Friday, March 28, 2008

Confessions of an addict...

My name is Ashley and I have an addiction. My addiction is to the purchasing and writing in too many journals and sketchbooks. I own many that I can't even find all of them that I currently write in. Many I've had over a decade. Some are actually journals that I use to collect my thoughts and everyday happenings. One is about everday travel. It contains places that I want to check out around the world, particularly though in the US. Another journal I use for my Bible studies. My latest journal records the everyday moments of Mia. Moments I can look back on one day and remember the little intricacies of my darling baby girl. One such entry is from the morning Mia and I watched the sunrise on my parents front porch. We sat on the porch swing and rocked away as I looked down on my new baby and we sat in total silence. The only sounds were animals in the far distance and Mia's slow constant breathing as she slept in my arms.

The journal below I made for our trip to London. I researched for months before and made my own travel book for the trip. Once on the trip, I filled in the journal with entries from each day, along with additional notes on what to do in each place.

One of my favorite journals is a leather one with a scene from the Venetian canals. Its contents are all of my favorite verses, quotes, poems, speeches, etc.
It also contains lists of my favorite books--those that have inspired me as a historian or novels that I read over and over again...

Below is one of my favorite writings by Henry James on his trip s to Italy, particularly Venice.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Eggs, bunnies, and Baby!

We had a wonderful Easter holiday. Our family of three loaded up and went to West Texas to be with my parents and family. My niece and nephew were already at the farm when we arrived, soaking in the last few hours of their Spring Break and enjoying time with their Nana and Papaw. Since the wind was incredibly high, and I knew that the forecast for Easter Sunday was cold, I made each of them an Easter pail. I found some pails at the hardware store, painted their names on each and loaded them with craft and busy activities that would entertain an 11 and 9 year old. They loved them! I had a dye kit in each. Since my parents have over 40 chickens now, eggs are not hard to come by.

We dyed eggs on Saturday morning after making foam puppets...We had some extra foam left over, so David made each of the kids a special egg. The egg below he made for Brock...its a hedgehog.

Isn't it cute?!?

Of course no post would be complete without showing how we embarrass Baby Mia. We found this flower headband...She's such a happy baby...the headband just fit.

Easter Sunday was spent in church (where Mia displayed some very inappropriate laughter!) and then on the farm with family and my mother's delicious food!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Sun wants to come out....

With another week gone, and Spring Break finally here, I've decided to reflect on my favorite aspects of Spring and the previous week...

1) My child loves to play on comfy the morning while I'm watching TV I let her lay on a pillow by me. She loves to feel and fold fabric lately.

2) With Spring, I love Spring Cleaning. Nothing makes me feel better about my house than when it is newly organized and freshly clean. One of the projects we tackled this Spring was getting our cupboards, fridge, and freezer organized. To help in the process, we made lists of all the things that go in the cabinets, on each shelf, etc. My thought process was that if I had a list for each shelf, one other people (like my husband) could put groceries away in the right place, and also, when we're making grocery lists, we can check the lists to see what we are out of.

3) April showers have preceded April. The last two days have been wonderful Spring Break days to catch up on reading, writing, movies, and Tivo. I forgot how much I missed my TiVo until I sat down this afternoon to catch up on my Daily Shows and Jon and Kate Plus 8.

4) With a few days off, I've also been going threw cupboards trying to find meals to make and freeze for the future. We're such a busy family that too often we end up with a frozen dinner or sandwich.

5) I love the smell of Spring air. And since I grew up in Texas and now live in Oklahoma, my favorite smell is the air before and after rain and thunderstorms. I don't know if its the electricity or just the dampness...but I do love it.

6) My "Coupon Mom" book finally came in, and I'm completely obsessed. We've been comparing prices at different stores, making excel tables of pricing, organizing coupons...oh, the fun. I'm excited to test out the theory and see how much I can really save.

Baby Mia met her great-grandparents from Michigan this week.. What a little ham we have on our hands. This weekend will be Mia's first Easter and yet another trip to Texas to be with the family.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Solace in the storm

Whenever I think that my day has been terrible, or that I must be crazy for trying to be a mom, wife, and Ph.D student, I come home to the cutest face in the world....Nothing can make your blues go away more than looking into her "baby blues."

Is that not the epitome of innocence? She is the reason I don't get much sleep at night because I'm either reading/writing/grading/researching, or she's a little thirsty. That face makes all the tears, all the late nights, all the shadows of doubt slip away....

Being a history student, my favorite gifts for Mia are the heirlooms she was given. Mia has my mom's baby rind, Dave's mothers necklace. I love all the history behind the jewelry. Generations of women wearing the same pieces.

Lessons Learned This Week

Today is the start of a new blog! I have been so inspired by reading other blogs of wives and moms, I just had to start one of my own. This blog is intended to be my outlet when the strains of being a wife, mother, graduate assistant, and Ph.D student get the best of me.

One of my favorite things I like to do is reflect on my week and the things that attracted my attention or touched my heart.
From February 28-March 5:
1) Dryer Balls from Dryer Max are awesome! Thus you don't have to buy fabric softener. I even use them on our sheets, and they come our incredibly soft!
2) The weather changes in OK more dramatically per day than even Lubbock! Yesterday was gorgeous and we're supposed to get snow!
3) My daughter loves the to tug on anything and everything that she can get her hands on.
4) My girl Hilary knows how to stage a comeback!
5) Oklahoma does have some smart Democrats...Praise Jesus for that!
6) My latest infatuation is trying to go green, organic, and yet live on pennies. I love researching new ways to save money especially on groceries, and the like. A friend introduced me to the following site: Its really wonderful.
7) My obsession with Christian from Project Runway grows with every day
8) I love my Ph.D study carrel in the library...I horde my journals and books of my books hasn't been checked out in over four decades!
9) Grading 95, 10 page papers on the 1st Crusade in a week and a half can make you lose your mind!
10) My puppy doesn't live in my house when I buy him a new rawhide bone..I haven't seen him in days. He hides in Mia's room with his bone trying to avoid anyone who will try and steal it!
11) We've been trying to find new ways to give back, but also want to be able to see the results. One morning on NPR they had on a representative from Save the Children.
By eating out one time less a month we could help a struggling child in the area of our choosing. I really wanted to do something with a child in the U.S. We chose the Appalachian Mountains as our area. When I saw that one of the kids names was Dakota, I took it as our sign that we were to help him. We got his picture in this week and he's adorable!
12) I have few collections, books being by far my biggest. But some of my favorite types of books are cookbooks. I read them like my history books. I highlight, make notes in the margins...Oh How I love them.

Nigella Lawson writes beautiful cookbooks. They're easy to follow if you're not a great cook, and they have the most beautiful pictures that keep you inspired.

13) Taking pictures of Mia has become an addiction. I think all new moms can attest that one can not exhaust when taking pictures of their beautiful children. We're draining the batteries taking so many pictures of our beautiful baby girl!