Friday, May 31, 2013

My Feet Are Officially...Gone!

"I said, look ma- no...feet!"
Much love,

Favorite Outfit Friday: May 31, 2013 (Johnny Cash Day)

I might change my "Favorite Outfit Friday" series to "Whatever Ashley Still Fits Into by Friday" - What do you guys think?

Every morning before I leave, I give Justin a kiss goodbye. Barely awake, he kisses me (sometimes missing my lips) and says, "You look so beautiful!"

Even though he has eye boogers and I know his eyes are half open, I always appreciate the compliment.

This morning, I leaned over and gave him a kiss. To my surprise, his eye widen and he said, "YOU LOOK LIKE JOHNNY CASH!"

Okkkk...sir. What does that mean?

"I mean, with all black like that!" he said, before I could ask if he was implying I look like a man.

Cute bow tie necklace!

You can't even see the toilet behind me anymore!!!
"Well, thanks!" I said. "But I'm wearing black and DARK blue jeans!"

"Same difference," Justin said.

I shake my head and begin walking downstairs as I shouted up to him, "HAVE A GREAT DAY!" 

And then, (obviously) he started singing his Johnny Cash voice, "And it burns, burns, burns -in the ring of fire."

Much love,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

10 Nontraditional Pregnancy Tips

You might be one of those people that lives by every word in those pregnancy guides. If that's the case, this blog post might offer you zero benefit. I'm not a pregnancy expert.  And I have to admit I haven't read a single one of those books cover to cover. The textbook format and lack of humor doesn't keep my attention long...

Instead, I found comfort in books like "Belly Laughs" and "Sippy Cups Aren't for Chardonnay" - and obviously, my personal experience has inspired me to write a book of my own.

And the movie "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is hilarious - pregnant or not, you must watch it! 

For the time being, I thought it'd be worth while to share 10 of my nontraditional pregnancy tips I've gathered thus far.

1. Pour yourself a mixed drink. No, I don't mean go out and get hammered with your friends.

And I am not even condoning that you take a shot of vodka after a long day at work or school. But, there is something relaxing about having a refreshing drink out of a wine or martini glass.

My current favorite is pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, and tonic water. I'm sure it's all mental, but having a drink like that after work really lightens my mood.

2. Have a stranger danger plan. If you thought everyone judged you as a teenager, just wait until your pregnant. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone did something better or different. And hey- that's okay!

But what is NOT okay is when complete strangers judge you.

And trust me - they will! The other day I was at McDonald's - I ordered my food and then stepped aside to get my drink. The Diet Coke was starring me down!

Now, I gave up Diet Coke pre-pregnancy, but sometimes I have the occasional sip from Justin. Anyway, I wanted a little sip so I put my cup under the button and filled my cup up less than half way.

I look across the restaurant and this lady is giving me the most disgusted, judgmental stare ever!

Something like this:

I was beyond annoyed. She watched me as I took a sip of my drink and smiled back at her. Then shook her head in disbelief. I told my coworker at the situation and he told me I just needed a plan. Here is what he proposed:

Get a little bottle of vodka, dump it out, and fill it back up with water.

The next time that happens, pull the water vodka out of from my purse and make eye contact with the judgmental stranger.

While maintaining eye contact the entire time, twist off the cap and dump the "vodka" into your beverage.

Slowly lift the beverage up to your mouth - still never breaking eye contact- and take a strong swig.

Then, with your eyes still burning holes through their soul, take your arm and wipe it across your mouth slowly.

THEN they will have a reason to judge you.

3. Suck up your pride and buy some maternity clothes. Listen, maternity fashion has come a LONG way! I've found some super adorable and affordable maternity clothes.

I've chatted with some woman who waited forever to take the maternity clothes plunge. They were too "proud" and burnt out the rubber band method. But trust me when I say being comfortable while pregnancy is critical to your emotional and physical survival.

Maybe you can't afford new clothes - I totally get it! Borrow something from your friends or hit up the thrift shops.

See - maternity clothes are SUPER cute and show off your adorable baby bump!

4. Suck up some MORE pride and buy granny panties. Seriously - best decision I ever made. Get comfortable underwear stat! This is how I felt when I stopped wearing underwear that rolled down and bunched up every single day 300 times:


5. Find your zen. Make sure you find time for yourself and do something - anything - that helps you reduce stress and RELAX! A few things that work for me: writing, working out, meditating, eating frozen yogurt, and watching teenage dramas such as Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl.

6. Make your chubby feet look cute. "There is no way I am getting chubby feet!" I once declared to Justin. Well friends- it happened. My feet, like the rest of my body, have gotten bigger.

Making chubby feet look good!!

Instead of hiding your feet, pamper yourself and get a pedicure! Can't afford a pedicure? Do one yourself! If nothing else, your significant other should give you a foot rub or 29.

7. Don’t do your baby registry unless you and your significant other are having the happiest day of your entire life.

Seriously, learn from us- doing your registry is extremely overwhelming and slightly scary. We got to the first wall at BuyBuy Baby and noticed there are 45 different types of bottles and nipples.

"We have no clue what we are doing." 

"How do you know which one is better?"

"What the heck is the difference?"

"What does that certification mean?"

"Wait, where would you put that thing?"

"Okay, but really- what if the ultrasound tech was wrong and we really have a girl?"

And this will be your response to all of those questions:

Yeah, that pretty much sums up our experience.  I guess what I am saying is...if you're having a bad day, just stay at home.

You will immediately be overwhelmed.

And you will definitely have differences on which crib is better or what stroller you should get...

So- do your research, ask your friends what worked (and didn't) work for them, and be open minded.

8.  Put your hands on your belly when you laugh. It’s adorable and makes other people smile.

9. Stop calling yourself fat.
You are growing a baby! A small, tiny human that will potentially look and act like you or your significant other. That might be scarier than the baby registry experience...But remember, pregnancy a beautiful blessing and amazing journey - so enjoy every minute and toss out the scale if it helps ease your mind.

10. Stay away from Google and WebMD. I'm not saying you should be unprepared or uneducated, but there is no sense scaring yourself by reading about all of the awful and crazy things that could happen to you and (or) your baby!

Always listen to your body. 

Pay attention to any unusual changes or discomforts. 

And ask your doctor every question that comes across your mind. In fact, write down your questions before your doctor appointment because you're likely to forget what you wanted to ask him or her (pregnancy brain is a legit side effect).

That's all for now!

Much love,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

20 Week Snapshot

This is what 20 weeks looks like in my world.

I took the first picture five minutes after I found out I was pregnant (so I am probably five weeks at this point).

And the second picture was taken last week!

Even though I weigh nearly 20 lbs more, I feel more beautiful in the right picture. I truly believe in the pregnancy glow! And Justin even says I am the happiest I've ever been (on most days).

Pregnancy is such a beautiful journey and gift.

Just a few more months until we meet our little Cooper!!!!

Much love,

Sunday, May 26, 2013

You're More Beautiful Than You Say

On Wednesday night, I went to a relaxation spa party. After a few extremely stressful weeks, I was looking forward to a night with some fun ladies, eating good food, and a getting in on a pampering session.

Little did I know, I would have a relaxation revelation that completely transformed my attitude and outlook on myself (and others).

After chowing down on some amazing food and getting a fantastic manicure scrub down, we went around the room to introduced ourselves. The consultant also asked us to say something nice about Hilary, the host of the party.

Saying something nice about Hilary was incredibly easy. She is kind, beautiful, and positive in nearly every situation. I couldn't ask for a better neighbor!

When it was my turn, I described her as I just did above and added that, "And she always knows how to make you feel good about yourself! The other day I was outside in the front yard - working on our landscaping- and she walked over and told me how good I looked! But in reality, I looked awful - I was in running clothes and sweating all over the place. But she made me feel so good about myself."

 After a few more people shared wonderful stories and kind words about Hilary,  the consultant said, "I just always like to have everyone say something wonderful about the host because as woman - we are so hard on ourselves. Like your story (she pointed to me), you were hard on yourself even just telling that story. So I think it's really important that we get told how special and wonderful we really are...because we probably don't hear it enough!"

Why couldn't I tell a story without putting myself down?

Why am I so hard on myself?

Is that a reflection of how I truly perceive myself?

Could the perception of myself be a reflection of how I treat the people around me?

My mind couldn't stop wondering.

And that's when I had my relaxation revelation.

I thought of the Dove commerical - take a few minutes to watch this video (if you haven't already):

You see?

It's not just me.

Or you.

It's all of us.

Your perception of yourself impacts everyone around you...and everything that you do!

This morning, my friend Meghan posted a Facebook status that got me thinking about this topic some more...She is a beautiful girl - about 6'0" and thin. She is a runner - extremely active. And she loves eating healthy (but certainly knows when to break lose and enjoy some ice cream when needed). She simply takes good care of herself. And looks great! Anyway, this morning - two woman walked by and made a comment about how thin she offensive comment like, "That skinny bitch needs to eat something."

My heart broke for's awful. Would they say the same thing to a heavier woman walking by? Would they tell her to stop eating?

My first thought is NO -they wouldn't. But then again -if you're THAT unhappy with yourself, you probably get satisfaction out of putting others down. Or people like that simply don't realize how hurtful their comment was because they speak to themselves like that every single day.

I remember when I would see an INSANELY fit woman running in a sports bra and short shorts. I would think, "Is that necessary!? Do you really need to run half nude?"

But I've gown up since then.

And even if my words don't reflect it all the time, I feel more confident and comfortable in my skin than ever before.

Today, when I see fit woman running in sports bras - I think, "You go girl! If I looked that darn good, I would be running in whatever the heck I wanted to wear too!"

If we have a negative perception of ourselves- we will instinctively treat the people around us in a negative way as well.

We will be quick to put people down.

Quick to judge someone.

And who wants to live like that?

Who wants to be that negative, unpleasant person?

Someone who is unable to give a compliment or see the positive side out of any situation.

Stop spreading the hate and filling your mind with harmful words.

Whether the hate you are spreading is internal, external, or both - make steps to live a more positive life.

Stop being so hard on yourself and the people around you!

Give at least one compliment a day.

Give YOURSELF at least one compliment a day. 

Find something beautiful in everyone you meet.

Focus on the positive aspects on your life and the people around you.

Stop being jealous of someone elses' life.

And make changes in your own life if needed.

So for my compliment for the day, I'll tell each and every one of you (my beloved blog readers) the same thing: 

You're more beautiful than you say...

Much love,

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Throwback Thusrday: Cooper as a Teddy Graham

Sleepy boy.

Ready to start a dance party.

I honestly can't wait to meet this dude.

Much love,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Inside My Own Mind

Writing these blog posts are always so difficult.

I stumble over finding the right words. I write a few sentences and then delete everything.

I struggle with what to share and what to keep to myself.

I realize I’ve been quiet lately on my blog the last few weeks.

You’ve probably wondered if I am busy.

Or simply you question if I am simply ignoring you.

Or maybe I have nothing to say.

But those are not the reasons...

You see, writing this blog means I live a very public and open life. I am often brutally honest in my writing – about how I am feeling.

I mean, you guys know more about my weight struggles than my doctor. And you guys know my actual weight better than the BMV (although, this last time I didn’t lie!!).

And sometimes- being open and honest is hard. It means I have to admit defeat and difficult times. And share stories that aren’t full of rainbows, my little ponies, and sunshine.

Many exciting things have occurred over the last few weeks.

Justin celebrated his 26th birthday.

We celebrated our third year in marriage.

I heard Baby Sieb’s heartbeat again.

We booked a trip to Vegas in July (future blog post coming soon).

But these past weeks have been hard weeks.

Weeks that I’ve found so incredibly hard to get through with my sanity intact.

I try not to bring other people (especially my family and marriage) and work into my blog posts.

Number one, I don’t think it’s fair for me to share personal stories of others. And then you would only be hearing one side of the story, which would be mine.

 And number two, I hardly ever blog or post things about work (unless it's more on the positive side).

It’d be different if my blog was geared toward my profession – or other marketing professionals. But these are stories of my life…mainly my personal life.

And having my personal life separate from my work life is very important. 

In fact, I think people are CRAZY when they post terrible things about their job, boss, or company in general. Social media and the Internet don’t forget things…and don’t think that you’ll be fine if you vent and then delete your post. The world is full of screen capture tools these days…

So while I won’t go into detail about the crazy, emotional draining aspects of life lately, I’ll leave you with these cliff hangers:

Work is exhausting. It really is...And I honestly love my job. I am VERY blessed to work with such creative and supportive people.

But lately I’ve just found myself running in circles.

Am I focusing on the right things?

Will this ever end?

What should I tackle next?

Which is more important?

Everything is important.

And everything has a deadline of yesterday.

Usually, I pride myself on my organizational and prioritization skills. But when everything is important and every was due five seconds ago, I’m just struggling with finding balance and peace in juggling with work.

It will be fine.

I will be fine.

I’m just…overwhelmed.

And then there is marriage. When Justin and I found our bridal showers, our guests would fill out advice cards. I actually still have them at home. I found them last night while cleaning up the bookshelf.

I was overwhelmed with the amount of “negative” comments we received. Not negative in the sense that people wrote “RUN FOR THE HILLS AND NEVER LOOK BACK!”

But people would always say things like:

Don’t go to bed angry – talk it out!

Would there be lots of angry nights ahead of us?

Don’t stop holding hands in public- try not to lose the passion that brought you together in the first place.

Would we be passionless souls one day? Simply two roomates living in the same house- sharing bills and waiting for the microwave while one person made pizza rolls and the other person warmed up canned soup?

Marriage is the hardest job you’ll ever have, but it’s worth it (most of the time).

You mean there is something worse than getting yelled at back angry restaurant patrons or sick patients? How is marriage a job? Isn’t it supposed to be filled with love and romance and long nights cuddling next to a fire place?

I guess what I am saying is I had no idea how true these statements would be…

And you know why?

Because you are two completely different people.

Coming together as one.

Different beliefs.

Different perceptions.

Different ideas of clean vs. dirty.

And in our current case, different opinions on timelines and due dates.

We celebrated our three year anniversary on May 15th. I wanted to blog about that too – all of the moments we’ve shared along the way.

All of the laughs.

The tears.

The adventures.

The memories.

I shared those thoughts in Justin’s card. And while even over the last few days, we’ve had our differences.

We’ve had a few bumps in our road.

We got through them.

We talked about them.

We taught each other lessons.

We hopefully inspired each other to change or be more open minded about the other person’s “side” on the matter.

Those people weren’t lying in the advice cards.

Marriage is hard.

Marriage is work. I mean, really- really hard work.

Marriage is a full-time job.

Marriage requires commitment and strong will to never give up.

Because at the end of the day, you will have troubles with anyone you marry. Simply because you are different people trying to live one life.

But if you remain faithful, positive, always communicate, and HAVE FUN – you’ll be fine. You’ll get through the bumps in the roads.

Justin and I don’t have it all figured out – but who really does? Sometimes people tell us we are the “perfect couple” and I laugh – because that’s far from true.

 Even though I’m a perfectionist, I will be the first to admit we have our flaws and work for improvement. Both of us. We are just two imperfect people trying to build a  happy life together. And raise a son together in a few short months!!

I really had no clue what I was going to say today.

I just started writing…just started pouring out my thoughts. I feel better already. I feel like I am coming to peace with a few long, exhausting, and emotional weeks.

So, where have I been?

Inside my own mind. 

But I'm ready to come back out! I'm ready to write more and just share stories - big or small.

Writing is my therapy.

And when I am stuck inside my own mind, I forget how to cope.

I forget how to move on.

I forget that writing is the key to moving forward. 

I'm happy. Today is a new day. You have nothing to worry about. Justin and I are just the normal married couple - trying to figure out life and each every other day single day.

But I suppose what will make us different is that we don't give up so easy.

We talk it out.

And cry. Well, I cry - as often as I need.

Maybe it's the hormones. Maybe it's just me. Either way...

Remember to love hard and always try to forgive.

Much love,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Boys Hate Belly Bombs

Yesterday, I had an entertaining and hilarious glimpse into my future at my nephew's first T-ball game.

I loved watching the kids run all over the field.

They would get SO excited when they hit the ball and then (usually) have no clue where to run.

The kids in the outfield would ALL go after the ball. There were like 15 shortstops.

It was outstanding.

And Braxen did such a great job.

He even hit the ball on the second try (without the tee).

What a stud.

When Braxen was on on third base, one of the many kids around the base yelled over to his dad, "HEY DAD!"

"Yeah buddy?" The dad replied back.

"Guess what today is?" The little guy said.

"What's that?" His dad asked.

"I get my video games back today!" The boy said with such excitement.

Oh boys.

So funny.

So between listening to the hilarious kids and watching their excitement to be playing on a team for the first time, I had a great morning.

I asked Braxen if he would take a picture with me.

"Yeah!" He said, excitement to get all the attention.

"Alright," I said. "I'll have you kiss my belly too!"

"NOOOOOO!!!!!" He said with the most terrified look on his face.

He ran away and hid behind a tree.

I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard.

Eventually Braxen agreed to take a picture with everyone EXCEPT for me!

So I decided to photobomb his picture with my mom.

Cooper's first photo bomb.
Later that day, he told my sister, "I'm not kissing Aunt Ashley's belly! And I don't appreciate her belly bombing my pictures."

I couldn't stop laughing.

Thankfully, at breakfast this morning he came running up to me and gave me a giant hug while he said, "Happy Mother's Day!!!"

It completely melted by heart.

"Do you want to give kiss my belly today then?"

Sarah and Will (my sister and brother-in-law) both said at the same time, "NO! Don't seriously...he won't stop talking about that!"

Well, seems like boys hate belly bombs.

So clearly, I can't wait until my next opportunity to belly bomb him!

I can't wait to be a mom.

And embarrass Cooper on a daily basis.

Much love,

Friday, May 10, 2013

Favorite Outfit Friday: May 10

I will admit- adjusting to a number on a scale that exceeds what I ever dreamed of going over + fitting into sizes I've never seen before is difficult.

But you know what?!

I am growing a human.

I love my bump.

And I really really love my little Cooper.

Yesterday I went on a bit of a shopping spree because nothing fits me anymore. I think I wore that black maxi dress 4 times in 9 days!

And we ALL know the damage a maxi dress can cause if you aren't wearing leggings, biker shorts, or Body Glide!

I felt a little guilty so I confessed the damage to Justin before he would see the amount on our account.

And this is what he said: "As long as you are cute, comfy, and happy!"

So I cried like a fool in the parking lot of Motherhood Maternity. That can't be the first time a woman broke down in that particular parking lot! Right?

So today, I am embracing my bump.

Loving my big belly.

And counting my blessings that I can experience the miracle of life each day!

Much love,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Making Healthy Snacks Fun

If you come to one of Cooper's birthday parties, you can expect to have some healthy treats like this spread out.

Much love,

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Never Trust a Girl If Her Thighs Don't Touch

I decided to travel with style yesterday. I wore my black maxi dress, black and white stripped cover up, and adorable sandals.

As I was walking through the airport, I immediately realized I forgot to pack an extremely important item: body glide (aka the anti-chaffing miracle worker).

At first, my rubbing thighs didn't bother me. However, once Britt picked us up from the airport and we started walking to the burger joint - I was in big time pain.

Now, I did pat down my big ol' thighs with some baby powder before we left, but that only lasted about 35 seconds before the chaffing took over my life.

"Babe, I am not sure if I can make it," I said to Justin.

He started laughing.

"You got this!" He said, encouraging me to fight through the pain.

I would make him stop every few blocks so I could separate my legs and give myself a break.

"Will you be embarrassed if I put my dress between my legs and try to walk?" I asked him.

"Do what you gotta do!" J said back

That was a bad idea. And I looked ridiculous, so I gave up.

After about a mile (the longest mile of my life probably), Justin said, "We should be here."

I looked around with no signs of the burger joint...

Thankfully, it was just a block up the road!

I started giving myself an internal pep talk, "You have done five half marathons - you can make it!!"

Once we got there, I rushed to the bathroom trying to think of something to relieve the pain.

I tossed down my bag and cover up on the ground and rushed to the kitchen sink to apply cold water to my burning thighs.

Is this real life?

As I went to pick up my bag, I realized the toilet was leaking. My new Vera Bradley backpack was soaked with piss water.

"You have got to be kidding me," I screamed so loud the kitchen staff probably heard me.

Then I picked up my cover up, which was also completely soaked.

I did the walk of shame to my table am found Justin sitting there drooling over which burger to order.

I told him what happened and he started laughing- this really is just another day in my life full of awkwardness and bad luck.

"Hey, I live by your theory," Justin said. "Never trust a girl if her thighs don't touch."

We both laughed and I went to eat a French fry.

Side note- I asked for ranch dressing to dip my fries in and the server thought I was crazy + told me they don't have ranch dressing...must be a Midwest thing!

Then my inner-self started talking, "Your thighs touch because you eat burgers with bacon and fries."

I looked at Justin, who was smiling at me and said, "How is everything?"

"Wonderful," I said.

I'm on vacation.

I'm almost 22 weeks pregnant.

I picked up another fry and popped it into my mouth.

My thighs will always touch. And that's fine. My self-worth is not measured by the size of my thighs.

So we enjoyed our first lunch in DC and I waddled (literally, waddled) my way to CVS.

"Where is the chaffing cream?" I moaned with desperation.

"Do they have a big thigh section!?" Justin asked.

Oh yeah, right next to the big booty isle, J!!

I gave up and found some lotion - this will get me home!!

"Where are you going to put that on?" Justin asked.

"A dark alley, a bush - I don't care!" I said.

Thankfully, a Dunkin Donuts was across the street so I ran into the bathroom.

What a relief.

So, what we did we learn yesterday?

Never travel without body glide.

Don't walk 1.5 miles in a maxi dress.

And never trust a girl if her thighs don't touch.

Final side note: If your thighs don't touch, I am only kidding. Good for you - now go eat a burger and fries (with ranch dressing ).

Much love,

PS I am blogging from my cell phone, so please excuse any extra typos and the lack of pictures!