Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Few & The Proud


I didn't get a chance yesterday due to my husband's birthday, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Memorial Day and what it means to so many. I read several blog posts this past weekend that really changed my opinion of Memorial Day and what it means to wish others a "happy" Memorial Day. You can find those posts here and here. But, the post that had the greatest impact on me was this letter that has been circulating around the internet and blogosphere. Deb's letter literally broke my heart and gave me an whole new perspective on Memorial Day.

Growing up, Memorial Day was the day my grandma would pack up all of us grand kids and take us to visit my great-grandmother's grave. My grandma would spend weeks choosing the perfect artificial flowers to place in the two giant urns which decorate my great-grandmother's headstone. While my grandma changed the flowers, my cousins, sisters, and I would wander around asking about all the people in the cemetery since we are related to most of them. We were always amazed at how many children were buried beneath the older headstones. As children the death of a child was something that was hard for us to comprehend. When my grandma was done with the flowers, we would load up, go visit some of her relatives that live near the cemetery, enjoy a picnic lunch, and possibly do some swimming in the nearby creek. We always looked forward to going with her. It was our way of connecting with our past and how we came to be, even if we didn't realize it at the time.

Now that I'm older, I don't get to go with my grandma. I haven't been to visit my great-grandmother's grave site in years. I always feel a twinge of sadness and guilt every time Memorial Day comes and goes and I wasn't able to go with my grandma again this year. I hope that when the time comes that I can be as faithful to her and my mom's graves as she has been to her mother's.

For me, Memorial Day has always been a time to remember family members and friends who have died. I have never lost anyone close to me because of their service in the military, so while I knew Memorial Day was a time to honor our troops too, it never really hit home how important it was to remember those who have died sacrificing everything they have for our freedoms until this year.

While I'm ashamed to admit it, it's the truth. I think a lot of us take Memorial Day and what it truly means for granted and I personally am going to try to do more to make sure that the day no longer comes and goes without me at least taking a moment to say a prayer for all of those who are in the service and for those who have lost love ones in the service. I also want to try to do what Deb's letter asked and I want to start taking Emma to a nearby military cemetery on Memorial Day. I think it is important for her to see that her freedom truly isn't free. I also want to start sending cards to my state's VA hospital around Memorial Day. I really want to take the time to thank those who have fought and who are still fighting for what I take for granted everyday.

This is how I want to change Memorial Day for me and my family, and I hope that after you read some of the posts I have shared, that you too will be encouraged to do something other than BBQ's and swimming next Memorial Day.

******

I also wanted to take a moment and share a few pictures from our weekend. Randy's birthday was yesterday, and Sunday I had the privilege of going with him to a Charlie Daniel's Band concert. Our local amphitheater hosted it and it was a beautiful, sunny day after almost a week of rain. We weren't able to stay for the whole thing due to a bonfire we were having that night for some of our friends, but what we did get to see was awesome. Charlie Daniel definitely knows how to put on a show and he is such down to earth and patriotic man. He frequently referenced our troops and our freedom, and the show opened with a salute to the different branches of the military and our local high school choir singing the national anthem. That was truly a beautiful moment. One of the highlights for me. While I didn't take very many pictures, I wanted to share a few of them with you. I hope you don't mind :)

{Randy with his cousin, Tyler and friend, Cyle}


{The salute to the troops with the choir}


{Whitey Morgan and the 78 Specials}


{The Dirt Drifters}


{Me and the hubs}


{Charlie Daniel's Band}

It was a nice weekend. Randy's birthday was relatively low key and we didn't do much, but that's kind of how he likes it anyway. The concert was a memorable experience for him, and I think he is glad that we went. Next year he'll be 25, so I'll have to plan something really special!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Morning Scene

I love Saturdays, except for the fact that today is rainy and dreary just like it has been EVERY OTHER day this week! But, I am holding out for tomorrow and the promise of sunshine! Not only sunshine, but 85 degree temps! YAY! F.I.N.A.L.L.Y! I really hope the weather people are right and not lying to me, because I may just have to hunt me down a weather girl if I don't see some rays tomorrow (Seriously, I'm not kidding...).

Plus, tomorrow my husband and I scored two free tickets to see the Charlie Daniel's Band! I know, I know...you are probably thinking, "The Charlie Daniel's Band?! Woo, Ashley... (Not)"
But, my husband loves the Charlie Daniel's Band and Monday is his birthday, so he is really excited about the free tickets (even if they are for crappy seats!) and I'm excited that we found a way to make his birthday memorable.

So, I guess we'll take another day of rain if it means that we will have a few nice days tomorrow and Monday, and I'm kind of looking forward to a day of relaxation. Emma and I will go to work with Randy later today, but for now we are just chilling at home while Daddy's away getting the new tire put on his motorcycle.

Here's a glimpse of our morning:


Nothing warms my heart more than when Emma gets out her story book Bible and tries to "read" it. I hear her babbling about "Jesus" and the different pictures in the stories while she talks to herself, and it definitely gives me goosebumps along with one of those, "I must be doing something right" moments. Yes, this momma's heart is full of joy this morning.

I also made some blueberry muffins this morning! While my blueberry muffins DO NOT look anything like these (I am trying to work up the courage to try her recipe!), I still think mine from a plain old muffin mix turned out just as tasty, and look so pretty on my table with my Gerber daisy centerpiece!

What about you? What does your Saturday morning look like?

You can join me and link up with Ms. Katie over at Loves of Life for her Saturday Morning Scene to share some photos of what you're doing this Saturday!

Saturday Morning Scene



Happy Weekending!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Never Leave Your Hands...

Let me just start by saying that THIS, well THIS is MY blog. This is my safe place. Most of the things I write about here are deeply personal to me and I share them, because I NEED to share them. I NEED to get some of these things out in the open. It's just who I am. God made me me VERY verbal (Trust me, my husband WISHES I was the quiet type). This blog has become my place to be verbal, and since day one I have maintained this stance: If you don't like what I have to say, then DON'T read my blog. Now don't get me wrong, I do not set out with the intention to offend people. I am just honest. Sure, I share things that are light and fluffy. I like to talk about anything and nothing. But, I also share a lot of things that weigh on my heart. Things I want to use my voice to make a difference. Things I want people to sit up and take notice of. It's the truth and if the truth gets personal then so be it. THIS, well THIS is me. Plain and simple. If you don't like it, then block my Facebook page from your news feed and stop following my blog. I promise I won't take it personally. Some people just can't handle the truth. I know, because I struggle with it too.

So, with that being said, it has come to my attention that this post has caused quite a stir. Well, "stir" is an understatement. Apparently, I have caused a ruckus, but not in a bad way. To make a long story short, this post came into the hands of the deacons/school board members of our church. Apparently, they have ALL read it and for the most part they seem to agree with me. How do I know this? Well, last night I was visited by one of them.

He called, asked if he could stop by, and we agreed. We knew why he was coming. My husband sighed heavily when I informed of the news and asked, "So, should I just let YOU do all the talking?" (Yeah, he's a smart butt like that!) I politely informed him that, "No, this was his time to say his peace too", because I felt like I had already said mine. It was in the post. They read it. They knew what I thought. I'm sure they just wanted to see if Randy felt the same way (which he does).

So, I rushed around like a mad woman to make my house presentable. I also changed into "real" clothes. I hadn't been feeling well, so I had spent my day in sweats and a t-shirt with minimal make-up. So, I pulled on some jeans, put on a sweater, and touched up my make-up and hair. I also lit every candle and turned on all my Scentsy warmers, because I have this phobia about people thinking my house smells bad. I'm weird. I know. Anyway, with Faith's help I got everything put in its place and she took Emma into the bedroom to play, just as the deacon was pulling into our driveway.

I won't give the details of our conversation, but I will say that it was a good one. Randy and I were able to talk with him and share the things that have been burdening our hearts regarding the church and school. The deacon was very open and receptive to our thoughts and ideas, and he seemed to understand our frustration and disappointment. He encouraged us to hang in there and not give up on the school and/or church yet. He was aware of the issues at hand and he assured us that all of the deacons were praying about what to do. We ended our conversation in prayer and peace settled over Randy and I.

It meant so much to Randy and I that one of the deacons would come to our house to meet with us. It made us realize that our presence in the church had been missed, and that the deacons were doing their best to take people like me seriously. It felt nice to be heard. To be understood. To have our opinions respected.

We know that we could never truly BE DONE with our church or the Christian school. We have our hearts invested in both, and to walk away would mean walking away from a huge piece of ourselves. I just don't think we are ready to do that. We do not feel like God is done with the Christian school, and we feel like if the major problems are addressed, then the school will continue to prosper. We also realize that no matter how desperate the issues may seem, in our opinion, Christian education is always better than the alternative. We believe that Satan is at work, and he will use any avenue to destroy the body of Christ.

After the meeting, we have decided to stay in our church. I will continue to help with the school anyway that they need me, and we have both committed to do more for the church and the school. We feel like God can use us best in this place, and we would love to see Emma go to Christian school eventually. It has always been a dream of ours.

I don't think I could ever just stop being an advocate for Christian education. I want God to use me. I want to make an impact for Him wherever I can, and if that is through the Christian school, then I will weather this storm. I will walk through this valley. Because I know He is only using His refining fires to make us stronger. To get us ready for what is ahead. Because no matter how painful the journey, He will always have me in His hands. He will always be there holding me and guiding me, just like He has since the beginning.

I would also ask that you please continue to pray for our church and school. Our leadership has some important decisions to make. So please pray that God will guide them to make decisions that are in accordance with His will. I appreciate all of the prayers so many of you have given us up to this point, and I hope you will continue to lift us up.

So, I leave you with a song that has been speaking to me through this. I hope you can relate to the words in this song, and that in some way it is a comfort to your life as it has been to mine.


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Blessings to you on this Friday and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's Your Song?

Tired is an understatement. I am running on maybe 8 hours of sleep total from the past two nights. Our area has been racked by a series of storms for the last 48 hours which makes sleeping when you live in a double wide pretty much non-existent. Well, maybe not for my husband, he sleeps like a baby through everything. But, I'm the one that sits up and watches the local weather channels and gets up to look out the window to try and watch the clouds for funnel like formations. It's a wonderful life in the Midwest right now.

On top of the freak storms, Emma decided to throw up all over her bed last night at 3:30 AM. Yuck! No, she isn't sick. She is just fine. But, she had been complaining all day about her tummy hurting, so I think maybe the milk she had before bed didn't sit too well with her. So, I got up, changed her, put her in bed with my husband, and stripped her bed and put her sheets in the washer. After that, I sprayed some Shout on the wet spot on her mattress to try to help with the smell. I also moved myself to the couch once I finally got to lay back down, because sleeping with Emma is a wrestling match and I usually ended up crowded to the edge hanging on for dear life. It's not fun and sleeping on the couch is not ideal, but it's better than no sleep at all.

So, today I have no story for you. I just thought I would share with you the three songs I will be doing for the grand final of my karaoke competition on June 26th. It feels like I listen to these three songs CONSTANTLY! I have also made watching the music videos and live performances of these songs my nightly homework. Fingers crossed that these are the songs that will take me to Vegas! I really, really want to go!











Enjoy your Thursday! I'm on the look out for a nap today! And if your interested in some fun today, then swing by and link-up with Ms. Amber over at Goodnight Moon! It's definitely the best part of my Thursday and I guarantee you'll think so too! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

School's Out & A Silent Salute

Today my sister, Faith (see "The Cast" tab) is officially done with the 6th grade! She has a Honor's Chapel this morning at 10:00 AM and I am moments away from running around like a mad woman to get ready for it. I am super excited for her and I hope she gets recognized for all of the strides she has made this year. Faith struggles with dyslexia which makes school work and studying very hard for her, but during the 4th and 5th grade, she had a wonderful teacher who worked really hard with her and really brought her out of her shell when it came to tests, studying, and reading. Because of that teacher, 6th grade was a little more bearable for Faith, and we saw her maintaining steady grades and passing all of her subjects. She even became some what of a history buff this year! (She is SO my sister!)


Today also officially marks the beginning of Faith and I's summer together. She has spent most of her summers with me the last three years, and Emma and I wouldn't have it any other way. She is a big help with Emma, and now that I watch my nephew a few times a week, I will really count on Faith's help. I can't wait until it warms up and we can go swimming! I think that is what I am looking forward too the most.


I am also deeply honored to be receiving another bloggy award. This one is of a more serious nature, and I feel so blessed that Chelsey over at Bomb Shell's and Southern Belle's found me worthy of such an award.


As many of you know, I hold our troops near and dear to my heart. I am not a mili-spouse or a mili-daughter, but I respect our troops and their families. I realize that everyday they make sacrifices that allow us to live in a free country. Chelsey created this award in honor of Memorial Day to

"To thank all of our friends and bloggy family who support our troops and stand behind us: military or non military, or perhaps with military connections or those that come from military families. These are the people who truly understand the sacrifices it takes to be a soldier, and a soldier's family member. The people who give thanks, as often as it is needed, and let it be known they are proud Americans; yet freedom isn't free!"

I think this a beautiful award just in time for Memorial Day. Now according to the rules I have to pass this award on to ONE other blogger and I have to share THREE ways that my family and I silently support our troops.

To be honest I don’t know if I have three way that I SILENTLY support our troops. But, I will try!

1. My husband’s cousin, A.J., is in the Navy. While he was never deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he did spend quite a bit of time in Japan. He is now currently on land with his new wife, Cori. They live in Florida and they are currently waiting for new deployment orders. While A.J. isn’t my husband or even my brother, my family and I still do everything we can to support A.J. and his wife. We pray for them everyday and if he was ever deployed again, I would love to take the time to put together a care package for him and even one for Cori.

2. I pray for our troops everyday. I believe that this country is free, because God allows us to be free. He keeps His hand of protection on our country and our leaders. But, I also know that we are one of the few countries where our troops actually VOLUNTEER to serve. No one holds a gun to their heads and forces them to fight for their country. They do it because they want too. They want to serve. They want to make a difference. I pray that God will continue to protect them and guide our leaders to make the best decisions for this country and the battles we fight.

3. I also blog about the military and my gratitude for them frequently. Any time the military or something military related is in the news, I try to blog and express my opinion about it. I want so badly to be an extra voice for our military and their families.

I’m sure these support methods seem so small compared to many of the other efforts out there. But, this is me doing my part. What about you? How do you silently support our troops?

I would also like to take a brief moment and encourage everyone to take time to support their local VA and VA hospital. I think Memorial Day is the perfect time to make a donation or volunteer at your local VA hospital.

Now, another drum roll please! I just couldn’t select ONE, so I choose TWO bloggers who I felt deserved this award!

Erika @ Chambanachik ~

Erika is a mili-spouse, and she is far from silent. I would like to recognize Erika’s efforts over the past month for the National Guard in her state. Her husband is a member of the National Guard and when the state of Illinois told the Guardsmen that were deployed to help with the flooding that they would not be getting paid anytime soon. Erika used her voice! She sent emails, wrote letter to everyone from the local newspaper to the governor and even did a interview with a television news station! Eventually her efforts paid off and their check “magically” appeared in the mail one day, but it wasn’t without the heartache it took to get to that point. I truly admire Erika as a military spouse and blogger, and I feel like she deserves this award.

~AND~

Shannon @ Eat, Pray, Love…LIVE!~

Shannon is an AH-MAZING blogger who never holds back! You always know what she is thinking, especially when it comes to our military. I have never read a blogger who has as much passion for our military as Ms. Shannon. On top of blogging about our military and her experiences with the military, Shannon is also a new Scentsy consultant! I love Shannon’s blog and she was one of my very first followers.

I love both of these ladies and I would encourage EVERYONE to swing by and check them out! It will be worth it…I PROMISE!

Okay, I’m off to “speed-ready” for Faith’s Honor’s Chapel! I blogged too long…GO FIGURE!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Prayers for Joplin

What started out as a beautiful day ended in tragedy for so many in the Midwest. Last night a horrendous F5 tornado struck Joplin, MO, which is about 2 hours from my hometown.

tornado1{via}

Joplin is a place I hold close to my heart. I spent time there every spring for our annual volleyball tournament when I was in high school. Some of the places that were leveled or devastated by the tornado, are places that we frequented while we were there. I also was just there in October during my cousin’s bachelorette party. It's crazy to think that some of those places I just saw are no longer standing.

tornado2{via}

The news says they have 89 confirmed dead, but they expect the death toll to rise. It has risen tremendously from last night at 11:30 PM. When I finally went to bed, the death toll was only 24 and this morning it’s 89. Wow. The hospital was badly damaged, and the last I heard, the hospitals in Springfield, which is about 1 1/2 hours from Joplin, dispatched some of their ambulances to evacuate some of the Joplin patients to Springfield. It’s all just so crazy. So intense. For the most part, there aren’t even words.

The craziest thing that while all that devastation was happening miles away, things were eerily beautiful here. There were huge clouds and as the sun set it cast a redish-pink hue over everything. I took some pictures of the sunset.

002Isn’t that cloud so cool!

005

Nothing can deny the beauty in God’s handiwork.

I love living in Missouri. I love my home state. I love the beauty and the people here. I feel so blessed every day that God has allowed me to live in such a down to earth and beautiful place.

I hope you all will keep Joplin, MO in your prayers. Especially those of you in the South who know what these people are now going through. Please pray for strength, guidance, and that they would get phone lines up and working so that people can get in touch with their loved ones. It’s a sad time for so many. Please pray for comfort.

Also if you would like to help you can visit www.redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.00 to the relief efforts.

I also wanted to leave you guys with this song. The minute I heard of the tornado this song came to mind. It's a song of hope. A song that shows us that God won't always give us rainbows and sunshine and that sometimes the blessing is in the pain. Because our pain is often times what brings us closest to Him. It is true that He works in mysterious way, but He always has a plan. Always.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Joyful Things

Today was a beautiful day. It was one of the best Saturdays I have had in a long time and for the first time I found peace. Peace for today. Peace for the future and for what lies ahead. I know that we still have a long journey ahead of us, but at least for today, I wasn't worried about any of those things. I was focused on being happy, on loving my life, and being grateful for what I do have.

For me there is joy in enjoying a beautiful summer day after the forecast called for rain that never happened. Joy is going to work with my husband, on a SATURDAY, because anytime together as a family is important and meaningful. Joy is having my sister-in-law volunteer to watch Emma for the rest of the day, and even agreeing to keep her overnight. Joy is riding waverunners with my sisters and enjoying our beautiful Lake with the best company. Joy is a date night with my husband that includes a movie and going to see one of my favorite local bands play. Joy is being friends with the band, because they ask you to sing with them. Joy is enjoying a beautiful evening and coming home knowing that in the morning I will get to sleep late. Joy is waking up at 9:00 AM WITHOUT having a cup or my glasses shoved in my face.

Today made me realize that pure joy is in the little things. You can't find real joy in money or new things. You can only find pure joy in people like your family and friends and the moments you spend with them. It was a beautiful Saturday.

Something else that brought me joy today was not only that my blog has broke 100+ followers! Thank-you! But, being honored by Rachel Joy over at Cool Beans Momma. She honored me with the...


Rachel Joy is a great blogger and I would encourage everyone to swing by and show her some love.

Now according to tradition I have to share 7 little known facts about myself and then I have to pass this award on to 10 other stylish bloggers that I know. So, without further adieu...

1. My husband is my high school sweetheart. We have been dating since the summer before my senior year of high school in 2003.

2. Also, my husband is 2 years younger than me. That's right ladies, I am quite the cougar! Rawr!

3. I only go watch the Twilight movies, because I feel like I have too since I read the books. I have been really disappointed in all of them, even though I do feel like each one gets a little better. However, for me, none of them have quite made the cut.

4. I have had the same best friend since I was six years old. Merry and I met in kindergarten and the rest in history.

5. I wish I was good at photography. I admire great photography and I am good at planning cute shots, but when it comes to taking the actual pictures I fall short. I would love to take a photography class.

6. I would love take voice lessons. I love to sing and I love karaoke, but I have always felt like I could be better. I would love to take some lessons and possibly learn to read music.

7. My least favorite chores are laundry and dusting. I hate folding and putting away our laundry, and we are lucky if I actually dust once a week. I'm lazy like that.

Now, drum roll please!

Here are the ten bloggers I feel deserve the Stylish Blogger Award:



These are some of my favorite bloggers and each one of them has unique and beautiful blogs. Please stop by and show each one of these lovely ladies some love, you will not be disappointed.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cute DIY Invitations

In June my sister, Kasie (please see my new "The Cast" tab), will be turning the BIG 2-1! She is uber excited about it and we officially started our "countdown" last week. My sister, Randi (also included in my cast!), and I are planning a huge party for Kasie that includes a day of boating and tubing on Lake, dinner with friends, and then dancing at some of our favorite restaurants on the water that evening. It's going to be an all day event that required a very special invitations.

Before I decided to make my own, I searched the internet and some of my favorite invitation sites including 123print and Vistaprint. However, I was unable to find invitations that fit the theme we were wanting without appearing to bachelorette party-ish.

A quick plug before I get down to the nitty-gritty for those of you who prefer to order your invites: 123print has these great postcard invitations that you can order. I used them last year for Emma's 1st birthday and a bridal shower I hosted for a friend of mine. They are super cheap and they save you money when it comes time to buy stamps, but I wasn't able to find a design I liked for Kasie's party.

So, after being let down by my favorite invite sites, I began looking at more expensive sites trying to get ideas for ones I could make. I am not a fan of the invites you purchase at Walmart and write in the information. While they are cute, and perfectly acceptable for kid parties, I tend to think they look cheap when you use them for adult birthdays, dinner parties, or bridal showers. That is why I always opt to make mine if I can't find some I want to order.

After a few days of searching, I found the invitations I wanted to mimic, and I went out and bought the stuff I needed. I already had a lot of the supplies in my craft box, but I wanted to give you a basic cost breakdown in case you decide to make these invites.

What You Will Need:

* 1 pkg of white cardstock paper ($5.50)
* 1 pkg of bright colored cardstock paper ($8.00)
* 4 spools of craft ribbon ($1.50 to $2.00 each)
* 1 small bottle of Tacky Glue ($3.00)
* 1 Elmer's Glue Stick ($1.00 to $2.00)
* 2 pkgs of dimensional jewel stickers (Craft section; $3.00 each)
* Scissors

I bought most of the products I used at Walmart, but if you live close to a Hobby Lobby or Micheal's, you may be able to get these items cheaper at one of those stores, especially the paper. Because at Hobby Lobby or Micheal's, you can buy just the amount of paper you need instead of huge packages with tons of colors you won't want to use. We only have a Walmart and a Target nearby. So, just pick these items up at any craft store close to you.

The Steps


Step 1 and Step 2 are basically showing you what you will need. I didn't end up using the hole punch, but if you decide to use one, it's handy to have one nearby.

I created my invitation template using an Open Office document, but feel free to use MS Word. Make the page layout "landscape" and create a table on the document that is 2x2. Stretch the boxes to take up the entire page, but make sure they are proportional. Once you get your little boxes set up, you can type whatever you want the invitations to say and add pictures if you want. Once you get it all typed up, you can copy and paste the information into the other 3 boxes. It saves on extra typing!

(Note: Be sure that your boxes stay proportional and do not overflow into a second page. You may have to adjust your font and font sizes to get your information to fit correctly in your boxes. P.S. Size 8 or 9 font does not print as tiny as it sounds!)

Once you get everything all typed up and looking the way you want it, you can print away!

Step 3: After you print your invitations, you can start cutting the boxes out. It may work better to consider using a paper cutter if you have the luxury of owning one, but if you don't be prepared for hand cramps as you cut out all the boxes.

Step 4: Once you get your white boxes cut out, take your colored cardstock paper and begin dividing into into fourths. You can use scissors, but my little trick for getting them all nice and even is to fold the paper in half, wet the crease on both sides and then tear it. Then I take the half, fold it in half and do the same thing. It really makes for nice even rectangles.

Step 5 and Step 6: Take the white invite, turn it over and cover the back of it in your Elmer's Stick Glue. Once you get plenty of glue on it, turn it back over and place it on top of one of your colored pieces of cardstock. Press and smooth until there are no wrinkles or bubbles under the white invite. Do this to all your invites.

Step 7 and Step 8: Once you get your white invite glued to your colored cardstock, you can then pre-measure and cute your ribbon to wrap around the one side of the invite. I like for the bow to be in the top right corner, but if you like the bow in the middle, you could wrap the ribbon around the top or just secure the ribbon in the center on the side.

Step 9: To secure the ribbon, lay the invite on top of the ribbon on the one side. Then cut a small slit in the top portion of the ribbon. Bring the top portion of ribbon to meet the bottom portion on the front of the invite. Weave the bottom portion through the slit and pull tight. I was also gluing my ribbon to the card with Tacky Glue to give it extra hold. Once you pull the ribbon through, you should have a cute little ribbon in the corner. You may have to glue it down with more tacky glue. After you get the ribbon secured, take one of your dimensional jewel sticker and place it in the center of the ribbon to hide the slit. It will also further secure the ribbon to the invitation.


Your invitations should look similar to this when you get done. We chose hot pink and lime green invites. The hot pink ones are going to Kasie's closest friends who are invited to go boating and spend the whole day with us, while the lime green invites are going to Kasie's friends and family who are just invited to dinner and dancing. I ran out of zebra ribbon which is why I had to improvise with other ribbon I had on hand. (That's how I figured out I really should of purchased 4 roles of ribbon, instead of two!) Anyway, I still think they turned out pretty cute and Kasie is very happy with the finished product!

I hope you find this DIY helpful!

So, this is what I spent my entire rainy afternoon doing besides babysitting my rambunctious nephew and demanding daughter, how about you?!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"What's Your Song?"

I've been struggling this week. Not just with the decision to leave our church (see here), but my husband and I are also struggling with some things in our marriage. I'm not ready to talk about it, but just know that it's more than just petty fights about stupid things or finances. We've encountered some serious problems and I kind of just feel stuck in neutral, you know? I know I can't go back, and I just can't muster the strength to move forward. I know God will show me the way, and I know there are answers. I just don't know what those answers will be yet. We need a lot of prayer. Really. I know my problems seem so minuscule compared to the things some of you go through on a daily basis, and I kind of feel stupid for asking. But, I have received so much support and encouragement from this blog hop and I knew that if anyone would listen, the ladies over at the "What's Your Song?" link-up would.

You may or may not know, but I'm a huge Gleek. I love Glee! I record it every week, and the thing I love most is the song covers they do. I love how they can take a song you haven't heard in a while and make it new and exciting to you again. Well, this is one of those songs. I have always loved this song, but it hasn't had special meaning to my life until recently.



I tried to find the actual video of Gwyneth Paltrow singing this with Santana and Brittany, but the only one I could find their words didn't match their mouths...SO annoying! So, sorry for the boring video. Hopefully it will give you an opportunity to just listen to the words and the melody. It's so soothing.

Anyway, I hope you if haven't, you will swing by and link up with Amber over at Goodnight Moon. It's a lot of fun! You won't be disappointed!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well, It's Not A Love Letter...

Dear Darling Husband,

Good Morning. I know you like to take it upon yourself to keep my attitude in check (no, seriously, I SO appreciate it). But, reminders to be "nice" at 6:00 AM while I'm having a sippy cup and my glasses shoved in my face before I am fully awake are NOT welcome or appreciated, especially when you say them while you roll over to go back to sleep. It's a good thing I love you. Really.

******

Dear Random Lady With Starring Problem At Marshall's,

I know you and your lovely teenager daughter were having a delightful mid-week shopping trip before my sister and I got behind you with our grabby toddlers, but seriously, the dirty looks and starring are not necessary.

P.S. I bet you have your moments where you would take our noisy, grab happy toddlers over your hormonal, snotty, boy crazy teenager and where you long for your 20-something body that just popped right back into place...don't you?!

******

Dear Lazy Girl At McDonald's,

I've never really considered fast food a HARD industry to work in. I mean, how hard is it to push a few buttons and slap a few lids on some drinks. But, obviously, for you this job is too much. I mean, two weeks ago you handed me a soda that ended up in my lap because of poorly secured lid, and almost every other day you give me a soda that is sopping wet from all the soda on the OUTSIDE of the cup! Plus, you frequently forget to give me straws to the point that I have started hoarding extra straws in my glove department and I can't even count how many times YOU'VE messed up my order! I'm not even sure why they keep letting you work the window, even after all the times I have complained.

I'm sure your a great person, but, seriously, this job is too much for you. I think it's time for a career change.

******

Dear Insurance Quote Lady,

You are NOT increasing your chances of me switching my insurance policies to your company by NEVER calling me back. I have come to three conclusions: 1.) You HATE your job and you have no interest in meeting your quotas for the month. 2.) You have the WORST customer service skills known to man. 3.) You obviously have NO DESIRE to take on my husband's motorcycle or my very old double wide for your company, which is fine, but you could at least let me know.

Seriously, once that McDonald's girl quits I'll have a great job offer lined up for you.

******

Dear American Diabetes Association,

Please quit calling my house. I did not give you money last week, and I will not give you money this week. Keep up the good work though.

******

Dear Wal-Mart,

Why are you unable to keep a decent stock of Luv's brand diapers in sizes 4 and 5? Apparently, the small fortune I spend on diapers does not interest you. Well, that's okay. I hear Dollar General and Target sure do appreciate it.



Sincerely,




Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Losing Faith

I believe in Christian education, and I talked a lot about my experience here. I was raised in Christian education, and I am actively involved in the same Christian school I attended kindergarten through 12th grade...well, I was until lately. I just don't know how to explain it. I've been extremely disappointed in the direction the school is heading for a long time. I feel like there is a double standard and the discipline migrates from extreme to non-existent at any given moment. I also feel like the kids who need Christian education the most are the ones who are suffering, and the ones who take it for granted are the ones who behave the worst without any repercussions.

My heart breaks at the realization that Satan will stop at nothing to destroy the things the Lord has ordained, even a place that has always been a haven from the world to me. I feel like Satan has some how wormed his way in and infected a place that to me has always been "holy ground". A place that I once looked to with pride. A place that I credit with giving me my strong foundation in the Lord. A place that helped make me the Christian woman I am today. I owe so much to my Christian school, and I am sad because I don't think my sister, Faith, will be able to say the same things.

I just feel so torn. Part of me wants to stick it out and wonders if this will eventually pass, because I really do BELIEVE in Christian education. But, the rest of me is unable to be a "yes man". To stand by and pretend like nothing is wrong when there is. There is so much wrong. I am tired of the excuses and I am tired of making excuses.

So, as a result, my husband and I have made the decision to walk away. The Christian school is a ministry of our church, but it doesn't feel that way anymore. It feels like the Christian school is a separate entity that members of our church no longer support. I mean, not just financially, but members of our church don't come to sporting events or school functions. It's like the school is hardly acknowledged by the church anymore, and the parents, many who don't even go to our church, are doing more for the school than anyone else. This realization along with the other problems that my husband and I can no longer just overlook have led us to the decision to search for another church family. I don't know where we will go, but we definitely feel God leading us in a different direction.

We feel this is best decision for our family at this time, but that doesn't make it any easier. My husband has gone to our church his entire life, and the decision to leave has been especially discouraging for him. Please pray for us. That we will find a new church family soon, and that it will be a great fit for us, especially our daughter. We truly want to find a place where our daughter can bloom and grow in the Lord and get the foundation she needs. That is what is the most important to us. We also don't want to compromise on our beliefs and values, so we would like to find a church that won't ask us to walk away from those things. We also don't want it to be too big, and we want to feel like we connect easily. We know God has a place out there for us, and we hope to find it soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My 1st Blog Award!

A big thanks to Kelsey over at Crafty Camo Lover for giving me my very first bloggy award! (Ahhh!) I have seen this award on other blogs, and I have always coveted what it would be like to be honored with a blog award. Well, I guess, I won't be coveting anymore, thanks to Kelsey!



It's such an honor to have your blog recognized by other bloggers whom you respect, and it is so fun that we can give each other these awards as a way of saying, "Good job!" and "Keep up the good work!". I can't wait to pass this award on to other bloggers and put the same smile on their face that Kelsey put on mine today!

So, without further adieu, I must post 7 random facts about myself to accompany this award, so here goes:

1.) I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. Seriously. It's bad.

2.) I have my Associate of Arts degree from a local community college, but I chose to quit pursuing the rest of my degree to start a family with my husband. I hope to go back to school EVENTUALLY.

3.) I am in love with Haagen Dazs Chocolate Dark Chocolate ice cream bars. They are so delicious! Yum!

4.) Mad Men and True Blood are my favorite TV shows to rent on Netflix.

5.) I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin. Since, I was in high school I have only been able to wear hypo-allergenic make-up and use other hypo-allergenic products. I have been using the exact same brand of face wash and body wash for the last 6 years, because every time I try to switch it up, I have a terrible allergic reaction. Yeah, it's super great. Super.

6.) I love EVERYTHING about weddings. I actually enjoy helping to plan and organize them the most. I kind of thrive off the stress. It's mildly pathetic.

7.) I'm a huge history buff, and I love to visit historical places. Boston, Massachusetts has been my favorite so far and I hope to go back someday.


Now, that I have revealed my 7 random facts I have to pass on my award to others! So, drum roll please! I have chosen to pass this award on to:

Katie @ A Southern Soap Opera

Charla Beth @ Heart Like Mine

and

Chelsey @ Bomb Shell's and Southern Belle's

I love each one of these blogs and I follow them avidly. I hope you will swing by and show each one of these lovely ladies some love, because trust me, they deserve it.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just Another Shooting Star...

My youngest sister is 12. When she's over, we spend a lot of time watching "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody", "Sonny With A Chance", and "Good Luck, Charlie" on the Disney Channel. She is a big fans of those shows, and I secretly am too (Shh! Don't tell!). Anyway, Demi Lovato is one of Faith's favorite Disney channel stars. We have bought several of her songs on iTunes for Faith's iPod (and mine), and Faith made me record "Camp Rock" and "Camp Rock 2" for her when they both came out. I have always preferred Demi and Selena (yes, I am on a first name basis with both of them!) to Miley Cyrus, so I was kind of heart broken last November when I heard that Demi had checked into rehab for cutting herself and would most likely be leaving her Disney Channel show. Faith and I have talked a lot over the last few months about it, but part of me thought, "Oh, another young star bites the dust. What's new?!"

Well, a few weeks ago Demi Lovato released her first interview on 20/20, since being released from rehab. I don't know if many of you were able to watch the interview, so I wanted to share it with you.



As many of you know I have quite the little soap box when it comes to teen bullying. I talked a lot about my feelings regarding teen bullying here, here, and here. So, I was surprised to hear in this interview that Demi's problems started due to bullying. I mean how many other kids may be cutting themselves or struggling with an eating disorder as a result of bullying? Maybe even a child or teen that you know? Yes, I believe that Demi's story is a call to action. Another reason why more of us should be keeping our eyes and ears open for children and teens who are living in fear and pain as a result of bullying. I found this great author's blog via the "Young Adult Authors Against Bullying" Facebook page. Author Cheryl Rainfield's blog has a lot of help and advice for kids who may be struggling with bullying or other issues that may lead to self harm. I especially appreciated her post entitled, " Reasons Not To Hurt Yourself". If you know someone who may benefit from this post, you should share it with them. Whether it's an adult struggling with a painful past or a teen living in the midst of a bullying nightmare, every human being deserves to know that there are reasons to protect themselves. Everyone deserves to know that they ARE worth it.

My opinion of this video is that it was very brave of Demi to share her story in this interview. I hope that she will use this experience and her past to help educate and encourage other young people, especially other young women. I don't feel like Demi is on her way to becoming another Brittany, but part of me wouldn't be surprised if she did end up that way. The world and media puts so much pressure upon young people, especially those who are in the spotlight. I couldn't imagine waking up everyday only to be scrutinized by millions of people. I wouldn't be able to handle it, so its no wonder that so many of these "child stars" struggle with it.

What about you? What are your feelings on Demi's rehab and 20/20 interview? What do you think could/should be done in schools across America to prevent bullying? I'd love to hear your comments!

Happy Saturday!

source for picture

Saturday Morning Scene

Ahhh! Quiet time! My husband left a few minutes ago with our daughter in tow, and I am sitting down to enjoy a few moments to myself before I have to meet up with them at the bank. I caved and allowed my husband to buy a new motorcycle last night, so we have to sign the loan papers this morning so the guy we bought the motorcycle from can cash the check we left him :) But, before I started running around like a mad woman I thought I would enjoy some Diet Dr. Pepper and a little Blogger. My little escape from the chaos that sometimes my life.

In addition to my quiet time, I cannot wait to take a shower in peace and quiet this morning! There is nothing like a shower minus the prying little eyes, fingers, and "toys" that come sailing through the curtain, because Emma thinks I need bath toys in my shower too. (I'm sure you all know what that's like!) Anyway, before I get ready, I wanted to take a moment to link up with Katie over at Loves of Life for her Saturday Morning Scene. This is what my Saturday morning currently looks like:



What does your Saturday look like? Head on over, visit Katie, and join in on the fun!

Saturday Morning Scene


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Craziest Things Happen To Me...

I got the idea for this blog post from Lucy The Valiant.
She had the same experience and shared about it in this post on Monday.
So, I would like to start by giving her a big high five
for warning me about the bad guys lurking in the night!
Because if she had never posted her post,
then I probably would of made a terrible mistake.
Please stop by and show this girl some love for me!


So, let's get one thing straight, I am fairly new to bloggy universe. I started blogging in September of 2010, and I have been slowly, but surely learning the ropes around here. I have been amazed at how much I have taught myself (I mean, hello! I made my own blog button!). I have also received so much help and advice from so many people in the blogging community. I love blogging! I have met so many great friends and I love flipping through my reading list just to see what all the bloggers I am following are up too. It's the highlight of my day. With that said, I am still learning, so there are probably a lot of things I don't know, and who knows when I will figure them all out. Maybe never. But, I am always open to suggestions and advice from other bloggers. Enter Lucy.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a company who asked me if I would be interested in promoting their company on my blog. I was ecstatic! I have not openly sought out ways to use my blog to make money, because I mostly use it as my living journal and a place to showcase some of my writing when I am applying for freelance positions. That's it. I have always thought it would be awesome to make some money from my blog, but I don't really know how to go about it without making my blog, my personal space, look like a living billboard.

Now, don't get me wrong, if you solely blog for the advertisements and to make money. That's your deal. But, I personally cannot stand those blogs that bombard you with ads and posts about whatever random new product they are trying this week. I'm not here to be sold. I'm here to connect and meet other moms. Period. I usually won't follow blogs that look like giant billboards for a bazillion companies. They just take up valuable mommy space in reading list! ;)

Anyway, so I was interested in seeing what this company had to say, so I emailed them back. I told them I would like to work with them, but they would have to give me some more information about it. I typed it all up, made it look as professional as possible, and I sent that little email out into the universe. I went on my merry little way, and forgot all about it, until Lucy.

I recently started following Lucy's blog, Lucy The Valiant. She is a witty writer and a fun read, and I have enjoyed reading her posts. Well, Monday she posted a blog post entitled, "Flee Into The Night, Bad Guys!". I was intrigued by her title and immediately clicked to read it. Needless to say, I am so glad I did. You must go read it to get all the details, but basically she shares about how she was contacted by a company who wanted to advertise on her blog. She figured out that what they were asking her to do was illegal (by Googling it, none the less!). So, she emailed them back and told them thanks, but no thanks. After reading her blog post, I started thinking back to the company who had emailed me a few weeks ago. It seemed eerily similar to Lucy's experience. But, I hadn't heard back from them, so I just thought maybe they had moved on or thought my blog wasn't a good fit for them. Well, it turns out, I just hadn't given them enough time.

Tuesday afternoon I received an email back from the company and this is what it said:

"
Thanks for getting back to me! I do apologize for the delayed response. I was out of the office and was delinquent about putting up my auto-response.

If you could please link the phrase "french tutor" to www.studypoint.com/french-tutor/ as naturally as possible in a blog post, that would be great. (If you have difficulty placing this in a post, please let me know if you would like some ideas. It seems as though you have a lot of diversity in your blog topics so hopefully you would be able to find a way to fit us in!)

In exchange for placing this phrase and link within the post, I can give you $20 through PayPal. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in!

One note: I do require that there be no disclaimer at the end of the post saying that this is a sponsored post. (By way of explanation, we do not want you to endorse or promote our services. In fact, we would prefer that your post not be about our organization, but instead be a post about a topic like education or parenting in which you place the specific phrase above as naturally as possible. Since you will not be promoting or encouraging readers to use our services, the placement of this link falls outside of sponsored endorsement guidelines.)"


OH. MY. GOD. It was VERY similar to what Lucy has posted about on Monday! VERY! I was shaking. I mean, these people were actually asking me to do something illegal! Something that I didn't even know was illegal until I read Lucy's post. Crazy. I mean, I'm a pretty straight shooter. My husband and my sisters call me a "good girl". I mean, I have never, ever done anything illegal (except maybe pay my real estate tax late...I think that's illegal). I mean, I even waited until my 21st birthday to have my first sip of alcohol! I often joke with my husband and tell him that, "I was a really good girl until I met him, and then he corrupted me". It's the truth. Anyway, so I was shaking from the fact that someone just asked me, the "good girl", to do something bad. This was not okay. Not okay at all. So, I did what any wise blogger would/should do: I replied and told them, "I'm sorry, but while I would like to work with your company I cannot do so without the ability to disclose. For me, disclosure is an ethical practice that will always be a part of my blog." and then I reported them to the FTC. Yes, the FTC a.k.a The Federal Trade Commission.

While I'm sure that my Internet submitted complaint will probably get lost or shoved on the back burner. At least, I feel like I did my civic duty. I took it upon myself to say something to the government not just for me, but for other bloggers who may not know people like Lucy. I also wanted to write this post for bloggers, like me, who may be none the wiser about some of the rules regarding advertisement in bloggy universe. I mean, I would of had NO IDEA this was illegal, if Lucy wouldn't have posted her post. Seriously. I have internet to blog and check my Facebook, not keep up on current events and Nick Jr. has taken over my life and my television set. Like seriously, I never have any idea what is up. Never. So, in all honesty, I really had no idea.

But, I did learn a lot from the FTC website and I even forwarded the emails to a cop friend of mine who is going to confirm for me whether or not what they are asking me to do is in fact ILLEGAL. I hope to be hearing back from him in a few days, and I will definitely keep you all posted on the outcome.

So, the moral of this story is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If someone sends you an email and asks you to do something that seems fishy AT ALL then do some research, ask them lots of questions, and always remember that your blog is YOUR SPACE. If something doesn't seem right, then just don't do it. It's not worth it. I would also encourage everyone to check out some the rules regarding consumer advertising. I found this blog, Consumer Advertising Blog. I haven't had a chance to really check it out, but it does seem like it might have some useful information. So, if you want you can check that out. Also, if you have been involved in a similar situation, BLOG ABOUT IT! The best way to help others know and stay informed about situations like this is to share your experiences. Who knows, you may save somebody blog. I know Lucy saved mine :)

Oh, and Lucy, I told that company in my email that $20 would not even come close to compensating me for the $11,000 I could be fined if the FTC found out. Haha! I just had to say it, I couldn't leave it at thanks, but no thanks, you know? Because THAT, well, THAT is how I stick it to the man!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Motorcycles, Potty-Training, and Coupons...WHAT?!

I'm super stressed. My husband wants a new motorcycle. We recently used our tax return to pay off a loan from the bank, and so far, our money situation has been okay. No, it's not great. I've said it before and I'll say it again..I'm TERRIBLE with money and budgets and impulse buying and saving and pretty much anything that has numbers attached to it. But, despite these facts, things have been okay, meaning, every week when we pay our bills, there is money leftover. But, now he wants a new motorcycle. He's been hounding me for weeks, and I finally told him that he could have a new one when he sold his old one, because the payment on a $2,500 loan is a lot better than the payment on a $5,000 or $6,000 loan. He conceded and immediately put his bike on Craigslist.

Tomorrow his friend, Stephen, is going to take Randy's bike to work, because a guy he works with wants to look at it. Tonight when he came to pick up, I found myself secretly praying the guy would hate it.

I don't want anymore big payments...shoot me.

******

I have a crack in my windshield. It's a small crack, it happened a few weeks ago when a little rock flew up and hit my windshield while I was cruising down the road at 65 mph. I was am pissed. I mean, I've barely had this car a year! C'mon! Well, this happened with my other car, an Explorer, and I took it to a local windshield place and the guy did a chip repair on it. That chip repair lasted me two years! When I sold the car last March, the chip repair was still holding strong. So, I will probably do the same thing on this car, especially since the chip is in the upper left hand corner of my windshield.

The key now is money. It should only be about $50.00, but $50.00 is a lot of money these days. Especially when $50.00 is a tank of gas for this busy momma. Part of me wants to put it off, but my husband is worried the chip will spread into a huge crack soon. OH, BLAH! What does he know?! Right?!

Right. I'm making the appointment first thing in the morning.

******

Emma has been getting up between 2:45 AM and 3:00 AM for the last four or five nights (I think her two year molars are trying to break through). She usually goes right back to sleep, as long as I lay in bed with her and rub her back (No, she still hasn't fully mastered self-soothing). But, tonight, since I have a lot on my mind (money), I caved and gave her a cup of warm milk and let her put herself back to sleep. I don't like giving her milk in the middle of the night, I mean we quit giving her a bottle in the middle of night around 9 months, and I also know that cups of milk in the middle of the night will only make potty training that much harder. But, tonight I needed the relief. Tonight I needed to be up at 3:30 AM pouring my anxieties into a post, not laying in bed worrying about them. Don't judge me, okay?!

******

My husband has been on my ass about potty training. Well, actually, we had a BIG fight about it a few weeks ago, so he's kind of laid off now. But, ever since the fight, I have been thinking a lot about it, because I know I better get a game plan together if I want to avoid any more confrontation. Part of me wants to try it, I know she's kind of ready, but I also don't want to rush her. I mean she's only two, and she's only been two for a whole freaking month! It's not like she's 4 and I still haven't potty trained her or anything! I think my biggest set back is that I don't even know where to start! I mean, I've read articles and asked for advice from my "mom committee" members who have little girls. I feel prepared. I just don't know how or where to start? You know?!

God, why does every milestone have to feel like a huge fathom reaching out in front of me. Seriously. SOMEONE. JUST. SHOOT. ME.

******
I have made plans to quit taking my birth control at the end of June. I don't know if I'm 100% ready, but I do know that Emma is lonely and I don't want there to be a HUGE age difference between her and a sibling. I also want to wait until after my little sister's 21st birthday (I have my priorities you know!). But, can I be honest, I'm REALLY scared. I just cannot imagine loving another human being as much as I love Emma. I never, ever want her to feel neglected or like I don't have time for her, and I worry that a new baby will make her feel that way. I also don't want her to resent her new sibling. I think she'll be a great big sister. She has recently started playing and "nurturing" her baby dolls. It's so sweet. But, I still have a lot of reservations, a lot of fear. It's hard to talk to Randy about it, because he just thinks I'm being silly and I need to get over it. And, you know, I wonder, maybe I am being silly? Maybe it is stupid to over think this? Maybe I'm just being selfish?

All I know is I have until the end of June to get my act together. Scary. Really, really scary.

******

I want to make my sister some super cute invites for her 21st birthday, and I don't want to spend a lot of money. For Emma's 1st birthday, I made postcard invites on 123prints.com. They turned out super cute, but I can't find any designs I really like for a 21st birthday party. I really don't have a lot of money to spend, and I'm open to "some assembly required". Any suggestions or tips?

******

I'm considering couponing. No, NOT like Extreme Couponing. But, I am considering using coupons for things like toilet paper, bathroom cleaner, name brand food items, etc. I have tried and tried to save money cut back while grocery shopping. But, no matter how I finagle things, no matter how many different places I go for one shopping trip, I still can't manage to cut back on the $100 I'm spend every week. (Well, I take that back, this week I saved $5.00! Can I get a what what?!) So, for everyone out there who likes to coupon, what are the best sites to find coupons that Wal-Mart will take? And I am currently seeking any tips of the trade you would like to share. So, please, please leave your comments!

Monday, May 9, 2011

If You Don't Want Advice, Then Don't Ask!

I try REALLY hard not to be critical of other mommies. I am NOT one of THOSE mothers who thinks I am the official expert on EVERYTHING. I don't even like to pretend. I know I'm not perfect and I accept that about myself. I also accept that in addition to my imperfection, I have questions. I am after all a first time mom. So, sometimes I feel the need to seek out advice and how-to's from other moms who I know and respect. Each one of the moms on my trusted "mom committee" have several children, and I know that if anyone has been there...they have. They are each an encouragement to my life and they have helped me jump so many "mom hurdles" it's not even funny. I trust them. But, as much as I trust them, there are just some things I want to try to do on my own. You know, just as Ashley, Emma's mommy. No other moms whispering in my ear, no one telling me what worked best for them, no opinions, and no in-put. It's just me, my husband, and our gut instincts. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it doesn't matter how we got to point B from point A as long as we got there. You know?

So, as you can see, I completely understand why others moms, first time or not, would seek out advice and help from other moms. I can also understand why some moms just need to vent, and aren't really looking for advice. But, I cannot stand it when someone asks you a "mom" question only to shoot you down every time you suggest something. I mean, "Hello, why did you even ask?"

You see, I have this "friend". Well, she's not even my friend, she is more of an acquaintance. She is a first time mom, like me, and her little girl is a few months younger than Emma. We recently became Facebook friends, and I have noticed that she is ALWAYS complaining about something that has to do with her daughter. Whether the little girl isn't sleeping or she's sick (P.S. She's ALWAYS sick). Her mom will vocalize her complaint about how AWFUL it is via Facebook.

Now don't get me wrong, I have been UBER guilty of posting sleep deprived statuses on Facebook during the time in my life when Emma was not sleeping through the night AT ALL. I would often wake up frustrated and exhausted, and sometimes that was the only thing that was "up with me" at that moment and I felt the need to fill in my Facebook friends. I have also been guilty of posting statuses relating to my daughter's food pickiness, and her crankiness after a long day without a nap. Yes, I am guilty. I'm sure we all are guilty of complaining about our kids every now and then. We are moms. We are human. Our kids tend to frustrate us. But for the most part, I try to keep my Facebook posts semi positive, especially when they come to Emma. No, I am not one of those mothers who pretends like my kid doesn't drive me crazy. Because believe me, she drives me crazy! (She's actually driving me nuts right now by laying all over me while I type this post! Grr!) However, my husband has taught me that happiness is a frame of mind, and so I do try to keep my Facebook statuses upbeat in an effort to keep myself in a happy frame of mind. If I'm happy, then Emma is happy and visa versa. So, anyway, yes I have been guilty of frustrated mommy posts...shoot me. But, this "friend" of mine, her statuses, 90% of the time, are something negative about her daughter.

One of my FAVORITE things that she does is when she complains about something related to her daughter in the form of a question. For instance, today her status says, "So cutting _____'s pacifier isn't working. It's been cut for a week. She does whatever she can to keep a hold of it! I have almost cut the whole thing off! What's next?" Let me catch you up to speed, she is trying to break her daughter of her pacifier. So, instead of just taking it away from her and letting her cry it out a night or two, she has been cutting the nipples off of the little girl's pacifiers, because she thinks that will make the little girl not want it anymore. Understand? So, after she posted this she received 9 responses of people offering her advice. Every single piece of advice she was offered she shot down within minutes of the person posting it. It was like she wasn't even going to give other people's suggestions a chance. There was a total of 19 responses to this post, and the other 10 of them were her excuses as to why she can't try that or why she won't just take it away or blah, blah, blah! I'm like, why did you even ask? Why did you even put this out there? If the dentist and the doctor are telling you she's fine, then why did you even bother to put this out into the Facebook universe?! Grr! I was so frustrated and ended up finally blocking her from my news feed.

The moral of the story. If you don't want advice, I get it. I understand...TRUST ME! But, don't ask if you don't want help. Because eventually people are going to get tired of having their suggestions and "been there" stories shot down and they will just quit offering. I know I won't be offering her anymore advice or help. What about you? What would you do in this situation? Do have a similar "drama mama" in your midst? How did you deal with her?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"That's My Daughter..."

Happy Mother's Day! This is my third Mother's Day, and it is still so surreal to me. I remember when I celebrated my first Mother's Day, how weird it was to receive cards and flowers on a day that I had always honored my mother. It felt so odd and yet wonderful to know that this day, Mother's Day, was now my day too.

My daughter was born 1 month before my first Mother's Day. My husband and I chose Mother's Day as Emma's first trip to church and to my grandmother's house. I was super paranoid and wanted to wait the recommended six weeks, but I gave in because we had already spent Emma's first Easter at home and I didn't want to miss my first Mother's Day. So, we got Emma ready and embarked out on our first outing as a family. It was a wonderful experience, and I wanted to share a few pictures of that day that seems forever ago.


Yes, I am looking forward to spending today again with all these lovely ladies. We have big plans: lunch at my grandma's, a short shopping trip, and then dinner at one of my mom's favorite Chinese restaurants. It should be a beautiful day, especially with the 85 degrees we are expecting! (I am secretly hoping my hubby offers to keep Emma while we go, because nothing beats shopping like shopping stroller and whiny toddler free.)

I also just wanted to take a few moments to recognize all of the mother figures in my life. Each one has made a significant impact in my life and played a huge part in making me the wife and mother I am today.

Meet my mom. She is this crazy, but wonderful lady who always puts her family, especially my sisters and I, first. She works long hours as a nurse, but she always makes time for us. I cannot count how many times she's taken us to Silver Dollar City or some other amusement park. She is constantly planning dinner dates and family outings. She's always there with stickers in her pocket or making time to read Emma a book. She is an amazing grandma and mother. I cannot thank her enough for making the decision to put my sisters and I in Christian school, for keeping us active in church, for teaching us the importance of faith and family,and for always being there and supporting us no matter what. She has taught more Sunday school classes, coached more little league teams, and gone on more family trips than most people. She is my hero, and everyday I strive to be half the mother she is.

This my grandma. My mom's mom. This woman has dropped me off and picked me up from school more than anyone else. She is my on-call nurse (because she tends not to freak out about things as much as my mom), and she makes huge lunches every Sunday for our entire family. She has taught me the importance of family and loving them unconditionally. She's a tell-it-like-it-is straight shooter who has never backed down or given up on anything in her life. Her strength is one of my biggest inspirations. I love her and appreciate her guidance and advice so much in my life. I feel so privileged to call her "Grandma" a.k.a. "Fro".

This is Chris, she is my "adopted" mom. Chris has gotten me through so much in my life. She has loved me without judgment and is ALWAYS there for me. She never ceases to make me smile, and I have found in her a confidant whom I can always trust. She has been a "mom" to me in so many ways,and I am so grateful to her girls for sharing her with me. I feel so blessed everyday that God brought her into my life, because I could not imagine my life without her.

I love all of these ladies with my whole heart, and they have each encouraged and inspired me to be the woman I am today. I feel so privileged to have each one of them in my life, and this Mother's Day these are the women I will be celebrating. What about you? Who are you celebrating this Mother's Day?

Happy Mother's Day to every mom out there. You each deserve a special day, and I hope you get it!

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