Tuesday, January 26, 2016

{Travel Diaries} Disneyland Fall 2015 - Day 3

Get yourself ready for some major picture overload!!

I am actually quite embarrassed how long it's taken me to recap our trip back in September!! If you want to check out our marathon Day 1 and Day 2 please go right ahead!  They were both fantastic days that were pretty hard to top...but somehow each day in Disney is better than the one before.

 On Day 3 we got to the park in time for the opening ceremony and then went straight to pick up our much needed coffee at the Starbucks inside the park (PSL for both and an iced whole milk for the babe).  *TIP: if you are traveling with a little who still only drinks milk, the most economic choice is to just buy milk at Starbucks*

With our beloved coffee in hand we utilized our Magic Morning to head straight to Peter Pan's Flight right at rope drop. It's like a flood to get there...pretty ridiculous, if I may say so myself.  Thomas got in line while Ellie and I parked the stroller.  Despite getting there just seconds after the rope drop we still had to wait in line for nearly 20 minutes because they hadn't officially opened the ride yet and were sending all the boats through one last time to make sure it would run smoothly.  Once they finally got the ride going it was pretty quick moving to get onto our boat!

IDK what it is but I just love Peter Pan (it might have something to do with that spunky Tinkerbell...)

And away we gooooooooo!!!!! (Thomas is on Periscope...)

When we were last in Disney (February 2015) the Peter Pan's Flight ride was closed due to refurbishing. It had been at least 15 years since I was last in the park and I remember just being able to walk on to this ride...I'm pretty sure it's just about a minute long.  I loved it then and I love it now, though I can't tell you what was different or why people are willing to wait in line for over 45 minutes....maybe it's because you get to ride in a flying ship?  Don't get me wrong its super fun but I think that 20 minutes is long enough.

Seeing as we were some of the first 65 people on Peter Pan when we got off Fantasyland was still pretty empty so we rushed over to try and get onto the Matterhorn and it was actually open this time!!! I jumped into line and when I got up to one of the cast members we asked for our Rider Switch Pass (best thing ever!!) and then I got on! (Back in February they had this ride closed for refurbishment as well...) I got on the left side track, which turns out to be the side they did not fix...so it was still a bit rough and bumpy - just the way I like it.  I learned from the last trip that you really can make the most of your trip if you just ask.  So when I was about to get assigned a seat I requested to sit in the front row, that meant that I had to wait a rotation but being in the front is totally worth it!

While I was taking my turn on the Matterhorn someone got to take a few spins around in the Tea Cups and ride the horsies on the Carousel with Dada...

Once I got off and met up with Thomas he got in line (right at the front) for his turn on the Matterhorn, thanks to that wonderful Rider Switch Pass, and he managed to get on the right side track which was the one they refurbished.  He said his ride was quite smooth....he missed out on the real experience ;)

Then we decided it was time to go and take our "Official" Disney Park photo with Walt himself and we love this photo so much better than our first one in February because the Castle is exposed (they were busy making it over for the Diamond Celebration).  I mean seriously how cute?!!! and all the pumpkins have me at hello!

We then headed back down Main Street USA to see if we could visit with some characters.  We saw Mickey but right as we walked up a Cast Member stepped in the back of the line indicating that Mickey would be going on a quick break...so we tried Goofy who also had a Cast Member at the end of his line...thankfully Pluto was still open so we hopped in his line and then there were two more people behind us when a Cast Member got in our line...just made it ;)

Once we were done visiting with Pluto we jumped into line for Chip and Dale! I now know how to tell them apart (Dale has the red nose).  We were in line behind a tourist who must have been obsessed with Donald because she had a duck tale on her behind, but she also had her giant camera and took no less than 150 photos of Chip and Dale then had the cast members take at least 65 of her with them.   She took a step back so we thought it was our turn and let Ellie run up to them and she got all pissed at us and had the Cast Members "remove" Ellie from her shot!! It was actually quite comical.  Finally Ellie got to go for round two with the twins and Dale was obsessed with Ellie.  Chip kept trying to give Ellie a high five and to wave at her but Dale kept shoving his hand in Chip's face and pushing him away.  It was so funny.  I really have no idea how Ellie get's so lucky with these characters but I love it so much!!

We tried to jump into Mickey's line again but that darn Cast Member was there again!!! I told him that he really needs to find a new job because he keeps denying us a visit with Mickey...So we just hung out so that Ellie could follow Mickey back to his break room...Minnie also went on a break at the same time.

And then we waited there for them to come back out so we could try to be the first ones in line...this is how memories are made!! I'm telling you it's the best.  Ellie actually went running up to Minnie this time and Minnie was so great as to take Ellie's hand and walk her around the square as she tried to find a spot to stand.  I have the "date" on video and so many people kept trying to get in my way so they could get in line after Ellie that I had to give the Evil Eye to a few of them so they could realize what I was doing.  Ellie was so smitten with Minnie...I was too because she was dressed up in her Halloween Costume...a witch!! y'all know how much I love witches!! but it was hard to get a picture of her smiling!  Still such wonderful memories were made and we love getting these special moments with our favorite characters!

After we met all the Characters we could we jumped on the Disneyland Railroad to take a trip around the park.  

We got off at Mickey's Toontown station so we could ride "it's a small world"...Ellie lasted almost the whole ride but near the end all she wanted to do was lean over the side of the boat to splash in the water... the sun was shining so bright and it was so hot!! I didn't blame her one bit, except she isn't allowed to do that!

After "it's a small world" we went into Toontown to see if we could have any Meet and Greets with characters...it's usually a pretty good spot for that.  But Ellie wanted to hang out in the jail for a little bit first!  After we walked around a bit and learned that there were no characters we got back on the Disneyland Railroad and rode back to Main Street to retrieve our stroller.  

Once we got our stroller we headed over to Frontierland to take a ride on the Sailing Ship Columbia, to my memory I have never been on the Columbia so I was pretty excited when we finally were able to take a ride! Each time we walked by it was just leaving and we didn't want to sit around and wait but we got there at just the right time.
Ellie had fun checking out all the stuff to do...
and just running around like a crazy girl.  I loved going below deck and seeing where all the shipmates stayed. Disney does a fabulous job at all their attention to detail.

When we got off the boat I was craving a Churro...hadn't had one all day...but someone insisted on sharing with me - and I just can't say NO to her!

After her sugar rush of a churro we decided to head back to our hotel for a nap and this happened on the way....how is that even comfortable to sleep like that??

After naps we went back to DCA and saw Goofy walking around.  I tried to see if he would stop for a picture but the cast member who was escorting him said he had to hurry to his spot for the parade...but we could take a walking selfie with him....it only took me about 10 tries to figure out how to take a selfie...I felt so rushed and was having a hard time pushing the right button...but I think once I figured it out we got a pretty good one!!

We heard a rumor that Mickey was coming out so we hung around where we believed he would be coming.  Then out came Mickey and Minnie together, we decided to go with Mickey since we had our grand tour with Witch Minnie earlier and this Mickey was just too adorable!!
Ellie was in love...of course - I am pretty sure that Mickey is her favorite and he is always so good with her - no matter who he is!!
of course they needed to kiss! and then we jumped in for a family photo!

Over to "a bug's land" and we rode on Fliks Flyers and then she spotted the splash pad: Princess Dot Puddle Park, so she got to run in there.  We forgot to bring her flip flops so I tried sending her in there barefoot (because I didn't want to get her moccs all wet) but the cast member said that all children needed to wear shoes...so on they went.  We didn't get any photos of Ellie in the splash pad because I was videoing her.  She started off just standing there watching the other kids run around and try to avoid the water squirts but then she got wet and got into it and started to put her hands down in the puddles and then run around like a crazy person.  Yelling and screaming and having so much fun.  There was a boy about 9 years old who was standing right smack in the middle waiting for the biggest water squirt to come down on him and kept counting down to when he thought he would get dumped on...Ellie just stood there and watched him for a while.  Then she started to lay down on the ground and lick the water...at that point her time was done and we needed to have an outfit change!!  

Once she had dry clothes on we walked over to Cars Land and we saw that Red the firetruck was available for pictures so we jumped in his line!

Then went over to the Cozy Cones for some soft serve!

We did some more walking around and went on a few more rides.  We checked our Park App and saw that Toy Story Midway Mania had a fairly short queue so we got in line and girlfriend was acting all sorts of whiney.  I told her she needed to knock it off and calm down or I was going to hold her...she asked to get up and then about a minute later she passed out!!  When your baby gets to a certain age and then they fall asleep on you...you treasure it because you know it's not going to happen very much anymore.  Ellie was so conked out that she slept through the entire ride, the transfer into the stroller, all around the park the rest of the time (even when I decided to hop onto Grizzly River Run...that broke down just seconds after I boarded my raft!!  We had to wait for a good 15 minutes before the ride started again and I got SOAKED!!! 

We walked back over to get this awesome photo of Mickey's Fun Wheel all lit up and then decided to call it a night.

What a busy and fun day! I am so grateful that we get to take Ellie out and do these fun adventures with her.  I also love that Thomas is just as into Disney (if not more so) as me and we get to enjoy these times together!!

Have you been to Disneyland? What is your favorite part??

♥ Ashley

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hip Hip Hooray for Friday!!!

I can't believe it's Friday already!!!  I guess that is what happens when Monday is a holiday (thank you Dr. King for all you did for our country and it's people).  Not only that but I have the day off today!! So it is just me and my girl and you know I will be living this up.  I have all sorts of grandiose plans for us today: like sew Ellie's curtains, complete a ton of laundry, maybe finally get all my bulbs planted (eek!), and go to the Library for story time...I am not quite sure how I am going to get that all done in 8 hours but a girl can dream right?  Or another thing I would love to get done is to sand, prime, and paint the baseboards for both Ellie's and #2's rooms.

So lets get on with some Friday things:


Now that we have been matched and can pretty much count on being a family of four come April, I have all sorts of baby related things on my mind.  Firstly though I have to say that I am pretty excited that Ellie will be getting a sister because that means I get to pull out all of Ellie's old clothes and get to use them again!!  Girlfriend had some fabulous items and I am so excited to get to use them again.  I already have a diaper bag that I still use every day...but I curse it every day too.  It just doesn't fit my needs and I am really wanting to get a new one.  Hopefully one that doesn't break the bank...but speaking of breaking the bank I adore this one and am really hoping to snag it up when there is a sale.  Also I am thinking we might need to get a double stroller, Ellie loves to ride in hers so I think she would be really upset if she got "kicked out".  I am really thinking I want to go with a tandem type stroller like this one, because I feel like it will be easier to maneuver around Disneyland...yep, I said it.  Plus I am not sure how many side by sides can easily fit through doorways into stores and such.  Now don't get me wrong, I am pretty sure that we will be able to get away with having just Ellie's stroller (similar) for a while because I know I will be babywearing a lot.  We are going to go ahead and use Ellie's infant car seat for the first month or so and then hopefully we will get our hands on another Britax Boulevard Convertable Car Seat, it's what Ellie is currently in and I love it so much.  It's super easy to put into my car (which is so old I have to use the seatbelts) as well as into Thomas' car with the adapter clips.  The seat cover is machine washable and quite easy to reassemble after removing for washing.  I just know that I hate lugging around car seats so my plan is to move her over as soon as possible and just wear her when we go out and about.


I shared my Nursery Inspiration yesterday and I still cannot get over it.  I am hoping that I can really pull this one off...considering Ellie's room has been in a constant transition.  But I feel like I finally have my sense of style and decor figured out that I am only going to get things that I absolutely love, not just something cheap to fill the space.  As you can see I am drawn to neutral colors and wood tones, I am hoping to have pops of pink/coral and mint/teal throughout the room as well (which may be similar to the color pallet for Ellie's room...)  I feel like since we already have the major basics (crib, glider, change table) that I can splurge on some other areas of the room, it's not true but I want to pretend that I can.  So I do have my eyes on these curtains from Anthropologie they also have these super cool wooden curtain rods that I am swooning over, they are both a bit lot pricey so I will be on the search for something similar...and I wouldn't mind if you pointed me in that direction.


Getting my toddler to eat is something that can be a bit of a challenge.  I try to offer her good options with a variety of food groups, but she doesn't always enjoy what I give her.  Lately though I can pretty much count on her always eating pretzels, popcorn, apples, chicken top ramen and broccoli from our local Thai restaurant.  I have found myself in a bit of a rut and just giving her these items so that I can ensure that she is eating something, but I really want to expand her food choices.  As you can see from the aforementioned foods, girlfriend loves herself some salt.  Now don't get me wrong, she does eat meat: chicken, pork, beef, sausage, bacon (she loves it), salami but then other times I will offer it to her and she will turn her nose up to it and say "I don't LIKE it" in the most sassy tone.  Sometimes I can get her to lick the food and she might eat it after that but it can be a real struggle sometimes.  SO I am asking you, dear readers, what are some of your tried and true Toddler Meals??


I think I may have mentioned it before but my church offers a MOPs group in the evenings.  I am so thankful that they have opened this up to working moms, because if there is one thing working moms feel, it's that they miss out on all the mom stuff because they are working.  I have been a member of MOPs for 3 years and I actually really like it. The first year and half I was pretty quiet and didn't involve myself too much, but then I was asked to be on Leadership for this year and I am *gasp* a Table Leader, where I have to lead and facilitate discussions...meaning that I actually have to talk and be vulnerable with a whole table full of women.  Spoiler - I love it!!  It has taken me out of my comfort zone a bit and I feel pretty fullfilled with my role.  This week for our meeting we were "Embracing Rest" and took advantage of our time away from our kids to actually paint our nails.  I have a friend, whose nails are basically always painted and so I felt pretty cool with my nails painted this week and would like to pretend that she is proud of me.  One thing that you can pretty much always count on if I have painted my nails myself is that I will have a "Party Nail"  I know they are super silly but they just make me happy and that is what matters anyways, amiright?  Oh andplusalso, I chipped one of my nails within 3 hours....story of my life.


I am still in complete disbelief that January is almost over and that Valentines Day is right around the corner.  I haven't really been that big on the whole V-Day celebrations and actually avoided hearts for quite some time, but now with Ellie in my life I kind of adore hearts, and want to celebrate this holiday with her and build memories.  One thing I remember growing up, is that my dad would take my sister and I out for our very own Valentines Dinner Date with him.  We would get all dressed up, he would give us flowers (or a corsage) and then we would go out to a nice dinner.  This is a tradition I hope that Thomas will do with our girls, once they get a bit older, but for now I am trying to figure out ways to make this holiday special for my main girl.  I think it will be so fun to bake some Valentine Cookies, maybe make a cake, and then do some crafting.  I am loving these chair backs here, here and here, but then when I saw this one...I think Ellie might go bananas for it!!  Although considering she isn't in school yet I am still trying to figure out what I would put in there...maybe it could be like an advent of sorts?  How do you celebrate Valentines Day with your little one(s)??

♥ Ashley

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nursery Inspiration for Baby #2

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I get to move forward with sharing lots of things with you!  As you can imagine the Adoption Journey is a roller coaster but the best way to ride is to just stay on!

I am so excited to be showing my Inspiration Board for Nursery #2 with y'all!!  I feel like this has been a long time coming and I am just so excited to finally have a real purpose for our 3rd bedroom.  Originally I was thinking we might have Ellie and the new babe share a room, but when we started with the layout and such it just isn't going to work right now...maybe in the future though because I truly believe that their bond will grow and get strong if they share a room together.

Anyways, it seems like this Nursery inspiration is pretty neutral...which I guess the bones of it are but ultimately I know that more pops of color (probably pink) will show up as I bring more items into the room.  I shared with you the other day about how the closet transformation went, you can check it out here.

Okay so here we go!!

Neutral Nursery for Baby #2

We are planning to use several of the items that Ellie had in her nursery, like the crib, glider and dresser/change table.
I am wanting to incorporate some more wood tones into this nursery and I think that replacing the 1989 light fixture with something like this (tutorial for knockoff here) is exactly what I am looking for.
Also I have decided to get rid of the matching stool with the glider and use this (similar) instead, I can't seem to find it online at Target.  It was on clearance the day after Christmas and I just knew we had to have it for this room and it is currently Ellie's favorite piece of furniture in our house!  Speaking of the glider, I am thinking that maybe I want to paint it or create a slip cover for it...we shall see.

We never really used the mobile that we had in Ellie's room but then I have since seen some made out of a branch and then some feathers and I think that would be a pretty easy craft to do and maybe even get Ellie to help with it as well.  I think then it will just hang from the ceiling and I may or may not have already picked up some gold tipped feathers for it.... ;)

I am embarrassed to admit that we didn't have a mirror in Ellie's room and I think that is something that was really lacking for her...granted she doesn't seem to be too vain and can recognize herself just fine in pictures, I know that it is something I want to incorporate in this nursery (besides Ellie is getting a vanity in her room pretty soon).  I am loving this one because it's round and I love the natural element of the rope.

We are also planning on reusing some of the sheets and change pad covers that we had for Ellie, but I also think it would be nice to get at least one new sheet and change cover for #2.  I am loving this arrow sheet because I am in love with arrows right now and of course I love grey, but then this one might be fun and give that girly pop I want in here.

Since we are reusing the old dresser that used to be in my room and then in Ellie's room for this nursery I think it's time for another update.  I painted it grey for Ellie's room and I still love the color but have been wanting to change out the knobs for forever.  I have had such a hard time finding knobs that I liked and I have finally found some that I think will work here, I know they're a little expensive so I will be waiting for a sale!!  I am still undecided if I want to replace all the knobs or just a couple.  But these again are giving that natural element I am hoping to bring into the room.  Speaking of knobs, I am also hoping to replace the doorknob to the room and closet with these.  Ellie has a vintage one on her door and I love it so much I want to put one in this nursery and maybe even our master!!  And they are actually about the same price I paid for Ellie's vintage one. I have a feeling that replacing the doorknobs with these will make me swoon over our hallway.

I am still searching for an area rug, but I really like the idea of finding a round rug, I think that will continue the round theme throughout the room with the lighting fixture and mirror.  As far as artwork goes I'm going to try and go light on it and maybe get some prints from here, because I adore all their work I see on IG.  I also think a trip to Hobby Lobby is in order so I can find a big wood arrow that I can paint/stencil the babes name onto.

A staple in all our rooms is a Himalayan Salt Lamp, so it would only be natural to have one in this room as well.  I love these things not only for the glow they give off but their natural ability to purify the air.

I am so excited to get started on this room and getting it prepared to bring our sweet little babe home.  Thank you so much for your support and love during this journey.

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Our Weekend

I do realize that it's Tuesday, but since we had a 3 day weekend I thought I would wait until today to talk about what we did!

On Friday
Ellie spent the day with Nanny (oh I missed her something awful) and she had the best time.  They went to Target (so jealous) and Ellie got to bring this adorable sweatshirt home and Ellie insisted on this necklace...I am in love!!  She certainly is becoming quite the little fashionista and I am loving that she is picking out items that I gravitate towards myself.  I finally got to be reunited with my best girl for dinner.  

When I arrived home, Thomas had stopped by the store to get ingredients for dinner and he got these...my love language!!  I can totally live with these little surprises happening all the time ;)

We had Pizza Bread and its like the best and most easy dinner ever.  All you do is get a loaf of french bread and split it like a hotdog bun, spread some softened butter on it and stick it in the oven to toast up.  Then you slather on some of your favorite pizza sauce or marinara put it in the oven to warm up for a couple minutes and then add on all your favorite pizza toppings: pepperoni, sausage (precooked), olives, mushrooms and green pepper almost always make an appearance on ours, top with cheese and then throw it back in the oven to melt and get warm/hot.  Slice and serve!! You'll love it.

We started off like we do most Saturdays with a trip to our local Donut shop, we usually get a dozen and that will last us for a few days.  They have these doughnuts called "buttermilk bars" and they are seriously the bees knees, I love them so much. Then it was a slightly big day for us because we tackled the closet in our 3rd bedroom.  As I have mentioned on here more times that I probably should our 3rd bedroom has just been a mess for the past 5+ years and I am so glad that we are finally making some progress on it.  A couple months ago I went through and "organized" it and got rid of a ton of stuff and found homes for many other things.  But the closet has always been a hot mess.  We inherited two bookcases that were falling apart in there from the previous owners and that just wouldn't do for hanging up clothes.  SO I cleared out the closet, which then turned the whole room into another mess but then we were left with a blank slate.

That was enough energy for the day and we spent the afternoon with my family for our "Christmas gathering" (finally since we weren't able to make it to Christmas Day).  It was great to spend time with them and to have Ellie be completely obsessed with her twin baby cousins who are just 2 months old.  All she wanted to do was stare at them, pet their heads, and hold them...she is going to be the best big sister here in a couple of months I have no doubt!

When we got home we did some playing around and then got Ellie's Teepee set up again in her room ... we had to wash it because of potty training ;) Ellie is obsessed with her teepee and will constantly be asking us to come sit in her "tent" with her, and I mean how can you say no?  Good thing for both of us that I can fit in there with her... spending time with my girl is my favorite!

Was closet day.  I took all the measurements and made a supplies list then headed to the Home Improvement store.  Our plan for the closet was for half of it to be for clothes for #2 and the other half will be for all my crafting and sewing supplies...I guess that's what they mean by second child problems...but have no fear, Ellie's closet is home to all of my homecoming and prom dresses and all my horse show equipment ;)  Once I arrived home from the store we got right to work.  Thankfully we had all the wood we needed to complete the closet makeover from my American Girl Dollhouse we dismantled last week.  Thomas had to measure twice and then rip the boards to length and width because they were 6" too deep. When Ellie walked into the room and saw our drill, she immediately announced that she needed her screwdriver and promptly retrieved it from her tool box and got to work with us!  Once we got the top shelf secured, we put in the divider piece then followed by my "desk" shelf.  Then it was my turn to get to show off my construction skills and install the hanging rods for all of #2's clothes!! (I can't wait to share her name!!)

I am pleased as plum pie with how it turned out and am ready to tackle the rest of the room next weekend...although I am so motivated to finish organizing Ellie's closet that we might have to do that first!!  I will admit that I need to do a little more organizing on the storage half but I am just so happy that I've been able to condense it to this much!!

The assignment for the January Cure this weekend was to deep clean the Master Bedroom, thankfully I had already vacuumed under our nightstands and lingerie dresser so all we had to do was remove the mattress from our bed to get under there and then we vacuumed the mattress as well.  I dusted off all the surfaces, cleaned the windows and used Pledge on all the furniture and I don't think our room has ever been cleaner!

On Monday,
We got up bright and early to take Thomas' car to the mechanic or the "car doctor" and then drop Ellie off with Nanny while we went on a date.  We saw Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens and it was so good! Thomas saw it when it first came out and I have slowly been catching up on the other 6 films so I could be in the know.  It is super fast paced and full of lots of action...I think it has enough movement that Ellie might be engaged the whole time!  After the movie we had some lunch and then back to Nanny's to pick up our sweet darling girl and head home.  

Of course I am sporting some of my favorite Stitchfix items  see post here.

Once home I got to work on some deep cleaning: like vacuuming everywhere as was the very first assignment from the January Cure, so I moved all the chairs and couches got under the rug and dining room table.  Now that we have our wood floors our dog hair finds itself hiding under our large furniture pieces so those need to be moved more often.  I am just loving this cure to help get me motivated to really clean our house and I have been so encouraged to eliminate some of the things that we don't need or use anymore, like a salad spinner.  I haven't been 100% on top of keeping up with the assignments but I love having the guidance and tips for what to do next!!

How was your weekend? Did you get to just sit and relax? Or did you get some projects started/completed?

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hooray for Friday!!!

It's finally Friday...but I have to say that I feel like it came much quicker this week than last week, so that is a bonus.  Not to mention that we have a 3 day weekend ahead of us and that makes me very happy.


First of all I want to thank you all for your kind words and support regarding my announcement post yesterday!! We are so ready for this new chapter and are working on all sorts of things to get ready for the end of March/April.  #2 will be living in our 3rd bedroom which has been a work in progress since, well since forever!  It has gone from being a storage room, to a sitting room, to a bird room, to a storage room, to a playroom and storage room, to now a nursery!!  Originally when we moved in I thought that it was going to be the nursery to begin with since I wanted to have a guest room...but that just didn't happen (since we rarely have overnight guests).  But now it's finally going to happen!!!  This weekend hopefully we will tackle the closet in there.  It needs a major overhaul and I'm hoping that it will be dual purpose: half for the babe and the other half for my sewing/crafting supplies and some basic storage.


We've been listening to Pandora practically all day while I'm at work and I have it on the Disney channel, so we get to hear all the great works from our favorite princess movies (and cars!).  Well we have heard "I can show you the world" so many times that Ellie requested I take her on a magic carpet ride by dragging her around the kitchen on a blanket!  Oh it was just the cutest things and probably one of my favorites!!


I can't believe that we are already halfway done with January, like how did that happen??  I'm also super excited about Valentines this year and I have some really cute painting projects in mind for Ellie to do, you know she loves to "painting"!  It takes a lot out of me because of all the potential mess but as she is getting older she is becoming more aware and responsive to my OCD and its starting to get quite enjoyable!  It was this time last year that I started our Holiday Canvas collection and I hope it's something we continue for years to come!!  here are some of our past projects:


Over the past year I have really tried to tone down my hoarding tendencies, I have decluttered and gotten rid of a ton of stuff that I have just been keeping onto for no good reason.  And let me tell you how much better I feel and lighter as well...I didn't realize how much that stuff was weighing me down!! When I saw on facebook about "The January Cure" I just knew I had to sign up and see how I can improve the cleanliness, organization, and routine of our home.  It is totally free to sign up and they send you emails everyday with a new task.  Somehow over the Christmas break I decided to start cleaning out our house and doing some organization (like our nightstands and bathroom cabinets) and it turns out that I have already completed some of the tasks on the list so I can either take a break that day or work on something else.  It's really fun and my favorite part is that one task is to get fresh flowers every weekend!  I don't think its too late to sign up...and really you can take these tips and apply them to any time of the year.  Today says I need to do a deep clean in our bedroom...which I have already moved half of the furniture to vacuum under and dust so this should be relatively easy...just need to get under the bed and clean the windows!!


I remember seeing lots of bloggers posting their "Word of the Year" in January last year, so I did it too (here)...and then for most of them they never mentioned their word again, myself included.  So last year I chose the word "Content".  I just wanted to be Content with all aspects of my life, I was in a really dark place in the depths of my infertility and family members (and friends) announcing their good news almost weekly, it really took a toll on me and I became so focused on improving my fertility...I was frazzled all the time.  I also had all of these wants and wishes for where and how I wanted to live...and practically all of them were completely unachievable...like a total house overhaul similar to Fixer Upper!  I just felt like I was so unsatisfied in my life that I wanted to focus on being content with what God had given me and to find peace/pleasure in it.  I'm not going to lie, the first half of the year was a real struggle...then in July the most devastating thing happened, but at the same time it brought a huge amount of clarity to my life and perspective that I basically did a 180 with my emotional state and started to find contentment in my life.  I think in today's age with all of the media and Pinterest it really is hard to be content in your life...but it's something we can all strive for.  Since July I really started to focus on this state of mind.  I would look around my house and see things that I wanted to make improvements on but they didn't bug me anymore.  Granted we did finally replace our 1989 carpet with solid surface floors which was something I dreamed of since we first saw the house, but now I love our house.  I have fallen in love with having Ellie and getting to spend so much time with her alone.  And I have found so much peace each month where I don't cry when my cycle starts over...sure my body has gone through some major changes since my surgery, like some PTLS symptoms which totally suck and I haven't really talked about them on here, but I love the peace I feel in my life right now.  While I don't think I can say that I am 100% content in my life ... which I am actually not sure if that was ever the whole goal, but I do have to say that I feel so much more content in my life now than I ever have before.

I have thought about a word for this year, and I think I just want it to be "BE".  I just want to "be" in my life, whatever that means each day.  I guess it could be "present", "aware", "happy"...


Did you see my recap of our 2nd Day in Disneyland this past September??  It was one for the memory books for sure!!  Read all the details here.

♥ Ashley

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