Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A little change

I finally caved and let Zakir buy the massage chair he and the kids have been asking for over the past several months. They were spoiled, using Dada Abbu's chair while in Pakistan over the summer, and decided we needed to have one for our sitting room too. We finally found a good deal on one and picked it up today. Safa has been test driving it this evening.

On the positive side for me, it gave me the opportunity to relocate the chairs from the sitting room, and make myself a nice little nook in the bedroom.

So now with a new coat of paint, some new drapes and bedding, and my favorite wall hanging back up on the wall I think I've just about got the master bedroom as I like it.

Now to tackle the rest of the house!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet sisters

We have known big sister Tressie since she was 7 weeks old, and now she is seven!

Christina was our nanny, before Bilal was born; we loved having her with us at that time. Then she had Reagan, six months after Bilal was born.

And now, Addie makes three!

Three precious sisters! We were so glad to have them over to visit and play last week.

And we hope to be seeing more of them soon!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More from our Nashville weekend

Evidently Safa was busy snapping photos the entire time we were there!

Playing ping-pong. Not quite sure if that's exactly how you're supposed to play.

Best friends.

A little guitar hero action:

Pretty Alina, ready for the party. Isn't she a doll?

Bilal at the party

And what is this ball of fuzz?

It's Bella the Himalayan. Here she is with Zakir:

She is one of the most good-natured cats I have ever seen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fun Weekend in Nashville

We drove to Nashville this Saturday to stay with our cousins and attend a birthday party. It was a short trip, we were only there until about midday on Sunday, but it was definitely worth the drive. We don't get to see Shaheena, Asad and their kids very often (the last time we all met was in St. Louis, two years ago), but we have a great time whenever we meet. Their middle daughter, Amna is just a few months younger than Safa, and they always hit it off really well.

And of course the birthday party was great! A perfectly Pooh themed party for little Ailani.

 Here is the birthday princess with her parents, Fahad and Sameena. Sameena is Zakir's first cousin.

The three tired cake was delicious. Each layer a different flavor, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla

And look at the centerpieces:

How cool that they doubled as goody bags/platters!

And how cute is this little bum?!

And our host family (minus Shaheena, who stayed behind to help her sister clean up after the party).

I'll share more pics soon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And again

Hefty went to get a couple of repairs done yesterday. When I went to get the car serviced the horn wasn't working. So they ordered a part and I took Hefty in when the part came in. Last time I had the privilege of driving this freak show around town:

I figured this time the loaner couldn't be any worse. But to my surprise, I got

Another billboard on wheels!

I guess if the dealership is going to give me a free car to drive around town they might as well get their own benefit out of it.

So glad to have Hefty back today!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Something to be thankful for

We have many, many things to be thankful for. Zakir and I have been blessed with three wonderful children, who are loving, intelligent and respectful. We are thankful for their health, and of course special mention goes to Bilal since it wasn't always this way. Today we feel particularly blessed because it has been five years since he had repair of his congenital heart defects. And during those five years, besides the few acute illnesses of childhood we've had to deal with, he's done very well. As happy and energetic as any other five year old.

The kids in Bilal's kindergarten class have created a binder, as a way to introduce themselves to all the parents. The binder rotates between students, and this weekend was Bilal's turn to bring it home to show us. I took a photo of his pages to share.

You might not be able to read the last part. Maybe I should have scanned it and then posted it, but it says, "I am special because that is how my brother is, and I want to be like him". Other children had entries like, 'My parents love me', or 'I am a good friend', or 'I give good hugs'. But Bilal had to mention his brother.

Isn't that sweet? I hope Hamza appreciates how much of a role model he is to Bilal, who looks up to him for everything!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Waiting for dinner

The end of what seems like a long week has finally come to an end. The chant started on Tuesday morning, "Is it Friday yet?" But we made it through a rigorous week of work, school and progress reports, and it's finally Friday evening, yay!

And a great way to end the work week. We met some friends at one of our favorite Thai restaurants, Surin 280 for dinner.

Waiting outside while our table for nine was being set:

 Bilal's usual goofy face

And a sweet one with big sister:

I didn't take many pics during dinner, but I did snap this one of my friend's sweet little baby girl:

Doesn't she look like an innocent little doll? She really is precious, but in reality most of the time this is what we got to see:

Running everywhere, with her poor mommy chasing her. She was constantly on the go. You wouldn't guess it when you look at her, but she is full of mischief! I bet her mommy doesn't get a moment's rest at home!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why is Tiny sporting a scarf?

No, she's not making any kind of fashion statement.

A few weeks ago she starting scratching her neck, to the point of drawing blood. We figured it may have been fleas and treated both cats. But the scratching persisted. Every time she would start to heal, she would scratch off the scab again. She's worse than a child! Eventually the site got infected and we had to take her to see the vet. A shot and $75 later it started to heal... until she started scratching again. We tried to use a cone, but she would slip under the kitchen island and yank it off her head. So finally Zakir came up with an idea so that she would stop irritating it. It worked for a while, but she managed to get it off her by rolling around outside. We've persisted too; every time she would remove the washcloth we'd put it back on, around her neck. Now, several weeks later she is starting to look better. This evening I took off the (now shabby looking) rag, and let her groom herself. After a thorough grooming the scratching started again, so it went back on. But finally the sore is starting to heal, so hopefully after tomorrow she will be able to shed it forever. The things we do to take care of our pets!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Girl time

Safa and I have trying to make it down to the Birmingham Museum of Art to see the traveling photography exhibit, Who Shot Rock & Roll. We finally managed a trip there on Saturday, just a week before it is scheduled to end. The highlight of the afternoon was the fact that Safa drove all the way to downtown Birmingham, (and back). She is usually reluctant to drive with me because she says I make her nervous. But I have to admit, she did a great job! Of course it helps that she was in the car that is soon to belong to her (of course she already refers to it as 'my car'), and that is the car she has driven on the most so far, since she's been learning. For some reason she doesn't feel as comfortable driving my car. But, but, who couldn't love Hefty?!

Anyway, we made it to Birmingham uneventfully, parked a block or two away, and took a small, but very pleasant walk to the museum.

Of course, photography wasn't permitted inside the exhibit, but I thought the wall of vinyl records outside was pretty impressive.

The exhibit itself was great! So many amazing shots of music stars through the years, taken by famous photographers.

On the way back home we stopped at the Pinnacle to shop for some bargains. It's nice to browse and shop without the boys in tow... sometimes, at least!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember.....

.... where I was 10 years ago today when I heard the news of the planes flying into the twin towers, the day the world changed for everyone living in the US, and for many living overseas. I was working as a resident in the ER and caught a glimpse of the news report as I walked through the waiting room, headed back into the ER. After the news broke, I, and several other residents, spent most of the day huddled around the TV in the resident's lounge, flipping channels every so often, perhaps hoping that some TV station would reveal that there was no truth to what we were watching. Sadly, it was a reality. Later that day, after the kids came home from school/ daycare, I decided to share some of the news with Safa, who was just a kindergartener at the time. She was old enough to understand. She already knew that something was wrong, because she had seen soon of the teachers whispering in the halls, some of them crying, perhaps some of them wondering how much they should say to their 5 and 6 year old students, and what would be too much to tell them.

So many lives were lost, and so many heroes were born on 9/11/2001. People came together to help each other in an unprecedented manner. But sadly two wars are still being fought as a consequence of that day, and many, many more innocent people, including children, have lost their lives. We should never forget that reality either.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First game of the season

Fall soccer practice started last week and today was the first game of the season. Bilal is in the U-6 division this time, which essentially means four extra minutes per game quarter, otherwise not a lot of difference. Every child on his current team has played at least one season in the past, so at least they have the concept of dribbling the ball and scoring.

This morning the weather was perfect for the first game. Sunny, and in the low 70s. The biggest hurdle was finding parking in the sports complex. This year there are a record 600 players signed up to play during the fall season, so you can imagine that's a lot of cars!

Kick-off was at 10:00am. Zakir was at work, but managed to make it for the start of the game. Before the game, coach game them a little pep talk. It was cute to see them so intent on listening to him (for a change!)

Bilal has already made friends with others on his team:

The entire team before the game. A perfect balance, three boys and three girls. Each child will get to play an equal amount during each game.

And at the end of the game, the tunnel:

Then the teams lined up to shake hands, "Good game!"

Tired, but happy.

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