Here's to a beautiful day!

This morning I set my alarm for 7:30 a.m. because I was actually pretty excited about the day; it was supposed to reach at least 70 degrees, I was about to use some coupons and make a couple purchases at Walgreens that were actually "money-makers" (free, and additional money given back to you), I was going to clean and wash my car, Josh and I both planned on skipping school in order to enjoy the weather, and we were going to take a friend of ours to dinner and a movie.  So, of course when my alarm began beeping, I sprung out of bed when I would normally continue adding 15 more minutes.  I could not wait to take on the day.
Guess what happened when I took my car out to vaccuum it?  I began sweating!  Something small and actually pretty gross, but it felt so good!  The sun and heat haven't made me sweat since like, I don't know, last August!  In addition to the awesome day, I am currently sitting at the rip-off school that I graduated from.  After Josh gets out of his meeting, I am going to go down to Student Records, demand to talk to a particular individual, rip the paper in half and cause a scene that will embarrass both her and me.  Okay, maybe not.  I do however, plan on going down to the office and seeing what happened and if they tell me anything about a stinkin' policy, I will begin the process of speaking to the next higher individual.  :-]  Like I said, I will get that high-quality sheet of paper. 

Well, here's to a beautiful day and doing nothing except for what I want to do!  :-D

Posted byAshley C. at 10:34 AM 0 Love Notes  

. . . these are my struggles . . .

When you're away from your blog for quite some time, bad things happen.  And by "bad things," I mean that you miss many opportunities to write about important things.  I have so busy the past week and I haven't even been able to visit any other blogs; it definitely saddens me.  What have I wanted to blog about?  Well, let's see . . . the gorilla (yes, gorilla, not monkey) on my back that keeps reminding me of my past, my bitterness, and my stubbornness, or about the awkwardness Josh and I experience since we are an interracial couple or how weird it feels for us to walk into pricey stores, or about the biggest struggle I face almost everyday, or about the awesome deals I have been getting and how much better I am at couponing.  Those are just a few to name. 

As you can see, I have not written one of those.  Maybe it's me just rebelling against myself and refusing to blog about those kinds of things because I would rather not face those giants at the moment.  OR, maybe it's me just being busy.  Yeah, I'll go with the second one.  :-] 

I will not be ignoring my blogging nudges anymore!  This area is for me to express myself and to possibly be an encouragement to others or even tick others off.  But, these are my struggles and this is my blog. :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 11:19 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

An at home Spring break

I know, I'm a little late on writing this, but hey, better late than never, right?  :-]  I shared with you that Josh I were going to spend some of the weekend in Chicago for my birthday and an "at home Spring break."  These are some of the views from our 17th floor room.  It was so beautiful!  We had a corner room, so 2 of our walls were basically made up of windows.  Big windows.  While we were looking out of the windows, we were spying on people in other buildings.  We found a girl that we named Tracy.  She should feel special because we dedicated about 30 minutes to watching her.  Creepy?  Yeah, I thought so, too.  BUT, she had curtains and was walking around in her underwear, bra, and at one point, her towel and she never pulled the curtains . . .so.  haha!  It was fun.   

The following morning, we opened the curtains and were slapped in the face with a mini snow storm!  Kinda sucked!  But, we didn't let that stop us from enjoying the day.  We walked to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and then caught a cab to the Shedd Aquarium.  When we got there, there was a looong line.  This can't be the line to get in.  It's too cold.  Sure enough, it was the line to get in.  Right on the lake, bad winds, snow storm and all.  We waited in that weather for an hour and a half to get inside.  We both admitted that if we knew it would have been that long of a line, we would have just gone elsewhere.  But, we enjoyed ourselves even though it seemed like every single elementary and junior high school in Chicago was there, too.  After we were done there (about 6 p.m.), we caught a cab back to our car and headed home to have dinner with my family at Lonestar.  The whole weekend was very enjoyable and relaxing.  :-]  It's funny to think that last Spring break, we were in 90 degree weather, sitting in the sand in Southwest Florida, getting our tan on . . . 10 days straight.  Not to sound cheesy, but any Spring break is a great Spring break, no matter where I am, as long as I'm with my Lover.  I told Josh You know, these past two birthdays of mine have been the best two birthdays and he made a point, "That's because these are the only two birthdays we've been able to celebrate together." 

Posted byAshley C. at 10:19 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Happy birthday to me!

I must admit that this is probably one of the best birthdays I have had!  This is right up there with Josh and me celebrating in Orlando last year.  There have been so many happy and rich moments that I deeply appreciate. 
This morning, me and mom went out to breakfast, which was great because we never do anything like that.  And because it was just us two, there weren't any distractions and we could just talk and have fun together.  Afterwards, we decided that this was something that we needed to do more regularly.  :-]
Guess who told me happy birthday via Facebook?!  Karen Kingsbury!  Yes, the Karen Kingsbury!!!  :-]  I am sooo star-struck and it really means a lot that she took the time out to write a little message on my wall.  Also, one of my favorite bloggers, Drea had her baby today!  She also took the time during her strong contractions to wish me a happy birthday and let me know that me and the little one might have to share today!  I cannot wait to see the pictures!
When I got to work, I had a card, cake, roses and balloons from some of the girls.  Krissy even put, "Happy birthday Ashley" on our sign outside.  They are so sweet and really spoiled me.  :-] 
While writing this, I had another dozen of roses and some balloons delivered to me from my Lover.  This time, they were not in a box!  ;-]  They are so beautiful.
And, finally, my mom just stopped in to deliver my birthday gift . . . a beautfil diamond heart necklace.  :-]  Aaahh,  I love this day. 
Tonight after work, Josh and I are heading down to Chicago to have dinner at Navy Pier and stay at the Hard Rock Hotel.  And tomorrow, we are going to grab lunch and spend the day at the Shedd Aquarium.  I am really excited because it will be just us two spending some quality time together.  :-]  Another highlight is that New Moon comes out tomorrow!  Yay!  :-] 

Honestly, I thought today was literally going to be "just another day."  I obvisouly have been proven wrong.  I think it's when we don't expect anything at all when we are really blessed.

Posted byAshley C. at 2:12 PM 0 Love Notes  

Something is missing

I finally got my diploma in the mail this week!  Yes, I did use diploma as a singular noun.  As you know, I double majored in Sociology and Pyschology with a certificate in Mental Health.  Sociology is part of the Arts and Psychology is part of the Sciences.  Well . . . as you can see from the picture below, something is missing.  After looking at my transcript, it said that I have been awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree and my academic plan was to major in Sociology and Psychology.  Well, since I majored in both, I should have both degrees, right?  WRONG!  According to a UW-P policy (which I was told nothing about), if you choose to get a dual degree (a Bachelor in both Arts and Science), then you must complete all of the requirements under both majors and complete an additional 30 credits, which brings you to at least 150 credits when you graduate.  I graduated with 130 credits.  So, this means that I do not have my second degree . . . or at least they think.

Now, this school has been giving me the run around and I have jumped through like 500 hoops to be able to get away with some of the things that I did.  They must be insane if they think I am going to go back to that shotty school and take 20 more credits of completely random classes that have nothing to do with either Sociology or Psychology in order for me to attain my second degree.  I do not think so.  I have completed all of my requirements, double majored, got a certificate, and maintained a 3.4 GPA; don't they think that I have retained the knowledge that I need for that stinkin' piece of paper?!  I am not joking when I say that I am going to fight this until a)either I get my second degree, in hand or b) that school's shadiness is brought to the public and I get my second degree.  Now, I am almost positive that I have been down to the Registrar's office, student records, and visited my academic advisor more than any other student in that school has and I did it only for this reason.  I did not want something to be "too good to be true" or for something to backfire on me after I was done.  And so it happens.  I know for a fact that I am not the only student that this school has "ripped off."  There are probably numerous students that would say "oh, well, too bad, I guess I lost out" and move on like nothing happened.  That is not who I am.  Especially when the school knew that my intention was to get a dual degree.  The graduation program even listed both of them, so I know that they acknowledged my attempt. What?  Did I just double major just to do it?  No, of course not.  Of course I wanted both of my degrees.  But, hey let's fail to mention that she has met our requirements and hope she pays us $14,00 again for a piece of paper.  I will not do it
After UW-P's Spring break is over, all heck is going to break loose because I will be there, bothering whoever I need to, in order to get this straightened out.  I double majored, earned both of my degrees, and I will have both of them. 

Posted byAshley C. at 7:21 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Officially the last draw

My dad and I have never been close.  We have never had one of those special father-daughter relationships.  Lately, it seems like people have been asking about how me and my dad are doing or if we have talked.  Maybe I just feel like people have been asking because I don't feel like doing any talking about it . . . or perhaps any explaining.  Oddly, at the same time, I have become frustrated by holding all of my feelings in.  I'm tired of "hiding" what I really feel and not be able to describe it. 

So, how are me and my dad?  Not good, and we never have been.  He has never done anything to show that he is my dad.  He has never called me on any special occasions, holidays, birthdays, etc.  He has never mailed me a birthday card, holiday card, or any other sentiment.  He doesn't call me and when I finally give in and call him, he has this imaginary wall up and confronts me for not calling him.  The audacity!  After I graduated, I sent him an announcement (after he skillfully backed out of coming) along with a picture and to this day, 3 months later, I have still not gotten a simple, "Congratulations, Ash!"  That was officially the last draw for me.  But, like my mom says, after 22 years, I should have learned to expect nothing from him.  I think that I've finally let my mom's advice sink in.  A couple weeks ago, I lost all of my phone numbers on my BlackBerry . . . including dad's.  I think that is kind of a blessing in disguise.  I am not able to contact him even if I wanted.  Now, I have a legitimate reason for not calling him and he does not. 
Now that I am getting older and more independent, I have begun to show less interest in the relationship that could have been.  He has not been there for me for 22 years and he still couldn't care less about it.  Maybe it's my turn to act careless.  I am done calling him and chasing after something that will never be.  I am convinced that this is his loss, not mine.  Whew.  Now I feel better that that's off of my chest. :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 5:25 PM 0 Love Notes  

When will I get really good at this . . .?

I woke up today with eagerness.  It's Sunday, so that means coupons day!  I was excited because my mom and I made plans to make some homemade laundry detergent.  I also have a big bag of clothes that I no longer like or want, so I needed to go drop that off.  And I also had to drop something off at the Post Office.  Josh was still sleeping, so I didn't feel rushed.  I stopped at Jewel to pick up some things (including my paper) and then headed to the Salvation Army to drop the clothes off. I wanted to get a receipt for 2010 tax purposes but no one was there because, duh, it's Sunday; they are closed!  Then, I went home, totally forgetting about the post office. Bleh. 
But, when I got home, I cut all of my coupons (and there were some really good ones!)  When I finished, I checked my coupon inventory and then started looking through the sale ads to see if anything caught my eye.  Of course there was!  :-]  But only at Jewel and Walgreens.  I was so excited to use my coupons . . . and in the end, did not save as much as I thought I would.  Here's what I came out with:

Old Spice Deodorant: $3.99
Old Spice Body Wash: $4.99
   (Buy one, get one 50% off and $1 off coupon)
Gillette Fushion Razor Cartridges (4 pack): $14.99
Gillette Fushion Shaving Gel: $4.29
Gillette Fushion Razor: $8.99
   (MFG coupon: Buy cartridges, get razor free. In-store deal: Buy cartridges, get shaving gel free.  So, I only paid for the 4-pack cartridges)
Venus Razor (3 pack): $8.99
   ($2 off coupon)
2 Packs of Orbit Gum: $2.99
   (In-store: 2/$1)
2 Nestle Crunch bars: $.99
   (MFG coupon: Buy one, get one free.  Catalina: $.49 for 1)
                        Total: $53.21
                       I Paid: $27.54
                     I Saved: $25.67

I thought I had some really good coupons, but obviously I spent a little much.  When will I get really good at this whole couponing thing?  :-/  It's kind of frustrating, but I guess it takes a little bit of time to learn, eh?

Posted byAshley C. at 5:18 PM 0 Love Notes  

I have fallen in love

Today I have fallen in love with Josh even more.  Yesterday we had a talk.  Josh told me that he's really been praying a lot about us.  He told me that we should wait longer to be married.  After all of the time we've ever talked about being married, we were almost sure that we would be getting married in 2010 but after yesterday, I think that's changed.  He suggested that we wait a little bit longer to get our financial situation straightened out, have time to establish ourselves in our careers, and most important of all, become closer to God.  As ashamed I am to admit this, he asked me "have you been praying for us?" And I had to be honest. No! He looked me in my eyes and said "I am not comfortable being the only one in this relationship praying for us.  You need to be close to God."

I took his advice and I am going to pursue after God the way I never have before.

While in the car today I told Josh, "This is it.  I need to be the Christian girl I used to be."  He replied by saying, "No, you need to be the Christian woman you've never been."  That . . . that is the most loving thing that someone can tell you.  I thank God for my godly man. 

Posted byAshley C. at 9:24 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

. . . the most dark, deep secrets . . .

Yesterday, my class ended with a grand finale; we had to give a presentation on our family history (3 generation's worth).  As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I do not talk to my dad's side of the family (with an exception here and there), so I know nothing about them.  My (ex)-Aunt, Andrea gave me all of the information that I needed.  As for my mom's side, they are all either deceased, homeless, or drug addicts . . . so, I know nothing about them either.  Great, huh?

As I was watching people give their presentations, my heart started to feel heavy.  Because I am in Social Work, everyone in my class is a woman (and 2 guys) and there were some very common themes: no knowledge of one part of the family, childhoods absent of fathers, single moms raising their children, kids raising kids because of irresponsible parents and the list goes on.  One girl began crying because her family shunned her at age 16 (she's now 31) because she refused to be a part of any religion; she still has no contact with them.  The more presentations that I sat through, it felt like the ground was sinking in.  Everyone's history and experiences were so different.  People shared things that they didn't have to (and frankly, I wished they hadn't because I am waaay too empathic and feel for everyone).  My heart was so heavy and I felt like there was this "monster" on my back.  That's when I began to realize that families are probably the most dark, deep secrets that anyone could have.  Why?  It's really strange to think about.  Is it because people (including myself) want others to think they live in a normal household?  Is it because the family name needs to be placed on the highest pedastal, no matter what goes on?  Is it because people feel hopeless?  Who knows.  I will be the first to admit that my family is nowhere near perfect and things have happened that I would only share with those closest to me.  A family seems to be like a box; no outsiders allowed in "our lines." 

I am always talking about how perfect of a family I am going to have.  Having the best intention in raising them under a godly roof.  Having family dinners, meetings, outings.  I want my kids to find rest in their family and know they we are all there for each other.  But reality is that that is not always the case.  There are always exceptions to the (desired) rules and families are not always prepared to face those.  I pray to God that my family will be strong enough to endure anything that comes our way.  I pray to God that my kids will have a much more positive family environment than I did; matter of fact, the family environment that includes and is centered around God.  After listening to 14 family histories, I have come to learn that the only thing I do have control over is my prayer for my family. 

Posted byAshley C. at 5:33 PM 0 Love Notes  

Welcome, March!

Welcome, March!  It sure is nice to know that we will be having some 50+ degree days soon!  :-]  Anyone else agree with that?!  This means it's almost time for rollerblading!  I couldn't be more excited!  Well, except for when I'm actually rollerblading.

Remember my own little basic diet that I mentioned a few days ago?  Well, I weighed myself today and I am down 3.2 pounds and .5% body fat . . . in one week!  I must admit that it really isn't hard at all either.  It's actually eye-opening for me to be writing down everything I eat and making sacrifices with food instead of splurging and just eating all I want, whenever I want.  I have a long way to go since I want to lose 16 more pounds.  We'll see how long it takes to do that!  :-]    Oh, and today has officially been 2 months without fast food for me and Josh!  Huge!

Another exciting thing is that I am officially half done with those stinkin' classes!  Haha, I can't believe I was so afraid to drive to Milwaukee.  I have become a real trooper and done really well.  This week is my last day of these 2 classes and then I start 2 new ones.  Fortunately, one class is in Racine (a lot closer) but still have the other in Milwaukee.  It will be a lot of fun because Josh and I will be riding together on Mondays to my class in Racine since he can drop me off and pick me up.  My class is from 5:30-10 and his is from 6-9.  Life is so much cooler when I can do those small things with him!  

Oh, and another cool thing is that I saw (hopefully) my prospective employer a few days ago and she said "we are still keeping you in mind."  And after me asking about not meeting one of their qualifications, she replied, "It really isn't necessary when we're hiring someone we want.  We'll train you."  I really, really, really hope that I get that job when the time is right.  I would love to work with that company.  I just really suck at interviews.  :-/

Posted byAshley C. at 4:07 PM 0 Love Notes