Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anniversary Outtakes

Ollie has me pinned to the sofa with his cute little paw, so I’ll go ahead and post these while he naps.

Attack Puppy!

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 076

A pretty normal day, actually

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 097

I’ve had enough!

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 098

Now we’re getting loopy!

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 114

Dude, we just had dinner.  Chick-Fil-A, remember?

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 160

I guess I should be glad he didn’t flip his eyelid inside out this time

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 170

Normal.  Totally normal.

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 177

I don’t even know.

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 208

Happy Family

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 1201


Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 1225 

I’ve had enough

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 1231

Who Knows

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 1289

Anniversary Photos

Here are our anniversary photos my sweet sister took in May.  I had been waiting for Andy to edit them, but he didn’t have the time, so I did it myself this morning :)

I think you can click on any one of them to see them larger.  They aren’t great…mostly because I don’t really know what I’m doing :)  I might do a post with the outtakes in a bit….there are some really good ones :)

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Monday, June 28, 2010


-After a week of camp, I had a weekend of mostly nothing.  It was nice.  And I needed it.

-I read the second book in the Hunger Games series last night/this morning.  I started reading at 10, thinking I’d read a chapter or two….I finished it at 4 this morning.

-Oliver isn’t feeling well right now.  He seems to be having some stomach issues.  I feel bad for the poor guy.  He’s still pretty wired sometimes, but he fell asleep on my chest for 2 and half hours on Saturday—which he has never done before.

-I just did Jillian Michaels “No More Trouble Zones.”   I have been really struggling with some confidence issues lately, and I’m hoping that this helps.  Also—I had no idea I could sweat so much.

-I realized I have a lot of work to accomplish this week and next.  I need to get all of the baby shower stuff ready for the shower I’m throwing RIGHT after we get back from vacation.  And I have a school project to complete before August 10—which will totally be here before I know it.

-I have a lot of gifts to buy this weekend when we go to Indy—well, just a few, really…but it feels like a lot.  I’m pretty pumped to buy a baby shower gift for Mandy.  I think it’s going to be my favorite to pick out :)  I got to feel the Little Man move around last week at camp, which was pretty awesome :)

-I haven’t had my hair cut or colored since February.  My March appt. got cancelled last minute, and I keep forgetting to reschedule.  I look like the Bride of Frankenstein right now.  I need to call like immediately and get that taken care of.

-There is honestly nothing worth eating in our house.  I had scrambled eggs in the microwave for three meals this weekend.  Andy kept heating up frozen mini pizzas from the Schwans man.  I must go to the grocery store like immediately.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Last Week

From Monday to Friday of this past week, I had the honor of attending Student Fusion Youth Camp with some of the youth at our church.  It was honestly a total blast, and I wish I hadn’t left my camera at home.  Here’s a quick rundown of the week.

Monday—Leave the church parking lot BRIGHT and EARLY to head out.  Spend two hours driving to camp.  Arrive, find our cabin, and meet the other girls in our cabin.  Monday was a settling day.  We had our opening celebration where we got to meet the worship leader and camp pastor (both awesome, by the way).  That night was our first evening worship service, where Mac (the camp pastor) spoke from the book of Jonah and challenged everyone to go to whatever Ninevah God is calling them to, instead of running to Tarshish.

Tuesday—We woke to a storm Tuesday morning.  We also quickly learned that the adult leaders were being called to participate in every game as competitors.  We had to run like madmen during games in the chapel.  In our adult Bible study that day we were talking about sharing the gospel, and I realized what a terrible job I have been doing.  That afternoon M and K, the two girls with me finally started to branch out and meet new people.  That night, Mac preached from 1 Samuel—the story of David’s annointing.  His main focus was that God called David up and told him he was worth it, even when his dad told Samuel that he was only a shepherd boy.  He wanted the students to realize that God thinks they are worth it, too.  I think it was a powerful message for both of our girls (probably our boy too).  They each come with their own full set of baggage, and I think it’s great for them to learn that God is bigger and better than their pasts.  During the afternoon, the kids all signed up for different track times—things that they wanted to do for their afternoons.  I ended up in duct tape art—where I made a kickin duct tape wallet Tuesday afternoon and Creative Movement….which ended up being a lot of fun.  For creative movement, we used blacklights and white gloves to do a performance with our hands to the song “Praise you in the storm.”  We made thunderclouds, spelled out Jesus, Amen, and made a hill with a cross and a variety of other things.  We performed on Friday morning in front of the whole camp.

Wednesday and Thursday—About the same as Tuesday.  The formats of our full days of camp were the same.  We had morning celebration, recreation time, group Bible study time, lunch, track times, free time, supper, evening worship, church group devotions, and then late night.  The late night times were different each day---we had a bonfire, battle of the sexes, blow up night (with inflatables), and a talent show.  The girls really settled in by this point in the week—so much so that they became impossible to wake up in the morning :)  There were two other churches in our cabin, and it was a perfect mix.  All of the girls got along really well and were just really sweet together.  I think one of the girls bought every Slim Jim they sold in the gift shop.  They both came out of their shells and really had a blast.  It was exciting to see them open up just a little and have fun with new people.

This week was an awesome week.  It was challenging, to be sure, but I am so thankful I had the opportunity to be there.  I can’t even begin to formulate the words to describe this week.  That’s why this is so vague and generic.  Truly, I’m still working out this week for me.  But it was pretty great :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

You can’t take that boy anywhere

Andy turned 27 this week.  We’re still waiting for him to act his age.

Oh, I kid.  I love my husband.  And his goofy antics.  Except occasionally.

Like last night.

We went to Columbus for sushi and I asked to stop at Kohls on the way home “in case something caught my eye.”

Because I hate my clothes.  All of them.

So….two shirts, two necklaces, and three Andy shirts later, we were standing in the checkout lane.

Andy really loudly asks in a sort of mocking, joking tone, “Hey, do you need any extenders?”

At that moment, the sales guy picks up and rings up the three BRA EXTENDERS that the woman in front of us was purchasing.

If I could have melted into a puddle and seeped through the cracks.  Seriously.

I look at him, my eyes wide and mouth contorted in that weird wife way that says, “What on earth are you doing right now?!”

Then he asks me what the extenders are.

I turn my whole body and explain it as quietly as I possibly can without ever unclenching my jaw.

Then his eyes get wide and his mouth contorts in that way that says, “Oh my gosh….I had no idea.”

And he didn’t.  No idea what an extender was.  No idea that the woman in front of us was actually purchasing them.  No idea.

Then we both stand in line, completely unable to look at each other because we are on the verge of laughter.

Once the woman left the store, I dissolved into a puddle as I tried to swipe my debit card.  I could hardly see the screen through the tears of laughter forming in my eyes.

He told the sales guy (who totally cared, by the way) that he didn’t realize that she was purchasing the extenders.  He thought they were just extra things lying at the register.

And I realized something.

When we have teenaged kids, they are so going to hate being in public with us.

But that didn’t stop me from asking my husband every five minutes, “Hey do you need any extenders?  Are you sure?  Isn’t your bra a little tight?”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rough Ride

Last weekend I was at my parents’ house.  As I attempted to make the drive home, it fast became one of the most miserable two part drives of my life. 

Things started smoothly enough.  I stopped for gas at a really ghetto gas station in Marion.  They were advertising a chicken liver and gizzards meal and that they accept food stamps.  Two things I have never seen at a gas station before.  I was playing a game while driving—the “Can I get to this exit before this time” game—which is played pretty much how it sounds.  You figure out an exit number, then the time you want to be at the exit.  Like… “Can I get to exit 45 by 8:30” and then you do what it takes to meet that goal. 

Then came the ominous sound.  ERRRRR….ERRRRRRR…..ERRRRR…..The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning……40 mph storm…..gusts of up to 70 mph……affecting the area where Ashley is driving right now.”

So I call Andy.  I let him know, “Hey, I might be late.”  We chat a bit. 

Then came the ominous sights.  “Andy, the sky just turned black above me.  Like really black.”

So he does what any good twenty-first century husband would—he went to weather.com.

“Ashley, I need you to stay calm.  I’ve never seen this before…the radar where you are is black.  It’s beyond red.  I think you need to pull over.”

Then the storm began.  And my windshield wipers tore into shreds.  And I could see the rain being torn in two directions by the wind.  Close to the ground it was going across the road to the left.  Higher up, it was pouring to the right.

I did pull over.  Right on the side of the road.  For the very first time in my life.  And I sat there for a good while with my blinkers on until I could regain visibility even without the use of my shredded wipers.  During that time, Andy and I decided it would be best for me to get to Indianapolis and spend the night at his parents.

I eventually made it to Indy where my wonderful father-in-law replaced my windshield wipers and I was finally able to  calm down.

Then yesterday.  I attempted again to make it home.

At one point on my journey home, I thought in my head…. “Gee, it could be really dangerous if your tire went flat or blew out on the interstate.”

Then, as I got off one interstate onto another, I started to notice my car not speeding up properly.  Then I started to hear what sounded like a helicopter.  I quickly realized that I was the helicopter.  In the middle lane of three lanes of traffic.  On I-65 South of Indianapolis.

My rear driver side tire was completely exploded.  Like totally gone.  The whole sidewall blew out.

I couldn’t get over.  I turned my blinkers on.  I kept on breaking.  And eventually, instead of dying, which I was certain was going to happen, I got off the interstate, where I quickly noticed two things.  The first—those shoulders sure aren’t very wide.  And my tire sure was flat.

So I call Andy.  Again.  This time at work.  And I let him know, “For the third time, one of the tires on my car has completely exploded and I’m pulled off on the middle of an interstate.”

He begins talking me through the process of changing my tire, the whole time I’m praying for some nice man to pull over and help me out.  I’m sure I could do it, but my mental capacity was pretty close to nil at this point.

Thankfully, a nice man pulled over and changed my tire.  He did it in about 5 minutes, where it would have taken me more like 55.  He lived nearby, so he gave me directions to several different tire stores.  He even waited and waved me onto the interstate and followed me to the next exit to make sure I got there safely.

I quickly (as quickly as you can get with a donut tire and nerves of Jell-O) pulled into the Tire and Lube Express at the Greenwood Wal-Mart.  Where I promptly replaced all of the tires on my car because that was the third one that had blown up.  The first two had been at low speeds here in town….one three summers ago, the other two summers ago.  And my husband told me that under no uncertain circumstances would I be returning home with those tires.  He was done with them.  I was done with them.

So an hour and half and a few hundred dollars later, my new tires, my new windshield wipers, and my very frazzled self made our way home.

The rest of the drive was pretty easy.  At least, I think it was.  I don’t really remember much.  Except that when I pulled in my driveway, I cried for the first time.  Because my nerves were shot. 

But I made it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Two New Obsessions

Last night, I found my two summer loves (beyond Andy and Oliver, of course)


(I added two sliced strawberries and 1 T chocolate chips to my 1/2 c. serving---perfection)

and the second:


I was sobbing hysterically and laughing all in the first episode—it drew me in.  I watched four episodes by myself last night…and told Andy I would have kept going if I didn’t have to get up and drive three hours to my parents house today.  I’m just glad there are three seasons on Netflix on Demand.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yummy Week

With the onset of summer, and the slow return of my brain, I have gotten back in the kitchen and started experimenting again….something I haven’t done in a very long time.  These are the recipes Andy asked me to write down so I don’t forget them….because he’s tired of only eating things once and then never again.

Chicken, Chickpea, and Tomato Pasta

1 box pasta (any shape—we used macaroni)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can tomatoes, drained

1 lb. chicken, diced

1 lb. asparagus, cut into one inch pieces

Garlic, chopped

2 Laughing Cow light swiss cheese wedges

Olive oil

Fresh Basil, salt and pepper

Saute the chicken in the olive oil and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Add the  tomatoes and chickpeas and cook through.  Melt the cheese wedges through the hot pasta.  Mix the pasta and the chicken mixture.  Add a little of the pasta water to make the cheese melt better.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Chop the basil and add.  Then eat and enjoy.

Curry Ketchup Meatloaf

1 lb. extra lean ground beef (we always use Laura’s Lean)

1 c. Rice Chex, crushed

1/3 ish cup curry ketchup (it’s German….I ordered it online recently…but I think you could just mix some curry into ketchup)

Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Mix in a bowl, form into loaf.  I prefer to form into six mini balls and cook them in a muffin tin—it’s faster.

Spicy Pork Chops

1 lb pork chops

Srirachi Chili Sauce (a good squirt)

Dijon Mustard (a good squirt)

Rice Wine Vinegar (a few jiggles)

Soy Sauce (several jiggles---like 1/4 c.)

Marinade the pork in the other ingredients for a few hours.  Then grill—4 or 5 minutes on each side.  To make sure they are extra juicy, only turn the pork once, and let it sit under some tin foil after it’s finished.  If it sits for a few minutes, the juices will flow back in and be extra juicy and yummy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Something Cool

A few weeks ago, Andy was hanging out after work with a friend of his.  These two are extremely like-minded, and a good working team.  Which is good, since they work together.  Andy’s friend was lamenting the fact that he was bored with what he was currently doing and wanted to use his skills in a different way.  He challenged Andy (mostly jokingly, I think) to come up with a new idea, something that hadn’t been done, that they could do together.

If you know anything about my husband at all, you know that ideas and challenges are right up his alley.

Moments later, an idea came to him.  A social networking site where people could post about the good and interesting and cool things that happened during their day.  You see, my sweet husband has seen the vast number of social networking sites that are negative—making fun of people, complaining, and all sorts of negativity.  But he didn’t see anyone showing thankfulness and happiness or talking about the good and exciting things that each of us are blessed with.

Thus, the website Something Cool Happened was born. 

Almost immediately, these two started to work on this project in their spare time.  It’s become a sort of side-hobby project for them, something that they are both extremely excited about.  They have been working hard.  Trust me.  I’ve seen it.  They have invited two other people on to the project with them, because building a website with the functionality that they are after is a big job.

I’m writing about this now because they have update their website with the ability to pre-register for an account.  The first 1000 people to pre-register for an account will get to be a part of the beta site opening at the end of July.  Their hope is to have the website itself fully functional and open to the public by early this fall.  If you are interested at all, you can go here: http://register.somethingcoolhappened.com/

Even if you aren’t interested, it might be worth a look just to see the video Andy designed.  It’s pretty awesome.  Also, to laugh a bit when you realize that the voice-over is totally Andy’s voice….just way edited. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Hunger Games….and my last day of school

Today was my last day of school.  Technically, I have a half day tomorrow.  But I took a personal day.  Because I was finished getting my room in order by 9:15. 

If you are my mom, you may want to stop reading now.  Because you will seriously hate me.

After I finished getting my room in order, I made a trip to the high school library.  Two trips, actually.  One where I learned some awesome news about an awesome opportunity for this summer.  And one to pick up a stack of Rosie books.  The Eliot Rosewater Book Awards are a book award from the state of Indiana, and the name is based on a Vonnegut character.  Every year the group selects a variety of books that they consider the best for young adults, and readers across the state can read them and vote for a winner.  Our high school librarian is on the selection committee and does an awesome job of promoting reading to our students.  For the past two years, I have thought about reading along, but never did.  Today changed that.  I left the library with a bag BURSTING with Rosie books.  And they are mine for the summer—I just have to return them on the first day of school.  Suh-weet!

Since I was finished so early, I decided to read one of the books—the one that the librarian and my awesome coworker who was choosing books with me both recommended.  It was “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  I can honestly say that it is the best book I have read since February, when I read “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.  It was about a dystopian society, and it was very dark and sad.  But it was gripping and oh-so-good.  So good, in fact, that I read it today.  As in, I finished it a few hours ago.  I downloaded the second book to my Kindle, and I have a feeling I’m going to be really anxious for the third book to come out in August.  I have long loved young adult dystopian books—Lois Lowry was my BFF, and I rank this book right up there with “The Giver.”  I’ll probably end up purchasing hard copies of the books for my bookshelves at school (one of my goals for the summer is to build a classroom library). 

So….if you’re in need of a good, quick read— “The Hunger Games” will not steer you wrong. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sweet Summertime

I have one teacher day left.  And then I’m on vacation.  And I am so excited.  I really only have enough work to keep me busy for an hour or two tomorrow, so I have no idea what I’m going to do all day.  But that doesn’t matter.  Because at 3 pm, I’m out.  For the summer. 

Plans are already shaping up for the first few weeks of vacation.  On Tuesday, Oliver gets his rabies shot.  Wednesday my friend Rebekah and I are trekking out of town to Hobby Lobby and Michaels to get the materials we need for a baby shower we’re throwing in July (R. is leaving for a month and won’t be back until a few days before the shower).  On Friday we’re heading home for the weekend, and I get to see Shannon, Brian and Theodore.  I’m sure from the pictures I’ve seen recently that I won’t even recognize the little bitty…but I guess at this point, it has been 96 days since I’ve seen him :)  Then it’s VBS at church and the next week I am going to camp with the youth group as the non-pregnant female chaperone who can stay with the girls.

My big plans for the summer include doing not much.  And finally getting some rooms of the house in an order that I enjoy.  We found an entertainment center at Target last night that I love….and I figured out a design for end tables that I love—but I don’t know if we’ll be able to find them somewhere….so I might try to convince Andy to see if we can build them.  This summer, I’d like to do some work in our bedroom, finish the living room, and work out Andy’s office into a functional office space/guest room for the future.  I also want to get rid of a lot of clutter.  I started working to get rid of things in the bathroom yesterday.  I parsed through all of my makeup until I was able to get down to 1 bag of makeup supplies total.  I cleared out our shower too, and we recently switched over to Mrs. Meyer’s all-purpose cleaner—so instead of having 6-7 different bottles of cleaners, we only have 1.  I love it. 

In our bedroom, I want to replace the original lighting fixture (that I think looks like a b-0-o-b) with this capiz chandelier from World Market.  I have this bedding from Target on order.  And I want to add the extra closet space to our bedroom as shown here from younghouselove.com using none other than IKEA wardrobes.  Young House Love is my new obsession.  It’s a young couple from Richmond, VA who show all the ways that they are updating their old ranch style house.  It’s pure genius.


  And in the living room, I am hoping to pare down all of the excess crap that stores Andy’s stereo components with items like these…..I want this room to be light and neutral.  We have bamboo blinds to go up, and the walls/carpet are already a light neutral tan.  I have the perfect end tables in my head, but I think we may have to try our hands at building them because I very seriously doubt we can find them somewhere.  All of these images are from Target—except for the lamp, which is World Market.  I want some more storage in that room…for all of our extra little pieces.  Some for paperwork, shoes, etc.  All the random things that lie on tables and clutter up the house.  And we definitely need something to put shoes IN because Oliver keeps running off with shoes.


My end table idea is close to the West Elm Parsons cube—but I want it to be another layer high.  I want something tall and thin with some extra storage space.  And then we can put a nice, substantial porcelain lamp on top.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What a difference a day makes


Yesterday was a bad day.  Really bad, actually.  In a variety of different ways. 

Yesterday, I spent the day worried for my uncle, praying for his health, and waiting for the next email from my mom.  I was scared.  I was anxious for my uncle, and for his whole family.  I was anxious for my dad, at the hospital with his brother.  I was anxious for my mom, at school after a night of no sleep.  In the midst of that, my gradebook disappeared.  Every grade I had posted for the past six weeks had just vanished. 

Then, there were some issues at school that were totally out of my control, but I was shoved into the middle of that were difficult and hard.  And my students came back from the long weekend with stories of heartbreak and ready to share than I ever wanted to know.  Stories of boyfriends cheating with dozens of girls, stories of pregnancy and of abortion, and so much more.  Stories that affect high school students more than anyone cares to admit.

It was all too much.  For me, in that moment, I felt as though everything was crashing down.

At one point, I laid my head on desk and cried out to the Lord.  I needed a Savior.  My soul was heavy.  My heart was breaking.  I didn’t know what to ask, what words to speak.  I just needed a Savior.

Life is hard.  Yesterday, it was really hard.  Andy came home and asked me a question and  I sat down on the floor and cried.  It was all I could do in that moment.  And my dear husband got that.  He crawled onto the floor with me, held me, and cried out to God on my behalf.  He knew.  He knew I needed a Savior.  He knew my soul was heavy and that there was no earthly way to fix it.  So he cried out for me.

And today.  Today things look better.  Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.  Today may not have brought joy.  But today did bring new perspective and a brighter outlook.  It was a true reminder that we may be pressed, but we will never be crushed.  Because our God is good.  And when things look grim, there is always a tomorrow. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Oliver learns how to garden

I promise to post about something that’s not Oliver soon.  What can I say—I’m smitten with the cutie :)

And I think a good laugh was needed today.  I know I needed one.