My Graduation Speech v.1.02

A little more than two years ago on another site I write privately on, I reminisced and ventured into thought about my graduation speech I was required to give in high school(no one ever tells you that good grades come with a price). I was given twenty-four hours notice to have a speech prepared including the theme "Tomorrow is a vision of hope".

For my speech I didn't want to exorbitantly promise to miss this group of classmates--of whom very few I had ever befriended. I didn't want to wipe away fake tears as I swore to cherish all those memories we never made together. I didn't want to talk about our years at FHS and the games that were played, the rumors that were spread, or the hearts that were broken. That was all behind us.

I chose to do a "Rules for Life" kind of speech, one that didn't focus on our past together, but on our future lives where we might end up worlds apart.

Here is my speech.

Tomorrow is a vision of hope that brings endless opportunities and life-altering choices. However, tomorrow is affected by the decisions we make today so I would offer the following advice to help achieve hope and satisfaction in our journey through life.
  • Stay faithful to God. He is the hope of the ages and a friend when we feel there is no other to turn to.
  • If you decide to continue your education, give it all you’ve got because that’s what it is. It’s your future.
  • If you decide to skip college and go to work, take your job seriously because somebody depends on the outcome.
  • If you marry, be committed. Don’t make this important promise with an easy out already in mind.
  • Give blood or be an organ donor. They really are gifts of the heart and the only hope some people have.
  • Live a good honorable life. When you pass your name on to your children, don’t make them regret it.
  • Do favors for people without expecting anything in return.
  • Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  • Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality. Even your grandchildren will remember what you taught them.
  • Pay your taxes. It will keep Uncle Sam off of your back.
  • Pray. There’s immeasurable power in it.
  • Marry a man or woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
  • When you have a hard choice to make, always ask yourself what is the “right” thing to do.
  • Tell your family you love them. They already know it, but they still like to hear it.
  • Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams, don’t have much.
  • Look around you. If you can help, do it. If you can’t, get out of the way.
  • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
  • If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth’s greatest satisfaction.
  • Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
  • Don’t dismiss your dreams. To be without dreams is to be without hope. To be without hope is to be without purpose.
  • Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you only have one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
And tomorrow as we set out, leaving our past behind us, we can look to the future and find our hope.

At the time I'd revised my speech, I had been out of school for seven years. On one hand it seemed like such a small period of time, and on the other, it seemed as if eternity itself has passed since I stood in that cap and gown praying my cards were in order.

In just seven years I felt I had learned some lessons that needed to be added to that list. So many things that never crossed my mind, so I wanted to revise my graduation speech, I wanted it to include some of the hardships and blessings that have found their way into and through my life.
  • Tell everyone you care about that you love them. Tell them every opportunity you get because one day it will be the last opportunity you get.
  • If you ever feel like you should call someone at 5:00 in the morning, do it. God put them on your heart for a reason.
  • Never make or accept a vow of marriage without seriously giving it some thought first. Don't think about how much you love them now and how great you think they are. Girls, don't think about that white dress or that little diamond. You need to seriously think about that other person. You need to think about spending with them. If those thoughts don't rock your world and curl your toes, don't even think of making or accepting that offer.
  • Never ever tell a pregnant woman "Girl, you're huge!!" You might mean that in a very good way, but she feels like a whale that's washed up on the beach....she will only interpret that badly and you will pay severely for it for the remainder of the pregnancy and the 7-9 months afterwards that it takes her hormones to get ironed back out.
  • Let your children play in the mud puddle. You have to wash those clothes either way.
  • Search out the unsung heroes in your community and find a way to thank them and to let them know that the good they do does not go unnoticed.
  • Never treat someone as if they're beneath you. To do so makes a smaller person of yourself, not them.
  • If you commit yourself to someone or something, see it through. If it's not going to work out, you need to get out of it the second that you realize that. If you can't commit yourself to it 100%, you don't need to commit yourself to it at all.
  • Watch your child sleep for a minute or two before you go to bed every night. It's food for the soul.
  • The most important thing any individual could ever give to you is their trust. Protect it at all costs, once it's broken, if it can be rebuilt at all, it will never be the same again.
  • Don't make a big deal over something you can't change. You can either handle these situations with outrage and tantrums and be made to look like a fool, or you can handle it with grace, wisdom and a cool head and you will be respected and admired. The way you handle these situations will be talked about....make it a credit to your name.
Now, only two years later I can think of more to add to this list.
  • Smile, smile, SMILE!! Smile to your family, your friends, to strangers, to people you don't like...heck even smile at that face you see in the mirror every day! You'd be surprised how one little smile can change things and how it can change the way people view you and interact with you. So smile!!
  • Give everyone a fair chance. Think about the times that you were dismissed or not given a chance for judgments and reasons that didn't even fit the bill. Don't do that to others. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
  • Open your mind. The only thing that limits you is you.
  • If you want to do something, do it. And do it to the best of your ability. Don't convince yourself that you're inferior to others, not as creative as others, or can't do it as well as others. If others were meant to do it, they would have been given the inspiration, not you.
  • Its much more pleasant if you spend your life immersed in love and joy and happiness and activity than if you spend it absorbed in worry and fear.
  • Find a way to give to others. If you can't give money, give help or time or attention or advice. Use whatever you have to make a change wherever you can. Sometimes the legacy you leave behind has nothing whatsoever to do with money.

This is all I've got for now, but we all have these "words of wisdom" to pass on. What are yours?
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

A Real Man

So I'm reading this book this weekend and the main character in it is oogling this man and his body and his manly physique...comparing him to the other men in her life.

This man is tall, toned, tanned and has the body that shows he not only works with his hands, but he most-likely does a lot of lifting with his legs.

He wasn't a pretty man or a smart man or a man's man.

He was just a man.

A real man.

What men, in her opinion, should look like.

God bless her, I can't help but agree. Sure, eye candy is nice and brains are a definite plus (within moderation) and everyone loves a man that is friends with the world. But for me, I tend to always lean towards the manly men.

The cowboy type in particular.

Maybe that's because I'm native to Oklahoma, and no matter how long I've been in Arkansas.....the cowboy/farmer/country type always appeals to me.

The forearms.

The shoulders.

The V that a man's torso makes from his shoulders to his waist.

That's my kind of man.

A manly man.

But I'm just one woman with one preference.......what's yours?
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

Is it 4:30 yet? Cause I'm ready to go home.

And a coworker pointed out to me, we should be gone by now because he heard it was five o'clock somewhere.

I like his logic. Even if I'm not all too happy at work this morning. (Although the smile on my face would make one think otherwise)

They made me turn my light on.

I did just fine for two-and-a-half hours without it on. Why turn it on now when I've only had two cups of coffee?

Gosh, it's bright in here now.

::sips coffee::

They keep asking me what I'm up to, also. Apparently my grinning-for-no-apparent-reason demeanor this morning makes them nervous that I'm plotting mischief. (I have them trained well....)

The reality is simply that I stayed up too late last night.

Talking on the phone.


For two hours.

It began nervously and was followed by smiles and lots of laughter and ended with "Do you think I can call you again sometime?"

Isn't that just the cutest thing ever?

And right at my speed, too.

None of this "jumping in with both feet" thing. I'm not good at that, because once I land on my feet, I usually find myself off and running.

It almost seems like a habit of mine at this point.

But I think if I can go slow enough maybe life will take my breath away in a good kind of way.

Unexpected things in unexpected places.....

But isn't that how they always say things will work out?
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Back to Nature

After, oh, I don't know 5-6 years of not being properly ridden or handled, touched, brushed regularly, our horses are starting to go wild, only coming around for supper-time.

So I've decided, instead of letting them digress further and risking injury to one of the boys, I need to spend time with them. Brushing them, patting them, talking to them, and--of course--feeding them. How else am I going to get them to come near me?

So Tuesday I grabbed a bucket and a lead and headed up to the barn where I enticed both horses into the barn.

As they chowed down I brushed and patted and talked to them. I could feel their muscles tense and more than once saw the whites of their eyes. I kept them in the barn for as long as they were comfortable, and let them leave when they no longer were. (My horse was terrified of my camera hanging by the strap on the doorknob of the tackroom).

It was so weird, though, forcing myself to be aware of their every body language, my every move, and even my position. I haven't had to worry about being pinned in by either of these horses since the mid-nineties, but that day I was. Better safe than sorry, but it was just weird taking these precautions with these two horses just in case they spooked when I've been so used to being on top, in front, under, and behind these horses with no problems. And they've always been fine with it because I keep a hand on them no matter where I am so that they know I'm there.

After a little interaction with the horses, during which time it rained, (another factor that I think tripped my horse out a bit, the rain on the tin roof got pretty loud there for a bit) I grabbed my camera and walked around my parents property and snapped a few pictures.

Keep in mind, my mom and sisters are the photographers of the family. Literally. They're professional photographers.

Their specialty is children.

Mine, if I were a photographer, would be nature.

I would love to be able to look around and capture the beauty and the stillness and the colors and the life that is everywhere in nature.

So, I decided to grab my camera and start working towards being able to do just that.

They're nothing great or wonderful, they're just home and they're things and places and views that mean something to me.

My Daddy built this barn by hand, by himself out of pine that he cut from our land when we were building our house.

Another shot of the barn.

The little pond out behind the barn.

Mr. Bo Jangles. My horse.

Ty in his truck pulling his Little Red Wagon behind it. (Papaw built a trailer hitch for his truck just so he could pull his wagon around.

Rain, rain, go away!
Grand-Daddy Long Legs hiding out under a fig leaf after an afternoon rain.

Daddy's disc.

Ty playing in the grass.

The view from every angle in my part of the world. Pine trees everywhere.

Ty climbed in the Mini with Nana to help her drive it down the driveway.

And to end, just a few shots of my boy asleep. He likes to sleep nekkid, well, partially nekkid as he sleeps in a pull-up.

Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Common Sense isn't so hard to come by

Ty was in the bathtub tonight and we'd just finished singing a medley of childrens songs when he asked me a question.

I paused before giving him the answer and tried to help him reason it out.

I could tell with his first answer that he wasn't too into the thinking for himself idea tonight so I gently told him, "It's easy, just use your common sense, sugar."

"I don't got no common sense."

"You don't?"

"Nope. And do you know why I don't, Mama?"

"No, I don't. Why?"

"Cause somebody took it."

"They did?!"

(matter of factly) "Yes. Can I borrow some of yours?"

Well, I don't see why not."

"Is your sense pink, Mama?"
"I don't know. It might be."

"I don't use pink sense. I use blue sense."
(he turns around in the bathtub, facing away from where I am.)

"Nevermind, Mama. Here's some in the bathtub!"

(he picks up his imaginary sense and pretends to eat it.)
I love the imagination of a child and I love how they can take one word out of your vocabulary and spin their little stories around it.

Too precious.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Precious Memories

"I'll race you to the gate, Daddy" I told him as we were walking across the yard to go feed the chickens.

He gave me a headstart but easily overtook me and beat me (he was a track star in his day, after all), hopping the fence with one hand perched atop the rail as his legs rose up and effortlessly sailed over to the fence and landed on the other side.

I ran behind him, the Oklahoma wind blowing through my hair as I trailed along behind him, stopping to climb up the chain-link fence and down the other side. We walked across the road to the chicken coop where I would help him gather eggs that would later find their way into the incubator and brooder or into the refrigerator.

One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting in the little shed that he kept the incubator.

The warm air would overtake me as he opened the door to check the eggs. We'd pull the eggs out one at a time and put them over the light. If the light went all the way through, it went to the refrigerator. If the light created a shadow inside of it, it went back into the incubator.

Once the eggs started to crack, they were moved to the bottom shelf where the chicks (be it chickens, ducks, turkey, quail, or even pheasant) would hatch and dry out.

This was where I would 'dip their beaks' for the first time, though they rarely ate or drank when I tried to get them to.

After a day or two in the incubator, they would be moved over into the brooder where, again, they would be submitted to me regularly "checking on them" and "dipping their beaks".

In the winter months I would help with firewood. I was determined to make Daddy proud by carrying much more wood than such a little person should be able to carry.

So I'd hold my arms out straight in front of me and he'd pile me as high as I could hold it with limbs and small "logs" of wood for the fireplace. I'd trail up to the house behind him and proudly show off any scratches I might have earned along the way.

During some of the cooler months my dad would reload or pour jig heads. The jigs were my favorite. He would hang the jig heads inside a wooden box with wire strings running across it. We would paint each jig head and then hang it on the wires to dry.

After they were dry, he showed me how to cut the right amount of feathers and glue them to the jig-head and then wrap them to make a variety of beautiful fishing lures. To this day we still have hundreds of them left from my wonderful childhood memories.

When the snow and ice came, we would bundle up for days of fun in the snow and ice. Daddy would gather five-gallon buckets and pack them full of snow, using the molded snow as "bricks" to make a life-sized igloo in the yard.

When the pond froze over he would tie the boat to the back of the three-wheeler. My sister and I would load up in the boat and he'd pull us all over the neighborhood and even out on top of the frozen pond, where I was astounded and awestruck to see him build a fire right on top of the ice we were standing on and it never even melted through the ice!

We moved to Arkansas when I was nine and I got a little older. Sooner or later I talked Daddy into a horse.

Daddy rented a bag of bones horse for a few months to make sure that this wasn't just a phase and that I was willing to do some of the work that came with a horse. Once it was established that this wasn't temporary, we went to a horse auction where he bought my frist horse.

My first horse wasn't just any horse, she was a racehorse straight off the tracks.

Which is why Daddy turned around and sold her about 10 minutes after discovering this information.

My second horse was a solid black Tennessee Walking Horse I named Pride. (I was into a series of horse books called The Thoroughbread Series.)

After Pride came Dollar and Bo (who would become my show horse for barrels, poles, and several other events). Dollar and Bo were half-brother and sister out of Oklahoma Star. Then came Sierra, Fancy, Rooster, Buttons (who wasn't really ours but was on the same land with ours for so long that he may as well have been), Baby Sister, Doc, and a few more whose names now escape me.

We would go to "the land" nightly to feed the horses. On our way back in we'd stop at a convenient store and I'd get a Strawberry Clearly Canadian and he'd get a Peach Nehi.

"It tastes just like you're biting into a fuzzy peach," he would always tell me.

Eventually, when Clearly Canadians were no longer sold, I would convert over to the Peach Nehi as well.

The first vehicle I ever truly drove by myself was his old red Ford Truck in the pasture at the land.

Oh yeah, I was pulling a hay trailer, too.

We'd ride out at the land regularly. To this day I still think I could navigate those trails with my eyes closed and we've been out of that pasture and on land of our own since 1997.

Dollar and Bo (my dad's horse and my horse) are the only two we now have left.

Then came the days of boys and social lives and "having fun". Because that, for some reason, became more important than dear ol' dad.

And there was no one tagging along behind him, slowing him down, or helping him feed the horses. There was no little person talking non-stop and singing and cheering in the deer stand while we were "hunting".

And yet he never once complained.

He never once told me "hurry up" or "no, let me do this myself, it's faster". He never once denied me a simple little pleasure simply because it would cost him a precious moment's time.

And I see him being the same wonderful type of Daddy for my son that he was for me.

And I want to be that type of parent, too.

I want to be someone my son can grow up to admire and love and respect so deeply.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Honest Scrap: 10 Honest Things

Wow! So Momma Sunshine has tagged me with The Honest Scrap award!! (Awesome! Thank you!!)
The Honest Scrap award is given by other bloggers who consider a blog’s content or design to be brilliant. The awardee must then post ten honest things about themselves and pass the award on to other bloggers who fit the bill – in other words, whose blog is brilliant.
Let's see if I can keep my fingers on the keyboard with this big head floating around the office!! (To be honest, I did kinda 'squee' when I saw the word brilliant in there cause I always proudly claim to be 'brilliant' and now I have someone backing up my claims! ha ha!)

So, what I'm supposed to do is share ten honest things about me and then tag some other Brilliant Bloggers to participate as well!

That should be easy enough, right?

Let's give it a go!
  1. ............., not as easy as it seems.
  1. I lost a close cousin to suicide in 2003. Suicide is the hardest death to survive, in my book. Every milestone I reach, every new birthday I have, now has a cloud cast over it because I know he'll never get to experience the same thing.
  2. I love, love, LOVE to sing. And if I'm not singing, I'm whistling. I'm told I whistle like a man, but I never knew that men and women whistle differently.
  3. The fact that I ever got pregnant, to this day, amazes me. I mean, yeah, I know how I got pregnant. But the fact that I got pregnant on the 4th day of my cycle (well before ovulation should have occurred...) using protection still puts a giant question mark over my head. There's no doubt in my mind that Ty was meant to be because he defied all sorts of science and technology to get here.
  4. I dreamed I was in a smoke-filled New York City the night of September 10, 2001. I had been to NYC that May and in July I told some of my friends that I woke up one morning with this thought in my head that there was going to be a plane crash and it was going to be detrimental. But since I wasn't planning any trips, nor were any friends or family, I put it out of my head.
    On the night of September 10th, I dreamed that me and my nuclear and extended family were all in NYC together. I was looking for my aunt and a cousin who got separated from us and suddenly it got dark and smoky and I kept coughing and couldn't breathe, but didn't know what happened.
    Needless to say, the next morning when the towers collapsed I had a bit of a freak-out. After hearing about the initial plane crash from my Trig Professor I wrote out my thoughts that this wasn't accidental and that I was afraid there would be 4 more before it was all over with. I still don't understand where I got these thoughts and feelings from that day.
  5. My faith in God is solid. I grew up in a Christian home and a Christian family and all my life I've been shown and been able to see God in everything. I've grown up noticing how God takes bad things and painful things and later turns them into blessings that you're glad for and that make you stronger. I have a hard time relating to others whose faith is shaky or who don't believe because I don't understand how you can not see God's presence and His hand in everything that happens to us and around us.
  6. I'm pretty old fashioned when it comes to guys. I think the guy should ask the girl out, I think that he should make the first move, and I think that a girl shouldn't call a guy regularly until they're actually dating or in a relationship.
  7. My dreams are extremely vivid. If I get injured in a dream (which is regularly, since I'm not the epitome of grace in real life) I can feel every part of the injury as if it really is real, even down to the stitches and the dressing of the wound. The same can be said for good dreams, too, especially dreams involving kissing. ::wink::
  8. I love writing. I know that I have a book in me somewhere and my mom has told me for years that me, my dad, and my sister could all write a book. I sit down from time to time to try to write one, but I never can. I would write an autobiography someday but I don't think people would read it and I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, which would happen if I forced myself to be completely honest.
    My goal with this blog, actually, is to hopefully be able to make a living on my writing someday. I hope to build up a big enough audience to attract the eye of advertisers or publishers or whatever, and someday--if I get the opportunity--I'd like to be able to work from home doing something I love, while still being able to fully provide for my little family.
  9. I love seven-dollar words. My favorite book in Middle School was my Roget's College Thesarus. Education has always been a very important thing to me and I've always used big words and never really realized it until the past year or two when I've had numerous comments that I don't talk like normal people do because I use words and phrases that most people don't. I imagine I probably sound a little funny, sometimes, because I use the big words and all, but I have an extremely country "twang" from time-to-time, too.
  10. I've been collecting quotes, verse, and words of wisdom since 1993. My collection has gone from loose-leaf paper, to several hard-back journals, to a database I built to store them. At the moment I have over 1600 quotes, but I only keep the ones that speak directly to me or that I think I'll need at some point down the road. When I get in a rut or get down, I get the quotes out and it's always neat how the ones that didn't speak to me before will be the ones that touch me the deepest at that time.
So, that's ten.

Now I tag other bloggers. Some of the ones I'd tag have already been tagged. Namely Momma Sunshine, Canadian Bald Guy, and ModernMarriedMama. I won't make them do it a second (or third) time, so, the rest of my list would be:

Dad's House

Nightlife Confessions

Irascible Crayons

Girl's Gone Child

Riding Life

Phanatically Speaking

4 Little Men and Girly Twins
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Kiss and Tell

I just finished opening inmate mail. I not only feel dirty, but I now smell like a two-dollar hooker. And it won't wash off. The things that come through the mail not only disgust me, but they sometimes amuse me.

That, however, is another story for another time.

So I've been bebopping around today with Cher singing the song "It's In His Kiss" in my head.

It's not nearly as cute as my son's version of "Dirty Underwear", but it's stuck in my head nonetheless.

I had to insert this picture for Canadian Bald Guy, who was sweet enough to watch The Notebook this weekend for his Sunshine
Which obviously has me thinking about kisses and kissing.

Or maybe I'm thinking about kisses and kissing, which is why I have that song in my head......

Either way, I'm thinking about one and whistling the other.

Which is silly because I haven't had anything more than a platonic or a family kiss in more than three months.

Maybe that's not so silly, maybe that's the root of it.

Who knows. But onto the kissing.

So, kissing is a big thing for me. When I even think about being interested in a guy, that's one of the first things I think of. I imagine kissing him. If the thought isn't appealing to me, then there's my answer as to how I feel about him. If I'm not sure, maybe it is, maybe it isn't, then I should give him a chance and see if there's anything there. And obviously, if the thought is appealing, then I should definitely give him a chance.

A kiss says a lot, to me.

How a guy kisses you, when a guy kisses you, where a guy kisses you, and where a guy's hands are when he kisses you says a lot to me.

For example, if the first thing he does is shove his tongue down my throat, he's not interested in me, he's interested in what he hopes to do to me.

Next please.

A guy that is interested in kissing you for the right reasons is going to take his cues from you (and likewise you should take your cues from him). For example, I think the perfect kiss uses the tongue like an exclamation point. Just to accent in the right areas. Some paragraphs have more exclamation points than others. Some have none at all, it depends on the kiss and the mood. As you can tell from my writing, it's rare that you ever see "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" come through in my personality. Therefore, kisses styled like that aren't my thing. That's my preference.

Those kinds of kisses completely ruin the kiss for me. I go from kissing a guy, to playing defense. Defense isn't meant to be a part of kissing.

Like I said, a good kiss involves two people taking cues from one another. If you can tell that he or she wants a little bit more tongue, go for it, but keep it also in your realm of enjoyment, too. Don't ruin a kiss for you just to make it good for them. It's give and take.

When a guy kisses you is also a big thing for me. There's a time and place for everything. I'm a more private person, so I don't want to be kissed in public (or especially in front of my family) by someone that I'm not in an actual relationship with. I'm, obviously, not going to make a scene if I'm on a date with someone and they do just that, but I might keep it short and within my comfort level without making him feel rejected.

If a guy continues to persist after that, I'd probably tell him my reasons and if he kept on after that, he not only doesn't respect me, but he's probably got different intentions than I have and I can do without that.

Where a guy kisses me, like physically not location-wise, is also a big thing. A kiss on the lips is pretty direct. But what about kisses elsewhere?

Forehead? Good sign.

Neck? Good sign.

Cheek? Friend sign.

I'm, personally, partial to a guy that kisses me on the forehead. Not only because that means he's likely taller than me (a weakness I have. I totally go for the tall country-boy type) but it's a sign that he cares about me and feels a sense of protection over me.

And lastly, where are his hands?

My preference is that they're around my waist. And not below the waist. I've had enough guys trying other things that, at this point, I am so turned off by someone trying to go too far with me. I am a woman worthy of love, respect, and admiration. I will walk away in a heartbeat if I get the idea that a guy thinks otherwise.

Game over.

So the waist is my preference.

Although the movie-type kiss where he puts his hands on your face or on the back of your neck or in your hair sounds dreamy, but let's be honest, this doesn't happen in real life because 99% of men just aren't that level of romantic. Or if they are, it never crosses their mind while they're kissing you.

So the waist is good.

For some reason hands on my waist make me feel small and arms around my waist make me feel protected.

Being a single mom I have to be the one who fixes everything and does everything and keeps everything going. All battles are fought by me. All work is done by me. All stress is channeled through me. So from time to time, I want to feel like someone else is willing to at least fight a fight for me. I want to feel like someone else will take care of me if I ever put my guard down enough to let them.

So those are my kissing preferences. I won't tell you just now what brought them all to my mind, but I will tell you my preferences at least.

Now it's your turn to tell me what yours are!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Up, Up and Away!

Today is Father's Day.

And I get to spend the day with My Daddy, and also the closest thing my son has to a Daddy.

I'm sure people feel sorry for my boy when it comes time to make Father's Day gifts, but really they shouldn't. I had one woman cry simply because Ty said "I don't have a Daddy." Why is that sad for her? She wouldn't cry if he said "I don't have a puppy" why cry over hte other statement, when he has something just as good to get him by until he has a Daddy someday. Because he sees his PaPaw the same way I see my Daddy.

Harassed Mom had this graphic in her post today.

And it is just absolutely true!

That is how we both look at my Daddy. That Little Boy has the best father figure anyone could ask for. And I hope that he grows up to be the man that my Daddy is.

Moving out of the range of sentimentality (I've been a weepy mess this weekend, catching up on my Days of the Lives episodes I'd DVR'd from the week, I never had this problem with my tear ducts before I was a mom....)

For Father's Day, we're (my whole family) spending the day together! So my dad, mom, myself, Ty, my sister, her husband, and her son are all going to load up together and drive about an hour away to go watch Up!

Ty and I have been itching to go see it and everyone that I know that has seen it has just loved it! So yesterday when my mom asked me to find out what was playing in Monticello, I told her quickly that I knew Up was playing there, which seems to be what she had in mind, anyway.

Ty's in his room, right now, packing a backpack full of all the toys that he and his PaPaw might need to play with on the ride over to the theater!

So that is how we will spend Father's Day. With the man we both admire and look up to.

How are you celebrating this day that honors the men we love, cherish, and admire?
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Swept Away

My son will be a charmer, I promise.

And I don't know how I'll deal with his 2nd girlfriend and the one after her and the one after her because after 27 years, I still haven't mastered the whole sharing thing.

Oh yeah, that's right, I said 2nd girlfriend. He's 3 and already has a girlfriend.

Her name is Kendyl.

And she's an older woman. She just turned 5 and he's a little less than a month shy of turning 4.

But she's a totally sweet girl and she kinda Mamas him a bit and watches out for him and she doesn't let him give her all of my sugars. He keeps a few hidden behind his ears for me.

(That's how he gets out of it when Mama starts kissing all over him, he tells me he's out of kisses. Or he has to stop for a second and pull a few more out of his pocket or behind his ear and put them on his lips to refill his kisses.)

My grandmother is down from Oklahoma for the week and is keeping the boys (my son and my nephew) while our daycare is closed for vacation.

Her heart melted last night when Ty went upstairs before we left and took her face in his hands and said "You know I love you, don't you?"

How sweet is that?!

And this morning, as we were walking out the door to get in the car I smiled down at him and said "I love you".

"I love you, too, Beautiful!"

I don't need a man to sweep me off my feet, my son does it almost every day!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

True Blood vs Twilight

Okay, so my sister loaned me a book, Dead Until Dark, the book that the HBO series True Blood is based on. Which really is a good book. It just makes me feel like I was a sucker for the Twilight series. I mean, yeah, Stephenie Meyer did a better job, to me, in making the whole Twilight series seem more believable because she put so much detail in the books that pulled everything together in an almost believable way.

But after reading this book, I can't help but wonder if Stephenie had her Twilight dream that spawned the books after reading this very book itself.

I feel jilted. I feel like I just learned there is no Santa. And that Prince Charming only exists in Disney Movies.

There are so many similarities, it's like Twilight just took the Dead Until Dark book, changed up a few things and adjusted the plot line. The primary difference is that Dead Until Dark stuck with the traditional roles and legends of vampires, Stephenie Meyer creatively invented a believable modernized vampire for Twilight.

Dead Until Dark: Bill's skin glows to Sookie and in some lights.
Twilight: Edward sparkles in sunlight.

Dead Until Dark: Sookie is telepathic.
Twilight: Edward is telepathic.

Dead Until Dark: The only person whose mind Sookie can't read is Bill, and she finds this refreshing.
Twilight: The only person whose mind Edward can't read is Bella's and he finds this intriguing.

Dead Until Dark: Sookie's boss, Sam, is a shape-shifter that takes the form of a dog (Collie).
Twilight: Bella's best friend, Jacob, is a shape-shifter that takes the form of a werewolf.

Dead Until Dark: Sookie's boss, Sam, is in love with Sookie yet missed his chance as she loves Bill, her vampire more, even though she is attracted to Sam.
Twilight: Bella's best friend, Jacob, is in love with Bella, yet missed his chance as she loves Edward, her vampire, more. Even though she still has some feelings for Jacob.

Dead Until Dark: Eric, one of the top vampires, is intrigued by Sookie's powers to mind read.
Twilight: Aro, one of the top vampires, was intrigued by Bella's ability to close her mind to mind readers.

Dead Until Dark: Bill was 'mainstreaming' and living among humans.
Twilight: The Cullens were living among humans.

Dead Until Dark: Bill must rest underground at night because the sun will kill him.
Twilight: Edward can't go out in the sun because he'll dazzle people with his sparkles.

Dead Until Dark: Bill separated himself from other vampires.
Twilight: Edward lived in a coven of multiple vampires.

Dead Until Dark: Sookie lives in a small town, Bon Temps, in North Lousiana.
Twilight: Bella lives in a small town, Forks, in western Washington.

Dead Until Dark: Vampires were open about their state of being and were known by humans as vampires.
Twilight: Vampires blended in and lived as humans, concealing their true state of being.

There are more that I was thinking about earlier, but it's late and I'm tired. Besides, I have Living Dead in Dallas (the 2nd book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries) to read on.
For all Twilight fans out there, I'm not knocking it. I've read all 4 books twice and plan to re-read them a 3rd time if my Eclipse book ever finds its way back into my possession. I just feel like the Twilight books lost a little wind from their sails with me because of all these coincidental similarities. I'm only starting the 2nd book of the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, but so far both series are wonderful and entertaining. However, I would not recommend the Southern Vampire Mysteries as reading material for hormonal pre-teens or teenagers. Teenage pregnancy rates are too high without them reading some of the encounters between Sookie and her vampire.

[insert cold shower here]

Alright. Any of you read both series? How do you feel they compare? Do you see the similarities I'm talking about or do you think I'm just seeing it because I'm reading the one series with the other in mind? I'm interested in some other points of view on this!

Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

American Hero

Guess what I did today?

Like my pretty pink little bow that matches my pink dress? (The green does, too, actually. There's a green band at the bottom of my dress).

Any guesses?

I gave blood today at the American Red Cross Blood Drive! Cause I'm a rockstar hero.

I guess I could be both, judging by the shirt they gave me.

Just a little close up of what the tag on the shirt says.

That's right! I'm a hero. Because I gave 45 minutes of my day to save a life!

Want to be a hero, too?

Check out to find out more and locate a blood drive near you.

Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

And the abacus says, keep on counting.

Who around here is tired of my little Pity Party I've been throwing over STILL being single?
[raises hand]
If I'm sick of it, I'm sure you are, too.
So I'm going to do my best to check it at the door and leave it there.

Yeah, a little self-pity is okay and occasionally good. But wallowing is not.

Therefore I must stop wallowing.

Wallowing ends here.

See? No more wallowing.

I have too much going for me and too many things to do than to spend my time wallowing.

For one, I have this amazing little person that needs my time as mommy, not as wallower. And he kinda makes it a lot easier not to wallow. He makes it difficult not to brag, though...but we'll discuss that at another time.

So my job is to focus on all the great things I'm blessed with. And not the one thing I'm not. Kinda selfish of me to focus on the one thing I want but lack, instead of appreciating all the great things I have.

Such as my family.

I know a lot of people online don't really go into the family thing and I don't really understand that. I come from a super-close family, and so it's just natural to me to bring them into my online life because they're in almost every part of my offline life.

My parents, who just celebrate 33 years of marriage, are both my heroes. My dad is this completely honorable, admirable, and selfless man that all men should strive to be like. My mom is this strong, amazing, intelligent, and awe-inspiring woman that, likewise, all women would do good to follow her example. They both live by this set of rules they've ingrained into me. To always try to be a good person, to always try to be the better person in bad situations, to always try to live a honest life, set a good example, and to add credit to our family name.

My sister, who is a professional photographer, as is my mom, is a brilliant artist. She has this eye for things and her creativity makes me absolutely jealous because I'm sometimes not the least bit creative, especially compared to her. She makes me jealous in a lot of ways, actually. She has such a heart for people. She gives and does things for others that never even cross my mind.

She has a husband and a child that I adore. Her husband is funny and easy-going, but he stands up when he needs to and he defends those that he loves and I respect that immensely. Oh, and he saves lives for a living. How great is that!

My little boy. We all know I can go on and on and on about my little boy and how wonderful he has made my life and how much better of a person he has made me. Yes, I'm still selfish and self-centered in a lot of things I do, but it's not all about me anymore. I am no longer the center of my universe.

I love how, even on bad days, everything just melts away when he hugs me and tells me "Mama, you're my best fwiend". I adore the way he tries to be such a man for me. He tells me he'll protect me from storms and spiders and scary things. He's always trying to fix things and make me happy and make me proud. He'll take my face into both of his hands and kiss me and tell me he loves me. And even when he's being a ring-tail-tooter, he's still my perfectly wonderful little boy that I can't imagine life without. I know I am blessed to have him. I know I am blessed to know him. He is my gift from God. Where others might look only at the surface of things and see an unwed mother and her child and think of what a burden it must be to have to care for a child all by yourself, they don't see that he is nothing short of a blessing. He brings me such joy and happiness and adventure and excitement!!

I love seeing the little person that he's growing into and I feel like I can't honestly take credit for who he is. Everyone tells me I'm doing such a wonderful job and that he's such a sweet and caring and happy little person and I just don't feel like I can take credit because he's such a better person than I am. He thinks of others, not of himself. He is so imaginative and creative and smart. Well, maybe he did get that from me. My knowledge and education is one thing that I'll always be proud of.
Continuing on before your eyes glaze over from Mommy-Pride.

One thing that should have bee first and foremost, God. I have an amazing, powerful, loving, wonderful, forgiving, and giving God. My faith in God goes all the way to the core. My family raised me in a Christian home and showed me how God was present in every little thing and, as an adult, I have no doubt whatsoever. I know God is there, I can see Him in so many parts of my life. I have seen how He has taken difficulties, how He has taken hard times and has turned them into something good and something positive. I have seen Him work through and in my life, as well as the lives of others.

I am thankful that not only is there a God, but that my God is such a loving and wonderful God. I am thankful that my God cares as much about me as He does the rest of His creation. And I am thankful that God allows me to be tested and that He allows bad things to happen to me because I know that in the end, every bad will work towards a great and wonderfully good purpose. And even if it doesn't serve to benefit me, it serves to benefit Him, as well as others.

I have a house. I have a pretty nice house, if you ask me. Sure, it took a little money to get it that way, but it's nice and it's well maintained and it's mine and it's Ty's and it's our home.
I have a vehicle that I love to drive and that is reliable and dependable and paid for.

I have a job. And while it may not pay as much as I should be making, it pays all my bills and it provides insurance for me and Ty that I could not get by without.

While I don't have very many friends my age in real-life, I have so many family friends that support and love me and are always there for me.

I have an online network of friends that are amazing. They have been through heartbreak with me and they have made it to the other side. My tears are their tears. My joys are their joys. And likewise, when they cry, I cry. When they celebrate, I celebrate right along with them. To some it seems hard to believe that you can have people you've never met that you are just as close to and just as connected with as people in your physical, everyday life. I am thankful for them and I am proud to call them my friends.

I could count my blessings all day long and I'd have to trade one abacus for a larger one and another and yet another because I am so very blessed and have so many things to be thankful for.

So that is my job now. I will not wallow in what I don't have, I will be thankful and appreciate all the things I do have.

Because I have been given so much.

And I have so much I need to give back.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.


There's a discussion going on over at I Heart Single People that's asking if single parents ever feel undatable.

It's so weird that this came up today because I was driving yesterday thinking along these same lines. I do feel undatable at times! And not in the way I used to!

I had guys in college that would get to know me in a platonic way and would never consider going further, only to tell my friends that they couldn't date me because I had so much to offer them and they had little to offer them. I never really understood it, but I've been told several times that I'm so very intimidating when you get to know me on a personal level because I'm smart and I'm confident and because my sarcastic nature is frequently hard to decipher. Then guys meet me and my family and see how together I've got it and feel, apparently, like they fall short of some invisible requirement.

I guess I've always been undatable in one way or another. I should be used to it, I guess.

I live in a small rural area and there really aren't any men to choose from. The single men that there are all seem to think that single moms are a bad thing. Or the ones that don't think of us as a bad thing tend to think of us as an "easy" thing.

I hate that.

Being a mom is the best thing about me.

But others don't see it that way.

I feel more undatable, though, because of trust issues I'm left with after one of my most recent relationships. But I can't work past the trust issues until I get back out there and put myself out there again. But how do you do that when no one wants to date you, and the guys that are available fall significantly short of moral and decency standards that you have marked as a requirement on your list.

The biggest part about me feeling undatable is because others make me feel undatable and less valuable. They don't realize that they're continually doing something or saying something to make me feel like they don't think I'm good enough, anymore, for the really good guys, that I should settle for the okay guys.

Take, for instance, others wanting to match-make. Except instead of finding me these really great guys, they find me these "leftover" guys. And I don't think they realize they do it. It's like they save the really great guys they know for the single women without kids. And then they tell me about these guys that would be so great "for me", as if they don't understand they're classifying me in a not so wonderful light.

It also goes all over me that I've had so many people suggest that I settle.

I'm not the settling type.

And on something so important as who you spend your life with, you don't settle for the sake of having someone that might could make you happy, at least for a while. It's worth the wait for me that I only have to do this once. I don't want to settle for the one that could make me happy 'for now' just to turn around and find the one who I could be happy with forever.

It's worth the wait. And even if I never find that person, even if it's just not in the cards for me to be married, who said I'm not happy?

It doesn't help that, in the last three years, I've only spent time with one guy who treated me respectfully, and he split before we really even made it from the 'talking' stage to the 'dating' stage.

I'm just so tired of guys coming into my lives and trying to get into my pants. I'm not that woman.

So I'm rejected for keeping my legs closed to men I barely know.

I see this as a good thing. If I were a guy, I can't imagine I could be serious about a woman who just "opens up" right away. And yet, if I were a guy, I can't imagine that if I really liked that woman, that I'd be trying to get her to open up right away.

And my family and friends keep telling me that it's not me. I'm not damaged goods. I'm not broken. I am actually. But they're right. It's not me. It's all these people who see "single mom" and don't look further to see the incredibly amazing woman that I am. I'm a better person because I'm a mom.

And someday, some lucky man will get that.

But in the meantime, to this narrow-minded little town, I'm pretty sure I'll always be undatable.

What about you? Do you feel or have you ever felt undatable becasuse you're a single parent?
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Purex Complete 3-in-1

Let me just say first, that this is unsolicited and that I am not being paid in any way for my opinions expressed in this blog.

This past week when shopping, I traveled down the laundry aisle because I'm getting a little low on detergent.

I've been seeing the ads for the Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets, which have had me curious. So on my way to trusty ol Gain Tropical Fresh, I paused at the new display.

They looked so small and unimposing that I almost passed them by because surely that little bitty box can't stand up to the shelves of laundry supplies I have at home that I use.

But I picked it up and gave it a once over. One sheet works for a regular load of wash, or two sheets for a extral large load of wash. I actually put it down right there. I have a king capacity washer and dryer set and, by golly, I use every bit of it I get! So one box of the sheets would only last me 10 loads.

But I started calculating in my head and even if the box only lasted 10 loads, I wouldn't be spending any more money than I already was. Actually, with the fabric softener and dryer sheets figured in, I'd be saving a dollar or two.

So I picked it up and started the sniff test.

Our Walmart had three scents. Probably the only three, I suppose. There was the Spring Oasis, Tropical Escape, and Pure & Clean.

Having used Tropical Fresh Gain for about 8 years, I grabbed the Tropical Escape first and gave it a sniff.

[insert wistful smell-good sigh here]

I put it in my cart and, again, hesitated.

Maybe a change would be good. And besides, even if I didn't like the smell, I could use it in all extra large loads and be done with it in two weeks. So I picked up the Spring Oasis, and while it smelled good, it wasn't exactly me. Next I picked up the Pure & Clean.

[insert wistful smell-good sigh here, too]

From here, I went back and forth and back and forth smelling between the Pure & Clean and the Tropical Oasis. Honestly, I stood there for like two minutes. I'd put one in the cart and then pause and go back and smell the others. I noticed the sales associates at the end of the aisle by the checkouts were watching me in amusement.

Finally, I settled on the Pure & Clean because it really did just smell so...well, pure and clean.

So it's sat in my laundry room for the last few days, waiting on me to crack it open and use it.

Which I did for the first time last night.

And the second time.

And the third time today.

My laundry room smells heavenly!!

But it's not all about smell, I know. So let me tell you.

My first load was my darks, so i just did a regular load and used one sheet. Ty had some dirty clothes in there, but not as bad as they sometimes are and not quite bad enough (I hoped) that I should have pre-treated them.

When I pulled them out of the dryer, they were spotless and soft! There wasn't even that film that you sometimes get on your hands after you fold clothes with some fabric softeners.

My next load was colors and Ty did have some dirtier clothes in there. There was one shirt I almost pre-treated but I thought "Nah, let's see how well this stuff works" (wish I'd taken pictures now). So I put it on in with red kool-aid, ice cream sandwich chocolate, and some extra mystery stains all dried on it.

And it came out spot free!

My third and current load, whites, are in the dryer now but they looked wonderful as I was transferring them from the washer.

I do plan to try a much larger load later on and see how they hold up then, too, but I'm pretty sure I'm sold! With each load I've washed I've simply loaded the clothes, tossed a laundry sheet in and closed the washer. I almost felt like I was forgetting something when I walked away without pouring in laundry detergent and fabric softener.

And another great thing about these laundry sheets?

They come with a coupon inside of them! So when I go back to buy my refills, I get to save more than I already am!

For anyone interested in trying the Purex Complete 3-in-1, I noticed that the Purex website also has a coupon for $1 off, as well.

And you don't have to go try them simply because I like them, but I thought I'd write this for those of you who have seen them and wonder how well they work. I would definitely recommend them!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Friday Night Fun

I needed a good end to a difficult week.

I needed to be lazy and do nothing and just be able to smile for a while.

I put a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan of water on the stove in my first attempt to make dulce de leche. (Gosh that stuff takes forever!!)

And then it was just us.


And my messy-faced little boy.

We were actually quite lazy all night. We acted silly and we watched some Disney movies and we colored because my boy's learning to pinch his crayon instead of fist-gripping it.

And The Boy got a book and "read" me some wonderful stories!

We were actually a bit too lazy, as we didn't get into bed until a bit before midnight! Oops! But my boy helped me make it up. I slept till 9 this morning and he slept until almost 10.


Now we have all of Saturday to cherish the same way!

Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

One for the Books

This week, although easy enough the first half, has turned out to be quite a trying and difficult week for me.

I enjoy my job. I enjoy working at the Sheriff's Office and the people I work with. Overall, we get along and all work well together.

The only thing I don't like about my job are days like yesterday.

And that's no one's fault, to be honest. Bad days just happen from time to time. And being in Law Enforcement, sometimes our bad days are really bad.

Of course, working in Law Enforcement, I can't give out details on an open case. But I can say that a mother lost her 19 year-old-son yesterday. We won't know exactly what caused his death until the autopsy is performed. But no matter what ended his life, it doesn't change the fact that a mother will never get to hold or kiss our hug her child again.

And that's had me torn into pieces on the inside.

I cannot imagine.

I cannot even begin to comprehend the pain she is experiencing.

And yet I got to go home and hug and hold and kiss and cherish my little boy. I got to smell his little boy smell and feel his soft, young skin and listen to the voice of a child as he sang and talked and even whined a bit.

I'm thankful that I was reminded to cherish this precious life that I have been blessed with. But I'm devastated that the reminder had to come in such a traumatic manner.

Please pray for this family and this woman. I cannot even bear to imagine how her heart is breaking.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

My Favorite Things

I'm pretty sure that anyone who knows me knows that I am completely and utterly smitten with my little boy. As are most parents, I would assume.

There is just so much about him that I love, adore, and enjoy.

For example, he sings almost as much as he talks (which is nonstop at this point). And I love it!

I'm a singer, through and through. Every day I wake up with a song in my head and every night I end the day the same way. Music is a monumental part of my life because I just connect with it. So I love, love, love the idea that maybe my boy will be the same way. My favorite songs to hear him sing right now are "I am a Promise" and "God is so Good". Sweeter words just can't be said in the voice of a child.

Another thing I adore about him is that he's a major snuggler. If I'm stationary for a few moments and he's not off on his own little imaginative adventure, he's tugging on me or wrapping his arms around me or crawling up into my lap to be closer to me and to snuggle me.

I also love his little imagination. He loves to get out his Black & Decker tool-set and play Doctor Ty Steven (guess who just arrived at my right arm with blankie saying "I want you", I told you he's a cuddler. So now, I switch to one-handed typing.) Anyway, he likes to play Doctor Ty Steven. Not Doctor Ty, Doctor Ty Steven (who seems to also have my arachniphobia....just a side-note from his jabbering). I guess Doctor Ty Steven sounds more professional or something.

So he goes and he gets his tools and he "operates" on my back and removes worms and bugs and seeds and spiders from my back.

Yeah, it gave me the heebie-jeebies for the first few weeks that he did this, but now I forget whatever he's extracting from my back and just enjoy the brief massage.

And one more of my favorite things before calling it a night, I love my "easy method" of getting him out of bed in the mornings.

You all have one. For some it's threatening, for some it's singing "Rise and shiney, I see your hiney, you better hide it before I bite it!" at the top of your lungs (or was it just my dad that did that?) For some who make the rest of us sickeningly jealous, you might be able to just say "Time to get up" and they're up! But for me, my easy method of getting Ty out of the bed is to go in there and in a sweet, almost whiney voice say "I want you." You have to say "want" in an extremely country accent like he does because, after all, he's his Mama's boy. So I'm really saying "I wont you". I just repeat that a few times and mix in a repetitions of "Hooolllldd me" and he instantly rolls over and opens his arms up to me and tells me "Hoooolllldddd me".

And he's up for the day and not only that, but I get snuggles.


What are a few of your favorite things about your children?

Come on, go ahead! You're a parent, so you KNOW you want to brag on your kiddos!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Pulling it all Together

After the fire in a local restaurant a few weeks ago, our local Rotary Chapter was left without a "headquarters" of sorts to have their weekly meetings at on Wednesdays.

Last week they ate in the fellowship hall of my church with food prepared by my sister and mom.

This week they're eating at a room in the building I work at.

Did I mention I work in a jail?

Yeah, I do.

And I've recently "redone", if you'd call it that, a room upstairs that was a complete and utter mess of junk that was just put up there to get it out of the way.

That junk has been relocated into the basement of the courthouse in what used to be the Sheriff's Office and Old Jail. So now, I took the empty room, bought tables and chairs and all sorts of good stuff, and made it into a training or conference room of sorts.

Well, my conference room is where we'll be hosting the Rotary today.

My boss, the High Sheriff, is having the guys in the kitchen bake some chicken and fix some roasted potatoes and green beans. While I'm in charge of the salad and desserts.

So I left work early yesterday to make my runs to the grocery store to get all I would need and I locked myself into my kitchen last night and stayed there till 11:40 last night.

Two Key-Lime Pies, two strawberry pies, a 3-layer red velvet cake with cream cheese icing, and a waldorf salad later and I'm done for the moment.

Closer to noon I'll have to get the salad fixed and all that. I decided to get all the toppings. If I'm going to eat a salad, I want to eat a real salad. So I got green leaf lettuce, vine ripened tomatoes, baby carrots (which will be sliced, not grated) colby/jack shredded cheese, croutons, bacon-pieces, and I boiled some eggs.

So if someone wants a few pieces of lettuce and some tomatoes and carrots, they can have that. But if they want to go all out and eat it the right way? They can do that, too.

Cause I'm a rockstar thoughtful like that.

Anyway, so that's what I'll be doing today.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Distressing All Around

So my lunch hour was [sarcasm] the best lunch ever [/sarcasm].

I was okay with giving up my lunch hour to run some errands for work that I needed to run.

Honestly, that's totally normal okay.

I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that every day this week I have almost been in a collision because of someone pulling out or backing out in front of me.

I want a bumper sticker that says "Does "yield to oncoming traffic" not mean anything to you?".

But that was disturbing, not upsetting.

What upset me was that while waiting in the store with only one checker and a line from here to Timbuktu the lady in front of me proceeded to let person after person in line in front of her.

I'm fine with being polite and letting people in front of me in line. If I'm not in a hurry and they are, by all means, go ahead! BUT, if there's someone else in line behind me, especially if there are 3-4 someone's in line behind me, I don't think it's my place to let others in line in front of me because it's rude to those waiting behind me.

Maybe if I were only letting one person with 1-2'd still be kinda rude but easier to overlook. But letting THREE people with a dozen items each in front of me? While making those in line wait even longer for my thoughtlessness? That's just rude.

As if that's not irritating enough, let me go into more detail. The colored lady in front of me proceeded to let colored person after colored person in front of her. She did not acknowledge or make this offer to me or the two elderly white women that were also in line behind her. She completely ignored us (all three of which had about 6-7 items or fewer, while the other individuals had probably 10 items or more. Up to a half a cart!!)

This just went all over me!

Not only is that ignorant of others, it's wrong, it's thoughtless, and it's discrimination.

There, how do you like that card being played on you for a change, [insert name of hateful lady here]? (I do know her name, by the way, she had it scripted on the front a notebook she had her shopping list written in. I just don't think it would be tactful to post it on the internet.)

Come on, people. It's the twenty-first century! Get over yourselves and get over your race/gender/whatever issues.

That is all.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

It's Party Time...almost

My little boy is going to be four years old in only 28 days.

How did this happen?!

So distract myself from perpetually misty eyes (who told him he could grow up so fast!) I've immersed myself in party planning!

It took me about 3 months to win Ty over to the idea of a zoo theme birthday party. Actually, credit-where-credit's-due, my parents (the infamous Nana and PaPaw) were the ones who planted the seed that actually took root. Grandparents are wonderful for things such as these. They're also the ones who gave my son the idea to send his puppies to live with my boss, aka "Uncle" Donny, when they went from this...



To this....

The bed is empty because Amadaeus barked all.night.every.night.

Nice, eh?

Grandparents can solve such problems.


Anyway, back to the party.

So Ty finally agreed that a zoo theme party was a brilliant idea!

Sooooo, mama started searching the net for all the zoo-themed party supplies she could find!

Ty got a hold of one of my Oriental Trading catalogs one day and made all the ordering a million times easier. He went from front cover to back cover going "I want that and that and this and that and this and this one and that one and this one....." You get the idea.

So, Oriental Trading it was.

Where I got this tableware for the kids (adults will have solid matching primary colors):

I also got the following party favors:


But the food part is what I'm getting a little carried away with.

First, let me state, I have something like 3,000 sites bookmarked. And organized.

I know. I need a life.

Anyway, I have almost 300 recipes bookmarked. And I've had a blast going through them to figure out the sugar-infused menu for the party.

It goes something like this:

And then there are the cupcakes.

I was looking for a cake I truly loved and my sister searched Flickr and found an album from The Schneider Clan that had the cutest cupcakes.

As you can see.

And finally...I'd like to have a cake for Birthday Boy to blow out his "Happy Birthday" candles on.

I searched Flickr again and Blue Cupcake's Photostream

How cute would this be! Only problem is, I can't make the cake topper, so I'm hoping and praying that my ever-so-talented sister would be able to.

[fingers crossed]

So that's about it! His party is in a month and a few days but I feel ready!!

Note: I've tried to include links and credit for all the sources and pictures in this blog. If I have missed anyone or given credit to the wrong source, please let me know as I want the originators to get the credit they deserve.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.