Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have deemed March as De-clutter Month around our house. Yesterday I worked on throwing away and organizing our paperwork. Today I am cleaning out our bedside tables and other areas of our bedroom.

As I was cleaning out my beside table, I came across several old journals I had started and only had a couple of entries. This has happened with EVERY journal I have ever owned...I just can not stick with it! one of them I came across this "to do list". I'm not sure when it was from, but my guess was early in our marriage as that was when all the other entries were written.

I had some very practical things to get done. Justin on the other hand....

For a little closer look...LOL...I love my husband.


Can I just be honest? I feel like a failure at life many of my days. I hate that I feel this way about myself, but it's true. There are SO many areas of my life that I feel like I totally suck at. Wife, mom, daycare provider, Christian, keeper of the home, etc. etc. I don't love my husband well, I yell at Chloe for little things, I don't plan enough activities for the kids, the laundry piles up and the floor isn't mopped as much as it should be. I'm losing grasp on eating well and feeling good about my body. I don't spend my time wisely most of the time. It feels like a losing battle. I make great plans of being better, of getting more done, of spending more time with God, of being a better mom and I continue to come up short.

Tears are filling my eyes because deep down I'm realizing that I just really don't even like myself.

I work really hard to be a happy, loving person and I think I do a pretty good job on the "outside", but inside I'm struggling. I know some of this has to do with our infertility. The thing I can't control I suck at (making a baby) and the things I can control I suck at as well. It pisses me off that I even feel this way. I want to feel love and joy and happiness in this life (hence the name of this little blog). I don't want to walk around feeling like an idiot all the time. It's annoying.

I continue to tell myself if I DO more, then I'll feel better about myself. But I'm not sure that's even true.

I hate sounding like a rambling, whiny baby and I know I do. But this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want, right? ;)

I am continuing to read One Thousand Gifts and it is starting to change my heart and to help me see the good that God has given us in this world. Why can't I see that I am good?

Am I alone in this?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It doesn't have to be perfect.

Yesterday I asked about homeschooling and I got a few responses (thank you Patty and Kate!). As the day went on I began kind of looking at myself and thinking about why it has been so overwhelming for me to even begin thinking about it.

First of all, there is just a LOT of stuff out there for homeschooling: tons of curriculum, tons of blogs, tons of resources. The world is your oyster when it comes to schooling your children at home. The problem for me is that I tend to have to have everything perfect to get started. If a homeschooling mom has a blog that I like, I tend to want to imitate her EXACTLY and have every single thing she has and have it set up exactly like she has. So, I would go out and spend way more money than I should on getting our "classroom" set up perfectly and then be so overwhelmed with that process that I would just give up. I feel like this happens so much in my life and I typically really don't like this part of myself.

Last night as I was browsing one of my favorite homeschool blogs that I've followed for quite a while (and one Kate recommended),, I decided that I was just going to JUMP in with Chloe and quit worrying about everything being perfect. I have done preschool with Chloe on and off for over a year and she always really enjoys it, but again, I typically get so overwhelmed with things not being in perfect order that I give up. Ugh.

So, anyway, this morning she asked me if we were going to do school and instead of putting it off because I dont have the perfect schoolroom with the perfect supplies and the perfect teacher outfit, I told her yes! I went to the blog, printed off one of the Tot Books and we dug right in. Chloe LOVED doing it and felt so accomplished when she got things right. It was a great way for me to see where she's at and where she might be struggling.

Like I said, I've done preschool with her lots before but it's always been extremely structured and I have always felt so overwhelmed. This morning we set up shop on the kitchen table and just went for it, no pressure, and it was *such* a precious time together.

Here are some pictures. We used the Cars Preschool Pack from here.

First she traced her M's with a pencil and then wanted to trace them with her finger.

Next we worked on tracing our numbers and matching the correct number to number of cars. I was really impressed to see that even for numbers 4 and 5 she didn't have to count each car specifically, but could just look at them and know there were 4 (or 5) cars on that row.

I gave her the word McQueen and she put the letters in order to spell the word. There were a couple of times she would have letters mixed up and say, "Wait a minute! That's not right" and then go back and correct. It's so fun to see her little mind working!

This was probably her favorite activity. She had to match the shape but then also find the matching word to go under the shape. Before we started, I asked her to name each shape. The funny thing was, she knew hexagon but didn't know rectangle.

She liked to point to each letter of the word, say them out loud, and then find the correct word to put on her sheet.
Lastly we worked on patterns, which is also a favorite of hers.
I will be laminating these activities so we can continue to use them, as she loved the Cars theme. Working together on all the activities this morning got me so excited to continue teaching her at home!

P.S. This weather ROCKS!!!

Tingle and Olive Garden

We have been wanting to take Chloe to see Tangled (or Tingle as Chloe calls it) in the theater for a couple of months. We had heard wonderful things about it and thought she would love it. She has the "Tingle" game for her Leapster and really likes to play it and has asked a couple of times to see the movie. So, Justin and I decided that for Valentine's Day we would take her to the "big theater" and see the movie and then go eat at Olive Garden after.

We were meeting Justin at the theater after he got off work. He was so sweet and stopped to get some fruit snacks for Chloe and Dove chocolates for me to have during the movie. The movie started and Chloe was so excited. The girl in the movie is cute as can be and she has a little chameleon that Chloe fell in love with. Fast forward about 45 minutes and Chloe was a crying mess. She kept saying she "didn't feel good". I knew that wasn't the case so I asked her what was really wrong. She told me, "the bad guys make me sad". I knew this was a possibility, seeing as she has cried at Toy Story 3 when the toys are in the trash compactor, but was hoping this one would be easier on her. Chloe is just SO tender-hearted and can not handle to see anyone else in danger. I love this about her. Although as we were leaving Justin and I both said, "Man, we need to watch some scarier movies if this freaked her out!" haha. I think we'll just steer clear of the scary movies and let her keep her innocent, tender heart for as long as she wants :) We did make her finish the movie to show her that there was a happy ending, which I think she did appreciate.

After the movie we went to Olive Garden, which was much less traumatic!

Chloe loves to use my big camera and take pictures and she actually does a really good job. She snapped one of Justin and me while we were waiting for a table.

The other people waiting with us were quite impressed that she could handle such a big camera. It was cute :)

Then I got one of my two favorite people in the whole world:

We enjoyed a really delicious dinner and when we were waiting for our check Chloe decided she wanted to play Round and Round. This is the game where you hide a small object in one hand and the other person has to guess which hand it's in. She named this game Round and Round because every time she "hides" the object she twirls her hands around and says, "round and round and round and round, NOW which one??" She could play this game for hours...and her daddy obliges her quite often :)

Overall it was a fantastic Valentine's Day filled with lots of love (and only a few tears) :) I am so blessed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Justin and I have always known we would homeschool our children. There are MANY reasons, but yesterday I came across a post on The Pioneer Woman's blog that was written by a guest blogger's daughter and I thought it was so good I wanted to share. You can find it here. Many of the things she talks about are reasons we feel it's important to teach our children at home.

On the same subject, I have begun looking into different curricula as Chloe is only about a year away from starting kindergarten. Talk about OVERWHELMING! I have a hard time even knowing where to start!!

Do you homeschool? If so, what advice do you have? What curriculum do you use? Help me!!! ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Typically Valentine's Day comes and goes and Justin and I give each other cards and say we love each other, but honestly, it rarely feels like something different than any other day in our lives. And I love that. I love that we kiss each other every morning and tell each other we love the other one several times a day. I love that I have a munchkin who gives me more love and affection in a day than I ever deserve. I love that I have a mom and dad who I don't think I could ever live without and the thought of ever living without them literally takes my breath away. Two sisters who are so much like me and yet so different, both of whom I love for completely different reasons but for the same reasons as well. I love that I have friends who I can tell anything and know they will still love me. I'm just so blessed. I have so much love going out and so much coming back. And it feels good. I love to love :)

So, tonight, Justin and I are taking Chloe to dinner (at her favorite Olive Garden of course!) and to see Tangled. I can't imagine any two people I would rather be holding hands with, sharing breadsticks with, kissing in the movie with. The two loves of my life. A perfect Valentine's Day.

I hope your Valentine's Day is filled with loads of love!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We are making some really big decisions in our house. Please be praying for us. I will elaborate as soon as I feel comfortable doing so. And believe me, I hate "unspoken" prayer requests as much as the next person (which reminds me of this hilarious video), but for now I think it's important to keep it as such.

Thank you for your prayers!!

On a separate note...I won us a free professional photo session and I'm SUPER pumped! We've never had professional pictures taken! I can't wait to have some pictures of our little family! Guess I better work on getting my butt (and the rest of my back in shape!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle

Last night I read Chapter 2 of One Thousand Gifts and again I cried and my soul ached. Here's the comment I left on the book study blog:

I can’t even begin to explain how this book is speaking to my soul. God and I have been distant for a long while. I have chosen resentment for far too long…being angry about what I’m *not* getting (pregnant)…not seeing what HE *IS* giving. This book is changing me. Changing my heart. Helping me to understand. The first two chapters of this book have done something in me that I wasn’t sure was possible. I’m craving God again. I want FULL salvation (sozo). I’m realizing that by giving thanks (Eucharisteo) for the grace/gifts, that is where full joy, full salvation comes. What’s happening inside of me is too much to even comprehend right now.

I prayed (*really* prayed) for the first time in a VERY long time last night after reading Chapter 2.

Thank you, Ann. Thank you for submitting to God and writing this book. If no one else (all though I’m positive MANY more), your book is changing *my* life.

Oh, and I’m planning out my tattoo of the 3 word constellation: charis (grace), eucharisteo (thanksgiving) and chara (joy).


Anyone want to design that tattoo for me?? :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Word of the Year

My mom showed me this gorgeous necklace this morning. It's called 'Word of the Year Necklace' and the purpose is for you to pick a word that captures your heart and then wear that word close to your heart. I love the idea.

Then my mom asked me what my word for the year is. And I struggled. I started last year feeling extremely hopeful and strong and ready to face all that life had for me. This year started with a feeling of defeat and sadness, honestly. A searching. Not sure who I am and what I want and where God is or who He is.

I told you in my last post that I'm reading One Thousand Gifts. As part of the book study, each week the creators of the book club and the author of the book are doing video blogs about that week's chapter. As the author was speaking something hit me hard. What she spoke about was in the book, but as they were talking it made so much sense to me and honestly, I feel like it may be a turning point in all of this for me.

She spoke about how when God put Adam and Eve in the garden, he afforded them every luxury there except the fruit from ONE tree. Just one tree. Their sin and our sin is ingratitude. They weren't satisfied with what God gave them. They wanted more. They didn't take the material world for what it is, which is a place to commune with God.

This seriously hit me like a ton of bricks. I literally have a picture in my mind of God saying, "Here Ashleigh, this is what I give you. This is what's good for you and for my plan. The other things that you *want* right now, they have to wait. What is best for you is what I have for you and what I've given you. Can't you see all the enormous blessings I've poured on you? Will you see how much I love you by those or continue to resent me for the things I've withheld?"

My word of the year is Grateful.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You're not alone.

This month marks 2 1/2 years since we first started trying for a baby. I really have no words to describe all the feelings I feel about it. It has been a complete roller coaster and my faith has been shaken unlike I ever thought it could be. If I'm being really honest, it has been a struggle lately to even believe He's really there. I have told a few people this, but really, it's easier for me to believe He's not there than to believe *this* is what He's dictating for my life.

And then I read about a little girl whose caringbridge site I've been following for about a year ( and find out that her brain cancer is back and the odds of her living through this second bout of cancer is extremely slim. And my first reaction is, "what in the world are you crying least THIS isn't your life", but then I look at Chloe and think about if this was my life and I about die right in that moment. How do you live through that? Why does God allow this? I just don't get it.

I know I'm not praying enough for what I want. I know the bible says to ask. But again, why would I ask God for something He's not going to give me anyway?

It's hard to put into words EXACTLY what it is I'm feeling about God and my relationship with Him these days but by no coincidence I'm sure, I have started reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp (she has an amazing blog here: This is a book study that Angie Smith (my hero/favorite blogger) is doing right now online. You can find the study here: I was reading the first chapter last night I just started bawling. It spoke to the exact feelings I'm having and put into words what I'm having a hard time saying.

Here's what it said:

Is this toxic air of the world, this atmosphere we inhale, burning into our lungs, this No, God? No, God, we won't take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and I didn't sign up for this and You really thought I'd go for this? No, God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can't You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I'll take it from here, thanks. And God? Thanks for nothing.

I wake and put my feet to the plank floors, and I believe the Serpent's hissing lie, the repeating refrain of his campaign movement. That God withholds good from His children, that God does not genuinely, fully, love us.

I look across farm fields. The rest of the garden simply isn't enough. It will never be enough. God said humanity was not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And I moan that God has ripped away what I wanted. No, what I
needed. Though I can hardly whisper it, I live as though He stole what I considered rightly mine: happiest children, [children at all], marriage of unending bliss, long, content, death-defying days. I look in the mirror, and if I'm fearlessly blunt -- what I have, who I am, where I am, how I am, what I've got -- this simply isn't enough.

That forked tongue darts and daily I live the doubt, look at my reflection, and ask: Does God really love me? If He truly deeply loves me, why does He withhold that which I believe will fully nourish me? Why do I live in this sense of rejection, of less than, of pain? Does He not want me to be

I know this has gotten long (sorry!), but as I read those words I just lost it. They are precisely what I have been struggling with....with my own infertility, but also the rest of the pain and suffering in this world. I just don't understand. I think this book study is going to be really good for me.

I don't really know how to end this. I really just wanted to share my heart. Hopefully I have accurately done that.

If you're struggling with something or just unbelief in're not alone.

A GRAND vacation!

This year I've decided to try to make this blog a bit more of a priority, so hopefully you'll be seeing more posts. My goal right now is at least one per week. We'll see how that goes :)

I feel like I have a ton to catch up on around here.

Justin and I just got back from the most AMAZING vacation in Grand Cayman. Our best friends, Doug and Andrea, asked us (and a few other couples) to join them in a gorgeous house on the beach for the week. We spent the 8 days snorkeling lots, swimming with stingrays, horseback riding along the beach, eating wonderful food, enjoying time with each other and friends, and LOTS of relaxing in the sun.The color of the water was unlike anything I have ever seen. I just kept saying, "I never want to forget what this water looks like!"

I was so proud of Justin and his snorkeling/swimming skills. He's not really all that comfortable in water, but he did much better than me!

While I knew I would miss Chloe when we were gone I didn't think I would miss her as much as I did. By the last couple of days I was DYING to see her. The plan all along was to skype with her each night, but the first night we tried that we both ended up crying. So, we decided it would probably be easier on both of us to not try that again! She was so sweet when we got to the airport. She waved really big and ran to us and gave us the biggest hugs ever. I definitely think our next vacation will be a family one :)

I will post some more pictures from our trip in the next couple of days!