Why I Am Mad At James Taylor

photo cred: ABC.com


Dear James Taylor (29, Singer/Songwriter),

Hi. It’s been a few years. How’s it going, pal.

Do you feel my tense tone?

Hope so.

I just watched the first episode of the Bachelorette.

A show that I have managed to stay away from for about 3 or 4 years now.

I had broken the FREAKING CYCLE that they use to hook you in. I BROKE it. After Emily Maynard, I swore the whole thing off. And I stuck to it.

Ben? Who the heck is Ben?

Don’t care..

Until all of a sudden there is buzz about you being on this season. I see you post it on Facebook. I see your best friends make a special musician page for you. Someone I have known since before puberty is going to be on my TV. How often does that HAPPEN?!

Actually, I guess you’re not the first. Katy High School produces some pretty talented people. #gotigers #doublemeaning #bengalfan

I digress.

So of course, now I have to watch. I HAVE to watch because half of me wants you to represent Katy, Texas like a champ. Just charming the heck out of JoJo with all the gentlemanliness that only southern boys have. But the other half of me MUST be watching to see if you give into ABCs ploy to bring out the worst in people by supplying unlimited alcohol and keeping them awake for 36 hours a time. I don’t WANT to see you act like an idiot. But I HAVE to watch to see if you do. You see what I mean?

So far you passed the test of Episode One-Meeting JoJo.

You were funny. You were real (loved the anecdote about your brother, nice touch dude). And you showed her your guitar skills.

That’s how you get a rose, my friend.

But now I am pissed at you.

I am pissed because now I am hooked in again. And I want to say that I will stop if/when you don’t get a rose, but I will get invested in JoJo and it won’t happen. AND of course they played the scenes from the upcoming season and you’re bleeding. BLEEDING. And I have to know why. Was it a fight? Or are you clumsy and the editors are just the trickiest little IQ thieves in the world? I have to know.

And then, like every season, everyone including me will be pissed when she doesn’t pick the obvious choice (LUUUUUUKKKKKKKEEEEE) PLEASE FOR THE LOVE, JOJO. PICK THE FREAKING HOT COWBOY. (No offense, James). And he will be the Bachelor and the cycle continues. And now I am wrapped back up into the cycle. Stupid ABC geniuses. Stupid Chris Harrison and his brilliant hand gestures and cool shoes.

Thanks a lot, James.

Ashleigh Gaulke (29, Mother of Three)


Confession and a CrockPot Meal


It’s been a while.

Allow me to not bore you with the details of the past few weeks but I’ll give you the short version and you can fill it in with elaboration.

car go bye bye

water heater dumb dumb

vomit everywhere

the cold that would never end and it goes on and on my friend

roof failing at life

a 7 month old who loves me too much to sleep, seriously.

and other more serious things that cannot be listed without elaboration so we will keep those for my therapist (aka mom)

So naturally, I have mastered the art of escapism and addiction.

Drugs? No.

Alcohol? No.

Gilmore Girls? Yes.

I am not exaggerating here. I  cannot stop and I will not stop. Many many hours in the past three weeks have been devoted to the shrine that is Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.

You want evidence?

I named one of Hannah’s dolls Lorelai.


I have started singing the opening credit song to her at night.

I am starting to make Gilmore Girl references in public and it is obviously pathetic.

I want to visit Yale for fun.

I yearn to move to a small town, buy a house with a wrap around porch and have my best friend be an executive chef/Melissa McCarthy.

This may or may not have been a dream of mine before I watched the show, but it hella is now.

Clearly, instead of finding happiness and joy in something eternal like Jesus, I am finding immense temporary superficial satisfaction in this show. (This is obviously confession time at Camp Gaulke, feel free to leave your confession in the comments)

It just brings me all the feels.

For those who don’t know, I am the proud daughter of an independent strong mother (who adopted me as a single woman and was single for my first 20 years of my life) and now I am the new mom of a beautiful little girl. Mothers and daughters. And now I’m addicted to the feels because it beats cleaning up throw up or anticipating what will break next.

I am on season 6…of 7. Total #showhole over here. There are nights when I will get so into it that I emerge off the couch COMPLETELY unaware how that much time has passed. What’s worse is that Hunter watches it with me. Apparently I blame him. He doesn’t hate it, therefore, he tolerates it. Hence, #showhole.

So that’s where I have been lately.

But I wanted to share a crock pot meal this week because it is so dang good. Just do it.

Salsa Verde Chicken


(I wanted to give credit where it was due [link above] from the original recipe but mine is modified.)
3-4 chicken breasts, raw
1 jar (16oz) Archer farms Salsa verde (from Target)
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 tsp cumin
1 to 2 tsp onion powder
1 to tsp garlic powder
Salt n Pepper to taste

Put all in the crockpot for 4-5 hours on low or 3-4 hrs on high.
I cut the chicken with kitchen scissors into cubes just right there in the crock pot after it is cooked (clear juices visible or 165 degrees with a meat thermometer).

Serve with cilantro, cheese, sour cream, and a splash of lime.

You can serve on a bed of chips or in a taco!

Enjoy friends.

Shtick is a fun word.


photo credit
photo credit

When you start a blog, you are quickly asked: “Soooo, what’s it about? What’s your thing?”

And if you are 4 months post partum with your third kid when you start it, you realize you didn’t think that far ahead. But you do know that you just needed to write some thoughts down. And those thoughts might be helpful to some people. But really it’s just helpful to put them on “paper”. So you bought a domain name. And now you are “thought-sharing”.

After a few months of reflection…my response:

My shtick is that I am just gonna be real and write it down. I am going to do life, and you can read it or not.

Melissa McCarthy’s shtick is physical comedy. Ellen’s shtick is kindly dancing a lot. Zooey Deschanel has the adorkable thing going. And Lauren Graham has the “I play the coolest mom ever in anything I do” down pat.

So my thing is apparently being relatable.

But let me be the first to tell you, I am not a writer by nature. I will misspell things. My grammar sucks and I won’t use italics, bold lettering or quotes “correctly”. I hated English up until my senior year in HIGHSCHOOL (and then LOVED it because #CarolSrackIsLife) and I am too busy and lazy to break my 29 year old habits.

No joke, I got an email from someone telling me I wasn’t using italics and bold lettering correctly on my blog posts. And I need to give a heartfelt response to all: From the depths, I couldn’t care less. I will definitely continue to do so. It is what it is.

Anytime you come here, you are gonna read something you will hopefully relate to on some basic level. And maybe laugh. At me or with me. But laughing cures the crappy. So I suggest it and I will hopefully provide it.

I am going to cook something and tell you about it. I am going to craft something pretty and tell you about it. I am going to have a hellish day and I am going to tell you about it.

If you eat food, like pretty things, or have bad days…this could be a good fit for you.

First project to be noted by Camp Gaulke: lengthening my curtains to fit my long puuurty windows.

I am gonna post about it. And you are going to assume I am Martha Stuart-esque and that’s just not the case.

The case is actually that I have a goal to do at least one “productive” thing a weekend so I don’t fall into a bottomless pit of kids-run-my-life depression.

So…curtains it is.

I feel compelled to tell you in the spirit of realness that things are not all together over here. I am actually currently rocking/nursing my sweet Hannah Mae to help her finish her nap. The majority of her naps have been short and restless for what seems like forever but may only have been the past few days. I don’t even know what day it is, so obviously I am not keeping track. And I do love it. But it drives me nuts too. She’s beautiful and squishy and I know this moment is fleeting. But I’ve got a to-do list the size of an entire disposable napkin…because that’s what it’s written on.

It’s not just the to do list. It’s the fact that the boys and husband are downstairs wrestling and I am missing it. It’s the fact that I can’t get a decent phone conversation in with my best gals right now. I feel like I am extremely out of touch with all things outside the 5 human beings living under my roof. And if I am not careful, I could slowly fade into losing touch with them too.

Babies can isolate you. They can steal you from life because they become your life. Add two other children and you are officially labeled an unproductive member of society. Constantly canceling plans and memorizing PBS cartoons instead. The curtains are doing a great job of making me feel productive.

The blessing found deep in the middle of this vent-sesh is: I am a third timer. I know this is brief. One day very soon, Hannah will not leap or wriggle with joy when she sees me. She will not look back at me for comfort and courage every few seconds after I hand her off to someone else to hold. I will not be sustaining her every need soon. And if she is anything like her long line of strong women ancestors, she will be far too independent in no time.


photo credit
photo credit

Posts coming in your near future:

The Boys Star Wars Birthday Party

The Curtains

The BEST Crock Pot Pulled Pork without BBQ sauce…seriously you have to try it.
Continue reading “Shtick is a fun word.”

Weekly Camp Gather ‘Round Yer CrockPot Meal


I only cook CrockPot meals. If it isn’t frozen pizza or breakfast for dinner, the food we ingest at Camp Gaulke will be CrockPot’ed.


I don’t have this specific one, but apparently they make them beautiful now??

I won’t bore you with elaborations on all the reasons why every person should do this because there are too many. (time, effort, one dish clean up, set it and forget it… <—- thisssssssss)

On the weekends…sure get out all your fancy simmering pots and pans, make a mess, chop chop chop, tap into your Mario Batali, do all those dishes like a boss, and have at it.

But during the work week…get yourself 2-3 crockpot recipes and have left overs (or frozen pizza…because #staplefood) to fill in the other nights.

Voilá, my friend.

Since I am not boring you with reasons why you should crock pot, I will fill in the blank space with my credentials for Crock Potting.

I have scoured the Internet, Pinterest, CrockPot Girls, Crockin Girls (yes both are a thing)…(no, not the same thing) and many many more blogs to provide the BEST tasting and easiest Crock Pot meals.

I do not have time for more than a few steps of prep and if I read a recipe with too many ingredients I’m intimidated, I just flake out right then and there.

So trust me. I really am an expert here.

My goal is to endorse and provide you the recipe of one Crock pot meal every week.

This week is:

Beef Stroganoff from HeathersBytes.com


This is the EASIEST. BEST. MOST COMFORTING. Beef Strog you have ever had.

*I use the stew beef not cube steak.

**Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup is found where all the Campbell’s condensed soup is found. Don’t substitute ANYTHING for this. It is the key to life.

Bon Appétit!

(PS. if you do make this, come back and comment. I want to hear your thoughts!)

Camp Newsletter February 2016

What’s going on at Camp Gaulke this month?

Hannah turned FIVE months.

Insanity.  Hunter and I just look at each other after every crazy day and simultaneously say “but at least we have Hannah”.

FullSizeRender_2 FullSizeRender_5 FullSizeRender_10 FullSizeRender_12

Even on her worst day, she is the.best. She’s currently doing that really cute thing–that thing when she’s on her belly, and then she scoots her knees up under herself. If she was stronger, it’d be the first stages of crawling, but because she’s only FIVE months it just flips her onto her back…. adorable.

...and crawling happens closer to 18 MONTHS..right? not 8 MONTHS like I remember from the boys..RIGHT???

We haven’t started solids yet but I am always that mom who wants to move her baby along to the next step (no matter if they are ready or not). So waiting until closer to six months is new for me.

Asher and Levi’s birthday party is this weekend.

I will have a 3 year old and a 5 year old…it actually blows my mind.

I have decided that you can always tell how you are feeling towards a kid by whether or not you want them to grow up. If you have a child who is a joy to be around, you just seem to click with them, they don’t drive you nuts, you desperately want them to stay little forever. If you have a child who causes you anger in embarrassing degrees, you can’t WAIT for them to get older. Everyday is a day you don’t have to do again with their crazy little self.

I won’t name names, ahem Levi Gaulke, but I wouldn’t mind if one of my campers would skip this current stage he is in. (No lectures on how time flies and he will be in college in a blink of an eye, yadda yadda yadda..I know this)

He dabbles in extremes. One minute hilarious and precious, the next obnoxious and bizarre.

Anecdote ONE from the past 24 hours:

Asher: “I want to be a clone trooper that leads other clone troopers in battle. I want to be the leader. I want to be the one that causes all the clone troopers to be good guys and fight the battle droids. I really want to, mom.”

Me: “I am so proud of that idea, babe”

Levi: “I want to be the clone trooper that eats ice cream all the time”

Anecdote TWO from the past 24 hours:

[I come into his room after he wakes up from nap]

Levi: “I am picking fuzzies off my socks”

Me: “Okay.”

Levi: “I am going to put them in your mouth.”

[tries to stuff little cotton fuzzies into my mouth]

I think what drives me the most mad about him (the good and the bad kind of mad), is that he is so similar to me. We get each other and we grate on each others nerves. I know his buttons because they are my buttons. However, I am the one who advocates for him when the rest of the house has had enough, because I understand his crazy.

Asher on the other hand is a whole other type of crazy. The four year old bossy pants who is unable to handle his big emotions in such a tiny body crazy.

Right now his current interests are stalling bed time, veggie straws, coloring with minimal “scribble-scrabble”, and riding his bike into the street without looking both ways. These are in no particular order.

Hunter is continuing to kick butt at his job.

He has gone from taking on a struggling clinic to potentially hiring a new full time person in the next couple of months. HUGE. I know life will throw us many things…a steady roller coaster of ups and downs. But it is really wonderful to be in a proud-of-my-man state of marriage. It makes having to share A LOT of time with his job fun and exciting. The Lord has blessed Hunter’s efforts and caused seemingly unreachable goals to be met in such a short amount of time.

The only serious thing that’s happened recently with him is that our maid (yeahhhhh I got a maid…I am both embarrassed and thrilled about this. All I can say is that Hunter agreed because I said it was temporary. So. that’s that) cleaned out our refrigerator and threw away a mason jar storing some prized probiotics (that in all honesty looked like something old and icky.)  Distraught is actually an appropriate word to use here.

Other than the last minute planning of the boys birthday parties, I have been staying busy binge listening to podcasts.

I am wayyyyyyyy late to the party on the Serial podcast, but I became hooked a few weeks ago. So I binged the whole first season of Serial in like a weekend. If you are unfamiliar, it is a journalists investigation of a man named Adnan Syed. Adnan was convicted of a crime after only extremely limited evidence was presented and whole lotta deception was used to prosecute him. I then listened to Undisclosed:The State vs Adnan Syed which is a podcast featuring three lawyers commenting on the technical law aspects of the case. Very tedious. I am obsessed. Every night I cursed myself for not becoming a lawyer. Now I am binge listening to Truth & Justice by Bob Ruff. Another post-Serial podcast focused on the …well, truth and justice of this case. It is fascinating and I highly recommend it.

I have been using words like “corroborated”, “probable cause” and “reasonable doubt” every chance I can get.

So that’s us. 



Third Timer

By far the question I have been asked most often in the past 5 months:

“How are you doing three kids?! I am maxed out at one!”

You want to know what having three kids is like…

  • You count them. Wherever you go you count. And if you don’t have all of them (because one is at school or otherwise safely occupied) you have a brief panic attack before your semi-conscious brain reminds you where they are.
  • You become more protective of your time and energy. You barely have the energy for your kids + spouse + friends you actually like. Any activity that involves people you don’t know or don’t really like..there’s just no room in the inn for that mess.
  • Going to the grocery store is inconvenient with one, hard with two, a massive freak show with three.
  • You are instantly esteemed a “pro”. After I had Hannah, my delivery nurses barely checked on me because I was a “third timer”:

Nurses: “knock-knock”..[from the hospital room doorway..not wasting the energy to actually enter the room] “Hey third timer, how’s the uterus?”
Me: “All good, pal 👍”
Nurses: “Sweet, you can go home whenever you want…✌”
Me: “You sure you don’t want check my..”
N: “Nope.”
Me: “But what about..”
N: “No dear, this ain’t your first rodeo…you’d know if something was wrong”

I also have this intense urge to force advice down every new mommy’s throat. There are so many of my precious friends having babies for the first time. So indulge me for a moment and listen up:

1. Do what you gotta do

Sure, read the books. Make the plans. The nesting struggle is real. But if your baby doesn’t fit that mold and you don’t feel comfortable doing it that way. That’s fine! It really is!! Those book writers, your parents, your aunts, uncles, in-laws, neighbors and the random lady at Target all mean well, but they’ve done their parenting. It’s YOUR turn. You sustained a human being INSIDE YOUR BODY for 9 months. You do you.

2. Find one or two moms that have more kids than you and mom-marry them. (See post on mom dating )

I was beyond blessed to have everything a mom could want in terms of diapers, wipes, strollers, bedding, swings, bumbos, and boppys. NOTHING was more valuable to me than my mom-wives. Megan Waters and Alicia Dowell, bless you. You are my people. We laughed and cried and complained and rejoiced all within the first ten minutes of seeing each other. Our kids hit and bit and loved and hugged each other in those same ten minutes. No subject was off limits. We literally nursed our babies elbow to elbow on each other’s couches. If my baby forgot how to sleep (or never learned), they assured me I would sleep again one day. If my baby went on a nursing strike, they assured me my baby knows where to find food when it wants it. If my hormones convinced me I was frumpy and no amount of spanx was going to help, they’d build me up from my hair to my haven’t-had-a-pedicure-in-many-many-moons toes. We still have a currently running group text for advice, complaints, venting, and rejoicing. I would be lost and whole lot more sad without them.

Find mom wives. Little babies can isolate you from the world and lack of sleep can convince you that your husband is an enemy and not your teammate. Find these women immediately and thank me later.

3. Everything is a phase

You and/or your baby have acid reflux ? Phase. Your kids are not sleeping? Phase. Your kids are hitting and biting? Phase. You lack any lovey-dovey feelings for your spouse because #tired? Phase. Even the good stuff like long growth-spurt naps, your one year old eating vegetables, them saying please and thank you in sign language ..they are all phases! It changes all the time. Your sweet innocent baby will disappoint you and your disobedient biter will melt your heart. You will not always like your kids, but you will always love them. Your love for them is not a phase.

4. You will never love any other baby like you love your baby.

It may be love at first sight or it may come quite some time later. But if you aren’t a “baby person” or you “don’t do kids”, it all changes when it’s your own flesh and blood. If it isn’t right way, that’s okay. Trust me it will happen. Give it time. When I had Asher, the nurse gave him to me and I literally held him thinking, “What did we do?” “What were we thinking?” I could not wait for all the doctors and nurses to leave the room so that I could hand my baby to my husband and not feel judged. The weeks/months after bringing him home, my thoughts 98% of the time were “Meh…no thanks”.

True story.

Was it postpartum? Maybe. All I know is what I know. It was not love at first sight and I felt like the odd mom out because it took time for me to fall in love with this human I just met. But it did happen. And it will happen for you too.

5. No matter how many kids you have, you’re always maxed out.

I feel just as maxed out today with three kids as I did the moment that doctor placed Asher in my arms nearly 5 years ago. With each kid, you build endurance. You learn tricks. You already know what works for you and what doesn’t. Whether you have just one or five, there will be days that you are tucking your child into bed and thinking, “I am so glad I never have to do this day ever again”. Yet the more kids you have, the more “I love you so much I might die” moments you will have.

i love you

So how am I really doing with three? Realllllly reallllly good and reallllllllllllllyyyyyyy bad too.

Just like I was with one.

Just like I was with two.

What to expect at Camp Gaulke

You will find recipes, ramblings of a tired mother, outpourings from a loving wife, and political and religious pleadings. Whatever is on my heart along with any yummy dish that I am craving will be published. I sincerely hope you enjoy your stay at Camp Gaulke.