Sunday, November 30, 2008

I can't share enough of these cuties!

Granted, I'm biased.

Don't cry, little baby!



See how gentle Bilal is with Mobeen


Proud uncle

Thanks, Adeel, for taking these beautiful pics!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mobeen

The cutest newborn I have seen in 2.5 years! Mobeen is so precious.

















Friday, November 28, 2008

A Thanksgiving feast in Mobile

After a delicious lunch at Munazza's house in Anniston we headed down to Mobile yesterday evening. So today we have been cooking as traditional a Thanksgiving meal as we can. The menu items include:

Turkey (of course!)
Sweet potato casserole (a new recipe I got from Vicki)
Green bean casserole
Corn casserole
Dinner rolls (um, store bought)
Gravy
Cranberry sauce (not from scratch this year)

We also baked some brie as an appetizer, and I made a strawberry and vanilla glazed bundt cake for dessert.

As of right now the turkey is roasting in the oven, and everyone is waiting with their appetites. This morning we took the kids to the Battleship Memorial park, home of the USS Arizona on Mobile Bay. The weather was quite warm and extremely breezy, with a forecast of rain later in the day.

Rather warm for the end of November



Entering the I-10 tunnel





They could be mistaken for sisters!

Pics from the park, with the USS Alabama in the background

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great day for us to think about what we are thankful for, every day of the year. It's definitely my favorite family holiday of the year. We get to do so much together as a family. This year we'll be cooking our usual Thanksgiving meal one day late, but that doesn't matter; we'll be spending it with Farah, Adeeel, and the most recent addition to the family, baby Mobeen. There are so many things I am thankful for and these are a few, in no particular order:

My husband, and all the support he gives me when I need it. We have our share of healthy disagreements, but I have to admit he always comes through when I need him the most.

My kids, with their unique personalities, gifts and even their quirks. I love them so much. Thankful that my kids are healthy and thriving.

Thankful for the new perspective I have acquired after facing Bilal's CHD diagnosis. I have learned to appreciate the smaller things in life, and developed more sympathy for those in pain and distress. I pray every day that I am a better person because my son was born with a broken heart.

My religion and God; He gives me strength everyday to get through the various adversities I might face.

Our friends and family both the ones I meet physically and those I am connected to in other ways.

Happy Thanksgiving, now for some cooking!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A stomach bug

Bilal and I were grocery shopping in Walmart this morning when I got a call from the school nurse at Paine. Hamza had a stomachache, and headache and then threw up. So I quickly checked out with the couple of groceries I had in the cart and rushed to the school. Of course Bilal was very upset about not making it to the toy section, but that will have to be another trip. He behaves very well in the shopping cart, with the promise that he'll get a chance to see the dump truck and backhoe toys, so naturally he was disappointed. Anyway, I picked Hamza up from school and brought him home. He took a shower and changed out of his puky clothes. Honestly, he looked fine (and admittedly happy to have checked out from school early). So when he asked for lunch I let him have a corndog. We went to the library to pay a fine (ugh!) and check out some more books. While we were there Hamza threw up again! No more corndogs for a while. Now he's lying curled up in bed looking rather puny. I hope this is a short-lived sickness, I don't want him to spend Thanksgiving in bed with a tummy ache. Plus, we are planning to go down to Mobile to see Mobeen again, and we can't take a sick child to a house with a newborn in it, that's just too risky. Please, some positive vibes for Hamza, and prayers that no-one else catches this!


Not looking too sick here!



It was a pleasant, slightly cool morning, and Bilal and I hung out in the back yard for a while.


It's always fun to swing. I had a hard time coaxing Bilal to come back in when it was time for his nap. But after lunch and a storybook he was ready for his crib. It's so cool that I can tempt him with a book and he'll usually go upstairs to his room without a fuss. Lately his naps have been shorter than the usual 3 or so hours, I am so not ready for him to give them up! He and I both needs those few hours to recharge our batteries.

And don't these kids really look like siblings? It's funny when photos like these make me realize how alike Safa and Bilal are, at least in looks, not temperament.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Silly expressions





Sometimes you've got to laugh at his goofiness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Saturday

Here are some pics from our back yard. Temperatures cool down pretty fast in the evenings, so we are trying to make the most of the daylight hours.




Hamza's cheesy smile


"Wheeeeee!"




"Huh?"

"Enough already, Mama!"




Bilal playing with his 'Mawwet hamma' (It's a mallet, it's a hammer)

We went to a birthday party at Jump Zone today. This time it only took about 20 minutes to coax Bilal to take his shoes off, but he still didn't really play on any of the inflatable toys. He preferred to stay on the Little Tikes play set. Hamza, of course, had a blast. Safa is spending the day with some friends from school.



I took the two boys for a walk this evening. Lately we haven't been walking very often, but when we do, we enjoy it so much that we talk about making it a regular activity. Sadly, it doesn't materialize. There is always so much else going on that we just don't make the time. Plus it's so dark by 5pm that Bilal starts talking about bedtime, even if he wakes up from his nap at 4pm!

Zakir bought a new electric grill yesterday, so we're going to try out some new stuff this evening for dinner. We have a couple of different meats to cook. I've always thought that electric grills tend to dry up food too much, but I suppose we'll see how it turns out today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bilal's antics

This morning when I was brushing my hair in the bathroom Bilal came running up to me and said "Mine put tweem on Tiny" (I put cream on Tiny). Well, I looked in the kitchen and Tiny was minding her own business, eating her food, so I thought nothing of it. A little while later Sammy, our red tabby walked up to me with that protesting meow sound he makes when he's not happy about something. I looked down and his back was slathered with gobs of white stuff, presumeably the 'tweem' Bilal had put on him. So right statement, wrong cat. It was rather funny and I would have taken a photo except I was running late for work. Later in the day Vicki identified the cream as Hydrocortisone, which Bilal had managed to grab from the kitchen counter. For being so little he sure can reach pretty far! Anyway, we cleaned Sammy's fur and he was fine, probably won't be suffering from any skin conditions for a while!


It's interesting, any time Bilal does something he knows he shouldn't be doing he'll immediately come up and admit it to me, such as "Mine made mess in sitting woom!" Invariably, he's right. I do get him to help me clean up his messes, but it hasn't deterred him yet. Some day maybe he'll learn that those things aren't meant to be done in the first place. For now I'll be spending much of my day cleaning up after him.



Bilal drinking 'chai', on his perch in front of the TV

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Some more from our portrait session


Obviously with so many of us in the group we couldn't get a lot of poses taken for each individual, but we ended up with a pretty good mix. These are a few of my favorites, besides the one I have already shared. If anyone in the Birmingham area needs portraits, I would definitely recommend our photographer.




Group hug


The girls

And the boys

Two little princesses

Tahir, Amna and the girls

Layla, Safa and Aliyah, all dressed up

After a quick change of clothes

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An overdue update

I haven't been posting regularly, lately I've been feeling lazy by the end of the day, and not very creative, but I'm going to try and get back on track, and hopefully keep the camera out more. What is a post without photos?

After a fun weekend in Mobile the kids are back in school, and I don't think there's anything planned for the upcoming weekend, well, except a friend's birthday party. Safa plans to work on her ASFA application and possibly go over the ACT sample test booklet she got in the mail. Hamza brought home his midterm report card yesterday, all A's except for an 89 in Social Studies, thanks to one quiz he didn't study for. In some quizzes you can wing it, but he had a hard time realizing that the names and accomplishments of twelve historic world explorers can't come naturally to you. Overall this year has been awesome for him, he has not even had a single minor conduct check in his folder, obviously his teacher is keeping him busy. He is going to Camp McDowell for a couple of days in early December. This is going to be the first time Hamza will be away from home without even Safa with him, and naturally I'm nervous. Last year we didn't send him to space camp for his GATE field trip, because it wasn't the best year for him. But Camp McDowell is different. All the fifth graders get to go to camp, it's like a rite of passage. And with not even a minor misdemeanor in school I do believe he's earned it. I don't think I'll get much sleep while he's gone, sometimes I think I haven't really cut the proverbial umbilical cord, but you HAVE to let your kids grow up and become independent, ideally before they turn 20. There are no cellphones allowed at camp, so I won't hear from Hamza for three full days.

Safa's busy schedule has again caused conflicts. The latest decision to be made is whether to attend a very important yearbook committee meeting or pass up on that in favor of the debate meeting. She really does have a lot going on. She'll also be bringing home her mid-term report card within the next couple of days. She got a perfect grade on nother math test, I think she's finally nailed this pre-algebra stuff, and being on the math team is really helping her with problem solving. This weekend she's been a bit under the weather, with some kind of stomach bug. It has taken about 4 days but she is finally staring to shake it, just when I was thinking we should perhaps re-establish a relationship with her pediatrician. She didn't complain too much this morning, but I was starting to get anxious seeing her walking around clutching her tummy.

Bilal and I plan to have a lazy day today, so far this morning we have watched some TV, sorted some clothes in his closet and played with cars.

Here are a few random photos of the kids from the last week or two:



Saturday, November 15, 2008

The new baby


We drove down to Mobile last night to see Mobeen. He is absolutely precious! Still sleeping most of the time, and spending most of his waking hours eating or pooping, but that's what newborns do. I even got to change his diaper, but I realized how you tend to forget things in two years. Of course, while I was changing him I let him tinkle all over the changing table. Instead of helping Farah out I actually increased her workload by adding more laundry to the pile.

The kids have loved holding and cuddling Mobeen, especially Hamza. Bilal hasn't minded it one bit when I held him, whereas he still has to fight Safa or Hamza if they come anywhere near me, or my things. What is it with that child???

Friday, November 14, 2008

My new favorite photograph

It has to be this one, thanks to Samantha Ferguson. I'll be sharing more photos from our portrait session, but I wanted to post this one tonight.
This was one of the last photos taken that morning. Bilal got irritable and started acting up and trying to bite Safa, who was trying to get away from him. This photo was the end result.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our day off

The kids are out of school for Veterans Day today. Safa has two of her friends over, and Bilal has been shamelessly flirting with one of them. I took the five of them to Subway for lunch, and as soon as we got out of the car he wanted to hold her hand. Then while we were eating he kept wanting to get down so that he could go sit with her. How cute! Especially considering how mean he can still be to Safa. Right now he is taking a nap while the girls are finding a lot of pleasure in kicking Hamza out of their room. A little while ago I had to go upstairs to mediate, and console a tearful Hamza. Ah, I wonder if this is what life would be like with five kids? I think we're happy with three. It's back to school as usual tomorrow.



This weekend we plan to go to Mobile to see baby Mobeen. Oh, I can't wait to hold him! It's been a long time since I held a newborn. This is also the last time the kids will get to see their grandmother before she flies back to Pakistan. We won't be able to bring her to Birmingham after all. Farah, of course could still do with all the support she can get.

I hope to have the CD of our portraits by Thursday, I'm eager to share them with everyone.

And just one more photo to show off the pretty fall foliage around our neighborhood:

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