We Can Do Hard Things - Together


Not long after losing Preslee, our family took on the mantra- I Can Do Hard Things. Over the past five years, we’ve repeated the phrase time and time again. The neat thing is, after reading many different e-mails, so have many of you.


Losing Preslee changed our lives in so many different ways, but so has this blog. We’ve been uplifted time and time again. From the sweet and encouraging comments that were left during Preslee’s hospital stay, to the love and support we were shown during the funeral we will be forever grateful to those who reached out to our family.

comment collage

Over the past few years, I’ve learned from so many of you that God hears our prayers and His answers usually come from ordinary people who choose to listen to His promptings. There have been many times I’ve thanked my Heavenly Father that we don’t live in a world where we have to experience trials by ourselves.

Now, five years after losing our daughter, I continue to receive a surprising amount of e-mails asking for ideas on how to help others struggling with different trials. I’ve learned most people want to help, they just don’t know the best way to go about it. Not long ago, an idea came, and it hit hard. I suddenly had different images of the blog swarming around in my head, and I haven’t been able to shake them. With a lot of prayer, and direct guidance from above, I’m excited to introduce a new segment on my blog, one that makes my heart incredibly happy.

step up to serve

If you scroll up to the top of the page, and look just below the header, you’ll notice a new tab – How to Help. If you click on it, you’ll find a new page titled, We Can Do Hard Things. On that page is an index filled with different trials, such as - Death, Addiction, Infertility, Illness, and many more. If you click on “Death-Child,” you’ll be able to see posts already listed. The purpose of the index is to share ideas on how to help others going through these trials, along with printables, and resources to help make serving easy. I’m hoping these posts will help readers learn what is most helpful to do and say to those who find themselves in the midst of a difficult trial.
help arrow png

After weeks of brainstorming a name for this segment, I settled on – We can do hard things because I find  the phrase has two meanings:

  1. I know it’s possible to accomplish hard things, especially when we receive help from others.
  2. Sometimes serving is…hard. Let’s be honest, there are times we don’t have a clue where to start when wanting to help someone, and showing up on their door step can be nerve wracking. It can be extremely intimidating when we don’t fully understand what someone is going through, but all we know is we want to help.

This is why the blog has been a little quiet over the past month or two. I’ve been hard at work, reading, researching, and corresponding with individuals who have experienced the trials found within the index. I am incredibly excited to begin introducing these posts and hope they will be able to help those searching for ways to serve.

My heart is bursting.
I feel this might be a way for our little family to pass on the kindness that has been shown to us.
I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned from so many incredible people.

Stay tuned (later this week) for the first post in this series… helping families that have been blessed with a child with special needs.

Cannonball and Cruizer


It’s no secret that these two are trouble.

identical twins

But trouble or not, we still adore them.
Even if they figure out a way to break everything... seriously everything.

  identical twins
Cruiz, Cannon
identical twins 
Cruiz, Cannon

harry potteridentical twins
Cruiz/ Cannon, Cruiz
dog pile
Dog pile

But something has happened over the past few weeks. They’ve become…easier (Knock on wood). They’ve spent hours playing together - and actually getting along. They are really trying to communicate with each other, and those around them. And they have started listening a little better. (Other than today when Cannon painted Cruiz with desitin.)

With all this good behavior, I decided to attempt a trip to the mall... without a stroller! I only had one store to visit, so I braved it. I know, I know, if I was reading this when I only had Preslee, I’d be thinking, “What’s the big deal?” But let me tell you, with three crazy boys (Who all love to run) and two of them being two, this is a big deal! Cannon and Cruiz only took off in different directions a couple of times, and I only truly panicked once when I couldn’t find Cannon, who was hiding in Sephora. But I was so happy with what was happening that I bought lunch!

three boys 
( Cruiz only ran away while I was grabbing the food once :)
I just wanted to document that for the first time in two years I felt like I had things under control as I sat there in the food court eating a corn dog on a stick. Haha

Oh the joys of motherhood.
Just a few short years ago, I would have never dreamed this would be one of my biggest accomplishments.
But it is, and I love everything that it entails.

Today as we played ring around the rosie for what seemed like the 100th time, I desperately wanted to freeze time. I hope to never forget the way they look at me and exclaim, “Momma!” or how many kisses the two of them plant on my lips in one day.

And I hope they never forget how much they are loved.
We love you Cannonball and Cruizer.

Shoreline Bag


I discovered the cutest bag!
Wherever I go, I’m constantly receiving compliments on it, and asked where I bought it.
shoreline bag

I ordered the bag online, and only viewed the outside. When I opened it up, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I LOVED the fabric inside! I’m obsessed with the black and gold.
Shoreline Bag Grief Blog 

I love it so much, I figured some of you might as well :) I was excited when Tiffany, the owner, agreed to give all of you a 10% discount off their own shoreline bag.
Click {here} to order your own.

Type in “ASHLEY” at checkout for a 10% discount.

Shoreline Bag

  And this is the reaction you get from me when your neighbors don’t know you blog and their whole family stares at you while taking pictures through their window :) 

Flavoring on a Sno Cone?


After losing Preslee, I was asked in an e-mail, “If you would have known what was coming, would you have put flavoring on Preslee’s sno cones, rather than just plain ice?”

downsized_0707001328 (1)
(No mean comments please, we are sitting in the parking lot, I promise I didn’t drive with her strapped in like that)

Though it made me laugh, it’s something I’ve thought about over the past few years.
What would I have changed about my parenting?

Though I still ration sugar to our boys, because let’s face it, three boys hyped up on sugar is exhausting :) One thing I have changed about my parenting is when I get impulsive ideas, I usually go for it.


I’m sure many of you can relate, there are days I can’t wait to put the boys to bed, sometimes I begin watching the clock around 5:00 pm because I’m so desperate. And a few short hours later I’ll say to Pat,

“I miss them.” 

And he always responds the same way.

“Then go wake them up.”


I can’t tell you how many moments I’ve grabbed Cannon or Cruiz and silently rocked and cuddled them in a blanket. I’ve often said due to their colic, it was extremely difficult to bond with them. This is one of the things that has helped the most.


Or waking up Ledger and laying with him in his bed and having the funniest conversations together. Last night, after giggling together in his bed, we snuck down for a treat at around midnight… I know not great, but it was one of my “Would you have given her flavoring on a sno cone?” kinds of moments.

Though the pain and grief has been excruciating, I’m grateful the trial of losing a child has changed my view on parenthood. I know it will lead to many less “I wish I would have’s” when our kids are grown.
And for that, I am thankful.

And just in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes.
What I wouldn’t do to sit down and watch her eat a little pink sno cone.

 sno cone 2

Love you, monkey.

First Day of Pre-K


first day of school signs

Today is Ledger’s first official day of Preschool. Last week they held orientation with the parents and students. I hoped it would be quick and easy because I had Cannon and Cruiz with me. To my surprise they threw the students right in to class and an instructor took the parents off to a different room. After about 20 minutes of struggling to keep Cannon and Cruiz quiet the instructor sweetly turned to me and said:

“Boy this is a long time for kids to sit still, I’m sure it would be no problem to send them in with the older kids until the end of the meeting.”

Oh gosh! So in they went, and never looked back. (Why don’t they do that at nursery?) Poor Ledger, who never escapes his two little brothers had to share his first day of preschool with his twin brothers. But Ledge was a good sport, and said, “They only frustrated me once, when they acted real naughty. But I gave them my treat that I didn’t like and they ate it.” preschool

Ledger, you make friends easily, and are extremely kind, and have so much to offer. I can’t wait to see the growth that takes place this year. Go get em Tiger.

And just because I had to take a million pictures to get a normal smile, I finally asked him why he was smiling like that. Ledger is obsessed with Mikey from TMNT and explained he was smiling just like Mikey, and today I caught him practicing his crooked smile in the mirror. So just in case this phase lasts long, you all understand :) 

preschool mikey tmnt

IMG_6354ed 36 pounds

41 Inches Tall

Teacher: Ann Hardman

Favorite Color: Orange and Yellow

Favorite Food: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Favorite TV Show: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Future Occupation: He wants to be an eye doctor when he grows up.

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