General musings on the ups and downs and ins and outs in the life of a 30 something, unmarried, life loving, some times interesting and sometimes not, mostly happy girl just trying to figure it all out!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Louisiana Warrior Dash


I am so awesome, people!

Seriously. I don't even know how to tell you how awesome I truly am.

I did the Louisiana Warrior Dash with Niki and her family. And I was pretty sure I would
#1: die
or
#2: not finish.

But I did neither! I made all of the obstacles, finished in an hour and a half, and LOVED it! I was pretty nervous the week before. See, up until 3 weeks out I had no idea there were obstacles... or fire...or barbed wire... I thought it was a nice, fun, stroll through the mud. And I love mud! Nope- it has 12 obstacles and is described as 3 miles of pure hell on the website. I am a clumsy oaf, folks. I was scared!

And then they send the release form, which informs you that you must have insurance, the obstacles are extremely dangerous, there will be fire, barbed wire and other forms of torture (my words, not theirs), you have to swim through water of unknown sources, there may be harmful plants and bugs... and, of course, they are responsible for nothing that may befall you. It was a good read...

Let's review:
It started off as about a mile of trekking through knee to ankle deep, slippery, sliding, mud or muddy water. That alone was quite an accomplishment. Then there were 12 obstacles and more running (walking in our case) through sand and mud:

Capsized Catamaran:
We had to jump into muddy water, swim up to, and climb on some floating plastic "stuff". Then you balance your way across and climb down.

Teetering Traverse:
This was my first big challenge. It was a (muddy) balance beam about 8 feet off the ground. Sounds easy, but I am afraid of heights. Almost barfed, but I made it. This nice girl named Kathryn held my hand. :)

Trenches:
A crawl through a dug-out trench with barbed wire. The bad part was you were crawling over pebbles. My knees have scars to prove it!
These nice people got hay to crawl on!

Warrior Wall:
I dreaded this all week! I have zero upper body strength and I am petrified of climbing and heights. But I wanted to at least try. The guy in front of me saw me quaking in fear and told me to use my arms only to hold on, and push myself up with my legs. I made it!! I was ridiculously proud and Niki and I hugged and jumped in circles after we both made it. 
The little "steps" are not even half an inch deep! And our wall was taller than this. 
Storming Normandy:
This was more under barbed-wire and net crawling. 

Barricade Breakdown:
This obstacle was under/over hurdles. Which doesn't sounds too hard until you remember you have been going for a while and your legs really don't want to push you over!

Hard Rain:
A wall to climb up with water pouring down on you the entire way. The worst part for me was having to jump 10 feet down on the other side. I almost crawled back down and walked around.

Tipsy Tightrope:
This is two ropes, one about your head and one under your feet. You have to shimmy along the rope to the other side. 

Cargo Climb:
This one was fun! Climb up, over and down a cargo net. There was a camera projecting to the finish and waiting area so I took the opportunity to wiggle my mud covered booty at everyone!

Junkyard Jump:
Run through tires and climb over junk heap cars. This is pretty fun because, really, when else do you get to jump up and down on the top of a car?

Warrior Roast:
Poor Niki almost didn't go for this one- you jump over fire. We held hands and screamed the entire way. Luckily, there were photographers at this one so I'll be sure to post those lovely shots when available. 

Muddy Mayhem:
You have to scramble/swim through muddy water under even more barbed wire. These people loved their barbed wire. 

This is our post race victory photo!

The Pink Warriors: Niki, Ashley, Mama Ruth and Staci (team captain)
I have never done any kind of a race (and seeing as I hate running, I don't plan to)- but this was an absolute ball! It's a great thing to do with friends and go it together for some laughs. I was a little sore the next day, and I think it was three showers later before I got all of the mud, leaves and grass off- but it was completely worth it! 

As one lady behind us commented: "This is just an excuse for adults to play in the mud."

Yep! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quotable!

I love quotes. i could probably have an entire wall in my house full of quotes. Pinterest makes my obsession so much easier! Especially the people at Some E Cards. LOVE those!! Here are a few of my faves since i started using Pinterest.
This happened to me so many times in Florida! Now i just avoid meetings.


I hate camping.



I learned this from my Mama

Geaux Tigers!!!

Amen!





Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Staunch Demublican

So, I was talking to my friend Ashley (yes, we have the same name and yes, that's how we became friends) last night and discussing politics. I enjoy discussing politics- crazy, I know. But I should clarify; I enjoy discussing politics if you are able to do so in a sane, unemotional way. You know how they are always talking about the 1% and the 99%? Well, there is another demographic that fits into that ratio: the percentage of people that can discuss politics rationally. And just so you know- no one on FOX or CNN have the ability to do so. MSNBC tries.

At any rate, we were discussing our political affiliations and I finally declared myself a Demublican. I'm too conservative to be a full on Democrat. I believe in things in moderation, and calculated, planned change. Sorry- not right wing enough. On the other hand- the GOP is really just a party of old, fat, white good ole boys. I am much too progressive for that. So there you go- I am a Demublican. I can't be an Independent because that party gets nothing done- and I am a get it done kind of girl.

After our chat, I thought about it more. You know- it really would be nice if we could all just be American. Nieves idea, I know this. But united we stand and divided we fall. And let's face it- we are divided and we are falling as of late. So maybe instead of bashing each other through November we could try to grow that 1%.

Hahaha- yeah right!

This is Ashley, fondly referred to as "AC." How cute are we?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"I'm With You" and "Fight Like a Girl"

I love music. It's an utter tragedy that I am not Jennifer Nettles because I would be an awesome her. I am so serious.

Most of the time it's the lyrics that get me. I can find something deep is the most ridiculous songs sometimes! Yesterday I listened to two songs that really made me think.


This song is so utterly moving to me. My sister sent it to me once when we were going through a rough family patch. She reminded me that we always had each other. Haven't you ever felt like you were just trying to scrape up yourself and hold on? I have. But every time, every single time, God has sent one or all of my friends to stand next to me and face whatever it was. This song always lifts me up and holds me, and I listen to it and sing it as a prayer for my own friends- that I can be this for them as well. Women are powerful. And when we face things bound together we are a force.

Love is a hurricane in a blue sky,
I didn't see it coming, never knew why,
All the laughter and the dream, all the memories in between, washed away in a steady stream.
Love is a hunger, a famine in your soul.
I thought I planted beauty but it would never grow. 
Now I'm on my hands and knees, trying to gather up my dreams, trying to hold on to anything.
We could shake our fists at times like this, when we don't understand,
or we could just hold hands.

You and me, me and you, where you go, I'll go too,
I'm with you, I'm with you.
'Till your heart finds a home, I won't let you feel alone,
I'm with you, I'm with you.

You do your best to build a higher wall.
To keep love safe from any wrecking ball.
When the dust is clear we will see the house that love rebuilt,
guarding beauty that lives here still. 

You and me, me and you, where you go, I'll go too,
I'm with you, I'm with you.
'Till your heart finds a home, I won't let you feel alone,
I'm with you, I'm with you.

Who can say I'm left with nothing?
When I have all of you, all of you.
In the way you've always loved me,
I remember, He does too...

You and me, me and you, where you go, I'll go too,
I'm with you, I'm with you.
'Till your heart finds a home, I won't let you feel alone,
I'm with you, I'm with you.

Me and you are gonna make it through, me and you.
I'm with you, I'm with you. 


Fight Like a Girl
http://youtu.be/V96r2046qjE

Niki had on the music station on her TV last night and a throw-back one hit wonder country song (Sorry, S) came on. I loved this song when it was out and I think I still do. I have been conducting an inner debate with myself lately on my strengths and what I am good at. I am good at my job right now. I get by. But I was great at my last job. Like- really, really good. But I didn't like the person it made me. That's a weird place. It's kind of hard sometimes to find your spot and balance what you can do with where you want to go with who you want to be. Plus- I really was the second verse here. I fought and fought and kicked ass and just hit the ceiling. That "glass ceiling" has my finger prints all over it. A lot of this song is who I want to be.

...You're brave and beautiful.

So hold your head high.
Don't ever let them define the light in your eyes.
Love yourself, give 'em hell,
You can take on this world.
You just stand and be strong and fight like a girl...

She was wheeling and dealing. 
Kept on hitting that same glass ceiling.
She was never gonna be one of the boys, no.
She could have given up her ambitions,
And spent the rest of her life just wishin'...

So hold your head high.
Don't ever let them define the light in your eyes.
Love your self, give 'em hell.
You can take on this world,
You just stand and be strong and then fight like a girl.

Oh, with style and grace, kick ass and take names...
(You just have to love that last line!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

1000 Gifts

I am behind! I got off track. Oops. Remember to count life's gifts! Here are a few more of mine.

41. Glitter
42. Lunch break excursions
43. My nephew's crazy faces
44. Laughter
45. A clean horse
46. Dirty toes
47. Naps
48. Summer storms
49. A great coworker
50. Pools
51. Planning vacations
52. Craft projects
53. Deer in your friend's backyard
54. Pedicures
55. The word "Auntie" coming from my niece
56. Dog kisses
57. Mud puddles
58. Fresh cut grass
59. Summer tomatoes
60. Sunshine

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 32nd Anniversary to my Mommy and Daddy! Love these two!



They're pretty cute, don't you think? I have been so blessed to have them as my parents. 


Congrats, you two! You've managed to produce three of the most beautiful, talented and gracious (also humble...) people on earth! ;)


Friday, June 29, 2012

Triathlons (An Instructional Post)

I have recently became a triathlon fan. Not because I think exercise is fun, but because my friend Allyson decided to start participating in them. Let's be clear: she is completely nuts! There is entirely too much exercise involved in these events. And all before 9am. Not rational. However- in my ever present effort to make all things fun (even waking up at 5:30am on a Sunday to watch people hike and bike), Marissa and I have worked out a system to make these races entertaining for ourselves as well as Allyson.

First and foremost, sign making is a must. This is how your evening should look the day before a race:

Signage must be bright and involve glitter, and if you are getting up before daylight on a weekend you owe yourself a glass of wine. 

Do not use standard signs. Customization is a must.

Our first attendance was a Mother's Day race, thus we thought it'd be funny to pretend she was our mom.

Standard "Fan Club" signs are OK if they have glitter.

Signs that involve alcohol get comments from other racers as well. One we received: "Can complete strangers get a mimosa?" Uh- yes! But only if you hurry because Marissa and I are good drinkers, there may be none left.

On the way to the race, get coffee. A lot. You are going to need it and you'll kick yourself if you think you can wait until after. You cannot. 

Do not follow the directions for parking a half mile away. Whatever! Do YOU look like a triathlete? No. Leave the exercise to them and drive into the neighborhood next to the event and park on the street. 

You are going to be waiting around a lot, so your best bet is to bring a friend. 

Generally, you hurry up to get to the first part (swimming), see the racers and then wait for the next section (biking or running). You might get to see them going for the transition, but the best idea is to get to the point where they'll be coming out on the bikes. They're going to need the encouragement to get going. Yell, jump and act a-fool to get them going. Their faces should look something like this:

The goal is laughter on their way off. But if you get this:

It's OK. She's just trying to figure out #1: WHY she puts up with you and #2: WHY she signed up for this crap.

After they are off for round two you wait. Find a comfy spot, sit down, and get out your cooler.


Don't bring a heavy one because you need to be mobile. This one's perfect- has handles, keeps things very cold and has a pocket to store stuff in. It's also monogrammed, so that helps. 

Be sure to bring water, because you're going to need it. Conceal any alcoholic beverages inside the cooler. You're probably somewhere that open containers aren't allowed. However- I recommend bringing the alcohol. It really helps when you're kicking yourself for being awake. 

While you wait, people watch! You will be surprised at the people who participate. You have a few of what you'd expect: buff, steroid-ed, crazy people going all out. But a lot of the people are just doing it for fun (???) and there's a lot of older men with beer bellies. Who knew?

Every good triathlon needs a bag pipe player in a kilt. 

In the mean time, keep an eye on the people coming in from the current leg of the race. You don't want to miss your person! A good tip is to watch the numbers on their arms. It'll help tell you what wave they are in and you'll get an idea of when your athlete is coming. When you see them coming, be sure to start creating a huge ruckus. Jump, leap, yell, cheer! Glitter should be flying from your sign, folks. Just be careful, if they're coming in fast on their bike they're about to have to dismount. Wouldn't want to distract them so much they nearly miss the jumping off point and fall (Sorry Allyson). 

While they are transitioning RUN (this is the only exercise you get, it's OK) to the next starting point (biking or running- whichever hasn't been done). To be a good fan, you HAVE to be there to cheer them into the last leg. Commence acting a-fool again.

Wait again.


This little girl is a good example of how you might feel after watching hundreds of people run around as the sun comes up. 



Make sure to run at your athlete, yelling their name, after they finish. This is a nice touch. Also give huge hugs, regardless of sweat. I mean, come on, they just swam, biked and ran. They earned it!

Honestly- I have really enjoyed the two I attended. It's a lot of fun to cheer on a friend and you can nap later. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's All About the Value

Niki and I were on an ice cream date Wednesday having a very serious discussion about relationships. DQ is where we do all of our serious talking... DQ, the kitchen, the trails in The Woodlands, the kitchen table... Anyway, we were talking about romantic relationships and friendships- all of it. She just lost a close friend to some misunderstandings and as I am single, we regularly discuss romantic relationships and what I want, etc. We always go back to this thing we learned in college: Value. Value is critical in any relationship.

When we were talking about losing a friendship and how often, other friendships don't work like ours does I told her I thought it might be because we both truly value friendship. Niki's practically my soul-mate, but aside from that, I also hold my other friends close. Because they are valuable to me. They add things to my life that I would not have otherwise and each of them is vital to me.

In a marriage, value is necessary. To be happy, to be the right match, for it to really work- a couple needs to truly value each other. Are you with them for a reason? Do they add something to your life?

Guys- remember that you must demand to be valued. And you must value in return. Make sure people add to your life- because it is about you too. Love, whether it be in friendship or romantic, is a two way street. Be sure to require that you are valued.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Failure

"Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you failed by default."
— J.K. Rowling 

It was so interesting to come across this quote today, because reading before bed last night I read about failure as well. In this case, Brennan Manning was commenting on failing as a Christian. He said that the most successful Christians he knows are the ones who have failed- but gotten back up and kept going. Christians that last know they are going to screw it up, and they accept it. Because they know they are loved.

I had to read that a few times for it to sink in. Because I am truly afraid of failure. Not as much in the day-to-day life way as I am of failing at life itself. I am afraid of not being kind enough, not doing what I am meant to, not being where I need to be. So after that line sank in, I had to sit back and regroup some. I wanted to cry. Because I need to know that I am going to mess up, I am not going to get it right and things will not always work out- but that that is OK. 

I am not there- but I think I will try. :)

"For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened," He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love."
-Brennan Manning


Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Do Not Crave Workouts

Working out is like my antitheses. I do not like it at all.  There are some days that I make it through and feel Ok at the end and think, "That wasn't so bad." And usually there are days like EVERY MORNING THIS WEEK when I am pretty sure I am not going to make it and I really just want to quit. But there is never, ever a time when I think to myself, "I really want to go work out." Nope, never ever.

Apparently, my blog friend, Mandee, does not have this problem. She actually "craves" workouts. This is complete insanity in my world and I would like to know what crack she is smoking and if I can please have some too so that I don't completely despise myself every morning at 5:30 when I head to the gym.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jumping on Birthday Bandwagon

Glamour magazine has been pushing their book about 30 things women should have and know by the time they are 30, my friend Sarah did a blog series titled, "What my 20s Have Taught Me," and I read a blog post on the Huffington Post this week about turning 30 and what you learn by getting older. All of this comes at an interesting time for me because I will be 30 next week! I'm not really worried about being 30, I'm excited, actually. Turning 25 was a bigger shock for me. But it does make you look back, and think, and see how far you have come; and how very, very far you have to go! I have so little knowledge compared to what I need to learn through years of life.

After all my reading, I've decided to take part in this little exercise. Some thoughts are mine, some are stolen, some are gleamed from other people's thoughts. Here we go...

Sometimes people are jerks. 
I don't mean this as in on some days we all act like jerks. I mean this as in some human beings are not nice people EVER. Really, it's true. I am sure each person has something about them that is likable, but there are times in life where we are in situations where we never, ever see this in a person. And unfortunately, some times you can't just leave them behind. Today, I took a tongue-lashing from my boss about an incident that was not my fault. But my coworker blamed me, and drug me under the bus, and since he is the salesman he does no wrong in this office. There are times in life where you have to just accept that a person in a jerk, you are not going to like them, and there is nothing you can do about it. And that's OK. It is how you act that counts. You can't control their actions, and you probably can't win. All you can do is be who you want to be.

Growth is really hard
People who say they just tra-la-la through life and learn happily as they go are lying. Some things do come easily and are fun. But growing and changing are hard. Battling yourself and the world to figure out who you are is a rough process. You are going to come out a little beat up and bruised. You will probably have scars. That's how it works. Life is hard, guys. We were not created to live in this kind of world- we are making it through this world until we get to our permanent home. Just when you get settled into a spot you think is good, something changes. I don't mean this as a downer- you are better on the other end of a struggle. You are good, you are strong, you have learned. But to believe that if life gets rough you have failed is setting yourself up for a lot of heartache. Know that life will get bumpy, but you will be OK. Handle yourself with grace, learn from what happens to you, and be grateful you have made it through.

Friends can fill the gaps
I lament a lot about my gratefulness for my friends. That's because they are important. Every one of us has gaps in our life that aren't filled. Friends can fill most of those for you. Let your friends walk through life with you. Allow yourself to lean on them, and them on you. If they are good friends, real friends, it will not be a burden because they will return the favor. Nurture and grow your friendships. God did not create us to live alone, and there are things that will come up that you can not do or face alone. That's OK, because you have friends. Let them be your friends.

Your dreams and goals will change
As you age and grow, your ideas about life are going to change. The things you want and don't want will change. Sometimes you may even be like me and fight so hard for something for years only to discover it really isn't what you want. That's OK- just allow yourself to change. Just say you changed your mind, pick up, and go in a new direction.

Take risks, but plan well
Take the risks you want to take. Go out there and try whatever it is you want to do. But be responsible. If you want to take time off of work, do it! But save first. If you want to up and move, do it! But find yourself a new job and a place to live before you go. If you want to start your own business, go for it! But have a business plan. Follow your dreams and take chances, but be smart too. Don't risk yourself or your own future.

Understand what makes you tick
You really need to take the time to know yourself. If you act a certain way in a situation, take the time to think through why. Don't just beat yourself up over your actions, figure out why you do the things you do. You can use that information to help you make changes or to just accept who you are. But one of the worst things you can do to yourself is to not really understand who you are. I have learned that I can think a lot of things about myself that aren't true. I may think I am big and bad and tough, and I did for years. But what I really am is afraid of failure and worried about being abused by others.

Be OK with who you are
This sounds cliche, and maybe it is. But it is also vital. We all have quirks and angers and hangup and habits. We're all a little wacky and a little off. We all have different talents. Don't just know this, accept this. You are who you were created to be. Some things you will be able to learn and do, some things you won't. That's OK. God has created you for something and He will use you for that. Stop spending time pining away for things you can't have and can't do. Just be you- you is pretty fun!

Have faith
It is beyond my ability to comprehend how people survive this life without God. If you believe you are only here by chance, then you believe that you don't matter. You do matter. Someone did create you. It's OK to find your way to this knowledge in your own way, but find it. Whatever happens to you, whatever is going on, what ever hurts and whatever helps- it is all a part of something more. There is something bigger and better than you. Have faith that you are loved and cared for. Understand that one day everything will be OK, because you were created for more than just this life. Have faith in the One who created you, and have faith in those people he puts in your life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crawfish Stuffed Pasta Shells

Niki's getting ready to head on a family vacation and was telling me about a dish her mom wanted her to make. Unfortunately, she lost the recipe. But crawfish stuffed pasta shells sounded simple enough to me to recreate, so we decided to give it a whirl. Let me be clear, I had no recipe here- we winged it. So this will give you some insight into my cooking style, which is basically: throw it all in a pot and hope it works.

Cook, drain and separate 2 boxes of jumbo pasta shells



Any good Louisiana based recipe starts with the Cajun Trinity: onion, bell pepper and celery. Please don't try to get around this, you will fail miserably.


I used one really big onion, two bell peppers and 3 stalks of celery. For this recipe, I cooked it down fairly well because it's going into a stuffing-type mix. After they warmed in the pan I added a stick of butter, three cloves of garlic (minced) and about 3 tablespoons of shrimp boil for flavor (You could use Old Bay as well). When the trinity was the consistency I wanted I added two bags of (thawed) frozen crawfish tails and let it all mix together well in the pan and warm through. (You could use shrimp here is you like, but you may need more butter or oil. Frozen crawfish have a lot of juices with them)



When it is well blended, put it all into a mixing bowl. Add plain bread crumbs (I used one container of Progresso) and 2 eggs. (My crawfish mix had plenty of flavor going on, but shrimp are milder, so you could add some cheese if you like.) Mix well.


Fill your pasta shells and lay them out in a pan (or in this case, foil pans because they'll be traveling). 


The next step is to make your sauce. We went with a white parmesan cream sauce. 


I knew I would need some flour to thicken my sauce, so I went with a roux-like base. This is not how it should look. You should have a nice paste. I over-killed on my flour. I was able to save it, but your roux should be equal parts butter or oil and flour and should be like a thin paste. It will thicken more than you think. 


Add half and half and milk until you have as much sauce as you need (I made 3/4 of this pot) and let it simmer and bubble until it begins to thicken, whisking every few minutes. If your flour is clumping some you can pour out some of the milk/cream and use a hand mixer to blend the flour and some of the milk until it's smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, 2 or 3 cloves of grated garlic and parmesan cheese (don't use the kind in the shaker, it won't melt well. Use shaved pieces or grate it yourself.) Let that simmer until the cheese is well melted. Pour over your shells and voila! 


Anytime you are cooking something with these type of ingredients, you need to let it sit at least overnight. It will be good right away, but it will be much, much better if you let it sit so the flavors can meld. I am always disappointed if I don't. After letting these sit, bake at 350 until they are warmed through. You can top with more bread crumbs and cheese if you like before baking. 

Ingredients (as close as I can get you):

Shells:
2 boxes of jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
2 bags frozen crawfish tails, thawed
1 very large or 2 medium onions
2 bell peppers
3 stalks celery
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
3 to 4 tablespoons shrimp boil or seafood seasoning
1 container plain bread crumbs
2 eggs

Sauce:
1 stick butter
4 to 5 tablespoons flour
1 pint half and half
About 4 cups milk
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

1000 Gifts

31. Really awesome consignment shops
32. Tuesday Night Social Club (that sometimes meets on Wednesday)
33. Mexican food
34. Lemon Dijon salad dressing
35. A coworker that makes you laugh
36. Taking a "Mental Health" morning
37. Walks in the woods
38. Vacations to look forward to
39. A friend that talks you out of life's ditches
40. Fresh summer fruit

Thursday, April 26, 2012

He Loves Me

Seeing as the title of this blog is "I'm the Auntie" I decided to make an actual Auntie post. The general gist of this blog is being 30 (almost) and single and what that lifestyle is about (Thus "I'm the Auntie" and not a Mommy blog). It's also about my general need to hash things out- and writing it down helps. But I also happen to completely adore my nieces and nephews. And I believe them to be the most adorable and hilarious children on the planet. It's kind of sad. I can just sit and watch them do whatever for hours.

Nathan and I when he was 2. I take great pride in my responsibility for his love of mud.

So anywhoo... when I was talking to Niki on my drive to work this morning and she told me this story I decided I wanted to share.

The conversation began with, "Nathan is telling stories about you." This stopped me short for a minute because I was thinking he'd finally decided to tell him mom I let him jump off of the sofa onto a mattress on the floor when he isn't allowed to jump on the sofa. Then I remembered I sent her a picture message documenting the naughty event, so I let that thought go. Then I assumed I was going to get a story about how the last time I babysat I refused to let him play his video game because he didn't eat his supper. I got this idea because when I told him no for the umpteenth time he could not play and to go sit DOWN, he told me he was telling his Mommy what I did to him.

My actual response: "OK, Nathan. You can do that. But until she gets home I make the decisions."

Response I wanted to use: "That will be fine, Nathan, because she is MY best friend and she is obliged by law to agree with me and support my video game wielding authority."

But the actual story she told me was much better. Apparently, he has taken to telling her stories about me. I find this adorable- the child is interjecting me into his real and pretend life! The fact that the stories have no truth to them means nothing, because in each story I am arriving to save him, ie- Mommy, I was walking in the woods and I hit my head on a tree, but Auntie came and made it all OK." Priceless. This is in addition to a few weeks ago when he told his friend that when his AUNTIE comes over he gets to ride his bike.

That's right, folks, I am cool in the eyes of a four year old. I am ingrained in his world and he loves it. Sometimes, that's really all you need in the world.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30 Things Before 30

Have you seen this list before? I have. It travels the internet in spurts, circulating itself through women's in boxes. But now that I am actually a month from being 30... I paid a little more attention. Being 30 doesn't bother me too much. My 20s have been an up and down roller coaster ride. I have learned a lot, grown a lot, changed a lot (was I really that 20 year old college student once???). I have made my share of mistakes and I hope I am better for them. 


Of course, there are a lot of things I wish were different- and that I thought would surely be different by the time I was 30. I am certainly not where I expected to be. But something I have learned is that you have to go with what you've got and enjoy where you are. So here I am, looking down the barrel of 30, a little scared and mostly ready, and I thought I'd review this list and see where I stand. (My comments in green) 



By 30, you should have ...
1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come. Oh boy, let me tell you- I haven't had many boyfriends and there isn't one I would go back to! Are you joking? They certainly (all two of them...) taught me a lot about myself. But they all fall in the category of how far I have come. And really- why would you want to go back? 
2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family. I have a few of these- and I love them!
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour. Let's be honest, girls. We all have some great outfits set aside, but we would change clothes 10 times regardless! True, though, you need some good, solid pieces to rely on. 
4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying. Yes- this is true. You are an adult now. 
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond. Well, I am squarely in THIS category! 
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age. I think I have this in a fun, safe way. I have a few stories to tell. 
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age -- and some money set aside to help fund it. Not just the money, girls, but a plan for your health and taking care of yourself. It's time to step up and realize that your body needs care and you can't just abuse it. Financially, I agree as well. A woman needs to know she can take care of herself. 
8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account -- all of which nobody has access to but you. Yes- privacy, please! 
9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded. Oh come on- who doesn't pad their resume? Mine is strong and I still pad! 
10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry. My friends are my stronghold! 
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra. Do I have to know how to use them too? 
12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it. Oh, let's think... a house, a car, laptop, iPod, move to Texas... 
13. The belief that you deserve it. I waver on this one. I'm not good enough to deserve much, but I do work for my money. So yeah...
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30. YES! Get on it, ladies. 
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better. Oh boy, do I struggle here. I do have a great start. Just don't know where I want it to go. 

By 30, you should know ...
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself. Well, I'd like to find out! :) I think I do. 
2. How you feel about having kids. Definitely want them. 
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship. Tact, my friends.
4. When to try harder and when to walk away. A tough lesson, but worth learning. 
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next. Hmm... 
6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town. Hilary Clinton, "Goo," and I guess I better work on the third since I just asked my best friend to fix a dress for me! 
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to. Amen! It isn't always fun, but learning to be content with yourself and take care of yourself is something every woman should grasp. 
8. Where to go -- be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat -- when your soul needs soothing. Best friend, hands down. 
9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents. Yes. Awfully hard, but yes. 
10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over. Let it go!
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love. Have boundaries and know who you are. 
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long. This is kind of a crock. Some people do. 
13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally. Yes, learn to be careful. 
14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault. And how to apologize when something is. 
15. Why they say life begins at 30. I'm hoping it's a combo of the list above: confidence in yourself, a more firm ground to stand on, amazing friends, and faith
So here I come 30... ready or not I am arriving. I guess we'll see how it goes! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

1000 Gifts

A few more for my list...

21. The ability to pay the bills.
22. Water!
23. Birds chirping
24. Ice cream cones
25. Sleeping in
26. Bathing a horse
27. Being a friend
28. Nieces and Nephews
29. Spring rain showers
30. New flowers sprouting! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What's A Girl To Do...

Am I the only one who looks at their life sometimes and just thinks, "WTF???" I love my life- I actually think I have a pretty cool life. I am an Auntie, which is the greatest role there is. I live 10 minutes from my best friend, have some completely fun new girls to hang out with, own my car, pay my bills, can afford enough wine... what's to complain about? Nothing. Except I do. Because I feel like my life is totally cool for a 25 year old. But I am a month away from 30 and I am not married, living happily on a little farm with a part time job I love and a garden and maybe some goats and a cow. I have a ton of fun, but I spend a lot of my days working full time at a job I am just OK with. But I am single with no prospects- a girl has to plan! I can't just assume someone is going to come along for me to share my life with. I have to be able to take care of myself. So I work on building a career when I don't really want a career. What's a girl to do? I'm not sure. And I have been discussing it with my new friends who are in the same boat - and they don't really know either.

Isn't it funny how "women have come so far," and we still discuss the same things? Everyone fits into the mold a little differently, but at the end of the day we are still women. And in some way we are still trying to figure out what the heck that means... that we can have an awesome career but don't have to... if we do have a career and no husband we're a b-word... if we don't have kids we're not maternal... that a career and a family can work... or it can't... that we shouldn't have it all... or that we should... that we can take care of ourselves, thank you very much... but that we don't always want to have to. We aren't forced into a certain role anymore (at least not most of the time), but that role is still there. We still have to look at it. And when you look at it you wonder if you would fit, or if you should, or if you most certainly should not.

And men think we're confusing! Try being us, buddy!

After all that rambling my conclusion is simply that I do not know. We each have to do our best and find a place we can be content with right now. Plan and hope for later, but enjoy now. Don't waste too much time fretting about what may or may not be. Good luck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

1000 Gifts

I just realized that I am going to have to be careful about duplicating these. I tend to be overly grateful for my friends. :) I had a busy, but great weekend! It was Van's birthday and yes, we celebrated. Cheesy, I know. I took her for a long swim and then Nathan took her out for ice cream. After that Amanda and I went and had so many crawfish and so much beer that my stomach thinks I'm evil today. Totally worth it!

I have been thinking about my list. Here are some more:

11. Ice Cream
12. Sisters
13. Spicy crawfish!
14. Breezy days by the lake
15. Wildflowers growing along the side of the road.
16. Naps
17. The feel of running your fingers through a clean horse tail.
18. Sunshine
19. Windburned cheeks from playing outdoors
20. Clean laundry

Thursday, April 12, 2012

1000 Gifts

Life has been a little rough for me the past few weeks. Nothing life or death, but just one thing after another to deal with. I'm tired of "handling" things. It gets exhausting. I am worn out. And when I am worn out, my brain tends to grab onto things and beat them to death. I just can't stop thinking and being distracted. I think it over, think it over, think it over... hoping I can come up with a way to set things right again.  But guess what? That's not how life works. I love the author, Sheila Walsh. In one of her books she says that sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and let God fight the battles. So true.

To get through the tough times I try to remember the little, everyday things that are blessings. My life is full of blessings! They are like little presents that drop in to remind me life is OK. So when I saw Sarah Tucker's post about recording 1,000 bgifts during 2012 I wanted to play too.  So getting started, here are a few of mine, to be added to over the year.

Nathan Alan Kickel
1. Nathan talking about his Star Wars game and saying "Auntie" and meaning me. He thinks I am Princess Lea. 
2. Van's "opera song" greeting when I get home every day
3. The smell of fresh cut grass
4. A great glass of wine
5. Books
6. The smell of a horse
7. Laughter with friends
8. Ducks in a pond
9. My Daddy's voice on the phone
10. The fact that I have constant, unfailing support from my best friends


All About Ashley

My photo
Spring, TX, Southern, United States
Playing with and keeping up with my nephew and niece take up a lot of my time. Van Geaux takes up the rest of it. Work is an afterthought most days! I like to be outside- but not when it's too hot. I get bored at my desk all day. Niki keeps my world spinning and without her and AC I'd lose it. My work ethic crashes at 4 p.m. daily and I live my sweet puppy and my hedgehog whenever I am not at Niki's. I truly believe naps are quality pass-time events, and sometimes I say bad words at work. I'm pretty sure I'm insane on multiple levels and I believe rules don't apply to me.
It seems that my life is quite entertaining. I didn't realize this myself, but was informed of it by my friends- who are rather entertained by tales of my life occurrences.

I'm far from a professional writer. These are just stories, comments, and other items for simple amusement. Hopefully it's a fun read, as Shannon plans to edit it into a book one day! Maybe we'll become famous, and maybe we'll just have some good laughs at my expense (and some other characters in my life). Either way, happy reading!















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