The Story within the Song

I love music.  I don’t really know how someone couldn’t love music.  In fact, whenever I meet someone that isn’t into music, I question them as a person.

My love of music was instilled in me as a young girl — I have really fond memories of getting home from school and my dad would have our stereo system blaring with classic rock like CCR, Steve Miller, and Skynyrd.  My mom would always quiz us as kids, “Who sings this?”  “Name the artist!”  She told us it was good to know the artists behind the songs, which would make for great conversation starters as we got older.  And, she was right.  I couldn’t even count the number of times that I’ve used my random knowledge of musicians and song titles to network and build friendships. I usually start each morning with a song, and many nights, I end my day with a song.

It goes further than the music though — I’m a words person (are you surprised?), so lyrics and the stories behind the songs are really what draw me in.  And I use them to help me better explain my feelings — sometimes when I can’t find the words to really express how I feel, chances are, there’s a song that can help me get my message across.

Which is great, but the downside is the emotional attachment that can be placed upon that song. Good and bad.

The memories that linger even when the song has ended or the moment has passed.

That feeling you get when you haven’t heard a song in YEARS — you walk into a coffee shop, hear it playing, and it sends you right back and you want to rip your heart out of your chest and throw it in the garbage.

That warmth you get in your chest, and you can close your eyes and see your friends dancing around you, huge smiles, and you feel their energy.

That sharp stabbing pain you get in your stomach, when you hear certain words that basically describe your life now, as you know it.

That smile that creeps across your face, and you can close you eyes and see his looking right back at you, the same smile reflecting on his face.

The stories behind the songs, not just the song’s story, but your own personal story.  The song that would be playing in the background of that particular “scene” in the movie of your life, the overplaying music reflected in that cheesy 80s style montage moment, or the song that causes you to just sit back and stare pensively at a lake, or something.

And the relation piece.. god, sometimes there are certain lyrics that just pull on my heartstrings so hard that I feel like I’m going to fall over.

There’s the bittersweet past:

“How does it feel to know you’re everything I want? I’ve got a hard time saying this, so I’ll sing it in a song.” Still relevant.

“And, I wanna tell you everything, the words I never got to say the first time around. And, I remember everything, from when we were the children playing in this fairground. Wish I was there with you now.” Ah.

“So, please don’t let on, you don’t know me. Please don’t let on, I’m not here. Please don’t let on, you don’t love me, ’cause I know you do. I know you do…” Destroyed.


There’s the harsh reality:

“I’ve been afraid of changin’, ’cause I built my life around you.” Yep.

“Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” “You can see when you’re wrong, but you can’t always see when you’re right.” Preach.

“She’s imperfect, but she tries. She is good, but she lies. She is hard on herself. She is broken, and won’t ask for help. She is messy, but she’s kind. She is lonely, most of the time. She is all of this, mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie. She is gone, but she used to be mine.” God dammit, Sara. Why do you know my life?


And there’s the hopeful future:

“Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes. But we keep living anyway, we rise and we fall and we make our mistakes. And, if there’s a reason why I’m still alive when so many have died, then I’m willing to wait for it.” 100%.

“When you wake up, I’ll be the first thing you see. And when it gets dark, you can reach out to me. I’ll cherish your words, and I’ll finish your thoughts. I’ll be your compass, baby, for when you get lost.” Yes please.

“If you let go, I’ll float towards the sun. I’m stronger because you fill me up. When the fear comes and I drift towards the ground, I’m lucky that you’re around. I wanted to play tough, thought I could do all this on my own… your love lifts me up like helium.” Every word.

“All we need is hope, and for that, we have each other.” Every day, my love. Every single day.


I could tell you a tale for every song. I could compose the ending for the lyrics that pain me.  I could breathe in the notes of each verse and exhale all the memories I cherish and did cherish for so long.

Maybe one day I’ll create a mixtape and share it with you, and we’ll smile, maybe laugh, probably cry… and the world will be just fine. It will be a changed world, but it will be just fine.




Quick Update!

Hi friends!

Whoa, it has been TOO LONG! Here’s a quick update of what has been going on in our world:

About a month ago, Ella turned 2.5.  It’s almost as if to the DAY she turned 2.5, she’s gone kinda crazy.  I never wanted to believe in the phrase “Terrible Twos” because — well, I mean, she’s adorable, how could she ever be TERRIBLE?  But, alas — I’m in a constant state of learning, and there have been several moments over the past few weeks that weren’t exactly… great. Sometimes the tantrums are short lived and easy to manage, but those other times… phew!

It also appears that Ella has now hit a sleep regression period that feels like it is slowly killing me.  We’ve been extremely lucky in her short life so far — she’s been an excellent sleeper!  I’ve always hated telling people that she started sleeping through the night after about 2 weeks of bringing her home — but it’s true.  Now, she won’t fall asleep unless you are laying with her.  After about 3 hours of sleep, she wakes up, and either comes to get me to lay with her in her bed, or crawls into our bed.  Some nights, this is completely okay, because she actually sleeps.  Other nights, its a toss-and-turn-all-night-pillow-fight that leaves both Raux and I feeling exhausted.  Lately, it feels like that latter is becoming the norm — and most days I feel like a walking zombie trying to push through until bedtime, so we can do this dance all over again.

Despite everything though, I must say that I’m grateful for this opportunity to grow through these challenges.  I know it may sound silly — but in reality, things could be much worse.  I know the world is big and she’s two, so these changes are just a natural progression of growing up for her — and I’m thankful that I get to be here to help her through it.  Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity for me to progress in my own growth, and patience training. 😉

Other than our sleep struggles and attitude adjustments with Ella, we’ve just been pretty busy lately!  I’ve been consistently working out at least 5-6 times a week, and have been incorporating more runs into my regime for marathon training.  We also have added on two upcoming side projects — both are fitness related and super fun.  More details soon!

I’m hoping to balance out my crazy a little better in the next few weeks, and make more time for writing on here.  Ideally, I want to get back to posting 2-3 week — and I’m looking forward to sharing all the exciting happenings with you all soon as they continue to develop!

If you don’t follow me  on IG or FB — please do!  I’m constantly adding amazing pictures and fun stuff on those pages, moreso than on here. Let’s keep connected! 🙂

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!


A Love Letter (or, A Tale of Desperation from a Sleep Deprived Momma)

Oh, you.  I remember you.  So well, in fact.  You were like a dream — in fact, I embraced you with that notion in mind.  Dream.

You know how they say hindsight is 20/20?  I fear that when I had you in my life, I took you for granted.  I didn’t give you the appreciation you deserved.  You had been there, pretty much since the beginning.  When others were doubting they would ever see you again in those early weeks/months, I would stand back and say nothing.  A slight smile would curl at the end of my lips, because.. I was confident in US.  I knew all the work, the scheduling, the routines we had built were solid.  We were a team.  We made it work.  We MADE it.. 2.5 years of greatness.  I thought the hard times were behind us, and we had persevered with grace, dignity. We were unstoppable.

I didn’t tell you that enough.  I didn’t express my gratitude enough.  I didn’t remind you that you are beautiful. I didn’t let you know how much you meant to me.

I wasted time.  I piddled away valuable minutes, hours. Time that I will never get back.  Time that we could’ve spent together.

People warned me about this.  People said this could happen — but I refused to believe it.  People told me when you were there I needed to take advantage of every opportunity to be with you — but I didn’t.  I found other things to occupy my time — wasteful things.  Irrelevant things.  If I wasn’t with you, I could’ve been productive, at least.  But I wasn’t.

I fear things may never be the same. You are distant now.  You come and go, sporadically — sometimes you are here, sometimes you are gone.  Sometimes I force being with you, and it hurts — like I’m trying to hold on to something that wants to be let go.

I’m finding myself going to extremes to have you stay.  I bought new sheets — did you notice?  New pillow? New blanket?  It’s fun colors and super soft — I thought you would like it.  Did you see I upgraded us to a new BIGGER bed?  I thought that would be a welcome change compared to the squeaky crib mattress, or pile of pillows and blankets on the floor.  I’m sure it was hurting your back as much as it was hurting mine.  I did this all with you in mind.  I did this all for you.  For us.  So we could be together again — on a consistent, regular basis.  Like we used to be.

As much as it hurts, I understand that this is happening. I get it.  I mean, she’s growing up.  This is part of life — and I’m sure these past three weeks of missing you aren’t going to be the last ones we have for the next 18 years — or forever.

But, in case I forget to tell you.  In case I fail to mention.  In case we never see each other again —

I love you.  I miss you.  Please come back.  I promise I’ll be better, I’ll treat YOU better.

You. Complete. Me.

Longingly yours,

Ashley (aka the sleepless momma who is currently going through sleep regression with a cranky and tantrumy  2.5 year old –and is dog-tired and can’t help but focus on all that is lost — sleep.)

For reference: 🙂

Ella Grey with BagheeraTsum Tsum bedding

We’re back!

Ahh, friends!  We are back!

I spent a week trying to figure out how to transfer my sweet little blog from a .com to a .org hosting — and made a complete mess of things!  Can you believe it? 😉  However, finding the silver lining — I’ve learned so much more about how to run this page — and am excited for more changes in the near future.

Meanwhile, as this mess unfolded.. here are some pretty cool accomplishments our little family made in the past two weeks (with some pictures!):

  • We are in full force potty-training mode!  Because of this, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep clothes on this child — she wants to be naked ALL.THE.TIME.
  • I have two special projects I’m currently working on that are almost near completion — both are creatively based, which is SO awesome!  One of the projects was supposed to launch last weekend, but we ran into a few bumps along the way — technology 1, Ashley 0. I’m hoping for a June 1 launch for (at least) one of them.
  • My Granny turned 80 last week!  That is so incredible to me — and she’s my hero.
  • Ella went on her first slip-n-slide! She loved it — and so did we!


  • We are experiencing a bit of 2.5 year old sleep regression — that I’m learning is because of her two year old molars coming in.  Seems the little girls only wants to fall asleep with one of us in her room with her — and she sneaks into our bed in the middle of the night.  I’m still not 100% this is the best decision, but I’m enjoying the extra snuggles while I have them.
  • I failed Whole 30 this month — but I’m already starting to meal plan for June!  Plus, this month we tried out Hello Fresh, and holy-tasty-food!  I’ve been REALLY enjoying every meal I’ve made so far, and they are fairly healthy for you — bonus!
  • Ella’s language has been EXPLODING — she’s definitely made it to the “Mockingbird” stage. She’s growing up — which makes me so incredibly happy and sad at the same time.  Oh, and did I mention we visited her potential preschool — yeah. I cried.
  • We were super lucky to have a DATE NIGHT (well… it was more of an afternoon, but still!).  Raux and I went to see one of our friends in a show, then went to check out the new Town Center area of Disney Springs.  Even got to hang out with “Auntie K” and enjoy some delicious food and cocktails.  “MOM ON THE LOOSE!” Really, though — it was a blast.  And, we waited in line for 30 minutes for a cupcake, which was silly — but worth it! 🙂

I’m so happy to have the blog BACK up and running!  We are currently working on changing up the appearance, so look for some changes coming soon!

Happy Monday!

Tot School: Week 5

Hi friends!

Week five of Tot School is a wrap — and as always, we had so much fun!

This week, we only had a short amount of time to have the littles together — so our lesson was condensed into fewer activities, but allowing more time within those activities for learning.  I wanted to focus the entire day on talking about Springtime, but we ended up covering “Spring” at the end of the day, and spending a bit more time on colors and letter recognition.  The little ones seemed to be a bit all over the place, and their attention spans were very short — so we had to improvise 😉

Here was the week 5 lesson plan:

Tot School

We started the day off with a Color Review activity that was super fun — but did require a little bit of prep!  I secretly raided Ella’s toys to find a variety of different small toys in all the colors of the rainbow, plus brown, black, and white. I made sure to have at least 3-4 toys of each color, and then mixed them up in a small plastic bin.  Then, I gathered all of the matching colors of construction paper, and laid out the paper on the floor in a circle.  All of the littles sat on the floor, and I would lift out a toy, and say “What color is this?” Whoever answered correctly first, got the toy — but they had to place the toy on the matching colored paper.  It was a bit rough in the beginning, but once they got it — they loved it.  Ella particularly loved it — we have now included this game into our daily play. 🙂


After our color review, we moved into the kitchen for fun “Do-A-Dot” activities. Since Week 4 we focused on A, B, and C — this week, we focused on D, E, and F.  We dotted the letters by themselves (you can find the templates we used here), and also did the “Spot and Dot” activity we did last week — which was awesome and the kids really enjoyed it (as well as the proud mommas!).  You can find the “Spot and Dot” worksheets here.  The littles LOVE their Do-A-Dot markers, or as most of them call it “Colors” or “Painting.” Purchasing these markers has been a huge help with our tot school — highly recommended!

After our Do-A-Dots, we did a special painting activity.  All of our toddlers know their names and the letter their names start with — so when I was out piddling away at Michaels, I found some chipboard letters in each of their first initials on clearance, and I thought, “TOT SCHOOL!”  The only letter they were missing was the letter “E” — of course! 😉  But, instead of doing a letter for Ella, we let her paint a shape that looked like a ticket — that we will then write her full name on.

We used Crayola Washable Paint, and let the kids go to town painting their letters — after we made them say what each one was out loud.  It was great practice for them to remember their friends names — as well as practice of letter recognition outside of the repetition of the Alphabet song.

Painting was so much fun — but whew! What a mess 😉  We cleaned up, and our last activity of the day was going to be talking about spring, flowers, and actually putting our hands in dirt to plant our own little pots of daisies.  For a snack, I made “dirt cups” with chocolate pudding and crushed oreos — so we decided it was a better idea to eat our dessert AFTER we plant our flowers, to avoid having the kids eating real dirt thinking it was a treat.  #momwin

We found these mini pots with seeds at our local Target in the $1 section.  Each little one got to plant two pots — one with daisy seeds, one with poppy seeds.  They all had fun playing in the dirt, for sure — I think once they are a bit older they will understand what we were actually doing.  They are learning, though — and so are we 🙂 I absolutely love the look Ella has on her face in the first picture below — she’s like “Hey man.. whatchu guys doing…..?” LOL

And, of course — everyone’s favorite part of the day was our dessert treat.  Even the Mommies enjoyed this one! 😉  At first, the kids were like — eww, we are going to eat dirt?? But, in the end, I think they enjoyed it.

Week Six was supposed to be last week — but scheduling conflicts prevented us Mommies from coordinating on a day together.  However, Ella Grey is just so in love with school and learning.  There isn’t a day that goes by where she isn’t grabbing my hand to sit with her as I quiz her with flashcards on her numbers and letters.  She knows her ABCs, she can count to 25, and is great with her colors and shapes.  It’s amazing to watch her grow and learn — seems like everyday there is something new!

I’m planning to expand on our once a week “tot school” lessons with our friends, and include a weekly lesson plan of the activities I’m doing with just Ella — so be on the lookout, friends!  The greatest gift you can give your child (aside from love, of course) is an opportunity for growth and learning. And, she’s soaking everything up like a sponge right now — so let’s set goals, let’s continue to learn, and let’s get to it!

Do you have any amazing homeschool, preschool, or “tot school” activities you are doing with your little one?  PLEASE SHARE!  I’m always on the hunt for “gold” when it comes to new and exciting ways to teach Ella.  I’d be so appreciative 🙂

Drop me a comment below, or check me out on Facebook and Instagram!


Whole 30: Week Two Meal Plan

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day — I spent the day relaxing and enjoying some snuggles with my sweet Ella, and my amazing husband surprised me by putting together the new pull-up/dip bar in the garage!  He knows the way to my heart, for sure! 😉

So, last week I started Whole 30 — and because I’m completely transparent with you all, I’ll tell you — it wasn’t that difficult in the beginning of the week, but I caved into a few treats over the weekend.  Now, I could name off a list of excuses — but I won’t.  Truth is, it’s a mental thing that I need to work on, and even though I have all the control — I let a craving get the best of me.  I’m better than that, and I’m worth more than that — so here’s to week two (or.. week one redux?), feeling more fired up and determined!

Meals last week were AWESOME.  I tried some new things, including making a delicious steak salad that I ended up making again last night for Mother’s Day, because it was that DANG good. 🙂  I also tried Turkey Meatballs for the first time, which were tasty!  I didn’t get to make the Zucchini Taco Boats last week, so I will be making them this week instead. I’ve made a mental note to take pictures of the dinners I make to recap for next week.  The only real picture I got last week was of my turkey meatballs — which were delicious, but I wish I had more pics to share with you!


Workouts were also really good last week, although I took TWO rest days (whaaaattt)!  So unlike me!  But, they were amazing and NEEDED — I’ve been working really hard for the past few months, so I don’t feel too guilty for needing to relax.

This week, it’s back to the grindstone!  On top of the planned meals, I’ve scheduled three run days with the girls, plus going to Body Back and Stroller Strides.  I’m also yearning to break in the pull-up bar, so I’m sure I’ll be in there at least 3 times this week too!

Here’s the meal plan for week two:

Whole 30

The only meal that isn’t 100% Whole 30 on this week’s plan is the Mediterranean Bean Salad (no Beans on Whole 30!).  To make it Whole 30, I’m incorporating GREEN BEANS (which are Whole 30 approved!) instead of the traditional limas.  It will essentially be like the Veggie Salad I already make and love, except without the extra veggies and I may throw some chicken on there for fun! 😉 Also, the Chicken Curry will be made with Whole 30 compliant Coconut Milk.

Breakfasts this week will continue to include lots and lots of EGGS (I’m on an egg kick lately!).  Snacks will continue to be a variety of fruit, veggie strips, and almonds — but I noticed last week that I was better when I prepped them in advance.  So, this week, I plan to cut up some fruit for grab-and-go, and bag up some veggies — this way, NO EXCUSES!  Also, last week I assumed I’d make extra of each dinner so I could have these dishes for lunch too, but I didn’t.  I’m going to do that this week, as well as incorporate some boiled eggs, celery sticks and almond butter, and quick salads to the mix.

I will say, I did pretty good with eliminating the sugar, as well as not eating past 9PM.  This surprised me — and I’m going to continue doing this this week, as well! 🙂

Let’s have a kick-ass week, friends!


Body Back: Week Three Recap!

Happy Tuesday — and another end to amazing week of Body Back!  Can you believe we are already starting our halfway point in this 8 week program! Time flies when you are having FUN! 🙂 Did you miss my recap posts of week one and two? No prob!  Check them out here: ONE // TWO.


Week three was AWESOME.  Seriously. I feel like I was a total BEAST with my workouts this week.

Monday morning started off a little crazy, as I almost MISSED class due to my alarm not going off.  ….Ok, that was a lie — It did go off, but my sleepyhead must have pressed snooze without even realizing it, because as I opened my eyes and saw 5:30AM on my phone, I freaked out.  Class starts at 5:45AM, but it’s about a 20-30 minute drive for me, so you can imagine my panic.  The weird thing was, I was dreaming about missing class, and sure enough, I almost did.  Our brains are so amazing.. 🙂

But, alas, I did NOT miss class.. just missed a few minutes of the first round — which just so happened to be burpees, which makes my heart sad.  I definitely made up for it, by going super hard with the remaining time I had.  Trust me, there was A LOT of sweaty mess at the end of that workout.  Definitely a butt kick!

Hold it… HOLD IT….

Oh– and I weighed in at 150.0 lbs — down 2 lbs from week two!  Awesome news!

Monday and Wednesday’s BB workouts were killer, lots of cardio and strength exercises — and I decided that after each BB morning, I’d go for a quick 1-2 mile run.  This was a great addition to my morning routine, and so refreshing.  I’ve become accustomed to running when Ella naps, which is usually in the dead hot heat around 1PM.  So, running before the sun comes up is like a treat for me!  New goal is to do this around the same time every morning (not just BB mornings), because I know as summer inches closer, running at 1PM is going to be impossible — or a death wish.  Heat Stroke.  Oh, Florida.

The rest of the week, I kicked major butt with my at-home workouts.  I managed to workout at least twice a day for everyday this week, with many days being 3-4 workouts.  Between taking Ella for walks to doing 21DF workouts at home — I’ve been feeling amazing!

On Friday, one of my BB friends came over for a special “Dirty 30” workout I created for her 30th birthday.  This consisted of 4 rounds of exercises — each round had between 5-8 exercises, with an average of 15-20 reps of each exercise.  We then took roughly a minute or two break between each set.  Exercises were a mixture of burpees, push-ups, high knees, squats, wall sits, planks, lunge jumps.  We were BEAT when it was done!

Nutrition this week was also on point.  I am noticing that I’m a bit of a cracker snacker, though — I’m going to be more mindful of this going into week 4 and beyond.  No. More. Ritz.  Ritz = More Burpees. Also, I tried a new recipe: Balsamic and Basil Quinoa Salad — which was basically strawberries, granny smith apples, cucumbers, onion, quinoa, and balsamic/basil dressing.  It’s my new favorite meal — and super healthy!  Thanks to K for enlightening me!

Week three was awesome — but really, each week seems to be getting better and better.  Not only did I score a workout buddy on our “off” days, but I feel like I’m starting to see a difference.  The scale may not be moving as much as we’d like, but it’s like I’ve said before — the scale is just a number, it doesn’t show how much ass has been kicked!

I can NOT wait to see what kind of results we all get after 8 weeks.  We are getting STRONGER every. damn. day.

Hope everyone has a great Tuesday!  Check in tomorrow for DIY-Wednesday — it’s gonna be a good one!

PS. Are you following this blog on Facebook and Instagram?  If not, what are you waiting for? 🙂  I post daily with workouts, motivation, and — of course — cute pictures of Ella. Check it out! 🙂