Monday, June 30, 2008


Trace turned one on Friday! We'll get some pictures from the party uploaded soon, but in the meantime, here's everyone singing him "Happy Birthday."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Love that chicken (and biscuits) from Popeyes!

Trace is almost one...I know I can't believe it either. It's gone by so fast. Now that he's nearing the one year milestone, he's started to eat more table food and is loving it.

At daycare, they started giving him crackers, goldfish crackers, fruit, mashed potatoes, grits, biscuits...a whole bunch of different types of foods. We've also been exploring giving him different things, but were a bit tentative. After hearing how well he'd been doing at daycare though, we started expanding what we let him try. Last weekend, we gave him the most "regular" food that we have so far.

He ate Popeye's biscuts:

waffles and syrup:

scrambled eggs:

He's been doing really well and now we are working on drinking from a sippy cup (it's upside-down here, but he's getting it):

A couple of weeks ago, Trace went to his friend Olivia's 1st birthday party. He made lots of friends there and had a really good time. He can't wait for his birthday this weekend! Mom & dad are really excited too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

100 Things about Mommy (Ashley)

So, this blog is typically dedicated to Trace, but I’ve been “tagged” to write 100 things about myself, and I have Megan to thank for it. So, here goes...

1) I was born on May 21, 1981, in Grand Isle, LA…that makes me 27.

2) My parents are Carroll and Betty Allemand. They have a dog named Bailey.

3) I liked growing up in a small town where we didn’t lock our doors and we never had to check in with our parents. We would play outside for hours and would carelessly roam the neighborhood.

4) I have an older sister, Tracie…we’re 5 ½ years apart. She could always get me to do anything she wanted.

5) I was so gullible, (always have been)…which usually led to me getting hurt and her getting punished.

6) My sister and I loved playing Barbies! It would take all day to set up…to get them dressed and get their hair fixed just right. By the time we’d get them ready to act out the scene we had chosen, it was time to pick everything up and get ready for bed. Then we’d start over the next day…

7) I lost my sister when I was 11…going on 12. She was killed by a tornado at our school.

8) I often wonder what it would be like having her in my life today.

9) My husband, Ernie Ballard, & I started dating when we were in high school. I was a freshman and he was a junior.

10) I always knew we would get married one day.

11) I loved high school. I was involved in every club/activity/sport that was offered and even made up a few of my own…like “Peer Mediators”. I don’t even know what we did, really; but I do know that I was the Chairman!

12) I’m super competitive and very rules oriented…maybe that’s how I got into Human Resources.

13) My first job was working as a cashier at Sureway Supermarket during the summer.

14) I also worked at Bridge Side Marina counting bait in the morning and making sandwiches in the deli in the afternoon…somehow, I think that may be a food safety violation.

15) I went to college at LSU in the fall of 1999.

16) I changed majors 7 times.

17) I’m also very indecisive.

18) I had perfect attendance in college. No, they don’t give an award for that. If they did, I might have skipped a class or two to make sure I didn’t get it.

19) My first job in college was at the LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries. I was a student worker in HR. Ernie’s roommate got me the job.

20) I later started an internship in HR at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in January of 2002.

21) I got my degree in Management, with an HR concentration, in May 2003. I continued working with Cane’s and loved it!

22) Ernie and I went on a cruise to Mexico after graduation.

23) I learned that I love cruises, but I’m not so fond of Mexico…or the parts we visited, at least.

24) I have lived & plan to live in Louisiana all my life. It’s the culture, warm climate & especially the food that have me hooked!

25) Ernie and I got engaged while skiing in Colorado…okay so really, it was in the hotel while I was ironing my clothes!

26) I love to type with smiley faces :) and exclamation points…oh, and ellipses!

27) I have to make an extra effort not to overuse them. :) :) :)

28) I subconsciously edit everything that I read. Which is why I have very low reading comprehension and I hate to read books. It takes me forever!!!...

29) I also hate watching the Discovery Channel or participating in most things educational.

30) I’d rather do mindless things in my downtime.

31) I do love shopping!...

32) And weddings!...

33) And cake decorating! So, I guess my favorite thing might be to shop for a wedding cake!

34) Ernie and I got married on November 6, 2004.

35) I’m married to the sexiest man alive…(guess who helped me write this one?!)

36) Our wedding cake was delicious. It was chocolate with 3 different layers: turtle, chocolate doberge, and Bavarian crème.

37) I love to bake.

38) If I ever came in to random money, I’d open a bakery for fun.

39) I’d also love to be a wedding planner; that is, if you didn’t have to work nights and weekends.

40) Ernie and I spent our honeymoon in St. Lucia. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.

41) Currently, I work at Wink Companies, LLC as a Human Resources Coordinator. I do things like salary administration, drug screens, affirmative action, legal and compliance, and immigration.

42) That’s my second job; my first job is being a mom. It’s the best job ever!

43) Ernie and I have 3 children.

44) Our first son, Joseph Robert Ballard, was born on July 29, 2006,…stillborn at 6 ½ months into our pregnancy. His short life has brought us so much good.

45) We became pregnant with our second child only 2 ½ months later. On June 27, 2007, Trace Gladden Ballard was born! He’s brought so much joy into our lives.

46) And our only daughter, Phoebe, is an 8 year old shih tzu/maltese. She doesn’t get nearly as much attention as she used to, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

47) My favorite color used to be orange, but now I’d have to say it is brown. Basically, I love earth tones, so green would probably be included as well.

48) I love food, although I hate to cook. (Baking is different).

49) My favorite foods are seafood, French, and Italian.

50) I finicky about meat. I’ll eat it in really small bites, mixed in something like pasta, salad or in between 2 slices of bread; but I rarely eat it plain. I think it’s the texture that bothers me.

51) I also, don’t like sweet meats like Chinese or BBQ.

52) I love soups of all kinds! It’s always the first thing I look for on the menu or ask the waitress about.

53) My favorite shows are American Idol, Top Chef, and the Office. I love Toby!

54) I’m very skeptical of Lost. I watch it by default because my husband and all of my friends are obsessed; however, I believe they’re going to be very disappointed in the end.

55) My favorite movies are Dumb & Dumber, The Other Sister, When Harry Met Sally, Shawshank Redemption, & most recently Baby Mama…in no particular order.

56) Ernie says I have no sentiment. Basically that means I can, and most likely will, return anything without hesitation. I just like to think of myself as practical.

57) I can also get rid of what he would consider “meaningful” objects. I can easily sell it in a garage sale or donate it.

58) I hate clutter!

59) I’d be lost without my Outlook calendar. I need pop up reminders and recurrences in my life.

60) Although I did play sports in high school, I’m not very athletic. My idea of a workout is carrying Trace from one room to another.

61) I don’t wear makeup…never have, never will.

62) I have no sense of style, nor do I care. I’m too practical to spend money on clothes/accessories. I do enjoy admiring others, though.

63) I don’t wear heals. I just hate ‘em.

64) …How can I only be on 63???...I obviously don’t have much to say about myself.

65) I can’t tell a joke to save my life. I always crack up before I get to the punch line. If I have a good one, I usually write it down for Ernie to read.

66) I like being the “unfunny” one in my group of friends. They’re funny enough to make up for my lack of humor, plus I get to sit back and enjoy it.

67) I watch 2une In every morning and follow up with Good Morning America, which I happen to think is way better than the Today’s show.

68) I listen to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning everyday on my way to work. They crack me up. Sometimes I’m late to work because I sit in my car and listen for a few extra minutes.

69) I’ve met Kidd, Kellie, and Al twice and I’ve met Rich and JC once.

70) I also got to meet Ryan Seacrest after winning a trip to see American Idol on the radio.

71) I’ve won many a radio contest, as well as various other types. Did I mention that I was competitive?

72) I’m afraid of the dark, bugs, and scary movies…so, watching a scary movie in the dark with bugs in the room would be the absolute worst for me.

73) I don’t enjoy being alone, nor do I like to stay at home.

74) I like company and I love to be out and about.

75) I drive a 2008 “light-sage” Ford Escape. However, it really looks more like a “sand” color.

76) I love Jack Handy quotes! Here’s one of my many favorites: “When you go for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.” It cracks up the HR in me.

77) I’d like to have a “Blue Dog” one day.

78) I read a Dilbert comic strip daily.

79) I collect magnets.

80) I’m very organized at work, but not so much at home. Probably because I spend more time at work than at home. Sad, I know…

81) I’m working on becoming a teacher soon! Middle school math…Is that crazy?

82) I love taking naps. I can sleep with the lights and tv on; doesn’t matter.

83) My bedtime is 9PM; also PT (pre-Trace).

84) I like waking up early; always have. Although, I could use about 1 sleep in day a month.

85) My last supper would consist of a Bridgeside Roast Beef and a Slush Puppy…and maybe a soft serve ice cream for dessert.

86) I love to sing, but I suck at it.

87) I love learning all the lyrics to a song. By the time I’ve got them down. I’m usually over the song, though.

88) I love Musicals. Annie is my all time favorite.

89) My personality type is yellow according to “True Colors”, which basically means I’m very structured & rigid. :)

90) I’m an ESTJ on Myers Briggs. That boils down to Extrovert, Sensor, Thinker, & Judger. But not the type of judger you’re thinking of. It just means I like closer or a finished product.

91) However, I can be pretty judgmental.

92) I’m horrible at first impressions of people…just ask my friend Jamie! ;-)

93) I can also be pretty bossy…just ask Ernie! Sorry, Ernie.

94) I’m very self aware of my bad habits and try my best to overcome them, but sometimes I fail.

95) I’m a member of the Ring Community Church.

96) Once a month I get to teach in the nursery for the 3 to 5 year olds. They wear me out, but I think it’s really neat to see how they respond to hearing about Jesus.

97) I’m in Brad & Tori Bowling’s community group, which is the greatest group ever!

98) I’m also a part of our Wives Decipleship Group that meets the first Saturday every month. I really love these ladies. They pour into me and encourage me want to be a better wife.

99) I’ve learned that it’s very difficult for me to write about myself. This has taken me almost 3 months to complete!

100) I love my life, my family, & most importantly Jesus, who above all of these things, defines who I really am…a child of God.

Okay, now it’s time to pass the torch and tag someone else. Ernie I know you’ve been dying to do this, so the task is all yours! I’m done.

Tubes and a tumble off the bed

After Trace got his first minor bobo, he got his first major one just a few days later. Not really too major, but his nose was pretty scraped up.

A few weeks ago, we were down in Grand Isle visiting our families. Trace was playing on the bed at Ashley's parents house while Ashley, her mom and I were in the room with him. We turn our heads for 0.5 seconds and BOOM! we see Trace lying face down on the floor crying. He took a nose-dive off the bed and landed face first.

They have carpet in the bedroom and it was a high bed, so he received a nice rug burn across his nose. He fussed for about 20-25 minutes, then took a nap. Once he woke up, he forgot about the hole thing. He such a tough little guy.

Earlier this week, we brought Trace for his post-op visit after he received tubes in his ears a few weeks ago. Everything looks good, we just need to add drops to his right ear to clear out some gunk that's around the tube. Hopefully, with these tubes we'll see less ear infections and congestion. He has had about 3 ear infections so far with one lasting about a month and a half.

Getting the tubes put in was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. We brought Trace in for the procedure in the morning and we were away from him for maybe 15 minutes total. The nurses let us go with him to all the pre-op stuff and we stayed with him until they brought him to the back. Then a few minutes later, the doctor was calling us to let us know how it went and moments later we were in recovery with a cranky baby.

They told us that when he woke up from the anesthesia that he'd be fussy, but we didn't realize how fussy. He was still groggy, so it was like having a newborn again. He couldn't really control his arms and legs and we had to support his head again. He fussed for a bit after we got him, but after his nap, he was back to the old Trace again.

Now we're learning how to use ear plugs, and we seem more annoyed by them than he does. As long as he gets to get in the bath with the water running, he's happy. He could care less what you are putting in his ears.