Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2 ways

Shoes: c/o Rack Room Shoes, Dress: Old Navy (similar), Blazer: Kohl's (similar)

Yes, I am 39 weeks pregnant and just as gigantic as can be.  I'm actually feeling pretty good, though, (for being this pregnant), and the only real thing going on is that I just can't sleep.  I can't sleep at night,  I can't nap....too big and too much to think about.

The majority of my outfits these past 2 weeks have been Noel's tshirts and maternity leggings, but when I go to church or have somewhere to be where the slum look isn't welcomed, I actually do wear real clothes.

These shoes from Rack Room Shoes are so fun.  I can't wear them for very long these days with my big belly, but I love the time I do get to style them.  The blue is a great pop of color and adds an unexpected and nice element to a neutral outfit. 

Original post with outfit on the left here.

Happy New Year, my friends.  I hope your 2014 was wonderful, and that 2015 is even better!
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 Goals

2014 was a really great year.  With the year coming to a close, I feel like I've accomplished the things I've wanted to accomplish (and then some), and I've been genuinely happy with my life and where I am with everything.

2013 was not that way, mainly because I set goals that were completely out of my control, and made me feel way down when they didn't happen.  At the beginning of 2014 I made goals that I could control and work hard at obtaining.  More about that here.

Here ^ are my goals for 2015.  

1.  Don't feel the need to be productive all the time.

This is honestly something I struggle with on a daily of my biggest downfalls.  I always feel if I'm not doing something that can be checked off of a list, I'm not really doing anything or getting anything accomplished.  Such a terrible way to think.

The other day, I dropped something off at someone's house, and when they opened the door, there was a beautiful, warm fire going, they were in their pjs, and they were reading a book. That moment changed my life.  Sounds dramatic...but it did.  

I'm going to try and realize that reading a book, watching a show, relaxing on the couch, playing Go-Fish on my bed with my boys, (the list goes on and on), are really, really great things to do, and I need to incorporate more of this in my life every day.  

2.  Find ways to be more creative.

Kind of going along with goal #1, I want to really focus a bit of my day every day to do things that will help my creativity.  Creativity as a mother, in my calling at church, and life in general. Whether it's collaborating with someone personally or professionally, taking a dance class, trying a new activity, or just going somewhere and doing some good ol' fashioned people watching...I want to make this a daily goal.

3.  Create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This is such a typical beginning-of-the-year goal that many people set.  With baby coming sometime very soon (I'm 39 weeks...ahhh!!), getting back to my normal size will definitely be a front-runner goal.  I love working out and exercising, so I don't think exercising will be an issue, but I really want to incorporate healthier foods and snacks into my diet and my family's diet.

Also, as I'm typing this around midnight, (hashtag INSOMNIAAAAAAAA), another healthy lifestyle factor I want to get really great at is going to bed at a decent hour, and having that much-needed unwinding time (without being plugged in) before calling it a night.

4.  Maintain a safe haven for my family.

Last year, one of my goals was to start traditions as a family of 4.  I think we did a really great job at that.

This year, I want to focus on the daily traditions that are so important.  I try really hard to read scriptures with the boys every day, but some days come and go without one verse being read to them.  This is something I want to get really good at during 2015.

I think my children feel loved when they are home, and that's where the "maintaining" the safe haven for my family comes in, but I want to focus extra hard on making our home and our lifestyle one that is conducive to learning, growing strong in the gospel, serving, and overall loving each other.  More one-on-one outings and conversations with each boy is at the top of the list.

I hope to look back at the end of 2015 and feel like I accomplished all these things.  I'm so looking forward to adding a new little baby to our family, and seeing what the new year has to bring!

What is something you're going to work on for 2015?!  I love to hear other people's goals!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Christmas

My heart has been so full this Christmas season.  We've had extra opportunities to serve this year, and to learn and teach about becoming more Christlike.  

It's interesting being "great with child" this time of year especially.  My thoughts have constantly been on Mary, and all that she went through.  

Because there's not a ton of details about the actual birth, I've been talking to Noel about what we think happened during that time.  Surely she had to be in hard core labor while Joseph was trying to find a place for them to stay.  I can barely handle contractions in Noel's car on the way to a hospital....I can't imagine walking around town not knowing where we'll end up. 

I read the most amazing article about goals for this Christmas.  It's a quick read, but if you can only read one section, read "Becoming More Christlike" at the very end.

This quote is featured in that section, and even though I've heard it before, it's always so powerful to me.

Merry Christmas Eve, my friends!  Enjoy food, family, friends, and fun!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Things I'll miss about being pregnant

Scarf: c/o Moon Cats

The other day I was thinking about what I'm going to miss about being pregnant...and honestly, I'm going to miss most of it.  True, I'm so large these days that it's difficult to breathe, my shirts are pretty much midriff shirts, and I'm constantly mistaking extreme fatigue for hunger (chocolate chip cookiesssssssss!!!!), but I really, really love being pregnant.

People are nicer to pregnant ladies.  They smile, hold the door open for you, ask nice questions, and are usually happy to help you in any way.  

I don't mind people touching my belly, telling me that I look like I'm about to pop, asking me about baby names, or any of the typical baby type conversations.

I absolutely will not miss giving a urine sample every week at the doctor (the hardest thing to do of all time....and tmi probably), and I'm excited for my face to deflate (all baby weight goes straight to my face...ahh!), but mainly I'm excited to squeeze and love on a little baby soon.

This ^ is what I wore to Charlie's Christmas program and party at school.  I do love a great scarf, and this one from Moon Cats is not only super cute, it goes with everything, and is ridiculously cozy.  Moon Cats is offering you 20% off all their scarves until January 15!  Just use the code ASHLEY20OFF when you're checking out.

I hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Favorites songs from 2014

The Best Songs Of 2014

I was so excited to hear that Helene was doing a favorite songs link-up today.  Here are my top 5 favorite songs from this past random order.

1.  Sia:  Chandelier

Ohhhhh how I love this song.  And even though the music video is a little out there for most, this little Dance Moms girl dances the mess out of it.  

2.  Sam Smith:  I'm not the only one

And anything that Sam Smith sings, really.  But this song in particular is just spot on.

3.  Taylor Swift: Shake it Off

This song is really on this list because of the music video.  Please fast forward to 2:18 when TSwizzle does that saut de chat.  Best moment of my life.

I do have to throw it out there that I'm probably the only person that doesn't love her Blank Space video.  The fashion is beautiful in it, but the music video as a whole just does not work for me. Her awkwardness works perfectly in Shake it Off, but works hard core against her in Blank Space.   Also the deer in the room.  The deer!  I can't get over it.  

Dianna Agron in the Sam Smith video ^ above does crazy-lady perfectly.  She looks beautiful and fierce and believable.  Taylor Swift is the exact opposite and I'm confused the whole time.

4.  John Legend: All of Me

This song was so overplayed, but John Legend is amazing, and this song is still so beautiful to me.  I want my boys to sing and play piano like him. 

5.  A Great Big World and Christina Aguilara: Say Something

There was a brief moment (weeks) where all I could do was talk about my love for this song. The lyrics, the harmony, the everything!!!  This might actually go on my top favorite songs of all time list.

What was your favorite song(s) in 2014?!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Shoes: Jessica Simpson c/o Rack Room Shoes

Scene:  I hear giggling...sneaky giggling.  At the top of the stairs, Charlie is sitting in the baby's new bathtub, Walker is in runner's position behind him ready to push, and Charlie has a rope attached to the front like a set of reins.  Ohhhhh my goodness.  It's always interesting to see the activities they come up with!

On a different note, aren't these blue suede Jessica Simpson heels fun?!  Rack Room Shoes has a ton of beautiful women's dress shoes right now, so I was excited about these.  I'll actually be showing another way to style these soon!

I'm officially full-term, so let the waiting game begin!

^37 week baby belly. :)

Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Friday, December 12, 2014

Turn Around

^Picture from our Christmas ornament workshop at West Elm

I have way too many flaws as a mother to count.  However, I think one of my strengths as a mom is that I genuinely love being around my children.  I like taking them places, playing with them, talking to them, everything.  Wherever I go, they go because I enjoy their company, and like experiencing things with them.  I think this trait comes from my own mother who I feel genuinely enjoyed (enjoys) being with me and my siblings (me, most of all, of course...#favoritechild) ;)

This past week, though, I haven't been my best self.  Maybe a combo of being a little too busy, Noel in exams (bless his heart, he's working so hard, but he's almost done with this semester!), me being gigantic...I'm not sure. 

Anyway, a few nights ago, I was done being the gets mad at everything mom, because that's not me, and I didn't want it to be me.  I prayed so hard that I would just go back to enjoying their sweet selves, that I would slow down, not worry about the 17 piles of laundry placed all around my house, and just relax.

I have to tell you...the next day was a great day...and I feel like things have finally turned around to how they're supposed to be.  I was very aware of *them*...not about things that needed to get done. We had a huge service project in the morning, we ate their favorite lunch, took an early shower, played, read, talked, (made a game out of cleaning), and it was a really wonderful, normal day.

It's incredible that our Heavenly Father not only knows us and hears us, He also wants us to be happy and to enjoy life.  

I hope y'all are enjoying your Christmas season and that you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Full Force

Jeans, Top, Necklace: Loft, Flats: Similar

I am officially 36 weeks pregnant.  What??!  Nesting has kicked in full force, (baby's bag is packed, and car seat is ready to go), but it's way too hard to have these nesting urges when I'm so gigantic and narcoleptic.  (Gigantic all day...narcoleptic immediately after 730ish.)

I'm crunching on ice all day, and craveeee ice all day, my mom thinks my iron is low, so I'll ask about that this week at my appt., and Noel I spent hours a few nights ago narrowing down baby names.  Don't worry baby...I'll save you from some of your daddy's name suggestions.

How has your December been so far?!  We've really been enjoying our advent calendar, and I wore this ^ to our Relief Society Christmas party last week (it was a wonderful night!)
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Brother Story

A few days before Thanksgiving, our Community Center hosted a "Turkey Trot".  The kids listened to a Thanksgiving story, and then played a game "kind of like tag" they said.

This game would probably never be allowed in schools these days for this age group. (I mean..they've completely done away with Red Rover.)  In this game, one person is the "turkey".  He hides in a tunnel, and when the lady in charge says "go!", all the other kids run as fast as they can to try and tag the turkey.  The little turkey hat was freaking me out first off (potential lice...blahh!!), and the fact that all these kids were going to try and pummel my kid was also a little unnerving.  I did really well, though, letting them be and do their thing. (They had a blast, of course.)

Charlie was up first, and as you can see ^, he made it back to base without anyone tagging him. He took the game very seriously, and was so excited about everything.

Walker was the turkey a few kids later, and I have to tell you...I was so nervous about my little baby being chased after by these big kids.  The lady said, "go!", and just as I was thinking, the big kids backed Walker into a corner.

Charlie ran up to all those kids, pulled them away from Walker, and said "get away from my brother!" It was one of the best things I've ever witnessed.  

I hope they're always each others' superheroes.  I do love these boys of mine.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1 dress, 2 ways

Dress: Old Navy (on super sale), Brown Boots: c/o Rack Room (similar), Vest: Loft (similar)

These are literally the worst quality pictures of all time....but that's just how it goes sometimes. (The phone was the best I could bust out this week!)

I had my 35 week check up this past Monday, and the doctor said baby was about 5 pounds, head down, and that he was good with baby coming anytime.  umexcusemewhat?! Of course, it'd be good for baby to bake for as long as possible, but he wanted to assure me that if I went into labor this weekend, baby would be ok, and all would be well.

I'm not sure why, but when I got to my car, I sat there and kinda/sorta cried for a hot minute. Grateful cries that baby was doing so great, and really nervous cries that baby doesn't even have a name or any diapers yet.  It was such a weird, typical, hormonal mess of a pregnant lady thing to do.

I immediately called my mom, and then after pulling myself together, got to work.  So, this week is dedicated to getting things ready for sweet baby boy.

And just as a side note....this is the doctor (love him, I do) who said all 3 of my boys were girls based on heartbeat, told me Charlie would be no bigger than 7 pounds (he was just shy of 9 pounds), and that, while in labor with Walker at 630am, said I should probably make an appt at the doctor's office to check on things when they opened at 8am (Walker was born at 9am). Fantastic doctor...just not great with predictions.  

None of this has anything to do with these outfits, except when you get to be 8 months pregnant, you have very limited options because even your maternity clothes are snug, so if something does fit...find as many ways to wear it as possible! :)
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Monday, December 1, 2014

Everything's better with an ocean view...

^One of my best friends, Amanda Ting, was recently told she was tumor free after being diagnosed with breast cancer.  I'm representing #teamting from the beach, and am so grateful for her and her positive influence.

We go to the beach every year for Thanksgiving, and this year was just as wonderful as years past.  We ate tons, laughed hard, and stayed up late playing games and talking.  The recipe for a fantastic Thanksgiving.  I wish it didn't have to end!

Here are a few pictures from our trip.

Grandpa is a huge Cowboys fan, and is prepping the boys to be mega fans as well.  Charlie wore this jersey literally the entire time we were at the beach.  (Slept in it, wore it under his other clothes when I made him wear long sleeves...he loves it.)

Auntie Jessie with the boys after Thanksgiving lunch.

Watching my brother ice-skate was probably one of the most entertaining things of all time.  My sister-in-law, Kaitlyn, had to hold up 3 boys, bless her heart, while skating.  Good thing she has amazing balance.  (And how awesome are those little kid skates?!)  They had a blast!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and got a chance to relax and enjoy something you love to do!
PS. Today is the Day 1 of the Christmas Instagram Challenge!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Instagram Challenge

Janssen, from Everyday Reading, and I are hosting a Christmas-themed Instagram challenge during the first week of December...(which starts tomorrow!)

This challenge will be a great way to get creative, and bring in the Christmas season!

It's going to be so fun seeing everyone's pictures, so we'd love for you to join in!  (Do 1 day, all the days, whatever you decide!)

Just use #7ChristmasCarols, and enjoy all the great pictures!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ask Ashley

I've been wanting to do a vlog (a video blog) for a while, so I thought this would be a perfect way to get that going.

So!  I'd love to hear any questions you may have for me.  I'll answer them on my vlog (probably going up next week).  Questions can be about anything.....blogging, family, children, dancing, church, schedules, fashion, my opinion on a particular topic...anything(!)

You can leave the questions in the comments below, on my Facebook page, email me (, tweet me,...whatever works for you.

I'm excited for this!

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!!  
Linking up with Shanna

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Story time at Progeny Shoppe

A few weeks ago I hosted a story time at Progeny Shoppe.  It was my second time hosting, and I had just as much fun as last time! I was pregnant the last time around as well, but good grief, I look so round sitting there this go around with my giant self!

I do love Progeny Shoppe and all their cute clothes, accessories, and nursery decor.  It really is the cutest shop of all time!

I've hosted several events lately for children that have been completely free, and I have to tell all those that brought their kids how proud I am of them!  It's so important to go and do and teach your children how to behave in social settings.

I've been a "working" mom and a stay at home mom, and there's activities and events available for both.  (I know it's hard to get to a week day morning activity when you have a full time job outside the home!)

But I'm telling you....I hear way too often how moms aren't taking their kids to story time, craft time, classes, etc. because they're afraid their child will misbehave, or not be interested, or something along those lines.  These are the opportunities children deserve to have!  These opportunities teach children how to sit stillish and listen, how to behave in public, and makes them a well-rounded individual.  

(And no, I'm not promoting a child's schedule to be packed from morning to night.  They definitely need time to themselves to learn and explore and be individuals.)

One of the many things I thank my mom for is taking me to so many of these activities.  If she had a meeting, I was there.  If there was a class of some sort, she signed me up for it.  If there was any kind of production (high school, local theatre, professional, anything(!), I was there with my mom. (And she worked full-time!)  This taught me how to interact with other people, taught me how to behave, and gave me experiences that shaped my personality.

I'm so grateful for those experiences! 

Be on the look-out for more of these story times and fun activities!

Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Advent Calendar (including a list of ideas!)

This Christmas is going to be really different for us.  We usually go to my Grandma's house for lunch, and then head over to my parents' house for a few days to spend time with my whole family.

This year, baby is due the week after Christmas, so we're staying home so I won't have to travel. I'm excited to spend the day in our own home, but I'm also a little sad that my Christmas tradition is being altered a bit.

Because of all the changes, I decided this is the year that we're going to really kick our own family traditions into full gear.  This advent calendar is something I think will be exciting for the boys, and the activities can be changed each year as they get older.

I went to Michaels and got a few supplies ^.  All the Christmas ribbon was 50% off, and I had a couple of really great coupons from the Michaels app.

I want to be able to keep this calendar year after year, so I wrote the numbers on the burlap tags, and then wrote the daily activities on a cute, colorful tag that I clothes pinned behind the burlap one.  (I can replace the paper tags each year.)

And here's our list for this year!  I included a little bit of everything on it.

1-Open Christmas pjs (I can't wait for this...they just came in from The Orange Iris, and they're ridiculously cute!)
2-Write letters to Santa (The town of Cary has a Santa mailbox where you can mail your letters to Santa, and he'll write one back to fun!)
3-Read a Christmas book (Janssen has a really great list)
4-Drink hot chocolate (this will probably be done every night.) :)
5-Make Christmas Crunch...and take some to a friend.
6-Pay for the person behind us in a drive-thru line. (I guess I'll have to get some chicken minis this day.)
8-Color and play Nativity matching game
9-Make Christmas goodies for neighbors
10-Clean toys (and donate some)
11-Make Christmas cards for friends
12-Watch Home Alone (so excited about this one!)
13-Attend the Apex Nativity (Free and open to all, by the way)
14- Watch Elf  
15-Make a Christmas craft
16-Visit the nursing home
17-Read a Christmas book
18-Drink apple cider
19-Make Christmas cards for grandparents/great grandparents
20-Drive around to see Christmas lights
21-Read the Christmas story from the Bible
22-Write about major events from 2014 in journal
24-Make cookies for Santa/snacks for reindeer 

Another benefit of this calendar is for the boys to see how many days are left until Christmas. They asked me yesterday if it was Christmas Eve (we put up our decorations this past weekend), so hopefully this will avoid the "are we there yet?!" question over and over. :)

I'm excited about Christmas, but this week I'm most excited about Thanksgiving!!  I can't believe it's already here.  

What are your favorite holiday traditions?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Car Chat

^and then I anti-bacterialed my hands immediately after realizing that touching leaves on a city street is so gross.  :)
Boots, Leggings, Sweater: Motherhood Maternity (similar)

In the car, on the way home from the library yesterday, I looked down at the temperature and said to the boys, "Can we please talk about how it is 35 degrees?!"  Without missing a beat, Charlie said, "Nope!"  Smart boy.  It's way too cold.

I'm 33 weeks this week.  This pregnancy is flying by.  I'm one of those crazy ladies that actually loves being pregnant.  (Minus the very beginning when I felt like I had the flu for 2 months.)  I know that terrible, lonely feeling of wanting so badly to be pregnant, so when I am, it all seems so amazing.  

Both of my boys were giant babies, so around 38 weeks (Christmas!), I might be struggling a little bit.  But for now, I'm embracing the hugeness that I am, and loving all the belly movement, the slight waddle, and especially all the extra chocolate chip cookies I keep justifying eating. :)
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A little sneak peak from our Christmas photo shoot with Sara Logan Photography.  She is amazinggggg.  And so are these little boys of mine.

Today I'm joining Kristen's Blogathon challenge with the "Currently" prompt.  So....I am


Reading:  Jim Gaffigan's, Food.  I loved Dad is Fat, and this one, though not quite as hilarious as Dad is Fat, is still really funny.  (My favorite chapter so far is the one about seafood. Hah!)

DIYing:  A sample ornament for the Christmas ornament workshop I'm hosting at West Elm this Thursday.  I hope you and your kids can come out and join me!  More information here.  

Annoyed with:  Toys!!!  My boys like to dump out every toy box, everyday, and then it takes them a million years to clean everything up.  They actually do play with them a lot, but it was getting to a point where that's all we were doing.  Cleaning up toys.  So today, I was DONE, and decided that all the toys get locked up except for one box.  They can choose the toys they want to play with for the week, put it in that one box, and that's it.  No more.  Next week we'll switch them out.  Hopefully it'll work, and I can actually do other things besides cleaning toys and getting them to clean toys (like...oh you know...laundry...and literally anything else besides cleaning toys.)

Eating:  This wrap.  Yummmmmm.  It's actually really easy to make, and is such a nice change from my daily lunch turkey sandwich.

Craving:  Dove chocolate.  I was craving it this weekend, too, so I got a bag and put it up in a kitchen cabinet.  I came downstairs Sunday morning, and most of the wrappers were on the counter, empty.  Walker boy had helped himself to a little "breakfast".  I couldn't be too upset with him, though....I would've done the same thing if I had found a secret stash of Dove chocolate.

Loving:  This quote.  The key to being happy.  It's so true.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Join me for a Christmas ornament workshop!

I am so excited to be hosting a free DIY Christmas ornament workshop this Thursday, November 20 at West Elm Southpoint.    

Bring your kids of all ages to make an ornament!  The children will be able to take one home with them to enjoy, and leave one at the store.  The ornament they leave at the store will be used as a thank you gift to all customers who donate $10 to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  

This is such a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season, and will be such a fun way to spend your morning.  (My boys love the fountains at Southpoint.) :)  

Come any time between 10am and 12pm. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Outfit Inspiration

Necklace: Vestique, Shirt: Old Navy Non-Maternity, Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes: Cousin Couture

When I saw this outfit on Pippa, I thought..."Buffalo plaid with heels?!  I love it!!" (I also thought about how much I would love her and Kate's entire wardrobe.)  Meagan also wore a similar outfit, (with a touch of fur), and I loved that one as well.

I was hoping I could stretch this non-maternity top out for just one more week so I could replicate it, and it worked out!...(barely) :)  I wore this same shirt here and wow, what a difference a little over a month makes!

Have you found some cute outfit inspiration lately?!
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...