Monday, July 28, 2008

Seriously (Predictably), So Blessed!

The Deseret News has fairly recently developed a new section of their newspaper every Thursday called "The Mormon Times." I thought this was rather presumptuous of them. Do they assume all of their readers are LDS? Well, being LDS, I decided to enjoy it.

During my traditional read-the-newspaper-while-eating-cereal morning routine, I came across an article in the Mormon Times about a blog. But this blog was more than it at first seemed. It is a satire on all "mormon mommy" blogs...blogs like this one. I can see how some people might be easily offended by her satirical posts, but she explains that it is not mean spirited, just observational.

The blog is titled "Seriously, So Blessed." She follows the predictable life of Tiffany/Amber/Megan/Nicole (she might as well add Ashley) and her marriage to Jordan/Jason/Wes/Taylor. They are a young mormon couple. She goes to hair school/teaches 2nd grade and he is in medical/dental/business school. Of course she is in the Young Womens and is pregnant. She loves scrapbooking and.....bragging endlessly about her oh, so perfect life.

Reading her blog made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Yes, I and everyone I know is reading "Twilight" just like Tiffany/Amber/Megan/Nicole (TAMN for short). I do honest think my husband is the best in the world just like TAMN does. I determined my life is fairly predictable.

There are, however, some major differences. I, for one, taught high school NOT second grade and I am 7 months pregnant NOT 3 weeks pregnant. Obviously, we are very different.

So check it out at

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Blog: Photography by Ashley

In an attempt to develop my talents and maybe develop some new talents, I have started a new blog called "Photography by Ashley." It has some pictures I've been taking for fun and hopefully it will display some pictures I take for other people. That being said, I would love to shoot some engagement shots, family portraits, or baby pictures. Normally someone would charge for these services, but seeing as I'm just starting out and am doing it mostly for fun, I will take your pictures for FREE. I also make wedding announcements and slideshow/videos for events like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

Please spread the word to anybody who is interested.

Check it out:

Monday, July 14, 2008

My New Life

It is funny how things can change so much so quickly. It seems only moments ago that I was carefree in college. Now my life is filled with responsibility much greater than I've ever known. I am a wife and will soon be a mother yet I still feel like that carefree college girl. How do I reconcile these feelings? Any attempt seems to throw me from my family responsibilities and drown me in what feels like selfish guilt. I want to do things and I know I need to be happy as well, yet it feels like whenever I have a desire to do something it compromises the goals I have for my family. Am I stuck? I feel in some ways that my home has become a prison. And I don't even have my baby yet...I dread that this feeling will only get worse. Am I sentenced to a life of laundry? Am I confined to cooking and cleaning? I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Without second thought I quit my job and happily obliged to my new job as mommy. Yet, I guess I didn't realize how much of a sacrifice that really would be for me. I still know it is right and I don't regret my decisions one bit, I just need to find balance in this new life. I need to find time for me.

One of the things that is so difficult now is being trapped in this new body, unable to run, climb, bike, or, heck, even bend over like I used to be able to do. I'm just happy to be walking around the block and that truly is the most physical activity I've been doing lately. I feel selfish for wanting more than that.

I suppose I started having a difficult time lately not because my belly is huge, but because I've lost contact with people. As a teacher, I had more than enough social contact, but I loved it! I felt like I was making a difference, that people liked me, that I could help them. After school was over I lost those friendships and lost my sense of purpose. I was no longer that mentor and teacher but a maid. I traded in a classroom full of smiles to a sink full of dirty dishes. I do a few things that make me happy like reading and photography, but I do nothing that makes me feel, well, I guess, important. Again, I feel guilty for being so selfish. I know that being a mother is important, but right now I'm not quite a mother and...well, I'm just adjusting to this new life.

Will I ever be able to accomplish those many goals I have set for myself, those selfish desires of my heart? Like getting my Masters, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, running marathons, traveling the world, starting a business, and helping those less fortunate than myself? I have seen people accomplish more while still being super mom, but I'm not so sure that I am that able. My number one goal is to be the best mother and wife possible, but I wonder if it is possible to do it all. . .Or will motherhood extinguish all other goals?

Like I said, I am learning to cope with this new way of life. I suppose others might do a better job of that than me, but we all learn at our own pace. I shouldn't have such high expectations of myself. Perhaps, if I do just a little at a time I can be that super person I imagine myself being or maybe I'll accept the fact that superheroes don't exist.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Warning: Graphic Content (not suitable for children)

A couple of days ago I posted some pictures of Matt's black eye. Well, that was nothing. Now I have pictures of what he looked like when he came home initially. He did warn me though. He called and said, "Ashley, get the camera ready." "Why?" I asked, knowing that I probably didn't really want to hear the answer. With some prodding he tells me that he got in a "little accident." I don't know why people are always so paranoid about us rock climbing. Matt gets into far worse situations mountain biking. After we washed him up, we realized it wasn't too bad. That is fortunate for him; if it was any worse, I probably wouldn't let him mountain bike anymore. But the good news is that the bike is OK!

Poor Matt! He looks ready for Halloween.

Poor Ashley! Her husband's a monster.

Nice Bike! The Specialized Enduro

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Angel on Earth

I have a very special sister-in-law. She has a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ even though she can't verbally share it. In fact, she doesn't speak at all. She was born with a rare condition where she is missing part of her brain, the corpus callosum, which is responsible for the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. This has left her innocent and child-like even though she is now 17. She can do few things on her own. She can crawl, eat, mimic a few words, clap, and is learning to wheel around in her wheel chair.
Celeste at the pool

She does enjoy playing games with others. One of her favorites is pushing someone and seeing their exaggerated reactions of spinning out of control or falling down. She loves hearing funny noises like burping. Also, she loves receiving applause in which she reacts with clapping and a loud "Yeah!" and then she expects others to repeat. This cycle of clapping could go on forever if you let it. Sometimes we feel bad stopping because she seems to enjoy it so much.
Celeste playing with her brother, Matt

She also loves some toys -- some pretty unconventional ones. Although she likes Barney and talking stuffed animals like most children she also adores carrying around a bottle of Windex. I don't know why, but there is something about that swishy blue water she enjoys. And most unusually, she loves to carry around a picture of Jesus.

Celeste Playing With the Talking Puppy

I'm not sure that she even recognizes my own face, but she will spend hours a day staring at the face of our Savior. Her parents never pushed this on her. She just found one of her mom's church handbooks and saw a picture of Jesus and ever since she looks for His face everyday. Because she drags it along with her where ever she goes, her parents have found that in order to spare them replacing the picture semi-weekly, they have glued the picture to a piece of wood. This last significantly longer, but they do have backups in case one is lost, which sometimes happens. If Celeste wants her Jesus and can't find it, all heck breaks loose. She starts screaming. She is VERY attached to Jesus. For fun, I sometimes try to pull the picture of Christ away from her (I know I'm cruel), but she just holds tight and pulls it close. She has quite the grip! Sometimes she is just content to hold it, other times she eyes it from all angles, but it is almost always in her possessions or nearby in case she needs it.

Celeste looking at her picture of Jesus Christ

Knowing Celeste has strengthened my testimony of our Savior and of His love for each and everyone of us. Seeing Celeste look at the picture of "Christ in a Red Robe" is enough evidence for me to know that Christ knows us and we, undoubtedly, knew Him before we came to Earth. Like I said, Celeste isn't completely aware of everything around us. She didn't recognize Matt when he came home from his mission, but she recognizes Christ from the pre-mortal life. I'm sure all of us, like her, must have had a very strong bond with our Savior and elder brother. I wish I had those memories, but I must rely on my Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Love and Atonement for us.