Monday Morning Blues



Woke up at 2 am feeling like I'd slept wonderfully and thought "Awesome!  I still have four more hours to sleep!"

Woke up at 3 am, again, and thought "Sweet!  I have 3 more hours to sleep!  I'm going to feel great in the morning!"

Woke up at 4 am and was excited to see I still had two more hours to sleep because I was getting such good rest!

Again at 5 am, I was relieved to roll over and see that I still had a full hour left to sleep.  "What better way to start a Monday than to be well rested?"

And then at 6 am, when my alarm clock went off, I woke up sleepy and exhausted because I spent more time waking up thinking about how rested I was going to feel than I spent actually getting rest so I could feel as wonderful as I thought I would.


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 Neverending Battle


I have this fight that I've been fighting for years.

Honestly.  I can go all the way back to Kindergarten with it.

Because it took me forever (in kid time) to let go of a grudge I held against the little girl that stole my maroon crayon.  Seriously.  She already had one and she took mine, too.  So she had two and I had none and yet she wouldn't return it.

And I'm 30 years old and I can remember it as vividly as when it happened.

Because that's part of this battle I've been fighting for as long as I can remember.

I'm a grudge-holder.

I'm really bad about holding grudges.


But when something is part of your internal wiring, it's a nonstop battle against it.

That's my alpha-sin, probably.  Some people struggle with sexuality, pornography, drunkenness, food addictions, superiority complexes..there are limitless alpha sins out there, I'm sure.

But I think that mine is my inability to let go of hard feelings.

Of course, twenty-five years later, I finally harbor no grudge against a little blonde girl in Kindergarten that took my maroon crayon.  But I strongly disliked her for a long time after that and I still remember that and I still remember those feelings.  I just don't let them control me or cloud my opinion of her any longer.

She was a child.  I'm now an adult.  It would be absurd to still hold onto it in anger.

Especially when I have other, more-recent grudges to cling to with every ounce of energy I can muster.

That's my subconscious's way of thinking, I believe.

Because there's been instance after instance after instance where it's taken me years to let go of things that I wish could have just rolled off my back like water on a duck.

Like the guy that punched me in the back because I wouldn't give him my phone number and asked him to leave me alone.

Like repeatedly being mooed at and called a cow throughout high school by members of my church youth group.  (Didn't make sense to me then and still doesn't.)

Like a series of hateful, hurtful emails from someone that used to be a best friend during a very vulnerable time in my life when the Christian thing to do (on both sides...my choices that caused the situation I was in and their choice in how the responded to my situation) was not what was done.  Instead of being Christ-like and being an example of loving forgiveness and support I was all but crucified (or stoned to death if you want to go that route) verbally and on a few occasions, publicly.

Like being verbally attacked on the biggest weekend of my life over a joint decision with someone else that simply wasn't that person's business and place to interfere or try to take control.  It also certainly wasn't the time to inform me exactly how they felt about and what they thought about me, either.

Like the many, many times when I've been in a situation where someone should have stepped in and stood up for me.  Where they (a friend, a boss, a coworker, a boyfriend...there are countless examples) stood by or even knowingly ran away and let me be attacked or wronged because it wasn't worth it to them to do what was right or honorable.  When they could have prevented it but chose not to.

Like every.little.instance where someone made a choice--a deliberate choice--to do something hateful or hurtful simply because they can, they want to, or they just don't care enough to think it through.  And when they do...those feelings that bubble up in me adhere to me.  They latch on and they begin to burrow into me, like a parasite, and then this bile of words and thoughts and anger emanates out of these feelings.

But I'm not the perpetual victim.  I'll admit that.  I hold grudges against myself, too, for things I did or didn't do.  For times when I stood silent when it should have been a crime to do so.  For times when I said something I shouldn't have for the sake of fitting in.  For when I decided to do something I had previously railed and rallied against simply because at that time, in that moment, it was easier to cave than to stand tall and strong.  I'm no innocent.  You'd be hard pressed to find me pretending to be.  I recognize my faults better than anyone else around me.

Because I have a strict code that I believe in.  Right is right and wrong is wrong and grey areas just infuriate me.  But in those instances, I believe it's better to err on the side of what is definitely and obviously right and not wander into that grey area that's subject to interpretation.

Have I or do I always do that?

No.  And I have a hard time forgiving myself and letting go of it when I do.

I have things that I did in my late teens and early twenties that turn me bright red in shame at myself.  Times when I wandered into that grey area or crossed right over into what was definitively and unarguably wrong.

It's a battle I fight on both sides of the fence no matter who did what.

"Let it go."  I tell myself.  "You can't change it.  You can't fix it.  Just let it go."

But how do you let go of those hurt feelings when they're there for a reason?  How do you get past deliberate injuries someone caused you?  How do you let go of something you did when you know that you knew better?

I wish I knew.  But until I solve that life mystery, I do what I can.

I pray about it.

I try not to dwell on it.

I try to do better to them than they did to me.

And be better than I chose to be before.
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.

Goodbye's the Saddest Word


I'm still trying to catch up on blogs from the last monthl. 

Literally.

We returned from Disney one month ago tomorrow.

And a little less than an hour down the road from the airport (on the way home) we found out that Jason's grandfather was admitted to the hospital several days earlier.

I was driving, listening to my husband's end of the conversation with his dad and heard Jason tell his dad that we'd drive into town the next day to come see him.

And so we went from one fun but tiringly long journey to another tiring journey that wrung sadness from our hearts.

The next few weeks consisted of working all week, doing just enough laundry and dishes to get us by, and then heading out to see Grandpa at the hospital an hour and a half away.

From the limited information Jason gave me (why do men not think to ask or relay more information?) he seemed to neither get better or worse, he just had some days that were a little or better or a little worse than others.  It makes sense if you've seen or experienced it, I just don't know how to say it in a less confusing way.

Finally, Easter Weekend, Jason and I made the decision that we needed one day to try and recover from the pre-vacation, vacation, and post-vacation marathon we'd been running non-stop for weeks.  So that Saturday we stayed home with plans to drive back on Sunday and spend a few hours with each of our families and Grandpa for Easter.

But his Grandpa spent resurrection morning in the presence of the Lord.

Which was bittersweet.  It always is when you think you'll have one more chance to say good bye.

We still drove in to spend time with each our families and to let Ty hunt Easter eggs with his cousin.

That Tuesday we had the visitation and the following morning we had his funeral service which was probably one of the nicest funeral services that I've been to.  And that's saying something because me and funerals are like oil and vinegar.  We just do not mix.

But the gentleman that performed the service knew Jason's grandpa very well and was able to speak about him on a personal level that had us laughing more than crying.  Though tears were still shed and the sadness still deep, He made saying goodbye--the most difficult of words to express--a little easier.
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 Magic Kingdom


A month ago right now, my family was arriving at Disney for a week long family vacation.

And by family, I don't mean Jason, Ty and I.

I mean my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew AND my family.

My whole family.

We were keying up and excited for a week long adventure in the land where dreams come true.

And this.....is where I have trouble deciding where to go with this blog.

Do I do the traditional, wordy, every last detail of every day and hope I don't forget anything kind of blog?

Or, since it's a month later, do I touch on the high points and accent with some pictures?

The latter?

Yeah, that fits into my time allowance better, anyway.

So, in no particular order, things I will never forget about this trip:

Remarkable Service

Ty (left), "Indiana Jones" (Jake), Caden (right)

I work for State Farm.  One of the biggest things we offer that some of our top competitors don't offer is a real, live agent.  And since this is a big factor for many of our customers one of our company-wide goals is to make each and every interaction with a State Farm agent or employee a remarkable experience.

That said, I was taking lessons from Disney employees during our vacation, they were that good.

Take, for instance, at Hollywood Studios on the Monday of our trip.  We went to see the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, but before we did, we adorned Jason and Ty in Indie hats and acessories.  (The show was fantastic, by the way!  I enjoyed it much more than I had expected to!)

After the show, we headed down the way to the Star Tours experience and then on towards the Phineas & Ferb Character Greetings.  We got most of the way there when Ty realized that he was missing his Indiana Jones Machete (which Indiana Jones himself--or the actor Jake that played Indiana Jones--had autographed for him after the show.  We rushed back to the Star Tours ride and inside to where we disembarked and met a nice young man who checked the one we had just come out of, to no avail.  It wasn't there.  Figuring that was how this would end, I started trying to tell Ty (whose bottom lip was bigger than the rest of his face) that he really had to keep up with his stuff.

The young man asked us if we'd wait right there for a moment, so we sat on a bench while I assumed he was checking another lost and found box on the other side.

After several minutes, however, he came back and told us that if we could go back to the Indiana Jones show, a young lady named Rebecca would find a replacement machete and get Indie to sign it for Ty after the next show.

I was floored.  I'm sure things like this happen all the time at Disney World (seriously, it happened to Ty numerous times while on the trip--fortunately we found everything but two items lost, including the machete).  We went back to the show and met up with Rebecca, who told us to come back between a time frame and she'd have a machete signed and waiting on Ty.

This set the tone for the start of our trip, and what a way to start it!

Fantasmic

That same night at Hollywood Studios we debated over whether to go on back to the hotel or stay for the nightly fireworks show, Fantasmic!, which a lady on the bus told me was their family's absolute favorite show at the park.  With her endorsement, I was determined to stay and see the show at least once on our trip and since we were there that night, we decided why not!

We filed into the ampitheater and found some seats and spent a small fortune on snacks for the show and waited to be awed.

And awed we were.  I had expected fireworks and maybe a few characters or something, but it was a show much more spectactular that we had expected.  A storyline carried through the show that included water works, projected movie scenes, boats, music, and then fireworks to top it off!

That night was sealed as The Best Night of The Trip when, after the show, my nephew wrapped himself around my sister's neck and declared that she was right!  Disney really is Magic!

It literally took 3 1/2 weeks of pretreating, retreating and
washing to get the chocolate gelatto out of this new shirt!


Snacks Everywhere

People will tell you that unless you eat at one of the nicer (costlier) restaurants, some of the food at Disney is less than wonderful.  And to some extent that is true.  But the standard exception to that rule is the snacks.

We only had a few sit-down meals (aside from breakfast) the whole week because we did so much snacking.  The gelatto, the frozen lemonade, the pretzels, the popcorn, the fruit, the limitless snacks at the bakeries....you name it and we snacked on it.

When supper-time came and it was time to eat (again), I kept finding that I just wasn't hungry!  Thinking about it now, I can almost taste the cheese fries from Casey's on Main Street, U.S.A. or the pretzels from the Germany Pavilion at Epcot.  My taste buds are ready to go back already!

It's A Pirate's Life For Me

Months before we even went to Disney, I was browsing the Walt Disney World website as I made an ebook of all the attractions, entertainment and eating at Disney in case we should get down there and need or want it.
  
I came across a special experience (The Pirates League) where you could have your boy or girl made a pirate for a day (for $30 per child) and decided that our boys would love it!  My sister agreed and from that point on, it was a given that we were going to do The Pirate's Leage while we were at Disney.

On our way to Disney it occurred to my dad that the cute little costumes shown were probably ones that they'll have for sale there so they can sucker parents (or grandparents) into buying more than just the $30 experience that includes facepaint, a sword, some pirate booty, a tattoo (temporary), and a bandanna.
Which is just what happened because Nana couldn't resist outfitting the boys to complete the look.
 
This was, hands down, one of the best experiences of the trip too!  The Cast Members were fantastic from the time they took Ty, er, I mean Will Bladecutter to choose his Pirate Name to the "wench" (I hate that term) who did Ty's makeup and Pirate Oath and presented him to The League as a new pirate!





So that's just some of the parts of our adventure that stand out to me.  It would take ages to recount them all, from the Tower of Terror (both with and without my dad...which is, for the record, the only thing I know of that produces any kind of anxiety for this man who has--my whole life--seemed unafraid of anything!) to the monorail we rode between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom on our last night there.

Disney is Magic and so are each of our memories we made there.

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.

My To Do List


I'm constantly texting or emailing my husband with things I want to do or we need to do or should consider doing.

He gives me his feedback and then in a week or two, I clean out my inbox and sent items in an effort to reduce space used.

And those ideas are gone forevermore.

Or at least for a few months until I email them to him again and he probably rolls his eyes and probably wonders why I keep sending him the same ideas over and over.

So I'm going to attempt to spare him and get them all written out here so that in however many years it takes to be able to do them I can come back here and remember what it was that I was wanting to do in the first place.

And just so I can feel like I've accomplished something by then, I'll start with the To-Do's for the weekend. 

Because I'm already planning it out. 

That's what I do.  Ask my husband.

This Weekend
  • Clean the house (dust, floors, bathrooms, pick up...all the standard stuff)
  • Wash sheets and linens
  • Remove the grass from around and mulch around the now-caged Magnolia tree given to me for Ty's baby shower that the dog has reduced to from about 48" tall beautiful flowering tree to a 16" tall leafless, flowerless, sad little sight. (don't get me started on how upset I am with the dog over this....)
  • Get the outdoor table and chairs out of storage and carry off the wooden ones that Zelda has chewed to death (again....don't get me started).  Unless I can figure out something else to do with them....then I'll move them to the short-term projects list.
  • Get out the Disney Headbands game that the Easter Bunny brought The Boy and have some fun playing it with him.
  • And tentatively, maybe spend some time at the park or fishing with The Boy and make up for the lack of time that we've dedicated to him over the past few weekends...we've also got our Magic Springs Season Passes to go process, too.
Short Term Projects We'll do in the Near Future:
  • Get a half-dozen bags of lava rock and fill and cover the area off the back porch where the dog has dug numerous holes (need I repeat myself on the "don't get me started" thing?) Obviously we won't be able to put any plants in it until she's done destroying literally everything capable of life, function, or purpose but we need to stop her from digging against the foundation of the house at least.
  • Paint Ty's bedroom.
  • Build shelves for Ty's closet.
  • Strip and repaint Ty's chest-of-drawers so that it will open and shut more easily.  (Lesson learned: 
  • Recover my leather parson chairs that are marred by cat claw marks (I wanted to recover them eventually anyway so there are no hard feelings on this).
  • Paint our Bedroom
  • Find & hang curtains for the guest room.
  • Sell the desk & computer monitor that are occupying space in the guest room.
Long Term Projects That we May or May Not Eventually Do:
  • Replace the carpet & tile in the living room, foyer, kitchen & halls with hardwood floors.
  • Restain or paint the vanity in the bathroom to a darker wood color
  • Add a light over the kitchen sink.
  • Redesign the kitchen so that it allows for better function & more cabinet space.
  • Put a window in the garage.
  • Put cabinets up in the laundry room.
  • Expand onto the patio out back and possibly build a deck, too.
  • Add more flooring and build shelves in the attic.
  • Completely reorganize the attic
  • Reogranize and "beef up" Jason's man-space in the garage.
  • Re-landscape the back-yard to replace the 10 (planted) bushes and plants that Zelda ate, as well as the countless potted plants that she devoured this year and last year both....
  • Sand and refinish the wood cabinet that my grandmother's sewing machine is housed in (this is under long term because I first want to learn how to do it properly so that I can get it as close to original as possible)
  • Landscape around the weeping cherry tree in the front yard.
I would like to say that is all, but for those of you who know me....you know more will get added to this list than will get marked off of it!

So there are (some) of my (current) to-do's!

What are some of yours?
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.

I have my reasons


I have quite a few reasons, actually, why it's been forever since I've last updated.

For one, we went to Walt Disney World for Spring Break. That's been three whole weeks ago. I planned to have an update by now that was overloaded with pictures.

But we came home to a situation that was much more priority than a blog. Jason's grandfather was hospitalized with pneumonia during our vacation. We didn't find out until after we got back so the next day we were on the road again to go visit him. Which we've done for the past few weekends, however we lost him Easter Morning and laid him to rest yesterday morning.

The limited "free" time we've had has been occupied by soccer practice, a game, and the overwhelming need to sleep. My house hasn't been properly cleaned since the week before we went to Disney (and after a full month of a less-than-par house, it's really affecting my mood to go home to it--especially since the cat is also acting out over us abandoning him so frequently). I haven't been caught up on laundry in the same amount of time. Our bathrooms, our sheets...it's embarassing to think of all the stuff we've not had the chance to clean. But that will hopefully end this weekend once we've had the chance to rest, recover and rejoin non-zombielike society.

I have several blogs I want to write on basically everything above so that's on the agenda as well.

Until then, we're planning to spend the weekend as complete and utter bums.

And I can't wait.
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.