Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You've Got to Trust Me on This One

I think it's time to get that crazy picture of Britney Spears off of the front page of my blog. :0)


Did you all have a great holiday? I hope so. Mine was busy and full of family. It was wonderful. I was very spoiled this year, as was the rest of my family. We got OODLES of yucky snow that made it miserable to drive around in. But, "thankfully" it rained for an entire day and now we just have mounds of slush all over the roads to deal with. {BTW...trying to keep kids from splashing in the slush puddles that have formed in store parking lots is maddening!}


I have begun the massive process of decluttering my house and re-organizing everything. With no school to worry about I have been able to let my OCD run free. It's great. :0) I got some awesome new dishes for Christmas from my mom and so yesterday I had to reorganize my kitchen cupboards to make everything fit. My junk drawer has been compartmentalized. {don't you love that word?} My laundry room is sparkling. The movies have been re-alphabetized. Christmas decorations are almost put away. And.....


I have watched 16 episodes of '24'. You know... the television series? Yeah...that one. The hubby started watching it at the beginning of season 5 but felt like he was missing out on some important information. He's been wanting to start at season 1 and get through all of the episodes before season 6 starts. Santa must have heard his cry for help because he brought season 1 and season 2 to our house this year. And every night since, the two of us have lazily sat in front of the television for HOURS trying to get through the first season. It's now 4:00 pm...so that means we still have about 8 hours {or 8 episodes} to go. Ok...without commercials it takes way less time than the normal hour tv block, but still. I don't hardly ever watch tv anymore so I'm feeling kind of naughty. :0)
BTW...for those of you who watch the show...have you ever counted how many times Jack Bauer actually says "You've got to trust me on this one" each episode? For a guy who basically trusts no one...he expects an awful lot of trust from everyone else around him. :0)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Potentially Dangerous...

Do you remember when Britney Spears went crazy and shaved her head....and then attacked a car with an umbrella. Sometimes....

I get it.

You know...a string of frustrations and you just need to scream. Or talk with a British accent for no apparent reason.....

Thankfully....I tend to resort to coloring my hair rather than shaving it all off. And instead of smashing in a car window with an umbrella I eat chocolate. {I don't have to worry about all those papparazzi taking pictures of me stuffing my face like poor Britney}

Why am I talking about Britney Spears you ask? Good question.

I have been going to school full time, non-stop since February. One set of classes ends on a Sunday and the next set begins the very next day. My brain is on overload. Just as I finish up my final projects for one set of classes, I have to hurry and get familiar with the information for the next set. After this last change up I thought I was going to go crazy. Understandably, as I get further along in school, my classes keep getting harder. Want to know what else changes with each new rotation of classes?

The level of cleanliness in my home....it's scary.
The amount of time I sit in front of this computer.....can you say blood shot eyes?
My ability to stay organized in other areas.....freakishly erratic.
My extra time for me.....almost non-existent.
The quality of the meals I make for my family....it's almost a form of neglect.
The time I have for hanging out with my family....NOT ENOUGH.

My OCD tendencies are screaming for attention. I can't block out the clutter in my home any longer. I can't cram one more piece of random information into my head. My kids and my hubby need some quality time with dear old me. My son wanted to know how much longer I was going to have to do this. He went bug-eyed when I told him I had at least 2 1/2 years before I could actually get a position in the field of psychology. What I didn't tell him was that I would have a couple more years after that in order to get my master's degree.

So, hallelujah! Today is day one of fourteen where I have NO schoolwork. I've got two weeks of holiday time where I don't even have to crack open a book. AND....when holiday break is over, I only have one week of school left in this block before I am taking a personal break for another week. That will give me time before I have to jump into more deep thinking. :0)

And....I won't have to worry about ending up like Miss Britney Spears. I don't think I would look good with a shaved head...it's kind of bumpy. :0)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Optimism




Your rating: Cynicism (44 out of a possible 100)

Summary Report:
According to your responses, your perspective of humankind is neither na├»ve nor jaded. Instead of assuming the best or worst of someone, you wait before making a judgment. You prefer to have others earn your trust, and although you won’t necessarily assume everyone has a hidden agenda, you’re also not the type to accept everything people say or do at face value. Tempered with a hearty dose of skepticism, this is a relatively healthy perspective. You may however, benefit from being a little more trusting. Unlike their less positive counterparts, optimists will at least try to find the good in even the most difficult of people, and are much more willing to place their faith in others. Although this doesn’t mean that you should trust the good intentions of everyone you meet, a leap of faith every once in a while couldn’t hurt.
Sounds about right :0)
What about you? Do you lean towards the glass being half empty or half full? Or...are you like me and just see some water in a cup? :0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow Shmow

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate snow? Sigh. It's been a long day.

I hate driving in the snow. A lot. It's not my driving that I'm worried about so much...it's all the other crazy drivers out there. Anyway...we won't get into that. I had to go into work today for payroll and it took me a couple of hours to get through everything for the day. When I went outside to leave....my windshield was covered in ice! Are you kidding me? Sigh. So, I got out in the insanely cold snow and scraped my windshield so that I could see. {Just so you know...it was completely clean before I went to work. This was all new ice!}

Then...I got back in my car and as I attempted to pull out into the road, I realized my car was stuck. Yep. Tires spinning, not moving...stuck. Are you kidding me? Thankfully I had drivers education with Mr. Mecham and so I knew all about the "rocking" technique. You know...reverse, forward, reverse, forward...back, forth, back, forth...until you are able to "rock" out of the sticky spot. I made it out...whew. Off to Costco.

Did you know that apparently it was A-ok to ride your bicycle down the middle of a busy road if the sidewalks are covered in snow?

I didn't know that either. Hmmm.....

Did you know that apparently it is A-ok to WALK down the middle of a busy road if the sidewalks are covered in snow?

Again...me either. See where I'm going with this?

Did you know that if you drive a BIG truck you don't have to worry about slick roads because...hey! You're in a BIG truck. Those other people in their cute little Pacifica's? They should stop for you. Oh wait! Not all Pacifica's have 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? That's right! Wow....should have thought twice when you thought the lady with the angry eyes behind the wheel would actually stop for you and your BIG ass truck.

Ahem. {Calming down now}

Yeah...some dumb guy in a truck tried to pull out DIRECTLY in front of me in a non-snow plowed parking lot. My car doesn't stop on a dime in the snow. Let's just say he learned a lesson today. And that is....don't pull out in front of people in the snow! Dumb!

Continuing on...

Did you know that snow tires are about $150 each? And that by the time you pay for all four of them and have them installed and balanced and whatnot it's going to cost almost $900? FOR TIRES! THAT YOU ONLY USE WHEN IT'S SNOWY OUTSIDE!

Have I mentioned that I hate snow?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thanks again ladies!

I am keeping to my word and updating all my girls night girls about my grade on the assignment you all helped me to complete.....





Drum roll please.....
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!!!!!!!!!!

That's right...you all receive an A+++++++++

Thanks again for your help!

Friday, December 12, 2008

This tag is from "It's What I Love" by my good friend Bonnie B.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? weekend after Thanksgiving
4. When do you take the tree down? week after Chrsitmas
5. Do you like eggnog? it's ok....not my favorite
6. Favorite gift received as a child? don't remember...there was a cabbage patch doll once (that I still have)
8. Easiest person to buy for? Mackenzee
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Several- I've started to collect them
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mine have already been sent out in the mail.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? ???
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Polar Express
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? August
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes
5. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? mom's sticky buns
16. Lights on the tree? Yes, it's pre-lit
17. Favorite Christmas song? When Christmas Comes To Town
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? yes
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? neither..no room because my tree is too tall
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open pajamas on Christmas Eve and everything else on Christmas morning.
22. Favorite Christmas Tradition? Christmas jammies
23. Favorite ornament, theme or color? I love gold on my tree with dots of red in there too.
24. Favorite Christmas dinner? Whatever it is that I haven't had to cook. :0)
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? world peace. :0) Oh wait...how about that my house sells, that the housing market will pick back up, that I will get through school in one piece because I'll falling apart with that one, and perhaps some rammekins so that I can make individual molten lava cakes. :0)

You guys want to play along? It's a tag...and so since you read all the way through mine consider yourself tagged! :0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Such a cutie patootie. :0) This is one of my daughter's best friends and she is such fun to take pictures of. This is one I nabbed while taking pictures of her and her family a few weeks ago.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little People Nativity

My favorite Christmas decorations are my nativity sets. I have four so far, but would love to collect more. A couple of years ago I purchased the Willow Tree Nativity set and fell in love with the simplistic beauty of it. Last year at a craft fair I was thrilled to find a white ceramic nativity set identical to the one my mother has had since I was a little girl. My first nativity set was purchased six years ago and consists of little ceramic figurines as well. The other set I have was given to me by my grandmother and is actually made up of those cute little nesting dolls. You know, the kind that fit inside of each other?
I put these decorations out a couple of days ago and threatend my children with their lives afterwards. I fear we will have broken pieces before the week is out. My daughter loves to touch the decorations in my home and often rearranges them. And though I remember rearranging my mothers ceramic nativity set as a child, I am way too high strung to be able to watch her handling the delicate pieces. She could hardly contain herself yesterday and stood as close as she could to the table they were on.
Guess what I found today though? I was out shopping for presents and found this adorable Little People Nativity set at my local church bookstore. I was so excited and knew I had to get it. Not only is it another nativity for my collection, but my kids can play with it all they want. I put it out as soon as I got home and my daughter has rearranged and played to her hearts content ever since. As an added bonus, it is a fun way for her to learn the story of the birth of Jesus. My son isn't as excited about it because...you know....he's cool like that.
Anyway...any of you looking for a new great Christmas decoration or even just a great new Christmas toy for your kids...I highly suggest it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Christmas Comes To Town

Christmastime is crazy. Since Jaysen and I got married we have made sure to share the holiday with both of our families. Every other year we are with his family and vice versa. On the years that it is my families turn, we go to my Grandma's house. Ever since I can remember my family has gone to her house for Christmas Eve. She has always made it such a huge event and takes no shortcuts when it comes to making sure it is a fabulous evening for everyone. In fact, as the family has gotten larger and larger {her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids} the family room was made bigger in order to accomodate everyone.



Santa Claus comes every year so that the kids can get in their last minute requests. We eat until we are so full we can't move. We sing carols. We play the bells. We learn about the true meaning of Christmas. It has been this way forever. Traditions are a part of what make the holiday so great.


About eight years ago a few of the traditions were changed as the families grew. Instead of going to my Grandma's house again on Christmas morning to open presents, we open them on Christmas Eve. This is done at the end of the evening. My grandparents pass out gifts to EVERYONE. {That's a lot of gifts!} They love to give these gifts and give them from their hearts. I appreciate them and all they do for their family. There's a lot of us and I know it takes months of work for them to cross everyone off of their list.

This year we are spending the holiday with my husbands family. I am new to their traditions but have found that no matter what activities take place, all that matters is that we are able to spend the holiday with family. This mean that this year we will be eating pizza from the favorite local pizza place. We read the Christmas story. We play fun games. We exchange ornaments and the kids open up their pajamas from Grandma and Grandpa. The opening of the pajama boxes is almost like an unveiling ceremony. The kids get so excited to see what their new jammies will look like each year. And every year as we put up our Christmas tree we get to reflect on the ornaments of Christmas' past that we have received from Jaysen's siblings. I have come to love and appreciate these traditions of his family and look forward to them every year.


The past few years I have struggled with the overwhelming amount of gifts that my kids receive every year. Not only do they get presents from me and Santa, but from cousins and grandparents too. My daughter receives presents from four sets of grandparents. My son...wow. His birthday is this month as well so he is in present heaven. To top off that...he has two sets of parents and six sets of grandparents that give him presents {that I know of}. Yeah....I don't know if he even knows what he gets every year because there is so much. Now, I'm not saying that grandparents and cousins can't give gifts to my kids. In fact, my kids give gifts to their grandparents and their cousins themselves. It is just disheartening to see my kids simply looking for the next gift to unwrap. What is interesting though, is that the gifts that have had a lasting effect on my kids have never been the toys. Even so.....

I worry that my kids don't grasp the true meaning of Christmas.



I worry that the commercialism of the holiday is all they remember.


I worry that they will grow up and the only traditions they can look back on are opening presents.

I have been struggling with this for a few years now. There are so many other kids that receive little or nothing for Christmas. If you have seen the movie, The Polar Express, you will remember the adorable little boy who doesn't believe in Santa because he's never gotten a present from him. His family was too poor. And then there's my kids who have never wanted for anything. Am I the only one struggling with this? I worry that I have enabled my children to have this cushioned view of life.

I have tried to reign things in this year. After seeing the piles of presents that my kids opened, I told myself that was it. I wasn't going to do it again this year. Their presents are bought and I am done. I wanted to focus this year on teaching my kids the true meaning of Christmas. I want to take them caroling to the nursing home. I want to have them take presents to those who would otherwise go without. I want them to learn about the reason we give gifts in the first place.


I told them yesterday that we were going to be giving presents to baby Jesus this year because it is his birth we celebrate. Trying to keep things on my toddler's level I told them that we were going to have a birthday party for Jesus. The Wise Men took him presents to celebrate his birth and we have been told to give to others to honor His life. Not necessarily materialistic things, but of ourselves as well.

If any of you have other ideas that would help me to continue to keep the true meaning of Christmas as a theme for my family this year I would love to hear them. One aspect of Christmas that is identical no matter where we go to spend the holiday is that the story of the birth of Jesus is told. I grew up playing characters from this story as me and my cousins acted out the scenes. I am so grateful that my grandmother has kept this tradition alive. I love her so much for all of the time she puts into every Christmas Eve. She is 76 years old this year and I worry there won't be too many more years of her Christmas programs.

Sorry for the ramblings here....I've been frustrated over a few aspects of Christmas this year and needed to ramble on a bit. :0) Thanks for listening.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Twilight

I have had to avoid your blogs my interpeeps. At least those of you that went to see the movie, Twilight, before me. I didn't want to spoil it with your opinions. Did you like it...did you hate it...was it lame...were you left in awe.....

I couldn't know the answers to those questions until I had seen for myself.

And now...now that I have seen for myself..... I will visit you again. Never fear! :0)

BTW...I was totally let down. :0( I'm hoping they get a bigger budget for the next one because this one just didn't do it for me. Now...my neice on the other hand...she is in love. :0) For me...it played out like a badly shot "made for tv" movie that would have played as an after school special for teenagers. It jumped so quickly from scene to scene that the overall flow of the book was lost and the building of the real love between Edward and Bella ended up seeming more like stalker infatuation. And honestly...didn't Jasper look more consipated than "struggling" to fight his vampire urges? Sigh.

Anyway...I can move on. The anticipation is over and I can once again enter the blogosphere without the fear of spoiling anything. :0)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude Day Seven

Ok...last post in this series. :0)
I had a hard time picking out only one more thing, though. I have so many other things that I am truly grateful for. How could I narrow it down to just seven? Obviously, these posts have only touched on the things on my gratitude list, and it would be too hard to name everything. My final post will be a fairly short one though.

I have talked about my hubby several times on a couple of my blogs. I met him five years ago and my world has never been the same. I won't bore you with repetitions of things I have blogged about before concerning him, but I do want to make sure that he is on my "list". You see, he means the world to me. If you knew half of the things this poor man has to put up with, you would start calling him Saint Jaysen.

I tell everyone that he got the better end of the deal when we were married, but honestly....I'm not so sure about that. Even though we have such different tastes in so many things...even though he is spontaneous and I am a control freak....even though he says ice cream and I say cupcake...we click. :0) He makes me laugh, he listens to me blather on about things that I'm sure bore him to death, he watches chick flicks with me {except for Mamma Mia...he drew the line with that one}, and he has such a tender heart with the kids. He is not just my hubby, but my boyfriend {tee hee}, my sugar daddy {even bigger tee hee :0) }, and my best friend. He accepts me for who I am, and still is somehow able to love me in spite of it all.

Want to know more?

He coaches my son's little league basketball team
He has tea parties with my daughter
He built me a scrapbook room...it's all mine!
He doesn't complain when I have girls night at our house and have friends over until 2:00 am...and he has to get up in the morning for work. :0)
He lets me sleep in every Saturday and Sunday morning.
He makes crepes for breakfast every Sunday morning.
He lets the neighbor kid come over and play....even if he's the only one home.
He puts up with my late hours staying up to do homework
He offers to take the kids golfing with him, even though its his "alone" time.

I could go on and on....

I won't though. You are probably throwing up in your mouth a little reading how mushy I've gotten here. {I apologize}

But seriously, what would I do without him? I am so grateful to have met him and feel so blessed to have him as my companion through life. I'm so glad he's willing to be stuck with me forever too...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude Day Six

I have 1906 songs on my iTunes list. In fact, if I stayed up for five days straight I would have enough music to keep me up and going the entire time. I love music. I always have. I took piano lessons for 10 years. Before that I was singing in church with my family. I sang in the choir and was a band geek, too.

I have posted numerous times about music on this blog. It plays such an important role in my life. It has the power to change my emotions. It isn't just the melody part of the song that I find enchanting, either. I hear music and it's as though I can actually FEEL it. The words, the dynamics, the way the person sings the song....all affect me. I love that I can find a song that can match my mood and help me to express my feelings.

What a beautiful gift music is. It would be an awfully quiet world without it. Seriously, what do you think about when you hear the titles of these songs?

The Star Spangled Banner
O Holy Night
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Love Is A Battlefied
Somewhere Out There
Respect
Thriller
Imagine
You Are My Sunshine
We Will Rock You
I Will Survive

Any of them make you smile? take you on a little flashback? Who doesn't feel pride when hearing a patriotic song? Or feel warm and fuzzy when hearing a Christmas carol? What about a song to remind you of a higher power? Or a song to help you belt out your frustrations? Remember the song that you and your friends sang back in the day? What a fun memory. And then there's that lullaby you sing to your kids that warms your heart every time.

I am so grateful for music. I am grateful for a mom who MADE me keep taking lessons when I wanted to quit and just be a punky teenager. I am grateful to those who are gifted enough to be able to write such wonderful songs. And....I'm grateful that my children have developed this love of music as well. I know it is something they will be able to use EVERY day. I know I do......

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude Day Five

So, you getting tired of my mush-i-ness yet? :0)

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I tend to forget to just stop and look around me. This usually happens when I am feelings frazzled and overbooked....which is often. But, every now and then I think my brain throws a temper tantrum. You know the kind. You've seen your kid do it, I'm sure. Just picture it....


throwing themselves on the ground, bottom lip out, arms folded across the chest, and THOSE angry eyes. Normally a bit of screaming is involved too. They aren't getting their way so they are going to tell you about how pissed off they are until you either cave or put them in time out. Either way, it has to be dealt with.



Yeah....my brain does that...I'm pretty sure. With all of the running around, I am suffocating my ability to see the beauty in everyday life. I'm glad my brain is stubborn and makes me pay attention. Because really....I would seriously be missing out.

Fall is my favorite season and not only is it the most beautiful time of year, it is also the busiest. But if I forgot to stop and look around at the leaves changing color I would miss out on something that brings me such joy. I am so grateful for the beautiful world I live in. I look around and see the miracle that is nature. Flowers, trees, waterfalls, sunsets, and even the veggies in my garden....gorgeous! What a dreary existance I would have without the amazing display that I have been given. I have had the opportunity to spend more time outdoors this last year and have found that nothing is able to relax me more than the quiet of nature. I am forced to stop, and listen, and see.

I am so grateful for the rainbow of colors that is in everything around me. It helps me to keep perspective and to remember that life is about finding beauty in every situation, not about trying to make everything just right. Even a flower that is missing a petal can still offer it's scent and beautiful color to those who notice it. It doesn't matter that it is not perfect. It's still a work of art.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude Day Four

If you have ever read my "About Me" section on the sidebar here, you've seen how cute my children are. In fact, you have probably noticed they are cuter than your kids. I mean...look at them. CUTE! :0) Now, I urge you to continue loving your children the same way, though you have now realized they are not the cutest children in the world any longer.

I'm such a brat. I know...but get ready for more bragging.

My kids are awesome. They have such different personalities and it is so interesting to watch them experience life in their own way. My son is almost nine *gasp* and I swear he gets bigger every day. And not just in size, but in wisdom as well. His teacher told me that she has been impressed with his ability to get others in his classroom involved so that no one is left out. She uses him as a tutor for some of the other kids in his classroom that are struggling with their schoolwork. She said she appreciates that he doesn't judge or make fun of others who may be struggling. As a mom...those are things I have wished for him, but know that ultimately his choices in life are his. I can only guide him and hope that he chooses wisely. I am so grateful that he has compassion for others. His heart is huge and I love that he is so willing to share it with others. Especially me. :0) Even as old as he is getting, he will still come and want to snuggle with me. He likes to spend time in the kitchen with me, have me play the piano with him, and is still willing to sing and get his groove on with me. How did I ever get so lucky as to be blessed with such a wonderful son? Sure, he frustrates me with his stubbornness and doesn't always make the best decisions. But, that's what kids do. They try to figure it out...how life works and what their role is. I am just grateful that I get to be with him on his journey.

And then there is my daughter. Wow. Where do I start? She has been at full speed since she was born. Compared to my fairly mellow son, I was truly not prepared to be so BUSY with her. She started walking at nine months and has never looked back. She has such a passion for life and can't wait to experience every moment. Her independant nature and unique sense of self is reassuring to me that, if continued, she will be able to handle the diversions of life when they come. She is a momma's girl, yet has her daddy wrapped so tightly around her finger all she has to do is ask and he caves. That's quite a skill for a three year old. :0) She wants to know everything, learn everything, and do it all by herself. She lives for the companionship of friends and has never met a kid she couldn't win over. Then again, most adults are taken with her as well. She keeps me young at heart and helps me to remember that the simple things in life are the most important. I think she tells me she loves me at least ten times a day. And every time I remind myself how blessed I am to have two kids with such big hearts.

My favorite job in life is being a mom. No, not the laundry/dishwashing/cleaning/vaccuuming part. But the teaching, guiding, loving, and learning part. What a daunting task we are given as mothers, to raise little ones and try to mold them into respectful, intelligent, independant individuals who are not afraid to have a little personality. :0) The nurturing and care involved can be heart wrenching at times. I hate the discipline part of the job because I would love to just be their friend and play. But I know that my job is more important than simple friendship.

Do you ever wonder if your heart has grown so big with love for your kids that it takes up your entire chest? My kids are such a wonderful part of my life. I know for a fact that life would have been much different without the initial addition of Landon into my life. He gave me purpose and direction. I don't think he will ever know how grateful I am for that. And yes, I tend to boast and brag about what great kids I have, but I consider that to be a part of my job as their mother. I think we are all a bit partial to our own children. That's how it should be. I thank Heavenly Father every day for allowing my heart the ability to grow more than I ever thought was possible. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned FROM my kids and for adding such light and joy to my home. They are my sunshine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude Day Three

Though I tend to prefer being at home, I LOVE the company of others. I have a bit of an issue with being TOO LOUD. Honestly, I'm kind of weird too. AND...I talk a lot. So, as I'm sure you can guess, I can be a lot to handle. :0) Not everyone is able to handle my Ashlee-ness. I can't say that I blame them from shying away. I tend to wave my freak flag often.

And yet, this last year I have been able to form such wonderful friendships. I went to church with some of these people for over two years, and for the most part the relationships consisted mostly of chats at church and occassionally seeing each other at other events.

And then I moved last year. It had taken SO long to meet people and feel even a small bond with them, and so to realize I was going to have to start all over again was frustrating. What was also frustrating, was that my monthly Girls Night group had fizzled. Most of the ladies had either moved away, or weren't able to come anymore. So, I let it sit for a few months. It was hard. New home, new church family, no outlet of Girls Night.....it was kind of lonely.


In a desperate attempt to keep my relationships going with the chatty church ladies :0) {Do you like that name? I just made it up} I decided to redo my Girls Night group and add ALL of them to the list of participants. That was 14 months ago and since then, I have not only made so many wonderful NEW friends, but I have been able to keep intact friendships that I have had for years. These are ladies that can handle an Ashlee flag raising ceremony {remember I have a freak flag!}. They know me, but they accept me anyway. And honestly, I am so grateful for their friendship.


One of the most important aspects of life is in the relationships that we share with others. Through friends we not only have someone we are able to bond with, but we have a listening ear, an understanding heart, a built in therapist, and even just someone who can make us laugh. They help us to be better people by giving us the ability to see the world through their eyes and the willingness to give of ourselves unselfishly.

I am a better person because of the relationships I have with these wonderful women. I am so blessed to have each of them in my life and am so grateful for all they do for me. Their support and the kindness they have shown to me mean more than they could ever realize.

So, ladies....thanks. For seeing who I really am, and yet still willing to tolerate me. You rock.

{BTW...if you're not pictured here that doesn't mean you're not on the "YOU ROCK" list. I just don't have a pic of you. :0) }

An Attitude of Gratitude Day Two

I decided to go back to school in February. It had been eating me up for MONTHS as to what to do. I wanted to go back, but I knew how much it would cost. The other difficult part was that I have a toddler, so going to an actual campus wasn't really ideal. What would I do with her? Wasn't one of the perks of staying home that I avoided day care costs? I was frustrated.

I don't know why I paid any attention to the flashing ads on the computer screen that day, but I'm glad I did. Online courses! DUH!
So, I responded to the ad stating I just wanted the basic information. I was skeptical. Well, instead of an email, I ended up with a phone call.

Which I did NOT answer. I hadn't even talked to the hubby about it yet. I was scared. I was nervous. But I HAD to know if it was really possible. So, after their fourth attempt to get ahold of me, I answered the phone.

That poor man didn't know what he was in for. :0) I threw questions at him left and right. What was nice, was that he had all of the answers to my questions and I realized it really was a possibility. The costs of attending school online would not be much more than attending the one here after buying books and paying for daycare. I just had to talk to the hubby about it.

I think part of me wanted him to say no. I was still scared. I was excited though. I felt as though I would have something to truly work towards....you know...besides laundry and dishes. And, because I have the most amazingly supportive husband he didn't even hesitate to say yes. In fact, he said, "Once you graduate you can be my sugar mamma!" {yes, sarcasm runs deep in both of us...it's why we click so well}

So, I took the plunge. I started two weeks later. Though it has been hard getting back into learning mode, it has been wonderful. I feel more fulfilled than I have in a while. I am truly grateful that I live in an age where I have the ability to not only be a mom at home, but also to be able to pursue my dreams with ease. Technology is an amazing gift. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to continue my education and for a wonderful family who has supported me in my decision. It has not been easy on them because it does take a lot of my time away from them. I may be physically with them at home, but often I am studying or on the computer doing homework. They have been so patient with me and I cannot thank them enough for allowing me to be a bit selfish. :0)
BTW....I am also grateful that I have been able to get A's in every class so far. I don't know how much longer I will be able to keep the streak going, but WAHOO! :0)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude


Is it weird for anyone else that Thanksgiving is already here? One week from today we will all be eating plates full of yummy turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes {from Idaho of course}, and lots of pie! The year has flown by so quickly as I look back, and yet in the middle of each struggle it has felt as though time wasn't moving quickly enough.

So, I thought it was high time I took a moment to reflect on the things I have been grateful for this year. It's one week until Thanksgiving, so I will post each day until then with something that I am grateful for. There are obviously more than seven things to be thankful for, but I'll just touch base on a few things from this year. :0)

Here we go!

This year we have experienced no serious medical problems. This is the first time in several years that there have been no worries. It has been such a relief to have a healthy family. Mackenzee was born with reflux and struggled with it until she was 15 months old. We were able to take her off of her medication at that point. We still have to watch the foods she eats to make sure her digestive system works properly, but at least the frequent trips to the doctor and the daily doses of Prevacid are no more. My health has been an issue for the last couple of years as well, and though I'm still not 100%, I am in a far healthier state.

So, I am grateful for our health. I think it is something we tend to take for granted at times. We just assume that the worst that can happen is a cold or the flu. And with sickness comes heartache, frustration, and exhaustion. I don't know what the future will bring, but this year we have truly been blessed and I am grateful for it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thoughts


THOUGHTS:


I search: for answers to my deep questions. I wish I knew who to ask.

I wonder: if I'm doing enough as a parent.

I regret: hurtful words I have used against others. I wish I could take them all back.

I love: Jaysen, Landon, Mackenzee...with all my heart

I care: about the self esteem of others. Be proud of who you are. No accomplishments are too small.

I think: I think too much. I wish I could turn off my brain sometimes.....

I worry: about harm coming to my family.

I am not: a stereotype. Try me out...you'd be surprised what you find out. :0)

I remember: to look at my calendar so I can remember what I have going on from day to day.

I believe: as humans we each have ingrained in us the ability to nurture and care for others.

I wish: we would use that ability more often.

I sing: every day. It may not sound good, but it's truly therapeutic. Especially when the kids join in.

I dance: in the kitchen...every day...while I'm singing. The kids have been known to get their groove on with me. :0)

I don’t always: practice patience. I'm trying....

I argue: because I have an opinion. I realize I may not always be right...but I'll be darned if I won't try to convince you my way is better! :0)

I write: essays for school that exhaust my brain

I am grateful: that I have a hubby who is awesome enough to support me as I try to exhaust my brain taking these courses. That he is nice enough to listen to me drone on about subjects he could care less about.

I win: every time my kid remembers something I have taught them.

I lose: when I am quick to judge others. The first impression is not always an accurate assessment.

I listen: I try anyway...I'm usually talking too much to let anyone else get a word in. I'm working on that one....thanks for still being my friends. :0)

I play: music almost all day in my house.

I don’t understand: why people feel it is ok to hurt others with their ignorant opinions. Speaking your mind is not always the best policy. Especially with those you care about.

I can usually be found: cleaning, blogging, doing homework....it is the life I lead....

I am scared: of spiders...and the dark. Don't even get me started on worrying about spiders getting me in the dark!

I need to understand: right now....nutritional science and positive psychology. I'll let you know when that changes.

I forget: that life is not about perfection in everything, but about enjoying the everyday moments.

I am happy: when I am with those I love that love me in return.


What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Ok...I'm going to change this to Unwordless Wednesday because I end up having to explain in the comments anyway. :0)
I took this pic down at Shoshone Falls. It is so gorgeous down there this time of year. The colors are beautiful. Anyone who has not been down there this fall needs to hop on down and take it in. Go for a walk...you won't be dissapointed. Make sure you take your camera!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Steps to a healthier you


That right my inter-peeps. I've gone healthy.
I know...I'll give you a second to let the shock wear off.
Last week I started my Nutritional Science class and the first assignment involved the use of a food diary. {YIKES} I then had to weigh my food choices against the recommended servings from MyPyramid, which is the latest version of the Food Pyramid. You can go to MyPyramid Tracker and do the same if you'd like to check it out.
Turns out, though I thought I ate fairly good {not counting the splurges on baked goods} I found that the majority of the food I eat is basically empty calories. Lots and lots of calories...with absolutely no nutritional value.
So, I did some research {because I had to for the assignment} and found out which were the better foods and did all my grocery shopping based on that list. It took me FOR-E-VER to do my shopping this last time. Reading labels and comparing labels is rather time consuming. And this time I wasn't just quickly scanning the fat content like I normally did before. I was looking for the iron and calcium and vitamins and fiber that the food contained. I also had to check the ingredient list to make sure that foods saying they were multigrain, or whole wheat actually contained substantial amounts of those items. You'd be surprised at how many foods claiming to be better are really the exact same as the original.
Anyway...I have been eating this way for almost two weeks now. And let me tell you....I eat A LOT of food. I had no idea I could eat this much food and still stay within my limits. Turns out fruits and vegetables really are good for you. Crazy! :0)
Three cups of milk per day
Two cups of fruit per day
Three cups of vegetables per day
5.5 ounces of meats or beans per day
6 ounces of grains per day
See? Lots of food! I thought I had to be hungry to lose weight. I have already lost a pound, and honestly, I wasn't really even trying. I was just eating, and learning to eat while I did it. I can now say that I get a full days supply of all of the essential vitamins and minerals required each day....simply by eating. And not over-eating....just eating GOOD. I have never gone over my calorie recommendations, nor the fat recommendations. In fact, I'm usually on the low side...but I'm full. I am full...my tummy is happy.
And that makes me happy.
So, go check out the website. Fill out your food diary and see what you are getting out of your daily food intake. Are you healthy?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Christmas in a Can

This project has taken over my mind! As part of my church calling, I am one of three in charge of Super Saturday for my ward. What is this you ask? It is a day where all of the ladies get together and get their craft ON. :0) After helping to come up with enough fun things for everyone to do, I was put in charge of "Christmas in a Can". I was given an example of what another ward had done, and though I thought it was cute and a really good idea, I wanted to do something a bit different with it. Why? Because I like to go crazy trying to come up with something that hopefully EVERYONE will enjoy. Sigh. Ok, really, I just can't seem to stop myself from adding more things to my list.

Honestly, though it took oodles of hours to come up with an idea and then try to find things that would go along with that idea, I am really pleased with the outcome. It turned out great and I was able to stay within my $10 budget.

Here is my version of Christmas in a Can....

There is a talk in the December 2001 Ensign Magazine by President Faust about the Five True Gifts of Christmas. I based my can on this.

Tucked neatly inside this paint bucket are five "gifts".

First...the gift of PEACE.

It is a little sachet of bath essence. :0)

Second....the gift of SELF.

It is a "To-Do List" notepad.

Third....the gift of LOVE.

I found this picture at my local Church bookstore. The description on the back talk about the love of Christ.

Fourth...the gift of SERVICE.

I had a hard time with this one because it is so similar to the gift of Self. But then I found this cute idea and knew it was perfect.


Finally...the gift of FAITH.

After all...what is Christmas if you do not believe?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ask and you shall receive

Remember my post on how much I LOVE Halloween?


Remember how I posted what my costume was?
REmember how you asked me to post a picture so that I could show you all how super sexy I looked in my pirate costume?
Because I love you all SOOOOO much.....I am sharing my hotness with you.

That's right....a Clone Trooper, a Pirate, a fairy, and a police officer walk into a bar. One says, I'm an android and androids don't drink, the fiary says, "I'm only three, I can't drink", and the officer says, "I'm on duty ma'am, there'll be no drinking tonight." So, the pirate vixen tightened up her little corset {Can I tell you how annoying that thing was?} and went off to add the lime juice to the frozen brain instead of the "good stuff" she was hoping for. :0)

Ok...so that whole thing was made up...except for the floating brain in lime juice. I did have one of those.

Seriously though....is my hubby not the hottest thing? Wow! Sure, his friends teased him about looking like a male stripper....but I thought he just looked nice in his fake little uniform with his hat. Oh yeah..... :0)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Perfect!

Sister Sassy had a contest this week {Keeping my fingers crossed that I win!} about music and how it has the ability to be in touch with your emotions. So much so, that it can heal you, inspire you, or even hurt you.

Her post made me reflect on the music from my life. As most of my readers know I am a HUGE fan of music. In fact, my iTunes list has everything from Show Tunes, to Classical, to Alternative, to even Rock and Hip Hop. I love music. For so many reasons. I grew up with music in my home. Maybe that is why I feel such a connection to it. My mom would play songs on the piano and me and my sisters and brother would stand around the piano and sing along. They are some of my favorite memories.

I have found that for every emotion I have felt, there is the perfect song. :0) Kind of like the perfect cheer. :0)

Now, I am not having a wicked awesome contest like Sassy. BUT! I wanna know...is there a song that has meaning to you? A song that has helped you through a difficult time? That hurt you? That made you aspire to be more? Tell me! Maybe there is a song that I am missing in my collection. :0)

I'll share a few of mine in the mean time....

Bring on the Rain - JoDee Messina {I know Montay...it's country. See? We can still be friends}
You're Not Alone - Michael McLean
I'll Try - Jonatha Brooke
Miss You When You're Gone - Cranberries
River Lullaby - Hans Zimmer
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Four Seasons - Vivaldi
Perfect - Alanis Morissette
Never There - Hoobastank
Cry - Faith Hill
Answered Prayer - Keri Noble

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A lost art?


I don't sew. I have a sewing machine....but I don't sew. I WANT to sew....but I don't sew.
I'm in charge of Super Saturday {craft day for women} and have come up with some great ideas for varying forms of "craftiness" for the ladies to do. I know that there are some that are not into paper crafting, and therefore would enjoy doing a different form of homemade gift. I thought perhaps something that was sewn would be different and cater to those who prefer that form of creativity. I thought perhaps a "sew easy" project like placemat scripture totes would be something fun and different. The other one is slightly harder, but still an easy pattern that could be completed quickly. My mom made a mini apron for my daughter a couple of years back and she loves it. It is similar to the one that my mom made for me when I was little {the only difference is the color}. I thought it would be fun to include this item as an option, though I thought making it a mommy and me apron class would be even more fun. That way the ladies could make matching aprons for them and their daughter/granddaughter if they wanted to.
So, my excitement at these fun ideas was bubbling over. Now...trying to find someone who can sew and would be willing to be in charge of demonstrating how to create the project. Ummm.....{imagine crickets chirping}.
Yes, that's right. I'm finding that a lot of women are like me and have no idea how to sew. Most WANT to be able to sew. But they do not sew.
No worries....I will find someone, that is not the purpose of this post.
I just want to know....do any of you sew? Do you WANT to sew? I'm wondering if this is becoming a lost art. You know? My mother is an amazing seamstress and my grandmother is the queen seamstress of them all {I'm not kidding...she is amazing}. But, it stopped at my mothers generation in this family. I WILL learn at some point. Finding the time to squeeze it in is my struggle. I barely find time to squeeze in a daily shower, let alone sit down for several hours to complete a sewing project. BUT! One of these days I will!
I'll let you know how it goes....
:0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

There were about five hummingbirds all swarming around the feeder at my in-laws house that day. It was so hard to catch a shot of any of them because they dart around so quickly. It was crazy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And....action!

For some reason, Jaysen and I have been in serious movie-mode lately. We have watched oodles of them. Some were good...some were not worth my time. So, I thought I would share my thoughts to keep you from making the same mistakes I did. :0)

I had never even heard of this one, but we saw it in the video store and thought it would be nice to watch something different. It wasn't BAD, but it was a bit jumpy and at times hard to follow. And...the ending was WAY not what I expected.
Yes, we rented the Love Guru. My hubby likes comedies such as this. And, as always...it was totally retarded. Not to say that I didn't laugh. Because I did. It was just dumb. You know what I mean?
I got this one to watch while my neice was visiting. It was a special request from her. :0) I have to say that I thought it was super cute. A very good tween movie with a good mystery in it...all Nancy Drew style. Good stuff!
This one was kind of predictable and cheesy. Sorry if I have offended anyone by that. :0) But seriously...he jumps on a horse and rides across the island to stop the wedding? Really?

When I saw the previews for this one my first thought was....no way. EVER. It looked dumb. But the hubby likes stuff like this, so in the Netflix queue it went. I was pleasantly surprised! It wasn't at all what I thought it would be, and the trailer did not portray the true theme for the movie at all.
Um...this one is up there with my favorite movies of all time. I love music {as most of you know} and I truly enjoyed how they brought out the "music of life" in this. The kid does such a great job. When it was done {after I wiped away a few tears} I looked at Jaysen and asked him what he thought. I was sure he wouldn't like it becuase he has hated every other musical I have made him watch with me. But, he surprised me by saying he REALLY liked it. He even told me to go and buy the soundtrack {I had already found the songs on iTunes...} :0)
This one was another awesome one. I love Steve Carell. Am I the only one that thinks he is just a teensy bit handsome? I am? Oh well.
I am ashamed to admit that I did watch this...and thought it was the most retarded movie I have seen in a very long time. Don't even bother. {Jaysen laughed}
Iron Man...not what I expected, but it was good. I knew nothing about Iron Man before watching this movie, and so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but it was decent. Jaysen loves it.

This one was for Mackenzee for her birthday. For those of you who are not aware of the existence of Miss Abby Cadabby..you are missing out. She is the newest Muppet Character on Sesame Street and is the cutest thing. She is a fairy in training {as her parents are both fairies} and she is three years old. She has a hard time with magic and tends to turn things into pumpkins. :0) This movie is a spoof of Alice in Wonderland, done up Sesame Street style {with all your favorite characters}. Mackenzee loves it. :0)
I hope these reviews will help to save at least a few of you from making the mistakes that I made. Some movies are just not WORTH IT. :0)