Monthly Archives: July 2011

And the Award for BEST Parents of the Year Goes To….

Umm…not us. I would love to put some kind of spin on this post to make it look like it wasn’t entirely our fault…or that we did everything we could to prevent it, and it was just unavoidable, but…well…I can’t. The truth is that it was ENTIRELY our fault. Benji and I messed up yesterday and as a result, Harper now has a black eye. Yes. You read that right. A black eye.

We went hiking with Harper yesterday and he got smacked in the face by a tree branch. Not a limb…a branch. I’m not even sure how to describe what happened. I just know we were climbing a rocky hill – both of us more focused on that than the branch (obviously) – ¬†and Harper got hurt ūüė¶ He didn’t really full out cry, so I don’t think it hurt him too badly (at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself), but it did leave a nasty boo boo on his face. It didn’t look all that bad at first, but by yesterday afternoon, it looked like we had beaten our child. The first picture was taken about five minutes after it happened. The second was taken when we got home:

So there you have it. We are just waiting for someone to call DHR on us. We both feel like terrible parents and he’s been getting his way like no one’s bizz since it happened. We’ve gotta make it up to him somehow, right? ūüôā

For the most part, Harper seemed to really enjoy the hike yesterday, even though it didn’t start off so well. We went to St. Mary’s Falls and it was awesome! It’s supposed to be a 2.2 mile hike to get there, but Benji and I got lost (as we ALWAYS do). Judging by the time it took us to actually get there, I’d say we hiked three miles…easy. The walk was very pleasant and it was pretty simple – most of the time. It ran along the creek so we passed several beautiful pools along the way. Here is a picture of one that was really pretty:

Doesn’t that just make you want to jump right in?!? This particular pool was about ten minutes away from the actual waterfall. The waterfall had a nice little pool underneath it too:

The water was FREEZING!!! But after walking such a long way, it was wonderful to just jump right in! There was a rock right above the falls that Benji jumped off of into this little pool. I wasn’t brave enough, but whatevs. Here are the rest of the pictures:

We let Harper play in the water at one point (before we got to the falls) and he LOVED it! He would splash around and just laugh. It was adorable. I’m so glad that he seems to like the water!

On our way back, he actually fell asleep in the carrier as you can see in the collage above. That was a first for him, but it had been a long day and he was worn out. We were too, actually! Overall, St. Mary’s was GREAT! Maybe next time we go, we can avoid the whole black eye fiasco :-\

Baby Sign Language

Forewarning. This is a shameless bragging post.

I forgot to update about Harper signing for the first time! He did it about a month ago while we were staying at my mom’s house. I started signing to him (at about 3 mos.) whenever I would give him a bottle. I used the sign for milk instead of the sign for bottle because it’s just easier. I was just beginning to wonder if he would ever start signing back and had actually thought about quitting (it was a bit tiresome to sign E-V-E-R-Y time he ate). And then he did it.

He wasn’t due for a bottle for another 30 minutes. It was around 11:30AM so I decided to go ahead and eat lunch and then feed him afterwards. When I sat down and began eating, I noticed that he was looking very intently at me. He began to look back and forth between me and my plate and started doing the sign for milk. It took me a minute to realize what he was doing. I asked ‘Do you want a bottle?” to which he replied with a whimper (aka YES, MA!! FEED ME NOW WOMAN!!). It…was…amazing! and so exciting!! I’m so glad I didn’t give up!

We are in the process of teaching him more signs (mommy, daddy, nap, finished, diaper, more, etc), but it has been great being able to communicate with him with just that one sign! A couple of weeks ago, he started waking up a lot at night. I wasn’t sure if it was teething or just a growth spurt, but he answered the question for me by telling me he was hungry at 2AM one morning. I assumed maybe he had soiled his diaper, but when I went in to change him, he started signing for milk. He did this two nights in a row and then started sleeping through the night again. Growth spurts are fun. Not.

So yeah…the signing thing is AWESOME! Right now he thinks the sign for milk means food – he doesn’t realize it’s just for milk. If he wants puffs, he’ll do the sign. If he wants a bottle, he’ll do the sign. If he just wants more, he’ll do the sign. Etc. Here’s a video of him asking for more puffs:

If you’ve ever thought about doing sign language with your baby…DO IT!!! It’s crazy cool being able to communicate with them even though they can’t speak. I downloaded an app on my iPhone that helped me. It has over 300 signs – it’s called Smart Hands! ūüôā

Just Bear With Me, Okay?

I’ve heard this place referred to as bear country several times. Apparently it’s an accurate description. Today we went to the Shenandoah ¬†National Park to hike up to Stony Man Mountain. On the way there, I thought to myself that it would be neat to see a bear…from the car. I’ve only seen a wild bear once before, while driving¬†through Glacier National Park. That was a pretty neat experience so I thought it’d be cool to see one again. Wrong. Kind of…

The hike up to Stony Man was really easy – a lot easier than Humpback – and the view was awesome! There weren’t any people at the top, so it was very peaceful and way way beautiful. We stayed for a while before deciding to head back down because Harper was beginning to get fussy. We passed several groups of people on the way down. Close to the end of the trail, we passed a group of about 10 people hiking with a park ranger – he was giving them the lowdown on Stony Man. You would think this scenario would be pretty safe, right? I mean, I wasn’t even worried about snakes with all that noise, much less bears. Well about 2-3 minutes after we pass the huge group, the trail curves and I see this black mass about 15 feet away, off the side of the trail. At first, I think nothing of it, assuming that it’s¬†Sasquatch¬†or something, but then I realize that I am looking at a flippin’ bear! I immediately froze and whispered to Benji to tell him there’s a bear ahead of us. We stop and I panic (because just two weeks ago, I read this story). To get back to our car, we have to walk where the bear can see us. When I say I¬†panicked…I¬†panicked! Like…my feet froze to the ground and all I could do was this weird shuffle thing, back and forth, while telling Benji over and over again, “I want to go back up the mountain, I want to go back up the mountain!” The bear was actually eating berries and minding his own business, and here I am acting like a psycho and picturing him charging at us with my sweet precious baby in tow. I’m not sure if I would have reacted so poorly if Harp wouldn’t have been there. I just went into crazy mom mode and wanted to get him far far away from that thing. Benji was more level-headed about the situation. He could see that a). Going back up the mountain wouldn’t get us back to our car; and b). the bear was minding his own business, and as long as we didn’t make it feel threatened he probably wouldn’t bother us.

He ended up being right, of course – otherwise, I wouldn’t be blogging ūüėČ It took a lot of praying to make my feet move, but I finally stepped out and we walked (very slowly and quietly) away from the bear. He looked up a couple of times, but other than that, didn’t pay us any attention. When we had passed him, I told Benji that if the bear had charged us, ¬†I had planned on playing dead for it while Benji ran away with Harper – don’t think I’m heroic…Benji’s just a faster runner lol. When I got home, I researched what you should do if you encounter a bear in the woods. You’re actually only supposed to play dead if it’s a grizzly. According to the article I read, black bears are very timid and will most likely run off if you fight back. Just FYI, in case any of you happen upon a bear in the woods sometime.

Here’s my favorite picture from today:

The forest was nothing but fern in the very beginning. It was magical. (Benji isn’t very good at taking pictures..that’s why it’s blurrrrrrrrrrrrrry)

Nite y’all.

No title could do this week justice, so I’m skipping the title portion of this blog post.

On Monday, neither of us had any hope of employment for the near future. Fortunately, God always seems to work when things seem impossible, and by Wednesday, Benji and I were both employed! Both of our jobs are exactly what we were hoping and praying for – Benji got a position in his field and I got a job caring for a four month old little girl. Not only will Harper be able to stay with me during the day, but he’ll also get to interact with another baby. I am SO excited about this! The little girl, I’ll just call her P here, is sweet as pie. I’ve had the¬†opportunity¬†to spend time with her twice now and she is a doll! I seriously can’t wait for August!

Benji’s job starts in August too. He will be working at Western Albemarle High School, which is in the top 2% of High Schools in the country – awesome, huh? You want to know another neat fact? The¬†saxophone¬†player from Dave Mathews Band graduated from there. I just think that’s cool. I’m really excited that Benji got hired to work for a high school because we can go to all the games and events! I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with this!

¬†I feel so giddy. It’s just amazing watching all of the details fall into place. Before moving here, I prayed for a place to live, employment, and to be able to have Harp with me during the day – all have been answered! I also prayed another big prayer and I probably spent more time on this one than all of the other ones: I prayed for God to provide us with friendships.

Today we decided to hike to Humpback Rock. We’ve both been dreaming of taking our children up there before we even had Harp, so it was surreal to have him with us! He was fantastic too! He so loves being outside! I’m thankful for that! Here is a little collage of our pictures:

It’s a relatively short hike, but it is¬†steep¬†and kicks my butt every time! As you can see from the pictures, Benji had Harper on his back. On our journey back down, we passed a couple with two little boys. One was two and the other was eleven months old. The dad, Seth, was carrying the eleven month old on his back, so when we passed them, both couples had a good laugh. Seth said “I don’t feel so sorry for myself now!” after seeing Benji with Harp. We talked to them for a good 15 minutes and in that time we learned that they had once attended Inverness Vineyard in Birmingham, Alabama (we attended the Tuscaloosa Vineyard when we lived in T-town) – small world! We ended up exchanging digits with them and agreed to hang out soon.¬†So…there’s yet another prayer answered, and we didn’t even have to do anything!

Thanks Jesus. For everything. ūüôā

Good Medicine

Well. We got yet another rejection from one of Benji’s¬†potential¬†jobs yesterday. Needless to say, yesterday was a bad day for both of us. We spent the day allowing ourselves to feel down and out about it (to grieve, talk about fears, whatever you want to call it!), and then this morning, we got over it. We decided we were going to have a family day outside the home. It was good¬†great medicine! Here’s a picture:

I forgot to mention above that we went to¬†Shenandoah¬†National Park. It’s only about ten miles away from our house, so it was an easy decision. We didn’t regret it. The SNP is about 100 miles long – we only drove 25 miles into it. There were several neat stops along the way, like the one pictured above. This was taken near a little¬†amphitheater¬†that was set up in the woods and let me just tell you…it was B-E-A-utiful (as you can tell from the picture)!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in previous blog posts, but the people here are amazing. While we were stopped at the amphitheater, we met an older couple and their adorable fluffy dog. We talked to them for about ten minutes before meeting another hiker. She was alone and seemed to be a “permanent” hiker. She knew all the ins and outs of the SNP (like where to get cellphone service, and where an outlet was located at the nearby¬†visitor¬†center that you could use to recharge your cellphone, if it was dead). Benji said she was crazy, but I liked her. I think he thought she was crazy because after the older couple left, she informed us that she had “accidentally gotten a handful of butt” at the visitor center while she was there charging her phone. The butt just so happened to belong to the man we had just been talking to. She had apologized to them as they were walking off, but that was before she explained the accidental butt grab to us, so we didn’t know what she was apologizing for lol.

At another stop, I was trying to get a picture of the three of us with the mountains in the background. I had my iPhone so I thought it would be an easy task. Wrong. While attempting to take the picture, a woman pulled over and offered to take it for me. See?! The people here are just great. Anyways, here are the rest of the pictures, in collage form of course!


I constantly sit down with the intentions to write, and then never do. I’m just tired. It’s been almost a month since we landed in Virginia and we’re still not fully unpacked. The necessities are out. The flower wallpaper that was in Harp’s nursery is gone (and it was a pain in the butt to remove, by the way!). We painted over the purple walls with blue and brown. The dishes are clean. Clothes are washed. Overall the house is in pretty good shape. But…a lot of our crap is still in boxes. We own way too much “stuff”. Every day there is a to do list a mile long and we never reach the end of it. I’m not complaining. I actually like it. Benji and I are both home at the moment, so it feels like every day is Saturday. We spend our time playing with Harp, doing house and yard work and running errands around town. Even though we aren’t completely done, it feels like we’re getting a lot done every day, and we ARE! It’s pretty nice.

The job search is ongoing, for both of us. I had a nanny job lined up that seemed like it was going to fall perfectly into place for me. It would have been great for me and Harp. I came home early from Alabama to meet with the mother. I spoke to her the day before we were to meet and she said she’d call the next day to let me know when and where. Well…she never called. I surprisingly wasn’t too upset about it. I do wish she would’ve given me the courtesy of a phone call, but I wasn’t really worried about what I would do job-wise since that fell through…if that makes sense.

I have good days and bad days when it comes to the whole job thing. Obviously, that was a good day. I still can’t believe I let it roll off my shoulders like that – totally not my personality – I worry about everything! Today has been half and half. It truly feels like a roller coaster ride for me. I know¬†that the Lord will take care of us, but my heart wants to feel something different sometimes. There are days when my heart feels what my head knows. Those days are great! And then there are days where the fear gets the best of me, and I’m consumed with worry. A little time with Jesus usually corrects that – that’s why today was half and half ūüôā

Benji got another job rejection yesterday, so our day didn’t really start off that great today. He had an interview at a school this morning and I was so hoping that we would know something by today so that I could feel happy again. We weren’t given an answer and were instead faced with more waiting. I was bummed. Way, way bummed. But then I realized that I was putting my hope in the wrong thing. I was putting it into a job, rather than in the Lord. Hello…dumb. With that little revelation, Jesus took all my worries away! So a new, recharged and joyful Ashley is blogging for you now. I have hope and lots of it! I really can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for the Martin family.

Life is good. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy my time with Benji and Harper. You know when you’re doing something and you suddenly realize that it’s a moment that’ll forever be etched into your memory, so you try to remember every little detail about it? Like the way the wind was blowing, or how the sun was shining through the trees, or how your baby boy’s hair smelled? (Hopefully I’m not the only weirdo that does that). Anyways, I’m having those moments EVERY day right now! Benji and I are both off work and we are getting to spend SO much quality time with just the three of us. This time is so precious to me. Seriously. I love it.

I’ll say it again. My life is good. My God is good.

Nite y’all.