Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mommy, Will You Put These On Your Blog?

I swear that girl (Holland, my four year old daughter) doesn't miss a beat! She doesn't even miss that I have a blog where I share funny stories and sweet pictures of her and Dylan. She drew these pictures for me yesterday, and then immediately asked me if I would put them on my blog. I'm so glad she didn't say, "Will you post them on your blog?". That would have really freaked me out! So here are my two wonderful pictures: the first one is "Belle and the clock" and the second one is "Belle and Lumiere" (the candlestick)!


Those are Beauty and Beast characters for those of you out of the disney loop!

belle and the clock



belle and lumiere



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ten

1. Dylan woke up screaming bloody murder last night, and now this morning her second little tooth has cut through her gums. I knew there had to be a reason!
2. I was chosen to be the "supermom" in the spotlight section of the national moms in motion newsletter! I think it has to do with me training for a 1/2 marathon only 10 weeks after Dylan was born and also after I was on complete bedrest for 5 months. And oh yeah, crossing the finish line probably has something to do with it, too! I guess I am sorta a supermom, huh?! Toot toot! (I will post a link when it is published).
3. Holland just said to me, "Mom, I really want spring to be here. It is too hard to wait". AMEN, sister!
4. Somehow, I lost my cell phone this last weekend, and I can't believe how debilitating it is. There was a time when our world functioned without them, wasn't there? I just don't remember what that looked like.
5. I start my bloomsday training next week. I am looking forward to getting back into a regular running schedule and also practicing each week with my team. I am really going to try and push myself for this race and complete it within a reasonable time frame. Wish me luck.
6. I do plan on finishing my "How I Got My Mommy Feathers Ruffled" story. I was sick this last weekend and my mom was also here to visit so I haven't had a big chunk of time to sit down and knock it out. I WILL though, I promise.
7. I went to buy a pair of pants the other day, and I have gone down another pant size! People are starting to comment on my weight loss.....such a refreshing feeling now that people are noticing!
8. In addition the moms in motion spotlight, I was notified by Parents magazine that they are interested in my contributing to an upcoming article. They found me through my bedrest blog. I think it will be a pretty small contribution, but it's publicity nonetheless! I had no idea I would have so much attention from my bedrest journey!
9. I'm falling down on my photography resolutions. I was going to try and take one a day, and also weekly self portraits. I changed my "one a day" to "almost one a day" and it is still hard to do. I think I better change my weekly self portraits to "monthly self portraits". I don't really want to abandon the ideas, I just need to get more disciplined about it.
10. It's time to get in the shower so I can get Holland to art class on time.

Wow! I just realized that 8 out of the 10 were about me!Yay, Ashley! : )

Have a good day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How I Tried to Finish My Story, and Now I Hate Blogger

So here's the deal....

I have been working on "the rest of the story" for two days now - in between mommy duties, household chores, and holiday fun. I was on the last paragraph and I did something (still not sure what), and my whole drafted message disappeared. I could have possibly retrieved it, but blogger has that cool little feature called draft autosave and it frequently saves your drafts as you are composing them. It's cool unless your message disappears and then is saves your blank message. Well, that's what it did - it immediately saved my blank draft. End of story. I now hate blogger!

I will have to sit back down once I have recovered from the loss and try to knock it back out. However, it might be a while for me to get back in the mood, and I can't promise it will be as good as the first draft!

So in the meantime, here is a cute photo for a consolation prize and my own personal appeasement.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Interrupt My Story To Bring You This....


Big Sis, Lil Sis


(a little blurry, oh well...)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

How I Got My "Mommy Feathers" Ruffled

Jonathan and I joined the YMCA a few weeks ago, mainly because they have babysitting available while we work out. How cool is that? Pretty cool, except that it is somewhat of a hassel because I am usually the one who is transporting both girls which means I am juggling a carseat, a baby (sometimes in the carseat, sometimes not), a 4-year old, a gym bag, our membership cards that are needed upon arrival, a towel, a locker key, a water bottle, and winter accessories (the scarf, the gloves, the hats)etc.

When we first joined, we received a tour of the place and the guy that gave us the tour didn't do that great of a job. The facility is spread out on three different levels with particular doors and staircases only leading to one floor or the other. There is no logic to the layout of the facility, and therefore it is very confusing. Our tour guy didn't really know anything about the babysitting room, but tried to act like he did so he showed us three different childcare options - one supposedly the baby room, one supposedly the preschool room, and lastly, one that we could use as childcare if we decided we wanted to use the Y's childcare/preschool services rather than the preschool that we already have.

We're just joining the gym here, buddy, not looking to switch schools....

Anway,on with the story - the first day that I tried to take both girls to their respected places, I was turned away because they were the childcare rooms of the facility not the babysitting room of the facility. You know, the places that mommies and daddies drop their children off every day before work - not the place that they drop their children off just while working out. Did I mention that I didn't figure this out until after I had gone up a huge flight of stairs, back down that huge flight of stairs, and then back up that huge flight of stairs again (all while juggling that long list of stuff that I mentioned previously)? It was at that time I was sweating to death and was questioning whether or not I was REALLY going to commit to such a hassel, and then I stumbled upon what was labeled as "the babysitting room" - NOT a room that was pointed out to us on our tour, mind you.

The "babysitter" gave us a numbered token to trade for our kids and didn't even ask me their names. I had to introduce myself and point out the girls and which one was which. I don't think she would have even cared what their names were if I hadn't told her.

So, I could continue to go on and on about how frustrating the layout is and how much I sweat each time I am juggling all that stuff and how after I drop them off, I have to go back down two flights of stairs to the locker room that is in the basement,and then back up one more flight of stairs before I even get to the work out center, but I will spare you the babbling.

What I am getting at is - I already had a bad taste in my mouth about the whole babysitting set up and the poor staff and then THIS happened....

I was hot and sweaty from completing my work out and so I headed to the basement to retrieve the contents of my locker. Next, I headed back up the two flights of stairs to retrieve my daughters and trade them in for my number. Dylan did not want to be put in the carseat so to spare myself the stress of walking through the facility with a screaming baby, I decided to carry her. It is always hot in the babysitting room so I had her coat and hat to carry as well as the carseat. Oh yeah, I also had my coat and hat, and my gym bag and Holland and her accessories, too! So, I loaded up her carseat with the coats, hats, and gym bag, draped the towel over my shoulder because it needed to be turned in downstairs, and draped Dylan over my arm and pleaded with Holland to quit watching the TV and follow us downstairs.

As we opened the door to the staircase to begin our descent, a pretentious yuppyish couple rounded the downstairs corner and were needing to begin their ascent. Well, we were there first and I was obviously struggling with all of the juggling of stuff, and Holland had already started to go down, but do you think they offered for us to continue?

"Hell no they didn't." They just snootily plowed right past us without a second thought. My body temperature was already elevated at this point, and this just sent it up a couple degrees. My mommy feathers were starting their "ruffling" process.

As we rounded the corner to turn in my towel and locker key, I couldn't find my key. While, holding Dylan draped over my arm, I fished in my pant pockets, my coat pockets, my gym bag, and even the carseat. All while trying not to drop Dylan on her head, and trying to coral Holland away from banging on the fish tank and scaring the fish.

No key.

My mommy feathers are getting more ruffled at this point. There were three, young twenty-something girls working the desk just chit chatting away. I frazzledly looked up, handed the girl my towel, and said, "I think I left my key hanging in my locker." This is where I think customer service would be nice or even just common courtesy. Not the case.

The girl to whom I reported the incident almost had empathy. She turned to one of the other girls and asked, "What do we need to do?".

She replied, "What's the problem?"

"She left her key in her locker."

"Well, she's gonna have to go get it." (with a no-duh-there's-no-way-i'm-helping expression on her face).

"But... she's got the baby..." she started to reply, but my mommy feathers were fully ruffled at this time and I had already huffed and puffed and mumbled under my breath how ridiculous that was and something else about being pissed off while snatching Holland and readjusting Dylan on my hip and hastily hustling back to the damn basement.

However, I took a wrong turn wouldn't you know it so I ended up back upstairs instead of down. I was SO pissed at this point, and there was no way in hell I was going to walk back in front of those girls to get to the basement stairs so we went through the maze of the second floor and found the elevator to go down.

I was visibly pissed off, and Holland kept saying, "What's the matter, mommy? What did those girls do?". I told her that they just weren't nice and I was frustrated because they didn't help me, but that it was really okay. (I didn't believe this though - it absolutely was NOT okay!)

I came back up, slammed my key down and proceeded to load up my screaming baby into her carseat. I was kinda glad that she was screaming - maybe it would interupt their little chit chat session and hopefully make them feel like s%#* for making me go all the way back down there for a stupid key!

Was it really too much to ask that they help me out? I have spent many years in jobs that have a public relations component, and I would have jumped all over the chance to help someone out. I would have insisted that I go down and retrieve the key and wouldn't have even thought about it. Isn't that what customer service is all about? Serving the customer.

Needless to say, I felt pretty stupid after we left and all I could think about was how I was going to have to go back and apologize to them. That infuriated me! I am a very proud person and apologies don't always come that easy for me, especially in this sort of situation. Normally, I would have just not gone back to whatever particular establishment that I had a temper tantrum in (don't worry - this doesn't happen regularly!), but this is a place that we will be frequenting for a long time so I didn't really have a choice. I was also a little embarrassed to have acted that way in front of my sweet, impressionable daughter so I figured this would be a great teaching moment.

I did go back.

I did apologize,

.....just not initially!

That's another story for another day though.

Stay tuned....

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Few Photos on Friday





Guess who is loving the cereal these days?! I have to give her cereal just to try and keep her still, but then all of my pictures end up having cereal in them, and they still come out blurry because she is trying to move at the same time! I think I have missed the boat for photographing her - she just wants to move too much! And Holland just plain out tells me, "No more pictures, Mommy.", "I don't want my picture taken.", "I'm NOT going to look at the camera!".

This makes for a very grumpy mommy!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Bunny Valentine




This is a Holland original piece of art! She came up with the bunny valentine idea by cutting a heart in half and gluing in onto another heart to make it into a bunny. Then she drew a face and whiskers! Voila!

When I asked her what she wanted the message to say, she said: "Mommy, Be My Bunny Valentine!" She then made a second bunny card and it's message said, "Happy Bunnytine Day!"

Pretty clever, if I do say so myself!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

1. It's official - I am trading in my "miscellaneous monday" for "ten on tuesday". I am joining the rest of the blog world, and throwing in the towel for coming up with my own cute, little illiterated title!

2. I am still in shock, but I didn't even buy Jonathan a birthday card this year. This is NOT normal. There was a time in life that I should have owned stock in the cheesy,sappy hallmark card company, but Jonathan has definitely mellowed me out in that regard. Anyway, I'm not sure what this is all about except that I was really, really busy leading up to his birthday, and I thought I had more time than I actually did. He is always telling me that he doesn't want anything for his birthday, and that he actually wants stuff taken away! I didn't go as far as taking stuff away, but I didn't give him any sort of gift on his actual birthday or even a card. I am feeling VERY guilty and will probably overdo the Valentine's thing!

3. Our laptop totally crashed the other day. There is a possibility that we will loose everything. I have heard of his horror story scenario, but never dreamt it could be a reality. I have been terrible about backing up pictures, and I haven't backed up hardly any since WAY before Dylan was born - probably a year's worth. I shutter at the thought so I'm not even going to think the thought! We should know in the next couple of days. Cross your fingers that the GEEK SQUAD knows what they are doing!

4. My mom is coming to visit this week. We haven't seen her since Thanksgiving. She has Christmas, Birthday, and Valentine's gifts to exchange. Oh No! More Excess.....

5.The great snow melt off has begun. We came home to a slightly flooded basement last night. No Fun. Especially considering we have a couple more feet of meltage to go.

6. Holland has entered a new phase of bedtime stories. We have started reading chapter books to her. I am so excited about re-reading some of my old favorites. We recently read the first three Box Car Children Books, and we are currently reading this. Next up will be this or this or even this. Do you have a favorite children's chapter book? Please share if you do because I will be looking for new ideas.

7.Holland and I are going to make a heart shaped cake today and some home made Valentine cards. She LOVES to cook and also LOVES to do art! Maybe we can squeeze it in during Dylan's naptime....

8. Dylan just pulled herself up to the standing position for the first time while I was making this list. I'm so not ready for that! Wasn't she just born?

9. I dropped a couple more pounds - yippee!

10. Jonathan and I decided to take on disciplines this year for Lent rather than giving anything up. We are taking on weight watchers and also taking on the commitment of working out at least 4 times a week. However, one could look at it as giving up eating whatever the heck I want, and also giving up a couple more pant sizes! (I hope)

Happy Tuesday, my dear bloggy buddies!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Loving Memory



Friday, February 8th marked the one year anniversary of the passing away of precious Isaac Dennis Lytle. Isaac was an almost four-year old little boy who had autism, and he passed away in his sleep due to an undetected heart defect. I would just like to take the opportunity to remember him and pray for his family as this is not an easy time. I cannot fathom the pain that the family must endure on a daily basis.

Isaac's mom and dad, Reed & Holly Lytle, took Isaac's memorial fund and started a non-profit organization called The Isaac Foundation. They have been raising money so that they can provide therapy grants and scholarships to local families with children with autism.

I haven't ever met anyone quite like Holly. She is an amazing women who has taken such a devastating tragedy and turned it into a remarkable endeavor. She and Reed are very passionate about providing bright futures for the children in our community by giving them the gift of therapeutic intervention.

I have spent the last few months volunteering my time to help the foundation pull off their first ever silent/live auction fundraiser called, "A Taste of Hope". I am so honored to have been a part of such a wonderful event. The numbers haven't been crunched, yet, but it is projected that the first annual event raised well over $30,000! Pretty Amazing. If interested, you can donate here.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday (aka "Destiny Day")

It was 10 years ago on Ash Wednesday 1998 that mine and Jonathan's fate was sealed - all due to a two liner email that I received from him.

His message:

Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 14:01:14 - 0800
From: Jonathan Potter
To: ashleyb@u.washington.edu
Subject: holy day

Ash,

It just occurred to me that today is your day. Ash Wednesday.

Are you celebrating in any special way?

Religiously,
Jon


I didn't want to admit that this email meant anything, but deep down in my heart it sealed the deal for me! This line of thinking was actually a bit crazy considering by my standards, we weren't even dating at this point! We were "just hanging out", and nothing more was going to happen between us, because this was the first time in my life that I had a focus that didn't include a boy! I was heading to the peace corps for two years. I had already been accepted. My plan was to go serve a two year term in Honduras, become fluent in Spanish, come back, find a bilingual graduate program in Speech Language Pathology, and become bilingually certified.

My oh my how things changed!

Anyway, back to the destiny part of Ash Wednesday - I had this secret fantasy dating back to my juvenile junior high school days, that someone, some where at some point in my life would spontaneously wish me a "happy Ash Wednesday" or simply acknowledge that is was my special day. Years and years went by and no one ever noticed or thought it was worth mentioning (not even one particular jerk of a boyfriend to whom I had left countless hints too) ..... until this day.

And every Ash Wednesday following this day! It seems like since then I have received numerous spontaneous wishes for Ash Wednesday from a variety of people and from a variety of places. Funny how that works!

What makes it even more interesting of a story is that that very evening a few hours after I received the email from Jonathan, I got a call from that particular jerk of a boyfriend. We hadn't talked in 5 years, and he tracked me down in Seattle from Chattanooga, TN to call and wish me a "Happy Ash Wednesday". Asshole! He couldn't muster up the energy to do it the four-on-again-off-again-years that we dated, but he could do it five years to0 late and once again leave me feeling sick to my stomach which he was so good at doing!

YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! "Don't you dare taint my destiny," I thought.

Needless to say, my destiny wasn't tainted in any way, and here I am ten years later sharing my life with the man who fulfilled my fantasy! Who could ask for anything more?

Happy "Destiny Day", Babe!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who Am I?

I have been saying the following things lately....

"Oh brother!"

"Goodness gracious sakes alive!"

"For crying out loud..."

Any thoughts on what this means? Do I need to get out more? Am I just getting that old? Have I totally lost it? Is there any chance of being helped?

I feel like such a dork each time I say any of these things, but they just keep rolling off my tongue. And now they are rolling off Holland's tongue,too.

"Bless her little heart, poor thing!"

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday on Sunday night

I am posting this tonight (sunday) because I work all day on Mondays and it is really hard for me to get something posted. I should probably just switch my "miscellaneous monday" to "ten on tuesday" since they are essentially the same thing, and the rest of the blog world does "ten".....

I think I was just trying to be different, but that really doesn't make much sense. Why re-create the wheel, right?

Anyway, here goes.....

1. We went to a super bowl/mardi gras party yesterday, and truly, I could care less about the super bowl. I do love to watch basketball and baseball and especially get into March Madness, but football hasn't ever really done it for me! Anyway, the other wives and I just sat around and chatted all night - I'm sure a similiar scene in homes all across the country!

2. I got creeped out with my flickr account, and I took a couple of pictures off. I had one of Holland with just her panties on with high heels and a tiara. It is an adorable picture, but I felt like it just had too many viewings with no commenting. I can tell by my other pictures and what kind of activity is going on with them that this was a little weird. I just don't want some sicko looking at my sweet, precious daughter. I get totally creeped and pissed off at the same time just thinking about the possibility. Anyone had any issues like this or know of friends who have?

3. We have DVR on our T.V and I went to check our recordings the other day because I wanted to make sure that the season premiere of "Lost" had been recorded, and everything was GONE. It said, "there are no recordings currently available", and 0% space used. We have no idea what happened, but I am furious. We had a ton of stuff recorded on there. Has anyone heard of this happening? Melissa - can you ask Ryan about it?! (he works for comcast).

4. Dylan is going to be observed tomorrow in a pediatric physical therapy class at the University. Jonathan has connections with other faculty and one of the professors asked if we could bring her in so he could show his class what an 8 month old baby is doing physically. I can't wait - I love that sort of thing. Hence the reason I went into a similar field!

5. Jonathan's birthday is in seven days, and I still haven't figured out what I am getting him.

6. Holland is going to go to grandma and grandpa's house this next weekend and spend the night for two nights. She hasn't ever done that before - hopefully, it will all work out. She already has her bagged packed! She packed it a couple of days ago and left it by the front door. Pretty cute!

7. Jonathan is going to stand in line at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning to see if he can get Gonzaga basketball tickets! He is still an adjunct professor there so we get basketball privledges if you don't mind doing the dirty work for them! (i.e, standing outside in the dark and freezing cold at a god awful hour!)

8. I just realized that I haven't written anything about myself. I really need to work on that! I should try and make a list just about me sometime! Maybe next week...

9. Dylan's first little tooth is poking through, and she learned how to blow rasperries this weekend. Loud ones!

That's all for now! Happy Monday!

Shy Mardi Gras Princess



Actually, she wasn't being shy at all. She was being obstinate.

"I'm NOT going to look at the camera EVER again", were her exact words!

We are off to a Mardi Gras/Super Bowl party!

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Year Ago Today

It was a year ago today that I went in for what was suppose to be a standard OB pregnancy check-up appointment....

Within a couple of minutes of my doctor entering the room, he was giving us orders to go directly to the hospital. He said, "How does 100% bedrest sound?, I want you to go to the hospital to be monitored. You are in pre-term labor".

Little did I know. I thought I would be there a few hours or possibly over night. Well, most of you know how the story goes. I was there for 7 weeks, and then spent the remaining 10 1/2 weeks at home with the same 100% bedrest restrictions.

For those of you who followed my bedrest boutique journey, you will be glad to know that I FINALLY completed Dylan's arrival story and brought closure to the bedrest blogging adventure.

I feel like this last year has been a year of personal growth for me. I learned a lot about myself, my family, and my friends. Being on bedrest is a huge stressor for any family, and I believe it strengthened ours. The three of us literally lived in that 100 square foot hospital room for almost two months. Jonathan and Holland spent just about every night there. They showered there, ate there, played there, got ready for school & work there, watched movies there, and even washed clothes there! It truly became our home away from home.

They say, "home is where you hang your hat", or "home is where the heart is", and our hats were definitely there. As were our hearts.