Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sister Fun Night!

Tonight I had a sister fun night with my youngest sister, Faith. My sister-in-law, Mandy, called me last night and practically begged me to let her watch my daughter tonight while my mother-in-law, Jenny, was out of town. I felt bad dumping Emma on her for no reason, but Emma does favor Jenny, her Grammie, and tends to want nothing to do with anyone when Grammie is around. So, Mandy loves to watch Emma whenever Jenny is gone or whenever she can watch Emma at our house. So, I wasn't surprised that she called. I just had nothing planned, especially since I was keeping Faith for my mom, and really wasn't "in need" of a sitter. But, nevertheless, I conceded (eagerly and gratefully, of course!) and decided to make the most of my evening with Faith.

You know, it has been a long time since Faith and I have gotten to hang out as just sisters. My mom is a nurse, so Faith spends a lot of afternoons and evenings with us while my mom works. Emma LOVES her Aunt Faith, and in truth, Faith is probably a bigger help to me with Emma than I am to my mom with Faith. We love to have Faith over, and most of the things Faith and I get to do together also involve Emma. Plus, Faith is only 12 years old. So it's not as easy for me to find things to do with her as it is with my other two sisters, Randi and Kasie, who are 24 and almost 21. Randi, Kasie, and I do a lot of BIG GIRL things together, and I know Faith often feels left out since she is so much younger. As a result, I struggle with finding opportunities to connect with her, and remind her that I'm not just Emma's mom, I'm also her big sister. I want her to always feel like I am here for her and she can talk to me about anything. It's important to me that we have a relationship beyond Emma. Well, thankfully since Emma was staying overnight with Aunt Mandy, tonight was an excellent opportunity to do just that!

We started our evening at a Chocolate for Charity event at a local church. My aunt owns and operates a local bakery, The Elijah Company Bakery, and she was asked to participate in the event. Since I occasionally help them with PR and I have sent several brides her way, she told me about it and asked us to stop by. Trust me, we are huge chocolate lovers, so it didn't take a lot to twist our arm! Basically, you pay $5.00 per person at the door and you get to walk around and try TONS of chocolate desserts! YUM! All the money goes to charity, plus each baker offers up an item to be auctioned at the event and the money from the auction goes to charity as well. It's a great idea and it was great publicity for the bakery. Of course, my aunt's chocolate decadence cookies (my absolute favorite cookies in the entire world!) were the best dessert there and they even impressed the judges! The Elijah Company Bakery walked away with Best Overall Chocolate Dessert at the event and we were thrilled. It was a fun way to start our night, and while chocolate isn't a GREAT dinner choice, it was perfect for sister fun night! We loved every minute of it, and after that we headed to a movie!

I took Faith to see Disney's Prom, which was released this weekend and she has been wanting to go see it, but NOT with my mom...LOL! Anyway, I was excited to take her, because secretly I thought it looked pretty cute too. If you haven't heard of it, here's the trailer.




It was rated PG, and in my opinion it was a perfect, coming of age film for any preteen or teenage girl. It got a lot of bad reviews for being too "squeaky clean", but I mean, seriously?! What's wrong with a clean teen movie for a change?! OMG! A movie about teenagers who aren't sleeping around, pregnant, drinking or doing drugs?! What was Disney thinking?! The audacity! (Hopefully you're picking up on my sarcasm.) I personally thought it was a very cute movie and I loved the soundtrack. I want to download it! Faith and I were rocking out in the theater to all the songs. We loved it.

After the movie we hit up Target for a few "mom" things and got some Starbucks. Now we are just chilling at home watching "Say Yes To The Dress" and getting ready for bed. I am looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and just enjoying my morning without the 6:00 AM wake-up call from the other room and refilling Emma's milk cup 27 times before 9:00 AM. Who knows, we may even play hooky from church?!

I truly had a great time tonight, and I am so happy for moments like these with my sister. She is a special part of my life, and I enjoy making her feel special. She deserves it.


Faith and I at her Sports Banquet in March 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Emma's Pictures Are In!

So, I am so excited because my best friend, Merry, came over last night and brought Emma's 2 year pictures with her!!! We did the photo shoot a few weeks ago at our local park and we were so nervous about how they would turn out, since Emma was being anything BUT cooperative that day. Grr! But, thankfully there were a few crown jewels in the mix and I just wanted to share them with you today!







I just want to take a moment to say thank you to my best friend and the photographer with Little Brown Byrd Creations, Merry. She has done all of Emma's pictures since birth, and they are always wonderful. Our house is full of Merry's photography! And you know, it just makes Emma's pictures that much more special to me knowing my best friend took them.

I just cannot wait to get these ordered and here so I can update all my frames! I just can't believe how much my girl is growing. It's true: Time does fly.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful Friday! I'm looking forward to a cook out with my dad and sisters this evening! It will be wonderful after all the rain we've had! I could definitely use some sister therapy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Your Song?

I love Thursdays! Love them! Today is another "What's Your Song?" link-up with Amber over at Goodnight Moon! If you have time and want to hear some great music and make some new bloggy friends you should totally swing by! We'd love to have you, and it's so much fun!



So, Ladies, after the week I've had I am definitely in need of some good music and I know you girls won't let me down! Today, I may be looking forward to some sunshine after DAYS of yucky, rainy, cold weather, but my inability to correctly do my checkbook is somehow coming back to haunt me. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be a long week! Thank God, it's only 4 days until Monday. Randy's next payday. You know, damn those things that come out automatically that you forget to write down! They always get me! Plus, we are STILL trying to recover from winter and the weeks and weeks of unemployment. While I am grateful for the unemployment, it literally cut my husband's pay in half! Which makes things TOUGH. God, it sucks. Sometimes I hate living in a tourist destination where everything literally dies in the winter, including construction and anything that remotely has to do with construction or rich people spending money. No construction effects my husband's job, which effects his pay, which effects my bills. Yuck. Plus, I'm not very good at balancing my checkbook. You'd think I'd learn, but I don't. And somehow I always end up grappling for answers. I wish summer would get here FOR REAL!

So, I will try my best not to get down, and the one person who always seems to help me relax in these situations is my husband. He is always so calm, and he has been very patient with me and my checkbook issues from day one. Money is exhausting...so exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I can't take another step and then my husband is there to catch me and remind me that everything will work out. It's going to be okay. And no matter what, I always believe him. So, today, I've chosen a really sweet love song. It perfectly reflects how I'm feeling about my husband in the middle of all of this chaos. I hope you like it too.



While you're here, stop by and check out my latest blog post, "The Truth About My Relationship With My Gyno". I promise it will make you laugh and I would love to hear your funny gyno stories, so please leave me your comments. Also, my friend, Lianne, has started a new blog, Quick Hair Do's For The Busy Mom. She's a mom who works full-time and still manages to make her little girl look ADORABLE! So, if you are the mom of a little girl and you want some cute, easy hair do's for your little princess, she's the lady with the tips and the pictures to prove it! So, please swing by and show her some love for me!

I hope you are all have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Truth About My Relationship With My Gyno

Today I have an appointment. Not just any appointment...THAT appointment. You know, the appointment that we all look forward too with such "anticipation" EVERY year?! Yeah...that one. Anyway, mine is a bi-annual exam. Because of my age, my gynecologist only wants to see me every two years which is kind of a blessing, but it's also kind of a curse. Because it just makes it that much longer since the last time I saw him, which for me makes our visits just that much more awkward. Don't get me wrong. I love my gyno. He was amazing during my pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. He has taken care of me over the last two years through phone calls and prescriptions, because he knows I'm self-pay and he is one the few doctor's that actually respects that about me as a patient. I really do appreciate how he always takes that into consideration. We are Facebook friends and when I see him out and about, he always takes time to stop and talk to me. He's a great guy. The best guy with a vaginal speculum a girl could ask for. However, I still have been dreading this appointment.

I mostly dread all the shaving involved with this appointment. Yes, I am the type of girl that shaves her legs EVERYDAY (except for the occasional lazy day). I don't just do it for my husband, I do for myself. I tend to feel better...cleaner, if I shave my legs. If I don't shave, my legs get super itchy and I am super self-conscience about them, so the remedy is to shave everyday. I am also the type of girl who doesn't usually shave above her knee. Yes, I trim up DOWN THERE, but I'm not all about the bald look. I also don't usually shave my thighs, because the hair is so fine you can't really see it anyway. But, not today. Today, I will shave EVERYTHING. I still don't think I will go for the bald look DOWN THERE, but I will definitely trim things up a lot better and neater than I usually do. I mean after all, we don't want to leave a bad impression. So all of this shaving means a lot of extra time in the shower which means extra minutes of me worrying about whether or not Emma is getting into the knife drawer, trying to fly off the back of the couch, or smashing her fingers in every drawer and door in our little house. This also means extra hot water, which we don't have, which means the last half of my shower will most likely be cold, which means that after I get done and the water warms back up I will most likely have to shave one more time before I leave the house. Awesome. It's just so much pressure. Ugh.

I also dread how my feet look and smell. I spend a lot of time giving myself the perfect pedicure and picking out shoes that I know won't make my feet smell. You see, I was born with this weird fungus thing which has caused both of my big toes to have disgusting, brittle looking nails, and currently I don't even have big toe nails. The remedy: Fake, glue on toe nails. Not only do they look great, but I can paint them any color or leave them their lovely French manicure color. I always get compliments on how great my toes look and the funny thing is that not many people know they are fake! (Hint: I just clued you all in on my biggest secret, so Shhhh!) Not only do I want my toe nails to look great, but I want to pick shoes that show off my awesome home pedi and keep my feet from being smelly, which means nothing close toed, nothing suffocating, and absolutely NO socks! I mean, after all, he does spend a lot of time dangerously close to my feet, and the last thing I want him thinking about is, "Man, this girl has really smelly feet!" Right?! Right. As you can see, it's a huge point of anxiety for me, so I do everything I can to alleviate that anxiety and to make our visit just that much less awkward.

Another big dread factor for me: the robe. Not only is it paper thin, but I am required to be completely naked under it. Ugh. Why do gynecologists' offices have to be so freakin' cold?! I mean, seriously. I would pay a lot of money for a cozy fire place in every room or at least a space heater, you know?! I would also go for a big, soft cozy robe. You know like the ones they sell at Bath and Body Works?! Have you seen those?! OMG! We are talking so plush and soft. Yum! Yeah, I could definitely go for a robe like this to make my visit just that much more enjoyable. Not that it could ever be ENJOYABLE, but this robe might get me past the freezing cold and cringing in anticipated pain. Don't you think?!

Yes, the gyno's office is a big source of fear and anxiety for me. I find myself shaving and trimming things I don't even shave and trim for my husband, I devote myself to the perfect home pedicure and maybe even a new pair of shoes, and I daydream about fireplaces and entirely too expensive robes. What about you?! What's your gyno prep story? I know you all have one, so don't be shy or pretend like you don't. I know the truth! So send me your well wishes and leave me your funny stories. I'd love to hear them.

Happy Gynecologist Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do Me A Favor...

I don't know how well this will work, but I thought I'd give it a try. My friend, Lianne, recently started a blog called, "Quick Hair Do's for the Busy Mom". She's the mother to a beautiful four year old girl who ALWAYS has the best looking hair at daycare! Even though Lianne works full-time, she always makes time to have her little girl look her best and she gives all the details to cute hair here in her blog! I mean we're talking step by step to cuteness! Right here! In print and pictures! AH-MAZING! I mean, even if your not a hair person, like myself, you can do these hair do's! Promise. So if you are the mother of little girls or know a mother of little girls, you NEED to follow this blog! You need to show my friend, Lianne, some lovin'! I will forever be grateful to all of my amazing bloggy friends!

Tea for Two

Last night I helped Emma "host" her first Tea Party. There really wasn't much "hosting" going on, since Emma and I were the only ones invited, but it was still fun! My mom bought her a box of Disney princess dress up clothes for her birthday, so we put on some of that stuff. We also got out her new tea set that she got from her great grandparents. It was the best time! You know, I love these moments with my daughter. I love teaching her new things and introducing her to the joys of being a girl. I love watching her play dress up and her fascination with my make-up and my high heeled shoes. I love how her face lights up when she gets to wear one of her pretty little dresses to church. She calls them her "princess" dresses. I love everything about little girls and I just feel so blessed that God gave me my own little princess. I always knew I'd be a good "girl" mom, since I am so girly, and it's nights like last night that remind me that I am perfect for this job.



What's your favorite thing to do with your child(ren)? I'd love to hear about it!

I also have Facebook fan page for my blog! Be sure to check it out and become a fan to get all the latest updates about my blog! Go to Facebook:The Mommyhood Adventure for more details!

Happy Tuesday!

Learn Something New Tuesday!

Today, I'm participating in a new blog hop over at Life with the Dietrich's. You basically answer six themed questions and then hop around and read other bloggers answers. It seems like a lot of fun, so we'll give it a try! If you're interested, you should head on over and join the fun!


Here are the questions and my answers:

1. Do you get nervous before going to a doctor's appointment? YES! I actually have a gynecologist appointment tomorrow and I am DREADING it! I love my OB-GYN, but there is just something about sitting in that chair, spread eagle for all the world to see that really intimidates me. YUCK!

2. Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? I am not a jewelry person. My husband often wishes that I liked jewelry so that it would be easier to buy me gifts! But, alas, I usually end up getting annoyed by every piece of jewelry I own, except for my engagement ring, wedding ring and my promise ring. So, those would probably have to be my favorite pieces of jewelry.

3. What type of songs do you sing in the shower? Well, when I was competing in my karaoke competition, it seemed like those were the only songs I would ever sing in the shower. I would sing them over and over, wherever I went. I sometimes practice my songs for church in the shower, but for the most part, I enjoy a quiet shower. It seems like showering is the only alone time I get anymore, so I usually use it to think and soak in the peace and quiet.

4. When you were younger, did you ever have cartooned sheets? Yes. I had several sets! I had a Precious Moments set, a Cinderella set, and a Tweety Bird set. My mom was ALL about the cartooned sheets!

5. Do you care about the William and Kate wedding? No. I did watch the "William & Kate" movie on Lifetime last week with my sister, but for the most part I could really careless. Am I little jealous? MAYBE...

6. How many TVs are in your house? Just 2. We have a nice flat screen TV in our living room that is my husband's baby, and a crappy little TV set in our bedroom for when we want to watch movies in there, but the screen is so small, you can hardly see it! LOL!


Thanks for stopping by! While your here please check out my newest "mommy" posts, "What Happens When Breast Isn't Best?" , "Broken...A Story of Divorce" and "Tea for Two". I would love to for you to leave me some comments and share with me about your personal experiences.

I also have Facebook fan page for my blog! Be sure to check it out and become a fan to get all the latest updates about my blog! Go to Facebook:The Mommyhood Adventure for more details!


I hope everyone is having a fabulous Tuesday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Easter Story

I trust all of you had a wonderful Easter weekend! I spent my weekend with family, which for me, is the center of every holiday. Friday evening, I got to go on a wonderful date night with my hubby courtesy of my amazing sister, Randi. On Saturday, Emma and I spent the whole day at home just relaxing. Because it was a gloomy day, I made my famous Creamy Ham and Potatoes (YUM! Keep reading for the recipe!). It's the perfect supper for a chilly, rainy day...promise! We also spent a little time outside after the rain cleared off. Emma LOVES to ride her bike, and she was so disappointed when she couldn't accompany her daddy on his motorcycle ride on Saturday. Maybe in a few years...(we'll see!). Sunday morning we went to church, and I was so excited for Emma to wear the hot pink Easter dress I bought her several months ago. She loved her new "princess" dress and we enjoyed an amazing morning of worshiping our Risen Savior! After church, we didn't have to go far to hunt our Easter eggs. Due to the yucky weather, my mom had made arrangements with my pastor for our LARGE family to use the gymnasium and lunch room of our church for Easter dinner and the Easter egg hunt. While the gym didn't provide to many hiding spots for the eggs, the kids still had fun running around picking up as many as they could. Emma especially enjoyed hunting Easter eggs. This was her third Easter (she had two Easters before she turned 1!) and this was the first Easter she was actually starting to understand what it was to "hunt" Easter eggs! It was funny to see her face when she realized all the eggs were filled with yummy candy and even some money. She was so excited! We also had a few "big kid" games my mom had organized for us to win our "money" eggs. I wish I had pictures, but since I was playing, I wasn't able to take any! We did an egg race, played knock-out (a basketball game), and then we all participated in an EGGmazing foot race, where we raced to the end of gym and fought for eggs that contained numbers that would be added to our previous scores and would tell us who were the winners of the big bucks. My sister, Randi, was one of the big winners and my husband and I squeaked by in 3rd place with $5.00 a piece. All in all, it was a lot of fun! After the great egg hunt with my family, we packed up and went to Randy's grandparents house. It was his mother's birthday, so we wanted to be sure that everyone in his family got to see Emma too. It was nice to sit around and visit with everyone, and share Emma's Easter candy with all the big kids in Randy's family. They don't hunt Easter eggs anymore because the youngest grand kids on his side of the family are 14! Emma is the only great grand child for now, but Randy's cousin and his wife are expecting a little girl in August, so hopefully, we will be back to hunting Easter eggs around there soon! Anyway, it was a great day and I loved helping Emma eat some of her yummy candy and open up some of her little Easter toys from her Easter baskets. She had so much fun last night running around and playing with her new $1.00 toys. It was so cute! I wanted to share a few pictures from this weekend. I hope you guys don't mind!



As you can see, our holidays are full of lots of love, and I hope that's something Emma always remembers about holidays with our families.

I wanted to take a quick moment and share my Creamy Ham and Potatoes recipe with all of you recipe lovers. If you are looking for a great crockpot recipe that is perfect for those chilly, rainy days, then this is it! My husband and I love it and I always make enough to last a few days. I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures of me preparing it, this is the first time I've attempted a recipe post, so hopefully you'll forgive me this time.

I originally got this recipe here, but I have modified it and in my opinion my modifications make it better. But, you can try either way. You may also want to modify the recipe to accommodate the size of your family. If you need to add more ham, potatoes or an extra can of soup and milk, be sure to double the other ingredients (trust me, I learned this the hard way!).

Ashley D's Creamy Ham and Potatoes

Ingredients:

- 4 or 5 medium yellow Idaho potatoes, cubed
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 pkg of diced fully cooked ham
- 2 tbsps butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 (10.75 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 1 (10.75 oz) can of milk
- 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a slow cooker, layer potatoes and ham. In a sauce pan, melt butter and add onions. Once onions have caramelized, stir in flour, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add in soup and milk to flour mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Pour soup mixture over ham and potatoes and mix all together. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are tender. If desired, sprinkle cheese before serving.



My husband and I don't put cheese on ours, but I can see why some people would like it that way. I hope you all will give this recipe a try and let me know how you liked it! I am also always looking for quick, easy recipes to try at home, so if you have ANY suggestions, please feel free to leave them! I would love to feature your recipe and your blog in one of my upcoming recipe posts!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

I'm off to enjoy an amazing weekend of family and friends. I got to enjoy a sweet date night with my husband last night thanks to my sister, Randi. We saw "Water for Elephants" and I highly recommend it! Great movie! Tonight I'm looking forward to a night out with the girls to bid one of our favorite local hot spots adieu as this is the last weekend they will be open for business. Sadness. It should be an amazing night filled with laughter and just plain ole' girl time! Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I am looking forward to church with my family and then an afternoon filled with wonderful food and an indoor Easter egg hunt since the rain decided to stick around this year. But, regardless, we are going to make the best of it and I can't wait for a day filled with family and worshiping the Lord as we celebrate what He did for us on the cross.

Today I want to leave you with a music video that perfectly describes what Easter really means to me.



While your here, be sure to stop by and read my newest mommy post, Broken...A Story Of Divorce and leave me your sweet comments if divorce has touched your life. I also want to encourage all of you to stop by Monday and catch a glimpse of my first recipe post! Woohoo! Have a wonderful weekend and God bless!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Broken...A Story of Divorce

“No matter what, once in your life, someone will hurt you. That someone will take all that you are, and rip it into pieces and they won’t even watch where the pieces land. But through the breakdown,
you’ll learn something about yourself. You’ll learn that you’re strong.
And no matter how hard they destroy you, that you can conquer anyone.” ~Unknown

A few weeks ago after I read Jessica's story, it made me think about a dark time in my life. A time in my life I am still waiting to pass. It made me want to share my story and experience with divorce. I don't want to air my parents' dirty laundry, but the truth is their dirty laundry changed my life, and it's a story worth sharing, especially if it helps someone. It's hard to know where to begin, so I'll just start at the beginning.

The first time one of my dad's many affairs came to light was when I was sixteen years old. I will never forget that night. My sister, Randi, and I came home from our church's praise team practice to find our grandmother at our house and my mom sitting in her room with all the lights off. All she would tell us was, "Your dad left."I just sat there in shock, while my sister broke down crying. I remember walking outside, and just kneeling there on our concrete driveway and just praying...praying so hard for some kind of answer. None came, and my three sisters and I each went to stay with friends and family members that night, so that my mom could have some space. I actually spent the night with my pastor and his family, because his daughter, Katie, and I were very good friends. I remember him giving me a big hug that night before I went to bed and just saying, "Ashley, everything is going to be okay. God is in control." As much as I appreciated the comfort in his words, I still cried myself to sleep, because for the first time in my sixteen years of life I was hit with the realization that my parents' marriage was not perfect....it wasn't even close.

I had always thought that my parents had a great marriage. They seemed to have the same hobbies and interests. My mom really didn't have her own hobbies. Everything she did revolved around my sisters and I or our dad. If she wasn't teaching a Sunday School class, or helping in Mission Friends or coaching one of our little league teams, she was golfing with my dad or camping with our family. She and my dad would go to Springfield on dates all the time, and they were both so active in our church. My dad didn't start going to church with us until I was 12 or 13, but once he accepted the Lord and started attending regularly, he became good friends with our Pastor and a member of the Praise Team. My sisters and I were in church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. Randi and I were active in our youth group, members of the Praise Team, and we went to EVERY youth function. We even attended Christian school. My parents had made Christ and family time the center of our lives since before I could remember, and now they were separated?! My dad was having an affair?! You know, when I think back, it all just seemed like a bad dream at the time. I had a really hard time coping with it, and I actually sank into a very dark depression during my sophomore year of high school. My mother took me to see a psychologist and I was put on medication. She was desperate to find anything that would help me. I think the thing that helped me the most was writing, because that was the time in my life when I really started journaling. It became my only outlet. The only way I could get those terrible feelings out.

A few months after my dad left he came back home. My parents had decided to try and work things out. They started going to counseling, and things seemed to get back to normal. We were a family again. We went back to church and started doing family activities like camping and stuff. Things seemed fine, and they stayed that way for a few years until the summer of 2007.

In 2007, I had just finished my second year of college. I had been attending college at a nearby community college and working at our local hospital. I was no longer living at home due to another VERY LONG story. I had been living with my grandmother for almost a year. My parents and I's relationship was a little rocky due to the other VERY LONG story, so I really wasn't aware of any problems at home. My sister, Randi, had rushed all of us into a whirlwind wedding, due to the fact that my mom wouldn't allow her and her boyfriend to move in with each other or elope. So, we spent most of the summer planning her wedding, as well as, anticipating my engagement to my husband which could come at any time. When my dad's second affair surfaced it wasn't as much of a shock this time, but it was still very painful. My dad moved out permanently a week before my sister's wedding. Things have never been the same since.

My mother was very hurt and angry. I know she had every right to feel that way. But, I also know there are two sides to every story and while my dad's many affairs sealed the deal, their marriage had been falling apart for a long time. My father is a very selfish person. I love him, but he is probably one of the most selfish people I know, and when I think back on my childhood I have so many memories of things that he missed out on because he was always out or away doing his own thing. For instance, he missed all our family trips to Branson, our family vacation to Disney World in Florida, and almost all of our school plays and volleyball games. He just wasn't around much, and my mom was left doing and juggling everything. She is amazing, and has always given herself completely to her family...to us girls. I am so grateful to her for all she gave to us, and I know she wouldn't trade any of that for anything.

Of course, my dad is trying to make up for it now, and I am grateful for that too. But, to my mother, it's a little to late. I can understand that, I really can, especially now that I am older. But, sometimes I wish she wasn't so bitter and "holier-than-thou". I wish she didn't always have such negative things to say about my dad. I wish she'd quit wanting us to hate him. I wish she would just let him be our dad. Because no matter how messed up he is as a person, he is still our dad. I don't always have to agree with what he is doing, and just because I speak to him or say, "Hello" to his girlfriend of the moment, doesn't mean I support all of the bad choices he is making. I am just trying to have a relationship with the man who was absent for so long, so that my daughter can have a relationship with him.

Yes, as you can see, my parents have one of THOSE divorces. One of those divorces that took three years before any papers were signed and anything was final. One of those divorces that to this day has resulted in two grown people who still cannot have an adult conversation with each other. One of those divorces where one of my parents is always calling me to "tell" on the other. One of those divorces that has resulted in a lot of dancing around and juggling of holidays and birthdays. One of those divorces that has disintegrated a once loving family into nothingness. It's been brutal, for lack of a better word, and it has changed all of us.

A lot of people ask me how my parents divorce has affected my own marriage, especially since they separated a few months before my wedding. Well, I think the number one way it has affected my marriage is it has caused me to struggle with trust issues. Now don't get me wrong, my husband, Randy, is a great guy. I trust him with every fiber of my being and I know in my heart that he would never leave me. I don't think he's even capable of cheating. But, no matter how much I believe that, no matter how often I remind myself of these truths, there is always that little voice inside my head that whispers, "What if?". It's sad that my father's mistakes could have such an impact on my life, that they could leave me so broken, but they did. As a result, Randy and I have spent the last four years picking up the pieces and constantly revisiting the subject of trust and fidelity.

My parents' divorce has also changed my relationship with my mother, because my parents' divorce has changed my mother. Without going into too much detail, it has left me constantly trying to "prove" myself to my mom. I constantly feel like I have to justify and stand up for myself when I'm with her. I know this is a result of the painful trust issues she now has with everyone she comes in contact with, but it is so exhausting. Sometimes I hang up the phone after I've had a fight with her, and I just cry and cry. I honestly believe that she thinks that their divorce has not affected me at all. She is always defending my two younger sisters and talking about how the divorce has impacted their lives. I think she believe that it didn't leave me broken or hurting at all. It's all just so frustrating and painful. I want nothing more than for my mom to be happy, and I hope someday she gets to do the things that will give her true happiness. I think that once she finds happiness, then the rest of us will be able to grasp our own happiness.

You see, I think that people often believe that divorce only affects small children or teenagers. I think in a way divorce seems easier to explain or excuse to adult children. But, you know, it's not. Watching your parents, the center of your family dynamic, fall apart right before your own wedding is not fun. There is nothing easy about that...nothing. Time does heal, but I'm still waiting for that. I always feel like things are getting better, and then something happens that rips the wound back open. It's painful. It's real. But, part of me refuses to accept that is just life.

Because, divorce is a choice that two people make, but the entire family braves it's journey. It's painful and exhausting. And it's important to have a great support system when you are going through something like this. My support system consists of my husband, my sisters, and my "adopted" mom and her daughters. I could of never made it through such a brutal reality without these people. I also think it's important to have resources you can turn too. A resource that has helped my family is Focus on the Family. They have lots of devotionals and guest discussions that anyone going through a divorce can relate too. I also wanted to share a list of Christian books that some people may find helpful if they are going through a divorce:


I think the biggest encouragement I can give to anyone going through divorce, whether you are the one getting a divorce or if you are a family member struggling through it, is to get involved in your local church. A lot of churches offer a program called DivorceCare which is a support group for people going through such a terrible experience. It's hard to get through the journey without help, and I don't think anyone should feel like they have to suffer alone.

I think everyone who is suffering through or the aftermaths of a divorce all wants one thing: to come out on the other side whole. We want to get through this experience with losing as little of ourselves as possible. We don't want it to consume our lives or dictate every decision we will make from that moment forward. We want to live. We want to enjoy our family. I think it's hard to get to this point, but I don't think it's impossible. I think the best way to get to a place of peace is by seeking the help of others. For me, it was about not letting my parents divorce define me or my own marriage. It is about living my life and giving my daughter a life that is free of the bitterness and hate that divorce often leaves behind. It's about finding that place where it doesn't hurt anymore.

What about you? Do you know someone who is going through a divorce? How has their divorce affected you or your family? I'd love to hear about it and please know that you can email me anytime if you have questions or just need a listening ear. You are going to get through this. You are going to come out stronger. I promise.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"What's Your Song?"

You know what I love about Thursdays? The "What's Your Song?" link-up with Amber over at Goodnight Moon! I have found so many great new songs for my iPod because of this link-up. For instance, the two songs I have on repeat right now were songs I found because of this! Yeah, I love it! So, if you are like me and want to hear some great music and meet some wonderful new bloggy friends, then you should head over and get in on the fun!



Well, today I'm missing summer. It's been chilly and they have called for rain EVERY day this week...even on Easter! Yuck! Welcome to spring, I guess. I just can't believe that two weekends ago I was out on the BOAT with my sister because it was 90 DEGREES and I got a TERRIBLE sunburn! Sheesh! Missouri weather is so fickle! So, anyway, this week I've been listening to my summer playlist wishing for summer to hurry up and get here! I love summer! I love everything about summer where I live. I live at a popular tourist destination, and I am truly a Lake girl through and through. Well, today I've chosen one of my favorite summer songs that always reminds me of where I live. My sisters and I even like to karaoke to this song when we are feeling silly!



What about you? What's your favorite summer song and why? I'd love to hear about it, so leave me a comment!

Also, while your here, be sure to stop by at check out the final results of my karaoke competition or check out my newest mommy blog post, "What Happens When Breast Isn't Best?". I would love to hear your thoughts! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday! Wish me luck I'm dyeing eggs with my 3 year old nephew and 2 year old daughter today! Yikes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waltz On By Wednesday

Today I'm participating in a new blog hop over at Home Sweet Farm! If you wanna meet some great new bloggy friends, be sure to stop by and leave your link!



While your here, be sure to check out yesterday's post, What Happens When Breast Isn't Best? and leave me your comments! I'd love to know what you think! Or feel free to poke around and scope out the great videos of me competing in the finals of my karaoke competition last week! Or please, check out some of the other great bloggers I follow under My Blog List tab!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Wednesday! I'm stuck in a classroom subbing today! Here's to educating young minds! :) Anyway, I just want to leave you all with a song that has been stuck in my head for days!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Happens When Breast Isn't Best?

I was inspired to write this blog post from a guest post I read over at The Poop Whisper. If you are a new mom or a soon-to-be mom who is looking for great advice and lively discussion from other moms you should definitely check out their blog. It's great! Anyway, their most recent post is a guest post from a blogger named Ashley, who is sharing her experience with formula feeding. I, for one, was thrilled that they decided to spotlight a mother who used formula, especially since there is such a stigma attached to formula feeding. After reading her post, I decided I would write my own post to share my own thoughts and experiences with formula feeding. Before I get started, please don't get me wrong. I ADMIRE women who breast feed. I believe with every fiber of my being that breast milk, even the smallest amount in the earliest days of life, is EXTREMELY beneficial to a child's immune system. Trust me, if you are one of the many women who was/is able to breast feed their child for up to a year, then you have my deepest respect. Kudos. I don't want to argue about what, health wise, is best for every child. It's breast milk. We know. I get it. I would just like to point out that breast feeding is not always plausible for every mother, and that if you're one of those mothers who *gasp* was/is unable to breast feed then I'm here to tell you that it's okay. You're not going to hell. You're child will not die of some terrible immune disorder just because you didn't breast feed. You're going to be okay, and most likely, so is your child. Here's my story.


My pregnancy with my daughter was a LITTLE unexpected. Never mind that I had stopped my birth control pills 3 months prior to my pregnancy, because, emotionally, it was unexpected. Nevertheless, I buckled down. I did everything I was supposed to do! I laid off the caffeine, started drinking *gasp* MILK, and eating healthier. I wasn't able to take my prenatal vitamins because they made my "morning" sickness worse, so I supplemented fresh spinach and prune juice (GAG!) to my diet in order to get Emma the iron she needed. I read every baby book I could get my hands on, subscribed to pregnancy magazines, and spent hours online researching my questions, reading how-to articles, and taking advice from mothers I didn't even know!

One of the things I researched the most was breast feeding. I had decided very early on that I was going to breast feed my daughter. I bought everything from the breast pump to the nipple cream in anticipation for the long haul. I saved every article I had EVER read about breast feeding and I consulted them many times during my pregnancy. I even took some of them to the hospital with me just in case I had questions the nurses couldn't answer (our hospital does not have a lactation consultant). I was ready. I was GOING to do this. Period.

Well, the truth is, you really don't know what kind of mom you are going to be until it happens. You can plan, and you can have all the best intentions, but its the obstacles and the hard choices that make you into the mother you are going to be...not your pregnancy. And as much as I thought I knew, and as prepared as I thought I was...I wasn't. Not at all. There I was with a brand new baby and a ton of feelings and emotions that made me feel so unsure of myself. Breast feeding was challenging from day #1. Emma just wouldn't latch right, and on top of everything else I was feeling, I was worried she wasn't getting enough to eat. I started supplementing with formula while I was in the hospital. The nurses gave me a syringe with a tube attached to it. We would fill the syringe up with formula and and the run the tube down beside my nipple. Emma would latch onto my nipple and the tube to get the formula. This allowed my breasts to still get stimulation, but also made me feel like Emma was getting enough to eat. I would also pump in between feedings. Nothing. Two weeks in and I was still waiting for my breast milk. It was frustrating, because I knew it could take a while for my milk to come in, but I just didn't have the patience to wait for it. Plus, all those feelings and emotions turned out to be postpartum depression. I was so lonely and I felt like I had no one to talk to about my struggles with motherhood. I mean, why wasn't I madly in love with motherhood like all the other mothers I knew? Why wasn't THIS everything I had dreamed it would be? Why did I feel the need to cry all the time? Why did I feel so trapped? Why wasn't I strong enough to just keep trying breast feeding? Well, the truth was I wasn't strong enough. I was in a very weak emotional state, and I knew I needed to take every step necessary to get better so I could be the mother I knew was hiding in there somewhere.

So, two weeks after my daughter was born I made a decision, not just for me, but for her. We switched completely to formula. She took to the bottle and the 4 oz. of formula with ease. She began sleeping better at night and fussing less during the day. I began to feel less and less trapped. I began to get stronger and I became more confident in my ability to mother MY child. I no longer cared what everyone thought about me breast feeding. To be honest, its not any of their business. Just because I gave my child a BOTTLE and fed her FORMULA didn't make me a bad mom, it made me willing to do anything to get myself in a better emotional state so that I could be a better mom.

Emma is now two years old! She is healthy, happy, and was hardly ever sick during her first or second year of life. The pediatrician always told me how beautiful she looked, and assured me that I was/am doing a great job. Aside from being a bit of a picky eater and still liking her milk warm, she is a wonderful little girl. She has her quirks like everyone else, but I don't attribute any of those quirks to the fact that I didn't breast feed and I never will.

I think breast feeding a choice. It's not something you have to do, and I don't think any mother should be forced to feel like she HAS to breast feed. Because more often than not, formula fed children turn out just fine. I think the pressure and the unsympathetic tone of those who push breast feeding is what makes breast feeding so hard. It's hard for anyone to function under that much pressure and expectation. So, if you are a new mother who is considering switching to formula, because your having a hard time and your tired of the pressure, then let me be the voice whispering in your ear, "It's okay. You are not a bad mom. You gave it a go, it didn't work out, and that is okay." You haven't failed. You aren't sentencing your child to a lifetime of runny noses, ear infections, or flu bugs. Your child isn't going to love you less or stand up and throw that bottle back in your face (at least, I don't think so!). You are a great mom. You should do whatever you feel is best for YOUR child. Period. End of discussion.

I really hope this post speaks to someone out there, and feel free to email me if you have questions. I would love to talk with you about formula feeding, NOT feeding your child organic baby food, or maybe even those awful feeling you may be having a hard time dealing with. I'm here for you...for all of you! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday and I look forward to your comments!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Mingle #2

It's Monday! That means it's time for everyone to link up and have some fun with the Monday Mingle over at Eighty MPH Mom! So head over there and get your vlog on!








You can check out the videos from the finals of my karaoke competition here! It was a lot of fun and a big moment for me! But, we are glad things are back to normal around here, and we can move onto to more important things like potty training and planning family camping trips!

Happy Monday!

The ABC's Of Me...

I got this great idea from my new blogger friend, Mrs. O's Life! Visit her blog to check out her ABC's and then copy, paste and share your own! Be sure to leave a comment where I can check out your's too!



Here goes:

A: Age: 25

B: Bed size: Queen

C: Chore you dislike: Dusting is probably my least favorite...I hardly do it! I also hate to fold and put away laundry!

D: Dogs: No, I am not a dog person...I'm actually not a animal person at all. But, we do have a Black Lab named, Bo.

E: Essential start of my day: My blog, a bowl of cereal, and a glass of tea...maybe a glass of Diet DP, it really depends on how rough the morning is! :)

F: Favorite color: Purple

G: Gold or Silver: White gold

H: Height: 5'3"

I: Instruments that you can play: None...I am not instrumentally inclined :(

J: Job title: "Little Wifey" and "Mommy"

K: Kids: Just one for now! My two year old daughter, Emma Grace.

L: Live: Missouri

M: Mom's name: Kelly

N: Nicknames: None really :(

O: Overnight Hospital Stays: Just for the birth of my daughter

P: Pet Peeve: Slow drivers and coming home to a messy house after my husband has been home alone all weekend...Grrr!

Q: Quote from a movie:
"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face, you kind of have to be fully committed." - "Eat, Pray, Love"

R: Righty of Lefty: Lefty, baby!

S: Siblings: 3 younger sisters

T: Time you wake up: Well it depends on my daughter, but usually between 6:30 and 7:30 AM!

U: Underwear - low-rise cotton bikini from VS!

V: Vegetables you dislike: I think peas are pretty gross, and I won't eat cabbage, radishes, or turnips.

W: What makes you run late: I'm ALWAYS late! It's hard to get you and someone else up and ready to go in the morning.

X: X-Rays: None that I can think of!

Y: Yummy food you make: I make this great crockpot dinner called creamy ham and potatoes, and I make a mean baked ziti! YUM!

Z: Zoo favorite animal:
None, really. I am not an animal person! :(

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day #30: 30 Day Challenge

Friday was supposed to be Day #30 of my 30 Day Challenge, but I was so overwhelmed by the results from my karaoke competition, that I could only manage the one post. So, after giving myself a few days to recuperate, I have decided to finally post the last day of my 30 Day Challenge.

Today, I am supposed to share a picture of someone I miss. Well, this one is difficult, because I don't have a lot of people I miss. I am blessed to still have all of my grandparents, and my family has not suffered any loss other than my great-grandmother when I was five years old. We have really been blessed. When I was a senior in high school, our youth group lost one of our group leaders: a brave woman, named Barbara, who had battled liver problems and a liver transplant for years. She was an inspiration to all of us, and all of the girls in our youth group took the loss very hard, especially my sister and two of her friends who were very close to Barbara. I still consider Barbara's death as a milestone in my life, and I still miss her everyday. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Barbara to share for this post.

So, as I thought about this post I thought why does it have to be a person? Why can't it be something or a moment in time that has/ or will stick with you forever? Well, since this is my blog, I thought there is no reason why it couldn't and I decided to share this:

Bootlegger Idol 2011

I know it seems silly, but my friend, Erica and I were just talking about this on our way home Thursday night. We were wondering what we were gonna do now that the karaoke competition was over? It is kind of a sad thought. I made so many wonderful memories with so many wonderful people over the last 10 weeks, and I wouldn't give those moments back for anything. I learned so much about myself because of this competition, and I will forever be grateful for the way I have grown not only as a singer, but as a person. Yes, as pathetic as it may sound, I will miss Thursdays at Bootleggers. I think I will miss it, because deep down I know that I probably won't ever be able to do it again. It was a glorious opportunity, a beautiful moment in my life, and even though I didn't win, I would do it all over again for the memories, the laughter, and the learning experience.

What about you? Do you have someone or a moment you miss? I'd love to hear about it! Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Results Are In...

Well, it's over! Last night was the finals of my karaoke competition, and I am a little sad to report that while I made it to one of the Top 12 spots, last night was the end of the road for me. It was an amazing adventure to say the least, and while I did not take home any of the $5,000 in cash prizes, I did come away with a great experience under my belt that taught me so much about myself. I love to sing and do karaoke, and I learned and grew so much from this competition. I feel like I got better every week, and I feel so privilege just to have made it as far as I did! Every one of the Top 6 deserved to be one of the Top 6. They each brought their own sense of style to the competition, and we all made Bootlegger Idol 2011 an event to remember.

Last night we each had to perform 3 songs: The song from our best week of competition, another song from the previous weeks that we wanted to do again, and a new song. And let me tell you, everyone came with their A game last night! It was an amazing show! The little girl that won 1st place did one of her songs standing on the bar, and another finalist sang Katy Perry's "Firework" with sparklers and a dancer dancing with a light up hula hoop! The guy who won 5th place ended up purposely smashing a Guitar Hero guitar in the middle of his performance, and the 2nd place winner gave an amazing rendition of Shinedown's "Simple Man" complete with whiskey! It was a night to remember, and I saw several people give the best performances I have ever seen them do last night. It was amazing. It was truly anybody's game, because nobody was going down without a fight.

What did I do? Well, you'll have to watch my videos to find out. Once again, I will apologize for the sound on my camera...it's awful. But, maybe this will give you a glimpse of my performances last night. I hope you enjoy them!










You might ask me, "Well aren't you upset that you lost, Ashley?" and the truth is that while I am disappointed, I am not angry or hurt. I honestly believe that every single person that won last night deserved it. While every single one of us in the Top 12 were good, the ones who made it through to the Top 6 were just better. And you know, that's okay. Yes, I am disappointed that I devoted so much time and money to this competition only to walk away with nothing. But, that was the risk I was taking and I knew that. I am also disappointed, because a part of me feels like my best wasn't quite good enough, and it's kind of heartbreaking to have anyone tell you that you aren't good enough.

But, you know, all I can say is that I gave 100% to this competition. I literally gave it everything I had to give, and I realize that is all I can do. I don't need to win a karaoke competition to feel good about myself. I don't need judges on a panel, who hardly know me, to tell me whether or not I'm talented. I don't need those things, because you know what?! I am talented. I wouldn't of made it as far as I did if I wasn't. I know that, my husband knows that, and so do all my friends who came out every week to support me, and that is all that matters. It was a truly great experience and I loved every minute of it. It was a beautiful let down. A check off my bucket list. The perfect beginning to my last summer of real freedom. I am not disappointed at all that I did it. Not one bit.

I just want to thank my amazing sister, Randi for sticking with me through the whole thing. If it wouldn't of been for her, I would of never even auditioned! I love that she pushed me to step outside my box and try something new. I am a better person because she did this with me and I owe the fact that I was even up on that stage last night to her. I also want to thank my husband for letting me do this. He spent so many Thursday nights at home alone with Emma just so that I could get out and do something I was passionate about! He's ate a lot of crappy dinners and re worn a lot of his jeans because I was behind on laundry due to the competition. He has been a real trooper and I just love him so much for giving me room to do this. If I would of won anything last night, it would of been because of these two people.

And a big thank you to all of you who followed me on this journey! It has been a great one! And now I'm moving onto my newest adventure: potty training! Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day #29: 30 Day Challenge

If you can't tell, I'm sort of OVER this challenge! Bleh! But, I will keeping on keeping on since I only have one more day left! YAY!

Anyway, today is Day #29 of my 30 Day Challenge and I am supposed to share a picture of that makes me smile.

Me, Kasie, and Randi at Group Night
of Bootlegger Idol
.

Nothing makes me smile more than these girls. They are my best friends. My sanity. My swift kick in the butt. My reality check. My biggest fans. They are everything to me, and my life would be one crazy mess without them. I love you, girls!

"What's Your Song?"

We are up early today...bleh! 6:30 is a little early for us, especially since we were up from 2:00 to 4:00 AM. I think Emma's two year molars are bothering her, and neither one of us has enjoyed very much sleep over the past three days. It's exhausting! Especially since tonight is the Grand Final of my karaoke competition!

Yes, tonight is the night! Tonight I compete with 11 other contestants for $5,o00 in cash prizes and the title of Bootlegger Idol. I am so excited and nervous in the same breath! I have butterflies in my stomach! I have to do three songs tonight, which will definitely do a number on my voice, and I really have to pull out all the stops for these! I mean, I have actors in my first song and money coming out of my dress in the last number! Sheesh! It's going to be exhausting! But, I'm excited to have made it this far and I'm really hoping I can wow the judges and the crowd this week. Wish me luck!

Amber really wanted me to post one of my videos from my karaoke competition for this week's "What's Your Song?" Link-up. But, my videos aren't really that great and it's better if you just revisit my blog posts regarding the karaoke competition if you want to watch my videos, that way I have a chance to explain their crappiness! But, I promise that if I have at least one good video from this week, and I win some money, I'll try to post one of those next week for "What's Your Song?" . Promise.

This week I've chosen one of my favorite songs right now! I just love Miranda Lambert, and I think this is one of her best songs ever.



My favorite line is in the chorus, "I heard Jesus, he drank wine, and I bet we'd get along just fine..." Do you ever feel that way? I feel that way a lot. Sometimes its nice to know that God accepts us for who we are. There are no secrets from Him, He knows everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly, and He still chooses to love us. Yeah, that's why I like this song!

I also wanted to share the song that has become my ballad for this karaoke competition! I wish I had the guts to sing it, but the people I'm singing for at Bootleggers aren't exactly "show tunes" people! I'd probably get boo-ed off the stage! But, I would love to do this song, and I listen to it EVERY night before competition!



"Get ready for me, love, because I'm a comer!" That is my favorite line! For me it's like, "Get ready for me, Bootleggers, I am not to be overlooked! I deserve to be here!"

I hope you all are already having a wonderful Thursday and if you are new to my blog, head on over to Amber at Goodnight Moon to get in on the fun!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day #28: 30 Day Challenge

Today I will be spending my day at home watching my nephew, Noah and hopefully working on some of the choreography for my songs for tomorrow's karaoke competition. I am so freaking nervous about it, and I'm glad that Noah will be here to distract and play with Emma. She is always excited when her "No-No" comes over, and for the first two hours, they play great! Unfortunately, at the end of the day they are still cousins (ages 3 and 2), and everyone knows that cousins do one thing best...fight! (It's cute, until it's not anymore!) Anyway, it should be a good day and I'm praying for nicer weather, so we can spend most of the day outside. They love to play outside together, and these are the afternoons I really wish I had a swing set!

Noah and Emma
Halloween 2010


Today is Day #28 of my 30 Day Challenge. Today, I am supposed to post a picture of something I am afraid of. Well, this one was kind of easy, since I have a few things that are really scary to me.



I am terrified of wasps. We don't just have yellow and black ones in the Midwest, we have the big red ones too! And from what I've heard, theirs stings hurt the worst! I am such a wimp when it comes to wasp, and right now they are really out and about, because they are just waking up from hibernation. I always get them in my house this time of year, and I'm scared to swat at them. Instead, I have a can of wasp spray that I keep within arms reach at all times and I usually just spray them down and then step on them. It's kind of pathetic really, my husband spends a lot of time laughing at me about it.


I am really scared of losing our house to a fire. I have been afraid of a house fire since I was a child. I used to take my back pack to school full of my favorite belongings instead of my homework, because I was worried my house would burn down while I was at school! I often think of what I would grab and where it is in our house if our home were to ever catch fire. It's crazy, I know.


If you live in the Midwest, you'd be crazy not to be afraid of tornadoes. We are currently entering into our 2011 tornado season, and everyone is on edge every time their is a storm with a lot of wind. The summer after my husband and I got married, the roof blew off of our house during a freak storm that produced straight line winds. Thankfully, neither one of us was home, but it really changed how we view storms. Since, we live in a double wide, there is no where safe in our home for us to be during a tornado. We would most likely have to high tail it to the road ditch if we were about to get hit by one. Thankfully, when it's storming, we spend a lot of time watching and listening to the weather and if things do get hairy, we head over to his parents house, which is about 5 minutes away. I don't think I'll ever NOT be scared of tornadoes, even when we finally live in a real house.



I am terrified of death. I think most young parents are. It's scary to think about dying while your children are young, or worse, it's even scarier to think about losing a child. I have a lot of fear about death. I am a born again Christian and I believe in life after death. I believe that I will go to heaven when I die, but knowing that still doesn't give me any peace about it. Because death is scary to think about, you know?

Anyway, so those are the things that scare me the most. What about you? What are you the most afraid of?

Today I will be saying another prayer for Jessica. I hope you all will take a minute and read my blog from yesterday regarding the incident, and that you too will be compelled to pray for her.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Tuesday! I hope you will think of me today as I battle two toddlers! Sometimes it's fun, and then sometimes not so much, so knowing there are good thoughts out there for me may help to get me through.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Does Anybody Hear Her...

I have been so blessed by several of the milispouse bloggers I have met over the past few months. So many of you have taken me in, followed my blog, and let me participate in your lives. I am so grateful, especially since neither my husband or I are in the service. To be honest, the only person I really know in the service is my husband's cousin who is in the Navy and is currently stationed in Florida with his new wife. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who is over in Afghanistan or fighting in the thick of it somewhere else in the Middle East. I wish I did, I wish I could say that I had connection to all of you, but I don't. All I have is this immense gratitude that fills up my heart. I am so grateful for every service man and woman in our Armed Forces. I am also grateful for the families of these brave men and women who sacrifice just as much as their loved ones do, so that we can live in this gloriously free country. This country has so many things to be thankful for, but one huge blessing is that we don't have to force anyone to protect our country. Every single person in our Armed Forces volunteered. YOU VOLUNTEERED. You give of yourselves everyday so that I, my husband, my daughter, and my family can enjoy every freedom this country has to offer. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. No, really, thank you.

I have been reading some of your blogs regarding Jessica. I am sorry to say that I was not a follower of her blog, but when I saw so many posts about her yesterday and today, I just had to see what was up. So, I found her blog. I read her letter, and my heart just broke wide open for her. I cannot imagine the pain and rejection she was feeling that brought her to that point. I read all of the comments, and all of the out pouring of love and support you have all given her since that message posted. You gals are just amazing. I hope it's true that someone has located her and that she is safe and getting treatment. I hope that someday she can come back to her blog and read all of that love you all left her. I hope she can see that she was never alone. Someone...you all...were listening.

Her story and blog actually brought to mind this song. I don't know if any of you have heard it, but it's a beautiful truth. A challenge for all of us.



I've never had to deal PTSD, but I did deal with terrible postpartum depression after my daughter was born. I was in a very dark place, and adjusting to my new life with my daughter was anything, but easy. I never considered harming myself or my daughter, but I did contemplate running away, because at the time, it just seemed easier. I blogged openly about my struggle in my post Goodbye Monday, so that other mothers would have the chance to see that they are not alone. Motherhood, especially new motherhood, is a big adjustment and any type of depression should be taken seriously. We may be woman, but we are human. We feel, and as women, we feel very deeply. And that is why it is so important for us to continue to reach out to one another no matter what we are struggling with, and we should meet everyone's cry for help with respect and encouragement.

I hope you all will take the time to pray for Jessica today, and if any of you are in a dark place where you feel alone, abandoned, or angry my friend, Shannon, over at Eat. Pray, Love...LIVE! just posted some information about a great resource for military families who are struggling with a similar situation. If you know someone who may be in need of this information, please pass it along.

Eat, Pray, Live...LOVE



Day #27: 30 Day Challenge

I am so excited! Today I am taking Emma to have her 2 year pictures done. My best friend, Merry, has done all of her pictures since birth and she always does a great job! Like seriously, I always get tons of compliments and people can't believe I didn't have them "professionally" done.


Those are in order from newborn to the recent Christmas pictures she did for us. I am always 100% happy with what she gives me, and it saves me so much money! I love it! So, as you can see, I have a good reason to be excited about our pictures for today. We are going to take Emma to the city park. We think we can get some really candid and fun shots, plus HOPEFULLY a few sit down and posed shots. She really, REALLY doesn't like to sit still, especially for pictures. But, I'm hoping that after a good nap and a lure that we are going to the park that she will be more cooperative! Terrible Two's stay away today...please! I can't wait to share them with you guys!

Anyway, today is Day #27 of my 30 Day Challenge. Today, I am supposed to share a picture of myself and a family member. This one seems really repetitive of Day #10, but I'm trying not to be too picky since this originated on Facebook and whoever developed it was probably really uncreative, and was running out of good ideas. Well, today, I am going to cheat! I just cannot pick just ONE family member for this post. Like I said, I have a BIG family, and there are so many pictures! So, what's the smart thing to do? Well, I think I'll just share a few of them!


From top left to bottom right: Me with my sisters, Randi and Kasie, at Group Night of the karaoke competition; Me with all my sisters, my dad, my grandpa, and my daughter at my Grandpa's birthday dinner 2010; Me with my Grandma at Christmas dinner 2010; Me with my mom and sister, Faith, at her Sport's Banquet in March; Me with my cousin, Taylor, at Group Night of the karaoke competition; Me with my sister, Faith, wedding dress shopping with our cousin in 2010; Me with my sisters and my dad at his birthday dinner 2010; Me with my cousins, Marlee and Taylor, Halloween 2010; and me with my husband at Group Night of the karaoke competition.

I think these are only half of the pictures I wanted to share! I love my family so much and I wish I had time to share all of them! What about you? If you had to share one picture of you and a family member, what would you share?

I hope you have a fabulous Tuesday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day #26: 30 Day Challenge

I am so tired today! Ugh. This weekend was so busy. We celebrated my daughter's 2nd birthday and I got a terrible sunburn on Saturday when I went boating with my sister. I think the pain from that isn't helping anything, especially my sleep. This morning when Emma wandered into my bedroom at 7:20, I DID NOT want to get up! Bleh. But, I did. We need to go to the bank and the store early this morning, so we can pick my sister up from school later. So, our Monday is already ready to begin!

I promised I would share some pictures from Emma's birthday party yesterday! We had a great time, and Emma is such a blessed little girl! She received so many nice gifts, and a big thank you goes to my mom who put the whole thing together and to my aunt who made the delicious cake and cupcakes! I didn't have to do anything, but show up and that was kind of nice! I got enjoy Emma's day with her completely and that's what matters to me.


Emma turns 2!

The woman in the bottom right corner is my mom, and she was responsible for making Emma's day such a success. Emma is so blessed to have such a wonderful grandma. She has encouraged our life in so many ways, and I feel so lucky I get to call her mom.

Anyway, today is Day#26 of my 30 Day Challenge. Today I am supposed to share a picture of something that means a lot to me. Well, this weekend is a perfect example of the one thing that means more to me than anything...family time.

The Dickerson Family Tree 2010

I was born into a big, crazy family! We are loud, occasionally out of control, and we often drive each other crazy. (My husband has a hard time with our insanity!) But, no matter what we always love and support each other. Everyone's birthday is a big deal and everyone's heartache is worth defending. We might be crazy, but it's worth it to have these guys behind you. I wouldn't trade them for the whole world, and I am so blessed that Emma gets to know and share them with me. Spending time with my family is extremely important to me, and I am so blessed for Randy's patience and understanding with me in this.

What about you? What means the most to you? Let me know! I hope your Monday is as fabulous as they come!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day #25: 30 Day Challenge

I am so excited for all the gorgeous weather we are enjoying here in the Midwest! It has felt like summer this weekend, and I couldn't be more grateful. I have missed the warmth and sunshine all winter, and I am so glad that it is finally here. I hope it sticks around for a few more days! Today we will be celebrating Emma's birthday with my mom's side of the family. We go to my Grandma's every Sunday for lunch anyway, so it just made sense to have Emma's party with my extended family at that time. My aunt will be making her birthday cake and cupcakes, so I'll be sure to post pictures tomorrow because they will be beautiful and yummy! It is going to be a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to celebrating Emma with family and friends.

Today is Day #25 of my 30 Day Challenge. I am supposed to post a picture of my day! Well, I'm going to cheat and post a picture from yesterday. I usually do my posting in the morning and we will be very busy this afternoon, so I may not have time to post a picture later.

Yesterday was an amazing day! I spent it on the Lake with my sister, Randi. My sisters work at a local gas dock, and their boss LOVES us! He is so generous to let us take his boats out several times throughout the summer, and just charge us for the fuel. It has made for some amazing memories. Well, yesterday he made our day, and it was definitely one of those days I love living at the Lake. There weren't any tourists, the waters were pretty calm, and we had an easy time finding places to cove out and enjoy the sun. We loved every minute of it!


Summer girls 2011

I just love these moments with my sister. We don't get to spend a lot of time together minus the kids, and it was nice to just be able to talk and relax. We look like lobsters today, but it was worth it. It was one of the best Saturdays I have had in a long time, and I'm looking forward to many more afternoons at the gas dock this summer!

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I do not receive monetary compensation from any of the products, companies, or organizations I promote through my blog, unless otherwise specified during a giveaway or promotion. I am just your average mom trying to share products that I enjoy with other moms, as well as organizations and charities I believe in.