Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Boy!

Bilal has graduated from his trike to a real bicycle. Hamza's first bike was in the attic, so we took it out for Bilal. This is the first day he rode it, and just look at him go, priceless!

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I love the expression on his face in this bottom photo. He was having a blast!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Splash Beach

You'll notice that Safa and Hamza are completely absent in this post. That's because Safa never stepped foot in the water park, and Hamza was off riding some crazy water ride called the 'Upsurge' with his friends.

The play structure
Bilal's look of complete apprehension when seeing said play structure

Out of the stroller and willing to 'test the waters', after watching every other child in the water park have a lot of fun

Getting a bit bolder now. Note that he was still wearing his sandals, and refused to change into his swim trunks

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Totally loving it now (shoes still on)

Shoes off, finally! This was an hour and twenty minutes after entering the water park

And at last, off comes the shirt! Another hour later!

Needless to say, it takes Bilal quite a while to warm up to new activities. Once he was in the groove it was hard to keep sight of him. He loved it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Awesome Sunday

After weeks of rain the sun finally broke through the clouds on Sunday. A perfect day for our trip to Alabama Adventure. The temperature stayed in the upper 70s to low 80s, with very few clouds in the sky.

Not used to the sun anymore, no-one can open their eyes!


Waiting to ride the ferris wheel

View from the top. Below you can see the flume Bilal didn't let us ride

One of the few rides Bilal did enjoy, that's Mama and Baby smushed up inside a mini choo-choo train

We also spent a couple of hours at the Splash Beach Water park, but I'll share that experience in another post. Overall the kids had a great time; Safa spent most of the day with her friends, and Hamza rode the same water rides over and over again with his buddies. Bilal had a blast hanging out with his two favorite people, Baba and Mama. For me, the rides will have to wait. Maybe next time, sigh.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An experiment in baking


I came across an amazing looking cake on McMama's blog, which inspired me to try and bake one myself. So a google search for 'rainbow cake' led me to this site. Considering I don't have six round cake pans to bake six layers of cake consecutively, I opted for this idea. I also liked the fact that the recipe called for using packaged cake mix, and diet Sprite instead of eggs, water and oil, so I figured I'd be cutting a some calories in the process. Plus the fat-free and low sugar icing sounded good. Two reasons to celebrate: a pretty, colorful cake, and a few calories less than a conventional one! Sounded great. That is, until I cut a few corners.

I bought a box of white cake mix (a real steal at 'buy one, get one free') and a bottle of diet Sprite. Except it wasn't diet Sprite (a.k.a. Sprite Zero). I had the choice between a $1.49 bottle of the brand name stuff, and the Publix brand at $0.50 a bottle. No brainer, right? That's 99 cents more I can put towards my kids' college education. So I went with the Publix brand. What I didn't realize (until after I baked the cake) was that it was sweetened with Splenda, not aspartame. Now anyone who knows anything about baking knows that Splenda is NOT a good substitute for sugar when it comes to baking. It tends to get, shall we say, a tad bit gummy?

OK, that's not the only corner I cut; I also only went with four colors of gel food coloring instead of six (so the effect was a couple of colors short of a rainbow). Well they all came in one box, and I was in too much of a hurry to mix them to come up with the perfect shade of violet and orange.



To add to this, I tried to ice the cake while it was not quite cool. I was in a hurry! You can't blame me for wanting to get Bilal in bed on time, heck, he skipped his nap today again! Since it was getting quite late in the evening I finished preparing the cake while Zakir bathed the little guy. So we all managed to get a slice of cake in before bed time. Is it possible for a cake to be both moist and slightly gummy in consistency? Well, this one really was. It wasn't too bad, but next time I'll make sure I'll have the correct ingredients before I try to bake. I am also still trying to get used to the difference in cooking times in my new oven. I'll get the hang of it eventually, I'm sure.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our new addition

So after about a month of living without a functional oven we finally got our new stove installed. It took a lot more work than we had first expected. Our builder came out and had to move the set of drawers several inches across. That entailed cutting some of the hardwood floorboards and replacing them later in the process. of course, before moving the drawer unit across he had to remove our quartz counter top. While he worked on the wooden aspect of things another guy (the counter dude) came and took off the back splash. He cut and re-finished this to make space for the stove to slide in. Then our builder replaced the 220 volt outlet with a 120 volt one, needed for the new gas stove.

Widening of the space in process. Sawdust everywhere!

The space finally ready for the range to be installed

After everything was back in place our installer brought the appliance, but before he could install it he went into our crawl space and ran a gas line to the site. Then finally when everything was ready he installed the stove and was out of there. Of course that left a lot of clean-up, so by the time everything was in its correct place it was nearly 6pm. By then I was in no mood to try and cook, so we had Chinese take-out. But after dinner, to celebrate our new, fully functioning oven, we made Ghirardelli double fudge brownies. Yum!


And the new stove installed, with clean-up completed

I have thoroughly enjoyed cooking since getting our new stove. It's nothing fancy, just a simple white gas convection stove, that matches our other old appliances pretty well. In fact, it was one of the lower-end stoves at Lowes. But anything would have been an upgrade from the old electric range we just retired. The one thing is that baking times are quite different than a predictable electric oven, so I am having to monitor things more closely, until I can get used to baking with gas.

In order to widen the space the fridge had to be pulled out from its regular spot, so of course I got to clean up years of dust bunnies from underneath it. We also discovered that there must be a leak somewhere inside the fridge that is corroding the back of it. We don't know how long this has been going on for, but it means that we will have to replace our (otherwise normally functioning) refrigerator within the next few months. It's only a matter of time before we have a huge gaping hole in the back of it. Ugh! I guess we should appreciate that it has worked well without needing any repairs for about 10 years, maybe it's just wearing out. So we'll be shopping for a new fridge soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just random

Just because I haven't shared many new pics in a while.......

Headed for ice cream on Eid


Safa with her nerdy glasses. So cute!

Homework

Cheeky grin! And I think his haircut makes him look grown up

Eating yummy Dibs. See the chocolate on his face?

All dressed up, right after Eid prayers

Bilal's Heart Day cake

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Low key kind of day

Bilal and I didn't get a lot accomplished today, considering Tuesday is usually our errand day, but we did spend a lot of the day playing 'firefighters', his second passion after construction games.

The sun finally peeked through today after more than 2 weeks of almost non-stop rain. It's still too wet in the back yard to mow the lawn, but at least Bilal and I managed to hang out in the gravel around the swing set for a while. We would probably have been out there for longer, but Bilal happened to point out a partially decomposing 'squirtle' under the tree next to the playset, so I insisted on cutting our play time short. Ugh! Zakir came home and removed the said squirrel, so maybe if it doesn't rain we'll venture out into the yard again tomorrow.

I used a new recipe for okra curry today, and it was delicious. Even Hamza, who usually doesn't eat a lot of veggies, loved it. Credit goes to Sadia, who cooked it when we were visiting Little Rock. This recipe is definitely a keeper. In fact, I might use it when I have a few families over for dinner on October 10th, for a long overdue get-together. Now that Ramadan is over we're kind of on a rebound, and these days it's all about food!

I also cut Bilal's hair today, and once again I could almost stuff a small pillow with his hair if I tried. So much of it! I am still waiting for the day when he doesn't cry when he gets his hair cut. It turned out pretty good today, but it would be so much better if only he cooperated! I haven't taken the camera out today, but I'll share some pics tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Smarty pants

A conversation with Bilal this morning:

Mama: Drink your sippy cup, Bilal.

Bilal: But, but, I feel hungry of cake!

Mama: No hon, you haven't had your milk yet.

Bilal: Actually, can I just have ice cream? It's got milk in it too!

Now where does he learn these things from??!!

Bilal was ecstatic with his goody bag full of candy and cookies he got on the way out from Eid prayers this morning.

More Eid photos to follow soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Third Anniversary


It is three years today since Bilal had his open heart surgery, the result being a very successful repair of tetralogy of fallot. He still doesn't understand the significance of the day, but some day soon he will. We will continue to thank God for blessing us and for the health that our family enjoys today, with special mention of Bilal's heart, of course.

We are blessed that Bilal was cared for by excellent doctors, who were guided by Allah's hand in treating him. We couldn't have imagined having anyone more competent and compassionate than our surgeon Dr. Christopher Knott-Craig (who since then has moved on to Memphis), and the amazing team of cardiologists at UAB, particularly Dr. Colvin and Dr. Lau. Each one of these doctors have been a blessing in our lives.

I can never express enough gratitude to our family and friends who have traveled this journey with us.

"Mama, wook here!"

I wanted to share this pic, not because it's a particularly flattering photo of me (ugh, they never are!), but because it was taken by my three year old. He's getting pretty good with our little 'point and shoot' camera! I think I'll let him run around one day and snap photos to see what the world looks like from the eyes of a three year old.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rough night

Last night was probably the closest I have ever got to taking one of my children to the ER. I have seen Bilal intubated, and hooked up to several wires and tubes, and of course that was very hard. But in some ways it was a controlled setting. Last night I felt that there wasn't anything I could do for my baby except comfort him.

About an hour after dinner Bilal started complaining of his tummy hurting. It was actually kind of cute; he kept pointing to one of his chest tub scars and saying that was what hurt. I thought he might be refluxing a bit (we just started back giving him Prevacid yesterday morning because he's been retching again). So I reached for the Maalox, and out came his dinner. And snack. And milk. And whatever he had before that. He actually was OK for a while after throwing up, so we decided to give him some anti-histamine to settle his stomach just in case, and then it started again. He vomited and dry heaved for two hours, and during that time also had terrible diarrhea. Thank goodness for the pull-ups he insists he HAS to wear at night. Otherwise we would have been adding even more laundry to the already increasing pile. In between bouts of throwing up and poopies he would fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion, only to be awoken again with more of the same symptoms. And I have never seen him look so pale! My poor baby!

So I grabbed a spare quilt and pillow and crashed on the floor next to his bed, with a bucket within reach, just in case. It's not like I really got much sleep. True to a mommy's nature I was leaning over him every few minutes to make sure he was still breathing. About 1am he woke up and asked for water. Then he asked for some more. So after some water, and sounding a lot more cheerful he fell asleep, and I finally relaxed to get a bit of sleep myself. This morning he had two more episodes of diarrhea, but no more throwing up. Appetite is crummy, but he is acting his usual energetic self, thank God! I think it may have been food poisoning from a tomato he was eating earlier, although I really try and clean everything so thoroughly. The little guy has his hands in everything, and with so much stagnant water outside these days he could have touched something bad while he was playing outdoors. I have to keep chasing after him to wash his hands when he comes inside. Well it seems that as soon as it started, the bug has gone.

So this morning he woke to a (relatively) happy tummy and mismatched jammies but ended up with a bad hair day.
This, we can handle!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I just can't get enough of this

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It is just so darn contagious!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More karate pics



These are some action shots taken of the kids while they were performing in the recent intramural tournament. Makes me want to invest in a nicer camera. But then I still think I couldn't make photos look as good as the person taking these, sigh.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More from Little Rock

At the bowling alley

Bilal and Mama played a game of air hockey while the others bowled

At the arcade

Hamza's unique bowling moves

Cute Shifa

The boys

Taking a break from bowling

And this is a little video of Ibrahim's bowling technique. He's just too cute!


And Imaan relaxing at home. We all did a lot of that too, as you can see:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bilal's new buddy

We had a terrific weekend in Little Rock, catching up with friends we've known from medical school. I'll be sharing some details later, but first I wanted to share some pics of Bilal and his buddy Ayaan. They are about five months apart in age (Ayaan is older), and after they got over the "It's MY toy!!" stage, they had a blast.

Who's hiding under the bed?

Jumping around in their jammies

Smiling for the camera

Wrestling

Huh, why do we have to stop and look at the camera???!!!

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