The House that Love Built

A friend from grade school was going through old pictures and found a picture of the house I grew up in.  I have wonderful memories from that home.  We played football in the front yard, swam in the pool, built homecoming signs, and watched movies and the 1984 Olympics.  My parents let me invite the entire 8th grade over to swim the day we officially became 9th graders.  That house is filled with laughter.   

My parents didn't care about your background.  They didn't care what kind of home you came from.  They wanted you to feel loved and accepted when you came over to our house.  It was a house that love built. 

It's funny looking back.  You think that some kids have it all together just to find out they saw themselves as misfits.  I was always the one who felt like I was on the fringe.  Not cool, not as smart as I wanted to be, not a lot of things.  I wonder how many other kids felt & feel like that today?  Social media allows kids to only show the best of themselve…

It's Time to Man-Up

Can I tell you how upset, frustrated, angry I am?  I am tired of adults, men and women, having children they are not willing to take care of.  I don't care about the circumstances you had your children under, what I care about is that you man-up and take care of them.  It's time for you to stop saying you want to be an adult and just act like one.

I was reading an article online  about the surprising number of children who are at risk from toxic stress.  They are saying this stress can "change the brain and it can interfere with learning and lead to disease in adulthood".  This is not normal stress:  homework, activities & school.  This is children seeing and experiencing things a lot of adults haven't been through.  The numbers listed in the article are staggering.

Here's what they say & this is directly quoted from the article:
More than 1 in 4 U.S. kids experience a serious traumatic event by the age of 16, including abuse, neglect and household or …

Don't Tell Me You Love Me

There are so many who make these vows, and then quickly forget them when the difficulties of life hit the proverbial fan.  It's easy to love when the going is easy.  It's another when your slogging your way through life, marriage, and children.  I have been blessed to witness so many whose vows were a way of life.  They weren't words; they were actions.

Today I went in to get my crazy hair cut and highlighted.  I'm sitting there with my hair pulled through a cap (I look like a lionfish), bleach smothered on my hair and cap, and a clear shower cap on top.  Yeah, it's a rockin' look.  We're all talking and I look over to see an older lady shuffling towards a chair get her hair washed.

This is a common sight because there are women of all ages who come into the beauty shop.  It's what happened afterward that had me in tears.  

As she is walking, I noticed she had a belt on and her husband, a younger woman along with the hairdresser helping her into the chair …

Hi, I'm Ashley,

and I think I have OCD. The older I get the more I like things 'just so'.  Well, maybe a little more than just so.  
I had to run to the grocery store to get some noodles for tonight's dinner, because of course I forgot to get them yesterday when I went to the grocery store.  The joys of getting older & speed grocery.  We have a grocery store that has smaller carts that I have fallen in love with.  I only have two chicks at home, so I don't need a ginormous cart anymore. 
This isn't so much about the carts themselves but about the cart return areas.  One a side note, I'll admit I'm somewhat lazy.  I don't park my car closest to the door to the grocery store, I park by the cart return.  It's also a habit.  Ever tried loading four littles into the car, putting all your groceries in the car & then returning the cart before your children die from a heat stroke & everything frozen melts?  Good times.  The way I fixed that problem was to park…

I Asked for a Virgin

I even asked nicely.  I have sacrifices I need to make.  Just kidding.  In case you didn't know, I'm allergic to alcohol.  Yes, it includes all kinds of alcohol.  Even if it's clear without sulfides I will have a reaction.  It's really pretty.  Think temporary hives & swelling.  Yeah, it's great.
Last night I went out to dinner with a group of girlfriends.  It was hot & humid...duh, it's summer in Alabama.  My hair was exceptionally big, but that's another story.  I asked my waiter if I could have a virgin margarita.  It's a limeade with salt, but hey, I was in the mood for it.  It was so pretty when he brought it out.  It was limey & I really wanted to use the glass as a salt lick, but decided to use my manners instead.
The first sip was so refreshing.  After about 3 sips, I started wondering if there was some alcohol in the drink.  I was starting to laugh a little  more, and I noticed a little buzzed feeling in my head.  One more sip &…

I Think I Changed My Mind

Time, ugh.  I picked up E's senior pictures today  & then I started looking through pictures trying to find one of Elizabeth when she was little & found a bunch when all of mine were small.  I don't remember them growing so quickly.  I know didn't want them to grow up quite so fast & I think a small part of me has changed my mind.  There is a little piece that misses the crazy schedule and all the teaching moments ahead.  It seems they were all here & now most of them are gone.  It's funny because this is how I still see them, not how they are today.  I'll be ok...maybe the next time I see a screaming toddler, or a child that has projectile vomiting.  It has been a great ride so far & I will appreciate every second I see all my crazy kiddos no matter how old they are.

Celebrating Life,

Because I Said So

The "most dreaded" phrase for all children and teenagers.  There are many who feel this phrase should be not used when talking to children.  They say it's vague and authoritarian.  I had an epiphany this weekend about what 'because I said so' really means & what it should mean to our children when we say it.

When parents use 'because I said so' the first thing we want you, our children, to do is to have trust that the decision we have made is in your best interest.  Sometimes we don't have time to sit down and explain every thought that went into our final decision, but we need y'all to understand we have your best interest in our hearts.

We need you to know we have years of life's experiences under our belts.  We understand that in your teenage minds you are already grown-up, but let me assure you, you are not.  Oftentimes we will consult with other adults (some older & some our peers) to get to our decision if we are vacillating or…