Before you speak...


Those of you who don't know me in real life may (or may not) be surprised to find out that though my written words are well-composed and occasionally eloquent, my verbal words often are not.

If someone asked me what my faults were, probably the first thing that would come to mind would be my mouth.

I'm not a sugar-coater or a side-stepper.  There are occasions where--after forethought--I might skirt around a subject for the sake of feelings or common decency, but if I haven't thought that far ahead, what you get is the complete truth in whatever words come to mind first.

Good or bad.

Which is why I prefer the written word.  If I need to discuss something with someone I prefer to do it through letters because then I get the chance to think about what I'm going to say before I say it and then I really have to think about how it's going to be interpreted, so I often refine my raw thoughts before they're sent out in the universe to wreck their damage (though I almost never intend that to be the outcome).

I say what I think.

And then afterwards I think about what I said and ask myself, "Why did I just say that?!"

When it comes to the brain-mouth filter, God left that one out on me.

At least now I realize I have this problem.  That's step one, seeing you have a problem and admitting it, right?

This has come up because this morning I'm rehashing a conversation I had last night with The Boy and wondering if what I said was what the best way I could say what I was saying.

The Preacher's Wife (who also happens to co-own the daycare Ty attends) is pregnant with child #3.  Their second child, we'll call her LP, is just a few weeks younger than Ty, so when LP found out she was going to have a baby brother or sister (her preference was a sister), Ty started asking me for a baby sister, too.

He's even picking out names.  Starting with Amelia and now he's moved on to Emily.

Even though I've told him no.  Not now at least.

And Jason's told him no.  (Yes, he went there, and he doesn't even know how the whole baby-making thing works!).

LP and The Boy have even told Ty's teacher at school that her mom and his mom are having babies.

Problemo Numero Uno should be obvious.  Only one mama's having a baby and it's not me!

Back to the original story.  So Ty's tracking The Preacher's Wife's progress and he reports things to me.  Last night he reported that the baby is kicking her belly and asks me , "Do you know why he's kicking her belly?"

"Why's that?"

"Because he's growing."

This is where I didn't think before I spoke....this is where I lead myself into a conversation I probably should have thought through first.

"That's right, he's growing!  And he'll keep growing and kicking and getting bigger until he'll be too big to stay in her belly."

*dun, dun, duunnnnn*

"How is he going to get out of her belly?"

[insert mental realization and "oh crap" thought here]

See, if he'd asked me how he got out of my belly, that's easy.  We've handled that one before and I've told him how the doctor cut Mama's belly open and got Ty out.

But that's not how all babies are born.

So in rushed thought I answered, "He'll come out of her girl parts."

Thankfully he doesn't know enough about girl parts to be properly traumatized.  He processed a curious look and instead of going the direction I feared he'd go with it, he turned back to himself, asking if he came out of my girl parts.

So we revisited the cesarean talk and he asked why he didn't come out of my girl parts.

First thing that came to mind?

"Because your head was too big."

Nice, eh?

We go from having the talk I wasn't ready to have to giving the boy a big-head complex.

Thankfully he's grown into it.

After that I decided it would just be best if I stopped talking and we went to bed.
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.

If Life Were Like Facebook


I was sitting here thinking back to high school after my High School Reunion post and thinking about how different those times are from these times and how much different social media has made life.

Then I was thinking about how great it would be if you could control life the way you control Social Media. Block the people you don't want to see or hear from, choose the favorites that you want to see more of, and even decide who to add in your life or delete from your life.

If only life were as simple (and easy to control) as Facebook.

Except the stupid viruses and application ads via status updates. But let's just go with the thought anyway.

So I Googled "If Life Were Like Facebook", knowing that someone must have thought of this before me and sure enough! Cracked hosted a photo competition along the same lines of thought, so I decided to share some of their images with you!


I love how the rejection of a friend request could come with an automatic restraining order! Talk about handy!


News would be much less doom and gloom this way!

Yeah....I'm pretty sure he's sent me a friend request before.

Think of all the photo albums we'd have laying around!

And then there's this guy. I'm pretty sure I've gotten a dozen friend requests from him, too! Luckily, in the Facebook world I can block him from ever contacting me again! No such luck in real life, these are the ones you're always doomed to encounter in the grocery store!

But I'm also glad that life is real life because the current viruses that send you a million "L O L (insert link here that spreads the virus to anyone that clicks on it)" messages and wall posts would get really nasty if they were brought into the real world.

And I'm glad that relationships are more than just status updates in the real world. Life would be boring if relationships were just a series of "So-and-so is in a relationship" or "So-and-so is single."

And Pokes.

Yeah.

Pokes would get old after a while if people just went around poking random people.

Maybe it's better that life is life and Facebook is just an addiction.
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 Decade Later


My ten year high school reunion is coming up.

There are messages and letters and reminders popping up all over Facebook and in the mail about the reunion packets and plans for the class reunion next month.

But no matter how hard I try, I can't convince myself that I want to go.

Is that bad?

We're from a small town. I know basically what's going on with anyone I care to keep up-to-date on. I know who's married, who's pregnant, who's moved, and thanks to Facebook, who still hasn't grown up.

So I can't reason out in my head why I should spend $50 I really don't have to go to something I'm really not excited about.
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.

Let them be little


There are so many things about my son that just blow my mind.

He is this amazing little person that completely takes me back on a daily basis.

His imagination far exceeds my own, even as a child.  The things he comes up with and does and says...

He loves to play Mario Bros. on his DSi and now it's also a favorite game to pretend play Mario (or Transformers) by running around the house, jumping and making all the appropriate sound effects.  Jason and PaPaw often get to enjoy the game with him by being Luigi (which he says so adorably!) or Toad or even Bowser.

Oh, and did I mention that the Easter Bunny lives next door to us, too?

In the vacant house that's been empty longer than ours has been occupied.

But the Easter Bunny lives there because Ty just knows on the inside that he does.

And I love the way I get to see things through his eyes.

Such as how PaPaw's fishing boat is actually a ship.

And how, even though he says his toys aren't like the ones on Toy Story that come to life, whenever his stuffed animals (which refer to him as "Daddy", by the way) aren't where he thought he left them, it's because they came to life again after he told them not to.

Cuteness.

And I wouldn't be a Mama if I didn't talk about how crazy intelligent my boy is!  Because he is!  And I have it on good authority!  More than one faculty member at the school has mentioned the word 'brilliant', so I'm not about to settle on that point!  But he does pick up quick (when he actually pays attention to me!)

His memory is incredible, too!  He can tell me things about living at my parents house when he was young.  He was 18 months old when we moved out.

And this morning, his innocence made me smile when he told me that he likes The Bakery because they have cookies and they share them with us.

And he likes their cookies.

Except the gingerbread.  He wanted the gingerbread but he didn't know how it tasted and he didn't like how it tasted.  But he likes their other cookies.

This is how he talks, by the way.  He likes to "teach" me.

And he does teach me.  He would never realize it, but the things he does and says and sees and thinks...he teaches me so many amazing little things that I hope to never forget.
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.

What's in it for the Man?


Yesterday I got an email notification of a comment on a blog I wrote last May titled Up In the Air.

In this entry I talked about my experience with love and its evasion of me over the past few years. I talked about guys I'd been almost-interested in and the mostly unpleasant experiences I'd had. And then I switched gears to talking about the kind of guy I want and the kind of love I was holding out for and hoping for.

When I wrote it I got an overwhelmingly positive response from women telling me to hang in there and quit looking and someday my prince would come.

So it kinda took me back yesterday when 'Curious Man' left the following comment:
"May I ask what's in it for a man? He has to take care of someone else's child, which he had no part in, and as a child is a substantial financial concern, may be the only child he ever can afford."
I had a moment of processing and then a moment of anger and then a moment of confusion in how to respond to this comment.

What's in it for him?!

The same thing that's in it for any other man in any other relationship. A child is no more of a burden or issue in a relationship than family drama or financial trouble or personality/emotional/mental issues. Every person comes with their own set of circumstances, one of my circumstances just happens to be my child.

As with many of you, as well.

So the sheer selfishness of this question took me back.

Despite my frustration I clicked the reply button and starting typing a response.

I typed and deleted and typed and deleted for a few minutes before I finally finished a response.
"I think you're missing the point. I'm not looking for a man to take care of me or my child, I've never thought, much less written, anything to that degree.

I don't want a man to fix me or to provide for me or to take care of my child. At the time that I wrote this I just wanted to finally find a guy that would accept me--all of me. My child just happens to be part of the package deal.

Every woman comes with a package. Some have family issues, some have financial issues, some have mental or emotional issues. The wording of your question makes me think you're a man who considers a child an issue.

Thankfully I've since found a man who doesn't see my child in that light and thankfully there are other men out there who are willing to accept the children of others WITHOUT asking "What's in it for me?" because if they ask themselves that in the first place, they have no business in a relationship.

Relationships are about giving to one another, not about making sure you get enough out of it to justify the time and effort."
Even after commenting it still kept bothering me because I didn't really say all the things I wanted to say because of things like manners and decency, but it bothered me that this curious person wasn't even looking at love or relationships in the correct context.

There is no selfishness in love.

And perhaps my time as a parent has taught me lessons that some single non-parents still haven't learned (and to be honest, I'm sure there are parents that still haven't learned this, too). It's NOT all about me. It never should be all about me. If my relationships are what they're meant to be, it's never all about me and it should never be all about the other person.

It should be all about us.

Be it Ty and I or Jason and I or anyone else in my life.

So I threw it out to my Facebook friends to get their input and they agreed. Relationships aren't about what's in it for the individuals involved, they're the opposite.

Love isn't selfishness it's selflessness.

I'm sorry for whatever woman he's dating that he's having these thoughts about her and her child. Certainly his heart doesn't seem to be in the right place.
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 Happier Ending


I revised my stat counter on the bottom of my page tonight. Instead of a generic little green counter I gave it my OWOP look, complete with my happy, smiley pigasus.

While I was on my stat site I was looking through some of the keywords and referrers to my site and noticed someone had browsed through my labels.

Which made me wonder which blogs they might have seen.

One label brought me to my life story, Learning to Live With Me.

Some of you have already read this. For those of you who haven't, I recommend it if you have a little bit of time to spare.

I don't recommend it just because I wrote it or for the sake of attention or stats or anything like that. I recommend you read it for the same reason that I recommend you write one yourself. It's therapeutic to both read others' stories as well as write your own.

You learn things, both about yourself and others.

You remember things that make you smile and make you cry and make you suddenly realize how little, insignificant things ended up playing a big role in who you are today.

I also recommend that you read it because this entry is about to change the ending of it.

Because that ending doesn't fit anymore.

Because I'm not in a holding pattern and though I'm still not where I'd hoped to be another year later, at 28, I'm so much closer than I was last May when I posted this, or in 2007 when I originally wrote most of this.

A year ago I was disappointed. A year ago (it could even be to the day), I gave up on a guy that I'd been talking to since my birthday in January. We messaged a lot after he sent me a "Happy Birthday" message on MySpace, we hung out several times, and things were--finally--hopeful for me.

Finally a good guy.

Finally a guy who opened the door for me and treated me with respect.

Finally a guy with looks, brains, and a good heart.

Just what I'd been waiting on.

And then it fell apart and he pulled a vanishing act on me, like so many other guys had done in the previous years.

One day they're here, the next they're gone.

But I was really disappointed this time because I had just begun to really think about where it could be heading with him and I had just begun to think about how right he was seeming to me.

For once, though, I didn't let bitterness set in. Disappointment took over initially but it dissipated and life moved on.

I wasn't mad, I wasn't jaded (not any more than I already was at least) and I wasn't broken because of it.

Life--as it has before--moved on.

Except now, a year later, it's come full circle.

It's like Life has given me a replay with an alternate ending.

A better ending.

Because last summer that same guy and I started texting again, in mid-July. July 19th, to be exact. (Because I'm a little OCD about remembering dates)

It was all friendly chit-chat at first because he'd vanished on me before, he must not be at all interested in me, so it was going to be strictly a friend-thing.

And that was okay, because he is one of the very few good guys left. I could only benefit from having a good guy for a friend, right?

And then I started smiling whenever he messaged me.

And then whenever my text message alert went off, I tried to pretend that I wasn't hoping it was him.

And others around me started noticing me smiling and laughing.

But we hadn't hung out yet. August was almost completely over before we ever spent any time together.

I was nervous when I opened the door and he was there.

He came in and we watched a movie. Heaven help me, he'll pick on me and pretend he's hurt that I can't remember which one right now, but I can't.

Though the first movie we watched together was Good Luck Chuck, The Unrated Version. Talk about awkward....That was my brilliant idea. Clearly it wasn't thought through.

But I don't remember what movie we watched together this time.

The Princess Bride, maybe?

Who knows. I just remember sitting there beside him. And when he put his arm around me I wondered what it meant.

And when he pulled me closer to his side, I smiled, but still kept my guard up.

And when he kissed me I hoped that he wasn't just going to stick around for a few weeks and then get bored or scared off.

Because this time his kisses seemed different.

This time it was almost as if his kisses were laced with a very potent addiction.

A few more weeks passed with me worrying about where I stood with him and finally, on September 11th, the same day I found out that Fern would be coming to live with me, he told me straight out that he would not be disappearing this time. That he "really, really" liked me.

Within a few weeks I fell head over heels for him and later that month we weathered our first storm in a way that left me both confident in him and our relationship.

He was picked on and harassed when the holiday season came and it came to light that he had a girlfriend. He always made it a point to never have a girlfriend between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Nice, eh? ;)

Over the holidays we continued to smile and laugh and grow closer and Ty grew to adore the man that I was now completely in love with. We met each other's families and even managed a few days apart over Christmas while he spent time out-of-town with family.

After Christmas we went out of town for New Year's and then my birthday was a week later, and soon after was Valentine's Day. Poor guy couldn't catch a break.

Don't think I'm skipping over a lot of stuff, I opted not to break it down or go into great detail because it really seems like it's flown by in just the amount of time it takes to read that sentence.

Here I find myself in March, almost 9 months after we started talking again, and a full year after he went all Houdini on me.

We have yet to have our first fight.

*Knocking on wood*

We have differing opinions on several things and we don't completely agree on all things, but so far we've picked our battles and none of them have been worth fighting. So far it's just been an acknowledgment of different opinions and working around it in a way that suits us both.

He makes me so very happy.

Crazy happy.

We're good together.

It's almost like it's meant to be.

*wink*

So there's my new ending.

A year ago, I was disappointed and alone and still holding out for the guy that everyone said never existed.

The handsome man with a brain in his head and a real, living, beating, warm-blooded heart in his chest! A man who fit all 2,961 specifications I'd created for this man who would make me happier than I'd ever been with a guy before.

And a year later, I'm blessed and excited and hopeful and in love with a man who fits 2,960* specifications and makes me happier than I've ever been before. *(He doesn't sing...but I guess I can live with that)

He loves me and he loves my boy.

He lets me put my son first and us in a close second.

He respects my decisions as a parent and supports me.

He has my back and encourages me and gently lets me know when I'm fighting a battle--as a parent--that's really not worth the fight. But he also lets me know, just as gently, when I'm not standing my ground on something I might later wish I had.

He rakes my yard with me just for the sake of spending time with me.

He teaches Ty how to throw and to catch and to hold a bat and play a video game and even how to get into mischief that all little boys seem to have a need to get into.

He's grown to be my closest friend.

He's everything I've ever known was worth waiting for.

He's part of my Happily Ever After.
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 Unknown Inspiration


The other day I shared with a friend of mine the color of paint we used in my house on the trim and doors (FYI: Walmart's "Country White" interior paint that you can buy straight off the shelf). I was going through pictures trying to find one that would show her the color in my house and found a picture I'd saved of my bedroom suit from the seller's website that I had posted on another site when I bought the furniture.


I looked at it and then pulled it up in a bigger size.

How odd that I ended up using that wall color as one of the main colors in my room.

And even odder?

The fact that for the last year, the white bedding with subtle blue accents is exactly what I've had in my mind to buy and replace the bedding that I currently have that doesn't quite give the look I want.

I want a bed that looks soooo comfortable and that all but begs me to come lay down and get the best sleep ever in it.

I have a down comforter and a down quilt and I love them both, however, the quilt is ivory and the comforter is white. The quilt can be tucked in on all sides....the comforter cannot.

So by default I thought I'd just get a king size down comforter and let it hang loose on all sides (my super-thick mattress topped with a 4" thick eggcrate requires a king-size to fully cover the queen size mattress, which makes sheet shopping less than productive).

Now, in looking at the above picture, I can tell that they've taken a textured bedspread or coverlet and tucked it in, topping it with various pillows and a blue throw.

Which gave me a light-bulb moment....bedspreads and coverlets are often less expensive than king-size down comforters....and I could still use my existing down underneath the bedspread, so to get this look all I would need to invest in is an ivory bedspread that I like and some throw pillows, a few Euro pillows and maybe a nice blue throw to match my curtains (TJ Maxx, here I come!).

And then this..... (with my cute boy when he was all of two years old)


Could one day look like the bed in the first picture.

Nice inspiration, huh?

And this whole time I never really could quite peg where I'd gotten it from! Funny how that works!

Funny how things like that work.
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.

Home sweet home.


I watch way too much HGTv.

It's my default setting.

On the rare instances that I get control of a television and actually have time to sit down and watch it, HGTv is what I naturally turn to if there's nothing on that's just begging me to watch it.

When I was on "couch rest" for the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Ty, it was all that I did. I'd go to work for the morning and then I'd come home at lunch, get my feet up (as per doctor's orders) and watch HGTv until it was bedtime.

I should be the HGTv queen.

And if Ty absorbed anything in-utero, he should be a jack of all trades like his PaPaw.

I like house designs, interior design, and repurposing. I love the blogs that show how they take a little flea-market find that looks like it's better days were a hundred years ago and they turn it into this brilliant and completely adorable piece of useful furniture or decoration.

Projects like that just speak to me.

So it's probably no big surprise that when I look around at houses, my eye goes toward older houses who have seen many years come and go but still have good and beautiful bones.

I love houses with old fashioned accents. The double entry where you walk in one set of double doors into a closed-in entrance porch of sorts where another door that leads into the house can be found. Preferably another double door.

I love the old ways when the outer doors were opened when the owners were receiving visitors, and closed to show that the household was unprepared for guests or gone to bed for the night.

Or the houses that have a porch with an arched entrance that leads to a entry door that is also arched.

I like English, Victorian, and Gothic style arches on a roof.

I love brick and stone houses that look like they should be taken out of an 18th or 19th century English novel.

I say I will always want a single level house, but if I were to have a staircase, I would want it to be rounded.

If I had two staircases leading to the same level, I would want one to be spiral.

Because my childhood home had a spiral staircase and it was magical. It was something straight out of a castle in my child's mind.

And the furniture!

Even though I have a house-full of perfectly good furniture, I drive past the second-hand stores in town and see furniture sitting out in front of the store and think of the new life that a coat of paint or new hardware could give it.

And the money that could be saved!

I'm all about saving money.

And I'm all about these old houses.

Jason will even tell you that I almost killed him while driving (and fully in control of the vehicle) when I gasped suddenly and declared my love for a house he'd never before noticed.

Let it be stated the only thing he would have died from was surprise.

My driving is exceptional*.

*(The exceptions mostly being stop signs and speed bumps, but this blog is about houses. No sense in straying from my point.)

I love houses.

I love old houses with character and history.

I love the idea that a fresh mind, a couple coats of paint, and a little spit-shine can make an old house a new home.
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.