Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcoming 2011

Another amazing year is coming to an end. It has been a year of ups and downs for us, but overall I feel we've been blessed. I am curious to know what 2011 has in store for us, but only time will tell. Praying for a healthy and happy year for all my friends and family.

The kids plan to stay up to welcome in the New Year, but I'm pooped, so I'm headed to bed. Maybe I'm too old for all these festivities. 'Night all, and......

............... HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Playing in the white stuff

The kids had an opportunity to play in the snow for a while on Christmas Day. It only accumulated an inch or so, but it's still such a rare thing to enjoy in Alabama.

 Where's Atlas?

 Snow angel!

Nothing like the blizzard that hit the North East this week. But we'd rather have it this way!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Picky eater?

Today I made open top grilled veggie sandwiches for dinner, with yellow squash, sauteed onions and mushrooms, tomatoes and a little bit of spinach. Then I layered cheese sliced on top and toasted them. When we sat down to eat Bilal asked what was under the cheese, and I told him "Veggies".

"What kind of veggies?"

"Veggies." I figured we were in for a fight.

"No, what kind of veggies?"


"But I don't like squash!"

"Have you had a bite yet?"

"No, but I don't like squash!"

"Have a bite then tell me."

So he took a bite. "I don't like it!"

"Yes you do. Don't you remember, you told me it was your favorite veggie?" OK, that was a bit of an embellishment on my part, but he has eaten squash in the past and enjoyed it.

"I don't want it!"

"That's what you're getting for dinner, so you might as well eat it". I was ready for the fight too. Let me just say that Bilal is historically not a picky eater. He eats most vegetables (especially if he doesn't know what he's eating), does very well with meats and dairy, and loves almost any kind of fruit. Lately he has been saying "no" to anything you offer him, and after giving in to it a few times I decided to put my foot down. So today he was going to eat what Mama made.

He ate several more bites, with tears streaming down his face. By now I was starting to feel a bit guilty. I took out a teeny bit of squash that was visible under the cheese in the sandwich and, gave him the rest back. So he ate more, oblivious to the fact that he was also eating squash.  And when he was done there wasn't much of the sandwich left. Then after he was reassured he had had enough to eat he settled down. And I asked him, "If I told you I wouldn't make you another sandwich with squash in it would you tell me if you liked it?" And his response was "Yes".

"So you liked the squash?"


"So you shouldn't have made a fuss. Next time Mama makes squash don't make a fuss, OK? If you like it, you should eat it."

"OK, I will."

So all the whining was for nothing. I don't want to lie about what is in his food, but if I had told him it was fish he probably would have eaten it without a single complaint. I want him to eat a variety of foods and enjoy them, without having to conceal what he is eating. Now he is in this 'fake' picky eater stage. He refuses foods just for the heck of it. When coerced he will eat and enjoy, but not without a huge song and dance. What should I do with him??

Thank goodness his older siblings don't put up a fuss when it comes to eating (well, most of the time!)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow, Day 2

It has been snowing again off and on since early this morning. But it feels 10 degrees colder than the actual temperature with the wind chill. Too cold!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A little snow

Perfect for the holiday season!

You can see it's starting to settle a little on to of our grill.

We don't expect much accumulation because it is above freezing, but I hear that the temperature might drop a little later today. The kids might not be able to play in the snow, but it sure looks pretty coming down!

Merry Christmas to all my friends.

Friday, December 24, 2010

OK, so it's not Disney

But at least Safa and I had fun getting our toenails done!

And our plan is to try and go back to Orlando in Spring Break to visit the Universal Studios theme park. Still gotta see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

And a quite update regarding my previous post, Bilal is already feeling much better. By yesterday evening he was actually running around (and even jumping up and down), although he had some difficulty climbing on the kitchen barstools. This morning he again awoke reluctant to bear weight on his legs, and feeling quite tender in the calf muscles. But within an hour or so he was much better again, though unable to climb up on the stools. So it seems like this is a very mild case, and that hopefully he should be back to his normal self quite soon. Yay!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's so sad that it's almost comical!

In the Khan household when it rains it pours. This morning all the kids woke up feeling much better; no fever, slight runny noses, and coughs that sound like they are getting gradually better. But it doesn't stop there, does it?

Bilal was the first one to rise in the house, as usual. But his time instead of coming downstairs he sat in his room howling. When Zakir went up to see what was wrong, he said his legs hurt. They hurt so bad that he wouldn't put any weight on them. In fact he was screaming in pain. That obviously freaked us out! So after carrying him to the bathroom and back I started checking his joints and muscles. No problem flexing hips, knees or ankles. That was very reassuring. No fever, that was good. Nothing deformed or swollen, good! But he was severely tender in his calf muscles in both legs, and worse when you would cause the muscles to contract. That was rather worrisome. I have been practising as a family physician for about 8 years, and have never seen anything like this.

So I started to do some research. First of all based on his symptoms I thought he had an inflammatory process going on in his muscles, such as a 'myositis'. Also reasoned that it might be related to the fact that he is just getting over an acute illness similar to flu. We thought the kids probably didn't have flu since they've been vaccinated, but it could still happen, of course. So after checking out a medical resource for physicians called 'Up to Date' I figured Bilal has developed a condition called 'Benign Acute Childhood Myositis'. Simply speaking, according to another consumer website:

Benign acute myositis. In benign acute myositis, a young child suddenly develops severe leg pain and cannot walk normally. These symptoms are dramatic and frightening, but they usually disappear within a few days. Benign acute myositis usually occurs in children who are recovering from the flu or some other respiratory infection caused by a virus. Doctors are not sure whether the child's muscle symptoms are caused by the virus itself or by the body's immune reaction to the virus.
 And apparently the condition can last for 3-10 days. There are associated abnormal blood tests which come back to normal in 2-3 weeks after the start of the symptoms. It is most commonly associated with Influenza type B.

So Bilal has been carried around the house this morning, or pushed around in a stroller by his brother. Since he isn't actually feeling sick and we are convinced he has a self limiting condition that requires no further treatment, it is more of an inconvenience than anything else. But a 3-10 day long inconvenience??!! And Bilal is milking it for all it's worth, having everyone in the house at his beck and call. It's not like he enjoys being in the same place for very long; he wants to constantly be on the go. I have a feeling that if this lasts for very long his siblings are going to make him crawl or scoot around, instead of pushing him in a stroller or carrying him.

There's nothing 'normal' about our family, is there?

The Unexpected

Days three and four at the parks was supposed to be a trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Day five would have been Disney's Animal Kingdom or Epcot, and we were planning to head home the same day, with the plan to be home somewhere late, late Thursday night. But as we all know, things don't always go according to plan, especially when you add three kids into the mix.
Safa was quite sick on the way down to Orlando, coughing, achy, stuffy nose, etc. And if you pack five people in a minivan for nine hours, chances are that viruses will recirculate. And recirculate, and eventually infect someone else. Within day 2 of being in Orlando Hamza started to feel sick. It started with a cough which steadily got worse, then fever, body aches, the whole viral syndrome. Safa started to feel better, although her cough was still pretty bad.

Obviously Bilal was the next to get sick. He threw up once before breakfast the day we visited the Magic Kingdom. But we figured it was reflux, gave him some Prevacid and headed out. If you can see from the pictures in the previous post, he was also starting to look a little puny. I gave him some Tylenol, he started to feel better. For all of those who know our little Mr. B, it takes very little to make him puke. He ate a few bites of lunch, and puked. We cleaned everything up the best we could. Then less than an hour later he puked again. Started running a fever also. So we had to leave the park.

By then Hamza was also starting to feel a lot worse. His cough became almost constant. We kept on tanking him up with cough medicine, which helped for a couple of hours, and then would wear off. Personally I don't like giving the kids symptomatic medications. I prefer to give them some honey, plenty of fluids, let them rest and take some time to recuperate. Unfortunately that pace doesn't work when you're on vacation.

So we spent several hours in the hotel room recharging, ate dinner and tried to head back to Disney for a little while. But we didn't spend very long at the park before Hamza started feeling a lot worse.

And the photos on this post are of the boys Tuesday morning. Both running a fever and neither wanting to get out of bed. So we made the difficult decision to leave everything and come home. Fortunately the hotel was willing to cancel our next two nights with no penalty. So within two hours we were packed and headed home. Hamza and Bilal didn't care, but Safa was really torn about having to leave early. We lost a one day Disney park admission, because it will expire in 2 weeks, but we have held on to our Universal tickets to use at a later date.

And by 9 pm on Tuesday night, we were home.

Wednesday morning both boys were still sick, although Bilal did not run a fever. Hamza was out of bed for only 2 hours in the entire day. Zakir has been 'Lysol'ing the house like a maniac. You should see him chase those viruses around with the can in his hand, haha!

Praying for the sickies to leave our home soon!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Disney, day two at the parks

After spending the day at Hollywood Studios on Saturday, Sunday was mostly a day of rest, although we did go shopping in the afternoon too. On Monday we headed to the Magic Kingdom bright and early. It is really smart to hit the parks soon after opening, because you can get a lot done before the crowds really build up. The park opened at 8am, and we were there by about 8:15.

Just inside the entrance, with Cinderella's castle in the background:


We all rode Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger together, then switched off so that four of us could ride Space Mountain. Bilal did not fit the height requirements, but I have a feeling he wouldn't have been that interested in a super fast, super dark roller coaster anyway. After Saturday's ride on the Aerosmith Rock 'N' Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios Space Mountain was rather tame.

 We then headed to Fantasyland, and rode most of the rides we were planning to, although we didn't get to the Carousel and the Mad Tea Cup ride. Since neither of them have fast passes we planned to come back to those when the crowds died down (if that ever happens at Disney!)

After spending a good bit of time in Fantasyland we headed to Splash Mountain. Bilal was too afraid he'd get wet, so didn't want to go on it, but the rest of us enjoyed it. Bilal had a fun time watching people shriek as they came down the last part of the flume.

Then on to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, with a plan to stop for lunch after that.

It was around lunch time that our plans changed. Let's just say that we didn't get to finish the park as planned, and had to make an earlier departure. More about that in another post, but here are a couple more pics from the Magic Kingdom:

 We did return for a little while in the evening, so got to see some of Disney by night also, and do a couple of more things before making a mad dash out of the park in an attempt to beat the rush that is inevitable at the end of the parade. Unfortunately we did get hit by the crowds, but still made it out in a reasonable amount of time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

First Day

We arrived in Orlando at almost noon yesterday. The morning didn't go exactly as planned; we slept in some after arriving at the hotel in Lake City late the night before, so got out later than we had expected to. And speaking of the night before, we checked into the Hampton Inn at about 1:15am, only to find that there was no record of the reservation I had made three weeks earlier. So I pulled up my email to print the confirmation for the night manager on duty. Meanwhile she found a handwritten note stating the reservation had been canceled because our credit card had been denied. Plus an attempt to get an authorization from our credit card company had been unsuccessful. Why???!!! So I tried to get American Express on the phone but couldn't get through after being on hold for a while. So I decided to secure a room on another credit card (with three sleepy kids in the car waiting for a real bed it wasn't worth the wait). Thankfully the hotel wasn't completely booked up. After we had the kids tucked in for the night (close to 2am) I tried to call American Express again and immediately got customer service. The representative told me there was no problem with my card, and no record of anyone trying to contact them. Ugh! So in the morning I had the hotel run my AMEX again, and it went through with no problems.

And then we made a wrong turn on our way to Orlando, which delayed our arrival by an extra half hour or so. But we drove straight to Hollywood Studios, and managed to have a great time at the park; and with some good strategies only had to wait 40 minutes for one ride; the wait on the others was much less.

Inside the entrance

Waiting in line for the Toy Story Mania Ride

Cool Shades

Then Bilal and Hamza got Darth Vader's autograph. Granted, Bilal was a bit intimidated by Darth Vader until we assured him it was a guy dressed up, and it was all pretend.

Actually, several times during our day we had to stop and explain to Bilal that everything was pretend, and that nobody was getting hurt, the shooting was pretend, and the horns growing out of Darth Maul's head were not real either.

The costumes were very impressive, though.

And the park looked very impressive with Christmas lights up at night.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Only two days left........ Ticker
Free Disney Tickers

........ until we head to Orlando, for our Disney vacation. As I write this it is 44 degrees in Orlando, but there is a warm up in the forecast as far as I can tell. Zakir thinks it's good, cooler temperatures might mean smaller crowds. But I don't think that's how it works at Disney. If school is out it's going to be crowded. But we are prepared for that. Zakir and I went to Disney in February, a year before Safa was born. There were no lines; we would get off a ride and go right back for another turn. We didn't stop for the parades; we weren't interested in meeting the characters. When you don't have kids you don't really care about those things. Now we want to pace ourselves, so that Bilal can meet his favorite characters and that Safa and Hamza specifically get to do the things they enjoy, even if it means splitting up once in a while. So our focus has shifted a bit.

Last night I took two empty suitcases out of the attic to pack for the trip. Today I actually dusted them off and put away a few items. I have a feeling we'll be doing most of the packing at the last minute. Tomorrow we are scheduled for a busy day at work, and I am chaperoning Hamza and the HTMS band to the elementary school for a full day of performances on Friday. Then we leave that same afternoon. So exciting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We woke up to 15 degree temperatures this morning. And it's not even officially winter yet! After running our usual Tuesday morning errands, we had lunch and decided to go outside to play with the puppy. So we bundled up nice and warm.

But even with nice heavy jackets and gloves it wasn't long before we could no longer feel our noses and fingertips. So we were back in the house within about 20 minutes. Brrrrr! The only one who seems to be loving this cold is Atlas. Nothing curbs his energy; he loves to play and has a blast when we are out in the back yard. In fact the colder it gets the happier and more energetic he seems to be.

Happy as a clam!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our 'other' family

Along with 22 credit hours of continuing medical education this weekend we also had our office Christmas party last night, which we hosted at our house this year. Thanks to Tammy who was photographer for the evening; I really didn't have time to take out my camera.

I barely made it home in time to host my own party; I pulled into the house just after 6pm. By then the guests had already started arriving. And of course it took a little while to get the food organized in a presentable manner. Overall we had a great turnout, missing only a couple of spouses and kids.

This is Yolanda with her hubby:

And Lisa with her husband:

Tammy's gang

Pat and her husband. Pat was the first person to join our practice. Four years later she's still putting up with us, haha!

This is Denise's family, plus a nephew, minus her husband, who was out of town:

And for the finale, Safa took a picture of all of us crammed into the stairwell. She tried to take a video of us trying to squeeze in, but the SD card ran out of memory. By the time she replaced the card we had managed to squeeze into place. Trust me, the video would have been hilarious. But we all manged to fit!

And the evening was a blast! We are so fortunate that we work with a great group of folks!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Choir performance

As I've mentioned before, Safa took Beginning choir as an elective in school this year. So she has been preparing Christmas Carols since August for one concert this past Tuesday night. The venue was a very grand church.

I drove Safa and her friend to the church for the concert. That, in itself was a comedy of errors. I left the GPS in the minivan for Zakir, who was going to bring the boys a bit later (concert started at 6:30pm), and Safa was scheduled to be at the church at 5:45, to pick up her robe and get seated in time. I posted the directions into the body of an email and sent it to myself so I could refer to it when we were headed there. Well, by the time we left the house it was a bit later than we planned, thanks to Safa's friend getting a ponytail tangled up in her hair. And the fact that I spent a couple of minutes outside in the dark tackling the dog hunting for my missing camera. We all know how that ended!

As we got off the interstate Safa started to read the directions on my phone. Then suddenly, poof! The emailed disappeared. Just disappeared! So here we are, already running late, with no idea which way to go. I called Zakir, who checked Dudley (yes, our GPS has a name) and told us where to turn. By then we realized we had already missed the turn. So back we went, another mile or so in the opposite direction and took the correct turn. By then I had forgotten if Zakir had told me to turn left or right at the next road. So I called Zakir back (he was on the road by then), and he had to pull over to get me the details of where I should go. Meanwhile I made a lucky guess, and managed to turn in the correct direction to get to the church. I dropped Safa and Sarah off at the entrance (at 6pm), parked the car and joined them inside. Zakir made it with the boys, and we all got seated while Safa got ready to perform.

The choirs performed well. Since we were seated far back in the balcony I was not able to get a good picture, but you get the idea:

At least I got a couple of pics of the girls after the performance.

Tonight is Hamza's concert; he's performing in the Middle School Symphonic Band. I bought him a nice pair of dress pants and black shoes that fit well. The school provided the tuxedo jacket, which is waaayyy oversized, because apparently by the time it was Hamza's turn to receive one, all the small ones had been taking. We bought a shirt, vest and tie through the school. The shirt (mens' extra small) is very big on my small built twelve year old. Can't do much there. The vest and tie, which had also been ordered almost two months ago, had not got delivered to the school as of today. So Hamza will be performing in the concert looking a little swamped in his huge suit, minus the vest and tie. Not exactly how I pictured him, wearing a tuxedo for the first time, but he still looks nice. And as Hamza astutely stated today, "I play better than I look". I have heard him play his trumpet, and I know he performs very well, but I think he would have felt more confident if he were wearing a suit that actually fit him well. Still, I am looking forward to the concert.

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