Our Beginning of the Week +1.

For some reason, I’d assumed leaving my kids to go to work would get progressively easier as they got older. For me, it’s proven to be quite the opposite. Watching my little guys fade out of view in my rear view mirror makes me teary almost every single time.

Coming off my long work weekends, I’m so eager to play with my buddies. I like to ditch my phone and enjoy being in the moment. I want to tickle my 22 month old and hear his deep belly laugh. I want to have zero distractions building carwashes with blocks. I want to lay with my boys while they fall asleep and admire the thick eyelashes they will never fully appreciate.

My whole world revolves around them. As exhausting as it is, I am completely soaking in this season of life.

I think it’s because of my work guilt that I let my kids completely take the reins on Mondays.

Thaaaaaat’s why we’ve ended up taking this little turtle with us on several beginning of the week outings. His name is Turtle…my boys are quite literal in the naming process.

Turtle wanted to swing recently, so he got his own swing and I spent a while pushing both my guys and a turtle.

After my boys were done swinging, my 22 month old stood next to me to help push Turtle. I snapped a few pictures, then went back to pushing Turtle and narrating the ride with lots of “WEEEEE! SO HIGH!” until I realized the little blonde in my peripheral wasn’t my child, but a little girl and her grandma. They were patiently waiting behind me to stop taking pictures of my swinging plastic turtle so she could have a turn.

My kids were in a playground tunnel, so I, alone, moved Turtle, and he sat down next to me on a bench.

I’m sure I’m on some neighborhood watch Facebook page, but I’m really into Turtle right now. He’s become a real beacon getting me through my work days.

I am lucky to love my job, but if Turtle joins the crew and makes an appearance in my rearview this weekend, I’ll probably need waterproof mascara.

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My Hypocritical Distaste for Blogs and a Question for You

Hello. I have some statements and questions for you.

Consider this a diary entry regarding my qualms about recently and wholeheartedly diving into blog land.

In general, I dislike blogs. There are a smaaaaall handful that I follow and enjoy. You can consider me a total hypocrite since I’ve been writing on a blog since 2008.

Since then, blogs turned into bloggers, and (many) bloggers turned into some kind of narcissistic subculture of social media.

And now I have this twitch anytime I say I have a blog.

But—aren’t all blogs essentially the same? Travel, fashion, food.

They all consist of the same few things, packaged up slightly differently.

Not unlike: Taco Bell.

It’s just the same handful of ingredients in a variety of shells (chalupas being my favorite).

Haven’t we had enough, America? Aren’t you sick of this stuff?

Nope. America can never have enough. Beans, Crunchwrap Supremes, Mexican pizza, processed nacho cheese, bloggers posting aerial view pictures of themselves drinking coffee in bed with a laptop, all of it. America EATS IT UP.

So, do I have to have the same ingredients to gain traction? Is that the secret to success? My traveling is to Costco, I like fashion BUT, and food I could never photograph before I eat it.

Also, I don’t care. (I would hope to still be considered a chalupa shell, though.)

That leaves one element of “blogging” (twitch)…photos.

My question to you: do I have to have pictures? If so, can I just look down and away in them all?

I’ve nixed all the rest of the blogger secret sauce trifecta (food, fashion, travel), and respectfully disregarded all my paid-for mentoring advice. (An aesthetic for my feed with a color matrix? Who has time for this?) I reminded myself that I’m spending one year out of the nine I’ve “blogged” actually trying, and I won’t let myself shy away from this completely, so I did have my friend Jess take some photos for me today. Thankfully, she knows I’m super embarrassed having a photo shoot of myself, and makes me feel a whole lot less stupid. She even drove twenty minutes away to an undisclosed location, because I would be mortified if anyone I knew saw it all in action.

Wow, yeah. Jessica Cannon, you’re super nice.

Have I emphasized enough how awkward posting photos of myself makes me? I had to remind myself of other uncomfortable situations I’ve been in (albeit less self inflicted).

Liiiiike having my luggage searched on my honeymoon.

Or having Gus give a loud play by play of (and usually applauding) everything going on in my stall when I’m using a public ladies room.

Pursuing goals often tiptoes out of your comfort zone, right?

DID I LEARN NOTHING FROM LALALAND?

If you’re telling me photos make blogs more enjoyable, it’s important to me that you know this: I’m not taking photos because I think I’m awesome and living some fabricated life. I don’t care if YOU think I’m cute, but I would crawl away in shame to an Amish town if you thought *I* thought I was cute. Okay? Like Uncle Jesse says, “Capisce?”

This little chalupa shell will sleep a lot better tonight getting this clarification of her chest.

(Somewhere, an old boyfriend is feeling so relieved that he sidestepped a girl that is making Taco Bell analogies at 11:30 PM.)

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Beware the Ides of March…Madness: A BINGO board for YOU to look like you care

My husband has played basketball his whole life. To say he is a fan is to say Mormons use cream of chicken soup.

Understatement.

My experience with basketball is…nothing. Well, except for the time I was on an intramural team in college, but that’s a different story.

Now, look. I enjoyed making March Madness brackets during seasons past, but I still most definitely did not watch all the games. However, for my husband’s sake, I tried to be interested in basketball. The jig was up after about a year of marriage, and that constant squeaking of shoes just gets me. This could stem from my childhood of being a hamster owner and listening to it run in a squeaky wheel all night, but either way, after a certain amount of time, I hate squeaking of basketball shoes and hamsters equally.

Still, it would be nice of me to sit with Brian and pretend to like a game, but I would be mad at myself for wasting time…and what the heck would I do? Laundry? Work on my Kegels?

I’d love to make a social event out of it, but then I’d definitely not be watching.

So, friends of both genders who watch games against their wills, I have created a BINGO board for you with some game watching activities. They include items like “over contoured girl,” and “lip reading a bad word.” I can’t help you with your Spring Break bod’, but I can help you impress your special someone with basketball attentiveness.

Click on it here…I believe you can print it… but you can also play through your phone. Each time it’s clicked, a new board is generated, so everyone’s will be different. I’m half joking/half serious, but tag me if you really do it so I can tell Brian why I was making BINGO boards during nap time instead of laundry.

And, boys…if your lady is watching the screen, I’d say there is a 93% chance it’s not because she is absorbed in the game. She may just be reconsidering the Target items she left behind, she is making a grocery list in her head, or she is avoiding all the snacks because she restarted BBG (bikini body guide). Summer soon, you know?

(Brian doesn’t agree with my statistic and says way more girls watch than I think. If only he were so lucky as to have married one of them.)

Thank goodness I redeem myself during football season.

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International Women’s Day. Some Interrogating and Some Thoughts.

First of all, this is meant to be lighthearted and politically neutral.

I am a woman, I admire women, and I am blessed to have more strong, incredible women in my family than most Thanksgiving tables have seen. I respect women, and I’m all for women’s rights. I work, I contribute to my family’s finances, and I’m all about building people up. What was even the point of me listening to Spice Girls if I didn’t support “gi’l powah”? (Said like Ginger Spice, the best Spice Girl.)

That being said, WHAAAT?? Women’s Day?

New holiday, who dis? I have questions.

Is this from a Beyonce song? Or is this about Hilary again?

Is someone going to bring me flowers for being a woman? What about chocolate covered strawberries? A doughnut, anything?

Was this celebration fueled by love, or anger?

Were there enough marches that someone at Hallmark said, “You know what, Miley? Here. We will just give you a day, okay? We’re sorry that Hilary lost and Trump is creepy and has terrible hair, but calm down. We’ll throw in some inspirational key chains and limited edition Beanie Babies.”

Did Donald Trump really write those tweets? That’s not a question, actually. Donald Trump did not personally tweet well phrased formalities about gi’l powah, or his name isn’t Donald Trump. (Sorry, Donald, no back pedaling now.)

Was I expected to make an Insta-tribute to my mom, like Mother’s Day?

Am I supposed to be teaching my sons to open doors for girls, or is that going to offend everyone?

Were all my friends serious about missing work for the corporate world to experience life without women? If so, was it like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or is this serious? Is this a good representation of women? I hope the ladies at least went to IHOP’s Free Pancake Day. (What a coincidence!)

In conjunction with that, did any men notice their absence? It is March Madness time, and if I know men…

International Men’s Day is November 19, just for the record. Very unfortunately for them, it’s not during March Madness, but maybe Buffalo Wild Wings will have some kind of promotion for men celebrating manhood.

I became so intrigued about Women’s Day Instagram posts that by 9 last night, I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia, International Women’s Day has been observed since 1909. It was started by a socialist party for anti-discrimination/gender equality. I read all about it.

WELL. I’ve been alive since 1986, and I’ve never heard of it. I’ve heard of National Everything Day by now, thanks to social media. Best Friends Day, Sibling Day, Doughnut Day (am I hungry?), Associate Day, but International Women’s Day doesn’t ring a bell.

So, I am circling answer D.) Hilary started the fire in November to highlight all things pro-women.

…which is cool.

I don’t feel suppressed, and I haven’t personally felt victimized of sexism. Yet, I believe it exists, and promoting awareness is great. Plus, I like any opportunity to give kudos to awesome ladies.

I do want a heads up next time so I know to burn my bra and not go to work.

It got me thinking, what would happen if I called out of my mom job for the day? Let’s see how the house would run without a woman in it. MUAHAHA!

Then, I realized I’m an idiot and I leave for a couple days at a time for work EVERY single week…and it’s fine. Everything is just fine. I have an awesome husband who can run the house perfectly, and is probably a lot more fun than than I am. My kids LOVE their daddy days.

I didn’t let that ruin my spirit of “muahaha,” and it fueled me to organize a trip with my girlfriends.

I’m now planning to be here in April. “Women’s Day” inspiration at it’s finest.

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I’m okay with my house being destroyed as long as you tell me when you’re coming over.

I had a friend in middle school whose home smelled like soggy Honey Nut Cheerios. I think even her clothes did, too. I borrowed an Abercrombie shirt, so I know. I walked around 8th grade B day smelling like milky Cheerios, but I did look super cool. A&F1892.

I remembered this the other day while I was eating Golden Grahams, which I just so happen to like slightly soggy. Al dente, if you will.

I wondered if my house now smells weird. That’s a stupid question, because of course it does. I was guessing what it smelled like as I looked around and wondered how my house got so messy and crumbs got everywhere and why a sharpie lid is on the floor.

I looked at the adorable mini humans destroying my home, and they sure are cute, but what the heck, but they sure are cute. Oh, and their little feet! Their little toes!

But why is my house so messy and smelling odd?

Plastic crap every where frustrates me, especially those little dinosaurs and sharks. Watch your bare feet for those.

I was irritated that I couldn’t keep our house straight, and when Roscoe wouldn’t nap, I felt even more defeated. I just needed an hour alone! Maybe I’ll pick up, maybe I’ll do some sub par core workout, or maybe I’ll watch Real Housewives… but I just need a minute! I finally gave in to Roscoe’s protests and pulled him out of his crib to cuddle. Within one minute, he fell asleep with his head on my shoulder.

He hasn’t slept on me in over a year, and I held him for a long time before I laid him down.

His room was a mess, and his dresser drawer was completely unloaded. Clothes and blankets were strewn everywhere. A few toys were sprinkled in, and a superhero cape he had stolen from his brother’s room was crinkled up in a corner, obviously trying to be hidden.

But when I held Roscoe, I realized this was all perfect. This was okay. I held my baby boy, with his cheek nuzzled into my shoulder and squishy legs dangling, and savored the last little bit of his babyhood before he turns two this spring. I decided that for today, at least, I don’t want anything to be different. These frustrating, least tidy days are the most sparkling memories that I will ache to relive in thirty years.

May my clothes smell weird, my tummy be soft, my house be messy, and my heart be never happier.

I’ll remind myself that tomorrow, and the next day, and when I find the other side of the Sharpie.

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They Will Slash Your Tires: Story Time Moms Unveiled

Our library has a fun story time program for young kids.

…and judging by the squealing Honda Odyssey tires in the parking lot, it’s not as rainbow-y as it sounds.

Story Time at our library is a short program for parents and toddlers that involves a little dancing, singing, reading, poems, and a take home craft. It is also limits it’s attendees on a first come, first serve basis, due to “fire code”/instructor’s sanity. Story Time hits capacity quickly, and moms are universally a few minutes behind.

Let me tell you the result of this equation from personal experience.

I am one of the rushed moms, throwing my kids in the stroller and running to the library entrance. Half a dozen grown women all run through the parking lot, driving their strollers around and sometimes over parking hurdles (or just plain off-roading their City Selects through the plants if it’s a quarter after).

Gus face planted last week, but brushed off and continued running next to me without a peep. Even he knew from our pre-Story Time huddle—one man down is another man’s spot on the rug.

The running slows to a brisk walk at the library entrance, where women smile politely at…nothing. They don’t even make eye contact. They just have a thin smile plastered onto their faces, because they’re terrifying like that. (You know this feeling from when your mom would thin-smile at you, and something inside of you would squeak, “What does this mean?!”)

In this instance, the women are thin-smiling because they’re about to turn the corner and dart to the elevator, all while keeping their Story Time competitors in their peripheral vision.

I missed the elevator by just a few feet, and as the door closed, I heard an “Oh, sorry!” and a laugh that was VERY MUCH A WITCH CACKLE. Gus almost said, “Trick or Treat, b—-,” under his breath.

I’m just kidding. Inappropriate. (Gus wouldn’t dream of that kind of language.)

By the time the second elevator of tangled strollers arrives to the second floor Story Time entrance, it’s too late. The limited story time tickets are gone.

I’m not sure if there is an after market price being offered, but I’m pretty sure I could scalp Story Time passes in the parking lot, or at least over by the Gardening Self-help section. Money ain’t a thing to a woman who has woken a sleeping child or rearranged nap schedules for story time.

Should we happen to not make it in time to get tickets, which is fairly regularly, my kids are offered a consolation prize of playing with the Pink Eye Puzzles. Agree with me that we are looking directly at bacteria without a microscope. Streptococcus? Flesh eating.

All I’m saying is that it’s possible Ronda Rousey began her career in the Story Time parking lot.

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Habit Class + Working with Assistants Ages Me

I took the hair color class of my dreams over the weekend, and I am still nerding out about it.

Habit Salon in Arizona has been pumping out my most requested Pinterest photos from clients, and I have been dying to know their secrets for years. By some kind of magical luck, they came to Las Vegas, and my salon hosted their class.

If this means nothing to you, just know that any woman that can pull over $30 grand by teaching one class should be on your radar. After a whole night of debating waist hug/shoulder hug/lean-in hug for my photo op, I side hugged that woman! It was like touching a unicorn.

The legitimacy of this class was seconded by the purses of the attendees. When you see a Louis Vuitton bag WITHOUT logos all over, you know you’re in the right place. I stand in awe of a woman who will drop a crazy amount of money for an unpretentious looking bag. It seems more flippant than arrogant, and for some reason I really smile at that kind of ‘tude.


Tory, Louis, Gucci, Chanel. Gang’s all here!

There is one more thing besides color education that stuck with me after the class.

I am not twenty.

The backbone of the hair industry is predominately young-ish girls, and I’m realizing that I’m definitely progressing to the older side of that. Most of the girls at the class had flown in town, but were disappointed to not fully appreciate their Las Vegas trip due to their underage status.

This makes me at LEAST ten years their senior, and so relieved my Botox appointment was last week.

When people ask me my age (which, by the way, is weird at an approaching point, right?), my knee jerk reaction is twenty four. Forever in my head, I’m about twenty four.

But, I’m thirty. Missed a couple years somewhere.

Thirties are an interesting in-betweener place to be. I’m loving the thirties, and feel much wiser and less inhibited than I did in my twenties, but I still feel like I’m straddling the line of “adult.” It’s like I’m just pretending, and no one has caught on. Since I’m married with a mortgage and kids, everyone is cool with me trying to do real life?

And there are so many “stills” in thirty.

Even though I’m a married mom, I still have dreams. I still get REALLY excited. I still look forward to holidays, maybe even more than now than I did when I was little. I still like glitter nail polish. I still call my mom when I have questions. There is still a group of “the older girls” that I deeply admire and am happy to tag along with. I still have “when I grow up” hopes…but have I already grown up? Or when does that happen?

And yet, I bonded with an acquaintance during a riveting conversation about grout.

Grout.

Ah ha! There is the boring adult conversation I had anticipated.

So, maybe I have arrived.

All I know is that I better stay on my A-game with hair education so my job isn’t soon replaced by a girl who doesn’t understand the significance of September 11.

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A New Mom’s Letter to Her Babysitter

We don’t get date nights often enough, and I semi-blame the whole “finding a babysitter” fiasco.

Now that we are on our second child, our instructions to babysitters have become much more lax. Ultimately, we just want our kids safe and happy. A few years ago, however, my new mom hormones were TURNT UP. WAY UP. Had I written an actual note (a la my mom in 1992), it would have looked exactly like this:

Dear babysitter,

Thanks for coming over! Help yourself to any food (notice we bought the name brand graham crackers this week), and make yourself at home. My kids should be sleeping, so just hang out! Watch TV!

Except, try to avoid turning the TV volume higher than 12, because that will wake up my kids, but it’s okay if you have to because you don’t lip read as well as I’ve been forced to learn. If you would like to actually hear your show, you can just put them back to sleep after they wake up. They’ll lay down for you super easily.

All you have to do is this!

You’ll need to heat up a little milk (roughly between 4-6 oz) for my little one, for 45 seconds. He is particular. Shake the bottle. Test the temperature. He also likes his grey blankie to snuggle with, but make sure it’s not on his face. My other son can just get up and watch TV, but only one show and not for too long, and if you don’t understand what he is saying, try the Dinosaur movie, but fast forward the part where the dad dies. Along those lines, if he says something that sounds like “daddy,” it could mean daddy, Mickey, or blankie (full phonetically spelled translation guide on the side of the fridge).

But whatever! Just have fun! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!!

Consult the attached pamphlet for numbers of my–

Pediatrician
Poison Control
My number
Restaurant’s number
Next door neighbor’s number
911’s number
Insurance agent information
Homeland Security
CPR instructions
Animal control
Living trust
Speediest SWAT responders (Don’t hesitate to call!)
Current shot records
Life insurance documentation
Last will and testament

We will be back in forty five minutes! Thanks!

–Ashton

PS Fire extinguisher is under the kitchen sink.

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HBD Brian / Sure Hope I’m Pregnant for Swimsuit Season / Those Two are Unrelated

What would President’s Day be without spending a few Jacksons? Or Franklins? Or even Washingtons?

I perused President’s Day sales online last night, and snagged a couple swimsuits. This led me to firing swimsuit-shopping-in-February inspired questions that Brian never knows how to best respond to. In order:

“Oh my gosh. I ordered swimsuits. Ugh, I feel so fat. Do I look bigger?”
“When am I going to finally take those hardcore classes I have a pass to?”Wait, have you seen my Food Network Magazine? It was just right here.”

He treated them as rhetorical questions, although I was concerned about the magazine. I found it this morning. Don’t want to misplace the special pasta edition.

Thank goodness those swimsuits en route are black.

My in-laws visited over the weekend, and even though it was Brian’s birthday, I felt like I got a break! A new MIL appreciation comes with having kids. She grocery shopped, played with my kids, and helped with laundry, all while I was working. I even slept until nine one morning!

Leila and Mark helped us celebrate with a fun dinner. Let this not be overlooked: at some point on Brian’s birthday, his festivities included doing a massive pile of laundry, and I came home to fresh, folded clothes.

That’s very telling of Brian. Laid back, practical, and nice. Really, really nice. He will quietly do ANYTHING for our family (or friends), and his selflessness is underrated.

I had no idea how right for me that twenty three year old boy was when I met him, and even though it took me two years to recognize it (and change his name from “Brian Creepy” in my phone), I can’t believe I caught him! With a lot of false advertising (like shaved legs and clean hair), and the help of Morgan and Stuart Peterson, I caught him.

Happy belated birthday, Brian. You’re our bestie.

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Feb 15: Valentine’s Day Split Personalities Explained

At the risk of offending self proclaimed feminists, I will go ahead and say that February 15 is the day that we girls collectively explain our optimistically erratic Valentine’s Day behavior.

I’ll go first.

This Valentine’s Day, I told Brian I didn’t care what we did to celebrate.

He interpreted that as I didn’t care what we did to celebrate.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m THAT girl. The girl that says, “I don’t care!” and genuinely mean it about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, it’s up to my husband to decipher what I really mean.

Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc are always in that other 20%. By, “I don’t care, whatever!” I mean, “I don’t care butyoubetterreadbetweenthelinesandmakeplansorcomehomewithsomethingbut really, whatever!”

Then, there are other girls, who are fine with their guy surprising them with Trader Joe’s flowers, until they’ve scrolled through social media for seven hours. A bouquet pales in comparison to the Ferrari that babiesburlapandbigamy had in her driveway, and Carolyn35 had her pool drained and filled with her favorite chocolate and a swan floatie. Even Brittany from high school had a gluten free cake served in freezable portions to accommodate her Weight Watcher’s diet!

Suddenly, those Trader Joe’s flowers make you wonder if your man even LIKES you.

Your single friend’s Galentine’s was more elaborately planned than your night, so now, you’re sitting at Outback with your date, nary a bloomin’ onion, furiously unimpressed. “Yeah, no, nothing’s wrong. This is great.”

I know better than to peruse social media on Valentine’s Day, and although I still tossed Brian my usual, suspiciously impartial attitude this year, we had SUCH a fun day.

We began the day with heart pancakes that looked like demented Mickeys. No one ate them, but I took a picture.

Gus went to his darling friend Ivy’s Valentine’s party, and it sounded like he was a little confused about his first ever play date without me. One day, he will be thrilled I left him alone with all these girls, and he will be even happier to know I squirted him with his daddy’s cologne on the way out for good measure. Thanks, Taylor and Ivy!

Brian maneuvered through my “I don’t care!” lies with wisdom of a seasoned (battle scarred?) husband. (For the record, I don’t hope for much, just SOME ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, which was established after my 2009 birthday.) (Ashley Furness was my date that night and let me know husbands don’t know what you want unless you tell them, which was news to me…and has only sunk in 80%.)

We stayed in this Valentine’s Day, and Brian cooked an amazing “adults only” dinner after babies went to bed. If you’ve never had a Brian meal, you’re invited over. I have a hard time eating meat since pregnancies, but Brian’s steaks are ridiculous. He made his own dressing for this pear arugula salad he made but wouldn’t eat, and I almost drank it.

Our dining was momentarily accompanied by background music of overtired Gus’s night terrors. After snuggling him for a while, I returned to my OG Valentine, enjoyed conversation, and went to bed early.

Food and sleep speak to my heart.

So, boys, let this serve more as an explanation than an apology, because history repeats itself, especially so long as your significant other has social media accounts and watches The Bachelor. Sleep well tonight knowing you have another twelve months to either figure out if your lady is a 20%-er like me, or save $75/month to get her Louboutins next year.

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