New Adventure.

After grandpa’s 80th Birthday party, the girls and I drove an hour and a half down to Daves hotel. It was a super late night- we are not late night people… We were absolutely exhausted and crashed right when we got there.


Luckly, we were able to sleep in a bit before having to be at the unit.


We had a lazy breakfast at the hotel (I drank the entire thermos of coffee, I think it was meant for an entire table of coffee drinkers..eek). Morgan could not get over how beautiful the waffles were! I hope she hangs on to her genuine excitment and appreciation for the little things in life. She even brought her plate over to the table next to us so they could see this beauty. I just love her spirit!


My husband is/was a company commander in the army reserves core of engineers. Dave joined the military after completing college and landing a great job as a project manager in WI. He felt a need to do more in life, he is very patriotic, so he decided to join the military. Dave and I got back together (we dated in high school and college) shortly after he returned from officer school. My first impression of Dave being in the army reserves was that this would be a one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year commitment. I was wrong. The military is just as much of a commitment as his day job. He has had many great opportunities with the military. We have all learned so much from this experience. The military has become a big part of our family. Dave is gone a lot, he has late conference calls, and we travel with him for military obligations when we can.

This weekend was Daves change of command ceremony. The ceremony was done very nice and more formal than I was expecting. Learning the proper ways to do things in the military is very interesting. There were 161 soldiers standing at attention and the girls and I, along with the incoming commanders wife and family, were sitting up front facing everyone. I only planned to take one picture during the practice run of the ceremony (you know, so I wouldn’t look all trashy taking pictures with my phone during a formal ceremony..)… Then my Pandora started playing on my phone… OF ALL THE FREAKING SONGS IT HAD TO BE WEIRD AL’S LIVING IN AN AMISH PARADISE!!… Soooo embarasing/ funny at the same time!!!! Hahah!! WHY DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO ME?!?! Dave is all super-hero-overachiever-amazing and I giggle along to Weird Al songs with the kids in my spare time…. I really scored when I married him. ❤


Anyway, this is the picture I took before my phone went off… Super classy, Ashley….. 😉

During the actual ceremony, Dave, his boss, and the incoming commander all gave speeches. Dave always amazes me with his ability to speak so well in front of a crowd. I am beyond proud to be his wife, he is an incredible person all around.

During the ceremony they gave the wives each a dozen roses. It was very thoughful!

Daves 1st sgt gave Dave a beautiful plaque as a gift. I just love it! I can’t wait to hang It up in Daves office!


After that, 1st Sgt called me up and presented me with this army wife plaque. I can’t get over how thoughtful that was. He didn’t have to do that, I am so appreciative of how kind he is.


I believe his intent was for me to read it out loud to everyone. I was having a hard enough time hiding the ocasional tear.. if I had read that out loud, I most definitely would of broke down. I wasn’t expecting this to be an emotional event so I didn’t mentally prepare for that. It made it feel real that Dave is being deployed.

After it was over, everyone shook Daves hand and we all talked for a bit.

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Here is one picture of all us. We were soooo exhausted in this picture. It had been a long few days.


While Dave finnished up some work, the girls and I chit chatted with some of the soldiers. Somehow, Gianna found the one soldier out of 161 that has been playing Pokemon (her obsession!) since he was a child! She was in awe of him! He talked with her for about 20 minutes about moves they do and different types of Pokemon- he seriously made her day! She talked about him all the way home! So where ever you are, Mr. Thomas, thank you!!


Now we are off to the new “adventure”. Next month we are going to meet with the unit Dave is being deployed with and their families. I am hoping to make some connections there so the families left behind can form some sort of support system for each other. 


Thanks for reading!


Happy 80th Birthday, Grandpa!

This weekend was busy! Saturday night we had a surprise 80th Birthday party for my Grandpa Richard. It turned out great!! My Aunt Cindi and I just started working on it this week. We both love to plan parties! We wanted a fall colored, rustic, plaid, theme with a chili bar (different types of chili, chili dogs, Mac and cheese to add to your chili, cornbread, toppings, etc..). We had everything planned out perfectly.. then other people volunteered to bring all sorts of food (sweedish meatballs, garlic bread, fried chicken, coleslaw), soooo it sort of turned into a pot luck- Ha! It all worked out, we were thankful for the help, and the lesson in letting go of picture perfect themes. 😉


My Aunt had a big board that we covered with pictures from all his 80 years. She made a beautiful invitation, my aunt is crazy talented! I made the plaid banners and ordered some perfect “1935” posters to frame and hang around the house.

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Target has a bunch of cute fall plaid decor out right now. I want all of it, but with 5 parties/events going on in the next few weeks, It was a smarter choice to just make everything myself. Joann Fabrics had plaid 40% off last week, then I had a 20% off coupon to stack on that (yay!!). I got enough to make table cloths, runners, tray liners, and a bunch of these banners! I love them- they were so easy to make, too!


We had everyone park across the street at a church. It took an hour and a half for grandpa’s house to be fully decorated, full of great food, and packed with 50 friends and family that love him dearly.

When grandpa went to walk in the house, he was being a gentleman and holding the door for grandma and their friends. It took a good 15 seconds for them to shoo him into the house (he is so sweet!). We all yelled “Suprise!” and “Happy Birthday!”!! He was so taken back and happy! Thankfully, we didn’t give him a heart attack…. Seriously, we were a little worried! He was shocked! Families came from Michigan, Wisconsin, and drove hours just to be there. Grandpa Richard is such a happy go lucky guy, people are drawn to him. He is someone you want to be around because he is genuinely happy and positive about everything and everyone. I don’t think I have ever seen him mad, now that I think about it. When I lived in southern IL, he would come and visit all the time. We would hang out, do projects, and watch movies together. I have so many fun memories with him!


Grandpa Richard and I on one of the many family trips we took.

Grandpa Richard and I on one of the many family trips we took.

I didn’t get a lot of pictures because we were in a mad dash to get everything ready. Then the rest of the night we were filling drinks, clearing plates, and such. I think grandpa had a great time. I am so happy for him! Happy 80th, grandpa Richard!!


Dave was in Kankakee doing army work this weekend. After the party, we drove an hour and a half and met him at the hotel. I will write about that next. :) 

Thanks for reading!


Chicken Coop “EGGS” Sign

Now that we have the new chicken coop built and painted, I can decorate!

Now, my husband is an engineer..his mind works a bit differently than mine.. He is more into how things function, getting angles just right, and over-building things so whatever he is working on is incredibly structually sound… After the basic necessities are met, my mind wanders to “how can I make this look good?!” “do chickens need furniture?” “what color combinations compliment chicken feathers?”… Ha! We balance each other out. Our differences make us a good team because we bring different things to the creative table and help each other see the other side. :)

Anyway, yes, I understand decorating a chicken coop is silly and has no function.. Yes, I am going to do it anyway. 😉

First, painted the nesting boxes red, yay!

Red nesting boxes in the new coop.

Red nesting boxes in the new coop.

I knew I wanted a sign to go above the nesting boxes (of course, right!?). I found metal letters at Michael’s and they were on sale! It was meant to be! I love them! Such a cool find! They didn’t have a ton of letters left, so I had to play boggle for a while until I found a few words I could use. The girls were very patient while I figured it all out…luckly they are too young to be embarrassed because every time I found a word I would get all excited! Ha!

I settled on “EGGS”, “CHICKS”, and “D&A” for Dave and Ashley.. I don’t know what I am going to do with those yet.

Metal letters from Michael's.

Metal letters from Michael’s.

At first I was just going to hang them above the coop..


But it felt like they needed another layer to make it look good. 


I cut some wood for the background and stained it dark walnut.


Then I sealed it with an outdoor gloss.



I really like the wood background with the letters. I used a metal strapping on the other side to join the wood together. Then I nailed down the letters and hung it up in the coop.

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I will need to tack down the bottom of the letters tomorrow…I don’t notice they were bending out a little bit until I looked at this picture. 


Still fun though!! Dave was making fun of me that I keep labeling things like a preschool… “EGGS”, “ducks”, my “chicks” sign is next… Lol! As long as I don’t label “door”, “wall”.. Etc.. I think it’s alright.. :)

Thanks for reading!


baby chicks first night out!

Our first batch of chicks were ready for the outside coop. I still keep a heat light out there so they can go in the indoor part of the coop to keep warm if they need to. Morgan asked if she can sleep in there with them! Ha! Love that kid!

Big day for them!

Big day for them!

They were a little nervous at first.


The buff orpington chickens(yellow) are the sweetest chickens! They come right up to you and let you pet them. 


Now they have more room to walk around and explore and climb on things. 

The other batch of chicks will join them in a week. They are a little too small to be outside yet. I want their big feathers to grow out more so they stay warm at night.

Morgan and her chick.

Morgan and her chick.

Morgan can’t get enough of them. Gianna is a little jaded… The last few times she tried to hold a chicken or duck, it pooped on her.. Lol! Poor kid!

Morgan loves them

Morgan loves them

I would not be surprised if Morgan trys to sneak a few of these girls in the house.. Hopefully they stay happy in their big-chick coop!


a nesting box for the ducks

Our duck can’t jump into the new nesting boxes because they are to high. So now she lays her eggs on the ground. I wanted to get her a little box, or crate, for her to lay her eggs in, and sleep at night.

I saw a picture of the cutest duck house on Pinterest. Our ducks and chickens will be using the same coop, so we won’t need a duck house (right now, anyway), but I used the colors as inspiration to make her a little bed.

Inspiration picture. This house is adorable!

Inspiration picture. This house is adorable!

I bought the crate from Michael’s for $6 on sale. The letters were $1 each on sale from Hobby Lobby. Don’t mind the other stuff.. That’s another post. :)

$6 wood crate. Wood "duck" letters for $1 each.

$6 wood crate. Wood “duck” letters for $1 each.

I stained the crate a dark walnut and painted the letters Lemon yellow.


I added an outdoor clear coat to the crate before putting the letters on. It’s not going to be outside, but it will get hot and cold in the barn, so I figured the added protection would be a good idea.



Then I glued the letters on and added some straw bedding.

I hope she likes it as much as I do!

I hope she likes it as much as I do!

Pepper showed interest in it right away.

Pepper showed interest in it right away.

All the other ladies are interested too. I hope she uses it! Notice Pepper has red paint on her.. She always had to be right up into whatever I am doing, including painting the coop last week. :)

All the other ladies are interested too. I hope she uses it! Notice Pepper has red paint on her.. She always has to be right up into whatever I am doing, including painting the coop last week. :)

We will see if she uses it instead of laying her eggs on the ground. Hopefully when our baby ducks grow up they will use it too. :)

Thanks for reading!