Sunday, November 29, 2009

What do the Muppets and the music group Queen have in common?

Check this out:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What's been going on?

Whoa, what hasn't been going on????? Let's see, since we came here on Thursday we've had a Thanksgiving feast, stayed with 12 additional members of Zakir's family under one roof, met up with friends we've known since medical school, taken the kids to a place 'where the imagination runs wild', made a quick run through a cool zoo, walked under the the tallest national monument in the United States, enjoyed Eid ul Adha with friends and family, including going for Eid prayers, stayed up late, slept in late, and eaten much, much more than we should have (going to have to work off those pounds when we get back home). I can't believe this is all coming to an end so soon! Tomorrow we leave right after breakfast and head back to Birmingham, for work and school as usual.

At home after Eid prayers, the Asads

Sajida and Imran. We should be welcoming Baby Girl (yet to be named) Hassan any day now! Due date is December 21

These girls have been inseparable since we got here!

Bilal and his new best friend Adil, inside the Museum of Westward Expansion, inside the Gateway Arch


Bilal coming down a very bump and noisy slide

Something strange and amazing happened at the City Museum last night. All of a sudden, loud noises, overstimulation, very dark and tight spaces and extremely steep slides were fine. Bilal wanted to experience it all! Either that, or we got caught in all the crowds and accidentally swapped Bilal out with somebody else's kid! But I sure am happy with what we've got now. For me it was all about watching the kids have a great time.

Alina debating whether she should come down a very steep slide. She did...... twice!

Tariq Bhai

Climbing, climbing.....

The rush you get after coming down a long and narrow slide. Why can't grown ups have fun?

I'll share the photos from today in another post. There's so much more!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A mini family reunion

We're having a blast in St. Louis this weekend. The kids and grand kids of three sisters are together, and that makes for quite a crowd! Add to that the festivities of Thanksgiving and Eid ul Adha it's been one big party, with so much food that we are constantly eating. I'll probably have put on something like ten extra pounds by the time we get home on Sunday evening!

We're only halfway through the weekend and I've already taken about 100 photos. I figured the best way to share them would be to put them in a slideshow. I'm sure there will be a lot more to share by the time we leave on Sunday morning........

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scholar's Bowl, and Thanksgiving plans

We are headed to St. Louis for the Thanksgiving weekend and Eid. We will be staying with Zakir's cousins, who have three boys of their own, so I'm sure I'll have a lot to share about the trip. We also hope to meet up with some friends we've known since medical school, so that should be great! Our kids are not far off in age.

I still haven't posted about Hamza's field trip and my experience chaperoning five kids, our trip to the playground yesterday, and so much more! I promise to catch up on it all over time, but I at least had to share the news about Scholar's Bowl, which is a Jeopardy-style general knowledge quiz. In fact I don't even know if I mentioned that Hamza joined the sixth grade Scholar's Bowl team. They have had two tournaments so far, against 5 or 6 other schools, and it was such a pleasant surprise that the HTMS team made it to the playoffs! So they are guaranteed either first or second position. And that means trophies! So the final tournament is in Oxford next Tuesday, and that means that Zakir and I have both had to rearrange our schedules. But that's OK, it's for the kids. This time I don't plan to drag Bilal with me, just to make him miserable waiting for the end. Zakir will leave work early to join Hamza in Oxford, and I am in the process of rescheduling my urgent care shift to work on a different day, so that Safa and Bilal have someone home with them.

I just wanted share one photo from yesterday at the playground. I know it's a bit fuzzy, but I think Bilal looks so cute!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The cutest princess!

Theme parties are all the rage! I took Bilal to Iman's princess party yesterday. The location was Storyville Station; if you remember this post, you'll notice this is the second party we've been to there. Bilal wasn't thrilled at the first party, and sadly he wasn't much more enthusiastic this time either. A portion of the party is celebrated downstairs in the basement, and lighting is dim, for the ambiance. You can't ever imagine that Bilal would enjoy that. In fact, he cried through Mama's attempt at doing the chicken dance, even though he was in my arms! Mostly he just sat around doing nothing,

while the other kids were having a blast playing limbo and dancing around:

He did, however, try on a knight's helmet for a little while:

By the time we made it upstairs and he had heard the word 'cupcake', he had cheered up enough to join in the festivities.




Saturday, November 21, 2009

PCS Open House

Phew! These last few days I've either been too busy or too tired (or both!) to post on the blog. There has been so much going on! Thursday I worked an urgent care shift, which meant that I didn't get home until 1am Friday morning. Then Friday I chaperoned Hamza's field trip to McWane Center. More about that later.

This morning we hosted an Open House at our office, Primary Care Services. We had a great turnout! Along with our patients we had some friends drop by and share snacks with us. We gave lots of H1N1 flu vaccines today too. On Monday we'll find out who won the gift baskets and other prizes.

Here are a couple of photos from today:

The spread

Our wonderful staff: Tammy, Denise, Lisa, Yolanda and Pat

Pretty Imaan

Aren't they cute?

In this last one Maaz and Imaan were trying to get Bilal to look at the camera for a photo. You can see how that turned out! The kids had a blast playing together. Tomorrow Bilal gets to go to Imaan's birthday party. Fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doing their share for CHD awareness

Saving Little Hearts has published their 2010-11 15 month calendar, representing many, many faces of congenital heart defects. We are proud that Bilal is also a part of the project. You can find his handsome face on the December page, second row from the bottom.

I've already ordered my calendar and excited that it will be on the way soon. If you are interested in ordering one you can click on this link, and it will take you to the ordering page on the SLH website. Proceeds from all Saving Little Hearts merchandise benefit children with congenital heart defects. There is a link to SLH in the CHD resources section at the right sidebar of my blog, if you ever want to check it out later.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A few from the Falls

From this site, the legend of Noccalula:

"The unusual name of the waterfall is part of a popular Alabama legend that has been repeated for generations. As the story goes, Noccalula was the daughter of a Cherokee chief who lived with his people near the spectacular falls.
The young woman had fallen in love with a warrior from her own tribe. He was a brave man, but did not possess the worldly goods of many of his rivals. Noccalula's father, contrary to his daughter's wishes, viewed the man as a poor match for his well-placed daughter and instead arranged for her to marry the wealthy chief of a powerful rival tribe. He also ordered her true love expelled from the village. The young woman was heartbroken.
On the day of her wedding people gathered in the village for a great feast. Noccalula was dressed in her wedding finery but in a quiet moment she slipped away and walked to the edge of the swiftly running away. Before anyone could stop her, she leaped from the top and ended her life in the swirling water and mist below.
His daughter's suicide awakened her father to the harshness of his actions and in his remorse he decreed that the waterfall would always be known for his daughter. It is called Noccalula Falls to this day and legend holds that the ghost of the young Cherokee woman can still be seen at times, walking among the mists and looking for her long lost true love."

Statue of Princess Noccalula

The Falls

The Family :)

The Gals

Some friends with the friendly train engineer

The brothers

Waiting to ride the train

Colors of the sunset on the drive home

We had a great time at the APPNA meeting today. Although all the activities started about an hour and a half late (typical of most Pakistani gatherings) the kids had plenty of time to explore the park, and ride the train again, and again, and again. The food was delicious and we had time to catch up with some friends, as well as get some continuing medical education credits. Definitely worth the hour long drive!

Friday, November 13, 2009

On the agenda

It's nice to have a weekend when neither Zakir nor I are on call, but we still have a full couple of days. Today Bilal and I drove down to the AAA office to get some maps and info for our upcoming trip to St. Louis. We'll be visiting family over the Thanksgiving break. I also reserved a hotel room half way so that we can break the trip on the way there. 7+ hours would be quite a bit with Bilal. Four or five hours to Mobile isn't usually too bad, but we don't want to push our luck. It is great that we had plenty of points accumulated to get a free night at the Hampton Inn.

The rest of the day was just low key; we hung outside until it was too dark to play in the yard. Sadly, that comes too early these days. We are still having warm days, but the temperature drops fairly rapidly as the sun starts to set. And I still can't figure out what to do with these long, dark evenings.

Tomorrow the APPNA Alabama chapter meets at Noccalula Falls for its fall meeting. APPNA is an organization of doctors of Pakistani descent in the US. The Alabama chapter is still fairly young, but growing. The last time we went to the Falls it hadn't rained in months, and the waterfall was less than impressive, but I have heard that it is quite a site to see after the rains. So we are looking forward to that.

Sunday, of course, is Sunday School for the kids, which takes up the better part of the day, and by the time they get home and have a late lunch they are already getting into school mode for the following week. and I am working a thirteen hour, THIRTEEN HOUR urgent care shift. Why am I such a sucker for punishment???!!! So I won't be home till 1am Monday morning, and then it will be back to work at 8am as usual. I am taking Bilal to work Monday since Vicki is out of town. Maybe we can both come home after clinic and have a nice long nap. I can wish, right?

Speaking of naps, Bilal's are getting shorter and shorter. He still gets cranky if he doesn't nap at all. On top of that he still hasn't adjusted to the daylight savings time change. So no matter how late he goes to bed, he's still up at the crack of dawn. The last couple of nights I gave up on trying to stretch his bed time until 8pm and have been putting him down earlier. At least he won't be as sleep deprived over time.

Safa, Hamza and I just finished another game of Phase 10. Seriously, that is one of the most fun card games I have ever played. We always end up rolling on the floor with laughter, and with tears streaming down our faces. All the while singing Beatles songs at the top of our lungs, (out of tune of course!) It's a pity that Bilal isn't old enough to join in the fun, we have to wait until he goes to bed before we can take out the cards. Maybe in a couple of years he'll be playing with us too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rainy day

After ten or so gorgeous fall days it has been a dull and rainy day today. The effects of Tropical storm Ida are being felt all over Alabama. I suppose we shouldn't complain, since so far we have experienced nothing but sunny skies, cool crisp mornings and lovely warm afternoons since the start of November. But I sure am ready for all this rain to pass through.

It's the middle of November and our confederate rose is still blooming. Usually by this time we've had her first frost, and that's all it takes to stop it in its tracks. The temperature has been close to freezing a couple of mornings, but hasn't quite hit 32 degrees yet.

Today even the cats have been grumpy, particularly Sammy, who loves to spend time outdoors in the sun. Tiny has stayed asleep most of the day on her perch, on Zakir's office chair, so she'll probably be frisky and restless overnight. I don't think she has woken up at all today, except to have a snack here and there. Ah, the life of a cat!

And I wanted to share one photo of Bilal with his Baba. See that tongue sticking out from the side of his mouth? That's the exact thing Zakir does when he's concentrating on something, which is incidentally the same thing Dada Abbu (Zakir's dad) does when he is deep in thought. Evidently some mannerisms run in the family!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shelby County Airport

I dropped Safa off at her school at 5:30am yesterday; she was headed with the rest of the math team to Cedar ridge for a math tournament. After making round and coming back home we didn't have any fixed plans for the rest of the day. Zakir and I were thinking of heading to Springville for Homestead Hollow, but Hamza really, really, really wanted to check out the old war planes being displayed at Shelby County Airport. So off to the airport we went. How can you disappoint such an enthusiastic young man??!! It was another beautiful fall day, perfect for being outdoors. And the planes were actually quite impressive!

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