This Easter was strange and quiet- as first holidays away from family tend to be. 

We tried to start some new traditions in hopes of filling our time and engaging the kids but we kind of failed. Which should really be our new tradition- failure. Haha We tried community egg hunts- twice. And wound up with less than 10 eggs between the kids from both hunts combined. It’s brutal out there. My mom asked me if I remember going to community egg hunts as a child. When I couldnt recall she laughed and said there is a reason for that- we never went! (Side note- parents, can egg hunts *not* be fight club for kids? Kthx)

The kids did have fun and it was nice to get out of the house. We made plans with some friends here to have Easter dinner, the only thing I was really clinging to for a feeling of normalcy and we all got sick so we cancelled.

Easter morning, with all of our noses running, we hunted the eggs the bunny had left, ate candy and slept. I face timed with my family later in the day but it was hard. It’s always hard. And with my social media filling up with everyone’s family and food pictures, I just wanted to crawl back in bed and get a do-over. 

When we were in Texas I used to dread big family holidays. There. I said it. But it’s true! It’s not because of family at all. There is always drama. Stuff doesn’t go right. It’s a busy day of running between houses and carting tires kids around. But now? Now that we are so far from all that we know, I miss it all. I wish I would have tried to embrace it and enjoy it more. It was bittersweet to be able to see everyone on the phone and I’m so thankful for technology. 

We are trying to make the holidays special for our babies and put more roots down. It’s another way we are working to embrace Alabama and this new adventure. What I want to remember is the good things about our new Easter- our dear friends who showed up with Easter dinner, the kids excitement over their baskets and discovering eggs in the yard, the way we came together as a family and explored our community, and these sweet faces; because despite it being different, it was still good. 


In a whirl of emotions, I’m trying to write out the information I just received. It’s not any one particular emotion and the over all feeling is that I have had a weight lifted- so this is a good post 🙂 I promise. 
We have been waiting for this day for over 3 years…a step toward more information and understanding for our Ruby. Today, Ruby was officially diagnosed with ASD.

I know some of you aren’t surprised. If you’ve spent time around us (especially in the early years), you might have been subjected to the mess we were. And if you didn’t, then it’s probably because I cancelled plans with you because we were such a mess. From struggling to have play dates to just getting out in the yard so the other kids could play, every outting presented unique challenges and sensory upsets. But there is still a level of shock for many, including us. While ASD is a spectrum disorder, Ruby doesn’t follow a lot of the “rules”. Her history of sensory issues, emotional outbursts, and delayed social emotional abilities is what brought us to this moment. But on the outside, Ruby is very typical; she makes decent eye contact, has age-appropriate speech, plays with her toys, and can be very affectionate.
As it was explained to us, girls (specifically) like Ruby who are on the spectrum are not typically diagnosed until they are older, when they are beginning to have trouble developing more complex relationships and are presented with a higher demand for social interactions.

Understanding that ASD presents differently in everyone and that Ruby’s brain is wired differently brings so much peace for me at the moment. We have been given direction and we are entering a new chapter. 

I’m not sure that listing all the reasons for her diagnosis or the specifics of her diagnosis does much, if not to validate it further. I’ve always known (even before she was born) that Ruby would come to us with her own unique Rubyness. I just knew. And part of me was afraid but today I just feel that it’s nice to finally know.

Do you know someone in your life that has ASD? Would it help you to know more about why we looked into testing and what specifically had us concerned when it came to Ruby’s development? 

The Empath & Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” – Mary Oliver

I’m an empath. Through and through. It kind of sucks some days. I feel drained or weak. Hell. I am weak. I’m just human. 

When your heart and your head nearly never agree…is it possible to ever really know who you are? I hear people say that- “I know who I am”. But what the hell does that even mean? I’m 32 and I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going. 

And that whole “empath” thing? Well, some times that makes it hard to sort through the feels to find where I stand. 

My heart gives in and fails me so many times. I take risks and invest only to fail and make mistakes. I’m blinded by my heart in that moment. 

I’ve hurt people and lost myself so many times. 

I don’t know if that makes me a horrible person or not but I can say I wouldn’t change it. And I guess that’s really who I am. This ever evolving and changing person. Impulsive and feeling, scatter-brained and anxious, awkward and silly. All of the above and changing every day. 

I used to think mistakes indicated I needed to change something (some times it does) but other times I needed to mess up that badly in order to really see clearly. I needed to get that lost to find myself. So that’s me, guys. Ashley the mess 🙂 

On this journey in a new place, what I do know is that I’m grateful for fresh starts and the grace to try again. 

I can feel my season of sadness and grieving coming to an end. As an Alabama spring chips away at my heart and new connections begin to blossom. 

And I will be honest, a small part of me doesn’t want to completely let it go- still resentful for the change and the people my heart longs for (even if I chose it). But more of me is giving myself over to the experience. 

I had worried I forgot how to cry, and then my best friend showed up at my doorstep to spend a week loving on me. 

I was worried I wouldn’t have friends, but some how I keep getting invited to have coffee and play dates. 

I was worried my business wouldn’t take off, but my schedule is so full I can hardly take on more. 

I was worried for my children, but they are growing and happy and making progress. 

I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I mostly mess things up. But I’m not in search of sanctity, sacredness, purity; these things are found after this life, not in this life; but in this life I search to be completely human: to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to get lost, to be found, to dance, to love and to lust, to be so human.

Hello, 32. Hello, spring. Hello, Alabama. I think I may be ready for you.