Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye 2017

As the year ends and we move into 2018, I just hope that it's a better year for us.

As I stated in a Facebook post today:

"What's on my mind this New Year's Eve?

It's been a long year. And a hard year. There will always be hard things in every year, but... man this year felt rough. I'm definitely in the camps of "Good riddance 2017" and "2018 NEEDS to be a better year or I can't take it."

Sometimes it's hard for me not to dwell on the negatives and feel jealous of others or sorry for myself, but that's one of the things I'm working on. Being grateful for the good things. Finding happy things amidst the hard.

Because there ARE happy things.

Some of the most obvious happy things in my life are, of course, our twins. They take an awful lot of our energy and patience, but at the end of the day, they are the ones that keep me going. I mean... look at those faces.

Anyway, however your year has been, whatever you're looking forward to in the new year, I hope it's a good one. That's my hope for myself, for my family, and for everyone."


With that being said, I would like to share recent pictures of our lives to close up the year.

We visited my sister and brother-in-law (Chanelle and Brooks) in Idaho for Thanksgiving:




We went and saw the Christmas lights in Downtown Provo:






I got a major hair cut:



We saw a musical of A Christmas Carol:



We played in the first decent snow of the year (giving us a white Christmas!):





And enjoyed these cute faces:




And with that, I'm out! Goodbye 2017, make way for 2018!

Love,
Ashley

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Walking By Faith

Our day-to-day lives over the last several months have been relatively the same. Not a lot of excitement, other than the daily antics of toddler twins. ;)



However, our lives overall recently have been... interesting.

After another difficult school semester (last Fall) for Josh mental-health-wise, lots of prayer, counseling with our parents, and discussion with each other, we decided to pull Josh out of school indefinitely. It just hasn't been good for him and is not the direction we feel he needs to be headed. So after Christmas break, he withdrew from school and started focusing more on building his production company, Southampton Productions. He's been working on it ever since, doing podcasts, photo shoots, etc. He can tell you more about it than I can. ;)



I also decided at that time that I would focus on my goal of becoming a certified lactation consultant. I started reaching out to all the connections I could find, applying for jobs, and doing everything I could to make it happen. But it can be a complicated process, and I was met with dead end after dead end. After a lot of tears and frustration, I determined maybe now just isn't the time, even if it seems like it ought to be. I am hoping to be able to pursue it further in a few years.

After determining that, I decided I should go back into the work force anyway in the meantime, as it would mean a lot better of a financial position for us. I have been working part-time as a virtual assistant for a friend of mine who is a professional blogger, which is a great thing for me because it provides some income and allows me to work from home on my own schedule. But getting a job outside of the home would be that much better. Again, I applied for several jobs that I was rejected from. Finally, though, I got a job offer. Finally, after months of trying to find the employment that I needed, there it was. At least, I thought it was what I needed, and what our family needed.

When that job offer came, however, I got this overwhelmingly terrible feeling. At first, I wasn't sure if it was for feeling guilty that I would leave Josh at home with twin toddlers full-time while he was trying to build his production company, or that I would be away from my twins so much. Because, really, I don't do very well with big changes. But I had been looking forward to starting a new job for months. Shouldn't I feel a little excited about it, even if I was conflicted? But I just had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. So I was stressed about the situation and confused about what I was supposed to be doing.

The job would be starting in just a few days, so any decision we were going to make about it ideally should be made before then. We prayed, we talked about it, we pondered, I cried, I got Priesthood blessings, I cried about it some more, we talked about it some more, etc... you get the picture. It was a very intense couple of days, emotionally and spiritually. But by the end of it, I felt strongly that my place right now is at home. Rationally, it allows for me to be available to be there for Josh and take care of the twins when he's having a particularly bad day of depression or anxiety (we're focusing on getting his mental health under better control right now, which is a whole different story). It also allows Josh more time and freedom to work on building up his company. But more importantly, it felt right for me to be there. Right for me, and for our family.

The blessing is that we have relative freedom to make that decision right now. We have some flexibility because of assistance we receive financially. We don't normally broadcast it but we're not ashamed of it either. We absolutely want to be financially independent eventually, and I hope that the choices we make right now are setting us up for a more secure future. This means that for now our financial situation is tight, but I am so grateful that we do have the help and resources we need right now. It also may not be seen by many as the right decision, as it means that we will continue to receive assistance for now when we could be otherwise earning more ourselves in the workforce instead, but it is the right decision for us, regardless of how that decision appears to society.



With everything that has been going on lately, our future is very clouded and uncertain. I have no idea what the next year will bring, let alone the next five or ten years. I really wish it wasn't that way, because I would love to know a little more of what the future holds and feel like we have some security. But I believe with all my heart that if we are trying to do our best for ourselves and for our family, Heavenly Father will help us get there. It may be a rocky path, but I have faith that if we are trying to do the right thing the best way that we know how... things will work out. One way or another, things will work out.

Love,
Ashley

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Twins' First Trip to the Aquarium

For Christmas we got passes to the Living Planet Aquarium in Draper. Then we all got sick after Christmas break, and then sick again, but we were finally able to go a couple of weeks ago! It was the twins' first time and they loved it!!

We tried to capture some moments with pictures...








Some bigger kids next to Lauren were kneeling down to look at a lizard in this exhibit, and Lauren copied them even though it made her not be able to see at all! So cute!

And we tried to capture other moments with videos:
(If the videos don't work for you, check them out here and here)



They loved looking at all the fish, the colors, and especially the other kids, haha! They would have been happy to just wander off and explore without us. And they were NOT happy to leave - guess we'll have to visit often while we have these passes! :)

Love,
Ashley

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Happy Birthday

This post is a couple weeks late, but here it is anyway! October 29th was the twins' birthday! In lieu of posting all about how crazy it is that they are one, or how the first year has been (cause I could go on about that for a while!), I'm just going to post about their actual birthday celebrations. Mostly pictures. :)

First we went to Josh's grandparents' house and had cupcakes and ice cream!




 Then they got some fun presents. :)




 On the day before their birthday, we scheduled a church building and celebrated there. I pretty much just got footage of the cake smash, but that's really all that matters right? ;)

Our friend Rose made these cute monster cakes! <3

Awaiting their cakes.
The videos I got of them eating their cakes are broken up into several segments. They were both not sure how to deal with the cakes when we gave them to them. Josh had to help them both along. Jacob took that help and went with it. Lauren didn't appreciate it so much. ;)

We sang them Happy Birthday too, but I didn't start recording until halfway through the song, haha.





Happy birthday babies!!!


Love,
Ashley

Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Wrap-Up

Summer went by as quickly as ever. I don't mind, because it means fall is just around the corner and that's my favorite season!

My family had a small family reunion just over a week ago; just my parents, my siblings and their spouses, and kids. It was super fun! I always love seeing everyone! We went to Park City, which was my first time being there. We took some family pictures...

Love this family of mine!


...Then hit the Alpine Slides:



The ski lift to the top of the Slides was a beautiful ride, but also terrifying to someone like me who is afraid of heights.



And then there were the names of the slides like "Last Chance" and "Crooked Shaft", which perpetuated my nervousness.


But by the time the slide was done, most of us were eager for more. It was a blast.



It wasn't all fun and games though. The stomach flu had started going around just before the reunion. Most of the family didn't pick it up at the reunion, to my knowledge, but a few days in, it hit me pretty hard. The nice thing was that I got it while we were there, instead of after, so I was able to feel like death without having to worry about taking care of anyone since there was plenty of help around.

The twins got so loved on!

Unfortunately, Jacob caught the bug a few days later after we had gone home. The poor guy was totally miserable for a few days. He was crying and whining most of the time, and very clingy but not always content to just lay and cuddle because of his discomfort. Whenever he did calm down enough to cuddle and fall asleep in our arms though, it was pretty sweet.


Thankfully, even though Lauren has had a cold practically since we've been home, she's been a pretty happy girl. This made it a lot easier to take care of Jacob.

She's our crazy, silly, happy girl. :)
We're all on the upswing now (hopefully... the jury's out on Josh currently). And now today Josh started school at BYU again! He's got a couple years in front of him, and is really excited about his classes this semester. I'm so proud of him!

He's so adorable.
And that's a wrap for our summer! Here's to a great fall!


Love,
Ashley