family life, relationship, Uncategorized

Weekend to Remember

Scott and I got to get away this past weekend. We went to Family Life‘s Weekend To Remember marriage conference. Scott’s mom heard about it, and asked if we’d like to go. She sent us and watched all three girls Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She is a saint.

First of all, we haven’t been away ALONE in 9 years. We dove right into ministry, and never stopped. Our first anniversary was spent  at a church hanging out with teenagers. So, when I say that this weekend was needed- it was SO needed. The past couple of years have been especially difficult. I am really thankful that by God’s grace, all that we’ve been through has drawn us closer together instead of ripping us apart.

We left on Friday afternoon to head up to Oak Brook, a suburb of Chicago. We grabbed lunch on our way out of town. That car ride was bliss. We weren’t yelling over kids. It was just us and The Greatest Showman soundtrack. There was road construction that had us stopped for quite a while, so we arrived later than we planned. We checked in to our room, got checked in to the conference, and headed to dinner. We ate at Redstone. The food was SO good.

img_4831-1

We headed right back for the first session of the conference. I loved seeing the variety of ages and stages of marriage that were there. They had a photo booth set up. I just realized that Scott and I were matching. We never plan that sort of thing.

img_4847-1

They had “assignments” for you to do during the longer breaks or at the end of the day.  It was a great way to apply what you learned during the sessions, and opened up a lot of conversation.

Saturday, they had the first session start at 8:30 AM. I thought that was cruel, but we were there on time. haha! Scott went and got a couple of donuts and some coffee while I got ready. His lack of hair makes his mornings very easy for him. 😉

We realized that lunch was going to take longer than the amount of time they give you, and we looked at the sessions before and after lunch. We determined that the session after lunch was going to be the most beneficial for us to attend. After we finished our assignment, we headed to Giordano’s to beat the crowd. We were really glad that we went early since we found out it took 45 minutes for the pizza to bake!

img_4855-1

img_4859-1

I was really glad that we weren’t late for the next session, because it was so good! There was one more session that ended at 4, and they released you for date night. We decided to head into Chicago to see Cloud Gate, and then go back to town for dinner later. Cloud gate was really amazing to see. We would have walked around more, but it was SO cold.

img_4882-1

img_4892-1img_4893-1img_4899-1img_4901img_4900-1

We drove back to Oak Brook and tried to go to a Japanese steak house. The wait was an hour and a half, and we were both too hungry. So, we searched for another one to try.

img_4907img_4909img_4908

When we got to Nabuki, it was not at all what we were expecting. We were seated at the sushi bar, and our waiter came out to take our order. Neither of us really knew what he said, because it was SO loud, but he suggested some sushi and we said “sure”. I have no idea what we ate.  I really liked one of the rolls and Scott liked the other one, but we felt so awkward and out of place. It was an ultra-modern and hip place. We ate as fast as we could and then left for the book store. Home. haha! We got dessert to go at the Cheesecake Factory and ate it in bed at 11:30 at night.

I was so sad to wake up on Sunday and realize that our weekend was almost over. We got breakfast in bed, which was really heavenly. I never make omelettes for myself, but love them. I got a spinach, mushroom, and feta cheese omelette. Scott got the usual man breakfast (eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast) and it was so nice to eat in the bed that felt like laying on a cloud.

They split the women and men apart for the first session on Sunday. I really loved hearing Janet speak. Scott said he really enjoyed his session also. Then, we came back together for a joint session. They had us re-state our vows to each other, which was beautiful. When you enter into marriage, you don’t fully understand the gravity of what those vows mean. I loved telling Scott that I was going to love him and stick with him in good times and bad, knowing that marriage and life are so imperfect and bring a lot of trials with them.

img_4839

We went to lunch at a place called Pappadeux. We ate gator, which is so stinking good. We ate it for the first time on our honeymoon, so it felt fitting. haha! We were so full from eating so well all weekend that we ended up bring almost all of our main dishes home with us. I was sad to leave such a perfect weekend behind.

img_4838-1

I want to say that no matter what stage your marriage is in, A Weekend to Remember is for you. There were couples of all ages there. The speakers were addressing the couples who were there as a last resort- divorce was on the horizon. They said even if you had to sit on opposite sides of the room as your spouse, please stay. It really broke my heart to know that there were probably a lot of couples in that room who were in that group. It just makes me cherish my husband even more. Our marriage has had it’s rough patches, all marriages do. I was glad that we, personally, have been in a really good place in our marriage. We were given tools to help us work through future conflict in better ways. Reminders of how to love each other best. It was all so, so good. If you are married, or even engaged (they did have pre-marrieds there!) you need to find a way to go. I am so grateful that Denise was willing to gift this to us. I am so thankful that Cliff helped us get a room, and left the sweetest gift bag for us.

img_4835-1

Today, Scott is back at work and we are back to the grind. I was sad to say goodbye to him this morning. I had four days with him, and it was so nice. That just means that I will be even more excited to see him walk through the door tonight.

signature

Advertisements
family life, relationship, Uncategorized

Date Night- what?!

Oh, date night. I love you.

Date night was the best. My mother-in-law watched the girls for Scott and I so that we could go out to dinner together. We went to a local place where the atmosphere is super cool, the food is so good, and you leave feeling completely stuffed.

Scott got a gigantic catfish sandwich that was really good, and I got a huge open-faced green chile burger. I was born in New Mexico.. my blood type may be green chile. (J/K it’s coffee) They make everything fresh; even their french fries. We were completely stuffed but still ordered a warm chocolate espresso brownie with vanilla ice cream on top.

We walked around downtown for a little while to offset everything we ate before heading home. The weather was beautiful. It was glorious. No one stole my food. I did share my food with Scott because I wanted to try his, too. But, nobody was throwing food at me. No one threw a fit. We didn’t have to scarf our food down to finish before someone had a meltdown. Parents, you know what I’m talking about!

img_6663

I also was reminded just how much I love this man that I get to do life with. We still have fun together. We still love each other. We are still Scott and Ashley, husband and wife, apart from just mom and dad. It was nice to take off our parental hats for the evening and just be us.

I am so thankful for my mom-in-law for giving us this opportunity, and for SO many other things. We get to do it again this Friday so that we can go watch some of our high school kids in their musical. Their musical just so happens to be HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. I am geeking out and want to sit in the front row so that I can sing and dance along. I will control myself.. I think..

The girls and I are making peasant bread today with plans of making this depression era bread later in the week. It is supposed to be rainy/stormy all week, so what better way to pass the time than make loads of bread? haha!

Happy Monday, friends!! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend!!

signature 2

family life, relationship, Uncategorized

To My Valentine

6

Sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day that we forget to really see each other. We are drowning in laundry, dishes, meals, errands, schedules.. you name it.. Last night, I stopped and really looked at you and my heart skipped a beat. You still take my breath away after all of these years. I can’t believe that God has given you to me.

We have spent the past (almost) fourteen years together. We have seen each other through the hard years of high school. The even harder years of college. We had a beautiful wedding. We have brought three beautiful girls into the world. We have mourned the loss of a child that we never got to meet. We have been through the loss of jobs; wondering how we will ever be able to afford the groceries we need to feed our family or make ends meet. We have been on trips to many beautiful states. We have celebrated together. We have cried together. We have fought together. We have eaten a lot of ice cream together.

You have supported me through it all. You have been a shoulder to cry on when hard diagnosis came, when difficult news came, and when life just got too hard. You pull me out of darkness that I let myself get sucked into. You don’t ever give up on me. You make me laugh. You remind me that life isn’t always fair, but God is always good. You dream beside me. You take care of me.

I am so deeply and incredibly thankful for you. I am blessed and honored to be your wife.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

encouragement, family life, kids, ministry, Ramblings, relationship, Uncategorized

Quiet Time

It is so hard to take time alone as a mom. I am terrible at it. I go to the grocery store alone. That’s really about it. I don’t even do that as often as I used to. *I want to add that this is in no way Scott’s fault. He is ALWAYS encouraging me to go out alone when he is home. I just don’t do it.*

I was talking with him about how I really wanted to get my hair done. He told me to go for it. So, I actually listened. ha! I called and set up an appointment. I had my pictures all ready. One was a balayage that was light blonde at the roots working its way into REALLY light blonde at the tips. The other was just a warmer color with some highlights. Now, I never do anything crazy with my hair. I decided that I wanted to do something fun.

This is my hair.. The first picture looks like a wig because I NEVER have that much volume.

I have SILVER hair! I wasn’t really going for silver hair, but it is the hip thing to do right now. I guess? I don’t know what is hip anymore. In my bathroom lighting, it looks like I have strawberry blonde roots with light blue hair. I seriously panicked and thought about selling an organ to pay to have it re-done. Thankfully, I went to church and everyone was raving about how much they loved it. I also got to see it in a normal light (I don’t know whats up with the bathroom lights..) and realized that it was pretty. It is SO different. But, really pretty. Plus, it is just hair.

It took 4 1/2 hours for this to be done. I had 4 1/2 hours TO. MYSELF. I love having my hair played with, so it was basically heaven. While I had a toner on my head, Denise sat me down in a huge massage chair for twenty minutes. You know what I love the most about Denise. She didn’t chatter away the whole time. Am I the only one who hates when a hairdresser talks the entire time. I just want to fall asleep in your chair and wake up looking fabulous. She was so kind and kept offering me drinks and snacks.

Honestly, even if my hair was actually light blue and orange, it would still have been worth it. I came home feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated. I love being a mom. However, you have to be “on” 100% of the time. My kids never give me a moment of peace. Someone is always wanting something and someone is ALWAYS touching me.

It is so important that we, as moms, take some quiet time. We need to do something for ourselves occasionally. We are better moms and better wives. We spend so much of our time pouring into others; especially as a ministry wife and mom. If we don’t take the time to fill ourselves back up, we will dry out. So, go have your hair done. Go get a cup of coffee alone. Take a walk alone or go for a job. Just do something to recharge your batteries. It does not have to be big and extravagant. Just make sure that you take care of YOU, too.

encouragement, relationship, Uncategorized

Ours is my favorite

Scott and I met in 2003 (May 14th to be exact). I had just turned 15 years old. The day I met him was the day that a student in my high school had died in a tragic car accident. I didn’t know Wayne very well, but I was deeply affected by this tragedy. I wanted to be as close to my friends as possible. It was the first time that I realized that I was not invincible. Youth does not cause you to be exempt from death. I went to church with my best friend, Meredith that day. Scott was a part of her youth group. I thought he was cute, obviously. We kept sticking a piece of duct tape to each other. It was silly and dumb, but we were YOUNG..and probably a little stupid. A month later, June 11, 2003, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and I Just keep thinking about this amazing man that I am married to. He puts up with my emotions, which are often all over the place. He loves me unconditionally. He makes me coffee and takes the chip bag from me when I say that I need to stop eating them. He goes out of his way to make me happy. He works so hard every day to take care of our family.

I think that I fall deeper and deeper in love with him every day. He is just incredible. I thought I’d share a small visual history of our nearly 13 years together.

Remember, we met in HIGH SCHOOL, pictures were really low quality, and photo editing was “super cool”. 
123456789101112131415

Scott Pullen, I love you more than words are capable of expressing.

“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”