Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Big Day

Safa went to ASFA for her audition today. She reported that the interview itself wasn't such a big deal, but she had to take a 3 hour test, actually the 12th grade SAT, and also an hour long math test after the interview which she said was very difficult. I reassured her. After all, if she knew all the answers already she would be applying to college, not 8th grade Math and Science, right? We understand how competitive the program is, and we are going to be fine whether she places or not. She is relieved to have the audition behind her, though. She said something at dinner today (in reference to the test) that almost had Zakir and myself rolling with laughter: "How can you call it math if there are more letters than numbers in the problems?" And then she said she was afraid to read her book tonight because she would mistake it for math. Needless to say she went to bed early tonight to recuperate. And she has to be at school by 5:45am tomorrow for her Atlanta trip.

Here a couple of pics of Bilal today. He wanted to sleep in Mama's room at nap time. Since I've been trying to get him to sleep elsewhere besides his crib, I figured, why not? A little while after I had pulled the drapes and shut the door, I went in to check on him. Little guy was sleeping like a baby!


Later Safa caught him in the living room watching TV, obviously sitting where he shouldn't have been. I'm sure he's learned this one from his brother.

Of course I promptly took him down, what if the chair had tipped over? My fearless one!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What a cutie pie!

On a whim this weekend we went down to Mobile to visit Farah, Adeel and Baby Mobeen. We left Saturday after lunch and were back by Sunday dinner time. We hadn't seen them in almost 2 months. Babies change a lot between the ages of 2 and 4 months, and of course Mobeen was no different. I wish we could see him more often, but it's so hard with commitments on both sides.

Adorably cute face. It looks like he poses for the camera!


Safa Baji gets a cuddle too


Bilal, Mobeen and his numerous toys

The elusive Hamza gets caught in a photo too


Googly-eyed Bilal

And now for the exciting news: Safa's ACT scores came in. She scored a composite of 21, which is equivalent to a 55th percentile score nationwide and 64th percentile in Alabama. And that is without any prep except doing the practice test booklet that came in the mail. She performed best in reading and English, up to 89th percentile. Wow, to think you can actually get into college with a 21. And this is in 7th grade. Hopefully by the time she actually is preparing for college she will do better. Safa has qualified for the state level recognition ceremony which is usually at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She missed the qualifying scores for the grand ceremony at Duke University by only 2 points. But who cares? MA we are so proud of our baby girl! We are praying that the sky is the limit for her.

Tomorrow is Hamza's first 'official' karate class as a junior senpai (instructor), although he has been assisting quite a bit since he was awarded the status. And Safa goes to Samford for another debate meet. The topic is drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Wednesday Safa goes to the Alabama School of Fine Arts to audition for the Math and Science program. The program is very competitive, we know that it is not easy to qualify, so we are fine with whatever happens. If she doesn't make it in there are other options, or she can reapply for 9th grade if she wants. But some positive vibes would be nice anyway.......

Thursday is Safa's field trip to Atlanta, she will visit the World of Coca Cola and the Georgia Aquarium yet again. There isn't anything big scheduled for Friday, but Saturday is her first math tournament. Crazy busy week as usual. But in a good way.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The coolest video

We went to Mobile this weekend, and I have some cute pics of our nephew Mobeen to share, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Today I wanted to share this video that another heart mom had posted on her carepage. It really speaks for itself. The video was made by an Australian singer Mark O'Shea who has Tetralogy of Fallot that was repaired when he was an infant. That is the same heart defect that Bilal had repaired when he was 8 weeks old. Enjoy the video!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Since there's not much else going on......

Safa, Layla, Adam and Hamza during a trip to the UK five years ago


I love the twinkle in Hamza's eyes in this one

Long before Bilal joined the family

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Bilal needed a haircut.......

....... and he doesn't let me brush his hair. If I try he will promptly tousle it and say, don't mess up my hair! I guess he goes for the bed head look.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tools, and trucks, and cars, oh my!


Today started off with some serious auto repair. Bilal spent nearly an hour with his toy Hummer upside down, with all his tools out, trying to find the perfect tool for the job. I tried to entice him with a promise to go to the library, and to go shopping, but he kept saying "Not yet".

So I let him keep at it while I was in and out, cleaning up the kitchen, and whipped out the camera.



























Eventually he got tired, so I got him ready and we made a trip to the library to check out some books. This is one thing we have been consistently doing every Tuesday for the past several weeks.

At the library the children's librarian Mrs. Karen recognized him promptly, and hurried us over the see the new addition to the kids' area. Hamza's love of cars and trucks is legendary at the library, sometimes the librarian actually keeps books aside for Bilal. So Bilal had a great time
playing with cars again.



I also trimmed his hair a bit today, not much, but at least it's not growing over his ears, although he still has the thick crop on the top of his head. Still, I think, an improvement.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An eventful weekend

Saturday started off with a trip to Linn Park for the Mercedes Marathon fun run. Hamza ran his mile despite that the night before he was running a fever and feeling very puny. Saturday morning we were debating whether we should take Hamza for the run. I went upstairs with a thermometer to check on him, and just then he walked out of his room, fully dressed with his race day shirt on. And no more fever. So we all went. This is probably the last year he'll be participating in the fun run.





From Birmingham we drove to Oneonta. Zakir had to make rounds in the hospital so we hung around and I took the kids for lunch. After we picked Zakir up we went to the construction site where our clinic is to be built. The lot has been cleared of all brush and trees, and presently is getting leveled. The kids have never had an opportunity to see construction trucks actually in operation, so close up, so they had a blast.

In the afternoon I took Bilal for a walk, then everyone got out and got some exercise, jumping rope and, in Safa's case, Hula hooping. I don't know how she does it, she can go on for the longest time. I can't even keep the hoop up for a few seconds. She can do it on her waist, ankle, neck and arm with such ease, even two hoops at a time. Quite a talent!

The only sad event this weekend was the unfortunate demise of Blaze, Hamza's betta fish, in a bowl-cleaning accident this morning. It has been a long time since I have seen Hamza cry like he did. I think it was more out of guilt for being careless than actually losing his pet. Quite depressing actually, but Hamza has resolved to get another fish and take better care of it. I believe he will too. So in the next few days Blaze will be replaced.

I did an urgent care shift today, worked 12 noon until 8pm, and saw 45 patients, phew! About 90% of them had some form of respiratory illness or the other. Evidently there's a lot going around. I just hope I haven't brought something home that I can expose the kids to. Tomorrow is work as usual. Where did the weekend go?????

Friday, February 13, 2009

A trip down memory lane

OK Megan, I got this idea from you. Why not share some old pics? Time is flying by too fast. When I look at these pics I remember almost everything about the time when they were taken, just like it was yesterday, although some are more than a decade and a half old..........



Most of our medical school class

Our wedding: the groom's reception, or Valima


Safa about 3 months old

Hamza 6 weeks old. He always slept with his bum in the air
More to follow soon.......

Thursday, February 12, 2009

He'll figure out how if he really wants it

OK, here's my disclaimer:

* The deck is only four steps high

* The mallet was made of rubber

* No children, stools or hammers were harmed in the making of this movie.

* If I thought he would get hurt, I'd have hurled the camera, and caught him!

Bilal's intention was to carry a stepstool on to the deck, and work with his tools. I thought I'd let him try..........


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Riding a trike



I thought this was such a cute little video that Safa took of Bilal. You can hear the pride in her voice when she's walking next to him. So sweet!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A few new pics

I've been a little skimpy on pics lately, so I though I should share some. Safa took Bilal around the neighborhood today, and snapped some pics while he played. It's also been mild for the last couple of days, so we've been out in the yard a lot.







Hamza fell off his bike today, and is one big scrape. He has huge abrasions on his right elbow, right upper arm, left upper arm and right knee. In a few days he'll be one big scab! Bless him, he limped home, but he didn't cry! He is my tough guy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CHD Awareness week Feb 7-14

I am working on a little montage to share for Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week, but meanwhile I wanted to share a beautiful poem written by a heart mother a couple of years ago. I have read it so many times, but it continues to have the same impact on me as the first time I read it. Thank you, Stephanie for sharing this with us........

Somewhere...someplace... today...
A family is waiting to hear...
Is something wrong with their baby?
The answers aren't quite clear...
This family has entered an unwanted world...
And they just don't know what to expect...
Somewhere...someplace... today...
They first heard the words: heart defect.
And how they hoped this was not true...
And thought... this cannot be...
I too... know just how this feels...
For one day...this was me.
Somewhere...someplace...today...
A man and a woman embrace...
Their baby is in surgery...
They long to see her face...
They haven't got to hold her yet...
Without...a cord or line...
They pace the room awaiting news...
And hope she'll be just fine.
Prayers fill this busy waiting room...
And mom and dad are scared...
Somewhere...someplace..today...
The tiniest hearts are repaired.
Somewhere...someplace...today...
A child's growing fast...
Smiling,laughing,thriving...
His mom thinks...can this last?
It's almost easy...to forget...
That anything is wrong...
Somewhere...someplace..today...
Her child seems so strong.
Somewhere...someplace... today...
A little boy fights...just to live...
A father holds his tiny hand...
His love...all he can give...
The doctor's are all baffled...
They fear that he might die...
Somewhere...someplace...today...
A family says goodbye...
Somewhere...someplace...each year...
More than 40,000 families will see...
What it means...when something's wrong...
They'll face a CHD.
Today...for just a moment...
Stop...remember...reflect...
Make time to tell someone you know...
"I've been changed by a heart defect".

~Stephanie Husted (Feb. 6 2007)

Also, if you have the time, check out the CHD awareness video in the right sidebar. It was made by a fellow heart mom, Anna-Maria, and is full of many interesting facts about CHD. (As well as many, many cute babies!)


Congenital heart disease is one of those things you don't think of unless you have been personally touched by it, and after you have, life is never the same again.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What is up with my baby?

My sleeping champ has not been so much of a champ for the last day or two. Yesterday he cried when Vicki put him in his crib for a nap, so she had to pick him out and rock him. No big deal, right? Well he awoke from his nap prematurely crying hysterically! Took me the longest time to comfort him. On request, Zakir tucked him in last night, and five minutes later he was crying his heart out. So I picked him up, rocked him for a while and when he asked for his crib I lay him down. As I was turning away he whispered, "Mama, don't weeve!" How could I refuse? So I stood with him for the longest time, stroking his hair and patting his back. Then he asked for one last cuddle from Baba. Zakir went up, then Bilal fell asleep after that. Two hours later he was up, sobbing hysterically again. A repeat of the drill. We rocked in the rocker, and when he was quiet I lay him down. Fifteen minutes later, more crying. Zakir went up, rocked him, and finally he fell asleep and slept all night.

At nap time this afternoon we read books, rocked, and he kept on asking to go downstairs. He actually said "don't wike my crib!" The crib he has slept in so well for ever. The one I wish I could pack with us everywhere we go. He couldn't explain what was wrong in his crib. So I rocked him, and finally lay him down and he cried again. I told him if he lay quietly I would stay in his room for a while. I sat in the rocker and watched him for a while; he seemed fine. As I was leaving he called for me again, but I told him I'd be back in a while. He settled down, and went to sleep.

My dilemma is: nothing has changed in his room or his crib, but all of a sudden something is scaring him, and he can't explain what it is (although his communication skills are pretty good now). My only explanation is that lately his imagination has been running wild. There is a lot of make-belive play in his life right now, maybe he is imagining something scary. I hope this is just a phase. Much as I love those rare times when I get to hold him and comfort him, I don't want him to be scared of something in his imagination.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stitches out

I went to Brookwood yesterday day for my post-op and to get my stitches out, figured it would be an in and out kind of visit, so I took Bilal with me. Well, we were there for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, out of which 2 hours was the wait; first in the waiting room, then in the exam room. Bilal was pretty well behaved, but a two year old is going to be frustrated, cooped up in an exam room with nothing to entertain himself except a step stool and an exam table. He spent most of the time rolling around on the floor (here I am stressing out, thinking MRSA!) Needless to say his pants were a different shade of gray than the ones he wore on the way in (someone does a crummy job cleaning these rooms). The plan was to leave the clinic, and go by Mehreen's house to see Baby Alisha (yes, they finally decided on a name). But Bilal was sleepy and getting hungry by the time we left, so we just went home. What a waste of a Tuesday, our special day. Ugh, I hate doctors!

Today, after having those stitches literally dug out of my shoulder yesterday, I finally feel like I've turned a corner with my shoulder. I didn't even take Tylenol this morning, worked a busy schedule in the office and still feel pretty good. I am thinking, a little more physio on my shoulder, and I should be in great shape. The hesitation I had moving it is almost completely gone. Man, never will I take a body part for granted, though! Sadly my right shoulder is giving me a lot more trouble, but I am going to have to wait for probably a couple more years at least before I can have anything definitive done.


Here are Tiny and Sammy in our room as Zakir and I were sitting in bed watching TV. Zakir stretched out his hand and took a picture. Sammy was curled up on Zakir's knees, and Tiny on mine. At night Sammy retires to his own bed (the sheepskin) while Tiny spends the night fighting me for every inch of our bed. Now why did we sell our king size bed in favor of a queen size?

And my baby boy, playing in his 'boat'. Actually it's the box his diapers came in, but he's really into make believe these days.

And look at those big brown eyes. Don't they just melt your heart?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Safa's school project

Safa and her friends made a novel little slideshow as a school project. The theme was teen culture in America. I think they did a pretty good job, so I thought I'd share it on our blog too. It might be a bit long, but the last minute or so is just a list of citations.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Circus


Today we took the kids to the Ringling Brothers circus at the BJCC. I am sad to report that Bilal did not enjoy it as much as we'd hoped. All the noise and activity was overwhelming and he spent the first several minutes crying and saying that he wanted to go home. He did settle down enough to enjoy some of it, but this is how he sat through most of the show:



With a hand covering each ear. Or........


.........two hands covering each ear. If you look closely in this pic you can actually see a tear trickling down his face. Off and on throughout the show he would just get too overwhelmed and burst into tears.

There were some happy moments though, mostly when he was chowing down on cotton candy.



And at the end of the show he waved 'bye-bye to everyone, and said that the tigers were his favorite part of the show. The elephants were pretty impressive too. Maybe he'll enjoy it more next time around. Safa and Hamza of course, had a blast.


The theme this year was 'Zing, Zam Zoom', and there were a few magic tricks incorporated into the circus acts. Hence the magician's hats that came with the overpriced cotton candy.

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