Saturday, March 31, 2012

That's my girl!

After she turned 16 and got her license, Zakir gave Safa the Audi, a nice, dependable car to drive around town.

And she had to add her own personal touch to the car.

That's my girl!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Busch Gardens

The first theme park we visited in Florida during Spring Break was Busch Gardens, in Tampa. It's all about the roller coasters here, but Bilal still found plenty to keep him occupied.

Waiting to board the tram from the parking lot
And on the tram

As soon as we entered the park we were greeted by some belly dancers.

Then Zakir, Safa and Hamza rode on the one roller coaster in the park that I opted out of, the Sheikra. It also happened to be the only roller coaster Zakir rode on in the entire park. The reason I avoided it was the one of the drops was almost vertically straight down. That's where I draw the line.

While they were standing in line, including the time spent waiting for some technical problems to be corrected, Bilal and I went to the Sesame Street playground.

The hardest part was keeping up with the energetic little guy!

Then we stopped for a colorful slushy, yum!

And one of the most impressive coasters I've ever been on, the Cheetah Hunt:

We came back to the ride three times before we had a chance to go on it. Technical difficulties did not faze us. And it was really worth it too!

Besides the roller coaster there were some shows involving animals,

And colorful creatures everywhere. Flamingos!

The weather was perfect too, not like the humidity we experienced during the last couple of days.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

So Close!

Bilal is finally learning to ride his bike without training wheels. If you get him started he can keep going until the end of the driveway, but gets unsteady when he tries to turn. I couldn't get a good picture of him riding up the driveway, but in this one you can see that he is riding a good distance from me.

This is just before he crashed into the bushes:

No injuries, but this is when he decided to call it a day. We'll give it another try tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Legoland Florida

Our trip to Legoland was definitely Bilal's favorite day in Orlando. Although, there wasn't a single ride in the park that was too big for him to go on, yet he avoided all the roller coasters, even the tamest one. The colors of the park were bright and vivid, and how can you not love seeing this?

The website for the theme park states that the park is designed for families with children age 2-12, and I think that's pretty much right on. Not to say the 13 and 16 year old kids didn't have fun, but there was a lot more for even the younger kids to do.

The colors catch your attention even before you walk into the park:

And inside there was so much more to see.

The boys with the Sith Lord
Lego elephants!

And the rides were fun.

Adeela and Zara on the Wave Racer
And no ride was too small, even for Mama!

Bilal was a little upset that he was too little for the Ford Driving School, and opted not to go on the Ford Jr. Driving School ride instead. But Hamza, Maaz, Saim and Iman had a good time. Hamza was teasing Safa about the fact that she was too old for the Ford Driving School. But of course, Safa retaliated by reminding him she has an actual driver's license and real car!

And of course, there was Miniland. Little Lego replicas of various citiscapes from across the country.

New York City
Las Vegas
Daytona Speedway
And look, a little Mini Cooper, just like mine!
All in all, a great day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 3 in Orlando

We drove down to Orlando on Saturday for Spring Break, bringing Bilal's bug along with us. Actually, he was starting to feel better and even ate a little bit of breakfast without throwing it up, but he did share...  a little bit. By Sunday I was feeling queasy with body aches, and this was soon followed by Hamza and Safa, who threw up, just a couple of hours apart, last night. We've managed to treat the kids symptomatically with Tylenol for the body aches and Benadryl for nausea, so it's not been too bad. And we've even managed to tackle all three theme parks without too much difficulty. So it could have been worse. (Insert blog post here) but it also could have been a little more enjoyable. Bilal handled Busch Gardens (Day 1) as well as he could, but he still wasn't feeling 100%, so he wasn't interested in doing a lot. Day 2 was Legoland, much better for Bilal, but not as good for Safa, since she was starting to feel sick. And today was Sea World. Not good for Safa, and marginally better for Hamza. But they awoke this morning insisting they were going to be fine, and really, really wanting to go to Sea World, so off we went.

We haven't had reliable internet service until today, so I haven't had a chance to post anything, but I'll be sure to catch up with the blog when we get home. For now, I'll just leave you with a picture from today.

Tomorrow is a day of rest and shopping; the proportions are yet to be determined, but we do hope to visit the Outlets. Hoping the sickies are completely gone by then!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Headed out for a five day vacation

We will be driving to Orlando tomorrow, for Spring Break. Planning for a trip full of fun, although if you plan to hit three theme parks it's unlikely it will be very relaxing. But, as the Khan Family tradition dictates, taking a road trip is never that straightforward.

Bilal didn't finish his breakfast this morning, but I didn't think much of it at the time. He did mention not wanting to go to school, but again, I did not take this seriously, because Hamza is home today; his Spring Break has already started and Bilal would rather be at home with his brother. So, off he went. Zakir drove him to school, instead of sending him on the bus.

But just after 11am, I got a call from the school nurse, that Bilal had thrown up and was sitting in the clinic. So I went to pick him up. Apparently he'd puked once in a garbage can, and the second time on the way to lunch. I brought him home and he seemed to be fine, just complaining about his tummy hurting once in a while. Then he went to the bathroom, threw up again, and seemed to be fine. In fact after throwing up the first time at home, he came out of the bathroom and said, "I'd better have lunch, because I threw up all my breakfast!" So I cooked him some rice, and he willingly had a few bites. But less than an hour later he puked again, this time requiring a lot of clean-up. The strange thing is, as soon as he throws up, he's fine. Not even a tiny bit puny! That's an odd illness.

It's probably a virus, hopefully something that will be gone as soon as it started, but why does it have to be the day before we are going on vacation?! Anyone remember this failed attempt at a family vacation? We do not want a repeat of that. I'm sure we'll be traveling with a ton of plastic bags and a can of Lysol! So far no-one else in the house has shown any sign of the sickies, and hoping it stays that way!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sheer Genius!

OK, maybe not genius, but this is more than I can do!

A scrambled up Rubiks Cube.

And, 1 minute and 48 seconds later,

Ta da! Fully solved! I don't think I'd ever be able to solve one of these.

It took him a while to figure it out, but once Hamza decided that he wanted to solve it, he didn't put it down until it was done. That's determination for you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My birthday present

Zakir got me a new gadget for my birthday, something I had been contemplating buying about a year or so ago, but decided against, because of the variable reviews online. But the reviews have improved, and the device has been updated. And now I am an owner of a brand new fitbit. It is a pedometer with some interesting features. At first I was skeptical; when your spouse buys you a fitness/weight loss gadget for your birthday, it sounds like a not-so-subtle hint. But it has come with some unexpected positives.

I have been using the fitbit along with an app called My fitness pal which makes it easier to track and add food consumed during the day. I think that most of the time I have fairly healthy eating habits, but my weakness is definitely my snacking. Now, as I log everything that I eat and drink, I am more accountable. I find myself snacking much less, and have cut down my meal portion sizes somewhat. After the first few days of feeling not quite full most of the time, I have adjusted, and now it takes less to fill me up. I am also making more sensible choices in general, since high carb, high calorie food consumption means that you have to cut your portion size way down to stay within your calorie goal for the day.

I don't really have much weight to lose; just a few pounds I gained due to overindulging over the winter. But there is always room for improvement when it comes to eating habits. And of course, the fitbit is tracking my activity. When I sync it to the computer I discover how much time I have been sedentary, versus lightly active, fairly active or very active. Sadly, most of my day falls into the sedentary category, (some of it is unavoidable; I am on the road a lot)but I aim to make some changes soon. It's good to be accountable.

I suppose I should thank Zakir for giving me a reality check for my birthday. And perhaps I should buy him one too ;)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring forward

And we have another rare low key weekend this time. No big plans, just some shopping, catching up on office work, and then we are invited to dinner in the evening. Even Safa was excited that she has very little homework this weekend. Next week is the Alabama High School Graduation exam, so teachers are not assigning much homework. Safa has already taken Science and Math much earlier on; she has to take History and English this week. After AP psychology, AP Modern Euro History and pre-IB English this should be easy for her.

It has been great to have the nephews come over as often as possible. Next week Farah officially starts work, so we might not meet often during the week, but we still have the weekends. The boys love playing together. Got to admit it gets quite rowdy in the house with three boys age 5 and younger, but that's half the fun! I just have to get my camera out more often.

Next week is Spring Break. A whole week off with the kids! We will be boarding the puppy and heading down to Orlando for a few days. We plan to hit the heme parks that the kids haven't visited yet. Sea World, Legoland and Busch Gardens. Hoping that the weather cooperates too. The extended weather forecast is currently predicting lows in the low to mid 60s and highs in the low to mid 80s, with 10% or less chances of rain. Sounds good to me!

And remember to set your clocks one hour ahead when you go to bed tonight. Spring forward for daylight savings time!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Look who had a birthday!

We celebrated Mohsin's second birthday on Sunday. Nothing big, just the two families, and a huge Tow-Mater cake. One of Mohsin's favorite characters!

We all sang Happy Birthday
Cutting the cake with Mommy

Here it comes!

 Happy 2nd birthday, Mohsin!

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