February 7, 2022

Evi James | 4 Months


Month 4 was a big month sweet girl. It was your first full month of going to daycare. It feels like you grew so much each day. You recognize your family and smile so big when you see mommy or daddy. You watch your sisters closely and have gotten so good at lifting your head while you are on your stomach. You are officially Brooki's very own baby doll and we have to make sure that she doesn't smother you with kisses. We battled through Covid, your first runny nose and cough, and then lastly, a couple of days of croup. You were a champ through it all. You continue to prove that you are easy going and happy to just simply be. 

Your daddy and I say often that there is something so special about you. You look like a little doll and are just your own little lady. You are content to just be but let us know when you are ready for a change. It amazes us how quickly the time is going and how much we adore and love you. We love being your family. 

February 1, 2022

Who We Are | Family

Growing up, I always knew I wanted a family. I have always loved children and held on to the hope that I would find someone that I could partner with in life and grow beautiful babies with. As I reflect back on the roads that led us here, I am thankful for the twists and turns, the dead ends, and the hills and valleys of it all. Each step has lead us exactly where we were meant to go; together. 

Michael and Ashley

After meeting in college in 2006, we did the fun of long distance for 3 years until I decided to move where Michael was to become a teacher. We have been here ever since, slowly creating a life of our own. From job promotions to job changes, we have been self-proclaimed partners from the beginning, I like to think we live our life being exactly that. Tag-teaming raising these beautiful girls and loving each other through the transitions and seasons life has taken us on. I would be lost without the calm to my storm. 

Adilynn Ivie

Adi joined the family in February of 2017. Everything about Adilynn was easy. From the pregnancy to the birth to the transition of a family of 3. This continues now that she is 5. She just sort of floated through those hard years that are typical with children and brings such a light to our lives. She is a gem in many ways and too smart for her own good. With a heart of gold and an awareness of feelings that makes her momma's counselor heart so proud, she loves big and cares deeply. She was made to be a big sister. 

Brooklynn Mae 

Brooki Mae is our spitfire. Born in December of 2019, she is our pandemic baby. She had the joy of staying home with me for 7 months and it shows in how much she loves her momma. She is definitely our middle child and the mischievous one of the bunch.  You can't leave her alone for any amount of time unless you want to walk into a disaster. She has a deep love of baby dolls, but none more so than her Evi-dito. You can find Brooklynn taking care of her babies, feeding them, or giving them kisses. We could watch her all day. 

Evelynn James

Evi surprised us all and joined us October 2021. She is the sweetest baby with an old soul. Her name fits her so well. She carries on her daddy and pop's name James and no doubt will be running around the house with her big sisters in no time. For now, she loves to smile, eat, and sleep. Her smile lights our world and she is proving to be the sweetest little babe. She was made perfectly for us. 
January 30, 2022

This Is The Way | Bible Study

Often times, I find myself worried about choosing the right or wrong path at the fork in the road or find myself wondering which open door I should walk through. I am the person who will wrestle with both sides of any argument, making pros and cons for each side of the choice, often times over-thinking what might happen, making up scenarios, and then ultimately hesitating making a decision either way. Recently, I've found myself sitting on a decision and have been searching for peace in which way I am trying to go. 

As I was laying in bed the other night, I found myself reading a chapter in my bible study by Lysa Terkeurst. This verse was the focus of the chapter and it was exactly what I needed to read. No matter which path we choose or which door we open, that is exactly the choice we should make. There are no right or wrong choices when God is the focus of each of your decisions. We must simply walk the path or enter the door with the knowledge and faith that God is with us to help us learn the lessons or appreciate the goodness that comes from the path we choose. 

This realization brought me so much peace. As a planner, I often think I must wait for His sign or the perfect situation to arise before I make a decision. This verse reminds me that He simply is asking us to trust that He is there, no matter where we go. 

There are great things ahead and I am looking forward to walking in it. 
April 1, 2020

Life Lessons from Adilynn

When I look at Adilynn, I can't help but imagine all that is in store for her. She seems to grow and learn so much each and every day that each morning she wakes up this totally new person who has precious new tricks to practice and show-off. I envy this about her, as I tend to wake up thinking of all the things that happened yesterday, last week, last month, where she wakes up and is just happy to be ready for another day (as long as mommy gets her milk and muffins for her immediately). I was looking at this photo of the two of us and started thinking about all that she has taught me over the past 20 months and just had to write it all out for the world (me) to read. 

Failure isn't permanent.

Let's face it, if we had to learn to walk like babies do, after a few times of falling down, we might just resort ourselves to the fact that we just weren't meant to walk. Babies don't understand the complexity that is walking and how much it will impact their life, yet they push through the falls, the aggravation, the frustration to keep trying until they get it. Oh how I wish I had that kind of tenacity. To know that even when failure presents itself that it's not the end all. In fact, it's just part of the stepping stone to being a master in whatever I am working on. 

If we just listen, we can learn so much. 

Adilynn copies things that I say, even when I wish she wouldn't. I will find her sitting near me, seeming as though she's not paying attention and then she will either jibber jabber in response to me or repeat words back that I had just said. When I'm talking to her, especially when I say "Adi, listen to mommy" she gives me her undivided attention, looks me in my eyes and just listens. Sometimes, most of the time, people just need us to listen. They don't need our own stories, our opinion, or even thoughts on what they should do. They just need to talk it out with someone who will listen. 

Love without Expectations

The fact of the matter is that Adi doesn't care if I knocked out my to do list at work, that I failed in my reaction to a tough situation, or that I didn't go for a run that day. She loves me regardless. She has no expectations for me to be this perfect human-being for her. She just cares that at the end of the day, I walk into that daycare, grab her into my arms and smother her in kisses. She cares that I read her her favorite book at least 5 times a night and that I sing her to sleep every. single. night because she loves me so much. She doesn't love the school counselor me, the wife me, or the friend me. She doesn't care about my failures that I tend to focus on. Instead, she just loves that I'm her momma and that I love her. 

Who cares. 

That should probably have a question mark after it but really....who cares. Why does it matter if you make mistakes? If your opinion isn't the popular opinion? If you aren't the best version of yourself every day? To be honest, babies could care less about any of those things. And ultimately, we (me) as adults need to remember this. All too often, I find myself thinking that people actually care about what I am doing. It's human nature to think that our little lives are bigger than they really are. But in the grand scheme of things, the choices that I make every day should benefit myself and the way that I hope that the man upstairs sees me. 

I could go on and on, but I'll end there for now. I needed to slow down and remind myself of all that is around me to learn and grow from in the heart of that sweet baby girl who fell asleep to my awful singing and loves me anyways. 
April 30, 2019

Slow to Speak

I was listening to a local radio station the other day and the hosts began to talk about the verse "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" James 1: 19. Although my first thoughts about this verse are to ensure that we are conversing with people in a respectful way and taking time to choose our words correctly, it also made me think about how I approach my part of a conversation with people. 

I've always prided myself on being a good listener. I mean, as a counselor (even if I am just a school counselor) that's pretty much my job. Listen to the worries, the fears, the excitement, the stories... I feel as though I listen all day long. Yet as time has passed, I have learned that I'm not good at really listening. I find myself preparing for what I'm going to say, how I can relate to what the person is telling me, or my mind has wandered to other things that I need to do or accomplish.  

As I was self-reflecting on my listening skills, I thought about the saying "We have 2 and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak". People don't always need to know that you have trudged through the same waters, or what your opinions are about the topic they are discussing. Sometimes, they just need to speak those words out loud, get them off of their heart, or share them with someone who will stop what they are doing, give them their attention, and listen. 

This hit home with me as a partner, friend, family member, mother, and counselor to young students. If I am spending all the time doing the talking, then I am missing out on what is being said or needing to be said from the other half of the conversation. I think as humans, we want to be able to make a connection with people, and we do that by sharing our own personal experiences but the more I've thought about, the more I see that sometimes the connection is made just by being the listening ear. 

In traveling along new paths lately, I feel like I have come to learn a lot about myself. There are moments when I am proud of new skills that I have learned, ways that I have grown, or things that I have learned about myself that I didn't know already. But with that, comes things that I wish I did better, was better at, or could accomplish in a better way.  Being a better listener, being slow to speak, is definitely an area that is a work in progress for me. 

Do you find yourself speaking more than you listen?