Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Beginnings

I started blogging to share my parenting story. A story about having a child with special needs…a story about having a child with Juvenile Arthritis. My blogging adventure started 5 years ago and so much has changed since then. My blog changed too. I lost sight of why I started blogging. My blogging went from me sharing my story to just sharing stories for others about things like shows and events. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing…My boys and I were able to experience a LOT of amazing things because of my blog and the sponsors I worked with. But, that said, my original inspiration for blogging…my original blog….was lost. 

A lot has happened in my little world to in the past five years. Pain, heartache, anxiety, deep personal hurts that I was afraid to share. I didn’t use writing as my therapy like I did in the beginning. Honestly, I was fearful that if I actually put words to what was going on that it would make it all more real. I was living in denial. Trying to push down the inevitable. If I just got busy with ‘life’ then it would all go away and eventually work itself out. I mean, that’s how things work right? But it’s not. Pushing it all down and ignoring it only makes life harder. Makes the anxiety and depression worse. 

In the past two years I’ve had to learn the hard lesson to focus on me. I felt selfish at first. Making time for me. Finding what made me happy. I discovered though that with every little true piece of me that I found I also found little glimpses of happiness…happiness I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It sounds really strange but I’m finally growing up. I’ve always been dependent, naive, uncertain, scared, weak. I’m learning to be strong. I’m learning that I AM strong. I CAN do this thing called life. I AM an amazing mother even though I feel like I’m failing miserably. I am still finding me. I hope I will always keep learning more about myself. That’s what makes life so amazing, right? Learning. Growing. Changing. Experiencing. Staying in the same place, being stagnant is painful. Learning and growing is too but it’s a different kind of pain. It’s a beautiful pain…the kind that lets you see something new on the other side. 

I am dreaming again. I am taking a stand for those dreams. I am working to make memories for my boys. I am working to show them what a woman can be: Strong, Independent, Imperfect, Loving, Hopeful, Tearful, Joyful, REAL. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The MomCon 2015 #momswhorock

In November of 2014 I had the pleasure of attending The MomCon conference here in Pittsburgh. To say it was a moving and encouraging day would be a massive understatement. Just to be surrounded my hundreds of other mommas just like me was amazing then you add in all the wonderful speakers on top of that...something I'm so grateful I was able to experience. When I left the 2014 conference I immediately asked Nicole and Natalie (the two amazing woman behind The MomCon) when the next conference would be! 

Some of you may be asking, what exactly is The MomCon? Well, here is an excerpt from the website explaining just that: 

What Is The MomCon? 
Being a mom is the most challenging and rewarding job you will ever have. Benefits include fingerpainted masterpieces for your fridge and moments of pure bliss, but your vacation days are limited and never come with pay. When homework, overtime, soccer practice, and everything else starts to pile up, even the most cool and collected mom could use a friendly ear. 
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a tribe of moms out there willing to share the triumphs and struggles that come with motherhood
We thought so, too. 
Since 2013, the MomCon has been bringing women together
to talk about parenthood, careers, relationships and what their version of “having it all” looks like. It was created to inspire moms to go after their goals, to rediscover their creativity and to remind them that children are not the only members of the household who should grow and learn.

If you are a local Pittsburgh area mom I urge you to do whatever you can to make it to this year's MomCon. I promise you will leave inspired and refreshed. This year's conference is especially exciting with some amazing return speakers and so many options available with breakout sessions! Just look at what is being offered: 

DIY Workshop with Jacquie Dudt-Mulzet: Jacquie is a quilter, photographer, baker, art teacher, and mom of three who will teach attendees all her DIY tips and tricks for the home.

Pursuing the Hearts of Others Through Active Listening with Jane Ammon: In this workshop, Jane will dig into the art of listening to our children, our loved ones and ourselves. You'll discuss the importance of listening, hearing between the lines, understanding the cadences of other's hearts (plus our own hearts), and using silence as a tool for guidance and wisdom. You'll also discuss speaking from the heart (even when it hurts) using body language to promote vulnerability, and questioning the questions as well as the answers.

How to Feel Like a Million Bucks with Susan Ceklosky: when we take care of our bodies, we feel better physically, and feeling good physically is the foundation to having a positive attitude, fulfilling relationships, and better productivity at work. In this workshop, you'll learn 3 simple nutritional strategies that you can implement today to feel great tomorrow; the reasons why certain changes we make will affect our happiness and attitudes; and, tips and ideas to implement these strategies.

All the Beautiful Squares: How to Curate a Beautiful InstaFeed to Share Life's Beautiful Moments with Paige Ray: In this workshop participants will do hands-on training to answer the question, "What is your art?" Participants will learn about techniques such as lighting, focus, position, and editing while using their smartphones to take great images. They will also learn about multiple free resources to help them get the most engagement from their efforts. This workshop will allow you to take the visual story you are telling on Instagram and share it with the masses. 

When Mama's Gone Missing: You’re There, But are you Really Present in Your Child’s Life? with Cynthia Mendoza: This workshop examines the outcome of mothering when physically, emotionally and spiritually disconnected from your children. Whether mom is constantly shuffling her children from activity to activity, working too many shifts to put food on the table, or is depressed and disconnected from her children, this presentation sheds light on multiple modes of non-present mothering and gives moms the knowledge and tools to determine how to make the best of the time they spend with their children. We also have a minor focus on present living and how living each moment fully can lead to a healthy, more meaningful lifestyle.

Writing and Self-Discovery Workshop with Britt Reints

Ready to get your pass? Great! I'm happy to share with you that I have been given ONE pass to give away to one lucky reader! If you aren't the lucky winner you can still get a great deal by using the code momcon5off. This promo code will give you $5 off early bird registration, and then $5 off regular registration when it begins. I hope to see you at this year's MomCon on Saturday, November 7!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This content has been sponsored by the Mom Con. However, all opinions remain my own. #momswhorock #themomcon

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sky High Fun in the 'Burgh this Summer! #SkyTrail #PittsburghMills

We are all about looking for fun and different things to do this Summer in Pittsburgh. When I found the Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail I just knew it would be the perfect adventure for the boys!

Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail is a 32-foot tall, 2 level ropes course complete with 30 exciting elements including zig-zag beams, cargo nets, angled rope ladders, crisscross walks and more. Participants choose their own path through the elements and go at their own pace. The ropes course is also equipped with a Sky Rail zip line connection measuring 69' long. Participants soar down the length of the ropes course on a self guided zipping experience and are able to enjoy it's thrills over and over. For young adventurers, there's a specially designed Sky Tykes ropes course for kids ages 2-7.

SAVE Ropes Course COUPON Pittsburgh Mills #SkyTrail @SkyTrailMills Ages 2-102 http://pittsburghkidsguide.com/coupon.php?regionid=58&bid=12019&lid=16685&dealid=1955 .

Gift cards available too!

Follow Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail for more info! https://www.facebook.com/PittsburghMillsSkyTrail?fref=ts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

JA Spotlight ~ Samantha and her Royal Walkers

Today's JA Spotlight is a special one! On Saturday, May 30, the Arthritis Foundation is holding their annual Walk to Cure Arthritis and today's JA Spotlight also happens to be one of the child honorees for this years walk. Today's feature is all about Samantha. Here is her story as told my her mother, Cori. 

Samantha was diagnosed when she was 2 1/2 years old.  When she was learning how to walk she continually kept falling down.  At that point we noticed that her knee was swollen. From there we did a bone scan, blood work and multiple trips to Children's Hospital.  

When the doctor came in and said it was arthritis we just didn't know what to think.  We, like many, thought that this was a disease that only affected the older generations. We were wrong.  We tried a few different medications and are now finally on Humira which seems to be our wonder drug.  Although with all medications you wonder when it may stop working and if we have to start all over again.   

Samantha has a secondary condition from the arthritis which is the uveitis.  This is usually what gives her the most trouble.  Any time we start to try to ween off the biologics she gets eye inflammation.  

Between the doctors appointments, the being aware of people being sick, the watching of others being sick and being around her, and her just plain being down and out keep our family busy.  Do I wish she didn't have arthritis? Yes.  But I'm glad that if she has to have it that she was diagnosed at such a young age and she knows no different. Doctor appointments, weekly shots, lab work are all just normal things to her.   She is a super strong warrior.  She rarely stops going.  She won't let this disease beat her.  She may be exhausted after keeping up with her friends but she will NOT be left behind. I applaud her for this.  I can see when it is too much but sometimes you just have to let her go.  Have we kept her out of some activities, yes.  Should we maybe have let her try, yes.  But sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  

We are honored that Samantha has been selected as the child honoree this year for the walk to cure arthritis.  We want to help educate, fundraise and hopefully help find better medicines or even better find a cure.

Samantha's Royal Walkers are SO close to their goal of raising of $5,000.00.  If you would like to help Samantha and her family reach there goal you can donate directly on their walk page. You can also follow Samantha's Royal Walkers by following them on Facebook

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Blog Makeover from the #1000MomBlogMakeovers project by #Blogelina!

I've been blogging for about four years (wow) and since the beginning I've been a Blogger girl but I've been thinking lately it might be time to switch to Wordpress. Problem is, I'm terrified. Yep, you read that right. Change scares me a little and so do things I don't really know anything about. I'm so familiar with how things work with my blog right now that I've been to scared to learn about Wordpress and such. 

BUT, I found Blogelina and saw she is doing something pretty amazing. She is doing a #1000MomBlogMakeovers project! Well, when a friend shared this with me I figured maybe this was my nudge to make the move. You can read more about the project on the Blogelina post if you are interested in being one of the 1000 blogs! I know I'm excited and a little nervous. But, change is good right? And so is helping others. xo

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hello, my name is Ashley and I'm an essential oil addict...

That's right my friends...it's time I admit it. I am an essential oil addict. No joke. Ask my husband and his family...I'm hooked! Got an itch...I have an oil for that! Can't sleep? Let me rub some oil behind your ears! Feeling sick? Let me rub your feet with this oil! Just got a tattoo? Let me apply this oil infused salve! I could go on but for now I'll stop. ;) 

I'm excited to share with you that after all these years of being hooked on essential oils I have decided to jump in and share my addiction, er I mean, love of these oils with you! I am now officially part of the Young Living family! Young Living is the world leader in cultivation, distillation, and production of pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils and aromatherapy oils. Their 'seed-to-seal' process ensures that they produce the best, most authentic essential oils in the world. Sure you can find a variety of other oils out there but when you want to experience the true benefits of pure essential oil, Young Living is definitely the way to go!

I can't wait to share more about this journey with you as I get more involved. Right now I'm just excited about my new adventure and wanted to be sure to pass a little bit of that along to you! Once I receive all my information I'll be planning some fun events both in person and on Facebook to help education those who are interested in learning more about how essential oils can help YOU!

For now I'll leave you with some awesome facts on my absolute favorite oil...LAVENDER!!! Seriously you guys...this is the BEST oil! If you could only purchase ONE oil right now this is the one I'd highly recommend. I don't think a day goes by that I do not use my lavender oil! 

Are you interested in learning more about how essential oils can change your life? Let me know! I'd love to help! Ready to order some of your own? You can do that too! Just click here to go straight to my page and purchase your own life changing oils (just enter my distributor number at checkout 2850747)! Want to take a step and be part of the Young Living family with me...click here...I'd love to have you join me! 

Love and oily joy to you! xoxo Ashley 

Monday, April 27, 2015


I'll admit that I'm not one who is up to date on news or current events. I truly despise watching the news because most of the times when I do watch they're either gushing about "breaking news coverage' that they have on some celebrity (which to me isn't news at all) or it's stories that break my heart about how corrupt and cruel people are. 

BUT...this morning I was reading about Nepal...my heart is broken and it aches for that country. So devastating....truly there are no words. I sat here thinking....how I take so many things for granted. I mean, here I sit, sipping coffee while I scroll through Facebook on my computer, in a decent sized three bedroom home, with a refrigerator full of food, two out of three of my three kids are safe at school getting a wonderful education and my youngest is eating "Monkey Charms". All while a nation is mourning a loss of over 3,000 lives. To me that number is unimaginable! I just cannot wrap my head around that. I also heard on the radio today that they are saying the whole country is going to be basically shut down for six months because the roads are impassable. SIX MONTHS. That means that there are probably thousands of people injured and in need of help who may or may not be able to be reached because they live in an area where the road has slid off the side of a cliff.

I sit here and wonder, "What can I do? How can we help from so far away?" I know first and most importantly I can pray. Pray for the help that is being sent gets to those who need it quickly. Pray that those who are collecting funds are doing it for the right reasons and use those funds to help those in need. Pray for those who are there helping this hurting country that they are safe while they are there. Pray for peace for those who have lost so much. Pray for those hurting, not only physically but emotionally. Just pray. 

I also came across this post by CNN on How to help the victims of the Nepal earthquake if you are looking for some place to donate funds: 

I hope today that we can all be humbled a bit and remember those who are hurting...not just those in Nepal but all over the world. That we can take a moment to not gripe or moan about how slow our phone is or how our coffee is cold but count our blessings and remember how blessed we truly are. 

~Ashley xo