Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wowza!!! What a week!

Hello fellow blog followers! :)

Well as we all know, I wrapped up my 30 day challenge on Sunday.  I have to say that I'm sorry you haven't heard from me since.  I especially have to apologize to my loyal follower Julie, who was reading my blog on a daily....er, late night basis while up with her baby.  I had planned to blog on Tues or the latest Wed, but this week was super hectic!

Many of you already know that this week was my last week of school.  Not only was I trying to get end-of- year things together, like awards for the kiddos and a little special something for my sweet 7 and 8 year olds, but it was also report card week.  Now, for those of you that are not familiar with Wake County's report cards, I will tell you they aren't the handwritten kind that many of us received as kids.  I can remember that when I was in elementary school I got a report card that had letter grades and for work habits and behavior I received either an S or N to indicate satisfactory or needs improvement.  Oh, and I almost forgot that there would be a 1 sentence comment at the bottom that may have read: Ashley is a pleasure to have in class, or have a great summer.  The report cards that I have to do have number grades (yes, number grades: 1, 2, 3, 3*, or 4) and a lengthy comment section.  I am required to note each student's strengths, areas for improvement, and any interventions that I implemented during the quarter.  It takes a very long time to complete report cards.  It's super tedious and some may call it torture!  EEK!

So, hopefully after explaining where I have been all week you will find it in your heart to understand, and perhaps forgive me for being MIA for a few days! ;-)

Today was my last day of school.  It's always bitter sweet.  You really get to know your class over the 180 day school year.  I mean think about it, I spent 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with my kiddos.  I was joking after school today with my amazing co-worker and friend, Megan that when you're a teacher it's like you have custody of your students.  Then the year ends and all you get is visitation every now and again when the kids pop in to say hello.  It's tough letting go, but it happens and we all move on and adapt to our new year. I have to say though that this year I really had some wonderful kids in my class.  And parents too.  I really enjoy getting to know my students' parents.  It's important to me to have a good relationship with both the student and parent.  It just makes the year so much better, and FUN!  And this year I had a group of great parents that were super involved.

I will tell you though that I am looking forward to my new group.  I have some really cute kiddos coming my way.  And they'll be here before I know it!  July 11th marks the new year and my 7th year of teaching.  I'll also be getting my student teacher in September and I'm feeling good about that too.  It will be a new experience for me, but I know it's going to be a positive one.  I'm going to be so spoiled having another teacher in the room with me.  I hope s/he will be full of energy like me and full of fresh ideas!  :) I'm especially excited about having my co-worker, Megan's son, Liam in my class.  :)

I'll be back to work on Tuesday, after my quick 4 day summer break. :P  I'm excited about getting all the beginning of the year "stuff" ready.  This weekend I'll be hitting the Dollar Store for stickers, pencils, vibrant colored poster board, etc., to get the ball rolling next week on the zillion things I need to get together before the 11th.  Next week will be stressful at times, but it's also exciting to me too.  :)  I really love being a teacher.  I just can't imagine ever doing anything else.

Before I go, I have to show you a quick video from school today.  I like to have fun in my class.  And with it being the last day of school, extra fun was for certain in order.  I have turned almost all of my students into Mindy Gledhill fans.  She is just the sweetest singer who writes her own songs.  And, the first artist I've ever exposed to any of my students.  Music today is so vulgar and inappropriate and not suitable for small ears.  But "Mindy" (as the kids and I call her) is totally G rated and fun to listen to.  Anyway, since it was the last day, and I love silliness, the kids had a little Mindy dance party.  Take a look:


Silly kiddos! :)

Make sure you tune in soon because I'm going to be sharing my zip lining adventures that Guillermo and I had Saturday, the 25th.  Here's a sneak peek:


G snapped this pic of me after we "zipped" across our first line AND walked across a wobbly bridge (I was super freaked out walking across the bridge!!)

See y'all soon!!!  :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 30!!!! :) :) :)

Day 30- Who are you?

My name is Ashley Brooke Pride.  I was born on August 7, 1983 in Morgantown, WV.  My parents are Roy and Cheryl Pride.  They have been married for 41 years.  I have 6 siblings: Shannon, Jaclyn, Meredith, Courtney, Dominique, and Roy.  We're not your typical family, but does that really even exist?

Growing up I was a mess.  I had a bad attitude from a young age and was never a fan of authority.  I hung out with the wrong crowds of kids and made some pretty poor choices.  But with the help of my sister Courtney early on in college, I began turning my life around.  Her and I were roommates and she wasn't going to put up with my shananigans.  She may have threatened to tell my parents what I was doing more than once.  One time in particular was when I didn't come back to the dorm one night and she had no clue where I was.  At the time I was so angry at her for getting mad at me, but now I think about how worried she must have been not knowing where I was or who I was with.  Courtney also motivated me to do well in all my education classes.  I got an A in my Introduction to Education class and she presented the idea of me working to get A's in all of my education courses.  (I was always a straight C student growing up.  Studying wasn't something that ever crossed my mind to actually do.)  So, I did! :)  And after a not so successful first year of school, and a talk from my dad, I got my booty in gear and started working harder in school.

I worked hard in college to make the best grades I could.  For the first time I was actually studying and taking school seriously.  I also stayed away from home as much as possible because of the relationship I had with my parents.  It wasn't a good one at all.  My mom and I fought often and my dad and I didn't talk.  It makes me sad to think back on that time because my parents and I didn't like each other.  In retrospect, I don't blame my parents for how they acted towards me.  I was a little b*tch.  I was selfish, mean, and I had no problem letting them know how I felt.  My parents didn't trust me, respect me, and I know that they couldn't have been all that proud of me.  After I graduated and got my job in NC, they were probably as happy about me going as I was about leaving WV.

After moving to NC back in 2005 my life really started transforming.  I was on my own for the first time in my life and I had my first teaching job.  Moving to North Carolina was really hard on me, although I didn't know it at the time.  I moved to the state with nothing but what I could fit in my old Ford Taurus, a credit card with a $250 limit, and little cash.  I had no cell phone and no furniture. My sister, Jaclyn and brother-in-law, Jim were saints!  They lent me their air mattress to use for a while.  I didn't know until I put the mattress into use that it had a hole in it.  I had to roll off several times a night to blow it up again.  I had a really difficult group off kids that year and I felt so clueless as to what to do.  I had gone to college to prepare to become a teacher, but when it came time to take the reigns I was lost.  I dragged through the weekdays.  I was always at work at 7am and worked nightly to 6pm.  Then I'd go home and continue to work.  I lived for the weekend.  I spend almost every weekend at my sister's house in Burlington.

After my first month or so of teaching, my brother-in-law talked to me one Saturday morning about getting some bedroom furniture for my apartment.  So after a couple hours of looking around at Discount Furniture World in Burlington and talking about prices, I found what I wanted.  I hadn't had credit long enough to get the furniture on my own, so my sis and bro-in-law cosigned for me so I could get some furniture.  I remember the night it came.  I was so happy.  I had always had a twin bed growing up, and now I had my very first queen bed.  I had always loved the look of sleigh beds, so I picked a mahogany sleigh bed with a matching dresser and nightstand.  My sister even gave me bed sheets for the bed.  That night, I sat on my bed and did school work.  My bedroom set was my only furniture. My first big purchase ever!  At this point I had that and a 19 inch TV.  Was I living the dream or what?!

It wasn't too long after that Jim (brother-in-law) and I started going to yard sales to search for things for my apartment.  One weekend we found a coffee table and a dining room table.  Jim refinished the dining room table and Jaclyn taught me how to reupholster chairs.  We went to an old fabric warehouse and found the fabric together.  I can remember that day like it was yesterday. My nephew was less than 6 months old and I can remember pushing him through the warehouse.  Eventually, Jim parted with his favorite overstuffed chair and my co-worker, Jeannie gave me a couch.  Viola! I had furniture.

I didn't make my first friend until after Thanksgiving.  Thinking about that right now, I don't know how I survived with no friends?  I had no one to talk to throughout the week.  Dominique was studying in Europe and it wasn't like I could call her whenever I wanted.  I didn't have a computer either.  Isn't that crazy?!  No computer!!!  But that eventually came, and now I'm on my 2nd one.  It was so nice when I did finally start making friends and having a social life.  Work was running my life and I needed something more than that.

Making a life in NC was hard as hell.  Thank goodness for my sister and Jim.  They were so good to me and they didn't have to be.  Jaclyn and I weren't very close at all before coming to NC.  But she helped me when she could and so began the start of a wonderful friendship.  And I want you to know that moving to NC was exactly what it took to finally build a good relationship with my parents.  I've proved to them that I am responsible, trustworthy, and someone to be proud of.  Four years ago when I was home for Christmas my dad and I were talking over a couple of drinks.  He told me that he was proud of me.  Hearing that meant the world to me.  I knew that my dad and I were going to be okay.  Ever since then he and I are great.  My mother tells me often that out of all of her kids she knows that she doesn't have to worry about me.  She knows I'm going to be okay.  Y'all have no idea how much it means to me to hear my parents tell me these things.

I've learned through the last 6 years that I am a pretty strong woman.  I've made a life here in NC that I wouldn't trade for anything.  I've built a good relationship with my parents and friends and I was led to a life in Christ.  Church and God were two things that made me say "Ew!" for so many years.  Now, I am so proud to say I am a Christian and I love to share with people how he has led me to become the person I am today.  He has amazing plans for me and everyday I feel him working in my life.

My attitude and way of life has completely changed.  I have always been a smiler and upbeat, but I am such an optimist and a positive thinker now.  Believe me when I say it wasn't always that way.  I am not selfish as I had been for so many years and I truly want to help people and do what I can to make people feel good about who they are.  These personal things I have shared with you in this blog about myself are the exact reasons why I have been so driven to help the young teens at the House of Hope.  I see a lot of myself in those girls when I was a teen.  Troubled and not knowing where to turn.  Poor choices and self destructive behaviors.  I know that I was led to those girls for a reason.  I've decided recently that I want to apply to mentor one of the girls.  I'm not sure what this fully entails, but I know that I can make a difference in the lives of these girls.  I want to help them turn their lives around and not make all the mistakes that I did for so many years.

I've realized that with determination and setting goals I can do whatever I set my mind to.   Life is too short to live with anger and hate in your heart.  We only have the ones we love for a certain amount of time and it's important to never take them for granted.  I am not the same person I was so many years ago.  And for that I am grateful.  :)


Saturday, June 25, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 29

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned?

I can't believe I'm on day 29.  I'm almost done! :) :) :)  This month I have had a lot of time to reflect on my life and who I am.  I've had to sit down daily and reflect on a variety of topics.  Some days the topics were so easy to write about and the words flowed effortlessly (nicknames you have;why do you have them).  Other days I had to think hard about what to write and how to word things (a person you would love to meet).  I'm a very detailed person and some days I felt like I was writing a novel (a letter to someone who has recently hurt you).  Other days I felt like I was cheating and not doing the topics any justice (what you think about your friends). Then there were times when I just didn't even know how to approach a topic. (letter to your parents).  But mixed throughout the challenge there were fun and silly topics that I really looked forward to doing (put your iPod on shuffle; 1st 10 songs that play).

The cool thing about doing the 30 day challenge is that people liked it and tuned in daily. :)  Some days I felt nervous to open up and share things about myself, but I did it anyway because I can't be ashamed or embarrassed about who I am (a habit you wish you didn't have).  I'd be lying though if I told you that it wasn't hard to keep up some days and feel motivated to write.  It was super easy to blog when I was tracked out, but being back to work these past couple of weeks made it hard to sit down early to write.  There were many days (like today) that it was after 10pm when I was sitting down to begin my post for the day.

I have to say though that I'm happy to have almost made it to the end of the challenge with only two missed posts (Sorry about that y'all, but I did get them up the day after!!! :)).  I also plan to do another challenge.  I'm not exactly sure what I am going to do yet, but I know that I plan to pick up again in the beginning of July.  I love this blog and I want to be consistent with posting.  I really hope that y'all have enjoyed reading this and have learned a bit more about who I am as a person.  I think everyone would benefit from having a blog and I am encouraging you to give it a shot.  :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 28

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?


This photo was taken on June 19, 2010 at Sullivan's Steakhouse in downtown Raleigh.  (It was taken on a cell phone so that's why the quality isn't all that good.)


This photo was taken on June 18, 2011 in Highpoint, NC at Laura and Kevin's wedding reception.  
(From left to right: Nathan, Rob, Thomas, ME :), Terri (Rob and Allyson's mom), Allyson and hubby Chris)

Well first I have to say that I'm happy I was able to post two pictures that are nearly 1 year apart. :)  It took some searching to find a picture a year old.  I go through phases where I will take pictures all the time and then other times months will go by before I snap a photo.  This time last year is I was in the "months without a photo" phase.  

I have to say that I have changed a great deal in the past year.  In the picture above of me at Sullivan's I was dating Jeff.   I had taken him there for his birthday dinner.  He and I have since broken up and I have my new (AMAZING) boyfriend, Guillermo.  :) :) :)  A year ago I really spent almost of my time with Jeff.  I was almost always at his house, and we spent all of our time together.  I rarely spent time with my friends, and bible study was hit or miss for me.  It actually wasn't a very good time for me because the relationship wasn't really what I wanted deep down, and I was lonely and wanted more.  

Fast forward a year later and I don't feel lonely at all.  I have built great relationships with my sweet friends in my bible study and I spend a lot of time with them.  I love these girls and I know God put them in my life for an important reason.  All my life I tended to "cling" to the wrong crowd.  I can honestly now say that I have true friends with good intentions.  It's nice to know that they care about me and I can count on them for support, encouragement, laughter, or whatever may pop up. :)  

In a year's time I have realized how much more positive I have become.  I think it's because I've learned to love myself and who I am more. In the past, I would have most likely pointed out a negative in someone before a positive and I suspect this was because it made me feel better about myself.  I don't do this all too often anymore.  But, I do slip at times.  Just the other night I was talking to Guillermo and I shared a negative thing about a person with him.  His reaction was so eye opening.  Instead of encouraging what I was doing, he asked me why I would want to share something negative about someone.  It was kind of a WOW moment for me because he was so right.  It wasn't necessary to do.  I'm happy he said that to me because I don't want to think ugly things or share them with people.  There are so many other good qualities and characteristics to share about people, so why even bother focusing on the negative?

Over the past year my relationship with Christ has really flourished.  I have learned a great deal about the bible and I am so much more interested in learning about it than I have been in the past.  I have felt driven to serve (volunteer) at church, and more than ever I feel drawn to do more with the girls I spend time with at the House of Hope.  I've realized that I don't want everything to be about me, but I want to reach out and do more for others.  Not because I have to, but because I want to.  I know that God is working in my life and everyday he is helping me to become a better Christian.  

Looking back on where I was a year ago at this time, I realize that I was in a "life funk."  I was kind of just going through the motions of everyday life and not really enjoying a whole lot around me, including myself.  I had really lost sight of who I was.  I love how much I have changed in just a short year.  I was so down on myself and now I'm not.  I talked to my brother-in-law, Jim on the phone this evening and he said the sweetest thing to me.  He was talking about how far I've come since he first met me (when I was 17 and a HOT MESS!!)  and how I really have so many wonderful things going on in my life.  It felt so great hearing that, not just because it came from him, but because people see good things in me.  :)  As we get older we don't hear all the positive things about us like we do when we're younger.  I think of all the praise I give my students, or the positive feedback I would receive from my cooperating teacher after teaching a lesson when I was student teaching.  We crave praise and I think it's important to give that to people.  Like I have said in past blogs, I like to be encouraging to others and make them feel good about who they are.

I have changed a lot in a year.  I'm going to do this same blog again next June to see how I have changed from where I am in my life now. :)  



Thursday, June 23, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 27

Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge?

Well as I've written before, I was kind of nervous about telling people about my blog.  I was afraid that people would think it's dumb or that I'm boring and have nothing to write about.  I mean after all I am a single woman.  It's not like I have exciting adventures to share about things I do with my husband, or important milestones to share in my children's lives.  I'm just Ash Pride with a cat. :)   How exciting and interesting can I really be?

So, here's how the 30 day challenge came to be.  I like to blog surf.  I think it's exciting to be able to have the opportunity to tune into people's lives.  Some of these people I actually know, but many of them I've never met.  I love to look at their pictures and read about whatever they felt was important enough to share with the world.  I was randomly clicking through blogs one evening when I came across a woman's blog who was doing a 30 day challenge.  After scrolling down a little, I saw where she only made it a few days into the challenge before throwing in the towel and quitting.  I read through the topics she was supposed to be blogging about, but realized they really weren't things I'd be interested in writing on.  So I Googled 30 day blog challenges and just searched until I found one I liked.  And so here I am 27 days into my 30 day challenge.

(I also need to add that my friend, Billy had just wrapped up a 30 day music challenge on Facebook so I knew these kinds of challenges were out there.  However, while following the music songs he posted daily,  I had never actually considered doing a challenge of my own until I saw that woman's blog.)

Now to answer the question as to why I am doing the challenge.  The reason I am doing this challenge is because I love the idea of blogging.  I absolutely love writing about my life and the things going on with me.  I also really like the fact that after sharing my blog with my friends, they like what I have to say and are tuning in daily to read my words. :)  But like I said before, how interesting can a single woman be?  With a 30 day challenge it gives me a reason to blog.  It gives me great topics to reflect on daily and it really is a challenge.  Some days when I look at the topic I'm to write about I feel nervous because I know it's going to force me to sit down, focus, and reflect on various things in/about my life.  Many of the topics I've written about over the past 30 days are things I wouldn't have even thought or considered to write about.  This challenge gives me a reason to blog daily.  And that is why I chose to do this 30 day challenge.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 26

Day 26- What you think about your friends

I love my friends and am so grateful for them! :)  It's great knowing I always have someone to:

confide in
talk to
make plans with
hang out with
laugh with
cry to
act silly with
vent to
eat out with
shop with
beach-it with
study the bible with
gossip with (EEK!)
go to the movies with
dance with

And this list is just the beginning.  :)

Here are some great pictures of my friends:

80's skate :)--Stephanie A., Yazz, Anna H., Mallory, Kim, Rebecca, Celeste, Amanda :)

 My sweetest friend, Megan.  I LOVE this girl!

Ang

Stephanie (with my Latin hottie...hehe)


 Billy and Travis

 Anna B.---or just B. 

Aaron

Thomas--Tom Tom :)

My best friend--Dominique 
AKA: sidder, sidder cakes, seester, Dom, Domi, sis

These people are the closet to me and whenever I am with any of these friends I always feel safe and in good company.  I couldn't imagine life without any of them. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 25

Day 25- What I would find in your bag

I'm excited about this post!  Not just because it's a fun topic but because the past several topics for the challenge have required me to really think hard about what I wanted to write.  This one simply requires me to dump my bag on the floor and tell you what's in it. :)

Okay, so to start with I'll tell you about my purse.  I bought it about 5 years ago at Dillard's.  It's a Coach purse and it has a white leather bottom, with light brown backing and dark brown c's on it.  It's a big handbag that fits tons of junk in it.  It was the first Coach I ever bought myself.  I do have several other Coach bags, but those were given to me by my mom or my sister, Shannon with the most disposable income. (A joke in my family.) So when I bought the bag for myself I was pretty excited.  However, 5 years later I can't help but to think it was a big waste of money, and I didn't even have the money to buy it in the first place.  But, you live and you learn, right?  So anyway, now for the contents of my purse.  Here were go!

(Let me just tell you that after dumping my purse there is a bunch of random "stuff" laying on my living room floor.)

In no particular order:


red Coach wallet (My mom gave it to me.)
digital camera/case
travel hairbrush
sunglasses bag (with no sunglasses in it.)
sunglasses cleaner with towel (travel set)
nail file
cell phone charger
two mini travel bottles of Bath and Body hand sanitizer
planner
1 pen
bottle of Allegra
bottle of Extra Strength Excedrin
4 lip glosses (Philosophy Cinnamon Buns, Bath and Body Works Liplicious Frozen Blackberry, BareMinerals 7 Layer Cake, and Burt's Bees Juicy Peach)
travel mirror
Coach change purse (from my mom)
check book
teacher ID and key card (to get in the building)
necklace (gold chain with a gold leaf charm)
2 gold rings (both were gifts from my parents--one for graduating college and the other for graduating high school)
1 earring (Who knows where the other is at the moment?)
pack of photos I had printed yesterday at CVS
10 receipts (random)
tampon (Sorry, but it's in there!!)
book of stamps (minus 5)
old grocery list from last Tuesday
movie stub from the movie Source Code
hair tie
empty mint wrapper
letter from my apartment complex (about renewing my lease AND raising my rent--grrrrrrrr)
expired coupon to Loft (save 20% on $100---very good that I didn't use it!!)
magazine page I ripped out of People magazine at Jiffy Lube last week (Hey, it was all about good summer reads and I might want to buy one of the books off Amazon!)
paper with the phone number to my bank on it

And that's it!!!  Talk about a bunch of junk!  It's no wonder I can never find stuff in my purse.  I'm almost always digging around for my car keys when they're in there.  On the bright side though,  my purse will be cleaned out and much more organized now thanks to this challenge.  :)

30 Day Challenge--Day 24

Day 24- A letter to your parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

As we all know, I was not an easy child.  Out of your 7 kids, I was definitely the tough one.  You even said it yourself, Mom that when I was born you burst capillaries in your eyes from pushing so hard.  I wonder if you knew then what you were in for??  Sorry about that!  My teen years weren't the best and times were definitely tough, but we made it through.  And now look at me, nearly 28 years old (wahhhhhhhhh!!!) and a 2nd grade teacher.

Thanks for everything you have done for me as my parents.  I never went without and always had what I needed growing up.  I always had clothes on my back (lots of hand-me downs :)), a roof over my head, and my belly was always full!  One thing that I always loved growing up were the family meals we shared.  Eating together at the dinner table every evening was great.  Especially because so many people don't have that kind of family time.  I still say the prayer we said together nightly as a family to this very day, and I'll say it with my kids one day. :)

Dad, I love that you instilled the importance of education in me.  College was always a given and I  knew that was where I was headed after high school.  You worked so hard to put your me through school.  You gave all 7 of your kids the gift of education and for that I will forever be grateful.  How many people can say that their father put all 7 of his kids through college?  I know that no matter what happens in my life no one can ever take my education away from me.  I will always be able to take care of myself regardless of what happens.  Thank you so much for this.

Mom, I just don't know how you did it?  You were a stay-at-home-mom to 7 kids.  7 KIDS!!!  WOW!  You worked hard to teach us manners, look our best, and respect our elders.  You fixed hair, washed endless loads of laundry, and always had dinner on the table.  You carpooled us EVERYWHERE!  I don't know how you did it?  I appreciate everything you did for me as a child and now as an adult.  It feels amazing when you tell me you're proud of me and I love sharing all the exciting things that are going on in my life with you.

Mom and Dad, thanks for making me who I am today.  :)  I love you two more than you'll ever know.

I love you,
Ashley


My mom--Cheryl


My dad and I :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh Man!!!!

Hello!  I'm sad to inform that I'm not going to be able to share day 24-a letter to your parents tonight.  I started the post today at lunch, but after getting home from work I realized that I left my laptop cord in my classroom. My battery is at 12% and it's going to die very soon.  On the bright side, you can look forward to reading two posts tomorrow!! :)  Have a fantastical night and see you sooooooooooon!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 23

Day 23- Something you crave for a lot


I'm starting this post similar to how my dear friend, Amanda English sets up her blogs.  I'm going to define the meaning of crave.


crave: verb /krāv/ 
1. Feel a powerful desire for (something)
2. Beg for (something)


Now that we know what crave means, I'll share some of the things I crave for most. 


Food/Drinks


*I almost always crave coffee first thing in the morning.
*Chocolate after lunch.  It's not uncommon for me (and my co-worker, Megan) to seek it out. :)
*Eel rolls.  My all time favorite!  I love sushi!  
*Drinking beer when I'm at the beach or pool.  Miller Lite?  Yes, please!! :)
*Margaritas when I have Mexican.  (on the rocks)
*Salty snacks-usually potato chips.


Others

*Love.  But who doesn't?  Everyone wants to be loved.
*Affection.  Snuggling = happiness  
*Approval.  I want everyone to like me.   
*Friendship.  I love the interaction and time I am able to spend with those closest to me.
*The ocean.  I daydream about sitting on the beach often.  It's my favorite place to be.

I like to wrap my posts up with a closing, but tonight I just don't have it in me.  I'm too tired.  I attended a wedding last night and I had a bit too much fun.  (If you know what I mean.)  It's bed time, y'all!!  Have a great Monday!! :)    


   

Saturday, June 18, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 22

Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else

Well first of all, everyone is unique.  Every last one of us has something special to offer.  Sure we are all people and we have similar needs, but we couldn't be more different and I'm not just talking about physical appearances.  Being a teacher is the most rewarding thing in my life.  Not just because I'm teaching these kids and (hopefully) making a difference in their lives, but because I get to know my kids on a special level and learn all about their likes and dislikes and just really see the different personalities of all my students.  To me personality is what makes everyone different.

As you all know, I am not by any means a shy girl.  I LOVE talking to people.  I can talk to anyone.  The cashier in a store, the person at the drive thru window collecting my money and handing me my coffee, a passer by on the street, parents, co-workers, etc.  You name it and I can talk. :)  I like this quality about myself.  I feel like it's a special gift from God.  The ability to easily speak and feeling comfortable doing so.  I mean don't get me wrong, at times I do get nervous and I can get a little quiet, but it's only a matter of time (usually a pretty short amount of time) before I will open up.  I think it's easy for me to converse with people because I enjoy building relationships.  Even if it's just an acquaintance or someone I will never see again.  A few kind words can really make a person's day or even pick someone up who may have be feeling a little down. :)

Another thing that I feel makes me different from others is my vivacious personality.  I'm a super animated person, full of  vigor and spirit. I'm enthusiastic and just an all around happy person.  I smile all the time.  It's just who I am.  It's comes natural to me.  When I pass someone walking opposite to me, I'm going to acknowledge you, smile and say hi and/or ask you how you are doing. I can't not do it.  A man who works at the office in my apartment complex always call me smiley.  :)  I like that he notices that about me. But I can't forget to mention that I'm am also a silly little thing and there's a lot of "goofy" in me.  I'm also very scattered and forgetful too.  Oops!

Something else about me is I am encouraging and optimistic.  I like thinking on the bright side and being positive.  Of course I have my days when I am negative and down, but fortunately these days are few and far between. I like to keep my spirits high and think good thoughts.  I also like to listen and support people who may be down or trying to overcome something.  I like to be a cheerleader and a spirit lifter to those around me.  Everyone likes a boost and words of encouragement.  I know I do and I truly live by the motto of, "do unto other as you would have others do unto you" (Mathew 7:12)  or simply put, "treat people how you want to be treated."  The golden rule as my students always say.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend, Susan at work.  She is a lot like me when it comes to be outgoing and optimistic.  I was feeling a little down and she was talking to me about it.  Something that she told me that was so kind and made me feel so good was that I can light up a room with my smile. I like that she sees me that way.  That was a really nice thing to say about me.

Well there you have it.  I think I covered everything.  ;)  And I hope that you agree with the things I've written.  If not, or if you think I left something out, please feel free to comment!!! :)

:)  

Friday, June 17, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 21

Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy

I took this picture in Oahu, Hawaii.

This picture was taken at the North Shore in Oahu before the sun set.  I don't look too happy but I totally was! :)

I love the ocean.  No really, I don't think you understand.  I LOVE THE OCEAN!  It is my all time favorite place to go.  Wanna know a little secret?  I didn't see the ocean until I was 17 years old.  After I graduated high school, my sister Jaclyn and her husband invited me to spend a summer with them in Burlington, NC.  I accepted :) and it was with them that I went to the beach for the first time.  We went to Carolina Beach.  I think we got there around 6 or 7.  I remember how happy I was to finally be there. :) I was lucky enough to go to the beach several times that summer with my sister and I just loved every minute of it!

The next summer, after my first year of college, a friend and me lived at Carolina Beach  At the beginning of the summer my sister and brother-and-law bought a beach house a few blocks down from the cockroach infested dump that I called home.  It was still great to me though! ;)  That summer was fun because I got to see my sister a lot and got to spend lots of time at their beach house.  She and I grew close that summer.

To me the ocean is the most peaceful place to go.  I can sit at the beach all day and never get bored.  A good beach read and some Miller Lite will make me the happiest girl ever.  I love the sand and the constant breeze.  Hearing the ocean waves and watching the tide role in is pretty much perfect in my opinion. And the sun.  Oh I love the sun.  I always have even since I was a little girl.  In WV we had an in-ground pool and my siblings and I pretty much lived in our pool area in the summer.  Even after we moved to another city in WV I still stayed close to the water and the sun.  My then best friend, Beth had a boat and I would spend summers with her at her family's cabin on Cheat Lake swimming, tubing, and skiing.  I have so many good memories when I think back on those times.

Whenever I think of vacationing the beach is always my first pick.  Going to the ocean pretty much trumps any other place.  I am content when I am there.  My mind is always at ease and I truly feel happiest when I am at the ocean. :) :) :) 




Thursday, June 16, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 20

Day 20- What does your future hold/where would you like to be?


I feel like I kind of answered this question on Tuesday when I listed my plans, goals, and dreams. But I don't really mind talking about it again because now I can be a more in dept about my future.

I'm a pretty simple girl. I don't feel like I need to live an extravagant life. I mean sure, I like the finer things, but who doesn't? However, over the years I've grown to understand that these fancy things are not worth going into debt for, and they most certainly don't bring happiness.

 What I want for my future is to be happy and loved with a great husband and awesome kids. Honestly though, it's not all that easy for me to picture. I guess it’s because it's hard for me to imagine myself getting married and having kids. I mean of course I want these things to happen, but I feel like I have so much growing to do before I could ever get to the point of marriage. Plus, I never want to divorce and I know that I can't rush into anything. For the past 6 months though I had been so fixated on finding that right person and getting married. It hasn't helped that I absolutely love children and have baby fever too. I had even set an age that I wanted to be married by. I decided that I needed to be married by 30 years old. And that I should have my first baby by 32. I know, I know, I agree that it's completely ridiculous to think this way. I am actually kind of surprised that I did it to begin with. I've always thought in the past that it will happen when it's time. I guess seeing all my friends around me getting engaged and married is what prompted all this. I'm just happy to report that over the past couple of weeks I've went back to my old way of thinking. Getting married and having a family is a nice thought and definitely a dream of mine, but when it happens it will happen and I'm not going to worry about it anymore.

There is something I have been thinking about a lot lately that I want to see happen in the future. I'm really thinking hard about getting a master's degree. This is something that I really want to accomplish. I love working with very young children and I’ve had many opportunities to do so working at Sylvan Learning Center. They have a great Beginner Reader (BR) Program that I’ve pretty much become a pro at tutoring kids in. (Please don't think I am bragging on myself. It's the program I tutor kids with the most.) At first I would get super annoyed that all I ever seemed to do was tutor kids in the BR program. But over time I realized how much I loved it and this is what led me to wanting to become a reading specialist. :) Now, I don't want to do an online masters program. I don't like the idea of teaching myself. I want to actually attend classes. I will tell you though that this makes me nervous too because I think how tired I am after working all day and going to class in the evening is going to be super tough. So what I have decided to do it take my dad and sister, Dominique's advice. Before I jump head first, I'm going to take one class and see how it goes. Then if I love it and I can handle it, I'll take the GRE and all the necessary steps I need to get the ball rolling.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, I just want my future to hold a whole lot of happiness. When I’m old and think back on my life I don’t want to have regrets at what I should have done differently or feel sad about the way my life unfolded. I want to be able to smile that big Ash Pride cheeser grin and feel like my life has been very good. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 19

Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them

Most people who read my blog know me pretty well. But, you may not know my full name so these nicknames might not make complete sense to you. So first I will tell you that my full name is Ashley Brooke Pride.

Current Nicknames

Ash---this one's pretty self explanatory. My closest friends and family call me this. I will tell you though it bothers me when people who don't really know me call me Ash.

Crashley, Crashley Brooke, or just plain Crash--This is all my dad's doing. As a kiddo I was always scraped up and bruised. The nickname started as Crashley and over the years those other names came about. Crashley is my favorite nickname because my dad gave it to me. :)

Ash Pride--The first person who called me this was a girl I went to college with. Her name is Chasta. We met one another in summer school. She and I were in the same elementary science class. We sat beside each other. She kind of reminded me of myself when I first met her because she talked really fast and was kind of all over the place. We became instant friends. ;) To this day, I’ll still refer to myself as Ash Pride. In doing so, my friend Michael calls this too. :)

Ms. Pride--When I first started teaching and I would talk about my class to my family I was always referring to myelf in 3rd person (Yes, I know it's kind of strange.) My dad still calls me this and on occasion my other family members will too. Also, my friend, Aaron almost always calls me Ms. Pride when we talk.

Pride or "The Pride"--I dated a guy in college who called me these names. He and I no longer date but we occasionally text. He mostly just refers to me as Pride now.

Sweety--This one is kind of new. It’s actually more a term of endearment than a nickname but I still wanted to include it. This is what Guillermo calls me every so often. :) :) : )

Old Nicknames

Splashley--My best friend in middle school made this name up for me. Her name is Beth. My nickname for her was Beth-a-spree. I think I called her that because she ate Spree candy a lot. Do they even make that candy anymore?

Ash Bucket--My friend, Billy made this one up for me. He called me it a few times. It never seems to stick. (GOOD!!!)

Andddddddd....I guess I can share a nickname that a couple people have called me in the past jokingly. I will tell you though, I don't like this name at all!!! :( That nickname is Ashhole. I'm sure you can figure out why I don't want anyone to call me this. If not, you're on your own with that one!!!!

Oh, and just for fun I’ll share a fake name I used to use all the time when I would go out with friends. If a weirdo approached me I would tell him my name was Veronica. :) Hahahaha…love it!!!

There you have it. Feel free to comment on this blog post and tell me your nickname(s). I'd love to know!! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 18

Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have

Oh my, where do I start?  I'm feeling tired tonight and not in the mood to blog.  But, this is a 30 day challenge so I gotta keep on keeping on!  I've already slipped up once and missed a post and I just can't do that a second time!!  At least it's not 10 pm when I'm sitting down to write like the past few days. 

So what I think I'll do for this post is just list my plans, dreams, and goals that I have. 

plans (for the week/weekend)
*Work late tomorrow and take a class at the gym on the way home.
*Work the after school program from 3:15 to 6 pm on Thursday.
*Watch Despicable me at Koka Booth Thursday evening with some sweet friends.
*RELAX Friday night. 
*Lay out Saturday early afternoon.  (I've got a new swimsuit I need to break in!!)
*Drive to Highpoint Saturday to attend my friend Laura's wedding at 6:30.
*Hopefully make it back to Raleigh to attend the 11:15 church service.  (I'm thinking there is a good chance I won't make it to church because of a group breakfast with Laura's family.)
*Spend Sunday with Guillermo and hopefully do something fun together. :)

dreams
*get married
*honeymoon in Fiji
*have two or three children
*have many opportunities to see the world
*buy a beach house

goals
*make my student teacher's experience rewarding and memorable
*get my master's and become a reading specialist
*dig deeper into the bible
*run a half marathon
*complete a triathlon
*lose 15 pounds and tone, tone, tone up!!!!
*start saving money towards a down payment for a house
*pay off my existing debt

I'm sure I could think of LOTS more things as far as plans, dreams, and goals go, but I just went with what immediately came to my mind.  A topic like this one is hard for me to write about.  I could just write and write about all the different things that I want and hope to accomplish in my life, but it's a work in progress that can change day-to-day.  I like the fact though that I have these lists saved here on my blog that I can revisit here and there to see what I have or haven't accomplished yet.  And I'd like to see if any of these things are no longer considered something I want to do in my life.  Only time will tell!

Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 17

Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why.


Hi-ya folks!! I have got to stop waiting until 10pm to start my blog. I must say though that today I was busy all day and I'm just now having some time to sit down and write a little. I started back to school today after 17 wonderful school days of track out (not including weekends.) I wasn't as cheery as I thought I would have been though. I felt kind of off today. To be honest, I was quite negative and whiney for the most part. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day. I don't like when I get in those kinds of moods at work. Yuck!!! Anyway, I was super anxious to leave work today too because Guillermo was back in town after being in Berkeley, CA for close to a week for work. I just couldn't wait to see him!!! It was so great to give him a nice big hug!!! :) :) :) After spending some time there it was time to head to bible study. Tonight we met at my friend, Stephanie A.'s house in Raleigh. I actually thought about missing group tonight because me friend Kim who I was going to ride with was sick and several other people weren't going either. Plus, I wanted to see more of G. But.......I ended up going and I had a really great time!! There were only three of us there tonight. Just Amanda A., Liz, and myself. I would have felt so bad if I would have missed!!! I'm happy I decided to go. :) So now you know why I haven't had time until now to blog for my challenge.


I like the topic of this blog. I've been waiting for this one for a little while now. I've known who I was going to write about since I first read it. If I could be anyone for a day I wouldn't go for a big celebrity or anything like that. The person I would be for one day is my little sister, Dominique. :)


Dominique is 26 years old. She's really the best friend I have ever had. She and I used to sleep in the same bed together as kids. We were always together and later we rightfully earned the name "tag team" from my father. ;-) She has always accepted me for who I am. No matter how bad it may be, I know I can tell her and she will always be supportive. She may give me crap about it, but she’s going to love me and never judge me. How many people can you honestly say that about? High school for us wasn’t always easy and even now as grown woman we can still have our fights, but she sticks close to me through thick and thin.

Now, Dominique and I do not have tons in common. I mean don't get me wrong, we are alike in many ways like the pitch of our laugh, acting completely obnoxious and crass in each other's presence, finding really dumb and inappropriate things hilarious, dining out for sushi, etc. But mostly we are pretty different. Dominique has always been more independent and I was always the follower. She was friends with pretty much everyone in school, while I was not. Her grades were always good, she worked hard in school, she was involved in extra curricular activities and well I just wasn't. Dominique has always been strong willed naturally and doesn't care what anyone thinks about her. These things have always been a struggle for me. I admire Dom for all these things. She's smart too. Very smart. She'll claim she's dumb and is always "failing" college classes, but she almost always gets an A. (My family rolls our eyes when she starts whining about how she’s failing.) While getting her undergrad she studied abroad for a semester in Europe. She attended Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College outside of England. She did awesome in college and made nearly a 4.0 majoring in Economics at Marshall University in Huntington, WV.

When I graduated college I went out to the "real world" and started teaching. Not my sis. She decided to continue her education and go for her Master’s Degree. After some serious thought to the three schools she was accepted to, Dominique decided to go to the school that offered to pay her tuition. And so my little sister made the move to Fairbanks, Alaska where she would study for two years to earn a degree in Resource Economics. But nope, she still wasn't finished. After a small blip in her plans, she temporarily moved back to WV to start law school at West Virginia University only to realize days before starting that she really wanted to pursue a PhD instead. So back to Alaska she went and here she resides today. She took up residency, bought a car, and just wrapped up her first semester of her PhD program. She’s studying Economics but I’m not quite sure what specifically she is doing in Economics? Really I don’t care because I couldn’t be more proud of her! Any degree in Economics is pretty impressive to me. I got a D in Econ in college. I thought it was so boring and I just didn’t understand those graphs at all!!!

Dominique is the only one of my parent’s children to earn a Master’s Degree. She’s the only one who’s decided a PhD is something she wants, not needs to earn. She’s well traveled and isn’t afraid to take risks with life. She recently moved into a “dry cabin.” This means that it has no running water. YES, you heard me right---no indoor plumbing! Before you freak, (I did) it’s common for people in Alaska to live in these kinds of places. Her work has showers and many other places do too. For $275 a month how can you complain? I pay $780 a month and feel sick when writing that rent check. Domi has a plan to pay off her car and some college loans from her undergrad years this year and she will follow through with it. Living in a dry cabin will allow her to do so. She called me about a month ago and told me she received a $30,000 fellowship for school in the fall. Wow, awesome news!! I’m so proud of her!!!

I want to be my sister for a day because I want to know what life is like in her shoes. Now I don’t want to be her just anytime though. I’d like to be her on a summer day in Alaska not when it’s 50 below and dark all day during the winter. Or maybe when she was traveling around Paris with her good friend, Troy. I’d like to have been my little sis on the day her and my younger brother took a puddle jumper plane to Barrow, Alaska, the most northern point of the United States and jumped into the Arctic Ocean when it was 30 degrees outside. I want to be Dom when she’s having a heated debate about politics and I’m sitting there in awe because of all the brilliant things she is saying when I have no clue as to what she talking about, let alone where the heck she learned these things. Maybe I can be Dominique when she’s sightseeing around Alaska or doing fancy research for the company she works for.

Dominique and my brother jumping in the Arctic Ocean. :)

I love my sister very much and I have never once been jealous of all her accomplishments and strengths. She’s an amazing person and I admire her for all the things she has done and will continue to do in her life. :) I’d just really like to know what it would be like to be Dominique J. Pride for 1 day. :)


Sisters :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

30 Day Challenge--Day 16 AND Celeste's Bridal Shower

Day 16- Another picture of yourself (baby pic!)

My scanner is acting weird so I wasn't able to scan in the pictures of me as a kiddo.  I had to take them on my phone and upload them.  I apologize for the terrible quality.  But hey, I did the best I could.









Sink Pic!!!  I've always had that big 'ol mouth. :)


 My sister Courtney is on my left.  We were eating birthday cake.  I'm pretty sure it was my birthday.  Look at that short hair on me! 

Yup, I'm the one in the middle in my underroos!  Courtney is to my left and Dominique to my right.  She's in her undies too.  We must have been heading to the pool area to swim and someone snapped a quick pic.  We swam in our underwear a lot as kids.  :)






Christmas! 



 
 
 
Easter.  I'm on the left and Dominique is on the right.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Celeste's Bridal Shower----June 11, 2011
 
On Saturday, a bridal shower was held for my dear friend Celeste.  Her and Mike are getting married in September.  I met her last January when I first joined my bible study group.  She is HILARIOUS!  That girl can really crack me up!  I love her carefree personality, and she has the best hair I have ever!  No kidding, it's beautiful!! :)  Anyway, so my friend Amanda and Yazz threw the party for her.  It was at Amanda's house.  If I haven't already mentioned this in my blog, Amanda and her husband, Joe are the best party throwers!!  These two really know how to host a shin-dig! :)  And they have the most beautiful home.  I LOVE going to their house!  :)  It's just so inviting and nicely put together.  :)  Yazz and Celeste are roommates.  These two together are just great!  I love their friendship and how silly they are together.  You would think they've been friends forever.

Okay, now on to the shower details.  It was a themed bridal shower based around Kentucky Derby attire.  All were asked to wear a fancy hat and dress.  Everyone looked super cute!  I wore a creme dress with green polka dots and green lace that peeked out from the bottom.  Let me just tell you I had a bit of a crisis with this dress.  I've had it about 5 years and haven't worn it since I first bought it.  Well when zipping it up I realized it was a bit snug and I couldn't get the zipper up all the way.  I decided since the shower was only a couple days away to just wear it anyway.  Plus my co-worker told me to put a broach on the back to cover up the fact that I couldn't zip it all the way.  So Saturday morning I'm getting dressed and panic starts to set in.  I can't get the zipper up and the pin I put on to hide it (a green flower) won't hide it and then I broke it.  I was freaking out because I didn't know what I was going to wear?!!  It looked horrible!!  So I put this lame brown cardigan on and just decided it was going to have to do.  When I got to Amanda's house, only her and Yazz was there. (Well, Joe was there too helping set up.) I told them about my dilemma and then showed them.  By this time the zipper is halfway unzipped and I felt like a fool!!!  So Amanda or Yazz (I don't know which one because they were both behind me) helped me zip and............it zipped all the way!!!!!!! :)  It actually did fit.  I just needed a little help with the zipper. ;) Dress crisis solved!! :) :) :)

At 11:00 AM, all the girls, moms (Celeste and Mike's mom), and Celeste's grandmother AKA g-ma began to arrive.  There was lot of talking and excitement in the house! After about 30-40 minutes, Yazz welcomed everyone and popped (well attempted to...hehe) the champagne bottle.  Mimosas were quick to follow and the first game of the day--a little Hawaii trivia.  (Her and Mike are honeymooning in Kauaʻi) I went to Hawaii almost two years ago so I knew I had a chance at winning.  Well I tied with Lauren.  Her and I both got 8 out of the 15 questions correct.  The only reasonable tie breaker for us was to hula hoop for the win.  I lost. :(  I just don't have that kind of wiggle in my hips! hahahaha...it was fun though!!! :) 

Celeste with her mom. :)




Posing with the ever so lovely Yazmeen!




 Mallory was chatting it up with G-ma.








Yazz and Amanda.  Yazz was having some trouble popping the cork so Joe helped out. :)






Pretty ladies! :)











Celeste and Mallory


The lovely Stephanie.

Another mother/daughter picture. :)
Yazz


Amanda has a BEAUTIFUL garden!

Celeste and Lauren



I love their hats!

sweet friends :)

Lap pic!


Just hanging out.

 Self pic. :)

 Another garden picture. :)







Before the trivia game.









Next was brunch. There were sandwiches, a huge cheese platter, crackers, breakfast casserole (AMAZING...Amanda's hubby is a really good cook), mini-muffins, and I can't forget the tasty fruit bowl that Yazz made. (NOTE----I was there Friday night when this fruit bowl was being created and it was quite a process!!!) The food was really great and I may have gone back for seconds for more casserole!! ;)

Yum!! :)
 
After we finished up eating we headed back outside for our last game. Amanda broke us up into three teams and we were given 15 minutes to concoct a most perfect wedding dress for Celeste out of toilet paper. This was VERY FUN....and my team won!!! Ohhhhhh yeah! We rock!!! Hahaha!


What a dress!

Mermaid style dress. :) 


The winning team! :)  YES!!!!

 So elegant!

We needed a photo of Celeste with the three dresses that were created just for her! 


Now for the good part! Gift time!!! Not only was there a derby theme for this bridal shower, but there was also a lingerie theme. I'm sorry to inform, but none of the pics taken can be shared. Surely you can understand. BUT, I will tell you that all the gifts were tasteful and the best gift by far were the "sexy little bride" undies that Celeste's G-ma gave her. :) They were really cute! :) After Celeste opened her last gift (she saved the best gift for last---MINE!! haha) I had to scoot out. I had to serve at church at 3 and  had to get ready. I felt bad leaving so abruptly, but I couldn't be late for the big man upstairs!!! ;) I also felt bad because I wanted to be able to help Amanda and Yazz clean up after the party. Fortunately some others stayed to help. Overall, the shower was a BLAST! I'm so grateful I was able to be apart of it. :)


Presents!!!

Norman found his way to the gifts.  So darn cute!!!





Caught ya! :)

Oops...I almost forgot to tell y'all about Mike stopping by to give Celeste a bouquet of flowers. :)  How sweet!!! :)

SURPRISE!!! :D

OH MY, and I almost forgot to share G-ma hula hooping.  You go girl!! :) :) :)

Gooooooo Grandma!!!! :)

And one last added bonus.  I'm a huge cat lover and I just had to snap a couple shots of Amanda's cats Contessa and Norman. 

I see you!

I just love this fridge pic of Contessa. 

peek-a-boo


Well there you have it!  I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing it!! See you tomorrow!  ;)