Wednesday, December 23, 2009

i'm not as mad, but I still hate you...

so, I'm still a little pissed about the credit card company lowering my limit. I also saw that Obama extended the first time home buyer tax credit, so I wanted to see if despite this I could qualify for a home loan. I aimed rather high with how much I wanted to be approved (because let's face it, why not?). I wanted to get approved alone because Mr. Soup is in grad school and his income is not steady. The loan officer was very helpful and said that if I pay off that credit card and if Mr. Soup is making at least $15,000, I would qualify. I qualified for a smaller loan, but I decided to hold off. Even though it seemed like a deterrent, it really wasn't. It gave me a good idea of what we need to do. Hopefully we can buy by May 2011, so in the next year in a half, I plan to:
1. raise my credit score. my credit score is good. really good. it improved quite a bit since the last time I checked, but I really want to get it to excellent or near excellent.
2. pay off that credit card and pay down all other debts. Mr. Soup will start working a real full time job in January 2011, so we'll be able to do that pretty effortlessly, but before that, I want to pay down as much as I can on my own. Since he'll be making well over $15,000 a year then, maybe we can see if we could qualify for a larger loan or just be able to pay more on the existing one!
3. enter a down-payment assistance program/first time homebuyer's class
I'm so excited because all of the things seem to be falling in place.
1. Mr. Soup graduated and improved his GPA
2. He got his first choice for internship
3. We are setting the wheels in motion to start our little family!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Crazy Weekend
















So, Mr. Soup graduated with his 2nd bachelor's degree this weekend. We had tons of friends and family in town and it was great. First, Tanisha, a reader from our wedding, came in on Friday. Mr. Soup's dad and stepmom came in as well. On Saturday we traveled to UNT for the graduation ceremony and then came back to our apartment to celebrate with yummy goodies. I will have to say I was a little nervous since I catered the event, but everything turned out yummy! I also got a great cake for his graduation as well. I'm so proud of my husband. This has been a difficult journey for him, but he was determined to get this degree and he did it! He also ended his last semester with a 4.0! I could tell how excited and overwhelmed he was. He kept saying he didn't want the day to end! His parents were so proud as well!





Well the weather in NJ didn't quite agree with the airports, so Mr. Soup's parents' flight ended up being Canceled. Yep. That's right. They didn't fly out until today (Tuesday) morning. So, decided to use the extra days to entertain them and really show them around Dallas. On Sunday we had brunch with Abby's Kansas grandparents and Mr. Soup's parents at The Original Pancake House. We also took Tanisha to the airport so she could return to Kansas. On Monday, Mr. Soup took us to the site where he interned (update: he just found out today that he will be able to intern there for graduate study!). We (father-in-law, brother-in-law, Abby and me) got the grand tour and we got to meet all the wonderful people with whom my husband works. They all had wonderful things to say about him (as expected) and we really think this place is a good match for him! Monday afternoon, Abby, Mr. Soup and the in-laws ate a wonderful lunch outside at Eatzi's. If you haven't eaten at Eatzi's you really should! It's delicious! On Monday night, the in-laws joined us at CiCi's Pizza for Abby's 8th birthday party. I think they really enjoyed being there to see their granddaughter celebrate her birthday! While, I am exhausted and fighting off a cold, it was such a great unexpected surprise. We rarely get to see Mr. Soup's family and it was such a treat to be able to share this long weekend with them. So, while the extended trip, flight cancellation, extra hotel fees, etc may have been annoying, it was well worth spending the extra quality time with family.





Last night after CiCi's Abby had a sleepover with some of her Dallas friends. It was interesting to say the least, but Mr. Soup and I survived. One girl ended up going home in the middle of the night (I promise, we're not evil people. she just had never made it through an entire sleepover before...she gave it her all though!)





Today, has been kind of a busy day with doctor's appointments and running errands, but tomorrow, I'm looking forward to sleeping in late, cleaning and doing laundry!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

i hate you...

credit card company. I am so close to paying off my credit card. only a little left...which is awesome right? well, I made a huge payment last month and plan to do so next month and be done. I just got a letter in the mail and the credit card company lowered my limit to just above the balance left. So now, it appears to the credit bureau that I have 60% debt rather than 5%. Freakin' awesome! NOT. Ughh...
Mr. Soup and I have been so adamant about not using our credit cards and paying them off. We've gotten one paid, two store cards paid and one almost paid off. I want to close this account, but I also want to keep it open because I've had it since I was in college. I've always paid it on time and way more than the minimum payment, but they reward me by upping the interest rate and lowering my limit. Two years ago they increased my credit limit and now when I'm close to paying it off they lower it? doesn't make sense.

okay. that's my vent!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

cruise with me baby

so, i *think.* we have decided to do the cruise for our one year anniversary trip/honeymoon. while we did have our hearts set on DR, it's not financially smart or savvy to invest that much in a trip right now. Our savings took a big hit this summer with Mr. Soup unexpectedly going to NJ and vet bills, but we're slowly making our way back up. So, we'd rather keep that money in savings just in case we have emergencies creep back up. After we decided that, we were thinking of Port Aransas, but our hearts really weren't in it. The idea of a cruise frightened me, but after talking to several of my claustophobic friends who went on cruises, I decided I could handle it. The cruise will cost us a little more (not much) than going to Port Aransas, but it will be a lot less than DR. Plus, I get to have my beach time and looking at some of the excursion opportunities, we'll get to experience some fun stuff!
that means, we really need to get on the ball with planning it out. we're waiting until Mr. Soup gets his grad school class schedule to determine when exactly we leave (if we leave slightly before spring break, we can save almost $400) and we also need to get passports. I need to update mine with my new name and Mr. Soup's expired a year or two ago. So, if no major financial changes occur in the next month (keeping fingers crossed), we should be able to book our trip in January. get excited! I know I am! I know this sounds cheesy, but I'm just excited to experience this with my husband. I love traveling with him because we have so much fun together. When we go on roadtrips, we play stupid games like the Alphabet sign game or I read famous biographies off of Wikipedia in my announcer voice. We love driving through the midwest with our dogs in the backseat. I love flying with him because I have someone to lay my head on when I get tired and because he has good movies and TV shows saved on his phone that I can watch. I love navigating through New Jersey with him. The cold weather, the Philly cheesesteaks, the sports, I love it all! Now, I'll get to experience my first cruise with him and spend time on the beach with him. I love it!

DIY




After making all the announcements and paper goods for our wedding, I've really taken a liking to creating announcements. I'm hoping to take a design class soon and get some new software, so I can take it to another level.


I also made Mr. Soup's graduation announcements and I just designed Abby's birthday party invitations. Here's a sneak peak!

Our Thanksgiving
















I forgot to post pictures of our trip to New Jersey for Thanksgiving! So, Murad's cousin Akilah and I have a tradition of taking pictures of the other person taking pictures. Not sure why we think it's so funny, but we do. Here's Akilah taking a picture of Mrs. Soup taking a picture of Akilah 2009. Murad and I went to a Sixers game on Friday night with his stepbrother, Colin and his girlfriend Lele. Murad is eagerly clapping the noise sticks in that picture. It was my first NBA game. I'm not going to lie. It didn't compare to a KU game! However, it was a fun experience. I enjoy being anywhere that I get to watch basketball and this was no exception! On Saturday, I got to experience my first Eid. I learned so much from going to this. My father-in-law gave me some literature to read prior to the Eid, so I was well versed. However, I was still nervous that I would mess up the greetings (Eid Mubarack, Eid Kareem). Everyone was really friendly though. I always try to focus on similarities between cultures and when attending the service I felt very welcomed and comfortable as I would at my own church. The rituals were slightly different, but the fellowship and friendship were the same. Also on Saturday we went to Murad's high school reunion. On the way back, I thought I'd take a picture of Wawa. It is the best convenient store in the nation! No seriously, they put all others to shame, even Subway restaurant can't compare to the Wawa goodness and cheap price! On Sunday afternoon, Murad, my father-in-law and I went to the Eagles game (sidenote: they played the Redskins which is the favorite team of my brother-in-law) I didn't become a football fan until marrying Murad. last year was my first NFL game and I loved it! Such an awesome experience. This year was great too. Eagles fans are one of a kind too. I loved being there and breathing in that fresh fall air while cheering on the Eagles among a packed house. I got to watch the few Redskins fans get heckled by the ever-loyal Eagles fans. Finally, I include a picture of sweet Daniel, Murad's cousin. He's such a cute and happy little boy! Our Thanksgiving was so great! I think the best part was spending all day and everyday with my husband. Our lives are so busy here, that it was nice just to be together for days.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving from the Soups!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm so excited....I'm so scared

I'm getting really excited to become a mother, especially as more of my friends are embracing this role. One of my best friends from home just told me that she is pregnant. And while I know this is not the time for us to have children, I love being able to share in their joy. She and I met in middle school and proceeded to attend the same high school and college. I was there when she met her husband (who attended a neighboring high school) and we were there when they got married in spring 2008. I can't wait for them to welcome their little bundle of joy in June.

So yeah, babies are definitely on Mr. Soup and I's mind. Names have been picked and nurseries have been designed (I like to do the fun stuff first). We hope to start trying in the spring/summer 2011. However, I do get a little nervous about bringing a child into this world. I know there were dangers when we were children, but I feel like they weren't this prevalent. I can remember my mom worrying about us getting kidnapped. She made sure we were extra cautious and careful. And we were. I am proud to say I was a lot more socially aware and cautious than most of my friends. I was always aware of my surroundings. My mom's paranoia became deep-set in me and now that I skirt the edge of motherhood, it is resurfacing.

Over the last few weeks, I've watched a number of movies. First, the movie Precious. I read the novel (Push) when I was student-teaching. I only read it because all my students were obsessed with it. And while I was moved by it, my 23 year old (free of marriage, thoughts of babies, and years of teaching experience), could not fully fathom the effect sexual abuse, poverty, and illiteracy could have on one's life.

Last night my brother-in-law and I watched the movie Taken. Um...I never want my children to travel to Europe. Okay, no I don't mean that, but damn. What if my child lacks common sense and ends up the victim of a sex-slave trade.

Other events in the media that have had an effect on me:
The murder of Shaniya Davis---again child abuse and human trafficking
The Amanda Knox trial---not sure if she did it, but this added to the list of reasons why my children should not travel to Europe. There was no physical evidence linking her to it!

I didn't write this to help ease my fears, but just to get some of my thoughts off my chest. I want to protect my children from so much. I pray Abby never meets a fate. I pray that we can lessen the number of children who are exploited each day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I love my job?

Lately, I've been fretting over my job. Somedays I feel completely overwhelmed by it. Lately, I really had been thinking of giving up teaching (k-12) in the next two years. However, I think I just need to tone it down some. This year I did lessen my plate by not being in grad school and not co-sponsoring some things. However, I'm still on committees and things like that. I know that in two years, I'll need simmer down on all the responsibilities and just teach, as we plan to start a family then.
The other day I was complaining about all the farting, nose picking, flirting, helplessness, and just overall immature behavior running rampant in my classroom. It was just one of those never-ending detention writing days. My friend asked me if I ever considered teaching another grade. I immediately said no. Even with the farts, I really do love teaching 7th grade. They still care. I can ruin (actually they ruin it, but I get blamed) a kid's Halloween weekend when I catch him cheating on a test by calling his parents and he actually cares. He actually tries the next time. He actually comes in for tutoring. He actually grows as a person. I'm not sure if I would see the same effects in an older student. Not to say that all my students care, because there are a host of students who couldn't give a rat's ass about the high expectations I have for them, but I do care. I want what is best for them.
So, I guess this is my vow to stick it out in k-12 education. I will consider moonlighting at a community college. Murad suggested I teach an evening class every once in a while. He said he'd stay home with the kids.
Our lives are changing rapidly too. Murad graduates next month and starts his master's degree. He's still looking for an easy job so that he can go to school full-time and graduate in December 2010. maybe subbing? He already found a site for his next practicum. He's made so many connections at his current practicum site. He's so excited. It'll be in downtown Dallas so he'll still get the urban environment. He'll be working under a social worker who has a private practice and he'll get to run group therapy which is what Murad's always wanted to do. He did it before in NJ and loved it, so he's excited that he'll get to continue that here.
Money is tight, but we're still saving. We're really hoping to buy a house in 2011, but we may have to wait until 2012. We really want to buy our "forever" home. Something in which our kids can grow. We've narrowed down the neighborhoods and picked out the schools (we're nerds like that). We're making plans to bring home a little bundle of joy in 2012. I know it may not work out that perfectly, but we want to be ready for whatever God throws our way.
Life is really good right now. We have a lot for which to be thankful and a lot to look forward to. As the holidays approach, we're thankful for time with our family. Wednesday we travel to to NJ for Thanksgiving with Murad's family. Immediately after that his family will be back for his graduation here. We're excited that Abby will spend Christmas with us again!
So, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

back on?

so our trip to DR may be back on.....and it may not....
I'll explain more when I know more.
For now, live in suspense!!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

do I need help?


first of all, I've been an emotional wreck the past few days.

1. I had to have a mental just let it go day for crying. I allowed myself the whole day on Saturday, but only cried for an hour. pretty good for me.

2. it's that time of the month

3. today one of my students came back to class after fainting and suffering from amnesia. I thought I was prepared for it, but when he was in class it was so surreal. I couldn't believe that he didn't remember me, his classmates, or anything. It was like he was a new student that I was introducing to my class. I was really concerned that his personality and spirit might be gone, but it was there. He has such a lively (talkative) and kind personality. Some of things he said in class were funny and provided a little relief for my nerves, like when he asked one girl, "no offense. I'm not trying to get in your personal business, but are you a talkative person?" Ironically, he and that girl used to chat it up prior to his accident.

4. okay, so loyal readers I've been debating whether to post this on here for the world to see. I am extremely claustrophobic. Some of you have been so kind wanting for Mr. Soup and I to go on a cruise. I suggested it to him last night since it would be in his price range. He was like, "babe I don't want to go do this experiment to see if you can handle staying in a small room on a cruise ship. This is our honeymoon and I want it to be a good experience for you." However, I was like I need to get over this. I mean seriously, why can't I be in small spaces? However, when I went to look up the dates we want to take our honeymoon, the prices were too high (spring break), so I took it as a sign that we should not go on a cruise. Am I just looking for a way out? maybe. but I'm wondering how much this phobia affects my life. When did it begin? Maybe you can psychoanalyze me:

1. I cannot stand to have blankets over my head. My husband sleeps with our comforter over his head every night. I rest it comfortably at my chest.

2. I cannot ride elevators alone. I tried it once at the beginning of the school year and I started sweating and crying. I always make a student or another teacher ride it with me, or I put the equipment in the elevator and then run upstairs to meet it.

I think my fear of elevators might be separate from my claustophobia. I've been "trapped" in an elevator twice in my life. Once in 2nd grade (i wasn't trapped, but my friend and I didn't get off in time at the museum for a class field trip. we got stuck there for maybe five minutes. even then I had that panicky feeling. I started breathing hard, sweating and crying. I was mortified when the doors opened and my classmates laughed at me!) When I was student teaching they had just "fixed" an elevator in the school. I went to grab a TV/VCR and as I entered the elevator I calmly pushed the buttons and the lights went off. The elevator stopped for 10 minutes. there were no lights to see the buttons. luckily it started up again and I was on the right floor.

so what can I do to get over these two fears?

3. locked rooms---my cousin used to lock me and my brother in my grandma's basement for fun. as a result I was extremely scared of the freezer when I worked at Baskin-Robbins.

so, what should I do? I'm open to all suggestions. there are some treatments and therapies available.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

down sized

So, after much discussion Mr. Soup and I have decided to downsize our honeymoon. We just can't justify putting $3000-4000 towards a trip to DR when we really need to buy a house in the next year or two. So, we are looking for something that would be around $1000. My only real requirement is that there is a beach and beach-like activities. So far, Port Aransas is looking real good! I'm doing some research on it. I thought I'd be bummed on down-sizing, but I'm actually excited. This way, we may be able to take Sam & Maya and we can bring our wedding cake top with us! (not sure if we can call it a honeymoon since we're bringing our kids.....not sure if we can call it a honeymoon because we'll have been married for a year by then) either way, I'm excited to spend some quality time with my man!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

let the countdown begin...

Thanksgiving is almost here. Today, the 2nd day of November, marks the official countdown to 2010. I'm so excited for what the new year will bring. 2009 was wonderful! I planned the wedding of my dreams for a fraction of what most weddings cost. I married the man of my dreams! However, I feel like between now and then I will be so busy. Here are some highs and lows for the rest of 2009!
November 7th - marks the anniversary of my cousin's death. not sure how I'll deal with it, but it's inevitable that this would come. It's hard to believe it's been a year. a freakin' year. it still seems like he's here. I've been having panic attacks. it's almost like I'm reliving the moment my dad called me with the news and I can't breathe.
November 12th - Dad's 63rd birthday
November 13th - Language Arts teachers at the lake. should be an exciting weekend
November 14th - last new member class at church
November 15th - become a new member at my church
November 21st - my friend Jodi's baby's 1st birthday
November 25th - leave for New Jersey
November 27th - 76ers game (my 1st NBA game)
November 28th - Mr. Soup's 10 year reunion
November 29th - Philadelphia Eagles game (my 2nd NFL game)
December 5th - possible girls' weekend in OKC
December 12th - Willie's wedding in OK
December 19th - Mr. Soup's graduation and party
December 25th - Christmas somewhere in KS
December 31st - NYE somewhere!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

outside dogs?

if you're thinking about getting a dog to make it an outside dog, you need to reconsider. I could not agree more with this article. Our dogs are our babies. They're our children. Mi casa es their casa. For some reason, people buy dogs and then put them outside. WRONG!

http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/outside-dogs-right-or-wrong/

Friday, October 16, 2009

Am I just that naive?

I was seriously bugging over the boy in the hot air balloon thing, but more on that in another 'am I just that naive?' post.

For now, I'll blog about the LA judge who would not marry an interracial couple. uh, complete bullshit. he said he did it for the children. WHAT? I would like to point out that not being married is definitely NOT birth control. there are too many baby-mama and baby-daddies running around. So, if his intentions were really in the best interest of the children, I find that hard to believe. maybe he didn't want another Obama running around....hmmmm?

I went on MSNBC tonight to read some comments and was unpleasantly surprised. I hate to think white people think this way, but reading some comments made me think we haven't come very far at all. Here are a few:
Blacks are out of their F'ing minds! WaaaH! You got everything handed to you and you still cry. And white people are so confused with white guilt that they would let blacks step on them. Modern America is so up its own ass with this equality crap. NO ONE IS EQUAL. All men are not created equal. This is an antiquated notion. This means we were created in gods image. What is it was evolution? Then, this means the strong survive. Whites dominated, Africa, India, China, and N. & S. America. HOW do you think your equal to that? You never won your freedom from conquest! We killed ourselves to give it to you. And you never stopped begging ever since. P.S. Obama's mom was a F***ing whore!!!!!! White women are too good for blacks. White girls only mess with em cuz rap is cool now. It's like a ghetto status symbol of coolness. But it's just plain sad. Way to reverse evolution! We're going back to the zoo!!

another:
The Judge is just well aware that the white bride will have herpes & LeRoy will be long gone by the time the white girl gives birth. We'll have to pay the salaries of the US Marshals to track him down for non-payment of child support & then we'll have to pay for his incarceration out of our tax dollars. The Judge is just old and has been around the block & can see whats coming next. At least someone in the country still has some sense and is not afraid to speak his mind of his opinions without fear of a camera crew from BET looking for answers.
and....
I have two close friends, both of whom are biracial (half black and half white). One was conceived when her white mother was raped by a black man, and then she was given up for adoption and raised by whites. She has always hated---and I mean hated---her black half, because her black "father" was a rapist. She married a white man and had children...she told me she is "trying to breed the black out of my family line".
Another biracial woman I know insisted she was not harmed by being biracial, and would go on and on about how well adjusted she was...but then after her parents died, she told me the truth. She never admitted it during their lifetime because she wanted to spare their feelings.
I feel parents who do this kind of thing to their children are selfish and horrible...if you want to marry, at least don't inflict this kind of lifelong grief onto your children. Children at a certain age need to know who they are, and develop a firm sense of identity. A biracial child belongs nowhere, accepted by neither race, and they know it.

and of course people wanted to express their hatred for gays & lesbians (i'm not saying a white person said this...ignorance can fall on people of all races):
the problem with gay/lesbian couples is that it's an abomination. Evil. They are pernicious demons. They will burn in hell forever and ever, amen!
Oh, and it's GROSS! Ha!

am I just that naive that I didn't realize that people really feel that way about black people and gays & lesbians? Aren't we all children of God?
It just makes me wonder if when people see 1. me or a 2. black woman at the grocery store with two kids, or 3. a black man with slightly sagging pants they automatically think 1. poor biracial child...she has no idea who she is...2. single black mother on welfare 3. deadbeat black guy with no job.
I just want to say that I do have an identity. I have a clear understanding and appreciation for both my black and white sides. It didn't come overnight. Was it difficult? Yes. Did I have a lot of questions growing up? Yes. Do I now? Yes. However, if that was the biggest problem I faced as a child, then I'd consider myself lucky. I see white kids and black kids who face far larger issues. My issue ended up helping me become a happy, healthy individual. It is difficult to be both because sometimes people say stupid stuff, but eventually I realized that's not my problem; it's their problem. I can't wear their insecurities. I can only be me. I also can bring people together who may not normally interact. For that, I am thankful.
okay so enough about that. I'm just ranting because Aunt Flo is in town and Mr. Soup found another lump in my other breast. The last time this happened it was just a cyst. I'm almost convinced I have fibrocystic disease. Both my mom and grandmother have it, so it's a possibility that I do too. Nevertheless, I need to have it checked out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yes!

Last night Mr. Soup goes, "babe, we should go to Canada on our two-year anniversary!" He knows how badly I want to go and he wants to go too! I kind of like that we're making a tradition on our anniversaries. I know we won't be able to take expensive trips each year, but we can while we're childless. So:
March 2010 - Punta Cana, DR
March 2011 - Canada

Saturday, October 10, 2009

all I wanna do is....

have some fun! no, but seriously. ever since mr. soup and I had the baby talk, it's motivated me to get in action some of my life-long goals. I think we both have. many of our conversations start like this, "when the baby comes." or "we should do this before the baby comes." people, please understand that we have not begun to even try to concieve nor will we for at least a year and a half. so, this talk of "the baby" is very premature. but that's just the way we operate. we're always looking for the next big thing, which is wrong because I feel you should live in the moment to some degree and especially since I'm not getting any younger. I'm one of those of people *guilty* who works towards the weekends (small milestones) and big trips (big milestones). I do admit there are days where the only thought that gets me through the day is knowing there is a happy hour at the end of the week or a road trip or vacation coming up soon. But I digress...
Things I've been working on:
finding a balance between work and home---FAILED. I blame it on the swine flu. I was doing a good job of keeping things maintained at home and at work, but that damn flu set me back like a mo' fo'! I want to incorporate regular exercise (the gym is making so much $$ off of me in my absence), quality time with the dogs, cleaning and organization time and cooking into each evening at home with occasional time set aside for grading papers and blogging. I want this to become natural so that.....you can fill in the blank....."when the baby comes" I can make more time for him/her.
Getting mr. soup to do more work around the house----SUCCESS. Well, I didn't get him to do anything. For those of you who know my husband, he is not easily swayed by anyone, including me. However, he has been picking up after himself, ironing our clothes each day, doing the dishes, etc. I do realize that laundry and making the bed are going to be hopeless battles, but I can still try. He says he likes it when I leave him little notes about what to do around the house. I think that's so cute! He's a far better person than me, because I hate being told what to do, especially in a non-verbal way. I should remind you that Mr. Soup works 7 days a week (internship 5 days and work on the weekends too), so keep that in mind. Isn't my husband great?
cooking at least four days a week---that means two days of left overs and one day of eating out ----SUCCESS. I got in the habit this summer. we never ate fast food and rarely ate at sit-down restaurants. and I've been successful at keeping it up this school year (except when swine flu 2009 hit)
Things I want to do:
go on a honeymoon---so close to being a success...we're five months away from it
go to Canada---I've always wanted to go there and I lived vicariously through my girl Tish who just went there this week.
submit short stories to a magazine and have them published. I've been working on a couple of short stories. i have some good ideas, but it's hard to flesh 'em out. I feel like I know my characters, but I struggle to tell their stories.

those are the only goals I have right now, but everyday I find new ones and keep achieving ones I set for myself!

I want to have a drink with her....

you should check out her blog. she's an amazing writer and likes to dispel lots of myths about black people (like that we're all in gangs, or we all think the same or that we blame all white people for our problems)

cool people:
http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 5, 2009

a woman's role?

lately I've been struggling a lot with my role as a woman in society, specifically my marriage. it's one of those things that I didn't expect to happen. I felt like lately Mr. Soup and I have gotten into "traditional" roles in our marriage. We didn't do that before, but lately I've been doing most of the cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping and I felt like Mr. Soup was doing all the other manly stuff like dealing with money and saving. My parents did a pretty good job of splitting the household duties, so I wanted to make it that way. We both work and plan to after we have kids, so there is no need for one of us to prepare to take over all the household duties (unless we become fabulously wealthy oh wait we would just get a maid) Not that I don't love keeping a home for my family. I do. I love cooking meals and decorating and I even love cleaning, but I just felt like ugh...is this it...is this what I have to look forward to...maybe it's because this weekend after I was sick I was overwhelmed with getting things back in order, or maybe because we just had a serious talk about starting a family, but I just felt like I wasn't an equal to my husband.
We had a big talk about it over the weekend and I felt really good about it. My husband always does a good job of trying to see things from my point of view and making me feel appreciated. Also, I went to church on Sunday and heard a really good sermon about the relationship of marriage. My pastor talked about how men in Biblical times regarded women as property and easily discarded their wives once they found a younger, prettier women. Jesus preached on this and reminded men that women were created to complement men and to be their partners through marriage. He felt that men did not see their wives as equals and were treating them as such. He did not make marriage to be about submissiveness, but about complimenting each other as partners. The pastor went into a lot of other stuff about the pain of divorce, which I thought was really good, but this part about being equals really stuck out.
The sermon made me feel better about my feelings, like they were justified. Of course, my wonderful husband validated my feelings too. I know that I complement him in that I'm better at the household things, but he acknowledged that this is a partnership and we're building our lives together. So, while he may need constant reminding to clean and help with the groceries (we had one of our grocery dates tonight at Sam's Club....love those!), I know he wants to do those things and wants to be my partner in life. We're working out the kinks now so that when we do have children it'll be smooth sailing in that department, because Lord knows we'll have bigger problems to face once we're parents.
And while I do embrace my domestic qualities, I'm much more than that. Let's face it. I'm fabulous! I have a wonderful life (despite swine flu)! I make kids read, damnit! Sometimes I make them like it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

uggh....

the cost of moving to a rental house is so not worth it....
I priced it out
$1100 -$1300 security deposit
$350 pet deposit
$270 moving costs
plus if we can't find a place that has yard work included, we'd have to buy a mower and do it ourselves.

So that's almost $2000 without yard care. That's $2000 we could put towards a down payment on a house. After Murad and I discussed that, we decided to stay another year. With that $2000 plus other savings we should have a down payment by 2011. not bad, eh? plus a rental home will cost us $1100 (at least...most of the good ones are $1300 and up) and with good credit and down payment we could get a bigger house for $1100.

Okay, so back to saving for a down payment. Now to strategize....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wichita the movie

Mr. Soup always teases me about the lack of notoriety my hometown of Wichita, KS receives. Today, I just happened to pick up and purchase an Us Weekly (mostly because it claimed to have more information on the Mackenzie Phillips saga...still having a hard time accepting that Papa John could do that...*sigh*). As I flipped through the magazine I saw a few photos of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz with the tagline "Together Again." They starred in Vanilla Sky together back in 2001 and now they are filming a movie titled.....(wait for it)......WICHITA! It is set to release in the summer of 2010. Despite having Wichita, KS as the setting, they are filming outside of Boston. Go here for more information on this movie: http://www.inentertainment.co.uk/20090916/wichita-movie-2010-tom-cruise-and-cameron-diaz/
So how does it feel to have a movie not only about your hometown, but the name of the city is included in the title? AWESOME! Eat your heart out, Mr. Soup!
Well, Mr. Soup and I recently celebrated our six month anniversary (I'm not sure if you can call it an anniversary since the prefix anni- implies some sort of yearly event) and our 2-year engageversary. On September 26th, 2007 Mr. Soup asked me to be his wife. We're kind of in that phase where the newlywedness has worn off. We have all these hard decisions to make. I'm really looking forward to going to NJ for Thanksgiving and Punta Cana for our one-year anniversary. It will give us a chance to reconnect as a couple. You know? Just take away the stresses of daily life.
We've made some big decisions in the past few months of our marriage. Mr. Soup is definitely starting his master's this spring at Texas A&M Commerce in Mesquite (boy that's a long name). He's doing the fast track, so he'll be done in December 2010 which means we'll be poor for another year. We've done a really good job with saving our money, so I think we'll be okay. We're hoping to move to a house this spring. We also want to continue saving because in the next two years we want to buy a house and try to start a family....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What it's like to be me....

Well, as most of you know, I tested positive for H1N1 aka swine flu. Nice, right? So how did it happen? well, I had three or four confirmed cases of the swine flu in my class at school, it was bound to happen. so here is a little timeline of events:

Sunday
woke up with pain in chest and coughing. Had planned to go to church, but felt really tired, so I went back to bed. Woke up from nap with chills and shaking like a crackhead. took my temperature and had a slight fever. got the fever down to normal and started feeling better

Monday
woke up at 2:30am from coughing and chest congestion
checked my temperature...it had skyrocketed
fretted about what to do
made sub plans
went back to bed
woke up and made dr.'s appoinment
went to the doctor and found out I had THE swine flu
cried
told Murad who then rushed me to the pharmacy to get tamiflu

Tuesday - Thursday
coughing
no more achiness or chills
fever goes up and down
major headaches
major worrying about my kids at school
major not being able to sleep through the night
major sleeping randomly throughout the day
major boredom from watching daytime television
major cuddling with my dogs

So that is swine flu in a nut shell. it sucks. i'm being very careful and my husband keeps reminding me that I need to rest and drink lots of fluids. we both had a little scare when a student at a local high school died, but most of the people who died had other health problems. I think the stigma of the word "swine flu" is the hardest part.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Day in the life of the Campbells

People often ask what it is like to have two Siberian Huskies, especially two that are brother and sister. I can honestly say that no day is boring with two dogs. We get plenty of exercise. I sometimes feel guilty about them not having a backyard, but there are plenty of parks and ponds that we walk to so they get to exercise. Plus, we're moving to a house this spring.
We also get lots of love. I've been sick (with THE swine flu) and my dogs have given me nothing but love. They let me sleep without disturbing me. They just cuddle up next to me. It makes this horrible flu a little more bearable.


At times they can be a handful. Like tonight. Murad wanted me to take this video of him playing with Sam. Please excuse my coughing. They're so cute though. Look at my Maya trying to get in on the action!
Here is a video I took of Murad, Sam and Maya tonight!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

do Saturdays exist?

The last two Saturdays I've taught Saturday School....
Don't get me wrong. The extra money is nice, but damn. It wipes me out for the rest of the day on Saturdays. I did clean the living room and kitchen and do some laundry, but not much else. I didn't make it to the grocery store or start grading papers. guess there is always Sunday.

I feel like I won't have a free Saturday for a while. Our weekends are going to be booked for a bit.
10/3 new member class at church
10/10 Saturday School
10/17 new member class at church
10/23 in Meade, KS visiting Abby
10/30 new member class at church
11/7 new member class at church
11/14 free!
11/21 free!
11/28 New Jersey
12/5 free!
12/12 my cousin Willie's wedding in Oklahoma(I think...need to check that date!)
12/19 Murad's graduation
12/26 Christmas in KS

Ugh....I'm excited for a lot of the things, but feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily, the new member classes at church are only an hour and a half compared to the 3 hours of Saturday School. Murad works weekends so being busy will help me not miss him as much. I am excited about driving to OK and Kansas with him and our annual Thankgiving trip to New Jersey! This year we're going to NYC! I'm so excited!
I also worked up the nerve to take a homebuying class. Dallas County offers one, so I figure we'll get some good information that will help us in the future. I'm trying to be very rational and practical about the homebuying thing. Collecting all the facts, researching all the neighborhoods and doing what we can to secure a home loan. We aren't putting a timeline on it, but we probably should since we are seriously planning to start a new chapter in our lives.....more on that later!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Marriage Survey, Happy Birthday Mom and Happy Six Month Anniversary!

This was posted on the Nest! Everyone posted different answers, so I thought I'd post mine here. It made me feel good to know that everyone struggles even in the first six months of marriage.
To date, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a wife? finding a balance, choosing the right battles to fight, putting someone else's needs before my own (that made me sound like a selfish ***, but it's true!), making decisions based on us, etc.
What is the one thing he does that drives you insane? he uses his cellphone when we go out to dinner (like to text or watch videos) RUDE, he doesn't clean up after himself (which is ironic because when he does, he does an excellent job!)
Do you find yourself settling into married life yet, or are you still struggling with it? pretty well settled. I love being married! Even though I struggle to think of us as we, I love sharing my life with him and look forward to our future plans!
If you could turn back the clock one year and relive the last six months of your engagement and the wedding, would you? NO! It was too stressful. DH got into a wreck and totalled his car, he was working very little then, I was in grad school, my cousin committed suicide and I was just depressed! Wedding planning was my only release! The first 12 months of engagement were great though!
Do you miss wedding planning, or is that a myth? I miss certain aspects of it, but I'm glad it's over. Sometimes I'm like "oh, I should've done that or maybe I should've done this", but all in all, I had my dream wedding. I wouldn't change a thing about the number of guests, location or anything! I got to marry my soulmate in front of the people we love! Ou wedding truly was a reflection of us as a couple.
Are you enjoying being a couple or are you itching to start a "family?" (I never have understood that ... why are you a couple but not a family if you don't have kids??) I love our family right now. I'm still adjusting to being a stepmom and I love being a mom to our dogs. Sometimes I really want to be a mom, but other times it freaks me out. I told myself I wanted to have a kid by 30, but then I realized I'd have to start trying in 2 years and that freaked me out! My mom says I shouldn't give myself a deadline, but just when it feels right, so for now we're not itching for kids. We actually talked about it tonight and we want to do some traveling before we go down that road!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This is why I'm hot!

The Princess looked at her more closely.
"Tell me," she resumed, "are you of royal blood?"
"Better than that, ma'am," said Dorothy."I came from Kansas."
(L. Frank Baum)
The Wizard of Oz

practicing acceptance

there are some things in life that I've learned to accept.
not-so-serious:
people will always compare me to Tia & Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister; The Game)
most of the time compliments from my students are actually insults
my husband won't clean as often as he says he will

serious:
Philip really is gone
Racism is alive and well
Schools really only care about state assessments and not educating children

However, ever since Murad entered my life I've had trouble with the way the "system" treats fathers. I hate to go into too many details, but I've been struggling a lot lately. I knew what I was getting into when I married him, but I didn't think it'd be this difficult. I remember watching Autism The Musical a while ago and one of the quotes from a mother of a child with autism stuck out particularly. I'm not sure if I'm quoting it correctly, but here it goes, "I cannot judge my daughter's quality of life." I cannot do the same to my stepdaughter. It may not be what I expected or hoped for. Her life may not compare to that of her future half-siblings.
I do realize I need to practice acceptance and trust in God. Our relationship with my stepdaughter and her family has gotten progressively better over the years. I just need to step back and let that continue. Right now it just seems so hard, because it's not what I envisioned. It's not what most people envision, but it will get better. I love my family. I need my family. I accept my family. I accept the present. I am working towards a brighter tomorrow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the bright spot!

Today was a great day! My husband will get to complete his internship on time and graduate as scheduled!!! Yay!!!! I'm so excited! I knew things would get better, but I had no idea this would happen! What a wonderful way to end a stressful week!

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow. I had to leave my sub with the benchmark because my kids didn't finish on time. I still have a million and a half summer reading projects to grade. I already have Student Assistance Team cases to investigate. I have to teach Saturday School this Saturday. Things are starting to pile up! But it'll be good to be busy.

I'm excited to go to Oktoberfest this Saturday!

Monday is Murad and I's six month anniversary! I'm so excited to celebrate!!!!

Okay, that's all for now!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

what's going on?

I do feel a little comfort (sad, I know) that everyone is having a crappy week. The only way I know this is via facebook stalking. I guess misery loves company. No, I don't really believe that. I believe human beings just want support in any shape or form. The virtual support I got from facebook last night was much appreciated.

Last night one of my best friends called and told me her younger sister has cancer. She will live thankfully, but having children is out of the question. I didn't even know what to say. Hearing the sadness in her voice was tough. I don't know how I'd react if it were my sibling. Ironically, at work I talked with a teacher who is battling breast cancer. Her honesty about the whole situation was amazing. She has such an amazing strength and grace about her. I hope that my friend's sister will find that strength as well!

Things are changing in our household. My husband will no longer graduate this fall, but in the spring. This is not a welcome change, but one that we have to accept. It's a long, drawn-out mess. However, I'm trying to remain positive. We are living, breathing and loving. That's all that matters, right? I think he'll use this semester to work on some things personally and professionally and of course SAVE! This puts buying a house out of the question for now, which is fine, because at least I know that. However, on the upside, we'll have the same spring break to take our honeymoon. Since he's graduating in the spring, we hope to move into a rental home. I can throw him a big graduation bash in our new home with a backyard that we can party in if the weather is nice! He can start his MSW in the spring, so it puts him only a semester behind instead of two. So, a few minor good things have come out of it. I think it brought some issues that we had been neglecting into the forefront, which is always good for our marriage. I think we realize how much we support each other and how strong our marriage is. Even after only six months, I think we've built some of the tools people spend a lifetime building and for that I'm thankful!
My sweet Abby is having trouble sleeping through the night. I worry about her. She made so much progress this summer while she was here. I can't really go into specifics about the whole situation, but just keep her in your prayers. She's doing wonderfully in school! She's so gifted. She's one of those smart kids you envied in elementary school. Learning just comes naturally to her!
Anyways, thanks for all the warm thoughts, prayers, and LOVE! I need it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

capital D-epressed

yes, I said it. I am. I know I will get over this hard time, but right now things are hard and changing. I know God has a reason that He does everything and that everything is done in His time. I just feel like my security is gone. I know it's not, but right now is kind of hard. The rainy weather is not good for my hair or my soul!!!


this too shall pass

right?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The love of my life


We are one week away from our six month anniversary. The past six months have been wonderful and I can not wait until we reach one year and all the years after that. I am so lucky to have found my soulmate! I love you, Mr. Soup!

Campbell Family Photos







Just a few favorites!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

things that perplex me

Over the weekend, I thought about things that I find curious, intriguing and disgusting. Some of the things fit in all three categories. others just one or two

Jaycee Dugard--I am fascinated by all things associated with this kidnapped woman. I'm amazed by it all. I remember feeling that way when they found Elizabeth Smart, but for some reason this is just too real. I read that she feels guilty for bonding with her captor. I just want to be like, "it's okay. you're safe now." I can't imagine what she or her children are going through right now.
Gia--so I'm watching the movie about her with Angelina Jolie on the Oxygen network. Again, I'm perplexed and intrigued by tragic people, particularly women. Such a beautiful woman with so many issues.
Swine Flu--Absences were at an all-time high today. Kids were sent home left and right. I pray that I don't get it. I pray my father doesn't get it as well. He has one more month until he retires. If he can get through this month, he'll be home free. He wasn't feeling too well this weekend. They took him off some meds to test for Parkinson's Disease, so he's having a hard time adjusting. Sometimes he forgets to take the meds he's supposed to take and that messes him up even more. Hopefully, he'll get back on track. NO SWINE FLU!
The 90's--I attended a really fun 80's celebration while I was home in Wichita. I got to see old friends from college and some from high school. So, I'm wondering when are people going to start having 90's parties? I love the 90's! Truly the best time! The music was awesome. Let me refresh your memory:
-Grunge (think Nirvana, Blind Melon, etc., flannel shirts)
-East Coast vs. West Coast (Biggie, Tupac)
-Crash Test Dummies (Mmmmmm Mmmm...what the hell)
-MC Hammer (hammer pants)
-Vanilla Ice
-the rise of boy bands (N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, Soul 4 Real)
-Lillith Fair (Fiona Apple, Sarah MacLaughlin, Sheryl Crow)
-Bone Thugs N' Harmony

Okay so those are my rants for now. Ummm... onto some good news
-Mr. Soup is applying to grad school at Texas A&M Commerce and UTA. He's also applying for his LBSW license.
-Mr. Soup may be able to get the teeth he needs extracted and replaced with implants at a fraction of the cost.
-I'm going to start taking new member classes at a local church I've been attending! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Abby withdrawal

I feel like I'm going through Abby withdrawal. I miss having her here so much. I'm excited by all the new changes in my life, but I miss her so much. I miss lazy Sunday afternoons spent attending church, watching cartoons and making music videos. I miss Saturdays at the Splash Park. I also miss getting bit up by mosquitos while I watch her run. Summer 2010 needs to hurry up and get here! Okay, that's my vent!!!!

New Additions to our family

Well my brother-in-law has been here for a week now. Already he's fixed our desktop! yay! In addition, he's getting sworn in tomorrow, will attend training for the guard, then start working. He's hoping to get a degree at Richland (part of DCCC) and then transfer to UTD for a degree in Mathematics. Luckily for him they have a fast-track bachelor/master program, so that would be awesome.

We got a Wii and a brand new Mac Notebook! It's like freakin' Christmas around here. We planned to get a new notebook, but the Wii was a surprise. Murad was on the waiting list for a used Wii at the local Game Stop. However, he was able to get a never-been-used one from them for half the cost! Big savings for us! I can't wait to start playing some bowling! That is one of my favorite memories about NJ. Last Thanksgiving we played the Wii everyday with Murad's brother. Now that he's here, we can recreate it the moment.

It looks like we may have a full house this summer, so we're thinking renting a house in May. Abby will definitely be here and one or both of Murad's bros may be here. I found some cute houses in our area and right down the street from us are some huge duplexes for rent (think almost 2,000 sq feet) . I have half a mind to see if we can get pre-approved for a home loan, but to be honest I'm terrified of being a home owner. I still feel like a little kid. Plus, I want us to have more in savings before we buy a home and I want my car to be paid off before then. I just can't afford to pay it off yet. I've found some cute little houses in the area that are around the same price that we pay for our tiny apartment, so maybe it's a possibility to rent for a while we save. Plus, having a house would be great in case Abby comes to stay with us more permanently. We'll see! Ugghh! Decisions, decisions. I guess the Lord will let us know what decision to make.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the house talk and ode to a cozy apartment

so, mr. soup and I finally had "the house talk." we've had many house talks, but this one we actually discussed exactly where we both want to live, what type of house we want and how much we want to spend. Afterwards, we drove around the perspective neighborhoods to look at houses (so much fun by the way). However, the houses we want are way out of our price range, so any hope of moving at the end of this school year was shot. We are shooting for Spring '11. Our goal for this year is to aggressively save and pay off debts (credit cards and my car loan), so that we can get an affordable rate. We're still going to look at foreclosures too, but we want to prepare to pay the market-value for a good house.


Some things we both agreed on were that we do not want to move to the suburbs and by suburbs I mean far north like McKinney, Allen, etc. That's just not us. We do want to stay near the Richardson suburb area (I know Richardson is a suburb, but it's not a true suburb). We want to stay in the area in which we live now. Not the exact area, because the homes surrounding us are listed at half a million dollars (no joke), but there are some nearby that are less than half that price that we could afford. We live in an area that has excellent schools (for when/if Abby comes to live with us), great shopping (for me), and great restaurants (for all of us!). The homes are larger and older (most built in the 1960's) than most areas, so they have lots of character. Surprisingly, most of the homes have four bedrooms which is what we need if we're going to start a family in a few years.





So, since we're stuck here for a year and a half, I want to focus on the good things about our little apartment. I know I focus on how small and cramped we are, but it is pretty spacious considering what you get in apartments these days. Our apartment has more square feet than some homes. Our complex was built in the 1980's, so there aren't any cool architecture features. However, the bedrooms are large and we have tons of closets, cabinets and other storage features. We have so much storage, that when I moved stuff to prepare for my brother-in-law to move in, I didn't have to part with too many items; just a couple of shoes and a few shirts! We have wonderful vaulted ceilings and our apartment feels like a little cottage. It's so cozy! We live in an area that is safe! I never feel scared walking my dogs at night. Like I mentioned before we live near good shopping, restaraunts and schools.



Okay so other good news:

My hubby recieved a very generous stipend from his school! Woo-hoo! We're going to use part of it to buy a new laptop! Yay! So, now we just need to research what type of laptop we want to get! There are just too many out there and it's hard to decide what is best. Ugghh. We want a mac notebook and we found one for $929, so it's a little over what we wanted to spend, but I read it's a better investment in the long run!

I'm so proud of him for earning the stipend! He worked so hard last year and this summer and it really paid off!



I got my 2nd master's degree! This is my first degree with my maiden name and my married name on it (and probably my last degree!) Yes, that's right all four of my names are on my degree. In my heart I knew I couldn't leave one off because I started the degree with my maiden name and finished with my new name. I'm so glad to be done with the program. The 18 months went by fast, but they were definitely tough!

My brother-in-law is here! He flew in today! Yay!

Murad begins his internship tomorrow! We're getting so close to the light at the end of the tunnel! Yeah!

That's it for the Campbells!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back to School

Well, this is my last weekend before fully returning to the workforce. I actually went back to work on Tuesday (well actually the Thursday before if you really want to be technical), but my kiddos don't arrive until Monday. My room is awesome. Luckily in the spring, I had done a lot of spring cleaning, so when I came back, I had plenty of time to decorate. My goal this year was to make my classroom more learner-centered. So, this summer I collected a bunch of NY Times and Abby and I high-fived them (a strategy we teach our kids). I used that as the bulletin board background. I also hung up student-made posters on high-five, inference and other reading techniques. My friend Alissa went to the AVID conference this summer and one of the presenters said he requires two rules of his students: Listen with understanding and speak with good purpose. I made posters and put those up as well. And while they won't be my only rules, I want to focus on them. My student-desks are in pairs so that my students can pair-share or work in groups easily. I also removed all teacher-seats up front, so that I don't get in the habit of just sitting at the front of the room when we read. My desk is in the back of the room (not my choice, but due to technology requirements), so I never have had the option of sitting back there. I plan to be up and all over them (in a good teacher way, not gross way).
I'm really excited about this school year. Last year was a good school year, but I think I kind of shut down emotionally at times. I had a lot of highs and lows in my personal life (my cousin's death, depression, marriage) and I struggled with how to make sense of my emotions and support my students at the same time. I really want my students to feel comfortable in my class and like they have support from not only me, but from each other. Like a little family. maybe I'm being idealistic, but I can try!
I have lots of changes this school year:
new name: I'm no longer Miss W, but now I'm Mrs. Soup! I don't know how I feel about Mrs. It makes me feel old. When I see the word Mrs, I just think of an old lady. I'm very far from old. However, I am excited to have Soup stuff all over my classroom!
less responsibilities: I'm excited just to be a teacher! I'm not on every darn committee! I really hope to build the Student Assistance Team program and of course make my classroom a rockin' place to be! Oh and when I go home, I no longer have a wedding to plan or grad school assignments to complete.
new car: Well not really. Murad bought a new car last fall and I'm going to drive it this school year. My car seems to be a hypochondriac. Anytime I repair something, something else is in need of repair. Murad doesn't want me to drive my car right now, so he offered to switch cars for the school year. I think he really just wants the sun-roof.

new roommate: Well, today I am cleaning, doing laundry and organizing. Murad's brother flies in on Wednesday. Murad doesn't think he'll stay long, but nevertheless we are beginning to outgrow our little apartment. If his brother is here next summer, we'll have four people (Abby) plus two dogs. Even if he isn't, we'd like to have an extra guest room and really let Abby have her own room so that we can entertain more people. We're kind of stuck because our lease is up in May, but neither of us don't think we'll be ready to buy until May 2011. We could rent a house or duplex, but a lot them are more expensive than a monthly mortgage. So, we're stuck. We're 90% sure we're going to stay in this area after Murad finishes his MSW and we know we'd like to live in West Richardson, but we still need to save. I guess it wouldn't be bad to buy sooner, but we'd really have to get on the ball!

ummm....so I've really been slacking on all things related to the wedding. I still haven't hung up our broom nor have I begun to pick out pictures for our album. I planned to do it in the summer, but I just didn't want to do it. I finally got some wedding pictures ordered and put up. I love looking at them and remembering the first day of our lives as a married couple. I just hate doing the work to get stuff up!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Family of the Future

So Monday the Soup Family had photos taken in downtown McKinney. Check out our photographer's blog for a sneak peak!

http://www.sixfourteenphotography.blogspot.com/

Growing up was always so difficult because my family was so different. Well, actually we weren't that different. We were pretty typical. Dad. Mom. Sister. Brother. Dog. A couple of fish here and there. However, there were a few atypical features about my family. My parents had this pseudo-soccer mom/suburban father persona. However, they were pretty much former hippies. They deny it, but I'd probably blush if I knew about their lives prior to having a family. My dad is ten years older than my mom. Coincidentally since my mom's parents were teen parents, my dad is only 6 and 8 years younger than his in-laws. My dad's parents were older parents (my grandfather was almost 50 and my grandmother 30 when my dad was born) and could've parented and possibly grandparented my maternal grandparents. My mom was also the main breadwinner in the family. At one point, my dad was a stay-at-home dad when we were really young. And finally, the most obvious difference in our family compared to others. My dad is black and my mom is white.

Growing up was a little lonely. We never saw families like ours on television. Until we reached middle school there were no mixed students in our class me. People stared anytime we went out as a family and especially when we were alone with either parent. I had a few mixed family members growing up though, so that helped. As a child though, I never could visualize what my family would look like. I remember my mom telling me she always knew she was going to have black children because when she was a child she had a dream about a black baby. When I closed my eyes, I couldn't visualize any family for myself.

In November, when Barack Obama was elected president, it not only marked a change because he became the first black president, but because he is a mixed race person. Murad's geology professor told him he believes in the next 2,000 years there will be one race. As it is already, mixed race families are increasing.

I am proud to say that my new family is one of them! Not only do we embrace many ethnicities, but also different cultures as well. My husband comes from a Muslim family. On his father's side they are Sunni Muslim (with whom my husband identifies more). On his mother's side they are Nation of Islam. In addition, there are many on both sides who identify as Christian, as well. The majority of my family is Christian and in my immediate family we were raised Lutheran-ELCA. Luckily, my stepdaughter is also Lutheran-Missouri Synod. Despite our differences, I think we show others that God loves all His children equally. We are all children of God. We fully embrace our religious upbringings and support each other as we seek to strengthen our relationship with God.

I bring a myriad of cultures to the table. My dad's family is from Florida, and we have Irish, Jamaican and Seminole heritages. On my mother's side we have English, Irish, German and Cherokee (WASP mutt). Murad's mother's side is mostly Moorish-American (first blacks in the new world). His paternal grandmother was from Santo Domingo, DR (where we are going for our honeymoon...well not Santo Domingo, but Punta Cana, DR). Our sweet, little Abby brings a strong Irish heritage (she has red hair) from her mother's side of the family.

I truly think we are the family of the future. Blended, changing, colorful, spirtual, connected, real, and most importantly, BEAUTIFUL! I'm glad I couldn't visualize my family because it's better than I could've ever expected!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one...

I've posted this quote before, but I think it adequately sums up my life. I'm posting it again. Right now Murad and I have some pretty exciting things happening in our lives that we never expected.

Abby---we never thought we'd get to spend this much time with her and we are truly enjoying our last few days of summer with her. I hope this opens up more opportunities for us in the future. I never thought I would embrace being a mother like I did. Having her at my side each day has been so much fun! With each day, I'm inching closer to wanting a baby. I love our little family of three. We are very complete! However, I can't wait to give Abby little brothers and sisters.

new roommate---Murad's brother is going to move in with us! I'm so excited because this will help us save money and I think it will be so much fun to have a roommate! I'm excited for him to get here in two weeks. I didn't think I'd want a rooommate after getting married, but I truly am excited about this!

new school year---this summer has been nice and relaxing (well besides the 3 weeks of summer school and helping Murad study) I was able to write and read daily. I spent mucho time at the pool and frequented Sonic for cool beverages. I feel refreshed and ready for the school year. I've also cut some responsibilities so I can focus more on student success. I'm no longer the NJHS co-sponsor. I'm no longer a formal mentor (the grant ran out). I won't have graduate school or wedding planning waiting for me at home either.

new hobbies---it's funny how my new hobbies are all health related now. I think this has to do with becoming a step-mother. One thing I did this summer was make sure I cooked a lot more. We significantly cut eating out and fast food. I also made it my mission to cook more vegetarian meals and infuse more vegetables into meat dishes. I absolutely love finding new recipes to cook for my family. Growing up I hated cooking. Anyone who knows me from college knows that a. I only cooked casseroes b. I ate out a lot c. I microwaved a lot. While I still love to make casseroles because they're cost efficient and easy, I've expanded my range. I've become a collector of recipes and enjoy trying new things. So different from the Ash in college!

new dreams---The recession has forced me to deal with a lot of things through writing. I hope to write more and inspire peope. I think I'm going to attempt to publish them too.
Murad has been reading more on the Ph.D process and is rethinking his desire to pursue it right away. There are a lot of Ph.D students in psychology who have let him know about their experience. A lot of frustation concerning the amount of time in the program (5-6 years) only to make half of what a MD or lawyer makes especially with the economy the way it is, lots of emphasis on research and getting published. I know a lot of the reason he wanted the degree is to be a doctor. And honestly, I think he'll still pursue the degree, but not right away. He can get an MSW in less than half the time and do private practice therapy as well. His internship this fall in medical social work will also open up a lot of doors for us. So, we won't be leaving Dallas anytime soon. In fact, it may be that Dallas will remain our permanent home. The other day Murad goes, "I feel like I wanted to pursue this Ph.D but God was constanty leading me towards social work." So true. I told him not to give up the Ph.D In fact, UNT has a Ph.D counseling psychoogy program with an emphasis in sports psychology. With all the athletic training he's done with Abby this summer, he'd be perfect for it. So we'll see. So we're staying for a while!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Abby's rendition of Teen Witch!

So, since Murad and I are young parents, we like to do stupid stuff like make our daughter learn 80's and 90's rap and movie quotes. Fortunately, Abby loves it (probably because movies today suck!) I think Abby will be a musical genius, so why not exploit her. Just kidding! okay maybe not!

money highs and money lows

so I wrote a post earlier, but when I read it I felt as though I was trying to get people to feel sorry for me. I'm not trying to do that. So, here are my money highs and lows:

Highs:
-having more money in savings--I have more money in savings than before, but I've had to dip into it for emergencies (vet bills, etc...)
-I'm such a bargain shopper and each week I spend less and less at the grocery store! Yeah!
-We rarely eat-out. We did this at first to help Abby lose weight, but now we don't eat out at all! Okay, not quite, I've cut out fast food for the summer and we've only gone out to eat at sit-down restaurants 3 times with Abby! Woo-hoo for $$ (and calories) saved.
-awesome photography find. I found a photographer who is going to take our family pictures next week for $75! Murad and I wanted to get family photos taken, but our budget only allowed us to afford Sears or Target quality pictures. However, I found this guy and he is going to do our family photos in downtown McKinney next week. Check out his work! www.sixfourteenphotography.blogspot.com

Lows:
-not saving and using my savings! I need to keep some money in there for our honeymoon. Murad keeps telling me not to worry and that we will not sacrifice our honeymoon, but I can't help but worry. It's in my nature. I am glad we have it though. If we could put more in it each month, I'd sleep a little better.
-not having our debt paid off. Again, my worrying takes over. Once Murad starts working with his degree we can aggressively pay off debt and save for a home/family. Right now we're stuck doing what we can. At least we are making it and not going under. At least we aren't using credit cards anymore. After we pay it off we only want to have student loans, a mortgage and his car as debt.

as I make this list. I realize my highs outweigh my lows. I realize I am not as bad with money as I think. I know it's hard living off of one salary (and maybe a half salary or a quarter salary), but it will all be worth it. Even when we have more money, we'll be used to being poor. So, at this time I'm thankful for being poor!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't Shave Your Beard, Eric

"Don't shave your beard, Eric."
is what my wife says to me.

I obey.
The calendar in his room still says May.
The senior trip his come and gone.
Prom is done.

"Don't shave your beard, Dad, " he whispers.
"Please don't forget me."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One Blow

The fresh, green dew
that was you
is no longer here.

What happened that hour?
What happened that minute that you
decided to go?
One Blow

Meltwater flows off the glaciers
evidence of sunshine in different ways.
Emerging theories
discoveries in science
transforming techniques in therapy
occur everyday.

You did not know.
You will not know.
One Blow


I've started writing poetry again. I used to write all the time in high school and college. this one I wrote today as I was sitting outside. thinking about my cousin. I watched a documentary on suicide the other day. The mother of the 15 year old boy who committed suicide said that she was in a state of disbelief that this was her life. She couldn't believe that time didn't stand still and she thought of all the things he missed out on since he died. I feel the exact same way. I can't believe this is my life. I can't believe he's gone. I can't believe all that he's missed. I keep thinking that he saw Obama get elected, but didn't see him get inaugurated. not that he cared or that he voted for him or maybe he did, but it's just the fact that he's not here. it still hurts now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Seriously?

I love that we finally have rain in TX. I'm a little bummed that it will be here all week, but I'll take it. However, I do not like that I have a cold in the summer. Why am I getting sick all of the sudden? I truly believe being away from the disgusting germs at my school is why. I built up such a great immune system working with germy kids and now I'm in such a clean environment constantly and my body has no resistance. Not to say my house is pristine and clean all the time, but it is most of the time. Ugh. I hate it. I slept away the afternoon. It was nice sleeping with my dogs, but I woke up still having that drunk groggy feeling and one massive headache.

Okay, so things I am thankful for today...
my check engine light---it's no longer on. Not sure if that's good, but I'll take it as a good sign
my family---having Abby here makes me realize how lucky I am to have the parents I do. I know it wasn't easy for my parents to raise biracial children, but they always made sure we knew our roots. My heart aches for Abby because she has such a skewed view of black people. There are like 3 black people in her hometown (including her) and they're all under the age of 20. I'm so glad my parents exposed me to my culture and to other cultures. I still had to deal with ignorance from family members and community members, but I was raised with the knowledge on how to recognize and handle it. I'm so blessed to have grown up with both of my parents to help me appreciate being black & white.
good friends near & far---I love catching up with friends via email, blog or even on the phone (so old fashioned lol) I emailed my friend Lara from college with questions I have on pregnancy and stuff (I know we're not ready now, but I like to start my research early). She gave me the most honest, non-judgmental responses. Her answers really displayed the confusion, love, and joy associated with motherhood. She brought so much peace to my heart. I knew Lara when were crazy college students preparing to become teachers. We finished our master's degree together and as I moved to Texas, she married and prepared to welcome her first daughter. She stepped into both roles in true Lara-fashion. She dove in and is probably one of the best mothers I know. She strives to create safe and healthy environment for her girls, but she is still real. I hope I can be half the mother she is!
My friend Tish out in Cali is doing some writing. She asked me to take a look at it. She probably doesn't realize that she feuled my desire to write. I've been writing daily and loving it. Working on a semi-biographical piece of fiction as we speak.
Sam---his cyst is gone. Little pissed that we spent so much damn money to get him tested, but glad it's gone and not bothering him. Glad the excessive diarrhea is gone. still waiting for the bad gas to go away. I better not hold my breath
A new church home---My friend Rachel suggested I attend church two weeks ago to see Bishop Jerry. I really enjoyed the service and when we went back again I felt so at home. I've struggled with finding a church home since I moved here. I think it's a church that Murad would like to attend with me as well (don't worry no conversion for him, but he appreciates hearing the Good Word and we want our children to raise our children as Lutherans)
Jessi---I'm so proud of my cousin Jessi. She sent me pictures of cakes she is decorating. She is really talented. She is doing the cakes for my cousin (and her brother) Willie's vow renewal. I'm trying to convince her to start her own business.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Come Undone

Who do you need?
Who do you love?
When you come undone...

Remember that Duran Duran song from the 90's? I used to love that song.

I have been feeling a little undone lately, but in a good way...I guess. This month has been tough financially. We had to dip into savings when Murad's uncle died and twice for Sam's vet bills. My check engine light also came on. Ughhh. I feel like will we ever get ahead? Will my plans for saving for a family actually go through?

Murad reminded me that during this recession and other hard times, we need to focus on the now. "Ash, we have everything we need today. We aren't going hungry. Abby is taken care of. We have our two beautiful dogs with us." Why can't I be that optimistic? Why can't I live for the moment. (not to say Murad doesn't plan ahead..he does, but he adapts to change better than I do) Reading through my blogs one would think I'm not happy with my current situation. I complain about not having a house, I worry about accidentally getting pregnant before "we're ready," I'm eager for Murad to get in and out of grad school, etc, etc. It's like I have this ideal timeline. When in reality, my life right now is great. I feel like I don't embrace the "right now." I sometimes think my timeline makes me hypocritical and that I push my expectations onto others. I'm always looking ahead. While that serves me well in a lot of areas, I feel like I don't fully get to experience the joys of this time in our lives. All the good things in my life are the unexpected joys I've found. None of them were planned. I never imagined I'd marry a man I met at an airport who has a child and who is a different faith, but I did.... what a blessing it has been to marry him.

So, I'm going to become more process oriented instead of product oriented. I strive for perfection, but I also need to embrace who I am right now and the process I'm taking not to become pefect and not become whole, but just the future me! One thing my friend Katie does in her blog is list things that are important to her and for which she is grateful. I think I need to do that, not as a reminder and not as an affirmation, but maybe as a chronicle? I can look back and say, "ah! Remember that time? It was so great!"

things I am grateful for right now:
-time to read...I'm almost done with The Shack (excellent book! Highly recommend) and I'm simultaneously reading a book my friend is writing. I love getting lost in books and so thankful for the summer days by the pool to do so
-Jesus...ummm....reading The Shack made me appreciative for the relationship I have with Him. His love is Awesome and I strive to understand it.
-my husband....WOW! I dated some duds before him and he has been such a breath of fresh air. He pushes me outside my comfort zone, but he's always there for me no matter what problem I'm having. I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm not going through this alone anymore and that he's always there for me.
-health....I was sick a few weeks ago and it sucked. Sam was sick this week and it really sucked. I'm glad we're healthy. enuf said
-The Woodards....my first family. even though we're all in different places I'm reminded daily how intertwined we are.
-uncertainty....I'm thankful for this feeling right now and also it's counterpart that I hope will follow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

research interests

so, i'm helping murad work on his personal statement for grad school. he has to explain his research interests (he's applying to funded programs, so you have to get professors to want to work with you). So anyways, I thought it be fun to post our research interests here. so these are our interests if we were in school getting our Ph.D and our "we're rich so we can sit around and do nothing, but research."

Mr. Soup
PhD program: Counseling Psychology
Research Interests: marriage/family therapy, families with individuals with disabilities, personality, sports psychology

PhD program: Videogaming with a minor in useless facts
Research Interests: Madden, Gears of War, chatting with friends online, persuading your wife to look up stupid facts about pop-culture and then say how much you hate pop-culture and the media

Mrs. Soup
PhD program: Sociology with a specialization in the sociology of education minor: curriculum studies
Research interests: multicultural families, child abuse/neglect, learning, writing instruction, literacy, writing across the curriculum, student motivation, educational policy, interfaith families

PhD Program: Event & Life planning with a specialization in weddings, home-buying, traveling and blogging. minor in wikipedia
Research interests: recipes, foreclosures, Punta Cana, shopping at Ross, drinking wine, using wikipedia to prove people wrong, finding one-hit wonders of the 80's & 90's

Abby Soup
Undergraduate program: double major: biology & graphic design
Job prospects: future graduate student in paleontology, graphic designer, future med student, illustrator

PhD Program: rapping with a specialization in dodgeball, running, push-ups and sit-ups
research interests: rapping with parents, rapping about day-camps, how to successfully win people over with the Soulja Boy dance at weddings, dodgeball champions and their impact on day camp students.

Mom too soon...

so, I've been recieving a lot of signs about motherhood. I've only been married for four months (four months yesterday exactly), but the urge to be a full-time, human mama has kicked in. Some events that have taken place this week have solidified my desire to procreate or adopt with the man I love. Don't worry, I'll spare you the details of procreation (I'm not sure if blogger allows pornography=) I will admit I still have some hang-ups associated with motherhood:

1. my body-not really excited about giving up my body. and I hate to make it sound like that, but that's what it is in my mind. until I'm mature enough to think of it as giving a gift, then I will really know I'm ready. but for now I will say I'm not ready for the pain (in more than one way) associated with being a mom.

2. my time- not ready to give up my free-time yet either.

So, the urge to be a full-time, human mother is there. I never said it was strong. I never said I was mature either (I teach 7th grade, duh!)

but I have come a long way. i don't want to wait as long as I wanted to previously. and I am maturing slowly.
1. money-I used to never worry about money. I would overpay and indulge with no real worries. now I save and bargain-shop. That being said, I had some reservations about having a baby while Murad is in grad school. however, once I set my mind to something I pursue it wholeheartedly. Kinda like my wedding. I was determined to have an inexpensive, yet elegant wedding for significantly less than the national average and I did. so, after Murad and I agreed to buy a foreclosure, I knew we could start a family and still live comfortably while he's in grad school. I know some people are leary of it, but I'm doing my homework. I ordered some literature on the topic and we'll definitely work with a knowledgable realtor.
2. illness- my whole life people have always questioned why I never entered the medical field like my mom (she's a nurse). I loved science class. I loved dissecting creatures in Zoology class. I loved memorizing body parts. However, I have a very weak stomach when it comes to BLOOD and massive loads of shit. Well, I confronted that phobia this week when Sam had massive diarrhea and projectile vomitting. Gross. But it wasn't that gross. Sam is my baby and I took care of him like he was one. Murad and I took shifts caring for him. I trained myself to wake-up every hour to care for him and I was easily awakened by the slightest stir in his movements. I loved knowing he needed me and that I was able to be there for him. At that point my desire to become a mother intensified. I felt like I knew that Murad and I could do it and do it well.
3. Abby-having Abby here has made me want to be a good stepmother. I've done my best to create a safe, loving, enriching and spiritual environment for her. The other day I go "Abby, aren't we pretty mean. I mean, you get spankings here." and she goes, "No, you are not mean. You guys are strict, but it's helping me become a better person!" So cute and last night she told me I am going to make a great mother some day. So sweet! I know I shouldn't get my confidence from a 7 year-old, but Abby is pretty smart and knows her stuff. Plus, I love watching her face light up when she discovers something new, hearing her laugh at her daddy's attempt to rap, helping her sound out a word when she reads, and many other things. I cherish our time with her this summer and look forward to many more summers. Hopefully, she'll spend many summers with her younger brothers and sisters too.
Anyways, I don't know when I'll actually start trying for a baby. I could guess two years from now, but you never know. However, I am no longer scared of the idea of being a mother.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Foreclosure....

No, we're not facing foreclosure. We don't even own property, so no worries there. I've decided to foreclose on my worrying about the future. I feel like I always worry and then it halts my life drastically. I can't help it. It runs in my family. My mom. My maternal grandmother (she's still pissed that we're going to Punta Cana instead of Hawaii. She thinks islands outside the US are dangerous). Anyways, I'm trying to use foreclosure as a metaphor here, and it's not really working, so on to the meat of my post.

Murad had a good coversation with one of his old professors who told him that he should still apply to grad school this year. He thinks Murad has a really good chance of getting in this year. Even if he doesn't, he advised not getting an MSW, but instead taking some psych classes to keep up to date and reapply next year. So, he is going to apply this year and if he doesn't get in, he'll try next year.

So our plan of saving a whole bunch of $$ is kind of shot. If he gets in to grad school right away, we won't be able to save as much. My dream of owning a home and starting a family while he's in grad school was shot as well. That was until....foreclosure. I know it's kind of risky, but I've been reading up on it lately, and it's really a good option for those who want to live in a home. My cousin returned back to school along with her boyfriend. She was able to buy a nice house near UMKC for the price of a car! So, of course I'm picking her brain to find out more details. We might as well take advantage of this economic crisis and buy sooner rather than later. I know we may not get a home for as cheap as she got hers, but we could hopefully get a decent home that we could pay off fast and then sell once he's out of grad school. I would love it if our only debt was our student loans and his car payment (mine will be paid off June 2010!!! woo-woo!) Murad really liked my idea, because he never wanted a traditional mortgage, so this plan was right up his alley.

Anyways, as our plans change I realize I can't worry all the time. There is always a way to achieve our dreams. We just have to be creative, determined and non-worrying! confident would've been a better word...huh?

Let's see, let's talk about life right now....the road to our destination. Things are good. really good. Abby is still here and enjoying her time here. I'm so glad she gets to enjoy being a kid while she's here. Last week she had her first Dallas sleepover and had a blast. She loves camp and art class. I just love seeing her so happy and carefree. She has so many friends at camp. I think she is the most popular girl (no, seriously, she is!!!) We're still having her run each night. When we first started she only did 4 laps each night and now she does 20 laps each night. She also used to only do 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups each night and now she does 100 of each. We're really trying to get her in shape and build good eating and exercising habits. I know it will be hard when she returns back home, but I hope she'll still want to run and play outside.

Last night I went dancing...salsa dancing with my friend Heather from work and some of her friends. Salsa dancing is such a work-out! I didn't get out of bed until 10:30am! Murad is at work today, so I kind of freaked when I woke up so late, but Abby didn't get up until 11:30am. We're kind of having a lazy, lazy day. I think we'll eat lunch, go to the library and then go grocery shopping. tonight is family movie night: Twilight! It's Abby's favorite movie and Murad has wanted to see it. Luckily Nana Babs and Papa Ken (my parents) own it and kindly burned a copy for us.

Okay, off to shower and get dressed!