Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thoughts this Christmas

It was Christmas Eve. I had spent the previous night working overnight, slept for 5 hours and got ready for church. By 8 pm I was exhausted and my Little was definitely tired too. I had to fireman carry her out of a family members house kicking and screaming. I still had a long night ahead of me and it was definitely taking its toll.

After I got my Little in her new Christmas pj's, we laid in her bed and tracked Santa one last time as she drifted off to sleep. I quietly closed her bedroom door with a soft, "I love you baby. Sleep good and Merry Christmas." And I began the painstaking process of assembling a few of her presents.

As I put the final sticker on her new kitchen, I sat on the couch and looked at everything she had been given. That's when it hit me. Some parents had presents under their trees that will never be opened.

I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to be the family of one of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. I can only imagine the pain of seeing an empty bed Christmas Eve knowing that it will never be full again. That those feet will not coming bounding down the stairs Christmas morning in excitement to see what Santa had left. Those parents will never again read "The Night Before Christmas" to all their children on Christmas Eve.

Suddenly as overwhelmed, tired, and stressed as I was, I was thankful. Thankful that my Little was sleeping safely in her bed.

That is when I bowed my head and prayed. Prayed for those innocent souls taken too soon, prayed for the families who were going to be missing a loved one this Christmas, and I thanked God for everything I have. Because without Him, I would have nothing.

So take a moment and thank God for all you have and what he has done for you. It shouldn't take a tragedy to remind us how fragile life is, but I am so thankful I have another day with the one who matters most.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summer has come and gone

Wow, pretty long time since I actually sat down and wrote a blog. Let's see....

Happy 2nd Birthday Kaylin!
I finished and passed my microbiology and math classes. We surprised my mom in Georgia for my brother's high school graduation and then went back to Georgia at the beginning of July. I watched in fear as the mountains surrounding my city burned. Kaylin turned 2, we celebrated with a Mickey Mouse themed pool party. It was even complete with a full banner, home made by her aunts!

I can't believe summer is already gone again, it feels like yesterday it was snowing outside as I was studying the Krebs cycle of bacteria. Its almost time to shut those windows again and snuggle up on the couch with someone special and a cup of coffee.

Now I'm back in school, finishing up my last classes before I can apply for the nursing program. So forgive me if some of these are spread out, studying is more important than blogging. Speaking of, enjoy these pictures, I gotta hit the books while Kaylin sleeps.
Kaylin and I on her birthday

Her cake

Cutting cake and scooping ice cream

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 34 – A picture of your favorite morning

Taking home my Little

 Every now and then when I'm feeling sentimental, I look back at pictures of my Little when she was first born. Recently she sat in that car seat, and ate it alive. Instead in this picture it looks like its swallowing her!

Sleeping like an angel
I remember Dennis went to get the car, the nurse helped me into the wheelchair and I put my bundled up little girl on my lap.We got to the emergency exit where Dennis had parked the car so I didn't have to walk far, being post-surgery and all. Little was put into the car and I eased myself into the front seat. It was a miserably cold and rainy August morning.

I was slightly paranoid with the rain and the autobahn but we got her home safe and sound and laid her gently into the bassinet and proceeded to take a nap too.

Little on her first birthday

My other favorite morning was the morning that she turned 1. Since we'd had her birthday party the Saturday before, we just did something small after church. I saved a few presents for her actual birthday and this is one of my favorite shots.

She loves her "baby" 's as much as I did when I was little. I see myself in this little girl daily! From her attitude, to her addiction to stuffed animals. At this current moment I have 4 stickers plastered all over my hand from her putting them there.

Man I wouldn't trade this for the WORLD.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Toddler Dressing Olympics

So getting my toddler dressed in the morning has gone from a quick 2 minute process to a full blown race around the house. Then it dawned on me, there are many ways the sport of toddler dressing can take form.

The cooperative toddler: The time when your precious bundle of joy is actually willing to put that pudgy little arm in the shirt sleeve, or lets you put on shoes that fit just right. However, I rarely see this until half way through the dressing sport.

The run away toddler: My toddler's personal favorite event in the sport of dressing. She loves to let me get her undressed, get her new diaper on and then she flips over and runs away. There is a lot of, "Come back here." and  "You need to get dressed, Mommy has to go bye-bye. Don't you want to see Papa?" Typically all of these statements get a simple, "No." response. Then I have to get up, and chase after her while she runs into the nearest corner in a feeble attempt to hide from me. After I retrieve my darling toddler, I have to fight the thrashing and crying to get her pants and shirt on. The shoes typically are more fun for her, she likes to watch them get put on.

The could have been cooperative toddler: Once in a while, my sweet little girl will do exactly as I ask, "Go lay down in your room, you need a butt-butt change." She'll go lay down on her bedroom floor all nice and sweet and the second I grab the diaper and wipes out comes the kicking, screaming, fighting toddler. Typically this occurs more when there is a diaper rash or something...but she still kicks and fights getting dressed. I'm fairly sure that is where a good portion of the bruises on my legs have come from.

The half dressed toddler: Usually I can manage to get a diaper changed, pants and socks on my toddler easily. I'll sit her up to put the shirt over her head and hike those tiny little jeans up over her no butt, and she takes off. She laughs running around the house without a shirt on, belly hanging out. Typically I have to chase her down and get the shirt on over her head before she collapses to the floor in one of her typical morning fits.

The distracted toddler: Similar to the cooperative toddler, but instead of helping she is distracted. Be it the tv, a random toy she's yelled, "Me!" for, or a stuffed animal she's mauling for the 100th time, she's a bit more cooperative until the shirt has to get put on.

Anyone else have a fun toddler dressing story to share?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Realizations as of today.

I'm not one for regrets. Each decision, even if not the best has put me on the path that I am on now. I may not feel like I have the brightest path right now, but I also know that its always darkest before the dawn. Sometimes I wish things had turned out differently, but now I just know this is how it was meant to be.

For over a year now, I've tried building something that just doesn't exist. I've tried so desperately to repair something that was unrepairable. I spent sleepless nights worrying, and days crying. I've called people in the middle of the night and I've called people just to cry on the phone. I've had friends listen, I've had friends give advice.

I am so thankful for the girls I had in Germany. It broke my heart to leave them, even though I knew my Little and I needed to be here. Those girls got me through more in 2 years than some friends do in a lifetime. I also have to rave about the few friends that I have here. They've listened to me rant and complain about everything that has gone on.

Not once do I regret moving to Germany. If I didn't, I would have the amazing people in my life that I do, and I would most certainly not have the one little person in my life who makes everything worth living. I am fairly certain that if I didn't have her, I would have had a much harder time with everything.

Now for the realization part. I'm sick and tired of trying to create something. If someone wants to be in MY life or in my daughter's life...they will do it. I won't have to force it, or beg for it. As much as it sucks and I don't want things to end, none of that clearly matters to the other party.

Its time for me to start worrying about ME and what I want in my life. Because I know for a fact there are people in my life who are able to love my Little as much as I do.

So to you, the person that I'm talking about (because you know flat out who you are)...I'm not forcing this anymore. You want to be part of her life then step up. Because if not, there ARE people out there willing to fill those shoes. It may have taken me over a year to deal with everything but I know that from all of this I am going to be a better person and I AM all that this little girl needs in her life. For that I am certain.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 33 – A picture of somewhere you went today

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm cheating...a bit. We went yesterday. But my goal was to write this yesterday, but I was tired.

One of my favorite places in the world sits just an hour (ish) north of me. Yeah, I'm a museum geek. I love them. Okay well most of them, I'm not a huge fan of paintings; hence why the science museum is my place.

Ever since I was little this place has fascinated me. I love seeing all the different animals in their "habitat", the dinosaur bones, and learning all about my health in the (then) Hall of Life.

So for the first time in 7 years, I stepped foot in front of the giant building that I knew and loved. This time I took my darling daughter with me. I was so excited that I didn't even mind getting up early, and barely remember the drive.

Little in front of a skeleton
I "ooh-ed" and "ahh-ed" at everything, trying to get my Little as interested as possible. Ya know, her attention span is that of a gnat's so riding around in a comfy stroller looking at things that aren't moving...doesn't captivate her for long. She ran around some of the animal exhibits that were less crowded, and climbed to get some of that energy out. By the time we got to the dinosaurs she honestly could have cared less. However I find it funny that I have taken pictures maybe around 4 or 6 from some of the same locations that I made her take pictures yesterday. In over 20 years, the majority of that exhibit hasn't changed.

The only thing that really bummed me out was not being able to share the Hall of Life with her. The Hall of Life was closed in (I want to say) 2009 to be replaced with a much needed updated version. So now we have the Exhibition Life exhibit. Naturally it was always the most packed exhibit and yesterday was no exception. It didn't help that I chose to go while every other kid in Denver seemed to be on spring break. Oh well, looks like we'll just have to go again one random day before school's out. I made sure I did the face aging part of the exhibit and found out what I would look like overweight at 70. Not necessarily the most attractive thing ever. Definitely makes me want to eat better and exercise more.
The T-Rex at the entrance

All in all it was a wonderful day. We had a lot of fun and took lots of pictures. I'm definitely looking forward to going back.

Oh and the best part, military gets in free. Yup, little known fact for you all there. :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 32 – A picture of what you did today

Noodles and Company
After a long day at work the last thing I really want to do is make food when I come home. Especially when I haven't eaten more than chips and coffee all day, seeing as I realized half way to work that I left my lunch at home vending machine food it was.

On the way home I was starving, and the Little was grumpy. Food was definitely in order, and guess who wins at parenting today and totally forgot to pull something out of the freezer for dinner.

And then I remembered the beautiful restaurant on our way home. Noodles and Company. I'm pretty sure this is a fantastic gift from God. Not only will they allow you to substitute to make it your way, they even know what the heck you're talking about. Thank you pasta Gods.

So there I stood in front of a fairly cute cashier trying to explain that I wanted the original House Marinara (which has been taken off the menu for a few years, I guess...). He totally smiled as I described that I wanted the Spaghetti and Meatballs without meatballs, and penne pasta.

So the House Marinara, huh?
I am fairly certain the smile on my face was huge while holding my 19 month old daughter on my mom hip. Honestly, had he asked me to marry him right then and there, it would have been a done deal.

Yes, please! Oh my gosh I'm so excited you knew what I was talking about!
He smiled, we chatted and a few minutes later the Little and I were out the door with her Wisconsin Mac-N-Cheese and my specially made House Marinara.

My long day was completely worth it to get those stewed tomatoes (only kind I will eat in chunks), penne noodles, cheese and Parmesan crusted chicken.

Friday rocks.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 31 – A picture of food you made

Pineapple Swiss Chicken
I'm fairly certain I have posted this recipe on my blog before. But because I'm feeling lazy and don't really take pictures of my food all that often, this is it.

I actually can't even remember where I saw this recipe. I want to say probably either in my $5 mom meals book or on the back of a Swiss Cheese package; but either way I still think its delicious.

Marinade your chicken breasts in Italian Dressing, which by the way is a wonderful way to cook chicken period, cook them until they are done. Remove them from the pan and slightly brown the pineapple rings in the remaining Italian Dressing (feel free to add dressing if needed). Once they are slightly browned, remove them and add the chicken back to the pan. Place the pineapple rings on top of the chicken and cover with a slice of Swiss Cheese. Melt the cheese and VIOLA! You have a delicious meal that is easy on the wallet and the stomach.

You can add pretty much anything as a side. In the picture we have brown rice and green beans. The other day we had it with mixed veggies and rice.

For the recipe and directions click here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 30 – A picture of your favorite quote

I love this quote. It is so completely simple, but so rarely done.

I'm not going to be the first to admit that more often then not I am the one stuck in a rut about what is going on around me. Be it with Dennis, work, school, or home I can definitely let it consume me and eat me alive. There have been days that I have definitely fought getting out of bed because of what is going on.

But thankfully God gave me a wonderful little girl who forces me to get up in the mornings, even when I'd rather curl up in a ball under the covers.

Life doesn't always work out the way we want it to. Things change, people let go, sometimes we take it too hard, but other times its important to take a step back and learn from those mistakes. Each moment is a learning experience, we may not know (or ever know) why things happen but there is always a reason.

For now I'm trying to enjoy each day, in some way, shape, or form. Do something for myself, take the Little out for ice cream, make a point of laughing at a joke. Just do SOMETHING, because I want to make sure I am dancing in the rain.

I actually purchased a vinyl wall decal that had this quote on it.

Opening our hearts to God allows ANY possibility, but we have to make sure we let Him control that.

It is definitely one of my favorite quotes as well, because it is all very true. Even in the darkest moments of our lives, we can look to God and find a light to reach out and grab.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 29 – A picture that can always make you smile

The Little on her first birthday
 There is just something about the way a kid eats his or her first piece of birthday cake. Call me old fashioned, call me mean, or crazy but I didn't want my Little to have cake (ice cream was fine) until her birthday. I wanted her to be able to have that experience.

Okay I also wanted the really cool pictures of cake smeared from one end of everything to the next.

The day was as perfect as it could have been. Presents were piled high, decorations were hung with absolute perfection, and the pinata was (surprisingly) hard to crack. All in all, her birthday went very well.

It puts a smile on my face to know that those who meant the world to us were at the party (even from afar) and that so many people love my little girl.

I can't believe how big she's gotten! It makes me sad, but very happy all at the same time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 28 – A picture of your favorite place in the world


I am one of the few people that I know that got the privilege to stand in front of this statue and take in its amazing beauty.
Senior year of high school I got the pleasure to tour Europe. It was an extraordinary experience. Walking on bridges that were hundreds of years old in London, standing on top of the Effiel Tower in Paris, and viewing Vatican City; all once in a lifetime opportunities.

However, my favorite part of the trip was getting the chance to see Michaelangelo's David. There weren't many of us on the trip that had the desire to go find the hole in the wall museum where David is displayed, so a small group of us went on a hunt. We were led by our "fearless" leader, who happened to be my favorite high school teacher. He knew where we were going and, in all honesty had we not gone with him (and of course the small line formed outside) we would have walked past the museum and not thought twice.

Once inside there were no photographs to be taken. The walls were hung from floor to ceiling with paintings, and flash photography effects the brightness of the paint, making the paint fade.

There is a small bench behind the statue, my aunt and I made our way up to it and spent the next (almost) hour pointing out the immense detail carved so delicately out of marble. I was in complete and total awe. I cannot believe that a man was able to carve such an amazing creation out of marble. Even with today's technology, I know for a fact I could never carve anything out of marble.

I could honestly spend hours looking over the detail created. Truly one of my favorite places in the entire world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Lets just see. I'm testing out the waters here...



Truth. I love daytime TV. Its completely pointless, has too many commercials...but I can't get enough!

So I've written a scene from a Maury episode. Because Maury has like a whole whopping 5 shows. If its not someone's 15th time guessing the baby daddy, its fixing a baby daddy, boot camp for obese people, interventions, and his occasional need for overcoming the odds stories. See 5.

Me: Truth. Jerry is funny. I love that show. An Maury, OMG Maury.

Twinsie: LUKE I am NOT your father.

Me: Luke, you are NOT the father.

Twinise: omggggg!

Me: Audience: "Ooohhhh!!!" *Lots of jumping up and down and yelling.


Me: Luke *jumping up and down*: I told you. I told you!
Bonequeisha: *runs off stage in tears*


Me:   Maury: *goes after Bonequeisha* You know this is father number 8 we've tested, Bonequeisha....
Bonequeisha: It was him! It was him!

Twinsie: BUT I'M POSITIVE it was HIM!

Me:  Oh my God I should write screen plays!

Twinsie: Your tests are fake! Somehow, we're always on the same brain wave.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 27 – A picture of your favorite night

Me, the Little and Kathryn, June 2011
Unfortunately there are not many people I can turn to when I'm having a really bad day. Yeah I've got friends I can talk to but there aren't many I go to when I need to be cheered up.

Kathryn however is one of those girls who I could call day or night and talk to about anything from deployment to DPW.

This particular night is definitely one of my favorites. I'd had a pretty terrible few days and I was just over everything. I called Kathryn, we chatted for a while and then made plans to do dinner and the post concert going on that afternoon. What started as a "cheer Ashlee up" night became much more.

We started with a few Corona's, tacos' and some country music. Then we loaded the Little up in the stroller and walked up and down the hills of Baumholder to get to our place under the ugly white tent in the gym parking lot. The nice thing about the military is the perks we get. The girls and I saw Toby Keith in Ramstein back in May 2010, for free. Its nice to have people who realize families serve to. The Jeremy Graham Band
were playing up on stage. He mostly did cover's of other country artist's hits, but it was still nice to get out of the house.

We laughed, joked, danced, took pictures and had a few more corona's by the time the night was over. And for the first time in days I was able to laugh. I could honestly say that I was having a good time. My entire world was crashing in around me, but I was smiling, joking and toasting to life. I was only able to do so because I had people around me that made it possible.

It was a night that I will not forget. And now I look back and thank my girls back in Germany, the ones that listened to me cry, sat with me as I complained, and took the extra 220 stuff from my house when we left. I am so glad that I had them in my life, they were more needed than they may have ever realized. Sometimes I wish I could wake up and see them all again and give them big hugs and tell them how much I love them and thank them for everything they'd done for me.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 26 – A picture of something that means a lot to you

Donate Life Wrist Band

Everyone has moments they will never forget. Moments that many wish they could forget, but they are embedded in their brains begging to be released.

I've already spoken about my Papa. My fix-it man. The man who sprayed Corona all over a picture at a restaurant because his thumb wasn't on it properly. The man who had "bull dog" cheeks, my sister even called him her bulldog.

When my Dad called to tell me that we'd lost my grandpa, it was one of the worst moments of my life. I remember saying that I was going home that instant. I wanted my ticket switched, as impractical as it would have been. I remember going shopping that afternoon, because there wasn't anything to do in my Mom's new house. I remember talking to Dennis for hours on the phone sitting on my Mom's deck just crying. I remember getting on the plane to come home, crying the entire way from Atlanta to Houston and then Houston to Colorado Springs. I bought spaghetti at the Houston airport, but didn't even eat much of it.

The next few days were a blur, I called off work, spend the days with Dennis out of the house because greeting one more face and hearing, "I'm so sorry" one more time was going to make me hurl. I know those people were just expressing their feelings and as I look back I appreciate it, but then I wasn't in the right frame of mind. I just didn't want to think that Papa wasn't coming back. That I was going to get married, have children, and be a grown up without him there.

Sometime in the window after his death we were given bracelets from the Donate Life people. Neon green naturally a horrible color that clashes with just about everything a person wears, but we all put them on. We wore them with immense pride. My family chose to donate my grandfather's organs and tissues to those who desperately needed them. My neon green band was firmly placed around my ankle until the summer I was 9 months pregnant and the swelling started to cause the band to cut the circulation off my foot.

During the holiday season 2010, while we were in Germany my family received a letter from the tissue coordinator in Denver. 2 of the tissue recipients wrote letters to my family thanking us for helping them. Both recipients needed a tissue donation because of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Dear Donor Family,

I am writing to thank you for the kind and generous gift of tissue donation from your loved one. I am so sorry for your loss, but I want you to know that your decision to donate has changed my life in a very positive way.

I needed a tissue transplant because rheumatoid arthritis has destroyed my joints.

Since the tissue transplant, I have been able to continue my volunteer work at the senior center and also to continue doing my crafts.

For this, I am very grateful to you and your loved one. My family and I will always remember your act of kindness and generosity.

Thank you.

The second letter read:

Dear Donor Family,

I wanted to take this time to thank you for that very special person in your lives that wanted to help someone like me through the gift of tissue donation. I have rheumatoid arthritis and have had three major surgeries on my feet. The gift of your loved one brings renewed hope to me in a measure I cannot describe. I am still in the process of healing but I hold in my heart a new vision of walking. Every step I take will be in appreciation of your act of kindness and generosity.

God's richest blessings on your life.
As hard as it was to lose my grandfather, I am so thankful that he was able to help people during their times of need. And that is why I wear my neon green, Donate Life wristband with pride.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 25 – A picture of you from last year

So I looked in my folders, I don't have anything quite from January 2011 that has me in it (as I've come to notice I'm usually the one behind the camera as opposed to in front of it) so you're going to have to settle with February 2011.

This moment is especially hard for me, with everything that has gone on in my life this year looking back and thinking about the moments leading up to a deployment, get me every time.

Instead of dwelling on the negative of the past, this is about the picture.

It was February 6, 2011. Super Bowl Sunday. The Steelers were playing the Packers. Back up a few hours. The Little had been fussy, so we'd been napping while Dennis was off at the gym and then had made a  Commissary run to pick up stuff for dinner. The house was dark when he came home, I actually think the Little and I were napping on the couch.

I heard him come in, set the groceries on the table and pause. I shifted slightly on the couch assuming he was going to tell me they were out of one of the few necessary items we'd need for dinner that evening.
What's wrong?

I've got some news.

News? What do you mean, news? 
We'd been waiting for the day he'd deploy for weeks, but at that point in time it wasn't until just before Valentine's Day, we had a week. A week I was banking on to get myself into the right mindset. There was so much we still had to do before he left, make a trip to Trier together so we could pick up gummy bears, he was going to record a few books for Kaylin so I could play them for her as she grew up, we hadn't gotten a good talk about everything in either.
They moved my deployment date.

Yeah? When do you leave?
I tried to sound hopeful, I was secretly praying it'd be after Valentine's Day. Anytime after Valentine's Day. Even though I don't like to actually get roses and go out to eat, it'd be nice to spend that day together.
I got the call at 1500, if I don't hear back from my sergeant by 1700, I leave tomorrow. 
Honestly I'm pretty sure my heart fell to the floor. The Little's 13 pounds (maybe) felt like a ton on my chest. I wasn't prepared for this moment, he was going to go so soon.

We'd be invited to head to some friend's to watch the Super Bowl, but being in selfish freak out mode, I told Dennis we'd be staying in and spend the last night as a family in the comfort of our own home. He didn't object, but about 20 minutes later I asked him if he had really wanted to go. Naturally he said he did, so I apologized for being selfish and we made the arrangements to head out the door.

This picture was taken at that party, it was probably close to 12 am at this point. The Super Bowl usually doesn't start until around then because of the time difference. I was emotionally unprepared and completely exhausted but I was determined to get a ton of good pictures of us. It was our last moments together for a year, I was not going to waste one moment.

We stayed until around 1:30, I couldn't bring myself to stay up all night. I needed to lay in our bed and snuggle one last time. We crawled into bed and I cried to myself silently for a while. I knew I had to be strong for us, for the Little and for me. The 5 am alarm came all too soon, and I peeled myself out of the bed in full zombie mode.

I poured myself coffee, made the Little a bottle and got ready to take Dennis to his company. The sun wasn't up when we got there, and the buses were waiting for them outside. We stayed a few hours and chatted with the First Sergeant, and I busied myself with tasks to make the time go faster for the day. Then the words came, "Time to load up." We took one last picture, kissed and he promised he'd come home. I waved goodbye and got into the car doing all I could to keep from crying.

The day is still a blur, I remember taking a new wife to get her ID card and show her around a bit before I headed home. I couldn't face everything yet, so I made plans to walk to the post office with my friend Correna. Shockingly it was a nice February day, and we walked all our stresses off. Dinner came in the form of a cheeseburger from Burger King and with a prayer I headed up my 7 flights of stairs to my empty home, for the first of many nights.

Does being a military wife have its advantages, yes. But nothing can prepare a person for those moments. This picture is one of the last times I remember being absolutely terrified but completely happy at the same time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wait...its not a 1970's song?

Before you begin you're laugh fest, remember I've been in Germany for 2 years. When it comes to anything current from movie stars to new movies I am practically a foreigner (thanks to Kristen). With the exception of a few big movies and the 2 days later E! News broadcasts I had no idea what was going on in the entertainment world. I found out Elizabeth Taylor died 3 weeks after. 

Music has never been my strong point. While I love music, I have never been good at the "name the artist" game. Unless the artist has a very distinct voice, like Garth Brooks or Katy Perry, I typically get the answer wrong.

This also happens quite often when I imagine what an artist looks like. 9 times out of 10 I hear the song on the radio (or Dennis' iPod) and have no idea who the artist is. So based on the song I'm listening to, I end up with a wild impression of what the artist looks like.

I'm also great at coming up with absolutely ludicrous ideas to play along with my fantasy artist's image. Take for example this song, we play it at work and during one of our slower days it totally made my creativity go into over drive.

Every time I hear this song I have flashes of the 1970's hit Coca-Cola Commercial I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing. You know that totally vintage, barely colored, yellow look. Yeah.

Add the lady, she sorta looks like Gwyneth Paltrow with long blonde hair, cut evenly around her mid-back. She's wearing a flower headband (flower power!!!), a pale one piece dress that goes to her mid thigh, brown boots (similar to Ugg's) and she's got an acoustic guitar to play the song with. Let's add the grassy hill she's sitting on and the camera floating around her head to get her at every possible angle.

I'm pretty sure I was convinced this song was from the 70's, until I did a bit of googling for this post. This song is current. Like last 5 years current. The band played it at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City for New Year's Eve 2009.

So here's what Shayna Zaid really looks like...as you can see, my imagination gets a bit carried away.

Personally I think she reminds me more now of Alanis Morissette.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 24 – A picture of someone you miss

Some people come in our lives and go right back out, while other people never leave.

Over the last year I've learned who all will be there for me and never leave, who is willing to walk away, and who I can't get rid of if I tried.

Now I have many people that I miss from Germany. The time difference sucks because I can't always communicate with them the way I'd like to. But I think about them, daily. Wonder what they are doing and how many crazy adventures we'd be having right now if I stayed.

I'm going to take you back a few years, to January of 2009. Dennis and I had just gotten married, and he swore he was going to write me while he was in his last 3 weeks of basic training. After almost 2 full weeks of hearing nothing, I grew concerned and started googling information on basic training and stuff. I came across the mother load of help. Solo-Ops is a support forum for military wives and girlfriends, of all branches. There are wives who's husbands are no longer in the service, wives who are no longer with the men in the service, and there are girlfriends who are brand new to all of it and are scared out of their minds.

I fell into the third category, accept I wasn't a girlfriend, I am a wife. I remember posting about how long letters take to come out of basic, and running home every night to check the mail for letters. I was accepted into this new community and quickly became friends with the women on the board. They knew what I was going through, I didn't feel dumb asking them questions about AIT, moving, and even when things were difficult for me. These ladies became my second family.

Then in May of 2009 Dennis and I were getting ready to move across the Atlantic Ocean. I was going to be away from the people who I knew had my back no matter what I was doing. I had no friends in this soon to be "home" and I reached out to one girl on the site who was heading to Germany around the same time I was. Jennifer was heading across the ocean with her little girl, Cassidy. Her hubby was already there waiting for her, and we started talking constantly.

What started on an internet site soon became much, much more. We went from being friends to sisters. Sisters that had never met, but rarely went a day without talking to each other.

I was there for her when she was pregnant, and barely able to move and her hubby was deployed.

One time in February 2010, Cassidy lost her car keys. She couldn't even go to the commissary because she had no spare set, it was freezing outside, and her doctor told her she couldn't walk far or she'd risk having Cadence early.

She wrote me crying on Valentines Day saying she was out of milk and that she didn't know what else to do. I looked at Dennis, who was busy playing video games, and asked him what we were going to do. Since both of us are a little opposed to Valentines Day, (I don't want roses because its V-Day, get me them because you want to, any day) he said probably nothing. Maybe a night in, cooking my favorite dinner, lemon peppered chicken.

Can we go to Wiesbaden?

What's in Wiesbaden?

Jennifer. She's out of milk and Cassidy lost her car keys. So she can't drive. 

Uh, sure.

So we got into the car and drove the almost 2 hours to Wiesbaden with our trusty GPS guiding us the entire way. We took her to the commissary, got the milk and she cooked us a wonderful Mexican dinner.

From that moment on we were best friends. She was there for me when Dennis deployed, offering her home to the Little and I so I could get out of my deployment funk. We wandered around Wiesbaden in the chilly February weather, ate Chinese food with cheap wine, and danced our hearts out until we couldn't see straight.

She's been there for me when I thought my world was crashing down on me. She's visited just when I needed her, and just because I was down. Her family became my family. I love them all, just like I love my Little.

I didn't want them to go when they came up for the Little's birthday party. Watching them pull away sucked more than anything. It hurt when I knew that it would be months before I could see them again. To cook a whole chicken and fail at it with her. The Little's birthday was beyond bittersweet.

I can't wait until they are stateside, with iPhone's so we can facetime...constantly. 

Best Friends Forever

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 23 – A picture of your favorite book

Since I have been able to read I've read quite a number of books. Some have peaked my interest and I couldn't put them down like, A Child Called It (incredible book, GO read it). Other books I could barely get through like, Holes.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books I couldn't put down. I was the nerdy girl in bed reading with a flash light, just to be able to finish this book.

One of the most controversial banned books of all time. It is the story of a little girl, Scout, her father, and her life in a small Alabama town. 

Scout's father is set to defend Tom Robinson, a black man in the town accused of raping a young white girl. Since Scout's father, Atticus,  didn't want the children at the trial they watched from above. 

The story is about racism, the loss of innocence and compassion.

I read the book in high school and just fell in love with it. The characters, the plot, the sadness. I am that type of person who gets attached to people easily, falls too hard, and trusts too many people. I got completely attached to the characters in this book, even Tom Robinson.

Even the movie was good. And anyone who knows me, knows that I have 2 movies I like in black and white. Young Frankenstein (Abby-Abby Normal) and To Kill a Mockingbird. My standards are high.