Turning 30

I am turning 30 tomorrow.

Ugh.

I am going bonkers here trying to find a way to delay the inevitable. I have no idea why, but I am scared to death of being 30. I’m scared to leave my 20s. I feel like I’m still young if I’m in my 20s, whereas being 30 is synonymous with being old balls.

Okay, maybe not old balls.

Still, when looking back on my 20s, I should feel mostly glad they’re almost over. They were kind of rough. At least the first half was. The best word I can describe my 20s as would probably be bittersweet. Lots of good memories, but also some very heartbreaking ones.

I was in college and changed majors like three times. I had no idea what I was good at or what I wanted to do with my life. And then I wanted to quit college for awhile so I could figure out what I wanted to do and not waste money (stupid student loans). But thank goodness my mom was tough as crap and wouldn’t let me.

I hated college. I have never felt so alone in my entire life than when I was on UNO’s (relatively) giant campus. I was a tiny blip in this giant world. I didn’t know anyone (which was weird after coming from a somewhat small town where, even if I didn’t know the person, they knew who I was). I was too shy to join clubs and make friends (boy do I regret that now) until the last year and a half when I joined the student newspaper. If I have any friends from college days, it’s because of that newspaper.

Also, I had some bad, bad, bad relationships. But who doesn’t during that time in life? I dated liars and cheaters. I had my heart broken so many times. It sucked. I let myself become so wrapped up in those relationships that when they ended (and they always ended really bad), I didn’t know who I was anymore. (Add that to the list of regrets.)

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change anything, though. But I would give myself one piece of advice: Never let go of who you are. I think if I would’ve realized the importance of that, I would’ve been way better off. And stronger. And able to realize those guys that broke my heart weren’t worthy of it anyway…and shrug them off easier.

Even after I graduated college and got my first job…things didn’t seem to get any easier. I got laid off from my first big girl job, which meant I had to give up my amazing apartment and move in with my brother. I broke up with an awful guy and had a weird summer of seeing old flames and meeting a few new ones. That was a fun summer of being single.

But then I met the man who I would later marry. It wasn’t an easy road to get to where we are…but damn if he isn’t the greatest man I have ever met. He must’ve seen something in me because he married me and together we have the most wonderful almost-10-month-old baby boy ever.

So from 25 on…my 20s were pretty darn good.

And I get it, life will always be full of ups and downs. Again, I don’t know why I’m lamenting the loss of my 20s. Could be because – and this is extremely morose of me – but the older I get, the older my loved ones get. And death scares me.

Okay, enough of that.

I know great things are ahead of me (at least I pray there are). Most everyone tells me being in their 30s has been the greatest. And I believe that. I have my health. I have my husband and my baby. I own a house. I’m going to have more children. I have a great job. I have my family and my friends.

The future scares the crap out of me, but it also intrigues me. I’m just going to tread the murky waters of my 30s the best I can by focusing on all the good in my life…and all the fun ahead of me…

Here we go.

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Blueberry Coconut Dark Chocolate Cookies

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I haven’t made cookies in a long time.

Well, I haven’t made homemade, from scratch cookies in a long time. It sure is easy to just buy the tube of cookie dough and plop the already-made chunks onto a greased baking sheet. But I wanted a challenge.

And I wanted to make unique cookies. Sure, the traditional chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal cookies are great (they really are), but I wanted something different.

So I went to the Internet. And, lo and behold, I found what I was looking for! Blueberry coconut dark chocolate (oatmeal) cookies. Thanks to Stephanie Le of “I am a Food Blog” for posting this one.

I did a few things differently, though. First off, I doubled the recipe because, as is, the recipe only makes nine large cookies. Instead, I doubled the recipe and made smaller cookies. I love cookies – plus, I like sharing them.

And, with that being said, I only cooked them for about 8 minutes, rather than 14-16 minutes (I also did not line the baking sheet with parchment paper, as I find it burns easily in the oven). You can cook them longer if you prefer crunchier cookies. I, however, prefer warm and very soft cookies – almost doughy.

Or, if you want big cookies, just follow the recipe as is. Completely up to you.

I thought these were excellent cookies – the blueberry, coconut and chocolate all worked nicely with each other.

I thought the perfect amount of coconut was used, as well. I’m not a giant fan of shredded coconut (I don’t like the texture), but I couldn’t feel the shreds as I ate the cookie. The hint of coconut in the cookies, however, was delightful.

s with any cookie, these can be paired up with a tall glass of ice cold milk or (if you’re lactose-intolerant like me) a warm cup of coffee or Chai tea.

These cookies are sure to please all ages. So, gather up the family and enjoy the fruity, chocolatey goodness! Personally, I’m excited for my son to get excited when he sees mom or dad gathering ingredients to make cookies…to see him licking off the spoon…and dunking his cookie in a glass of milk.

Blueberry Coconut Dark Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/3 cup dried blueberries

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or just use cooking spray instead of parchment paper, which always seems to burn in the oven for me).

Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add in the rolled oats, coconut, chocolate and bl ueberries. Stir until combined.

Form the dough into 1/4 cup balls (or smaller if you prefer more cookies). Place the cookie balls on the prepared baking sheet and lightly flatten. Make sure the cookies are well spaced, as they will spread.

Bake until golden brown and just set in the center, about 14-16 minutes (more or less, depending on your preference).

Remove from the oven and cool for five minutes on the sheet, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Blueberry coconut dark chocolate cookies

Blueberry coconut dark chocolate cookies

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Parenthood

Hi everyone.

This is my newest blog…dedicated to the fun adventure that is parenthood. I say “parenthood” rather than “motherhood” because I like to think I’ll include my husband once in awhile. I decided to start this new blog because my old one,”Lost in Words,” is very much “early-20s-Ashlee” and that’s not really who I am anymore. I still catch glimpses of that girl…but I’ve grown up so much. I became a wife and a mother and this new blog will (hopefully) document this new (and I’d like to think improved) Ashlee.

So anyway…let the fun begin.

I’m almost 30 years old (somewhat dreading Oct. 3) and have been married to my husband, Kevin, for almost two years (two years this Sunday, Aug. 17). Our son, Samuel Jacob, was born Dec. 13, 2013. What a great day. Fantastic. One I’ll seriously never forget. He’s 8 months old now…and developing such a personality!

When I became a mom, my life changed (though that’s nothing new for any parent). It was hard at first. I had been single and living on my own for about 7 years before marrying and moving into an apartment with Kevin. And we were married a little more than a year before Sam was born.

I will never forget sitting in the nursery, rocking a sleeping Sam and crying. Why? I really have no idea. I think I was crying for the old me…the girl with no worries. Who only had herself to worry about on a daily basis. Who could come and go as she pleased. I wasn’t that girl anymore. I couldn’t be. And that was hard for me to come to terms with. I now had this tiny human being to take care of…and that was scary. Could I do it? Would I be able to keep him alive? (That’s a crazy statement, I know, but when your newborn sleeps for five hours straight one random night and you wake up and run to his cradle to double check that he’s breathing…you’ll know what I mean).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was beyond excited and happy that Sam was finally there in my arms. I was on Cloud 9. But I couldn’t shake that awful feeling. Thankfully, it only lasted about a week. But I am so thankful I had my husband and family there to talk to. And talk I did. And cry. I got it out and I felt so much better. I knew I wasn’t alone. Kevin had the exact same fears…the same selfish feelings inside. But we communicated. Often. We leaned on each other. We took over for a few hours to let the other person sleep. We became a team unlike any we’d ever been before.

I have this new-found respect for Kevin after becoming a parent with him. He’s completely selfless when it comes to Sam. And me. He’ll tell me to go take a nap and deal with a screaming Sam because he sees I’m on my last nerve. Or he’ll offer to take him with him while running errands so I can take a nap, a shower, clean my house or simply sit and enjoy a silent house. And I do the same for him. I’ve learned that successful parenting really starts with being a team.

Anyway, those are my random thoughts for today. I think this blog – as it grows – will be something that includes my thoughts on parenting, struggles I’m having, milestones, as well as random things like recipes, beauty and health. We’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned (if you want).

XOXO,

Ashlee