So, I have so many updates regarding our lives. I'm so bad at blogging. I feel like I come on here every few months to update and then I run off!
Okay, so first things is first. Joel is 2!! Joel celebrated his 2nd birthday May 22nd! Yes, our wonderful prince has been here for two whole years. We celebrated his birthday on June 2nd (we still act like he was born in June even though he arrived three weeks early). We had a great party at our home. We pulled out the sprinklers, filled up the baby pool, and set up the water table. I bought a ton of sand buckets and bubbles for the kids to use and take as favors. Murad grilled burgers, and I made pizza balls (thank you, Pinterest!). We also had a delicious buttercreme cake (you know the Campbells love cake!) I think Joely totally enjoyed the party. The next day we went to visit his pediatrician. He's perfectly healthy and at 27 lbs (10th percentile) and 34 inches (50th percentile), he's growing up well. She told us to keep a list of the new words or phrases he says. He's about average in language development, but she wants to make sure he keeps it up.
Prior to Joel's 2nd birthday, my in-laws came to visit over Mother's Day weekend. They came in town (with Murad's stepbrother in tow) to visit Qadree's new home. Qadree (my brother-in-law) moved out of our home in January and purchased a brand new (like, it was still being built) home in March. While we were sad to see him go, we are excited for this new endeavor. We had a great time with them, but as always it was too short. Our boys spoiled Murad's stepmother and me! We had a lovely brunch at Blue Mesa.
In May, we discovered that my dad's brain tumor returned. It was almost eleven years ago that my family traveled to Arkansas for my dad to undergo brain surgery. At the time, the doctors could not get all of the tumor due to its location. They assured us that a gamma knife could zap it if it started to grow. Unfortunately, a gamma knife causes swelling which could lead to paralysis, so when doctors discovered it returned, we didn't know what to expect. My parents traveled to Houston at the end of May to meet with a specialist. Fortunately, the specialist determined that surgery was not the best option. My dad will undergo radiation treatment in Wichita. Even though the trip to Houston was stressful, we got two visits to Plano from Nana & Papa! Joely was so excited to spend time with them!
After my parents left, we spent a week here, and then Joely and I traveled to Wichita to spend a few days with Nana and Papa before dad starts radiation. We also paid a visit to the Sedgwick County Zoo! I'm not sure if Joely was too interested in the animals. He wanted to eat, eat goat food, and run around the animals. He had no interest in petting them or looking at them. He did like the gorilla though, go figure.
Yesterday, we celebrated a wonderful Father's Day. Father's Day usually is hard for Murad because he has such a strained relationship with his daughter (through no fault of her own), but he said yesterday was the best Father's Day he's ever had. All he wanted to do was spend time playing with Joely. It started off kinda rocky because my car battery died while Joely and I were out buying donuts for Murad. He picked us up and paid for a new battery for me. We came home, entertained some out-of-town visitors, made phone calls, opened gifts and napped. Murad gave Joely a haircut, and then I picked up Applebee's for us to eat. By the time I got home, Murad had already put Joely down for bed. We stayed up, ate, and watched True Blood and the Oz Great & Powerful movie. It was a great day and I'm glad he enjoyed it!
Please keep Abby (my stepdaughter) in your thoughts and prayers. We know some things are going on in her home that shouldn't be, but we're hoping that someone will take action. Unfortunately, that means that we can't see her or talk to her at this time. It's been hard, but we have to do what we can from a distance to protect her.
Well, I started off doing lots of blogging for the dental marketing company, but they let me go. Actually, I kinda wanted to get let go. On the day of Joely's birthday, the owner let us know of a mandatory three day training the next week. When I told them I couldn't make it, they seemed put off (I kinda need more than five days notice , especially for a contract job!). In addition, they changed the due dates and turnaround time on many of our writing assignments. I could have adjusted, but the wanted the new due dates to go into action immediately. At this point, I was already done with them, but I expressed my concerns and asked for additional time to adjust. At that time, they let me go. I was actually relieved when I saw my name missing from the weekly calendar. I'm sure they're a great company, but I'm used to working solely online (which I thought this would be with the occasional monthly meeting). Now I have more time to devote to my contract jobs. Right now, I'm finishing up a big project for an online educational company. Ironically, I'm writing study guides for the Texas English II Exams. Once a teacher... I'm also writing articles and case studies for an herbal supplement company. In order to make ends meet, I've been working as an online TA, but the university recently eliminated my position due to low enrollment. I still work 2-3 mornings a week at Collin's Writing Center and I'm going to teach at a summer camp in July.
What I've discovered is that each semester, I have to "find" work. Working as an adjunct means that I'm not guaranteed classes. I would've loved to taught at Collin or Texas Wesleyan this summer, but they didn't have enough classes. Contract work is kinda the same. Some months are really good, and other months, not so much. Nevertheless, I've made it work and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I only send Joely to daycare 2-3 days a week which means that I get to watch him grow and learn. However, I realize that long-term this will not work. While I haven't taken any money out of my retirement account, I haven't put much in. Also, Murad and I finally decided that we would like to have another child in the future. I don't know how I could save up for a maternity leave like I had before. Plus, doing contract work is great with a toddler, but won't work with an infant. I loved having 12 weeks off to bond with Joely when he was an infant, and I want that with another baby. So, I made the decision to return to the traditional full-time workforce this fall. I'll still work in education, but not as a teacher. I'm still waiting for the HR stuff to go through (fingers crossed), but I'm pretty excited!
This means Joel will go to daycare full-time. His current sitter will start college in the fall, so this means she can only watch him 2-3 days a week. We're looking at preschools to send him to on the opposite days. Hopefully, this will help him transition to full-time preschool in the fall of 2014. I'm glad that Joel kinda got the best of both worlds. I was able to be home with him during a big period of growth and learning. I also got to see firsthand how my parenting shaped him. I also got to partake in daily love-fests with him. I love those random hugs and kisses he gives me throughout the day. Man, I'm tearing up just thinking about going back to work.