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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

Wordless Wednesday - Puppy Love Wednesday, November 28, 2007 |


• 11 Chirping

2 Years Later Monday, November 26, 2007 |

All I want for Christmas...

• 3 Chirping

The Best Year Yet Thursday, November 22, 2007 |

With this family, these friends, and the first swirling snow, it is certain to be.
Giving Thanks
(and Happy Birthday to me!)

• 8 Chirping

'Tis The Season Monday, November 19, 2007 |

Mama Speaks Holiday Gift Guide

Maybe it's always been this way and I'm just noticing because I have been eating, sleeping, breathing this thing for weeks, but gift guides seem to be all the rage this year. And while I am sure there are some good one's out there, I like to think that Mama Speaks Holiday Guide is, oh, the best! Thanks to my awesome team's brainpower, hardwork and some really late nights (and my awesome husbands mad design skills) we've compiled our favorite things for everyone on your list this holiday season. Check it out, it's like Oprah, only less screaming.

• 0 Chirping

A Peak Sunday, November 18, 2007 |

For whatever reason, my 25th birthday has seemed an arbitrary deadline for getting my shit together. That this is the point where I leave all my baggage behind and step into the threshold of a new life. Because- I just. Can't. Carry. It. Any. Longer. I don't know that I can change my world in 4 days but it's gotta be a good place to start.

I've felt in limbo for a long time, like I'm teetering between the hell that life used to be and this new world. This world that is the closest thing to a fairy tale I ever could have dreamed. I know I want to, need to, have to, dive in head first but it's frightening. And so I inch and inch forward and backslide almost as fast as I'm progressing.

It's hard because I never learned who I was. Because now, I am wife and mother and friend and I don't know what's underneath. Because all that was ever allowed to be underneath was what they allowed, what they proclaimed, and that person I created to protect the me I'm searching for. I don't remember much. Like snapshots rather than stories. Sure some are sunny, smiles. But most are not. Why it's so fragmented. I don't know that I was ever "wanted" and love was always with condition. An environment where those meant to protect one's innocence couldn't cope so they closed their eyes and avoided and ignored and left a child, a girl, me to fight and fend and do what it took to survive.

And I did. But in doing so, things were lost. But mostly never gained. Certain skills and securities escape me nearly a decade removed. While I am able to see the world one way, I react to it another, always on guard, always waiting for that beast to return. What once was fighter, now victim. And this I carry with me. While I have forgiven I have yet to deprogram. To wipe MY slate clean and rebuild again. To discover the truth about the me the world has yet to see.

I know how to be Mama, the thing I was put on this planet for. My only confidence. I don't know how to be a wife, I know how to love, unconditionally, but far too much history carries over. I react to my past rather than my present. 5 years in I'm blessed to have my soul mate stand behind me. Maybe a little slumped but solid. It seems the only thing missing is me, and I'm out to find her.

I've stopped a cycle, conquered addiction, grieved losses, ached for how things "should" have been, how some things still are, and it's time to turn off the light, close the door and create a new beginning. Some build walls to keep people out, I've built them to see who loves me enough to knock them down. For the first time, I'm first in line.

4 days, impending and promising, rebirth.

• 10 Chirping

Spam is Better Than Ham Wednesday, November 07, 2007 |

Alright, so.... once this "fall y'all" business wrapped up, I set out to let my commenter's know a winner had been chosen in my contest and as a thank you offered a crazy little discount code with my gratitude. Apparently I broke the rules and am going straight to hell. Me and at least the six bloggers I got discounts and thank you's from (whom I thank because since I didn't win your lovely contests I DO plan to use your codes to treat myself to your wears!) Apparently I am a spamer. Well let me tell you, if spamming is bad I don't want to be good. (Ok, sorry, not quite sure that line means!)

ANYWAY, since my contest entries were so ungrateful, I thought maybe my regular blog readers deserved a little treat! So here are my holiday discounts at nest. I was feeling crazy with the first one seriously enjoy it, I'm willing to be your sweatshop...

Enter FallYall25 - for 25% off any purchase through 11.30.07
Enter FallYall15 - for 15% off any purchase from 12.01.07-12.31.07

• 9 Chirping

Coming Clean Monday, November 05, 2007 |

I shy away from my blog more often than I'd like to admit because I should be writing here. Because I have things I need to get to out, and this is supposed to be my forum to do just that. I stop myself, keep it in my head and mull it over, good, bad and ugly for another day. a week. a month. years.

I'm on this journey, in this season of growing and stretching and scratching and clawing my way around in my skin. Of rehashing the past, of wading thigh deep in quick sand to try and predict my future. And I need this. I need it out, I need to make of sense of things, I need to move forward, I need to find me. I need to stop holding on to the things I've said I've forgiven because in some way, they are fullfulling me. Because even with disruption and distance the walls make me safe. And my fear of being "exposed", of things being more real because I see them in print, of disrupting some status quo that very well may not exist but in the confines of my nightmares is not worth the stifling stillness that comes with preventing growth.

And so I'm coming clean, soul searching, getting real even if it means getting dirty. Even if it means my content isn't exactly "Mommy Blog" material. I don't know where to start, I'm hoping for some sort of organic evolution of thought and history. Of a reworking in time that makes sense of the present. Of an honesty that strips away the layers of defenses to reveal the me 25 years in the making. The me I've never seen.

• 10 Chirping

You Can Find Me |

Doing nothing because I should be doing everything and I don't want to do it all.

• 2 Chirping