Sunday, August 30, 2009

JIKF Intra mural tournament

We spent most of Saturday morning at the tournament. Safa won 2nd and 4th place medals in her division, and Hamza won 3rd and 4th place. Not too bad!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Early start

It's 6 am, and Bilal and Mama are playing 'construction site', one of Bilal's favorite games.

Doesn't he look cute in his fire fighter jammies? Especially when he tops it off with his fire helmet:

I awoke this morning to the sound of a freight train running through our bedroom. Or that's what my first thought was. It was actually my hubby snoring, so I gave him the usual shove which makes him turn over and stop snoring (some day he'll figure out why his arms stay so bruised!). Well today it didn't help, so I ended up having to wake him up to get him to stop. Of course by then I was wide awake (and he fell asleep again). I had to get up to make Sehar (breakfast) not long after that, so have essentially been awake since 4am.

I couldn't sleep after breakfast. Considering we didn't get to bed until about midnight last night, I am starting to feel rather sleep deprived. So when Bilal toddled into our bedroom this morning at 6 am and announced that he needed to go pee, it didn't bother me too much to get up and help him. Although sometimes I do think fondly of the pre-potty training days when his bladder didn't wake him up. Don't get me wrong, I really don't miss the diapers. Especially the poopy ones. But I think that Bilal would get more sleep if nature didn't call so early in the morning. Considering that he didn't go to bed until 10pm last night, and only took a 30 minute nap in the car yesterday, that makes him sleep lagged by about 2 and 1/2 hours. Perhaps he and Mama can take a good long nap today and make some of that up. That's after a trip to the hospital to make rounds, then the karate tournament, and then fighting the never ending battle to get the house in order. Including folding and ironing two loads of laundry, and popping in some more clothes in the washer. The fun never ends!

So now, after planting Bilal in front of the TV with Playhouse Disney for a few minutes, I am headed to take my shower.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Start of another busy weekend

It's 10:30pm and I am finally sitting down for a rest before I hit the sack. It's been a crazy busy day today, with a full clinic in the morning and patients to see in the hospital. This afternoon I cooked 4 pounds of pasta with meat sauce to take to the mosque, and we just got back from there a little while ago. Tomorrow I have to go make rounds at the hospital again, and the kids are headed to the intramural karate tournament. So even though I don't have photos to share today, hopefully there will be plenty tomorrow.

Hoping everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Breakthrough!

What's Bilal showing off?

Yes, that is finger paint. On his hands. Finally! I think we are finally getting over the texture issues, slowly and steadily. Last night he actually poured water on his head in the bathtub. This is the child that begs me not to wash his hair every night, because he can't stand water in his eyes and pouring over his face. Hamza's suggesting I just lather up Bilal's hair, and let him rinse it off himself. Hm, that might just work......

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pancakes for dinner.... heck, why not?

Yay, Hamza's back at school today! This morning when he woke up he had NO FEVER! He did have bit of a headache, so I gave him a Tylenol and some cough medicine, but he was so eager to go back. That's my boy!

We've had a couple of lovely days. The temperature has been milder, with clear blue skies and cooler nights. Maybe just a teaser for fall, because it's warmer again today. But yesterday evening even Hamza was feeling well enough to play outdoors with his baby brother.

Last night we had made from scratch buttermilk pancakes for dinner. I had some cake filling left over from Sunday night and it went perfectly with the pancakes: a delicious combination of crushed pineapple, Cool Whip and instant vanilla pudding. I think next time I'll make crepes filled with something similar, but perhaps ricotta cheese instead of Cool Whip. Yum! Breakfast foods for dinner really seem to be a hit in our house. Personally if I didn't have a family to cook for I could live on nothing but toast and cereal. With some scrambled eggs mixed in for variety! If anyone is looking for a recipe for the simplest, fluffiest buttermilk pancakes, I got it from Allrecipes, not a gourmet cooking website, but a great source of recipes for the shortcut queen that I am :)


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
Bilal was very helpful in the entire prep process, and keeping him busy in the kitchen kept him out of the way of his sister, who had a boat load of homework.

Mixing the dry ingredients

Pouring the buttermilk (and without a mess, wow!)

And sampling the end result. That's a smile of approval

Safa loved the pancakes too, she just was a little more reluctant to get her picture taken. See the forced smile?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You can tell school's back in when........

......... everyone starts to get sick. Thursday night I worked an urgent care shift, and out of the 32 patients I saw in 6 hours, 20+ had fever greater than 100 degrees (and one as high as 105), headache without signs of sinusitis or meningitis, scratchy throats without signs of strep, and no evidence of ear infections or bronchitis. With several cases of Swine flu in that particular city all patients had a Rapid flu test which is done by taking a nasal swab. And all were negative for both influenza A and influenza B, making both swine flu and other forms of influenza very unlikely. The patients ranged from 9 months of age, to in their 40s. But the one thing they had in common was that they all looked very, very sick. I wrote so many excuses to keep kids (and one teacher) out of school the next day that I doubt there were any students present in school that Friday!

Well, this mysterious febrile illness has struck yet again. And this time it's in our house. I just put Hamza to bed with a fever of 101.8, a headache, and a slight scratchy throat with a puffy face that made it obvious that he was feeling quite ill. And of course the fact that there have been cases of Swine flu in our school system makes me a bit anxious. The good thing is that for otherwise healthy people this is often not a lot more than a bad cold, but you also think of the public health risk. And I am thinking of the personal health risk too. I do not want Safa or Bilal to getting sick also.

Our trip to Ikea was quite productive though, we brought back a desk for Safa, a dresser for Hamza, and also picked out some shelves for him (which wouldn't fit in the car). Zakir and Safa just finished assembling her desk, and tomorrow we will tackle the dresser. We have also decided on some chairs and cabinets for or new clinic's exam rooms.

Tomorrow is the first day of Sunday School for the kids, but Hamza will be staying home with Bilal and me. And Monday is school as usual. I hope everyone else is having a healthier weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2009

News from the Household

It's been hot and humid, with frequent showers, but Bilal and I managed to get out a bit today and play on his trike. He was begging to go into the yard, but the lawn is quite water logged, not to mention the fact that the humidity gets to me more than the heat. But we did spend a little quality time outdoors.

That is after he made a mess with his toys indoors. It's no fun playing blocks unless you dump them all out!

I have to admit, he is getting better at cleaning up his messes. He is starting to understand that if Mama says "We can't play outside until you clean up", it means, "We can't play outside until you clean up". Plain and simple. As long as I am there helping him a bit he will put his toys away.

Tonight marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan, a month of prayer, meditation and extra blessings. Tomorrow morning we will get up around 4am to eat breakfast, and then remain in a fasting state until sunset. No food, no drink, for about 15 hours. Safa has been fasting very regularly for the past several years; this year I am encouraging Hamza to fast more often also. In a couple of years he will be required to. Since the Islamic months are determined by the lunar calender (the year is about 10 days shorter than in the Gregorian calender), the months shift back by 10 days every year. So next year we will start Ramadan earlier in August, meaning longer, hotter days, and so on, until eventually we will be fasting in winter time.

We also plan to go to Atlanta tomorrow, for our much anticipated trip to Ikea. I just wish we didn't haven't to travel for 2 and 1/2 hours just to go to the furniture store, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Poor Vader (Hamza's betta fish) died today. He had been acting sickly for several days, so I wasn't surprised, but it's so heartbreaking when you lose a pet, even if it's just a little fish! He doesn't want another fish to replace Vader, so we are now down to three pets (our cats, and Safa's new fish, Zing).

Ramadan Mubarak!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My last excuse....... hopefully?

I have not been blogging as regularly as I usually do, and the honest to goodness reason is that my camera has been missing in action. It has to be somewhere in the house; I carry it around all over the place. But I haven't been able to find it for about a week. I borrowed Hamza's on Sunday, but I want mine, mine, mine! I will keep looking for it, but meanwhile I really don't have recent pictures to share. And everyone knows how much I love to share pics of my cuties. Blog posts aren't much fun without photos. So, digging into the archives, here goes:

You only have to see the time stamps in the first two photos to figure out who's who. And no, that is not Bilal in a pink blanket sleeper!

There have been seven confirmed cases of swine flu in our local school system. But, according to the CDC recommendations, it's school as usual, no closures. Tomorrow evening I will be working at an urgent care clinic about 40 miles up the road. After I signed up for the shift I found out that they confirmed eight cases of swine flu from one school in a single evening last week in that clinic. Now I'm not a germophobe (heck, I'm a doctor). But I am nervous about inadvertently bringing home something that could make my kids sick. I did pass on influenza to Bilal two years ago, bad mommy! I am just hoping that the constant inoculation of viruses and bacteria that I get from taking care of patients with all kinds of duh, obviously contagious diseases, will render me immune, so that I won't get sick. Then hopefully my obsessive use of soap, water and hand sanitizer will prevent me from carrying some ugly bug home on my person.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


What have I accomplished this weekend?

On Saturday I painted Hamza's room. I have to admit, Hamza did a lot of the painting himself too, mostly leaving me to do the edges, touching up a few areas that he missed and painting around the outlets. With the furniture all in the wrong place and the drapes off, Hamza slept on the floor in Safa's room last night. Today I did the sponging detail on the sloping part of Hamza's ceiling, in two colors, to give it a camouflage effect. And then we rearranged the furniture, so Hamza appears to have more space in his room now. He cleaned out his closet, maybe even better than Mama could have done. I also started painting his wooden cubbies the colors we used on his walls. Right now they are painted in primary colors, but that won't quite go well with the rest of his room. He didn't want to have to change his bookcase, so over the next few days I'll be painting the cubes. Now just keep in mind that we had a three year old running back and forth, and wreaking havoc, so painting wasn't as straightfroward as you would expect it to be!

Detail of the sponging on the wall

I did a ton of laundry, the never ending story in our house. Now there is a lot of ironing to be done, but I don't know when I'll get to it, since it is so NOT my favorite thing to do. I look for every excuse to avoid it.

I fed the kids a home cooked meal tonight, while cleaning up the kitchen and the sunroom. Honestly, before cleaning up it looked like a tornado had passed through our house. Things still aren't perfect, but the rooms are at least are livable now. Zakir made salmon burgers for dinner last night. There had to be some secret fattening, illegal or immoral ingredient in them, because they were delicious! I almost don't want the recipe he used, because I bet each one was 1,000 calories, or something crazy like that!

I made a last minute run to the store after I tucked the kids in for the night this evening. Hamza needed a couple of things for school, plus I got some new drapes to replace the beaded and sequined blue ones that used to hang in the room. Those will go up tomorrow. We also need to get a new dresser and headboard for his room, but they will have to wait, at least until our next trip to the Ikea store in Atlanta. Does anyone know anyone who doesn't absolutely love Ikea? I just wish the closest store for us wasn't 120 or so miles away.

One thing I did not get to do was work on my charts, still backed up for the past couple of weeks. It's not that I haven't worked on them at all during the week, but I defnitely haven't been keeping current. I haven't had a single minute to sit down and relax today until after 8:45pm, so of course I had to update the blog before I started to work. Considering it's 9:15pm as I write this, and I have to leave the house at 7am tomorrow, I doubt I'll get much done now. Well, something's gotta give!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Painting fun

Having fun with finger paints.

Although as you can see, he still doesn't quite use his fingers.

And this is Bilal's new cheesy smile for the camera

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another school year

So both kids survived their first days, in a new grade, and in a new school. Safa was rather apprehensive when I dropped her off Monday morning, and I admit even I had knots in my stomach. Most of her first day was spent getting to know the teachers, and learning new policies, etc. Yesterday (her second day at school) was spent at the Y downtown, for 8th grade Adventure day. We are learning that 'Community' is a big deal at ASFA. and I think it's necessary, since students come such diverse backgrounds. So Safa got to meet students from other specialties, such as theater and music (these are students she doesn't have any classes with this year), as well as get to know some of the Math/science students better. Today was her first day of actual instruction, and she already has homework, though not much. That's a good thing in my opinion, homework only reinforces what they've learned in school, and helps prepare them for the next class. And mentioning diversity, ASFA had two breakfast and two lunch menus every day. Yes, there is a vegetarian selection every day! Which means I probably won't be preparing as many meals for her in the morning. This is a good thing, since it's such a crunch getting out of the house at 7am every morning. I am trying to get used to spending a lot more time on the road than I ever have. I have to keep reminding myself, It's for my childrens' future.

Headed to school on orientation day

First day of school

Hamza's first day at middle school went quite well. Yesterday we went to school to meet his teachers, and scope out his locker, etc. This morning he rode the bus. Something obviously went wrong, because the bus didn't pick him up in the morning until 7:50am. The first school bell rings at 7:45! But he made it to school, and was back home at nearly 4. No homework for him, yet. So far he likes all his teachers, I wonder if that will last. He has been practicing his trumpet diligently though, and although the sounds we hear are a bit less than desirable right now, I'm sure beautiful music will come in time (at least I hope so, otherwise my ears might start bleeding!).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The next project

I have started working on re-decorating Hamza's room. I painted Bilal's room 2 years ago, did Safa's last year (changed the decals and furnishings), and finally it's time to do Hamza's. Since he moved into what formerly was Safa's room he has been living with blue curtains with beadwork and sequins, and the rainbow colored wallpaper border we inherited with the house. Didn't really go very well with the camouflage bedding he picked out last year. So yesterday Hamza and I stripped the wallpaper. Whatever was left he completed himself while I was at Safa's school orientation this afternoon. And by the time Safa and I got home this evening he had spackled and filled in all the holes in his wall, leaving it ready to be sanded. And he did a pretty good job too! Talk about motivation! So tomorrow I will sand the walls and they will be ready to be painted. Which might have to wait until next weekend. Probably not a project I'll be completing this week.

Tomorrow morning I will be taking Safa to school at 7am. So my day is about to start a lot earlier than usual. Not looking forward to that. I am definitely not a morning person. But, I suppose it's a small price to pay, for Safa to good to a great public school. Better than the one in our school district. Right now she is quite nervous about starting school, we'll see how she feels by the end of the first week.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back to blogging

It's rare that I don't have much to blog about, but evidently we're just having some down time in our house, after the excitement of last weekend. The camera's not been out much either, and I just realized I have posted in (gasp!) four days! Well, it's a pretty, though hot, weekend so I'm sure we'll be out and about with the kids today, and I'll try to get snapping.

Yesterday I went to work at 4:30am to take care of a particularly sick patient, and today Zakir did exactly the same, at exactly the same time, for exactly the same patient. Hopefully he'll be back soon, and we'll be able to resume our weekend. We have a tax-free shopping weekend going on right now, and we've tried to take advantage of it by buying a new printer (the old one bailed on us). Seems like lately a lot of things have given up on us. One that deserves particular mention is the oven. Yup, we're oven-less. I really believe it's time to replace our old one, it's about 15 years old and it already cost us quite a bit to repair it a couple of years ago. The problem is, a standard slide-in stove doesn't fit into the small space where we currently have a drop-in one. That means to replace it with a newer model we'd have to cut/remove the built-in cabinets. Now that's quite a lot of work. We're going to have some people come by to give us estimates, then take it from there. Ugh!

For now I'm going to share a few old pics of the kids. I promise to have some new ones soon! In honor of the start of the new school year this week:

Hamza's pre-school graduation. 6th grade starts this Wednesday

Safa during a field trip in kindergarten. She starts 8th grade on Monday

Tomorrow Safa has a big day of orientation, about 5-6 hours, to be precise. Since siblings aren't allowed, I will be taking Safa, and the boys will just hang out, and probably go out to eat. Speaking at going out to eat, has anyone eaten at Jersey Mike's Subs? We had the misfortune to, for the first time ever yesterday. It looked like any other sub place (Quizno's, Subway, Firehouse, etc.) until they started cutting the beef with the same machine they cut pork on, which happens to be the same one they cut cheese on, and the same one the started to cut my veggies on. That is, until I changed my mind about having a veggie sandwich. No thank you, I wouldn't appreciate finding bits of pork in my veggie sub! So obviously this was to be our first and last experience eating there. How culturally insensitive! I suppose if you are a vegetarian, a vegan, a Muslim, or have food allergies you just can't eat there! And come on, who drinks Pepsi in the South????

OK, so I did have something to blog about.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A new discovery

A couple of nights ago, after bath time, Bilal was perched, as usual, on the bathroom counter, getting ready to brush his teeth. While he was staring into the mirror he stroked his sternotomy scar with his finger. The conversation went something like this:

Bilal: "What happened here?"

Mama: "That's where the doctor fixed your special heart."

Bilal: "Nawwww! That's where I hurt myself last week!"

I figured we didn't need to broach the topic any more until he asked more questions. I know what he doesn't know, the scar isn't going away. And it stands for much more than a boo-boo he may have got last week. Such an innocent response! Until now, to test the waters, I have asked him a couple of times about his scar, and he would say, "Tiny scratched me." Tiny is our 6 year old blue tabby, who would probably let Bilal cut off her tail if he tried, she's so gentle with him! She's often gotten blamed for cuts and scrapes he has gotten on his legs, from doing usual 'boy' things. He even blamed her for the little scar he has on his lower abdomen from his hernia repair surgery.

I know as he gets older Bilal will have more questions about his scar, and his heart. For now I am going to let a three year old believe whatever he wants to, and perhaps preserve that precious innocence a little bit longer.

How does this smart little three year old's mind tick? Sometimes I wonder............

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Great day!

Hamza's band tryouts went well Saturday morning. He tried out several instruments, and he struggled a good bit with most of the brass instruments, did fair on the clarinet, and then the moment he tried out the trumpet he nailed it. So trumpet it is. He's really excited about starting band, and the beginning lesson is this Thursday. Safa starts school on Monday August 10th, and Hamza two days later on the 12th. So we're really nearing the end of summer vacation. Where did the summer go??!!
We had Bilal's birthday party at McWane Center at noon on Saturday. We had a great turnout, and the whole party went very well. But can you believe, I left my camera at home??!! Ugh, how could I do that? Zakir had a camera in the car (he takes pictures of the progress on our construction site periodically), so he brought that in. But a few pics later the battery died! So I took a couple more from Farah's camera, but quit because it was also showing a low battery indicator. In a total state of desperation I borrowed Adeela's camera. So once I can meet up with her to borrow her SD card I'll have at least some photos to share. Meanwhile, I have a few from the animal demonstration which was a part of the party. How cool that the kids got to be up close and personal with a hissing cockroach, a snake, a turtle, a rabbit and a leopard gecko!

Can't wait for cake !

In the evening we went out for Thai food. We have eaten at Surin West in the past, but not in a long time. This was our first family meal at their new (and more accessible) location, Surin 280 .
Their green curry is always delicious, so of course that's what I ordered. Everyone else ordered an assortment of stir fry and sushi.

We are so glad that Farah, Adeel and Mobeen made it to Birmingham for Bilal's party. They just left to drive back home a little while ago. Tomorrow it's back to work as usual.

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