End of Year Reflection 2018

And Just like that another year has come and gone. It seems like just the other day I was writing 2017’s reflection post on my previous blog, Novel Ideas. I’m pretty sure 2018 has been the biggest year of my life, full of so much growth and transformation.

I haven’t blogged since Ellis was born, so I wanted to write a reflection post as a way to catch everyone up on my life. I’m hoping now that Ellis is a bit older I’ll have more time to blog in the new year. I’m so thankful for this space and being able to share my thoughts, feelings, and my experiences throughout motherhood.  

Here are some questions of reflection from 2018:

  1. What is something I accomplished this year that I am proud of? That’s a hard one. The only thing that really comes to mind is that I had the unmedicated home birth that I wanted, despite the doubts of others. I’m pretty freaking proud of all my body is capable of! Birth is amazing.
  2. What is something that happened this year that I think I will remember for the rest of my life? Giving birth to my first son at home on Labor Day! I had the most beautiful home birth with the most amazing birth team. I’ve been writing Ellis’ birth story and hope to have it posted soon. I never get tired of talking about his birth and I love sitting down and reliving that day with anyone that is willing to listen! If you haven’t heard the full story let’s grab a cup of coffee some time and I’ll tell you all about it.
  3. What was the most challenging part of this year for me? By far, parenthood has been the most challenging part of this year. My pregnancy and labor were fairly easy and I loved it, but I was anxious about becoming a parent and it really is hard. I’ve sacrificed sleep, warm meals, one-on-one time with my husband, and on some days my happiness. I know that sounds awful, but I’m trying to be really honest here. Becoming a mother is one of the best things that has happened to me and it’s been such a beautiful journey. But, I’ve been struggling with Postpartum Anxiety and there have been some dark days where everything is messy and I feel so lonely. Thankfully, I’m doing a lot better now and I’m in a much better place than I was a couple months ago.
  4. If I could change one thing that happened this year what would it be? I’m not going to go into detail about it on here, but even though I wish I could change what happened I know that God let it happen for a reason. I had some dark days where I felt numb and broken but I’ve come out on the other side and can see that I’m stronger now. 2018 was an amazing year, but I’m not going to lie you guys, I had some awful days, probably the hardest days I’ve ever had to face. There really wasn’t anyone I felt like I could truly open up to. I’m hoping that I’ll find that person that I can talk to soon.
  5. What are the three most important things I learned this year? 1). It takes a lot of work to keep a marriage happy and healthy, but it’s always worth the fight, 2). You’re stronger than you think you are, 3). Nothing changes if nothing changes.
  6. What was the nicest thing someone did for me this year? There are so many times people have reached out to show me kindness this year!! After I had Ellis people stepped in and helped me out when I couldn’t help myself. Brendan was so amazing at taking care of me after Ellis was born. He did laundry, cooked me food, made sure I was taking my herbal supplements for postpartum healing, fixed me a sitz bath, and loved and encouraged me. I would have been lost without him. My mom was my hero and came over about once a week to help out with Ellis so that I could shower, get chores done around the apartment, and go shopping with some extra help. And then there was one Monday in particular I remember where Brendan had gone out of town for work and I had been up all night with Ellis and was exhausted. My doula (who had moved across the country at that point) knew that I was having a rough day and sent her doula friend to my apartment with coffee and breakfast from Starbucks! Dani held Ellis and played with him while I ate my breakfast. It was awesome and really lifted my spirits.
  7. What was something that was hard for me at the start of the year that is easy now? Breastfeeding! Obviously, I didn’t start until I gave birth to Ellis in September, so I didn’t struggle the whole year. I had absolutely no problems with my milk coming in or my supply, but it took Ellis and I awhile to get a good latch. And then once he did latch it hurt and I was raw and sore. Giving up wasn’t an option for me, and I knew I’d push through, but there were some days that I didn’t look forward to feeding Ellis because of the pain. I felt like I was missing out on the bonding aspect of breastfeeding because I was so sore. Honestly, it was more painful for me than labor was. I know some women don’t experience any discomfort and that’s so awesome! I had read different women say that it takes about 3 months for breastfeeding to get better, and that was so true for Ellis and me. Now I absolutely love it! Don’t give up, Mamas.
  8. Of the books I read this year, which was my favorite and why? While I definitely didn’t meet my reading goal for the year, I did read some amazing books. Most of the books I read were about natural birth and my very favorite book was Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan. Brendan and I took Hypnobirthing classes during the summer that were taught by my doula and it was such a positive and empowering experience. I ended up having a beautiful home Hypnobirth and I’m so grateful for this method. If you’re at all interested in a natural birth, I highly recommend this book (and classes).
  9. Which person has made the biggest impact on my life this year? Why? My son. Ellis has been changing and molding me into a new woman ever since I found out I was pregnant with him. But he truly impacted my life on the day he was born. That day I became a mother and all of my priorities shifted. Caring for Ellis has been the best and hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. He’s taught me a lot about selfless love and he’s helped me grow closer to God.
  10. What could I have done to make this year better? Spent more time with my friends.
  11. What three words best describe this year? Change, Birth, and Strength.
  12. Knowing what I know now, if I would travel back in time to the start of 2018, what advice would I give myself? Stay in God’s Word, no matter what.
  13. What are my most important goals for 2019? I would have to say spending more time with my husband, serving him more, loving him better, and working on our marriage.
  14. How am I planning on achieving them? Spending more one-on-one time together, serving him and helping him have time to himself, reading a few books on marriage, etc.
  15. What should I do differently next year? Be more open to letting people into my life.  

I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store for me!

About

Hey there, I’m so glad you’re here!

My name is Ashley Blair Smith and I am currently living in the beautiful city of Lynchburg, VA with my husband of almost 2 years, our fat orange tabby cat Cheetah, and our first little sunshine babe that is on the way and due in early September.

I grew up journaling about the everyday details of my mundane life in the country all while dreaming of what it would be like to move to the city. I’ve always had the need to express myself creatively, and writing has been that creative outlet for me ever since I was 11-years-old. However, it wasn’t until I was a junior in college that I started my first blog.

Throughout my college years I was hungry for travel and adventure, and I documented those experiences through photographs and writing on my previous blog. But recently I realized that I had outgrown that little space of mine and needed a fresh, new start.

I graduated from Liberty University in the fall of 2015 with a major in Digital Communication, specializing in Print Journalism, with a double minor in Writing and Photography.

Ashley Blair Smith was created as a way for me to share my thoughts in greater detail than an Instagram post will allow and as a way for you to get a glimpse into my small town-living, plant loving, coffee drinking, book obsessed life.

So what will this blog include? I like the idea of a lifestyle blog as it gives the freedom to write about so many different aspects of life, not just one topic or theme. My goal with this blog is to share the day-to-day, my travel experiences, health and wellness tips, recipes, and my pregnancy/motherhood journey.

I hope that you enjoy your time here and I pray that my words can help inspire and motivate you to live a life that is pleasing to Jesus.

Please feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions, or simply to connect!

 

 

 

 

 

Weeks 29-32 Pregnancy Update

Another long overdue pregnancy update! With our move to Lynchburg and commuting back and forth to Roanoke for work these past couple weeks I just haven’t found the time to sit down and blog. But now that we are all settled into our new home and I am officially done with work, I figured now would be a good time to dive back into the world of blogging.

Life Update 

July has literally come and gone so quickly for me. I feel as if I have been living in two different cities, in two different apartments this month.

From the end of June to mid-July, my time was spent packing up things at our apartment in Roanoke, working, and slowly transitioning and bringing things to our new apartment in Lynchburg. The lease to our new apartment started the first of July, so we had plenty of time to get some smaller items moved into the new place before our lease ended at the end of July in Roanoke.

I tried to spend our last few weeks in Roanoke really living in the moment and enjoying my time there. I was so excited to be moving into our newer, bigger apartment in Lynchburg, but it was an emotional transition for me. Roanoke has been me and Brendan’s first home together and that apartment building is where we started our life together as husband and wife. It was just a really bittersweet time for me, letting go of that home and shifting into this new role in Lynchburg.

Saturday July 14th is the day we officially moved into our new apartment here in Lynchburg. Brendan rented a moving truck and had a few friends from our Bible study group help him load the truck up. I went on ahead with Cheetah and took what I could in Brendan’s car. Then my family met us at our new place and helped us unload the moving truck and get everything settled into the apartment. I was especially thankful for all of the extra helping hands since I couldn’t lift very much this time around (ahem, hello 32 week baby bump).

It took awhile to actually get things set up in our new apartment because I still had work for the next week and a half, which meant commuting back and fourth to Roanoke. That was a long week and a half of work – waking up at 6:45am to get to work by 9:30am, working until closing, and then not getting back home most nights until 8pm or later because we still had to clean our apartment in Roanoke after work. Needless to say, Brendan and I were both exhausted.

My very last days at work were bittersweet for me though. I’ve grown pretty close to a few of my coworkers over the past year and a half and I started to really enjoy my job. But I’m thankful for my time there and for the relationships I’ve made with my coworkers.

How I’m Feeling Physically

At this point in my pregnancy I feel like the weeks are kind of blurring together. Aside from feeling more “pregnant” everyday and my belly continuing to get bigger I’m still feeling the same.

Sunshine Babe continues to grow and his kicks and wiggles are getting stronger. And besides some occasional discomfort in my lower back I’ve been feeling great.

Sadly I haven’t been eating the healthiest. Between moving and long days at work, Brendan and I have been eating on the go a lot or resorting to fixing quick dinners such as frozen pizza. I’m not proud of that, but I’m still trying to be mindful of what I’m consuming and making sure I’m getting fresh fruits and veggies along with the other things I’m eating.

That’s it for now. Hopefully my next pregnancy update will be a bit more mindful and in depth!

29 Weeks Pregnant
30 Weeks Pregnant
30 Weeks Pregnant
31 Weeks Pregnant 
32 Weeks Pregnant