Wyatt Turns Three


Wyatt’s birthday was the first one to be celebrated in Alabama. It was an odd feeling…not our normal Newman party. But we had some company, and we played, and Wyatt was happy. That is really what matters. As we continue to build community here, make connections and build our world here, I imagine we will have many more parties that feel like home in the future.
Lacie brought her babies and a dino-themed craft (cause she’s the bomb like that!). We had cake and we enjoyed the weather.

Wyatt, you are our lucky little dude. You surprised us but we can’t imagine life without you. From your curious nature, to your all-boy attitude, you round out and perfect our family. I want to take in these moments and savor them. Your long curly hair, your sweet toes, the way you still some times smell like a baby, the small lisp in your speech and the way you snuggle. You love all things spooky, and all things loud and dinosaurs. You a have an incredible imagination and you genuinely love.
Happy third birthday, my sweetness. We sure do love you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Newman Update

I think I have three different draft blog posts going. I can’t seem to gather my thoughts together and each one is more emotional than the next. Not in a negative way; blogging is very therapeutic for me. But I can’t seem to corral the jumbled thoughts.
In light of my inability to sort through my feelings, I figured I would just share some basics about where we are with the kids and their health/education.

He’s my little puzzle still. I think he finally feels happy and settled at school. He has friends and consistency. Things work differently in Alabama than they did in Texas, so I have been adjusting to therapy offerings and IEP expectations. Currently, Eli is getting OT, PT and SLP through the school. He’s also getting outpatient PT and SLP. I feel like he could benefit from a more consistent therapy schedule in school, and the paperwork to review or look into anything takes forever.  They are looking to add assistive technology to his IEP, as he’s decidedly non verbal at this point. (Though just this past weekend, he said “mama” to get my attention multiple times!! It’s been 7 months since I’ve heard his sweet voice!). We meet with his team soon to talk about kinder (I KNOW!) and what his needs are going forward.
We are also stating the process of an ASD eval. Both public and private, so we can get a better picture of what is going on. He’s completely stopped attempts at words, and his teacher agrees with me that there are days he seems “on” and engaged, and others where he’s not with us. I’ve noted this before but it’s hard to determine what comes with Down syndrome and what’s atypical. At this stage, I see so many friends who have children Eli’s age (with DS) and I just know Eli is different.

He stims, constantly hums, is anti social (though loving), and at times acts as if he cannot hear (though he can, perfectly, and doesn’t require new ear tubes!). Some other concerns are his loss of speech, reactions to large crowds or unfamiliar places, picky eating, and some sensory aversions as well as gut issues.
While we aren’t sold on “ASD”, it’s a place to start. Other possible answers are sensory processing disorder and speech apraxia. None of it really matters other than to be able to help Eli better and understand him more. It’s a lot to dive into, and most of this is going to take all year before we have answers. Right now we are going to work on limiting screen time and making sure his supplements match what his body needs.

Otherwise, Eli is doing really well. He’s a bright kiddo and we are so proud of him. His hugs are still out of this world amazing and if you’re close to him, you get to experience his awesomeness first-hand.

Goodness gracious it’s been busy for her. We got Ruby evaluated after Eli started school. Her behaviors, anxiety and general frustration had all of us very worried. She qualified for services and started a program that works with her one day a week. While she attended school, we got more evals set up through the school and university. We are waiting for the results now, but it did soothe me to be able to talk to a specialist and have some validated. My heart is so heavy and worried for her- she’s so smart and really a wonderful sweet girl…I just don’t know what to do next.
School has been a huge positive for her and she’s making gains in social aspects and emotional areas we haven’t seen before. She will begin school in the fall full-time, at the same school Eli goes to.
I still worry and I hope we can piece together something that will help her. My concern at this point is how I handle it all- I have to be honest and say that I’m worn down. I’m completely spent and emotionally bankrupt. Her extreme behaviors have just drained me and my soul is tired and weary for her. It’s been three years of trying to figure my girl out, and I know she is just as tired.

Praying for answers in the weeks ahead for my sweet girl. In the mean time, she’s been on an upward trend in the last week or so, and the sweet snuggles and smiles make my heart happy. We recently did some mommy and me pictures, and I was rewarded with the most cuddles in the history of ever. We needed that win.

This kid is a nut. A nut who will be three this Friday! It really does go by so fast…everyone warned me, but my last baby isn’t a baby anymore. My sweet Samson.
I worry for him because of all the things listed above. But he doesn’t know any different. I some times get upset and worry he will resent or feel overwhelmed by all of this. It’s a silly worry, because he’s just a typical dino-loving three year old who loves his family. He’s almost got potty training down, he’s a real ham and loves to make people laugh. Fart jokes are of special interest these days. He will be going to pre school in the fall and couldn’t be more excited about it! This kid has wanted to go to school for years, and with the other two going full-time next year, it felt like the right move.
Look for a birthday update soon 😉

I think that is about it for now. I have stayed super busy with work, pouring what’s left into all of that. And just managing the house and kids. I feel more settled than I thought I would, so that feels good. There is still a longing…a pull in my heart. But for now, I’m working to just enjoy this season and my babies.
Thanks for checking in on us!


I think I’ve been sad now for about a year. When I turned 30, I felt this fire in me. I felt a change coming and I embraced my new found confidence while finding myself after three kids.

Now, I feel like a burned woman…the fire has gone out completely and only ash and dust fill the air. My lungs burn as I try to breathe. My eyes well up with tears trying to see. Everything hurts.

The phrase “you flew too close to the sun and got burned” has echoed in my mind since then. It still stings.

Maybe I did. Or maybe I never really had the fire in the first place, it was only falsely fueled by a new perspective.

What I do know is that the new people I’m meeting don’t get to know that fiery girl. All they get is sad, burned girl. She’s maybe even a little angry too.
I’ve left so much behind and I know you all are sick of hearing it, but I’m just tired. I’m worn thin by all the responsibilities and I don’t have my tribe anymore to build me back up. It’s just me. My children and my business and my husband get all I have.
I am proud. I did it. I moved and I rebuilt.

But I thought it would be…more…

I thought I would feel more successful or more a part of this place.

When I’m working with new clients, when I’m planning for my business, when I’m editing photos, I can feel a small spark in my heart light up. I am in their story and it’s so real. The hope and love are tangible. I believe it and I’m part of this place for a moment. I think that’s why I am still doing my business. It’s so damn hard to put yourself out there, so it’s not because I like being that vulnerable. It’s because I want to believe in these stories and their happiness.
For a while there I wasn’t sure I was really doing it. Making it, that is. Like…just breathing. I don’t know how I was doing that. And I don’t even know what made me get out of bed most mornings. It physically hurt to do so- a pain deep in my bones that couldn’t be soothed no matter how much sleep I got.
I think you could all tell. The look of a person who is drowning. It’s painful to watch someone struggle like that.

But I kept smiling and reaching out and pouring into my new community.

Maybe I’m just a broken moody artist, but tonight I just want to let go. I want to gather up the pieces I’ve spread out since we moved here and run. They are my pieces and I want them back. My heart is too tender and tired to keep fighting. I’m not fiery, mature Ashley who can take what everyone is dishing out. I’m frail and easily injured. I feel like I’m running in circles yelling, “I’m here! Like me!”

Ha…that’s sad huh? Sad little girl. That same girl told her mother she was going to be a cool kid. As if it was that simple. But I really believed it. We were moving, and I was going to have all new friends, and new clothes and people would like me.

And I remember the hard lesson I learned from my immature declaration that year: your clothes and hoping to be liked by others won’t make it so. Those things don’t make you who you are and they won’t make people like or accept you anymore than the last school you attended.

I used to imagine we had all been assigned our group at birth. Like, how popular or unpopular we would be. My assignment was plastered to my forehead- a big neon sign that said “loser”.
Anyway. This isn’t some weird plea for friends or me throwing shade at anyone.

It’s just me thinking out loud. Sorting out where my heart is. Maybe even apologizing.
Perhaps I’m expecting too much (I know, mom, I always have.) But the honest truth is I just can’t take rejection and broken promises/unfulfilled plans/fake interest/bad business anymore. My heart can’t. Yeah, I’m a grown-ass boss mom but I’m too tender right now. Rejection takes on a lot of forms and any time I taste something that is even remotely similar I want to pack up and run. I want to hide under a blanket and pretend this isn’t my life. That I don’t have to wake up and keep trying to fit in here.

It took me 17 years to build my tribe in Houston. Right now I fear I will be mourning that loss for at least that long…but also it leaves me where I started the day we moved here: how long until I have a tribe here?
For now, I will accept the small progress I’ve made but you must accept sad girl. She’s all I have right now and she will be the most true friend if you let her.

Tomorrow I will get up, put my make up and smile. Maybe I will pick red lipstick in hopes of adding some fire to my day. And most of you won’t know the difference so long as you don’t really look. But be kind, could you? Because I’m barely holding it together and there’s still a trail of ashes behind me.

She won’t be sad forever.

May the bridges I burn, light my way.