Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of the Lenten season. It is customary to give up something for the season of Lent to be reminded of the sacrifice that was made for us. My pastor suggested that I should think about giving up blogging..while I marinate on that sacrifice and decide if that's something I should do..this could be my last blog for a while... or not. I could just give up mommy juice. Coffee isn't an option if we're thinking about the well being of those who love there you have it.

I've found myself reflecting a little this week. I vowed not to look back on 2008 in my first blog of 2009.. but this is me we're talking about.

Cole spent the day and night with his Dad this past weekend. A first sleepover since the split. I talked about it all week so he'd be excited. I kept telling him that Saturday he was going to spend the night with his Daddy and Tobie and it would be so much fun. Meanwhile I had a ball of fear wallowing around in my stomach. It truly made me a nervous wreck to think about it. Luckily, Saturday I had plans to shop and have lunch with the girl friends and Saturday night I had plans to take Marketing Boy to dinner for his birthday.. all good distractions. I called to check on him before bed and he seemed happy enough... So I made it through the night without too much fear or worry.

I've always joked about divorce ettiquette. I've tried so hard not to speak badly about Cole's Dad. Because honestly, we had some good years... In my heart I know Will is a good guy, it was just clear that we didn't want the same things for Cole or for the family. We weren't on the same page. It's sad and tragic, but we were never truly partners. However, without those years I wouldn't have Cole and I'll always be glad that Will and I had Cole.

As I reflect over the past was about this time last year that I knew it was over. The decision was made.. steps were taken. The past year has been hard because Will has been so very angry with me and he let me know it.. It felt like every chance he got. I am proud to say that I never waivered. I didn't indulge in the verbal assaults (at least to him- girlfriends, friends and family don't count right?).. I vowed to take the high road and trust me there were times when all I wanted to do was go postal. To just lay it all out there and lash into him for all of the hurt..for all the years of indifference.. ..but I refrained. He had to work through it at his own pace as well.

The past few times Will and I have talked.. I would say it's been pleasant. It doesn't feel like he's angry at me anymore. We coordinate the details and are cordial. He seems happier and I'm relieved. I think he finally realizes that it was for the best. He's moved on and he seems content in his new relationship. I wanted that for him. I prayed for it for him, so I'm thankful.

After the Daddy sleepover this weekend.. we were missing a binky. I texted Will to see if he had it. He replied that he did and told me what a great job I was doing with Cole. There were times that I never thought we'd get here..but that's what I call progress.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Present

So this morning was a little dramatic. Cole fell down and hit his head pretty hard. Maybe it's because he was trying to get out the door in a pair of Mommy's heels and his Converse? You're probably reading this thinking.." Umm Ashley- why were you letting Cole walk around in your heels?" I was trying to get to work people. I had Cole to drop off and kids to drive to school. Ever gotten ready for work with a two year old holding up every possible product, make up brush, or tweezer and asking "Mommy what's this?" Or turning the hair dryer off and on repeatedly? It can get a little overwhelming. So I figured if he wanted to walk around in heels and it would give me a minute to find mine- we were going to roll with it. He did great in the house-- it was when we were trying to load up the car that it became a challenge. I even said "Cole let's take Mommy's shoes off and then BAM! He fell and I mean hard. Then it was on. The mega meltdown. The crying. The shaking. The kicking. The squealing.. the looking at me like "Mommy why did you let me walk around in your heels?" And I realized I probably shouldn't have done that. I felt fairly horrible. I couldn't get him calmed down. He was clinging to me like he was drowning. In my head I was chanting "bad mommy bad mommy." Five minutes later the melt down subsided. Cole moved past it and we were on to just sniveling and sniffing and wiping tears from our face. We both needed to change our clothes at this point. The drama of it all. Being 2 is hard work.

Back in the house we went. I got him changed first. Then went looking for something suitable for me to wear to work. It was about that time Cole came toddling in my closet.. "Mommy!! Here you goes..present..." I thought it was really sweet until I realized what I'd just taken out of his hand was a booger. Gross.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why I Do It

Why do any of us do what we do? How did we find our professions, our passions, our interests or the people who have leading roles in our lives?

It is interesting when you think of the twists and turns that life throws your way. While the spot you are in right now may not make a lot of sense- there will come a moment when you realize that there is a reason. The faithful know that on the walk with God- it isn't a straight path. There will be times that test you and you'll find yourself walking alone. Times that you walk in the shade, sipping Mommy Juice with a tribe of people cheering you on. Times that you can just enjoy the journey and know you have no idea what's in're just on the right path. It's all these emotions that have led me to enjoy running.

I don't always enjoy the run. Sometimes my body aches all the way to my soul and I feel alone and ask myself why the heck am I doing any of this? Sometimes when I run I look around me at trees, other people, my surroundings or the people running with me and realize I'm exactly where I should be. Sometimes when I run I do it out of anger at my situation or what I feel are my physical weaknesses...but no matter what, it always presents a challenge for me.

If you have ever run, you know there is a point for every runner where you reach a sort of runner's high and you're on autopilot. Your breathing is steady and if your legs are trained you could run for what seems like forever. This generally happens for me between miles three & four and for about six miles my body is on cruise control. Then mile 10 hits and it all goes to hell.

I found this past weekend at the end of mile 10 on my 1/2 marathon trek that it became a battle of my mind over my body. My body was tired. My knee done. My sense of self depleted and this big hill staring me down. I even stopped at the bottom of the hill and said "you gotta be frickin kidding me.." (that's the PG version if I'm honest). But it was mile ten..only three more to go..up the hill I went.

If someone had told me several years ago that at 31 I'd be divorced, and raising my little boy on my own. I would have laughed. If someone had told me that I would finish a 1/2 marathon as a single, working mother, I would have laughed as well...but I did it and running makes me feel strong. Like I can do anything.

My life might currently feel like I'm constantly at mile 10 staring at a big hill with only three miles to go, and all of these obstacles. But I finished this race and I did it for all the times I've been told I couldn't in life and allowed myself to believe it. For all those negative comments I spent years listening to, the negative people who were toxic in my life... I ran up the hill so I knew I could. I finished a 1/2 marathon so my little boy knows his Mom is tough and even when I wanted to- I didn't quit.

I didn't finish in record time. I just finished and did so running (as opposed to crawling)... that was my only objective. I felt fairly confident that I would cry when I crossed the finish line- but I was too tired. That came later. So while to many people running might that far might seem like insanity- it's part of my journey at the moment and I'll probably run another 1/2 marathon. Next time I'll worry about my times and getting good at finishing.

But in this moment.. where I can barely walk..I'm basking in the glow of realizing it's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to things. It's amazing where the journey might lead you and sometimes when you take a leap of faith you find yourself crossing a finish line you never imagined.

Thanks to the Wahtlstedt's and Nana/Papa for watching Cole so I could do this...I'm lucky to have such amazing people supporting me on the journey.

Advil is in my future. Holla!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Just Do It

I think Nike spun some genius when they launched their Just Do It add campaign in 1988. I found it hard to believe that the slogan was 20+ years old.

Several months ago I was in my local sporting goods store needing some running stuff and found a shirt that said "Lazy Sucks..Just Do it" I laughed and bought it almost instantly. It was on sale after all. Now it has become my lucky running shirt. I'll put it on Sunday morning to run my 1st ever 1/2 marathon. As an update my Dad told me just the other day I can do anything I set my mind to...Thanks Daddy. I knew he was just giving me a hard time.

I've prepared. I did my short runs this week. I've rested like the training schedules tell you to. I downloaded some new songs for my running play list and broke in some new Asics. It's all I can do. But I've found myself fairly crabby all week leading up to this half marathon craziness... why I wonder?

The lesson in my Mom's group this week was on Identity.. and even as a Mom you should maintain a sense of self and it's important for your kids to see your passion in life. I'll blog more on this after I finish on Sunday.. but I've found myself thinking about this.

That's all I've got for now. Holla.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


If you're a marketing/business/leadership guru, you've probably heard of Seth Godin. A peculiar looking little man, but the dude is smart. Tribes is this non intimidating looking little book that is really rather good. It was no. 1 on the list as I've set a personal goal to finish ten books this year. But I found it difficult to read because sadly it shows me that I've Mommy tracked my career and lost a passion for what I do. Somewhere in the mix, I've become a corporate drone. I read this quote and my penciled note in the margin says "this is me"

"I think these people are becoming ever better at following, but never learning to lead. They're following instructions, following directions, following the pack, and honing their skills-but hiding. Hiding from the fear of leading..."

So I read on. Mr Godin talks about the importance of a Tribe. A Tribe is simply put: a group of people with a common interest. "Tribes are about faith-about belief in an idea or in a community.." But the important, key component, of a Tribe is the leader. If you think about all of the Tribes you are involved in be it your church, your team at work, your book club, your blog circles.. chances are there is a leader. Chances are the leader is compelling and people want to follow that person because if we're honest, we all want to be's much more difficult to actually do the leading or is it? In fact, as Mr Godin points out, Leadership isn't difficult, we've all just been trained to avoid it.

I think about the leaders that I respect. I often think, it is a natural born desire to lead, but I've come to understand that it's really more about passion. Passion about the belief or the idea in the community and the willingness to not accept the status quo. With that unwillingness to settle and passion about the idea, comes the decision to lead. Some examples: I think about the company I work for where a real estate broker wanted to look out for the tenant rather than the landlord in commercial real estate and thus he started the first real estate firm where ONLY tenants were represented and such representation would be done so without conflict of interest and with integrity. I think about the church that I go to and my pastor's passion to embrace the community as a whole and not just the people who call themselves Christians. It makes me think of Marketing Boy starting his own company out of a passion to really want to do the right thing for his clients and suddenly the concept of Tribes becomes much more real.

Not that Far Gone
So maybe I'm a corporate drone. Maybe I've lost some work passion...but it occurred to me last night that maybe I'm not that far gone. One of the things that has agitated me and frustrated me about being a working Mother is that all of the play groups and activities for Mom's and kids are conveniently at 10am in the middle of the week. I was frustrated. For two years I looked for a Tribe for Cole and I. To no avail. What the heck? Working mommies don't need a Tribe too? Good grief. We're the spaziest of them all. So when one of the other working Mommies in the church said "let's start a MOPS@ group for working mothers" I volunteered to help.

I found myself leading the group last passion a little lost in being tired and having a crazy day at work..but as soon as I started the lesson and started engaging the Tribe- my passion showed back up. I remembered why I went looking for a Tribe and now I had an opportunity to lead and I didn't completely suck. I'm just really good at avoiding it.

One of my favorite summations in Mr. Godin's book is this: "People don't believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. The often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves. What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about change..."

There you have it. We all just need stories about the future and about change. We can all lead and make an impact. The question is more : Will you choose to do it?

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm feeling fairly spastic

Yes, I'm feeling fairly spastic. I'm taking a break from presentation preparation overload at the office. I've been chained to the desk/puter most of the day. I feel fried.

It's just been a crazy sort of couple of weeks. I've sent the Joey dog to Man's best Friend which is the equivalent of Doggy Boot Camp. I just can't get this dog to come out of her shell. She's afraid of her own shadow, and I'm so glad I rescued her from being bred. Even though she's shy, scared, and never acts particularly happy to see me- I can't give up on her and I miss her. We're all broken. Joey too. I sympathesize because she's lacking self confidence- something that hits fairly close to home. People don't give up on me-so I'll do what I have to with Joey.

I've been fighting off a cold and knee problems all coming dangerously close to my big 1/2 marathon next Sunday. It has messed with my training schedule- but I hauled myself to the after hours clinic of my dr's office yesterday- told the doctor my woes and that I would be running next Sunday so please pass the drugs. She made me take a flu test which was horribly violating. This obnoxiously long q-tip shoved up your nose. I'm fairly confident she scrapped out some brian cells as well. I needed those. The flu test was negative so that meant I could have a steroid shot if I wanted one. I usually opt for ANYTHING that doesn't involve a needle- but I thought about all those miles I'd run, the race and dropped my drawers and got a shot in the right cheek. Awesome.

I made the mistake of asking Cole's Dad if he wanted to keep him while I was out of town next weekend. I don't know why I'm surprised... and I would have worried about him, but he's the Dad. He should share in the care and my role as a mother to promote a father son relationship anyway I can. So I asked..prepared myself for the answer and shouldn't be surprised that he had plans. Clearly this blog post won't ever be shared with Cole. There's really only one person who's missing out, but it breaks my heart all the same. I'll never understand it. Sometimes I just need to feel it rather than internalizing it.

So really this race next Sunday will be about overcoming aversity for me. Overcoming not really having a lot of successful long runs. Overcoming my knees and the pseudo cold. Overcoming not really having anyone to help with Cole (other than the amazing Wahlstedt's) and getting out there and doing it. It's really all any of us can do.

One of my dearest friends is wading her way through heartache right now. It hurts my heart to watch her feel it. I know of several amazing ladies having to deal with elderly parents and what the role reversal of becoming the parent rather than the child does to your sense of self. I hear of people losing their jobs in hard economic times, or not being able to move on and drowning in bitterness. What a complicated world we live in. No wonder I feel spastic. We all do.

All we can do sometimes is remember to breath in and out. Pray. Seek out friends and family to comfort us and face adversity the only way we can. One breath, one step, one day at a time.

Or if you're into self pain- have some shove an obnoxiously long q-tip up your nose. That will snap you out of it. Back to the presentation for me. Holla!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Fashion Makeover Please

If you have followed my journey over the last year- you know I've been sort of busy. Busy focusing on alot of emotional garbage, trying to raise my son on my own, and working. Now that the dust has cleared and I have a little clarity- it's become painfully obvious that I've taken care of Cole, the house, the emotions, and my physical self-but I haven't had time to focus on the fact that I've lost all the baby weight & then some and none of my clothes fit and I have dozens of suitable black outfits for a funeral. Literally I am swimming in a sea of black... brown and gray are in there too.

Shopping for me consists of the following: I buy all my clothes from the same 2-3 stores because I know what size I am and I don't have to try anything on. I even shop on line. Shopping with a two year old crawling under the fitting room doors or sticking his finger in my belly button isn't that appealing to me. If it's black I buy it. My friends and people who love me make fun of my wardrobe.. I'm in a rut. I know it. I just haven't had the time or resources to do anything about it and it's been dragging me down lately. I finally feel good about myself and the closet is a sea of depression for me. I walk in and know I'm putting one the same uniform day in and day out. Slacks, heels and a top for work... or jeans, a t-shirt, and converse on the weekend (mama's dressed for speed). All of it's black. *sigh* How did I get here? You know it's bad when you actually put on a skirt for work and the guys you work with notice and even say "Ashley I didn't know you had legs.."

I was putting away my laundry the other night and just started crying looking at my closet. It's as if I feel like a new person- and the clothes represent the old me..the old life where no one really noticed me so it didn't matter what I put on.

I decided to do something about it. Tuesday during lunch was my first adventure... and Wednesday night I went shopping for non mom jeans. Some that actually fit me. I picked Cole up that afternoon and told him that I needed him to go shopping with me... that Mommy was going to do something for her. I just accepted that Cole would crawl under the door and situated myself in a fitting room with no one next me. I made friends with the sales girl and entered the room with about 10 pairs of jeans. She kept throwing jeans over the door.. by the time I left- I'd tried 60 pairs of jeans on. I'd made friends with the entire sales had Cole. I'd never asked so many people in one sitting how my butt looked? I was sweating from trying on all these crazy jeans and never knew that there was so many different pairs of jeans that could make a mom butt look good. I bought two pair. One pair is being hemmed at the store and the others are in the car. I'll seek committee approval when I see the girlfriends this weekend. I think they will be proud...

It's the first step. When I get my bonus in a few weeks-instead of saving every little bit of it- I'll allocate some funds to shop. You're talking to the girl that had Cole's college fund set up when he was still in the womb... so I won't feel guilty about it. I work hard and I should do my part to stimulate the economy right?

I'm tired of looking like a tired Mommy because the truth of it is- I'm freaking exhausted- but in the best possible way. Cole's at such a fun age, I am seeing someone who's really great, I have a decent job that I'll hopefully be able to weather these crappy economic times with, I have amazing friends, a schitzy dog, and all in all life is finally looking up. So I think it's time the clothes reflected it.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thoughts on Being Mommy

The great thing about the crappy weather last week and Cole being extremely overdue for his 2yr vaccinations is I had an excuse to spend some time with Bubba. Yes- I affectionately call Cole -Bubba. Spend any amount of time with him and you'll see that it fits.

Most girls dream about weddings and perfect houses and perfect husbands and all that crap- but for me I wanted to be a Mom. And I am. Being a single, working mother challenges me daily in ways I never thought possible. I am nearly certain that my head can spin around while still attached to my body when Cole is being particularly demanding, but I never get more agitated than when work infringes on my time with Cole or at home...

There are times that I wish I could have just a guilt free moment to myself that didn't occur at 12am when I stay up too late catching up on TiVo. Honestly, there are days that I just tell God "I can't handle one more thing.." and I get a little angry at my situation. The reality is He never gives us more than we can handle and that's generally when Cole will come around the corner with a bag of cookies and say "Mommy I want this nok.." or "No Mommy I don't" or shout "M O M M Y" even though I've only stepped into the next room. Then there's "Mommy I watch Monkey George" and he starts his galloping/dancing routine when the music comes on...My favorite is still when I say "I love you Cole" and he says "I juve you Mommy" and buries his head for a hug. That's what makes my world go round.
I think having kids teaches us to be less selfish. To love unconditionally. To realize you're stronger and can do more than you ever thought imaginable if it means providing for or taking care of your child. I think about how much I love Cole and then reflect on the fact that God loves me infinitely more and I find a little peace.

I find myself a little nervous. I'm going to have to take Cole to see a pediatric urologist and surgery is in our future. My little man seems so little to have surgery. Any surgery has a risk and I'm worried. He's my baby and I don't know what I'd do if anything were to happen to him. If only these Doctors knew the grilling they had in store. I can be particularly obnoxious when it comes to Cole. Shocking I know.

So one day when I pick and choose blog posts where I don't curse or complain and that pertain to Cole for his Baby Memoires. Here's one for the book. Cole I'll never say being your Mom was easy- but I've loved it and it has changed me in ways I never thought possible. So we'll take you to a couple of pediatric specialists and pick the best of the bunch. We'll handle this too.