a new normal

Sometimes in life, you look around and everything is so good… like soooo good. I’ve been there and thought.. “wait life is amazing right now.. whats going on?’ appreciate these moments for all they are worth because the next second you could be living your worst nightmare. Give your babies a little longer kisses and snuggle your loved one’s a little tighter. Remember every single good feeling you feel in these moments… the smell, the feeling, the energy.. take it all in. I find myself reliving my moments all the time.
Life is funny… When you’re in elementary, high school, college, you have this idea of how you think your life will go. mine went something like this..
Go to college, meet the man of my dreams.. marriage, babies life etc. pretty typical I guess. I never really gave any thought to the trials i would have to face in my life. If you would have told my young 19-year-old self I would be a widow with an 8-month-old at 26.. I would have laughed in your face and then told you how mean you were.
 I guess what I’m getting at is that life is just…life. It’s the most beautiful sunset on a tropical island holding your lovers hand and it’s also the ugliest most terrifying hurricane on the face of the planet.
 I’ll tell you… time has slowed waaayy down for me. It’s now been a month since the funeral and I can say nothing in my life is the same since the day Paul went missing on July 27th. Through this process, I’ve been forced to really look at myself. The ugliest parts I didn’t know existed and the most beautiful parts that I also didn’t know existed. They come to the table one by one and I feed them one by one.
 I know I have to find my new “normal” (I kinda hate that word) but I have to now create a new life for Poppy and I . That doesn’t necessarily have to be sad, its just new…and different. I know the old life will always be there and I will do everything in my power to make sure Poppy knows how beautiful our life was and who her father was. But this is a new chapter, a new beginning.
 One year ago Paul and I were in Hawaii on our babymoon. This was a very healing trip for us as a couple, We became closer then we had ever been. I couldn’t help but reminisce on some of these memories. We talked about what we thought poppy would look like and different parenting styles. We anxiously awaited this new chapter in our lives, we even talked about how Poppys arrival was actually volume two of our story and how amazing volume two was going to be. It’s looking a lot different then we thought but I know he is holding my hand as I continue volume two and raising our girl. I know he will be helping me all along the way. Wiping our tears and cheering us on. We miss you, we love you, we will never forget you Pauly.
 We can’t predict our future, we can’t foretell our trials and successes. So what do we do? Live the hell out of each and every day. look at the gifts in each moment, in each circumstance. Appreciate the flowers and find shapes in the clouds. Soak up every sound wave of your babies laugh (the most healing sound on the planet). Find the beauty in the trial and soak up every single blessing for all its worth. This little life is too short to not LIVE.
HERE is a link to the babymoon video I made last year (I am no pro but I’m so glad I made this)
 We originally thought we would name her Poppy Ann when I was pregnant.. I could never fully commit to it so when she was born paul said “what about Poppy Rae? Because she has been our little ray of sunshine” I instantly cried and she has been our Poppy Rae of sunshine ever since.

NINE

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Why does time go so fast…whyyyyy my newborn love bug is nine months and I know.. I KNOW I say the exact same thing at every month mark, but I still don’t understand how we can’t pause time. Seriously someone figure that out already

This little chunk is trying so hard to walk and crawls everywhere. She picked up the most hilarious fake laugh, we call it her evil laugh and she will just throw it out there when its silent… in the car… and she is back there by herself… we die every. single. time. She also started doing this scrunchy nose breathing thing and it MELTS me, I have a picture of me doing the same thing at her age. She also started copying us so peekaboo, waving, clapping, sticking out her tongue and blowing bubbles are all in her little bag of tricks.

She is an absolute crack up and her sweet personality is starting to shine. I can’t help but see little signs of Paul and it makes me so happy. I know he is watching all these new things happening and he has the biggest smile on his face at every milestone. I love getting to see little things in her that remind me of him. We miss him every day but how lucky am I that I get to love on this little slice of heaven twenty-four seven?! She is everything right now and I’m soaking up every second of this age.

I have been pretty emotional about my home. Paul and I built it together, and inside those walls hold so many good memories. It’s where we brought Poppy home and I am going to have a really hard time saying goodbye. So I wanted to take all the beautiful flowers that have been blooming in my yard and do a nine-month shoot with Poppy. One last hurrah! I will cherish these photos forever and ever.

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Soft place to land

I have thought long and hard about what I want this space to be for me now and I can tell you what I don’t want it to be… fake. I want this to be a place for me to document this life I am experiencing. That is what I have always wanted this to be. Mainly because I know one day I will look back and be so happy I documented. This is my soft place to land, I want this to be a place of inspiration, love and light. I might bring up scary topics because thats kinda my life right now…. (hand in face emoji) but I promise I’ll always leave it good and happy.

I’m here to document for myself and my baby, I welcome all the positivity and love out there as I heal through my trials and try to create something new for myself. Here’s to remembering the past, and welcoming the future with open arms.


July iPhone download 

There is some kind of magic in the air when you are with your loved ones watching fireworks in all your patriotic gear, laughing and making memories. We had the greatest week with family and friends and I don’t want to forget Poppy’s first 4th of July… even though she slept through all the fireworks. 

Another random thought.. I watched THIS last night and I feel like everyone should watch it. Brenè Brown is so inspiring. She says what I’m thinking but can’t put into words. It’s all about shame and vulnerability. So much love friends hope you all had an awesome Independence Day!! 

Monsters are real

Monsters are real, and they live in the darkness and the trials of our life. They are in the pain and the sadness of not being able to get pregnant; they are in the gut wrench of a rocky marriage, they are in the lies and betrayal of your best friend and husband. They are the gossip you can’t escape and the rejection that no one wants to tell your alk to you about.

I know my name has been in your mouth and I know what you must be thinking, I’ve thought the same things before. Why would she stay? She must not know. But guess what? You don’t know what we have been through and you know what else? You think you know what you would do in a situation until those cards have been dealt to you.

You think you know, but you have no idea.

Ya know what’s also real about monsters is that they aren’t really real. They only exist if we give them power. And I’m taking back my power.

It’s ok to sit in the darkness; actually it’s a part of life. I’ve been there for quite awhile, and I know it pretty well. There will always be darkness, and we will always have to sit there, it’s part of the healing process. But the best part about the darkness is the light and joy that proceeds. It’s crutial that we find that light.

For some people the light means leaving, sometimes that’s the better choice for all parties. But for me, that hasn’t felt right. I chose a harder choice… staying. Staying takes extreme courage and vulnerability. It also takes work, a lot of work that has to come from both partners. I have watched Paul throughout this process and if you know him…. you know, he is an entirely different person …and for the better. And I can say our marriage is better than it’s ever been.. ever! (Not that it’s anyone’s business)

Life is freaking hard, and I’ve been dealt quite the hand. But every tear and every pain is eased when I look into my Poppy’s eyes. She is the light at the end of my tunnel and the gift in the darkness. I will never be able to explain the weight that was lifted and healed the day she was born.

We will teach her to rise strong, to speak her truth and never be afraid of the power that she holds. But to also be kind and loving and to spread her joy to everyone she meets. We will teach her about the darkness and that one day she will experience it, but that she will always come out stronger than she has ever been. Like my grandpa always said “be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.”

The darkness is how we grow as humans. What would we be if we never experienced trials? Stepford wives? …Not me. We all go through them whether or not we decide to share them. I have felt the strongest urge for a long time that I needed to share my experience, but not everyone needs to. Your darkness is your journey. How you choose to experience it and express it is a very personal choice.

We typically only share the happy moments of our lives on social media, it’s our highlight reel. But it’s not our real, reel and that’s ok. We don’t need to share every last detail, but we have to remember that everyone is going through something whether we know about it or not, and my hope through all of this is that we can be a little kinder with our words, a little more forgiving and a lot less judgemental. We are all in this life together, and it can be a lot easier if we are on the same side.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to sit in the darkness forever. And believe it or not there are people out there who have gone through a similar situation as you… you are not alone in this.

“We are the authors of our lives, and we write our own daring endings, we craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, courage from failure. Showing up is our power, story is our way home, truth is our song, we are the brave and brokenhearted we are rising strong.” -Brene Brown
And from my girl Beyoncé “Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Forgiveness is the final act of love”

My choice is love, love for myself, love for my baby, love for my husband and family. There is nothing weak about love.


DRESSSHOESHAT (similar) POPPYS ROMPERPHOTOGRAPHY

woman’s day

It was recently international women’s day and it’s had me thinking about all the amazing women in my life and what makes them amazing. I really feel so blessed to be surrounded by incredible powerful women number one being my mother. I look at her life and how she got to the place she is, she has foraged through some serious trials and made it out not only alive but flourishing. She has so gracefully become the most intuitive and powerful woman I have ever known. I look at her example and think so much about how I need to be that for Poppy, this world is only getting crazier and I think as women we need to stand together and rise. We are the most powerful beings and the future is in our hands ” If you want to change the world, go home and love your children” We are literally raising the next generation. Quite frankly we all go through shit, but it’s how we rise from that dark place and show up in the world continuing to show love and strength that makes us stronger and even more powerful. I am so proud to be a woman, I don’t always get everything right but it’s the continual process of bettering yourself that matters. Sending so much love to all you amazing woman out there.

on a lighter note, I am LOVING this new ruffle trend. I fell head over heels for this tunic the second I spotted it I knew it had to be mine! I have a feeling It’s going to be on major rotation in my closet this summer. I hope you are all enjoying this amazing weather! we have been outside just soaking up the sun. Spring is so close I can almost taste it!!

 

 

Cardigan  , Shoes , Tunic / Dress , Watch , Jeans , Necklace , Earrings

Makeup by @alexa_harris_makeup

Photography TresaMartindale.com

 

XOX- ASH

11 weeks postpartum

After having Poppy I took a good break from modeling and shooting. But I’ve got the itch back and it feels good to get some creative juices flowing. It’s also been so fun to start fitting into my normal clothes again (not perfectly by any means) I felt like I was pregnant the whole year last year and it’s been so nice to get out and go shopping after all this time. With spring coming I’ve been trying to clean out my closet and replace things I don’t wear as much with transitional pieces that I can wear now and into summer. I’m loving this top from asos, such a great layering piece. I will say if you order this shirt size up, I got a small and I have to have help getting it off haha it makes for a good laugh every time. Poppy is 11 weeks today and growing so fast! I can’t believe how big she has gotten it’s a love-hate situation, but she is getting the hang of sleeping and we are getting into more of a routine which has been so amazing. Happy Thursday friends thanks for following along! ps this jacket is on sale! check it out!

  Jeans , Top , Shoes , Coat , Hat (similar)

Sunday thoughts and Baby moon love 

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them” – Thomas Merton

This quote couldn’t be more true to me, I know In the past I haven’t been perfect at this but if I have learned anything the past few years it’s been to love unconditionally. Sometimes I can get caught up in what I think our life should look like and then I have to remind myself that I love our life because it is imperfect. We do have trials, but I have grown so much from those trials and without them I would still be living in my 19-year-old juvenile mind. Trials suck, but they get us to the good place. I hit six years of marriage yesterday and our story is a wild one. I can’t wait to keep building chapters and creating memories with this kid.

We went to Hawaii on our babymoon and I created a little video of memories. I am no pro at editing or filming for that matter so don’t judge! I just wanted to be able to have something to remember our baby moon and also being pregnant. Happy Sunday! Go give your loved ones a big fat kiss, this is the month of love after all.

 

 

Poppy Rae Birth Story

The night of December 14th Paul and I went to our favorite dinner for our last date as a single couple. We talked about this new chapter we were about to embark on and reminisced about the past five years, all the trials we have overcome and all the fun things we got to do.

I was a week past my due date and I felt like I would be pregnant forever. We made it to the hospital around 7 pm after our delicious dinner and I wasn’t dilated at all, no contractions and 0% effaced. We checked in and met our nurse, I will never forget how amazing she was with us ( Kimmy at American fork hospital if you can request her DO IT!!) . She inserted the first Cytotec around 7:30 pm. She checked me again at midnight and I was 80% effaced and dilated to a 2+ so she decided to start me. They did the Pitocin and epidural around 12:30, I remember feeling so many feelings but mostly really anxious. This was it, this was the moment I had dreamed of for so long, the moment of meeting my baby was only hours away and I was so nervous. Around 4:00 am she checked me again and I was a 6+ and dilating fast, right after she checked me my water broke and she told me we would start pushing within the hour.

We called my friend Beth with fielding Films and she was a saint to rush to the hospital at 4 am ( I felt so bad ). I started feeling a ton of pressure but I wouldn’t let Kimmy check me again till Beth was there (I was determined to have this moment captured) Beth arrived right as I was starting to push, I pushed for about 25 minutes. It was amazing to have Paul, my mom and mother in law all there supporting me through the delivery, they were so supportive and cheering me on the whole time. My doctor finally arrived and one push later Poppy was here.

They put her right on my chest and I couldn’t control myself, I was an emotional wreck! She was so perfect and seeing her for the first time was so surreal! She was instantly calm and I knew she knew who I was. I was so emotional the whole time just staring into her beautiful eyes. It was truly a magical experience! I have never felt so close to heaven then I did in that moment, I got to hold her on my chest for a good hour and the bond we shared was indescribable my little human was in my arms. I prayed for her for five years, I prayed that she would come when the time was right and I prayed that she would feel comfort as she entered into this world and left her great grandmas behind. I knew she was being prepared for this time and this moment. It couldn’t have gone more perfect and she couldn’t have been more perfect.

Becoming a mom has been the most powerful experience for me. I have never felt stronger and more empowered as a woman then I did creating life and becoming a mother. To me, this is what life is all about. I look back and I am extremely grateful for what we want through to get her here. It made our marriage stronger and our love for her so precious. She has brought a light and love into our lives that I could never have imagined. Her presence is the sweetest most delicious gift and waking up to her sweet face every day is the highlight of my life.

Huge Thank you to Fielding Films and Tresa Martindale Photography for capturing this moment for us.