Monday, August 29, 2011

Smile With Your Teeth

Three. That is the number of people that cut me off and nearly ran me off the road today. Just when I was about to get super snarky and stick my head out the window to yell Ace Ventura Pet Detective style, I saw a teenage boy on the side of the road. He was holding up a big yellow sign - dancing and smiling. I was instantly happy.

The sign said, "SMILE WITH YOUR TEETH!"

I noticed his friend across the street video recording him.

Screw it. This kid is right. Life is too short to be snarky.

SO I flashed him one of these...

Big ol' cheesy kindergarten smile!

"YEAHHHHH!!!!" He yelled back.

I pointed at him and yelled back, "YEAHHHH!"

"HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!" He yelled.

"YOU TOOOOOOOO!" I said still smiley like a kindergartner.

I couldn't stop smiling the entire way home. It made me travel back into my childhood - when I was the most awkward kid alive. At least in my neighborhood. Yes, definitely in my neighborhood. Seriously, I was tall, chubby, wore knee high socks every single day and I don't think I could have brushed my hair to save my life. During the prime of my awkwardness, I was fully convinced (and I have school pictures to prove it)...that if you smiled with your teeth, you would get a double chin and look fat. No matter how skinny you were. But if you were fat, then it doubled your odds.

I opted for the no teeth smile, which undoubtedly makes anyone look like they just dumped their pants. Or in the case of my recent drivers license picture, smiling without teeth makes you look like an endangered, cross-eyed bald eagle that got hit in the face with a frying pan. Take a look:

The "No Smile" Rule sucks.
And please...that zoom is awful.

When I was in fourth grade, I made up my mind that I would smile with my teeth again. Two years of horrible pictures was more than I handle. I was going to look like a fabulous. I just knew it.

So I didn't have a double chin. But I did have the worse haircut out of everyone in our class.
Well, there is always fifth grade.....

At least I had a cute smile as a baby.
What happens in elementary school stays in elementary school.
Except school pictures, those come back and haunt you....

I will teach my future children to smile with their teeth the moment they are born. And I will never let them have bangs up to the ceiling on school picture day.

Happy smiling!

Much love,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Under All That Crazy…

They say that “marriage isn’t easy” – but I would argue that “most relationships aren’t easy.” You typically don’t work hard at something that is easy. And a relationship of any kind requires you to work hard at making time and sticking to promises. You need to believe in that person, support them with all your heart. You need to have faith, trust, commitment and honest communication. Those are all hard things to master. Relationships aren’t easy.

My other better half.

If I told you I was crazy, most of you would laugh. You would picture the loud girl at the party – sharing stories, doing just about anything to make people laugh and dancing like a fool-even if Justin and I are the only ones on the dance floor. Man he makes life fun….

Best dance of our lives.
But like most people, I have a different side of crazy. I can be an emotional timebomb, waiting to blast off at any moment. When I took Stackers in high school (those dang diet pills ruled my life), everyone at work would joke how moody they made me. But in reality, I was the moody one. It was (and still is) VERY easy for me to hold onto things and over analyze every single word or movement anyone made.
Why did she look away when she said that?

What did Justin mean when he said that? He probably was implying this or that.

Crazy. I can be undoubtedly crazy.

Justin being a smartass. Me, probably, being crazy.

It’s pretty obvious who sees the craziest side of me. My (wonderful) husband. But even though I can be crazy and get mad over the littlest things he says (even when he is being a smartass), I at least have the ability to come to my senses and say sorry. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong. Unless I am certain I am right (obviously).

And this morning, I wrote an email with the subject line “I’m sorry :(” – some things I just don’t blog about out of my privacy for myself and Justin – so I won’t go into details. But I will say the past few months some “external factors” have been hard on me. Some days underneath my outer layer of confidence, there hides a little girl full of insecurities. On those days, Justin sees the moody, on-edge side of Ashley. Yes, as much as I want everyone to think I am happy and positive and loving every single day of my life, I have my vulnerable moments too.

So as I wrote my email with teary eyes, I reminded him that I know I’m a work in progress. He later replied and said, “Who isn’t?” That made me smile.

I ended the email by saying,” I'm not easy to love. I understand that, but I'm so thankful I have you by my side. I know that there isn't a single person in this world who could or ever will love me as much and truthfully as you do. I'm crying at work Justin thinking of life without you...and happy tears that I don't have to worry about that right now because you are right by my side. =)”

What he wrote back made me cry, “You are SO easy to love. Because under all that crazy, there is the most compassionate, loving, self-less person I know. It just takes someone as mature as me to understand you. Lol”

And then he included these quotes at the very end. I believe these quotes are the perfect way to end this blog post and leave you with something to think about….

So wait, does this mean it's official? Jokes.
We were looking Grandma Kaye in this picture. She went to the reception a little early.
Well someone had to get the party started, no one better than Gma Kaye.

“The success of marriage comes not in finding the “right” person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married.” -John Fischer

“The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands.” -Alexandra Penney

“For a marriage to have any chance, every day at least six things should go unsaid.”- Unknown

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” -Barnett Brickner

“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.” -Harville Hendrix

Much love,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Power of a Dream

1 in 8. Those were the odds of my little brother making the coast-to-coast traveling baseball team. My mom was texting me two weeks ago at his tryouts, saying how amazing he was doing. We both talked about how proud we were of Devin. Whether Devin made the team or not, he was following his dream and that is inspiring.
I think every boy dreams of being a professional sports player at least once in their lifetime. But Devin hasn’t given up on this dream once. Below are a few pictures that sum of Devin and his passion for baseball:
Mom & Devin when he was a baby baseball fan.

You're safe!

How can you NOT smile when you see this picture? I love it.

Good sport.

Look at that smile!


So cute!

High school! Holy cow, where does time go?
Almost 16 years-old and he is ready to play for the big leagues. And this past Saturday, we learned that he is a few steps closer to this dream. HE MADE THE TEAM! I couldn’t help myself, I started crying with excitement.
I later told my sister Sarah, “This is such a big deal for him. I am so proud and I will do whatever it takes to help him raise money to play. I mean seriously –this is really his dream. And he is making that happen when he is only 16. That is like me becoming a star on “All That” with Amanda Bynes on SNICK when I was his age.” 

What, you didn't have dreams of being on SNICK!?
So what’s next? 

We need to raise about $1,700 to get him to Florida Dec. 27 to the 31. I’m racking my brain with creative ways to help my brother follow his dream. A few ideas we have now include:
  • Pitch & Catch-athon (people sign-up to play catch for X many hours. They would get people to sponosor them and donate money based on how long they said they would play pitch & catch).
  • For his 16th bday this September, his bday gift could be donations of $16 for his trip.
  • Local sponsorships
  • Devin could volunteer for a local company or organization if they would sponsor him through donations - This show he understands he has to work for what he wants in life-  a valuable lesson.
  • For my 25th bday, try to get people to donate $25 to my brother's fundraising as a bday present!
If you have ANY fundrasising ideas or would like to make a donation, please message me online via Facebook, Twitter or my gmail: even the smallest amount can make the biggest difference!

Thank you so much for your help and consideration!

Much love,


Monday, August 22, 2011

About Gaining Nine lbs in Four Days

I honestly looked like a drug addict, hiding in the corner from my husband. My drug of choice? Lays Potato Chips, the crinkle kind. I escaped for the pantry a few times, only to dunk some chips in ketchup. My mind was blank as I shoveled food into my mouth. Afterwards, all I could think about was how mad I was at myself for screwing up this poorly. Hello, my name is Ashley and I'm an emotional eater. (Welcome, Ashley).

Last Friday, I wrote about how my running and diet has sucked the past week or two. It started with a bagel. Then that turned into cheesy potatoes. Heavy carbs followed after that...

What was the damage? Nine lbs. in four days. I went from my milestone weight of 218 and within four days I was up to 227. I wanted to cry. How could I let myself go like that? I knew the answer; I was an emotional mess for a few days. The week before Mother Nature makes her visit is awful and a few other events added unwanted stress to my life. Then add on feelings of guilt… I feel so bad for my husband when my mind is racing and my mood is on constant edge. I really don’t even want to be in my own head or body during that week of hormonal rage.

Thank GOD I have a wonderful husband, who lets me be crazy and hormonal without judging me or giving up on me. I can only imagine how I will be when I am pregnant one day. I am pretty sure we should either document all of my episodes or have cameras follow us around for a reality show.

I always share my moments of joy and victory on my blog. But I think it’s equally important to share moments of downfall. It’s not always easy. It’s not always pretty. It’s not always fun. Anyone going through this kind of journey understands the battle of the scale. You have high days and low days. You days where you eat amazing foods and other days where you stuff yourself with potato chips in closet. But no matter the moment or the day, it’s all about how you rebound. How you make a comeback. How you make a decision that day (not tomorrow or next Monday) but at that moment... you make a decision to kick butt moving forward.
My comeback will involve getting back on track with a low-carb diet again and signing up for a gym membership. It was easier to workout when I had the apartment gym right now the road, but the hot weather and my knee / back injuries are making it really easy to make excuses to NOT run outside.

No more excuses.

After a long night of celebrating on Saturday night, I woke up bright and early on Sunday to get my run in. I even wore my husband’s dirty socks from the day before. Gross, I know. But I determined that is both love and dedication (to both my hubby , health and running!)

While putting my running clothes on, I looked at myself in the mirror.

So here I am. I should be proud of my hardwork this year. Yes, I have more work to do and more miles to run. But I still have a belly button. I might have gained 9 lbs in four days, but I am still on the right track to lose weight if I keep fighting to ditch my bad habits and closet binges.

I can still see progress made.

My back fat and love handles are melting away.

My stomach is getting a little smaller and my curves are looking a little better.

My pants are fitting better and I feel more confident in a swim suit.

Best of all, I have the support from my husbands, friends and family to keep me motivated. I can’t even explain how much you ALL inspire me to keep going and running (literally) toward my goals.

Much love,


Friday, August 19, 2011

An Afternoon Date

On Wednesday, Justin and I both took a half day off at work. We needed a date together, and the fair seemed like the perfect place to indulge in both food and our relationship.

Lumberjack show!

He had such a cute accent. Seriously.

I could never ever do this...

Whoever could climb up and down the fastest wins. This dude is ranked 4th in the nation!

So fast.

The guy on the left is on his way down before the guy on the right is even up to the top!

log rolling. YES!

I think I could do this....

No I couldn't...

Best out of three!

Round 2!

He fell straight down...on his balls. And I caught it on camera.

Yet, he went for round 3.

And he won!


This is for you Gma Sieb! :)

They are playing your instrument Gma Sieb! :)

My life weakness.

Part of the stage that collapsed. So sad.

Why in the world would any child put this in their room?

Justin thought this was a chair for the bedroom. #suchaman

This was one of the most magical pictures I took all day. Four woman stood around the memorial and prayed. I literally almost cried...

He is too cute.

The coolest old man ever is HERE at the roasted corn tent! :) He double dipped our corn.

Fun! :)

If only we had some rum....

We may have tailgated before we went into the fair.

I'm not sure how I can eat bacon now after seeing these adorable little dudes.

Never will I ever....

Doughnut burger!

Corn on the cob!!

Yes, we definitely drove go-carts. =)

And the Bandit Sheep!

It was a perfect day with my best friend. People watching, horrible (for you) food, sweet tea and cute old people - what else could you ask for?!

Make time for dates with your loved ones. Morning. Afternoon. Night - it doesn't matter. Just make time.

Much love,