I forgot the password

Both my kids are now in school full time, from 8 am to 3 pm.

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No, it’s more like

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I have recently started participating in activities that I had abstained from in the past due to the pursuit of such activities being an exercise in futility.

What are they?  Oh, you know, stuff like bathing regularly and being able to hear myself think.

I have been immersed in 24/7 child care for so long that seven hours on my own feel awfully strange.

I have to keep reminding myself about tiny details, like that it’s okay to sit down to a meal without having to worry if the boys have had theirs, and that I can now pee with the door completely closed.

And locked.

That last one is still taking some getting used to.

Summer vacation 2015 felt like the long weekend from hell.  Each day was so much like the other that I felt as if we were on constant rewind.

Even my boys were bored out of their minds with so much free time.  The other kids in our neighborhood were either at camp or on vacation.  Sure, we had swimming and karate classes twice a week, but what else is there to do to fill up the many, many hours of radiant sunshine that is summer?

That’s right.  Video games.

And don’t even get me started on the fights that these games caused.

Each morning I would wake up to the sounds of screams and shouts, some excited, some plaintive, some whiny, and some of them combined with tears.  I would stumble my way to the living room like a zombie, still half asleep, the effects of not having gotten enough rest clearly showing in my puffy face.

Blogging?  What blogging?

I am an avid reader/follower of many different, wonderful blogs, and I hate when they don’t get updated for extended periods of time.

Of course, I would never do that, I prided in myself.

Which just goes to prove that it’s easy to blame the chipmunk if the nut has fallen from the tree.

Didn’t get that?  I didn’t either.  I think it’s my summer brain still doing the talking.  Or should I say typing.

But you know what I mean.

Oh, the onslaught to the parental brain that is summer vacation.

And don’t forget its evil sibling, which is the transition from late nights and lazy days to early mornings, parent teacher conferences, PTA meetings, and homework.

Shudders.

No, it’s not that we don’t want to spend time with our kids.

What ever gave you that idea?

It’s just that summer kids are bored kids.  They’re bored kids with bored friends who are so bored that they start thinking up of devilish things to un bore themselves and then they end up not bored, but also not very happy.

Like my 5 year old, who thought it would be fun to go all George of the Jungle on the long living room curtains.

Watch out for that coffee table!

He flew right into it.  On TV, little birds go round and round your head when you crash into something, but in real life, you get a big hole in your chin, where, upon impact with the coffee table, your incisors chewed through your lower lip.

You get blood that looks like a chocolate fountain coming out of your mouth, 3 hours in the ER, and seven stitches.

And you get a momma with severe heart palpitations from the stress.

And that’s not even the worst part.  You want to know what the worst part was?

The worst part was that when they were all backpacked and ready to head out the front door that first day of school, I didn’t want to let my kids go.

That’s right.  Even after this crap fest of a summer, all I wanted that day was to have my sons stay home with me.

Figure that out if you can.

I wanted to diaper them, feed them mush from a jar, and have myself be their go to person for their boo boos, their stories, their meals and their play time.

I wanted them to be my babies forever.

With precious little brains left, I had no time nor energy for creative wording, so I just gave up attempting blog posts during the summer.

And because of that, I forgot the password to my WordPress account.

Late in August, when the reprieve, AKA the first day of school, was right around the corner, I attempted to log in and failed.

Five times.

And now that I’m here, that’s all I had to say.

Hope your kids are enjoying being back in school as much as mine are!

Road trip 2015 pics, part 2

Day 5 Tuesday – Clearwater Beach

Day 6 Wednesday – Tampa/New Port Richey

Day 7 Thursday – Orlando

Rental town home

Disney

Day 8 Friday – Orlando/Clermont

Picking oranges in Clermont

Downtown Orlando

Day 9 Saturday – Drive home

Road trip 2015 pics, part 1

We’re back!

We arrived in Chicago on Monday night, after a long, long drive from Florida.

For those unfamiliar with it, this is what the route there looked like.

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Our neighbors told us we took our vacation at the perfect time.  Apparently Chicago was a cold hell while we were gone.

What else is new?

Florida was a lot of fun.  And super super hot.  The temperature during the day never got below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

We split the time between Tampa and Orlando, spending about three days in each city.

The time spent driving felt long, but it wasn’t too bad.  It wasn’t beyond what I expected it to be.  And it felt great to explore different parts of this beautiful country.

I have seen more small towns of America during this trip than I have in my entire life.  That’s what happens when you have two boys with alternating bladder schedules.

I also have people waiting on me for pictures.  Some of them are angry that I didn’t post a few already.

So now I will be showcasing vacation pics ad nauseaum.

For the next couple of blog posts, you will be seeing almost all the photos we took, sorted out by day and location.

I am glad I have a blog to display them on because I hate giving Facebook access to my pictures.  They do this creepy thing where they download my photos without my permission.

Enjoy!

And for the people that hate vacation snaps, look away, because there are lots of them coming at you!

Day 1 Friday – Chicago

We drove to my in laws place in Terre Haute, IN on Friday and spent the night there.  That cut around 5-6 hours out of the drive itself.

On Saturday, we hit the road, with Atlanta, GA in mind as our next stop.

Day 2 Saturday – Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia

With some late night driving by my husband, we managed to get an hour past Atlanta, to a little town called Byron, where we spent the night.

Day 3 Sunday – Byron, GA

The hotel where we stayed had a cute little produce place next to it.  My sister and I wanted to try the famous Georgia peaches, while my kids really wanted to pick some strawberries from the long rows of bushes in the back.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, we arrived at our hotel in Tampa on Sunday night.

Day 4 Monday, Memorial Day – Tampa. 

Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa River Walk

I thought I could cram more pictures in this post without making it five pages long.

Oh, well.

Road trip 2015, Part 2.  Coming soon to a blog post near you.

I am done

Shit, it’s been a long week.

I recently completed a 48 hour school workathon, which is the only type of marathon you will ever find me participating in.

I can assure you, it was just as much of a bitch as the real thing.

Seriously, I think I’m applicable for the Guinness Book of World Records or something.

By the time I hit the last submit button, I was almost awash in tears of relief.

I am DONE DONE DONE with school for now.  And I am ready for a vacation.

That’s why The View Through the Window is going to Florida!

Our vacations are usually on the shorter side.  We take four day treks to a city within a few hours drive and get back home in just enough time to say mother eff, tomorrow’s Monday!

But this year we decided that a good vacation is a very important part of life.  Everyone needs to exit the traffic circle of work, school, home, repeat once in a while.

And what can be a better destination than the happiest place on earth?

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After that bitch school workathon, I needed to find a happy place.

I still have my concerns, though.  The drive from Chicago to Florida is around 18 hours long.  Add my kids to it and we might as well hire a donkey cart for our mode of transportation.

We’d probably get there just as fast.

Flying is completely out of the question.  I swore I would never board an airplane with my boys again after my last plane ride, one of the many highlights of which was my very concerned son, a first time flier, asking things like why there were so many cops at the airport, was something wrong with the plane, would it crash and would we all die?

Loud and clear enough for everyone on board to hear.  He apparently inherited my flying apprehensions.

This was me.

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Everyone knows you don’t say crash when you’re on a plane, especially if you’re a Muslim.  I couldn’t believe it, but most people just laughed when they heard him voice his concerns.

Me? I almost threw up all over my friendly fellow passenger from the stress, combined with plenty of air sickness.

I’d rather drive to and back from Florida ten times than go through that again.  Any humiliation we experience will be confined to the privacy of our van.

I tried to persuade my husband to postpone the trip until our kids were older, but he was adamant that they were at just the right age to experience the magic that is Disney.

And because he’s paying for everything, I felt I should agree.

And when I did, he was all

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So we are going.  Suitcases have been packed, Florida relatives have been notified, and neighbors have been asked to keep an eye on our place for us until we return.

Wish us luck!  I am sure one hour into the drive I will want to shoot myself, but I believe in living in the moment.  And in miracles.

Last week was also my birthday.  I am now 31 26 years old.

Here are some birthday dinner pictures.

My mom refused to eat the restaurant’s prized steaks because “they bleed when you slice into them”, so she ordered that enormous vegetable tagine instead.

Here comes the best part about birthdays.

It pays to be old.

Hellos and goodbyes

Happy Mother’s Day!

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May has always been a very busy month in the View Through the Window household.

There is my mother in law’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, Mother’s Day, my birthday, and then Memorial Day, when we usually go somewhere for vacation.

The month has gotten even busier since I started school again.  It means the end of the semester.  In fact, all my work for my classes is due before midnight on May 15.

I wasn’t going to let schoolwork get in the way of my enjoying my weekend, though, especially since I had extra reason to celebrate.

Reason number one is that my brother and his wife had their first baby last week.  I am an aunt now for the second time!

And if that wasn’t awesome enough, my sister and her son, my four year old nephew, paid us a surprise visit all the way from Dallas, Texas.

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There he is hiding behind his cousin, Son 1.

Seeing my nephews was the best gift ever.  It made me so happy to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with them.

We all went out to Chicago’s Chinatown on Sunday.

Chinatown has a little courtyard type of area, where there are statues of the animals of the Chinese zodiac.  They have a little description underneath for who falls under which year and what animal.

Mine would be the Rat.

Here are some of the other ones.

We had a late lunch…

and then toured some more.

Above are pictures of Chinatown’s candy store, where they lay out samples of stuff like dried plums, sesame seed candy, and sweet ginger.  They have the regular stuff like Airheads and Skittles as well.  I even saw some small samples of dried squid and cuttlefish.

I spent half my time in that store hollering at my boys, who had never been through the sampling process before.  They thought it meant they could take a bite of whatever it was they were sampling, spit it out if they didn’t like it, and put it right back in the little dish.

I spent the other half fishing out whatever they had put back and throwing it away.  🙄

It’s a miracle they didn’t kick us out.

The weekend went by too quickly and before we knew it, it was time to drive my sister to O’Hare airport and say goodbye.

Son 2 and sister 2 joined me in dropping them off.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

I wouldn’t go there

It takes me a long time to get ready and out of the house.  I take long showers, do my hair three different ways before I’m finally happy with the way it looks, and try to put together an outfit that doesn’t hug back fat or show cleavage.

That last one can take an hour in itself.

So sometimes I’m just not up to the challenge.  Sometimes I just want to put on a comfy pair of pajamas, sprawl out onto the sofa, and enter into a coma of laziness.

Most people think that as a stay at home mom, I get plenty of rest during the weekdays and weekends should be reserved for chores and activities.

Eff that shit.

This describes it for me.

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Here’s a snippet of a conversation my husband and I had recently :

Hey, want to go out to Menard’s or Home Depot?

– No.

I noticed the boys’ room needs new blinds.  We could take a look and see what they have.

– I don’t want to. 

Apparently he thinks “no” means I’m playing hard to get.

But we could get new blinds for the whole house.

– I don’t care.  I like our house ugly.

What if the neighbors happen to look in and see you naked?

Send them your condolences.

That last question was just plain silly.  We have nice neighbors who pay way too much attention to their lawn and don’t really seem interested in a game of peek a boob.

Anyway, this past weekend I had to be productive, whether I wanted to or not, because my in laws were visiting.

And we had a wedding to attend.

And it was my mother in law’s birthday.

And my brother’s birthday.

And I had homework.

So on Friday I slept for a grand total of four and a half hours and got my ass up at the crack of Sheema, get up, your alarm has been going off for an hour already!

I washed, scrubbed, mopped, cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, swept, and cooked.  Every time I thought I could rest, I remembered something else that had to be done.

By the afternoon, I was all

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Then it was time to take my tired ass to the wedding.  By that point, I just didn’t care anymore.  I could’ve been sporting facial hair the size of a cat’s whiskers and I still wouldn’t do anything about it.

I put on the same thing I wore to the last wedding I attended, stuck a bobby pin in my hair, popped in some earrings and off we went.

And because I am tired of typing, here are some pictures.

That was our Friday.

Saturday we went to Lincoln Park Zoo, which meant five hours of constant walking.  Yay.

The day ended with a fabulous meal at a Mediterranean restaurant called Fatoush.  If you’re ever in the Chicago area, I highly recommend it.

Another thing I’d recommend if you visit Chicago : Don’t visit Lincoln Park Zoo.

Sure, they have great views, but apparently they decided it meant that they can short change on the animals.

The exhibits are small, the walking areas are cramped, and traffic/parking is a nightmare.

Everything got done over the weekend except for my homework, which I have been putting off in favor of the funner stuff in life.

Not that blogging is still fun.  I’m actually getting pretty bored of not for profit writing.

But it beats having to deal with political science  and anthropology.

At this rate, I will fail and remain education/degree less for the rest of my life.

I will be old and fat and working at Walmart until I die.

Oh well.  At least I have a plan.

Awkward toy moments

The title says it all.

These are just some of the ways my kids have left their toys lying around our house.  And yard.

Some of these situations I couldn’t believe and some were just plain funny.

There is some plastic, Made in China kind of slightly risque humor here.  If you are easily offended and rush to label everything inappropriate or haram, then please proceed no further.

If you can see humor in simple, everyday situations, then please have a look.

Ready?  On we go.

What used to be some poor stuffed animal’s tail apparently turned into this guy’s….

I believe the picture is self explanatory.

That poor Elsa doll.  Someone is obviously out to get her.

And she has armpit hair.

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These two just happened to be…

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right across from each other.

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Never pick on someone that’s twice your width and can easily beat you up in the toy box.

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I believe he’s stuck.

These guys were my patients over the weekend.

A nearly decapitated Bowser and a penguin in desperate need of a nose job.

Apparently Mario and Luigi have turned homicidal since my Nintendo days.

Bowser and Penguin paid a visit to the stuffed animal hospital and I took them into the operating room,

where my pathetic patching skills met my even more pathetic sewing skills.

But they aren’t complaining.

I’m the only doctor covered by their insurance plan.

And they told their friends about me, too.  My fame has spread amongst injured toys and their owners.

I now have a waiting room.

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Say hello to my left foot

Spring is officially here!

*Doing a little happy dance*

School and homework are keeping me busy.  The weather is getting better and we find ourselves spending a lot more time outdoors.

I haven’t had the chance to read any of my favorite blogs or devote much time to my own.  😦

Today’s blog post is another click a pic one.  Over the weekend we visited my sister on/near the campus of the University of Illinois in Chicago.  One of the highlights of the trip to Fati aunty’s are the fantastic views you get to see along the way and while there.  Chicago is, after all, famous for its architecture and skyline.

I lived in Queens, New York before moving to Chicago when I was fourteen.  This city has its pros and cons, but New York will always be close to my heart.

If my husband were awake, he’d read this over my shoulder and say So you enjoyed the smell of sewer water and being mugged twice a week? and I would tell him to take his country ass back to Kentucky.

We’re soul mates. ❤

Seeing the Chicago skyline while cruising down one of the city’s many highways is awesome.  Being in the city always gives me a thrill.  Must be the New Yorker in me.

The visit to Fati’s turned into a sleepover for me and my kids because of how late it had gotten.

It was so lovely to see this when I happened to wake up around dawn.  It felt like the whole world was waking up with me.

At night from the balcony.

After seeing all these beautiful photos I have come to one major conclusion : I need a better camera.

I can’t wait for my classes to be over.  School is a pain in the ass.  I wanted to elaborate on the name of my blog and explain why I am so in love with views, but that will have to wait for another post.  I have a mountain of backlog of homework to do. 😥

Abdullah Saleem isn’t the only one

Head of Elgin Islamic School charged in sex abuse of former employee

Can’t say I’m shocked.

Sexual violence happens everywhere in the world and in every type of society.  But few will admit that it is rampant in religious institutions where extreme sexual repression is practiced and endorsed.

It happens and it happens often. In secrecy, of course.  Similar to the scandal that rocked the Catholic community.

What I am shocked about is that the perpetrator is facing charges.  People who hold high, powerful positions are not brought down easily.  Major respect to the young lady who had the courage to speak up for herself.  Major respect for the family that supported her.  Her bravery has led other women to come forward about being molested by the same sick bastard.

Laying allegations of sexual abuse against a figure such as Abdullah Saleem is no small feat.  For the Chicago Muslim community, he might as well have been the Pope.  That’s how revered he was, and still is, to some people who believe the victims are lying.

You might be thinking that I’m too quick to judge.  That everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

True.

But I speak from personal experiences and observances that very often (but not always, of course), those who speak the loudest are mostly full of shit.

If you feel the need to sermonize and make a big tada about your actions, odds are you’re speaking from the mind and the wallet.  Not the heart.

And if your actions are from the heart, you don’t need an audience or a spotlight to showcase you.  The beauty of your deeds and your work will speak for itself and be satisfaction enough.

I am also well aware that a victim’s reputation is always at stake in cases of sexual abuse.  To speak up is to be faced with questions and accusations against ones own ethics and principles, especially in a religious setting and against such a highly esteemed figure as Abdullah Saleem.

No woman or man would tackle something of this magnitude were it not for some major, MAJOR shit having gone down.  No amount of money can equal the fight and the heartache of tackling the tsunami that is the  backlash from a large religious community.

Salem Witch trials, anyone?

I can’t sum up in words exactly how awed I am by the young lady who has now given a voice to other victims.

She has more balls than the entire male staff of IIE put together.

This scandal brings to light how powerful a recruiting tool religion can be.  I’m a sexual predator won’t sell, but religious school for the learning of Quran or Bible classes for young boys will have people lining up to patron your holy cause.

Put a supposedly divine stamp on it and it’s amazing what you can get away with.

A fantastic Indian movie I watched recently, PK (yeah, that’s the title, a P and a K), gives an account of how warped religion has become in the hands of man.  It is religion seen through the eyes of an extraterrestrial.  An alien.  Awesome stuff.  Please do give it a look.  You’ll easily find a copy with subtitles if need be.

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And no, I was not paid for the advertising of the movie.

As if.

Lastly, and most importantly, please listen to your children and create an environment in which they feel safe coming to you for any and all problems.  Abdullah Saleem isn’t the only one, of course.  There are plenty of sickos out there, some in guises of holy pillars of the community and many not.  The trauma of living through sexual abuse is something that can easily break an adult.

Imagine what it has the potential to do to the fragility of a child.

Fifty shades of gross

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️❤️❤️

My in laws did us the awesome favor of babysitting. Yay for couple time!

My husband’s work friends all asked him when he was going to go see Fifty Shades of Grey. Apparently their wives and girlfriends are all dragging them to the movie.

I haven’t even read the book yet and I’m not planning to, either. My idea of a great book/love story is Jane Eyre. I can watch that on Netflix and read it on iBooks. And I have.

Michael Fassbender makes an awesome Mr.Rochester. 😍

I heard something funny on the radio about Fifty Shades of Grey. A DJ described the movie as “two hours of the stuff you fast forward through in a porno.”

Interesting.