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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

Happy Month Little Dreadlings Wednesday, February 27, 2008 |

So, I seem to have bypassed my first little dreadiversary. My new locks have been around for over a month now and are coming along beautifully. The first couple weeks were spent avoiding mirrors and donning all sorts of head gear. I rolled and rolled and rolled them and was often frightened by my own reflection. I'm really starting to love them though, especially my tiny little bangs...

I went out for the first time without a hat or wrap this weekend quite confidently, it was really freeing. And I'm starting to get used to looking at my mug as it is without hair covering half it. The biggest change is actually having hair with some oomph, for the first time in, oh, ever.

It's not without work though, these babies keep me busy. I've probably spent more time on my hair this month than I have in last year combined. My latest feat is separating (read: ripping - ouch!) my dreads in two (or three or four) to get the tiny little locks my head desires.

I'm thinking by this summer they'll pretty much be set. I'm happy, I love it, feels like me.


• 9 Chirping

Maybe I'll Finally Give Up Cheese After All Monday, February 18, 2008 |

Via Treehugger. Laughing so hard, I can't begin to explain it...

• 7 Chirping

Diversified Saturday, February 16, 2008 |

I've been keeping busy over at my Photo Blog and after I let my account sit idle for awhile, I'm really digging Twitter.

If things are quiet here, it might just be because I'm busy blabbing over there.

• 2 Chirping

Off to Snuggle Up With This Kid |


• 1 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - Catch Me If You Can Tuesday, February 12, 2008 |


• 19 Chirping

Wake up and smell the bull poopy, alternatively craptastic no more Monday, February 11, 2008 |

You asked for it, warts and all...

I am quite literally a mess. Things have caught up with me lately and drug me down deeper than I've ever been before. I am weak, vulnerable, insecure. Issues I thought laid to rest years past are back, fierce and consuming. One (albeit enormous) event has opened wounds and reactions obviously less healed than I'd like to imagine.

Those who know me personally know my history. I've been through some tough shit and while I've forgiven and forgotten much, I struggle with the person it's made me. Or who it hasn't. With the girl who learned how to protect herself from a tyrant but never learned who she was meant to be. Always on edge- defensive, assuming the victim role because no matter how awful, it feels like home, it's what I know. Assuming that I must have done something wrong when the phone doesn't ring or my inbox isn't full to the point I make myself physically ill. And insecurities that cut so deep I am worthless, questioning those who have spent years doing nothing but consistently inserting their love and devotion.

There are reasons, obvious, glaring, neon reasons, but they ceased being excuses long ago. When I decided to become a wife, a mother, a friend I gave up the right to sink my own ship. And baby, this one's going down. Bottom line is I can put on a good act but it's not enough anymore. I am no fun to be around, I hear myself disagreeing with everything my other half says for absolutely no reason. I get frustrated with my baby rather than take a millisecond to realize he's two, and I actually real like two. I get two. I feel left out, left behind by friends rather than rejoicing in the fact our little family just keeps on getting larger. I create realities that do not exist. I idealize. I idealize. I disappoint.

I try to teach my son how to respect, and how to communicate and in it's midst realize that while I innately know how to teach him, I don't know those truths myself. I never learned. Or I did and lost it along the way. I have no self. No security. I have confidence in one area in my life. I am an awful wife, a crappy friend but I was put here to be a mother. So that's where I start.

I don't know how to rebuild, exactly how to forge ahead seems daunting at best, but if I can look at my ability to mother, how I just get that without foundation, and expound. If I can allow that to carry over, to encompass other aspects of my life I think I'll be ok. I think we'll be ok.

If I have let you down in recent days, or months or years, I apologize. If you're gone I probably had it coming. If you're still around you must be really awesome and definitely love me more than is deserved. If you're new to the scene it might be a little bumpy for a bit but you have complete permission to apply foot to ass as needed.

It's now or never and I have a whole lot riding on me.

• 14 Chirping

girls are weird Thursday, February 07, 2008 |

I feel obligated to start by saying that I have an awesome clan of girly friends for the first time in a long time. The kind of friends that send you the MLS listing to the house across the street (while living several states away), show up at funerals, know what's going on with you without having to say a word and can have a conversation looking you in the eye even though you presently look like a poor man's Sideshow Bob. I love them. And at this stage in my life Friends are family bottom line.

But all this goodness can make those relationships that aren't, stand out like that strange odor coming from my garbage disposal.

I have this friend who since meeting a few years ago I've felt connected to. Similar interests, history, place in our lives, not to mention the common people intertwined. I just think she's awesome. But there is this valley that just can't seem to be crossed. For every attempt to connect or draw closer is matched with a push in the other direction, with jealousy or comparison or competition. Support or personal experience is drunk in as judgment. And it's frustrating! I've spent so much time sensoring myself, wondering what else can I do? HAVE I done something to create this? I even made the mistake of trying to talk to my dear husband about things, who now thinks us women and our relational drama are completely mad.

Now, I'm not saying all of my friends need to best friends there are those I only talk to once or twice a year, thanks to this here blog there are gals I barely know but would consider friends in a heartbeat, I get that. But this relationship, for lack of grown up linguistics, just feels yucky. Often. And in dissecting things I've come to an enlightening realization... It's not me. Has positively nothing to do with me. It's freeing. And while this doesn't neccesarily mean I'll stop caring or will withdraw my hand, it has given me permission to stop worrying, to stop taking it personally. And has given me freedom to focus elsewhere.

• 8 Chirping

Days Like This... Tuesday, February 05, 2008 |

My baby is sick. Projectilius Vomitus, triple digit heat, moans and groans and... giggles. It's days like today that I realize just how sloppy in love I still am. Those early days were easy, the newness, the novelty, the hormones - but over time it wears a little, only it doesn't, it tunnels, it deepens, this giddy glorious gush becomes a primal all encompassing adoration.

But it also becomes normal. When the days turn to weeks turn to months and now years! you get used to this little human being existing, amazing. And life happens, we do and move and busy. We live. And then it hits me, I realize it's been a really long time since I've stopped to drink it all in. I'll never be able to write enough down, to photograph each instant I'd like would mean me behind a lens rather than in a moment, and memories fade too quickly... still there are too many blank pages in the baby book, too many posts here about me, about stuff, about nothing.

So rather than want to, I will, I am in this moment documenting glimpses of forever...

Dear Xavier, 25 months, 20 days, 25 Things that make me smile
  1. Absolutely comes out Abo-lutsey and is often combined with a random name, as in "Abolutsey Pastor Tim"
  2. The words "Ylang-Ylang" and Jockey illicit the biggest belly laughs I've ever seen
  3. I don't know when the imagination began, but now it never ends. To see food become animals you've only read about, random space shuttle sightings in our living room and tales of adventure that dwarfs that on the silver screen amazes me.
  4. You thought we should name Solomon, Yogurt, and will tell anyone who asks that he is not a dog but a "Dob-er-MAN puppy"
  5. Yesterday you said, "Guess what Mama?! I love you!"
  6. You made Papa fajita pancakes. My favorite.
  7. Spidey says "I lub You" and he does.
  8. Yoga.
  9. When the going gets tough, nonny still cures all.
  10. Boogie checks and belly buttons
  11. Our daily dinosaur assignments. Today you told me I could be Velociraptor (you were Allosaurus) Papa was T-Rex. My favorite? Mamasaurus
  12. Randomly, you'll tell me about angels, or Jesus. I struggle with our religion but you give me faith.
  13. Celebrating poop.
  14. You've asked me many times to have a baby in my belly so you can have a big sister. (let's keep talking about how that all works!)
  15. "Yowt-see!" (Yahtzee)
  16. Conversation. Words became sentences long ago and now paragraphs that I could listen to until the end of time. (and I will)
  17. Your honesty.
  18. Only time will tell what you'll "be" but the glimpses at your inherent gifts/likes/loves is awesome. Music, drumming!, painting, art, words.
  19. My one man band. Two drum sticks and a microphone.
  20. Your sometimes southern drawl.
  21. The way you touch my cheeks and play with my hair and give me hugs and kisses. Those unsolicited "Mama IS pretty" comments don't hurt either.
  22. If I forget to buckle you in your highchair you push yourself away from the table and say "I'm sorry Mama, it's ok" (I sometimes forget on purpose just so I can hear you say it)
  23. The way your eyebrows furrow and your lips pucker when Papa leaves for work. "Where'd Papa go'd?" and the smile when "Papa IS home!"
  24. No matter how silly, tired, squeezy, frustrated, stinky or happy I get, you want to be right by my side. (I wouldn't want to be anywhere else)
  25. You love like I've never seen love before. People, animals, everyone, everything, unconditionally.

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• 6 Chirping

And The Winner Is... Monday, February 04, 2008 |

Melanie at I Love My Life is the winner of my Bloggy Giveaway! Congrats! One of my new Hatchling slings is on the way for your little one's.

Thanks to all who took the time to stop by and enter, it has been a joy having so many new blogs to visit! If you really, really, really wanted to win and didn't and would really, really, really like one, Hatchlings will be making their debut at nest next week! AND I would love to offer you all 25% off your purchase, just email me newmamasnest [at] gmail [dot] com for code. (applicable to Hatchling line only)

• 1 Chirping

A Little Nest-iversary Saturday, February 02, 2008 |

A year ago today, I launched my site to bring my other baby, nest, to the masses. My goal was to help mama's worldwide sling their babes in comfort and style and the past 365 days have been amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support!

Stop on by
, there's a bit of a sale going on and keep watching- our Hatchling line and spring collection will be launching soon!

• 6 Chirping