Routine

Apparently it’s back to real life tomorrow.  Back to a routine.

A routine which I long for getting rid of at the end of each quarter at work.  Then after two weeks off….even THREE weeks off….I’m longing to get back to.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who craves a routine of some sort.  Heck no I don’t like waking up at 5 am again and I’m seriously dreading that part of it.  However, I sleep better…eat healthier…and get more done when I have some structure in my life.

Now, don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved our Christmas break and even more so the POLAR VORTEX week long vacation.  Thank you Mother Nature!  I read a couple of books.  (Highly recommend The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.)  I got so much accomplished while researching some family history.  My was spotless for a few days.  That felt good.  I made a bunch of home cooked meals, including some vegetable beef soup and other various recipes from Pinterest which included the good ole crockpot.  I blogged it up.  I put Christmas decorations away but left my snowman stuff out.  I spent an evening in the hospital with my best friend snuggling her new baby boy.  I spent time with family and friends.

Then, the polar vortex hit and I didn’t leave the house for 4 whole days.  I think it’s the longest ever for me.  Sunday when the storm approached we took a 9 mile trip northeast on the snowmobile to play in the snow with some friends.

That was to be my last time ever to see the sun or smell fresh air for 4 freaking days.  4 very long days.  Day 1 and 2…not so bad.  Day 3…a little anxious.  Day 4….almost meltdown mode.  It was great to relax, read, and do some research.  I just needed some interaction.  I forgot how much I crave social interaction….even if it is with little people.

First thing Friday morning I went and worked out . Felt so good.  Had been forever.  It’s going to really hurt when I get back in full routine next week.  Then, I visited the sister and her littles as well as some friends and their littles.  Fun play date with some yummy lunch and most importantly….INTERACTION!

Friday night I got to see this little beauty do her thing and dance with her group..  As usual, she was amazing!

And the love these two have for another…is priceless. 
Actually, how much he adores her is even more incredible.  So darn sweet.  

And then Saturday we drove up to Michigan for my guy’s work Christmas party (yes, I realize it’s a few days late…).  Dinner in a little town hole in the wall delicious restaurant.  Then a drive back down into Indiana for a little ride on a 1/4 mile toboggan run.  Our record…..30 mph.

Up and down 3 times for this girl.

And trust me….the UP is a total legs and butt workout. 
I figure up and down 3 times for a 1/4 mile track means I walked 1 1/2 miles that night in Carhartts and boots.  Sweating my butt off.  

Had so much fun with my babe.  Always love meeting his coworkers even if he doesn’t get to see them very often working all around the state. 

And then on the way home we turned around to snap this photo.  
Yes, I believe those are male parts.  There were at least 5 of them built all around the road in this one area. Obviously, they had melted just a bit but still made us giggle!

Glad to get back on routine tomorrow and hoping for a great week!
Excited for Wednesday’s Relay for Life Kick-Off at Java Junction…stop by anytime between 6-7:30 for come coffee, cookies, get your Relay team signed up, and decorate a luminaria to line the track this year!

What’s happened to us?

Yesterday morning we crawled back into bed after sipping coffee like two old people at 8 a.m. and watched 4 episodes of Modern Family laughing our asses off.

Then yesterday afternoon after a soccer game, grocery trip, and some work out in the barn we sat in the living room watching several episodes of Law and Order SVU.

Then, we discussed going to a Comedy Club and dinner for a date on a Saturday night with nothing else to do.  Of course, we sifted through  a coupon book first looking to see where the bargain was at.  Upon finding coupons for two local joints and deciding we would rather use our good coupons on someone we actually wanted to see we decided on continuing to watch SVU and go to dinner late.  So, we watched more episodes that somehow we’ve never seen.

It was 8 o’clock and it finally seemed like a good time to eat dinner so we didn’t drive far.  Nothing special…..just again…some place we had a free appetizer coupon for.

So, what’s happened to us?

We use a coupon book to determine our weekend plans.  Now, don’t get me wrong there is NOTHING absolutely NOTHING wrong with being frugal.  We bought it from my niece and might as well get good use out of it.

We watch SVU for a date and would rather stay home curled up on the couch than party it up.

We’re young.

We’re kidless.

What have we become?

I kind of wonder why we let these moments slip by us?  But, then again…we’re together.  We’re spending time with each other which like most people is definitely rare.  Maybe it’s our lack of energy to blame.  By the weekend I’d rather just stay home and get things done than party it up.

This is the 2nd year in a row I haven’t bought a Halloween costume and I’m not even 30.

It’s like we’re the last ones left before life’s “next big steps” and we’re kind of just left behind.  Stuck between the drunk nights of sexy costumes with a day long hangover and a kid friendly party bobbing for apples and making crafts.

Is this normal?

By the way….THANK YOU to all of my readers.  My blog hit the 15,000 mark with my last post and it was majorly exciting for me.  I don’t know who is reading….but THANK YOU to those who are.  It means the world to me!

Notice

We received a notice this week on our door that the fire department had been at our house while we were gone.

Tis the season for smoke to be rolling out the top of our house. 
Meet our heat source:
A wood burning stove supplies our heat in our new house. 
I’ve got to tell you…..there is a lot I love about it.  Our electric bill goes way down.  The smell of a wood burning stove makes you feel like you’re hidden away in a cabin in the woods.  It gets REALLY warm in the house. There’s something special about loading wood and starting a fire that makes me feel all pioneer like. 
Of course there are also a few dislikes….as with anything. Loading wood sometimes causes splinters and since I’m such a girl I have to wear gloves.  The smell is all over your clothes so if people don’t enjoy it it’s kind of hard to escape from. On those perfect fall days it can get too warm in the house because there’s no way to really regulate the heat perfectly to a set temperature.  
And…..this stuff doesn’t magically appear in the garage. 
But, who am I kidding?
You think my man makes me carry up wood from out back? 
Not yet. 
Not ever. 
I hope.  
It’s a lot of work and there are bugs.  I’m not really a bug fan. 
Fortunate to stay warm and not pay the electric company nearly as much as summer time!
Ashley

All I need…

All I need are these people in my life.  

They make me happy. 
My heart smiles when I am with them. 
I feel like a better person when they are around me. 
I miss them when we are apart. 
I have many dear friends near and far who I feel are family despite our blood lines. 
Family isn’t just blood….it’s who you make it.
So I don’t have to tell you all the people I need in my life.
Those that aren’t my family know who they are. 
They know they are needed in my life and many others because they hear from me daily or weekly. 
They know who they are.  

Feeling fortunate despite the summer closing in on me,

My favorite part of summer…

is the chance to spend more time with the ones I love….

days at the park

at late night dinners, cocktails, and hanging out with my love

at fireworks shows

at 4th of July celebrations

while eating good food

while hanging with friends

at a tailgate setting up fireworks

while antique shopping

at the strawberry patch picking berries

in the kitchen turning strawberries into jam

at the pool with my hunny

at the pool with the littles playing shark!

at summer concerts in the park 

at concerts with girlfriends

at concerts with cousins

at the pool anytime!

while relaxing by the pool

at the ice cream stand with a messy faced boy

while holding a cute baby laying in the sun

at the county fair with yummy cupcakes

at the county fair selling food

while riding a float in the parade for the fair

while saying MOO to a cow

at times with my best friend and her little

while winning fishies for her little

at a pedal pull cheering on my champ!

at a moment to remember mom 

while on a nice morning walk with my girl Shiloh

My favorite part of summer is at all these places and doing all these things with all these wonderful people who love me so much. I’m never able to capture a photo of all the people I love…but I hope they know who they are!

I’m beyond fortunate.

I’m beyond lucky.

Free

A couple weeks ago I went to the Zac Brown Band concert over at Deer Creek (forever named that) with my aunts and cousins.  It has kind of become our summer tradition.  ZBB is my favorite band and I love every single song they write.  They don’t have a ton of songs that speak to me personally, but one in particular certainly does.

Free

…..We drive until the city lights
Dissolve into a country sky
Just me and you

Lay underneath the harvest moon
Do all the things that lovers do
Just me and you

Just as free
Free as we’ll ever be
Just as free
Free as we’ll ever be
Ever be

No we don’t have a lot of money
All we need is love…..

When I listened to this song I had a light bulb moment.  I want to rush into the next step of our lives and I’m not taking the time to enjoy being free with my love.  I instantly texted him and said…LET’S GO TO NASHVILLE!  Our favorite city.  Our favorite getaway.

Of course life is a little more difficult than that.  His work is busy and he doesn’t have the time to getaway.  Money doesn’t grow on trees.  All the typical reasons why you don’t just get up and take a roadtrip.   Hopefully we will be able to soon!

For now I’ll enjoy our FREE time and when the time is right we can move on to the busy preparation of blissful union and then little ones to ourselves.  For now I’ll take the kids at the pool any day and be happy to send them on their way.  For now I’ll enjoy spoiling all the littles ones in our lives and enjoy each others company and being able to sleep in, stay up late, and buy clothes for ourselves instead of little ones.

Just being free…

My cousins and I at the Zac Brown Band concert

Fortunate and Free,

That question

We have come to a point in our relationship where everyone wants to ask “that question.”  We have been together for well over two years.  We are both at the age where it’s acceptable.  We live together (in sin, yes).  All the above.

When are you guys getting hitched?  When is he going to pop the question?  When is it your turn for a bridal shower?  When will you guys be getting married?

It’s all the same question, really.

And I’m over it.  Officially freakin over it.

So then I decided that from now on when someone would ask me “that question” I would punch them in the face.  And sooner or later people would stop asking that question for fear that I would knock them out.

Then I realized that violence probably isn’t answer, regardless of how bad ass it might make me feel.  Or how much better I would feel about “that question” after releasing some anger through my fists.

For the longest time I’ve thought to myself when asked, “Don’t you think I would have told you if I knew when it was going to happen?”  It’s not like the whole world wouldn’t know.  I would announce it from the rooftop.  I would probably be flooding your Facebook feed with joy, happiness, and pure overkill.

It obviously hasn’t happened. And I’m not gonna lie.  It has absolutely tested my patience.  It’s not like I’m not ready for all the beautiful things life has to give us.  A wedding.  A honeymoon.  Little people.

However, this past week I spoke to a few people who really helped me realize that it’s all part of a plan that I don’t have a map or guidelines too.  It’s all part of the surprise that both Mike and God have in store for me.  They are working together to make this thing truly magical.

Patience, Ashley….patience.

The wise words that I continue to re-read go something like this, “He is worth every tear, joy, scowl and hug.  The post-it note moments far outweigh the waiting on a silly ring.  Just wait….it’s a lesson that God is teaching you right now.  Trust His faith in you is just as strong as His faith in Mike.  Good things come to those who wait regardless if it’s three years, or five.”

I hadn’t thought about it as a lesson.  I thought I was just getting pushed to the limit.  Maybe I am.  Hopefully I can remember that the limit is a lesson.  A lesson of patience and faith in so many things.

This post isn’t a promise to you that I will always remember that.  I’m human.  I tend to mess up and forget at times.

Hopefully if you’re a fellow reader and you ask you won’t allow me to punch you in the face.  Maybe you’ll just help remind me that it’s a lesson in faith and patience.  It’s not like I’m waiting for “the one” anymore.  I found the one.  I found him and since we met it’s been a completely different life and love story.

Practicing Patience Daily,

Unpack your baggage

My apologies that it has been a while since my last day of writing to you.  Things have been a little crazy up in here.  We moved, finally.  That seemed like it dragged on forever.

And not only did we move, but I have everything unpacked and put away in its place.  Finally.  And when I say everything…I seriously mean that I just unpacked my last box like 20 minutes ago in this here office.

I feel a million bucks better.

I will feel a billion bucks better when we get these last four rooms painted, floored, and the house completely done.  But, for now…it is just one day at a time.  We have four rooms left…..two bathrooms, kitchen/dining, and front room (which I call the piano room).  We have started on one bathroom.  By “we” I mean my pops and my guy.  I attempted getting the border off the walls of that $8%#^ bathroom but ended up in tears and in the kitchen making food (my comfort zone).

Through all this I realized we have a ton of CRAP.  I mean absolute crap.  How do two people acquire so much crap?  Some how we have.  Don’t get me wrong we have some amazing antique pieces of furniture passed down from wonderful people….but when I had to literally pack every piece of thing we own I realized we keep everything.  My guy, more s,o than me.  He is a certified hoarder.  I may hoard certain things, like pictures and small memories.  But that boy hoards it all.  God love him.

Biggest accomplishment of the move…..we never argued once.  We had our crap together and honest to goodness we were loaded and unloaded in three hours.  Now, we had the world’s best movers….so that certainly helped!  It went WAY quicker than I had expected it to go.  We were very blessed to have all the help we did.

Now I get to sit and dwell on where to hang all these pictures and such.  I am no good at this kind of thing…and really the Pinterest ideas look wonderful on my iPad screen but they do not help me at all.  I need a Pinterest Peep to come and actually hang them where they go best.  Or my sister.  Or someone.  I just can’t do it myself.

I have so much to blog about and catch up on but I will try and narrow it down to the most important things and hopefully hit upon them in the next week…..

1. Relay for Life Kickoff was A-MA-ZING!  We got 5 new teams and there were tons of awesome peeps there to kick off the Relay party!  GAME ON!

2. One room at a time I will post a blog on room updates and changes that we made.  We did use lots of tricks and tips from Pinterest and every room (I feel like) has our own touch to it.  That’s what I love about making a house a home with my guy.  It was a home before we got here, but it was important to both of us to make it our own.

3. My oldest nephew has been seriously rocking it on the courts lately……and I want to tell you how I already know I cannot coach my future children’s sports teams.

4. Grunching – A new term I learned this weekend while with my crazy cousin and her hubs on a trip to Goodwill.

5. And this whole eating healthy deal I’ve been trying recently in an attempt to truly get under “that number” that has been hanging over my head for what seems like a decade now.

So…it looks like I have lots to tell you!  Hopefully you look forward to hearing it all.  If not, you’re going to anyways!

To end….I saw this on Instagram, or Pinterest, or one of those apps I check constantly on my phone and I immediately thought of my amazing guy….

I thank the good Lord everyday that I found someone who loves me enough to unpack. 
Hugs to all! 

Happy Birthday to…

Happy Birthday to….

my knight in shining armor
the icing on my cupcake
my forever love
the milk to my oreos
the perfect wine pourer
the smile on my face every morning and evening

to the father of my dog child. 
 
to the seat keeper of our recliner who all I have to do is turn right and see this smile. 
 
to the man I call sexy in his work uniform or overalls.
 It doesn’t matter what you put on I love you all the time. 
 

to my lawn boy.  I melt with that smile. 
 

to the best cocktail maker ever. 
 
to my Fogo baby daddy. 

to the man who our babies will call daddy someday.
 Let’s not rush anything.
But seriously, you’re so amazing with kids.
It’s hard not to think about!
and thank you to his momma, pops, brother, and sis-in-law for always being a welcome hug
You make it so wonderful to be a part of your family.
And thank you to his momma for making him one helluva man. 
I’ll be forever grateful to you. 

I’ll love you forever and always.
I hope to spend many more birthdays a part of your life. 

Happy 32nd birthday to my #1 guy,

This post shows a date of the 17th. Not sure why. My loves birthday is the 18th just in case you want to wish him one!

25 Ways to Respect My Love

We all know that actions speak louder than words.  And if you know me you know sometimes I just have TOO many words.  I need to focus on my actions a bit more.  I can say that I respect Mike and all that he does for me, but do I always show it?  Honestly, probably not.

I found an article that talks about 25 ways to communicate respect to your spouse.  Although he isn’t my spouse, I felt like I could focus on showing him respect considering we plan to spend forever together. 

After a recent falling out that we had I felt called to really reflect on these 25 steps and what I need to work on. 

Now you may start reading these (like I did) and just begin to chuckle.  It almost comes off a bit anti-feminist.  After some serious thought I chose to read them a little differently.  To read them with an open heart.  To read them with the anticipation and hope that we have a successful relationship and some day a successful marriage with a successful family.  There are some that will always be easier than others.  There are some I may not be good at….ever.  But, ideally I would like for him to always know I respect every piece of his sweetness. 

1. Choose Joy

We all choose our moods.  In fact, for me, there are days (particularly one week a month) where I tend to be mega B.  Those days are rarely ever his fault.  Even if I feel like they are and I feel the need to blame someone then I need to focus on my own mood and improving it.  Choosing joy. 

2. Honor His Wishes

In general I don’t ask enough what his wishes are.  When he surprises me with plans I should be excited, not perturbed because I didn’t make them.  This section definitely needs some work. 

3. Give Him Your Undivided Attention

When he walks in the door from a hard days work I really must drop what I’m doing to say hello, give a hug, and a kiss.  It’s really not that hard. 

4. Don’t Interrupt

His stories are some of the best.  I need to be his best friend and a good listener.  Even if I’m not interested in what equipment he worked on that day I still need to give my best and not interrupt. 

5. Emphasize His Good Points

He has so many.  I don’t always remind him of those.  A simple text during the day telling him how cute his butt looks in those jeans he wore on our date.  Or even a how hard of a worker he is to take care of me. 

6. Pray for Him

I pray for myself.  I pray for my cherubs.  I pray for my grandma.  I pray for my dad.  I pray for my brother and sister.  I pray for their littles.  I pray for my colleagues.  Do I ever take time to pray for him?  Not enough…  Typically I pray that he’ll put up with my butt for the rest of his life. 

7. Don’t Nag

One I could really use some work on.  Instead of him walking in the door to a reminder of what he didn’t clean up before he left for work I could probably wait and say something later.  Or just not say anything at all.  I’m a little OCD about the cleaning up around the house.  Nagging just seems natural in that sense. 

8. Be Thankful

I’ve dwelled on this a lot in the last few days.  I’m not nearly thankful enough for this wonderful man God placed in my life.  I have to say thank you more.  I have to say thank you to God.  I have to say thank you to his momma and pops for raising such an amazing man.  Thank you isn’t said enough. 

9. Smile at Him

He says he loves my smile.  Why not show it to him more? 

10. Respond Physically

I’m sure he’d appreciate this.  What man wouldn’t?  That book 50 Shades sure helped.  Anyone else agree? He would like to know, as would I….is there a fourth one coming out? 🙂

11. Eyes Only for Him

He knows the love of I have for Eliot on SVU or Derek on Criminal Minds or Zac Brown and his beautiful beard.  Do I really need to voice it?  Probably a little less would help. 😉

12.  Kiss Him Goodbye

This we do.  We kiss goodbye.  We kiss goodnight.  We always kiss goodnight.  It’s a deal we made way back in the beginning.  Never go to bed angry. 

13.  Prepare His Favorite Foods

You can ask him to be sure….but the boy loves my cooking.  I love cooking exactly what he loves on his special occasions and try and do it at least once a week.  He always tells me there isn’t anything that I cook that he doesn’t love.  I’m sure there’s a little fib to that because I’ve burnt a few things in my day, but at least he’s being nice!

14.  Cherish Togetherness

Even though we are kidless we like to spend a lot of time with family and friends.  On those very special times where it is just the two of us I could for sure put the cell phone up and focus just on him. 

15.  Don’t Complain

Really?  Do you know me?  I’m not a constant complainer but I definitely voice my opinion.  This is where I felt the article started turning a little super religious or cultish.  If I never tell him how I feel then things won’t get fixed.  I think I could certainly complain less, but not complaining at all would make for a pretty bland relationship with little positive change.  I just need to remember there is a time and a place for everything. 

16. Resist the Urge to Correct

I’m a teacher.  Do you get that?  I correct all day long.  I grade papers all night long.  Sometimes he kindly reminds me that he’s not one of my students.  God love him. 

17.  Dress to Please Him

I dress to please no one but myself…for the most part.  I know what dresses he likes.  I know what tops he thinks I look good in.  So you can bet your sweet cheeks that when we have a date night I’m going to wear something that will only want him to look at me!

18.  Keep the House Tidy

As said before, OCD helps with this.  I like to do the laundry and make sure his work uniforms are ready to go and clean.  We clean house together when we do a major cleaning though.  He takes care of the bathrooms and me the rest of the house.  When I cook, he does the dishes.  Really I have a pretty sweet deal worked out. 

19.  Be Content

Working on it.  I have sad days.  I have days I miss my momma and it seems so unfair that I can’t share in whatever it is I’m doing with her.  These are days I’m less content.  I’ll work on it. 

20.  Take His Advice

He does have some pretty great advice.  He’s almost always right.  Lord, I hope his head doesn’t swell when he reads that!  One thing I may not always go to him for advice in is clothing.  He’s a tad bit color blind.  Again, God love him.  🙂

21.  Admire Him

I do absolutely adore and admire him.  I admire the man he was when I met him and I admire the man he has become in the last two years that I have known him.  He’s something to be proud of, that’s for sure. 

22.  Protect His Name

Well those of you that know his last name are probably already giggling.  I’m old-fashioned and some day I will have his last name.  No.  Matter.  What. 

23.  Forgive His Shortcomings

We all have shortcomings.  My love has a few.  Those shall remain nameless as I want to admire and protect him in each way I can.  I could list all of my shortcomings for you but I’d probably have to write a novel.  I’ll forgive his…and let’s just hope he forgives mine. 

24.  Don’t Argue

Well, we have our days.  We are getting better at talking.  I’m getting better at picking my battles.  I will say this…we don’t scream and fight.  We talk calmly and if we have to step away then we do.  We come back when we’re calm.  We cuddle when things have calmed down and hold each other.  Then we tell each other everything will be alright. 

25.  Follow His Lead

I’m a natural born leader.  I get it from my grandpa’s side of the family.  Some say it’s stubborness.  I like to call it being a leader.  Call it what you will.  I need to hand him the ropes and follow his lead.  I will work on this.

What are some things you could do to respect your man a little more? 

Loving my man,