Hi, there.

So, the last time I posted anything was July 3. Oops. Well, let’s see what’s been going on around here. Hubby came home from six months at sea!

homecoming

We found a new house, packed up the old one and moved. This new house is so much better and Boomer has a yard to run around and play fetch in. Millie is just happy to still have the couch and her bed.

I helped open a boutique with a friend so now I’m working all the time, but it’s so much fun.

My running has slowed down a bit. I ran a 1/2 marathon in July and placed 3rd in my age group. I also ran a 10k in October with some friends. I’ll probably do a few more races before the end of the year.

Something else exciting also happened…

announcement

We are so excited to start growing our family! We waited to make a public announcement until 13 weeks, which wasn’t too hard because I was so nervous the entire first trimester. Now that the secret is finally out, it feels real and I am very excited.

We don’t have a nickname for the baby so we just call him/her “baby”. Well, I refer to the baby and SHE and hubs refers to baby as HE. Either way, we are just wanting a healthy baby (but a girl would be just fine 😉 )

How Far Along: 13 weeks, 3 days

About the Baby:
Size of a lemon (about 3 inches and 1.5 oz)
This week the baby has a roof inside his/her mouth and intestinal activity is starting up.  Baby also grew a winter coat, lanugo, to keep him/her warm until baby starts packing on the weight.

Maternity Clothes:  Not yet. I have two pairs of jeans that still fit and I’ve been wearing a lot of leggings. All of my tops still fit.
Sleep: Okay. I get up at least once a night to use the potty.
Best Moment:  I had a freak out around 12 weeks that something was wrong with the baby so I decided to go to the doctor. Even though they all thought I was crazy, I got to see the baby again on an ultrasound.
Food Cravings: Salt is the best thing ever. I would have assumed it would have been sweets, but I guess that is for the rest of my non-pregnant life.
Belly Button: In
Wedding Rings: On
What I Miss: Coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper
What I’m Looking Forward To: Getting to hear the baby’s heartbeat at the next appointment.

Beauty

“To see beauty even in the common things of life”


This is a portion of Alpha Chi Omega’s Symphony, but also my New Year’s Resolution. I posted this line a few weeks ago, questioning its meaning and why it would not leave my thoughts. For the past few days, I have really been giving it some thought. I won’t lie, I’m not the most optimistic person. I live by the quote, “expect the worst and hope for the best. Then, you will never be disappointed.” I believe it is this thinking that has caused me to miss the beauty in the common things in life:  A good morning text from Trip, a tradition of matching Christmas Eve PJ’s with my grandmother and mom, and the simple fact that my dog is never without his favorite toy, “Purpleman”. So, this year I am determined not to miss the beauty of the common things. I hope that through my future posts you can see that I’m successful.

What are the common things you find beauty in?

BsR,
Ashleigh


Beauty Still Remains?

I am in the process of trying to revamp my blog a little big and I was thinking it would be a good time to clarify a few things.

One question I keep getting is what does the blog’s title mean? Well, let me explain.

Prior to my spinal fusion, all I could think about was the day when I would have a normal back. This would be the day that I would feel beautiful because all of my problems would be solved. This consumed my days and dreams. If you have read my blog, you would know that immediately following my surgery, I was happy. I could wear the clothes I wanted and I was no longer defined by the crooked back. I was truly, blissfully happy. However, this bliss was short lived. Soon, low self-esteem ruled my life.  I felt as though all of my passions were exchanged for a straight spine. It took months, probably closer to a year, before I learned that life can (and will) go on.

Now to fully set this up, I also need to inform you about a very popular song at the time I started this blog. The song was Gavin Rossdale’s “Love Remains the Same”. Know it? Here are some of the lyrics:

“Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But love remains the same”

One day, I was walking around campus (University of South Carolina) and snapping amateur pictures. I was trying to figure out the best way to capture the beauty of this old rusted fence tucked between some bushes and a building.  I couldn’t help but think about how some would say this old rusted fence needs a serious stripping and repainting. I thought it was absolutely beautiful.  As I crouched and twisted to get the shot I wanted, the song popped in my head.  And that is when it hit me. This fence was beautiful when it was built. Even through years of wear, the fence was different, but still beautiful.

At that second, I knew I had my blog title. My whole life I was waiting for my back to change so I could be beautiful. The lesson I later learned was that I was beautiful before my surgery. Although the surgery changed me, I was still beautiful – different, but beautiful.

 

Beauty Still Remains,
Ashleigh

Beauty: The Common Things

You know when you get a song in your head ??? You don’t know why it’s there, but you just can’t stop thinking it. Well, it has been happening to me for the past two days. Rather than a song, it is a line from the symphony of Alpha Chi Omega (my sorority).

“to see beauty even in the common things of life”

[Oh, and don’t fret. I’m not sharing secret ritual or anything like that.]

I’m not really sure why it popped in my head or why it won’t leave. I feel like there is a reason, and I’ll share as soon as I find out!

For now, I’ll just leave you with our symphony…

“My Symphony”

To see beauty even in the common things of life.

To shed the light of love and friendship round me.

To keep my life in tune with the world that I shall make no discords in the harmony of life.

To strike on the lyre of the universe only the notes of happiness, of joy, of peace.

To appreciate every little service rendered.

To see and appreciate all that is noble in another,

Be her badge what it may.

And to let my lyre send forth the chords of love, unselfishness, sincerity.

This is to be my symphony.

-Celia McClure, Delta Chapter: Allegheny College, 1914

 

I’m still here!

We just started Sorority Recruitment 2010!

Hard to believe this is my last rush as a active member. I’ll post more about the week as soon as rush ends. Until then, I’ll be spending about 12 hours a day “A-L- PH-A” -ing, telling everyone how great it is to be an Alpha Chi at USC, and enjoying the start of my senior year!

XO,
Ashleigh

“We are the Alpha Chi and we are really great! We wear the Golden Lyre, there is no mistake! We are the GREATEST girls here at USC!”

Understanding Backwards

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”
– Soren Kiericegaard.

This quote carries deep meaning to me as I start my junior year at the University of South Carolina. During my senior year of high school, I wanted to go to FIDM in California and study fashion… until I realized that would actually require me to live across the country from my friends and family. So, I decided I would go somewhere in the South and study fashion. Of course, plans changed and, after following a boy, I found myself decorating my dorm room in Columbia, South Carolina as a pre-business major. Freshmen year I decided I would study marketing and hopefully set up a career in the exhilarating field of sports marketing. Sophomore year continued about the same – still sports marketing and I officially declared my minor as advertising. However, after networking, I realized that I desired a life outside of my job and the professional sports industry certainly was not going to allow this. Lucky for me, the field of marketing is vast!

Carolina Cup my freshmen year at USC

At the time I started writing this blog, I was unsure of what direction in marketing I wanted to go. The more I wrote about my spine, the more I realized how my journey and experience growing up with scoliosis could have been so very different if my family would have just been presented with more information. Also, my personal battle with the embarrassment and low self-esteem due to scoliosis could have been completely avoided. After the feedback I have received from my friends and family who want me to continue to share my story, I have decided that I want to take it one step farther! When I close my eyes and picture my future- I would love for it to include a career in nonprofit marketing advocating bracing for children with scoliosis. I believe that my zest for this topic, as well as my personal story, would provide a rewarding and fulfilling career. While my love for fashion has quickly dissipated (don’t get me wrong – I still love some “retail therapy”), my zeal for spreading awareness about scoliosis has always been a part of me and I do not foresee that changing. I am extremely excited to say that I have had so many people contact me after reading my blog. Like I said before, this blog is for me and my therapy, but when I receive an email from someone saying they can relate to my story – wow! I cannot even describe how happy that makes me.

Another task on my Bucket List is to plan a race for scoliosis awareness. After tirelessly searching the Internet for races benefiting scoliosis, and not finding a single one, a spark within me has been lit. In my opinion, which may be biased, I do not believe there is enough education about scoliosis. I know for a fact that children, especially in middle school when scanning begins, think it is an embarrassing deformity that will cause them to be shunned by their classmates.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a sister of Alpha Chi Omega. One perk of being in a sorority is having weekly meals (paid for by mom and dad!) in the company of your sisters. You may think a bunch of sorority girls would have pointless conversations – don’t get me wrong, we have discussed everything from the immaturity of frat boys to our hatred of lipstick – but we actually have meaningful conversations from time to time. Last week, as I hurriedly ate my lunch before class, I was shocked when the conversation turned to scoliosis. While normally I love to partake in these conversations, I decided just to listen to what my sisters had to say.

It’s funny to me that every girl at the table, though from different states, could remember the dreaded scoliosis screening day in middle school. One girl talked about how at her school all the girls were practically herded into the locker room, told to take off their shirts, and bend over. I couldn’t help by laugh because I can also remember that day like it was yesterday even though it was almost nine years ago.

Ever since then I’ve been thinking – why does scoliosis screening have to be so embarrassing? Is it because you are already an insecure middle schooler who knows nothing about scoliosis other than it’s the deformity that you have to strip down and bend over to see? I guess I just feel like if children were more informed about what scoliosis is and how the screening works prior to the exam day, people wouldn’t have such a negative memory of scoliosis screening day.

I was one of those kids mortified by the diagnosis of scoliosis and I want to change that. I truly believe I was given scoliosis for a reason and I plan to take action!

BsR,
Ashleigh