Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quieting your inner voice

Sometimes, quieting your inner voice (when it is being a critic) can be a very good thing. Learning to drown out your own negative thoughts about yourself is essential. But, sometimes, when you have silenced the voice inside of you that wants to stand up for yourself or to let "you" be heard then you have a problem.         I have a problem.

Rewind about ten years or so ago and I was the girl who would freely and happily give you my opinion on any matter. Really. You ask , I will tell you. Now, I don't mean to say that I was rude, condescending or righteous about it. Not at all. More that I wasn't AFRAID to state my opinion.

Now, as I got older I realized the value of sometimes keeping my mouth shut. We all aren't going to agree and that is okay. It really is. I have said it before and I will say it again, just as much as I believe in something, someone may just as fervently believe the opposite. That is okay. We can respect one another and respect the fact that we have the right to even have differing opinions.

But, somewhere along the way of always trying to keep the peace and not rock the boat I have lost the ability to stand up for my opinion at all! This is no ones fault but my own. No, I don't need to go shouting it from the rooftops, but I also don't need to let fear of the "fall out" bother me either. I am a little stunned to think that fear governs so many of my decisions these day. It shouldn't and I can not allow it to anymore.

So, in short, what I am trying to say is that I need to sometimes be more vocal about my thoughts and feelings, especially when people question some of the things that I hold the most dear.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Debut Party (and a recipe)!

As I had previously, briefly mentioned, I have joined Usborne Books and More as a consultant. I am so excited about this you guys!

I fell in love with their products last year after I had attended a home show. I tossed around the idea of signing up then, but it just didn't feel like the right time. I have since just been having fun ordering more books to add to the kids' collection. That is the thing about books...... I will always be spending money on books for my kids. This is a product that I will forever be needing.

I had kept this idea in the back of my mind and when I saw that this is the  24th anniversary of the company and they were having some great incentives for signing up, I knew it was the right time! I snagged the mini kit for just $24.00 (which the books alone are valued at over $100.00!) which came with everything I needed to get up and going.

Now, please don't think that this is a sales speech, because it isn't. Rather, I think of you all as friends and as friends you better believe you would have been invited to my open house debut last night. I was so nervous. Yes, everyone that came I knew. I love the product, which makes it easy to sell, but I was nervous about doing my little speech. I had a few little stumbles but everything went so well! I made a pretty decent commission, earned ton's of free books as rewards and booked two more parties!

I can tell this business is going to be a great fit for me. I can adjust it around my schedule, get to basically talk and have fun with friends, I get some "me" time out of the house and make some extra spending money.  On top of that, I don't ever forsee a time when I am not buying books for my children and this is a great way to get my books at a discounted price. Even if this never turns into a lucrative business I am okay with that.  I may just spend all of my earnings on the books anyways!

I tried a new dip recipe for the party and oh my! It was so good and so easy.


The above pic and link will take you to the original recipe. I changed mine up a bit by adding diced roma tomatoes and omitting the olives. The only reason I omitted the olives was because I didn't have them on hand.
It was so simple and delicious! I may have been responsible for eating half of it. Oh well!

If you want to check out my online catalog or have any questions about the products let me know!

Ashley's online Usborne Catalog

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Belle of the Ball

Okay, not really but I like the title!

Let me just say that I woke up in a terrible mood on Saturday morning and was super stressed. Did I have good reason to be? No. Just was and I couldn't shake it. :(

I had to search a lot to find a dress for this event because I was looking for something long and formal. Long dresses and I don't go together very well due to my by height. I found a dress I fell in love with but it was so long.....  I ended up paying to rush alterations on it and when I picked it up two days before the event it wasn't right. :( At this point I was almost $200.00 into a dress I will probably only wear once (hopefully not, though!) Luckily, she fixed it just in time. Crisis averted ;)

I had my hair and makeup done too on Saturday and was really running behind. I had been rushing and rushing all day and when I finally made it home I had to pretty much just send the kids out the door with the grandparents. Somehow, I forgot to pack a coat or any type of sweater, socks or even a brush for myself. Oops!

Once we finally got settled into our hotel I was able to finally breath and relax and get excited for the night to come.

You guys, our room was amazing! It had a jacuzzi and fire place in the room and view of the marina. We are already trying to come up with a time we can go back and actually spend some time in the room.

showing off the jacuzzi! You better believe that I used this when we got back, even though it was 1 am!

We met up with some other couples for appetizers and drinks in one of the rooms and then all took a shuttle over to the event. It was so nice because someone had volunteered their time and vehicle to shuttle people back and forth so we didn't have to worry about paying for and waiting for taxis.

My handsome hubby! Wish he would wear his uniform more often.
Since none of us had never been before we didn't know what to expect. It was quite crowded but so fun. There was a separate room set up for a silent auction. This event was put on  by a local fire department to benefit the Burn Camp. It is such a great cause and one that we have been supporting for years. I was happy to get the bidding started on some items. We ended up winning a family pass to Jump Zone, which is a fun center filled with bouncy houses, mazes and slides. We have been wanting to go and now we have excuse!

It took people awhile to get out on the dance floor. I don't know why, because the band was great and played a great variety! We spent most of our night on the dance floor. Brandon and I have no rhythm so it made it interesting but oh, so fun!

There was a photographer taking portraits and we ordered one! I can not wait to see how it turned out. There may have been a group photo taken as well but my memory got a bit foggy at one point. :)

 I don't know why we haven't done this before! We had so much fun and plan to make it an annual event!

After leaving the dance we went back to the hotel and played catch phrase and had some snacks.

We finally made it bed around 2 am. Brandon was up at 7 and couldn't go back to sleep.

He threw back the blinds to let the sun in and I may have yelled some choice words at him and kicked him out of our room! I can not be held responsible for words spoken while tired!

We  checked out by ten and found a great little restaurant for brunch. After the most delicious eggs benedict ever (seriously!) we stopped at Trader Joe's and then headed home.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The winter of our lives....

                   "The Rose"
*lyrics by Bette Midler

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose. 
I have loved this song forever. For some reason, it has always touched a special place in my heart, especially the last four lines.

Throughout my life in times of struggle or sorrow, these lines have sporadically popped into my head and into my heart.

Sometimes in the Winter of our lives it is hard to see that Spring is coming. I know I struggle with this. When we are in the midst of sorrow or hardship it can be hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

We can feel like the "snow" is too deep, the seed was not planted deep enough, the sun's rays will never penetrate or Spring will never come.

Trust me, I have been there. I have been deep in the icy depths of Winter and wondered if Spring would ever come.  It does. It always does. ALWAYS. 

I have been struggling with "things" and "stuff" lately. I try to keep it positive and light on this blog, so I haven't let you in as much as I could or maybe should have. 

Like a flower blooming I have felt myself undergoing a transformation. It hasn't been an easy one and I am still a long way from where I need to be......but my point is there were moments in the past (very near past) that I felt like I could hardly come up for air. Somehow, I always have.

How ironic that Spring is quite literally (and figuratively) right around the corner for me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Social

Well, since Kendra woke up extra early with a fever today (again!) I didn't have time to do the post I had originally planned for today. So, instead I joined this week's Sunday Social.
This Weeks Questions: Never Have I ever themed
1. What is one movie you are terrified to watch? 
I am pretty much a scary movie junkie, but anything that has to do with little kids I shy away from. After having my own kids it bothers me ALOT more to see movies in which the children are possessed or hurt in some way.

2. What is one TV show you have always wanted to get into but haven’t yet? 
There are quite a few, actually; The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Downton Abbey.

3. What is one daring activity on your bucket list?
I am not very daring by nature, but would love to step out of my comfort zone.  Does zip-lining count? It isn't daring by a lot of people's standards but it is by mine.
4. Would you ever travel alone?
 I have traveled alone once to visit a friend in another state and although I loved it when I got there, I didn't like the flying part alone. I am not a fan of airplanes!

5. What activities do you like to do alone? 
I love to sit up and watch cheesy Lifetime movies, go shopping alone (that is practically a mini vacation for me!), take a bath in peace, and go for a walk.

Sunday Social

Friday, March 8, 2013

This Week's Happies & Crappies

I was going to do a post of just random bits and pieces from this week but I came across a fun link up on some other blogs and thought I would join in!


- We finally got our living room done! After a few months of different furniture pieces trickling in that we had ordered and finding some accessories, I think we are done! Although, after we got the couches we said we would just get new pillows and ONE end table. Well, we ended up with a lot more than that! :)

Here is a sneak peak!

- The sun has made it's appearance! Now, given it's history it may go back into hiding soon, but whatever. We are going to enjoy it while we can!

Sunshine means bundling up and going to the park. Even though it is cold at least it isn't raining!
- I (think) I found a dress for the fireman's ball next weekend! We haven't been to anything like this and I am paranoid about being under or over dressed! Seriously, I am spending way too much time stressing about this.

So, little things like this make me happy. So pretty and so delicious!

- I finally took the plunge and signed up to be an Usborne Book Consultant and I am so excited you guys! They have the best books and great prices and I can't wait to start selling them. It is a great fit for me since I love the products and I can set my own schedule. I can work as much or as little as I want.  


-Our car is in the shop and needs SO MUCH work done. Luckily, most should be covered by our warranties but seriously?! Our car has well under 100,00 miles on it and it needs a new transmission, timing belt and radiator. If we didn't have warranties we would be looking at at least $8,000 worth of repairs and that doesn't include  the cost of the rental car we need.

- Speaking of  rental cars, I am not a fan of ours. :( I don't want to sound ungrateful but it is a very tight fit for our family and we have no way to transport our dog anywhere. Here's hoping that we get our car back sooner than expected.

- There was some sort of mystery substance on my kitchen floor today and I had to really really scrub it off. I have no idea what it was or how it got there but I am going to pretend it wasn't tracked in on my shoes, because who knows what it was!

- All of my shows were re-runs this week. :( I know it is nothing earth shattering but I love to have some "me" time at night.

What are some of your happies and crappies from this week?

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Bond Between a Brother and Sister

I always knew I wanted my children close in age.  I wanted them to be able to experience the same things around the same times, go through a stage with one and then again with the other right after. I know that once they are in school we will likely be learning the same things at the same time and they will share a lot of the same friends. But, it's more than that, much more.

I wanted my children to be close. I wanted them to grow up as friends and remain close friends. See, I don't really have that. I have one brother who is four years older. Now, that isn't a huge age gap, but it is enough that we didn't run around in the same circles or have the same hobbies. We are as different as night and day. We weren't what you would call friends, sure we loved each other, but we weren't close. Now that we are older we are much closer and get along, but when I was younger I longed to have a close sibling relationship.

I have loved every second of watching the bond form and strengthen over time with my children. It gives me so much joy to witness the little moments and tender exchanges between the two when they think no one is watching. They are fiercely protective of one another and really have become friends now that Kendra is a bit older.

First time holding his sissy

Even though Kendra is younger (by 16 months) she has taken on the role of mother hen with Jaxson. If he is upset about something she is the one to try to console him. If he is angry with me for scolding him or taking away a privelage she lets me have it (no joke...and then she ends up in trouble). If they are fighting over a toy she usually concedes and lets him have his way(we are working on this).
A perfect example of her instincts to "mother" him was last week when he went in for his haircut. He has this very irrational fear of having his hair cut. My mother in law is the one who does it and he is generally very unruly, which is a nice way of putting it. He kicks, cries, screams and runs away and hides. It usually takes 30 minutes of coaxing him and of me almost pulling my hair out. This time he was upset and he climbed onto Kendra's lap. Obviously he is bigger and was half hanging off the chair. She wrapped her little arms around him and stroked his hair, all while rubbing his back and telling him it was okay. She told him to be brave and that she would get her hair cut for him (sorry it doesn't work that way). It brought tears to my eyes to witness such a sweet and loving encounter.

He ended up hiding under a table in the back room and the only person he would let near him was Kendra. So, I had to pretend she was cutting his hair in the back.

Sidenote here:Please don't be thinking that I am traumatizing my child here. He can't not get his hair cut and I can not give in to his tantrums and bad behavior by not getting it cut. He needs to learn that it is a part of life and that he needs to calm down and do it. Believe me, there have been times that I have wanted to throw my hands up and let him grow his hair long. But, he always calms down  and he likes it when it is done and is so proud of it. So, we will continue to work on it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I can already tell that they are going to be best friends. They greet each other with hugs and kisses each morning and cuddle together every night. Now, I know it won't stay like this forever, but I am hopeful that the bond that they are forming now will last a lifetime.