Thursday, March 31, 2011

And finally, Day 2 in Orlando

The second park we visited was Universal Studios.

We had to make sure that this time around Hamza really was tall enough for all the rides, ha!

Safa and Hamza enjoyed the Men in Black ride, but Bilal wasn't quite sure. I guess all the rapid spinning was a bit much for him.

And here are a couple more sights from around the theme park:

The Blues Brothers Show was quite enjoyable. They had the entire crowd singing along with them

And especially for Bilal we made a visit to see Barney.

 See the excitement on his face?

Just as at the Islands of Adventure there were many things that Bilal did not get a chance to do. But he still managed to have a lot of fun. And Safa and Hamza enjoyed coaster after coaster.

Including the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, the one roller coaster that even I refused to ride:

The drops just looked too darn steep for me. But they loved it, and would have ridden it again if they had had the time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Made me laugh!

I wanted to share a Bilal funny before I forget. A few days ago we were all riding in the car when a very familiar song came on the satellite radio. From the back seat Bilal yelled, "Change the song, quickly!"

Me: " Why hon? I thought you liked this song."

Bilal: "Because it gets stuck in my head and then I can't stop singing it." Then, "Too late!"

How on earth does a four year old get a song stuck in his head? Sometimes he cracks me up with the things he says.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More of Day 1 in Orlando

We spent the first day at the Islands of Adventure.

As Safa, Hamza and Zakir stood in line at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Bilal and I made a quick trip to Seuss Landing to ride the carousel. What a whimsical collection of creatures! I'm sure it would have made Dr. Seuss himself proud to see what has evolved from his collection of children's books.

Most of the rides in this part of the park did not have long waits, probably because half of the park population was standing in line to go on the Harry Potter ride. But still, we did have to wait for a while to go on 'One Fish, Two Fish', another of Bilal's favorites.

Getting Mama wet during the ride was worth the wait for him. Oh, and he loved the fast paced Cat in the Hat ride too!

And back in the Wizarding World,

We all sampled some butterbeer. It was very interesting, I don't think I can really describe it, other than the fact that it is very, very sweet. Not a bad taste, but nothing like anything I have tasted before. Hm.

Later we headed to check out the show, Poseidon's Fury. Not a good choice for Bilal. He got so freaked out with the noise and the special effects that he and I had to make a quick exit in the middle of the show.
Once outside, he was fine again.

So at this park there were many attractions that Bilal either couldn't, or wouldn't watch or ride. Would I take a four year old back there knowing what I know now? Probably yes. The sights and sounds of the park were still very enjoyable for him. The rides he did go on, and the play areas he visited he thoroughly enjoyed (well, except for the Pteranodon Flyers, not a hit with him!) And it is definitely a thrilling place for teenagers! The last time we visited Universal several years ago, Hamza was devastated that he wasn't tall enough to go on all the big roller coasters. And this time he was able to enjoy them all. Interestingly Safa, who was convinced for years that she would get motion sick on rides couldn't find a single ride she didn't want to go on. We have a new thrill seeker on our hands!

Zakir has more photos in his camera, but I haven't had a chance to go through those yet, so hopefully I will have more to share soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

First game of the season

Yesterday evening was Bilal's first soccer game. He was so excited; he could hardly wait for 6:30 in the evening to come around.

I love that his coach kept on emphasizing that playing a game was all about having fun and not about winning or losing. After all, we are talking about 4 and 5 year olds here! In the U-5 division no scores are kept and the kids play three a side.

The pre-game pep talk

Warm-up time

Bilal and his other teammates waited patiently for their turn to play

Both sides scored, and it was so much fun to watch the kids enjoy just running around on the field.

Tired but happy :)

This morning was another game, but I missed it because I had to shuttle Safa back and forth for her math tournament. Hopefully I'll be able to share some pics from Zakir's camera soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

THE life!

I tried to have a heart to heart talk with Tiny, our blue tabby, today. I told her that she couldn't live her entire life lying around; she should get up and do something worthwhile instead.

She didn't listen.

A couple of hours later she had barely twitched a whisker. Ah, the life of a cat!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Camp Jurassic

I don't have much energy to write a lot; work has hit me hard this week and I also have laryngitis/ bronchitis. Thanks for sharing, Bilal!

As you can tell from these, Camp Jurassic at Universal's Islands of adventure was a great hit with Bilal, while his siblings stood in line for more than 90 minutes to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

The dinosaur, not so much. He didn't want his photo taken anywhere near this puppy.

Can't really blame him, look at those ferocious teeth, even though it was only a model!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vacation over!

We come back from vacation and get thrown into the crazy busy work/ school week, hence the lack of updates. I have a lot to share, but it will have to wait as I catch up on work. Today Zakir and I flip-flopped our schedule, so I worked in clinic all day while he came home for the kids. Tomorrow Bilal goes to the field for soccer practice; he can hardly wait!

And positive news, Sammy the cat is definitely on the mend, the abscess has almost completely cleared up and he just has the slightest limp left.He has lost a good bit of weight, but I'm sure he'll catch up soon. We are actually letting him out of the house again without having to stress about him. Maybe he'll learn not to get into fights any more. But then, if at 9 or 10 years old he still hasn't learned his lesson, who knows if he ever will? Tiny is back into my lap again, thankfully she is no longer irritable and edgy. So equilibrium is gradually being restored.

OK, I have to share just one quick photo from Universal, more will follow when I get a chance to sit down and type a decent post.

My cuties!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Today's Headliner?

Neon Trees in concert at Universal Studios, Orlando, with just the older two kids.

They had a blast!

More soon to follow from our Orlando vacation, including a little about this ride:

But right now I have to shake the noise of the very loud concert out of my head and try to get some sleep. Will update later!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Orlando vacation

We made it to Orlando uneventfully, thank goodness, and checked into the hotel at about 4:30pm. Not a bad drive, since Zakir and I split up the 500+ miles we drove since 6:30am this morning. We has several brief stops and a longer one for lunch.

As soon as we arrived the kids saw the hotel had a small swimming pool, so of course they were in a hurry to go. It's amazing that even Bilal was enthusiastic about the idea. Even though he didn't manage to learn to swim, maybe last year's lessons paid off in alleviating some of his crazy fears. And speaking of fears, yesterday I took the boys for much needed haircuts. And for the first time ever Bilal happily volunteered for a haircut without a single tear. Yay! Another difficult hurdle overcome! It probably helped that his brother was there for a cut too, but Bilal actually volunteered to go first!

Anyway, back to the pool. I think this picture of Hamza stepping into the pool for the first time might just sum it up, priceless!

The water was c....c.....c....coooooold! Even though it was about 82 degrees with a brightly shining sun. I suppose in March the water just hasn't had enough time to warm up, although the pool itself looked sooooo inviting!

After a while he got comfortable in the water, adjusting to the temperature, although he still looks hesitant in this one:


There he goes!

It took Bilal a little longer.

But after a while even he was enjoying himself, although staying close to the edge of the pool.

Safa had absolutely no desire to dip in the pool, and didn't even want a picture taken. This is the closest she got to the water (and getting a picture):

Even the boys had had enough within about 20 minutes. After a quick change of clothes we took the kids out for dinner at a nearby restaurant called Urban Hibachi. Delicious! Would definitely go there again.

And now we have the kids tucked in for the night across the hall (sadly, the hotel had no adjoining rooms available). This is the first time we have ever reserved two rooms for the family; so I hope that we don't hear that the boys have been fighting overnight! The plan is to head out to Universal's Islands of Adventure tomorrow morning after an early breakfast. Gotta beat those lines for the famous and immensely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a day!

And our vacation hasn't even officially started yet! Where shall I start? The story begins about a week ago.......

We noticed early last week that our red tabby, Sammy, had been limping some. As the week progressed his intake went down some, and he virtually stopped putting weight on his right front leg. Wouldn't let us touch it. So Zakir took him to the vet on Friday and we discovered that he had developed an infection near the joint. They examined him under anesthesia, shaved the sore part of the leg and found bite marks. Evidently he had got into a fight..... again. They gave him an antibiotic shot, decided that there was nothing that needed draining, and kept him under observation through the weekend. So yesterday, after spending $170 at the vet's I brought him home, while he was still slightly under the influence of pain meds (tramadol). He wanted to go outside so I thought I'd let him go for a little, and bring him back in to rest. I stepped inside for a few minutes and when I went out to pick him up, he wasn't there. I immediately started getting bad vibes. After all, he was still a little loopy when he went out. Shouldn't have let him go, big mistake. I called for him several times, but got no response. Then within half an hour the weather got extremely windy and then we started getting torrential rain. Still no Sammy. It rained throughout the night, and we kept checking to see if he was at the door. When Zakir walked Atlas this morning it was still raining and there was still no sign of Sammy. Finally it stopped raining and I sent the kids out to scour the neighborhood. Safa thought she heard him, but couldn't find him.

Meanwhile, around noon, Zakir had an inspirational thought while he was at work. He recalled seeing Sammy going into our next door neighbor's shed once or twice in the past. So I sent the kids to check. Sure enough, they found him stuck inside the tool shed. Apparently a gust of wind had caused the door to slam shut, trapping the poor, drugged, injured kitty inside with no way to get out.

So now all is good, our cat is back home and the family is complete again. I did have to run him by the vet's once again this afternoon because his leg was getting boggy and felt like there might be an abscess. The vet agreed but didn't want to drain it since it was so close to the joint. Hoping that the 2 week long antibiotic shot will do its magic. So I brought him back home and he has been mostly sleeping since. Except when we forced him to get up and coaxed him into eating and drinking a bit.

And the rest of the day was spent running errands including a hair appointment, a trip to the grocery store, library, karate for the kids, picking up some movies for the trip and taking Atlas to the vet's for boarding. Phew! Now it is 10:30pm and I have just finished my first cup of re-re-reheated tea that I've had a chance to drink all day! 

Tomorrow we leave for Orlando, and Vicki will be checking on him and Tiny periodically. He is still not putting a lot of weight on his leg, but is letting us touch it now, so it seems to be getting better. He'll have plenty of time to heal while he stays indoors for the next several days. And speaking of Tiny, she has been hissing at Sammy since he came back home. I think she was enjoying being the only cat in the house, and has been resenting all the attention Sam has been getting since he finally came back home.

Sammy in the car on the drive home from the vet. Can you see the shaved front leg?

After a mostly sleepless night we really need a break! How does a nine hour drive bright and early tomorrow morning sound? Not very restful, but at least we hope to get a little break from our crazy household!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Better days are here

After a few dull, dreary, disease laden days we have a lovely weekend. In a few days we have gone from this:

to this:

It was a beautiful spring day yesterday, so we grabbed some fast food, and had a picnic out in the back yard. The kids ate in the pleasantly shady playhouse. Nice to have the intermediate weather; not too hot, not too cold, and with no mosquitoes..... yet. I love Spring!

Hamza isn't feeling too bad, both the brothers have lots of snot, but that's about it. I have faith that things will be fine for our vacation later this week.

This morning I took the kids bowling, it was the Birmingham Islamic Society's Community Bowling Day. Bilal got to bowl for the first time ever and he really enjoyed it. For Safa it was more about hanging out with her friends. In fact we brought a couple of her friends back with us. After lunch Safa, her friends and Hamza have walked down to the Spring Carnival in Trussville, less than two blocks from our house (they don't even have to cross the main road!) while I put Bilal down for a nap, blissfully unaware of where his siblings are (shh, don't tell him; he really needed that nap!)

And excellent news, we received the letter yesterday. Hamza has been accepted into the ASFA Math and Science program for the upcoming school year. Yay! It is a very accelerated program, and we believe it will provide him with the challenges he needs to stay out of mischief. So in the fall Safa goes to a school in Irondale, Hamza to one in Downtown Birmingham, and Bilal to one in Trussvile. Coordinating pick ups and drop offs will be tricky. But I'm sure we'll figure it out, somehow!

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