I lost my widgets, I lost my widgets! I was trying to change the template of our blog, and transfer the widgets over to the new blog, obviously missed a step and am now widgetless. All that work, what a waste!!!! I will be working on manually restoring all that I had on it, but it will take a while. For now the columns will look bare, hopefully in a few days it will look better. I can't believe I did that. Somebody teach me HTML, please!
Where this Blog started.......
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This afternoon was the last debate meet for the 2007-08 school year. The topic was universal health care, something I have also studied in some depth in the past. I didn't get to attend the actual debates, but made it there for the awards. Safa placed second in the Birmingham area middle school division, by only one point, a 348, to the winner's 349. Of course in our eyes she is a winner. This is her first year, and she came second to an 8th grade student who has been debating for 3 years, so that's awesome. Overall Hewitt won in both the high school and middle school levels, securing 33 out of 36 possible wins. We had a strong team this year, but among all Hewitt students participating, only Safa ranked among the top ten.
Safa's debate team
Members of the HTMS team outside Brooks Hall at Samford University
Monday, April 28, 2008
Imagine you were a child admitted to the hospital with an illness, or in need of surgery. A foreign world, one full of strange noises such as beeps and alarms and strangers talking in whispers. A world full of IVs, and painful needle sticks, monitors and all kinds of medical tests. How would you feel? You probably wouldn't understand why you had to be there, what couldn't you go home to a place where life is predictable again? Miracles are performed in hospitals, but that is often more than a child can comprehend.
Now imagine if a friendly face walked into your room, with a cart full of books, and you were allowed to choose one to keep for yourself. Wouldn't that be a welcome surprise? Kate's Kart is making that a reality in one hospital. Check out the website and join me in supporting this budding charity. There is also a link in the sidebar that you can use to go to the website.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Hamza's yummy, but not-so-creatively-named shrimp alfredo
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Today it felt like summer for the first time. Temperatures hit the mid 80s, a sign of things to come. I thought I'd share a little montage of the family, pre-summer. It's been an eventful spring in many ways, and this collection of photos will help sum it up. According to Safa there's 20 days left until school is out, the kids are keeping a close count. Let's see what the summer brings for us!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Safa came up with the idea of a cook-off between her and Hamza today, a sort of 'Iron Chef' Khan family style, so to speak. Zakir picked the secret ingredient, strawberries, and our budding chefs got to work. The judging was based on creativity, taste, presentation and how clean their workspace was at the end of it all. Safa's dessert was a trifle of sorts, vanilla pudding layers with fresh strawberries, and topped with flavored sugar crystals. Definitely a 10 for taste, but lacking a bit in clean-up and presentation. Hamza's drink ranked high in presentation (OK, the sugar coated glass rims were actually my idea!), but his strawberry, banana, peanut butter smoothie wasn't quite perfect in taste. I have to admit I just don't like peanut butter, but I give him credit for the effort. Plus he actually found the recipe online, so the points he would have lost in creativity, he earned in resourcefulness. The 'secret ingredient' for next Sunday has already been revealed, we thought we'd give them a head start. I wonder what they'll do with noodles? I think this could be the start of a fun trend in our home!
Today was car-wash day, the MINI and Zakir's Audi got a thorough cleaning, and the process was great fun for the kids. Bilal came in the house soaking wet and very happy; apparently he enjoyed soaking everyone with the garden hose, so Zakir gave him a squirt, or two, or three also.
Hard at work, and enjoying it
I also started working on Safa's room this weekend, as promised, well, about 6 months ago. That was when I finished painting and furnishing Bilal's room and had promised Safa that her room was next. OK, I'm a procrastinator, I admit it, but at least work has commenced. Zakir repaired the broken shelf in her closet and I steamed off the cloud decals that she inherited when she moved into that room. We aren't going to paint the walls; they're a pretty blue color, instead we are going to apply some wall art, and finally get her some drapes to cover those ugly white blinds. This will probably take several weekends, since I don't see much happening during the week. I still haven't finished last Thursday's office work, that's just not what weekends are for!
Tuesday is our fourteenth wedding anniversary, and I think we're finally ready to 'cut the cord'. Monday night (Vicki couldn't come Tuesday) Zakir and I are going out to dinner. We haven't gone out without the kids since before Bilal was born, so this is waaayyyyy overdue. The hardest thing is knowing that neither Zakir nor I will be there at Bilal's bedtime. It's probably not such a big deal, but it's never happened. Even when he was in the hospital after open heart surgery I spent every night sitting next to him, reluctant to travel the twenty minutes to our house where I could have slept in my own bed. And now we have a bedtime routine that helps our little wildman unwind and get ready to go into his crib, and I won't be there for him! We know that he doesn't like the slightest deviation from his usual schedule, so I don't know how this will go! The positive side is that he adores Vicki, and she has been caring for him for more than a year, we're not leaving him with an unfamiliar person. Plus Safa and Hamza will be home so he can 'tuck them in' as he usually does before he goes to bed. Still, I'm a bit nervous.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
We've got a dinner to go to tonight, a gathering of doctors and their families, in Montgomery. That should quite a colorful social event. Safa's been working on what to wear. This process includes calling or texting her friends, and polling them, getting ideas, so none of her posse look overdressed or underdressed. I didn't realize how delicate this process actually is, and I don't think I had the faintest idea about dressing up for parties when I was 12. Even now, I'll just pull out an outfit in the my closet and hope that it doesn't clash too drastically with the oversized diaper bag we still carry around. Kids these days!
Hamza has a friend's birthday party to go to at noon, and his teacher is having her class over for a party this evening, of course he'll miss this, and is quite bummed about it. His teacher's plans include a twilight walk in the woods by her house and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on an open fire. I can see how that would be more fun for a nine year old than meeting a bunch of doctors' kids in a hotel. Still, we do plan on seeing a lot of his friends tonight.
Tomorrow we plan to go bowling with a big group from Sunday School, and today the morning will be devoted to yard work. Safa and Hamza got selected to be on the National Geographic Kids advisory board this year, and as a gift each got trees in the mail, teeny spruce trees that came in bubble mailing bags. They are planting them outside today. If they establish themselves in our back year they apparently have the potential to grow up to 150 feet. Wow! I'll add some photos when the trees are secured planted in the ground. Right now I have a little herb garden growing in a pot, basically rosemary, cilantro and spearmint, which are the fresh herbs we use the most in cooking. Zakir has a few varieties of tomatoes growing in our veggie patch, which is the one vegetable (well, fruit) we have consistently grown very successfully every year since living in this house. We are also planting some cukes, and peppers. The kids love getting involved and it's a great way to peel them away from the TV.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
After years of trial and error with different foods I have finally mastered the art of feeding my kids (basically Hamza) vegetables. Safa has always been an eating champ, at least willing to try anything new, and Bilal loves veggies, well except eggplant (that's the only one I've found so far that he absolutely refused to eat). But Hamza has always been a bit of a challenge. Well, no longer! I thought I'd share my very simple modifications on the steamed veggie for those moms who struggle with the issue: "If it's green I ain't gonna eat it!"
1. Green beans seasoned with chicken boullion
2. Green cabbage sauteed in a teaspoon of oil, softened and slightly browned. Before removing from the skillet I add Moore's marinade for additional flavor. That's actually a locally distributed marinade, but is nothing more than soy sauce, smoke flavoring, garlic and a few other spices.
3. Thinly sliced yellow squash and thinly sliced onions, layered with freshly grated parmesan cheese and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes (a favorite with my kids, they'll eat this as a snack)
4. Eggplant coated in a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, but baked instead of fried, and served as a typical egglant parmesan dish. Hamza wolfed this down, but I couldn't even get Bilal to chew a single bite!
5. Sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter and sprinkled with dill seed while in the pan (OK, this isn't as healthy as the preceding options, but it sure is yummy!)
I make several curries with veggies, but that is more time consuming; I'm all for shortcuts!
Of course, kids will be kids, and they love their ice cream!
Monday, April 14, 2008
I have acquired this awesome network of heart families and friends through carepages, caringbridge and blogger. It's time to put it to good use. I mentioned Emma in an earlier post. She is at the hospital, recovering from heart surgery. Aside from some tube feeding issues she's doing well. Ashcer had an awesome recovery, and is doing well back at home with his family. Another precious little one Addisyn has made it home and is recovering from open heart surgery as we speak. If you get a chance, drop by their sites and read their awe-inspiring stories. I just learned about another little guy, Elijah who is going in for his full repair tomorrow. Wow, I know I'll be following the courses of all these wonderful children through surgery and post-op. For those of you who have a Carepages login, you can check in on Jackson (cp: JLFries) and Cassidy (cp: cassidylisa), who have recently had open heart surgery and the list goes on. For some of these children, a single OHS means a full repair of their CHD, and for others it's just the start of a series of many procedures. Little Karly (cp: Karlybug) is having her second open heart surgery very soon, and I know her family is going through the same anxiety we all do when we have to hand our child over to a doctor for heart surgery. There are many other children and families dealing with similar struggles every day. I had never fathomed that CHD is such a widespread disease!
Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention Nevaeh who will be having her OHS some time in May too.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
My kids, getting along well for a change
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Bilal's bizarre 36 hour illness is over, thankfully, and he had a good supper this evening. Safa's been complaining about a sore throat now, but I'm hoping it's just allergies, everything is yellow with pollen! We need a good rain to help settle some of that stuff now.
Swinging and enjoying ice creams at the park
Monday, April 7, 2008
I don't know what it is with Bilal and weekends. Appetite down again, puny, saying 'hurt', wouldn't elaborate any more (what can you expect from a 20 month old?) and fever, up to 101.5 this time. Not really any other symptoms, except a little more retching again. That was our night. I, of course had to go to work this morning, but Bilal slept in until 10am! Now why can't he do that on the weekends? He spent most of the afternoon playing, but was a bit more clingy, and he didn't eat much today. Since he didn't nap after waking up he was really ready for bedtime tonight.
Hamza saw the orthodontist this afternoon. This time he's not going to need more extractions until the next visit in 6 months. Poor guy has a small jaw, that is crowded even with his primary teeth, so he's been getting serial extractions of his baby teeth to make way for the permanent ones. We have been seeing the orthodontist for about 2 years, and haven't even started treatment yet! The extractions are supposed to simplify the actual course of wearing braces. I have to admit he doesn't cry even with all the shots he gets for extractions, whereas if it were Safa, well....... Hamza still has 8 primary teeth that are nowhere near ready to come out.
We have finalized the plans for our sunroom expansion project, and are waiting for the drawings to be prepared so that we can get the permits and start construction. We are optomistic that it should be ready by mid-June, as long as the city approves everything.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
This week has been pretty uneventful, Safa and Hamza are finished with half of their standardized testing at school, and have Monday through Wednesday next week left. This morning we have a second appointment with the contractor to talk in more detail about our sunroom addition. We have narrowed it down and are excited to start as soon as we can. First the plans have to be submitted to the city so we can get our permits. Trussville is historically very strict about codes, but with the amount of remodeling going on in our neighborhood right now, it can't be that bad. The only issue is that we have been told by two different contractors that it will take about 2 months. That's a long time to have workers in our home, especially since it involves knocking down an exterior wall. I thought people could build an entire home in 2-3 months, we just want to expand our sunroom!
Our friend Ashcer is doing great post-Fontan. He finally got all his chest tubes out and may be heading home in the next day or two. Our little heart buddy Emma is scheduled for her second open heart surgery on April 11th. Let's all pray that she doesn't get sick, the poor family has already dealt with re-scheduling twice before! They really need to be able to get through this. I remember Bilal's surgery date was just moved (for good reason) by 3 days, and that was enough to throw us all off.
Bilal's speech really taking off! He tends to get really frustrated when we don't know exactly what he's talking about, because he sure does, but his words are definitely getting easier to understand, as a general rule. He remains fascinated by planes and helicopters (he knows that a 'hopter' is different that an 'ai yai'), and can differentiate various types of trucks, pretty impressive. He loves bath time, and could stay in the water forever if I would let him. Also, going 'i-tide' (outside) is his favorite pastime. Yesterday it was 'waining' (raining) a lot. I speak to him in Urdu, but he seems determined to use English words, probably because everone else does. Well, at least he understands Urdu. I'll keep trying!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Another beautiful spring day, hoping this weather lasts!