My 2019 Goals + Word of the Year

It’s the beginning of 2019 and here I am with a new 1 year old and just over 30 weeks pregnant with baby boy two!! These facts made me question whether or not goals and planning my year out were futile given that I will have two pretty young boys in just a couple of months, but I still desire to live out each of my days with purpose while also having grace for myself in this beautiful season.

I feel like these years of early motherhood, while challenging and so tiring, are still extremely important years to set goals, even if they are small. I also am aware that my goals will more than likely shift a bit after I have baby number two and I will allow space for that to happen. So with that I will share a few of my current goals for 2019 + my word of the year!

My Word of the Year is 

I N T E N T I O N A L

I have been doing a lot of reflecting and dreaming the past couple of months and this word just fit pretty much all of my goals. In the dictionary the meaning reads:

  1. done on purpose; deliberate.
  2. purposeful in word and action.
  3. actively interacting and engaging with your life.
  4. living a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Around early-2018 I had an epiphany. This may sound silly, but I was in such a pit complaining about where life had taken me and how I was so disappointed in myself for being no where near where I thought I would be at 23 (Enneagram 1 over here). After enough griping and complaining, I realized that I had been living as a victim to my circumstances and the events in my life. I was letting life hit me back and forth in any way it wanted to and I was taking the punches like a sad defenseless puppy. Then licking my wounds for days and weeks at a time. Over the year, I learned to start taking control of my life and going for what I wanted to happen. I said “no more” to living like a victim to my life. I am in charge of it, for goodness sake! (Of course, with the Lord’s guidance and wisdom). However, going into 2019, the word intentional just fit everything I wanted to grow into.

I want to be intentional in motherhood and not let social media steal my eyes and attention away from their tiny faces and these early years that truly are a vapor.

I want to be intentional in my relationships and cultivate meaningful, life-giving friendships with those in a similar season as me.

I want to be intentional in growing my small business. I kind of fell into my business after  y e a r s  of feeling inadequate and this year I want to be intentional with growth and logistics.

I want to be intentional in our finances and steward our income well in a way that will set us up for future success.

And I want to be intentional with my relationship with Christ by setting aside time to get into my Bible and keep a conversation going with the Lord in prayer through the day.

 

With that, I share my top 2019 goals: 

Intentional + Purposeful Motherhood 

  • Get down and play with my boys + get outside!
  • Cultivate a peaceful home + daily routine
  • Give myself grace in healing + becoming a newborn mama again
  • Develop photos regularly in physical photo albums

Grow my Creative Business

  • Get my business “legit” + treat it like a business
  • Finally take time to design my own brand to reflect who I am
  • Put out consistent blog posts + design content
  • Focus on growing my Etsy shop + take on only a handful of logo designs

Steward our Finances Faithfully 

  • Take out cash envelopes bi-weekly
  • Bi-weekly budget check-ins with Josh
  • Pay down our consumer debt
  • Participate in “no spend weeks” each month

Take Care of Myself 

  • Read 12 books
  • Take monthly solo-dates
  • Start a slow workout routine after I am cleared to work out post baby
  • Take vitamins + drink water daily!!

Cultivate my Spiritual Growth 

  • Read through the Old Testament
  • Nurture a daily quiet time + prayer life
  • Meditate on scripture
  • Get involved with a woman’s group or life group

 

All together I have 9 main goals for 2019, each broken down into their own sub-categories that will help me work towards those main goals. This year I will be learning how to be a mama to two babies in a city that is not down the road from family. I am relying and trusting in the Lord’s strength and guidance to help me become the mama and wife He has called me to be.

I am hopeful and expectant that 2019 is going to be a really sweet year, coming off the tail end of a couple hard years. I am hustling hard the next couple of months to prepare for baby number two. But also truly savoring this time of it being just my firstborn and I for a couple more months. The days are absolutely sweet and full of so much beauty and I don’t want to let a moment pass me by. Here is to a year of intentional living!

If you have a word of the year or goals for 2019, please feel free to share them below! I love hearing other people’s goals + dreams!

My First Pregnancy & Birth Story

enoch azariah birth story

Birth was always the part of pregnancy that I was absolutely terrified of. I had seen many people go through truly scary labors that ended in emergency cesarean births and I was aware of how serious giving birth could be! When I got pregnant myself I was automatically terrified of how the baby was going to get out. I was fearful of an emergency situation but I truly desired a drug free, natural childbirth. Because of my fear and also having a desire to know how my body would handle labor, I decided to stick to delivering at a hospital.

My pregnancy with my first son was HARD. I promise I am not being dramatic in saying that. I realize how hard it was even more now after going through 22 weeks of my second pregnancy and it being so easy in comparison. My first pregnancy, I was initially pregnant with twins and ended up loosing one of the babies, which caused bleeding for half of my pregnancy, along with TONS of googling and fear that I would loose both babies! I was also SO sick and was hospitalized twice because of the severe morning sickness. Thankfully, I stopped throwing up around 28 weeks, but I still had all the other symptoms. From carpal tunnel, insomnia and acid reflux to my whole body severely itching and painful varicose veins. And let me say I was SO grateful for my pregnancy so I hate to sound like I am complaining, but the pregnancy was hard. It was actually so hard that I looked forward to labor, even in my fear, because I was so excited to “get my body back” (haha!).

For the weeks leading up to full term I spent almost all of my time working through my fears around labor. Through a lot of research, I found out that fear, un-forgiveness and bitterness could actually have an effect on your baby and the birth itself! I spent hours listening to CD’s about how our bodies are made to give birth, I listened to birth affirmations, I read all the positive birth stories and I spoke positivity over myself all day long! I prayed every time I felt fear and reminded myself how strong and capable my body was. I read the Bible and forgave anyone that came to mind that I held bitterness against. I made it my full time job to prepare myself mentally for labor.

My due date was ironically December 25th and that day came and went. But on December 28th, I woke up and had a feeling that this was the day. I was awoken around 4am to very light cramps that felt like period discomfort. But it was uncomfortable enough that I couldn’t sleep. I decided to take a shower just in case and see if they stopped. The cramps kept on for hours consistently, but they weren’t strong enough for me to feel like I needed to go to the hospital. I had my 40 week appointment that afternoon so I knew I just needed to wait until then and see what the doctor thought after my exam. Through the day I just kept up with the cramping, tried to rest as much as possible and tried to not get my hopes up too high just in case it was false labor. I had my husband take off work for the afternoon and go with me to my appointment and I’d never been so discouraged! The doctor said that I was dilated to a 2 but no where close to labor. She assumed I would probably be pregnant another week and scheduled my tentative induction. Cue all the tears.

I went home, still cramping, but telling myself my baby was playing tricks on me. I had called my mom earlier in the day and told her what was going on and she actually started driving to my house while I was at my appointment! I called her after my appointment and told her I was no where close to labor but she said she was on her way! We live 5 hours away from one another and she was almost halfway here. Whether it was motherly intuition or what soon after she arrived my cramping started getting even more intense. To the point I needed to stop for a moment and catch my breathe. Still there was naive me, saying “I am not in labor”!! LOL! I made dinner and then my mom suggested we go for a walk on the beach. At that time we rented a home about a block from the ocean. So my mom and husband walked me down to the beach in the 30 degree, windy weather and we walked about 2 miles in the sand! All while absolutely shivering!! My contractions picked up and I had to stop every couple minutes and breathe through them, so we turned around and decided to relax at home to see if they would continue.

After arriving home, they continued to pick up in intensity for the following hour or so. My mom kept trying to get me to agree to heading to the hospital, but here I was, still saying I wasn’t in labor!! I truly believed it since the doctor had told me just hours earlier that I was no where close! But around 10:30pm I agreed to leaving. The hospital was an hour away and I was afraid of how much more severe it could get within that hour. After the longest and most painful ride of my life, we finally got to the hospital! The nurses brought me to a room and checked me and I was almost at 5cm. I was a little worried at that point since my pain felt so intense and I was *only* at a 5. But I was admitted and refused pain medication and kept trying to labor on my own.

The contractions were so intense that I literally could not find any way to relieve or ease the pain. I tried walking, swaying, dancing, I had my husband press down on my hips, we tried massaging methods, it felt like we tried IT ALL. Nothing was helping and I was crying in pain. At that point it was around 3am and I was at 7cm. I finally gave in to getting an epidural. I had been awake and pre/laboring for about 24 hours and didn’t feel like I had the strength to make it much longer with my contractions being one on top of the other. The epidural took another hour to get but I finally felt relief! Although it wasn’t what I initially wanted, it helped me finally sleep for a few hours and get the strength for the coming hours.

I woke up around 8am and was discouraged that I had barely progressed since receiving the epidural and it appeared I was stalling out at 8cm. For the next 3 hours we used the peanut ball, and rolling me back and forth to try and progress labor. It worked and I was finally at 10cm! My water finally broke and the nurse told me I was ready to start pushing. I pushed for an hour with no progression and felt extreme discouragement. My epidural machine died in the midst of the pushing and the contraction pain returned again. I had a brief moment of near panic. Here I was feeling contractions at 10cm and the baby wasn’t coming out! There was a lot of hushed talk and mention of an emergency cesarean, but I was not ready to give up yet. The nurse gave me an hour to rest after pushing unsuccessfully and then returned with the doctor. I was so exhausted and discouraged. But the doctor examined me and realized that my son was sunny side up! This was the reason for the contractions being on top of one another, back labor and the labor stalling out. He was stuck! We finally had an answer. Thank goodness the doctor took control of the situation and was able to (painfully) position him correctly and I was able to start pushing again. He was born less than 30 minutes later.

enoch azariah birth story

I am so thankful and so relieved that I had a positive birth experience. It did not go like I envisioned it and was not completely natural, but it was such an amazing and empowering experience. I had no idea of what lied ahead in the months to come but it was an experience that made me feel like I was strong enough to do anything I needed to do. We are so blessed to have our little son and that he is such a healthy little guy. We named him Enoch Azariah Newton. He weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 21 inches long. He was and is healthy as a horse and has been the biggest blessing of my life. Now that he is nearly one years old and that I am coming up on another birth in a few months, I have started to reflect on his birth a bit and remember the experience of meeting him for the very first time. What a blessing a new life is to us and may we never take for granted what a beautiful blessing children are to us.

family pic

e in dockatot

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

— Psalm 127:3-5

The Why Behind the Blog

ashleynewtonheadshots-48

For a while now I have wanted to start a consistent blog, but I always struggled with the why behind it. My life seemed pretty ordinary with my work, school, sleep routine at the time, but the desire was still there. Like a lot of other moms I have come to use social media as a modern day scrapbook to share my life as a mother and share my son’s early days with the friends and family that are scattered around the country.

I believe that I have finally found the thing I want to write about! Through my very brief 9 months of motherhood I have learned and discovered so much about life and about myself that I didn’t know was there. I have come alive in so many ways through motherhood. Although it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, it has still been the most rewarding hands down.

There are so many things on my heart to share, even though the vulnerability scares the crap out of me on most days…so let me share why I am doing this.

I am writing to of course, you the reader…

I know I have felt so understood through reading blog posts of fellow mamas going through similar things to me. What mom doesn’t go straight to google these days for every little thought, worry, symptom and to maybe even find someone else who is a voice saying “you aren’t alone!” I hope to be that voice to you other mamas to reassure you that you aren’t alone in the wide array of feelings you experience through the days of early motherhood.

I am also writing for my family spread around the country…

 

Lots of you know what it is like to have loved ones who live far…I am blessed that most of my family is within the same state as we are. But they are still far enough away that the little day to day thoughts and photographs are missed, I want a place to document some of my thoughts about motherhood and life as a young wife. I want my loved ones to feel included and for my mom/pregnant brain to not get in the way of some of these precious memories!

And lastly, I am writing for myself…

I have always found a lot of freedom in writing out my thoughts and feelings. I just have always been too afraid to open up and share those thoughts. Writing is a creative outlet that I have always felt unqualified for. I am not great at it and I sometimes ramble through captions. But nonetheless I do enjoy putting words to my feelings and experiences and not only that, but going back and reading them in the future and reminiscing on those times in my life. And with my first year of motherhood already about to pass me by, I want to preserve those thoughts in a place that I can go back and read them someday. So I can remember the days of two small babies so close in age. And all the diapers, all the mom wins and fails, and all the thoughts and feelings that come along with the experience.

I’d love to have you along for the journey!

Ashley

My Thoughts on Baby #2 (2 under 15 months!)

Thoughts on baby #2 photo

I am writing this as my son is just about to turn 9 months old & I am 16 weeks pregnant. I always envisioned that when I started having kids, at whatever stage of life that began, that I would just pop them all out one after the other & then move on from the baby stage. I totally wanted to be a young mom who was done with childbearing by 30 (LOL)!

However, when I got pregnant with my first son pregnancy the first time around was SO. ROUGH. on my body that I honestly questioned whether or not I could put myself through that again. From absolutely severe, hospital inducing morning sickness, to insomnia, to acid reflux, you name it, I had all the symptoms. I was honestly more terrified of going through morning sickness again than I was of giving birth again, if that gives you any insight.

This pregnancy thus far has been a night & day difference. Besides complete exhaustion & constantly being “hangry” I feel really great! I am praising the Lord for the grace and ease He has blessed me with in this pregnancy, especially since we found out in the middle of yet another huge life transition! Am I totally freaked out by having another baby shortly after my first turns 1? YES. But I am SO excited to see their relationship and the bond that they will share being that they are just barely short of being Irish Twins.

There is never a perfect time to add another baby in the mix in my opinion and we have personally learned that just because you are in a place where it feels like the “right time” that it doesn’t mean in 9 months it will still be that way! But I do wholeheartedly believe that the Lord’s timing is perfect & never off. And Joshua and I cannot wait to celebrate this new life that He has richly blessed us with.

We will be finding out what Baby Newton #2 is in just a short few weeks & I am starting to realize that this pregnancy is going to FLY by! I am welcoming all the routine, sleep training, scheduling, two under two advice in the comments below!!

Ashley