Thursday, January 31, 2013


Bilal came out of recovery about half an hour ago, and we have him in the room with us. He is obviously sleepy, but has had some Sprite to drink. His oxygen saturation drops a little into the upper 80s when he doses off, but otherwise he is doing well. We hope to be taking him home within the hour.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Wedding

I have some more photos to share from the recent wedding we attended this past weekend.

Zakir and his cousins who live in New England. Nasim (on the left) hosted many great parties and we enjoyed her delicious cooking many times when we lived in Connecticut

Sadaf and her husband Mumtaz with us. Not only is Sadaf Zakir's first cousin, but she and her husband also went to medical school with us

Safa and Ariella (second cousins)

Typical Bilal grin

The beautiful bride, Urooj, and her parents

Grandfather and sister of the bride

Grandmother and brother of the bride

Us with the bride and groom, Urooj and Namir

More cousins

And more!

Shaheena and me

Zakir with his aunt who lives in Pakistan. She is the bride's grandmother.
I love Pakistani weddings,they are so colorful!

And on another note, we have to be at the hospital at 7:30 am tomorrow for Bilal's sinus procedure. Please keep him in your thoughts!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Another year has flown by!

Safa is seventeen today! I don't know where the years are going. She has grown into a lovely, mature young lady, but with her quirky side of course.

We celebrated her birthday today with delicious caramel cake from Edgar's (thanks, Farah and Adeel!). And a couple of recycled candles, as you can tell!

Happy birthday, hon!

And honorable mention to Zakir, who also celebrated his birthday yesterday. Love you too!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Great Weekend!

This morning we flew back to Birmingham after a brief trip to Detroit for a family wedding. We had a great time, catching up with Zakir's cousins, some that we hadn't seen in twelve or thirteen years. The wedding itself was a large, but lovely affair. This group photo is of the bride, groom and family members of the bride's mother only. So many of us were able to get together, we barely fit on the stage!

I'll share more of the trip soon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1000th post!

This is quite a landmark, it's my 1000th post on this blog! Considering I've been blogging for just over five years, that makes me a (somewhat) consistent blogger, I think. And considering I started blogging after transitioning over from Bilal's carepage, it is quite apt that I share his recent medical news on this post.

Zakir and I took Bilal in for his routine (2 year) check-up with Dr. C this past Friday. Since there was still some ice and snow on the roads, there happened to be several cancellations that morning. All the better for us. We arrived just at his appointment time and were taken back immediately.

First for vital signs.

After his height and weight were documented he had his EKG.

He did wonderfully! And after the EKG the tech let him take the stickies off all by himself (with a little help from Mama).

Then we were moved to the echo/ exam room, where his vital signs were checked.

Blood pressure was great and oxygen saturation was 98%. Awesome!

Then, with very little wait time, Dr. C came in to listen to his heart and perform the echo. I love that he does the echo himself, and discusses it with us in detail as he is performing the test.

We learned that Bilal has no significant pulmonary valve stenosis (great news!) but does have fairly significant pulmonary insufficiency as we already knew. But it is not yet causing his right ventricle to dilate, which means he is tolerating the leaky valve very well. There may come a point when his right heart does become dilated, and that may indicate the need for another open heart surgery for valve replacement. But we don't anticipate that until adulthood (if then!). Bilal has been cleared for any kind of physical activity, including football (yeah right, as if Mama would ever let him play football anyway!) And he emphasized that his anesthesia risk is no greater than a heart healthy child. Which is encouraging since we are planning on sinus surgery for Bilal a week from tomorrow.

And the best part of the visit? Dr. C telling us that he'll see us back in 2-3 years. Yay! We love seeing him of course, but it just goes to show how confident he feels about Bilal's heart at this point in time. And we did make the doctor promise he has no intention of retiring before we go back to see him!

Friday, January 18, 2013

And after the snow

After the 2 or so inches of snow fell yesterday afternoon, the sun came out in all its glory. Sun, finally, after about five days of dull, rainy skies! And with everything blanketed in a thin layer of white it was gorgeous. So out came the kids again, with their jackets and gloves, to enjoy the snow before it was gone.

And Bilal had to sample some of the snow!

Hmm, tasteless, but oddly satisfying!

Bilal was actually the one child to spend the least time outside; he ran into the house complaining that it was too cold. But his siblings had a great time. And so did the dog. He enjoyed running around the neighborhood in all its slushy glory.

Safa made a half hearted attempt at a snowman, but there really wasn't enough snow to make it successful. And then the snowball fights started.

Yes, my daughter is so graceful, isn't she? And then she just gave up!

Good times!

And since the temperature dropped below freezing last night the roads were very icy. So schools started with a two hour delay. Even then, the buses couldn't make it into certain neighborhoods. So I'm sure the attendance wasn't at its best today. But it has gone up into the 50s today, and there is virtually no sign of the couple of inches of snow we had yesterday. In fact it's been a beautifully bright sunny day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A taste of winter

So it did snow today after all, but I'm not sure yet of the actual accumulation. It started as a mix of rain/sleet around mid morning, and as the day progressed it turned into fairly heavy wet snow. Fortunately the kids were home before it started to settle, and we had no further reason to leave the house. Hamza's school let out at 1pm, and Safa's and Bilal's at 2. Zakir wasn't as fortunate, but he also wrapped up early to get home before the temperatures began to dip. We heard of many accidents out on the road this afternoon, and judging by the slushy mess on the road in front of our house I'm not surprised.

The snow started to settle a little before 2pm.

And then it became heavier, as visibility became less and less.

Hamza took Atlas for a run around in the midst of the snowfall, and Atlas didn't really know what to make of it.

Soon enough there was more on the ground than we had expected.

Bilal ran around a little while it was still snowing, and then promptly tracked snow all over the house.

But at least he had fun!

Schools are opening two hours late tomorrow because there is a freeze expected tonight. And tomorrow we also go for Bilal's cardiology follow up appointment. More about our (rare) snow day later!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Will it be a snow day?

There is snow in the forecast for Central Alabama tomorrow. Not much, just an inch or two, and with recent warmer temperatures no accumulation is expected. So we don't expect anything like what folks experience in the Northeast or Midwest, but enough to mess up driving conditions in a state that rarely gets much wintry weather. I'm not sure if it will be school as usual tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure that even if school is closed for an inclement weather day, there won't be much of anything for the kids to enjoy. So I though I'd just share some pics from winters past instead.

As you can see we've had our share, though it's rarely very much. But the kids try to get out and have some fun whenever possible. I doubt tomorrow will be much different. Having lived in Connecticut for three years, I really don't miss the hassle of having to shovel snow, although it does look very pretty when everything is blanketed in white.

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