Sunday, March 30, 2008

Girl time, and fever

Safa and I went to get pedicures yesterday. It had been a long time since we had some girly time together, so that was a lot of fun. I also want her to be fully relaxed for the next two weeks at school. She doesn't seem to take school stress as well as Hamza does, and they both have SATs, starting Tuesday. I thought this would be a good way for her to start the week. They both have performed above the 90th percentile consistently in previous years, and are striving for a good result this year too.

We noticed yesterday that Bilal was a little bit down; he actually wanted to sit in my lap, which is rare, and his appetite wasn't as super as it has been lately. This morning he retched a bit when I offered him breakfast, and he's really just not been hungry. He's also been quite easy to cry and a little more clingy than usual. Of course I really don't stress about the eating part any more, it's a blessing that he's done so well, and I'm sure he'll pick up soon. But he woke up after a long nap with a temperature of 100.2. Not too bad, but obviously enough to make him a bit more puny. He has a very slight runny nose, and otherwise no symptoms. I've already checked his ears, and they are clear. So, maybe a virus, or maybe it's teething again. He's just got a couple more molars left, and seems to want to gnaw on things more for the last couple of days. Sounds like a pretty straightforward explanation. Whatever it is, hopefully it will be self limiting, and I sure hope he keeps his bugs to himself. I don't want his older siblings getting sick during SAT week!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ups and Downs

It's been a very emotional few days. Our dear colleague Pat just lost her mother because of an inoperable leaking aortic aneurysm. Her family was hoping to take her home on hospice, but she passed away peacefully last night. A heart baby in the tetralogy of fallot yahoo group I follow lost his battle with CHD, he couldn't get surgery in time. That must be devastating for his parents. The good news is that our heart buddy Ashcer has undergone successful heart surgery, his Fontan, and as we speak, is recovering in the PICU. We are hoping and praying that he has an eventful and speedy recovery.

Thank God things have been good in our home. Safa and Hamza have again wowed us with their report cards. We're blessed to have such motivated kids who take pride in doing well in school. Bilal's speech is really taking off. Driving down the road today he pointed out the 'doddie' (dog), which is quite a change from the previous 'bow bow'. He still uses his own special language, but can actually make a lot of sense at times (at least he makes sense to us!) We have decided not to take him for a speech evaluation, since he seems to be making a little bit more progress every day. He also has really been exercising his taste buds. Yesterday his supper was baked salmon, mashed potatoes and couscous, and today Bilal ate pizza and parmesan baked squash, with cantaloupe for dessert. And to think that a couple of months ago I was still having to puree a lot of his food; I thought he'd be eating baby food even when he turned twenty one!

Bilal's annual cardiology appointment is scheduled for July 2nd. We have to schedule months in advance to get a timely appointment. If we get a report from Dr. Colvin similar to last year's, things will be terrific. We were very encouraged after last year's follow up: mild pulmonary insufficiency, and mild residual pulmonary stenosis which is expected to improve with age. Hopefully no more cardiac procedures for our little guy, at least not in the near future. We will be scheduling his hernia repair with Dr. Saito, most likely before the kids go back to school in August.

The boys hanging out on the deck, and Bilal helping himself to Austin's snack

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's all about trucks

Bilal's new passion is very obvious. He simply loves trucks. Here he is displaying his love of 'vroom vrooms' of the larger variety:

Favorite book

Wearing his new truck PJs

Playing with truck toys


Reading a bedtime book in his favorite nook

Don't you just love those big brown eyes?

And lastly, a little clip of Bilal playing with his Tonka Truck

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sharing some pics

At Bellingrath Gardens

Hamza growls at the lion

River cruise

Back at home and working in the yard

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Back in Birmingham

We had a great time in Mobile, visited some key landmarks and just hung out with Farah and Adeel the rest of the time. Dinner at Felix's Fish Camp Restaurant was delicious, and we go some great views of Mobile bay around sunset. Unfortunately the sky clouded over right before the sun set, but the sights were still lovely.

On Saturday we went to Battleship Memorial Park. Hamza and Bilal were in kiddie heaven. They are both fascinated by airplanes. I was surprised to know how much Hamza knows about some of the military airplanes, and basically Bilal just ran around shouting "Ai Yai!", his word for airplane. After checking out the planes we spent some time on the USS Alabama. There's a piece of history for you! The ship has been very well preserved, and is full of historical artifacts. We spent a lot more time there than we ever expected to, there was so much to see.

After the park we drove to Foley to the factory outlets, and did some serious shopping. It wasn't until we were headed back to the car that Safa reminded me that I hadn't bought a single thing for myself. That tends to happen a lot, I get caught up in buying things for the kids and don't realize that I didn't get myself anything. I guess I just got caught up in all the cool kiddie clothing outlets.

In the evening we went to Shogun for Hibachi. It was funny, because Bilal obviously remebered the last time we went to a steakhouse just a few weeks ago, because he kept hiding his face even before the chef even lit the fire. He did enjoy the meal, although he kept telling the chef "Bye", while he was cleaning up the grill. He feasted on rice, noodles and a lot of veggies. I don't know what it is about Hibachi that the kids always want to eat at a Japanese steakhouse. The menu's always the same!

We obviously managed to wear out the kids enough, all three of them slept in until about 8:30am this morning, and as a result Zakir and I got some extra shut-eye, that's pretty rare!

Even though the trip was a lot of fun, it was still great to come home. Safa's special request was 'real food', or home cooked food, since we had eaten out every meal except one breakfast while we were in Mobile. So we all sat down to a home cooked meal of chicken curry and rice this evening. All three of them were tucked in before 8 o'clock this evening, so I have had a chance to sit down and relax before work as usual tomorrow.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bellingrath Gardens

We're just back from spending several hours at Bellingrath Gardens, in Theodore, just outside of Mobile, Alabama. Definitely a worthwhile visit. We actually ran out of time and didn't even get to see the home, but the grounds are beautiful and the river cruise was pretty cool too. I have a feeling we'll be going back again some day.

We're headed to a restaurant called Felix's Fish Camp this evening. Hope to get a nice view of Mobile Bay and the sunset. It ought to be a great experience; the billboards stated vote "Best Restaurant", but we're not quite sure who voted! Anyway, I made reservations yesterday, and actually got to see the table assigned to us. Well, if we're going to drive 4 hours for seafood, we at least should get a decent view too. We tried to eat there yesterday, but the wait was 1 and 1/2 hours right around sunset.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day off with the kids

Today is my day off with the kids. Since Safa and Hamza are out of school for spring break we thought it was a good idea to do something fun. We had planned to go to the zoo, but it's overcast and looks like rain, so we decided agianst that. Next plan, Chuck e Cheese. Well, we drove there, only to find a piece of leveled land where the play place used to be. Apparently, some time during the year that we hadn't gone there, it has ceased to exist. So we drove back to Trussville and decided on putt-putt, not far from where we live. That didn't materialize because we made it there 50 minutes before it opened. By then Bilal was starting to get sleepy, being driven all around town in the car. Hamza worked hard to keep him awake and we settled on McDonalds. Whatever! At least Bilal had a great time in the play area while Hamza chaperoned him, and we all ate junk food for lunch.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I just realized I haven't posted anything in a few days, must be slipping up! There hasn't been a lot going on; the highlight of the weekend was a dinner we had for a few families last night, and of course there was a lot of prep time for that. One family couldn't come, so we've ended up with a lot of food left over in our fridge, which we will be eating every day until the kids start complaining! We're headed to Mobile on Thursday for a few days, to visit Zakir's sister Farah and her husband Adeel. We haven't been to Mobile before, so we're excited about that. The drive will be about 5 hours, just hoping that Bilal handles it well. Safa and Hamza historically have traveled well, and as they have got older it gets easier. I suppose after traveling many many hours cooped up in an airplane to Pakistan, this should be a cinch even for Bilal. Plus we can stop wherever we need, so that should help.

Well, Happy St. Paddy's day to everyone, I suppose I should be wearing my festive green today, since I am technically Irish (at least I was born in Northern Ireland), although I really don't remember the Irish making so much fuss about March 17th when I was younger and living there. It's funny how different cultures adopt holidays from other cultures, and get caught up in the celebration more than the originators! Another interesting piece of trivia is that blue is the color associated with St. Patrick, not green. Anyway, it's a day to celebrate all things Irish, so I'll just celebrate too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Indoors, outdoors and heart surgery

Here are a couple of photos from Saturday's Karate tournament. Safa won silver in Kumite (sparring).

Safa doing her kata

Hamza sparring tough little Camille

Playing in the yard with friends, the kids have been waiting all winter to enjoy this!

Picking blossoms
If you can, please check out the website for a precious little girl called Emma who is scheduled to have her second heart surgery on Friday. Her family sure could do with the support. Having gone through it with Bilal I personally know how hard these times can be.

Monday, March 10, 2008


The school has a yam decorating contest every year in March for Youth Art Month (YAM). Safa won third prize last year for her 'yamburger', and this year Hamza is entering with his racecar. The wheels are made of pickles.

Saturday was the karate tournament. I've been trying to upload photos since Sunday morning, but I keep getting some sort of google error, so they are going to have to wait. We were there from before 9am until 4pm, and the kids were tired of being cooped up in the gym without lunch. It wasn't all that well organized this year. Safa even missed the birthday party. We ran through the McDonalds drive-through on the way home (a rare occurence). In the evening we took them up to the Pinnacle for some shopping; it was good to be outdoors a bit. Sunday was a little more low key, but the one hour time loss has taken a bit of a toll. It will take a couple of days to adjust.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Home Improvement plans

We spent a couple of hours today at the Spring Home and Garden Show. The kids love to go because there is a supermarket giving out free samples of all kinds of food, including yummy ice cream, but we went today with another purpose too. We are planning on expanding our little bitty sunroom out on to the deck. The sunroom is too small for more than 4 or 5 people to sit in, and we can only use the deck when the weather is just right, and there are no mosquitos. That, unfortunately, doesn't happen a lot. So a larger sunroom sounds more attractive. Phase II, maybe a couple of years from now will be to get rid of our rundown slide and swings, and build a nice patio with a recessed fireplace, or maybe a little gazebo. Today we came away with various ideas for the suroom, and are really psyched about the idea of starting work as soon as we get some estimates. We actually already have an appointment for someone to come out and look at the place next week. I like to entertain, but have difficulty getting more than a couple of families over because we run out of space. This could be an excellent solution without having to move to a bigger house, which we really don't need. Plus we love our neighborhood; it is safe and the kids have friends here. Also we have always wanted a nice level yard, which we presently have, and they are hard to come by in our little suburban Trussville.

There is snow predicted tonight, possibly up to 2 inches, which for Alabama is a big deal. Tomorrow we head out bright and early for the karate tournament, and in the afternoon Safa has a birthday party to go to. So all in all, a pretty busy weekend.

Homework in the back yard

Putting Bilal to work, he has to earn his keep somehow!

A walk around the block. It was 70 degrees yesterday

Bilal's first experience with a bouncy castle. We had to get him out kicking and screaming

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Contagious laughter

There is somthing about the innocent laughter of a toddler, that just makes your day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another birthday

OK, so tomorrow I turn a year older, the big 29 (not really, but I've been turning 28 for so many years that I'm afraid people will stop believing me; it's time to go up a year). Actually, I had a reality check regarding my age when I went in for my first prenatal visit when I was pregnant with Bilal. My OB/GYN walked in the room and announced "Congratulations, you are officially going to be advanced maternal age." Gee, thanks, as if I really needed to be reminded. Anyway, she was AMA with her second pregnancy too, so hah! Advanced maternal age is 35 or older at the time of birth of your child, some number someone has come up with, that is supposed to be a predictor of a higher risk pregnancy. So, if I didn't turn 35 until a day after Bilal was born would my pregnancy risks have been lower? I'm not sure, but this did come up in discussion after Bilal was born. Of course the cardiologist was quick to assure me that the risk of tetralogy of fallot does not increase with maternal or paternal age, and as far as my pregnancy goes, I barely even took a Tylenol, and was good about my vitamins, so evidently I wasn't doing anything that should increase the odds of having a heart baby. Of course I did doubt myself and blame myself, it's natural, but I think I have finally gotten over all that. It was just a sporadic event. And this year I get my first mammogram too, yipee! Ah, the joys of growing old!

Thankfully all three kids are actually free of infectious disease at this point in time. We are hoping for a nice long healthy spell, but goodness knows what they can pick up from school. All those parents, sending sick kids to school, trying to mask their fevers with Advil, when they're actually contagious! Not something I do, of course. Bilal's appetite is good, he ate a real meal today: Haleem (a Pakistani curry/stew made with beef, lentils and wheat), with pieces of naan (flatbread). That is a great accomplishment. I am hoping that this means feeding issues are over, once and for all. Now even if he doesn't eat well on any given day, I don't stress over it, because he will make it up at a later meal. Trust me, that means that I've come a long way too!

Monday, March 3, 2008


The two brothers had a great time outside and inside this evening. On the driveway they were speed demons (making me very nervous), and indoors they were 'Superbrothers' and then 'Darth Baby' and 'Darth Brother'. They were so cute running around, both wearing their blankies as capes. When they get along it's wonderful, but there are many times when Hamza can't stand Bilal getting near his things, and Bilal gets mad because Hamza's sitting too close to Mama. Well, I guess sibling rivalry is a part of growing up. I remember the days when Bilal wuld lie on his playmat, just kicking, and Hamza would ask, "when will Bilal play with me?" I warned him even then, that there will soon a day when he would be chasing him away so that he doesn't destroy his stuff. Well, as predicted, that day has come. Bilal can be quite destructive. I made the kitchen stool disappear because he would climb on it to get into any drawer. Now my resourceful little guy just drags a dining chair across the kitchen instead. No matter how cautious we are, I have to clean up spills from the floor almost every day!

On a different note, the weather in Alabama is being predictably unpredictable. Today the high temperature reached nearly 80 degrees, and tomrrow night we are expecting the low to be 29 degrees. We are anticipating storms and potential tornado weather tonight. Just hoping that everyone stays safe, and that Sammy makes it indoors before the weather gets rough. Thankfully he's our streetsmart, weathersmart cat, but it is still so stressful if he stays out at night. You'd think that after having him for almost 7 years we wouldn't worry about him, but I just like to have the cats indoors at night. Last night Tiny stayed out (which is very rare), and I had a hard time sleeping, worrying about her. Sometimes I wonder why do we even have pets? Isn't it enough that we have three kids to worry about? But then Tiny crawls up into my lap, and it makes more sense. Animals in their own way bring so much joy and comfort.

Here's Safa's self-taken photograph, wearing one of Hamza's old winter hats:

Isn't she so cute?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spring is in the air

Zakir's been working on the lawnmower, apparently it's on the blink, again! The kids have been playing outdoors, it's about 55 degrees today, but with the sun out, it feels like spring; with a gentle cool breeze, and a clear blue sky. The kids are talking about going to Callaway Gardens for a biking trip, and Bilal just got a new trike. It's actually pretty neat. Since his legs are still too little to hit the pedals, it can be pushed and steered from behind. When he learns to pedal, we'll just remove the pole in the back and he's good to go. We just have to get a helmet for safety.

We had lunch at Gyro's Cafe, a restaurant that serves Mediterranean style food, as well as burger and fries. They have a nice outdoors seating area, which was perfect for the weather. Hamza and Safa had their usual: hamburger for him and fried shrimp for her, while Bilal chowed down on a pickle, a grilled cheese sandwich which he dipped in hummus, and countless french fries, a good meal. It's nice that we can actually leave the house to eat out, without having to carry a jar of baby food. He is getting more adventurous with textures and flavors, well, it's about time!

Related Posts with Thumbnails