Saturday, May 30, 2009

Good weekend so far

The weather has been great these past two days. Finally no rain, and still tolerable temperatures. As Bilal likes to put it, "It's a bootiful day, Mama". Friday night we were invited out to a friend's place for dinner (Thanks, Adeela for a delicious meal), and we didn't get back in until about 10:30pm. Same today. Another invitation, another great meal, and another late night for Bilal. Surprisingly he held out pretty well both days, although he would keep asking me every few minutes if we could go home. As usual, we were one of the first families to leave the party. But that's a small sacrifice for our little guy. We did the same for each of our kids when they were little. Their comfort takes precedence. It's only a matter of a few more years, then it will become easier to stay out later with the kids. Tomorrow we have a birthday party to go to, but it's not in the evening; it happens to fall right when Bilal would normally be napping. Ah well...........

No new pics so far this weekend, I have to locate the camera, which is MIA again!

I have started to stress a bit about my upcoming exams, maybe a bit of stress is a good thing, it will prompt me to study more. Only about 6 weeks left to cover everything I have forgotten in the past 7 years, as well as learn everything that is new in the world of medicine. Well, that's probably a bit of an overstatement; I give myself credit for trying to stay up to date with new drugs and new guidelines and recommendations, since that is how our patients benefit the most. Still, there is so much I don't get to apply in my limited practice of primary care medicine, so I have let that information lapse in favor of learning about newer advances. Now I have to know it all again. Does my performance on an exam truly determine how good a doctor I am? Personally I don't think so, but that's how I am judged. And that's how all doctors are judged, if they want to earn and maintain the status of being 'board certified'.

This post was looking so bland without out a photo, so I'll leave everyone with a pic of Safa with her cute new glasses. Pardon the activity in the background, we were at an IHOP in Mobile:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Not your 'everyday' look

I just realized I didn't share pics of Hamza from last Friday (Fifth grade extravaganza). He came home with fingernails painted black, multicolored hair and a big grin on his face.

Please pardon the disastrous mess in our sunroom that you can see in the background. I'll get to it some day soon, I promise!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

School's Out!

The kids are home, and the vegging has begun.

Today the kids get to lie around in front of the TV. As of tomorrow Mama's going to be stricter, with a time quota for TV and other screens, including the computer and video games. That's fair, isn't it? Safa has a three week pre-algebra course in June, and Hamza's going to do a fun Chemistry camp for a week, so that will keep them busy some of the time.

As you can probably see from this photo, Hamza is wearing his new headgear. He still needs to work on getting it on and off without help, but he'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Personally I think his smile is as handsome as ever, even with hardware, but then, I might be a tad bit biased!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


And now to finally finish the blog post I started hours and hours ago. Too many interruptions..............

I went by the orthodontist's office today, and made the down payment on Hamza's headgear. No turning back now. Tomorrow Vicki will take him to get it fitted. He complained about the spacers for the first couple of days until he got used to them; I think he's in for a bit of a surprise when he realizes that orthodontic treatment will be more uncomfortable than he expected. But the end result should be worth it. Poor child, he's got so much crowding with his primary teeth, there is no room for the next set to grow in. Eventually he is going to need a full set of braces, top and bottom. My own orthodontic treatment comprised of two different types of retainers, and a couple of extractions. When I see the 'before' and 'after' pictures I am grateful to my parents for it. Hopefully Hamza will appreciate it too.

Tomorrow is the last 'official' day of school. Both kids have decided that they want to go this year, so one more bus ride before the long summer starts. I have to work (as usual), but I have scheduled sporadic days off with the kids, so I can spend a little extra time with them. And of course, I have my much coveted Tuesdays with the kids.

It has been unusually wet here lately. I don't think we've had a solid dry day in weeks. I hope it doesn't mean that the kids will be spending the summer indoors, that would just be crazy, with too much TV and too many video games. We have already exceeded the average rainfall since the start of the year. Yesterday we did have a short dry spell, dry enough to hang out on our slide and swing set, but too soggy to actually step into the lawn. So Bilal and I spent a few minutes outdoors, only to be sent in by more rain.

Our portraits from our recent session are ready to order! Now I am struggling with the same decision I do every time, which ones to order? I love all of them, particularly the ones of the kids. You can preview a couple of them here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dauphin Island, encore

We took a risk with the forecast today, and made a trip to Dauphin Island. It's less than 40 minutes from Farah's house, so we figured, worst case scenario, if it rains or if there's a storm we'll go back home. But the weather was perfect! It was just over 80 degees with a delicious gulf breeze to keep us cool, and NO RAIN! The water was rather choppy so the kids had to stay pretty close to the beach, but they still had a great time.

Typical for Bilal, he didn't know what to make of the sand when we got to the beach. He was really unsure of himself, and initially didn't want to take his shoes off.

But in a surprisingly short period of time he became comfortable on the sand, and of course the wet areas were easier to walk on.

Before we knew it he was running around everywhere, actually becoming quite adventurous. (For Bilal, that is).

The first time he got a teeny bit wet he wanted to change his clothes. It was hard to explain to him that his clothes were meant to get wet! But he soon got over it, and was happy to sit in the shallow water. He actually got closer to the water's edge that he ever has willingly before. This is a test run for our July trip when we hope to spend an entire week at the beach. Ooo, I can't wait!

Mobeen had a blast at the beach too. This was his first trip, and he loved every moment of it. He didn't short circuit from the noise of the waves the way Bilal did on his first trip. In fact he had a wonderful time sitting in Adeel's lap and spalshing in the water (by then my camera battery had died, so I didn't get any pictures of it).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So what if it's raining?

We got to see this:

What a cutie!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Getting ready for the weekend

So the packing has started, kinda sorta. I have a huge pile of clothes in my room that haven't yet made it into the suitcase. But the plan is to leave for Mobile as soon as the kids are back from school tomorrow. So excited about a long weekend. I did check the extended forecast for Dauphin Island, and there is rain, rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for the next 3-4 days. So maybe we won't make it to the beach. But that's OK. It's going to be great to hang out with Farah and the gang anyway.

After a dry spell lasting all of 3 days it started raining again today. I can't complain too much; the temperature dropped from a somewhat humid 81 degrees to a lovely 68 degrees, with a cool breeze. Considering we're almost into June, that's some mighty nice weather for 'Bama. And the rain has stopped, at least for now. We're hoping that Hamza's 5th grade extravaganza activities don't rain out tomorrow, since most of the games and booths are outdoors. He's been waiting all year for this. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weekend Plans and other stuff

Another long visit at the orthodontist's office today. We have formulated a plan for Hamza, and he got spacers put in for a week. Next week we go back to place the brackets for his headgear. It is going to put us back a good bit, but have an interest-free payment plan for 9 months, so that should work out fine. A lot depends on Hamza being cooperative and actually wearing the appliance, of course.

Yesterday was the most perfect weather we have had in a long time. Sunny, and a very pleasant 72 degrees. Bilal and I spent much of the day playing outside in the backyard.

Measuring the yard with his 100ft long measuring tape

Winding up

Serious repair work

Then in the afternoon I took the boys for a walk, and we ended up making a detour that led us to the park. Hm, I wonder how that happened? Anyway, we didn't have a lot of time to spend there, but the boys did made the most of what they had.

Only one more week of school before summer, and the kids are already in vacation mode. Safa has one more final left for tomorrow, and Hamza hasn't had homework in an unmentionable amount of time. It's crazy, we have Memorial Day weekend coming up (long weekend with Monday off), then another three days of school. This year for a change Safa wants to go until the very last day of school, since she will be leaving all her friends, some who have been with her since kindergarten. Hamza is already talking about playing hooky the last day of school. I might just let him get away with it, since he does have an orthodontist appointment that day.

This weekend we are headed to Mobile to see Farh, Adeel and baby Mobeen. He is already sitting unsupported and we haven't seen him in a long time. If weather permits we plan to spend a day in Dauphin Island so that the kids can get a taste of the beach before we go back in July. Of course I'll have to drag my books down with me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A sweet moment

I left the house for a few minutes yesterday evening and came back to this:

Zakir was reading to the boys, the most animated version of 'The Little Engine that Could' that I have ever heard. And with a captive audience, both Hamza and Bilal hanging on to every word. We read together a lot, but I am the one who does most of the reading aloud, not Zakir. So this was very sweet and refreshing to see. This is one of Hamza's favorite childhood books.

And Bilal is always getting hold of the camera; he's even started taking random pictures now. This is the first one he ever snapped:

And he took this one while Hamza and I were sorting laundry. I was rather surprised he framed it pretty well. I still fear for the well-being of the camera, but gotta let him exercise some of his creativity! As usual, you can see my chronically cluttered room:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is NOT why I send my kids to school

Spring Fling!

Safa had a field day (literally) yesterday. The entire day at school was filled with games, rides, moonwalks, face painting, ice cream and dancing. I suppose after a year of hard work the kids deserve it. I spent a couple of hours of the morning helping out at the school. Actually I spent most of the time in the nurse's tent, taking care of nauseated, vomiting and light-headed children. Man, some of those spinny rides can really turn your stomach! At one point in time we had four kids under the tent, with their heads down between their knees and ice packs on their necks. Apparently one child had completely passed out (but that happened before I arrived). I think it was a combination of heat, dehydration and hypoglycemia (of the kids I polled, very few had eaten or drank anything for breakfast), not so much the rides. So moms, make sure your kids have breakfast before they go to school! How can they learn anything after they have been fasting for at least 12-14 hours??!!

I'm taking call this weekend, so it means making rounds both days again. Ugh! That is NOT how weekends were supposed to be spent. This morning wasn't too bad, and I made it home in time for all of us to go out to lunch. Maybe tomorrow will be OK too. And somewhere in between working and parenting I have to find time to study. Starting to think I need about 30 hours in a day! But on reflection, life is good. If we didn't have so much going on it would be boring. I feel very blessed.

And the whole potty training thing is going GREAT! Over the past week we have been mostly prompting Bilal to go potty every time we think it is due. But today he actually asked to go himself most of the time. And his 'Handy Manny' underwear stayed dry. I explained to him that Handy Manny doesn't like to be wet, so he should go pee in the toilet and now that's what he says every time he goes. So I don't know when he'll 'officially' be potty trained, but we are well on our way!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Many moods

Yum, Krispy Kreme! This is how we spent our Tuesday

Being silly. You can actually see his uvula!

A forced grin for the camera

Another silly, but cute expression. Love those big brown eyes!

After his haircut yesterday. He was fine through most of it, but didn't handle the clippers very well over his ears. If you look closely you can see remnants of tears on his cheeks. But he looks like such a big boy now!

I got a chance to rock Bilal before his nap today. It's been very long since I rocked him to sleep, because he's always on the go, and so restless. And even at bedtime, as soon as our prayer is over he wants to go straight into his crib. So having Bilal falling asleep in my arms while we sat in the rocking chair was an extra special mommy treat. Sigh, why do our babies grow up so fast?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fun in the car

The kids were just having a goofy time in the car, I don't even know what they were laughing about. I took a few pics from the front seat blindly, without even looking back. It's so nice to see them have fun together!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fifteen years and counting...........

............ and he still looks just as handsome in a suit.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I took Hamza for his orthodontic appointment today. After almost 3 years of watchful waiting and serial extractions it's time to start some treatment. I have always though that Safa and Bilal look more like their father than Hamza does, but Hamza is the one who's inherited Zakir's small lower jaw. We are going to start treatment to (hopefully) eliminate any need for jaw surgery. Hamza's defect is not severe; surgery is not typically indicated in these cases, but he needs time for the lower jaw to catch up with the growth of the upper jaw. Which means he needs headgear, which he'll have to wear for 12-18 months. The purpose is to control the growth of the upper jaw. And this will only be getting him ready for definitive orthodontic treatment. Still not time for braces. Today Dr. Savage took pictures and x-rays, measurements and made molds for his teeth. We go back in 2 weeks for another consultation, so Hamza will probably get his headgear right at the start of the summer. He won't have to wear it outside of the house, but the longer he wears it during the day and night the shorter the actual duration of therapy should be. Ouch, my boy is about to cost us a lot of money!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Just wanted to wish Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends out there in blogger land. I hope you day is full of presents, pampering, and lots of love from your babies. This is what I love about being Mama:

And one more from our portrait session on Friday:

I am so blessed to have these kids in my life.

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