Saturday, February 27, 2010

A little taste of Euro Bungy



And while Hamza jumped up and down on a trampoline while strapped with oversized rubber bands, Safa and Bilal just chilled. Sweet moment :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


We are so excited that my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law Zamir and his wife Nadia are going to be here tomorrow morning! They don't get to visit for long, because they are headed down to Mobile, but we can't wait to have them with us for a few days. And in honor of this occasion Zakir hired the kids to help him clean out our chronically cluttered garage...... and paid them in ice cream. Now you no longer trip on something every time you walk into the garage, you can actually see our little under the counter freezer (I think I had forgotten it is actually white), and I made a new discovery; we actually have a little deck in our garage above the stairs! It has been so full of junk, mismatched shoes, painting supplies, rolls of wrapping paper and a heap of other things for so long that we couldn't see it. and now that all the leaves from umpteen autumns have been blown out or swept out of the garage you can actually see the floor too. I wish I had a 'before' and 'after' photo to compare, but the 'before' picture would be just too darn embarrassing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TV time (or not)

In honor of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver we are bending the rules at our house. The kids are allowed to watch some TV after supper almost every day. TV, of course is restricted to broadcast of the Olympics only, and ends by about 8pm, which is their usual bed time. Usually there is no TV on school nights, and no computer unless it is school work related. On the other hand if they have completed their homework they have the freedom to do anything they want, except use their time in front of a screen. So building complex Lego structures, running around outside and doodling, painting, etc. are all fair game. This rule has worked for us; the kids have learned it makes more sense to complete their school assignments the day they are given, rather than procrastinate and wait until the night before the assignments are due. It's not that their homework has to compete with TV or video games!

On the weekends we are much more lenient with the whole 'screen time' issue, but since we usually have several other activities going on they don't always get much time to just 'veg' in front of the TV. Bottom line, we don't see much of this anymore:

They were so little! And don't you just love Hamza's red socks?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This is more like it!

It's sunny, 63 degrees and feels like (dare I say it?) a lovely SPRING day! After all the crazy weather we've been experiencing in Alabama, I think we deserve a day like this.

Here's Bilal trying to climb a tree, wearing (gasp!) short sleeves!

And Hamza running at me to tag me yet a again. Darn it, he keeps winning. Maybe I'm getting too old to keep up with these kids!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Well, that didn't last long!

So much for trying to post at least a pic or two every day! Despite the fact that I carry a camera with me almost everywhere I go, I've realized I'm not really using it every day. Plus posting an update (even a short one) once a day is hard work. There are many days when I'm just too pooped to spell correctly, let alone actually type a comprehensible paragraph. Lately work has been especially hectic, and we're actually having to make some changes because of that. This is the start of the weekend, but we already have so much lined up. Tomorrow we have a party to go to, which in itself is great, but the drive will be about 2 hours there and back. Then Sunday I have a 13 hour urgent care shift (11am until midnight). Monday, of course, is work as usual. But I have decided that I will actively make an effort NOT to schedule any extra work on my weekends. Of course Zakir and I will continue to take weekend call, which means each of us works every fifth weekend, but no more urgent care. I find myself spending days before the shift just dreading it, then several days after it, trying to recover from the grueling schedule. Definitely not worth the headache.

For now I will continue to post whenever I can and hopefully stay as updated as possible with pictures.

My handsome boy

I still have to share photos from my friend Farah's baby shower. Hopefully I'll be getting to that soon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Library Day

Tuesday means library day for me and Bilal, so this morning we headed to our local library to check out some books. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that there was an event going on, in honor of The Big Read. So not only were we able to sit and read some books, we also got to play some special games and have popcorn and lemonade. The Big Read is a program initiated by The National Endowment for the Arts, as an effort to encourage literary reading. The book of choice this year in Alabama is Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. A great one; I still have fond memories of reading the book when I was a child. So libraries all over Alabama have given out special copies of the book, and the purpose is to read it, log on to the library website and post some comments about it, then leave it in a public place for anyone to pick up and take with them, read it, and continue the same process. So everyone can find out where the book has traveled and how many people have had a chance to read it. Hamza actually has a copy right now, that he plans to pass on as soon as he has finished reading it. What a great initiative!

Of course, Bilal is still too young to listen to that particular book, but we found plenty of others to read and had a great time.

Ugh, Blogger!

I am sooooo irritated with blogger! I made some minor changes to a couple of gadgets in my blog layout and they have totally rearranged themselves, I can't get them back where they were. I looked up the blogger help center and it is apparently a 'known issue' with custom templates from at least back in October 2009, that has not been fixed. I had switched to a 3 column layout a long time ago, and don't really want to go back to two columns. So now my sidebar widgets are totally in the wrong place. Does anyone know a fix without having to pay someone to design a custom template for me? Please let me know if you do!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Silly boy!

Bilal often makes us laugh because he says things that you don't expect to come out of the mouth of a three year old. For example:

Yesterday in the car on the way home, while Zakir and I were talking,

Bilal: Mama, can you please be quiet?
Mama: Why?
Bilal: Because I want to concentrate.

I'm not quite sure if he really knew what the word 'concentrate' means, but he did use it in the right context.

Today, which trying on shoes at the store,

Hmmm, these feel weird on my feet.

And after trying on another pair,

These don't feel like I expected them to.

I wonder how he expected that they would feel. But we settled on the second pair, because they are lace-ups, and he wanted shoes like his big brother. Plus his older pair are embarrassingly worn out. So this evening Zakir started teaching him to tie shoelaces. I think he'll pick it up pretty soon.

My funny little guy

As CHD awareness week is coming to an end I hope my readers have learned that there are many heart heroes among us. Remember about 1 in 100 children born will have one or more congenital heart defects. CHD does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or country of origin. We are all equally affected. Hug those babies extra tight tonight!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 13, 2010

Ooooo, Haagen Dasz!!

CHD heroes

Here's a little bit of Trivia, in honor of both Congenital Heart Defects awareness week and the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Did you know that the US snowboarding phenomenon Shaun White also has a congenital heart defect, specifically Tetralogy of Fallot? It hasn't stopped him from accomplishing some pretty impressive things, why should it hold our heart kiddos back either? According to his bio he had two heart surgeries before he turned 2. And look at him now! He is such an inspiration.

Also, I've posted this video before, but I wanted to share it again. It's all about hope and what our heroes can accomplish despite the physical defects they were born with.

The more I read about heart children, and adults with congenital heart defects the more inspired I become. We are blessed with Bilal who has endured one major open heart procedure and is the picture of health at age three, although we know he will most likely need some form of cardiac procedure later on in life. But there are so many children and adults who have undergone so much more than Bilal has, and still live their lives to the best of their potential, and in many ways even surpass that. That is true heroism.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A few from our snow day

So we ended up with about 3 inches of snow today in Trussville, definitely not typical for our location. The kids' schools closed early today, but late enough not to have to make it up during one of their inclement weather days. So they had plenty of time to play outside while it still snowed. It was never heavy enough to stick on the roads, but definitely enough for the kids to have a bit of fun, and build their obligatory snowman (or two).

Work in progress on the snowman

The kids with their creations

'Alvin' and 'Chipmunk'

Li'l Chipmunk

No matter how much of a nuisance the snow can be, you have to admit it always looks pretty, especially while it is undisturbed. It stopped snowing in the late afternoon, and has already started melting some.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Homework, and wintry weather

Yesterday evening, for a while, I actually felt like supermom. After supper we were all gathered in the kitchen. While I washed the dishes (the automatic dishwasher is acting up) and cooked a dessert from scratch, I also helped Safa prepare for her math test. Let's make this clear, the last math class I ever took was in 1986, when I was in 10th grade, AND I don't ever recall learning the stuff Safa is doing now. But we went through an entire chapter, and I learned a lot on the way. And Hamza had a test on rates and ratios today, so I was making up math problems for him to solve at the same time. Bilal also sat at the island, demanding paper to write on so that he could do his homework, and I handled it all without losing my cool, well, except a teeny bit when Bilal threw a projectile across the island, right over where Safa and I were working. But overall I think we got a lot accomplished.

Today I don't feel anywhere as productive as I did yesterday, and I'm quite tired. I suppose we all have some down days, but boy, am I ready for the weekend?! There is snow in the forecast tomorrow; the prediction is 1-2 inches. That's definitely not much , but it might be enough to call a snow day considering we DO live in Alabama. I will be headed to clinic for sure, but Zakir will be home to hang out with the kids if the schools close. Looking forward to maybe one lazy morning this weekend? Pretty please?

I've been playing around with our free photo software, Picasa. Definitely not much use for serious photo editing, but how much fun is this? I just realized that you can make cute collages; for example this is Bilal just being himself, playing in his room.

Now if only I could come up with a decent way to organize my photos so that I can actually find the ones I want without going through multiple albums!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 10, 2010

One of those days when even Bilal's new favorite firetruck book couldn't get his attention. Can you tell he was a rather reluctant listener when Zakir was trying to read him a bedtime story? Makes me wonder what he'll be like when he is a teenager.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Working hard

Today is my second shift of the month, working at a small, but rather busy, urgent care clinic. My shift runs from 5pm until 11pm. So today for the first 4 hours I did not even stop to get a sip of water. By the time I took a break at 9pm for a bite to eat and a drink, I was starting to feel rather hypoglycemic. Now, at 10pm things have become quieter, and gosh, I really do need this break! Tomorrow is my usual work day in our regular office, and there are already plans for the weekend, so not much of a break there! I am really looking forward to having a few days off during Spring Break, in mid March, but that's a whole month away!

Just for the sake of cuteness, here's a photo of Safa with her 'Build a Bear' Reesie Cup. She just bought her a brand new pair of glasses so that they would match. Aren't they adorable?

And on a side note it still scares me that I know the name of every single stuffed toy the three kids own........ that's a lot of stuffed toys, and a lot of names!

February 9, 2010

The cloud cover was so thick today that poor Dudley, our GPS couldn't find a satellite signal even after we reached our destination, 16 miles from home. Talk about feeling lost! So much for a nice day yesterday. I hear tomorrow's going to be worse, groan!

Monday, February 8, 2010

February 8, 2010

It's finally warm enough, (and dry enough) for the boys to be outdoors, doing what they love!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

CHD awareness week, Feb 7-14

From the Kids with heart website

Congenital Heart Defect Facts:

What is a congenital heart defect?
According to the American Heart Association, a congenital heart defect is a defect that in inborn or existing at birth. Often a congenital heart defect is also known as congenital heart disease, although, defect seems to describe the birth defect more accurate. A congenital heart defect (CHD) happens when the heart and/or blood vessles near the heart do not form properly before birth.

What causes congenital heart defects?
In most cases, no one knows the cause of a congenital heart defects. In some cases, genetics or environment can play a role. If a women uses street drugs or drinks to much alcohol during pregnancy, she will run a higher risk of having a baby with a heart defect. Rarely, a viral infection may cause serious problems in an unborn baby. There are many factors that are currently being studied, but the truth is that we still don't know what causes most congenital heart defects.

How common are congenital heart defects?
According to the March of Dimes, congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect and the #1 cause of birth defect related infant deaths. The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 40,000 babies are born every year with a congenital heart defect and that over 1 million Americans are living with a congenital heart defect today.

How serious are congenital heart defects?
The American Heart Association says that nearly twice as many children die each year from congenital heart defects as die from all forms of childhood cancers combined! Over 91,000 life years are lost every year in the United States from congenital heart defects. Costs for inpatient surgery alone exceed $2.2 BILLION a year! However, things are improving. Overall death rates have decreased tremendously over the past few years. The outlook is much better for those born with a congenital heart defect today.

What are some symptoms of a congenital heart defect?
Severe defects are typically detected before or shortly after birth. Although some defects are not caught until much later in life, some babies are blue or have very low blood pressure shortly after birth. Some babies have a difficult time eating, breating, and/or gaining weight. Minor defects may show no symptoms. Minor defects are most often diagnosed on a routine medical check up. If you suspect your child of having a congenital heart defect or have ANY questions, ALWAYS consult your child's doctor. Since every child is different, signs and symptoms may show up differently in children.

American Heart Association If Your Child Has a Congenital Heart Defect A Guide for Parents Booklet

February 7, 2010

Fun with Lego!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Smarty pants

One of Hamza's chores for this weekend is clean out and vacuum the car. Goodness knows most of the junk in there belongs to him anyway. So when he headed to the garage this morning Bilal wanted to know if he could help.

Mama: You can help but you can't get in the way
Bilal: Yay! I won't get in the way
Mama: OK then, go ahead
Bilal: Can I get paid to help Hamza?
Mama: Paid with what?
Bilal: Paid with money
Mama: What do you need money for?
Bilal: So I can get another digger!

To add to his collection of countless diggers already. He has been listening way too closely to what his siblings have been up to! And honestly, with the things that come out of his mouth, I even wonder if three year olds are meant to know things like that?

We got a photo greeting card from our cousins a few days ago. Bilal was very happy to see a picture of his buddy Adil, but he asked, "Why did they send the picture in the mail, why not on the computer?" I guess that's a sign that we rarely print out any photographs, they are all stored on my laptop. Then I saw him running off with my camera. When I asked what he was doing, he said, "I have to upload my photos to the computer". He wants to imitate everything he sees the older members of the family see and do! I guess it stands out more with him compared to when his siblings were younger because there is such an age difference. Plus we didn't even get a digital camera until the kids were much older. How did we even make do? But that's besides the point.

Words like 'electronics' and 'hydraulic hammer' and 'cooperate' roll off his tongue way too easily. He makes up the most amazing stories about his imaginary school, fire rescue team and fellow astronauts. But when I suggest that maybe he's ready for real school, he'll respond, "No, I think I'll be fine at home with you and Mrs. Vicki". In a little over a year he'll be ready for kindergarten anyhow. So for now we'll just let him stay in his comfort zone at home and make up stories for our entertainment.

February 6, 2010

My handsome boys, ready for evening prayers

Friday, February 5, 2010

A new project

Inspired by our friend Laura's blog I am going to try and post a little something everyday. But I am not going to dedicate a separate blog to it, rather just incorporate the posts into my existing one. I am thinking, how hard should it be to snap a photograph every day? My little Canon stays in my hip pocket most of the time any way. Now you'll have to put up with my amateurish photos like you do already, but I vow to some day finish reading the manual and make the most of my little 'point and shoot'. So far I am up to page 54 in the manual, and haven't learned anything new I didn't know already, but I'll get there.

So even if I don't write in entry every day, I'll try to post a photo, with the date stamp as the title. Good intentions, at least :)

For now I'll leave you with these. Is there anything sweeter than the face of a sleeping child? I feel so blessed!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Perfect way to spend a rainy day

It's been a wet, dreary day. I wish I could just crash on the couch like Tiny; she didn't leave her spot all day. But the life of a mom of three is very different from that of a cat! Well, at least there's no big plans for this weekend. I predict a Saturday morning lie-in in my future. Waaayyy overdue!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Her Highness, Princess Safa!

Wearing her birthday crown

Adjusting her royal crown (the bow off one of her birthday presents)

About a year ago Safa would have been mortified at the thought of photos like this, especially if I posted one on the blog. Now she poses for them! She has never really been shy, but it used to take her a while to warm up in various settings. Now she's blossomed into an outgoing young lady who loves to be in the limelight. I'm loving this new side of her; she's less inhibited, in a good way. I love that she makes people around her feel relaxed and comfortable. She makes new friends easily, although sometimes I do wish she'd channel some of that social energy towards other things! But I can't really fault her, I am proud to say she is well rounded and driven towards her goals too.

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