Five Things: Coin Flip

Five things that occasionally make me sad:

I will never be able to look at one of my kids and see my eyes or my features… or make comments like, “You get your sass from your Momma!”

I think our 50/50 schedule is great for the kids now, but what about when they’re older? I think they’ll need a home base… but how will we ever be able to prove that our home is the best to be that home base? And at that point, the kids will be old enough to know what’s going on… will it really be best to drag them through a court custody battle in their tween years?!

Will my family/friends/colleagues ever think I’m a legitimate parent, or do people just think I’m an idiot?

BM is a pathological liar and master manipulator… when the kids are older and she fills their head with lies to turn them against me and DH, how will we ever combat that, without speaking negatively of their mom to them?? Ugh.

Will my husband and I ever go on a [really late] tropical honeymoon? Or will there always be something to prioritize over that? Man, I want that getaway!!

 

Five things that typically make me happy, when the above items are holding me down:

I probably don’t want to push a baby with a big head like mine out anyway… I saw my sister do that (3x) and the first time was brutal and involved some sort of medical vacuum…? Gross.

I think no matter where the girls lay their heads more frequently as teenagers, they will always know DH and I are loving and reliable, and as they become adults, our relationships will be strong.

It really doesn’t matter what anyone other than my DH and SD’s think! I don’t know why that is so much easier to say than to believe… but that’s the truth.

No matter what BM ever says or does… DH and I can only control what we do and say. No matter how rocky things get, if DH and I are consistent, loving, and reasonable with the girls, our adult relationships will be beautiful.

Even if DH and I never get a tropical getaway, hopefully I’ll enjoy whatever we are prioritizing over that! For example, a Las Vegas Christmas is a possibility for this year… so I should probably stop complaining about us having never been to the islands…

 

Remember, there are two sides to every coin… it’s all about perspective!

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Five Things: Memorial Day

ONE: We took the girls fishing for the first time this weekend… I was sure it would be a disaster, but they loved it. We used the live bait (worms) and bobber approach, and actually caught more fish than we had all year so far! They both loved holding the bass and throwing them back in the water. They loved grabbing the worms and watching their Daddy put them on the hook. SD4 actually caught about 4-5 bass by herself! Reeled them in and everything. It was wild. This was a day my husband and I will hold close to our hearts for many years to come.

TWO: There are major structural changes going down in my office. Some changes have been announced publicly, and some changes I know about because of my expert detective work. Regardless, I am hoping these changes will allow me to go for a promotion this summer! I am genuinely praying that the Lord will open up an opportunity for me where my career could develop for many years down the road. Wish me luck!

THREE: SD4 took her Kindergarten early entrance exam for BM’s school district about a week ago, and BM still has not told us how it went (although SD4 has told me twice that she did not pass). Maybe SD4 doesn’t know what she is talking about… or maybe BM is stalling to buy time, because she is dreading committing SD4 to our school district. Either way, I know the first real sit-down between my husband and BM in about two years is on the horizon [and I know I am not invited because I am a “distraction”]. The thought of a sit down (especially one I am not present for) terrifies me, but I know my husband can handle himself.

FOUR: My husband is working his tail off for us these days. We are going to the beach for a week at the end of June, and he has not let an “extra” work opportunity pass by, because he wants us to take as much “play money” as possible. He has actually said, “I want the girls to walk through the stores and buy whatever they want.” I am so thankful for everything he does for us, and really hope he thinks I pull my weight. Sometimes I question that about myself (i.e. a night home alone is much better spent with a Bud Light and Netflix than it is a dust rag and vacuum). But I don’t want to be a bench-warmer… I want to be a legitimate team player. Cheers to constant self-reflection and self-improvement!

FIVE: I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, which is out of character for me. Dreaming about the day when we have a big back yard and a grill. About the day we have a boat. About the day I get a baitcaster. About the day we have a Coke Zero fountain in the kitchen. About the day I am permanently tan without effort. Okay, maybe some of those won’t happen… but I’ve been dreaming! I know most people in their 20’s do not have “everything they have ever wanted,” but it is a little daunting to think about how many years it will take to make some of our dreams come true.

For now, I will keep prioritizing family, grinding at work, and keeping my chin up!

-Ashley

Five Things: Potluck

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a Monday Five Things! So let me catch you up on the five first takeaway’s that come to mind…

ONE: I am so thrilled that the weather is getting nice again here in Virginia! My husband and I have even been fishing several times over the past few weeks. Although I still think it’s a little too cold for the fish, we have had the best time outside. Whether it’s fishing on an evening or weekend we don’t have the kids, or playing on the playground when we have them, we have loved every minute of this weather! Hello, Spring!

TWO: I cannot say these words enough… comparison is the thief of joy! Y’all, do me a favor… Remember that social media is just the highlight reel. Remember that everyone is going through or has gone through something unfavorable. I see people complain when others look “too happy” on social media, and I also see people complain when others “vent too much” on it. Personally, I’m a highlight reel sort of millennial, but cut everyone [including yourself] a break! Focus on yourself… Stop making comparisons.

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THREE: The debate over where our oldest will [hopefully] start Kindergarten is still ongoing. There were a few days just over a week ago where BM was super high-conflict about it, and then as soon as my husband offered to compromise to give her what she wants, we never heard from her again (like… not even to agree or disagree to the compromise). Those who have kids can tell you that whenever someone is silent, they’re typically up to no good… This could get interesting.

FOUR: We are planning a beach vacation for a week in June and it is almost all I think about. I grew up going to the beach multiple times every summer. Even through college, I made it to the beach at least 2-3 times a year. Now, I haven’t been to the beach since May 2012, my “beach week” when I finished undergrad. Y’all… it’s been almost five years since I’ve been to the beach! The only thing better than the fact that I’m getting my ass on the beach, is the fact that I get to be there with my husband and our girls. *Currently online shopping for Mom-kini’s suitable for chasing toddlers around*

FIVE: My car got hit at work in the parking lot… classic hit and run. Luckily, my husband can literally do everything, so he fixed it and made it look brand new! *Drool* (Drooling about my husband, not the car) Then a week later, my work best friend CML almost hit my car! She confessed (good friend- pat on the back) but if it had of got messy, we definitely would have had a Friend Breakup. (RIP to those best friends I’ve broken up with in the past) (Pour one out for the fallen homies) Moral of this story: My car and my friendship are still in tact, thank God.

Life is a wild ride sometimes! Never miss an opportunity to reflect, recharge, and count your blessings.

Five Things: Boundaries

Hey, Friends! I’ll just hop right to it with this week’s Five Things: Boundaries.

ONE: Last Sunday, my husband and I took a date day to some local cideries and breweries, while BM had taken the kids for vacation in Florida with her parents. BM- who never texts my husband unless it’s [a complaint] about [him or] the kids- decided she would try to be best friends with him and vent to him about traveling with her parents, making comments about the past and how she knew he hated traveling with her parents. *Cue, another date interrupted by BM* Then a couple of days later, she text him several pictures of the kids, including one of her with my youngest step daughter… it had a caption something to the effect of, “Sorry for a pic of me! You can crop me out LOL.” Seriously Lord have mercy… boundaries, people…

TWO: My one coworker who really just grinds my gears… I’ll call her Buttercup… she means well, but she misses some all social cues… Anyway, today, my work BFF CML and I were chatting with another coworker by our cubes… then, Buttercup started loudly laughing with our conversation, as it she was trying to get into it. Mind you, Buttercup sits on the other side of the cubes and therefore couldn’t see us, or actually participate in the conversation. But nonetheless, she kept on laughing every time we laughed… Girl, boundaries… come on. Update: As I have been writing this, Buttercup is singing out loud at her desk. That is all.

THREE: I serve as an advisor for a chapter of my sorority. I’ve been newly appointed the “supervisor” of the advisory board for almost a month now, and let me tell you, these women have no clue what boundaries [or preparation] mean. These poor girls want to do the right thing so bad, but cannot turn in paperwork before a deadline to save their lives… then they result in emailing, Facebook messaging, and texting me and other advisors until we respond. They’re literally about 15 minutes away from getting the “a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine” speech. We’re about to have a hard core boundaries talk…

FOUR: I saw this quote (below) referencing boundaries in an Instagram I follow, and I love it. Although BM is not high-conflict with me, she definitely blames me for the fact that her and my husband never worked things out. I think that over the past two years, I’ve done a good job of showing her compassion, and of setting healthy boundaries. I am constantly challenging myself to be at peace with the things that are out of my control, and I think I have come a long way in that journey. I cannot control her crazy, but I can document. Mental-Health-Saving Boundaries…

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FIVE: My husband and I are both very careful about who we “let in,” and I think that continues to save us time and time again. Y’all, cut ties with people who are causing you more harm than good! Your inner circle should not contain 15 “best friends.” That goes for family too… my husband is constantly reminding me that I should not continuously reach out to a family that never reaches out to me. Protect yourself and what is important to you, whether that’s a spouse, kids, etc. Guard your heart, because once it’s broken, it’s no easy task to super glue back together.

So what type of boundaries do you have in place for your mental health, protection, etc.?

Have a great week!

-Ashley

Five Things: Confessions

I’ve just got all sorts of random thoughts up in this big ol’ head of mine, so this week, I’m getting some of it out! I bring you Five Things: Confessions.

ONE: I swear if I was the supervisor of my colleagues, things would change around here. We have a serious case of “no one is holding the people who have been here for a while accountable anymore” in our area. It’s honestly crazy. We all pull our reports from the same databases, and when I see the same “veteran” names listed over and over again, I’m just infuriated… like why aren’t you doing your job?! What are you doing on your side of the cube?! OMG people.

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TWO: When my husband is off, I only want to hang out with him (and the kids if we have them). I don’t want to make plans with friends when I have the option of being home with my husband. I don’t feel bad about it, either. I don’t feel guilty saying no to hangout requests. I used to, but I don’t anymore. I don’t want to be out drinking (or doing anything else) while he is home alone. I also don’t want him going out drinking (or doing anything else) when I’m home alone. We’re a team. We’re best friends. We need couple friends, but we don’t have any because BM scared all of his couple friends off, and all my friends- even the “coupled” ones- are younger and just in a different place in life (i.e. no kids; i.e. they’re trying to hang out at 8pm and I’m like okay but bedtime is 9:30pm).

THREE: Real, raw confession… I truly mourn a little bit every month when I get my period. That vasectomy hasn’t reversed itself yet?! *sigh* Don’t get me wrong- I also celebrate… now’s not the time! But it’s my monthly reality check that it will never be the time. (another topic for another day…)

FOUR: I’ve been listening to “Today’s Hits” on Pandora today, and I seriously don’t know any of the songs they’ve played!! Who are these “hit” artists?! Why is this “ZAYN” character spelled in all caps? What a weird name. “The Chainsmokers” ?? Really that was your idea for a band name? Is Noah Cyrus related to Miley? Must be. What is happening to music?! Everything has a techno-vibe now… ugh. And then the rap/hip-hop music… ugh! In a past life, I had enough of that nonsense. I’ll just stick with country. Country’s never done me dirty like this…

FIVE: I just got an invitation to my sister’s baby shower in the mail… No chance I’m going, and it’s for selfish reasons too. She didn’t send me anything for my wedding in December… so obviously I’m going to take it out on my unborn niece right now by boycotting onesies and diaper cakes. Not to mention, baby showers make me feel sick (tried one a few weeks ago… not feeling it). And this is her third baby… at some point don’t you stop all the parties? Okay, I’m done with petty #5. But I told y’all these were confessions!

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Well that’s my five things for this week! I hope you’re all ready to grab this week by the balls and take full advantage of it!

-Ashley

Five Things: What a Week!

Happy Monday!

I had a great week, despite having serious sinus issues, so I want to share a little about how it went in this weeks Five Things: What a Week!

ONE: My 16-year old cousin. She is having a rough time with her mom (my aunt), and most of her issues are not your typical “teenage-parent rivalry” things… she has actual concerns and valid points. No abuse, people- no worries! But it really does seem like my aunt isn’t making the best personal decisions, and it’s been affecting my little cousin. Y’all- she picked ME to open up to about this! Her cousin who is 10 years older than her. She even attempted to come spend the weekend with us; however, her mom [understandably] wouldn’t let her drive the 2+ hours. It hurts to see my cousin going through a hard time, but I’m so thankful she feels comfortable reaching out to me for advice and/or to vent. Parents, never stop parenting your children! Just because 16-year olds LOOK like they’re 26 these days, does not mean they are. They still need you!

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TWO: Our baby + our big girl. (I’ve promised the 4 year old I will abide by her wishes and refer to her as a big girl). We had them the majority of last week and I couldn’t have asked for a better week with them! Also, after months of my husband and I switching vehicles back and forth depending on who takes them/picks them up from school, we bit the bullet and I now have car seats. That’s right- I have reached that point of stepmom-ing. I know this is probably not a big deal, but I am wildly excited about having these car seats! These girls are so similar yet complete opposites. Their sass is out of this world. We have a sensitive one, and a bully. We have one who listens, and one who laughs in your face when you tell her “No.” But they both love on us SO MUCH all the time. It’s funny when you can see them struggling to split their time between me and my husband. Boy, would I love to be inside of their little brains sometimes…

THREE: My Mother-In-Law. This weekend we celebrated her 51st birthday, and she had a great weekend! I’m sure a lot of you have “bad” MIL’s, but mines pretty great most of the time. Even though I prefer spending my weekends with just my husband and the girls, it was nice to spend most of the weekend with my in-law’s, and I know it meant the world to them to have the girls there for so much time.

FOUR: My Job + Work BFF. I love my job, but we really have our slow points! Our work comes and goes in waves, and I most days I am thankful for that. But sometimes, it sure does drag! I don’t know what I’d do without my work bestie CML. She is my go-to vent person for work, life, etc. I typically steer away from getting “too close” to colleagues, but for some reason I let her in. We know way too much about one another, seriously. And we literally laugh all day long. And we send meme’s back and forth all day long. And I’m invested in her! Whether it’s her shitty roommate, or her navigating her new-ish relationship with her “dream guy” (well, we all know dreams are better left to Disney…), I am so invested in her life to the point I go home and keep my husband updated! (On most things… some things are strictly Girl Talk, duh). How blessed am I to have this job, and an excellent Work BFF to share it with!

FIVE: My Husband. (I know, you’re so sick of hearing about him, I get it). But this week I was down for the count with a self-diagnosed sinus infection and he really was my knight in shining armor. He got me medicine, did my chores for me, and just let me relax at home on the nights we didn’t have the girls. (On the nights we had the girls, my sinuses were on the back burner. Like that commercial, “Mom’s don’t get sick days!”). He was off Thursday and Friday and had lunch dates with me both days. I had a coworker point to his picture on my desk and ask if that was my husband, and my immediate out-loud response was, “Yeah, he’s so hott!!” Y’all I’m still so smitten by this man I can’t even handle it.

How was your week? Hopefully you took the time to refocus on what’s important like I did. God Bless and have a great week!

-Ashley

Five Things: Refocus

Howdy, Y’all!

(Okay, I’m from Virginia. That is not actually a phrase I say.)

Y’all know I was “in my feels” (as my younger cousins would say) last week… So this week, I’m refocusing. This is a happy week, it has to be. I deserve it! My family deserves it! So in return, here’s this week’s Five Things, with a twist. I’m mapping out the things I plan to do this week to refocus on what’s important.

ONE: Love on my Babies! All 3 of them *wink- husband.* We have the girls 4 overnights/5 days this week, and I am so beyond excited about it. I cannot wait to love all over them every chance I get! I’m focusing on always intentionally showing them the positive side of me. Modeling happiness will in return make them happy! Such a simple fact that so many parents make the mistake of forgetting…

TWO: Show Grace. I plan on showing grace to everyone I can. I’m not letting anyone get me down this week, no sir! This is so important for me as a wife, stepmom, coworker, and friend. There is so much out of my control every day, but I am always in control of my reactions, both internal and external.

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THREE: Be Patient. Okay, so my friend CML is going to have to keep me in check with this one at work. I need to be more patient this week. With the girls (y’all- “terrible two’s” are real), with my husband, and even with my colleagues.

FOUR: Trust the Lord. I don’t write much about my faith, mostly because I’m not “as developed” in it as I feel I should be before writing about it. I’m no expert, or exemplary role model in this area. But I am a believer, and I do trust that God has a plan. I believe I need to work hard to reach the end goal, but I believe He has a plan. I hope to pray more this week… especially for BM.

FIVE: Persevere. I plan to push forward and rise above whatever challenges are presented this week. I plan to stay organized, stay vigilant, and stay aware of the tremendous blessings I have. I plan to lead by example at home and at work, and stay faithful that as with any rough patches we may face, this too shall pass.

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Anyone else out there planning to refocus this week? Sometimes, we all just need a little kick in the right direction…

-Ashley