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

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Common Sense

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is when someone has no common sense.

I know, this isn’t always that person’s fault, but come on…

Like at work. There are always so many examples of this at work. The person who unnecessarily “Replies All” to an email. The person who screams across the room instead of getting up and walking over to the person, or chatting them. The person who does not possess critical thinking skills, so they process every project they do out loud, even if it’s as simple as adding 2 + 2.

And in my blended family, the list goes on and on as well. Like the person who puts the toddlers in flats and short sleeves in the snow, but long sleeves and tall socks with tennis shoes when it’s 80 degrees. The person who lets them wear dresses and sandals to the playground, so they continuously trip and fall and bust up their faces, knees, etc. The person who blames the ringworm reappearance on the fact that we bought store-brand medication, instead of on the fact that she admittedly did not apply the medication as frequently as instructed.

I’m a huge fan of the Bobby Bones Show, and he does a segment called “Judge Common Sense.” Callers ask all sorts of questions, and Bobby Bones makes an expert ruling, solely using his common sense. He is always spot on… every single time. Maybe those without common sense don’t think so, but I do. It’s a hilarious segment, but it is wild to me that there is even a need for this! Come on, people! Just think!

Common sense [or lack thereof] is totally out of our control, but what is within our control is how we respond… or don’t respond. As with most things in life, we are only in control of ourselves and our actions. We can choose not to hit “Reply All” just to say “Thank you.” We can choose to check the weather before we pick outfits for those who rely on us to provide for them. We can choose not to instigate an altercation around these issues, but rather, to internally process our feelings and move forward. (Or externally in writing… thank you, WordPress.)

So take a deep breath, relax, and stay smart out there, people! Happy Monday, Friends! Don’t let your annoying coworker get you fired… and listen to the Bobby Bones Show. And buy his book, Bare Bones. That is all. (No, this is not an ad) (But Bobby seriously you could sponsor my blog)

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Catching Up

Five[+] Things: Catching Up

Lately, things have been going really well.

I’ve been pretty busy at work, which has been making the days fly by. My office is responsible for Commencement, and we are anticipating our largest Commencement ever this year… planning for 50,000 people! I love the planning and execution of big events at colleges and universities… that is a huge reason why I pursued my Masters in the field. I am thrilled for Commencement, and it’s closing in… just a few weeks away!

BM has a new boyfriend who it seems things are progressing rather quickly with… so she has been super low key and non-confrontational with my husband and I lately (whew!).

My husband has just been the dreamiest person ever… he is so good to me. He works so hard, gives me the sweetest compliments… he’s the best. I am so lucky.

My friend KH had her baby a few days ago! A little girl… she is so sweet. KH’s husband works with my husband, so she has always been such a good friend to vent to… I love having her around (plus I cannot wait for my girls to meet her girl!).

Our family beach vacation is less than two months away now, and thrilled is an understatement. I cannot wait to spend one week disconnected from everyone except for my husband and our girls. This is a much needed vacation!

My husband and I have also been scheming about a Christmas/Anniversary getaway. Since we won’t have the girls this year for Christmas, we want to get away so we aren’t home without them. We will need a distractions… some “Us” time. Since it will be just after our one year wedding anniversary, it’s going to be perfect timing.

I had been leasing my car, but just went through with buying it! Praise the Lord for this blessing! Side note: Don’t ever lease a car… literally a waste of money.

No complaints… life is great.

Headphones

I’m training myself to wear headphones and listen to music at work. Most people in my office do this, and I have never understood how they do it… I think it distracts me from my work.

But nonetheless, here I am, wearing headphones, listening to Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” (obsessed) while at work. This is all because I’m trying to drown out the noise of one coworker. The one who literally never stops talking. The one who cannot answer an email without processing it out loud. The one who has worked here the longest, but needs to ask the most questions. The one who has lived an extremely sheltered 30+ years, and seems to have no real grasp of reality. Okay now I’m just being rude… I digress.

This got me thinking… I’ve been trying to wear my metaphorical headphones a lot lately. To drown out any and all negativity. To drown out the things that make me feel anxious. To drown out the possibility of an expensive therapist.

I know that I am in control of my reaction to events, and of my emotions, but man is it hard sometimes! I’m almost always in control of my reaction to things that upset me… I’m decent at keeping verbal outbursts contained… I call this “Grown-Up Ashley.” *applause* But my emotions get the best of me. Thanks, estrogen…

I have a few key measures in place to get my emotions back “in-check” once something happens out of my control… 1- vent to my safe people, 2- breathe, 3- take an ambien before bed. Solid plan, right?

Seriously though, I’ve been working hard at not emotionally overreacting to things that are out of my control. As a stepmom, there is a lot out of my control. There are a lot of false allegations that come out of BM, and a lot of harassment towards my husband. This is where my emotions get the best of me.

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I don’t know if I will ever have complete control over my emotional reactions to things… Does anyone have this superpower?! If so, please enlighten me.

What I do know is that I can choose happiness. Every day. The things out of my control are just that. I have to take life day by day, and live in the moment. I never want to look back and think that I missed out on things because I was too caught up in the “what if’s” and the “but why’s.” I never want to miss out on quality time with my husband or our girls because I’m too wrapped up in my own thoughts. I want to be present, always.

So, I’m choosing to wear my metaphorical headphones more often. I’m drowning out the nonsense, and staying present with my life, with my family… with everything that matters.

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And as for my coworker… Well, I’ll continue adapting to my real headphones to deal with her…

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- RECAP!

Hey, hey!

…cue Eminem *Guess who’s back… back again…*…

I can’t believe I let you guys slip away from me for so long! I’ve finally decided to get back into it, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. So here I am, making my re-entry with a special edition Five Things- RECAP.

ONE: A lot has changed since the last time I wrote! A few weeks after my last post, I relocated back to the same area as my “boyfriend,” and began a new job at a new University in Academic Affairs (Registrar’s Office). *RIP to the #SAPro posts* I’m awarding Graduate and Doctoral level degrees at a very large institution and I LOVE what I’m doing! The perfect combination of organization and chaos.

TWO: In November, my “boyfriend” took me to Atlanta (reference- Five Things- Survey!) and he PROPOSED!!! I was absolutely shocked. Probably more shocking than that is that in December, WE ELOPED! So yes, all those things you read me dreaming about have come to fruition. I am now a full-blown LEO wife and Stepmom, and it’s the absolute bomb.com.

THREE: Probably obvious but the girls had birthdays! They’re now 2 and 4, going on 16 and 18 I swear. It has been an incredible year of milestones and transitions and they have been amazing through it all!

FOUR: Yes, we are still dealing with the high-conflict bio-mom and everything that comes along with that. The good news is, since my last post, the custody agreement was finalized and they have joint legal AND joint physical custody! The bad news is, high-conflict bio-mom thinks she is the primary parent with all the rights and with physical custody… LOL. We’re taking it day by day, people! I know all my Stepmom friends out there can understand this one!!

FIVE: I’ve made some really fabulous friends with the relocating! My HUSBAND (*swoon*) and I have a core group of couple friends, and I have some amazing friends, mostly from work. (One in particular who I know will read this and who I know will be mad if I don’t single her out.. I’m talking to you, CML!). We are living together (obviously), loving our jobs, LOVING our girls, and it really feels like everything has fallen into place for the time being.

Well, that’s all for now! I’m looking forward to diving back into some of your blogs and catching up with you all! Thanks for stopping by after all this time!

– Ashley