3 years as a SAHM

October 24th was my three year anniversary as a stay at home mom. Prior to staying home I worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry for seven years. In some ways leaving was a very easy decision to make, and in other ways it was very difficult. I've always worked. My first babysitting job was at eleven years old and I continued doing that on weekends, evenings and summer breaks until I was old enough to be hired at a local Hi-School Pharmacy. Even while I was in college I kept working, at one point I was going to school and working two jobs. I began with the state as a seasonal employee, but was hired permanently a few months after my seasonal job had ended. For the most part I loved working there. A lot of my co-workers were great, the customers always entertaining, but the summer hours during fire season were brutal with a little one. Mark and I had talked about it here and there, but it wasn't until we were unhappy with our daycare situation that we really sat down and found a way  to make my leaving my job work. I think we were both equally worried about finances, but were shocked to see that once gas, daycare and other expenses relating to my working were taken out of the equation we really weren't left with a lot. It's eye opening to really look at how much it costs to work.

I cried when I gave my notice to my boss. I think it was a mixture of fear, sadness and total excitement. I won't lie and say it has all been easy. Life on one income has been an adjustment for us, and we still have our moments of figuring things out, but overall it was the best decision we've ever made. I've done a few things since leaving my job to bring additional income into our home (in home daycare, Etsy & photography), but my husband goes above and beyond to make sure that I get to be at home with Amelia and that is something that I will never take for granted. Being able to pursue my passion for photography and build my business, as well as being able to attend every school event for my kiddo is a true blessing.

Being a mother is my greatest accomplishment so I thought I would take the next few weeks to share posts celebrating motherhood. My own experiences, other mothers I admire, blogger moms who inspire me and any other thoughts I have. I look forward to sharing things with you and answering many questions that I've been asked throughout my journey as a mom. 
Ashley Elizabeth

Our Halloween

Well it was the wettest Halloween we've ever had with Amelia. It reminded me of one year when I was was younger. My dad drove my sister, our neighbor and I around the neighborhood to trick-or-treat and it was raining so hard that water was coming into the back of my dad's Camaro. Amelia doesn't go crazy on Halloween. She doesn't care about going to a ton of houses and getting tons of candy. She's happy just doing one or two streets and calling it good. For the past several years we've gone to my grandma's house on Halloween. Mom usually makes dinner and we take Amelia around to her neighbors. I like that this gives my grandma the opportunity to see Amelia. This year was especially fun because Liam dressed up with Amelia for his first Halloween and even went out trick-or-treating with us. 

Amelia wanted to be Belle this year so my mom made her the most beautiful dress. She looked so adorable! In the past she has let me pick her costumes (with the exception of the spider) so it was fun to see her choose her own this year. I love Liam's little lion costume. He looked so stinkin' cute!!! Amelia is already planning matching costumes for her and Cecilia to wear next Halloween. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. I know many weren't happy about our typical Oregon weather, but I LOVE everything about this time of year... including the rain! 
Ashley Elizabeth

26 weeks

Amelia took this photo for me last week

How far along: 26 Weeks - just two more weeks until I'm in my third trimester

Current size: eggplant

Due Date: February 7, 2016    

Symptoms: morning sickness, exhaustion and braxton hicks contractions

Gender: A precious baby girl

Names: Cecilia Kateri

Movement: I continue to be amazed by the amount of movement and how strong baby girl is. I just love to sit and watch her go crazy. I was editing photos the other night and she kicked so hard my computer (which was sitting on the baby bump I use as a desk) slid a little off to the side. 

Clothes: maternity jeans, maternity tops and regular leggings

Sleep: My sleep sucks. I toss and turn all night and wake up just as sleepy as when I went to bed. At least when you're up all night with a newborn you have a cute baby to snuggle... that's a better reason for being tired than just simply being unable to get comfortable. 

Cravings/Aversions: ice water. although that is a craving I have every day even when I'm not pregnant. I just can't get enough water. 

What are you doing to prepare: Not much. We are moving the first part of December so I'm mostly concerned with getting us packed up. I am still on the hunt for the perfect fabric for Cecilia's nursery and once I find that I will go pick out some paint. 

Mood: I've been so tired that I'm sure I'm not always pleasant :) 

Looking forward to: getting settled into our new place and decorating the girls' rooms. I also really just love this time of year. This pregnancy is kind of flying by now that Amelia is in school. I can't believe that we're far enough along to have doctor's appointments every two weeks now. Crazy! I'm just going to enjoy this time as best as I can. Plus I have some fun things lined up for Amelia and I to do before we become a family of four. 

26 week thoughts: I was talking with my aunt last week and she asked what colors we planned to paint inside of the house we are moving into. I said "well I think we will paint the girls' rooms..." and she pointed out how incredibly weird it sounded that I was saying "girls". I get that! It's still a little strange to me that in a little over 3 months we will have kids. Not just one. Amelia will finally have a sibling!!! It's a strange yet completely wonderful feeling. Something I've wanted for so long. 

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Ashley Elizabeth