Saturday, March 24, 2012

We turned 3!

Well, our marriage did! Yep. On Wednesday March 21st, 2012 we celebrated our three year anniversary. I didn't think it was possible to love Murad more than I did on that day 3 years ago, but I do! Sure there have been some bumps along the way, but I can honestly say that I have enjoyed each and every day with him.
In three years he's finally realized how important March Madness is to me. This year he even filled out a bracket and participated. That's love right there!
While being a parent isn't easy, I can honestly say sharing parenting duties with him is awesome. He's such a hands-on dad, and he makes sure I take care of myself. At the first sign of PPD, he was doing what he could to support me and urging me to contact my doctor. Even now, as I try to figure out what I want to be "when I grow up," he's supportive. I worry about finances, and he reminds me that we have a plan and that we'll be okay. He says, "we do things our own way, Ash."
And he's right...and that takes me back to our wedding (you knew I was going to find a way! to talk about that day). We really did do things our own way. I know I brag about doing things on a budget, but the truth is we were so lucky that our parents made generous contributions to make it possible. I think so many times we think we're entitled to a wedding (I know I did!), but I cannot thank my parents enough for hosting our wedding and to his parents for hosting our rehearsal dinner. Because of this, our only expenses were our venue (we splurged for a venue with a view of downtown Dallas), alcohol, and invitations (I wanted to make my own). And while our venue was pricey, it allowed us to do so many things. For example, since we avoided a country club or hotel ballroom, we were able to bring in our own alcohol and catering. This brought down our costs tremendously! We used a local restaurant chain for catering and I bought all the alcohol the day before from a liquor superstore. The convenience of our location meant our out-of-town guests could literally walk to our wedding and to many Dallas landmarks and museums.This was really important to us because we wanted guests to experience our city! I think most people took advantage of what the city has to offer and the night life.
In addition to our venue, I think the things that made our wedding special were the personalized details...homemade invitations, programs and menus, wedding dress made by my mom, signature drink in honor of our pups, guestbook quilt, broom made by mom, etc. They may not have been as important to our guests, but they were and still are important to us. As we prepare play a part in or serve as guests in 5 weddings in 2012 (1 in the spring in Philly, 2 in the summer in DFW, one in the summer in KC, and one in the fall in Dallas), I cannot wait to see how each couple chooses to express their love. I absolutely love this about weddings (that and the food and alcohol and the fact that we'll have a date-night). I look back at our wedding and I do not regret a thing. I loved everything about it! I do not wish we eloped or wish we had a smaller wedding. Ours was perfect for who we were and still represents us today. Happy 3rd anniversary to the love of my life! I love you! I loved our wedding and I am thankful for the marriage we have!

Joely is 10 months

Joely started crawling on his 10 month birthday. Crazy, right? I honestly never expected him to crawl. I didn't crawl and he wasn't showing any signs of trying to crawl. Sure, he would get up on all fours, but he wouldn't move. He'd just stay still. However, when we'd stand him at his discovery table, he'd stay and move around.
As I write this, Joely crawled over to Maya to pet her. Maya is pawing him back and just letting him explore her. He's so fascinated by her and she truly loves him. She follows him around to make sure he doesn't stray too far. She licks up his face (a treat for her!). Maya had maternal instincts even before Joely arrived. When I was pregnant she carried around a toy puppy. She wouldn't let any of us touch it, and if we did, she immediately cleaned it off. It was like she was trying to get rid of our germs. She's so sweet.
I am a little proud that he's crawling because his ex-daycare providers voiced their concerns that he wasn't crawling and also told me that crawling was too important of a developmental step to miss. I seriously still cannot believe how uneducated these folks were. I know they had taken child development courses required by the state, but I guess their own theories were more important. Nevertheless, we knew our son (something they tried to downplay since he was there 40 hours a week) and we knew he was normal. Thankfully, they're no longer caring for babies.
One of the things I admire about Joely is that he does everything in his own time. I think all babies are like this and it is one of the things that makes them so special. I should have known that he would be like this when he made his debut three weeks before his due date. I think Joely just wants to be independent. I was bummed when he wouldn't share a June birthday with his Grandpa Joel and Uncle Joel, but I see now that he was just saying, "hey, I'm my own Joel." This was one of the reasons why we gave him a middle name different from either of theirs. Little did we know that he would take the literal meaning of his middle name (morning star) and apply it to his 4:34am birth!
I sometimes feel guilty for being given this little gift of Joel and honored to be in charge of his life. As I watch reports of the Trayvon Martin case, my guilt grows. How can we live in a place where this happens? What do I, as a parent, have to do to save my son from something similar. There are so many ugly truths about life, racism, etc. that I have to share with him. I remember being pregnant with him when the whole Penn State Jerry Sandusky scandal hit the news, and I instantly felt that guilt. There are just so many ills . I wonder how I can make him aware without making him scared. How do I tell him that some people will only judge him by the color of his skin? So many things....
I guess this is why I am still hurt by Joel's dismissal from daycare. I have no idea if something bad was done to him. I feel like I trusted them to provide proper care and they did not. I'm thankful that he's young and will not suffer any major scars. In fact, I think he's advancing despite of it. Joel is a happy, unique, curious, and might I add handsome little guy (so handsome that we're going to open casting for baby modeling in May...wish us luck!) I love this little blessing in my life and I'm so thankful for him. Happy 10 months, Joel Tariq! I love you so! Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure. Joely now knows how to pose for the camera. The other day I tried to film him crawling and he just sat there smiling waiting for the flash. See why he is a natural model? He already knows the drill!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What to call a half-sibling?

As you all know, I'm rather intrigued by half-sibling relationships. Even before Joel and Abby arrived in my life, I thought it would) be cool to have a half-sibling (I never wanted a step-sibling, ironically...maybe because you can still call a half-sibling "brother" or "sister" and you really can't with step-siblings.) Since I didn't get to have one, I'm excited that Joel does! We've decided that we'll tell him that Abby is his half-sibling for learning purposes, but he'll refer to her as his sister. I came across this blog post while doing research for an article. I thought I'd share.


Joel is on the move this week...learning new things and laughing at us all the way. Some things I observed while Joel-watching.

*Joel always knows when Murad is in the room or near him. Even if he can't see him, he senses Murad's presence.

*Joel likes to play jokes. Sometimes, he'll throw things and pretend to be mad and then smile at us.

*Nana Babs (my mom) started tapping Joely's mouth when he sings/yells. He's discovered how to do this to himself (except instead of a flat hand, he has a balled-up fist). He also makes us do the same.

*Joel can stand on his own

*Joel has figured out how to stand/squat in his bathtub.

*Joel loves turning the pages on the books we read. Sometimes, he won't let me finish reading the page which means I have to make up most of what we read.

*Joel loves to watch basketball, but hates to watch time-outs. He also loves this show called Yo Gabba Gabba. Murad found it on Nick Jr On Demand and Joel was seriously mesmerized by it. It's probably one of the weirdest shows I've seen, but I like seeing the celebrity guests.

That's our Joely! My mom bought him a cute green KU Jayhawk St. Patrick's Day shirt. I can't wait to put it on him! I'm excited for March Madness to begin! This is precisely why spring is my favorite season. So glad I get to share it with him!

In addition to Joel-watching, I've been doing some more writing this week, experimenting with my hair (pics to come) and Murad and I booked our trip to Philadelphia for over Memorial weekend. Murad is going to be a groomsman in a wedding, so we're heading out there for that. I'm really excited because my in-laws (they live 10 minutes from Philly) will watch Joel most of the weekend, so that Murad and I can enjoy the city, a trolley ride and the other wedding events. Murad and I have 4 weddings to attend/be in this spring and summer. I'm sure attending them will inspire me to pick up my Wedding Wednesday entries. I may move them over to my writing blog though...we'll see!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring is here!

I've included a little picture of my main man Joel! Isn't he the cutest? I'm so glad I get to share my favorite time of year with him. Joel will be a spectator for mommy's crazy basketball loving behavior once March Madness starts! Of course, last week Joel passed out during the KU-Mizzou game!

As you can see in the picture, Joely has two more teeth! Today, I discovered two more are starting to come in as well. He now has six teeth, y'all! SIX! He's eating more and more. As a result, he's relying less on formula. In addition to that, he's not spitting up as much either! We knew this would happen and his pediatrician did too. It's a shame his former daycare providers didn't understand that he'd grow out of it. Yes, that was one of the many things that was wrong with him!

Spring is also the time of year when teachers start making decisions about the fall. Mr. Soup really wants me to pick up more classes at the community college (I can teach 3 and be part-time) and then possibly teach online and write more. His idea makes the most sense, but I still worry about money and insurance. He'd have to add Joely and me to his insurance. Not sure how much that would be. Just for me to add him to mine, it was like $700 a month! We'd save money on childcare and I could be home with Joely more. Since the daycare fiasco, I've wanted to keep Joely close to me. He loves his new placement,and they love him too, but I'm still a little jaded.
I don't know how I feel about working part-time because being a stay at home mom (SAHM) was not part of the plan for me. I always envisioned myself "working." I feel embarrassed to say that I, with tons of help from my amazing hubby, struggle to balance my home and work life. I don't know how my mom, who worked over 40 hours a week as a nurse, found time to keep a clean house, be involved in our schools, sew our clothes, etc. I think our generation of women are not like our mothers' generation. We're cut from a cheaper cloth. Nevertheless, this is my life right now. I'm hoping to continue working full-time, but I have to do what's best for my family.
Murad started studying for his test again hardcore. He joined a study group with one of his co-workers. They have a guy who is assigning readings and quizzes for them. At the end of this month he will take a two-day study seminar. He saw a psychiatrist this week who diagnosed him with ADD. This is something we suspected for a long time, but never thought to have it evaluated. Now that he knows he has it, he feels more empowered. Last night he said to me, "I'm not dumb, Ash." I hate that he ever felt that way. Now we take the knowledge and move forward. I'm happy for him and ready to be there every step of the way as he prepares to take the exam. It's amazing how after three years we lean on each other in times of need. I've had to miss tucking Joely in few nights this week. I know in the long run it doesn't matter who tucks Joely in, as long as it's a parent, but Murad knows it is important to me. He's tried his best to keep Joely up so that I can snuggle him. I'm so blessed to have such a loving, caring husband. My family is so, so beautiful!

Excited for family outings this spring!