Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Boosterthon fun run

This morning I went to Hamza's school to help with the Boosterthon fundraiser. So not only did I help serve water and popsicles to an entire grade of students, but I also got to watch Hamza run his 43 laps. It wasn't too hot, but was quite dusty out in the field.

The field as the fifth graders are marching in

At the start line

I managed to get a glimpse of Hamza while he was running

Enjoying a popsicle after the run

The purpose of the fun run is fundraising for the school. The students get a pledge per laps run, then collect the amount based on how many laps they actually completed. It's a great way to raise funds for the school, all the while encouraging some healthy activity.

Tomorrow is the much anticipated Cure for Darfur yard sale at Magnolia Park in Trussville, next to the First Baptist Church on Chalkville Road. The students have managed to acquire a truck load of donated items for the sale. They have spent many hours sorting and pricing the items, and the donated moving truck was loaded up Wednesday after school. We will be out on the field selling items from 4-7pm, although setup will start about 2pm. I hope to see some of my Trussville neighbors there. I am so proud of all the kids' efforts, they have been working together with such enthusiasm and motivation. Of course if you want to know more about what's going on you can always check out this blog, authored by my very own Safa. The students have succeeded in collecting over $200 in donations already.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BADL results

Safa had her last debate tournament of the year today, and the results of the year were also announced, with the awards ceremony. HTMS ranked second in the league this year, and Safa secured 4th position in all the middle school students. We're so proud of her. It's been a tough debate year, so we're excited that the school and Safa individually were able to place so high. There are many schools and students in the league, and out of the twelve Hewitt students, four placed in the top ten. The high school placed first for a second year in a row, with the top scoring student from Hewitt too. Too bad Safa won't be on the team next year, but I'm sure she'll have her hands full with school in general.

The team

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Low key day, busy evening

Today wasn't a very busy day. Of course I was on call, so I had to go make rounds in the hospital, but we didn't really do a lot the rest of the day. One major accomplishment was washing my car. For the first time in several months, maybe even a year, my car passed the 'white glove test'. OK, not with flying colors, but I could see actually my reflection in the car and that's HUGE. It was a team effort; Hamza and I worked together for about an hour and a half, and he even vacuumed the inside of the car for me.

I've been toiling in the kitchen, laundry room and sunroom since the kids went to bed, and finally have had a chance to sit down and relax for a while. I just realized it's almost 10pm already.

We have found another couple of promising places at the beach that are available on the dates we want to go, so hopefully we will have a confirmed reservation soon. No procrastinating this time!

And I thought I'd share a few more sights of Philly, since I don't have any new pics from the weekend:

Outside Independence Hall. Remember National Treasure?

In front of the Liberty Bell. Unfortunately you really can't see much of the bell in this one

The Pendulum staircase at the Franklin Institute. A case study in rotation of the earth

The heart exhibit at the Franklin Institute. You can actually walk (or squeeze) through all the chambers of the heart and the valves

These folks were having a lie in. It was 8:30 when we walked past them. They were lying right next to a dumpster. I wonder where they go in freezing temperatures. Maybe a homeless shelter?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


The 'nice lady' who owns the beach house we have been working on renting just emailed us back and said we didn't respond with a confirmation in time, so she rented the house out to someone else. We have exchanged a couple of emails back and forth, and in not a single one did she mention a deadline. However she sent us a list of other potential places to stay. Well, I don't think so. I don't think it says much about her business ethic that she rented the house out without telling us that we had to respond immediately. Not someone I particularly want to do business with.

So we have our feelers out again, looking out for potential houses or townhomes to spend our week at the beach. We have to find something, soon, before everything is booked up. We already realized that we started looking rather late, since July is peak season. I hope that we can find another rental property. Until then I will just continue to smoulder. Ugh!

Friday, April 24, 2009

More from the playground and riding bikes

It's great to have a neighborhood safe enough for the kids to ride their bikes and trikes around. Bilal is pedaling all by himself now. He doesn't like me to steer him or push him anymore, but I haven't taken off the big steering handle yet because sometimes he needs a teeny bit of coaxing to come back on to the driveway. He'd much rather be out on the street with big brother.

And here are the park pics from Tuesday as I promised. I would have had them up yesterday, but my camera was MIA. Fortunately I found it, and was able to upload the photos. As you can see, one of Bilal's favorite things to do is climb. Plenty of opportunities at the park! This was the first time I took him to the playground behind the library instead of next to it. It is probably more appropriate for babies and toddlers. I hadn't realized that they had all new equipment. Plus they have a very safe synthetic surface, where a tumble wouldn't even hurt. Perfect for letting Bilal climb to his heart's desire!

And of course, there's the obligatory little tunnel slide. Fun, fun, fun!

We hit 89 degrees today. Pretty hot, eh? Just a sample of things to come in the summer. I took the kids out shopping in the afternoon, and they persuaded me to buy them 'McSonic' ice cream sundaes. Actually, that's Bilal's word for Sonic. He gets the two fast food joints mixed up a bit. I promise, we really don't eat that much junk food! It's just those golden arches are everywhere we go, they're hard to miss, and very recognizable. We rarely actually eat at McDonald's.

We have made reservations for the beach, we'll be going for a week in July. Oooo I can't wait! This is the first time we're actually renting a house on the beach, and for one whole week. Of course before we can enjoy that vacation I have to take my Family Medicine Boards. It has been 7 years since the last time, and it is time to recertify. Man, being a doctor isn't easy, with all the ongoing studying we have to do. Maintaining board certification status is not mandatory, but there is a huge difference between a 'Board Certified' and a 'Board Eligible' physician. Some insurance complanies won't even accept you as a provider unless you remain board certified. So, I guess in a way it is required. anyway, July 10th is my Boards, and July 11th we're outta here!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Anniversary

If you look at the little ticker at the top of the screen you'll see that today marks the fifteenth anniversary of our marriage. Wow, where did the years go? It really doesn't seem so long ago, until you actually start counting the years. Last night we went to Ocean to celebrate. It is a great seafood restaurant in downtown Birmingham. It was pretty busy there for a weeknight; I'm glad Zakir thought to get reservations. The last time we went out with the kids was exactly 365 days ago, on April 21, 2008. Geez, we really ought to do this more often!

I didn't feel like cooking today (plus I deserved a break, after all it is my anniversary!) so out came the leftovers. Now the fridge has plenty more space, I guess I am going to have to cook tomorrow (unless I think of another excuse in time).

Safa and her teammates had another meeting on the 'Cure for Darfur' topic after school today. Their teacher's classroom continues to fill up with donated items for their upcoming yard sale. And they haven't even got to the big stuff yet. So the kids spent an hour or so pricing items and smoothing out more details of the yard sale. It is to be held at Magnolia Park, next to the First Baptist Church of Trussville on May 1, from 4-7pm. Drop by if you are interested in finding some bargains, and supporting a worthy cause. And remember to check out Safa's blog devoted to the cause. It has all the latest updates on what's going on with their project. Her friend has also been working on another website started for the same purpose.

I will post more photos soon, I promise!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Community Event

I seem to keep falling further and further behind with my blog. I haven't finished with the Philadelphia posts, have still to share the events of this past Saturday, and today we were back at the park, so more pics I wanted to share. Hm, I think I'll start with Saturday.

I took the kids to the 'Amazing Rubber Ducky Race', at a new community called Trussville Springs. For a donation to the Cahaba River Society you got to float a rubber duck down a stretch of the river, and compete for prizes. Unfortunately by the time we got there the race was over, but there were plenty of other things for the kids. Mehreen, Aaliya and Maarya joined in the fun with us. It was quite enlightening to see how different Bilal and Aaliya are, despite being only 2 months apart in age. Aaliya was all for getting her face painted, not just on one cheek, but both.

Bilal wanted nothing to do with it:

Aaliya loved to color and make a wooden cutout necklace to wear around her neck:

It took a lot of coaxing to persuade Bilal to make one too. When his ducky was colored in (with Safa's help) he was really proud of it, but there was no way he would tie it around his neck with a string, even after big brother did.

Then we took a short walk down the river, and met a nice friendly, oversized ducky. First of all Bilal was scared, until I explained to him it was a person wearing a ducky costume. Of course it helped that friendly little Aaliya ran up and gave the ducky a hug without any hesitation. Then he joined in for a quick hug.

The kids got balloon animals; Aaliya a pink ladybug to wear around her wrist, and Bilal a puppy. We tried to get him to wear the turtle the ballooney guy was making for him, but again, he didn't want to wear it. He did carry his puppy around everywhere, though.

There was also a moonwalk for the kids. Aaliya went in and around the maze several times.

And, true to his nature, Bilal didn't. He did enjoy riding the little train with everyone, though.

Has anyone ever heard of a trikke? Apparently they're all the rage these days. You propel them with your body weight. Hamza and Mehreen got to try them out while we were there. Of course, Hamza wants to sell his bicycle now so that he can buy one. Somehow I don't see us getting $350+ for selling an old 20 inch bicycle! So his desire will have to wait.

I am really starting to wonder if Bilal doesn't have some bizarre sensory issues. He seems to be so averse to trying anything outside of his comfort zone. And we are still struggling at bath time with pouring water over his head, he just freaks out (as if we've not beeen doing that since he was born). Of course if I don't catch him in the act and change him immediately, he could probably stay in a poopy diaper for ever. What is it with that child??!!

Cute little Maarya, all bundled up

Anyway, it was so cool that all these activities were offered free of charge, as part of the grand opening of Trussville Springs, and sponsored by several local businesses. There were also free hot dogs, chips, cookies and drinks. Who ever thought our Trussville community could be such a happening place?

More about Philadephia soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The National Consitution Center

This is the first stop we made after we arrived in Philadelphia. A good place to start a lesson in history. We saw a brief show/movie about the history of the U.S. constitution, and then walked through a hall with exhibits that represented freedom and independence. At the end of the exhibit hall was a room called the Signer's Hall, where there were statues of all the signers (and the three dissenters) of the constitution.

Outside the National Constitution Center

Memorable words

The students

Safa inside Signer's Hall. Trying to look as solemn as the bronze statue

Other places we visited were the US Mint, the famous Pat's King of Steaks as featured on the Food Network, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Reading Terminal, a cool covered market that sells prepared meals, fresh fish, jewelry and linens, candy and freshly squeezed lemonade among other things. I'll share more about these in another post.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back Home

We are back home, and exhausted. I have a lot to share from the trip, turns out I took about 350 photographs! Don't worry, I will only be sharing the highlights. I'm planning on an early night tonight (major sleep deficit), so I'll just share a couple before I log off. I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

The group at the top of the Rocky Stairs

Inside the Franklin Institute

With our tour guide Chuck in front of Christ Church Cemetery (Benjamin Franklin's final resting place)

On the Mall near the National Constitution Center

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So we made it to Philly.....

I am sharing just a couple of photos taken today during our trip. The actual tour photos will be gradually posted over the next few posts.

Hamza offered to send his penguin Fred along with us, so I decided to give him some authority, and had him help chaperone the kids:

He was very patient at the airport while we were waiting for our connection:

One of the places we visited today was the National Consitution Center.

This is a bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin inside Signer's Hall at the Center. More to follow soon. Oh, and Fred ate with us at TGI Friday's.

Obviously we wore him out, because now he has been tucked in for the night.

More from Fred, Safa and our tour group later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Off we go!

We are headed out to Philly early tomorrow morning. If I find Wi-Fi I'll keep everyone updated, otherwise I'm sure I'll have a lot to share when Safa and I return on Saturday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Out in the back yard again

Chatting with the neighbors

Posing yet again!

Piggy back ride

Bilal giving Safa's hair a make-over

The end result

Hmm, let's see, what else is new?

Bilal and I met some friends for some shopping and lunch today. Safa is headed for a debate meet after school, so we won't see her until much later this evening. The school is currently ranked 2nd in the league, so they are hoping to improve their standing after today's debate. The topic of today's debate is the electoral college, something I have never quite understood, though I get the basics of. Safa should be able to explain it to me after two debates on the topic.

Safa and I are headed to Philadelphia early Thursday morning for a school field trip. Early as in, we have to be at the airport at 4:50am. We plan to be back Saturday evening. So I'll be out of touch for a couple of days. The boys get to habg out together, and Hamza has already picked out places he wants his dad to take him for lunch or dinner, without the girls in the way. I have been trying to explain to Bilal that Mama will be gone for a couple of days; I don't want him waking up on Thursday morning and wondering where I am. Right now he just can't seem to understand why I can't take him with me.

We have family portraits scheduled for Sunday, and I am being rather brave in my choice of outfit. Hopefully I'll show you what I mean when we get the proofs.

Ater a couple of nice days today is dull and dreary again. The temperature has been dropping since we woke up this morning, and it is windy and overcast. So depressing! I am ready for some sunshine again!

Oh, and Bilal's cardiology appointment has been scheduled for July 7th. We have to schedule routine appointments about 3 months in advance in order to get an opening at the PC's office. I can't complain, they have lots of open slots for newly diagnosed heart kids and those who need closer follow up. We were there, not too long ago. Thank God we are only going in once a year now.

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