Appreciating my child

We so often hear that we need to treasure the moments, how fleeting time is. This has been a resounding theme in my life since the birth of my third child nearly twelve weeks ago. (Yikes. That long??) I have been striving to be here for all of my kids, and appreciate things that I may have overlooked before- and lately, especially with my oldest.

One of the things that has struck me is how very much my seven year old keeps growing up. Over the last few months, it’s been more and more apparent; litte things here and there. Oh, the bickering with his nearly 4 year old sister continues and I still stop to pick legos off of the floor, but in between, glimpses of the ¬†young man he’s becoming are shining through. And for all the stresses and chaos of parenting I write, I too often forget to capture the good moments. As I break up the fifteenth argument after school, I marvel at the disparity between the overtired child he still can be and the helpful “big kid” that often shines through.

Last week we went to the grocery store. I usually try to only bring the baby along, or at least only two of the three, but I had everyone with me that day for just a quick few things. By the time we made it home, the baby lost his patience and wanted out. We all rushed inside and I went to change him. By the time I had finished, my oldest had brought in the bags and put everything away. I was stunned, and later, as I went to start dinner, tears came to my eyes when I opened the fridge and had produce tumbling out to greet me. It was such a beautiful mess, created from his desire to help.

His desire to help is always front and center. His kind personality shines through when I’m trying to make dinner and the baby is cranky and his sister is joining in. He sits next to the baby’s bouncer, making faces and singing songs while I throw dinner together or in the oven. He will open a juice box for his sister and pretend his asparagus is green beans so she’ll try it. Cleaning up toys before the realtor comes, helping his sister carry her stuffed animals- all 500 of them- up the stairs. All of these little things that mean so very much to me, that make our days run smoother, that make our family better.

All because of the thoughtfulness of a seven year old.

I am one lucky, blessed mama.

My son’s 7th birthday

7 years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. I had a tough time, lots of morning sickness and a complete panic of what was to come. Basically, we had no idea what we were doing.

When we headed to the hospital, we had no way of knowing how utterly and completely we were going to become devoted to another human being- and to our family. We knew nothing except how much we loved this little being inside of me.

This child has taught us so much. He was such an easy baby, easing us into this parenting thing. He was gentle on us, preparing us for his sister (and now brother) that would come next. He let us figure out what the heck we were doing with patience and happiness. He remained unfazed when we brought him a sister home, happily engrossed in his world of cars and airplanes and legos. We moved him through 5 states in his short lifetime, and each time he adapted with ease.

His laid-back attitude has continued over the years- unless you put him on a soccer field. Now, though his world is filled with video games and electronics, he can still be found among legos and cars and airplanes. His personality is still pretty easygoing and we still count on him to show us the way as we guide through parenting. We’re so grateful for such an amazing little boy.

Happy 7th Birthday to my amazing little boy. I can’t wait for the years ahead.

Being hacked.. and annoyed.

People, let’s start off with the fact that I’m a million months pregnant.

Okay, not a million. But pretty darn close. This baby is ready to come at any moment. Shell and I have been swamped with work, one of my kids got sick, and then I logged onto my blog to find that dreaded news…

I was hacked.

Being hacked tends to be an inevitability in many situations. Given the security measures I put into place, the secure passwords that I use, and all the other steps I have taken, I was shocked, dismayed, and very very annoyed. Given the nature of the hack, it appears my server was hacked. After receiving zero useful help from them, I promptly switched servers after cleaning my hack. Which was NOT a fun process.

Anyway, please bear with me as I adjust my site back to normal. Baby boy is coming any day now, and we have to be ready for some pictures!

How to choose a nursery design while still speaking to your spouse

The answer? By asking the internet for their opinion!

As I have shared, we are expecting baby #3 in October, and it’s a boy. While naming him is a process that may never be resolved, we also need to decorate his nursery. You would think that by the third kid, this process would be an easy one, right?

Ha. You would be very, very wrong.

While we have finally settled on darker wood furniture- including a dresser with a wide top made for a changing pad, hold the changing table that isn’t used after a few months please- the bedding seems to be the impossible dream. We thought we had our minds made up until we saw one set in person. However, we saw it and realized neither of us liked it. So, we went back to square one and debated a few more.

There have actually been several that *I* like. Hubs, however, seems to be quite picky. So, I’m going to share and ask for advice! Here are a few we like.

First, I’ll start with my can’t-have. I first saw this room on Pinterest and fell in LOVE. Then, as I browsed around I found that Pottery Barn no longer had any of the accessories, only the bedding. So I cried.

I kid. No, I actually did cry a little (hey, I’m pregnant and hormonal). It’s basically everything I want in a room and can’t have…

Here’s another elephant set, but hubs has decided that it has too much brown:

Now this one, we saw in store & it looks adorable all set up! One of the issues is my older son has a vintage airplane room, so we’d be having similar rooms for them. But those bears sure are cute…

I am loving this elephant bedding from pottery barn. It’s not the same as my original dream room, but it sure is pretty. However, hubs says no, he doesn’t think the grey will go with the wood furniture..

This is what I think is my favorite. It has a sweet color scheme, is different from the other kids’ rooms (more on those soon!) and is super cute. Hubs says the eyes are weird, but he’s starting to lose credibility.

So what do you think? Which is your favorite?

Why you need an Other Half or Happy Birthday Shell

For the past seven years, I have spent my time raising my kids and growing our family in various states. I have been part of many playgroups, had many friendships come and go, and had some pretty serious ups and downs. Among the many lessons constant moving taught me, one of them rings truer a little more each year; the value of a good friend can never be measured.

I am lucky to have someone to talk to…

whether it’s the middle of the night, the middle of the morning, or somewhere in between, time doesn’t matter if it’s something important.

I am lucky to have someone to travel with…

whether it’s craziness in Kentucky, insanity in Tennessee, fun times in North Carolina, or full blown necessity in Atlanta, I rarely book a trip without her in mind.

I am lucky to have someone there…

because when you are staring your life in the face and not knowing what your outcome will be, you need someone. No matter what.

I am lucky to work with someone…

when you can take your time, experience, and dedication and turn it into a full-fledged business, you know you found something rare. Even more rare? When your relationship stays strong.

It is not often you find someone in your life that you know you were meant to meet. It is rare to find someone who will not even just consider travel plans but have childcare arranged before you finish your story of medical nightmare. Very few times in your life will you come across a person that you share your thoughts with- your inappropriate thoughts, your important ones, your insignificant ones, your waaay too verbose ones, your I can’t believe I said that ones.

It is very rare in your lifetime that you meet someone that you just don’t think you could live without.

I am unbelievably lucky. I’m married to one of these people. And even better?

The other is my business partner. She is my confidante. She is my rock. She is my patience. She is my best friend.

She is my other half.

July 18th is Shell’s birthday. If you’re not lucky enough to be a friend, follower, or reader of hers, you are missing out. She is one of the most amazing, honest, loyal and pretty much fabulous people I have ever known, and she also has a kick-ass blog Things I Can’t Say. Though she’s also pretty much famous, so you probably already know that. If you don’t know her, do me a favor and send @shellthings a happy birthday tweet or drop by her blog. This is one person who deserves more than all the happy birthdays she could ever receive.

SHUTTER|bag Giveaway!

Who’s ready for a little summer fun? How about a fabulous new camera bag to spice things up?? You’re in luck! Kim from Mom Tried It introduced us to SHUTTER|bag since she is the North American distributor for these bags:

SHUTTER|bag is the perfect accessory for the busy multimedia mom on the go. The Safari bag can easily hold a DSLR camera with lenses, an iPad, laptop (up to 15 inches), and still have room for diapers or snacks that are a must for any mom. SHUTTER|bag was started in Australia by a busy mom/photographer/student with young children. She wanted a stylish bag that could hold everything she needed to carry that wasn’t too trendy or too manly. As she searched for a bag, she discovered that the popular names were made of polyurethane and not leather, but had a price tag of $160-250. SHUTTER|bag is proud to offer multitasking women (not just moms or professional photographers) the option of having a beautiful and functional bag made of handcrafted, quality leather.

Definitely a camera bag to check out!

After you take all these fabulous pictures with your camera stored safely in the new bag, make sure you keep them safe! To keep your photos safely organized in cloud technology, be sure to check out ThisLife. With their fabulous search options, state-of-the-art facial recognition technology, and awesome social media sharing options, you will find the perfect solution for all your memories. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you can head over and sign up for your free invite to try out the service!

We’re tying SHUTTER|bag and ThisLife together in this giveaway to give one of you the chance to win a Safari SHUTTER|bag (valued at $299.99).

Giveaway rules: US and 18+ only to win. Entries must be submitted in the rafflecopter widget. Winner’s entries will be verified before contacted via email. Giveaway will close at 12:01am ET on 7/17/12.

Disclosure: I did not receive any payment or product for hosting this giveaway. I am affiliated with ThisLife, which is a {favorite} client!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gender Reveal & Kindle Giveaway Winner

Thanks so much for those who participated in the gender guess game! And congrats to Sherry from Our Loonyverse on being the Kindle winner!!

For those of you wanting to know, we were able to find out the gender at our ultrasound. Most importantly, baby is happy and healthy- a huge relief! So, will our last baby be a baby boy or baby girl? First, we had a boy. Then, we had a girl. Now…

Yay! Now, to come up with a name…



It’s my SITS Day!

I adore blogging and social media. So much so, that I turned it into my career. However, one of my favorite things about blogging has been the connections and relationships I have formed. With each conference I attend, I get to learn a little more and meet some of these fabulous people in person. With each new venture, I get to come across new ideas and people. But my absolute favorite is that with each new blog I stumble across, I get to find new inspiration, new perspectives, and new passions.

Hopefully, some of y’all will find that here today! I’m Ashley, a a mom of 2 with 1 more on the way in October. We just found out (ready, contest people?) that we’re having a boy to round out my 6 year old son and 3 year old daughter.¬† I run a social media marketing firm from home with my business partner, in addition to working with SITS. I have written innumerable blogging tutorials around the web, transferred hundreds of bloggers to WordPress, and offer classes through How to Rock your Blog (again, with Shell).

Due to my husband’s job, we have moved to five different states in the past seven years, the last of which was Alaska (ask me about it if you want to see me shudder!). Home to us is always in Georgia, even though we both grew up in the Northeast. However, both our babies (and this third one on the way!) are Atlanta-born, and it’s just where we love to be- at least when we can!

I appreciate you visiting, and look forwarding to coming back to each of your blogs! Here are a few posts to get to know me a bit more:

Moving Forward (a summary of my health scares and ups & downs of the past year)

The Front Porch Swing (my sentimental musings)

Ranting about Facebook Statuses (some people should zip it)

Because they still need me (trying to remember how quickly my children’s time flies)

Moments that were almost missed (how a client’s product helped when my husband was 4000 miles away)