Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do-over, anyone?

It's crazy! How can merely an inch of snow wreak so much havoc on our day? It started out well enough, but went downhill fast. First of all, since this is what the post should have been about, happy eighteenth birthday to my baby girl!

I had the day all planned out; after sending the kids to school I had some clean up to do in the house, then a trip to the bakery to pick up Safa's favorite caramel cake. Then meet a dear friend for lunch at 11:30, before the kids came home. The couple of flurries predicted in the forecast were not going to interfere with my day! Well, it didn't actually turn out that way. I was leaving the house at 10 when Safa called to tell me her school was closing at 10:30 because of the weather. No worries, she could drive home, carefully. And when I got the call that Hamza was getting out at 10:45 I just asked her to detour to Birmingham and pick him up on the way home. Still no biggie. My twenty five minute drive down to the bakery was fine, so I figured hers would be good too. Then I got a call that Bilal's school was letting out at 11:30. And the bus would bring him home. Even if I wasn't back, Safa should be home by then. But the next call was from his school stating that the buses were grounded and we had to pick up the kids from school ourselves. So I picked up the cake and headed back. The drive back was not that straightforward. Instead of 65-70MPH, I came up the interstate about 20-25MPH, keeping at least a 6-7 car length distance between my car and the one ahead of me. Then the SUV in front of me skidded several times, and came to a stop at exactly 180 degrees. So I was pointing northbound and she was southbound, right in front of me, in my lane! So I put on my hazard lights and made sure she was OK. She was too scared to drive for a while, so I stayed parked there, blocking her car from other traffic, until she finally got the courage to reverse in the shoulder and drive off.

Then after observing several cars spun off the road, and getting stuck in traffic multiple times, I made it to Bilal's school about 2 hours later. The car was skidding as were they all, but fortunately I managed to maintain control. Got him and made the cautious drive back home. By then, Zakir had canceled clinic, left work, and was headed home. But his rear wheel drive did not fare so well. He got stuck multiple times, had to buy cat litter from a gas station for traction, moved a little, and got stuck again. Just as I was planning on going to get him, he managed to get out again. After multiple traffic jams and several detours, he finally made it home by a little after 4pm. After about 5 hours on the road! Unfortunately he will have to get a bent wheel looked at, but that is the worst of the damage.

Meanwhile, where were Safa and Hamza? Still stuck on the road! The car would not go up a hill, and had to be pushed, then they had to turn around and try a detour. They finally made it to our old house, along with a classmate that she was driving home. At least they were able to go inside (she still has the house key on her keychain), and turn up the heat. Her car basically wouldn't drive anywhere with the slightest incline. And the trip home is by no means level roads. There are a lot of hills! So I headed out to get her, and got stuck in horrible traffic, plus the car temporarily got stuck twice. Thankfully I was able to navigate it out, mostly because I had again wisely kept my distance from the car in front. We agreed that the kids would drive to the library and I would meet them there. But her car got stuck in the driveway! So they ended up walking to the library (which was incidentally closed due to the inclement weather). A nice lady, seeing that they weren't wearing gloves, and Safa didn't even have socks on, got them three brand new pairs of socks to wear on hands and feet. Thank God for kind people! I managed to pick them up from the street side, and drove through some very dangerous road conditions, to get them home by 4:15. Finally, all five of us, plus a friend, at home. Oh, and did I mention that on my way to picking them up, I stopped at the middle school and delivered a neighbor's son to his mom? A neighbor I hadn't even met before. But I would have wanted someone to do it for my kid if he were stranded at school!

While this was all going on, Safa's classmate's mom was on the road from Birmingham, trying to make it to our house, and then hers. She finally made it after dark, but the road to her home was blocked. So they are crashing at our house today, in hopes that things will be better by the morning. Hopefully there will be some sand on the roads by then. I feel blessed that God has given us the capacity to help out whenever possible.

My drive back from the bakery. It wasn't too bad then
Our snowy home
So now, everyone is tucked in for the night, and on a positive note, we had delicious homemade Philly cheesesteaks and birthday cake for dinner. A memorable eighteenth birthday for my baby!

And the forecast from this weekend? Sunny and sixty degrees!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy birthday to my hubby!

Another year has gone by, and it's another birthday today. Wishing my husband a wonderful one! And what do you give the guy who seems to already have everything we'd think of giving him? A doggy collage, of course! Safa and I worked on this for Zakir yesterday. And I think the result is pretty good! Zakir now has a fun 8x10 collage of his pup.

And some of the pics that didn't make it on to the collage?

He really is a cutie, isn't he?

Monday, January 20, 2014

First Birthday of the month

Happy birthday, Farah! And it's a big one! But I'll leave it at that. January is a huge month for birthdays in our family, and we went out for hibachi to celebrate Farah's yesterday.

Along with a delicious meal we got to enjoy a birthday fruit bowl, brought out in honor of the birthday girl.

Great day to celebrate with family for sure!

I made banana bread for Farah's birthday instead of cake. But we blinked, and it was gone. Didn't even get to take a picture!

Monday, January 13, 2014

After the chill

Saturday was beautiful. Low sixties and sunny was far from the single digits of just a few days earlier. And we took full advantage of it. At least the boys and I did. Safa spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon at school, taking a mock AP exam, and Zakir had to go to the hospital to make rounds and catch up on some office work. But we spent a lot of the morning hanging out on the deck. Even Sammy joined us, not really caring that Atlas the pup was outdoors too.

Look at that beautiful clear sky!

And PJs and T-shirts, instead of multiple layers of clothing. That's an Alabama winter for you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Home Construction, Part IV

August 21st, 2013: Brick has been delivered

You wouldn't really be able to tell how the brick will turn out by seeing a stack. We drove around and picked out a house's face that we liked. The builder was able to look up the address and order the same brick.

The future king's throne:

The back of the house:

The plumbing has commenced, the sub contractor was working at 7pm. This is what happens when you want to meet deadlines.

August 23th, 2013: Brick over the side retaining wall.
Roof shingles going up:

The master bedroom ceiling:

We walked the house with the electrician, the air conditioning guy and the superintendent, to decide where outlets, phone jacks and TV connectors would go. so much goes on in a house after the frame is up. The framing is the quick part!

August 25, 2013: The roof completed

The back of the house has been bricked:

Under the deck at the back of the house:

And more work on the plumbing. Red for hot, blue for cold.

Part V to follow soon!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Something ain't right!

Who are we to complain, when the North East and Mid West are getting sub zero temperatures, but seriously, this IS Alabama, and I'm pretty sure we didn't sign up for this when we moved here.

Fourteen degrees before seven in the evening, and expected to drop into the single digits tonight. And oddly, at that exact same time yesterday it was 57 degrees! Didn't take long to turn around. I don't envy my hubby who will be walking the dog in the morning, around about the time it is predicted to be 7 degrees. Yes, SEVEN degrees in Alabama! That has to be a first.

Safa and Hamza had two hour delayed openings today and tomorrow, and Bilal's school was closed for a weather day today, so he went to work with me. It might seem overkill but out roads aren't equipped for the icy conditions that below freezing conditions can cause. Plus I don't even think that we have coats for the kids that are warm enough to protect them from this weather! Stay safe and warm, everyone!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Not our average Saturday afternoon

We decided to do something different. Zakir bought three tickets to Monster Jam at the BJCC, for himself, Bilal, and the third one was supposed to be for Hamza. But what we had forgotten about was that Hamza had already made plans with a friend, and Safa had her own plans too, so I ended up tagging along for the ride. Why waste a perfectly good ticket?

We got to the Civic Center and promptly bought a packet of over priced cotton candy. That alone make the little guy happy!

This is the track before the monster trucks came in:

And then the arrived. And boy, were they noisy! I wish we had brought ear plugs, as many people had.

They looked like oversized Hot Wheels cars!

Although there wasn't as much excitement in the show as I had thought there might be, it was good enough fun for an hour or two. And to add on, there were also racing ATVs, and motorbikes and BMX bikes doing some stunts.

It made for one happy little guy. And although I don't think it's something I'd be eager to do again, Bilal would love to!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year

2013 has been an eventful year in many ways, but most of all with the construction of our new home. We are now well settled in our home, although there is still work to be done to have the home completely organized. But we are so much farther into it than almost 2 months ago when we moved in, so the rest will eventually fall into place too, I'm sure.

Safa started her senior year in high school, which is a crazy busy year for her, and Hamza is now a tenth grader. They are not only busy with school, but they've also managed to keep quite a social life. Well, Safa for sure, although Hamza has had his share of spending time with friends. Bilal is a second grader this year, and it's a blessing that this is the first school year that he hasn't missed a ton of school from being sick with sinus mess. Sinus surgery earlier in February really was a great idea. Although he has had his fair share of sinus infections since then, they have all been relatively easy to treat.

With the move, we have haven't had the opportunity to travel much this year, although we hope to remedy this in 2014. A trip to Pakistan might be in the works, depending on several things, especially work, of course. But it would be nice to go back home for sure, even if it's in the heat of the summer. Our last trip was in 2011, so it's due.

And how did we spend New Year's Eve? Nothing big, like most years. Safa had a couple of friends over to spend the night.

They celebrated their New Year in their own unique way, with 2014 glasses and lots of candy.

Hamza went to a friend's house for a get together, including fireworks. But he was back home well before midnight. We had the cousins over for dinner (actually they brought half of the meal with them), and Bilal asked to go to their house to spend the night. Since it was OK with everyone we packed his bag and sent him on his way with them, with the plan to pick him up some time mid morning. But we got a call an hour or so later that Bilal had a headache and had thrown up, and wanted to come home. So back home he came, and spent the night in our room on his makeshift bed on the floor. This is the third time in a month that he has had a headache like this, I think he is starting to have migraines. My poor baby! Hopefully this isn't something that will continue. He's been through enough! Luckily after a good night's sleep and some Tylenol he was feeling fine this morning. And he'll get to spend the day with his cousins tomorrow anyway, when Safa babysits. He did have a chance today to play with the sparklers Hamza brought home for him.

Hoping and praying for a prosperous new year for all our friends and family. 2014 has a good feel about it.

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