Pumpkin on a Stick

I have to share with you the cutest fall plant ever! My grandma bought these and I just love them so much. This plant goes by numerous names, but they call it "pumpkin on a stick" where she got it. I was surprised to find out it's actually a variety of eggplant... seriously? Anyway, this thing is so cute that I had to look it up further online and came across the seeds. I might have to try growing this myself one day.

Ashley Elizabeth

Fall Boots for Little Girls

I love all of the boots and booties that are out there for little girls this fall. I'm always putting Amelia in a pair of skinny jeans with tall boots, a skirt with her Uggs and leggings with booties. Here are a few of my favorite styles this season.

1. Brynn Riding Boot by Nordstrom - Nordstrom (these are an amazing deal!!!)
2. Fatbaby by Ariat (brown/pink bomber) - Boot Barn
3. Bow Ankle Boots - H&M
4. Fringe Boot by Minnetonka - Nordstrom
5. Lace up Boot by Rampage - DSW
6. Red Rubber Boots by Hunter - Nordstrom
7. Bailey Button (in surf spray) by UGG - Nordstrom
8. Pettie Bootie by Sam Edelman - Nordstrom
9. Lynet Boot by Steve Madden - Nordstrom 
Ashley Elizabeth

How to easily create a snowman (or snowgirl) outfit

As the holidays near I'm always looking for cute projects to do, fun things to decorate our home with and adorable ways to take photos of Amelia that capture the spirit of the season. I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite holiday photos that we had taken of Amelia from a few years back.

The snowman outfit was so easy to create. 
First I created the tutu. There are a few ways you can make a tutu, but for this one I just did the no-sew version, using tulle and an elastic band. I did stitch the band together, but that was the only sewing that I did. 

The shirt was a basic white turtleneck that I glued two large black pom pom balls to. easy. 

The scarf was just a piece of fleece that I got, probably about 1/4 of a yard. I cut fringe on the ends and was done with it after that.

I made the little hat out of felt. I didn't have a pattern and assembled it by hand stitching. I added the leaves, ribbon and buttons with hot glue and then attached it to a headband. 

The easiest little outfit to make with minimal sewing (a sewing machine isn't even required) and it made for some adorable photos that I will always cherish. 

Ashley Elizabeth


I'm really excited the weekend is here. Mark and I have been sick all week, so it made for a very long week. Thankfully I am on the mend and feeling a little better today. Here is a quick recap of our week.

We've been praying hard that Amelia doesn't get sick also. She's been drinking Emergen-C twice daily. We don't give her juice very often so she doesn't mind drinking this at all.

I made chicken and dumplings for the first time. It was delicious! 

It has been rainy here. Amelia was excited to wear her Uggs 

Last night Amelia and I got to catch up with Kyler and his family. We haven't seen them since the last day I watched him back in May. We miss that little guy so much! 

I have been waiting for this to arrive on my doorstep!!!! Yay for a new camera! 
Ashley Elizabeth

Our battle with night terrors

Amelia's battle with night terrors began shortly before she turned two years old. She would toss and turn all night, make whimpering noises and cry. This happened every night. She would scream as if she was scared to death, completely inconsolable. No matter what we did, she wouldn't wake up and we couldn't make them stop. Mark and I eventually changed our sleeping situation and she started sleeping with me. It was the only way all three of us could get the most sleep possible. She continued to have the night terrors, but calmed down more quickly next to me. They were really bad. I hated it and it broke my heart that I was unable to do anything for her.

A night terror is a sleep disruption that seems similar to a nightmare, but with a far more dramatic presentation. Though night terrors can be alarming for parents who witness them, they're not usually cause for concern or a sign of a deeper medical issue. - KidsHealth

The night terrors went on for a very long time, occurring almost every single night. Finally, I started seeing a naturopath for my own personal needs and mentioned to her in conversation that Amelia was having night terrors. She suggested we take her off of dairy, most importantly milk. This was something Amelia's doctor had never mentioned, but I was willing to try anything. Amelia was breastfed until she was 18 months and then weaned so at the point the night terrors started she was drinking cow milk. We stopped giving her milk for a week and she slept every night without a single night terror. The girl loved her milk though and I felt bad taking it away. We tried almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk with very little success. I finally decided to try giving her a single glass of milk on the days she asked for it, in the morning only. The night terrors stayed away. We had finally found our solution.

On rare occasion Amelia will still get a night terror. Usually after we've been at someone's house and she has had milk in the evening. Her doctor said it's fine for a child her age (at the time he said that she was three) to only have milk once a day, so we stick to this. I know this isn't a solution for everyone, but it really saved our sanity. Night terrors are not fun at all. Many children suffer from night terrors and they can occur off and on for years. If your child is suffering from night terrors, my suggestion would be to think outside of the box and try different things to see if the terrors subside. I'm pretty sure we would still be battling them if we hadn't drastically reduced the amount of milk Amelia was getting.

Has your child suffered from night terrors?
Did they grow out of them or did you find something that helped combat them?

Ashley Elizabeth

A trip to the pumpkin patch

I was so excited when Amelia had a day off from school two Fridays ago. Thank you state wide in-service! I wanted to do something fun outside of the house so we headed to the pumpkin patch. My mom went with us and Mark met up with us when he was off work. We decided to go to Bauman's Farm in Gervais. We love that place. Amelia is not very outgoing, so she was happy to do the apple tasting and then walk around with us. No hay mazes, slides, bouncy houses or playgrounds for her. She has no interest in all of that. There were just too many kids and it was too crowded. Thankfully she had a blast even without all of that stuff. Bauman's Farm has the cutest little gift shop filled with holiday decorations, flowers, food items and apple cider slushies... yes, they are addicting. Here in Oregon we have tons of pumpkin patches, but this seems to be one we visit almost every year. 

Ashley Elizabeth

My Experience: An Ectopic Pregnancy

For as long as I can remember I've known I would have children. I always knew I would be a mom and I have always wanted a house full of little ones, thankfully my husband feels the same way about having more children. Last November we made the decision to start trying for another baby. We had been waiting for the perfect time to expand our family, but really... is there ever a perfect time? Things come up and life happens so we just decided that we were ready. Even if the timing wasn't what some would deem "perfect", it was perfect for us. Trying for a baby was a whole new thing for us. Amelia was such a surprise that actually planning for another baby filled me with an array of emotions that I didn't experience until we found out we were pregnant with Amelia. Excitement, stress, worry, excitement and more excitement... I felt it all. 

After Amelia was born we knew we didn't want another baby for a while so I had the Mirena IUD placed. After having issues with it (rapid weight gain in a very short amount of time), I had it replaced with the ParaGard IUD (a hormone free copper wire iud). When it was removed last November the doctor told me that there was a chance we could get pregnant right away. We were hopeful, but with each passing month became slightly discouraged. Now, let me tell you that we aren't the type to take temperatures and chart stuff. As the months went on, my cycle started becoming more and more irregular. One month 3 days late, the following month 10 days and the next 3 weeks late. Finally, after countless negative at home pregnancy tests, I went into the doctor. She said stress was the likely cause of my issues. It's heartbreaking to want something so badly and get your hopes up, only to have them crushed. Life though, was stressful for us at that time. We continued to try, but not really think about trying. Still nothing.

At the end of June we moved and things calmed down a little bit for us. I finally had my first regular cycle June - July and things seemed a lot less stressful for us. Late July/ early August rolled around and I was anxious to see if my cycle continued to be regular, but again I was late. At this point I was done trying for a while. I couldn't take the continual let down. A few days went by and I realized I wasn't feeling myself. I was exhausted, sore and nauseous. I decided to take a test, even though I assumed it was negative. I couldn't believe how quickly both lines appeared. My heart started racing and I called Mark into the bedroom to share the news. We were pregnant. Only a few people knew we were trying. I called my mom immediately and let her know and text my best friend. I calculated that we were 6 weeks. The next day I got my sisters together and told them in person. I knew my little sister would find out right away since I was really nauseous and we live together, but I didn't want them to find out separately. We were excited. 

Two days went by and I started spotting. I called the doctor and she reassured me that light spotting can happen. I went about my business; running all over with Amelia, photographing a wedding, trying to enjoy the last little bit of summer. When the spotting didn't stop, she set up a time for me to come in for a blood test. My HCG levels were definitely elevated, but I continued to have spotting and cramping. The doctor decided that she wanted me to have blood draws every 48 hours. My levels continued to double. The cramping continued and was to the point of excruciating. The bleeding was constant. I gained 25 pounds in a month (and not at all from eating poorly). In my heart I knew this was a miscarriage. Finally the doctor called me in for an ultrasound and a blood draw. I watched as she tried to locate the embryo. The walls of my uterus had thickened as they should for a pregnancy, but nothing was found. She checked to see if it was a tubal pregnancy, but she didn't see anything. She concluded that it was an ectopic pregnancy: unknown location. At this point my HCG levels had stopped rising (confirmation of miscarriage). I knew this was dangerous. 

An ectopic pregnancy, or eccysis, is a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity. With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable. Furthermore, they are dangerous for mothers, since internal hemorrhage is a life-threatening complication. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube (so-called tubal pregnancies), but implantation can also occur in the cervix, ovaries and abdomen. An ectopic pregnancy is a potential medical emergency, and, if not treated properly, can lead to death - Wikipedia

Even though I was clearly going through a miscarriage on my own, the risk factors involved with an ectopic pregnancy are high and they wanted to act fast, especially since it was an "unknown location". The doctor talked with me about the seriousness of the situation and we decided that medication was necessary to ensure everything left my body. At this point I had been dealing with the pain and bleeding for weeks, more than triple the time of an average miscarriage. I was exhausted; only moving from my bed to use the restroom. I tried my best to stay strong in front of Amelia, but broke down every time I was alone. A combination of the pain and bleeding along with the letdown just wore me out. I was angry. Angry that her last few weeks at home before starting school were spent lounging with me. 

Methotrexate, abbreviated MTX and formerly known as amethopterin, is an antimetabolite and antifolate drug. It is used in treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases, ectopic pregnancy, and for the induction of medical abortions. It acts by inhibiting the metabolism of folic acid. - Wikipedia

I set up an appointment to receive a double injection of Methotrexate. The doctor explained to me that the person administering the shots would come in fully suited up head-to-toe, meaning this medication was some really nasty stuff. I got a shot in each hip, another blood draw (making at least 14 in 3 weeks at this point) and was explained the side effects. The following day it set in. To say I was nauseous would be an understatement. I could taste the medication, my head wouldn't stop spinning, I was vomiting and felt incredibly weak. Mark called the doctor and picked up a prescription for me. Finally the side effects subsided and I was just left to deal with the pain and bleeding for another week. They continued to monitor my HCG levels weekly until my number finally fell to 0... and then it was all over. 9 months of trying for a baby and this was the outcome. The doctor called and went over what needed to happen before we start trying again. They stressed that when I get pregnant again I need to call them right away. Ectopic pregnancies of this sort are not very common, but once you've had one you are at an increased risk of having another. They said they will need to start monitoring HCG levels immediately and will be doing early ultrasounds. I'm not sure when we will try again. This was a taxing experience on my family and I, and I think we need to gain back our normal. 

Today I still feel worn out. I haven't yet caught up or gotten back to feeling good. I'm sluggish and would sleep all the time if I wasn't so busy. I continue to lean on my husband, mom, sisters and best friend for support, along with my faith. I was unsure about sharing this with you all since it isn't something I've talked about with many, but maybe this post will help someone going through a similar situation? 
Ashley Elizabeth

My weekend starts now!

I have been so excited for this Friday to arrive. Amelia has the day off from school and I can't wait to spend the day just hanging out with her. Our weekends seem to fill up so fast, so I am happy we have a weekday to do stuff. This week was a pretty awesome one. Here is my recap...

Last weekend Amelia's school had a pizza Bingo fundraiser. It was so much fun! My mom, sisters and Chris went with Mark, Amelia and I. We ate pizza and played 10 games of Bingo. Even though Mark was the only winner, it was a great time. 

On Monday Grace, my mom and I went into Portland to pick out paper for Grace's wedding invitations. We decided to wander around 23rd and stopped in at Papa Haydn's for happy hour and dessert. Delicious!

The benefit to Amelia being in school all day, five days a week is that Mark and I get to take advantage of his weekdays off by having date days. We don't really do many date nights because we are busy people and always seem to be tired or just want to spend the evening at home with Amelia. Since Mark works every third weekend, he gets two weekdays off and we've been going on day dates. This Tuesday we started out our date day by volunteering in Amelia's classroom. We worked with groups of kids on their alphabet sounds, handwriting, sight words and even played letter bingo with them. It was so much fun. After that we headed to Starbuck's for a drink before going to the movies. We saw "This is where I leave you" and both enjoyed it. We went to a nearby Italian restaurant to have a light lunch (since we were both a little too popcorned out) and then stopped by the pet shop (I'm not sure why we went there). We picked up Amelia after and headed home for a nice evening. 

Wednesday was pretty much the best day!!! Well, maybe not the best day, but I did a little some major online shopping and bought a new camera and lens. I have been wanting to upgrade and make the switch from Sony to either Nikon or Canon and I finally took the leap this week. A major upgrade happened and I ended up going with Canon. I have another lens picked out that I will probably order in the next week. I can't wait for it all to arrive. I'm seriously worse than a kid waiting for Santa. I feel sorry for anyone who crosses my path after I get it... you better be prepared to have a spontaneous photo shoot! Oh and because I don't have the camera yet (and therefore no photo to share), I will share this adorable photo of my girl. Seriously, that face is to die for.

Amelia and I have the most beautiful drive to school each  morning. I hate that the fall weather hasn't arrived yet, but I'm happy to see the leaves changing and foggy mornings. Fall in Oregon is gorgeous!

My mom and sister are always buying Amelia the most special cat things. Some of them I just shake my head at. This little cat pin just had to go on her coat though... rhinestones and all. She loves it.

Since my weekend technically starts now (I'm on Amelia's schedule), we are heading out for a fun day at the pumpkin patch. We are fortunate to have so many great ones nearby, but this time of year always makes me wish I lived in a Hocus Pocus type of a town. 
Ashley Elizabeth

New York City (part one)

I figure it's time to fill you all in on the rest of our east coast adventure. I have been in love with New York since the first time I visited back in 8th grade. I wish I could spend a year there; taking it all in, seeing the sights, going to shows, submerging myself in the New York City culture. I can't tell you how excited I was when we put New York City on our road trip. I had been there twice before, but I was ready for round three. We got in fairly late so we spent the first night just hanging at our hotel room. We had driven up from Washington D.C. that day and were ready for a bit of rest, especially since I had the next day jam packed with sight seeing and things to do.

We woke up bright and early, ready to spend our first full day in NYC exploring. We familiarized ourselves with the subway (we are serious pros at the subway now) and headed out for our first stop, Central Park. Every parent who visits NYC with their kids must take them to ride the carousel. It was a beautiful day, a little drizzly in the morning and warm in the afternoon. 
Amelia loved that she could see Eloise's house (aka The Plaza Hotel) from Central Park. We walked through a good portion of the park and then headed toward Rockefeller Center. It was getting to be a really hot day so we stopped at the Starbuck's there and got a drink. 

One place I fell in love with while on my two prior trips to NYC was St. Patrick's Cathedral. I love that place and dream of going to mass there one day. The architecture and detail is breathtaking. Even with people walking through constantly, it's such a peaceful place. They were doing some major work on the cathedral so I'm glad we were still able to go inside and see it. It's one of those places you can visit over and over again and still be in awe of it. 

After our visit to St. Patrick's we decided to wander 5th Avenue. I could probably spend an entire week just on 5th Avenue alone, but we had a toy store to visit...

The entire time we were planning our trip we had told Amelia that we were going to take her to the most amazing toy store she had ever been to. Of course once she knew we were in New York City she kept asking when we would visit this magical place. She had saved up her money and brought it along to spend there. The look in her eyes when we walked in was awesome. She had excitement all over her face. 

We had cart food for lunch, but decided to head back toward our hotel for dinner in Little Italy. Let me just say, if you are ever in New York City you must head to Little Italy for a meal. It was the best Italian food I have ever eaten. It was dark by the time we had gotten to the restaurant, but we enjoyed sitting by the open window; there was an older Italian man playing music, strings of big light bulbs lining the sidewalk and a cool breeze. 
I knew where we were going for dessert. We stopped in at our hotel room to change and hopped on the subway again. 

Frozen hot chocolate... it is even more delicious than I imagined and the perfect end to a 12 hour day spent walking New York City. 
Ashley Elizabeth

A bride, tiaras, a wool coat and football!

This past week was a pretty great one. Here's a quick little recap before we head off into the weekend. 
This past weekend Erica and I hosted a bridal shower for our baby sister Grace. I can't wait to share the details with you. My camera was taken to the shop so I've been waiting to get it back so I can load the photos. It was a great day. 

Monday my mom, Grace and I went shopping for flower girl dresses. We stopped off at an awesome store called Charming Charlie. They have great accessories for really awesome prices. Mom and I were rocking some sweet tiaras.

Amelia got a new coat for the colder weather. I love wool coats. So darling. 

We arrived at school about 10  minutes before the doors opened a couple of days this week so Amelia and I were able to hang out in the car, chat about all sorts of silly things and enjoy the heated seats. I store these moments in my heart. 

 Yesterday we watched my cousin play some football. I love football (well, not pro football) and it was so much fun. Joey, number 72, played center and he did a great job. We hung out with my aunt and uncle which was also great. I hope we get to catch a few more of his games.
A shot of us girls with my Uncle Joe after the game.

Today is going to be awesome. The priest at Amelia's school is blessing the animals today so I'm hauling her cat Rudy to school. She's going to love having him there. Tomorrow we have another bridal shower for my sister (thrown by her fiance's side of the family) and then Sunday I have a photo shoot. Speaking of photo shoots, I've had issues with my camera. It went into the shop on Wednesday and the news was bad. My dslr is slowly dying. Not what a person wants to hear when they have numerous shoots lined up. The good news is I'm doing a major upgrade, switching brands of camera and all. I'm so excited and can't wait to start using better gear. 

Enjoy your weekend! 
Ashley Elizabeth