A Letter to my 2-year old on his Birthday❤️

Gabriel,

Happy birthday my love! Two years later and you are so much more than I imagined and everything I have ever hoped for. My Rainbow baby. 6 pounds 8 ounces, at 6:08 pm on this day two year ago changed my life forever. I woke up this morning and looked at you in your bed (actually surprised I was up before you) and began thinking about your first words, your first hysterical bouts of laughter, the first time you said “please” and “thank you”, your first scrapes and bruises, and even the first time you walked into daycare, gave me the biggest kiss and hug and walked away telling me to “have a good day”. Baffled, I will admit I sat in my car for about ten minutes wondering what had changed only to come to the realization that you are growing up.

That wobbly run you had at your first birthday party is now one full of vigor and laughter as you look back at me trying to keep up. You went from pointing out your favorite food in the market to demanding spaghetti, garlic bread and cucumbers for dinner almost every night because they’re all your favorites. Your independence brightens my days, while simultaneously creating a sadness in my heart because you’re not a baby-baby anymore.

Zipping your coat, putting on your shoes, picking out a dinosaur shirt for school everyday, writing your name, telling me what songs you want to hear on the radio in the car – each and everyday I am extremely happy for all that you have learned and everything that you will continue to learn; along with all that you continue to teach me.

Our days are not always perfect, but we make it through. The past year has been full of transitions and milestones that I only imagined would leave you a fussy mess but I look at you and somehow feel at ease – like you’re letting mom know its all going to be okay. I appreciate and love you for that more than you will ever know. Happy birthday Gabriel. You will forever be my boy. My life. My miracle. My inspiration to be and do things I never, ever imagined I could and the greatest love my heart has ever known in my twenty-seven years of life.

My baby – for always.

Love Mommy ❤

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Why I Rarely Talk About Being an “Army Wife”

No, it has nothing to do with being embarrassed about my husbands job or the idea most people have that everything behind the uniform is classified. But it definitely has a lot to do with the fact that it is not my job and I DO NOT wear the uniform. But before everyone gets the wrong idea about this post, let me explain.

I met my husband when I was 14, we grew up together and from high school, through college and a long, overwhelming deployment through my last year of undergrad, I eagerly applied to graduate school while also submitting applications for our first apartment at our first duty station. We are both well traveled so moving was not quite as big a step as getting married was but we did it (no regrets, loved this man since I was 14) and we’re still rolling!

What I was not ready for all those years ago was strangers telling me that my life now revolved around my “sponsor” and that everything I have and will have I should thank him for. Even after working a full time job up until the day I gave birth to Gabe, successfully completing my Master’s degree the day after giving birth and going back after maternity leave, I was told that I either need to figure out how to juggle it all like a single mother or quit my job because no matter what, my husband comes first. Not me, not our son – my husband. I was told that his sleep meant more after the baby came because I would be able to nap when the baby did or that I should be grateful his income is steady. All laughable times for me because I refused to let these individuals see me hindered by their words.

Yet, truthfully, resentment has tapped me on the shoulder more often than people think but I keep in mind that this is not how my husband and I think. In fact, these statements are not even the reflection of everyone in the service but they are spoken quite often by people who hold it together better in public than they do behind closed doors and it all frustrated the shit out of me.

THE TURNING POINT:

However, during a random deployment for my husband – his 3rd to be exact, I decided that if I found more things that Ashley enjoyed doing instead of constantly worrying and complaining about about all the things I felt like I could not, (due to my husbands job of course – said with much sarcasm btw) I would be a hell of a lot happier. No, I did not join spouses clubs, attend teas got to every single ball. I did not get to every new duty station in search for friends and I definitely did not wait for someone, anyone to go see a movie, hit the gym, go out to eat or even shop at the mall. I did for me and became the best company that I could keep. It made me a healthier version of myself and as I can imagine took plenty of stress off of my husband who could not control his comings or goings but wished I had a lot more of a say in mine. I landed a great job, and we’ve adjusted parts of our life to feel as normal as we can in spite of the boots I constantly trip over coming into the front door from from work every night and the green uniforms that litter the laundry room floor.

My husband loves it. I love it. His occupation does not define us and we do not limit ourselves because of it. I don’t speak on it much because I love for people to get to know me for myself – outside of the idea that an “Army Wife struggle” will automatically create this lifelong bond between us. Looking back, that is not how I want to be remembered when you get to your next duty station. I want you to look back and be like damn, she was Just Ashley.

-Ash

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Work, school and the silliness begins 5AM everyday like clockwork – love them both to pieces!

Finding Time for Myself

So a few months back I wrote a post on being the best company that you can keep (awesome post by the way you should definitely check that out here lol) Being the best company you can keep. However, lately I’ve been finding it harder to slow down with Gabe turning two, the babies coming sooner than expected and finding that QT in the middle of it all for my husband. But this week has been rough! I was feeling the need for me time and steady thinking of how important it is to have before I lose myself in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

On Friday, I did just that. Although I went to work for the first half of the day, I took time off to get my car serviced, went to dine in alone at a nice Sicilian restaurant (being pregnant, I was definitely feeling the love from the waitress – shoutout to her for the extra bread!), wrote my heart out lol and soaked my feet at the salon. Oddly enough, it even felt amazing to go into Target and buy my favorite products without feeling the urgency to get back home or hurry out of the store to avoid crowds with my toddler or my crazy husband. The solace and time I had to move around at my own leisure was great! These are little things to some but to me, it geared me up for a long weekend of no husband, an outspoken, wild, potty-training son and twins that are constantly fighting for space in this small vessel of mine.

I have decided to dedicate two days out of the week for time like this; especially when the twins arrive (definitely more if I can fit it in). I plan to be a busy mama but if all I can fit into a day is a nice quiet bubble bath and my favorite meal – ehh why not? It definitely worked for me.

-Ash

P.S. Who knew how amazing cooked goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes could taste together?!

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Being your #1 fan & why no one else is supporting your dream

As most are aware, I have not written anything for a while. I mean during these last couple of months, there have been plenty of ups and downs in my life but these things have set the stage for me to live more for myself and ultimately chase my dreams no matter what stands in my way. In all honesty, I felt a little awkward at first. You know, because you are so excited trying to pursue things no one would expect of you but I was excited to share with friends, family and even my husband. Little did I know, the unenthusiastic and mostly questionable responses that came from those I care about most knocked me into a world of discouragement and depression.

I mean, why is it so hard for others to see me transforming and growing to be who I truly am? How was I going to be able to believe in myself and the future I know that I can have doing something that I love, if those that I hold near and dear don’t believe in me beyond their expectations of who I can be or mainly who they need me to be for them? I constantly racked my brain about this and sat in all of the feelings of loneliness, heartache, depression and even resentment that I waited so long caring what anyone would think and pushed forward with a new thought process that I cycle through when I am my biggest fan and no one else supports, or better yet even believes in my dreams.

  • They Don’t Understand and It Is Not Your Responsibility to Make Them.

Time and time again I find myself trying to explain why I went from getting a Master’s Degree in the legal field to wanting to pursue writing full time when truthfully, it is not for anyone to understand but myself. Everyone is different and really, there are some that are so stuck in their ways they will make you feel as if you trying to do anything outside of the norm is a waste of your time. Please understand, it is not your job to guide them through your journey. Live your dream.

  • Let’s piggyback off of #1: Live YOUR dream. This is YOUR life.

Stop living for others. My blog is not the hugest or most well-known but I continue to post as much as I am inspired to because I am living MY dream. I cannot express how many of my friends or family who have “supported” me through this dream have never even pushed the follow button on my blog or even take the opportunity to read it. In all honesty it used to kill me, but I started thinking to myself – “who in the entire fuck are you doing this for?! Brush it off mama and keep pushing!” This is your life and your future. Imagine how good the success that you strive for will taste when you realize you allowed no one to have a detrimental influence on that?

  • Misery loves Company

Uninspired individuals and their jealousy seem to cling to those who vibrate higher. It seems the less faith they have in themselves, the faster they get to working at discouraging you. Do not excuse this behavior as friends and or family being “real” or “logical” when assessing your* dreams. These people are spreading doubt and do not have your best interest at heart. Honestly, anyone who threatens to limit your true quality and potential to be the best version of yourself in life should have you considering taking a step back.

  • Reality Check: Time Waits for No One

Let’s face it, life is short. I just turned 27 and I am feeling the effects of losing some of my close childhood friends and even family members in 2016. All of these losses have been painful but have pushed me in a way to not do myself a disservice staying “below the radar” and not pursuing what makes you happy. It has encouraged me to live my best life, unapologetically and with no regrets, and love to no end. Spend the rest of your days living life to the fullest and happy with what you have accomplished and are pursuing.

  • Have faith

Don’t give up or give in to the negativity. As long as you remain dedicated, focused, happy and know what is best for you, there is nothing and no one that can deter you from that path. Keep on, keeping on.

-Ash

Living & Learning

“What is coming is better than what is gone.”

This small tidbit came in a fortune cookie I got this week with a side of orange chicken haha. I don’t even think those who believe a cookie can tell the future can even comprehend the timing of this message for me and where it got my mind wandering.

Ever feel like there was something greater out there waiting for you? Waiting for you to look up from the monotony of your every day life and realize that it is right where you needed it to be? There were no manual shifts, no rituals, no advice from anyone that could ever convince you – all you needed to do was get out of your own way?

Yup, that’s my current situation. Let anyone who does not see past their days tell you who they think I am and you will get the whole “she’s emotional and pregnant” bit, but truthfully, these feelings have been a huge part of me since I was a child. I have always felt this fear of the unknown and have had trouble making decisions because of it.

Now that I’m an adult, I feel a little stunted by all of the excuses that I have let others provide regarding MY emotions and find it even harder to get people understand that my feelings are real; although I have long given up trying to.

These days, navigating through them is so damn awkward but I always have this strange feeling that I need to just take that leap. Go out on on a limb and live a life where I can understand that not everything that I go through is terrible. Not everything will go as planned but I have to take what I can from the bad experiences in my life and appreciate the good ones as they come for as long as they last. I am learning that I always come out stronger on the other side, but that my mainframe when I make it there will forever be a strong indication of how I feel about myself and the world around me when I come out.

-Ash

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Sidenote: That orange chicken was amazing!! haha

I am going to have a 2 year old in less than a month from now!

I am going through a bout of severe nostalgia since my birthday this past Saturday. Time is literally flying. Not only are we halfway through January, but my baby boy is turning 2 in less than a month. I have so many mixed feelings. I was just in labor for 12 hours one unexpected morning and had the opportunity to pull my little 6 pound best friend into the world with my bare hands. My bubs is now a toddler and as much as I miss those tiny baby boy days, the big boy days are so much fun. His intelligence, love, interest, mannerisms and vocabulary have seriously grown into that of a 16 year old at times but nonetheless have stunned me, taught me great “new mom” lessons and made me a proud mother.

I have been going back and forth since Christmas on how to give my little guy the “ultimate 2 year old party weekend”. Last year my mom insisted on throwing the ultimate one year old birthday bash and it was a great turnout but Gabe was absolutely oblivious to EVERYTHING happening around him. This year however, is something different. He’s making friends that he comes home and talks about when I ask about his day. He’s telling me how old he is going to be using his fingers and I truly think he will understand the concept of a party this year!

I decided to do a day with his munchkin friends and a day with just mom and dad. I loved seeing him rip gifts open this past Christmas so I think I’ll wrap most of them just to see his face light up as he opens them, cook his favorite food (spaghetti) and take him to our favorite place for a day of fun (the beach). The following day will be at the trampoline park for the munchkins with food, fun and gifts. We love Jurassic Park in this house so the theme has already been decided!

My husband came up with a nice idea to start a cool little montage of pictures from birth until now which my sensitive ass has totally decided to get started on after peeking through my iCloud drive this weekend. Time is flying and even with two little ones on the way, my love for Gabriel is forever growing. My first born, my rainbow baby, my first REAL love. Cannot wait for this special day.

-Ash

P.s. Enjoy one of my favorite snaps from this awesome 7 month old 🙂