Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Debbie's Sugar Cookies

I know it's hotter than Hades outside, but who doesn't love homemade sugar cookies? Murad is out of town, so I whipped up a batch to bring to him. Joel and I are going to meet him there (OKC) and meet up with Nana and Papa (my parents) for lunch! How fun will that be?

Here's the recipe:
2 eggs (cage-free)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of shortening (I substituted with coconut oil)
1 bag of Debbie's Sugar cookie mix

I switched from using traditional shortening to coconut oil after reading up on it on Food Babe's website.
Coconut oil is the star of these cookies. Coconut oil was deemed horrible for you and your heart years ago when scientists didn’t understand how this saturated fat worked in the body. Since then, they now understand that coconut oil is made up of “medium chain” fatty acids and contain lauric acid that actually prevent your body from absorbing the cholesterol from the fat and actually help improve cholesterol levels already in the body. These also play a huge role in improving your metabolism (i.e. weight loss!) by removing stress from the pancreas and promote better digestion by helping your gut fight bacteria and fungus.

I love Debbie's stuff, especially her Dr. Pepper cake mix. She is in Dublin, TX, where the world-famous Dr. Pepper Museum is located, but I've found most of her stuff at local farmer's markets. Definitely need to have the DP cake if you haven't already!

Monday, June 25, 2012

some updates

I realize I have not uploaded pictures from Joel's 2nd 1st birthday party, but I promise I will soon! Things have been rather busy around here. After his 2nd birthday party, we discovered that we have a leak in our toilet that will cost around $300 to fix. Murad left the following weekend for his little brother's high school graduation (little brother will attend Dodge City (KS) Community College this fall) in North Carolina. While Murad was gone Joel not only got strep throat, but he also had hand, foot and mouth! Not fun! In fact, it sucked because I had a ton of mother/son stuff planned that we could not do. We were basically quarantined.

The following weekend wasn't too busy, but Joel was running a fever (teething)and basically causing himself to vomit because he was chewing on his fingers too hard. Thankfully, we have a possible cure for this teething mess. Ugh! Besides that, we had a sitter Saturday night so that we could attend a surprise wedding. On Sunday, we went to the farmer's market to get some fruit and veggies for the juicer. That's all Murad wanted was fruit and veggies to make juice. Most of my friends' husbands want to brew beer, but my husband wants to make juice! We also grilled the yummy steaks Murad got from the butcher shop and I served them with red potatoes and squash
This past weekend we dog-sat for Murad's coworker. It was nice to have a little dog around the house, especially a cuddler! We also celebrated my friend's daughter's 4th birthday. She goes to the same sitter as Joel and they're pretty much like brother and sister.
I think I've gotten out of my post-job depression. I think I was just worried about finances and the reality that I will probably never work in the traditional sense again. People keep asking/suggesting that I'll return to teaching, but I actually like this new life. While I worry about finances, God has shown us some amazing things in the past few weeks that let me know I made the right decision. Joining my moms group at the hospital has helped tremendously, as has meeting up with other moms. I make it a point to get out of the house each and every day. For now, the plan is to still send Joel to the sitter twice a week. I think it's important for him to still go there and it's a nice break (yeah, right) for me. I usually spend the time working on resumes, cover letters and other things for Ashlea Campbell Writing. I just signed up to be part of a scriptwriting crew for a movie, so I know I'll definitely need those two days.

When I have Joel home our days are like this:
6:00am first alarm goes off for me to wake up Murad
6:30am 2nd alarm goes off for me to wake Murad; Joel gets up and starts beating on the wall
7:00am Joel eats breakfast--usually he eats a handful of Cheerios and barley cereal with a fruit smoothie. Today he had Cheerios and eggs. Sometimes he'll eat yogurt. It's just whatever I can get him to eat.
7:30am we get dressed and he "brushes" his teeth
8:00am he plays with his toys for an hour or so or we read (for like 10 minutes)
9:00am we go on a walk
10:00am we go to a mom's group or story time at the library or to the play place at the mall
12:00pm lunch time - the other day we had leftovers (fiesta chicken and rice), crackers and yogurt. Joel usually drinks whole milk or juice too.
1:00pm Joel goes down for a nap and I get some work down
3:00pm Joel wakes up and eats a snack
3:30-5:00pm play time until daddy gets home
5:00-5:30pm play time with daddy
5:30pm -6:00pm daddy feeds Joel (if he'll eat. he's not big on dinner)
6:00pm - bathtime
6:30pm lights out

So, I know weeks ago I was all moping around because Joel is no longer a baby, but I want to share some things that I absolutely love about him in this toddler-phase!
- Joel loves to dance. All you have to do is say the word "dance" and he's ready to go. Today I picked him up from Rebecca's and they were watching Ellen. Mama Becca (his sitter) goes, "we're just trying to learn how to dance." Joel instantly started dancing. his whole face lights up when he dances.
-Joel doesn't like to sit in a wet diaper. He tugs at it when he wants me to change him. He will, however, sit in a shitty diaper if I let him (which I don't). He has no shame in his stinkiness!
-Joel uses his middle finger to point. at. everything. and. everyone.
-Joel has started initiating peek-a-boo. He hides behind a wall and then pops out and looks at one of us. He then does it again and again. His giggle is just so cute when he does it. He seriously has the best belly laugh.
-Joel loves to be chased. I think it's because he thinks he's a dog.
-Joel thinks he's a dog. he tries to eat out of their bowls. He climbs in their cage. he tries to engage them in play. I think this is part of the reason why he isn't walking yet! LOL
-Joel has taken a few steps here and there. It's fun to watch him get all excited about it!
-Joel has smiles just for me. Joel loves, loves, loves to play with his daddy. They're like best buds. He wants to do everything Murad does. Yesterday, I came inside to get a towel while he and Murad were in the baby pool. I just looked out the window and watched them play. Joel kept looking at me in the window. The smile on his face was priceless and it was all for me. it was like he was saying, "look at me, mommy. I'm your big boy!" No matter how big he gets, he'll always be my sweet bub! He's just too precious.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Am I that friend?

Towards the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, I just stopped listening and caring. A lot of it was that had to do with my cousin's death. I had to do it in order to snap out of my depression and prepare for my upcoming wedding. I had to be happy in order to celebrate, what would be at the time, the most important day of my life.

I realize that I sort of continued this today. I noticed that I'm quick to cut people off because I don't want to get too deep. I even do it to my husband sometimes. I get annoyed when people try to confide in me. I hate that I feel that way.

Recently, I discovered that my cousin is getting married towards the end of the month. I guess I just stopped caring enough to miss this one too. What should be the happiest day of her life is being marred by family members and "friends" who don't agree with her lifestyle. When she told me this, I was angry with them all. My cousin reminded me that I shouldn't be angry with them, but to love them. They're our family. She's right. I guess I'm just more mad at myself. I think I was too focused on not getting upset, not getting hurt and not feeling as sad as I did in November of 2008. I avoided it all. I've avoided lots of important people in my life because I want to remain "happy."

I've become that friend. That self-absorbed friend. Well, I'm working on fixing that. I've walked around here for the last week in a funk. I've been depressed. I don't know if it's because Joel is growing up. I don't know if it's because when I resigned from my job, I lost part of my identity. I'm no longer a teacher. Who am I? Murad thinks I put too much energy into being the perfect mother to Joel and that I need to take more time for myself. He's probably right, but I don't think that will solve it all.

Either way, I know that the way to get out of this funk is not to throw a pity party for myself, but support others. I have so many blessings in my life and so much love to share. I need to take time to listen to others and learn from them too. This is my mid-year resolution! I don't want to be that friend! I want to be that awesome wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

There goes my baby...

First, let me state that I love having a toddler. I will say that I did break down and cry most of the afternoon after installing Joel's big boy car seat. I guess that was just the last part of babyness, and now it's gone. I've been celebrating Joely turning one for the past two and a half weeks, so I haven't had much time to reflect on how I'm feeling. With all the traveling and visitors, I've been preoccupied.

I know they all say don't blink, but I really just blinked and Joel turned into this one year old who doesn't need me. I will say that Joel has always been a pretty independent baby. Aside from feeding and changing, he didn't need much. He wasn't colicky and we caught on quickly to everything we taught him. I remember holding him and wondering what his little personality would be like in a year. Well, now we're here and I can't help but miss my bundle of joy.

I wish I could relive the sleepless nights, the nursing, the frustration and confusion. I wish I could smell my son and get that sweet baby smell. I wish I could nurse him. I just want to relive all things baby.

I realize that is impossible, so besides pouring over the millions of pictures and videos I took, I want to focus on all things "right now." I will focus on how Joel giggles when wrestling with his daddy. He always seems so tired, but he goes back for more. Joel really took to whole milk and no longer drinks out of a bottle, and for that I'm thankful. Joel's favorite thing to do is open and close doors. In fact, he's figured out how to unlock and open the dogs' cage. I love that Joely points with his middle finger. It's like he's already giving a big "EFF YOU!" to the world! Joel still loves vegetables. In fact, he loves to eat zucchini like chips. If you're talking on the phone or talking to someone else, Joel will join the conversation. Joel will play with anyone, but he doesn't always realize that he's smaller than kids and way bigger than little babies. He also doesn't really like when other kids take his toys. In fact, he could care less about his toys most days, but let someone else play with them and he gets mad!

See why I love this little guy? Soon this will all be a memory. When that happens I will shed tears just as I did today.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Steve & Janell's wedding

We traveled to Philadelphia over Memorial Weekend for Steve and Janell's wedding. They were married on the UPenn Campus right in front of the LOVE sign. The colors were a stunning combination of navy and yellow. Murad served as a groomsman, and me...well, I sort of made the most of the day on my own. I got ready in the bride's room, but instead of heading over in the limo, I tagged along with the photographers who gave me a quick tour of the campus. I got to snap a picture of the Skull and Bones symbol too. I love visiting campuses that are rich in history and this one had history oozing out of each building. While at the reception, Murad and I let loose...It was nice to be baby-free for the evening and get to dance, eat and drink! Woo-hoo!

Joely's first hair cut and NJ 1st birthday party

We traveled back to Philadelphia and NJ for Steve and Janell's wedding. While we were there, Joel received his first haircut at Yusef's Unique Cuts. Yusef is Murad's uncle. Murad's other uncle, Uthman, gave Joely his first haircut! What a special day it was for our family!
While in NJ, Murad's dad and stepmom threw Joely a baseball-themed party. Friends and family in the area gathered to celebrate our son. We all had fun! The atmosphere was lively and the conversation was good. Joely really enjoyed diving into his birthday cupcake! Murad and I got a little choked up at the sight of all these people showing up to celebrate Joel. It truly was a sight!

Joely is ONE! Oh, what fun!

On May 22nd, 2012 my baby boy turned one! I couldn't ask for a more perfect son, but I have to admit that I'm a little sad that he's turned one. I know we've been gone from infancy for a bit, but I do miss those days. I'm probably one of the few people who loved the sleepless nights, breastfeeding, crying and exhaustion. I miss those days of being confused and hopelessly in love with my boy. I miss the baby breath, the way his diapers smelled on his body, his widdle clothes, and his long locks of hair. Despite my resistance to him growing up, I do enjoy seeing more of his personality, witnessing his fearlessness and his curiosity, and watching him grow physically. He has brought so much joy to my life and his father's. We both agree that the best day of our lives so far was the day of his birth. Each day since has been a gift. A gift we don't deserve, but for which we're so thankful.

*Photo disclaimer: This photo was taken May 22nd, 2012 4:34am. His official birthday time!