Perfect…. Music

220px-Ed_Sheeran_&_Andrea_Bocelli_-__Perfect_Symphony_

This song… “Perfect” was my favorite song from this album to begin with. It reminds me of small intimate moments my husband and I had on our wedding day, small things that I haven’t thought of in years, things that most people forget over time. Little things he did, he said, that were very much out of his character that I wont gush about on here, because he does have family and friends that read this…

Andrea Bocelli, his music has been part of my life since I was little. I remember laying in bed, listening to my mom get her paints ready and then just before she would start painting, she would put on Him, or someone similar, or some beautiful classical music that would lull my brother and I to sleep. I hadn’t thought of those days in so long and how I feel they impacted my love and appreciation of music. It made me think about the music I play for my kids, and will it shape them the way my parents music shaped me? Will they have a set taste in music like their father or be fluid like me?

I shared this song with my grandmother, who I remember had more than a few Andrea Bocelli CDs growing up. And I hope this is a special song that we can share and create some sort of memory with. Music plays a huge part of my, because I see it and feel it as a universal language, its something we all have in common. Everyone has a song that speaks to them on some level, we never all share the same tastes, but that’s OK, its OK to be different, because then you have something to share, something to put out there..

Music doesn’t have to playing or even created at that point in time to bring up a memory, or a feeling. Music conveys so much, whether its the instrumental arrangement itself, or the lyrics speak to you on some level. Let me explain an example…

A few years back, a family friend passed away, and I was so sad about it, cried, it hurt. Then we all went on the hunt for pictures of this person, because we wanted to create a slideshow of our life and memories of him. and once the slide show was done we played it through and smiled and laughed at some of them. But something was missing, my mom or dad (not 100% sure which one…) heard a song and it made her think about that friend and how she was feeling at that point in time, of their passing. She put the song over the slideshow and instant tears! For all of us, the same pictures we just looked at before and were laughing with, now had us in tears, all because of a song! Music made the difference. It pulls emotion out, and it, to me, helps heal. I can listen to that song and smile now, thinking about this person, it helps.

Music to me is its own religion, a life force…. I heard a quote many years back and it said “Music is life…. That is why every heart has a beat.” This is something I will remember forever and live by.

I want music like this to continue for years to come…. I want my kids to share their music combined with the music that my parents listened to, with my parents and myself! I want music that combines childhood with adulthood to continue!

A song came out a long time ago, 2004, it was around the time someone I knew in school had committed suicide, it was a strange time for me because I had so many questions about it, and i was sad because this wasn’t a close friend, but I knew him, he was in a few of my classes, he and I had mutual friends. So when our teachers came in homeroom telling us what had happened, I was numb and confused. A few weeks later I hear this song “How Do You Get That Lonely?” By Blaine Larsen, and it asked the questions I was wondering, no answers but it was there, and it helped… I don’t know how but it did….. After a while i started looking up this artist and he was set to release an album soon… And in 2005 I got it, and on that album was a song that brought my music into my dads world.

My dad has always been the person I went to with music and he would listen to it, but in the end he would call it ‘long haired hippy shit”, so I was determined to find something he would listen to and love it, I was so very sure I found it!! “If Merle Would Sing My Songs”, my dad is a HUGE Merle Haggard fan, I grew up listening to his music when every my dad was home from work, and here was a song about this young kid going to Nashville to write songs in hopes that Merle Haggard would sing them…. and the last 3 lines were sang by Merle Haggard himself….

So Dad came home from work, there I was proud as a peacock, busted out the diskman and the head phones, “Dad I have a song I need you to listen to.” He played it off that he wasn’t even going to try and like it…. He put the head phones one, I won points that it was country song, more points when he heard the chorus about wanting Merle to sing his songs…. Then it got to the last part of the song, the last two lines, I watched my dad so intently waiting for that part, and when it hit I knew it, he got this look on his face and smiled… “That’s Merle.” He said, he listened to the song one more time…. Since then it has become one of my dads favorite songs my brother sings. I can play it every now and again and he will smile.

I won, music connecting us again, like it always does and i feel it always will.

I know I went through all kinds of twists and turns, and I hope you get what I am saying here….

‘Music Is Life…. That’s Why Every Heart Has A Beat.”

-Ashton <3

Mommy Book Club 2018

Mommy Book Club Will Start Up Again On January 1st, 2018 and The Book We will be reading is Book One in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Back Cover Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second Honeymoon — when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding boarder clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life… and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scot warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.



I am giving everyone a heads up on this because it is a longer book and some of us… Mainly me… Will need longer than 30 days to read it. 

I hope you all join us in January on my Facebook Page Ashton Taylor – Our Preemie Family for a Facebook live or a discussion board on it. It all depends on how my kids do at bed time that night, lol. 

Thanks for your Time,

Ashton <3 

My Struggle With PTSD

There has been many articles recently about mental health for parents and family members that have experienced NICU life, and all the bumps, drop, loop de loops that roller coaster has in store for everyone incolved. I would like to share my battle with PTSD post NICU, 3 and half years later.

My son was born 16 weeks early, and I was a worrier before this, but this experience has amplified my paranoia about anything and everything that was not in my control. My little Spud was born at 24 weeks and 2 days gestation, 11 inches 1 pound 12 oz, and loud. He annouced his presence with a meek but powerful squeak, almost like a newborn kitten, I learned later that it was rare for little ones that early to have a powerful entrance, so much so that the nurses held him unsure of what to do for a moment or two. 

Now, this part is mainly to explain where I came from to have you understand where I am now. We were in the NICU for 157 days total and 33 days in a childrens hospital, with 2 attempts at coming home before the third one stuck. We were sent home the first time just before his due date, and his Respiratory therapist came tonthe house the following morning and as she hooked him up to the pulse ox monitor he stopped breathing, turned grey and she preformed CPR on him while i was on the phone with 911 amd rounded up cats. She got him breathing and crying and back to the NICU we went, they kept us for 4 days, ran tests and came up with nothing, so they wrote it off as a one off situation and sent us home. As I drove him home I make sure he was mad and would cry the whole 15 minute drive home. You might see that as cruel, I saw that as a way to keep calm. That was the beginning of my spiral down, we got home. My husband and I gave our son his first bath at home, I swaddled him up, put a bum on him and fed him. I handed him to my husband to burp while I went to clean the bottles. Two minutes later my husband is yelling, I run and spring into action, I start CPR, got my husband to wrangle cats and call 911. I got him to burp, fart and whine but no gasp or full cry. The paramedics, who were the same group that were at our house 4 days prior, lifted me off my child and into the hall to start CPR with machines and oxygen masks. 

We were admitted for 34 days in the NICU and 33 in the children’s Hospital after this incident. I refused social work while in the NICU and hospital with my son. I did not want to focus on me, I wanted my son to come home and stay home and stay alive this time. I spent hours writing everything down, filling my sons medical binder with everything and anything. He was my focus 110%.

The third time he came home on oxygen, on a tank I had to bring around with me, so I became a hermit and only left if I had a helper, or to the doctors office alone. He was home before Christmas, and off oxygen by March, my husbands birthday, and I went to a happy routine with him until June. I had to put my son in daycare for 2 hours a day while I worked nights, and my husband worked days. 

Thats when my husband and family started noticing a slight problem, at work I would be overcome with a sence of panic and call my husband repeatedly until he would answer anc check on Spud, make sure he was breathing, make him put the phone up to his mouth so I could hear it. It wasn’t just once and a while, it was 1 to 3 times a night 5 nights in a row. My family doctor put my ativan while at work, but to use as needed, he also put me in touch with a family councillor who was the first person to tell me I may have NICU PTSD and put me in touch with a psychologist. 

I saw her once a week, we worked on talking and medications therapies that helped calm me down. This was from July till October, I was down to once a month visits. The end of October I found out we were pregnant with baby number 2. And I had to stop my medications, and up my therapy visits to try and remain normal. But in January, I lost my job and my coverage for therapy and my husbands coverage couldn’t cover it anymore. I panicked for most of my pregnancy, I had a full meltdown at 22 weeks and again at 24 weeks. I had it in my brain that something was going to go worng. I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy with my daughter, I didn’t feel the joy of finding out it was a girl, I didn’t feel happy shopping for clothes because it felt like something was going to go wrong. But nothing did, Princess Tally came into the world 6 days overdue at 8 lbs 14oz 22 inches long via c section because she had a big head like her dad. 

I didn’t enjoy my 4 day hospital stay, I refused to put her down, I made nurses watch her while I went to the bathroom if family wasn’t there. They made me meet with a social worker to help me get back on medications, which ment I could not breast feed. I had to do it, I had to make this sacrifice for my daughter, so I would have all my mental faculties for her, Spud and my husband. 

I manage my PTSD with medications to this day, and I still have good days and bad days where I pop an Ativan to get through the day, I struggle daily with it, there are nights I wake up 4 to 6 times a night and check both kids, I do not work. I stay at home and try to find some normalcy for my family, for me, I start back to counseling in 3 weeks. Its a battle, but I am willing to fight this, because I have something worth fighting for. 

– Ashton <3

Journey To Heal Diastasis Recti: Part Two

Guest Post By: Lindsay Sutherland

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Before I say anything more about this I want you to know that your post baby body is beautiful.  It tells a story of the miracle of new life.  And I’d like you to have a look at this (even if you have seen this before, it’s good to look at it again because sometimes we forget that there is more to physical beauty than what we see on TV and in magazines):  http://hobbsphotography.ca/a-mothers-beauty-2017/

The reason I am on a journey to heal my diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction has more to do with function.  I obviously don’t want to pee my pants every time I sneeze or jump and also, I have a not-so-great back (I have already had to have surgery on it) so I need my abs and core to be at their best to support my back.  Of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what my tummy looked like.  But I think in my journey to heel my core, the look of my tummy will take care of itself (I’m not talking fitness model 6 pack or anything, just something that I will be confident with 😉 )

I think it is important to take a minute and think about how you view exercise.   I think many people may see it as punishment for maybe enjoying too much of your favorite snacks.  Or maybe some people see exercise as just something unpleasant they need to do because they know it is good for them and they just want to get it done and over with each time they hit the gym.

I think a much better way to think about exercise is to see it as a reward for your body for all the hard work it does for you (including the amazingness that is baby creation!).  Exercise because you LOVE  and cherish your body, not because you hate it and/or want to change the look of it.

So, on to my update on my journey!

I have finished week 2 of this program, so I’m half way through now and I do feel my core getting stronger.  The program is also teaching me to think about proper alignment during the day whether I’m sitting, standing, picking up my toddler or making supper.

Again, not much of a different in the way my tummy looks, but this is all I can show you for a visual lol.  PS, I’m not sucking in my tummy or flexing my abs or core or anything, I’m also not pushing out my tummy…this is just a neutral tummy posture (very technical term here lol!).  These pics were all taken before a workout.  I find that sometimes right after a workout your muscles are more toned looking than they usually are, and I wanted a try story of any improvement so I’m keeping things as realistic and consistent as I can.

Tips for today:

Be Patient:
If you are embarking on a journey to heal your diastasis recti and/or pelvic floor dysfunction, think of it more as a marathon and not a sprint.  It takes time to build any type of muscle in your body, your core and pelvic floor muscles are no different.  Think more in terms of months rather than days or weeks when it comes to seeing a difference.

Stick with it:
The important thing is to stick with it, even if it doesn’t feel like you are doing much compared to traditional exercise programs where you sweat a bunch 🙂

Don’t check your ab gap too frequently:
Going along with my first tip (to be patient), try to resist the urge to check your gap too frequently.  I try not to check mine more than once a month.  Sometimes I’ll go a few months before checking it.  Why?  Well, to check it you need to hold a crunch position and crunches can make your gap worse.  I checked my gap last month and I’ll check it again at the end of the program that I’m doing now so that I can report on any improvement that has been made as a result of the program.

Be careful with high heels:
Wearing high heels changes your alignment as you lean back to compensate for the angle that the heels put your body at.  This causes increased intra abdominal pressure which you don’t want while you are trying to close your ab split.  If you are like me and love to rock some 4 inch stilettos this is pretty terrible news I know!  Realistically I knew I couldn’t give up high heels completely, so what I do is try to limit how often I wear them and how high the heel is.   Luckily the trend right now is a low block heel which is great for so many reasons!  So I have been wearing 2 inch block heels, some flats and some shoes with a 1 or 1.5 inch heel most of the time.  Occasionally, for short periods of time I will rock a 3  or 3.5 inch stiletto 🙂

If you missed my first post about this, check it out here 🙂

Cheers my beautiful ladies!

**Thank you so much Lindsey For sharing more of your journey here. If anyone wants to talked to Lindsey or follow her journey as she continues to rock it out , here are her social media and blog site links again:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallcitystyle/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/linzyannesu/pins/

Blog:  http://smallcitystyle.com/

Journey To Heal Diastasis Recti: Part One

Guest Post By: Lindsay Sutherland

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I have decided that I want to share my journey to heal my Diastasis Recti because I think it might be able to help some of you who may have it or may have pelvic floor issues.  This isn’t going to be easy for me to share because it is uncomfortable to talk about so please be kind with any comments you want to share 🙂

My journey started about 9 months after I had my second baby and I started to notice that something didn’t seem right with my stomach.  For one, I looked like I was still about 6 months pregnant even though I had lost all of my baby weight and then some.  Secondly, something just didn’t feel right when I went to sit up for a laying down position and while jumping.  And third, I leaked a bit of pee when I sneezed.

I started to google what might be wrong and I came across a term called Diastasis Recti.  I found a few websites that described how to check and see if you have it.   There are tons of videos and websites out there that describe how to test for this and they are all pretty consistent in their instructions, here is one if you like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiqfFM3kNuk.  So, I tested myself and was horrified by what I found.  I was able to comfortably fit 3 fingers horizontally in the gap in the middle of my abs and the gap was so deep that I could put my fingers vertically into it up to the large knuckles on my fingers.

After my shock subsided, I started to think about what I could do about this.  Did I need surgery?  Was this normal?  Are there exercises I could do that would help?  Should I see a physiotherapist?

What I decided to do as my first step was see a physiotherapist about it.  And he did in fact make the diagnosis of Diastasis Recti and gave me some exercises to do and told me which ab exercises to avoid.  I tried my best to do the exercises as he described, but I just didn’t get it.  I didn’t understand how to activate the muscles that he was telling me I needed to strengthen.

So, I went back to the internet to try and educate myself more about this condition.  I found this visual image helpful:

https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/postpartum-care/how-to-spot-and-treat-a-diastasis-recti/

This image helped me to understand exactly what was going on with my stomach muscles and which muscles I needed to learn how to activate and strengthen.

When I started looking on the internet for how to heal my Diastasis Recti and improve the function of my abs and pelvic floor, I got all sorts of conflicting information.  Some sites said do pelvic tilts, some sites said don’t do pelvic tilts, some sites said that wrapping or splinting your abs works, some sites said that this could actually make things worse.  I was confused to say the least lol!

While looking around on the internet I found that there were 2 well known and very popular programs that you could buy that claim to help you heal your diastasis recti (I say “claim” only because I haven’t actually tried these programs so I can’t comment on whether or not they work).  One is the MuTu System https://mutusystem.com/12-week-3 which is a 12 week online program and costs $97 USD.  And the other one is the Tupler Technique https://diastasisrehab.com/online-support which is a 6 week online program and costs $225 USD plus you need the Diastasis Rehab Splint which is another $50 USD.

I didn’t want to pay that much money for these programs, so I looked for whatever I could find that was free.  I found a free program that was for pre and postnatal women, unfortunately it looks like this program isn’t offered anymore so I can’t share it with you.  I did this program for 4 weeks and I saw a difference both in how my tummy looked and the function of my core muscles.

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Here is a picture of what my tummy looked like before I started trying to heal my ab split and pelvic floor issues vs after doing the 4 week program that I must mentioned:

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After the 4 weeks was done, I started looking for more free diastasis safe workouts online and found this:  http://purelytwins.com/2015/02/17/how-do-i-get-rid-of-my-diastasis-recti-my-tummy-update/

Scroll down and enter your information and you will receive 18 free workouts that are safe for people with diastasis recti.

I did these 18 workouts (a different one each day) for about a year.  And they are great full body workouts that allowed me to get my body in pretty good shape overall.

While I really like these workouts, and the gap between my abs has decreased and gotten shallower, I was still having issues with functionality.  Specifically, I was still leaking pee while jumping and sneezing sometimes.  So, I decided that I had to change something and went back to the internet to search for something that could help the functionality issues I was having.  Here is what I found:  https://health.nataliehodson.com/order-form This is a 4 week program, it is not free, but it is only $27 USD.  Well, it is actually $37 USD but when I bought it there was a promotion on which may still be available.  This was a price that I could live with, and after reading some of the other content on this website, I felt like this was a program that could really help me.

I am currently in the middle of week 2 of this program and so far, here is what I can say about it, my core was pretty sore for the first 2 days of the program even though it feels like the exercises aren’t accomplishing much.  You don’t sweat, and your muscles don’t get that burning feeling that you usually get when you do a traditional exercise.  So it really feels like you aren’t doing much.  These workouts are super boring lol!  They really are, but, I also think they are super important and deserve my full attention and effort.  So, that is what I am doing.  I am giving this my all, even though it doesn’t feel like much.

Yesterday, after about 1.5 weeks of doing these workouts, I sneezed (with a full bladder) and didn’t pee!!!!!  It felt amazing!!  So, I feel like I’m on the right track!!  I’m going to post some pictures of my progress, even though my goal is improved function and not how my core/tummy looks.  If there is an improvement in how my tummy looks it will be a bonus and since I can’t show you pictures of me not peeing myself lol, I’ll show you pictures of my tummy as I go through this program.

Here is me at the beginning of the Abs, Core and Pelvic Floor program (1.5 weeks ago) vs at the end of week 1:

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Not seeing a huge change in how my tummy looks so far, but that is not what I’m after anyway.  I am however thrilled about not peeing when I sneezed yesterday!!  Now THAT is what I’m after!

Here are a few things you can change right now if you think you have diastasis recti:

  1. Don’t panic. Every woman that has given birth has had diastasis recti.  It is normal for your abs to move apart to accommodate your growing baby.  For many women, their abs return to normal within the first few months after giving birth and they have no issues with bladder leakage or back pain.  For some women (like myself), the ab gap does not close on its own and other issues like bladder leakage occur yay! Lol
  2. There are things you can do to narrow the gap and improve function without surgery and it’s never too late. It doesn’t matter if you are 12 months post-partum or 12 years.
  3. Don’t jack knife out of bed. Instead, roll to your side and push yourself up with the help of one arm.  The same goes for when you want to get into and out of a laying down position for exercises.
  4. Avoid crunches, bicycle kicks, planks or full pushups or anything that makes your tummy bulge out while you do it as this can make your gap worse.
  5. When you find success in closing your ab separation, use caution when returning to traditional ab exercises. You could be reversing the progress you have made.

Check out part 2 of the journey here 🙂

 

 

**Thank you Lindsay For sharing your Journey. Here are the links to follow more of Lindsay’s Journey:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallcitystyle/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/linzyannesu/pins/

Blog:  http://smallcitystyle.com/

 

 

Reluctant Stay At Home Mom…

I have been a stay at home mom going on 2 years, don’t get me wrong I love it and everything these two have brought to my live.

But I have been working since I was 14, baby sitting and I was a summer nanny to 2 kids one summer. Then at 16/17 I started cleaning wellsite trailer for my uncles leasing and fabrication company, that moved me into customer service at movie rental places, gas stations and a grocery store! I worked all through high school, did bad things and even got myself fired from a job back then. At 21 I started working as my moms assistant doing HR and payroll and rolled out to helping accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the accountant department. I learned I have a knack for certain things, and I took that knack to a 3 day course to become a book keeper. And then at 23 I started at my last job and was there for almost 5 years, and I loved it so so much. But many factors came into play and here I am at home with 2 little toddlers, and a list of things to do that I cant seem to motivate myself to do.

I do dishes, I cook, I tidy and I make sure the kids are bathed with clean clothes always, but my house has gathered clutter and I look at it and say it needs to be delt with but never really get to it.

I am a part time single mom, my husband is home 1 week a month and the routine is just out the window during that one week. I am ok with it, but now as I don’t have a real house cleaning routine, and no real motivation to gut my house it takes me a week after he leaves to get everything back in a functioning order.

I love being the one who gets to bond with my kids and see them grow into little amazing people. I have thought about going back to work on more than one occasion, but it’s not possible to do. Day care averages for my childre , $850 a month for my daughter, and $850 a month for my son, and my son is only part time Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays because he is in school 4 hours a day, and I cannot work Wednesdays because those are important meetings, trips, and many other things that are school related with my son. As you may remember from many many posts about this, Spud is delayed due to his prematurity, so keeping in constant communications with his school is key, and I am a hands on mom when it comes to that, I would rather hear it from the horses mouth than second hand. I have played way to many games of Telephone as a child to know that this would not end well. 

You might be thinking, how are trips useful, well they teach skills, and are fun for the little kids, weren’t field trips fun for you in school? But, with all these dilemmas the one thing that hurts is due to the fact that life costs money and I cannot make any, my husband is working camp jobs and losing time with his kids, seeing them grow up through pictires and videos. If I could I would change places with him, but I can’t, my skills are set to start at $18.00 an hour and cap around $25.00 an hour, where as my husbands start at $22.00 and hour and can cap at $45.00 or better. We are just starting his career here, so we are still on the low end when it comes to supporting a family of 4 and a Bijoux, so I am the reluctant stay at home mom. 
I love it…. But I also hate it….. 
-Ashton <3

Terrorism Hit Too Close To Home


This is Constable Mike Chernyk, and he is an amazing 11 year veteran of the Edmonton Police Service. You see on Sunday around 8 pm, he was doing a patrol walk around the football stadium, that was filled with people when a white Malibu blew through the sidewalk hitting him, launching him 15 feet in the air to land hard on the cement. The person who hit him, on purpose, gets out of the car flashing a knife scaring away people who were making sure the officer was ok, in some capacity, then proceeded to stab, cut, and slash the already wounded man. All this to get his gun, to get this police officers gun, to continue his plan for the evening. But, Constable Mike Chernyk fought him off, kept his gun safe radioed for help as the suspect ran off, the contable was taken to the hospital. The man hunt started.
Around 11 pm, a Uhaul was pulled over at a check point, they asked to see his licence and he matched the description of the suspect wanted in the constables assault. So the police officer called for back up, as he did so the Uhaul fled. Four police cars persued and pedestrians were struck by the Uhaul before it hit the curb and flipped on it side and the suspect was taken into custody. He has been charged with several different offences, but what the media points out several times in many different ways he was a Syrian Refugee. While I am angry at him for what he did, and how he ruined my safe bubble, I am angry at the people blaming all the people here who have actually come to be safe, to escape what is happening here, and Las Vegas. 

I am not belittling what happened in Las Vegas by any means, but this attack happened in my home. Where I grew up, where I am raising my 2 small children. This hurts my heart, and this man, Constable Mike Chernyk, is my hero. He is someone I wan my 3 year old son to meet, and this man is the reason why I know the old saying “Don’t let a few bad Apples spoil the whole batch.” With all the negativity around police, this is why I hold onto hope and let my son adore them and have them be something to strive for as he grows up. And this is also why, I will not allow this one man, who ruined my home and broke my heart, make me believe all refugees are like him. 

Constable Mike Chernyk, is home now, resting with bumps bruises and stitches. Two of the four pedestrians hit are home, the other two are in serious condition in hospital. No fatalities, my thoughts, and warm positivity goes to all the families effected here and in Las Vegas. 
Remember to Love everyone equally. 
-Ashton <3

Where Have I Been

Well, my husband started a new job, we went on a small family vacation, starting a new hobby in hopes of creating something, and I have been just getting used to the rhythm of having 2 toddlers!

 

Let’s start with the family vacation, we rented a car packed up the kids and went to Drumheller. We made a pit stop in Red Deer to show the kids the awesomeness that is the Donut Mill. Now anyone who lives in Alberta should know about the Donut Mill, you go from Edmonton to Southern Alberta you must make a pit stop at the Donut Mill on Gasoline Alley.

Spud discovered the magical wall of Donuts. He picked an awesome Triple Chocolate Donut.

 First Bite of Magic.

 Princess Tally enjoying a donut and a mommy selfie!

 

We got to Drumheller at about noon so we decided to go right to the Royal Tyrell Museum, since we could not check into the hotel till 3pm!

 

 Waiting for daddy to come and join us! As you can tell Spud is less than impressed to go from a car for 2.5 hours to a stroller.

 The magical Bubble wall! They have a walk through from the beginning of time until now, and it all starts with the Bubble wall.

 The Blue Bubbles are from 2015 when my husband and I took Spud to Drumheller the first time, and the pink Bubbles is Princess Tally at the same age now, the colors were purely coincidental, and my mom pointed it out when I sent her a few pictures.

 

 This isn’t the best picture I  took but this is one my husband wants to take every time we go with the kids. See where our kids measure up against a triceratops. I cant believe how big my little spud is getting.

 

The next day we went to the Hoodoos were we could let Spud walk around and enjoy everything that was to see there. A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney or earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Drumheller is in the badlands of Alberta, and we had a blast, he kept pointing and saying “Look! Look! Whats that? Ooooh!” He was so much fun to watch.

    

Then we drove home, and honestly for the amount of driving we did in 2 days, my kids were amazing! Even though we had to listen to Blippi “Planes Trains and Automobiles” on repeat for about 6.5 hours, it was a great trip.

The day after we got home we went to Fort Edmonton Park for a few hours, I never got to take pictures due to the fact we decided it would be a great idea to give our some some freedom….. 3 years old in a place with lots of places to run and hide, thank goodness my husband walked around with the baby in the stroller.

 We lost her hat somewhere between the house and the car so Daddy bought his little pilgrim a bonnet! Isn’t Princess Tally the cutest little thing? I am surprised that she left it on the whole time we were there.

 We got Spud some hand churned ice cream as we were getting ready to leave.

 And we had a long 3 days, as you can tell. Sweet Little Princess.

 

I have also started a new Hobby! If you follow my Facebook page, you would see my progress in my Crochet Hobby. My mom had been pushing me to learn since I was 13 years old, only took 16 years, but I am hooked!

       

She made me chain 30 feet before she showed me how to do a second stitch, then I had to do 5 feet of that, and so on and so forth. Now I am watching YouTube videos on how to do more stitches and projects, I am currently working on hats for teeny tiny preemies…. Not going well, slip stitches are Evil.

 

Now we are just getting ready for the school year, our little Spud is starting an early education program 4 mornings a weeks and one special field trip day or we met with his Occupational therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, Teacher or his Teachers aide on that 5th day. This is suppose to help him be caught up for when he starts kindergarten, and I want to give him the best start I can.

 

So there, that is where I have been, I am hoping that soon I will be back to weekly blogging.

 

Hope to talk to you all soon!

 

Ashton <3

Farmers Days 2017

Be warned, short blog in words, but will be full of pictures!!

Well we did it! We went to the farmers days parade! And really that is all we did for Farmers Days weekend. After a long talk with my hubby we both felt that the kids were still a bit to little for the fair and rodeo. I should say he felt that way, he was raised a city boy, and I respected his wishes, because we are a team, even if I was upset a bit.

But we did get to go to the parade, and Princess Tally has figured out how to clap and was clapping along with every one around her, before she fell asleep. We met up with Oma and GiGi, they enjoyed the parade with us.

Princess Tally was very happy because she loves her Oma and got snuggled to sleep during the parade. So much do that the loud noises of the tractors, the stock cars, and the hot air balloon did not wake her up. Spud enjoyed all the free candy, but was Tickled right pink when the local grocery store float gave him and apple! He was more excited about the apple, so that to me is a parenting win!

But, like I mentioned before about how Princess Tally was OK with the loud noises, Mister Spud on the other hand was far from thrilled and I had to take him out of the stroller, and he sat on the ground with me and I had to cover his ears so he could enjoy the rest of the parade. He was excited for the fire trucks, tractors, and other “big boy things”,  as he puts it. He kept pointing out all the tires and how big they were. But because he was snuggling with me I didn’t get to many pictures after that. Actually, I got none, but here are the few that I did get. Please Enjoy.

 Tally and her Oma getting settled.

 Waving at the military trucks

 Excited for the tractors, but kept asking me where the green ones were.

 Fighting sleep, about 3 minutes later she was asleep.

 See.

 Spud so excited he got his Canadian Flag.

 Spuds Big green tractors and this is when he crawled on my lap and needed me to cover his ears.

 Couldn’t even make it through lunch after, he was so tired.

 

Thank you for reading! Please follow me on Social Media.

Wish you all Love, Happiness and all kinds of pretty things.

– Ashton <3

Music Is My Fairy Tale

MUSIC IS MY FAIRY TALEI grew up in a house hold that always had music buzzing around. There was either someone playing a record ( you know those big black disk things around since the stone age?), someone (attempting to) play and instrument, or just someone singing a song they had stuck in their head. My brother could watch a Disney movie once and have every single song memorized by the end of it. My dad worked out of town and all my memories of him revolve around music in some manner, when he was home, whether it be dish cloth dew rags, pots and pan band practice to queen albums, or playing guess the song in 10 bars or less. My mom was a painter and at night I remember being all tucked into my bed and hear her classical music playing down the hall while she painted, and my brother and I drifted off to sleep.usic helped me become who I am in some manner of speaking, because when you are a kid you listen to everything your parents listen to, In my case that was a lot of old school country like Merle Haggard, George Jones and Patsy Cline, which I still listen to, to this day. But when I started school my friends introduced me to what their parents listened to and I loved that just as much as what my parents listened to, and I would ask my mom to buy me albums and CDs until I could get them myself with my baby sitting money. Then came the boy band faze of my life, but I was never ever picky when it came to bands and I bought it all and listened to it all. by 13 I had over 200 cassette tapes and 52 CDs, I still listened to what my parents had as well with A tracks, records and their CDs and Cassettes. There was never anything I didn’t like, and when I went through my rebelling faze I just started listening to Marilyn Manson, Eminem, and other “controversial” artists at the time (Can I hope my kids will do the same?).

To me there was a song to help me through everything, when my first friend committed suicide a country song came out at the same time called “How Do You Get That Lonely” by Blaine Larsen, and that helped me in a way, when my grandpa passed away I found comfort in his favorite song, “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner.

This is my last point on the songs, but I went through a time at 16/17 years old where I fell into a bad crowd forgot who I was and just wanted me accepted by everyone instead of enjoying being who I was as an individual, I got into some drugs and while I was getting myself out of that deep hole a friend from Vancouver gave me an EP, by a band Called Marianas Trench and they helped me find me again, and I thank those guys every time I see them. I have had the honor of meeting them and getting to know them. I see them as my friends in a way because of how they had helped me, and I wanted to help them, I learned what I could about street teams and the music industry (the bare bones of it anyways) and tried to help them make a mark in the Canadian music front, along the way I gained great friends and lost some friends, but it all shaped who I am today and who I want to me for my son.

When I was pregnant with both my kids, I played music to my belly and sang songs to my babies all the time. I wanted music to be a profound part of my children’s lives like it had been for me. Then a scary thing happened and I went into labor 16 weeks early with my first, my son. I didn’t know how to handle anything with my son by that point. I didn’t know how to make him comfortable or myself for that matter, because my normal means of comfort couldn’t help a preemie baby…. Or could it?

I did some massive digging and found music therapy was found to be very beneficial to pre-term babies. But all the studies I had read were done with classical music, I do like classical music but we were not going to be listening to that all the time at home, when he did come home. So I bought an i pod mini loaded it with music I loved, music Hubby loved and music that our parents loved, which is what I had been playing for him since I found out he was growing in my tummy. I told the nurses to play it when he was really stressed out and see what happens when Hubby and I would go home for the night. (Who am I kidding Hubby Dragged me out of there to try and get some sleep.) We would come back to find that the music had calmed him down and he was showing signs of major improvement over the course of our stay. At one point in the middle of the night there were 3 nurses attending to a baby across from my son and all of sudden they heard this music being played and they could not figure out where it was coming from, they walk closer to DJs isolette and it is his ipod that he somehow turned all the way up. I remember the nurse telling me it was “Shake Tramp” by Marianas Trench, because she was a fan of them as well and we had bonded over that early on.

Now that we are out of the NICU and at home, music is still a big part of his day, whether it be our dance parties in the living room, that our old mail man loved to laugh and wave at every time he saw us, or the singing and band time he has with my dad who is passing more memories of music down to my children like he did with myself and my brother, as well as my daughter now.

I once read a quote that describes who I am in a very big way:

I Believe In Music, The Way Some People Believe In Fairy Tales.

I am now passing on that love to my kids and passing along they music therapy ideas to other moms I have met in the NICU, I hope it is as useful and up lifting for them as it was for me.

Thanks, now here are a bunch of pictures of me and band member I have met, as well I will add I have kept all my ticket stubs and have gone to over 380 concerts (including bar ones) since I turned 18, that is 11 years….. I should also note that I have been to 5 concerts in the past 7 years.

 

Andrew TSE Me and Daniel Of Ten Second Epic at a music video shoot for them, they were a local band that has since disbanded, but I would recommend looking up their older stuff if you like pop punk type stuff.

Benny Social Code Ben From Social Code, another local band that has disbanded but again, Please look up their stuff online and on Spotify and iTunes.

Cam SOS Cam from State of Shock! Sweet guy, they haven’t put anything new out lately but their stuff is really good.

Chris Hedley  Chris Former drummer for Hedley! They just put out some new stuff that I love with all me heart and would love for you to check out Hedley if you haven’t already.

Dan Tupelo Honey Dan from his Tupelo Honey days, He went from backing vocals and guitar to lead singer, now they are all doing solo stuff, Dan has moved from pop and pop punk/rock, to country! So please look up Tupelo Honey the band, they have a few albums out with Matty as the lead singer, then Dan, and also please look up Dan Davidson and his music. I have known and supported Tupelo and these guys for 11 to 12 years.

 

First Mike PIcture Me and my very first picture with Micheal Ayley of Marianas Trench!! I miss the curl.

Greg Tupelo Honey Greg from Tupelo Honey! Sweet heart in spades!

Kadoo (Simon) SOS Kadoo (Simon) from State of Shock, I am not gonna lie this is one of my favorite pictures every, because I look damn fine! lol

Me and trench Me and the whole of Marianas Trench after stalking, I mean following them on all their Alberta dates. This was the last show and I am bagged!

Morgan Social Code Me and Morgan From Social Code, please look up their stuff.

Patrick TSE Patrick From Ten Second Epic and I from the same music video as before.

Pee-Nuts Pee-Nutz! sweetest merch/ sound guy ever! he helped a few of the local bands out and we knew from the countless shows we went to.

Sandy TSE Sandy and I from the same TSE shoot. He is a huge teddy bear and hugged everyone that came out.

Steve Tupelo Honey Steve From Tupelo Honey, I got along so good with him in the many shows I saw as well as proving to him I could hold my liquor.

Tommy Hedley Tommy Mac and I from Hedley, I think I was trying to mimic his face, or I was a bit tipsy, unsure at this point lol.

Guitar Sammich Of Awesome I would like to call this the Guitarist Glam-mich! We have Dave from Hedley, Matty from Trench and Dan from Tupelo, and luck ol me in the middle!

And this last one of Ian and I….. Lets say alcohol may or may not have been involved….

Ya.....

 

Thank you all for reading,

I am sending you all hearts Love and other pretty things.

-Ashton <3