6 years!

This never got published and here we sit just celebrating 12 years! Time freaking flies.....

Tonight Declan will be with my parents (woot woot) and I'll be celebrating 6 years of marriage with this hottie:

A boy and a ball.

For some reason this cuteness never got published. You're welcome. ;)

The hats I wear...

Still cleaning out my drafts folder. This is from at least 3 years ago. Had you told me I could handle an even more thriving career plus a few more babies, I would laugh. But our capacities increase...what a beautiful thing.

From 2012:
There is no doubt that I thrive on borderline chaos. I like a lot of irons in the fire. I like challenges and the feeling I get when I overcome them. I joke that my life as a mom and career woman can be best explained as spinning plates. I have a lot of things (plates) spinning in the air that need careful attention. If I let one plate wobble too much, the others will start to wobble too. Let one plate fall and they all come crashing down.

I have to be completely honest and say that I don't think I could be a full time stay at home mom. I'm not patient or creative enough. I feel so blessed to have the best of both worlds. I stay home with Decs M-W-F and have childcare Tues/Thurs. There is A LOT of tagging in and out with Mark and I. If someone would ask me how I maintain a busy career and mommyhood (and sanity), I would say- hands down- Mark's steadfast support. I'm gone a lot of evenings and weekends (did I mention my other career is photography...another profession that is done in "off" hours) and Mark hardly ever complains.

My tips and tricks:
-Multitask, multitask, multitask. Throw in a load of laundry in between errands or appointments or 3 year old shenanigans. My iphone is my brain and I set alarms for everything from mundane activities (give dog's heart worm medicine, take out recyclables, etc etc) to important appointments. I even put my work outs in my phone so it's blocked out time. Whenever Decs and I get out during the week I try to think of what area of town we'll be in and knock out a couple real estate related trips. He even accompanies me to appointments from time to time.
-Be intentional with the time that you do have as a family. I try really hard to plan out activities that we can all do together. I want to make the most out of the time that the 3 of us have together. I try hard to be intentional with Declan. I ask him randomly during the week what he wants to do that morning (if we aren't on a play date, at the gym, etc). Wednesday he wanted to go to Trader.Joes so he could push the little cart. Um, okay, TJ's it is!
-Know your boundaries. I get to "flip out" stage during peak busy times. I try to communicate to Mark when the train is heading off the tracks. Sometimes I need a 3 hour block to go to Panera and edit photos. Other times I need a couple uninterrupted hours at the office to catch up. These aren't specific appointments but just extra time to get on top of things. I know my boundries decently well and try to stay within them and say "no" if something doesn't fit in my world.


Clearing out old drafted posts that never made the blog. What a great reminder of where you've been. We've now built our dream home, Mark went back to school and is now in a career he loves (with a couple more layoffs after the one spoken of in this email) and we have a full house of 4 kiddos...God is funny but He's good. Now enjoy this early 2011 post.....

I feel like I've let my blog slack a bit. We've been busy and, honestly, there hasn't been too much to really write about. That's a good thing I think?! 2010 was a hard year for us between layoffs, renting our house and buying another to have it fall through (after packing), a slow season for my job and the financial stress that followed, etc etc.

So it's not surprising that 2011 was welcomed in happily. So far, it truly has been a new breath in our world and we've been having a great time as a family. Declan is getting more hilarious by the day. He's such a negotiator right now. "Decs, do you want some milk?" D: "Ummm...how about juice?". We're finally adjusting to his new wake up time around 8am (after many months of 9-10am). I feel like an idiot whining about how early 8 feels but it really does.

Our house is finally on the market. Yes, in all my realtor experienced goodness we did indeed listing in January. Pretty much the worse time of the year in Nebraska. I accidently stumbled upon [what I still believe to be] our dream house. We competed with 3 other offers and lost the battle. So now we're listed and have zero prospects if our house would magically sell. I'm learning a lesson in empathy to my clients because I'm a bitter woman after cleaning for 2 hours for a showing yesterday to only have the buyers not like it. We are trusting God knows our buyer and, more importantly, our next home. (That sounded good typed out but I have to remind myself of this daily since I'm impatient as heck).

Mark just celebrated 90 days at his new job. He is finally feeling settled back in with a work family. Praise the Lord! We have a whole new view of "job security" and often have conversations about the lessons the last year taught us. More than anything, he likes what he's doing, likes who he's doing it with and they like him. What a trifecta of goodness! This past weekend we attended a 10 year anniversary for his company. It was fun to make some bonds with his new co-workers and some memories too. I'll leave those off my blog. ;)

On the adoption front, we're moving at turtle pace completing our 2nd home study. Papers were submitted last May and we have to complete classes before any further steps are made. Classes are not until March. Hopefully things will pick up after we take the classes. In the mean time if we win the lottery we'll be adopting internationally. This is another area where God is in control but it's hard to not be impatient. Hopefully Declan's not 8 before he gets a sibling. He'll be such a fabulous big brother!

I love...

I was looking for an email I had drafted and ran across this one. Declan was 3 years old. Now that I have an almost 3 year old in the house it was so fun to read through his behaviors at that age. A little moment down memory lane....

There are so many things I love about Declan at this age:
-His razor sharp memory.
-How when you come at him to wipe his hands or something he doesn't want he says "Swiper no swiping" with his hand out.
-How when I leave to go to work he exclaims "HUGS" and runs to give me the best hug ever.
-I don't love this, but it's for memory sake: his finger is always up his nose. 
-How he loves to do the dishes. And by doing the dishes I mean that he stands on a stool playing with the water, soap and dishes for at least a half hour. It's how I get time to clean these days.
-How smart he is and how much he learns every day. Recently I'm amazed at his ability to play games on my iphone. I was enjoying a leisure shopping trip at Children's Place last week and he BEAT all levels of the memory matching game. His favorite game right now is Icee (yes, as in the Icees you get at 7/11. You can pick out your cup, lid and straw, fill it with a flavor of your choice, drink it and even spray down the machine. A client of mine told me her 3 y/o loved it, otherwise I would have never got it).  
-I love the snuggles at bed time. He wraps his arms around me neck and we are nose to nose and he just breathes his sweet little hot breath all over my face. Heart melter.
-I love his prayers. He rattles off what he is thankful for 5 minutes. He loves praying for Julio and Sante (our two World Vision supported boys). He talks like they are part of our family: "Thank you for Papa & Nana, Uncle Shaun, Sante, Lukie...." 
-I love his spontaneous bursts in to song. Once he catches you looking at him he acts all shy and quiets down.
-I love how he asks where Mark is every day. When I tell him he's at work, he always says: "oh, he's busy". Every day. Several times a day. Then we usually call him to say hi. 
-This is sort of scary but worth remembering: he turns everything in to a stool (hamper, play bins, etc). Everything high up is fair game so it's made us be on our toes about putting things out of reach. Just last week he got the Oxyclean spray gel stuff of the top of the washer (we have front loaders on stands so it's a feat) and sprayed all surfaces including the walls in our laundry room with a coat of the nasty gel. Such fun to clean up. Not. 
-Not sure I love this but it's for memory sake: he runs to the car, opens the door, plops in to his seat and then insist on buckling himself in. We usually have a mini battle and then I secure him properly. Fiercely independent!
-I love how he holds my phone to his ear and says "Bancwise, this Ashley" (that is where I work and since it's real estate he hears me answering the phone during the day)
-I love inquisitive mind. There is too much I could fill in here so I'll leave it at that.
-I can't wrap this memory post up without mentioning he is so particular about everything: the cup we use, the way I put his food on the place, the seat he sits in, the shoes he wears, etc etc.

Viva Las Vegas

We LOVE going to Vegas. It's the perfect getaway. This year we were there on our anniversary which was special. The other exciting thing was that I won this trip though my job. Work hard=play hard. :)
After we landed we decided to skip the huge bus and get a town car. A little luxury to kick things off.
We checked in and immediately went down the pool. The classic desert heat screamed for a cold drink. We downed those and fell asleep for an hour. Happy place. A little chair imprint never hurt ya!
That night we were going to Zarkana and didn't have dinner plans so found this cute little restaurant near the show. It ended up being super fancy. We joked that we had never seen so many glasses and utensils. This drink was extra memorable. Tea ice cubes? Brill.

Circ du Soleil never, ever lets us down. Zarkana was incredible!
Day two we hit the gym and then the pool. Amazing how quick the hours tick by with the dry heat. We are used to chasing after 3 little boys but were able to nap, read and chat. 
After a nap we headed out to meet our friends for dinner and another show.
When my friend Lisa fun out we were staying at Aria, she said we just HAD to try Javier's. She was right! It was delish. Still dreaming about my cucumber marg. 
Nick was my trainer in 2013 and moved to Texas and we stayed good friends. It was super fun to have him and his girlfriend join us for a couple days.
Le Reve was awesome! My new favorite for sure!! Beware if you sit super close it's a "splash zone". Ha!
Day three began much like days 1 and 2. ;)
Our friends chose the restaurant that night which happened to be our Anniversary (12 years!!) Great company, wonderful food. 
After that we went down to Fremont Street. We stopped at the Cortez for a little Blackjack and had the best table. We all won and left as soon as the tides began to turn. 
We all walked away $100-$200+ up from where we started. Woot!
So lucky to have had 12 years with this guy. Such a catch. Love him deeper than I could have ever imagined and there is no one else I'd rather do life with. Our friends felt these beaded ties were necessary (for a pic that is- put them right back). :)
Until next year....