April 4, 2012

a day in the life - ashley

Happy hump day everyone.  Hope the week is treating you well!  Today we get a little peek at a day in the life of Ashley.  Enjoy!


Greetings fromNashville!

I’m Ashley K. and I am mom to super hyper Lucas, wife to super silly Korey, and teacher of 30-something super dramatic middle schoolers.  We blog Our-Simple-Truths somewhat frequently … and it’s filled with daily inspirations, weekly photo journaling, and snap shots of life’s incredible gifts.  A bit about me: I’m a college athlete turned reading specialist who adores watching middle schoolers grow into themselves a little bit each day.   Korey and I met in 2006, married last November, and have an almost-three-year old monster-hunter we love and adore. Lucas was born 9 weeks early, while I was visiting my parents in New York, and stayed in the hospital for 42 days. After struggling to make ends meet while still in Grad School (balancing newborn, AmeriCorps, grad assistantship, and classes), we are finally in a place of organized chaos.

I chose to document an “average” Thursday – enjoy!

My day starts at 5:02 (I make myself feel better by NOT setting my alarm for 5:00 am). Sometimes I snooze ‘til 5:20, but most days I’m up and in the shower by ten after.  The early mornings are usually me time – which means catching up with Pinterest, Facebook, and blogging… and planning for my classes that day.

I wake the boys up at 6:15. This usually consists of turning bedroom lights on, saying a quick good morning, and then starting to pack lunches. My husband is up and in the shower, and Lucas needs a gentle nudge to help him wake up.  My breakfast is usually a bowl of buttered noodles, Lucas comes away with a PopTart, and Korey has a yogurt to go. We’re in the car, and off to school by 6:50 (... we can tell we’re late when The Big 98 is playing the National Anthem as we’re pulling out of our complex …) We are a one-car family so Korey drops us off at school and heads off to work in Downtown Nashville.

Sleepy head...

From 7:15 – 3:30 I work at one of the best private schools in the state of Tennessee. I teach Language Arts and English to classes that have 4-7 students each with individualized learning needs. Our regular school day lasts from 8 – 2:35, and then we have a 40 minute activity period that we rotate through. This quarter, my activity period is at the school barn/stable … and it’s a great day for a walk to the barn. 10 minutes out of the middle school and I’m beginning to wonder what life is going to be like when my usually pleasant but all-boy superhero grows up to be the age of the 5 boys bounding and jumping in front of me. I’m lucky to share this with a good friend who also has a 2 year old, and we laugh about the antics that our students play out on our way to the barn. I’m surprised every time they interact with the horses – the therapy program is just beginning at our school, but it is working wonders for some of these guys.

A fun picture on our 83 acre campus (& one of 70 cranes one of my students continues to make for me)

On this particular Thursday there is a home tennis match and a home soccer game. After the dismissal bell rings at 3:20, I walk down to the fields to watch my students show what they’ve practiced. As a former college player and coach, I feel more comfortable in an athletic arena than I do in a classroom – and I adore the opportunity to watch my students grow in this venue. Korey meets me with Lucas at the soccer field around 4:30, and we watch our team finish the game 1-3. 

A quick trip back upstairs (and a visit to our science class frogs) and we’re on our way home for an evening at home.

Checkin' out the Dart Frogs in MS Science

Korey cooks a yummy dinner (BLMs – bacon, lettuce, and mozzarella – for the grown ups, and chicken nuggets with a pickle for the Lucas), while the toddler and I water our “garden”. We love city living, but this means a porch garden is how we grow our vegetables. Of course, I am certainly not a green thumb so we’ve chosen an interesting mix of garden veggies to attempt… but Lucas loves being a part of our gardening.

Those are our peppers and impatients ...  getting ready to be transplanted soon!

We eat around 6, and answer Jeopardy questions between bites. Lucas tells us stories about what he’s done at school today (chased dinosaurs, climbed slides, and feed the ponies). He helps us clean up dinner and then dance our way to the bathtub. I check e-mail and plan a mini-lesson while sitting on the sink watching him give orders to his bathtub army, while Korey loads the dishwasher and sets up for bedtime.

Keeping them in line.... sorta. ;o)

After quick scrub, allergy meds (hello Springtime!), vitamins, and pajamas, Lucas and I spend quality time on our back porch reading three books. His most recent favorite is Brown Bear, Brown Bear – which he has memorized and can “read” as he flips the pages. He’s learned so much in the last 6 months it’s ridiculous! After our quiet time on the porch (around 7:15), Lucas and Daddy snuggle in the living room before heading to bed. Our routine for bedtime hasn’t changed since we brought Lucas home from the hospital. Because he was born 9 weeks early, and I was taking care of him on my own during my second year of Graduate School (while Korey finished his undergraduate degree), I was too afraid to let him cry himself to sleep. Now that we work 8-10 hour days, that nighttime snuggle is necessary for everyone to feel truly ready for bed. :o)

Korey and I finish watching something on Food Network, play a quick game of Rummy, and head to bed around 9:00. Both of us have a book we’re reading, but those don’t move from our nightstands as we turn out the light and pass out in less than 10 minutes. 

And now for the questions!

1) What is the most surprising thing about being a mom? -- For me, it was how much patience I could possibly have. Before Lucas, I was extremely self centered and dramatic. And though my dramatic antics are sometimes what get my students interested in reading our novel, they stay right there. Lucas can ask me 1,000 questions, and I will answer many more than I thought I would. That patience has translated into my real-life... the fact that he survived was a miracle, and I feel like I need to cherish that life and be the best Mom I can. I never knew I could even feel that way...

2) What advice would you give new or soon-to-be-moms? -- Ready or not, you can't do it alone. I was unbelievably blessed to live in a town with friends that were like family. I was not married, living by myself, and trying to finish my Master's. I had to swallow my pride, ask for help, and trust in others. I certainly knew best for my baby, but for the first time in a long time, I had to ask someone else for help. Even now that Lucas is almost three, and Korey and I are married and living closer to his family, we still ask for help and offer to help other moms. 

3) What are your top three baby products? -- 

Fisher Price HealthyCare Booster Seat: Once he was 6 months old, I was able to use this at home, transfer it to the cafeteria at school, and use it during Volleyball games and practices as an activity and meal place. We didn't even buy a high chair, we just used this in our tiny apartment. 

Fisher Price LoveUToo Zoo Jumperoo: Perhaps this is to blame for our non-stop bouncing baby boy... But the Jumperoo was an easy win for us when Lucas was learning to crawl but still unable to get all that energy out. I'm pretty sure he was sitting in this contraption as soon as he could hold his head up. I remember putting floor pillows and blankets under his feet and adjusting the straps to the lowest setting and watching him bounce for almost an hour at a time. The twisting seat allowed him to spin around as he got older. The activities were fun... and the music was... well, it was great for him. :o) I'm pretty sure that if we had moved with the Jumperoo, he'd still play with it if he could...

The iPod: This is a new "love" of our lives. Korey won this on a radio contest, and being the reading teacher that I am, I downloaded several awesome letter-recognition and phonics based games. My favorite so far are the Dr. Seuss books that have apps. Lucas' loves The Cat in the Hat -- which reads the book aloud to him, flips the pages, follows the words (fluency, anyone!?) and then has activities at the end of the book. Lucas also loves shape games, a coloring game, and Pocket Frogs.


Thank you for sharing your day with us Ashley!

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