Saturday, August 31, 2013

Don't Be a Victim!

Today, I feel compelled by some personal events to write about women protecting themselves. The fact is that we are vulnerable to attacks and you should never assume that it won't happen to you. It never hurts to be cautious. But, you also can only be so cautious. Sometimes, these people who do these things are professionals, they know what they're doing so well that despite your best attempts at caution, they can still overwhelm you. Maybe you think your mother's crazy for worrying about her young daughter in a big city all alone. Or a small city. Or whereever you are. But anyone who is robbed, assaulted, raped or targeted in anyway, was just a normal person, who probably never thought it would happen to them. It's the blonde on her way home from the grocery store. The brunette walking to the gym on her lunch break. It could be you, your sister or your friend. Predators choose based on convenience a large majority of the time. If you're in the right place at the right time, you could be prey.

If you google "tips for a woman to stay safe" , "at night" automatically fills in at the end. You don't need to only stay safe at night. A crackhead wakes up at 11AM and is desperate for his next fix so he keeps an eye on the atm, follows the young woman who withdraws money, and snatches her purse down the road. These things can happen anytime, anywhere. Now, I don't feel like you should live your life in fear all the time. Don't think every man that walks by is about to pounce on you, rape you and leave your head hanging in town square. But, walk with confidence, be aware of your surroundings, use common sense. But you can't prevent everything. You can't even depend on being in a busy area in the middle of the day, because you can't always count on someone else to help you. People are very likely to turn their cheek to something they don't want to get involved in.

I think that the most important aspect to keeping yourself safe is to know how to protect yourself. Work out. Be strong. Take a kickboxing class or a tae kwon doe or something. I'm not saying to be Jackie Chan and try to overwhelm a man with a gun or something, but if hes unarmed and just trying to snatch your purse or drive off with your car, know where to hit him and how to make it hurt. Know your states self-defense or stand your ground laws. Find out if it's legal to carry pepper spray or a stun gun, and if so, do it. Wouldn't you rather have pepper spray just sitting in your purse forever without ever getting used, than to need it and not have it?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I have a love/hate relationship with being a working mom

Do you ever feel like you're juggling way too much? School starts the 29th for me, the 3rd for Tristan and then in October for Keegan, I work full time, my husband works full time, I have a house to keep clean, laundry to do, meals to cook. It feels overwhelming sometimes. And I'm so crazy that I desperately long to throw a newborn into the mix. Late night feedings, diaper changes, what's one more bath to give? Why not add a few more extra tasks in there, right? I juggle so fast sometimes, it seems I must have some invisible hands. And other days I recline in my chair , browsing Pinterest and trying not to look away from the computer screen because right at that moment I don't want to acknowledge that there are goldfish crackers smushed into the carpet. I get by the best I can.

The last few days have been long, and I've been extremely tired. I worked 12 hour days Saturday and Sunday, and didn't see the boys much all weekend. It was difficult. I don't like to be away from them much, but duty calls. Reality is that we need two incomes to support our family. And honestly, being a stay at home mom is not for me. I have a love/hate relationship with being a working mom.

I hate it for the most obvious reason. I don't like leaving my children. I don't like missing anything at all. Working cuts into the hours in a day that I have to get crap done. Not just stuff with the kids but cleaning, laundry, errands, etc. There are days that I think "If I didn't have to go to work today I'd have plenty of time to finally clean the van out." Finding babysitters sometimes makes me feel like a burden to family and friends. There are certainly times that I feel like working full time is a huge burden to bear.

But all in all, I love it. I love my job. I love helping others. I love knowing I have made a difference in the lives of my clients, and I can't wait to be a nurse. I feel like I am teaching my children that hard work is the key to anything in life. Would it have been ideal if I had waited to have my children until I was finished with school and had an established career? Yes. But now, my boys get to see me working hard and accomplishing something, they get to see the fruits of my labor. Yes, they do ask why I have to go to work. There are times they don't want me to go. But I am proud when I tell them that I have to go so that I can continue to provide for them. They understand. I also believe it shows them that marriage is a partnership, my husband and I equally contribute to the household, both finacially and in other ways. He helps out with chores and with caring for the children. I work and help out with bills, etc. Nothing is the full responsibility of ether of us, we both help with everything. I am a mother, and I am raising my boys, but I get to just be Ashlei at work. I get to have my own identity. That is important to me as well.

If being a stay at home mom is what works for you, awesome! I can definitely see the benefits. But no matter how hard it is, I feel as though me working is what is best for my family, One of the great things about health care is the flexibilty of the schedule. We make it work, together.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Baking and Bathing

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, and we didn't get to see her at all, so today I made her a cake to give her when I dropped the boys off before I went to work. I made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but it was from a box. THE HORROR! I know! BUT I do have some little tricks I use to make a boxed came taste more like homemade. I got this on Pinterest awhile back, and I've done it several times. Amazing!

Follow the instructions on the box except for the following alterations:
1. Use milk instead of water.
2. Add an extra egg.
3. Use melted butter instead of vegetable oil, and double the amount. Unsalted real butter works best.
Bake as directed. Frost/decorate/whatever as desired.

Now, to buy the time to run the dishwasher and bake this cake, I gave Keegan a bath, with a little something I've been saving for a time when I needed to keep him occupied. Avon bath paints. I picked them up from an Avon dealer at the county fair a couple of weeks ago for $1 each. Blue, orange and red. They are called Avon Natural Kids Bath Time Paints.

I love that Keegie is old enough now, and our new house has a bathroom right off the living room, so I can leave the door open while he takes a bath and get tasks accomplished around the house. Even so though, that still only buys me about 10 minutes. These babies bought me an extra 15 minutes, so 25 minutes total. Score! And Bubba even went into the bathroom to check out his brothers new bath toys (he's too old for baths anymore, he strictly takes showers). He didn't even use half of the bottles, I really like that I could unscrew the cap, pour some on the side of the tub and just let him finger paint, or you could unscrew just the tip of the cap and use the applicator. When he was done, all I did was splash water all over the tub and washed away the paint. It was super easy, took about 30 seconds and it was all clean. No evidence of the color explosion that occured. 

The next two days, I work 12 hour shifts won't see the boys much. I'm not sure what I will post about, or if I will, but I will try.

Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Clean Clean Clean

Today was spent around the house, cleaning. It was stormy here for most of the day, so our playdate at the park with some friends of ours was canceled. While on the subject of cleaning, a good friend and I just had a conversation about our go-to cleaning products. She swears she can't find an adequate mop and just does it on her hands and knees. I love my Swiffer Wetjet, and also my magic eraser mop and libman mop for deeper cleaning. She only uses Tide laundry detergent. I only use Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent. I was just curious what some of everyone elses cleaning favorites are? And I thought I would share the recipe I use for making my own laundry detergent. I have NEVER been one who is exceptionally "green" but as I've learned more on the internet, I have became intriqued with a few of these Earth saving ideas. I decided to make my own laundry detergent. And after doing so, I will absolutely never use anything else again. This stuff is AH-mazing! It gets my clothes super clean which is a must with 2 boys and a husband who doesn't give a crap what he gets on his clothes, and also works in a restaurant, and it smells wonderful. I used a big mop bucket to make it in. It isn't dirt cheap to start, but this mop bucket full lasts us about 6 months so it turns out to be about $5 a month.

You will need:
1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax
1 (3 lb 7oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (3 lb) container of OxiClean
6 bars of Ivory soap, shredded. I just use a cheese shredder.
1 (4 lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
3 bottles of Scentsy Washer Whiffs (you can also use 2 bottles of Purex Crystals fabric softener, but I much prefer the Scentsy. Scentsy raises the overall price though)

I layer the different ingredients in the mop bucket, putting in about a 3rd of each at a time. Then I mix it all up by hand and use a measuring cup to scoop it into my washer with each load. Some prefer to keep a small amount in a smaller container, I don't mind having the whole bucket on a shelf in my laundry toom, it's not in the way.

I haven't yet ventured into making any other cleaning products. Do you have any that you use and swear by?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Keegie's Pirate Party

My 4 year olds most recent obsession is pirates. Not even just the Disney show, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but anything and everything pirate related. So it made total sense to rent a pavillion at the lake and throw him a pirate party!!

There's my little pirate, wearing one of the pirate hats and eye patches that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.


Ship Ropes!

Shipwreck Salad! (it was just potato salad)

Ocean Water! (water bottles)

Catch of the day!

We also had pirate dogs (hot dogs) but somehow I didn't get a picture of that. I got these free customisable food labels here:

The tables were littered with fake gold coins, jewels and jewelry. My 3 year old niece made off with most of that throughout the day though.

Captain Keegan's Tattoo Parlour! This was a major hit with the kids. They all loved getting tatted up!

I thought the banner worked well with the wood table with no tablecloth.

My best friend and I made these maps. We took resume paper, crumpled it up into a ball, smoothed it back out and burned all of the edges. Then we rolled it up and tied it with twine.

Pinata I got at Hobby Lobby. Why are all pinatas these pull string kinds nowadays? I mean come on, most of the fun of a pinata is beating the crap out of it!

Walk the plank! This was also a hit with the kids. I used 2 milk crates, spray painted Walk the Plank across a 2x4 and was supposed to use rope to tie the board to the milk crates for stability, but Keegie hadn't let me get that far yet in this picture.

These were the extra goodie bags I made when I ran out of the better bags.

My grandma found these bags on clearance at TJ Maxx. I love them!

Cannonball water balloons! The kids, and most of the adults, loved these!

And now, the best part of the party, the part I had absolutely nothing to do with except for paying for it, THE CAKE!!

I hope you all enjoyed this post, and maybe got a few ideas from me. All of my ideas came from somewhere on the internet, mostly Pinterest.

Daily Witty Post 8/21

So, sorry, but I never got around to posting yesterday. I was so tired. I do not go to work at 6:30 AM and then function well for the rest of the day. And then I had to be back to work at midnight so I came home, looking forward to relaxing and playing some candy crush and then taking a nice nap. Instead, I found out that the brand new laptop I've had for 2 weeks was not working, after Bubba played on it all morning, even though him and my husband BOTH know he isn't supposed to be on it! So I spent 2 hours trying to figure out why my mouse kept freezing at a particular point during start up, and I figured out nothing except that I despise Windows 8. Decided to just do a system restore, and the damn laptop died in the middle of it, without giving me any notification that the battery was low. So I said screw it and went to bed. I was too tired to deal with it and the laptop was dangerously close to being chucked across the living room.

So I took my nap, and while I was napping my wonderful hubby cooked spaghetti and garlic bread. While it's not one of my favorite meals, it's always a hit with the kids, and I didn't have to make it. So that earned major brownie points for my hubby, and I decided not to bitch about what a mess the house was.

I don't really have much to talk about today. After work this morning I came home and went to bed, woke up and went grocery shopping, and then made frozen pizzas for dinner. I swear, I do cook. Quite wonderfully. I've just been super busy and it's too hot in the summer without central air to slave over the stove for a long period of time. So, to make up for the short boring post, I'm going to make a post about Keegie's Pirate birthday party we threw back in June. Keegie was born the day after Christmas. Becuase that's a seriously crappy birthday, we throw his big party on his half birthday in June. This way he doesn't miss out. I love throwing huge parties and I just wouldn't have the energy, time or finances right at Christmastime. On his real birthday, I bake a cake at home and we have a special dinner and he gets a couple of gifts. But his large gala is in June every year. and that works out well for us. So, I'll end this now so I can get started on that post.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Daily Witty Post

Here is my first ever daily witty post! The last one didn't count because it was just an intro. So here goes.

I forgot one part of who I am in my intro. I am a pet owner as well. We are the owners of Blaze, the 10 month old Pit Bull, and Marley, the 2 year old cat. Both are boys. Both are neutured. Marley is a freaking awesome cat. He's a warrior, out in the yard killing birds, and I've never seen a single mouse in our house, which is absolute heaven for me because the creepy little nasty things freak me out horribly. We never have any issues with him, as long as we fill his bowl with food, he just comes and goes as he pleases and does his own thing. Blaze is a little more high maintenance, but he's a pretty good dog overall.

When he's not chewing HOLES in every single fricken mattress in the house!!

This is the only issue we have with him. We try to keep bedroom doors shut but with two kids, that's not always practical. And it's like every single time a door gets left open, he's in there chewing away as quickly as he can before he gets noticed. He reminds me of a damn drunk trying to sneak in some drinks on his lunch break or something. He has to quickly get his mattress fix before someone catches him!! We have tried everything to break him of this. We got him fixed (well, that wasn't the only reason we got him fixed but everyone said that would help). We use the bitter spray. We buy him lots and lots of chew toys. We've been making sure he has plenty of time outside to burn off energy. I don't know what else to do!! Please, anyone have any ideas? Help me save my sanity! And getting rid of the dog is not an option. He is my children's pet and a part of the family. In this family, we work together through problems! Even if my hair gets pulled out in the process......

I got home from work tonight a little after 9, my husband was still at work and grandma was babysitting. She told me they hadn't had dinner yet. So. This mommy of the year popped a can of ravioli's open and called the kids to the table. I'll have to share one of my winning dinners with you guys later in the week. There was no time or energy for all that tonight. I guess I should be going to bed now, since I have to be to work at the crack of dawn tomorrow, which is not good, since I am usually a third shifter.

I doubt I'll have anything good tomorrow, because I work 6:30-2:30 and then  I have to be back to work at midnight so I gotta sleep in between. It kinda sucks because it's my husbands only day off this week, and I was supposed to have the day off too, so I was looking forward to spending the day with him. But an extra 16 hours, on a day where I don't have to find a babysitter? I can't turn that down.

I'll try to think of something to pop in and talk about.

Good night all!

Who I am and Why I'm here.

I am Ashlei. I have two children, who I will call Bubba and Keegie. Bubba is 6, he starts second grade this year and he turns 7 in October. I was the ripe old age of 18 when I gave birth to him and it's been a struggle at times, but being his mommy is the best thing I've ever done. Keegie is 4, he will be in preschool this year and turns 5 in December. Keegie was born 11 weeks premature, had bleeding in his brain and now has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. His hydrocephalus is treated with a magnetic VP shunt that has been in place for 4 years and hasn't malfunctioned yet, despite a couple of urgent CT's due to vomiting. I am married to their daddy, Matthew, my first love. I work in an entry level position in the health care field and I am returning to school this fall to pursue a nursing degree. Matthew is a cook in a restaurant. I spend a lot of time at home alone with the boys in the evenings.

I am here to share my journey with motherhood. I love to be crafty and try new things with my kids. I'l share the back to school gifts I make for their teachers. I'll share the new recipes I try. The treats I make for the birthday celebrations at school. The little science projects we do. Etc, etc, etc. I LOVE throwing parties and I'll share the awesome ones I've already done for my boys and then the ones they have to come as well. I will talk about my struggles, and joy, with raising a special needs child.

I also want to share some of me, not just me as a mom. I am also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, student, employee, and so many other things. I have very liberal, and sometimes very unpopular, opinions on most subjects. I will likely share those opinions here if there's any big thing in the news, or just if I feel like sharing them. I am currently struggling with trying to conceive my third child and I will probably share a lot about that as well.

I will talk about my children, work, school, my husband, my opinions, anything and everything that pertains to my life, that I feel like sharing. Mostly, it probably will be about the kids, because regardless of everything else, they are the biggest part of me. I'm far from a perfect mom, but I sure do try my hardest.

I hope I can gain some followers and even make some friends.