Friday, August 31, 2012

A Brief History...

We'll skip through all those awkward growing up years and just jump to when I met my husband. I met Joey when I was in high school.  He's actually my best friend's convenient for me!
And cue old high school photos:

I graduated the summer of 2003 and was married in November of 2003.

Joey had just finished his basic training and AIT.  After our wedding we had a brief week maybe week and a half together before the Army whisked him off to our future home in Germany.  Sadly shortly after his arrival he was informed that he would be deploying. After not seeing him for all of basic training and AIT I was not too pleased with the idea of going many more months without him.  But alas that is the military life.... I was able to fly over and spend some time with him but it wasn't enough...

So I decided to accept the situation, suck it up, hang out in Louisiana for a little longer, and move to Germany a few months before it was time for him to be back. I figured I could get settled in and have the apartment all ready when he got there.  Not so fast there Ashley.
I arrived in a foreign country, pretty much alone, freaked out, and high tailed it back to LA about a 3 weeks later.
I realized it would be much better to just go home and wait until he only had a few weeks left of his deployment and THEN go back to Germany.  That plan worked out MUCH better. I made the most amazing friends and had some wonderful experiences.
We traveled quite a bit:

Then baby season hit! EVERYONE I knew was having a baby. My friends in Germany, my friends in the states, and of course me.  It was great to have so many people to ask, "HOW DO I DO THIS?!?" =)

We found out that Joey would be deploying again. Right after our son would be born. It was hard to try to not let that get to me. The thing most people don't know is even when your army man isn't deployed he's still not home all the time. He has training to do for when he is deployed. It can be lonely and I think what I miss most about my time in Germany is having friends that were always there going through exactly what I was.

Noah was born in December.  1 month later Joey had to leave.

That was the hardest goodbye.  I don't think I've ever cried that much.  I was more sad for Joey than for least I'd still get to hold and snuggle out tiny baby everyday.  He'd have to watch him grow up in pictures. It makes me a little teary just thinking about it.

So we kicked that deployments butt and decided that we just couldn't do it again.  After Joey's enlistment was over we moved back to Louisiana.  "Hurray!", I thought, "No more moving!"

We were there not even 3 months when Joey was offered a job in Naples Italy. Sounds great huh? Not so much.  Our car and household items hadn't even reached the states yet and we were talking about moving BACK across the ocean!  After everything was said and done we took the position and  moved to Italy.  I did not enjoy it nearly as much as Germany.  They drive like crazy people, the trash doesn't always get picked up...I'm talking for weeks at a time, it just wasn't fun. I did make some awesome friends there too and traveled of course.

We left Italy after the contract was completed and went back home to Louisiana.  We purchased a home and got settled in.
DUN DUN DUN...Joey was offered a great job in Houston Texas. We take it and he drives home on his days off while we try and figure out how to sell our just purchased home.
Oh, but wait! A few months into the new job he's offered a position in Louisiana about 3 minutes from our house. I was thrilled that we would now be able to stay in our home. I was not to happy that we had just finished putting a large amount of stuff in storage in preparation to sell the house.
We spent 3 years in Louisiana and this brings us to present day.  Joey was offered a job here in Illinois.  We took it mostly because it gives us the opportunity to have a baby.  I want to be able to stay home with future baby.  In LA I had to work...we didn't have a choice. Now I have the option to stay home.  Joey grew up about an hour away from here so it wasn't like we were completely blind in making the decision to move yet again.
I like where we live...but I desperately miss Louisiana. I think about it constantly and probably complain a little to much about missing it.  It's not just the little things I miss,  like the crawfish and the drive through daiquiri places! I really miss seeing my family.

I'm trying to settle in here but all the while also hoping that someday we'll be able to return to Louisiana because that's where my heart is. I love that place! I don't care that it's soupy hot in the summer or that the river is nasty or that they freak out and shut everything down at the slightest chance of snow or ice. It will always be home for me.

Our life has been crazy. We've moved way more than I'd like to but for Louisiana I think I could handle one more crazy move.

Thursday, August 30, 2012're on your own

So you've had your cute tiny baby and it's time to leave the hospital. No one is going to ask you what your parenting qualifications are. No one is going to tell you where that secret stop crying switch is. You are on your own. Hopefully you know by now that when babies cry they either need to be fed, changed, burped, rocked, or they're tired. Unfortunately there will be times none of that stuff will work. You might just find yourself rocking and crying right along with the baby because you can't figure out what it wants.  Don't worry you'll figure it out.  And the happy watching your baby smile in his or her sleep times will far outweigh the I'm so tired and I feel like a zombie times. 
But beware! Just when your able to crack that babies code the rules change....

The things with kids is they are always changing the rules. My son is 6 and so far I am of the opinion that the baby stage was the easiest. Babies can't talk back. They can't tell you they cleaned their room and go outside to play....Then you go upstairs and find that cleaning is really just another word for shove it all under the bed. I know that trick! I did it all the time as a young child plotting to give my parents grey hair. What works when they're 2 doesn't work when they're 3, 4 ,5 or, 6. Sometimes I think he stays up late at night planning how to stay two steps ahead of me and it takes all my strength not to just hide in the closet with a chocolate bar. It's pretty nice in there. There are soft coats to nap on, its quiet, and conveniently bathroom adjacent. 
There are tons of books you can read... none of them have really helped me.  You can ask your friends for advice but when it comes down to it you really know your kid best. Don't get me wrong, I am far from figuring Noah out. I do know however that he hates hates hates to lose things like playing with friends or going to the library.  Does it always work? No. I wish it did.  There are plenty of times when I'm screaming at him to clean his room for the fifth time and he's already lost everything he has to lose and he still isn't cleaning up. I really wish I had other tools to use instead of taking those things away because it doesn't work all the time. Just telling him NO worked great when he was 2. Sticker charts were good when he was 3. Spanking has never worked. Time out sometimes works.  

I watch 19 Kids and Counting. Michelle Duggar has an amazing way of dealing with her children. She's very quiet, talks to them calmly, and they listen! I wish that she could come to my house and show me how to do that! I just don't know if I have it in me. When we're late to practice and he's still not ready my stress level rises and so does my voice.

Honestly, I'm just winging it most of the time. There are days when he's so helpful and sweet and days when I'm praying that Super Nanny will show up on my doorstep. I guess as long as he's alive, not bleeding, and the sweet days outnumber the not so sweet days I'm doing ok. And if not, there's always that closet and a chocolate bar with my name on it...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The first post!

Well all blogs have to start with a first post.  I don't really know how to begin so how about a first post about firsts? 

My first car was a Firebird.  It was in need of a lot of TLC. Thankfully my dad is a genius and can fix anything. 
FYI: That's my silly little brother...who is not so little anymore.

The first concert I attended was an O-Town concert.  They are also the first and only famous people I have ever met. Does anyone even remember O-Town? 

The first best friends I remember having were Emily and Shannon in Mississippi.

The first holiday memory I have is of sitting in my Grandma Voet's basement with all my cousins waiting to open presents at Christmas time. I know I got something for my barbies...and I think I broke it.

Our first family photo...

The first movie I was afraid of was The Never Ending Story.

The first memory I have of my mom is sitting in the bathroom during a storm while she read books to keep us calm.

The first memory I have of my dad is getting in trouble for playing with these elastic strap things that kept his Air Force BDU pants tucked into his boots.  I liked to put them in my barbie doll's hair =) 

The first BIG move I made was to Germany.  I was newly married and my husband was deployed.  I thought, "Oh, move to a foreign country alone? Piece of cake!" NOT. I flew back home 3 weeks later.  I went back to Germany a few weeks before my husband was scheduled to be there.  I made some AMAZING friends and fell in love with my life there.

And this has been my FIRST blog post =)

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