This is my story

My photo
New mommy to my son, Elijah Ryan. Wife to my husband and best friend, Nick. New homeowner and HGTV obsessed. Wedding Planner for Two Be Wed. Avid Pinner. Lover of writing, books, movies, vampires (not the Twilight kind) and Harry Potter. Enjoys lazy days, coffee and spending time with my little family. Here to share my tales of mommyhood, marraige, love and life.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Color Me Happy

In last few weeks our house has gotten a complete makeover. My amazing and talented hubby painted the entire downstairs (with the exception of Eli's quarter - that's next on the list) and I couldn't be more happy with the end result. Color changes a room and makes it feel more cozy and personal. Bye, bye builders beige, hello color! My house isn't in photo condition so no house tour now, but I wanted to share our new house colors so you get the idea.
Martha Stewart, Bedford Gray

Entryway, Hallway, Living Room and Master Bedroom: Martha Stewart, Bedford Gray

We decided on gray because we wanted a neutral but to steer away from tans and browns. Gray is such a cool, relaxing color and in my opinion, the modern neutral. It goes well with our dark wood furniture and any other neutral color (tan, green, brown) and makes our white baseboards pop.

I love it. If it were up to Nick, the whole downstairs would be gray but I didn't want to drown the house in gray - that's the whole reason why we painted! With the builders beige and our open concept, all the rooms seemed to run together. Now the rooms stand on their own and are defined, but still cohesive.

Martha Stewart, Caraway Seed
Dining Room, Bar: Martha Stewart, Caraway Seed

Our dining room is in the middle of house and didn't really stand out with the exception of our hardwood floors. I knew I wanted a warm color, another neutral and a little darker than the light grey hallways and living room.

The color is perfect! It goes well with the dark hardwood floors and dark wood cabinets in the bar area. And it totally sets the room apart from the rest of the house -exactly what I wanted! Our next step is to add a new chandelier, I'm going the iron route rather than crystal (see below). I like it because it gives it an old world feel without being to shabby chic or rustic. And it makes the room more formal. You know since it's a "formal" dining room and all, aka the room we never eat in.

Behr, Harmonic Tan
Kitchen: Behr, Harmonic Tan

So I know this may be misleading, "Your kitchen was already tan and then you painted it another shade of tan.." But it's not tan. I know it looks it and is even named it but it's actually green. Green with brown hues.

I know it's hard to visualize because it was for me too at first. But I wanted to paint the kitchen and I wanted it to be different than the living room and the dining room since they all intersect. Initially I thought yellow but it's such a hard color to find the right shade, and it can go real country, real fast. We didn't want any loud colors like red or orange, and since the house was already going in the direction of earth toned neutrals -green was the winner. I think we chose this particular color because it's not a "true" green. It definitely is green but a very mellow shade. Kinda of like an avocado. Only pictures will really do it justice, so you'll just have to wait until I get around to cleaning :)

Behr, Indulgent
Office, Master Bedroom Accent Wall: Behr, Indulgent

And finally the wild card: PURPLE! I know when I previously talked paint I was thinking a dark teal and then all of a sudden I got into this purple craze. Probably because purple and gray go so well together, but mention purple to a guy and they think homo. (no offense) So it took some selling on my part to convince Nick. And suddenly one day, he suggested we do a purple accent wall in our bedroom. Don't have to tell me twice!

SIDEBAR: Our bedroom was the first room we painted in the whole house. Mainly because we could keep the baby out and paint during the day. The purple we ended up with was not the purple we started with. Initially, Nick chose this color (shock!) and I chose a lighter, softer purple. He let me choose, knowing he would be right in the end and painted it the lighter purple first. After 3 days, we decided the soft purple was not enough contrast as an accent wall and we needed to go darker. Yes, I'll admit it -he was right.

Purple: Take II was a winner! It was the right amount of contrast that the room needed and our ivory headboard pops right off the wall. I liked it so much I convinced him to paint our office (the entire office - a lot of purple for one guy) the same color. It's a very deep plum color so again, great contrast to our light grey entryway, and there's a large window in the front so it provides enough light that it doesn't feel like a dark cave. It gives the room a very sophisticated feel, just what an office should feel like. Next step: add built in bookshelves to the office. I found this great DIY built-in bookshelves on Pinterest using Billy bookcases from IKEA (see below). I think it's going to be uh-mazing but I'm still trying to sell Nick (he's anti-IKEA).

Pinned Image

I like the painted backs, because otherwise it would be too much white but I'm not a fan of the blue. I'm thinking a light tan will go well. But this project will definitely be "to be continued.."

So that's our big makeover! I really am in love with it -every color and every room. It just opens my mind to so many decor possibilities and makes the house feel so much more ours. However painting was not an easy feat by any means. I can't take much credit because it really was all Nick. We got it done in a period of 3 weeks which is incredible considering we have a toddler. Most of the painting was done during nap time or at night. For the entryway, hallway and office, we got a sitter and stayed up painting til 4 AM. (What a night!) But in the end we saved ourselves $1500 by doing it ourselves and gives us something to truly be proud of!

Next time: House Tour!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Elijah's Big Top Circus First Birthday

I know I'm long overdue on this post. Elijah is now 14 months as of last week and any thought of my life  slowing down some time soon is absurd. First off, having a toddler is way more time consuming then I had imagined. Of course having a child at all is time consuming, but a toddler (and a boy for a toddler) is e-x-h-a-u-s-t-ing. Shorter naps, bigger lunches, more messses, and less free time. But I love it. At the age he is now, he is a sponge - soaking in everything around him. He's fearless, active, observant, smart, funny and down right adorable.

But onto the point of this post: the CIRCUS! For Elijah's first birthday, the circus came to town at the Joseph's. Being the party planner that I am, I made sure every last detail was perfect down to the last minute. I spent weeks DIYing decor and completely transformed our house into a big circus tent. It was a lot of fun and worth all the hard work. I know Eli won't remember a thing about it but that's why I had my friend Margaret from Love Lee Photography take these awesome photos! Enjoy :)

Invitiations made by ME on Paint. Word.

Elijah's Big Top Circus 1st Birthday
Favors! Animal Crackers for the kiddos, Chocolate Mustaches for the Adults
Photo area to "clown" around!
One of my many DIY projects!
Mom, I mustache you a question.
My Dad hates me for hanging these streamers til 2 AM
Turning one bites!
Thanks for coming!
My sad attempt at a rainbow smash cake. It smashed very early.
Another Pininspired DIY
The inside was prettier than the outside.
He likes it!
I can't believe my baby is ONE!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ashley Lately

Hello 2012! I can't believe this is my first post of the year and it's almost the end of February!! Where does the time go!? I apologize for my lack of writing, I have missed it and have so much to share!

So, here's all about Ashley Lately...
-I turned twenty-THREE. ( I'm getting old, I know) I celebrated with a night out on the town, which is a rare occasion for me now-a-days. It was fun, but the hangover was killer the next day. Sure do not miss those!

-Eli & I took our first trip of the year (his first trip ever!) to Utah to visit my father and his family. It was Eli's first time flying and he did very well! Slept like a baby the whole flight, but sleeping in the hotel was another story. He's not a big fan of sleeping with mom or sharing his bed with others. (I'm hoping that changes with age, because I can't wait for him to crawl in bed with me) Overall, it was a really great visit. I had not seen my father since my high school graduation and my grandparents since I was 11, so we were well overdue. It was like catching up with old friends and I'm really grateful that they had a chance to meet Eli.

Eli and my old man
Eli and his cousins

My father and I in Park City, UT

Beautiful Park City, UT
-Nick was home for almost four months! If you know us, that is huge because he travels 2/3 of the year. The last time he was home that long, we got pregnant! I know what you're thinking and no, no baby #2 this time, but it was great to have him home for so long. Eli has grown a lot in the the last four months so I'm happy he was able to experience that first-hand. While he was home, we were able to get settled into the house and finally agree on paint colors (another HUGE!) and have complied a rather long list of future home projects.

Paint + projects have been put on hold because sadly Nick left yesterday morning for Canada. It's hard to be together with someone, every day, all day for months and then you wake up one morning and they're gone. But we've been doing it for the last four years so we're like a well-oiled machine. However, now that were a family -it's so much harder for him to leave and when he's gone. More for him, than me. I've never been away from Eli for more than a day and sometimes he can be gone for 4 to 6 weeks. We miss him a lot already but I'm grateful for the man he is and how he provides for our family. (I'll never stop mentioning that so expect to see it again from time to time.)

-Eli just recently turned ELEVEN months. That's right, ELEVEN. As in one month away from a YEAR old. I'm repeating in all caps, because I really can not believe that it has nearly been a year since he was born. It feels as though he's always been apart of my life and now I can never imagine a life without him in it. For awhile, I was looking forward to him turning one and planning his party (more on that later), but now I'm pretty emotional about it. Of course, he is still a baby in many ways but he's also grown into a little boy overnight. Ever since the reality of it hit me, all I can do it go through pictures of him as a wittle baby and I'm blown away by the miracle of life and how fast time flies. And how much someone so small can have such a huge impact on one's life. He has changed me forever and for the better.

Eli is nearly walking. He's taken a few steps here and there but hasn't taken off running yet. But I'm sure in true Eli fashion, he will in no time. He's constantly moving and exploring. He just recently discovered he can open cabinets (his favorite being the Tupperware), the existence of toilet paper and loves to pull out all the wipes out of the container. His favorite show is Olivia and Jack's Big Music Show. Pretty much anything that has to do with music. He loves to play with Nick's guitars. He eats bananas and avocados daily and with a passion. He likes to wrestle and play peek-a-boo. He always has a smile on his face and has started to laugh at himself randomly. He shares his binky with Daddy and his food with Mom. He loves playing with his cousins and his bf Kayden. He's talking up a storm and the only consistent word he says is "bu". We're still working on "Mama" & "Dada" (even though I'm pretty sure he's said "Mama" before). He has 3 teeth -two on bottom, one on top -and chews on anything he can get his hands on. His hair gets longer by the day and is starting to curl up by his ears. He's incredibly smart but can be stubborn & hard-headed (..wonder where he gets that from?..) He's just an amazing kid in every way and I feel so blessed to be his mother. And even though I'm sad to see him grow into a little boy, I'm so very excited of who he is becoming.

-Eli's birthday is less than a month away, which means his party is less than a month away!! I knew before he was six months old, I wanted a circus themed party (exhibit A) and have been living on Pinterest (exhibit B) gathering ideas and inspiration for the all-time, greatest ever, first birthday circus extravaganza. In the beginning, I wanted to do it all -clown, balloon artist, face painting, caricature artist -but after going to a few first birthday parties and reading other mommy blogs, I've discovered that it's best to keep it simple. What I've come up with is pretty simple, for me at least. I'm still doing circus themed but turned the volume way down. I'm not paying for any entertainers, except for a bouncy house and that's for the sake of my newly furnished & built house (okay, and for my sanity). The only thing left to do is pace myself with the preparations and not stress out. Easy, right? I'll be sure to update more often as things come together but I don't want to give too much away and spoil all the fun. I've already bought the invitations and am working on sending those out this week. Once they go out, I'll show you what I came up with ;)

And that's my life lately. A lot of pajama days, Pinterest obsessing and party planning. I'm hoping to update my blog more often since my evenings will be pretty free once Eli goes to bed (or so I think) but we shall see! In the meantime..Happy Presidents Day & Blog Anniversary!! (It's been a whole year since I've started blogging! Go ME!)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 A Year in Review

The end of another year is upon us and what a year it has been!! It still doesn't feel right that this year is coming to an end and another one will begin with tomorrow. This has been my year to the core. I've had many more ups than downs, and can't seem to find a year out of my twenty-two years that compares to it. So, let's review.

January: I turned twenty-two as I was six months pregnant with what would be the joy of my life. I anxiously awaited Elijah's arrival and what was in store for me as a mother. I also started my last semester as a college student. It was very bittersweet.

February: The hardest month of the year for me as I was as huge as a hippo and had lost the ability to do simple things such as tie my shoes, and shaving went out the window (Sorry TMI alert). Also Nick was gone the whole month and we spent our first Valentines day as a married couple, apart.

March: My whole world changed as we welcomed our beautiful baby boy, Elijah Ryan Joseph into our hearts, three weeks early. Everything in that moment changed as he became the center of our world, the joy of hearts and the love of our lives. And every moment since has truly been a blessing.

April: Is kind of a blur because we didn't get much sleep and our life was devoted to the care of little Eli. The month consisted of many precious moments shared as parents and as a family.

May: Another bittersweet moment as I ended my college career and graduated. I had feared that I wouldn't be able to graduate and have a baby all in the same year, let alone months apart from each other, but I managed to do it with the help of my professors, family and friends.

June: I was basking in my accomplishments and enjoying being a new mom. I sadly stopped breastfeeding Eli after three months, not by choice but because his hunger overcame my lack of production. I'm thankful that I got to breastfeed at all and was happy that I was able to extend that special bond between him and I, even after giving birth.

July: Eli began eating cereal. He wasn't a big fan at first but eventually got it down to a fine science. Eli also had his first beach trip! I think he shares my love for the beach, because he loved the water!  

July also marked the end to apart of my own childhood: the last Harry Potter film. This was a huge deal to me being the HP freak that I am. It was another bittersweet moment, (I had a lot of those this year) because the series was a staple in my childhood but thinking back on it, it's ending was timed appropriately as I became an adult in numerous ways this year.


August: A big month for us. Eli turned 5 months and had began to crawl. In the beginning it was more of a spider crawl but he was determined to master crawling, and with the help of Dad crawling around the house out of example, he did (and very well!). He has turned out to be very advanced for his age (like his momma ;)) but I think it's more due to the boy inside that wants to go, go and not slow down. As a result I've been a very busy mom, but a very happy one.

We also began the search for our new house. As our family grew, so did all of our belongings and it was time to expand in space. Within a week of searching, we had found what is now our new home and operation "Building Our Dream Home" began.


September: Eli's appetite grew and he began to try more solids. There wasn't anything he tried and didn't like (just like Mom & Dad.) Except for peas but they've grown on him. His favorite was sweet potatoes and still is.

October: We celebrated Eli's first Halloween! He was the most adorable lion you've ever seen.
We also watched the process of our house being built from the ground, up. It was such an experience and one I'm glad to add to this year's list. And one I'm proud to scratch off my bucket list.

November: We hosted our first Thanksgiving while in the process of preparing for our big move. It was hectic but very humbling. I'm glad we were able to provide a place for our families to come together and give thanks. 

Nick and I also celebrated one year of marriage. This was a feat for us given everything this year has brought us. But we shone through it all and we are stronger for it. One year down, forever to go!

December: We moved into our new home just in time to celebrate our first Christmas together as a family. And it was a memorable Christmas too! All three of us got sick with the cold, but we were determined not to let that get in the way of our Christmas spirit! It was our first Christmas in our new home, first Christmas as a family and Eli's first Christmas. A lot of firsts and all of them will never be forgotten.

And that's this year in a nutshell. I became a mother, a college graduate and a homeowner in one year. Like I said, 2011 has been my year -hands down. I'm actually sad to see it end but I'm more excited for what this new year holds for me and my family. So, bring it on 2012. You have your work cut out for you!!

Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years! See you all next year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reason for the Season

Christmas is just days away and the Joseph family still has a long list of to-do's. Most of our gift shopping is complete, just a few people we need to check off. Plus we our hosting our first party in the new house, yay! (Nick finally caved in -what can I say, he spoils me!). We hosted a tacky sweater party last year and it was a lot of fun so we decided to do another one this year but more casual. It's a Christmas/housewarming party and I'm pretty excited to put my holiday Pinterest board to work. Don't worry there will be a party recap post full of ridiculous photos and what not.

Anywho, among our list of to-do's is Eli's first Santa visit. It's a little last minute and I'm pretty sure I'm out of mind to be going near a mall so close to Christmas but it's one of those things a new Mom has got to do. But this visit has made me think about the real reason for the season and what I want to teach my son.

Sure, we've all heard the rants about how commercialized Christmas is these days and Santa is the front man. But then I think back to my childhood and how excited I was to go to Santa's wonderland, putting together my list for Santa and looking forward to Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. That's just it though, Santa = gifts. Yes, giving gifts is apart of the season but its not the real reason. In these last few months with the craziness of the move, I've fallen short in my walk with Christ. I know the move is just an excuse but I won't get into that now. Bottom line is I don't want my shortcomings get in the way of what's best for Eli.

I guess what I'm getting at is whether to raise him believing in Santa or celebrating the birth of Christ, or both? I want to share with him the same childhood memories I have of Christmas but I also want him to know Christmas is more than just receiving/giving gifts but celebrating the birth of Christ who came to save us all. I know he's too young now to grasp all of this but you have to start somewhere. I'd like to believe that you can celebrate both but at a reasonable balance.

We will see where the years take me but for today, I'm choosing to celebrate both. I'm going to take my son to get a cheesy picture with Santa but I am also going to start the tradition of reading to him each Christmas the real story of Christmas.

What Christmas traditions do you celebrate? How do you celebrate Christmas with your children? I'd love to get some feedback.

And before I go I have to share our adorable Christmas photo because I really love it, a lot.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday and can't wait to share all about ours after the holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eternally Blessed

It's a beautiful Saturday morning and I happen to be the only one awake, which is very rare so I'm taking advantage to update! This past week has been such a blur with the move. Lots of packing, unpacking, moving things around and trying to make our new house into a home. It didn't take long though because I absolutely love it and it feels as if it was made for me -oh wait, it was! But all kidding aside, it's more than I could have ever hoped, dreamed, or wished for. The first morning I woke up and thought I was in a hotel, it felt so nice and new. Everything about it feels perfect and truly unique to us because we chose this layout and as of now, there is no house like it in our neighborhood. It's a pretty cool feeling.

But aside from living on cloud 9 and feeling like the luckiest girl ever, I feel eternally blessed. I look around our new house and think to myself, how unreal it is that I live here and how could I ever ask for more? I have everything I could ever want in the world -a loving husband, a healthy baby and a beautiful home! I have to admit with the new house I became very selfish and materialistic at times because all I could think about was decorating and what I had to have to make the house 100% perfect. Now that we're all moved in and everything that I've been daydreaming about for the last 4 months is real -I can't imagine wanting more. I am so, so, so blessed. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't know very many 23-year-olds who have it all -the house, the husband and the baby. But I do. And I take that for granted more often than I'd like to admit.

So here I am, throwing myself under the bus and hoping that I can turn over a new leaf as I start this new chapter in my life. I have to get my materialistic needs in check and start paying more attention to the things that really matter. The blessings I have are still needs to others. I need to want less and give more. And this is the perfect season for me to start my new resolution. This Christmas is about giving to my loved ones, because my heart is already full of thanks and love for my family, friends and my new home.

And none of this would have been possible without my amazing husband. You are my biggest dream come true. I know I don't always give you the thanks you deserve as often as I should, but if and when you decide to read this, I want you to know how grateful I am for you and all that you've given me. I wouldn't be a wife without you, a mother without you -I wouldn't be me without you. You've made all my dreams a reality and I am eternally grateful for that. I love you baby and thank you, thank you, thank you.

That concludes my rant/confession of the week. I'll be posting house pics soon!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Case of the Moving Blues

Today we would have closed on our new house, keywords would have -as in did not happen. You can imagine our disappointment after spending the whole week thinking we were closing today and moving this weekend, only to find out yesterday that it wasn't going to happen. As I've been told this is normal. Apparently banks enjoy getting your hopes up only to crush them at the last second. (FYI: BofA is a POS) I apologize for the undertone but we haven't been happy campers at the Joseph house today. Instead we've been mopping about wishing we were in the new house already. But can you blame us?? We've waited 3 months for the house to be completed and now that it's ready we can't move in because we're waiting on the bank! ??&%^%*

Our almost new home. Isn't it so pretty!! The hot guy in front came with it ;)
Ahem. So, here's the moving update. As of now we don't have a date scheduled for closing. It should be no later than the end of next week but they can't give us an exact date. The only plus out of all of this is now we have time to finish packing because we haven't gotten much done. The downside is Nick has a work course scheduled the following week, which means we may have to speed move-in over the weekend. I was looking forward to moving in at our own pace instead of being rushed to get in and out. I know not much about moving is really enjoyable, other than the new place, but I really wanted to enjoy this move because it's a huge staple in our lives and family. We're making the biggest purchase of our lives. Into a home that we hope to spend forever in. HUGE! All the stress of making such a huge purchase, packing and moving, and now more waiting, has caused a lot of tension in the house. I just want to close and be done with it so we can be happy & stress free again!! (Until the next huge life-altering event aka Eli's first birthday party)

But as my Dad reminded me today, good things come to those who wait. We've been patient this far, what is one more week? Right? We shall see...stay tuned for the next, hopefully happier, moving update.