Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rap Music

I've taken a little hiatus of mainstream hip-hop. In our vehicles we mostly listen to conscious hip-hop or rap from the 80's and 90's. Believe me, it has nothing to do with Joel and everything to do with the fact that we're not cool! Although, I will say that conscious rap is cool!

Lately though, I've turned off 90's on 9 and BackSpin for some Shade45 (Eminem's station)! I like the deejays on that station because they make me laugh, and they always get the best celebrity interviews. As a result, I've got a case of I respect you slash I don't respect you at all!

First up: Nicki Minaj
Pros: I love her flow game and the way she makes her voice sound
Cons: I hate everything she stands for. Who the hell makes her stage name Nicki Minaj (It's spelled menage, you idiot!)

2nd: Lil' Wayne
Pros: He's been in the rap game since he was 14!!! He went to college (UofH) and made A's & B's for the one semester he was there. He took hard classes too (Economics, English Lit, etc.)
Cons: He dropped out of college. He went to jail. He's hood-rich. He's got 3 baby mamas!!! He perpetuates the stereotype of young African-American males as being ignorant, promiscuous and deviant.

Shameless Plug

Please like Ashlea Campbell Writing on facebook or visit my blog Ashlea Campbell Writing! I don't sell Mary Kay or Avon, so I will never ask any of you to buy something from me. This is my shameless plug and my way of asking for your support as I venture into the freelance arena. Right now I'm not making any real money, but someday I hope to make enough money to make it a career. My ultimate goal is to teach at the community college (I currently teach one class) part-time and freelance part-time. In order for this to be a reality, I need to score some more gigs. I currently freelance for Leadership Gold 4 Women. I just lined up some guest-blogging gigs on some major blogs, so I'm hoping this will get my name out there as well!

Writing has always been a passion of mine, but it got put on the back-burner once I entered college, graduated and decided to develop my K-12 teaching career. Now that Joel is here, I need a more flexible career where I can easily pick him up from daycare if he is sick, and a career where I'm not under as much stress as I am on a daily basis. I also realize that K-12 education is no longer my love. I want a career that ignites my passion. Since there isn't one out there, I'm attempting to create my own!

If you know of anyone needing freelance writing services, consulting or tutoring, I'm your Girl Friday!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

If I had to write this post on December 22nd, the tone would be quite different than it is today, Christmas Day (technically the 26th). I had a specific vision in my head as to how Joely's first Christmas would be. We would travel to Nana and Papa's house in Kansas. Joely would attend Christmas Eve church service where everyone would ooh and aahhh over him. That evening we would open one gift and my parents (Nana and Papa) would fuss over getting a good shot of him tearing at the wrapping paper. Those dreams were dashed when we discovered that Joely had RSV....

On December 22nd, Joely woke up with a slight cough. We didn't think anything of it because he had been battling an ear infection (more about the possibility of tubes in another post). I sent Joely to daycare so that I could do some packing as we planned to get on the road early the next morning. Later that day Christy texted me saying that Joel was coughing and wheezing. I rushed over there to pick him up and quickly made an appointment to see Dr. Ramirez. Dr. Ramirez's nurse did an RSV test and it came back positive. Dr. Ramirez felt badly because we had been in her office on Monday for an ear infection, and she thought he may have picked it up then. Since Joely is so young, she went ahead and put him in the hospital. She thought that it would help him get over it quickly, but after we got there we realized that any hopes of leaving the hospital before Christmas Eve were quickly dashed.

Murad and I were so scared. As new parents, we didn't know what to expect. Was it life threatening? Is he in pain? Can we do anything to help? The answer to all questions is yes! The biggest thing we could do for Joely was be there for him. There really is no way to treat RSV, but he had the undergo breathing treatments, nose-suctioning and just being in a different environment. Anytime we got Joely to calm down and rest, we were interrupted by respiratory therapists or nurses. He was on an every three-hour treatment schedule. There were a few times when we got Joely down to sleep only to have him stir slightly, wake himself up and start screaming after realizing he wasn't in his nursery. There was even one time after a nose suctioning session when he sat up, looked angrily at the nurse and started pointing his hand. It was so sad, but too cute!

We woke up Christmas Eve day hoping to go home, but Joely still sounded wheezy. his oxygen saturation levels were 100%, but Dr. Ramirez worried that he'd go home and end up back in the hospital. We trust her completely, so we saddled up for another night on the twin hospital bed (yes...Murad and both slept on a twin bed). Through it all, we were thankful to have each other. We quickly learned to lean on each other for support, take turns comforting Joely, and picking our battles with the nursing/RT staff (don't get me started on them!). I don't think I realize how much of a partner I have in Murad. I think I sometimes feels as though as a mother I do most of the parenting, but being in the hospital really showed me that we do a good job of splitting our parenting duties. I think Joely looks to Murad for comfort just as much as he looks to me for comfort.

I also think I really understood the meaning of Christmas (or maybe Easter?). Joely is the most important person in our lives. His health supersedes any grandiose Christmas fantasy I envisioned. I now look back at our experience with RSV a little differently than I did when I learned our Christmas was ruined. Our Christmas wasn't ruined because I had all the family I needed and I got the best Christmas gift ever...taking my baby boy home! Woo-hoo!

In true Nana Babs fashion, my mom found someone to deliver Joely's Christmas gifts to him. My parents' neighbor has a son who lives in Plano. On his way back from visiting his mother, he and his wife are going to drop Joel's presents by. Fortunately, we had bought him some gifts, Christy and Abuela had bought him a gift and the staff at Presbyterian Plano hospital got him a few gifts. So, yes Joely is definitely spoiled....rotten!

While we got to leave the hospital, it was hard seeing the families that had to stay. Murad saw the hospital Santa walking around to different little kids and felt really sad for them. I, too, felt the same way. Here I was worried about a ruined first Christmas, when I should be thankful for my baby boy. Joely brings so much joy to our lives. I didn't think I could love someone as much as I love Joely. He truly is amazing. What would I do without him? I don't want to know. Right now, I want to thank God that I have him as my son!

I leave you with a few Christmas quotes:

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith
There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries. ~W.J. Cameron
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens
I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Who's that boy?

Wow! What a weekend! On Saturday, I slept in (thank you, Joely!) and then started cleaning up our pig-sty of a home. I didn't finish, but that's okay! Joel drank really well from his sippy cup. I gave it to him earlier in the week and he wasn't a fan, but on Saturday he was all about it!

Murad's friend Rashad was in town, so they hung out with Joely while I went to lunch with my friend Christina for a belated birthday date! Happy Birthday, Christina! For one month we'll be the same age. I came home and then Murad and his friend went out that night. We had planned to leave for Houston this morning to see a friend, but Murad woke up with a hangover (can you tell that he doesn't drink that often? he rarely goes out and he's a light-weight) and Joel woke up congested, so we canceled our overnight trip. Joel has been pretty fussy all day. He hasn't had a fever, but he's pretty warm. We're taking him to the doctor tomorrow to make sure all is good. Despite being a Mr. Crankypants, he decided to sit up (and stay up). Murad shot this video of him sitting and playing. He kind of started fussing here, so we put him to bed shortly after this. Even when he's angry, he's cute and talented. I hope this doesn't mean he's going to start crawling soon...we still need to get the house babyproofed! *Sigh* He's growing so fast. Maybe he'll be like his mama and skip crawling? Wishful thinking? Probably!

Friday, December 16, 2011


-our district decided to use a new scanning method (and method for assessing student learning for the 1st semester) for our semester exams. the system crashed yesterday. Most of us ended up grading our exams by hand.
-one of my students is hurting. our school community is grieving with her and her family.
-my best friend at work found a new job. beyond thrilled for her as it means she'll make twice as much as she does now. more security for her family. more opportunity for her to grow in a new career field. as her friend I couldn't be happier for her. As selfish Ashlea, I just want her to stay...just until June. I do not know how I will make it until June without her. I do not know how so many of our hurting students will make it without her. She breathes life into our school. She will be missed.

That is all...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


As we enter month 7 of being parents to Joely, we are entering the fun world of foods. Things were much easier when all he consumed was milk/formula. Now, we have to read labels and make conscious decisions concerning his eating habits. We also realized that we need to make changes to our diet as well. While, we've been successful in losing the baby weight we gained (yes, Murad gained sympathy weight), we want to make sure we have good eating habits that benefit us as well as Joely. I already make most of Joel's babyfood from veggies and fruits from local growers (I do buy the little Earth's Best baby foods at WalMart from time to time to see what he likes), but in five months, he'll start eating real food!
Our goal is to do the following over the next five months:
-seriously lower the amount of high fructose corn syrup we digest (it's insane. it's tasty. it's in everything. we eat it everyday.). Yeah, the commercials say it's okay in moderation, but my husband thinks that it's impossible to consume in moderation if it's in EVERYTHING. So, he really wants us to be better consumers.
-cut processed foods and snacks--this is going to be hard. no more lean cuisines for me, damnit! sad face
-in five months, Joel will be able to drink milk. not just my milk. not just formula, but real big boy milk! we need to decide what milk he will drink, since he's not going to drink cow's milk. Murad and I drink almond milk, but I need to see if it's okay for a toddler? I really have no clue what I'm doing in this whole food thing. It's like I went from not caring about what I put into my mouth at all, to caring way too much. I went from cooking casseroles to experimenting, especially with veggies (I love it when my husband turns his nose up at a dish and then ends up loving it!)I also kinda feel like I've stepped back in time. think the 1800's. ugh. Anyways, we hope to make gradual changes over the next five months that will affect our little family for the rest of our lives.
Can you tell I secretly love all this? I complain, but I love it all.I love food. I love creating foods for my family and letting the house smell good from my cooking. I love being a mom and creating a nurturing environment for my little boy. His smile and giggles remind me that I'm living my dream come true.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day in the Life Weekend 2

7:30am - Joel let us sleep in again. Although, we stayed out pretty late, so it felt really early. I took the early shift with Joel since I'm more of a morning person. Luckily, we didn't do any drinking, so we weren't totally out of commission.
7:40am - nursed Joel and fed him some blueberry yogurt. I take my prenatal vitamin (disclaimer: I only take this because I'm still nursing. Someone who reads my blog asked me if I was trying to get pregnant again since I'm taking prenatal vitamins. I've got about a year and a half until we decide if we'll stay a family of three or add some more cuties to our family)
8:10am tummy time - I put some of Joel's toys in front of him to try to get him to crawl. He kept doing the swimming motion and would get up on his arms, but no crawling. He kept getting pissed though when he wouldn't make progress
9:00am - Joel played in his discovery center and then we read a book. Murad comes out for a bit
10:00am - Joel started getting fussy, so I put him in his crib and he went right to bed. I'm still "up," so I clean and rearrange furniture
11:00am - I crawl back in bed
1:00pm - Joel is up, so Murad goes to tend to him
2:00pm - I crawl out of bed, finish up laundry and make lunch
4:00pm - I do my grades for the community college
4:30pm - Murad feeds Joel and puts him in his crib to sleep
5:30pm - start another load of laundry
6:00pm - make turkey burgers - mine with red onion and avocado and Murad's with cheese. sweet potato fries for me and regular for Murad
7:00pm - fight with Murad (well not really a fight. he made a joke and me being extra sensitive due to my hormones being out of whack, get mad and storm out of the room. He comes in to apologize, although I don't think he really knows what he did wrong.
8:00pm wake up Joel and nurse him
8:30pm put Joel back in his crib (I don't usually do this, but I didn't want to risk him waking up at 4am or earlier because he was hungry, especially since he went to bed 2 hours earlier than he usually does)
9:00 shower
9:30pm get things ready for the morning
10:00am go to sleep

Okay, so that's it for Day in the Life for right now. I'll do another one in March when my bub is about 9-10 months.
update: we bought Joel's first sippy cup. Yep.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Day in the Life Weekend 1

7:30am Joel slept in--woo-hoo!
7:45am change Joel for some playtime
8:00am nurse Joel and he eats some yogurt
8:30am I blog while Joel plays on his tummy-time mat and we also watch Ice Age 2
9:30am Joel gets fussy, so I put him down for a nap and I nap too
11:00am we all 3 wake up from our naps, but kind of lounge around in the bed
11:30am - 1pm Joel and Daddy play while I clean the kitchen
1pm Joel goes down for another nap
2pm we wake Joel for a family trip to the local Farmer's Market to get fruits and veggies for the week.
3:00pm we stop at Jersey Mikes' for a late lunch and to catch some of the KU game
4:00pm we come home and hang out for a bit
5:00pm I feed Joely a little early
5:30pm we get his bag packed for a visit to Elaina's house
5:45pm I drive Joely to Elaina's house
6:00pm arrive at Elaina's. Elaina's 3 year old daughter loves Joel and he is amazed by her as well
6:30pm I head back home to get ready for a Christmas Party
8:30pm Murad and I are both dressed and ready for the Christmas Party
9:00pm arrive at the Christmas Party (it was a blast!) We ended up staying until 1am
1:00am drive to Elaina's to pick up Joely
1:30am pick up Joel and talk a bit with Christopher and Elaina
2:00am arrive home and put Joel to sleep
2:30am shower (because I didn't Friday night ---oops!)
3:00am fall asleep

A Day in the Life Weekday 3

5:00am Finally a morning where I did not hear Joel on the monitor prior to my alarm
5:15am I hear him on the monitor
5:30am I let the dogs out, eat breakfast, fill the dog bowls and pack my lunch (don't worry I washed my hands a few times during the process)
5:45am I let the dogs back in and grab Joel
6:00am change Joel, nurse Joel and feed him some blueberry yogurt
6:30am playtime for Joel (I'm running a little late, so he's playing by himself while I get ready for work)
7:00am I dress Joel for daycare and pass him to his daddy
7:05am finish getting ready
7:10am snuggles and kisses to Joely and daddy
7:15am walking out the door to work
7:40 arrive at work
8:30am Writer's Workshop all day in my classes---their persuasive letters are due at the end of each period.
3:30pm 8th grade girls come in to do community service in my room (they rearranged my desks and filed stuff - yay for organizing girls!)
4:20pm walking out the door to pick up Joely
4:45pm I arrive at Abuela's to pick up my little man
4:50pm we arrive home
5:00pm playing with daddy
6:00pm nurse Joel and he eats carrots
6:30pm I take Joel to the nursery and fold clothes. I try to keep Joely up until 8pm (so we can sleep in tomorrow), but he kicks me out at 7:00pm
7:00pm at this time I fully intend to grade papers, but instead I pour myself a glass of wine and make some hot chocolate (don't ask what my logic was)
8:00pm I do some internet surfing, blogging and finally fall asleep around 10pm

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day in the Life - Weekday 2

4:30am - Joel is up playing; I can hear it on the monitor
5:00am - My alarm goes off
5:10am - I let the dogs out
5:15am - I let the dogs back in, eat breakfast, take my prenatal vitamin
5:30am - I reluctantly take Joel out of his crib and skip changing his diaper. I go straight to nursing him. He eats some yogurt and then has some formula(hungry morning from all that singing)
6:00am Joel plays in his Discovery Center for a bit. Murad wakes up because he has to be in the office early
6:15am I read a Doctor Seuss book and Joel tries to take it out of my hand
6:30am tummy time for Joel while we get ready for work
7:00am get stuff ready for daycare and for me to leave (I'm running late)
7:15am walking out the door
7:40 arrive to work late, but relieved because my tutoring kids haven't arrived
7:45am -8:30am tutor
8:30-4:15 work
4:40 pick up Joely
4:50 come home and let the dogs out (daddy isn't home yet)
5:00pm tummy time
5:15pm Joel is fussy so I nurse him
5:35pm Joel eats squash, carrot and banana
6:00pm Daddy is home and ready to play
6:30pm Joely goes to sleep; I start a load of jeans
6:45pm I contemplate making dinner, but Murad says he's not too hungry and neither am I. I eat a banana and some chips, surf the internet, watch TV
7:50pm get laptop ready for webinar/conference call
8:00-8:50pm webinar/conference call for freelance writing job
9:00pm put jeans in the dryer; make a sandwich, get stuff ready for the next day
9:45pm get in the shower
10:15pm read a little and then get tired
10:30pm make Murad come tuck me in, but he decides to pop my pimple instead
10:50pm finally fight Murad off of me and go to sleep.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Day in the Life -- Weekday 1

I'm stealing this idea from my friend Lara. I wish I would've done a day in the life at all the different stages in my life that I have gone through since I started blogging in 2007 (relatively new teacher, fiance, new wife, stepmom, new mom, etc.). I'll try to post as much as I can remember from Wednesday:

4:15am I hear Joel on the monitor playing. I look at the clock and fall back asleep.
5:00am the alarm clock goes off and I hit snooze
5:10am the alarm clock goes off once again and I hear Joel playing once again. I get out of bed and let the dogs out. I hold off on picking up Joel (he usually doesn't get up until 6:00, but the past few days he's had a 4:15am wake-up) I take my prenatal vitamin, drink a Slim Fast and eat a banana (I hate breakfast). I fill the dog bowls and let them back in the house. I make my lunch, and get out Joel's milk for daycare.
5:35 I wake up Joel and change his diaper. He cries of course and I try to soothe him by kissing his belly and feet, but he's not amused. I nurse Joel and he eats a little bit of blueberry Yogurt
6:00am I play with Joel while he's in his discovery center and then watch him on his tummy-time mat
6:30am I decide I should get ready for work. I dress Joel and let him play with his tactile block and watch a little Spongebob. I get dressed for work
7:00am I pack everything together and kiss Murad and Joel good-bye
7:05am I lock up the dogs
7:10 am I sneak back in for more Joel kisses
7:15am I'm out the door finally
7:35am arrive at work--I'll give you the abbreviated version: looked over my lesson plans, taught some lessons, wrote some detentions, consoled crying students, met with a student as part of the Student Assistance Team and got to eat Chick-fil-A for lunch, called parents, emailed parents, emailed co-workers, pumped some milk, looked at my classroom and wondered why it's never clean, looked at my supplies and wondered why kids steal, laughed with students, got annoying emails from people, added more things to my work to-do list, died a little and then came home.
4:15pm - leave work
4:40pm arrive at Abuela's to pick up Joel. Talk to Abuela (Martha) about Joel and my baby bullet (she's thinking of getting one)
4:50pm - go to Wal-Mart to pick up tutoring snacks for students, dog food, and pasta
5:30pm - come home, unload groceries, play-time with daddy
6:00pm - nurse Joel, he eats a little bit of squash and a little bit of apple-blueberry-banana baby smoothie
6:30pm - Daddy and I bathe Joel
6:45pm - Joel is tired so we skip reading and put him in his crib where he falls right to sleep.
7:00pm - cook pasta dinner and French bread
7:30pm - eat dinner with my husband
8:00pm watch Law & Order SVU and alter the semester exam for my 7th grade students
9:00pm - clean the kitchen
9:30pm -11:00pm I'm not sure what I did during this time, but I know it involved watching more TV, surfing the Internet, and showering.
11:00pm I go to sleep!
Stay tuned for an exciting Thursday post tomorrow! (I'm life is not that exciting)

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's funny

How my brain works...Yeah, so a few weeks back I posted photos of the new sofa I just had to have and the color of the paint for the living room. So about that, I've changed my mind yet again. I guess I convinced myself that I really needed this sofa. Sure, I'll get some extra money with my freelance writing job, but why blow it on a sofa? I guess now that I have a child, I question every purchase I make. Having a child really does change you!

So, here's what I decided. Instead of painting the kitchen and the living room, I'm just going to paint this hideous faux-wood paneling white. I think it will brighten up the room. I'm going to cut the furniture budget in half. Instead of buying a new sofa, I think we'll get a nice, comfy chair and a half. It will provide the seating we need, but won't overpower the living room. I also realized that if I would've bought a new sofa, I would have had to buy a new coffee-table; the one we have wouldn't match. Not ready to do that yet, so I think keeping our color scheme, current furniture and adding one new piece, is the best solution.

That's the plan for now. I can't promise that I won't change my mind again, but I can say that any change I make will be one of equal or lesser value in cost. I sat and thought about all the things I could buy with the sofa money:
-pay off a hospital bill
-put two weeks worth of daycare into savings
-put more money into savings
-money for future repairs to the house
-spend money on my baby
-put more money into the Ashlea works part-time fund (I'm definitely working part-time if we have a 2nd baby, but I'd like to work part-time next fall or have a more flexible job...)

Yeah, so I'm thinking one of those things on the list is defintely worth more than a sofa.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Joely Six Months Check-up

Murad took Joely to Dr. Ramirez on Friday for his six month appointment. Hard to believe we're halfway to one! *Sigh*

Joel met all of his developmental milestones except for hand-to-hand interaction. We're going to work on that some with him, but I truly think Joel is capable of doing it; he's just a lazy baby! No, seriously, he is pretty lazy. Joel is all about the shiny and new, so I spent about an hour yesterday putting together his Baby Einstein Discovery Center. He was so excited to play in it. He wanted to show me how hard he could hit the little penguins on the see-saw and I swear he was trying to talk to the lion. So cute! I'll take some pictures soon. My tablet is charging at the moment.

Dr. Ramirez gave the okay for him to start some table foods like mashed potatoes, grits, creamed corn, etc. This is good because Joel has shown a growing interest in what we eat. I'm still in the process of figuring out what types of baby food he likes. Today, I plan to pick up an avocado, some squash, and a potato to make some baby food using my wonderful Baby Bullet! I also have a recipe for a baby smoothie (it's actually a real smoothie, but it was in my baby food cookbook) that I'm going to make today.

My little guy is still little. At six months he weighs 14.6 pounds (5th percentile for weight) and he is 25 inches long (15th percentile for height). I forgot to look at the head on his sheet, and I'm too lazy to go check (maybe that's where he gets his laziness?)

Joel still squeals, screams and sings, but he recently discovered his inner grunts and deep baby voice. He uses this voice when he's playing with a toy. It's almost as if he is yelling at the toy. This is usually followed by him banging the toy for a bit.

At six months, Joel's personality is definitely coming out more. He loves to play games with daddy. In fact, he really loves daddy. When Murad comes into the room, Joel immediately stops what he is doing to give him a signature grin. He does the same with me, but I swear he lights up a little more for his daddy. Joel doesn't like it when Murad talks on the phone. In fact, he tries to over talk Murad until he gives him attention. I love how happy Joel is. Every morning when I walk into his room I'm greeted with a big grin (Joel usually wakes up and babbles to himself for a while before one of us has to go in there). Joel's grin is amazing because he scrunches up his entire face and squints his eyes. It really doesn't take much to make him smile. He just loves life! Either that or he must think his daddy and I are extremely hilarious--I'm sure we look ridiculous when we sing or talk to him, but I don't care!

I absolutely love Joely's belly. I don't know how that fits into the six month's post. I love how soft it is and how he giggles when I kiss it!

Even though we are actually closer to seven months (week-wise), Happy Belated Six Months to my little prince! So thankful for another good check-up!

Thanksgiving Highlights

Enjoy some photos from our trip to Pennsylvania and New Jersey!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We survived!

Let me just preface this by saying that I have the best baby ever! Okay, so as you know I was really, really worried about flying with Joely. Despite meeting the love of my life in an airport, I don't like airports. I love traveling, but airports seriously stress me out. The air in airports is not fresh. I just feel like germs are crawling all over me.I only find myself at ease when I take an early morning flight with few people, which is what we did.

Joel did really well on our flight out of TX. I nursed him before take-off. That was a little awkward because Joel really couldn't get comfortable and kept kicking my cover around. Murad kept trying to cover me up, but I'm sure our neighbor got a few sneak peaks (not that he wanted to see anything that I have to offer). I kept telling myself that I would never see these people again and that made me feel better.

So, after he nursed, he immediately fell asleep for take-off. He then woke up and wanted to explore everything around us. He kept looking at the people behind us. It was too, too cute. Then he got really, really fussy. He started screaming. Luckily, mama's magic milk did the trick and he fell asleep until right before landing.

On the way from Philadelphia to Texas, he did about the same. He didn't scream or cry though, but he did get fussy a few times. He mostly wanted to explore and he developed a fascination with our food and drinks. He kept trying to grab our drinks and snacks as we munched on them. So cute!

I think the hardest part about our trip was having to room with Joel again. For the first two months of Joel's life he slept in our bed with us. Then he spent the next two months in a pack-n-play next to our bed. For the last two months, he's slept in his crib in his room. These last two months have been Heaven. We actually get a full night's sleep, we can stay up late and watch movies, we don't have to whisper, etc. Murad's dad was gracious enough to buy a pack-n-play for his house, but we weren't quite ready to room with Joel again. We had to be extra quiet when he slept. Joel also did not want to sleep at all while we were at Grandpa Joel and Gigi's house. He took very few naps, and didn't sleep his normal 12 hours at night. In fact, I think he slept 6 hours at night with an occasional 1 hour nap. There was one day where he took a 3 hour nap, but that was it. He was so excited that all he wanted to do was play, explore or cry. I would say that was the hardest part about traveling with Joel.

I will post more about Thanksgiving (with pictures), but I just wanted to share with you all my experience with traveling with my bub! I was so nervous before (so nervous that I did not sleep or eat before the flight because my stomach was so upset). I feel more confident about traveling with him. In fact, I may travel alone with him in May. Murad will be in Philadelphia for a friend's wedding and we plan to meet him that weekend as well. I know, right? Who would've thought me traveling alone with a baby? Now, if I can just convince myself to leave Joel for a weekend for a girls' trip...I will be ready in March, right? eh.

I also want to brag because now Joel has visited six states in addition to Texas. That's six states in six months. My parents didn't travel with us much, so I was not as well traveled as he is. In fact, I was 14 when I took my first flight and I think I have been to about the same number of states as he has. Murad and I definitely want to make travel part of his life, so I think it is great that he is starting out early. Okay, so Joel visited: Oklahoma, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. I wonder where he'll go next?

Okay, so I have procrastinated cleaning and unpacking long enough. I think it's harder to come back from a vacation than it is to prepare for a vacation.