Emotions + Eating


The sweetest surprise showed up at my door today… my grandpa with a box from @janjoupatisserie ❤ (you guys he lives 300 miles away!)

He is the most selfless, giving man with the biggest heart for helping others and I am so grateful for him!

I have so many tender memories of our family laughing together at different restaurants, my grandpa bringing home delicious desserts from his business trips, and going on special dates to restaurants that were way too fancy for my little self. These experiences made me feel so loved! 

But at some point, I began associating feelings of comfort and acceptance with eating. 

like that time we went to Europe and ate ALL THE FOOD.

 
There are two types of thinking: logical and subconscious. Our logical mind states the facts like “I am only going to eat chicken and broccoli”. Our subconscious mind feels and reacts to emotions like “I am feeling stressed so I need to eat my favorite foods” without understanding reason. 
I have an addictive personality and I’m beginning to understand why I struggle with emotional eating so much. My first round of Whole30 gave me perspective on how intense my cravings were when I was confronted with a stressful situation and felt so dependent on food… it was uncontrollable. 

I feel like I’ve tried every diet and nothing works. I can stick to it until I feel overwhelmed and then I HAVE to go out to eat and then I feel so guilty! I get right back on track for as long as possible until I feel stressed out again…. It’s an awful cycle of dependency. Food is the only thing that feels good in that moment. Wow! It was really hard to finally admit that. 

I’m only sharing because a few weeks ago I stumbled upon some information that led to a really powerful realization. And ever since then, I’ve been working with different emotional responses to dig deeper into something I’ve been struggling with my entire life! 


It’s been an amazing process..

I’m still learning so much but my entire perspective has changed. For me this isn’t about Whole30, or paleo, or macros…

It’s about overcoming emotional boundaries and creating a healthy relationship with food as a source of energy. 

This is just the beginning of my journey and I am so excited to share more with you as it unfolds. And I would love to share what I’ve learned with you if you feel prompted to know more! 

Mom Fail

It was one of those days where everything might have looked perfect on the outside and no one would have known about my mom fail moment.

But here’s what really happened…

I was feeling really awesome this morning for helping the kids create our summer bucket list… but that didn’t last long! 

I completely forgot that Clare had a dance performance tonight at the Cherry Festival and didn’t realize it until the very last minute. (2 hours before!) I thought we could make it but it was a total fail. We got there 5 minutes late and Clare was so upset. 

It wouldn’t have even been an issue if I hadn’t mentioned it, but she got all dressed up and ready to go and we barely missed it. I felt awful! 


Luckily the fair was awesome and they quickly forgot about the dance performance fiasco. It was such a fun night and the kids loved riding all the rides!



Going to the fair was something we had on our summer bucket list so we checked it off! 

I guess it’s a lesson learned because expectations and appearances can be so unrealistic and unattainable sometimes. No one would have known that I screwed up if I wasn’t willing to share my failure. Because nothing is exactly as it seems when filtered through the lens of social media. I have a hard time comparing myself to other moms that look like they have it all together. Because I know that my life will never be perfect! I’m just so grateful for the opportunity that I have to redeem myself whenever I get the chance… like bribing my kids with roller coasters and pizza. And here’s to hoping that they remember all the good times instead of the fails ❤

To The Stepmom,

To Michelle- the “stepmom”

It really is incredible that we were complete strangers a few years ago but now that our paths have crossed, we will always play a huge role in each other’s lives. We didn’t choose each other but here we are… raising a family together. 
So I have to be honest with you.

I hate that you share her last name and everyone probably assumes you are her only mom. She even resembles you sometimes.

The first time I heard her call you “mom” my heart shattered into pieces. I was so jealous. I couldn’t bear the thought of my daughter going to you for advice. I wanted to find a million reasons to hate you. 

But I can’t and I don’t. Not even a little. Because I see the way she looks at you. And I see the way you love her. I watch you put her first in your life as if she were your own. I know you fight for her, that we fight for her, for the same reasons. Because we both absolutely adore her. 


I’m thankful for everything you are, for your strength and dignity. I’m so grateful that you are an amazing role model for our daughter to look up to. You are selfless and patient and possess so many qualities that I admire. Sometimes I think you have more in common with Elle Kade than I do. And sometimes I still feel threatened by you. Because I know that there are things you can give her that I can’t. 

It’s taken me a long time to understand that it’s okay for me to feel insecure when I’m around you. Not because I don’t like you but because I look up to you and I see my flaws when I try to compare myself to you. 

I’m not perfect but neither are you. And that’s why she needs both of us. I’m so grateful that he chose you and that we are all in this together. 

I know I don’t tell enough how much I appreciate everything that you do. You are an amazing mother and an incredible person. And I want you to know that I truly couldn’t do this without you.

 Happy StepMother’s Day 💗

#this is Our Splendid Life


Whenever I meet someone new and they ask about my kids… I always this hesitate and wonder how much to say. They see Carter and Clare so I feel like I have to explain our situation or justify why Elle Kade isn’t with us… to complete strangers. They ask the question so innocently and I know they don’t expect my response, but I don’t know what else to say sometimes.


It’s so complicated. 

But it’s our story, it’s our LIFE. It’s taken me a long time to get over the stigma and judgment that follows whenever I say my daughter lives with her dad. 

It used to bother me when people assume they know what our situation is at first glance. But now I talk about it so openly that it just feels natural to share the details of our story. There is something so powerful about being genuine and transparent. 


The burden of silence is heavy to carry alone. The awkwardness of a situation is alleviated when the truth is spoken fearlessly. Walls are broken down when mothers unite on common ground. Link arms with me and share your truth. Use the hashtag #thisisoursplendidlife to become a part of this community. We NEED each other, no one has to fight their custody battle alone. ❤️ And if you’d like to participate in the Our Splendid Life weekly chat, message me for more info! 

Q&A with Elle Kade: RECAP

If you missed our Live Facebook chat yesterday, here is a quick recap of some of the things we talked about! 


Q: Why did you decide to live with your dad? And why did you decide to let her make that decision?

EK- I really missed them a lot but it’s kind of hard because now I miss my mom. But I like getting to spend the summer at her house and we have a lot of fun! I’m excited to see our new puppy Scout!

Ash- When Elle Kade lived with us, our visitation required that she visit her dad one weekend a month. Her other family chose the dates and we had to comply. They wouldn’t let her fly by herself, they wanted her to be at their house by 6pm on Friday but still go to school that day… It was a really difficult situation. At some point, Elle Kade started to ask about living with her dad and I honestly wouldn’t even consider that as an option. We were in the process of filing paperwork with our attorney to change visitation, but I had a very strong prompting that I should let Elle Kade live with her dad. It didn’t make any sense logically, but I knew in my heart that it was the right thing for our family at the time. 


Q: Has being away from your daughter changed your relationship?

Ash- We’re still really close, probably closer but in a different way. I’m not so focused on homework and being the disciplinarian as much anymore. I’m able to spend more quality time with her and really enjoy our time together intentionally.


Q: How does living so far away from each other affect your visitation?

EK- usually if it’s a short break, she gets to come out and visit me. But like for Christmas I get to fly to Idaho by myself. Sometimes I like it because they give me snacks. But sometimes it’s hard because the weather is bad and the flights get delayed.

Ash- it’s definitely a challenge. It’s easier now that we can choose our own visitation dates and plan around our schedule, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I try to see her every 4-6 weeks but even that feels like such a long time. If she flies as an unaccompanied minor, she’s only allowed on certain flights on specific airlines and there’s a $300 fee on top of the ticket so it’s not really an option to fly her out for just a 3 day weekend. In that situation, I try to fly out and see her but a lot of planning and effort goes into each trip- I have to find a babysitter for Carter and Clare, which usually means driving down to Utah, I have to coordinate with my Dad who (fortunately!) lives in Tampa which is 3 hours north of Elle Kade, and I always have to work around her school schedule. It can get pretty stressful, but it’s always worth it!


Chatting with everyone was such a great experience and I’m so excited to post more videos again soon!

Journal: 4/16/17


Every time I leave my 2 littlest babes to see Elle Kade my heart hurts. This time was especially hard knowing that it would be over Easter and our family would be miles and miles apart. Carter and Clare definitely sensed my feelings as I hugged them goodbye and they both begged to come with me. 💔

Nothing will replace these missing memories for our family, but I have to make the best of our situation and I really do feel so grateful for every opportunity that I have to see Elle Kade- even if it’s not the perfect timing. 

It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. ❤️

The best of both

This moment is so bittersweet. As I wait at the airport, I am looking forward to seeing Matt and my little ones but I already miss Elle Kade so much. 


My heart wishes that I could be in two places at once. 

I love the life we have created in Idaho and I fully support Matt in his career that has established our family. We knew the challenge ahead of us when Matt accepted an amazing job offer after law school and now he is pursuing his dream. I am so proud of him and I am so happy living in Idaho. 


I am so lucky to be able to visit Elle Kade anytime, I have an amazing support system that makes these trips possible! And I know that she can always fly to Idaho to see us over long school breaks.


But for just a split second as I sit here in between these two worlds, I wish there was a way to have the best of everything. To live wherever we want to live and have Elle Kade with us all the time. To be a “normal” family. 

I know it will never happen, and I really can’t complain… I just had the most amazing vacation in Florida where I was able to spend quality time with Elle Kade and now I can fly home and squeeze my family in just a few hours. 

So maybe that is what it means to have the best of both worlds ❤️

the good with the bad

I’ve been looking forward to this trip with Elle Kade for such a long time! I knew that she would only be able to stay with me for 3 days before going back to school but that I would do my best to maximize our time and make the most of such a short visit. We made a list of everything she wanted to do and spent the entire time checking things off! 

We had ice cream for breakfast and painted pottery at a studio in Hyde Park


We went roller skating and bought a new doll from the toy store


We spent hours playing at the beach


We went to the salon and got manicures and pedicures then had lunch at our favorite hibachi restaurant


We were intentional with our time and made the most of every moment!

Which made it so much harder to say goodbye last night. 

I had to drive 2 hours to drop her off and when we got in the car, she laid her head on my arm and said “why do we always have to say goodbye” … my heart shattered. She started to cry and I had to hold back tears because we both knew that this would be the last time we would spend together this trip. 


And then waking up this morning and realizing she was gone… that is always the hardest part. The very next day when her dirty clothes are still on the floor and her toothbrush is on the sink, the little traces of her linger but she is so far away. 

I can’t say that I always focus on the good, because in moments like this, how can I? This weekend was amazing, and we created so many special memories… but it always has to end. We always have to say goodbye and that will never change. 

But all it takes is for me to pause and allow myself the grace to feel true sadness, take a deep breath, and shift my mindset to remember that the good always outweighs the bad. The happiness is always greater than the sorrow, and every moment I spend with her is worth the days and weeks without. 

Isn’t that what life is all about- Having faith that there is always sunshine after rain. There is will always be a Hello after a Goodbye. 

We would never fully comprehend true happiness if we didn’t first experience challenges, failures, and loss. 

The most incredible triumph comes from choosing joy through our trials regardless of our situation. 

I Made The Choice


10 years ago (almost exactly) I found out I was pregnant. It was the end of my senior year of high school and I was terrified, alone, and immature. I still don’t really know how I made a decision that would impact the rest of my life when I couldn’t even decide what outfit I wanted to wear the next day. But it was a decision that completely turned my life around- for the best! 

When I found out I was pregnant, I was a rebellious teenager “going through a phase”. I didn’t understand the gravity of the bad decisions I was making and I really didn’t think anything bad would ever happen to me…That happened to everyone else. 

It was the ultimate wakeup call and I was no longer able to ignore my awful behavior. I needed to make a decision and I considered ALL options- 


– I had a close friend offer to take me to a place in Atlanta where I would just take a pill and everything would be gone. I’m so grateful for her support and the choice she gave me during a time when everyone else was giving me their personal opinions, she gave me an option.

-My parents very strongly encouraged me to get married and make it work with the baby’s dad. They helped him propose (I said no the first time) and they were extremely opposed to adoption. It was so hard for me to take advice from 2 people (who later got divorced and have their own struggles) that tried to force me into making a decision they thought was best. I know the situation must have been so hard for them too, and I know that they did their very best. 

-I went to a counseling center to talk to a stranger about options. I’m glad that I called and scheduled the appointment because this person was unbiased and was only there to help me logically consider all options. She had no agenda and we easily talked about things that I couldn’t talk to anyone else about. I walked out feeling encouraged by the possibility of adoption. I went home and looked online at adoptive parents and felt like I had made my decision- a logical decision. 

-During the first few months of my pregnancy, I began to change. I don’t really know how or why it happened, but I had this inner desire to make the best decision for my future and my child’s future and I knew that meant counseling with my Heavenly Father. I started going back to church, praying, and searching the scriptures for answers. One night, I had a very strong impression that led to my final decision. I would keep the baby. 

I made a personal decision that completely changed my life. The situation is, by far, the most difficult challenge I’ve ever had to face. But she is also the best thing that has ever happened to me. Choosing to be a mother at 19 was the greatest blessing in disguise and I am so grateful for the LIFE that we have. 


That being said- I have so much empathy and compassion for others facing a similar decision. 

If I could go back 10 years and have a conversation with 18 year old me, it would go like this- 

I just want you to know that there is someone else out there who knows what you are going through and understands how you are feeling. You are not alone but you ARE the only one who can make this decision- it’s not up to your parents or your friends or popular opinion- it’s up to YOU. Please do not make this decision lightly. You are given the responsibility to exercise your right to decide the best course of action- not just for yourself, but for another living, breathing human being now. Whether you like it or not, you are already a mother. You are learning to listen to maternal instincts and your emotional growth during this time will greatly surpass your physical growth (which I know feels like a lot!). Thinking about the future is overwhelming. There is no guarantee that one decision will be easier or better than another. Every choice has natural consequences but you have more power than you realize. No matter what decision you make, you have the CHOICE to be happy, to make the best of every situation, and to grow from this experience. The real choice you are making is so much bigger than you realize because it’s not just about whether or not you will raise a child… it’s about becoming the person you were always meant to be. 

The hardest decision


When Matt and I met, I was a single mom working full time and living in my grandparents basement in Utah. I had been legally separated from Elle Kade’s dad for a year and was just beginning the court process to finalize my divorce and determine a custody arrangement. 
After months of court hearings and failed mediation, we finally reached a compromise. Elle Kade would live with me full time and visitation would be every 3rd week until she began kindergarten and it would change to every other weekend and all summer. We included revisions to provide for the fact that we would be moving to Utah after Matt graduated from law school. 


Everything went as planned and Matt accepted a job in Utah. We were prepared to pay for plane tickets every month and fly her out based on the visitation agreement of one weekend of their choosing per month (which would include all holidays) and then all summer. It seemed so simple on paper. 

I had no idea how difficult it would really be. There was enough ambiguity in the paperwork to cause contention with every single visitation. We assumed that she would be allowed to fly alone based on universal flight policy, but her dad refused to let her. So I was forced to fly back and forth with her every single month, usually over a holiday weekend, leaving my 2 babes and husband home alone. Not to mention the added expense in which the plane tickets alone cost over $1000 monthly. 

On top of the inconvenience and expense, Elle Kade would miss school because of the fact that they strictly enforced the fact that she needed to be at their house by 6 pm on Friday- it was physically impossible to fly across the country after school to arrive in South Carolina by the time their visitation started so she was missing school in order for her to be there on time. Not to mention the fact that she had to fly back on Sunday night and adjust to a time difference before school the next day. 


The entire situation was unsustainable. I was overwhelmed and completely stressed out. We scheduled a phone conference with our attorney to go back to court and address the issues we were having. I knew it was necessary but I dreaded beginning the whole court process over again. 

I remember getting off the phone with our attorney and just crying. Matt and I had been praying for an answer and it just didn’t feel right. I told Matt that I felt really strongly that maybe the best thing would be to allow her to live with them for a while. That’s exactly what they wanted and she had been asking to live there as well. I couldn’t imagine actually making that decision, but it seemed like the only possible solution. 

Making the phone call to her stepmom to say that we had been considering the possibility of her living with them was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make. It was the one thing I said I would never ever do. 

Even though I had an incredibly strong prompting and deep feeling within my heart that I was making the right decision, it was so hard. My faith has always sustained me during times of doubt, but it was so incredibly difficult to ignore what the logical solution would be and follow the answer to my prayer.  But just because that answer wasn’t what I expected or wanted to hear doesn’t give me the right to deny it. And just because my prayer was answered doesn’t meant that all of my problems were solved.


One thing that I’ve intentionally changed is my perspective and how I communicate with Elle Kade. Instead of referring to who she “lives with” we talk about who she spends the school year with and who she spends the summer and breaks with. Just making that small change has reinforced the fact that she is so loved and our custody arrangement is as close to even as it will ever be. Our situation isn’t perfect but as long as Elle Kade is healthy, happy, and well adjusted then that’s enough for me ❤️