My little pumpkin is 5 months now. I just hope and pray I am making the most of every moment we have with this angel. Five months is a special time because their little personalities really develop. People keep telling me each phase gets better than the next, but I don't see how I could fall more in love than I already am. But, then tomorrow comes and my heart grows.

Hayden was two weeks old in the picture right above. I didn't sleep even an hour the night before that shot was taken. (For new moms: click here to read about that emotional time breastfeeding and adjusting). As I've said before, the days and nights were long, but the weeks and months (and years) are short. 

I've been trying to jot down something every day that Hayden does so I can add it to the baby book. Speaking of a baby book, I'm not in love with the one I have. Does anyone have a book that they love? I'd appreciate ideas, especially if it's easily found online! One thing that my friend Ali (Fedotowsky) has recommended and I implemented is the 10 year journal you can find HERE. I also just ordered this one: Mom's one line a day. 

My dear, creative friend Michele Bell (check out her holiday insta with elf on the shelf) gave us a great idea for keeping up with memories. She got each of her kids an email account when they were born with their name (which also is great for them to have in the future!). She sent the email address to her family so they could write a note or add pictures whenever it was convenient for them to do so. What an amazing way to keep up with letters from friends and family over the years! Then, she plans on making a book of them all to give to the kids when they are older. It's priceless, literally and figuratively!!

Do any of you have other ideas to share? Please do so! 

Sharing some of our favorite and useful items that Hayden loves (and Mommy & Daddy love, too).  The Merlin Sleep Suit has been one of our must haves. I received it as a hand me down before the baby was born. I had no idea what it was. I thought it was winter ski suit and figured we would not be going skiing anytime soon! Little did I know, it was one of the more useful tactics for sleeping. And the vibrating BounceRoo from 4Moms stays on our kitchen table a lot! It's perfect for Hayden to get to chill while I'm working in the part of the house. It's not heavy, so can easily be moved from room to room.  Scroll through to see a glimpse of some of our other favorites from toys to teething to decor to the activity bouncy gym (that he LOVES). 



A 4-year-old and a 4-month-old! #Snuggletime #Softsie

It finally feels like fall here in LA. I love this time of year. Cozy weather. I bet there's not a kid in the world that doesn't love snuggle time. There's not a ton of activities for a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old can actively do together, but snuggling is one of them. We left our walk (pictured above) to go curl up on the couch and read books. Hayden loves looking at the pictures and touching the books. And Huck feels like he's "reading" to his baby brother. We'll be engaging in fun festivities for the holidays (starting with a fall festival this weekend), but sometimes it's even better to stay home and chill... then OsciePants (the pug) can join, too.

These super soft, organic outfits on Hayden (the footie) and Huck (the separates) from SOFTSIE are pretty snugglicious. They are infused with aloe, jojoba oil and vitamin E. The outfits are actually nourishing their delicate skin while our little bundles are wearing them. I love how Hayden feels when I take him out of his Softsie footie! And they're made right here in the USA to boot! Now, if only they would make them in my size! My friends at Softsie are giving all of my readers 15% off with code COZYFALL through Oct. 16th at! ENJOY!!  

xo  - Ashley


I get so emotional thinking about the day Hayden was born.  Childbirth was painful and hard, but as time goes by, the day is filed in my mind as simply perfect.  In some ways, so perfect it could only be divine intervention.  

It seems like just yesterday. It’s hard to believe it was over a month ago.  As ready as I thought I was for Hayden to arrive, the truth is- I wasn’t prepared. I would venture to guess few people really are.  I hadn’t packed our hospital bags. I hadn’t finished the nursery. And most importantly, I hadn’t decided on some major concerns for the baby.  For instance, cord blood.  I did a decent amount of research and couldn’t decide.  Like many parents out there, so much was thrown at us in the last trimester; the decision making process can be daunting. We had already made many decisions regarding the baby, signing on many dotted lines. Suddenly, we’re registering at the hospital, debating what classes to take, what tours to go on, what books to read, which birth plan to follow?! Do we or don’t we hire a doula, etc.? Then, my OB asks if we are doing cord blood storage. I asked my friends and it’s still a relatively new endeavor… people either aren’t sure about it or they are 100% on board.  Were we bad parents if we didn’t store the blood?  We had been in limbo with our decision and truly thought we had a few more days to decide.  

I talked to a girlfriend from high school the day before Hayden was born. She was telling me about how another mutual friend’s son recently benefited from his cord blood storage. Something inside me clicked and I thought—- we need to do this. It wasn’t out of guilt for being a “bad parent” if I didn’t, I just decided if there were ever an opportunity for it to help Hayden or someone else, I should go for it.  I figured the next day I would work on the paperwork and order the cord blood kit.  

Then, later that night, the contractions went into full blown active “back labor.”  I kept getting in and out of bed, trying to relax. But, at 2:30am on May 24th while my husband was sound to sleep, I got up to pack our bags.  Just in case.  At 5:30am, as I was crying in the car on the way to the hospital, I contacted PacifiCord.  I had engaged in a conversation with the company previously about the possibility of using their services. My girlfriend Ali Fedotowsky had done quite a bit of research and highly recommended them.  If you are in a similar position, I’m sure you’ll do your own research, but I based my decision on a few factors.  I liked that the storage facilities were local.  And I learned they were the only local family cord blood bank to use both the FDA cleared AXP system and BioArchive systems.  And just in case a C-section was necessary, they use the only FDA approved sterile collection bag. These are things I would consider if you are looking into storing your child’s cord blood.  So, I literally emailed the contact person from PacifiCord from the car (remember, it’s 5:30am, too early to call) on the way to the hospital wondering if there were any way to finalize the paperwork and get a kit sent to the hospital.

Right after I emailed them, I called my parents in Texas to give them the heads up I was going into labor.  I asked for their prayers, then went back to focusing on breathing through the pain.  I went through a few minutes of being so angry at myself for not being more decisive earlier. I should have ordered the cord blood kit.  Why did I wait so long? Now, I had to accept the fact that I might have missed the opportunity to help my son if he ever needed it in the future.  Suddenly, it was so clear—- why would I NOT store his cord blood? 

This is where the divine intervention begins…and continues on throughout the day.  I get to the hospital and we get our delivery room.  I’m in so much pain with the “back labor” that I have let go of the notion of getting the cord blood stored.  Suddenly, all I’m concerned with is getting this little boy out of me! But, somewhere around 7:30am, the hospital delivery room phone rings.  It’s PacifiCord.  They received my email.  I told them my son was definitely arriving today.  They responded, “Well, so are we… we have someone ON ROUTE TO THE HOSPITAL to deliver a kit to Cedars Sinai.”  I was so overwhelmed I started crying. Then, I get a call from my parents and sister in Texas.  They are at the Houston airport—- about to get on a plane.  I had no idea when Hayden would decide to arrive, but my husband and I felt so much support surrounding us!

Sure enough, the kit cord blood kit arrives… the nurses took over and made the process seamless. My husband filled out the paperwork and was very impressed how this all worked out.  I couldn’t believe how attentive they were.  Checking on me during the day… and then promptly picking up the cord blood kit when it was ready.  The gentleman that picked up the kit even left in its place a gift for the baby. This is the kind of attention I would want for you all if and when you are in this position. 

My parents and sister arrived at the hospital around 6pm.  Hayden was born at 7:06pm.  Words cannot explain how wonderful it was to experience my son’s birthday with them.  And, of course, I’ll never forget the feeling of his little naked body resting against mine right after he was born. 

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the delivery day and experience, I wanted to share.You may have been in my shoes: completely undecided about cord blood storage. Please know that is normal.  In the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to a handful of new moms and it’s a common feeling…. to store blood, or not store blood.  And on top of every other expense, it’s not insignificant, but I did my research and they are more than reasonable. I was so impressed with the services at PacifiCord, I asked the good folks there if I could spread the joy with a discount for you all... mention Ashley200 for $200 off.  But educate yourselves. I’m so grateful I did. I pray to God it’s never needed, but the fact that science has progressed to help humanity if it ever is needed, I’m beyond grateful.  

For more information, go to  Mention Ashley200 for a discount!




You have changed our lives, little Hayden. The most perfect little being is here now... a different kind of love I have never known.  I can't believe we have been home from the hospital 4 days already.  I want to write and share our joy, but he's needing me right more very soon. xo

June 5, 2016

I wrote that 6 days ago.  I've been meaning to get back to this every day, but the adjustment period is intense!  Of course, Hayden is worth every single minute of it.  It's the most challenging and rewarding time of our lives.  See the gallery below of our first few days together.  I'll be adding more, too.


STEP UP 2016 INSPIRATION AWARDS with a few contractions thrown in!

This morning was a bit stressful trying to get my act together and get to an event on time being so pregnant and not sleeping well, but Step Up is worth it. I've been working with them for so many years, I wanted to attend their biggest event of the year, as long as I wasn't in labor.  It's fun to see the young ladies all grown up now that I knew in the mentoring program when they were teens in high school years ago. And, it's a great excuse to get our girl squad together- and see other ladies I haven't seen in a while.  Maybe it's just because I am pregnant, but it seemed like a good amount of women were styling their baby bumps today.  And also maybe because I'm pregnant, it was an emotional day. But, I don't think so- the stories of these inspiring young women would be touching to anyone. There are several chapters of Step Up around the country. If you've been looking for an excellent way to give back, look no further. You'll meet intelligent, fabulous women in their mentoring program and be rewarded from the interactions with the Step Up girls. 

i stayed comfortable in   this tank dress   that i absolutely love (comes in many colors)- Pictured at step up women's inspiration awards with fellow pregnant ladies Lacey Chabert and Lisa Ling (due in two weeks!). I love Lisa's flowy white NON-maternity dress      from another awesome supporter and sponsor of this year's event,    MICHAEL STARS  -  take a look at some of their newer pieces. Great for maternity and non-maternity. 

i stayed comfortable in this tank dress that i absolutely love (comes in many colors)- Pictured at step up women's inspiration awards with fellow pregnant ladies Lacey Chabert and Lisa Ling (due in two weeks!). I love Lisa's flowy white NON-maternity dress  from another awesome supporter and sponsor of this year's event, MICHAEL STARS -take a look at some of their newer pieces. Great for maternity and non-maternity. 

Amy Davidson, me, Beverley mitchell, and Ali Fedotowsky at the awards show,

Amy Davidson, me, Beverley mitchell, and Ali Fedotowsky at the awards show,


So, now, I'm on my way home from the STEP UP Inspiration Awards timing my contractions in the car.  Amy Davidson and Ali Fedotowsky (driving) start noticing my wincing.  

"It's been fourteen minutes since your last one, Ash," Amy says calmly, but pointedly. I must totally be in denial.  He can't come TODAY. RIGHT??  There's still too much to do! I don't think he's coming right now. I'm just over 39 weeks. How is it ALREADY TIME to TIME contractions?

I haven't packed my hospital bag.  And we don't have a name set. And I still want to finish the nursery! And make sure the laundry is done. But, I also know no one is ever completely prepared. So, ready or not, he's coming soon! Of course, "soon" could be days away....

UPDATE: I went into full blown labor 3 days later!