Thursday, December 30, 2010

That's a long time...

Ten years ago tomorrow, Luke and I began "dating."

"Dating," at that time, consisted of me calling him my boyfriend as he played basketball and I cheered in my uniform on the sidelines. Every now and then, when it was a real special occasion and he got paid for cleaning his dad's office, we would get to go to Applebee's. 95% of our conversations took place on Instant Messenger. We held hands in the halls at school.

Over time, dates included movies, trips to King's Island, dinners with friends, walks around IU's campus, plays, sports events, romantic restaurants, days of shopping, apple orchards and pumpkin patches, and getting ice cream.

Who knew then that we would grow up to get married and have a baby together? I have been trying to pinpoint the time when I knew I wanted to marry Luke. I am not sure if there is a moment in time or more of a feeling of "I cannot and will not live without you" that evolved within me...but either way, I knew I needed to be Ashley Ernstberger.

I began dreaming of getting engaged my freshman year of college. What, 19 isn't old enough to get engaged? ;-) I thought I was a lot older than I was...didn't we all?! Praise Jesus...Luke did not propose to me then. In hindsight, we were still pretty young when we did get engaged at the end of our junior year...but we had a plan...we were on a path...we knew where we were going and we were going to do it together.

So tomorrow...on New Year's Eve 2010...I will smile as I think about what I was doing 10 years ago...when my 16 year old self decided to give this Luke Ernstberger kid a chance.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A very merry Noelle

With Noelle's very first Christmas now a beautiful memory in our minds, I wanted to take the time to document all that made it special.

I don't think it was a secret that I was feeling the seasonal stress in the days leading up to December 25. We had a lot of places to be, a lot of people to see, a lot of gifts to buy, a lot of things to do, and of course not a lot of time to do any of it in. However, we put our game faces on and took deep breaths as we began our Christmas festivities with Luke's family. Noelle enjoyed opening her first presents and we enjoyed hanging with family. Really nothing can beat just laying around in your sweats and lazily addressing the day's order of events. We ate great food and relaxed and played and watched the loved ones around us.

When actual Christmas came around, we attended Christmas Eve Mass at St. with about 4,000 other people. Wow. I have never seen a Christmas Eve Mass this huge. I also have never seen such outfits at church. High heels, lace tights and leggings, short mini skirts...whoa. My royal blue sweater and jeans looked a little frumpy in comparison.

After mass, my parents and brother joined us at our house. For the first time in all of my Christmases, we did not spend the night at my mom and dad's house. This was strange yet nice at the same time. I felt like a true adult, whether that is a good thing or not. We watched Elf and ate yummy food and tucked Noelle in bed for her to have visions of sugar plums dancing in her head. She left a plate of cookies for Santa and wrote a note asking for Peyton Manning to be under her tree.

When she finally fell asleep that night, we tiptoed into the guest room and pulled her pile of Santa presents out to place under the tree. We hung the stocking with goodies inside. We shook our heads in disbelief as we were finally playing the part of Santa for our sweet baby girl. We gave her one last kiss and went to sleep. I could barely sleep because I was so excited for the morning. I watched House Hunters International until I couldn't bear to see one more rich Costa Rican 30 year old buy a summer home at the beach.

On Christmas morning, we were the ones waking Noelle up, excitedly singing her "good morning" song and willing her to wipe the sleep from her eyes so we could open presents. She was very confused and seemingly annoyed with our excitement. I think she would have slept a little later! We gave her a great Christmas breakfast and then encouraged her to tear the paper off the boxes. She wasn't too into it, but once we showed her what she could play with, I think she started to figure out that Christmas was a cool thing! My favorite gift we got her was a Fisher-Price shopping cart that makes noises. She even will push it and take a few steps with it. :-) I also got her a sweet little baby doll named Baby Stella.

When we were finished with our own Christmas, we headed to Muncie to share in the joy with my mom and dad and brother. We opened presents until the afternoon, taking our time, eating breakfast, and allowing Noelle to soak it all in! We had a great time and relished not having to be anywhere or do anything but just exist that day.

My mom and dad did WAY to much for us, as always, and we are still trying to find a place to put everything. Noelle is such a loved little girl-- so blessed in so many ways. I know that many children all over were not given the Christmas that Noelle received at only 9 months old. And, of course we know that Christmas is not about gifts. Christmas is about family, and faith, and love, and hope, and magic, and Jesus's love for all of us.

Christmas doesn't suck. ;-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jingle Bell Run 2010

In all the sarcasm with my postings lately, I almost forgot to mention that I completed another 5K race. This was my 3rd official race in 2 years. I took a good year off of running to grow a small human and bring her to life.

Luke and I trained for the Jingle Bell Run this year like we did for our first one 2 years ago...using the Cool Running's Couch to 5K plan. For anyone who is NOT a runner, I definitely recommend this plan. It literally takes you from not being able to run for 1 minute to running a full 30 minutes for a 5K in just 9 weeks. Two years ago, I started it from week one and successfully completed a 5K (the Jingle Bell Run) outside in December. I would have never thought I could do such a thing.

This year, I could already run for about a mile without stopping or feeling that bad, so I started the plan at about week 5. We trained pretty consistently, despite the nasty weather and despite Luke having to push our jogging stroller with Noelle in it. We rigged up a beach towel with clamps to cover her stroller completely so that no air could get to her. She typically liked the rides and was always warm when we were finished. I am sure we looked hilarious doing this, but we had to do what could!

Anyway, this year's Jingle Bell Run went through downtown Indy, which was a change. It was a good time, and it wasn't too cold, either. Abe & E watched Noelle and surprised us by bringing her to the finish to cheer us on. It was really fun and sweet.

I did not beat my personal best time, which was to get it under 32 minutes. I ran the 5K in just about 33 minutes. However, I felt pretty good and finished really strong. I do remember running the first mile and not seeing any mile marker sign, and I was starting to feel winded, so I was getting worried that if I was this tired at not even the first mile, then there is no way I would be able to finish 3.1 miles. However, I asked Luke where Mile 1 would be, and he said we had passed it a while ago and were working on mile 2 at this point. What a relief! In all my focus, I had missed the Mile 1 sign. Praise Jesus!

I am really determined to not get totally out of running shape. I hope (after the holidays) to run at least twice a week in combination with my Zumba schedule.

These last 10 pounds are really pissing me off, and it is high time they hit the road.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Apparently my "Christmas sucks" entry was read and misunderstood, which caused me grief...and since I am one who tends to want to make everyone else happy but myself, I have taken it down and decided to censor myself.

This is the 2nd time I have removed a post from my blog...not wanting to, but doing it to save me the anguish of having to defend my own thoughts and feelings. This blog is public. I know that. But this blog is mine, and I am an adult, and I can say and think what I want...but when someone feels the need to criticize my own thoughts and feelings, it frustrates me, overwhelms me, and causes me to just delete the post.

My colleagues don't call me a doormat at school for nothing.

It's not worth it in the end. I am considering starting a private blog so I can be as honest as I would like, but until then, I will leave you with this...

Censorship sucks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

9 Months Old!

This post is over-due, but better late than never, right? Our sweet baby girl turned 9 months old on the 11th. She had her 9 month appointment last week, and we were surprised to learn that Noelle is in the 50th percentile for weight and 40th percentile for height. We couldn't believe that she was actually on the smaller side for her age! We of course think she is perfect and know that she is just the size she needs to be, but the last time we went she was in the 80th-85th percentile in each. She has never really shown a trend in her growth...being on the high end on one appointment and the low end or middle on another, so we don't really know what "size" she will be when she is an adult. I suppose she has a 50/50 chance of being short and squatty or tall and skinny...and unfortunately for her later on in life, she already has my legs. :-)

Noelle can stand holding on to the ottoman, couch, chairs, her crib, drawers, etc. She is very sturdy! She is not showing much initiative to crawl. Yes, this bothers me. I figured she would be crawling by now. I know everyone says it's normal and some people don't crawl and I "don't want her to crawl because then I will have to childproof my house," but I think it is human nature to want your kid to do all those milestones WAY early. Like...she should have started crawling at 3 months, duh. No, no...I am kidding...I know I can't compare children to children, and that the milestones have quite a bit of range to them, but I am hoping that she will figure the crawling thing out here shortly! Luke and I comment that she might be a big of a "quitter" because she tends to try once and get frustrated and then just yell about it. I wonder who she got that from...?

But...all of that withstanding...Noelle is doing so wonderfully, and I can't wait until I am on Christmas break (tomorrow!) and I can truly enjoy this holiday time with her. I feel bad because I wanted to start all these mega cool traditions this year, and life has gotten in the a lot of the things I have wanted to do and things I have wanted to integrate into our family's holiday celebrations will have to start next year.

Please enjoy her latest monthly picture installment and some of my favorite pictures as of late.

P.S. I am starting to plan her 1st birthday, and this terrifies me. How has it been almost a year already?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oh, hi.

My first post for December. Blog, I am sorry I have neglected you. While on my "blogcation," I was doing lots of very important things, such as finding World Peace and figuring out why the hell the Pay at the Pump screen has so many questions to ask me as I am freezing my butt off pumping my gas. NO I don't have a Kroger card. NO I don't want a car wash. NO I don't want a receipt! Gah.

Anyway, as much as I am really excited for Christmas for Noelle, it seems I have lost a little tiny bit of my Christmas cheer. Last year, I did a Christmas Question of the Day on Facebook for 40 days before Christmas. This year, I mainly post things on Facebook about how I can't wait until Friday or what I ate for dinner. Lame.

I think the external stress of life has really gotten me down this holiday season, and that really disappoints me. I know I am better than that. I know that I really just need to let things go and try to live my life happily, but between school, residency decisions, money (lacking money, of course), and just the wears and tears of life, I find myself just looking forward to going to bed so I can get the next day over with quicker. What a horrible way to feel. (that was Good Ashley talking)

So, I suppose I will discuss the residency decision. Luke has finished interviewing at all 4 of his options. He has "liked" each one. He doesn't seem ready to say anything definitive at this time. I think Luke will fight a battle between his head and his heart on this one. I know there's tremendous pressure on him to make the "right" decision, and there's a lot of pressure on me to be there for him and to accept whatever conclusion he comes to and to be positive at all times. Good thing my middle name is Positivity. (that was Bad Ashley)

I suppose the good thing about the residency thing is we know we will either be in Muncie or Indy, which is comforting. It's not like we are moving across the country...although sometimes that seems tempting.

I know this post didn't accomplish much. Noelle is doing wonderfully. I have a post planned to talk about her 9 month birthday and all her stats. But she's not 9 months yet (2 more days), and I am not going to rush it. She is growing too quickly as it is.

Alright...I'm going to go look for my Christmas spirit.