ‘What’s 18 +1?' despite being told the answer many times!
He made up his own pen control game as he made a racing track and we had to race round drawing with our pens on the paper. Could have gone on for ages, if I’d had time, luckily big bro S joined in.

H also said ‘panpake’, then went to think in his room and came out and said ‘ pan-cake’
Yesterday it was French toast on the menu except it took me a while to workout this request as he called it ‘fresh bread’
Another touching expression ‘I’m just taking the water off me’ (as he was drying his tears)
And finally today he was asking ‘Why everything grows except crocs(those shoes) and toys?’ ok it’s a start on animate vs. inanimate objects!
He’s being showing me how to cover his mouth when you cough, and he asked why they do it with the hand in England. The Swedish way is to put arm up to mouth, assumedly because so often have to shake hands with people here. (Once I took it a bit too far and offered my hand to the nurse in the doctor’s and she had actually wanted to take my ‘nummerlapp’ queue position number instead. A bit of Swedish etiquette learnt there, no queue barging and wait for them to offer hand first!)
Biryani's walking getting quite confident now, yesterday we went to an indoor play centre *groan* where there was a lot of floor space and she picked up a bit of speed there. She also loves holding on to H’s shirt behind him while they walk very fast around the house, giggling away.
She tries to pray, missing the rukuh and salam, but does a sujood with knees still off the ground. We tried it and it’s not easy! She moves her index finger a bit for tashahud and did hold her hands up for dua and fold the prayer mat after, mashaAllah.
Recently she kept pointing at H’s milk in his anywayup cup (still using I’m afraid) She normally shows no interest in milk of the bovine form preferring mine but she really meant she wanted to give it to her brother, and so she promptly walked to the other room to deliver it mashaAllah.
Now I know my cooking’s not so great but felt my heart sink as she enthusiastically pointed towards the shelf with the baby food jars which I serve out when I haven’t made the meal in time for her schedule or if what we’re eating’s not suitable. She ate almost a whole big fat 15 month HIPP jar of vegi lasagne which is a lot for her.

Well it's school on Monday, a week later than I'd expected and I need to do some clothes shopping for the boys, if inshaAllah I can escape to the shops without kids..

Monday, August 20, 2007

Short post, have been constructing IKEA furniture (say no more)

Thinking about salah and how it takes me away from the usual chaos of everyday life The clean prayer mat amongst the dusty, gritty carpet. The prayer clothes, having no baby food, felt tip pen or weetabix on them. The time is punctual (usually) not always half an hour late. The quiet is bliss amongst the rabble and screams. Some sort of order is kept in my life by the 5 daily salah, and Allah knows I need it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not the most thrilling of summer holidays..

but it's the last week, and I'm not sure how we'll cope with the early starts again. It was 10 30 am plus when i got up today!!! (partly down to Biryani again being out of a routine and waking us for over an hour in the night. It would have ben really painful to feed her, even if I wanted to, I hurt so much (she has many sharp teeth now) I need to have at least 8 hours break from being eaten.)
Here we have a demonstration of Biryani's determined independence. She loves to feed herself, and I have to try to remember to strip her off before meals as it reduces washing machine load. Also the arabic book reminds me she loves to look at animal pictures, books, on the TV. She makes cute 'ooh ooh' noises' So I sat down and watched 'Monkey Life' on Channel 5 with her the other day. ( After me telling dh 1 year olds shouldn't watch tv!) Must take her to the farm soon..

No she's not in her high chair, but sitting in the middle of the kitchen table much more fitting (she thinks?).

Boys have been out and about with their dad on various plane related excursions, picking blueberries at one fellow plane enthusiast's farm, and now off to the plane to see how they can replace the registration stickers with the Swedish ones. I am , thankfully, left at home.
Had a pleasant Bar b q last night, probably the last of the year by the looks of the weather.

Well, trying to come up with some ideas to get S (and M) to do some literacy work, so I did a quick review of some of the pics S painted recently to see if they would want to write their own comments? Eventually S would agree to read what I read but only after I’d typed it out, as he said he couldn’t read my handwriting! I said'Well you’ll have to learn to read worse than this if you want to be a doctor!’, but I dutifully typed it out and so thought may aswell paste it here.

Pic 1
Stripy, makes me think of a prison, but they’ve tried to make it beautiful.

I feel there is a storm going on, over the calm sea. The lightening is hot and strong. The clouds are gradually sucking up more water from the sea to make more rain.

Pic 3
There are people, who are maybe blind except the leader, who are trying to find their way in some desolate countryside, surrounded by rough bushes and wire fences.


Could be a few metaphors read into what I wrote, but S was only trying to paint ‘patterns’. M said the top right one reminded him of , yes, Darth maul (Star wars mad they are) But they didn’t want to put pen to paper, let alone think about the pictures, so we’ll leave art appreciation down to ‘nice patterns’ for the moment!
Anyhow as autonomous seems to work better with S, he , on discovery of his binoculars, decided to keep a look out through his bedroom window on all the misdemeanors of this quiet neighbourhood, and HE NOTED THEM DOWN, with only minimal spelling mistakes!
e.g :
Girl throwing sand.
Car going over the speed limit – type thing. Neighbourhood watch, look out.

Oh yes, Biryani can walk quite well now, and S can now ride a bike proficiently, have we ticked all the boxes on the 15 month/ 9 year old record of achievement? They’re happy (most of the time) so that’s the main thing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Du'a, a reminder for myself.

For what appears to be a wake-up call to me in terms of my iman and actions, various things have occurred lately that have had me returning to my ‘du’a’ book, as I am so terrible at memorising things now (at the beginning things were so easy, young, pre-kids brain).
A few weeks ago a sister had a miscarriage from an ectopic pregnancy and the doctors were all amazed how she’d survived having lost so much blood. In fact I had to stop her hoovering when I went to see her!
Here is the appropriate dua when visiting the sick(transliteration):
Allahomma Ath-hibil-bas Rabban-nas. Ishfi Waantash-shafi La-Shifa’a-illa-Shifaok. Shifaal-layoghadiro-Saqama (While patting the sick person)

O Allah! Remove the hardship, O Lord of mankind. Grant cure for You are the Healer. There is no cure but from You, cure which leaves no illness behind. (Al Bukhari)

And now Alhamdulillah my ear ache has passed but after 2 or so weeks at least of having my right ear feel like I was in an aeroplane unable to swallow away the pressure I thought I would cave in and see the doctor. After a maximum of 10 minutes consultation and my wallet about£12 lighter, it was assumed I had a cold which made my Eustachian tube swell up and that there wasn’t much I could do except hold my nose and swallow (as on an aeroplane!). My mum had advised me that morning maybe to try some decongestant tablets and also I used my allergy nasal spray for good measure, and then the cure came! Lesson; take mother's advice THEN consult professional!
So now I am not saying ‘What? What?’ so often, and I can now rely on paracetemol (and cocodamol which I sneak in from the UK as you need a prescription here) to help the lingering headache, that is post-kids exhaustion/stress.
And this is the du’a I want to learn inshaAllah:

Allahoma 3afini fi-badani. Allahomma 3afini fi-sam3i. Allahoma 3afini fi-basari.

O Allah! Grant health to my body, to my hearing and to my sight (3 times) (Abu Dawood)

And now the big topic SHIRK! This is so important as it is the opposite of Tauheed and of the 1st half of the pillar ‘La ilaha illallah (Nothing has the right to be worshipped except Allah)
There are different types and the one I want to write about is called AshShirk al-Khafi inconspicuous shirk. That is being dissatisfied with what has happened and regretting that if I had done such and such then this wouldn’t have happened, or the phrase ‘If only….’ Then I’d be in a better position now.
'If you didn’t leave your most treasured toy out on the floor then your sister wouldn’t have been able to destroy it!’ type of thing. I think this makes sense in a positive-mental-attitude (did I get this from Dr Phil (US TV psychologist)) type way.
'Next time put anything you don’t want broken up so she can’t reach it!’ would be better.
The words 'tie up your camels' are coming to mind but I need to find a reference..
We should be careful of being unhappy withthe inevitable condition (Qadr) instead have ‘rida bi’l – qada’ (total acceptance of what Allah has decreed). We hear so often the phrase / du’a Mash’Allah which is followed by la quwwata ill bi’iilah (What Allah wills (comes to pass). There is no power or force other than Allah) in al-Kahf 18:39.
So the du’a I really must learn is:

Allahomma Inna Na3ootho Bika Min An Nushrika Bika Shay’ an Na3Lamoh. Wanastagh-firoka Lima La Na3Lamoh.

Oh Allah! We seek refuge from knowingly associating others with You and we seek Your forgiveness from associating others with You unknowingly. (3 times) (Ahmad, At-Tabarani)

May Allah forgive my mistakes and please consult the original Arabic if possible for du’as as transliteration cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Du’as from ‘Selected Prayers Dr Jamal A. Badawi and other info from ‘Dying and living for Allah, Khurram Murad and appendix of ‘The Noble Quran, (Darussalam Publishers)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Should be napping.

but I wake up feeling groggy, even though it's sunnah to do so after Dhuhr, maybe need to do regularly to adjust my body clock..
Just had a go at Biryani as she started to pull various papers off my desk, and then she started putting them back on the desk, girls, they’re so different!

I don’t know why, maybe because I’ve not been at my best with ear ache, but forgot to mention M read his first proper book to me (‘Up and Down’ Oxford Learning Tree), without me asking him to! That’s what I like about autonomous learning, it happens without the ‘I don’t want to… later… do I have to?…. I’m not doing it *humph*. I feel so sorry for him that about 60% of English does not follow the phonic rules, so words like ‘he’ are sounded out perfectly ‘h’ ‘e’ heh, and I have to tell him it’s actually ‘hee’, but his personality is such that he doesn’t get too disheartened and we went onto the Ugly Duckling (Ladybird)with great gusto.
Now for those learning in the UK, me getting excited about my boy starting to read when he’s practically 7 must seem a bit mad, but from experience with son no.1, Islam's age-guides for learning, as well as the Swedish school system not staring til 7, I did not really push the literacy stuff around the usual age 5. (Phew that was a drawn-out sentence..)
H is actually picking up on the phonics work M is doing, and he’s starting to segment and blend words. He liked the word ‘cucumber’ beginning with ‘c’

Some questions that have been asked recently by S that need research (may have noted before but still haven’t looked up anything about them):

How they discovered bread?
Inflation (the money kind)?
How do they make windows and glass? (could do a ‘field’ trip, there are some special glass factories in Swede I think.
Japanese buildings (as regards withstanding earthquakes)
What’s a rifle (as opposed to a standard ‘gun’) ? hmmn?
Is chocolate (cocoa powder) denser than icing sugar (mm I enjoyed that cake that sparked this question, and maybe should do more research in this area!).
Also he’s interested in doing things with Balsa wood (aeroplanes maybe?)

Here’s some closer-up photos of the tomatoes, inspired by Zainab's blog:

And here’s the end-result of some rare time I had alone to tackle the kids room whilst the boys were out at Jummah prayer and Biryani was asleep. I maybe could have done a ‘before’ picture to show the contrast.but forgot, but probably will be back to it’s usual state in a a few days. Just had to document that there is a floor under there. I got motivated to do it as S had been sneezing a lot and I’m worried my lack of cleaning may be causing this.

Luckily the poor exposure of the photo masks how I have used the top bunk as a place to cast the toys. (Need shelves, now take it one step at a time, we do now have blind no. 2 installed)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

have made some changes..

to the template, not really sure about it. Where do you get some nice-looking templates?, I've noticed some quite interesting ones on other blogs. Does it involve the dreaded HTML-word? Help needed for computer-illiterate mother of 4....