Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite Outfit Friday: June 28

Happy Friday!!

You guys have seen this dress and purple necklace about 10 times now.

FRIDAY!

But it's not the same as last week - despite the quick glance.  So how about we focus on my new hair and happy eyes! 

Tomorrow is my first baby shower for Mr. Cooper! I can't tell you how excited I am to everyone who can make it + hopefully eat some Decatur Pizza Hut salad bar. 

I'm getting pretty serious about asking for a gallon of their famous ranch dressing to take back with me to Indy. 

I also keep taking pictures of Bandit - because I am a creep and will miss his face so much! 

Seriously, mom. That's enough.
Can't I just get some sleep around here?


Eight days without his kisses, hilarious photobombs, walks together, and snuggles seems impossible! 

How am I ever going to leave my kid if I feel this way about leaving my fur kid?! 

Much love, 
Ashley  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vegas Prep: A Checklist with Pictures

Maternity swimsuit.


Check. 

Babysitter for B. 


Check. 

(Still need to find something for separate anxiety). 

Body Glide (all day, every day!). 


Fabulous "good luck" dress.


Double check. 

Hilarious t-shirt. 


Check. 

Comfy walking shoes + gym shoes (I will need to work off all that amazing food)! 


Major check - must not leave home without these! 

Another hilarious t-shirt. 


Check. 

Oh wait- one more: 

The sad face is because they originally mailed me THIS t-shirt instead of the baby bump t-shirt.
It will still be hilarious to wear in Vegas!

Check again. 

Not pictured: 

- Maternity swimsuit #2 

- Adorable maxi dresses 

- My iPhone charger (for survival) 

- My big, fake wedding ring 

- The list of recommend places to eat, visit, and explore 

- Small tote full of hair, skin care, and beauty products 

- As many leggings and yoga pants as possible 

- My doctor's phone number 

- My kindle fire to read hilarious books such as, "Sippy Cups aren't for Chardonnay" and Jenny McCarthy's book about the first year of being a parent (I am spacing on the title and my kindle is dead) 

- On that note, my kindle charger

- Bandit (I know bags fly free on southwest, but what about dogs...really will miss that little guy). 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Are The Perks of Pregnancy?

Some woman hate pregnancy. They are sick the entire time or simply dislike their changing body. Other woman LOVE pregnancy. I find myself fitting in with this group. Not a love like the mom from 19 Kids and Counting (that's simply outrageous), but I've had SUCH an incredible journey so far with our first little man.

And other woman have no desire to have children, which I totally respect and understand! Kids aren't for everyone and no woman should ever be judged for her decision to have children or not have children. They can make traveling or working their "child."

But no matter your stance on pregnancy, I've found there are some perks that are hard to ignore.

Perk 1: People are genuinely nicer to you. One time I had two grocery bags - that's it- and the sweet old guy at Marsh offered to carry them out for me. Seriously, COM (cute old man) - I adore you. Thank you for being so sweet.

One of us is pregnant in this picture - can you guess who!?
Also, my grandpa is definitely a COM.


Perk 2: You get special parking privileges. Expecting mother parking is legit and I use it often!



Perk 3: You have an excuse to leave any event - any time. Seriously, if anyone ever gives you a hard time about leaving a party or event, just remind them that you're growing another human. And that's a pretty intensive and exhausting (but very rewarding) full-time job.

Perk 4: At some point, nothing in your closest will fit you (wait for it), so you have an excuse to go shopping all of the time. Need I say more?


Just stay away from awkward baby bumps in fitting rooms.

Perk 5: You will always be invited to go first in line. "Let the pregnant lady go first!" is a phrase I'll never get sick of hearing.

Perk 6: You will always get "shot gun." And if anyone EVER makes you climb in the very back of a crowded van while pregnant, you can punch them. And tell them I said so. Okay fine, I shouldn't promote violence. But you should definitely refuse to move to the back of the bus Rosa Parks style.

Perk 7: No one judges you for getting seconds (and a lot of people offer you their leftovers). Don't mind if I do!

Perk 8: You make people happy. Seriously, there is something special and contagious about a happy pregnant lady.

Hap-pay, Hap-pay, Hap-pay!


Perk 9: You shouldn't have to bend over and pick up things you drop. Well, unless you're alone. Today I almost tipped myself forward by trying to pick up a few things that fell out of my purse while I was grabbing my keys. But seriously, any time I drop anything someone is always eager to pick it up for me!



Perk 10: You have a reason to be moody. Now don't use this as a daily excuse, but pregnancy hormones are legit! I mean seriously- this made me cry today:



Mainly because that seal reminds me of Bandit.

Everything reminds me of Bandit.

See- Bandit can swim!!!


Perk 11: You're growing a little tiny human and that alone is incredible. In-cred-i-ble!

Perk 12: People are more forgiving about unexpected bodily functions. Everything from farts to burps to laughing so hard you pee your pants...

Pregnant Pro Tip: Always cross your legs and grab your belly when laughing.
It helps you avoid peeing your pants.


Perk 13: People think it's cute when you spill something on yourself. Even though it's really not and you look a little sloppy -it's OK!

Perk 14: You can take more selfies to show off your baby bump. But try to keep it classy and PG. I've seen some pretty OUTRAGEOUS pregnant selfies. If you don't believe me, just search #babybump on Instagram.

Example of pregnant PG selfie.

Perk 15: You have an amazing support group. Whether it's in-person or online, moms across the world are bonded by pregnancy and parenthood. You can find help, inspiration, ideas, tips, and hope through so many other people in this world. And I've found that even people who don't have children can be so supportive ...reach out and let people into your world. Having that love and support makes a huge difference.


I'm sure I missed a few pregnancy perks, but these are top of mind. What others would you add to the list?

Much love,
Ashley

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Secret Messages From My Doctor

We had a late night in the Sieb household. So, I picked up some Chinese for J and I to share after my hair appointment tonight.

By the way, I love the cut! I desperately needed a fresh look before my baby shower this weekend and upcoming Vegas vacation! 


Anyway, Justin left the fortune cookie for me (or he simply forgot it on the counter and I got to it first). Let's pretend he was being super cute and saved the cookie for his pregnant wife.

I don't know about you, but I am very superstitious about how to eat a fortune cookie. I need to eat the entire cookie - every last bite - and have it swallowed before I can read the fortune. If I take a sneak peek or don't the cookie down in my belly, the fortune won't come true!

Here is what my fortune said: 



Save the cookies. Really? 

If that doesn't make you regret dinner, I don't know what will..haha! 

Thankfully, I was already half way out the door for a family stroll around the neighborhood. 

Could this be a secret message from my doctor? 

Perhaps. 

Either way, it made me laugh. 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Monday, June 24, 2013

The First Kick

Today will officially be known as the day Justin felt his baby boy kick for the first time!!!!

I felt Cooper moving all around, so I called Justin over. Usually by the time Justin gets over to me, Coop stops kicking and teases us both. Such a turd. 

For Father's Day, I remember Justin saying he just wanted a kick. 

He leaned down to my belly and said, "How about you give me a kick for Father's Day!?" 

But he never got a kick.

And it broke my heart.  

I was a little sad, but my doctor assured me that Justin would feel Cooper soon. 

And she was right. 

I literally got tears in my eyes when Justin felt that first kick! 

"Ohhhhhh!!!" Justin said when we both felt Cooper karate chop Justin's hand. "Wow!!" 

His eyes were wide and mouth was open. 

For a few moments, he was simply speechless.

And tears kept filling my eyes.

"That's just awesome!" He said.
 
Justin kept his hands on my belly, but I knew Coop was done moving. He is just like his mom ...he does dramatic movements in his sleep and tosses and turns until he gets super comfortable. 

Justin leaned down and kissed me. 

He will be such an incredible dad. I can't wait to watch him grow and enjoy the many other joys that parenthood can bring.

What a special moment for us to share...

I'm feeling so very blessed and thankful for these little moments in life that leave big impressions in our hearts.

Justin went back to his computer, and someone gladly took his place. 

Bandit obviously wants to feel a kick or two tonight as well!

Best big bro already.


I love my boys. 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Day Date and Mom Inspiration

J and I had a fun day-date together today.

I told him on Friday that it is hard to believe we only have 11 weeks of left until our little guy arrives. No longer just the two of us...

Walking down the street, I looked in the mirror and realized how pregnant I am. 

"Holy cow!" I said. "My bump is no joke!"

Justin got a huge smile on his face and put his hand on my belly. 

"And I love it," he said. 

When we got to the restaurant, Justin did what he normally does...he takes small pieces of the straw wrapper and turns it into a small ball. Then he tries to shot the tiny ball in my cleavage. 

He made it on the first try. 

I was too hungry and tired to care where it landed - and didn't feel like flashing the entire restaurant to pick out the straw ball. 

Fun fact - I went to the bathroom later tonight and that straw ball fell out from my pants / underwear!! Don't even ask how that happened ....

Anyway, after lunch we walked next door to a new coffee shop and tap room in Richmond, called Roscoes. 



I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with drink options. A few of my favorite latte types include: 

Peanut butter & jelly 
Turtle cheesecake 
Blueberry cheesecake 
Butter rum
Almond joy
Salted caramel 
French toast 

"I just love this place!" I told Justin right away. "It just makes my heart sing!"

They also severed beer, local craft beer, and sandwiches that made me want to eat another lunch!  

I ended up picking a pumpkin chai - you guys know I have a weakness for anything pumpkin. 

I walked around the building - soaking in the music, laughter of children with their parents, and the local artwork. 

They had a stage in the back room where musicians, poets, and comedian come to perform. 

This is my kind of place. 



Realizing I am 29 weeks today, I snapped this baby bump selfie in the bathroom mirror. 

Yes, I am wearing jeggings. 

And yes, they are incredibly comfortable.

As I walked out of the bathroom, I saw a mom joking with her kids that she was singing on the stage. 

I smiled at her and she laughed. Embarrassed, she said, "Sorry!" 

And her kids laughed harder because a stranger busted her in the act! 

But she had nothing to be sorry for...she was being a fun mom. 

A mom who isn't afraid to be herself and make her kids laugh. 

A mom that teaches her kids to love life at all times. 

I hope that I am that kind of mom. 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Even Though I'm Relaxed...

This REALLY makes me smile.

I love hamsters, you guys. For real.

Much love,
Ashley

Favorite Outfit Friday: June 21

Happy first day of summer! Despite the fact that I'm going to be a sweaty beast every single day, I am really looking forward for summer. 

Weddings. 

Pool dates. 

Vegas. 

Evening walks with my family. 

Cookouts. 

Baby showers! 

Maternity photoshoot! 

Birthday parties. 

The NYOTB concert with 98 degrees and Boyz to Men - hopefully Cay and Meg are ready if I go into early labor! 

Summer tea.

Baseball games. 

Summer dresses! 

Speaking of summer dresses, here is what I am wearing today to celebrate the first day of summer! 


Take at least 30 minutes to enjoy your day! 

Walk outside. 

Eat outside. 

Dance outside! 

Draw something with chalk.

Play at a local park - you're never to old to enjoy the swings. Unless you exceed a weight limit like I might these days. Kidding, but really ...

Sing with your windows down. 

Plant something. 

Go for a swim. 

And be genuinely excited that today is Friday! TGIF! 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No News is Good News

I'm pretty sure I passed my glucose test yesterday!

Better knock on wood...

For those of you who don't know (don't worry, I had no clue what a glucose test was until three days ago), I'm here to enlighten you. 

First, you might be wondering WHY pregnant woman do a glucose test?

Well, they encourage most woman to test for gestational diabetes (which is easier to type than pronounce by the way) between 24 and 28 weeks of their pregnancy.

Normally, if you have gestational diabetes it won't show up until after 24 weeks. Also, most woman who get gestational diabetes don't have diabetes before pregnancy.

Everyone has a different experience, so I'll just tell you MY story.  Some people have a tragic experience + hate the drink + dread this test. But I thought it was pretty easy + not very stressful (so relax, if this is creeping up for you).

To start, I thought I was going to PEE my pants when I got there, so thankfully they let me go back for my sample the moment I walked in the door. They usually take a urine sample at every visit to test your urine to make sure you don't have any infections + check your protein  sugar + check for blood!

A few minutes later, I got called back to the lab. The guy offered me orange, fruit punch, or lemon lime flavored beverage.

"What's your favorite flavor?" I asked him.

Realizing that was a silly question, I quickly correct myself and said, "Which flavor do most woman like the best?"

He laughed and said, "Orange or fruit punch."

"I'll have lemon lime," I said, refusing to be like the rest. "What does that taste like?"

"A flat Sprite is how I describe it," he said.

"Sign me up!" I said with excitement. "That's the one!"

I cracked open the drink, which looked exactly like this (Thanks, Google):



You have about five minutes to drink the sweetened liquid, which contains 50g of glucose. Your body will absorb the glucose quickly. Over the next 30 to 60 minutes,  your blood glucose levels rise. About an hour after you drink the glucose, they will draw your blood.

If you puke, you have to leave and come back another day. So puking is not a good idea.

I slammed back my drink like a college kid in a drinking contest.

It wasn't awful.

I mean, I didn't LOVE it, but I would definitely drink it again.

Thankfully, I felt great the entire time. I went back into the lobby until I visited with my doctor (which is when I learned I gained 11 lbs in one month).

By the time I was done with my visit, I had my blood drawn. The blood test will measure how the glucose solution was processed by my body.

"If you don't hear from us within 24 hours, that's a good sign," he said. "No news is good news. If you don't pass, you'll have to come back for a longer appointment. You'll have to drink 100-gram glucose drink during a three-hour period. If you don't pass either test then you're likely to have gestational diabetes."

And what happens if I get gestational diabetes? 

Most woman with gestational diabetes will deliver healthy babies, but here is what WebMD told me:

"Sometimes a mother or her baby has problems because of high blood sugar. These problems include:
  • High blood pressure in the mother caused by preeclampsia.
  • A baby that grows too large. If a developing baby (fetus) receives too much sugar, the sugar can turn into fat, causing the baby to grow larger than normal. A large baby can be injured during vaginal birth and may need to be delivered surgically (C-section).
  • After the baby is born, the baby's blood sugar level may drop too low, and he or she may need to be given extra sugar.
  • Babies can also develop other treatable problems after birth, including low blood calcium levels, high bilirubin levels, and too many red blood cells."

How about that for a medical lesson today?

Hopefully you learned something new (or you can at least validate that I know what I'm talking about via research and my personal experience).

Anyway, the doctor's office didn't call me today!

Whoop there it is!

I think Cooper just gave me a giant fist bump to celebrate this good news. 


I actually imagine Cooper looking like this adorable babes above. You too? 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Before Your Next Tweet or Status Update...

Before you decide to send out your next tweet or status update on Facebook, I want you to ask yourself these three questions (at minimum): 
  1. If someone else wrote this, would I think they were being extremely negative or complaining over something silly?
  2. Am I sending out a "blind attack" on someone?
  3. Will posting this do me any good?
Listen, people upset me all the time.

Well, maybe not all the time- but I certainly get annoyed with snarky one liners and rude comments.

And I cry a lot. 

But if I posted everything I told Justin after a long and hard day, then you guys would block me from your news feed for reasons beyond too many Bandit pictures and selfies.

And obviously I have bad days. Well, I should have "bad hours" - because I try not to let an ENTIRE day be ruined by one little (or medium-sized) comment or situation.

I want to pull my hair out when someone says or does something awful to me or someone I care about.

But I've got to be honest. I am so sick of logging onto my Facebook page and Twitter and see nothing but people complaining about life or feeling sorry for themselves!

It's getting out of hand.

Social media has changed our world. It's easy to hide behind a computer screen and post whatever is on your mind - hurtful or not.

Listen, I've made this mistake a few times.

And even today, I found myself wanting to send out a "blind attack" because of a snarky email reply I got to a simple email I sent asking for directions.

But instead, I let it go. And vented to a coworker for about 20 seconds. Then I was over it. And I forgot about it until just now.

So...

If you're truly that unhappy, then do something to change your situation or mindset.

If you're truly that upset, call someone to chat it out. Or better yet, schedule a lunch, dinner, or drinks to meet up in person!

If you're truly that depressed, schedule an appointment and talk to a shrink. There is no shame with getting help for your emotional troubles.

Basically. This:


Only I would say "Don't POST something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset."

I know that people always complain that the news is full of crime, violence, and horrible stories.

And while I think that's partially true, I also think people are blocking out the positivity that exist in the world today.

Some people are simply blinded by negativity and self-pity.

I was at the gym last night. I didn't have my headphones so I was stuck reading the captains on the news.

A story came on about a Boston marathon runner (Robert Wheeler) who helped save a man's life after the explosion.

Robert took the shirt off his back (literally) and wrapped it around his bloody leg. I was choking back tears as I was reading the captains as they talked about those moments.

Those seconds.

Those life changing seconds...

A picture of Robert lifting the older man into the air with his legs wrapped up in his shirt. He is next to other helpers - holding me - bonding with him - encouraging him to hold on.

Then the news flashed to another picture of Robert running the marathon- just moments before the bombs exploded. He had no clue how his life would forever change in a matter of minutes. 

While they are 20 or so years apart, they are now great friends. They communicate daily. Robert just graduated college and he hopes to become a fire fighter.

He's already a hero.

He's already saved lives.

He is one example of a story, a normal person like you and I, who can take a dark situation and turn it into a positive one.

I could have watched the story and reflected on that bomber.

That monster.

The damage he did.

The lives he took.

And I could have stewed over how careless he was to perform such an act of terror.

I could got worked about all the negativity....but just like the feature story on the news, I focused on the positive.

I was inspired by his kind heart.

I was reminded that good people exist in a somewhat "bad world" ...

So the next time you get the urge to complain to your news feed about the person who cut you off on the way to work or the fight you're in with your significant other / friend - just wait a few seconds.

Talk it out.

THINK it out.

And try to remember there are larger, more important situations and people in the world that deserve your attention.

Disclaimer: This blog post was NOT written with any ONE person in mind. It was a general observation that you might make yourself if you browse your own news feed. So please don't assume anything I've written was about you...

Much love,
Ashley

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Shouldn't Have Looked

I shouldn't have looked.

But I did.

I guess it wouldn't matter though...because my doctor brought it to my attention anyway.

My weight.

The number on the scale.

I was doing SO good for the first five months.

Then, I started to let myself go.

Cupcakes? No problem.

Bacon? Absolutely.

Cheese? On everything please.

Mountain Dew? Yes, let's do the dew.

Working out? Pshhh I'll do that tomorrow.

Then you add in the past two weeks.

First, there was Chicago, which meant I was eating out and snacking on Garrett's popcorn.

Then, there was the week of ALL day meetings and evening events (reading between the lines - I had pizza, Qdoba, and Yats for lunches followed by dinners out with my team).

I knew what was coming.

I knew the number would be high.

But not that high. I simply wasn't ready for it.

If you've followed my blog, you know weight loss has ALWAYS been a popular topic. And I've had my ups and downs....and I've picked myself up countless times.

But this time -I'm growing a baby. A little tiny human. Someone who needs me to be healthy and active. Not just during pregnancy, but as a mother as well.

You want to know the number, don't you?

I thought about not telling you, honestly I did. I thought about hiding this secret all together. And maybe not even telling Justin...But writing about my feelings. Being open. Being honest. That's how I heal. That's how I deal.

First, I'll tell you that I gained 11 lbs in ONE MONTH!!! That's an average of 2.5 lbs a week. 

Barf.

Second, I'll...tell...you....the number on the scale.

267.

YIKES!

That puts me at 29 lbs gained for this pregnancy. And remember how my goal for the ENTIRE pregnancy was to gain between 25 and 30 lbs?

Oops. 

The doctor measured my belly and asked how I was feeling.

She found little Cooper's heartbeat, which makes my heart so happy every time, and said, "You've got a happy baby in there!"

I was so happy to hear that his heartbeat is great + he is moving around + loving life.

My placenta is in the front, which makes it really hard for Justin (and sometimes me) to feel him moving around. Sometimes I get worried, but then he will kick me ...that's his way of telling me to calm down. Everything is fine.

"Well, my darling, your blood pressure is great, but.."

I could have finished the sentence for her. I had be sitting in the exam room the whole time. Starring straight at the ceiling. Fidgeting all over the place. Analyzing everything I'd eaten over the last month.

"It looks like you have a spike in your weight," she said.

I came clean about everything.

Admitted to my poor diet and exercise habits.

She was pleased that I was honest. She said some woman just act like they're in denial and say, "I have no clue how that happened!"

"Well the good news is you know what happened," she said. "And you have the tools and resources to bring things back on track. I don't want you to lose weight at all. But just try to exercise again and have a healthier diet. Let's try to see you gain under one pound each week."

So instead of feeling sorry for myself and stopping by Flying Cupcake, I drove my happy butt to Whole Foods. I was supposed to get free lunch at work (Fazoli's aka carbs, carbs, and MORE carbs) - but I turned it down. Yes, that's right. I turned it down.

IF I TURN DOWN FREE FOOD THAT IS A BIG DEAL!

I went to the salad bar and created the most amazing salad I've had in months. I stayed away from the bacon, eggs, cheese, and ranch dressing - which are my usual salad toppings of choice. Instead, I loaded up on mixed greens, quinoa, wild rice (don't ask - it sounded good and WAS good), pumpkin seeds, yellow squash, grilled chicken, and just a few croutons. For my dressing, I sprinkled on some olive oil then purchased some pesto, which I added later!

Bam. Nailed it.

It was AMAZING!

I also picked up some fresh green beans (my current favorite veggie) and just a little bit of the organic mac and cheese (just a little bit though...and the fact it was organic + not very cheesy made me feel better about life).

Perfect combination if you ask me.
I even had some leftovers.

See Ashley, eating healthy CAN be satisfying and fill you up.

I'm not being hard on myself. Some people might comment that I'm pregnant and shouldn't worry about this...but the reality is, when the doctor tells you (in polite terms) to get your shit together and eat better and exercise more, you need to do it.
 
So, here goes nothing. We've got about 11 weeks left (ummm that seems so short). I've got this...I know exactly what I need to do to maintain my weight better and stay active.

Much love,
Ashley

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Thoughts

I'm fearing the day I start lactating at work and no one tells me.

I am completely terrified at the thought of getting an epidural. Why is getting a giant needle in your back( that could paralyze you) the alternative to labor pain? 

Bacon makes my heart sing. 



We found a daycare for Cooper!!! I'm so excited that she values healthy eating + being active and playing outdoors. I really want Cooper to grow up with an active mind and body + an adventurous spirit... so learning healthy habits early on will make a huge difference. 

I've been slacking majorly with my fitness routine - I honestly miss the gym. My only excuse is that I am growing a baby and I am usually completely exhausted after work. At least I get my walks in with B! 

Speaking of Bandit, I am so excited to see him with Cooper! Some people make comments about how jealous he will be...but Justin and I think he will be protective and loyal. I really do believe he will be such a great big brother! 


I found the picture below from my (first) senior year in college - I think I weighed about 205 lbs here, but I was really fit! This is my post-baby fitness inspiration!!! 


I take my glucose test tomorrow! I'm feeling pretty confident that I will pass, and I will probably celebrate with a frozen yogurt lunch on Thursday with my coworkers. Perfectly normal. 

Our baby furniture should arrive this week! I can't wait to watch Justin put it together - let's be real...you know I will be tweeting and taking pictures more than helping with the assembly process. 

I'm going to eat some of that bacon now. 

Much love, 
Ashley 

Bump from Above



Much love,
Ashley

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cooper's First Home Video

During our 20-week ultrasound, they took some videos!

I've debated sharing them or not, but I think they're super cool.

Hiding his face:

video

Beating heart:

video



I have a few others- one where he is literally ninja kicking me! I'll try to upload that one later.

Much love,
Ashley

Sundrop (Literally)

I'm working on a blog post for Jada Beauty and I googled "face plant gif" - I know, get excited.

Then I came across this hidden gem.

I can't stop laughing.








Much love,
Ashley

(Early) Third Trimester Revelations

Cankles really do exist. I have them. And I imagine they will be way worse when walking around in Vegas  in 100+ degree weather. Hilarious t-shirt pics coming soon.

The Victoria Secret’s semi-annual sale is taking place right now. I’m about to stock up on classy granny panties.

Belly shirts are coming back. And I am participating in this trend if I don’t wear proper maternity clothes that are bump friendly.

Heartburn is now expected on a daily basis.

Sometimes I get stains on my shirt and I have no clue because I can’t see it.

Not everyone experiences the same pregnancy journey. By now, some people say that people can see their belly move + their significant other can feel the baby externally. We haven’t had that much luck, but I can feel Cooper moving around in there. In our company meeting last week, he punched me so hard I almost yelled out something like Steve Carell on 40 Year Old Virgin.



Back pain will disrupt your sleep schedule. And you can throw your back out simply by going to the bathroom on a non-supportive toilet. Trust me, it happened two weeks ago.

You will constantly feel like you have to pee. And often, you don’t end up peeing more than a few drops.  I miss being able to pee fiercely and loudly. So. Much. Pressure.



I also always grab my belly + cross my legs when I laugh.
If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

Shaving my legs is becoming a chore. And my leg probably looks like an alien crop circle (aka I miss hair in some areas only). On that note, hair is growing in unimaginable (unseen to me) places and my husband politely called me out / offered to help out during these next few weeks. God love him.

I'm DYING to see how many epic photobombs Bandit will do to Cooper. He's already a master with me:

I couldn't love him more.

Our nursery isn’t complete yet, but as long as we have a healthy baby and a crib – everything will be fine (or so that’s what I remind myself when I walk by the empty room with blank walls and closet full of random clothes).

I bought Cooper THREE OUTFITS for $11 bucks at Once Upon A Child. Seriously. He will be the cutest little guy. Justin, obviously, thinks I am dressing him “too hipster” or “preppy” but personally, I think he will be adorbs!

I eat whatever I want. I’m not going to pretend that I’m being healthy 100% of the time.



I do try to get my fruits and veggies in, but sometimes the cravings win. I honestly considered punching Justin, knocking him out, and putting him in the back seat with Bandit if he didn’t stop to eat me ice cream yesterday. But tonight, tonight  - I am eating healthy!!! Salmon, veggies, and fruit salad.Let’s just hope I don’t waddle down the frozen pizza isle or I am in deep trouble.

My sister told me that I am officially waddling now.




I can only hope I look as CUTE as these penguins when I waddle.

I literally want to squeeze people and kiss them on the forehead every single time they tell me I look beautiful + I’m glowing + I look like I’ve hardly gained any weight / I’m all belly. You could be lying. You are probably lying. But thank you.

The bump does, however, look pretty stellar in this new dress.
Let's just hope it fits in a few weeks for my first shower!!

You should, however, tell me the truth about certain things including food stuck in my teeth, pit stains, back sweat stains, and butt sweat stains. It might be uncomfortable for you to expose these mishaps, but I will still love you.


Much love,
Ashley

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Smiles for Days


Big cheesy smile (with the squinty eye) = it's a good hair day + I get to spend the day with my family + I'm starting the third trimester today. 

Bring on the Coop! 

Much love, 
Ashley

Thursday, June 13, 2013

37 Marketing Lessons from Go Inbound Marketing

My short video blog mentioned how motivated, excited, and inspired I am feeling after attending Element Three's GoInBoundMktg Conference.

What did the speakers say that inspired me?

SO many things...

Below are a few of my key takeaways. And whether you're in marketing or nursing or accounting or even a stay at home mom- hopefully you find inspiration in at least one of these key takeaways.

1. Inbound marketing is about creating marketing that people love. Inbound marketing is a culture, not a strategy.

2. If content is king, then context is God. Context is about personalization and having a more dynamic and smart online conversation with your buyers. Leverage what you learn about your prospects to customize your interactions. Bring context to your business!

3. The Hubspot CEO is super inspiring and hilarious.


Yes- Marketers can learn from sumo wrestlers.


4. Take risks!!!! Reward the try and if something goes wrong, fix it quickly and move on.

5. Know who you are - be true to your personality and voice as a brand (both a personal and corporate brand).

6. If you wouldn't read something because it's boring or dull, don't post it! You are writing and targeting people - not robots!

7. About 70% of the sale is over before a sales person gets involved. People want to be educated and learn about you before even having a single conversation with you! And about 90% of B2B (business to business) buyers say when they are ready to buy - they will find you!

8. When the event MC says lunch is ready, get you butt up and get in line. Don't be so nervous / scared about eating in front of people or looking like an eager beaver. Being second in line ensures you get the best food!

Delicious lunch!!

9. Build new cultural habits = the secret to twitter success for businesses.

10. Grow your blog authors by assigning people (who want to participate) in blogging a specific date to post a blog. That's a lot easier to remember than saying "the third Tuesday of every month."

11. Come up with an editioral theme or topic for your blog calendar. For example, at the end of Q3 - make a big push for planning for 2014. Make all your blog posts, vidoes, webinars, and eGuides about this topic to capitalize on traffic and relevancy.

12. Share your impact and results with everyone in the organization! People will be more likely to participate if they know the value and impact they are bringing to the company.

13. The magic number of blog posts each month = 16.

14. Get comfortable with change and patience - you'll need them both when making a cultural shift to inbound marketing.

15. Be relevant at the right spot, at the right time! Participate in real-time marketing.

16. Actively participate in conversations to grow your followers and build trust in your brand.

17. Mobile is changing EVERYTHING! Create a responsive, mobile Website and consider developing an app (if it makes sense).

18. Take calculated risks. Fail fast and move on.

19. Build mostly TOFU content (top of the funnel).

20. The golden rule of marketing -if your clients / prospects ask a question, answer it openly and honestly!!!

21. Become a teacher in marketing. Stop trying to hide company's "secret sauce" - openly talk about who you are on your Website.

22. Don't worry about your competitors in your marketing. They aren't the ones paying your bills!

23. Content is the greatest sales and trust building tool in the world. Period.

24. Red tape is a killer online. Make it easy for your clients and prospects to answer their top questions.

25. Want to become an incredible marketer? Become the best teacher in the world. 

26. The top questions Marketers should answer on their Website / Blog / Content:

How much does it cost? 

Who is the best? 

How does your product / service compare to others in the industry? 

What could go wrong?

27. Create better content by capturing FAQs in emails and interviewing employees in the organization. You will become a better marketer if you can answer questions with your content.

28. Measure everything you do!!

29. Tweet often and actively at a conference if they are promoting you to do so - you can win prizes!

Kindergarten smile!

30. Help others see their potential so clearly that they are inspired to achieve it.

31. If you will embrace truth and transparency, you will change your industry.

32. Seek first to understand more than to be understood.

33. Cast a clear and compelling vision - share it with your employees and the world! Tell everyone why you exist, where you want to go, and how!

34. Break down your walls! Be more transparent and open as a brand (especially on your Website).

35. Inbound marketing can change your life. You will be dealing with more educated partners and prospects. You will get more time and energy back in your life.

36. People want to know that you CARE before they care what you KNOW.

37. If you attend all-day meetings for three days straight and then go to an all-day marketing conference, you will be exhausted.

No shame.

But you can't put a value on inspiration.

Always be learning.

Always be looking for inspiration.

Always be thinking of how you can become more creative + more effective at whatever you do!

Much love,
Ashley

Cankles and Marketing Inspiration

I haven't done a video blog in a while.

So, if you are missing my voice these days- watch below.

video

So what are these inspiring "things" I speak of?

Well, I'll write a mini blog recap of all inspirational tips about marketing and life general in just a bit!

But first- I must walk Bandit.

His darn cute, pouty face got me again...

I'm off to waddle around the neighborhood.

Much love,
Ashley

Friday, June 7, 2013

Favorite Outfit Friday: June 7, 2013

Girl look at the bump.

Girl look at that bump. 


I bump out. 

Now go back and read that like you're singing, "I'm Sexy & I Know It." 

Good news / news that slightly makes me panic...I am entering my final week of the second trimester!!! Next Saturday, I will be in my third trimester (ummm where did time go?!). 

I can't wait to meet Cooper, but holy cow - I  am going to be responsible for a little life in 3 months. 

And as I write this, I am smiling for the first time today. A real smile. Not a fake one or a forced one. I had a bad day - literally went into a bathroom stale and cried at one. Not an emotional breakdown - just a giant sigh and a few frustration tears. Pregnancy hormones are no joke... 

But I am home. 

With my boys. 

And I am going to a Relay for Life event tomorrow to help fight cancer. 

Which reminds me that I am healthy...and alive. 

Speaking of alive, Cooper just kicked around in my belly. 

Another reminder of the joy and happiness life can bring if we don't let our worries and stresses cloud our mind. 

Much love, 
Ashley 



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bigger and Bigger


Bam. Look at that belly. 

Speaking of belly, my wardrobe selection gets smaller by the second. I nearly cried tonight while trying on dresses and skirts that were once loose...

"Everything okay, baby girl?" Justin asked when he came upstairs. 

"Well, besides the fact that nothing fit me anymore..." I said. 

"You are almost 27 weeks pregnant," Justin reminded me. "And you are going to get a lot bigger over the next few months." 

Bigger?
Than this? 
How much bigger? 

"But you are seriously so beautiful," Justin said and then kissed my forehead.

Thank goodness for a supportive husband!  
 
In other news, I presented at a marketing conference today!!!! 



I am writing a blog post to share the details + pictures tomorrow. Stay tuned. 

Much love, 
Ashley