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41 weeks.

I realized last night that being 41 weeks pregnant is like being packed for your dream vacation, with your best friend, where you are going to see the most beautiful sights you have ever seen. Except you can’t get on a flight because your feet have been cemented into the ground, but everyone just keeps texting you and calling you and FB messaging you to see when you are going on this vacation, and you want to go so bad, but it’s not possible yet. Your travel agent has offered you to leave a few times but under conditions that you didn’t plan, things that don’t feel as safe and natural, so you have refused these offers to take off. Your refusal hasn’t gotten positive reactions from your travel agents, which scares you and puts a lot of fear in your heart. You are trying to stay calm because anxiety and fearfulness will only delay take off even more. Oh, there are so many opinions, lots of people you know have been to this place before, they have advice and scenarios that are exciting but also scary. At this moment, it’s just you and your partner waiting to fly away, and you are finally losing your patience in stand by. As beautiful as the sights are, as wonderful as the feelings will be, the thing you really want is to get on with your life. All romanticism aside, you have a lot of other things to do, you want to be home from this vacation, begin adapting to your new life, the longer this period goes on the more desperate you feel. There’s nothing you can do to change it though, there just isn’t.


So, that’s where I am right now. Still pregnant. I really can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy has transpired, yet I am here at the end of it and not being able to think of anything other than delivering this baby. I guess I will go into a little bit of detail about what has happened thus far, because you might be wondering, or be in a similar boat, or getting ready to leave on this trip yourself. One thing that has really helped me these final weeks is reading other people’s birth stories and pregnancy stories, and oh my god, message boards galore (lurker forever).

First, let me quickly summarize my perfect birth plan ~ it’s to begin having natural contractions at home, have the opportunity to labor for a while there, shower, have something to eat, get the animals settled, and relax in my own space. When contractions pick up, Joe and I head to the hospital, get checked in, and I am able to have a natural vaginal delivery. Honestly, I always pictured having a home birth with a doula, but when we got pregnant it just seemed really overwhelming to go that route and we decided to go the hospital/doctor way for financial and logistic reasons.

Now, let’s get into what my doctors are predicting is going to happen to me, because they are debbie freaking downers and really have not even listened to me when I explain myself. When I say debbie downers etc I understand that they are just giving me all the scenarios, because they have to, etc, but deep down in my heart I know this is what a woman’s body was meant to do, and I wish the modern medical world in New Jersey was a little more hip to the scene and not so into placing fear when there really doesn’t seem to be anything insanely alarming going on, I wish they would just give me a little positivity with all the hard work I’ve put in these past 9 months to keep myself and baby healthy, instead when I went over a gain of 35lbs one doctor actually said “it’s time to start eating healthy, you have gained the maximum amount of weight” … like.. what! I eat extremely healthy and have stayed fit throughout my entire pregnancy.

Anyway, 2.5 weeks ago my doctor wanted me to be induced. I refused. He sent me in for an NST and blood work, it all came back beautiful, except the baby is measuring big, so they pushed me for induction again before the baby gets any bigger. They were saying 9lbs, but the baby could very well be 8lbs. We wanted to wait, so saw them again when I was 39wks6days, again, they want to induce me, they want to do more testing (which I know is normal and that’s fine with me) — this time, the baby measured 8lbs10oz! so that was good news. But really, my issue is that when I say I don’t want to be induced they cop an attitude with me … dead pan stares, “Why?.” … and make me feel like I am making a bad decision by letting my body progress naturally.

So, I go to 40 weeks, I spend the whole week doing everything in my power to bring on labor, all those old wive tales (spicy food, bouncing on a ball, having sex, walking walking walking, yoga, meditation, pineapple, rose hip tea, red wine, evening primrose oil, staying busy, you name it, I’ve tried it). We went to the doctor yesterday and met with a different doctor who I hadn’t seen in over a month. She wants to induce, we agree that we are open to scheduling something for early next week. She takes this and runs with it and wants to schedule a C-section! like, are you kidding me? Why? Because the baby is big. Okay, well I was over 9lbs when I was born, women have big babies every single day, I am a BIG GIRL! She went on and on about infant mortality rates and this and that and this and that and this and that. It was exhausting and mentally draining. She also told me how it is very unlikely that I will go into labor naturally, that my baby will never drop because it’s so big (but also said the ultrasound weight test is very unpredictable) — how if I get induced it “probably” won’t even take for me because I’m a first time mom, and that I will need a C-section no matter what (thanks for all that positivity, doc).. meanwhile this is all while I am laying down with my pants off and my belly exposed, I finally couldn’t take it and was like “I need to sit up.” I was having a full blown panic attack.

Okay, hold up, I am kind of getting worked up right now writing this and I know that’s not good for me. I tried countering her negativity with positivity, like how my sister in law just gave birth to a 9lb3oz healthy baby (naturally) and she’s 5’1″! and how if every first time mom is late, just let me live! Almost everyone I talk to was late with their first child, so why are they straight bugging? Also, my first due date was May 9, which wouldn’t have me at 41 weeks until Monday. I just feel like they must read off a script to every patient, wanting to induce right away so then they can tuck our charts away and be done with it.

I just really wish I had a doctor on my side who would say something like, “you are healthy, this baby is healthy, you are doing everything right Ashley, just keep staying positive and the baby will come when it is ready” — I have to say, I have a wonderful support system outside of the offices that HAVE been saying these things to me, which makes all the difference. I just can’t believe how much they press for the inducing and c-sections, instead of letting a woman go into labor naturally (especially if that is their desire).

So, basically, there are two issues with my body right now (this body that currently contains two of us), #1 – I have low platelets. I’ve had them throughout my entire pregnancy. A platelet is the part of your blood that clots, so having a low count could cause bleeding (in various places) during delivery. I have gotten so much blood taken to keep an eye on the count, and we realized that just going to LabCorp and having them test it mechanically makes them very low, so I have also been to the hospital a few times for a manual count. The good news is that a pregnant woman’s body is regenerating everything so quickly, we have so much MORE blood, everything is moving quick (hi hair and nails!) ~ and this includes things like platelets. So even though there are less than recommended, they are larger and newer. Right now they are stable, and that is a good sign. If they go below 100 I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural (which I don’t desire anyway). One doctor in the hospital was telling me that if they are below 100 and there is an issue and I don’t have an epidural I will need a C-section under general anesthesia, I asked her about platelet transfusions, which are a thing, and she was like “yeah we could do that too.” — wouldn’t you rather give a laboring woman a transfusion then push her into a major operation? Am I crazy?

#2 issue – this big healthy beautiful baby inside of me. That I was made to make and am truly not worried about being able to deliver. I have these hips, they have gotten really wide in preparation, I was meant to do this. I am going to be able to do it and I am tired of them being negative. I am a huge believer in negative energy creates more negative energy. I have stayed awake at night accepting the fact that I will most likely not have my perfect birth plan pan out, I know that, believe me. But why would I give up hope at this point? What is a few more days? Baby could still be under 9lbs for all we know. It’s all going to be okay. I am a little over 1cm dilated, 50% effaced, and feeling mild contractions – for all you statistic people 🙂

The flip side is that Joe and I have been able to complete nearly every home project that we had going on. The nursery is done, the living room is done, the bathroom renovation is done, it’s crazy how we got so much done when I was having such anxiety a month ago about it not getting done before baby gets here. Now my darling little house is just sitting waiting wishing for it’s newest little occupant.

So there it is, my current situation. It’s a beautiful day down here, I’m at the store, talking to every customer about my belly, while Joe works a pet adoption festival nearby (which I won’t dare go to as I might come home with a furry baby). When he gets done we are going to do some gardening, grill up hot dogs for dinner with baked beans and mac n cheese, and watch the sun go down on the beach. It’s all going to be okay, right? I just have to stay positive and relax. Thanks for listening.

[Pictures taken by Joe on Mother’s Day. Dress made by my Mother]

Ice Cream > Excited > Anxiety

During my on-going quest to be a balanced and functioning member of society, I am trying to let go of the idea of being anxious. I know it’s more than an idea, physically, but really – it’s just an idea .. that-can-sometimes-carry-itself-away-into-the-darkest-heaviest-cloud-of-all-sorts-of-messed-up-scenarios-and-sagas, but at the end of the day, an idea. So as we get further along in the year, closer to baby being born, closer to store opening for it’s second summer season, I am trying to replace the “anxiety” with “excitement” … if I start this mission strictly with spoken word, at least it’s a start right? I have always been a firm believer in needing to be the good you want to see in this world, and setting a positive example for yourself.. although usually these peppy statements are only said to a friend while rallying around them.

I was having a bad day this week, maybe it was Wednesday .. I can’t remember(it was definitely Wednesday), and I was on the phone with one of my closest girlfriends. I was kind of hating on myself for over feeling so sluggish when there is so much to do, explaining to her that I beat myself up over and over about weeks going by when I feel like I just can’t catch up with the tasks on my lists and the work that needs to be done, and ultimately the fear that soon I will have a newborn and wish I could go back to “that one Wednesday” and really work my ass off. Because I have been there so many times, wishing I could go back and do this that and the other thing when I had more time and when I lived here or lived there or visited here or visited there.. but … I know… hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, Mandy(that gf), told me to just take it easy. To just rest. That if she was 7 months pregnant and telling me that she was feeling this exact way I would be telling her to take it easy, get under covers, and rest. That I should take my own advice. So I did. Then, I worked my ass off the next two days and it felt good and I got so much done. So there’s that.

Tomorrow is Easter, I’m looking forward to it. We aren’t opening the store, opting instead for a relaxed morning at home (with some yard work) and CBS Sunday Morning, followed by Easter dinner at the in-laws. Photos from Easter 2012 and 2013 are up on OURBK, made me nostalgic for all sorts of things. Our family always had such a nice time on this holiday. It has always held more significance than Christmas for me, about rebirth and being together, fresh flowers, birds, and a little bit of warmth entering the air. I will always miss my Nana on Easter and thats all I can say about that without my eyes welling up with tears, so I’ll stop.

I just had a nice little flurry of customers. That was nice. I love talking to new people. I’m closing up in 30 minutes to run home and deal with some things, before I head off to get my hair cut. It needs it soo bad I am ridic excited to get rid of all the dead. My hair is nearly to my waist and thicker than it’s ever been (thanks baby), but it needs some serious taming. Afterward I am picking Joe up from work and then we have a few tentative plans up in the air. Under normal circumstances I might be a curmudgeon about going home so I can sleep after the past few hectic days, but homegirl about to have some fresh hair!!! you know I need to get my groove on.

I also need to get new sunglasses because I am so over my current pair. My face is fatter rounder than it’s ever been, which make my current sunglasses make me look like a wacked out beatnik wannabe. Maybe they did gave me this look before my face got fat round, but now I can’t stand it and now that it’s getting nice out I just want to look cute in sunglasses. These ones were purchased for my wedding day (and then I lost my everyday sunglasses and have been wearing these ever since). I have a large head which has always made sunglass shopping difficult, but when you find the right pair.. it’s magic. I keep calling myself fat face and Joe hates it. But really, I can’t wait to lose this baby weight. I’m not obsessing over it but I really am already feeling super motivated to get back to an agreeable size. Okay, it’s time for me to close up.

PS- currently listening to an old mix, just had “Blurred Lines” followed by “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and now I got “Green Garden” pumping and I am dancing and shaking my head (with a big old bun on top) like a maniac, if anyone peeks their head in here they will be quite amused.

PPS- Why did I spend 10 minutes looking at Yelp photos of Halo Pub’s ice cream? This is a place I worked for years in my late teens, and now I’d do weird things for a cone of chocolate and cherries.

mentioned glasses and healthy hair on my wedding day | a little baby hyacinth in my front garden | wall next to my desk, artwork by my brother (and Charles Schulz)

Monday, Monday

Joe and I recently went record shopping. We got a very generous and unique wedding gift, a large amount of gift card cash to a local music shoppe. We have gone twice, both times just getting whatever we wanted, and we still have money left over for a third visit. This past time, we got some vinyl (and then our record player decided to stop working with our receiver but haven’t been able to listen to them, fail), and also some used CDs. One of them was The Mamas & The Papas, and since listening to it I have had “Monday, Monday” stuck in my head on and off. Today also happens to be Monday, which is why I thought that little bit of info was necessary.. and to possibly get the song stuck in your head too!

I am hanging on my bed, watching Season 5 of Girls on Joe’s laptop, and writing this blog on mine. I let Stinky(dog) up on the bed too, even though Joe and I decided to not let him up on the bed anymore. Oops. I napped earlier and I didn’t let him up on the bed, and I was even thinking how much I’d love to have him up here with me and how strong I was being by keeping him locked in his box while I took a nap. Then I woke up from my nap (which to be fair I only lapsed into passed outness for about 5 minutes while watching “Pitch Perfect 2”, which kept waking me up since they bust into song every 5 minutes) — anyway, then I got up and I got some water and came back to bed to write this here blog, and he started crying, so I went and got him, and he is in all his precious glory up on the bed. Hopefully I didn’t just re-open the gates of hell letting him up here, because we have had two quasi peaceful nights with him sleeping through in his box (which never used to happen as he cried through the night to be in bed with me). To fill you in, he has been with my dad for two months as we weren’t getting sleep and he was being out of control with neediness so we needed to reset the situation (plus my dad loves him and he loves my dad) … but now, he is back in the bed and I might have just ruined everything we all worked so hard for.

I have been feeling extra tired and sick feeling today. I had awful back pains all night, I think from over compensating the curve in my lower back to hold up my belly and boobs. I showered this morning and shortly after had super numbness on my belly, which makes me think baby is doing a lot of growing today. Just the stretching numbness paired with the crappy tired feeling. I was going to go to yoga but decided against it and now I feel like I just watched this day pass.. but I know that is okay.

We are going to the in-laws tonight to watch the new Nora Ephron documentary on HBO. It’s funny because we have gone there for a few basketball games, the Super Bowl, and now I request to go there to watch a Nora Ephron documentary. He he he. I am really excited. Joe said his dad is making fajitas, so I am also really excited about that.

Back to the teaching old animals new tricks, we have been letting Pippen(cat) outside for the past year, and he has become a pain in the ass! He loves to be outside all night but also likes to come in when he wants to, and will cry and claw at the window and if he is not getting his ways, knocks things over, jumps on my night stand, hits the blinds, or scratches the furniture, or our favorite, goes over to Stinky’s box and wakes him up.

I really do love my baby animals, and I think they have prepared me for all the craziness that lays ahead with baby. Joe will be home from work soon, so I think I am going to lay back down and cuddle under the covers with my pup. xxoo Ash

PS- Joe just texted me about how he is “Gonna drop all those clothes off finally” and it just put me into an extreme sense of panic because we filled about 10 black garbage bags of clothes to donate but I have a seriously hard time getting rid of things.. like.. clothes, and now they are really going and I was not prepared but it is happening and I can’t stop it. Pray for me.

PPS- Jessa and Adam?? O.O




a spring bouquet I put together | example of Pip’s brattiness |
my current obsession | my current scene


I haven’t written anything in a long time.

In the beginning of the year I was feeling so inspired and ready to hit the pavement running, then I got overwhelmed, clammed up, and stopped creating. Not completely. I have a few home projects going on, and I have been knitting, cooking, and practicing yoga 3-4x a week.. but I’m not keeping any of the resolutions I was, well, resolute in keeping. Blah blah blah. I don’t even feel like writing right now, the only reason I am here is to try and get back into the swing, to feel good about it, but I am just being a negative ninny and I don’t like that about myself.

I’ve been at the store by myself today and just had my first customer (it’s 2:10pm, she bought a bag of pretzels) .. I had dreams last night it was summer, that we had a line out the door, and it was the best feeling. Joe has a full time job outside of the store now, which keeps us afloat, but also leaves me alone a lot to stress out and become paralyzed about getting things done in time for summer/before baby. I want to clarify, I don’t resent him for this. I am thankful for him for providing for our family. I am just lonely and I feel stranded. Living at the beach in the middle of winter with an overflowing plate of things you can’t control while a baby grows rapidly in your belly is an intense and powerful test of human will. I’ll give myself a little bit of credit there.

An old blog of ours automatically renewed recently, which we couldn’t really afford, but didn’t want to let go (although honestly I kind of wanted to just let it go but Joe was positive that we worked too hard on it to let it disappear), I still access it on a regular basis (and google hits are still high, although we never update), and I have been beating myself up over how much I used to love blogging vs. now. It used to be a knee jerk reaction, something interesting happens to me, I take pictures, I blog about it. I hear of something new and exciting, I write about it. Now, I still build up data, or do and see interesting things, but I have lost that desire to share. In a world of over sharing, I have stepped away. But honestly, I haven’t. I do a lot of social media, and micro blogging, instagram, snapchat, facebook. But that shit is fleeting, unorganized, easy, cheap ..

::::long exhausted sigh::::

Who else is feeling overwhelmingly underwhelmed? What the hell do I even expect? Why can’t I just get on here and edit and upload pictures of a beautiful cherry pie and call it a f’ing day? I still try to read blogs every week. Women who are organized and inspired and doing beautiful things — which makes me depressed. I do pinterest and tumblr on the weekends, which gets me inspired, but then I don’t get back on there all week. Why am I even talking about this right now? Right? Like, who the hell cares how you social media, Ashley? It’s a sickness.. it really is.

I could go into how much I really have been enjoying meditation and yoga. Hell, I could even blog about that if I wanted to! What a concept. I could bake a pie and take pictures and upload it (but my kitchen has awful lighting) — maybe I could upload the pictures I’ve taken of before and afters of home projects, and talk about how I have been listening to a wonderful audio book as I do my chores. I could take week by week photos of my growing bump and post them on here, or share some progress of the baby things I’ve been knitting. I could write 2k words on how I have researched every stroller and carseat out there.. or spent way too much time creating my baby registry and still stress about it but don’t want to look at it because I don’t want my surprises to be ruined.

But, do you know what really has killed my vibe?? My broke ass iPhone. I use that more than I use a computer, and get burnt out from it, and then I don’t use my computer. It doesn’t help that my big computer has been at the store all winter so I don’t use it during the week, which is where I really get down on editing and blogging and whatnot. Here I go again, talking about technology usage. My husband, Joe, still uses a flip phone. He isn’t distracted by all this bullshit like I am. He doesn’t get pictures and texts and snapchats from people constantly. He is so detached, and I am so jealous. He will check his computer at the end of the night, and that is really it. I want to start doing what he does. Blah blah blah.

Writing this has given me such anxiety. I need warm weather and sunshine and for my garden to start growing again. I need to finish all the house projects and get the nursery ready for the baby, and I will try to resolute to document and share on this here blog. Because blogging, as much as it is a conversation with other people, is a conversation with yourself, and that’s what I need to get back into. I just chugged an entire glass of water and it felt amazing. That is another thing I have been doing, drinking a lot of water. I’ve also been making the bed and eating a lot of oranges. Also, cottage cheese and home made apple sauce, the entire series of Gilmore Girls (by myself) and Parks and Recreation (with Joe).

photo from my 366 in 2016, which I gave up on. Should I restart?

Hungry for everything ~

I have reoccurring dreams(nightmares) about being in the basement of my childhood home. Some times people from my current circle are there, and I am showing them something or hiding something from them. The same furniture is there, the drawings on the wall, the musty smell, the scary piles of things from my parents life before I was a part of it, it was a really scary and imaginative basement, and I think about it sometimes but dream about it often. I also dream about Taylor Hanson often. Last night I was near the basement with Taylor Hanson (in a dream).

I wish I was back in California sometimes, so far from where I am now, but still near the water. The water there was different than the water here, it was cold and silkier and full of seaweed. I wish I was having a steak dinner tonight with a baked potato wrapped in gold foil, ordering a bottle of champagne for the table, filled with old friends and new friends.

It’s gotten to the point in New Jersey where the air is so cold it’s making my forehead skin feel like it’s going to tear in half. I have taken to rose hip oil to moisturize, we will see if it helps. I don’t mind the winter as much as I hate dry skin. I read it’s bad for oily/acne prone skin, but I really don’t even know my skin type. It’s skin type Ashley, sometimes this sometimes that.

Joe just made coffee and I asked for a cup, but he used this Stop&Shop tin and it’s so nutty and nasty that I can’t even deal. I am getting hungry now. I wasn’t hungry a few minutes ago but it can happen so quickly. It’s a whole new kind of hunger, it’s a I NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW OR I MIGHT DIE kind of hunger.

Stinky won’t leave me alone, he wants on my lap, but the laptop is on my lap, and there is no room. So he sits at my feet and whimpers. He stopped now so I should stop talking about it so I don’t jinx it.

I need to clean up the debris of random Christmas gifts that is on the coffee table and around the tree. I have been putting it off for days, once it’s done it will be such a huge sense of relief. So many travel sized lotions, I don’t use them and I don’t want them.

I am day 5 into my 366 project. So far so good. I can’t wait to be a month in. I need to get a little more creative with my shots, which will happen in time, but that also means going outside or getting ready and looking the part. Oh well. I don’t really care that much anyway.

There are so many open projects in my life right now I don’t know what to really dedicate myself to next, I want to go hard and full hearted into something, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to share it with people around me because then I end up talking to them more then doing what I want to do and then when they let me down I am disappointed. My success is only up to me, and I need to make the right choices for myself and my family. I can’t believe in 4 months I will either be a mother or be approaching my due date so rapidly. The measurements from our last ultrasound put us at May 3, but we are keeping May 7. The baby will come when it comes. That’s my biggest open project, huh?

I am so hungry right now. Time to eat.
I still haven’t tried Oreo Thins, wtf is up with that?

Pink dress and a cat, Madonna Inn, California
After a dinner with a baked potato with gold foil

Rotten grapes

About, say, two weeks ago, I bought grapes. We stopped real quick at a Shop Rite (that Joe hates going to but I like), and got some healthy food for me to eat over the weekend when Joe was going away for work. I have always loved grapes, one of my favorite snacks. As a grown up I feel like the prices of grapes just keep getting higher and higher (which makes me sad), so I don’t buy then very often. When I see them on sale, it’s a big deal.

So I saw these grapes, and I wanted them so bad. I picked my favorite bunch, bagged them, and on we went. I snacked on the grapes throughout our shopping trip (I’ve always done this, have you?), and even introduced Joe to the sport. Oh, I forgot, they were $4.99/lb, so I even weighed them before I put them in my shopping cart. I thought to myself, okay, these are going to be expensive, but maybe I can eat half a pound before we leave the store and pay less (poor person rationing).

So I ate about 10 grapes, I had Joe eat some too, I even stopped our cart leaving the frozen food aisle and mumbled under my breath, “eat some grapes so we don’t have to pay as much” – wow, I am actually admitting to my dirty ways. I was (and still am) clearly obsessing over these grapes. I’ll add too, that when at the deli counter, we got organic turkey breast for me, but Joe ordered, and I quote, “a half pound of the cheapest bologna you got.” ..SO there’s that ($1.40).

Somehow our quick little “essentials” shopping trip turned into a $70 bill, which bummed me out. I had just spent $60 I didn’t have at Barnes & Noble on some Christmas gifts, so I was feeling a little boo hoo. On the way out, I grabbed the receipt and looked for the price of the grapes, we spent a little over $8.. $8.23 to be exact. Damn, well, let it be worth it, right? They were big, plump, explode in your mouth, seedless grapes.

So to the moral of my story, these grapes sat in our crisper drawer over the weekend Joe was away. They sat there the the next week too, and one day Joe says to me “you know you have these grapes in here” — I said “oh yeah, I know.” — Why was I saving the grapes? Why wasn’t I eating the grapes? Why do I do this with produce that is going to rot? I save it? Like an idiot, until it’s no longer edible. I do this shit all the time. It is almost too special for me to eat, and then I end up losing the whole game.

So after Christmas I said to Joe, while at the fridge, “hey, can you wash those grapes?” — I was worried it might be game over, but feeling kind of hopeful (since they weren’t organic) that some kind of chemical something might have kept them edible. He washed them, brought them over to me, and needless to say, they were sad and pathetic. Nothing like the shining must have grapes I met two weeks ago, and paid $8.00 for.

So here is the moral of my story, in this bright and shiny New Year of 2016, I won’t take my fresh produce for granted. I won’t save things that are good for me for another time, when I might need or deserve it more, RIGHT NOW. I will eat those fresh grapes when I want them, when they are fresh and delicious. I will carpe diem the mother fucking shit out of those grapes, because I DESERVE IT. It’s so sad to see something that was once so beautiful so shriveled up and rotten. SAD SAD SAD.

Currently, they are sitting on our kitchen table, decaying. Joe set up a little spread yesterday when we were watching LOTR, he included the bowl of grapes. I ate around it, oh did I, chips, pretzels, cookies.. I literally took my finger to a bowl of dip and licked it clean. I didn’t touch the grapes. They were over. Poor little things, screaming at me, “how could you??” — they could have made it into a boxed lunch, or be served with a plate of cheese, or frozen and dropped into a cup of white wine for a Christmas Eve celebration. I failed us all. It makes me sad for the grapes, but mostly sad for me.

December 31

Hello hello. I really want to sit down and edit photos and write about 15 glorious and intelligent blog posts about what this year has meant to me, but instead I am just going to rattle off some recent thoughts and make sure I mark this moment in history while I feverishly unwrap hershey kiss after hershey kiss.

Two really big things happened this year that Joe and I had no idea were going to happen on December 31, 2014. First, we started our own business. Second, we got pregnant. I might be bold here, but those are two really big things that I think can either make or break a person, let alone a couple. We sat together this morning over breakfast (as we’ve done a few times throughout this week) with wide eyes, “2015 has been a year“. Hot damn, has it.

I’m sitting here shaking my head because I barely know how to express how special and scary it was. Also, how sincerely grateful I am for the people around me who have really stood up, and also those that have showed true colors (good and bad) and helped me grow as a person. Some relationships have gained strength, some have grown weaker, and I can’t help but find myself reflecting on that today.

I woke up early to some crazy sledgehammering outside our house, shaking the walls, and finished Drew Barrymore’s book, Wildflower. I stared this book yesterday evening and to say I flew through it could be an understatement (the day before I read Nora Ephron’s, I Feel Bad About My Neck) – I love reading next to a Christmas tree. Drew’s book really touched me though (Nora’s, turns out, is made more for a woman in her 50’s/60’s, but it did help me reflect on some things I shouldn’t take for granted while I’m still young). But Drew, omg. Girlfriend. She made me feel like I understand myself a little bit more. She is fiercely independent and brave and clumsy and often late. She tries as hard as she can and said several times to be as personal as possible. Which I try to do as often as possible (see: this blog) but often feel like I am exposing myself and feel kind of stupid. She also talked about art, and how her grand father was a talented artist, that drawing was a skill she always admired, and how she wasn’t one (neither am I), and that she vowed to make a picture where a family stays as one (this made me cry). I want, desperately, to create a family that sticks together. It’s become my biggest healthy obsession.

I’m sitting here, feeling this baby kick inside me as I speak (maybe the chocolate reached it down there), and I just want to be the best mother I can be. I don’t want to obsess over “parenting” though, I want to raise an independent little thing, and not fault it for being itself, and also take responsibility for myself, and learn through my child. I’ve already begun doing this, as it grows inside me, and its definitely changed me as a person already. We had our second ultrasound yesterday and we got to see the baby’s features, it was wild. It’s little nose, and lips, opening and closing, sticking it’s tongue in and out. The exam of the spine was what really stuck with Joe and I, so intricate and beautiful. Seeing the little thing kick it’s legs around on the screen, while I felt it in my body, was wild. It is fair to say that my main goal has always been a mother. It’s been painful for me to wait as long as I did, I can’t believe I’m finally to that place I always wanted to be. I am so glad to share this all with a man that is truly my best friend. We can’t wait for 2016.

I am going to sign off now, the fire is crackling, the sun in shining, Joe is hanging some laundry on the line, he just finished the dishes. I made latkes with fried eggs, applesauce & sour cream, and bacon. Turns out I still can’t do bacon. The smell cooking didn’t bother me, but as soon as I put it in my mouth I thought I was going to upchuck. I also ordered a steak out last night and couldn’t do that either. Meat just isn’t settling right for me, pregnancy is wild. I will continue to listen to my body.

I just peeked outside and I see Joe hung a pair of his boxers on the front row of our clothes line. Ha ha. He doesn’t get it. Our drier died the other night mid laundry marathon. So that’s fun. I love line drying undies. Not. We are going to go through the gifts we received from our parents for Christmas, and put on LOTR. Maybe walk to the beach later (but probably not) and then head to a friends house for a little shin dig tonight. Last night we went to see a good friend coach basketball. He is a grad coach on a college basketball team, it was a really fun game (went into double over time) – I enjoyed watching these college dudes run around. Not in a pervy way, they were just trying so hard, and they are so young! I feel old watching younger people, how did we grow up so quick? Oh my god I just deposited an entire handful on M&M’s into my mouth and I need water so bad. So off I go. See you in 2016.

Spring baby

Holy crap I haven’t blogged since December 4th! Bad Ashley, bad!! I need to get on here more often, but I am still having blog shyness. I know my life is over-interesting at this point but I just don’t really know how to write about it anymore. Does that even make sense? I don’t know. I want to start taking more pictures, I think I am starting a 365 project January 1, 2016. After getting and ending so many jobs with my camera, I started to despise it. I want to fall in love with taking pictures again, on a daily and personal basis/level. I attempted a 365 in 2009 and I still enjoy going back and looking at the pictures. It’s such an interesting photo project, gets you out of your comfort zone, and focused on something creative everyday.

This year is going to be even bigger than 2015 was for me because, well, I’m pregnant. That’s the first time I am writing that on an internet level and it’s terrifying but also relieving. I never aspired to be an online mama who over-shares her pregnancy. I recently read blog-moms are the new stage-moms (although I’ll admit, I do read several baby/family blogs). But now that I am pregnant, and I do this whole life-on-the-internet thing.. I am trying to find a graceful way to deal with my big news. I’ve had several friends ask me variations of “how/when are you going to announce online?” ..liz said, “I feel like one day you are just going to have a baby” — To be quite honest here, Joe, not to call him out, doesn’t like actually personal things online and has always had a strong opinion about our one day baby and whether or not we put photos/news online. I share this sentiment, for the most part, not only because I want to protect the baby from as much as I can but also because I want to spend my time with the child and not uploading the child.

We all grew up without social media, without our parents having the chance to upload our every move, or let’s say, every fifth or sixth move. My family have always been documenters, don’t get me wrong. We have volumes of home movies (that if you know me, you have probably been subjected to viewing once or twice …or ten times), family photos out the yin yang. My grandparents were heavy documenters too, so when they passed I inherited the photos they took of us. My nana had a photo album for each grandchild, so when I was at her house it was a regular occurrence to browse through the “Ashley” book at the memories she captured. I have always been enamored with photos and videos and capturing memories. I fully intend on doing that when our little one comes out, as I’ve done with ourselves pre-baby.

That being said, I am trying to formulate a plan. I have switched to a flip phone for my regular every day phone. This way I can leave the iPhone behind when going to a special dinner or the beach, but still be reachable. I have begun to re-familiarize myself with my 35mm camera, so moments can be snapped and developed later, to lose that feeling of instant gratification. Most importantly, I don’t want our child to grow up with a smart phone in their face for them to say “let me see!” after I take a photo. I am afraid that this is causing a new sense of vanity in children and it worries me.

I admit that I had a variant of this vanity as a child. Going to the supermarket to pick up photos, the torture waiting in the car until we got home to look at them was REAL. I loved seeing myself and my family in photos. Usually it was weeks or months after the event, and I hadn’t been the one taking the pictures, the feeling contained a certain amount of magic. The same goes with home movies, which I have only recently begun to grow out of obsessively watching. I always loved watching my family as a family, to see our personalities from afar and be a fly on the wall to an event that had already taken place. This was personified after my parent’s divorce in 1998 (which I’ve never fully gotten over). My dad’s approach is much appreciated, setting the video camera up and letting it roll on Christmas mornings or during Thanksgiving dinner, or a random breakfast while my parents are doing laundry, and the occasional play in the back yard on a Summer day. It gives us now a treasured view of what those fleeting moments were like, regular conversations and interactions between family members gone or grown. I want to give my child that. I want to have footage for them, meaningful, sincere for my children to look back and see how they grew up.

This means changing the way that I document things myself, putting more time and effort into making sure I print photos, and put together videos as a keepsake, and also a cognitive and organized method of documenting. As I type this I have files upon freaking files of photos and videos I have shot the past ten years that all live within a computer (or three). At this point, these files would take me months to sort through and probably over $1,000 to print and put into books. What do I do with all of this? Hell if I know. Sneak peek, that’s actually my New Years Resolution, to deal with my existing media before baby comes. Because then, I will be focused on family media and try to deal with it every season, to book it and archive it. I have a feeling in this day and age so many children don’t have family albums being created for them, and it makes me sad. Not only for the children but for the children’s children’s children. Because these are the things that make heirlooms and create a legacy, and as a society we have stopped doing this.

So there ya go, off I went, making a little pregnancy announcement into a digital proclamation. I’d love to hear your thoughts on a low media child rearing. Or I’d also love to hear why you put your child online or where you draw the line. I understand a lot of people do this to keep up with family and friends that live far away. The above was not meant as a judgement but more of a rant and rave about my own feelings.

Our little is due early May.
I can’t wait to meet my Spring baby.
We are waiting to find out the sex. <3

Simple kind of life.

Well, we officially canceled our cable service. Bye bye bye. I am sad to admit that I might be a little bummed, because I did like to watch cable, but there is really no point whatsoever in paying what we were paying for something that is only distracting us and keeping us away from reading, listening to music (or watching something fulfilling) while at home.

Yesterday was sort of a bad day for me. Lets rewind first to two nights ago, when I was driving to meditation and got a call from my dad that Stinky (our dog) was not doing well. You might be wondering why he had Stinky in the first place. Well, after we got back from our honeymoon we picked Stink up and his eyes looked great, he is a chihuahua and has bulgy eyes that he has been scratching a lot lately. We bring him home and he starts scratching again, so we were wondering if he has developed an allergy to the cat. We were at the vet in July with a freak infection in his neck (which I was wondering if it was caused by a tooth infection) – So maybe the eyes is also from his teeth. Anyway, we brought him there two weeks ago to see if his eyes clear up again, so we can rule something out before putting him under (which can be very dangerous for a small dog his age).

So, my dad calls me up and says he isn’t doing well, asked for some vet records, so they could bring him to the vet. I said I’d come pick him up and bring him to our vet. So I go there the next evening to pick him up and his eye looks so bad. It’s nearly all gray and there is puss in his cornea and he just is so sad. We had made a vet appointment so on the way to get him I also stopped and picked up a tranquilizer — he is difficult so this pill is to be given to him two hours before our appointment.

Joe woke up and brought the pill into bed around 7am, we woke up at 8:30 and poor Stinky couldn’t even use his legs, he was rolling around on the ground. Well, once he heard Joe making eggs he figured out how to walk and was more or less himself (just sleepier) — We get to the vet and were there for about an hour.

What we learned is that he had an ulcer on his cornea that could have been caused by several different things. First step is to treat it and try to make him more comfortable. His blood work showed a significant rise in levels in his liver, which could mean cancer. If we want to sedate him we can do an ultrasound on his liver (for $440), and while he’s down the oral vet can look at his teeth, if any have to go they can take care of that too (for up to $1,500) … his appointment yesterday cost us $360. Not sure why I am giving you numbers here but I just can’t help but go there. I vowed yesterday to start a savings account for my animals so when things like this happen we can not stress about the financial side of things.

So anyway, I just keep hearing the word “cancer” echoing through my head. I know we have to go through with the ultrasound, to know what is going on. We go back Tuesday morning to see how he is doing. In the meantime I have 3 different drops, an antibiotic, and a pain killer. He is also wearing a cone. His spirits are still high which is making all the difference for me.. although he *hates* the drops. One of them is a serum made from another animals blood.. that has to go in the eye every two hours. It’s a struggle to say the least.

So other than that, I took yoga this morning and it was really nice. I am starting to really love going, and I always wanted to practice enough to feel this way, and now it is happening. On the way home, I got pulled over. Apparently the registration for my car expired on the 30th of November, which I had no idea, isn’t the DMV supposed to send you something in the mail? I try to be so on top of that stuff, my arms were numb when I got pulled over I had no idea what was going on. I also somehow lost my license in my own home the other day (and have been turning everything upside down since looking for it). It was a nice cop who just let me go and said to try to get to the DMV ASAP to get a new license and register my car. The past few days have been one thing after the next for me. I need a break.

I am going to Bordentown tonight to set up a table at what they call the “Chocolate Walk” — basically carriage rides, festivities, and all the local businesses have special treats. We are doing mocha java (with whipped cream) — Joe is working at his other job so my dad is going to come and help me. We are also picking up an order of olive oils that we sell at the store, so hopefully we can push some of that this weekend. Oh me oh my, so much is going on.

It’s so nice out here if I was smart I’d be walking on the beach, but instead I am cleaning up the house and getting my self in order so I am not running late later on.

I have to admit, that with the cancelation of the cable I also downloaded the Amazon streaming app on the Wii, so now I can hook up my Amazon Prime account and watch all that is there. I started “Transparent” last night and am obviously LOVING it. Next up is “Man in the High Castle”.

Mandy sent me a song earlier saying she thought it would be what Joe and I sounded like if we had a band, so I looked it up and listened and I somehow know every word to the song! I can’t place where I know it from, possibly a soundtrack or I had it on a playlist or Joe is obsessed with it or something.. I don’t know but I love the song, so I will post it below for you to listen. It’s “Someone Else” by Wild Child. Namaste.


Well, it’s December 1st. That happened quickly. This year that is. What a freaking year it has been. I am sitting here on my couch, not really sure what I came here to write about. It’s as if there is so much going on I don’t know how to process any of it. Today itself flew by, actually. I woke up this morning with Joe, we slept in a little because of the rain. We had some coffee and then drove to his parents house so he could borrow his mom’s car for the week. His parents are in Disney with his sister’s family, and since we only have one car it would make such a difference to have another set of wheels. What usually happens is I am stranded here all day feeling helpless. Our business is only down the road but there isn’t anything going on there during the week, there is just something about having a car in the driveway/an out to escape the island if you want to. I might have touched on that part before, but yes, we live on an actual island that just gets lonelier and lonelier as the winter rolls in.

Tonight I am meeting my mom at a yoga class. It’s technically a meditation class, but either way, it will be nice. We have been doing yoga 1-2 times a week for the past month and it is bringing us closer and definitely helping both of our mental states.

I just ate an entire sleeve of oreos. Zero regrets.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. We did. The actual day was spent at Joe’s parents, my mom came the night before and slept over which was nice. Last year on Thanksgiving my nana passed away, so this year was an emotional time. This entire week is still extremely emotional. To think that a year ago I was writing her obituary and processing what had happened, her service was on December 4, I really can’t wait for that day to come and go at this point. I am feeling more at peace without her in my physical life. It is sad but she was sick and it was her time.. I just wish I had more time with her. The last year of her life I don’t feel like I was present enough. Although I was there for her as much as I could, I think it really just comes down to what I was doing with my jobs, and how much it wasn’t worth it. She was proud, and I don’t really believe she held it against me but looking back I just hate that I often put my job and the person I was working for in front of who really mattered. Especially since that person didn’t appreciate my work most of the time.

Anyway. I cooked another Thanksgiving dinner this past Sunday. The whole thing, turkey, mashed potatoes, string bean casserole, stuffing, gravy, cole slaw, cranberry sauce… it was really good and we are still enjoying the leftovers. I started to take pictures for this here blog but as always, I got too busy and caught up in the cooking to carry on with taking pictures. Oh, I also did a pumpkin pie. From a can, but still. I really do love pumpkin pie but this year it just didn’t taste right to me, this one and the one on the actual holiday.

Okay, I am going to sign off.

pumpkin pie | making fried onions for the top of the casserole | curled up kitty | plate before & after | ma, me, joe | first thanksgiving as a married couple | petting baby margot at ellie’s second birthday | leftovers are amazing | joe brought my mom and I each a bouquet of flowers on nana’s anniversary

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