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'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
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. 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 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 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 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'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



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'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 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 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 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?