About Ashley Willingham

Ashley is a Christian wife and mama, an organised-creative, traveller, coffee drinker, and ponderer. She's a work from home mama - writing and photographing beautiful families with the desire to capture story!

Eleven Months With Otis

Welp! We are officially in Otis’s birthday month, and I am just now writing his 11 month update. Life has been pretty full in the last couple weeks as we’ve started into a regular fall schedule with preschool, tumbling and ballet classes, and small groups starting in a couple weeks. I’m not sure how moms of elementary aged kids do it with all the schedules and running around! Alright so Otis…11 months old! Oh my!

Highlights & Milestones

One highlight this month was that we all went to the State Fair the first week in August. Eleanor and Otis both had such a great time, although Eleanor admittedly probably enjoyed it more. Otis loved watching everything, and if you’ve ever been to a State Fair, you know there is A LOT to look at. He is such an observer. He still loves to sit on the front porch and watch cars and people go by.

He’s continued to crawl, climb, stand – all the movement. He is trying so hard to keep up with Eleanor, and yet, he’s also pretty happy to find his own thing to do now that he can get everywhere. He climbed all the way up our slide in the backyard, which was super surprising. The only problem was that he then tried to just turn and sit down, which doesn’t quite work. He does LOVE going down slide, though. He’s also getting a lot more confident standing, and he’ll push a little car thing around while walking behind it. We are trying to teach him to turn around when he’s climbing down something like a step or the Eleanor’s little bed. He climbs onto things, but then he just tries to nose dive off of them.

He got his third and fourth top teeth this month, and I am pretty sure he’s working on his one-year-old molars, which is no surprise at the rate he’s been going. He currently has eight teeth, and his little smile is just the sweetest.

Otis is definitely a talker. He makes all sorts of sounds at this point, and the boy is quite loud! He loves saying “Mama”, “Dada”, “Nanana” and other various loud sounds. I am excited when he figures out something to call Eleanor someday soon.

Another highlight of this past month was a family trip to the beach in South Carolina. We drove overnight to Edisto Beach, and it surprisingly went really well. We got both the kids to sleep in their normal beds, at their normal bed time, while we all finished packing and loading the car. Once we were all ready to go and the kids had slept for a couple solid hours, we got the van started and then slowly got them both settled in their seats. They actually stayed asleep for the most part. Otis didn’t wake up until a rest stop awhile later, and he was pretty happy. I was thankful they did the drive so well. Otis loved the beach and all the sand, and I was actually able to get him to fall asleep on the beach, which is always a plus. He also enjoyed splashing around at the pool. We did mini golf one night, and he had a great time crawling around on each little green. He enjoyed the house we were staying in, and he found many new places to explore. The house was a time share we rented through Robbie’s family, and it had a good amount of space. We brought the pack-n-play for Otis to sleep in, and then did the pool noodle trick for Eleanor in the regular bed. They both did super well in their room. Overall it was such a fun week!

A milestone over the last month(ish) is that Otis has been going to the childcare during church. He’s happy as can be, and I cannot even tell you how amazing it is to really be in church each Sunday now that both kids are happily in Sunday school!


  • Food – first of all it should be noted that Otis refuses to be fed…Mr. Independent. His favorite foods right now are any type of crackers, smoothies, fries, bananas, cheerios, sweet potatoes, avocado, cheese, apples.
  • Loves his water bottle, and also will hold his own milk bottle sometimes.
  • Being outside
  • Watching – he loves to watch cars/trucks, people, water fountains, etc.
  • Crawling around, cruising around while holding on, climbing things
  • Playing chase/peek-a-boo with Eleanor
  • Seeing people after being away (aka when Daddy gets home, or when he sees Gaga or Papaw)
  • Being thrown in the air, when we fly him around chasing Eleanor
  • Water – bath time, water table, splash pad…he loves it all.
  • Riding in the shopping cart
  • Fun songs – Wheels on the Bus, If You’re Happy and You Know It, etc. – just not Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star bc that means it’s sleep time


  • Being hungry
  • When you put him down if he isn’t ready for it yet
  • Being in the car when he’s sleepy
  • Getting his diaper changed or clothes changed is a struggle about 3/5 times now – he just wants to be on the go!
  • When you try to feed him

How Am I Doing?

I am doing really well. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed a progression of learning and personal growth, and I feel like I’ve really turned a corner in many areas. I am learning to run – training to do a 5K in 6 weeks, which I’ve never done. I’ve been loving doing my Plexus business, which is amazing to me considering I said I’d never do network marketing! Never say never! I’ve been reading more as well.

There are still some things that we are figuring out that I’ll eventually write about, but overall, we are feeling great! I cannot believe my Otis boy will be one in just a few weeks, but I am really excited to celebrate him with friends and family. We are doing a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme – it seems fitting! We also have family coming in town from Tulsa and Atlanta! The next update will be 12 months, as well as a “Happy Birthday” post – cannot believe it!!!

Maternity Photo Shoot // Rachel Knight

I got to hang out with the Knight Family last week to get some sweet pics of Rachel’s baby bump, her husband and the soon-to-be big brother and sister. Big brother was starting school the very next day, so I appreciated their commitment to getting these photos and having fun together. The littles had THE MOST energy, and they made for some adorable photos! I am certain they’ll be great at welcoming the newest addition next month.

Thanks again Rachel and family! I loved meeting you and hanging out with your family for a bit.

Ten Months With Otis

Wow! Time is flying people. Otis is less than two months from his first birthday, and we got a catalogue in the mail the other day full of “First Birthday Party” ideas. How is this already happening? At the same time, this year has been insanely full and sort of feels like three years in one. Funny how time works that way. This is a week late, and I am going to turn around and he’ll be eleven months! Whew!

Highlights & Milestones

Movement milestones are happening left and right with this kid. I think part of it is having a big sister to keep up with. He has gone from just crawling to speed crawling. It’s nuts how fast he is. He has been pulling up to chairs and tables, and he is trying oh so hard to climb onto Eleanor’s toddler bed. She is always happy to give him a boost. He loves to crawl around the house and explore new things. Most of the time it’s pretty harmless, but two of his current favorite places to sneak away to are the dog’s food bowl and an artificial tree in my parents room that has this grass stuff in the bottom. You can just imagine the mess!

Otis kept going in the teeth department. At this point, I think he may not stop “teething” until all twenty are happily in his mouth. He has six now, and two more on the top are working there way in. He has decided his new skill of pulling up to the coffee table is great to combine with teething and tries to grind his teeth on the edges. I told my mom “he’s distressing it! He knows what’s cool.” I don’t know if she bought it.

My boy said “MOMMMMMMA”. This one is obviously super exciting for me. Eleanor said “Dadda” first, so I am pretty darn thrilled that he said Momma first. My mom said there is an old wives tale that says that whatever your kid says first is the opposite of the gender of your next baby. Well we aren’t quite there yet on deciding future kids, but that will be interesting to see if it pans out if and when that day comes. Anyone else have that happen?

A big highlight of this past month was traveling to Nashville to see some good friends of ours. Shawn and Sarah live in Nashville, and our other good friends that we know from Australia came through there for a weekend. It was so wonderful spending time with them and letting the kids all play together. There are three girls and three boys. The boys are all a couple years apart in age, but the girls are within 18 months of each other. Eleanor and Lilly picked right back up where they left off.

When we went there, we stayed in a hotel, and we were really surprised how well the kids did. Because of that we finally decided to bite the bullet and put them in the room together overnight. For the most part, it’s gone surprisingly well. The only downside is that Otis tends to wake up a little earlier than Eleanor. If only he could adapt to her schedule right? Am I dreaming? It has been a great accountability for Eleanor, though to go to bed when we tell her to. She can’t wake her brother!!

Otis went on swings several times this month, and he just loves it. He’s an adventurous little man, and he still loves to be tossed in the air as well. He went on a carousel for the first time on the 4th of July when we went to the Zoo, and he loved that.

Otis had his first actual cold this month. He’d had little ones here and there, but this was his first lingering one. The boy was still such a happy kid for the most part, and I was so grateful that even though I knew he didn’t feel great, he didn’t seem miserable. He hated having his nose wiped, though!!


  • Food – people food allll the way! Turkey, avocado, bread, apple sauce, crackers, sweet potatoes (and especially sweet potato fries!)
  • Loves drinking water from his new water bottle
  • Being outside
  • Watching trucks/cars/etc – he would do this for hours!
  • Exploring everywhere
  • Chasing Eleanor
  • When Daddy gets home
  • Playing with Reese (the dog)
  • Being thrown in the air
  • Water – bath time, water table, splash pad…he loves it all.


  • Haaaaaaates getting his nose wiped!
  • Waiting for food

How Am I Doing?

I am doing pretty well. I just read what I wrote last month, and I am grateful that although circumstantially things are still a little challenging with what I was referring to last month, we feel stronger and filled with hope for the future. God is good!

I am feeling super encouraged about what I am doing, too, which is a welcome change after the first half of this year. I am loving both of the kids’ ages, even though they have their unique challenges. Overall they’re so much fun, and I especially love watching their friendship accelerate as Otis gets older.

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