The nurturing of children from the deepest places of your heart, rooting for them to be their best selves while allowing grace when they (or you) fall short; tired, proud, overwhelmed, joyful, amused and busy—often simultaneously 

Life With Skylar

Life With Skylar

This is part two of a four part series of a young mother’s story. We were so captivated by her journey we knew you would be too. Find part 1 here. As I left the doctor’s office, my heart sank. I knew the specialist discovered something terrible and wouldn’t tell me. Thirty minutes after walking out of his office, the phone rang. It was our pediatrician. I was sure the specialist called him as soon as I left, and now he was calling me to confirm my fears. The first words I heard were, “Ashley, it’s not good.” With our daughter being a month and a half old, and seemingly mentally alert, in my head, the worst case scenario was a lifetime of […]

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Life Before Skylar

Life Before Skylar

This is part one of a four part series of a young mother’s story. We were so captivated by her journey we knew you would be too. BS. That was my life before Skylar—total BS. I thought I had my priorities in the right place. I loved my husband (most of the time), and wanted to have three kids to form our perfect little family. I imagined two girls and one boy playing in our green yard, contained in a safe little bubble in the form of a white picket fence… I look back now and just laugh. I was ignorant, selfish, and terribly insecure. Change is hard. Most times, it comes with growing pains—sometimes even suffering. It forces you to face

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Running on Empty Mom

Running on Empty, Mom?

Running on empty, who is going to fill MY tank? I love being a woman, a Mommy, a business woman, and a nurturer……but there are times I just want to be nurtured because I am running on empty! Do you ever have those mornings, you wake up when you just wanted to sleep a little longer? As you turn over, you see…. Cute little eyes staring at you Tiny little fingers poking at you Loud little voices calling your name Mommy, I wet the bed Mommy, I’m hungry Mommy, I can’t reach the cereal oops, I spilled the milk Mommy, I can’t turn the water off in the bathroom Mommy, I had a scary dream Mommy, the dog jumped in the trash

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Dear Daughter, as You Become a Mom

Dear Daughter, as You Become a Mom

She comes around the corner of the kitchen, her belly preceding her by a scant second and quickening my heart. Even though I can’t possibly for a second forget that my daughter is pregnant with her first child and I see her every day, for some reason that tangible reminder first thing in the morning is a jolt, stimulating utter joy and also complete amazement at how fast the last 25 years flew by. My hands have a mind of their own as they reach out to touch this soon-to-be-born little boy. I have to ask the same thing every morning, “How did you sleep? And how is my grandson?” She rolls her eyes. But I know that in her heart she

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Discovering Your Child's Talents

Discovering Your Child’s Talents

You want to sign your child up for activities that develop their talents. Where to start? Before you sign a single piece of paper committing you and that sweet thing you will transport on a weekly basis to some multi-hour event, take time to experiment. Not experimenting on your child, but experiment with your child. Before you begin, make a list of things that might interest them. To maintain the integrity of your experiment, your child needs to do this alone, not be influenced by anyone else, good or bad. Fill the family room floor with activities: Something to build Art supplies Musical instruments Send them outdoors to discover things you’ve already put in place: Sports equipment Sidewalk chalk Magnifier and bug

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Surviving Postpartum Depression

Surviving Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a slow road to madness. After my first child, I thought life would be all snuggles, hugs, and kisses. But after a few weeks of struggling to breastfeed and the lack of sleep, or really no sleep at all, I realized something was wrong. It felt like a slow fall into a maddening lack of control, and crazy anxiety you can’t even define with words. I spent years going through fertility treatments to even have my son and I remember looking at him one day thinking, “I prayed for him for so many years and I don’t even like him.” As a very difficult baby, he cried all the time with terrible reflux. To help with the spit-up, I

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When a Staycation is the Perfect Family Choice

It’s easy to get discouraged by all the Facebook and Instagram posts of the incredible vacations all of my friends get to take…Italy, Alaska, NYC, some private island in the Caribbean. Well, I’m a single mom on a budget. And by a budget, I mean I’m about 30 bucks short each month. Which also means no exotic travel, or travel at all. So, when my three kids and I took our vacation last summer we had a staycation. It could not have been more magical and amazing. On Monday morning as I sat on Zuma beach watching my kids play in the surf, I opened an email from my mom and she had bought us passes to Universal Studios Hollywood. Tuesday morning

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When There Are No Words My Child's Special Needs Diagnosis

When There Are No Words: My Child’s Special Needs Diagnosis

Other than an early arrival, our daughter’s birth came without major complication. After four short months, however, we began to notice she wasn’t meeting basic developmental milestones. Doctors began to show growing concern and recommended further testing. After extensive poking, prodding, and scanning, results returned to us with devastating news. Our daughter showed signs of mysterious brain damage of which doctors could not identify a cause. After ruling out anything life threatening, the best prognosis they could give was the likelihood of her never being able to walk or talk and the reality of living with this uncertain condition until future testing could identify the reason. As word about our daughter spread, it seemed that people began avoiding us for fear of

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Pursuing Dreams While Rearing Children

Pursuing Dreams While Rearing Children

People often ask how I have time to pursue any personal endeavors while rearing small children. Certainly there is the feeling that becoming a mom means postponing, if not completely forfeiting, any personal ambitions. I attribute my pursuit of being a practicing artist and present parent to appropriate doses of tenacity, perseverance, improvisation and intentionality with the cherry on top of a supportive spouse. Honestly, some days are a wash and require me coming to terms temporarily with letting any personal ambitions go. Other days present themselves more manageable if I just take the effort to proactively switch some things around in the schedule, humbly ask for help from my family and be disciplined enough to follow through. Being that it is

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When Your Daughter is Fatherless

When Your Daughter is Fatherless

I went to church for many years with a single mom whose two sons grew up alongside my daughter through middle and high school. My friend had divorced when the boys were very young and left their uninterested and uninvolved father on the other side of the country. Her boys, like my daughter, were very active in their youth group at church. They had Bible study with other guys their age on Sunday mornings, attended a large and vibrant youth group on Wednesday nights, and were involved in weekend retreats and summer camp. They had awesome men for their small group leaders, and a great male youth pastor, all who filled the gaps left by their dad. Those men, year after year,

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