Life change

Home was where the military sent us

This is going to be a hard post to write without crying, laughter and a whole lot of reminiscing…

“So where are you from?”…”Uhh what do you mean?“… “You know, where did you grow up?”… “Like where have I lived?“… “No, like where were you born?”… “Well that’s different than were I’ve lived.” … “Well where do you call ‘home’?”… “Does that mean where I lived the longest or where I wish I still lived?”

Where are you from? Is one of the most open ended questions you can ask a military brat. Because in the military, “home” goes from being a place to being people. The military is a revolving door. No one stays put for very long.

You hear of the military member, and the military spouse and unless you’re in the military, you don’t hear much of the military child. We are the behind the scenes of the military spouse who is behind the scenes of the military member.

My dad is an Air Force Retiree. He served 26 dedicated years to his maintenance career as a C-130 Crew Chief. We lived 5 different places in my lifetime on the Air Force’s terms. Where we had to go and how long we got to stay was something we had very little control over. Change is more than a verb- its a lifestyle in the military. You learn to adapt quickly.

In the 26 years he was in, I went to eight different schools. Pre-k and kindergarten are a given. But the three elementary schools, the middle school and the two high schools I went to were another story.

By the time we moved to Colorado I was meeting friends who had lived there their whole lives. Seeing the rooms they grew up in, with painted walls, recounting the memories there… I was green with envy. I’ve always wished I had a a physical place to call home, to reflect back on the house I grew up in.

Because us brats grow up making best friends that sometimes last a few months before they leave and we have to find new best friends. We go to schools to be the “New Kid” more times than we’d like, many times in a foreign country. We have cried too often while seeing off our newfound and “long term” friends at the airport terminals. We watch as it takes a toll on our parents’ relationships as we say goodbye yet again while moms and dads prepare to go on another deployment not knowing if this would be the last time we see them.

So we hug a little longer, cry a little more, and love a little harder than normal.

While it made me sad to think about when growing up– as an adult I am very thankful for the life experiences and the revolving door that is the military. I have met sooooo many amazing people, lived in a foreign country I am blessed to have lived for as long as we did, in a culture I am forever thankful to have known.

I have family in all corners of the world. Our homes are in the hearts of people sprinkled around the world.

There is so much more I could say about it all. But I will close with this. As brats, we are cultured, we are united by the military culture, we are the distant echo from an unheard cry, we have sacrificed, but we always bounce back because we are resilient.

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Tasty Food

Hot Dish: An “anything goes” one-dish meal (Fun story & recipe included!)

Hot Dish: An “anything goes” one-dish meal, commonly known in the upper Midwest.

What in the world right? That’s pretty vague. I did some more research and outside of the Midwest it would be considered a casserole. HOWEVER– the reverse is not true. A casserole isn’t considered a hot dish. We still call green bean casserole, green bean casserole- not green bean hot-dish.

Or wait.. I mean that would just mean its a freaking hot dish.

These suckers are typically called just that– A hot dish. Not spaghetti hot dish, not tater tot hot dish, not whatever-I-wanted-to-put-in-this hot dish. JUST…hot dish. It typically contains a starch, a meat, and a canned or frozen vegetable mixed with canned soup. The only time I’ve seen it referred to any specific ingredient (forgive me if I’m wrong) is when I look up “hot dish recipe” on Pinterest.

Here’s another true story:

The first time I ate hot dish was when I was visiting my boyfriend’s (now husband) family and his mom made it for dinner. I didn’t question it. She pulled it out of the oven and it looked to me like baked spaghetti. “Cool! I can do this, I like spaghetti“, I thought. It was delicious! So a few days go by, we go to his sister’s house who had just had a baby, and she offers up some hot dish that a neighbor brought over as a kind gesture. She says its in the fridge. Score! More baked spaghetti! 

Wrong.

I open this fridge and I’m looking all over, moving things, don’t see it. So I ask where it is. She tells me where, and what its in, so I pull it out to pop the lid off and put it in the microwave. But before I do that, I [naturally] look at it. What is this?! I mean it looks good, but it’s definitely not baked spaghetti (this time its creamy, with tater tots, and pasta). “What’s this?”, I ask.

Hot Dish“, she replies.

What?!

So moving on… Last night I was able to start dinner without a toddler pulling my pants down and wanted to find a quick, easy recipe with the few ingredients I knew I had. So what did I do? I went on Pinterest and searched “hot dish recipes“. And what do you know? To my surprise, not every recipe was labeled only hot dish (>.<). I found one called an Amish Hot Dish (click to see actual recipe). Seemed a little bit on the random side, but isn’t that what a hot dish is? Dinner Roulette? It shows the ingredients in grams (and I can’t figure that stuff out) so I used Google’s conversion calculator.

I’m also someone who doesn’t measure anything when I cook (unless its to make cookies…. then I just don’t follow the baking time, like I say here). So this is how I modified it (the main ingredients are what makes the flavor so delicious anyway), and maybe I’ll do it the right way, but until then, my rendition was delicious! Make sure you follow it step.by.step! I hope you enjoy it!

 

How to Make Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Mom's Corner

Momming with Tattoos

I wish I could say that in this day and age that its almost part of the norm to see a mom with tattoos. That the bad stigma that comes along with them has worn off.

While I have intentionally put myself in that position, I am still surprised that people still associate them with being unsuccessful, being trashy, bad parenting, or having been to jail (okay, no one has really said this one to me but the stigma is out there).

I mean haven’t your parents taught you to not judge people by the color of their skin?! Mine just happens to be multiple colors and pain inflicted. *shrugs*

I get it. Some people don’t fancy the concept. That’s fine! But I have never met a tattooed person who looks at someone without tattoos and hear them say  Why don’t you have any tattoos? How boring” (however… my seven year old has asked my niece why she only has one tattoo).

I started getting tattoos as soon as I turned 18. They all started off not visible to the eye when fully clothed, and slowly, as I crept into my mid 20s started bringing them to light (daylight, that is). See, my parents cannot stand them on me and my sister. It’s fine on everyone else! But not their beautiful, perfect, children. I remember the first one I got on my arm I made my sister tell them– at this point, I was 25 and had an almost 4 year old, and had been in the military for 6+ years–yet I was still petrified of their reaction.

Moving forward, since that tattoo I have added two more to said arm and have also added another child to my life. I have 16 total (tattoos, not children), my bigger ones living in the dark. Most of the questions I get are mainly “did that hurt??“, “Why did you get that one?“, or “I bet you hate covering them at work“. That last one isn’t a question but it is one I get a lot, and no, I wear t shirts, flip flops, shorts or hoodies to work… they don’t care about my tattoos.

They. Don’t. Care.

My husband doesn’t care, my friends [might have an opinion] but they don’t care, and guess what? My kids don’t care, either. My parents… they definitely care but have lightened up immensely since my sister and I just keep getting them.

I’m a mom just like the other non-tattooed moms. I love my kids. I clean my house. I do laundry. I read bedtime stories, tickle backs, and watch their chests rise and fall just to make sure they’re still breathing.

I put the creamer in the cupboard and the coffee pot in the fridge on exhausted mornings, just like the rest of you!

I even put my kids before myself.

I have major “momming insecurities”. Especially when you decide to side-eye me with judgement, I may act like I don’t care… but I do. I feel it. I shouldn’t have to feel that way because of what you think a mom should look like.

I’m not your “stereo-typical” tattooed woman (if that’s even still a thing). I love country music, I two step in my cowboy boots, I go to church regularly so that means I don’t worship the devil, I have a clean [criminal not driving] record  (like very many other tattooed men and women), I have a professional career, and I am so, veryvery, sensitive.

I am happy with my tattoos. If you’re happy with not having any, I’m happy for you.

Lets start living in a world where where it doesn’t matter what people look like and start learning to get to know the person for who they are, instead.

 

cheers!
♥ 
ashley

 

#coffeemom

 

 

 

Mom's Corner

Mom failing: Tooth Fairy, Santa, Easter Bunny- What NOT to do.

So you know Santa? How about the Easter Bunny?… Tooth Fairy?

I think my oldest does, too… Or she thinks she does. So I’m going to write this in the order of the ones she still believes in, to the one she now [unfortunately] knows the truth about, and what I did wrong.

[Not so] Pro Parenting Tip: Remember the lost tooth. (I know, silly right?)

The one I’m currently struggling with is the Tooth Fairy. She’s at that age where she’s looking more like a hockey player than my sweet girl. She lost her first tooth over a year ago when she was away from home so I didn’t have to deal with it then, but the first tooth she lost with me was when we were on vacation.

Mom, how is the Tooth Fairy going to come if she doesn’t know where I’m at?!

Good point, kid. We’ll save it away and tuck it under your pillow when we get back home. Long story short, the tooth never made it under the pillow and she ended up losing another one before that one was remembered and she was mad that she was jipped. Found the tooth in our luggage months later, put it under her pillow, she got a dollar.

I’m not so sure she really cares about that one because it’s money, but she hasn’t said she knows its me— yet.

[Not so] Pro Parenting Tip #2: When they get older, keep it simple…

Do NOT go overboard. I know its totally not the time of year, but Christmas only six months away. This year is halfway over! Here’s my next mistake.

So I thought I was being this super proactive, awesome, mom by taking a picture of my living room on Christmas Eve and “photo shopping” Santa in there (it looked legit!), and doing that PNP (Portable North Pole) App where Santa talks to your child through a customized video for your kid (that app is awesome!), and by taking her to see Santa at the mall. Exceeeppppt she’s seven, and she’s picking up on small things like “That Santa’s beard isn’t real“, or “That Santa was fatter than the other Santa” and my favorite “Why are there so many different Santa’s and who was it that came into our house on Christmas eve!?

Yeah, explaining that Santa is only one person and that he has soooo many helpers around the world to help him do his job was a hard one to explain. He’s magical, he’s everywhere, he’s always watching. But even Santa needs help.

If you’re going to use anything and they’re a little older.. use the PNP app. You can make multiple videos ranging from Santa calling to make sure they’re behaving or to tell them they’re doing awesome, to having Santa tell them what they need to work on to remain on the nice list, to a video on Christmas Eve. When Santa told her she needed to work on her attitude the horror on her face was so real.. SO for now this belief is still alive and [barely] thriving.

Mom FAIL. I did too much!

[Not so] Pro Parenting Tip #3: The Easter Bunny might not seem like a BIG deal, but he is.

To be honest, I don’t even really remember exactly what she said but it was along the nature of “I know the Easter Bunny isn’t real“… But I do remember saying “You’re right… Mommies and Daddies help make Easter fun, we buy [the things], and we do [the stuff] to make things fun for our babies” (or something close to that).

Instant regret crept it’s way into my heart as her face sank. She sat on the couch and tried to silently cry. My brain started pinging…

But she just said she knew!“, “WHY did I say that??“, “Can I retract my statement??

How do I fix this?

She wanted to believe, she really did. She wasn’t asking for the truth she was seeking confirmation that he was real. So I held her, and being that in my household we believe in God, I told her what Easter is really about. (Of course before I calmly explained that to her, I frantically texted my dad asking what do I do?!). I was sad that I just bursted her bubble. I know they’ll all figure it out one day, and I really thought she had… for the Easter Bunny, anyway.

So if you have an inkling that your kid still believes or wants to believe, don’t do what I did.

I learned this from an old co-worker of mine and our new motto in the house is “If you believe, you will receive“.

I don’t care how old they are.

 

cheers!
ashley

 

#coffeemom

 

 

Mom's Corner

Mom’s cup of coffee- A relatable short story.

Its 6:07am (yes, exactly that) and my alarm goes off.

I snooze it.

Then again at 6:11, 6:16, and 6:21am.

I snooze each one.

This morning I was able to. Both baby sitters I have, including my backup, were unable to watch my youngest. Lucky me. No, really. Lucky me. It’s a rare occasion I get to be home and “bum it” with my kids (yet its hardly ever really bumming it).

7:15am. I hear my youngest chatting away in her crib, and thats my cue. I get up, start the coffee, and head to her room. Exactly as I expect, she’s peering between the bars of her crib and her changing table. I see the smile in her eyes as I enter the room and make my way to her. Her eager arms reaching out to me, I swoop her up.

I missed you last night“, I say kissing her cheek.

We wander to the kitchen with her weight on my hip and an arm around my neck. A waffle for breakfast- her favorite.

Mo nom-ah nom-ah!“, she squeals.

I pour a cup of coffee, add my creamer and we sashay to the living room. We sit on the floor at the foot of the chaise with my legs out in front and her on my lap. She leans back against my chest as she devours her waffle.

Mommy left her coffee¹.”

She doesn’t care. She’s snuggled up with mommy bobbing away to Paw Patrol. So I wait.

Finally she runs off and I get up to get my coffee. Its in the same spot, just lukewarm now. So I top it off with some from the pot.

Pitter patter, pitter patter. “Mo nom-ah nom-ah!“, she goes again. This time its for her Sippy (which is also Paw Patrol). So I put my coffee down² and reach for her cup and fill it up.

We walk back into the living room and she has me chase her into her princess tent, and we play.

Am I supposed to say no to this?!

When she runs out of the room I go back to my cup-same one- but this time I dump a little out since the red light is still on indicating the hot plate is still heating the almost-hour-old coffee, and once again I top it off.

Thud, tumble, tumble. “Ma maaaaaa“. I abandon my coffee³ and scurry to her room. There’s no crying so I’m not in full sprint, but more of a brisk walk (think a 4-5 level) on the treadmill. She looks up guiltily as she’s moved her dirty clothes hamper and managed to unplug her nightlight/white noise machine and pulled it down from the shelf by the cord. I roll up the plug and stow it away until it makes its way back out for bedtime.

But this hamper she’s moved… its been tipped over, displaying the cootie-clad clothing from the week splayed out on the floor. It’s begging me to bring it downstairs to be washed- so I do it. I also bring another load up from the dryer and I sit on the floor and I fold. I fold and I fold until I remember I have a [probably frozen] coffee waiting for me. The light is off on the pot. The remainder of the coffee is no longer warm enough to make mine any warmer. So I open the microwave as a last resort and I reheat my coffee. *cringe*

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About to heat my coffee up in my Harry Potter mug. Note there is NO RED LIGHT ON on the pot

While its heating up I decide to throw in a pizza (yep, its lunchtime now). I set the oven to 450° and the microwave signals that my coffee is ready⁴. So I crack the microwave door while I finish putting in my pizza.

15 minutes passes, out comes my lunch and shortly after we both share my pizza. Once its consumed I stand up, wash my plate, and place it in the dishwasher.

I turn around…and freeze. “Sh*t, my coffee“.

I take it out, walk to the sink, and dump it out.

I look at a bottle above my fridge. Is it too early for wine?! I grab a glass and the bottle to open it up…

Ma maaaaa!”

…..maybe tomorrow.

this story is based on true events • (in probably every single house that has a coffee-drinking mom). I really hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed reflecting back on my day!

cheers!

 

#coffeemom

Mom's Corner

Goodnight, little one

Goodnight, little one”, 

I whispered as I laid you down for bed. You look up at me and smile with sleepy eyes before rubbing them shut, and I melt. Just when I thought I was ready for you to lay down and be out so I can relax myself, my heart pings with a longing to scoop you up and wish you’d lay peacefully in my arms. But you won’t. Your bed is your cue for sleep, not my arms anymore.

I turn on your nightlight and creep out of your room, then I look around. The remnants of your playtime remain on our living room floor. Your high chair, your snacks, the aftermath of toys from Hurricane Baby- its the calm after the storm. Some nights I gather them up quickly and put them away, but other nights I take my time. I look at the elephant that sings and picture exactly how it makes you spin and dance, and the itty bitty red teddy bear thats the size of my palm, that you somehow manage to squeeze into a hug- and I smile. One day I’m going to long to have toys and kid-things to pick up and put away. So I grab the lotion I used after bath and snap the lid shut, knowing just an hour or so before we “argued” over whether it was edible or not, and I put it away.

There are nights when I stay up to do laundry and I sadly put aside the outfit I bought you from what I thought was last month that you’re already outgrowing way too quickly, just to put it away for safe keeping in hopes we might be able to use it for baby number three one day.

I remember being pregnant with you and wondering how on God’s Green Earth, I was gong to love you as much as I love your sister. If my heart was even capable of any more love. Then you were born and my cup runneth over– you proved me wrong.

Through your tantrums, the biting, the hitting, constantly managing to get into things you shouldn’t be in, and trying to teach you right from wrong, I miss you when you go to bed.

So, many nights before I go to bed to lay with daddy, I sneak back in your room and I sit down by your crib. If I am able, while you’re sleeping, I’ll place my finger in your hand and instinctively, you grab it.

Then off to bed I go.

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.” —Tina Fey

 A poem by me, Ashley CincottaGoodnight little one“, I whisper
as I lay you down for bed.
Mommy will be in the other room
watching daddy sleep, instead.

That only lasts a little bit as she
she stays up a while to think-
About the toys I need to put away,
and the dishes in the sink.

So I put away the laundry
sadly laying smaller clothes aside,
wanting you small just a little longer
my heart, it breaks inside.

I sneak back in your room
and watch you sleep so peacefully.
It’s my secret form of comfort as
you’re growing right in front of me.

I sit there watching for a while
as my work is finally done.
Mommy loves you more than life, you know.
I whisper, “Goodnight, little one“.

Life change

5 Things I learned by moving and starting over

Ever wonder what it would be like to make the move to another state you know little, to nothing, about? Where you know only a handful of people, those of which are family members who live about an hour away? Or to give up a stable career to start over 180º in another direction? Or you meet someone amazing and have to decide whether or not to move to where you’re from or where he’s from? I know what it’s like and this is my list from my personal experience.

1. It gets lonely.

You know those days when you could go grab coffee with your best friend? Or have a movie/wine night on a whim? Or hell, even a play date where the kids can entertain each other while you two catch up on the latest gossip. I’m on year three here in Minnesota and while I do have friends, it doesn’t help that none of them live nearby, or we all have kids and can’t figure our schedules out. Or twenty other reasons it just doesn’t work out. And I am the queen of extroverts. #teamleo #lifeoftheparty. Another reason it gets lonely is because more people come go, than go come. You can try all day to keep in touch with people, but nine times out of ten it isn’t reciprocated.

2. Finding a [good] job isn’t going to be easy.

In my case I went from full blown active duty Air Force to the Air Force reserve. Completely different worlds. (For those of you who don’t know, that means I work my military job one weekend a month and participate in two full weeks worth of all military-ness a year). Since I have been here I have gone through four different [civilian] jobs before I landed my current one. One where I get paid a decent wage near home. I took a huge pay cut taking this leap of faith moving out here, but what makes up for it is the cost of living is much lower than Colorado. That’s FIVE jobs in THREE years.

3. Small towns > Suburbs & Cities

I came from living in both. The hustle and bustle of the cities, and by golly the traffic, is not my cup of tea. And the suburbs! Where you have the ability to high five your neighbor while you’re both on your porcelain thrones because you’re living on top of the other- no thanks! While that was appealing to me before and I could still live there and be just fine with it, I’m 95% sure that if I had to choose I’d be going with the small town vibes. You get more bang (and land) for your buck out here! I like looking around and not being able to look in my neighbors’ eyes, or recognize them, since I’m near sighted and would need my glasses to do so. I give credit to my husband for wanting to raise our family out here. Don’t be afraid of moving to a small town!

4. Amazon is Amazing

Its not like I’m new to online shopping- but I found the ease and convenience of Amazon (and their lightning speed shipping) to be a dream! Not to mention their lightning deals. Plus living in a super small town limits where I get to shop in person. Its a 25 minute drive to Target – ouch! – and I’m not making that trek for some milk or formula. (Not that I’d be buying either of those on Amazon so moot point, I just love Target). Its my best friend out here, I can meet Amazon up and sip coffee any time of day and tell my shopping secrets to it… except then Amazon goes and tells the UPS guys who delivers my packages in plain sight for my husband to see… so maybe not my best friend.

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I need this doormat

5. It has helped my marriage grow in so many ways.

I’m not alone in the “not having friends” department. The only other people my husband sees outside of work is yours truly and his family. Let’s even throw in Jason our boat salesman since he’s seen him more times than we’d like since purchasing our boat! (Good thing it’s still under 100% warranty). So we are each other’s support. We have become so much closer. (Partly because we initially lived in a town where the population was 1200, and I’m sure 1000 of them are cows so we were all each other saw!). We have both compromised so much to be where we are today. We did long distance for a little over a year when I was still serving on my active duty contract and his was done, and prior to that things weren’t even all that great. When he left Colorado, our relationship was at its all time low. We even broke up for a couple months until we realized we were still texting each other frequently and he made the first move into starting this back up. I was afraid. Afraid to leave the first place I had ever called home (military upbringing), to leave my freaking career, and my friends and family. But let me tell you this- it was the best thing I have ever done. We never (okay sometimes) get sick of each other. I supported him when we had 30 acres and a funny (I mean pig) farm. There’s never been a time when it was just the two of us because if you’ve read any of my previous posts you know he’s an amazing stepdad to my daughter from a previous marriage, and we’ve maybe been on a handful of “dates”, but this is our chaos. Maybe its because we are forced to get along because we’re all each other really ever spends time with, but I am beyond thankful that I took the leap.

I would have added Adapting to change/surroundings to part of my list but for my personal experience this didn’t necessarily apply since I’ve moved everywhere from Arkansas all the way to Japan and I can easily adapt.

If you’re thinking about doing it I recommend giving it a shot. You can always go back home and rejoin in the life you previously lived. You will always have somewhere to go home to. (Unless you’re me and your entire family moves away from the place you call home and sells their house and you can’t even bum a room from them anymore if you want to visit because they’re gone!). If its for the same reasons I did it, go for it if you feel the person is worth it. If they’re not, you can either make a new adventure of it, or you can go back home.

You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take

If you want to know more (after reading this novel- if you even made it this far) feel free to comment or email and I’ll get back to you! Thanks for reading!

cheers!

Mom's Corner

One Size does NOT fit ALL

If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. Mom Bods.

I need to find humor in it some days to make myself feel comfortable in it. Here’s a quick true story.

° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °
A Day at the Pool

Me showing off my stretchmark-clad body: “Lets get in the water.”
Friend who feels overweight: “No.”
Me: “Why not?”
Friend: “I feel like a hippo”
Me: “Well I look like a Zebra. Let’s just go to the watering hole together!”

And we laughed about it, and still didn’t go in the water for another half hour. The end.
° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

So lets get down to what makes a mom-bod.

The stretch marks (in places you never knew you could get them!), the loose skin (mine will probably only go away with a tummy tuck- that I’ll pay for when I win the lottery), the cellulite, the arm flab, the all around weight gain, the transformation of your hoo-hah for the next few weeks post-partum, the c-section scars, the boobs (or lack-thereof). Unless you’re one of those freaks of nature, whose bodies just bounce right back to being normal without a trace of a baby being in there- in which case I’m going to say is not normal. (I have quite a few of these friends. I wish I could hate them).

I mean, my body shrank back down to size, but my stretch marks got stretch marks!  My calves got stretch marks. And boooooyyyy did my thighs get stretch marks. My oldest did some work on this mom bod.

Orrrrrr… maybe it was all the midnight Whoppers, and early morning root beers on the way to work. Or the fact that I took “eating for two” and ran with it! Either way!

It took me a long time to embrace the changes to my body. Even with working out and managing to get visible abs, the loose skin was still a problem. I lubed up my belly my whole pregnancy to try and prevent stretch marks, but didn’t know my thighs were my problem! After I had her, I swore off shorts for the rest of my life because of how purple they were. Yeah. That lasted all of 2 seconds since the house I lived in had no A/C. I tried to find creams to fade them faster, hoping they’d disappear. That didn’t work for me either. And these boobs? They were great when breastfeeding (aside from the pain of clogged ducts and the struggle for supply), but when I gave up on it… they gave up on me.

So I gave up, too. I mean.. I still wear bikinis, not to flaunt my stretch marks, but because I still feel beautiful. I just know that no matter what look like, mom-bod or not, that there are so many other people out there who just don’t give a crap about my body. Even girls with “perfect” bodies, hate something about the way they look. I know the way I beat myself up about my looks and my body, almost every single other woman out there is doing the same, too.

I may complain about this or that or mentally pray that my husband still thinks the same of me, but we met when my oldest was two. So you can imagine the horror I felt at the thought of being intimate for the first time. We’ve been together 5 and a half years, and I still hide my body from him. I know, if he didn’t care then, that he doesn’t care now, and that I shouldn’t either.

I wouldn’t trade my mom-bod for my pre-pregnancy bods because I have learned to love my appearance more than I had before (and I thought I was hot sh*t, before). I mean so in a more humble way. I respect my body and the capabilities it has to f30707931_1913901138642271_4298308806326091776_norm life within it. If I had my pre-pregnancy bod, I would not have my two beautiful children.

My version of what I expect my body to look like differs from what you expect your body to look like. All mom-bods are accepted forms of beautiful. We just have to learn to love our new bodies in a different light- and that may take a while. That is okay!

“One Size” does not fit all, when it comes to our bodies.

cheers!
ashley

P.S.- I still love all my freak of nature friends, even if you don’t have to deal with most of these issues.

#coffeemom

Uncategorized

A Father’s Reward

In honor of Father’s Day.

You always hear “there’s no love like a Mother’s love”. Moms this, moms that. (I mean let’s face it- moms are awesome!)

But dads? They’re dead beats. They get praise in “doing the dishes”, or cleaning anything in the house since that’s to be expected of mother’s. They “work all day and get to relax at the end of the day while mom works all day and night taking care of the kids”. Right? At least that’s what social media tells us.

Wrong.

Dads are the superheros in our normal, everyday lives. The ones who save the day (and sometimes the kids from falling). The ones who don’t need or get validation from the world for what they do to provide for their families. The ones who are willing to work hard labor, wear a suit sitting in meetings, or the ones who wear a uniform willing to lay down their lives for not only their families but for people like you and I, 8-12 hours a day.

They will be our daughter’s first loves and our son’s first heroes.

They are the foundation of what our daughters should look for in a spouse, and how their sons should treat all women.

They are our pillow talk, our daily journal entries when we need time to vent, our best friends. We seldomly get to hear their sides of the story. So this is what I did..

I asked some of the dads in my life and dads that are friends of mine what the greatest reward of being a dad is and their responses were so very heartwarming. Here’s what they said:

cheers!

(featured image photo credit: www.angelatabakophotography.com)

Grief and Loss

What cannot be said, will be wept

What cannot be said will be wept.

This comes with grief.

Over the last week two people I know have had some sort of loss in their lives. Whether it was someone they love or someone they worked with. Neither one, will you ever be ready for. You never know how it will affect you until it happens to you.

And the heartbreaking reality is- it will happen to you at some point in your life.

The loss I learned of this morning is weighing heavy on my heart. It’s not my loss to grieve, yet I grieve anyway. It was the loss of a child. A child they had the chance to meet, but will never get to know. I hugged my youngest a little longer this morning. Thankful that I am able to hold her and watch her grow and play. I also called my oldest first thing to say good morning and let her know how much I love her. (She’s away on an adventure for the next 9 days).

And I wept.

The loss I learned of a few days ago affected my mother. She doesn’t need to work but she does. She finds joy in working with and helping others (I get my soft, extremely emotional, empathetic heart from her). She lost a coworker. Someone who made her laugh and who would light up any room he walked into. My heart hurts for her, his family and her company’s loss. And you know what?

They wept. 

A loss isn’t always the passing of someone. Its also letting go of toxic people in your life. People that you love dearly but know that its better to love them from a distance than letting them do harm to you or watching them consistently do harm to themselves and others around them.

They weep.

A loss is divorce. Its having a falling out with someone. Its miscarrying a life you were hoping to celebrate. Its one day hanging up the phone with someone you called a best friend and then never hearing their voice again- by choice. Its losing yourself trying to become someone you’re not for someone who doesn’t accept you for who you are. Losing yourself is also a loss.

All these scenarios (and these are just a few examples) are considered losses to all people in all different walks of life.

Now the pain that’s accompanied with all these examples varies on who you talk to. It varies on what that individual felt during that time, and probably still does. We are not the ones who get to judge whose pain is worse or whose loss was greater.

We can all weep for our losses.

Sometimes we hit a wall with words and don’t know what to say. I am someone who has a way with words yet still, when it comes to comforting a grieving loved one, even I am sometimes at a loss for them.

Whether you don’t have the words, or don’t wish to speak them- its okay just to weep