The One Where I Started the Whole30 (Again)

Back in 2016, Robbie and I did the Whole30. I wrote a recap here about it all. It was exactly what I needed to really get a kickstart to feeling my best after having Eleanor. She started sleeping through the night, and I was working out regularly. I saw the start of big changes for myself physically, and after I continued working out, getting sleep and eating better, I felt better than I had in years to be honest.

Here I am about 8 months out from having Otis, and I am in need of this kickstart again. My mom is super keen for this as well. Robbie and my Dad – maybe not so excited, but they’re going to join us, too. In February, we aimed to do a Whole30, but I had so many things come up with my teeth (basically a 6-month tooth nightmare that only just got resolved 2 weeks ago!) that it was simply too much for one month. My breastfeeding supply was affected because I wasn’t eating enough, but most things I could eat, hurt my mouth. So we did a “Whole15”.

This month, I am ready for it. We are starting today. We went grocery shopping, and I am excited to feel good.

The Issue With Food

The area of food was one of the biggest areas that I was nervous about in moving back to the US. Australia is not perfect by any means, but in general, I find that they are a bit more focused on fresh, real food. The sizes are way more reasonable as well. I always felt so unhealthy when we would come home for holidays to the States. There are a million and one options for everything at the grocery store, and it was overwhelming to walk into a grocery store compared to Australia. I was also sad about leaving all my good coffee spots in Newie. Ohhhhh Australian coffee, how I miss thee!

I was nervous about this part of our move, but if I am being honest, food has never been a strong suit for me. I have such a sweet tooth, and for so much of my life, I have been an emotional eater. Basically all of that amounted to way too much sugar and unhealthy choices.

Being a mom now brings everything into such a different perspective, and as I look at Eleanor, who also has a sweet tooth, I feel so responsible for instilling in her better habits than I have. I haven’t done great, but I definitely am ready to improve.

“My child will never have sugar!”

What a lovely ideal right? I kept Eleanor away from sugar until her first birthday, and then she got that giant smash cake and all those ideals of a sugar-free childhood smashed with that pink icing. Ok, ok, I am being a bit dramatic.

I think as parents, though, we have this ideal, perfect picture of how we will parent, and often, the sugar thing is one of the main ones. It’s incredibly difficult once they know what sugar is to avoid it, especially in the presence of other little friends. I am not afraid to say “no” to Eleanor, but I also don’t want that to be what she hears the most from me. Striking a balance is a bit of an art – an art I am still working on.

Small Steps Add Up

Small steps are something that I know will make a difference and that should be celebrated. I am naturally an “all-or-nothing” kind of person, though, so sometimes small steps feel too…small. I am really recognising recently the power of those small steps, though, and how they all add up over time. So my small step this month is another Whole30, which isn’t actually a small step per say but it is only a month. Anyone can do anything for a month. At least that’s what Rachel Hollis says, and she’s kind of my girl right now. (Go read Girl, Wash Your Face – it’s so good!)

Here’s to the next 30 days – to better health and better habits!

The One Where I Talk About My Plans

Hello, Hello! Happy Tuesday! I am trying to steal a quick minute while Otis is napping and Eleanor is [hopefully] having some quiet time to write a post about my plans. What sort of plans? All sorts of plans actually, but I am going to limit them to the blog specifically for this post.

I am in a really funny season right now. We have moved from Australia, and we’ve been here for about six months. Robbie has had a job now for over a month, and he’s loving it. In the six months we have been here, my mind and heart have been a little all over the place. However, in the last month in particular, I am starting to get a bit more clarity.

This “in-between” can be quite unsettling, lemme-tell-ya! I have felt pretty unsettled at different points, and I really hate that feeling. I think most of us hate that feeling. I am generally a Type-A person, and I love clarity. I love to know what I am doing. I have never thrived in that “in-between”. However, I think it’s really necessary. If we never had the “in-between”, we would never get from Point A to Point B. We wouldn’t grow. Growth requires growing pains, though, and they’re not fun.

So I’m here. I’m in the “in-between”, but I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. I am seeing some new perspective, and I am getting some exciting vision moving forward. Here are some things you can expect to see in this space in the days ahead.

Expect to see more posts.

I have said that, and I have had the best of intentions when saying that in the past. Full disclosure – starting things and finishing them is sometimes a weakness for me, particularly if it is a personal discipline area. It’s something I am acutely aware of, and it’s something I am desperate to grow in and see change. So I am going to say it again, even though I feel like I need more faith in myself to actually believe I will do that. First things first, though, and I am going to communicate my intention and follow it up with commitment and discipline!

Expect to see more honesty.

Whew! That’s one of the things that keeps me from posting. Fear. We are all aware of how vicious the online world can be, and in the past this has stopped me from posting so many posts. I have opinions, just like the next person, that some will agree with and some will not. The ones who don’t agree with me and would potentially be very vocal in their disagreement as we see quite often – those are the ones who have kept me silent. Fear is no leader, though. Fear is the enemy trying to silence us. Trying to convince me that it will be too hard, that people will be too mean, that I am not resilient enough for this. All lies. Another lie I have believed? I don’t have anything to say that’s not already been said. Whoa – that’s a hard one because blogging, photography, a lot of these things I have in my heart to do – the market is decently saturated with them all. However, this is a lie because no one else on this planet is Ashley Willingham. No one else has my experiences or my calling from God or my revelations. More than that, though, I have been reminded on several occasions that this is absolutely worth it and necessary when I’ve received messages or emails from others about how I have helped them in some way. That’s so important to me. That’s why I am doing this.

Expect to see things “under construction.”

I am learning a lot right now about running a business, writing, photography. I am experimenting and playing around with colours and fonts and photos. It may take awhile for the dust to settle and the construction to be complete, but I am not going to wait for everything to be perfect to write. I need to write, and I need to press on towards this call God has put on my heart.

Expect to see womanhood, marriage, motherhood and family.

These are my most important themes that I have on my heart to write about. I hope to be honest and share from a place of vulnerability about these seasons – the good, the hard, the funny. I want to cultivate a community online (and here in Indianapolis) of women who love and serve and honour one another. I want to create a sense of “with-ness” – we are in this together, God is with us, we can do it. I want to write about the beauty and the challenges of being a wife and a mom. They are the two things I’ve wanted to be for my entire life, and here I am, doing it. Some days it is r-o-u-g-h, and some days it is so good that I cannot believe I am this fortunate!

There you have it. I have written these down to serve as a roadmap of where we are going. There is SO much more in the works – in my heart for the future and for this space and community. I will reveal those as they are ready, but for now, I hope you’re encouraged, I hope you laugh, and I hope you feel supported!



The last couple of weeks sort of got away with me, and it seemed there was something on almost every day. I keep having these thoughts to write, but they’re a bit brief and disconnected, probably because of the busy schedule. Rather than pretending they may all “come together” (hello baby brain, mum brain, etc), I decided to just run with it and do all the brief and disconnected thoughts together. So hopefully you can follow my scattered brain along and catch a bit of an update of how things are going over here with the Willinghams.

I love August so much, and it sort of blows my mind that it’s already halfway over. However, my birthday is only a couple of days away, so that makes it a tad bit more exciting (and is probably why I like the month so much anyway). I will be 3-1 on Friday, so as my friend Jess puts it – now I’m just “in my 30’s”. That’s one way to think of it I suppose. I have enjoyed this decade so far, though, so I am excited to continue in my 30’s and to see all that God has in store.

I went on Monday to get my hair done as a birthday gift. Going to get your hair done, no matter the outcome, is such a treat for a mom. I enjoyed spending a few hours getting it all worked on, washed and blow dried. It was a nice treat. I am not super thrilled with the result – more just underwhelmed I suppose. It sort of feels like a very mild version of what I asked for, but it looks very natural and healthy so that’s a plus. I have a tiny bit of birthday money left that I am saving for a pedicure with my friend in a few weeks who is also pregnant and due two days before me.

Speaking of pregnancy, I am 34 weeks today. It dawned on me several days ago that the end is approaching quicker than I realised and there is still a lot to do to prepare for baby. I am one of those people that once I get all the thoughts out of my head and onto paper I feel much better, so I spent a little time working on that on Sunday. We worked on our room on Sunday as well to make a little space for the bassinet, and I washed all the baby’s clothes yesterday. There really isn’t as much to do as the first time around, but I am more just recognising that time goes a bit quicker when you already have one kid running around and before I know it, I’ll be considered “full-term”.

Full-term. Early. Late. That has been on my mind so much lately. It’s hard to know with any pregnancy when you’ll have the baby. The due date is more of an indicator, and often people leave off the first word “estimated”. With your second, it’s hard to know if you should expect something similar to your first, in which case he would come early, or to expect something totally different. With Eleanor, even though I was preparing for her to be late, I had a gut feeling she would come the first week of July, which she did. I have no such gut feeling this time. That being said, nowhere in my brain has it registered that this baby could actually come in October (my due date is September 27). Hopefully that means that even if he is late, he won’t be too late. My parents arrive on the 25th, so my hope is that he comes within a week of that on either side.

I have my next appointment on Saturday. I haven’t had nearly as many appointments this time around, which is sort of nice, but it also means I forget just how quickly it’s going! I am excited to hear his heartbeat again and see how things are progressing, though. I am so grateful that my pregnancy has been as good as it has been. It’s not perfect obviously, and there are things that are more difficult this time (aka a million more braxton hicks the second time around). However, I am feeling really great for being 34 weeks along, and I don’t remember feeling this well when I was pregnant with Eleanor.

Part of all of that has been starting my Plexus journey. I have been taking my Plexus supplements for about 6 weeks now, and I have noticed such incredible improvements with my health. Even though I am tired by the end of the day, I have so much energy throughout the day. I have had almost no swelling at all, and I am still wearing my wedding rings at 34 weeks. My allergies are nearly gone, which is the biggest improvement for sure. I am not sneezing all day every day and going through boxes of tissues every week. If I have to blow my nose, it’s a one and done and good to go. I can smell things again, something Robbie pointed out when I smelled Eleanor’s dirty diaper the other week. I can breathe with my mouth closed, especially at night which is so nice. Overall, I feel great considering I am nearing the last month+ of pregnancy and should be feeling worse. I am grateful for learning about these products and have never been more convinced of the connection between gut health and our overall well-being!

In the busyness of everything, I am still working on a complete overhaul and rebrand of this space here. It’s taken many shapes over the years, but I have more vision for the future of this space than ever before. It will be different, and my hope is to include photography as well. I am trying to pace out the release of the new look and feel and brand, though, because I am taking a lot of intentional time discovering how to do this well into the future. Plus…I am having a baby soon so there’s that. Look for that in the future, though.

Finally, I am so conflicted with all that I am seeing in the news and on social media as of late. Being from the US and living in Australia, both with major things happening at the moment, have made all sources of news and social media feel so full-on and overwhelming. I am incredibly saddened by what I am seeing in the US. I am at a loss, and I have found that really and truly, the biggest thing I can do right at this moment is to pray for change. Pray for love to conquer evil. Pray for positive stories and change. I’ll leave it at that. I just couldn’t write a post about everything that is running through my brain without mentioning that.

So that’s life right now. Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be a bit more predicability and time in the schedule to publish a few posts I have in the works. As always, thanks for reading and staying connected!

August 16, 2017|Random|0 Comments
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