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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Mama's Nest

Content Thursday, August 31, 2006 |

I've spent the past few days feeling sick and miserable. David says I'm like a man when I don't feel well and unfortunately I'd have to agree with him. I don't think I've really been out of commission since Xavier came home and it definitely made for a different experience. I was only able to rest while he napped, had to stay in "safe" places as I was feeling a bit narcoleptic and simply nursing really drained me. To top it all off the weather was miserable and after not leaving my house for 3+ days I was starting to feel a bit depressed and I guess a bit sorry for myself- yet selfish all at the same time (because we've been through sick and as miserable as I felt it didn't seem to qualify)

Sometime between when my head hit the pillow last night and the sun rose today - I was rejuvenated. The fog lifted and I feel great. I stepped outside this morning and embraced the feeling of fresh air entering my lungs, rain sprinkling my hair, wind tickling my cheeks. The seasons seem to have begun to change during my infirmity. The sticky summer days have given way to mild sun and cool breeze. Fall is here. And it seems to have brought out something new in me. Not that I was unhappy before, or longing or uncertain. But I feel a rush of peace, of certainty, of His presence... of contentment.

con‧tent[kuh n-tent] -adjective
1.satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

It's not about material things or financial status or social placement. But about what I really have. A beautiful family. For the first time in my life. A husband. A son. I have security in that. In them. Validity. Purpose. Love. Belonging. And through becoming a bride and a mother I finally have a true understanding of how He feels about me. His love. About what my true value is. About where I do belong.

My first reaction is to question - am I simply complacent?

com‧pla‧cent[kuh m-pley-suh nt] –adjective
1.pleased, esp. with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied

I've done some searching and am convinced this is not the case.

I am endlessly blessed.

Contentment it is. And it is good.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

• 5 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday Wednesday, August 30, 2006 |

X "helping" Mama with the laundry

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Our First Vacation: Austin, TX Monday, August 28, 2006 |

I won't say that it's not good to be home but our vacation was wonderful! Xavier was a dream and our 5 days in Austin flew by. We moved back to the Chicago area almost two years ago from Austin where I worked as a nanny. The purpose of our trip was to catch up with our dear friends I used to work for, their little ones I love and revisit the city we miss more than we ever thought we would. Oh yeah, and to show off our little one.

I thought I'd take a zillion pictures as I usually do on vacations but I hadn't thought about the fact that I'd be toting around a baby and a diaper bag everywhere we went. So it was pretty much up to David to do the shooting. Between forgetting the camera or leaving it on purpose (so it wouldn't be left in the 100+ heat) we just didn't take as many shots as usual. I had planned to do a day by day, but decided to just show you our photos instead...

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

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We're back! Sunday, August 27, 2006 |

We arrived home from our wonderful vacation in Austin late Friday night. It was amazing and we had a great time. Unfortunately we're all now sick and miserable! Well little X is just fine so far, but David and are are sniffling and coughing and dragging all over the place! I'm working on a huge update with lots of photos from our trip, but right now I'm too tired to make much sense of things. So for now here is a photo of Xavier and Louis hamming it up at Austin Children's Museum (not bad for a shot from Antoinette's camera phone!)

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Leaving on a jet plane... Sunday, August 20, 2006 |

We are about to embark on our first ever family vacation. Xavier's first time in a hotel and a plane and a different state (well he's been from Indiana to Illinois, but we're so close that doesn't count) I'm bursting with excitement and a touch of nerves. I need a vacation, a change of scenery.

I worked as a nanny before mommy-dom and was blessed enough to become a part of two wonderful families. We're off to visit them back in Austin, TX- to see how "my boys" have grown - they're both 3 1/2 now, there's a new baby we've yet to meet and we get to introduce our little one. It's going to be great. David and I miss our old friends and the city more than we ever thought we would. I'm looking forward to sharing with Xavier some of the things I loved doing down there with the boys. We'll meeting up with David's old boss while we're there and have to make time for the babystyle store!

I'm leaving the laptop and home and hope not to update from the road. We'll take lots of photo's though and be sure to fill you all in when return. 5 days. Of freedom, friends, family. We're off.

• 11 Chirping

Goodbye gummy smile... Friday, August 18, 2006 |

About a month ago, my finger stumbled upon three little bulges in the bottom of Xav's mouth. I began to prepare for my little guy with teeth, but no matter how hard I tried, couldn't imagine his smile in any fashion other than that gummy grin. A few day's later the drooling and chewing and everything in the mouth began. He's such a pleasant, laid back baby and while that didn't at all change he'd have a moment here or there where we'd be playing and he'd suddenly cry out in pain. We discovered Hyland's teething tablets (they work wonders) and ice cubes in his mesh feeder. The bulges would come up and down, some days all but disappearing. I was beginning to think those little teeth would never come in.

Then last Friday, Xavier and I were sitting at the dining table with our friend Carol. He was chewing on the wrong end of his spoon - pretending to eat - He grunted and chomped down, then screamed. I assumed he had jabbed himself so I washed my hands and went to feel around. To my surprise I discovered a jagged, pearly tooth protruding from his bottom gums! We cheered and cried and marked the milestone as he looked on with such relief. Everyday I've snuck a peek and a feel to see how our little tooth is coming in. And have delighted in getting out the finger tip brush and brushing "the tooth". It's just a little sliver still, a sharp little sliver, but it's definitely growing on us.

This afternoon I settled in to nurse my little toothed man and had to promptly remove him for biting. I offered my finger to soothe him instead and he happily clamped down. Something felt different... bigger... wider... had the tooth come through all the way already? No, that's not it... no, it couldn't be... another tooth!? Xavier is officially a two toothed man.

I never thought emerging teeth could bring on such emotion! David and I shared a moment of wishing we could hit pause, maybe rewind a little... he's growing up so fast. I've learned to slow down myself as to not miss a thing. Another to milestone to make me appreciate the fact I have.

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Hello! My name is... Thursday, August 17, 2006 |

Ashlee. (I have a middle name too, but I'd like to keep that one to myself for now)

Some of you knew this already, but for those of you who knew me simply as Xav's Mama there it is. When I began my "Mommy blog" in March I chose Xav's Mama as a tactic to hold on to a bit of anonymity I suppose. But since I am sharing some of most personal moments and letting you all see the daily in's and outs of my life, it only seems appropriate to be on a first name basis.

So there you have it.

Hello, my name is Ashlee. (and I'm a blog-aholic)

• 12 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - Liam and Xavier Wednesday, August 16, 2006 |

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8 months old Monday, August 14, 2006 |

Xavier Michael my dear,
You are 8 months old today. What is just another day to you is such a milestone to me. It seems like yesterday you arrived so small and fragile and as I write this I watch you sleep sprawled out on our bed - your chest rises and falls, arms to one side and the other, legs curled up- toes touching, your expression that of an angel. Occasionally you smile and your belly bounces to a silent laugh. I can only imagine what you're dreaming.

You're still so young but I find myself thinking of you more as a "boy" than a baby. You are changing so fast. Those coo's and gurgles have become screeches and sounds that all too often sound like words. Our I love you's are answered with a smirk and "ahh-goo". You've taken to your baby signs so fast, the past two Monday's pleading for me to listen to the garbage men in the morning and the chorus of lawnmowers at dusk. You tug at our shirts to nurse and laugh when we pant to say dog. From the day's of kicking around on your back you now prefer to sit and have pretty much mastered the craft. Sometimes you wobble and tip over with delight, but always optimistic you maneuver onto your tummy and carry on. You love to take little steps when someone helps you stand. And giggle as you take wobbly tip-toed strides towards Oliver, once close you grab his ear and exchange a slobbery baby/puppy kiss. About those kisses (and hugs) that melt our hearts: all too often you sneak in a kiss and squeeze when we least expect it but need it the most, and are always happy to deliver on request.

While you are growing so much more independent I cherish the fact that you are still happiest snuggled up with me in your sling, watching and enjoying the world around you. Still endlessly happy - full of smiles and such a hearty laugh. We've been learning a lot about the things you love to do... reading books, swimming, swinging at the park, going for walks, watching baseball games, playing with your buddies Grayson and Liam. You've begun to join us at breakfast, lunch and dinner, perched in your high chair pretending to eat with your spoon. Bottles of water excited you more than anything I've seen. I offer you the smallest sip and you respond with a refreshed "mmmmm". The days of your gummy smile are fading fast with your first 3 teeth on their way through. How hard it is to see you hurt!

Almost daily now there is something new that emerges and daily I am amazed at how strong and healthy you are... fiesty from your first breath. For the first time to you, my boy, I will admit that there were days we thought the moments we were sharing may be your last. But you have proved everyone otherwise! I'm so proud of you! The struggles you've been through you may never remember, but your spirit is marked with determination and will, purpose and favor. You've taught me so much and shown me the miracle of life and power of prayer. I can't count the times I've been told you've the eyes of such an old soul, eyes that are beautiful and wise. An old soul in a new dwelling. And I am endlessly blessed to have been chosen as your Mama. Your name suits you well little man, Xavier-a new dwelling. Michael- Close to god. Allen- Noble.

I could go on for days, but you're stirring... and stretching... and smiling awake. Happy 8 months Xav.

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Word Cloud |

Inspired by Steph and Michelle here is our word cloud.

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Another blog free weekend. Brought to you by Xavier and the spoon Saturday, August 12, 2006 |

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Wordless Wednesday - Good Morning World Wednesday, August 09, 2006 |

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Celebrating Breastfeeding and other things Monday, August 07, 2006 |

I was having one of those moments... you know, one of those trying to pick up the house, the dog has decimated another writing utensil (at least it wasn't another $20 bill), the company's late (again), can't tell the dirty laundry pile from the clean so I'm going to have to do it all again, come on baby we're going outside to get some fresh air kind of moments... Xav's on my hip in the sling enjoying me running around, but he sounds like he's crying. I look down and he has the BIGGEST smile on his face, he was totally faking it, so priceless! Exactly what I need to put things in perspective.

Susan over at 5 minutes for Mom has posted these "Tell us your story" questions to celebrate Breastfeeding week. A lot of this was already answered in my "I love nursing" post, but I'd love to dive in again.

Did you nurse your baby(s) and for how long?
Xavier is nursing like a champ at 7 1/2 months. I plan to nurse until he's at least 2 and let him self-wean.

What was your favourite aspect of nursing?
All of it! The connection. The snuggles, cuddling, staring into each others eyes. The fact that I am capable of providing him ALL of the nourishment he needs. What's not to love

Did you ever get bitten?
Oh, yeah! Xav's currently working on his first tooth and turns out I am his favorite teether.

What was the hardest part of weaning?
Not there yet, but I'm certain it will be harder on me than it is on him.

Do you have any advice to share with moms about nursing and/or weaning?
If you plan to nurse or are nursing be sure you have a support network. Family, friends, La Leche League, or other Mom's group. It takes some getting used to, but I'm convinced that any breastfeeding issue from a baby who just won't latch to low milk supply can be overcome with a little bit of persistence and patience.

I'd love to hear your story too!

• 12 Chirping

A Meme For All Seasons Sunday, August 06, 2006 |

After a self imposed blog free weekend I have TONS to write about, but I'm tired and feeling a bit lazy right now... thankfully Steph tagged me with this cool meme so here we go...

1] Your favorite seasons, in order:

Fall - Can't wait for it get here... colors change, leaves fall... feels like home

2] Your favorite smells for each season:
Fall – Crisp cool air through open windows, crunchy leaves

– Fresh cut flowers, morning dew

Summer – The beach, sand, water, sunscreen
Winter – Chirstmas trees, sweets baking in my oven

3] Your favorite foods for each season:
Fall – Vegetarian chili & fresh, warm apple-cinnamon doughnuts from the apple orchard

Summer – Fresh fruits and salads
Spring – Fresh veggies, hummus, tofu, picnic ready foods
Winter – Tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches

4] What are your favorite colors for each season:
Fall – Red

Spring – Green
Summer – Blue
Winter -- Black

5] Your favorite activities for each season:
Fall – Visiting the pumpkin patch & apple orchard, hay rides, Bailey homestead

Summer – Watching the sun set at the beach, swimming
Spring – Picnics at the park, long walks, going to the zoo
Winter -
Sitting out on my front step as the first swirling snow falls, snuggling up with a cozy blanket and those I love near the Christmas tree with some hot cocoa and warm cookies.

I tag Amber at Crazy Bloggin' Canuck, Heidi at Butterfly Mama and Jamie at All Things Avery if you're up for it! And of course anyone else who wants to join just let me know.

• 5 Chirping

The Peanut and The Moose Thursday, August 03, 2006 |

Last night Xavier and I got out of the house with our best buddies Steph and Grayson to go to our monthly CHOICES meeting. It was wonderful to enjoy an evening out, to spend time with friends and a community of like-minded ladies. And what's even better is seeing Gray and Xav together. they love each other! When I even mention seeing Grayson, Xavier usually lets out a squeal. And upon seeing Xav, Gray generally jumps and tries to get him. Last night Xav was so determined to hold Gray's hand. Obviously right now they spend most of the time just looking at each other but it's so cute to see their little friendship grow.

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Wordless Wednesday Wednesday, August 02, 2006 |

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décolleté (dkôl-t) Tuesday, August 01, 2006 |

I have become notorious for "washing" my face with one of Xavier's baby wipes and calling it a day. I usually don't wear makeup, so I can sort of get away with it, but my skin started asking for a bit more attention. I thought maybe buying a new skin care system would give me the motivation I needed to pay a little more attention to me. So on my last trip to the health food store I picked up Jason's new Red Elements skin care line (which I love). While in the shower this morning I read the directions on my exfoliating scrub...

"To Use: Dampen skin with warm water. Gently massage a small amount of scrub into face, neck and décolleté in a circular motion. Rinse well."

I'd never heard the word "décolleté" before so of course I ran downstairs and googled it. Thinking it must be something very important. Turns out décolleté means (drum roll please...) upper chest! Couldn't they just have said... face, neck and upper chest?! This is a Jason product we're talking about here, you know - pure, natural, organic. Nothing fancy.

Alright, that's it... just found this funny.

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