Thursday, October 29, 2009


I went to Hamza's school for the mini-concert/ band open house today. I was very impressed to discover how much the kids have learned, considering at the school year they had never touched these instruments.

Honestly, this video doesn't do justice to how well they performed, it sounded much better live. But you can get the gist of it. Mr. Peters had done a great job with the kids; Hamza loves to perform for us, and never has to be prompted to practice!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The things toddlers can say (and get away with)

Bilal has been talking up a storm lately. I wish I would carry a dictaphone with me that stayed on all the time, because some of the things he says are priceless. For example:

To our builder, Dean, who was working on some kitchen cabinets yesterday he repeatedly asked, "Mr. Dean, are you sure you don't need any help?"

To the Lowe's delivery guys who brought our new fridge today, "You have to be careful guys!" And one of them was nice enough to respond, "We will!"

So yay, we have a new fridge now, and bye-bye to the old leaky one that was going to die on us any day. We had to get some of the kitchen cabinets cut to get the new fridge to fit, just like we had to do some shifting around and cutting to fit our new stove. Our present kitchen cabinets (built in the mid 1990s) are just not compatible with the newer 2009 appliances. We still have the original built in dishwasher and microwave, and I am hoping and praying that they stay intact, because how much more chopping and cutting can our kitchen tolerate??!!

I have taken the day off tomorrow to attend Hamza's band mini concert/ open house at the school. I am so excited to watch Hamza perform; he loves to play the trumpet for us at home. I'll be sure to take some pictures and share them. The camera hasn't been out much lately, in fact Bilal is really the only one who's been taking pictures. I also have another appointment to see my orthopedic surgeon about my shoulder.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good first day

I'm back in action, after a 48 hour internet outage. Apparently things come to a complete standstill on the weekends as far as our friendly neighborhood internet service provider, CenturyTel goes. Even though there was a pretty extensive outage since Saturday, repairs weren't made until 8am Monday morning. Well, at least we're back now and I've had a chance to get caught up on some office work.

Today was the first day in the new office, and so far so good. Everything went smoothly and it sure is nice to have more space to move around. Now of course the staff and doctors can't just yell at each other when they need them (like we could in our previous tiny space), we actually have to pick up the phone or walk over to a different office like more civilized people. Instead of sharing three exam rooms between the two of us we have set up three exam rooms each, so the flow is obviously better, with less bottlenecking in the waiting room. There are still things we need to get used to, but it should all come with time.

Safa was celebrating Tacky Day in her school today, so she dressed up a bit funky. Personally I think it's hard for her to look tacky, she just ends up looking too darn cute. But then, I'm biased!

Funky mismatched toe socks

The entire look

Friday, October 23, 2009

Moving Day #1 of 2

We are going to be working out of our new office Monday morning, so things have been gradually packed and some boxes have been moved over the past week. Today was a serious moving day; many many boxes of clinic items were transferred and unpacked. I admit I spent a lot more time wondering which box to tackle and where to put the items and a lot less actually situating them in an appropriate place. Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive. That's when the big items (desks, exam tables, refrigerator, etc.) get moved across. I keep thanking God that we are actually only moving half a mile down the road. If the distances were farther we couldn't have made several trips a day back and forth, transferring stuff.

This morning started out very wet and rainy, not good Moving Day weather. But within less than an hour of reaching Oneonta the sun broke through the clouds and it ended up being a gorgeous day, with highs in the mid 70s. Tomorrow is only supposed to go up to 60 degrees, but there is no rain in the forecast. sounds like good weather to me! Cooler temperatures may actually be better while we transfer large pieces of equipment back and forth. The plan is for everyone to bring their spouses and kids, and make a family affair of it. Sounds like a fun way to spend the weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Birthday Party

Want to turn up the volume in your house? Invite a bunch of eleven and twelve year old boys over for a party. On Sunday five of Hamza's closest friends came over for his eleventh birthday party.

And can you believe, that no matter how rowdy and energetic these boys were (most of the time they ran through the house or through the back yard wielding light sabers and swords), they actually enjoyed solving math problems? At a birthday party???!!!

One thing for sure, it makes me feel proud that Hamza is keeping the right kind of company. Because no matter how wild and crazy he gets at times, he loves his math, and so do his friends!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Missing my mom

It was ten years ago today that we lost my mother to colon cancer. When I think back to this date every year it never ceases to occur to me that 54 is far too young to die. I use this day to remind my friends and family to ask their doctors if they need a colonoscopy. Colon cancer can be cured in its early stages. There aren't many types of cancer you can say that about. The general recommendation is to get a colonoscopy by age 50, but since some patients may be at a higher risk for colon cancer than the general population the actual age they should have the test done can vary. I am one of those people, since I have a first degree relative who was diagnosed with colon cancer at a relatively early age. Here is a little info directly from the American Cancer Society, regarding screening for colon cancer:

"..........colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States are for 2009:

  • 106,100 new cases of colon cancer (52,010 in men and 54,090 in women)
  • 40,870 new cases of rectal cancer (23,580 in men and 17,290 in women)
Overall, the lifetime risk for developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 19 (5.3%). This risk is slightly higher in men than in women........

..............From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow into polyps, it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for them to develop into colorectal cancer. Regular screening can, in many cases, prevent colorectal cancer altogether. This is because some polyps, or growths, can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer. Screening can also result in finding colorectal cancer early, when it is highly curable.

Several tests are used to screen for colorectal cancer in people with an average risk of colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor which tests are available where you live and which options might be right for you.

People who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening at age 50. Those who have a family history or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer (see below) should talk with their doctor about starting screening at a younger age and/or getting screened more frequently."

Since my mom was close to 50 when she was diagnosed I will be getting my first colonoscopy when I'm forty (ugh, don't remind me, that birthday's not too far away!) And I'm sure I'll be able to share with you that the test is really no big deal.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A different perspective

Bilal loves to grab our little 'point and shoot' camera and start snapping photos. Once in a while he'll yell "Mama, smile!" and at other times he'll just point the camera in any direction he wants. Needless to say, the results are variable. Here is a sampling of his latest creations:

Oops, a bit out of the frame

Ah, this one's a bit better!

Not quite sure what he's trying to get in this one

Now that's better!

Safa really wouldn't appreciate this one

But this is actually quite cute!

And then there's a lot of these:

He seems to love shooting the ceiling! In my (slightly biased) opinion he has a lot of promise. And with a little direction he might be creating some impressive works of art.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I got to hang out with Janelle yesterday evening. She's such a cutie! She is also one of our heart buddies. She spent a few hours with us while her mommy and daddy went out for a much needed break. She loves pretending to talk on the phone:

We took a little break from playing to munch on some cheerios.

She was fascinated by Tiny, who was very gentle with her.

And it turns out that she loves to play certain games......


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hamza!

OK, so I'm one day late, but in my defense yesterday was a crazy busy day.

I just had to put his montage to his favorite song. He wants to learn to play it on his trumpet. Hamza is growing up so fast! I can see the changes from his tenth birthday to this one. The montage contains pics from this past year.

Happy Birthday, Hamza!

He did it again, and other weekend news

Just a few days ago I found Bilal fast asleep sitting upright on the sofa. Yesterday I didn't have the time to lie with him in an attempt to have him take an afternoon nap. so I left him to his own designs, and this is what happened:

After napping on the floor of the sitting room for about an hour he got up and sat on the sofa, bobbed his head several times, and this is what happened next:

Then he slept for at least another hour. Best nap he's taken in weeks! And without me having to coax him into taking it. Somehow he stays on a good schedule with Vicki, sleeps about an hour and a half when they're together. But he will not do that for me!

Well, he's had a lot of sleep to catch up on, with all those restless nights when he insisted he could hear noises in his room. Zakir has moved a spare lamp and his clock radio (with a sleep function) into Bilal's room for comfort and reassurance. Two nights ago we pretty much had to Ferberize him, because we had a hunch that refusing to sleep in his room was becoming less about fear and more about his intrinsic stubbornness. So I said lots of prayers with him and tucked him in, then went to bed myself (I have to be extremely exhausted to be in bed before 9!) Zakir dealt with a few bouts of crying and decided we'd have to let him 'cry it out' for a while. Eventually he settled down and went to sleep (after Zakir threatened to take his lamp and radio away). Last night he again started the "I don't want to sleep in my room, I want to sleep in your bed" routine. I reminded him about what happened the night before, set his radio to 'sleep', turned on his lamp and miraculously there were no longer any scary noises. He slept like a baby! Now this might seem like a rather cruel approach but you've got to understand Bilal's personality. He's very smart and can be quite manipulative at times. You just have to differentiate between his genuine fear, and his desire to drive his parents crazy. So two solid nights of sleep with no crying in the middle of the night. That is not a child that is afraid of his room! Of course I really believe that all those prayers we said together helped. You can never underestimate the power of prayer.

And we had a great dinner party yesterday with friends, which happened to coincide with Hamza's 11th birthday. Happy Birthday, Hamza! In honor of his birthday I took a risk and decided to try another version of the famous rainbow cake (with a few modifications in order to simplifying the process). Not too shabby, I think!

The photo, unfortunately, was an afterthought, there wasn't much of the cake left! It was a real hit with the kids. And after all the cooking I did for the past two days I won't have to cook for about a week, woot woot!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I think I've taken on a bit too much this week. Besides my usual 20 or so hours in clinic, shuttling the kids back and forth and making sure everyone is fed and bathed (gotta remind them!) what else do I have in store?

- Cooking for about 30 or so people, for dinner on Saturday evening. I started to do some yesterday. Couldn't start much earlier because we don't have that much space in our fridge or freezer to store cooked food.

- Buy more groceries for said dinner party. For anyone who would like to jump in and help out there is a long shopping list attached to the fridge. Just don't forget the coupons!

- Urgent care shift in Jasper tonight. Have to be there by 6pm. With rush hour traffic that means leaving home by 4:30pm. Clinic runs until midnight, so with an hour commute home I should make it back pretty close to 1am. Then I leave home tomorrow at 7am to start Friday clinic.

- I will be keeping a friend's baby girl for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon. That, I really am looking forward to. Playdate!

-Finish cooking Friday and Saturday. Cooking a Pakistani meal for a Pakistani crowd is a big thing!

And to add to the mix Bilal hasn't been sleeping well for the past couple of weeks. He has developed a fear of everything in his room: doesn't like his bed, his bears scare him (so I moved them to the linen closet last night), monitor makes a noise, and casts a shadow (so I turned that off), his books were scaring him so last night he asked me to take them all out of his room (I drew the line there; his bookcase is stacked), and those are the things that he admitted were scaring him. After all those were addressed he still couldn't tell me what else was wrong. His imagination is running wild these days; I don't know what's going through his mind at any given time! Last night he finally fell asleep about 10pm in our room, with the lamp and the radio on, then Zakir carried him upstairs. Then he was up, crying his heart out a few hours later, insisting that he wanted to sleep in our room. If only he'd actually sleep in the bed; he just makes it uncomfortable for himself and everyone else!

Maybe Sunday will be a day of R&R, before another crazy week starts up!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Who would have ever thought that this adorable, innocent looking baby..............

.......could get into the trouble this little stinker can get into!

This photo reflects his personality perfectly, always mischievous, with that twinkle in his eye, trying to figure out what he can get into next! How he can drive his parents and siblings absolutely crazy. Today it was pouring out half a bottle of Elmer's glue all over the kitchen counter, on to his toys and clothes. And getting a little too violent with his sister who subsequently decided to completely ignore his shouts of "Sappa Baji! Can I play with you now?" Personally, I don't blame her. And singing Wiggles songs at the top of his lungs while Hamza was trying to play his trumpet for me. And insisting on changing his clothes three times today. As if I already don't have enough laundry to do! So it wasn't the best Tuesday Bilal and I have ever had by any standards, but now he is tucked in for the night. And when he sleeps he always looks like an angel.

Just hoping that I don't woken up by him at 1am, again. I am really, really craving a full night of sleep!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A bit of last week

Last Friday Bilal and I went to the Pinnacle to hang out and buy cookies. Of course we had to go check out one of Bilal's favorite toy stores, Learning Express. Granted, it comes a distant third to Lowes and Books a Million, but he still likes to visit and check out the cool toys. And look who we happened to meet there? A year ago Bilal would have got very anxious at the site of the big furry monster, but this time he just walked up and gave Elmo a great big hug. And then he went back for another hug, just for the photo op.

Look at that cute face!

Saturday evening we had a dinner party to go to, so all afternoon I tried to coax Bilal to take a nap. but to no avail. I finally gave up and let him play. About half an hour before we had to leave he came and sat down next to Baba on the sofa. A couple of minutes later, he was asleep, still sitting upright on the sofa. Since I figured this was all the nap he'd get I just let him stay there until it was time to get him up and change his clothes. He always functions so much better when he gets a nap in, yet he fights it every time.

Sunday morning Zakir sent Bilal up to wake up his brother, to get ready for Sunday School. Now Bilal has been known to do things a bit unconventionally. So instead of calling his name to wake him up, he went and sat on Hamza's head. And what happened next? It broke the bracket of his headgear! So now we have an appointment with his orthodontist tomorrow to get the bracket replaced. Ugh! That little stinker keeps increasing my workload. Another errand to add to my Tuesday List of things to do.

I was on-call this past weekend, so didn't get much time to relax. Next weekend I have several families coming over for dinner on Saturday, so it will be another busy day. Busy in a fun kind of way. I am actually looking forward to cooking a lot of food on my nice new gas stove; I'll do some preliminary stuff tomorrow, and the rest Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Always a construction site

Even when there's no work going on in our house there's 'work' going on in the house. Our sitting room pretty much always looks like this:

Construction toys galore!

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