2012 | Our Year in Review


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Ashley Harris 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.

Me & My Snowman | Elf on a Shelf { Day 18 }


Harry took up residence on top of the snowman's hat today.


Ashley Harris 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.

Bottle Topper | Elf on a Shelf { Day 9 }


Not sure if he was scared of the fierce thunderstorms that rolled through our area last night or if he was just trying to blend in, but Harry was hiding in the Milk bottle for Santa's milk & cookie set this morning.


Maybe the "For Santa" was Harry's way of reminding us who he reports back to at night.
Ashley Harris 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.

Lit Up | Elf on a Shelf { Day 8 }


I guess Harry was tired after blowing up a room full of balloons, he just spent Saturday taking it easy on one of the decorative "lights" on the tree.


Ty left him a letter the night before asking him to please leave the balloons behind because he was having so much fun with them!

He put them all together on one side of his bed and made a 'balloon pool' out of them.  I wish I'd gotten video so you could have seen how hard he was laughing as he played in the balloons.

I bet Harry thought it was worth tying every single knot to see Ty with such joy.


Ashley Harris 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.

Full of Hot Air | Elf on a Shelf { Day 7 }


Harry was a busy boy last night!!  He filled Ty's room full of balloons and even wound up on the wrong side of the knot himself!


Ty:  "What the heck!  He's INSIDE there!!


Ty decided he needed room to walk, so he was trying to put all the balloons on the far side of his bed.


Silly, silly Harry....how will you get out of this one!



Ashley Harris 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 Little Down Time | Elf on a Shelf { Day 4 }


Today Harry took it easy and spent a little time just hanging out with St. Nick.


Ashley Harris 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.

Troublemaker | Elf on a Shelf { Dec 3 }




The letter to Ty reads:


Dear Ty,

Someone toilet-papered your tree.  I'm keeping watch to make sure they don't come back.

Your Friend,

Harry

P.S. - I think it was the cat.

P.P.S - Santa asked me if you're keeping your room clean.
Ashley Harris 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.

Hanging Out | Elf on a Shelf { Dec 2 }


Today Harry seems to have avoided trouble, he spent the day "just hanging out" on the chain for the ceiling fan in the living room. 

Ashley Harris 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.

Harry's Return | Elf on a Shelf { Dec 1 }


December 1st always means one thing in our house! 

The return of Harry--our Elf on a Shelf. 

Harry showed up on our door-step December 1st of 2010.  On his best behavior for that year, Harry watched Ty and reported back to Santa each day.

Last year Harry must have been out of his probationary period because he was a bit more onery than the year before.  Again, he showed up on December 1st and he spent the following twenty-four days making both memories for Ty and messes for his Mom & Dad.

Again, this December 1st, we woke to find Harry had once again returned. 


Don't let his innocent appearance fool you, though.  While we were outside cleaning the shed out it would seem that Harry took it upon himself to install a portal and a door to the North Pole in my living room.

Let me repeat.

I have a portal in my living room.

And it's in the oddest of locations....


Stay tuned for more of Harry's hijinks!
Ashley Harris 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.

Girl Talk | Brassieres



Call them what you will...Over the Shoulder Boulder Holders, Wiggler De-Jigglers, Boobie Baskets...there's nothing that causes a woman more anguish than shopping for a new torture device.

Previously my anguish came from being a twenty-something browsing the B cups in the store and searching for a bra that had part of the boobs already attached to it (without which I would have been in the A section).  Fate was always cruelest when the little pre-teen saunters by with her full set of D's.

"Excuse me"

Me thinking to myself:  Seriously?!  Cause you know she can't possibly make it past you with those things unless you move.

It was salt in an open wound.  And it happened every time.

Not this time.  Fortunately God knew that I was going to have all the irritation I could handle with this shopping experience.

At about 6:30 last night I updated my FB status to "1 hour, 3 dressing rooms, 24 bras, 0 purchases, 1 irritated woman. #menhaveitsoeasy"  Needless to say it quickly garnered likes and comments from the relatable females on my friends list.

The problem appears to be that I've put this off for too long.  Last time I bought a bra I just got the same brand, style & size as the one I was wearing at the time.  Unfortunately....my muffins are topping in multiple places now and that's not an option this time.

So, to the dressing rooms I go.

And how quickly I discover that a 34B bra and a 36C bra have absolutely nothing more than brand and color in common.  Shape, size, structure....it's a whole new ballgame.  And comfort?  Psha!  You're kidding yourself!

At lunchtime today I braced myself for Round Two, back to one of the stores to try on some other brands I didn't check out last night.  6 more bras there (total now of 30) before I gave up.  On a not-very-thought-out whim I decided to run to Victorias Secret, even though it's Holiday season and I have no business dropping VS prices on a bra when I should be putting that money towards The Boy and his ever-expanding Christmas List.  But I have time to waste, so I go in.

Three bras later I'm kicking myself in the tookus because I feel like my girl bits are on a cloud of blissful comfort in a bengal striped bra with pretty sparkles on it.  The torture part of this device is the price tag. 

My regular bra that JCP discontinued....I could buy three bras (on sale) for the price of this one.  If I sucked it up and got some of the itchy, scratchy bras at TJ Maxx I could buy anywhere from 6-8 bras for the price of this ONE.

This one bra is the equivalent of dinner for my family at Red Lobster, drinks and tip included.  If you know me, you know I'd much rather have Red Lobster.

Two days, 33 bras, and a whole lot of irritation, frustration, and a twinge of regret later I'm still empty handed (no pun intended).  But only because God saw fit to ensure that store would be out of that bra in that color and that size that I needed.

So now, after knowing what it's like to drive a spacious and luxurious sports car, my girls are back to driving their 1973 Fiat 500.

Ain't that the way the cookie crumbles.

And it ain't over yet.
Ashley Harris 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.

Veterans Day | Sonny's Story


I pulled into the parking lot at work at 8:00 this morning and had a customer waiting in the parking lot for me. 

This is typically never a good way to start a day, much less a Monday.  However, whatever may come of it, it was worth it to have the almost twenty minutes that gentleman sat in my office with me (my computer unfailingly takes 10 minutes to boot up if there's a customer waiting on it).

This customer (I'll use his childhood nickname of "Sonny") asked for the date while filling out his check and I gave it to him and commented that it was the observance of Veterans Day and asked if he'd served. 

"Twenty-four years with the Corps." he casually told me. 

And the story began.

After falling on hard times, his parents and each of their kids, moved to his grandparents' farm where they each got up and worked from sun-up to sun-down.

One day while working in the field, his grandma drove up in the carriage and angrily ordered him get into the buggy.  He did, curious as to why she was so upset with him, and she drove him off to the house where he found Federal Agents waiting on them.

His first question to them was what he'd done to get in trouble.  The agents assured him that he wasn't in trouble, he had been drafted to serve his country.  Sonny refused to talk to them, however, until they informed his Grandmama that he hadn't actually done anything wrong.  They were able to explain it to her and then they continued on with their conversation.

Sonny and his dad were later discussing which unit he'd join, his dad recommending the Army but Sonny was firm that he wanted to join the Marine Corps and so the week after they filled up with gas (at that time the gas pumps required filling a glass cylinder with the number of gallons you wanted), they paid their 10¢ per gallon and were on their way.

After filling out the paperwork, the drafting officer told him to report back in a few days for duty.

His dad was outraged and informed the officer that it cost him 25¢ to get him down here, the papers were signed, and Sonny was their problem now.  His dad left and the Marine Corp had to put him and a few other officers up in a hotel for a few days.

He shipped out to California for his training (I believe he said he was gone 18 weeks) and when he got off the train back in Arkansas, he thumbed a ride with a peddler back to his grandparents farm. When he got out of the car he found his father and grandfather on the porch.  The dog met him with a growl, but he rubbed the dog and played with his ears and let him get a good sniff of him.  After appeasing the dog, his dad told him "I don't know who you are, but that dog seems to.  What business do you have here?"

He told his dad who he was and his dad asked for his papers to make sure he had leave to be home.

The following morning at 4:30 a.m. his dad woke him by shaking his bed.  Sonny leapt out of the bed with a "Yes Sir".  His dad laughed and decided he'd learned something while he was gone after-all.  Sonny was confused at the early-morning wakeup and his dad reminded him that he'd worked that farm all his life, his 14 day leave wasn't a vacation (as he'd thought it would be) it was merely back to work.

After his leave he was shipped over to Korea.  Like many Veterans he skipped over the details of his time overseas but he mentioned that he'd had his money sent home while he was gone.  When he returned he asked his dad to take him to the bank so he could go buy himself a car.

"Well, son...we need to talk about your money," his dad told him.  The family had fallen on hard times and had to use all of the money Sonny had earned.  Without an apology, Sonny accepted it and continued on.

Later, after his father and then his grandfather had passed, his grandmother told him that when she passed the farm would be his.

Confused--as he certainly never wanted the farm--he asked her why.

"All that money of yours that we had to take from you...this farm is yours.  We owe it to you."

The 1,100 acre farm that his grandfather had bought for $30/acre he later sold for $450,000.  And--thanks to having saved some documents from his grandmother--he didn't have to pay a penny's worth of tax on it either.

And just like that, he thanked me for my time, I thanked him for his service and sharing his story with me, and he left. 
Ashley Harris 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.

Mama, Are We Republicans?


My seven year old got very into the election this year.  I know they've been discussing Presidents at daycare, but his school has apparently also been discussing the election as well.

Having worked around politics before, I hate them.  I hate the lies, the deceit, the slander...politics is not something I will ever willingly participate in because I'm just not the type of person that can easily let stuff roll off my back.  Personal attacks should never be "just part of the game".  You know me and my opinions...so obviously politics aren't a frequent discussion point at our house, though we may make comments in passing on relevant matters.

Which is why it surprised me when Ty took such an interest in the campaign and the election and even went so far as to tell Jason and I who we needed to vote for.  When I asked him why he felt that way, he only had a child's logic to put behind it, but he was adamant in his decision and his support for his candidate. 

However, last night we did tune in for the election results which prompted a string of questions from Ty as the night progressed--along with a whole slew of information he'd learned on term limits and such like that. 

At bedtime last night Ty asked me "Mama, are we Republicans?" (knowing Jason and I had cast our votes for the Republican candidate.

"No baby, we're Christians."

I elaborated by telling him that we vote based on our Christian beliefs and what man we feel best represents those values and beliefs.

One of my deciding factors in this election was Abortion, so I tried to explain that to Ty. 

"Some parties believe in killing babies while they're still in their Mama's belly."

"I'm glad you didn't kill me while I was in your belly."

"I never even cosidered it, baby.  You had a heart-beat before I even knew you were in my future.  You kicked in my belly.  You had the hiccups in my belly.  You even jumped at loud noises that scared you while you were in my belly.  You were a living, functioning little person.  God gave you life and if he went to all the work of creating you...I believe you were meant to be and it wouldn't be my place to think I was smarter than God."

"I'm glad I'm alive."

"I'm so glad you are, too."

I read on Facebook today, "How can we expect God to stand with us when we're not standing on the Bible?"

How can we expect blessings from a God whom we have alienated, whose greatest blessings we abort because it's inconvenient or painful? What future do we have when we kill the future off before it's born.

God help us...and God help our children--the ones we don't murder have as dire of a future as the ones we do.
Ashley Harris 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.

An Economists Explanation of the Tax System


While I hate to put anything related to beer on my blog, one of my Facebook friends posted this the other day and it's a concise explanation for those who are willing to see the truth of the matter.


THE TAX SYSTEM EXPLAINED IN BEER

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this...

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7..
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.". Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who don't understand, no explanation is possible.
Ashley Harris 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.

Changing Directions


I keep coming back here. 

I keep opening up a new post and I keep wanting to write something, but I don't.

This is my place to take what's inside of me and purge or express it.  But when I come here and I open a new post, all that comes to mind is things I cannot say about ugliness I'm supposed to pretend isn't deliberate.  While it's a ticking time bomb before that verbal explosion goes off....that's not what this is for.

This blog has been my place of hope and my place for change and my place for me.

And, you know, there's a little of all three going on in my life these days.

Many of you know that I work in Insurance.  My Agent is retiring at the end of the year so there's a lot of changes going on right now.  I've known for almost the whole of this year that each office birthday we celebrated would be our last office birthday to celebrate together, so it's been a bit bittersweet.

I've only been at this office for a little more than two years now, but when you spend half of your waking hours with your coworkers, you tend to develop relationships with them and I have some pretty special relationships with some of my coworkers.

I've been blessed to know and get to work for my agent for these past two years.  You all know that I set a high standard of expectations in myself and in others and Roger meets them.  He's a kind and generous man.  He's one of those above-and-beyond types.  The number of stories that I've been told by coworkers and customers of Roger and the heart he has for others has only made me more inspired by the example he's set throughout his 30 years in Insurance.

One of my goals in life--which unfortunately I fail at regularly--is to be the kind of person that makes others better for having known them.  Roger is this kind of person.  He's a Christian, a husband, a father, a PaPa, a friend, a boss, and an avid golfer!  But he's an all around nice guy and I'm glad I've gotten to know him and work for him so there's obviously some sadness that the next phase of our lives will bring some separation between me and this man that I admire.

But looking forward, I'm excited to work with my future/new boss.  

Let me just back up a bit and interject...God has been in this whole process.  He's been in it in a big way.  All the concerns that I had...being separated from my favorite coworkers, being paired with a boss that will be compatible with me, being able to grow and learn and serve my customers....God's been in the details both large and small.

I'm so excited about my new agent and the role he's asked me to take in the new agency.  I'm excited that I'll get the chance to work for another good man with great ideas and a positive attitude.  I'm excited that I'll continue working with one of my favorite coworkers.  In an ideal world there would be  another one joining us, too, so I'm sad at that.  But there's a lot of good waiting ahead of us.  

And we're going head-first into the most overwhelming part of this change now.  My new agent will be signing a new lease any day now, I've been working on a floor plan for the office layout and I'm so thankful that he encourages me to share my opinions and ideas and thoughts on this whole process (because you KNOW how hard it is for me to keep those to myself!).  Construction will start full-force soon and a stock-an-office shopping list is being accumulated and negotiated with a local store where we can hopefully submit a full list, haggle out a price, and have everything drop-shipped to our office when we're ready for it.

Along with those changes, our current office will start to clean out, we'll celebrate the last few birthdays and holidays together and come December 31st we will close our doors for the last time.  When we return to work on January 2, it will be to a new office, a new boss, and a new chapter in my life.

I guess it's only fitting that I change the chapter in this book, too.

Just remember, change is a good thing. 
Ashley Harris 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.

Two Years Ago Today


Two years ago today, I married the other half of my heart.  

The man who makes me so happy I cry and so mad I can't help but smile and kiss him!  

The man who completed our little family and gave us a future we would never have found without him.

The man who's smart and handsome and funny and has just enough nerd to perfectly balance out the nerd in me.

My husband. 

My best friend.

My love. 

My Happily Ever After.

Happy Anniversary Jason!  Here's to many more years together!


Ashley Harris 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.

Thou Shalt Not Hit & Run


I picked up supper after work tonight.  While I was stopped at a stoplight I called Jason to let him know I was headed home.  I'm telling him about my day when I realize that the little blue Chevy Sonic in front of me--the one with the temporary tags--is rolling backwards toward me. 

I do a quick beep-beep of my horn to get the driver's attention.

And a moment later, another beep-beep as he continues to roll backwards.

And a third beep-beep as I tell Jason that the car in front of me is rolling backwards toward me.  I check my mirrors to see if I have room to back up, but there's not time and the car behind me is too close and the car in front of me is within 24" of contact, so I pushed the horn steadily trying to get the driver's attention.

Regardless, he rolls into the front of my car.  I tell Jason what happened and hang up with him so I can pull over and check things out.

The guy driving the red Chevy Truck in the lane next to us looks back at me and gestures like "What the heck?"

I motion to him asking if my car is okay and he leans out looking at my front bumper and shrugs his shoulders telling me that he can't tell.

Meanwhile, the light turns green and the Sonic moves over into the right lane as if he's going to pull into the parking lot of the gas station.

Except he keeps going.  So I assume he's trying to get to a bigger parking lot, such as the hospital parking lot just a short distance ahead.  Except at this point he starts rapidly accelerating away from me.

Fortunately one of us was intelligent enough to realize he wasn't going to get too far in 5:00 traffic, so I picked up the phone, dialed 911 and continued on behind him.

I was on the phone with the 911 operator when he passed a car in the turn lane while trying to get away from me.

The dispatcher told me that I'd need to pull over somewhere to give a statement and I told her that he was turning into the Arby's, so I'd park there--whether the guy stopped or not.

He did stop when he saw I was going to continue to follow him, though.

And he got out yelling at me saying that I ran into him and that I was on the phone and I wasn't paying any attention and I rear-ended him.  I tried being calm and explained to him that I saw him rolling backwards so I honked my horn at him several times, trying to get his attention.  I also followed him trying to get him to pull over to check for damage but he left the scene of the accident.

Mr. Aggressive became Mr. Hostile in telling me that he just left the dealership in his brand new car and I rear-ended him and it was my fault because I was on my cell phone.  I told him that I wanted a report made for information sake and he said that I could make a report but he wasn't sticking around so I nonchalantly took a picture of his car and temporary tags and then took a picture of him.

(I know...not smart given that he was already hostile...)

Anyway, so he continues yelling at me and still blaming me--coming back repeatedly to the fact that I was on my cell phone.  "That's against the law."

Me:  "No sir.  Texting while driving is against the law, talking on the phone is not.  However, leaving the scene of an accident and passing in a no-passing zone are both against the law."

Him:  "What are you, a cop?"

Me:  "Actually, I worked with Law Enforcement for 7 years." 

Can we say game-changer?

He'd wait on the police, but he was going to wait inside. 

Me:  "Oh look!  They're here."  (insert fake sorority girl smiley face)

He didn't even let the officer get off his bike before he was racing up to him.  I stood back.  I know what it's like to work with stupid people, I wasn't going to be that person when he was doing a fine job himself.

The officer ignored him and came to me.

Officer:  "Is everyone okay?"

Me:  "Yes, sir.  And there doesn't seem to be any damage but I wanted an officer here for a report."

Officer:  "Okay (he takes out his tape recorder and turns it on) what's going on?"

This is where Mr. Hostile tries to jump in.  The officer quiets him and says he'll get to him in a moment, he's going to let the lady talk first.

So I explained that we'd had a very minor accident and there wasn't any apparent damage but we seemed to be in a disagreement in what happened.  

He asked me to continue so I explained the whole story of what happened (we had to stop several times for Mr. (at this point) Belligerent.  The officer stopped him, again, and explained that I couldn't get a word in because of him and he would get a chance to give his statement.

Back to me, I explained to him what happened after the contact between the vehicles and the officer then turned to get the now Mr. Trying-to-be-Reasonable's statement.  My what a different story he was suddenly telling!

He just bought the car and it was a manual and he supposes that it might have been possible that he rolled into my car, but he knew that it wasn't hard enough for there to be damage so he didn't pull over and he thought that I had rear-ended him.

The officer pointed out that he'd just left the car lot in a new car...surely he'd want to make sure there was no damage.

I sat quietly while he gave his statement and answered all the questions that I was hoping the officer would ask.  The officer told him that he completely understood why I was upset.  I interjected, politely, that I wasn't at all upset about the accident but his leaving the scene and his driving afterward concerned me (and then I turned to the man) but what upset me was how he got out of his car yelling at me, being aggressive and trying to bully me about it.

And then Mr. Begging-for-Forgiveness appeared.  He was sorry, would I forgive him, did I want his insurance information, did I want his license, he even offered to mow my yard to make it up to me.

Long story short, the officer had a talk with him about what constituted an accident, what the follow-up procedure was for an accident, and what those yellow lines on the road meant.  I was given his insurance and driver information (not that I think I need it, I just have this principle of not wanting someone to think they got away with doing something wrong).

And because you know me and you know I can't pass up an opportunity, I had a little talk with the man about attitudes and how none of this needed to be unpleasant or aggressive, a good attitude would have gone a long way in settling the whole thing more quickly and with less fuss.

So that's my drive home tonight.

But on the good side, I got to meet a really nice officer that stood up for me when the guy wouldn't let me talk (major cool points there) and I found out that he and his wife are foster parents, too, and adopted their first child last year.  Even more cool points there.  Very awesome to meet someone willing to give his time, his home, his family and--if the job required it--his life for others.

Never a dull moment, I tell ya!
Ashley Harris 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.

This Week's Project


If you know me, you know I always have a project going on.

One of the ones I keep attempting to tackle but never quite get through is a wall in my foyer.  I want a collage of sorts on it, but I want everything representative of my family as a whole, and as individuals as well.

A few months ago I got out an unused canvas I've been storing in my closet and I painted it to match some Calling Cards I got made with our names on them when Jason & I got married.

I didn't like a solid background behind it, so I went with stripes since a chevron pattern was going to be waaaay more work than I was up to at the time.

I should have just put it up until I was ready to commit more time.  Because now I have a painting and I hate the background of it.  And it'd be less work to just completely repaint a new one than to change the background on this one.


But I'm going to do that at some point.  It will just be a bit smaller.  Becuase it won't be the central piece in that collage anymore.  But as it stands, it doesn't make a good central piece because I'm at a loss as to what I could put around it that would #1--tone the stripes down a bit but also #2--build into the overall feel and layout of what I'm wanting on that wall.  It's just not the cornerstone that I see in my head when I think about what I want.

So, this week's project is the central piece for that collage.

Thanks to a little lot of help from my Daddy, I'm almost half-way done with it.

Here is the starting point (well, after the initial standard 1x4 status)


I spent Sunday night filling holes with wood filler.  And then last night I sanded and sanded and sanded.  (My arm is killing me today because of it)

And then I cleaned it up, wiped it down, and put a coat of paint on it.


Painting always helps you see where you missed spots in sanding, so I need to re-sand it tonight in a few areas and then I'll probably hit it with a final coat of paint and then onto the wall it goes once it's dried!

I'm super-excited about it and about (hopefully) getting the rest of the wall done, too! 

Keep checking back, I'll post more updates as I go!
Ashley Harris 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.

Reciprocity


re•cip•ro•cal [ri-cip-ruh-kuhl]

adjective
  1. given or felt by each toward the other; mutual:  reciprocal respect.
  2. given, performed, felt, etc., in return:  reciprocal aid
  3. corresponding; matching; complimentary; equivalent:  reciprocal priviledges at other health clubs.
  4. Grammar.  (of a pronoun or verb) expressing mutual relationship or action:  "Each other" and "one another" are reciprocal pronouns.
  5. inversely related or proportional; opposite.
  6. Mathematics.  noting expressions, relations, etc., involving reciprocals:  a reciprocal function.
  7. Navigation. bearing in a direction 180° to a given direction; back.
  8. something that is reciprocal to something else; equivalent; counterpart; complement.
  9. Also called multiplicative inverse. Mathematics. the ratio of unity to a given quantity or expression; that by which the given quantity or expression is multiplied to produce unity: The reciprocal of x is 1/ x.


Way back in the day, in my college years when I was completing my Gen Ed requirements I had to take a Sociology class. 

Don't tell my instructor, but there's actually only one thing that I took away from that class and it was one little section early on in the course about types of relationships between people.

The section of this discussion that stuck with me the most was on reciprocal relationships.

In this section we learned what--to me--seemed something so common sensical that some of the questions and conversation it generated in class baffled me.

The notion was that most frequently the relaionships (business relationships, professional relationships, personal relationships and even family relationships) that were successful were the relationships in which both sides contributed to the relationship equally.  Granted, there may be times when it's 60/40 or even 90/10, but overall, the relationship was balanced.  It wasn't all give on one side and all take on the other side.

Non-reciprocal relationships, however, had a significantly lower success rate.  Business or professional examples of this might be the Big Banking institutions that are now nickle and diming their customers to death with all these new fees.  They're increasing what they require of their customers but not compensating with what they give to their customers.

Personal examples of this might be the roommate who eats everything in the fridge and never contributes anything toward replacing your items that they ate; the co-worker who's always willing to push their work off on you when they're too busy, but never willing to help lighten your load when you're piled up with work; or the relative who always asks you to give up your time for them, but is just simply too busy to ever give up their time for you.

The list can go on and on because we all know examples of those types of relationships.  And in class that week, we all had a great time sharing those stories with one another.

But in the end, we all agreed on one thing.  Those types of relationshps didn't work.  We either resented or termintated those relationships in the end.  They simply weren't worth what was required to maintain them.  And most of the time they were non-reciprocal relationships to begin with because the other party didn't value us enough to put in the effort so there typically wasn't much lost when you walked away from people who didn't really care about you to begin with.

Some of the worst relationships are non-reciprocal relationships.  We see examples of this every day:  abusive relationships that continue out of dependency on the abuser; children suffer because they crave the attention and love of a parent that walked away from them and their family and refuse emotional or financial support.

One of my favorite quotes speaks well about these types of relationships:


Don't give your money to a business who doesn't value it.

Don't give your time to a friend who doesn't appreciate it.

Don't give your heart to a love who isn't honorable with it.

We have enough things in life that hurt us.  Our realtionships shouldn't be one of them. 
Ashley Harris 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.

Be Careful Little Mouth


The thing about parenting is that every day you're given the opportunity to teach new lessons to your kids.  You can teach them about electricity as they comment on the power lines on the way to school.  You can teach them about safety as they ask what the different signs on the side of the road mean.  You can teach them about manners while you wait in line at the store.  And you can teach them about decisions when you're told that they've been making bad ones.

Yesterday, we got to talk about the latter.

We've been seeing some major changes in Ty since school started (as happens every year).  He's been saying things that he knows he shouldn't say.  Calling people names.  Arguing, attitude...

When school starts every year, parents know that at least one of two things are going to happen.  Either your child's going to get sick or get a cold, or you're child's going to start behaving like someone else's heathen child.

Again, we're dealing with the latter.

And it's been breaking my heart because I know my kid really is a good kid.  He's just not making good choices at the moment.

So when Mom & Dad are informed that it's been a problem elsewhere, we decided we needed to step up the repurcussions to get his attention.

So Ty was given two choices.


A paddling or a full-minute with soap in his mouth.

The pained look on his face showed that neither choice was appealing, but in the end he chose the punishment that I--personally--was hoping he'd choose.

The soap.

Because that brings in a lesson of washing bad words and bad attitudes out of our mouth. 

So after 60 seconds of soap-in-the-mouth, we had a discussion about choices.  What other choices he could have made; how better he could have handled himself and the kid he was upset at.  After dicussing that and what the consequences would be next time he was finally allowed to go spit the taste of soap out of his mouth and get some water. 

And he was his old self after that!  My well behaved, fun and funny little boy resurfaced again!

Let's just hope he sticks around a little longer this time.
Ashley Harris 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.

The Monster Under My Bed


When I was a little girl, when I turned off the light to my bedroom at night, I would get a running start and would jump from my doorway to the foot of my bed every night.

I had to.

It was life or death.

There was a monster under my bed.

It took watching Critters to realize that there were more terrifying things than wolves that might get me in the dark.  And besides, I had "Wolf Spray" (it may have smelled like air freshener, but it was wolf spray, the stick-on label said so) to keep the wolves away.

And so for years, I launched myself from the doorway to the top of my bed.  And it worked.  I survived my childhood without notable incident from any monsters that I knew were hiding under my bed.  (Or in my Christmas Tree, thanks to Gremlins....)

I became a teen and then an adult and then a parent and I got comfortable with my assumed safety from the monsters under the bed. 

Until last night/this morning, that is.  It was a close call--a matter of life and death--when at 5:00 this morning I woke with the realization that sharp teeth had just clamped around my big toe, which had been covered, but barely hanging over the edge of the bed.  What's worse, when I jumped and scrambled to save my life, the cat shot out of the room and into the living room as if whatever had come to get me out from under the bed were after him as well!

After an ordeal like that, you're pretty much awake, too.  Your heart races, you have to check to make sure all body parts are still attached.

After a close call like that you're reminded that you can never get too comfortable.  Just because they haven't struck yet, doesn't mean they're not there. 

I felt the teeth to prove it.

The monsters are real.

And they're hiding under my bed.
Ashley Harris 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.

In Love | Houzz


I made the unfortunate mistake of discovering a new website last week.

It's bad.

Really bad.

It's all I want to do (besides reading, nothing can come between me and my reading).

A week into my new obsession and I've not even discovered a tenth of the wonders that this new website has to hold.

I've also discovered that The Husband and I don't make near as much money as we need to be making because now I want to re-model my current house AND I want to build a new house just so I can try out all the wonderful ideas that this website is giving me.

Like this.


It would be Boys Night every night at our house while Mama & Darcy (my Kindle) enjoyed a bubble bath.

Or this tub.  I'd feel like I lived in a movie if I had this tub.



I would need a room where I could build bunks into the wall like this.  And it'd need a communal table for card or board games and probably sectional seating for TV, movies or video games.  Cause it's where the kids, nephews & neices and all their friends would hang out.  Each bunk would need a little light of its own and a little shelf at the head, of it though, because late night reading is promoted at our house.


I'd have to have lots of land because I'd need the kids would need a spectacular pool out back like this...


And it wouldn't be very useful, but I've wanted a secret garden ever since I read the book.  And it'd have to have something like this in the center of it. 


And I'd need plenty of room for raised-gardens that my imagination tells me I would absolutely have to have.


Oh, and for The Huband, he would get a man-cave complete with this.


Except instead of a wet-bar (not very family friendly), I'd have him a man-kitchen for frying up hot wings and other man-food for the big game.

I could spend (and possibly will) the next year discovering all the wonderful things that Houzz.com has to offer. 

You should, too.

It's wonderful.

And just as addicting as Pinterest.
Ashley Harris 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 Kind of Parent Are You?


One of my Facebook Friends posed a question to her fellow friends today. 

"Just curious. Do the parents of teenagers out there check the contents of their childs cell phone on a periodic basis? I really think it is important that I know what he is using his phone for. Although there are many ways that they can hide text messages and pictures that really surprised me when someone showed me this. Just curious what other parents do."
 A barrage of comments followed from other parents, most affirming that they do indeed 'snoop' (is it snooping if you're doing it for the purpose of protecting your kid?).  Some parents let their kids know, some parents hide it from their kids.

My comment(s) in response to this were:

"Mymobilewatchdog.com. I guarantee I'll do this and I'll let him know that everything he does, sends, or receives, I will have access to."
and

"I'll probably low-jack* his car, too. :P. He's going to hate my nerdy side from about age 11 until he's a parent himself."
*I meant lo-jack, but my iPhone thinks it knows what I'm trying to say better than I, myself, do.

Anyway.  I'm sure there are many sides to this coin.  To snoop or not to snoop?  To be open about it, or to try to catch them in the act?  Parenting itself is one delimma after another, and this particular circumstance presents itself with several.

For me, though, I will snoop.  And not only that, I will be completely up front about it. 

I currently have parental controls on his iPod and his computer account.  I have his passwords, not him (a 7 year old has no need to know his own passwords).  We have parental restrictions on the TV.  We limit what video games he plays and how much and how often he plays them.

When he gets a cell-phone someday, I'll have it on lock down.  His text messages will be duplicated and sent to me (and Jason if he so chooses).  His history and usage will be monitored.  His emails will be logged.  Everything he uses that phone for, I will have the option of viewing and reviewing.  And I might check it religiously or I might not check it except on occasion. 

I think you have to take a look at the kid and weigh out (and possibly re-weigh on a daily/weekly/monthly basis) the right to privacy versus the need for accountability.

But because I will be completely up front about it, I will probably not catch him in some of the behaviors that I'll be trying to guard him against and I'm okay with that because every time he sends or receives a text message he will learn to think, "Should I send this?", "What's the right way to respond to this?", "Are my parents going to think this is acceptable?"

And that's what I want.

My parents raised my sister and I with a trust-based system.  As long as we were doing right and being responsible, we didn't have strict curfews and tight restrictions placed on us.  If they knew where we were, what we were doing and who we were with they were pretty fair with us.  And it worked well for my sister and I. 

I do understand that different things work for different kids, but this is my parenting goal because even as an adult, I measure my decisions and my behaviors against my parents expectations of me.  What would they say?  What would they think?  How would they feel if they knew what I said, did, or where I went?  (Isn't that what we, as Christians, should be doing, too?)

And that's how I want my children raised.  Not because I want them to bow to me their whole life, I don't view it that way.  But because I want them to grow up respecting me. 

Because I want them to grow up holding their decisions to a moral code. 

I want them to think about the choices they make when they make them so that hopefully they won't have to deal with some of the repurcussions that could result from them. 

But also...I want to know when they're doing something potentially dangerous or reckless because then I can help them and teach them and protect them.  Because that's my job as a parent.  I also want to know when they're being rude or hurtful or ugly, because my job as a parent is to correct that behavior, too.  Or if they're being bullied or if they're suffering from depression...I need to know that too.

And another advantage would be that they would (hopefully) learn to think before putting temporary thoughts into permanent words that have the potential to be shared with more than just the recipient.  This was a hard lesson for me in the days of passing notes.  A note in the wrong hands was a hard thing to overcome because your exact words were inarguable at that point.  They're your words in your writing.  But our kids will grow up with text messages and social media messages posted on the Internet for the world to see, read, and respond to.  There's a lot more potential for your words to be used against you in today's world.

I'm sure my kids will be like me, they won't do everything perfect (probably especially where words are involved!).  They'll make mistakes and stupid decisions and they'll have to live with them and learn from them, just like I did.  But hopefully they'll make a few good decisions, too.  Hopefully they'll learn the meaning of accountability and maybe eventually they'll learn to hold themselves accountable too.

So when the day comes, I'll snoop and I'll let them know.  Because it's important to me that they know I'm watching them and I'm watching out for them.  But it's also important to me that they learn to be mindful of themselves, too.
Ashley Harris 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.

Just a Little Something I Made


Several years ago, a few months before The Husband and I got married, I discovered a design I loved and wanted to use to make calling cards for Jason and I.  I modified, personalized and then put it in print and voila!


Aren't they awesome!

They're kind of old news, since I've had them so long, but they've been the inspiration for several recent creations around our house.

First, a canvas I painted last month to go in our foyer, which will eventually be a center-piece for a mural-esque arrangement of pictures and items personal to us.


But today, I decided to take it to the exterior of our house, too.

The original plan was to make a wooden door hanger.

I had a 16.5" x 19.5" piece of wood to use, but knots and cracks in the wood limited me a little more.

Initially I was planning to cut out a fancy script...however...this is not realistically do-able at my very-beginner level abilities of using a saw.


Nor would it have hung evenly.  And I didn't feel like downloading a hundred fonts in search of the perfect "H".

So I changed it up and decided to pull the shield shape out of those calling cards and make something out of it.

Such as this:


Once I got it done I realized I had two problems.


  1. It was just a touch on the small-side for a 36" door.
  2. I didn't really have any way to hang it that wasn't going to scratch the devil out of the paint on the door.
  3. Because of a crack in the backside of the wood...if the boys accidentally knocked it off the door with their running back and forth out the front door, it'd probably break and they'd feel bad and I'd feel sad.
So I hung it over the doorbell instead.  It's my version of one of those fancy name-plaques you might find inset in the masonry of a real chateau.


After that, we hung the wooden Hogs wreath on the door (given to us as a wedding present) to welcome in College Football season and voila!


Just a little something I made today.
Ashley Harris 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.

Be Good and Do Good


Every morning when I take Ty to school, we have our own little spiel of conversations.  It usually starts as we leave the subdivision with a question or a comment made on his part.  Most days it somehow evolves into a lesson.  Whether it's a science lesson about lightning or electricity or an ethics lesson on why I think it would be unacceptable to beat Dad to teach him not to accidentally bump my side-mirror on my car when he gets out of his truck inside our over-crowded garage.  (True story...it baffles me the things he suggests sometimes)

This is how the course of our conversation goes for the almost-20 minute drive from our house to the school.  Every day it's a new topic, but the end-routine is always the same.  When we turn into the school drive I tell him to get his stuff ready (which means getting his backpack and lunchbox ready and going ahead and unbuckling so he can get out when the staff opens his door).  Thus begins Mama's standard goodbye.

"I hope you have a good day today, Bub."

"Thanks Mom."  (Sometimes he'll wish me the same.)

"I love you"

"Love you, too."

And as the door opens for him to embark on his day, I always tell him, "Be good and do good".

And the door closes and he's off.

And sometimes I wonder if he hears those words, but I always want them to be the last words he hears from me as he starts his day.

Be good and do good.

It's my wish for the kind of man he'll grow up to be.

I don't want him to just act right and behave inside the confines of polite society.  I want him to actively do right. 

I want his actions to be a reflection of who he is on the inside.  Because he's a compassionate and kind-hearted kid.  He's a do-gooder and a pleaser like his Mama.  But he's an only child, so he can be selfish.  He's a boy, so he can be loud.  And he's his learned enough from his PaPaw that he can be a little onery, too.  ;)

But down at the core of it all, he's good.  And that's not just a Mama's bias.

It is how I want him to stay, too.  So that's why, each day, as he's faced with new decisions, my final reminder to him is always "Be good and do good."

It's my wish for the boy he is and the man he'll grow up to be.
Ashley Harris 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.

Photo-A-Day | White Flag


Okay.  I give.

I conceed.

Daresay I quit.

I'd like to say I've been too busy to keep up, but that's only a half-truth.  I can't remember, and when I do, I'm stumped by the simplicity of the assignment.  A spoon is easy enough (where I left off at Day 12), but I want to overcomplicate by finding a fabulous spoon.  An arrow?  I pass a dozen of those a day I'm sure.  But actually remembering to pull to the side of the road and take a picture of one?  Forgetaboutit.

It seems simple, but if remembering to do it wasn't so tough, actually thinking to stop and do it certainly is!  On top of that I've been getting ready to start two new blogs so my mental facilities are gearing up to get those off the ground, too.  Probably not a well-thought-out plan on my part, but oh well.  It's done now!

Let me know if you took the challenge and how you're still holding up?

Until next time!
Ashley Harris 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 Changes You


I found something out recently. 

Something I'm glad to know and yet I wish I didn't know at the same time.  You know how it works, I'm sure we've all been in that situation before.

The part that I'm glad to know is that someone who's under no obligation to like me or be kind to me showed me a kindness.  And it was something I would have no reason to ever know about.  It was something that no one would have blamed her for making a decision otherwise, because business is business.  But this person made a business decision based on a personal situation, and even though they have no obligation to like me or be kind to me, she made a decision that showed respect for me and my feelings (even though it was something that she would never know that I would find out about).  And she earned respect from me because of it.

The part that I wish I didn't know is that the aforementioned individual was put in in that position in the first place.  It was something that--had the above individual not been considerate of me and made a business decision based on business alone--I would have not only found out about, but would have had to endure with a quiet grace.  Because that's how I (try to) roll.

So there's this disappointment of the fact that it ever happened in the first place.  And there's this new respect and appreciation for how it was handled.

And no matter how small it seems in writing, it changes you.  On one hand, for the better, and on the other hand, for the worse.  But these things change you nonetheless.

What are you doing today that might change someone else's perspective tomorrow?  And what kind of change will you make in them?

Our actions and decisions long outlive the perceived results.  I hope to always be mindful of that.

Ashley Harris 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.

Photo A Day | Day 10 & 11


Day 10 | Ring


Two years later and I still smile every time I look at it!

Day 11 | Purple



The only thing purple in my closet, and possibly my whole house!



Want to join in on the fun?

Here's the schedule.  (From The Idea Room)


I'll be sharing mine on Facebook, Twitter and my blog via Instagram. 

If you decide to join along, be sure to use the #photoadayaug hashtag!
Ashley Harris 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.