Thursday, November 3, 2016

a sneak peek...

every time i write or type
sneak peek
i always wanna mix up the vowels
in the two words.
like who gets the ee and who gets the ea.

anyway…
i wanted to share with you guys
a little peek at my newest scrap project.
i have been trying my best to create
a scrapbook of scarlett's first year of life.

i wanted her to have a detailed record
of most of her special moments during
this first year.

i figure i may not be the best at capturing
so many little details as the years go by
so i'm giving this first one my best shot.

in other words,
i may suck at momming 
later on down the line,
however,
these twelve months,
i'm gonna rock it out.

i'm doing this book project life style
with some good old fashioned single layouts too.
i went with the studio calico 9x12 handbook
and i am loving working with this size.

i have been trying so hard to work on this book
but i have only made it to a week after
her birth so far.
i know amazing right.
she's nine months.

but i'm having to keep her alive and stuff
and prevent the house from growing black mold
and making sure we have some
clean clothes here and there so…
that is the best i've got.

i need to start coming upstairs
to work on it once i put her to bed at night
and forget about sleep and showering and all that.

i decided to include details from the moment 
we found out she existed
up until her first birthday.
i wanted the book to have pictures of my pregnancy,
her gender reveal party and shower, her room,
and the other little preparations
we made while waiting for her arrival.

i love hearing stories about that time in 
my parents' life so i included those
in her book.

here's a peek.










those are just a few of the pages.
i've completed lots more than that.
i am thinking once the book is done,
i'll share a video of the entire finished product.

the goal is for it to be completed to put out
at her birthday party.
wish me luck.

ash...





Sunday, October 30, 2016

the day that changed everything...

scarlett's birthday.
how do you even begin to tell the story
of the biggest day of your life.
i've wanted to blog about this for months.
here we are,
almost nine months later and i'm still not
quite sure how to tell the tale of this day.

we knew scarlett would have to be born via c-section
a couple of weeks before her birth.
there were circumstances out of our control
and we were advised that the safest way
for her to be born was a c-section. 

i did not want my desires to experience birth differently
or my fears of surgery cause us to be faced
with some kind of emergency situation
instead of a controlled one, so i agreed.

it was scheduled for february 8, 2016 at 5pm.
i barely slept the night before because of nerves
mixed with oodles of excitement and anticipation.
we got up for the day and immediately began talking
about what was ahead.

we laid on the couch for a while and i watched "i love lucy"
while dozing on and off.
eventually, i showered and put on some make up
to avoid scaring my poor girl the minute she met me.
we took one last baby bump pic and we headed to the hospital.

i was so at peace all day and really wasn't feeling very nervous.
once we arrived at the hospital, things moved very quickly.
they started asking lots of questions and hooking me up
to an IV and poking and prodding.

the nerves kicked in.

my mom and dad met us there and, slowly, 
more family and friends
began to trickle in.

soon they ushered everyone out of the room
and gave me my spinal and wheeled me to the OR.
i will spare you all of the details of the 
spinal and its three failed attempts.
in a word: awful.



once in the OR,
it became very clear that i was not yet numb
and was told if the pain was too intense
they would have to put me to sleep.
this caused me to panic inside because
the only thing i was worried about was 
being able to hold that girl
 and have skin to skin immediately
after she was born.

my body eventually went into shock,
shaking off the table,
and the pain wasn't as bad.

anyways,
the whole thing felt like a complete out of body experience.
i literally felt like i was watching it play out.
they kept asking me questions on how i was feeling,
if i was cold,
if i was okay,
and my answer was always, "i don't know."
it was the weirdest thing.

all that was going through my head was,
"please be alive. please be alive. please be alive." 
i know that sounds crazy but once you
have the physical experience of losing a baby.
it is a trauma like no other and the only 
thing you can think is,
"please god, let this one come out alive."

after loads of pulling and pushing i heard my doc say, "vacuum."
and then the assisting doc say, "i got her."
and my mom squeal and say, "there she is."
and just like that,
little miss scarlett mirabella burke
was born.





she came out as feisty as anything
screaming and crying
and it was the absolute most beautiful sound
my soul has ever heard.
i immediately started thinking, 
"thank you jesus, thank you jesus, thank you jesus."

i waited for them to throw her over the curtain so
i could take a peek at her and that never happened.
my mom and shane immediately rushed to meet her
and i was left asking the anesthesiologist nurse guy
to tell me what she looked like and if she was okay.




i would have loved to have been right there
as shane met her for the first time
but that wasn't how life played out.
i am so grateful my mom got these pics.
i can't imagine what he was thinking.
this guy who wanted nothing to do
with ever having kids and then had a desire
for one so fiercely.
man i wish i coulda been in that brain.

so once all the surgery stuff was done,
shane finally came over with my tiny angel
and i could not see that girl.

i was beginning to get super frustrated.
i don't know if it was the drugs or the angle i was laying
and the angle he was standing but i could not see her.

they moved me to a new bed
and shane finally finally finally
put her in my arms.

and then…
life completely changed.
nothing i knew was the same.
nothing i felt was the same.
it was the most overwhelming, amazing,
fulfilling, joyous moment of my life.






it's weird because it feels like it's supposed to be the most
intimate moment of your life and you have
to experience it in the most un-intimate setting
with so many people around.

when i held her all i could think was that
it felt like i had known her my entire life.
i felt so connected to her.
i felt like i could never ever be without her.
i felt like i would lay my life on the line for her
if it meant she would experience a moment of happiness.
i felt like oh my god she is mine and she always will be.
there are just so many feelings at that moment.

i remember thinking, "is this how much god loves me?"
my entire pregnancy my mom would tell me
that my views about god were going to change so much
once i had the baby.
she told me that i would never look at god the same
once i felt the love i had for my child.

i couldn't even fathom love like this before scarlett.
i didn't realize the love you have for something you created.
something you carried inside you.

and god loves us infinitely more.
how do you even wrap your mind around that?
how did i ever, for one second, doubt his love for me?

as soon as i started to fall apart in that hospital bed,
they wheeled me into the hall and i couldn't believe what i saw.
there were between 30 and 40 people all in the hall
to meet lil momma.










it was so overwhelming.
i was still so out of it and trying to soak up
the moment with my baby.
i was so emotional.
everyone outside was thrilled.
scarlett's eyes were as big as they could be.
she was just looking around at every face
and taking it all in.
everyone kept commenting on those big eyes
and how alert she was.
i just kept apologizing because i was so overwhelmed.

they wheeled us to our room and we had one hour alone with her.
it was the most precious hour of my life.
shane and i were in awe of her and the fact that we made her.
and in the back of my mind,
all i could think about was god.
and how in the world did he think i deserved this.
and how he had entrusted me with her care.
and how i would do everything in my power
to not screw it up.

and i can't lie,
i thought about our first baby a few times
and the fact that i would never get to hold
he/she close to my heart like that.
and after all these months,
i've learned that thoughts of that baby will pop up
often and unexpectedly.
and i think them and feel the feelings that come with them
and then look at my sweet girl and just
feel thankful for the gift in front of me.

the next few hours are a blur.
i ended up getting pretty sick and they
had to give me something for nausea
so i was pretty out of it for a few hours.
we had lots of visitors and scarlett had her first bath.












well that is baby girl's birthday story.
no words could ever do it justice.
just wanted to document it on this little blog.

still so grateful that i was given the opportunity
 to experience something like this.
an so thankful that she is mine.

best day ever…
ash.






Monday, June 6, 2016

crushed bones...



i have had this blog post brewing for about a week.
i struggle with blogging genuinely
and getting all deep because it makes you vulnerable
and seriously, who likes being vulnerable?
i surely don't.

it's like being emotionally naked.
and, to me, no naked is good naked.
lol.

but i've been feeling so many things about
a scripture i read last tuesday and i just have to share.
maybe someone else needs this too.

last tuesday my devotion took me to psalms 51.
psalms 51 is one i have read loads of times. 
it is probably most recognized by verse 10:
"create in me a pure heart, o God and 
renew a steadfast spirit within me."

but, as i read psalms 51 that morning,
 verse 8 overwhelmed me.
"let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones
you have crushed rejoice."

i read it over and over and over again.

i knew immediately it was for me.

how powerful are those words,
"let the bones you have crushed rejoice."

you see God loves us so very much.
he loves us infinitely 
more than we could ever fathom.

because he loves us, 
he must discipline us.
he must mold us.
he must allow both the good and the bad
to happen in our lives.

sometimes,
that means breaking a few bones.
not always literally.
because, if that were the case,
the church would be filled with people in casts.
but figuratively.

he breaks us.

he breaks down 
our dreams.
our hopes.
our character.
our desires.
our motives.
our intentions.
our relationships.
our selfishness.
our sin.

and i am the kind of person,
that when i become broken,
when things become broken,
and i feel he has allowed it,
i get angry.

i doubt.
i worry.
i get bitter.
i complain.
i grieve.
i build up walls.
i pull away.
i ask why.

now i know all of you super holy people
out there are beyond all those emotions.
but, for the rest of us,
it is a hard place to be in.

lately,
god has been breaking me.
breaking my life.

i do not at all mean that in a
depressed, negative way.

things are just shifting.
he is showing me what's really in me.
he is dealing with things
that have gone untouched for a while.
he is trying to mold me.
he is trying to bring me to the next level.

and this, verse 8 is what i need the most help with.

i need to recognize that my father in heaven
has my back.
has my best interest at heart.
only wants the best for me.
and has plans for myself and my family
far beyond what i could ever imagine
or create myself.

i need to let the 
breaking of the bones happen.
his way.
and then i need to rejoice.
i need to trust him enough to feel joy
in those situations.

joy because he loves me enough to change me.
to break me.
joy because he is making me the best
version of myself in order to be used by him.
joy because if i really was in control,
i'd screw it up. so bad.
and i'd miss all the amazing things 
that are a part of his plan.

i thought i was in the season of breaking.
right after i had the baby.
i thought the sickness
and then the two procedures
while still recovering from the section
and trying to care for and feed
my new baby were the tests
of my faith.

and i'm not gonna lie,
in my eyes,
i handled those like a champ.
i cried twice in the midst of it all.
(like that's some kind of measure. ha.)
and i didn't complain. (much)
and i rejoiced.
and i did way way way better
than i normally do in overwhelming
circumstances.

and then the devil thought.
okay that didn't work like i had planned.

and things began to shift.
the breaking really started.
and once again,
it showed that there is still
so much more work to be done
in this heart of mine.
i'm learning what this heart is really made of.
again.
and boy, does it ever need some jesus.

and verse 8.
that's the work that needs doing.
when the bones start breaking,
i need to rejoice.

we got hit with a health scare
for scarlett.
a syndrome was thrown out there
and we were referred to a couple
of specialists.
and the doubt hit.
and the worry hit.
and the anger hit.

i became a stay at home mom
who isn't succeeding
(in my eyes)
as well as i thought i would
and the frustration hit.
and the stress hit.
and the anger hit.

and life threw out some other
random things, as it does.
and god allowed them,
as he should.
(he's in charge for a reason, isn't he.)

and i reacted very much
not like verse 8 instructs us to.

but god knows what needs changing,
so he directed me to that verse
in my devotion and i have been
thinking about it all week.
and i want to do better.

i want to be like my mom.
when something happens
that is bigger than her.
when the breaking starts.
the first thing
she always says,
"all is well."

she's got verse 8 down.

i want to teach my baby girl
that when the breaking starts,
we have to praise him.
because he's got it.
we have to trust the breaking
and know that it is happening
to show us what we are made of.
to mold us into who he has created us to be.
and, most of all, to break it down
so he can build it back up
for his glory.

so i put that part of the verse
on my lightbox
and it is where i will see it everyday.
and i am determined to work on it.
i'm sure it will take a while.
i've been told i'm a bit stubborn.

but i will do my best
to rejoice.

ash...













Tuesday, May 24, 2016

project life 2015 completed

once again i must apologize
for my neglect of this little blog.

my excuse this time is a good one…
i had a kid.
(more about that later.)
and i've been busy adjusting to motherhood.

anyway,
i was finally able to finish project life
for 2015 and i'm here to share
a few more pages with you guys.

this year was fun just like last year.


i chose to do a 12x12 album again
mostly because i have so many 
page protectors in that size and i hate to
waste them.








my favorite thing to do with my layouts
is still to enlarge the pictures and cut them
to fit the individual pockets.
i just love the impact it makes
and there are just some pictures
that i love too much to keep small.








i still love the four 6x6 layout
the best.
i usually save those for weeks
that include my favorite pics.


i still used the smaller protectors for
weeks that i didn't have much to document.



one thing that i did lots more of this year
is writing on my photos with a sharpie.
i love that it's quick
and i can journal anywhere.
sometimes, the pics don't need or can't fit
embellishments and journaling straight on them
is the perfect addition.




i included a lot more good ole fashioned layouts
this year too.
it's so hard to do just a regular layout now.
i used to spend hours on one when i first
started scrapping.
now, it only takes me a few minutes
because i'm not even sure what to do.






one thing i did a little more of
was to include some of my posts from social media.
i think it's important to include those
little snippets because it's such
a huge part of our lives right now.
i'm hoping to do more of it in my 2016 album.



i used my envelopes only twice this year.
i wanted a way to include my story and feelings
about the miscarriage and felt that
just printing my blog post was the best way to do that.
the envelope was the perfect place to tuck
it away so that it only had to be read
if necessary.


one thing i wish i had done more of
was to use my fuse.
i got it and thought i'd use it so much.
i took it out once this entire year.


i'm hoping to use it in some fun ways for 2016.

all in all,
i did things pretty much the same this year
as the past one.

i have barely started in 2016.
i'm excited to document our little lady
but i am definitely feeling uninspired.
i think when you go so long without
scrapping often you lose your groove.

i need my groove back 
because i miss
it so much.

it's hard not having a local store either.
i used to feel inspired when i could shop
and get some new goodies.
i still get the documenter kit from 
studio calico
and i love when it comes in
but it's not quite the same
as shopping for loads of new stuff.

i'm also hoping to keep up with
a book for scarlett.
i got the 9x12 size from studio calico
for hers and I'm excited for a different size.

so far i've only done one layout there.
needless to say, 
i'm behind on everything.

i need to plan a crop with my friends
and just get busy.

hope you enjoyed the 2015 album.
ash...