Monday, March 28, 2011

Look Around You

Today, I was completely unconvinced to run outside. The cold? No, thank you. I haven't EVER ran in weather below 64 degrees. But my running Twitter friends @Becker3ww and @MichelleHess convinced me that day was a perfect day to run outside. So I thought, what the hay - I'll do this.

I layered up, grabbed my fur son and off we went - running down the Monon Trail.

At first I had my headphones on and I was listening to music, but the pressure from my headband was making the headphones dig into my brain. I stopped and took them off. I sat down for a minute and just looked around.

I was reminded of a good friend and fellow runner. The wise @TheBradKing once told me that I should try running without music.

Enjoy what is around me.

Say hello to strangers.

Make friends.

Listen to the natural noises of the world. The people. The feet hitting the pavement. The dogs barking. The children laughing.

What amazing advice, I'd encourage you to leave your iPod at home a few times too. Just look around you and soak it all in.

While sitting there, I also thought of my running mentor @meggiehd. I thought of how good fruit snacks sounded - those are her favorite. I stretched a little bit and then leaned down to pet Bandit.

"Are you ready to run again baby boy?" I asked him, as if he was going to respond.

He smiled. Yes, Bandit smiles. People have witnessed it and I have pictures - like this one where he is posing like a senior picture:


Bandit Boozer Sieb - Senior Picture 2010

Anyway, he smiled and off we went.

A few minutes later, I stopped again to stretch. Funny story: I am actually turning into big foot.

Here I am,  just taking stretching on the Monon tonight- all dressed in layers for the run.

Okay - not really, but I got re-fitted for running shoes this weekend. My current size 11 shoes are too short! SIZE 12?!?! Holy cow, no wonder I've been getting pain in my feet when I run. I don't have the arch support I need + both feet pronate like a pronation junkie.

Anyway, I stretched and instantly smiled as I heard an older man blast past me singing loudly, "Ain't Nobody Going to Stop Meeeeeeee!!!"

Not sure what song that is or if he was just yelling for the world to hear, but it made me smile. I wouldn't have heard his inspirational yell without listening to Brad King.

With that, I was reminded of my goal. Ain't nobody going to stop me - but me. Better get moving. I looked up at the sky and winked at my Grandpa Larry. I closed my eyes and pictured his face.

"I'm doing this for you too, Grandpa!" I said under my breathe.

So off we went again - running down the trail. I saw a little boy playing in his yard. He was alone and looked really bored playing with a stick.

"OH MY GOSH!" he yelled. "Your puppy is SOOOO CUTE!"

With headphones, I wouldn't have heard his kind words.

"Awwww!" He yelled again before I could respond. Bandit must have winked at him or gave him a smile.

"Thank you, buddy!" I yelled back - slightly out of breathe, but still running.

We walked for a few minutes past Bubs. The smell of the burgers made me really hungry. I think Bandit got excited too. No, he just had to pee. He always pees when he sees Bubs. Weirdo.

After our run / walk, I had reached our apartment. I reached 391 miles for the year after that run, but I wanted more.

Bandit giving me a hug after our long run together. Love him. Best personal trainer ever.


Tonight, I shall hit 400 miles. I ate some dinner and headed off to the gym for round two.

I had no words. I wanted to high five someone, but since I was alone. I did a Jersey Shore first pump while watching the show.

With this fast bike ride, I reached 400 miles.

I can't wipe this smile off my face. I feel like a new person. Sure, I am not the best or the fastest runner. I certainly walk when I need to and stop when I need to stretch. But I am happy. I am becoming healthy and I am turning into a new person. It simply feels incredible. I'm so blessed by all the love and support from my family, friends and even complete strangers. I feel humbled by the ongoing comments and blasts of encouragement I receive each day. My health transformation and 2,011 mile journey would be difficult without such positive and motivating people in my life. Always and forever, I thank you.

Much love,
Ashley

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Do I Stop Hurting?

One of my best friends Chelsea Baughman asked me today on Facebook, "So this whole running thing...when do I stop hurting? lol baaaa!"

My response was:

1- Do you stretch?

2- What kind of running shoes do you have?

3- Drink a LOT of water!

I also have another secret to make the hurt stop...Before I go for a run, I make sure I pump myself up physically and mentally.

video

I always - always pick one of my favorite songs on Youtube and literally dance around the house while I stretch. Today, Justin & Bandit danced + stretched with me. I am not kidding, I do this every single time.

Side note: For some reason, Blogger fails to upload videos without making me look like I'm moving / talking a million times faster than normal - but this case - it actually makes it funny. I will post the "real" version on Facebook later.

Have fun. Dance. Laugh. Stretch. Run. Come home - chug water!

That's the secret to making the hurt stop.

Much love,
Ashley

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nine Years Ago



Nine years ago we said goodbye to you. You didn't get to say goodbye to us though, beacuse you went to Heaven in your sleep that night.

I'll never forget the morning you left us. I heard the phone ring. It was early. Too early for a high school kid to care about reaching for the phone. Tellitubbies was on TV. Devin or Cierra must have slept with the TV on that night. I was on the couch, but I heard my mom cry from the bedroom.

Something is wrong.

I jumped up.

I heard her coming down the hall.

"Ashley," my mom said with tears down her face. Her voice was shaky and it scared me. I'll never forget the way she said my name that morning.

This was the first time I'd truly remember seeing my mom cry. She is such a strong woman and holds in her emotions. But she wasn't hiding her emotions this morning. What is happening?

"Ashley - help me get the kids around. Something is wrong with Grandpa..." she stopped. "They think he is gone."

Gone? Like gone fishing? Or what does she mean? I was still waking up. Then I realized she meant gone, forever.




My Grandma & Grandpa Urick with Aunt Kathy, Mom, Uncle Kris, Uncle Jerry and Uncle L.J. Pre-Ashley Days.
***

The next few hours were a blur. I can't remember what happened. I think we went to my grandparents house, but I am not sure. I remember sitting in the library room. I couldn't go into my grandparent's bedroom. I know Grandpa Larry wasn't in there, but the thought of a dead person's body in the room really freaked me out. I remember sitting there in silence. I don't remember crying, but I was trying to piece everything together. Trying to remember the last time I saw him. Trying to remember the last thing he said to me.

Did I say I love you?

Did I tell him how much he meant to me?

Did I tell him that I loved going to breakfast with him?

Did I remind him that even though I acted like I hated it when he put his aftershave on my face, I really loved it because I smelt him the rest of the day?

Did I say something mean?

I was an awful teenager. I was confused about life and depressed. I locked myself in my room and cried a lot. I was trying to make sense of the world and pushed my family away. What did I say? Oh God, please tell me what I said...

And then I remembered. The last time I saw him was when I got my new glasses. We were in the kitchen at my grandparents house. He was in his scooter - because he had his knee amputated after his diabetes took in on his legs. He joked and called me four-eyes. And then he smiled and said I looked beautiful. But what did I say? I can't remember....I hope I said thank you. And I love you.

***

It didn't hit me until the funeral started. I saw my mom crying. And my aunts and uncles. Strangers were crying too.

Finally, everyone gave us hugs and send us their love / sympathy / support. They closed the doors and it was just the children and grandchildren.

My Grandma Iris walked up to me and hugged me. I was starring at him in the casket. His face had make-up on. I remember that. She grabbed my hand, "He always loved you so much, Ashley. You always made him laugh."

I thought about the time I went running around the house with a tube sock on my face because he wanted sour kraut and I thought it smelled AWFUL. He thought that was the funniest thing ever....

Tears are streaming down my face as I reflected this moment. Because that is when I lost it. That is when it sank in. That is when I remember you truly feeling you were gone. I wanted to jump into your casket and shake you. Make you wake up. Make you go fishing with me. Make you take me out to breakfast. Make you yell at me to turn the Chicago Cubs game back on --- even when I KNOW you were sleeping when I changed the channel. Wake up. Come back....come back....


My beautiful Grandma Iris.

***
Grandpa, there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of you. Something always reminds me of you on a daily basis. I feel your messages come through to me, always. Just this past Sunday, I saw a little girl at breakfast with her grandpa and grandma. Her grandpa helped put on her jacket and she looked up and smiled right at me. I thought of you instantly. I was that little girl once...

I had your picture in my wedding bouqet. Justin surpised me with a beautiful locket that had a picture of you and Grandma in it. I consider that the most wonderful and beautiful gift I'll ever recieve from Justin, right next to our future children.

I'm dedicated my half marathon race to you this May. In fact, through my supportive friends and family members - I have raised $580 in your name for the American Heart Association. This weekend, mom and I are running a race. It's her first one!! I know you'll be proud and smiling down on us. You left us so close to mom's birthday, so its always a hard time of year for her. So send her some extra love and sunshine, will ya?

So I'll close this blog with letting you know I am eating a grapefruit. Like you used to do. And I'll  pray the Cubs make it to the World Series this year. But if not, I'll still eat oranges, pay Justin for back rubs, enjoy my Sunday breakfasts, and take a few fishing trips this summer for you.

We miss you Grandpa. Save a spot for me in Heaven - we'll go fishing when I get there. I might even give you a back rub... if you pay me enough - inflation has increased and a dollar just isn't a dollar anymore. I'm joking. I miss you.

Much love,
Ashley

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meet Jocelyn



The first time I met Jocelyn was at an OAR concert, which was a good indicator I would love her instantly. If you love OAR, you are a friend of mine. For life. No questions asked.

Throughout the years, I've gotten to know Jocelyn better. People often tell Jocelyn that she reminds them of ME! Yours truly. I'm honored to be compared to her! Becoming her great friend over the years, it almost creeps me out how similar we are....(soul sisters - yes).

***

I've always said that when I get older, maybe even in a few years, I want to start a scholarship. I'll call it the "Hard at Work" scholarship - for students who work nearly full-time hours to support themselves through school and still pull Dean's List grades. It was hard supporting myself through school and I gave up a lot of social activites because I had work nights and weekends. I gave up a lot of mornings sleeping in so I could get up and work a 13 hour shift every Friday. It wasn't easy, and I am sure Jocelyn can tell you this too.

Because Joceyln is the definition of a "Hard at Work" scholar. She works so insanely hard at everything. At life. At the gym. At her job. At home. And at school.

Life RockStar

Jocelyn rocks at life. She simply pours her heart into everything she does and says. You seriously can't help but fall in love with her after a few conversations, Facebook status updates or Tweets. She will make you smile on even the saddest day. And why is that? Because she puts your emotions before her own. She does absolutely anything to help her friends, family and even complete strangers. One time an old man was struggling to wipe of his car after an ice storm, and Jocelyn saw this in the CVS parking lot. She immediately went over and helped him. She rocks at life.

Gettin' Her Fittness On Fergie Style

Despite her busy schedule, Jocelyn still makes time to workout. She strives to be healthy, which is no surprise since she works at a hospital and is a nursing major. And her mother is a nurse. I'm not surprised that she has an amazing body and works hard to keep it that way.

Make Money, Make Money, Moneyyyy

While most students have some degree of a job in college, Jocelyn takes it to the next level. She works in the mental health unit at the hospital. She often works 13 + hour shifts. Sometimes, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Seriously, people? Because I sure as heck couldn't be a nursing student and pull those kid of hours...

Home is Where the Heart Is

Jocelyn is fine with spending a Friday night at home with her parents watching re-runs of Cops. Or movies with her grandma. I'll bet she'd give up any night out to babysit her niece. She always, always makes time to have dinner with her grandma. She truly gives the best gift of all to her family: time. She makes time for them - always - even when she probably feels like there aren't enough hours in the day. And don't worry- she still makes time to hang out with her friends & be a college kid every now and again.


Getting Educated

Jocelyn is a nursing major at The University of Saint Francis. If she slips below an 80%, she is failing. I'll say that one last time so it sinks in, Failing...... A B- for normal students is a failing grade for nursing students like Jocelyn. She still kicks butt though. She had two test the other night and got a 100% on her bio test. What a stud....

Jocelyn, you are so inspiring. You give your heart to the world. You work so hard in school and work, but make time for the things that really matter in life. I truly believe you'll be the best nurse ever one day. I'd want you as my nurse, that's a fact. Keep rocking at school! You can do this...and I swear all your hardwork will pay off. One day - when you retire - young & rich - we will live on a beach together. Justin will cook for us and our dogs will play together on the beach with freebies. Yes, I think our dogs will live another 40 years.

I love you so much and I am honored to know you. I'm blessed to call you my friend. Oh, and since I can't afford to give you a $1,000 scholarship just yet- I'll be sending you a Starbucks gift card in the mail. That will kind of go towards your education, right?

Much love,
Ashley

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scuba Sieb 2.0

My husband is constantly on my butt about going scuba diving. Because I can think of a million ways to die on a daily basis, I'm not exactly thrilled about scuba diving again. As most of you know, I have an EXTREME fear of sharks. I would die if I saw one. Either from an actual shark attack or a self induced heart attack.


I don't want to be this seal.....


At one point, I was half way convinced to go scuba diving in Lake Michigan. Through some research, I learned that the Bull Shark can live in both fresh AND salt water. Insert face of fear again....



A picture that sums up my top 3 fears: sharks, aliens and tornadoes.

But today, I made a decision. I made a decision to live my life free of fears. Maybe I've had too much green tea this morning, but I'm feeling positive. I have energy to live and my conquer fears. So, I told my hubby I would go scuba diving again. Scuba Siebs 2.0.


Fact: If you ever feel fat, don't put a wet suit on.

I wrote on his Facebook wall, announcing my decision to world:

"So yes, I'll do this scuba diving thing in Lake Michigan. If I die by a Bull Shark in a lake...then it really was a rational fear all along and God really needs me in Heaven. Furthmore, I want you to start out my eulogy by saying, "Ashley always knew she would die from a shark attack, but no one ever knew it would be in a lake..."


Much love,

Ashley "Scuba" Sieb

Monday, March 7, 2011

Image Issues, Cheese Fights and Bride Takedowns

Image Issues


I was bloated. My stomach had a boulder inside of it. Nothing fit. I felt like a pregnant hippo in every single dress I tried on for a wedding over the weekend. I’d go on a limb and say I tried on at least eight possible outfits.

I did try on one dress that looked good with the jacket, but both still felt tight. I didn’t feel comfortable at all.


Nothing looked good, which was absolutely devastating because I’ve been working so hard at the gym lately. I curled up on the bed and just laid there, wrapping myself in a blanket of self-esteem issues and tears. Thirty seconds later, Bandit jumped on and started giving me kisses. He pushed up my chin and placed his head under my neck. My heart melted; somehow he always knows when I am sad.

I guess I’ll just buy a new dress. One that isn’t tight. Maybe a little black dress. Every girl needs at least one of those, right? I did end up getting a black dress. Pictured with my lovely friends Sarah & Allison.



Cheese Fights


I went to the gym early on Saturday morning, despite the giant boulder that was resting inside my stomach. I had cheated on Wednesday and had a breakfast sandwich that had cheese on it. I am certain that was what caused this serve pain in my stomach. I’ve been regretting that sandwich ever since...
When I came back, Justin was still in bed. But I wasted no time waking up to let him know I was hungry.

By the way, when I am hungry – I turn into Godzilla. I’m awful to be around and want to smash everything and everyone that comes into my path. Justin said he was hungry too, but he was moving at the speed of a stoned elephant.

“Babe, please get up! I am so hungry!” I said. “And I have to go buy a dress that fits me!”

“Okay, okay,” he said. “What sounds good to you?”

Of course, this was a sweet question. He was letting me decide, but I am awful at making food decisions. Justin would argue I am bad at making decision all together. I always want someone else to select where we eat and what appetizer we order. But, of course, what sounds good to me is cheesy pizza, cheese sticks, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, etc.

“Babe, you’ll need to pick; you know I can’t make a decision,” I said back.

Then I started to develop a tail and my skin started getting bumpy. Yup, Godzilla is busting through the surface.

Justin laughed.

I did not like his laugh at this moment. I grew monstrous teeth and spikes. Oh no, here comes Godzilla.

“FINE! YOU KNOW WHAT I WANT! I WANT A CHEESEBURGER, BUT I CAN’T HAVE THAT! I CAN’T HAVE ANYTHING ANYMORE!” I screamed.

“OH MY GOSH Ashley,” Just screamed back from the bedroom. “You can’t have cheese! Big deal!”

BIG DEAL!?!?! Inside my body grew a deep roar and flame blew outside of my mouth.

“YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH!” I yelled back. “EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED! MY WHOLE DIET.”

I stopped for a moment. I’ll bet this is when I grew my Godzilla claws.

“YOU SHOULD PUT YOURSELF IN SOMEONE ELSE’S SHOES AND HAVE SOME SYMPATHY FOR ONCE!” I yelled back. (This was extremely dramatic and out of line because Justin is one of the most loving and supportive people I’ve ever known. I was just a crackhead needing my drug. I needed my cheese. Don’t worry – I said sorry right away and now we are joking about how dramatic I was).

I grabbed my purse and started to walk out.

“Fine, FINE!” Justin yelled. “We’ll just be on our own for lunch.”

“FINE!” I yelled back realizing that the word “fine” is used in almost nearly every single fight. But it’s never a good word. Fine never means everything is alright. It’s the opposite. It’s not fine.

But as I made my dramatic exit, I forgot my keys. So, I had to walk back into the apartment and act like everything was still “fine” – and off I went.

Once I got into my car, “Perfect” by Pink was on. Full blast. The lyrics screamed at me, “Pretty, pretty please, don’t ever ever feel , like you are less than- less than perfect. Pretty pretty please if you ever ever feel like you are nothing, you are perfect to me.”

I started bawling. As rain was crashing down my car, tears were pouring out of my eyes. Earlier that morning, I was thinking of my grandpa while running. I usually do because my fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association are for him. I’m dedicating my race on May 7, 2011 to him.

In my heart, I believe Grandpa was talking to me through this song. I’ve been talking to him during my run through my heart and mind, so this was his message back to me.


“You are perfect me.”

And I know Justin feels the same way too. Stupid cheese fight.

I cried even harder...

Bride Takedowns


The Emenhiser and Rice wedding was this weekend. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. Matt and Lindsay are two of the most loving people I know. They will grow old together and still be just as cute as they are today….



I didn’t get a chance to hug Lindsay and Matt after the wedding during the receiving line because we were in the balcony. So, we didn’t want to be super awkward and run budge in front of people. So we decided to hug them in at the reception. A hug is certainly not the word to describe what I gave Lindsay. A takedown might be a better description.

I was talking to one of the bridesmaids, Shari, when I heard Lindsay yell my name. I ran over to give her a hug. Preface: I was in heels. I barely wear heels for reasons about to be exposed…

I leaned down and gave her a big hug. I’m obviously tall, so as I went to stand up- I didn’t let go of Lindsay. In fact, I lifted her up in the air like a 5 year old, which was SUPER cute until I lost my balance.

My feet were sweaty and my shoes were loose. I felt my heels wobble from side to side. Lindsay let out a squeal and I felt heads start to turn our way. Just in time to see my body lean backwards.

I was falling in what felt like slow motion. I knocked into a bridesmaid who had just got food. Her body flew into some guy and her hand smashed into his crotch. On the way down, my face was placed in Lindsay’s boobs. Down we both went – with me motor boating her the entire way down.

I was super thankful I brought a pair of leggings in my purse and had JUST changed into them – or the entire reception would have seen my offerings.

Thankfully, Lindsay thought it was hilarious and we both laughed.

You see, my weekend was full of tears; some sad tears and other tears from laughing so hard. Either way, I learned that you can always buy new dresses, a lactose allergy is NOT the end of the world and giving hugs is overrated. Watch out future brides, I’m coming after you for a takedown ;)

Much love,
Ashley

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do You Have A Team Yet?



I am thrilled to say that I officially have a softball team for the Brittany Raymond Arnold Grand Slam Benefit. My current team members are:

  1. Ashley Sieb (co-captain)
  2. Ryan Blythe (co-captain)
  3. Jocelyn Linder
  4. Justin Sieb
  5. Trista Bauer
  6. Ben Poehler
  7. Megan Kitson
  8. Jarred Friedt
  9. TJ Foley
  10. Joel Koons
  11. Perhaps Mama Theresa (my mom) =)
Cheerleaders: Chloe Inskeep and Jenna Razo

So, do you have your team yet?! Please sign up soon! It'll be a BLAST celebrating Brittany's life and raising money for a trust fund for Brittany's children that was set up through her parents.

"We, the grandparents, have established a trust fund through our attorney for the children higher education and any proceeds from Brittany's Grand Slam Tournament will be deposited to it."

I also wanted to update you on exciting news since my last blog post!! Information can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/grandslambenefit/

TSHIRT INFO: https://sites.google.com/site/grandslambenefit/t-shirt-order-form

$10 if ordered ahead of time. Will be available for $12 the day of, but sizes are not guaranteed. Child sizes available ONLY when ordered ahead of time, XXL is $12 ahead of time/ $14 day of.

Child sizes: Small (6-8)
Medium (10-12)
Large (14-16)
Adult sizes: Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL

BAND:
Unlikely Alibi will be playing in the afternoon (time TBA)
http://www.reverbnation.com/unlikelyalibi

RAFFLE/SILENT AUCTION ITEMS:
  • Black and white relationship session and a small archival print from Bradrick
  • Massage gift certificate and a small yoga basket with a 5 class pack, eye pillow, and block from LOTUS Yoga, Wellness, & Gallery
  • $25 Gift Card to Scott's Food & Pharmacy
  • Gift Basket: Water Bottle, Coffee Cup, 3 Golf Balls, Golf Towel, Keyring, Long-Sleeve T-Shirt, Team Shirt, Hat, and Callaway Gift Card from ProFed, Fort Wayne
  • Gift Basket from Midwest America Federal Credit Union
  • $100 gift certificate to Eichhorn Jewelry
  • $20 gift certificate to Nine Mile Restaurant
  • Gift Certificate to prepare, free of charge, a Standard Will Package, plus, if desired, a Power of Attorney, Health-Care Representative Appointment and Living Will from Scott B. Ainsworth
SPONSORS:
  • The Calvert Ladies
  • The Lotus Yoga, Wellness & Gallery
  • Bradrick
  • Scott's Food and Pharmacy
  • New Haven Print
  • Schurger Law Firm
  • Midwest America Federal Credit Union
  • ProFed
  • Don Ray Drive-A-Way
  • Anytime Fitness
  • Eichhorn Jewelry
  • Star Financial
  • Bunge
  • Nine Mile Restaurant & Catering
  • Devoss, Johnson, Zwick, Baker & Ainsworth Attorneys at Law 

Questions? Concerns? Ideas?
Please contact:

Michael and Gina Raymond
or
Kristin Matthews
415-F Canal Court North Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46202
KristinLMatthews@gmail.com
cell: 260-223-1550

Please make all checks payable to Kristin Matthews
Receipts available upon request

Much love,
Ashley