January 29, 2010


"Your arrival will give wings to us, changing couple to sweet family,

Bonding us all in our lifetimes as the two of us become three"

Dan and I at Carolina Beach for my 23rd birthday :)

Just missing Dan and thinking about how great it is to see the changes in us as a couple as we get closer and closer to Ava's arrival, the excitement that we both have to meet her and all of the great things that are to come :) There's no one else I would want to be on this journey with! Thank you for everything you do for us Dan, Ava and I love you so much!

January 28, 2010

Week 34 Photos

Hey Everyone!

Tomorrow is the beginning of week 35 for Ava and I :) Only 5 weeks left... can you believe it?

And here's a quick sneak peek at Ava's room - this is what above the crib looks like :

I am so so so excited about how her room is turning out! But let me tell you those letters were tricky to hang up while making sure they were all even and hung at the same level. It ended up working out though which was exciting! I will post pictures of the rest of the room once I finish up the last couple of things.

Hope you all have a good night and a relaxing weekend :)

January 27, 2010

Maternity Photos and Update

Hey Everyone!

Wanted to share a few of our maternity photos with you :) I am VERY excited about how they turned out. Our friend and photographer Sam Huddleston took these photos for us and I think she did such an awesome job! The first three are of Dan and I and the ones after that are of me and Ava during our session in downtown Fayetteville. Hope you enjoy them!

p.s. I love Dan's expression in all of these photos... so sweet, loving and strong at the same time :)

In other news...

  • I am almost done with Ava's room (well the decorating part anyways) and I'm so excited about how it's coming together! Once I'm done I will post pictures of it.
  • Ava's travel system arrived in the mail today!! It was very easy to put together (minus my tired core muscles from yoga that were trying to give out on me hehe ) and I love how easy it is to get the car seat in and out of the stroller. Thanks to Mom and Dad for such a great present... I know we're going to get a lot of use out of this stroller/car seat!
  • Went to Baby's R Us today and picked up a changing pad, changing pad cover, sheets and a pink blanket for Ava's room. Everything looks great together.
  • Baby shower is this weekend! My mom, Aunt Pooh, friends Yost and Chelsa will be coming in town for the shower. Very excited to see them!
  • This is my last week of training until Ava's arrival. I'm going to miss my clients A LOT! But the extra time to rest and finish up things around the house will be good for me I think.
  • Everyday I am getting more and more excited about Ava's birth :) Especially after talking with my Mom and grandma the last couple of days about it... it's going to be an amazing experience!

That's about all of the news for now... the pups are asleep on the couch next to me :) They had a very busy day of playing outside and chewing up their bones that I bought them at the grocery store. After finishing up this post I think I'm going to go hang some pictures in Ava's room and then we're going to get some sleep. Have a goodnight everyone!

Love <3

Ash (and Ava too!)

January 23, 2010

New Things for Ava

Hey Everyone!

Just wanted to do a quick post on some of the things we've received and bought for Ava recently...

This is a dress that I bought for Ava yesterday while shopping at Sam's... it was so cute and such a great price I couldn't pass it up :) Can't wait to see her in this one!

This is a heavy weight sleeper that I also bought from Sam's Club... once again it was too cute to pass up and a good price too!

Here's our glider that we received as an early baby shower gift from Aunt Pooh (it's her nickname :) ) and Uncle Ed. This glider is amazing and Ava and I have already been enjoying it! Not to mention it matches the crib and the dresser perfectly.

This is a surprise gift that we received from Ava's Aunt Sam and her Uncle Mike... so cute!

This is a learning toy that Ava got as a gift from Uncle David and her Grandma. This stuffed dog is really neat and our niece Lily LOVES hers. It is programmable to use Ava's name, her favorite color and food, etc. Also plays sleepy time music :)

Thanks to everyone for all of the thoughtful gifts!!

Last but not least here is Ava's itty bitty closet that I have started to organize... it may not look like much but I'm really happy with how it's coming along. I think even with such a small closet we should have room for everything! The hanging organizer I'm planning on using for blankets, burp cloths, towels, etc. The drawers I will probably use for accessories, sheets and things like that. Above the hanging organizer there's a basket for toys and things like that. Things in her room are coming along really well!

Hope you all are having a good weekend! I've had a great one so far... had CrossFit Kids this morning which went really really well, did some cleaning around the house (including cleaning out the fridge... which I really don't enjoy but I am so happy that I did it), pastry tasting and dinner with Sam and Mike. After I'm done with this post I think I'll go do some reading and then hit the hay... I am pooped! Overall I am still feeling great though. The only symptoms to speak of are achy pelvic muscles after exercise and when I lay down, practice surges (Hypnobirthing term for contractions) and that's about it. Ava moves a lot every night from about 9 PM - 11 PM. If you look at my stomach it appears to be moving in a wave like motion :) I love it! Have a goodnight and I'll talk to everyone soon.

<3 Love,

Ash (and Ava too!)

January 21, 2010

Week 33 Update

Hey Everyone!

Wow... are the weeks just flying by or is it just me?? I can hardly believe it's almost February and Ava will be here in a just over a month or so :)

Ava Countdown M&M Jar
Dan and I started this jar at the beginning of the pregnancy - there are two M&Ms for every day of the pregnancy (one for Dan and one for me) and this is all we have left. This jar was almost completely full when we started!

Things have been a little crazy lately... lots going on and lots of things to adjust to but we've been doing good. I have been enjoying my last couple of weeks training my clients and the kiddos. I am planning on being done with work at the end of this month so I can have a little break from everything and have some time to rest up before Ava's arrival. I am very excited about having as much time to myself as I need/want but let me tell you... I am going to miss training! So I'm trying to enjoy these last 2 weeks with my clients as much as possible. I am still not sure how long my break from work will be. I am waiting until Ava is here and I get a better feel for how things are going to be. My friend Sam (who is also pregnant) and I went shopping yesterday and I was able to find a nursing bra which I'm very excited to check off of my list of things I need to buy. Also was able to find a nursing tank top, yoga pants and nursing hoodie which I love - we got all of these from Motherhood Maternity. Shopping for a nursing bra was quit the experience and not one that I necessarily enjoyed hehe but I have one now and that's good! While shopping I was greeted by one of my newest pregnancy symptoms - a hot flash. It doesn't take much to get me over heated these days. I found a really cute head band that I ended up buying from Forever 21 and I could hardly wait to get out of the store to put the thing on... I was ripping off the tags on the way out the door hehe. It was such a relief to get the hair off of my neck and it helped cool me down quite a bit. These hot flashes are crazy. Today I had my 33 week appointment - everything is looking great still, I don't have gestational diabetes (yay!) and Ava is as healthy as ever! My doctor told me that Ava is on the small side but still a very healthy size which is a good thing. This is the first indication that they've given me as to her size or anything like that. I now weight 175 pounds which I'm very happy with... that's about a 30 lb. gain for me since the beginning of the pregnancy. Overall I am feeling great and am anxiously awaiting to meet Ava face to face in a couple of weeks... can't imagine how amazing it's going to be!

I'd like to say a quick THANK YOU to all of our friends and family that have been helping us out with things as we get ready for Ava... THANK YOU so so so much... we could not do this without you guys! We feel so blessed to have such great friends and family that care about us and even more importantly care about Ava :)

I just finished putting our glider together last night and will post pictures very soon... it looks so great! Will also post a belly picture in the near future.

Talk to everyone soon... hope you all have a relaxing weekend!

<3 Love,

Ash (and Ava too!)

January 19, 2010

Maternity Photo Preview

Hey Everyone!

Here is a preview of our maternity photos that my friend Sam took... she's a professional photographer here in Fayetteville. She did such an AWESOME job and I can't wait to see the rest of the photos. Just click on the link to her website to see a few of the favorites. Enjoy!


Ash (and Ava too!)

January 17, 2010

Week 32 Belly Pictures and Updates

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since my last post.... things have been kind of crazy lately. We've been having a good weekend spending time with Dan's Mom, brother and our niece Lily who will be here till tomorrow afternoon. Lily is ADORABLE and makes me very excited to meet our own little one very soon. On Friday afternoon I also got to have some maternity photos taken by my friend Sam who is a photographer here in Fayetteville - she is really really good at what she does and can't wait to see the pictures :) Here are two that her husband Mike took of the two of us on the day we took the photos -

Me at 32 weeks and Sam at 20 weeks :) Can't wait to meet little Dean!

Ava is doing great still and has been doing some crazy movements as usual! Her feet seem to be higher up in my belly than before which I'm assuming means that she's in the head down position now - yay good work Ava! I feel lots of hard spots now but can't quite tell what they are - except for her feet. I'm really looking forward to putting the finishing touches on her room over the next couple of weeks, getting the rest of the house clean and organized and of course I'm excited for our baby shower that's coming up on January 30th! That's about all for now... going to go have a piece of cake and some ice cream with Dan :)

p.s. Moving around has become quite a bit more difficult... leaning forward even the slightest bit is pretty much out of question hehe it's so interesting to have difficulty moving around. Can't imagine what it'll be like by the end!

Love <3


January 08, 2010

Ultrasound Pictures

Our re scheduled ultrasound went great. She is in a pretty tough position for getting a clear picture but we ended up getting some really good ones. The position she is in right now has her sideways with her feet and hands all right near her face... it's getting pretty tight in there! So we had to try and get her to move her hands so we could see her face. Eventually with a couple of pats on my belly she slipped her hand down to her side so we could see her :) I could not get over how much she has changed since the last time we saw her. I loved getting to see her cute little lips, nose, chin... well I guess every part really :) And for a couple of seconds we got to see her give a little smirk which made me laugh. We also got to see her yawn a couple of times which was really neat to see. It was a great experience and I feel closer to her every time I look at the pictures. Only about 8 weeks or so until we get to see her face to face!

Ava at 31 weeks :)

Look at that little smirk... she has her Dad wrapped around her little finger already!

Yep, that is a foot by her head... she's in a transverse (sideways) position right now so she's a little squished. Hopefully she'll be moving to the head down position soon :)

She is almost 4 pounds now and I can definitely tell how much she is growing by the way my belly feels when I try to roll over or stand up... it's becoming a little bit trickier that's for sure. I am having more practice for labor every day now but for the most part they are painless. Other than that things are about the same and I am feeling great still... just trying to slow things down a bit the closer we get to her arrival so I am not wearing myself out. Hope everyone has a great Friday... it was supposed to snow here last night but instead we just got rain. Will be going into work to do the group workout in a little bit and possibly meeting with Sam later to hang out... will be good for me to get out of the house I think. Talk to you all soon!

Love <3,


Changed for Good

Changed for Good

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I am who I am today
Because I knew you

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart

And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

- From Wicked

January 07, 2010

Remembering John

My very close friend, boss and mentor John Velandra was killed yesterday in a car accident. He was hit by a speeding vehicle that was involved in a police chase.

John and I on our birthday - April 3rd last year

I was and still am in shock that someone who has made such an impact on my life since living here in Fayetteville is now gone. I can not think of one part of my life as it is today that John did not touch in some way. He even helped me to stop biting me finger nails at one point which was a terrible habit of mine - he cared that much about every part of a persons life even the small things :) I first contacted John about possibly doing an internship with him towards the end of my senior year in college. I needed to complete an internship in my two fields on interest (business and exercise and wellness) in order to graduate. I was able to meet with John for the first time when I came to visit Dan in March... I was so nervous at our meeting but John was completely laid back and made me feel right at home from the very beginning. After talking he felt comfortable with bringing me on as intern and that's how it all started. Once I moved to Fayetteville in May I started my internship with John and I have learned more about nutrition, exercise, wellness and helping others on a different sort of level than I have my entire life. He took time out of everyday to explain things to me, to ask me really tough questions in order to make me think outside the box, practice consultations with me (my least favorite thing because he would come up with the craziest pretend clients - but in reality it was great practice for me and just what I needed) so that I could do them on my own, do workouts with me so that I could learn the movements and just to sit and chat while we drank cup after cup of Starbucks Coffe (his favorite). I loved my internship time because we got to spend so much time together and I really came to know and love John as family. I remember the day that he told me that he thought I was ready for my first client and that he wanted to keep me on as a trainer after my internship ended. I have never felt so honored - to have the trust of such an amazing trainer/coach. John did not have to do any of this with me... he could have easily said no to the internship because I was brand new to the field, had no experience with personal training or CrossFit and was not very confident about myself or what I had to offer. I'll never know what made him bring me on as an intern but I am FOREVER grateful that he did... John and my time spent with him has changed my life and the way I live. As a trainer John could bring out the best in people, make them see and feel things about themselves that they never had before and accomplish things they never thought possible - this is the kind of trainer and person I want to be. John showed me that I could be this kind of trainer with time, patience and a lot of heart. He always took that extra step, showed concern for others , took the time to make each individual feel special and welcome others into his family without hesitation. I learned a lot about the kind of person I wanted to be and from how I see it the kind of person I am meant to be thanks of John. He helped Dan and I turn to God and start attending Manna Church... we are closer to God and each other because of the way our faith has been strengthened through our time at Manna. He met Dan and I late one night last January after Dan's accident to bring us dinner that he had just made since we were coming home late from the hospital and hadn't eaten yet. He came to watch me run in the Jingle Jog two Decembers ago while Dan was at SF selection... he just came to cheer me on... I didn't ask or anything he just came because he wanted to be there - it was so nice to know that I had him when at the time I didn't have any other real friends here. He also came to a track meet that I ran in last spring along with his wife Niv. He would send me a text at the beginning of each week with his workout schedule so that I could tag along - we had some of the best workouts... the tougher we could make it the better :) He invited us over for holidays in case we weren't going to MD to see my family. He would always send a text when he hadn't seen me in a couple days to make sure I was doing ok. And the thing that sticks with the most right now is how excited he was to meet Ava - he was already Uncle John to her. I would picture him sometimes when I would eventually come back to train at the gym sitting with Ava at his computer, sipping coffee and just hanging out with her. I loved how excited he would get seeing me workout during this pregnancy... made me feel so good just to know he was proud of me. I am so sad that Ava will not have the chance to know her Uncle John the way Dan and I have come to know him but she will know him through the stories we tell, the pictures we show her and his spirit that will live on through us in our everyday lives and our workouts. I am so thankful to have known John and to have had the kind of bond and friendship that we had. I love you John and you will never EVER be forgotten... thank you for everything, you are an amazing man and I am proud to call you my friend.

P.S. We will always have our birthday to share and I will always do a workout in your honor on that day.


John Velandra
April 3, 1966 - January 6, 2010

This is a video from about a month ago of John and I working with my client Kristin on her box jumps... I love how excited he is to sneakily take this video so she can see her accomplishment :) I am glad to have this video of us together, doing what we love to do.

January 05, 2010

Ava's Room

This past weekend we spent most of our time working on Ava's room and we were able to finish up with the painting and put together her dresser :) We're soooo happy with how it has turned out so far - here are some pictures...


Finished painting the top half!

Assembling the Dresser

So excited we are finally putting the dresser together... we told ourselves we couldn't put the dresser together till we were done with the painting. The motivation worked :)

Dan getting started with the dresser - this picture gives you a good idea of how the paint colors and the crib look next to each other too.

Dresser complete - yay!!

Ava's Dad and her room! He did such a great job with everything :)

Now that we've finished up with the painting and have the dresser together it's onto the decorating and organizing which I'm really excited about getting started on. Will most likely start with the wall decorations and figuring out where all of those will look best. Also will be working on getting her clothes organized in her dresser and cleaning out her closet. I'm excited about all of these things though... it may seem like work to someone else but I love this kind of stuff! That's all for today. Hope you all are having a great Tuesday so far :) We have our rescheduled 3d / 4d ultrasound today... will let you all know how that goes!