Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our weekend, and an update

After weeks of constantly being on the go we finally have a less hectic weekend to enjoy. Yesterday evening we went shopping with the kids, had our usual Friday dinner out and that was all. Today we also started off rather slow. Zakir dropped the car off for servicing in the morning, Hamza spent a couple of hours at a friend's house working on a school project and we made a few trips to local stores to pick up a few things. Aside from that we were mostly home. We spent plenty of time outdoors, with perfect weekend weather, and after tucking Bilal in for the night Safa, Hamza and I had a game of Phase 10. No running around on the soccer field, no math tournaments, and no debate meets. Goodness, we almost didn't know what to do with ourselves!

It was nice to have two fresh home cooked meals today, which hasn't been happening very often on the weekends lately. Zakir made Pad Thai for lunch, and we had buttermilk pancakes with strawberries for dinner. Yum!

Yesterday while walking around the yard Safa and I came a cross some things that I am convinced were definitely not from our neighborhood. I haven't seen any significant damage such as loss of roof shingles, or torn out walls in our area, but this is some of what we found:

 Broken shingles

Insulation, and miscellaneous construction material

Considering items from Tuscaloosa have been found as far as 150 miles east of the city, I suppose this isn't very surprising.

The more pictures of the damage I see, the more blessed I feel that we have been spared any damage from the devastating storms. The loss of lives is close to 300, but sadly, this is likely to rise. And property damage is in the billions. There are still many people without power. As of yesterday afternoon there were still 19 Jefferson County schools without power, and some of those were impassable to school buses, so school closings have already been announced for Monday also. Safa is starting to get anxious now; there is still much of the curriculum to cover and review to be completed before her final exams later in May. Can't do much of that unless school is in session! I have encouraged her to do as much review as she can while she is at home so that she will be better prepared for her finals when schools finally re-open.

On a happier note, here are a few pics of the kids in the yard from last weekend:

And with the puppy:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The calm after the storm

By now probably everyone has heard about the line of devastating storms that swept through Southeastern United States yesterday. The damage was particularly severe in Alabama. At last count the death toll was 162, and this is expected to rise, since many people are still unaccounted for.

The morning started off with the sound of tornado sirens around 5 am. Then very fast moving storms swept through north central Alabama, with straight line winds up to 100 MPH. There were at least 4 fatalities reported with this event. And if this weren't enough the evening started off with siren after siren, as more storms passed through, spinning off many tornadoes. The worst damage was in a very heavily populated area of Tuscaloosa, where businesses and communities were leveled, and also in North Birmingham. If you want to see images of the aftermath, this is a good link.

We were fortunate that the brunt of the storms passed just north of Trussville, so the damage in our area was minimal, although there are trees and power lines down in several places. We lost power for a mere twenty five minutes, but there are many places in North Central Alabama that have no power even almost 24 hours later. Safa's school was closed today and also tomorrow, because there are 29 schools in the Jefferson County school system that do not expect to have power restored until some time over the weekend. Her school was not affected, but the closings are system wide.

Today the sky is bluer than I have seen it in many days. It is clear, except for some scattered high clouds, and the temperature is perfect. It's hard to believe that just yesterday so many lives were changed for ever because of the weather.

You can never take anything for granted. Hug your loved ones extra tight tonight and say a prayer for all those who have been affected in the Alabama storms.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Anniversary Gift

Just what Hefty needed:

My three boys took good care of my car

I can even see my reflection now! My car passed the 'white glove test', even if it's only for a day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Star Wars fever

It never ends in our house! Zakir bought Bilal a pair of light sabers and it's been one fun feud after another!

And Hamza tried to spoil join the fun too!

I love that the kids love to play together, even though there is quite an age difference between them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to us! Zakir and I have been married seventeen crazy years today.

We have had many ups and downs but we'd have to admit, it's been anything but boring. I feel blessed that we are closer now than we have ever been. Here's to growing even closer with the years!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Love my job!

Aren't these just the cutest little feet you've ever seen?

Baby 'S' came in today for her 2 month check-up and vaccinations. I couldn't resist taking a picture of these adorable little chubby feet. Grandma has been having too much fun playing dress-up with her, and even painted her toenails!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's all a blur!

The weekend was so busy (again) that we can hardly tell when last week started and this one began!

Friday night we took the boys to Red Robin for dinner.

Do you see Bilal's tongue sticking out while he is coloring? It's genetic! It's exactly what his dad and grandfather do when they are concentrating on something. And hey don't even realize!

Saturday started out with Trussville clean-up in honor of Earth Day. I was supposed to go with Hamza to pick up trash around the city, but with so many other things going on Zakir just dropped him off with his team and went straight to Oneonta to make rounds at the hospital. And at 9:30 Bilal and I went to the soccer filed for his game. And what a game! I don't think Bilal has ever scored as many times as he did during this one! It was so cute watching him pump his arm and high five his coach every time he scored. I was too busy cheering him on to take pictures, but I did get a couple, especially one of the famous tunnel:

The kids' favorite part of the game is when all the parents get together and the players run beneath the tunnel they create, again and again and again!

After soccer, Zakir brought Hamza back home and I immediately got ready to go to a baby shower. Our friend and fellow heart mom Laura is having another precious baby girl.

After the shower I came home and took a brief break before Zakir, the boys and I drove down to Prattville for the APPNA Alabama spring meeting and CME event. The main theme was the discussion of starting up a medical clinic to provide free health care to uninsured and underinsured patients in Alabama. What an exciting thought! The keynote speaker was Dr. Maqsood Patel, a cardiologist who is currently operating one such clinic in Tampa, Florida.

By the time we got back home it was past 11pm.

I took Hamza to Sunday School in the morning, which Zakir caught up on some work at home. then in the afternoon he picked him up while I worked on lunch. Later I took the boys to pick Safa up from the airport. First we hung out for a little while, watching the planes.

 Safa's plane:

Bilal was so excited to see Safa that he wouldn't let go of her hand!He had admitted several times that he really missed her.

This week I worked on Tuesday again. I am so spoiled having been part-time for so long that when I work on Tuesdays I am really for the weekend on Wednesday. This morning it felt that it should surely be Thursday already! I have a feeling I won't be working many Tuesdays. I have none scheduled for the rest of this month and only one in May.

Boy, am I ready for the weekend already!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's good to have Safa back

All my babies together again.

Warms my heart :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

You might be a redneck if........

..... your four year old runs around barefoot on the driveway, holding the leash of a VERY BIG DOG.

Pardon the quality of the photo, I took it with my phone. Didn't want to pass up on this one!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Field trip

Safa is going to be in Washington, DC for the next few days. I just got a text from her that their plane landed on time. She was stressing last week before the trip because there are several memorials and the Smithsonian Museum on the agenda to be seen. In the case of a government shutdown these would be considered non-essential and everything would have been closed. But the politicians in congress finally got their act together on time and managed to reach a consensus, for now, at least. Goodness knows what's going to happen with the next budget!

Anyway, Safa and her classmates will be performing in the Heritage Festival. This choir field trip is her big one for the year, and she's been very excited about it. And I am thrilled that she had an opportunity to go, but I will be even more thrilled when she is back home on Sunday evening. We have a busy weekend planned again, and it will be odd doing things without Safa around to put everyone in their places, ha! But truly, I miss my baby girl already!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who's funnier?

Bilal: "Why did the cow cross the road?"
Mama: "I don't know, why did the cow cross the road?"
Bilal: "To go to the moo-vies!"

Very funny, right? Well, it was funny the first few times I heard it, but after a while I started thinking that maybe my budding comedian needs some new material. But he loves telling that joke, so you can't help but laugh at how funny he thinks it is. I guess I should be glad that he hasn't yet caught up with the type of humor that includes certain bodily functions!

And on the other hand,
Safa: "Knock knock"
Mama: "Who's there?"
Safa: "Who"
Mama: "Safa, is this going to be another of those owl jokes?"
Safa: "No, Mama."
Mama: "OK, who who?"
Safa: " You mean who whom? Ha ha, I cracked a grammar joke!"

Anyone who knows Safa is aware that she is a grammar freak. So this joke is right up her alley.

And speaking of grammar jokes, these are a couple more I found on the web:

What's the difference between a cat and a comma?
One has claws at the end of its paws and one is a pause at the end of a clause.

When I was a kid, my English teacher looked my way and said, "Name two pronouns."  I said, "Who, me?"

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."  A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Gardens

After Bilal's soccer game yesterday morning we drove to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens so that Safa could work on a science project- collecting the leaves of twenty plants indigenous to Alabama. It was so hot and humid that we didn't actually stay long enough to collect from 20 species, but we did have a chance to admire the beauty of the gardens while the kids ran around.

Pretty young lady in front of a gorgeous Japanese maple:

Hamza had a turn with Zakir's camera

Eighty seven degrees and very humid; a taste of what's to come with a typical Alabama summer. Too bad this year we won't be here much to enjoy it. Instead we'll be braving the triple digit heat in Pakistan!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

That's my boy!

When you walk into Hamza's bedroom you'll encounter this hanging over his bed:

Yes, he really does love math this much! Might want to work on the handwriting a bit though!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You just can't make up stuff like this!

You've all been introduced to Hefty, my blue MINI Cooper S, who happens to be coming up to its first birthday. We have enjoyed almost 12,000 miles together already, and although I cringe every time I fill the tank with premium gasoline, I'm still very, very fond of my car. The last thing I'd want to do is take a risk that might be harmful to it.

But today I found myself, and my car, in a bit of a predicament. Well, that's really an understatement. See for yourself:

Yes, that really is my car hanging over the edge of an elevated driveway, with this below:

A creek! I was backing out of a very unfamiliar driveway and suddenly the car decided not to go any further. and this is what I found when I stepped out.

Ouch! Thankfully the part of the car that wasn't suspended 8 feet high in the air was securely on solid ground. So basically the car was quite stable. But what to do, with a car wedged partially over a 'bridge' and refusing to budge? Of course, I called a tow truck.

And the nice tow truck guy assessed the situation

Initially he tried to jack up the car with the wheels pointing straight ahead, but the tires kept stopping a couple of inches short of the top of the metal barrier. There was no way to lift it over, of course. So he brought a wedge-looking device to raise the jack, and rotated the wheels to the left. That just left the wheels in the air with no way to propel the engine. And than in a moment of sheer genius he suggested that I turn the steering the opposite direction. He initially lowered the car back down, them raised it up again, and Voila! The front passenger tire landed on top of the narrow metal barrier. After that we turned the engine on, and he drove it off the barrier, then kindly found a place to reverse the car so I could drive it out forward facing. And as far as we can tell there has been no damage to the car at all! Phew!

And he assured me that this is not the worse car predicament he has seen. Reassuring words for someone who was rather embarrassed at the situation. But despite my, ahem, awkward situation, I am sharing this because it's definitely blog-worthy.

Why, oh why, can't I just have an ordinary week, once in a while??!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

More Soccer

The U-5s are finally starting to get the hang of it, figuring what the purpose of a game of soccer is. They still run around in a pack chasing the ball,

Run around aimlessly some of the time just because everyone else is running,

But they are figuring out how to kick a ball,

And defend the goal

And can point to the correct net to aim for!

At least, that's what I think they're doing here!

Bilal is loving the social aspect of the game and is rapidly making new friends. He asks about the next game and practice when he is barely finished with the current one. We count the days in bedtimes until his next practice. What a fun way to spend Saturday mornings!

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