A few weeks ago I was able to film with the lovely gals from My Mommy Style (two videos, one for Pinners conference and one for their youtube channel). They have been making videos with other mom’s on their youtube channel talking about what their “mommy style” is. They asked great questions and we had so much fun just sitting and chatting (while being filmed, totally normal day, right?)
So I thought today while I’m sharing the video and a bit about how I feel about being a mom I’d also share this years family pictures! Thx again to my AMAZING photographer (and baby sister) Chelsea Peterson Photography for going along with all my crazy ideas (see our other crazy family pictures – 2013, 2012, 2011)! We choose to do our pictures this year at our local amusement park, Lagoon.
We have gotten season passes EVERY year for the past 5 years and will be ordering next year’s this month! It’s something the kid look forward too all winter and it’s fun having something they can count on every weed during the summer to get them out of the house, having fun together and keep them active! If you follow me on instagram I’m sure you get sick of my pictures all summer long!
People are often surprised that my kids like an amusement park, after all with Aspergers it’s normal to not like crowds, chaos, and lots of noise. And it’s true, they don’t. But I DO, I LOVE amusement parks, the rides, the sounds the people watching… So of course it’s something I wanted to share with my kiddo’s. I think if we were going for just a day, making a big deal out of it and trying to rush and hit everything they would hate it. It would break them in a way. And trying to FORCE fun never works.
BUT with the season passes we don’t do that. We have a pretty regular schedule we hit, and having a schedule they can count on is comforting to the kids. Also if we arrive and it’s crazy crowded we just turn around and go home, the joy of the season pass is we can go anytime we want and pick days that are a bit slower, not so stressful. And we NEVER rush around or hit it all. In fact this day, for pictures, was probably the worst visit simply because we did have goals, place we were trying to hit. But overall it’s a memory we love making with the kids and I’m so glad we’ve made it a part of our lives.
I get asked about the Aspergers a lot. I get it, people are curious, and I’m happy to talk about it. I know that people often hear about my life story (5 kids 3 officially diagnosed, my asperger/non-asperger marriage, living with my inlaws, also with aspergers) and they either feel sorry for me or sometimes are in awe of me. How I can handle something that they assume is difficult and I still seem positive and happy. Easy, I choose joy. There isn’t a lot I can control in my life, but I can change how I respond and react. And by choosing to accept my life and find the good in it I’m a better person that I would be if I wallowed and focused on everything bad.
I get it! I get that it’s easy to focus on the negative, to feel sorry for oneself, to get caught up in everything that is hard or going wrong. And my life isn’t easy, a LOT goes wrong. BUT I don’t let the bad days change the fact that overall my life is good. I have a wonderful husband who adores and supports me and beautiful children that need to simply be loved, guided and accepted, just like all other children do.
My kids were the same kids the day before the diagnosis and the day after. The only difference is I now have a direction and kind find tools to make me a better parent/spouse and daughter in law. I love my husband, I love my kids and while others see the awkwardness, tantrums and difficulties I see the amazing people they are. The incredible way their minds work and their crazy amount of talent.
My lovelie’s – Mister, The Reader, Computer Boy, Lego Boy, Princess and Baby Boy… could any life be more full? Could anyone be luckier than being given the privilege to raise, comfort, love and guide these sweet souls?
I worry about my kids, worry when someone looks at them funny, or says something (people can be MEAN, esp strangers). My teenager is at a hard enough stage without also feeling like she doesn’t fit in or relate to the other girls she knows. My heart breaks sometimes knowing that life is hard, esp for those that don’t fit the norm. Knowing life is hard and that it will be even HARDER for my sweet children is tough on any mother.
I’m grateful to have a diagnosis, they would have aspergers weather I accept it or not so I’m all for accepting it, and the answers, advice and help that come along with the knowledge. They are perfectly capable, smart and talented people, that just need a bit of extra help understanding the world and people around them. I know they will be just fine and do wonderful things.
Does that mean every day is easy? HELL NO. We have crazy tough days, and tough challenges, just like every other family. You never know what is going on in other’s lives, marriage is hard, parenting is hard, being a daughter in law is hard (so is being a daughter, sister and even a friend some times). But we commit to the life we’ve chosen, we work hard and we choose happiness and joy. Everything worth having is worth working for. Nothing your simply given, or that comes easy, is as appreciated as those things that challenge us and in the end make us feel so accomplished once we complete.
Do I get frustrated and yell at my kids, sadly yes. Do I have good days and bad days, of course. I have days when my fuse is short and days that I handle everything with patience and love and I go to bed knowing I was a great mom that day. I pray for more good days than bad, more patience and love than frustration and a short fuse. And mostly I pray I don’t mess up too badly and my children have a happy childhood and grow into happy adults.
I never intended to be a working mom. And while I work from home I wonder if that makes it worse. That I don’t come home and leave it all at the office. I HOPE my cake business, blog, teaching and other projects (and I always have a few new things I’m working on) teach my children that if they work hard at something they love work will always be enjoyable and not a chore. I hope my girls learn that being a WOMAN in no way diminishes their potential.
I’ve been asked why I don’t blog about Aspergers… After all it’s a hot button word, and IF I blogged about aspergers my blog could BLOW UP, I’d be huge and make so much more money than I do with my current blog. But the thing is… my REAL life, day in and day out, day and night, is all about my kids/husband and aspergers. It’s like the 8th member of our family, always there. I started really pursuing blogging as a break. As my own thing, developing my own talents and focusing, selfishly, on me for a few hours a day/week/month. I know that my balance sometimes get’s off but know if this “job” of mine started to hurt my family I would drop it in a second. I love what I do, and the joy and sanity it brings me, but not more than my family.
So I hope that you enjoy this video and my thoughts on “my Mommy Style”. I know we aren’t usually super personal on the blog, like I said above it’s not my “real” life, it’s my “side” life, one I love, and one that brings me a lot of fulfillment and self worth. So I hope you don’t mind the “real” interruption, they happen occasionally, and I hope they benefit someone out there.
If you are going through a diagnosis of some kind with a family member take heart, remember getting a diagnosis doesn’t change anything about who they already are, just maybe gives you some insight into how you can help. How you can be better equipt as a parent/spouse/sibling or child to teach, guide and support them. Having answers made it easier for me and I hope it does for you too.
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Not to make you uncomfortable but I am a bit in awe of you! I think you’re amazing and your family is amazing too. You’re all so lucky to have one another. Here’s to choosing joy!! Xoxo
bwah hahaha! Thank you so much! and your sweet.
I was actually looking for smash cake ideas for my almost 1 year old, and I saw your smash cake family photo. I tapped on it, figuring it was a photography website. Scrolling down, I saw the mention of “Lego boy” and I wondered if your bunch was like ours. I was correct. We have 4. 2 on the spectrum and one with ADHD. We have a Lego boy as well. I love your attitude. I love how you are honest but not overly dramatic with the not so fun aspects. It’s refreshing. You have a beautiful family and a beautiful outlook on life. I’ve never been one for publishing anything, as I don’t find myself that interesting. But I’ve found comfort in writing through the past 7 years of our Autism journey (the oldest is 10…it was a battle to get the diagnosis). Humor helps too. Thanks for sharing. I believe I’ll be reading more of your blog…and about your cakes. I need some ideas!!!!!!
thanks so much! I am plenty over dramatic in other areas of my life, but find it hurtful to our cause when parents of aspies go all crazy dramatic over it all. It is what it is, it’s the kids i’ve always had, and have raised, so while there are aspects I can’t control I just keep doing my best raising them to be the best they can possibly be!
Yesterday, Today + Tomorrow – you inspire me Ashlee Marie and I am honored to call you my friend. Thank you for sharing your positivity and your beautiful light. We can all learn a lot from you. #SimplyGrateful to know you. xoxo #SimplyTroy
thank you so much! There isn’t much in life we can control but moving forward and looking to the good creates a much happier life
All of these pictures make my face hurt from smiling so hard. I love how she captured your family in real moments. They are all just so great!
thank you Meghan! I seriously had to hold back from sharing them all, it was SUCH a perfect session!
I can’t even tell you how much I love these pics! You are an amazing woman Ashlee Marie and I’m in awe of your positive attitude. I have so much to learn from you 🙂
Awwww thank you so much! I’m so glad we met! love those random FB group roommates and the life long friendships they can become!
I’ve been following you on FB , making your wonderful recipes, and finally decided I had to get to “know” you! This was a wonderful video. Thank you for sharing your story….. you have such a beautiful family. To me there is no such thing as a normal family. We all have issues, trials and tribulations ! Somehow we all survive…. by the grace of God! I look forward to following your blog. You’re an inspiration! Not yo mention you really rock that hair!
thank you so very much! I don’t share much personal stuff as a foodie but I obviously feel very strongly about this topic!