Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hair dye time? I'm thinking so.

I've had blogger's block lately. I haven't really felt up to writing this past week. Even now, I find myself staring at my computer screen so unsure of what to write about. Hopefully this will pass soon enough. For now, I have to admit something. I found gray hairs this week! I almost died. Literally. Maybe not literally, but I just about passed out when I found those 3 dreaded gray strands lingering. Of course I yanked them out immediately and plan on dying my hair in the next few days. I didn't expect those bad boys to rear their ugly heads this early. I guess I hoped they would wait at least another 5-10 years. They had other plans.

I blame stress. I have been stressed to the max for a few reasons.
1. Planning our move. We're moving. AGAIN. At the end of next month. Thankfully, moving doesn't really bother me. J just separated from the military so it's nothing new for us. But the planning part is always a huge pain. Looking for a place to live, new daycare for the kiddos, the whole works. Big pain.
2. Vacation. We're heading to California for a week-long vacation on Friday night. I am beyond excited for it. It's been over 3 years since I was last in my home town. We will get to see tons of family over that week and celebrate my grandparents' 50th Anniversary. It's a much needed vacation for us, but I must admit I am making myself crazy thinking about it. The expenses, the drive, all of it. I hate that I do this to myself. I worry too much about spending too much money and what might happen instead of just allowing myself to indulge and enjoy the fact that we're actually taking a family vacation. Doesn't happen often for us.
3. My kids. The past few days have been a struggle. M and L are both in tough stages and I have felt like tearing my hair out at times. They fight about every little thing. One is hitting the other, stealing a toy, or destroying something. It's rough to say the least. But, I keep reminding myself that this will pass and it will get easier.

Needless to say, I'm stressed. Which is nothing new for me.

Hopefully I can get through this week fairly stress-free and then enjoy my vacation and RELAX. I sure need it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Recap

Monday already? Ugh! The weekend passed by so quickly and left me wishing I had at least one more day. But I don't have that option so I am going to muster up my happy face and push through today with a smile. Yep, just like this!
Excuse the horrible quality - taken with my Blackberry
Hopefully you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was pretty decent actually. L is still getting over a week long cold/virus of some sort and still isn't up to par and then J came down with the same thing on Friday. Fun stuff. I dragged his sniffling booty with me to the movies Friday night though. I had to see Hunger Games. Had to. We arrived about 45 minutes early to get decent seats when we should have been there at least an hour before. It was nuts! I expected it but didn't think it would be that bad. Boy was I wrong. We ended up down in the front but at least we were at the end of an aisle and were back far enough that it wasn't terrible. And I must say I was pretty impressed with the movie. Of course the books are ALWAYS better, but overall I felt like they did a pretty good job with it. They didn't leave too much out from the book and Jennifer Lawrence makes a great Katniss. This girl liked it very much and can't wait to see what they do with the second one!

Saturday was pretty low-key. J was sick and ended up sleeping through a good portion of the day. I did make a trip to Wally World with my mom and the kiddos and stopped by her house for delicious steaks that evening :) Most of the day was spent inside coloring with the kids, cleaning, and just hanging around.

Sunday morning J woke up feeling quite a bit better and wanted to take the kids to breakfast, so we dressed and headed over to The Original Pancake House. OMG, their servings are ginormous!!! I could have eaten half of what I ordered had I known this. But, it was a delicious egg white omelet and I pretty much ate the whole thing. Oops. We headed to Bend after breakfast to make a stop at Dick's Sporting Goods. J was looking for a heavy weight bag and was comparing prices. Since we were close by, we also stopped at Kohl's. Favorite store EVER. And I ended up splurging on these bad boys.
I am like an amazon woman in these heels! LOL.
Aren't they fabulous?! I really needed a cute pair of shoes for my grandparents' 50th Anniversary party we will be attending in a few weeks down in CA. I died when I saw these and had to have them. Needless to say, I got home and realized I bought the wrong size. Crap! I was seriously distraught. Only 1/2 size too big, but I can't get away with it. I must take them back. So, today after work I have to go back and hope they have my size. If not, I will order them and have them shipped and cross my fingers I have them in time for the party.

The rest of my Sunday was spent helping J with a tough assignment for his statistics class and ended my evening with one of my fave shows, Army Wives. Pretty good episode but next week looks even better.

Happy Monday peeps!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Funnies

It's a little later than planned, but never too late to link up for Sunday Funnies again!!! If you haven't linked up, DO IT. A good laugh is good for the soul :)


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Mother Nature

Hey Mother Nature. Ashley here. You and I need to have a little chat. See this white stuff outside my window at work? SO not a fan right now. Most of the time I'm pretty satisfied with your work, but right now? Not so much. It's late March for crying out loud and it's supposed to be Spring! I hear that Chicago, Michigan, and all the East Coast states are livin' it up and enjoying 70's and 80's....WTF? Can't you give Oregon a break? Winter needs to be over. As in yesterday. I'm over it.

Please do something about this so I can enjoy the great outdoors with my family. Ok? I sure hope you're listening Mother Nature because if this weather doesn't change ASAP you will deal with the wrath of Ashley. And you might get a swift kick in the rear too! Ya hear?!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Aftermath of Childbirth

As many of you already know, I have two children. M is 5 and L is 2 1/2. They are my whole world. No doubt about it. Having children is such a joy in so many ways. Everyday is a new experience and a memory made. I also carry the memories of childbirth. The good and the bad. Not just the mental and emotional memories, but the physical ones too. The battle scars. The changes in my appearance. The lack of interest in being intimate. The whole shebang.

Love my little blessings!
I know so many mothers out there that are so strong and never let any of these things bother them. They are proud of what they were left with after giving birth. I'm not going to say I'm not proud, because believe me I wouldn't change a thing. I carried those two munchkins and brought them into this world! And it will always be worth it. Worth everything my body has been put through. But, I find myself lacking self esteem on a daily basis and this has been an issue since the birth of M.

I didn't get blessed with super elastic skin (although that would be a pretty awesome super power like ElastiGirl from The Incredibles!). And I have very fair skin. I gained 50 pounds during my first pregnancy and 40 with my second. My skin took a beating. I was left with stretch marks galore. I have them on my stomach, a few on the insides of my thighs and even some on my hiney! My apologies if that's TMI. But it's true. And I hate it. I can't bring myself to love my stretch marks like many women. I wish they would disappear. I tried everything. Cocoa butter, vitamin E, you name it. During and after the pregnancies. Nothing works. I was also left with saggy skin, which probably bothers me even more than the stretch marks. No matter what my weight is, it's there. Staring at me in the mirror everyday. It will always be there. I will never be comfortable in a bathing suit again. Bikini? No thank you! I can get away with a tankini if the top is long enough or just go with a full piece. But I would rather not be in one at all. And that just plain stinks.

Shrinkage up top is another card I was dealt. Some women get really lucky and they actually gain a cup size or so. I have the unfortunate problem of the exact opposite. I wasn't large to begin with, but I was happy with what I had. Now, I'm smaller than ever and have lost all perkiness. *Sigh* I am only comfortable in the Victoria's Secret Bombshell bras and they're my new besties! Wouldn't go anywhere without one!

People tell me that I look great and I know they mean it. I appreciate each compliment more than they know. But when they don't see what I see under the clothes it's hard for them to really understand how I feel. 

I keep telling my husband that one day I will have surgery. I have never been a proponent of surgery for the sake of vanity. I don't understand why some women choose to get implants that make their boobs the size of watermelons! However, I do agree with doing something for yourself if it makes you happy and comfortable in your own skin. So long as it's not obnoxious and completely obvious. I just want to remove the excess skin and perk up the ladies again! If I go under, might as well do both at the same time. Right? I promised myself I wouldn't do anything extreme and wouldn't consider it before I was finished having kids. Well, pretty sure I've hopped off the baby-making train. One of each is enough for this gal! Now I just have to wait until we can actually afford it and I can get over my fears. As much as I want it, it makes me a tad nervous. One day.

How many of you also lack self-confidence after having children? Any tips on how to overcome it? I could sure use some advice.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seeing Perfection...

I needed to read this today....100% true. We all need a reminder now and then.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Funnies

Hey, hey! It's Sunday again which means time to share the funnies :) This is my favorite post each week because I get to share a few things that I find hilarious....even if no one else does.

In celebration of St. Patty's Day I had to throw in a few of these :)

If you haven't linked up for Sunday Funnies yet, do it! Do it now! And hop on over to Kara's blog and give her some love (she's the brains behind this awesome link-up).

Have a fabulous Sunday and smile :)


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is St. Patty's Day, the day we all wear green and pinch those that choose not to participate (at least that's what we used to do when we were younger). More importantly, today is my mom's birthday! How cool is it to have your birthday on the day celebrated with green beer?! I think it's pretty awesome.


Me, Mom, my brother, and my sister at the dunes in Florence, OR
Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world! Mom, you are not only a wonderful mother and grandmother, but you are my friend, a best friend. We have a special relationship that I will always cherish. And I will be forever thankful that God gave me a mother like you :) I love you.

Even though we don't get to celebrate with my mom today, we hope she has a fabulous day and we are excited to celebrate with her tomorrow!

Have a happy and safe St. Patty's day peeps!


Friday, March 16, 2012

THE Question...

I know it's a little late to say but I can't go without saying TGIF! I have been in hiding for a few about a busy week! Work has been craziness all week from the moment I arrive at the office and I struggle to get out of that place on time. Getting up at 5am doesn't help and trying to fit in a workout before dinner is such a chore most days. I pretty much feel like this.....all the time.

Yep, I am so exhausted I could easily pass out in this position right this second. No joke.

On a completely different note, today was the day I have been dreading for a very long time. I was asked THE question. If you're a parent then you know what THE question is. Yep, that one that you try to prepare yourself for well in advance but that never actually happens. Then, here we are a few years later and my 5 year old daughter tells me that a friend at school explained to her that she was born from her mommy's "hooha", "va-jay-jay", "girly parts", or whatever you prefer to call it, while she is simultaneously pointing to the location her friend is referring to. Oh boy!!! So not prepared for this. Not one bit. I stood there staring at her with my mouth hanging open and had no clue what to say. At first I started to laugh then quickly stopped myself realizing that was not the proper response and she shouldn't think it's funny. But, what the heck was I supposed to say to her? My lack of preparedness left me wanting to just tell her "yes honey, that's exactly what happened, you came shooting out of my hooha".....but of course I knew this would take some thought and I couldn't just run my mouth. Kids copy everything you say and they don't have a filter. Next thing I know she will be telling everyone at school what her mommy told her and I would be deemed that parent. Wonderful, I definitely don't want to be that parent

My question is, how in the world do I go about explaining this to a 5 year old that just think it's hilarious? Trust me, she was laughing hysterically while telling me about her discovery. We have had the basic talk about babies growing inside the mommy's tummy and when it's time for the baby to be born the doctor takes it out for her, but we haven't had this talk yet and I honestly didn't expect it so early. HELP! Someone, anyone, please help me. Advice would be beyond appreciated. I got away with distraction tonight and then she headed to bed, but I know this isn't the end of this conversation because my child's memory is insane. Only time will tell when this will be brought up again and this mommy must be armed and luck she will be asking me first thing tomorrow morning while eating her Lucky Charms! Crap. 

How would you respond in this situation?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recipe Round-Up: Chicken Shiitake & Wild Rice Soup

Happy Hump Day! 

I had every intention of posting this earlier today, along with a PYHO link-up and then the day got the best of it tends to do on a pretty regular basis these days. *Sigh*  Now I'm sitting on my couch watching the most recent episode of SMASH (thank you DVR) and all I want to do is turn off this laptop of mine and go to bed early. Another thing I have been wanting to do a lot of lately. But, I couldn't hit the hay without sharing this amazing recipe! I had my mom and stepdad over for dinner last weekend and this was a new dish I had been dying to try. I love Chicken and Wild Rice Soup so much and had never tried this on my own. Of course, it's another recipe from SkinnyTaste because Gina's recipes are too die for and they're healthy versions of my favorite things :) Can't beat that!

Unfortunately, as I started getting everything out, I realized my camera battery was none other than....yep, that's right, D.E.A.D. Sucks, I know. I wasn't able to get any pics for this recipe but couldn't let it stop me from sharing. Too fabulous to not share!

Here's what you'll need:
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion
1 tbsp flour
8 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves
2 celery stalks
4 skinless chicken thighs (I used chicken breasts)
4.5 oz long grain rice and wild rice combo (I used Rice-a-Roni)
1/2 cup long grain white rice
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms (I used cremini - couldn't find shiitake)
2 tbsp fat free sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large pot on medium heat, add onion and saute until soft but not browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and saute another minute.

Add chicken broth, water, carrots, garlic, celery, and chicken. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add wild rice mix along with it's seasoning, long grain rice, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and simmer on low, covered 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks, return to pot, add sour cream and more water if too thick. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Servings - 6 (1 1/2 cups per serving)
Points - 6
Calories - 237
Fat - 4.3g
Protein - 14g
Carbs - 35g
Fiber - 1.7g

Even though I didn't get a photo of the finished product, here is one from Gina's site so you can see what this yumminess looks like :)



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day by day...

This is so true.

Happy Tuesday :)


So Blessed...

Yesterday was one of those days where all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and do nothing but watch TV and not think about anything. Unfortunately, work got in the way of that thought....darn it! My mind was full of worries and thoughts that were bogging me down. Sometimes I feel like I would give anything to clear my head and not think about anything, remove all distractions and focus only on the important things in life. Thankfully, my kids make me realize on a daily basis that I think too much and that they are more important than any worry in the world. When I get home from work and am greeted by my two smiling rugrats wild and crazy munchkins, my day matters so much more that wanting to sit on my couch and wallow in my life full of stress. They melt my heart. Every day. In every way. They are my little blessings and I couldn't ask for anything better.

My point behind all this? That I am BLESSED beyond words. This is something I have to remind myself daily because life can get so overwhelming that you start to forget how many blessings you really do have. I am the #1 culprit. And I need to be more thankful to GOD for giving me what I have.

Another one of those God-given blessings is my love of Photography. I have mentioned before that I have a passion for Photography. That passion stemmed from my love of storytelling, of wanting to capture memories and be able to re-tell them through photos. As much and I love taking photos, lately I haven't been taking enough of them around my house. M turned 5 on Christmas Eve and I still hadn't taken her yearly pics (that is until last weekend)! I know, shame on me. I did the same thing last year. Being a Christmas Eve baby can make it more difficult. I usually aim for January so that the holidays are over but then the weather tends to rear it's ugly head and I end up waiting until early spring. But, luckily the weather permitted last weekend and we got outside for a photo opp. I feel pretty happy with the results. I wanted to share just a couple with you lovely readers :) I am in no way what I would consider a professional at this point. It's something I have thrown around for awhile and toyed with the idea of aiming for that, but I am really not sure yet. As of right now I love taking photos and creating something I can cherish. Maybe someday it will turn into something more but for now "it is what it is." I think this is my life motto. I say it all the time.

M is quite the diva! She loves everything girly (dresses, sparkles, jewelry, you name it). She is so dramatic and loves to be my little model. And I devour every bit of it....she is too much fun!





I had to snap a couple of both kiddos while I was at it :) Can't resist that sibling love (although right now they are in that stage where they scream at each other and fight about every tiny, miniscule thing that it makes me want to run far away and hide in a corner on some occasions. Haha!). They really are the best part of me.



So, what do you think??? Are they the cutest or what?


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Funnies!

Today is the very first link-up for Sunday Funnies over at All in a Row{e}! Yahoo!!!! I love reading Kara's Sunday Funnies posts each week and am super stoked to participate...... Hope ya'll think these are as funny as I did (because I know I laughed out loud when I read them). If you want to participate in Sunday Funnies go link up here, like right now :)

Source: via Amber on Pinterest

Have a wonderful Sunday!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cinema Saturday: Hotel Rwanda

I want to try to watch one movie every week and post dish about it on Saturday.....a movie review of sorts. I know that this may not happen every Saturday because I might not watch a movie or be out of town, who knows! But, I'm surely going to do my best. I will try not to spoil anything important and if I do I will apologize ahead of time.....even better, if I know I'm going to spoil something and it's a movie you really want to watch, I will forewarn you with "SPOILER ALERT!" Sound fair enough? Well alrighty then, let's get to my very fist movie review.
This is actually the 2nd time I have watched Hotel Rwanda. Normally I wouldn't write about a movie I have already seen but this movie is so amazing that I couldn't pass it up. Last night J and had a little date night (thanks to my mom and stepdad for taking the kiddos for a few hours). We just had dinner and wandered around downtown Bend, OR. Even though it wasn't anything fancy, it was nice to get out alone for awhile.....we don't get to do this that often and it was extremely overdue. When we got home and tucked the kids in for the night I just felt like curling up on the couch for a movie. I thought about ordering pay-per-view and then changed my mind when I saw that Hotel Rwanda was about to start on the movie channel. This is one of those movies that tugs at your heart each and every time you watch it. The first time I watched it I actually had never heard of it. It was a requirement for a college class J was taking at the time. I was shocked that I hadn't seen it or let alone heard of it before. Although I was pretty young at the time, I do remember when this tragic event unfolded and awful, heart-wrenching photos were all over the news. If you don't know (or just don't remember), in 1994 there was a mass genocide in Rwanda, located in East Africa. Over 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered by the Hutu. I am no historian so I will in no way try to explain how this started or unfolded over time, but there is a massive amount of information on the internet.

So, what exactly is Hotel Rwanda about?

Here is a brief synopsis:
*It is based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a fancy hotel in Rwanda who houses over a thousand Tutsi refugees during this struggle with the Hutu militia. Paul is actually a Hutu, but his wife and many of his friends are Tutsi. The rest of the world basically just watches this war ensue and does nothing to help. The UN attempts to intervene at one point without much success. Despite their best efforts, these people are left to fend for themselves and watch as their friends and family are slaughtered by the Hutu extremists.

Paul is played by Don Cheadle (who I think is a phenomenal actor). His portrayal of this character is beyond words. He captures the emotions and inner struggles of the position he is put in so well. Other actors you will know are Nick Nolte, who plays the UN peacekeeping colonel, and Joaquin Phoenix has a small role as a journalist.

If you haven't seen Hotel Rwanda, you need absolutely have to get your booty to see it ASAP. Rent it or find it on a movie channel, whatever you must do....this movie is by far one of the best true life portrayals you will ever see. Beware: it is very sad one of the saddest movies I have ever seen and can make you cringe, but the fact is it happened. It really happened and all of those people suffered more than most of us could ever imagine was possible.

Hotel Rwanda is a #1 movie in my book! If you choose to watch it, or have already seen it, I hope you love and appreciate it as much I do.

Happy Saturday!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Recipe Round-Up: Baked Chicken Parmesan

A few nights ago I tried a new recipe that I fell in love with! Thank you Kara for recommending this fabulous dish. I believe she grabbed it from SkinnyTaste, which is a new fave site of mine. Everything I've tried so far has been amazing and healthy. J, M and L all loved it as much as I did. It's not so easy to please small children unless you make mac & cheese, PB & J or chicken nuggets :) But, they really enjoyed this recipe which means it's a keeper in our house. And it's super easy to whip up and doesn't take too much time which is always a plus when you have a family and your kids are begging for dinner right NOW! I am usually home around 5pm and my kids are not happy if we are eating after 6pm so it's usually a mad dash to hurry and get dinner on the table.

I try hard to eat healthy as much as possible. I don't go on crazy diets or anything, but my husband and I do watch our calorie intake and exercise on a fairly regular basis. Of course there are days we fall off the wagon and have to find our way back, but we generally do pretty well with our eating habits. This recipe is a lighter version when compared to most Chicken Parm recipes. It's baked, everything is light and lower in fat and calories. If you serve it with a small salad and veggies, you can't go wrong! 

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Here's what you'll need. Pretty minimal if you ask me.
  • 4 (8 oz.) chicken breast halves, sliced in half (I actually used breast tenderloins since they're smaller and I didn't end up needing to cut them in half)
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, reduced fat
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.

Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt butter in another bowl. Lightly brush butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Place on backing sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Lightly spray a little more cooking spray on top and bake for about 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, back another 5 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon sauce over chicken and top with mozzarella. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serving Size - 1 piece
Weight Watchers Points - 6
Calories - 225
Fat - 8.6g
Protein - 25g
Carbs - 14.2g
Fiber - 1.3g

Here is what my finished plate looked like, served with a salad and baked asparagus. Delish!!!

 Enjoy my friends! I sure did.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Worry: My Worst Enemy & Biggest Flaw

This will officially be my very first link-up :) I found Things I Can't Say through Stress Case and have fallen in love with her blog! She is so open and honest about life. She is a mother and wife and blogs about both the struggles and joys of marriage and parenting....I feel like I really relate to her and look forward to reading her posts. Not to mention, her writing skills are AMAZING! Pour Your Heart Out is a link-up that happens every Wednesday and I must say there are some amazing ladies spilling about all sorts a schmorgesborg of things. It's meant to be a time that you can vent/talk about anything that's on your mind - something that's weighing you down, something that you're excited to share, and anything in between.

So, today I wanted to spill about my struggles with constant worrying. For me, worry is my worst enemy that is always around, poking me in the side, giving me headaches, and being that annoying twitch that you really wish would just disappear. I wish I could literally pick it up and throw it in the trash or punch it in the face, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. I know there are probably people out there that struggle even more than I do with worry, but in my mind I feel like the worst worrier in the world.

I worry about everything. I mean EVERYTHING! I worry about our finances: Are we going to be able to afford all of our bills and have enough leftover after groceries and whatnot to get through to the next payday? Can we get some of our debt paid off so that less is going out each month? Will we ever be able to actually save enough to go on a nice family vacation? I worry about my parenting skills: Am I really a good mom? Will I teach my kids to always do what's right? Do I make enough time for my kids to read to them, play with them, and teach them how to spell? I worry about being a wife: Am I the supportive wife that I should be? Do I give enough of myself to my husband (heart and soul)? I worry about our future: What kind of position will we be in when it's time to retire? Will we ever be able to buy our own home? These are just a few of the things I worry about and trust me I know some of these things may seem ridiculous or even so trivial to worry about on a regular basis. I know that I really am doing my best to manage everything, but I can't seem to get a grip on reality and just calm my mind. I wish I could turn some of these worries into daydreams. I don't sit at my desk and dream about things...ever. I worry. That's what I do. Plain and simple. Or I guess you could say complicated because daydreaming would be much more simple.    

At times, my constant worrying can get so overwhelming that I develop a crazy amount of anxiety and I don't know how to handle it. Thankfully I have a great support system. J is my rock when I am at my worst. He is pretty much the opposite of me and doesn't worry about things like I do. This is a good thing or our household would be a wreck! My mom and my sister are also always helping me, even when it's just that little nudge to tell you "hey, it's all going to be just fine." I need that on a pretty regular basis.

I think I am going to write this bible verse on a piece of paper and carry it with me everywhere as a reminder that I need to let go. I can't control everything (although sometimes I wish I could plan out my entire life).

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~ Matthew 6:34, New International Version

I need to concentrate on freeing my mind of what might happen and focus on what is happening at this moment. My big goal for 2012 is to focus more on my husband and my kids and to try not to worry so much about the little things because the worry will not change anything or get me anywhere. It will only give me more headaches.

My prayer for today is that we can all find peace and not worry about tomorrow or what may come.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Me and Mine

Before I dive into the super fun parts of blogging (sharing recipes, link-ups, etc), I thought it would be fun to tell you all a little more about myself and introduce you to my family. I actually have a crazy big ginormous family and I'm really close to so many of them, but today I will just highlight the immediate family members.

First, meet my gorgeous husband J. He is originally from Michigan and we met in San Diego when he joined the Navy and I was in college. Funny story (that I won't dive into today): we actually were not so fond of each other when we first met! We have been married for almost 7 years and I can't imagine my life with anyone else. We have had our ups and downs like most couples do but we have pulled through them and only grown stronger. He the funniest person I know, a crazy-talented artist and loves playing his guitar. And I can't forget to mention that he adores our children and is an awesome father :)
Digging out of our house in Illinois last winter!
Next up, meet my two kiddos, M and L. M is 5 years old and is our little DIVA! She is the most talkative, energetic and dramatic little girl, but we love every minute of it. She has us laughing all time with her funny faces, silly voices and dance moves (which are awesome!). Of course, she can be quite the handful when dealing with all that drama and sometimes it makes me a bit nutty. But she is my little girl and I wouldn't change her personality for anything. L is such a boy! He will be 3 years old this summer and is our block-building, Buzz Lightyear-loving, little monkey. He is our cuddler....he loves to give hugs and kisses! These two kids are the light of my life.
Now, on to my mom and stepdad. I feel so blessed to be as close as I am to my mom. We talk about anything and everything and are always there to pick each other up when we're down in the dumps. She is so supportive of everything I do and is the best Yaya to her grandkids :) Of course she spoils them like a Yaya is supposed to and they adore her. My mom and stepdad were married a couple years ago in Lake Tahoe (J married them) on a yacht.....awesome, I know! My stepdad and I have a great relationship and I am thankful for him everyday. The two of them are Harley-riding fools :) They're even in a motorcycle club!
My younger sister was already slightly introduced in my first post because she was a big inspiration for this blog. She started blogging early this year and I got hooked and found myself wanting to read her posts first thing each morning! I was going to call her K, but due to the fact that her name is already out there on her fabulous blog I won't be hiding her name. You can get acquainted with Kara here. She is not only my sister, but my best friend. We are about as close as you can get and I love spending time with her. We are so different in so many ways yet we understand each other better than most. She is the toughest, most hard-working, and wittiest person I know and I am so lucky to have her as my sister :)
Kara and I at her bridal shower
My dad, stepmom, and youngest brother live in Arizona. My dad is a firefighter and is probably the most laid-back, stress-free person I know. He is always giving me great advice and guidance, and basically always tells me "stop stressing so much kid!" And he is so right. I have an awesome relationship with my dad and our personalities are so much alike (minus the stress-free part of course). My stepmom is a nurse and she is one of the most kind-hearted people I know. And she is an amazing cook!  My brother, C is in high school (yes, I am 14 years older than him) and he is such a great kid. He loves playing baseball and golfs with my dad too. I miss them all the time but hope that I will get to spend more time with them now that we are living much closer.
The oldest of my brothers (still 9 years younger than me), is K. He is currently enlisted in the Army as an Infantryman and is stationed in Colorado. I have always had a great relationship with K, even after I left for college and we didn't get to see each other too often. I'm thankful that I was able to spend a few days with him last summer. I am so extremely proud of him and what he has accomplished! I know that he will do well in the Army and the experience that he gains will be immeasurable. I miss him all the time and hope he knows that he is always in my heart and prayers.

 So that pretty much sums up my immediate family members for ya'll! Hopefully someday I can introduce more of my family that I love so dearly. I will leave you with one final pic of my little family of 4 :)

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Hello Blog World! It's me....Ashley :)

I finally took the time to start my very own personal blog....Yay me! I say it's time to get acquainted! I am going to forewarn you that this post may be just a tad ridiculously long as I have been telling myself to do this for quite some time and have been majorly slacking. So, I intend to get a ton out there in this very first post on my new fun blog :)

 Here we go! This is me, Ashley (and my sweet daughter).
I'm 28 years old, from an uber-small desert town in Southern CA, married to my best friend and partner in life (it will be 7 years this July!), and I have two beautiful children (5 year old daughter pictured above and almost 3 year old son). Life for us has been pretty hectic crazy over the past 7 years. To to sum it up fairly quickly, I met my husband in San Diego, CA about 8 years ago. I was going to SDSU and he was new to the Navy and was stationed there. We were married in July 2005, I graduated from college in August 2006, had our daughter in December 2006, and my hubby was deployed 3 times between the time we got married and our daughter's 2nd birthday! Crazy, right?! Next, we were transferred to Great Lakes, IL (near Chicago) in January 2009 and lived there for just over 2 years. It was a nice change and we were able to live close to my in-laws and that side of the family for awhile which was so wonderful. About 1 year ago, I packed up my kiddos and our dog and headed across the country to Redmond, OR. My husband had to stay behind for awhile to finish up his time in Great Lakes but had decided to get out of the Navy, which is why we chose to leave Illinois. The military has some amazing benefits but it was extremely hard on him to leave us for several months on deployments. He joined us in October 2011 and as of right now we are living in the semi-rural town of Redmond. Why Oregon? Well, if we were separating from the military we wanted to live close to family. My mom, stepdad and sister all live here and it just seemed like a great place for us.We are so ready to settle somewhere and eventually buy a home.

Hopefully I didn't lose anyone in that craziness! It's been a fun-filled, eventful almost-a-decade to say the least.

Why am I starting a blog?

1) If you noticed, in the very first line of this very first post, I said that I decided to start a personal blog. I'm not exactly new to the blogging world and here's why: I am in love with Photography! I have been back and forth about working towards my very own Photography business, but so far it's been more of a hobby than anything. I do occasional shoots for my friends and family and any referrals, but as of right now it's pretty slow. You can view my Photography blog and read all about my journey here. You will notice that it's been neglected for quite some time (which makes me a bit sad), but I hope that will change soon. I had a website at one point but decided to put that on hold temporarily. I thought about combining the two blogs, but then changed my mind for two reasons; a) it could get confusing and b) I want to keep my Photography separate in case it ever does turn into something more than it is now (never know!).

2) I needed an outlet of some sort; a place to post fun things that make me smile and laugh, a place to be open about things that are on my mind, a place to share tips and recipes, and a place to write about whatever I want to whenever I want to write about it. Having 2 small children is so fun and exciting, but there is rarely much time that I get to devote to just me. So, I hope that this blog will allow me to "get away" and do something for myself that I enjoy a few evenings a week. There are two particular blogs that have sparked a fire in me to do this......All in a Row{e} (the author of this FABULOUS blog is actually my younger sister and very best friend) and Stress Case (Casey is my cousin and I have been following her uber-fun blog for the past year). Each time I read one of these ladies' posts I smile and that made me want to join in on the fun! Take a peek at their blogs and you'll get hooked just like I did.

Stress Case
3) Lastly, I wanted to meet some amazing people. The blogging world is full of fun, creative, and inspiring people and I am hoping to make some awesome new friends :) That being said.....please be my friend and follow my blog! 

So, I welcome you to this little piece of my world and I hope you'll visit often :) If you do, you will find that I'm an extremely indecisive (hence the name), overly stressed out, worry-about-everything type girl that loves to take photos, cook, read and take care of my family.

Coming soon: and introduction to my family, a little more about me, and a scrumptious recipe I snagged from my sister at All in a Row{e}

Thanks for stopping by!