Thursday, May 30, 2013

on letting go...

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go

i feel like i've talked about letting go a couple different times on this blog. probably because letting go is what i had to do. the choice i had to make. and not an easy choice it was. but in hindsight, the best choice i could ever make for myself.

to me letting go takes strength. when some say you gave up or you should have tried harder, i see the strength behind those very hard days, nights, months of trying to decide to let go or hold on. and i commend those that hold on. that fight for their lives. it takes just as much strength but a different kind. l

letting go takes the strength to see that some things may never change. that you deserve better. that some people are toxic in your life. and that you have to fight for yourself. for you well being. for your happiness.

i have a friend that i have known since i was a child and i am currently finding myself in the position of needing to let her go. its a hard thing. one moment i completely grasp that she is toxic in my life and the next, i am dwelling on the history and the good times. but eventually, after so many years of ups and downs and being treated much less than you deserve; after so much energy and thought put into how to be better, how to make it better, how to be less frustrated and be more available, you have to realize its not all you. you have tried and fought and some people come into our lives for a reason or season. and that's all. and then you have to let go. because its just not good for you anymore.

letting go is sometimes about putting ourselves first. i am a person who is constantly concerned about what everyone else needs, what they feel, are the bummed? mad? disappointed? frustrated with me? how i can help them? how do i make it better for them? and i do this at the cost of myself. a lot.

letting go is sometimes simply just that. letting go of the things holding us back and having the strength to do so. whether that means moving on and away from a situation or moving on from the things that are upsetting us and being willing to move forward within the situation.

its such a simple term and yet holds so so much meaning.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

a picture is worth a thousand words. or something like that.

Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures

to be honest, this prompt kind of stumped me. i mean i get pictures. totally. but what was i going to share that i haven't already? in reality i've shared all but one of these pictures at some point but since i was so stumped, i decided to go with 5 of my favorite pictures of 2013 so far. lame. but that's all i could think of...

March 4th, 2013 - first anniversary celebration day. M writing in the sand unprompted.

April 14th, 2013 - i don't know why this is a favorite but i think its the joy and light in his eyes when he plays with his puppy (he's calling to river at a park in this picture). i can't wait to see that joy in his eyes when we have human babies someday.

January 2013 - one of very few pictures of us together because one of us (usually me) is always behind the camera. but we got smart and set up the tripod here for a quick shot together with the ocean as our backdrop. plus my yellow jacket just rocks.

May 11th, 2013 - i did a little mini-photoshoot while we were at a 1st birthday party for this little girl and in the middle she did this. it cracks me up and i just love it. 

Easter 2013 - last but not least, these two that raised me and loved me on my best and worst days. and still do. i love my parents so much. and this picture of us that is just so... us.

more words than we were probably supposed to use but whatever.

Monday, May 27, 2013

a letter to you.

Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers

dear lovely people on the other side of the screen,

you rock. no seriously. you build me up when i am down. you support, you pray, you virtually hug. you high five, you praise, you make me feel beautiful. you comment, you text, you instagram, you email, you remind me that there is good. you don't judge, you just wrap your arms around me and love me despite my crazy and all my faults. and all of that and more means the absolute most to me. your friendship is amazing. someone once told me i had a social disorder because of how close and how much my blog/twitter/instagram friends mean to me but honestly, it is the best thing. i wear my "social disorder" proudly because, if it means i am lucky enough to have you guys in my life, it is so worth it. and you make me an incredibly blessed girl. no really. i am not just saying this because of the prompt. well the prompt did urge me to say it now but i think it a lot. i should say it more.

some of you have followed me through 3 blogs and didn't bat an eye. you hugged me so hard when i announced the divorce. you cheered me on when i met the best guy ever. you prayed when i went through the colonoscopy and again last week with the colposcopy. i may have issues making friends in real life, but i am still incredibly blessed in the friendship department thanks to all of you. every. single. one. of you. it means the world to me. seriously. the world.

so thank you. thank you for loving me through my crazy, sometimes drama-ridden, occasionally pathetic, silly little life.

i big puffy heart love you guys so much. so so much.

love me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

a year without internet

Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you'd like.

Paul Miller - from "I'm still here"

i found this link through another blogger a couple months ago and the title intrigued me so i clicked over. i'll be honest, i usually go to things like this, read the first bit and then get distracted and never go back to finish but i couldn't stop reading this one.

i'm still here: back online after a year without the internet.

it was so interesting to me to read about life for a year without internet and how different the outcome was for this guy than what he anticipated his year to be. in a world where people are so ready to bash the internet, i loved this perspective on how connected it helps one feel even in the loneliest of moments.

i'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

worst habits

another day, another challenge...

Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

1. over-thinking everything. no really. there isn't much of anything i don't totally rip to shreds in my mind over-thinking. i mean get down to the nitty-grittys. seriously. i can build something up in my head so good. its awesome. only its not. medical stuff? i have passed out (no really, i lost consciousness. not just a figure of speech) because i over-thought something so much that i overdid myself. its completely ridiculous. i wish i could turn it off. but ya. doesn't work that way.

2. worry-wort. in line with number one, i worry like a fool. someone is flying? i worry. someone is going on a road trip? i worry. someone is driving to work everyday (erm... ya)? i worry. everyday when i pray, i always start by asking for everyone i care about (that's a lot of people) to be safe. to arrive safely to work and that they are safe while they are at work and as they drive home from work. seriously. i worry so much its ridiculous. and really bad for my health as it turns out.

3. putting everyone else first. this isn't always a bad habit obviously but sometimes it can be too much. sometimes i forget to put myself and my needs first and even when i do say no, i feel too guilty to follow through and end up giving in anyway. even when i may really really need that time to do something for my job or my business or just myself. i worry so much about other people's feelings. a week ago i spent 4 hours cleaning out my sister's closet for her and then told her i needed to head home to work on business stuff. i could tell she was disappointed and it ate at me so much. i need to learn to put myself first every once in awhile.

come one, tell me yours.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

i've learned...

i had to put sleep over blogging tuesday night which meant no challenge post yesterday but that's okay because i was actually a functioning human being for the first time all week. kinda important. i think. sometimes.

Day 23, Thursday: Things you've learned that school won't teach you
a picture from my college graduation party in 2008
i swear i'm wearing clothes, its just a strapless dress

i've learned that laughter really is the best medicine.

i've learned that the better i feel about myself, the better my day is. although sometimes vain, makeup on my face can make a difference in how i carry myself. sweatshirts are comfy but end up making me feel frumpy.

i've learned that some tears are worth crying. and that sometimes all we need is a really good cry. (stepmom and a walk to remember... my go to "i need a really good cry" movies)

i've learned that you can't fix people. you can only support them.

i've learned (er, am learning) that dreams are worth chasing.

i've learned that some battles just aren't worth fighting.

i've learned that blogging is an amazing source of friendship, hope, support, and laughter.

i've learned that money isn't everything.

i've learned that it doesn't matter the size of the ring or the house or even the wedding. if you are treated like shit, none of those things are going to pull you out of your deep dark place of despair and hopelessness.

i've learned that sometimes, very much depending on the situation, goodbye is the best thing you can say.

i've learned (again, learning) that really yummy food isn't always worth it if you hate the way you look in the mirror.

i've learned that exercise, although i dread it more than many, makes me feel a whole lot better after i do it.

i've learned that stepping in target can lift my mood. (don't tell me that's not true for you too!)

i've learned that people will judge you no matter what you do.

i've learned that sometimes, even your best friend won't agree with your decisions but you have to do what's best for you anyway.

i've learned that sometimes our gut knows the answer before we do. ("go with your gut" #ilovegibbs)

i've learned that i tend to overshare but it also makes me exactly who i am.

i've learned (learning) that communication is the hardest and most important thing in any relationship (not just romantic ones).

i've learned that God's timing is the only timing i can trust.

i've learned that we never really know what someone is going through.

i've learned that i am stronger than i really believe.

i've learned that a good hug can sometimes fix everything.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

a few of my favorites

day 21! i can't believe how quickly we are nearing the end of this challenge! i have loved it so far (even though i skipped a few) and i have definitely blogged a ton more because of it. even when i should be sleeping for my 5:30 wake up call, i sit down and write the post for the next days prompt and i'm so glad i did!

anyway. today is simple which is a good thing because i need some sleep like whoa. (i write the night before.) had an extremely emotionally exhausting night sunday and woke up puffy-eyed monday morning after too little sleep and it kicked my butt all day.

so enough babbling... i need sleep!

Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

i have a little list of my favorites over there on my sidebar spot but here they are too. i keep a list there because i once stumbled upon (completely by accident) what is now one of my favorite blogs and she had a long list of her favorite posts and it was such a fabulous way of getting to know her and seeing her best of.

a little disclaimer.. because this is my 3rd blog, i don't have a huge archive. some of my favorite posts reside on past blogs that i haven't looked at in a long time (they were written in my past life) and i have yet to pull those posts off and transfer them over. someday. for now here are my favorites since the conception of this little bloggity (since january 2012):

  1. probably my favorite to date on this blog: a source of hope // about why i blog about my divorce occasionally.

  2. His perfect timing // about trusting in His timing and the timing of meeting M when I did.

  3. lessons from an empty bank account // a recent post about our financial state and what it has taught me.

  4. on a coffee table remodel // not a super fantastic post but the post that gets the most pinterest and random google search attention. its a pretty kick-ass coffee table.

  5. and because i have loved this challenge, my favorite challenge post so far: i do... me. everyday // on what i do outside of work. just a raw post about exactly who i am at the core. for the most part. i'm sure i forgot a few "me" things.
i can't wait to read some of your favorite posts. it is one of the best ways to get to know a new to you blogger and find new friends!

happy tuesday!

Monday, May 20, 2013

made to be a mom

i skipped two days of the challenge over the weekend. i had a few ideas for saturdays prompt but the day got completely crazy and i never got to sit down and write. i'll probably go back and write that post at some point after the challenge is over and i need blog ideas. :) yesterday's prompt was something about 5 blogs you love and since i kinda did that on day 5, i decided to skip that too.

today is Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

its a little like the lot in life prompt but don't worry, i'm going a totally different route today. before i do so, thank you for all the love and support and the "i totally could have written this post!"'s. it made me feel so much less alone and less like a total loser. i love you guys

so on to something i'm struggling with right now.

you know how we all have this idea? this plan for how our lives will play out. of course God laughs at our plans but regardless, we all have a little idea in our head of how things will go. yeah.

i never thought i would be having children later in life. it is something that i just can't seem to get over. i never in my wildest dreams thought i would be divorced and starting over at 26. its still a little weird to me. instead of living in a home and having babies, i am back to square one. don't get me wrong. it is the absolute right place for me to be. right here. right now. and it is the absolute best decision i have ever made. but i still struggle with the starting over part. the part that i won't be having babies anytime soon.

see when you start over, it means being single for a time. meeting a new guy. that whole dating phase. the long term relationship phase. then sometime down the line, an engagement. and months later a wedding. and then maybe buying a condo/house. enjoying newlywed-dom. and thennnn babies. there are a lot of steps to get through regardless. to start all over. its kinda hard.

i struggle with being a person who wants so badly to just be a mom. to have children. to experience that. and to not want to be in my 30s when i do so. there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting til your 30s. thats not at all what i'm saying. but it wasn't my plan. it wasn't how i saw my life playing out at all.

i know someone is going to say or at least think that i should enjoy my life now before my world is turned upside down. some mom who is getting zero sleep thinks i'm crazy i'm sure. but honestly? i am ready. its been in my blood since i was a kid. i have loved children since i was one. i was the baby whisperer as a teenager and spent summers with babies as young as 3 months old with terrible colic. when babysitting days ended, i got a real job with kids. i nurture my puppy like she is my human child.  i've enjoyed my 20s, my freedom. i am ready (from that perspective). this is something i want so badly and it is not in my grasp at all right now. its frustrating. and a little sad.

at this point, i just don't know how things are going to play out. when kids or the possibility of kids will be on my radar. and its such a struggle for a girl who was made to be a mom.

Friday, May 17, 2013

just me.

Day 17, Friday: A favorite photo of yourself and why
this was hard to figure out... i searched through a bunch of folders and struggled to find something i like. but then stumbled on this one that i really liked for awhile and that i received a ton of compliments on.

i don't really know why i like it... maybe because i feel like its me at my most relaxed and confident. just simplistic.

and although i already shared this one in this challenge, this was a frontrunner because its my true essence. i'm a bit snarky and ridiculous.
just me.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

be my friend maybe? or maybe not. its okay.

Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it

this topic has been kind of hard for me. i have spent the majority of an hour crapping around on the internet trying to figure out what to write about. there are a couple different things i could get into but i feel like its all going to sound like a big fat whine. this is my insecurity speaking... i don't for one second think you're whining on your blogs. i over-think things. always.

do i write about my weight and the constant battle and why for the love can't i be one of those girls with permanently good metabolism all my life? no. no one wants to hear about that.

how about the state of our finances and that battle? blah. we haven't been living with my parents long enough to rehash that and have an update.

ok. maybe the frustration surrounding my "career" path and what i really want to be doing. ugh. nope.

so here is what i am going to talk about. you know, now that you know what i am not going to be talking about. i know i've talked about my self-esteem and insecurity and all that jazz (don't worry, i'm not getting into that again.. well not really. well kind of.. just focusing on a different part of it. bare with me) but i haven't spent a lot of time talking about how it effects my friendships.

i've never been good making friends. in fact i am horrible at it. once i am comfortable, i am pretty good at the friendship part. but it takes a long while to get there and getting there requires being able to make the friend in the first place.

the insecurity and extreme introvertedness makes it incredibly hard for me. and the older i get the harder it is. at this point in my life, i feel like everyone already has their group of friends. i am always the outsider. always the new girl. and everyone else has a connection, a history with the each other that i don't and can't have. it is the hardest thing in the world for me. i struggle with it constantly.

i get really sad when i realize i have no good group of friends. no group of girlfriends for girls night out. not a group that i chat with daily. nothing. its a really hard thing for me.

part of it stems from moving away. i lost touch with a lot of friends from my younger days moving 400 miles away. and going to not one but two commuter colleges and no sorority means no group of college girlfriends either. i did have a couple girlfriends in sacramento that all came from blogging but then i moved away.

so now here i am back in so cal. one of my best friends ever growing up and i reconnected when i first moved home but with 2 kids and her own set of hard stuff she's going through, we struggle to spend time together. and its a complicated friendship to boot.

mike has this huge group of friends from an old church they all attended which is fabulous but that is the perfect example of a group i feel like a complete outsider in. i mean these people grew up together in the church. they all matched up and married each other essentially. and now they are having babies at the same time and bonding more. and here comes me. the girl who never stepped foot in that church and at nearing 30, i enter the scene. its such a hard thing for me. i enjoy spending time with them but i can't help but constantly feel like i don't belong.

i kind of feel like i will never belong anywhere.

maybe that's why i like blogging so much. its like a giant group of friends that i care so much about. i love my blog friends but i'd be lying if i said i'm not want for some real life grab-a-cup-of-coffee girlfriends too.

i mentioned to mike recently that i wanted to find a church and maybe, in addition to all the friends he has from his old church (they all left the church for similar but varying reasons awhile ago and have since found various new ones), make some new couple friends together. he told me that would be good but he grew up with these people and they will always be like family to him.
oh hey, punch in the gut. thanks. (he totally didn't mean it like that and will read this and probably feel terrible and get mad at me for even saying that. please don't think bad of him. i don't think he even really knows how hard this concept is for me. how much i struggle with this. he did not at all mean it the way it felt to me. those are my issues and mine alone.)

 maybe it comes when i have kids? do you naturally make mommy friends? or will they still have their own group of girlfriends too? will i still be the outsider? probably.

i have a really close, good friend at work. i love her to death and she gets me. but we don't really spend time together outside of work. and that's ok. we both have a ton of our own stuff going on. but i also don't want to leave her out of this post because she's awesome.

back to my blogging friends. i love you guys. i love your sweet words, the kind caring emails, and the instagram love. it means the world to me and its what makes my "friendship issues" a little more bearable.

i don't know where i am going with this. its just something i struggle with constantly. i feel like it is the most embarrassing thing to share too. picture me shyly cowering in the corner with a giant tattoo on my forehead that says "i have no friends." i am just so cool. don't you all want to be my friend now. erm. :/

that is one of my "lots in life". i wish i knew how to crack this shell open and change things. i wish i had developed an amazing group of college girlfriends to do life with. but alas, i didn't. i am 27 and can count my true friends on one hand. i've always believed its better to have a few really good friends than a ton of kinda friends. but other than mike. and my coworker. and my on-again, off-again friend (who is currently off-again), i got nothin'.

except all you. thank you for being so sweet. so wonderful. i love you so much. truly. you put a smile on my face when i really need. thank you for being amazing friends even if we can't yet have a cup of coffee together because there are too many miles between us. you are still the best friends a girl could ask for.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A day in the life..

Day 15, Wednesday: A Day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - this could be "a photo an hour" if you'd like)

Are you ready? There are 40 pictures in this post. Sounds like a lot more than it is (I hope)...

Before I get started, I am a teacher at an after school care program where I am referred to as "Miss Ashley". I open my center up each morning at 7am for all the parents who have to be at work early and need to drop their kids off before school starts. I then work a 9 hour day which includes half day kindergarteners (both early and late bears) and 1st-6th graders later in the afternoon. that should help some of the below make sense.

5 o'clock hour (yes, AM)
+ alarm goes off at 5:30am. I am exhausted and barely holding my head up
+ brush teeth and then makeup (i shower at night..)
+ flat-iron (in this case re-curl a few pieces... normally just re-straighten a few pieces)

6 o'clock hour
+ get dressed
+ feel a little more alive but still wishing i could be in my bed
+ mike walks me out and blows me kisses
+35 minutes later arrive at work and park

7 o'clock hour
+ take down all the chairs at work
+ make the breakfast of the day
+ work in my planner to stay organized

8 o'clock hour
+ sign out the kids and
+ send them off to school
+ make my breakfast (in this case a protein shake)
+ lock up the back gate to the school to keep out the crazies

9 o'clock hour
+ set up the wii for my late bear kinders
+ but first we do our homework packet
+ walk the late bears to line for school

10 o'clock hour
+ no kids in the center means paperwork time
+ and walls as well

11 o'clock hour
+ more paperwork in the last minutes before the early bear kinders are out
+ grab school lunches for a couple kids

12  & 1 o'clock hours
+ lunch/caffeine time for me 
+ homework time with kinders

2 o'clock hour
+ play time for the kiddos - coloring and games.. sometimes real, sometimes made up
+ make the snack for the day

3 o'clock hour
+ snack time for kids
+ homework time for 1st graders
+ play time on the playground

4 o'clock hour
+ quittin' time for me!
+ back home
+ river going crazy with excitement to see me (looks like she's sitting, she's actually about to jump on me)

5 to 8 o'clock hour
+ dinnertime
+ time for river to beg for extras (i'm a sucker for that face with her chin on my leg... i always find something to give her)
+ this time varies a lot otherwise... sometimes the gym, a lot of the time sewing and cutting and ironing, sometimes just shenanigans with the crazy on the right :).

9 to 11 o'clock hour
+ showering
+ blogging
+ sleeping

WHEW! now i'm tired. no seriously. that kinda just overwhelmed me for tomorrow. i'm thinkin that last picture looks really good right about now. and since it is now 11pm... (i write my posts at night and schedule for the morning)

what do your days look like??

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

10 things.

Day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy
1. my camera and photography in general. 
this picture was taken right after i got it in 2011 and, while its not the best picture technically speaking, 
i still love it. 

2. the color mint and teal

3. this guy

4. new clothes

5. oreos

6. this girl

7. fabric

8. family

9. chocolate milk

10. this humble little business of mine

what makes you happiest?

Monday, May 13, 2013

list of happy

+ a quick mini-shoot with this cute girl
at her 1st birthday party
+celebrating my momma
+ party at the park
+ spaghetti and meatballs
+ curled hairs
+ celebrating M's mom
+ lots of laughs playing the Ellen iPad game
+ editing pictures
+ the "blog every day in may" challenge 
(that i am clearly skipping today)
+ time with friends
+ pioneer woman's french toast
+ being silly with my guy
+ family time
+ playing photography and being happy with the results
+ ceiling fans = lifesaver. whew

Sunday, May 12, 2013

ladybugs and rainbows.

Day 12, Sunday: What do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life...)

sometimes i sit and watch the children at work as they dig for rollie pollies and run and play tag. their excitement over ladybugs and butterflies. and a simple ice cream sandwich. "ms. ashley, ms. ashley! look what i found!" the simplicity of playing with dominoes. of coloring a rainbow. of pretending to read a book to an imaginary class before them. 

that is what i miss. the innocence. the basic things that fill their days. 

when we are children, all we want is to grow up and drive. to have responsibility. to be able to decide when we get to go out. when we have to go to bed. 

and then we do grow up. and that responsibility we wanted becomes about bills and rent. and choosing toilet paper over a new toy. and driving means gas. and going to bed means getting up for work the next morning.

i miss the simplicity of being a child. sometimes when life gets to be too dang much, i just want to go look for rollie pollies and ladybugs. and worry about who my best friend is rather than how to pay the bills.

i miss that time.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

three65: April 2013

1st: easter pics
2nd: taking fabric pics for a reviewers choosing
3rd: mini golf spring break field trip with the kidlets
4th: resting with cute faced river
5th: off-leash dog beach day [post]
6th: just the girls for our saturday
7th: best momma ever. #sharpieaddict
8th: freshly washed jeans suck
9th: pretty skies despite a bad work day
10th: oreo treats from my love on an anxiety-ridden day
11th: didn't want to go to the gym but so glad i did
12th: playdoh creations #lalaloopsy
13th: loves for my girl
14th: M naming video game stuff after me.
15th: my skeleton drawing skillz need help
16th: teacher appreciation week flower

17th: meeting outfit
18th: lady bits check up after atypical test results [post]
19th: camper songs with funny lines
20th: mint polka dot skinnies make me oh so happy [post]
21st: fire pit at my parents
22nd: puppy lovin on her dad after he had a bad day
23rd: scenes from packing
24th: the secretaries made me do it
25th: carefree days of kids make me wish for being little again
26th: lots of caffeine after a very very late night
27th: organizing fabric for the move
28th: film festival weekend
29th: happy to have her home after boarding her for 2 days
30th: seriously can't wait to get back to the gym

10 words.

Day 11, Saturday: Sell yourself in 10 words or less

all heart.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Shop Update: April

Not a huge update this month. I've been in kind of a rut but I still did better than last month. :)

This month includes the second most popular strap I've ever sold in my shop (the first being made with fabric that has since been discontinued. sad face.). And another chevron combination has been added. Chevron is becoming a widely requested pattern and I'm trying to get the vast amounts of various chevron fabrics I have made and in the shop as timely as possible. 

Also, being that its May, I'm going to very briefly mention the possibility of a biggie sale in June to kick off all the summer photography fun! Stay tuned! Trying to stock up the shop this month in preparation but its proving really difficult with my "real" job and living at my parents' now.

Anyway... on to April's update!

Don't forget.. everything is ready to ship and comes with a lens cap pocket!

Main shop page here and always at the top of the blog in my header!

Thanks loves!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

happy place

Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

after a super craptastic day, i came home to my happy place to create and blog and love on my puppy and my guy. in our super cramped room at my parents where we just moved last weekend. taking life one hour at a time right now. that's all i can handle. a moment in my day today.