Category Archives: Eric & Ashley

Our First Few Weeks as Four.

Someone in the hospital had a cold (not a shocker I know) and unfortunately it spread to my dear hubby, which he then unfortunately gave to our dear eldest daughter Emma, who then also passed it on so sweetly to our newest baby daughter Ella…oh boy. Three stuffy noses, a mommy recovering from childbirth, a one and a half year old adjusting to having a new baby around….thank goodness for my mom who comes to stay with us for the entire first week after the baby is born because that is a lot to handle!

Emma trying to get rid of her stuffy nose!

Basic rundown of our first week at home: Eric, Emma & Ella sick with colds. Emma accidentally locking herself in our room & having to remove our door handle just to get her out. Emma climbing out of her crib during naptime as she yelled for mommy (I was at the time having to nurse little Ella). Amy (my sister) & Drew’s wedding and a very long night in our hotel room (the night before their wedding) with the two babies.

My sister Amy and her husband Drew on their wedding day, a very small private beach wedding, simple and beautiful!

A week old and an 18 month old in a hotel room together, when both are already a little stuffy…not recommended. However, I do have to say Eric & I make a great team…no way we would’ve made it through that night without our parenting teamwork, so thankful for my hubby! All funny memories now, but that week…quite exhausting!

Eric showing his part of our parenting teamwork, love it!

Eric had the opportunity to officiate his first wedding, for his cousin and her fiance, just two weeks after Ella was born. He did a great job! We are also happy to report that Ella is now officially an expert in wedding guest etiquette after going to two weddings in her first two weeks!

All ready to go to Eric’s cousin’s wedding (Emma stayed home with my mom, that being the reason she is not dressed up) with little 2 week old Ella!

Then just as the stuffy noses had finally cleared up the stomach flu attacked our new little family, no joke.

The girls out on my first real outing alone with both babies…only hours before Emma got sick.

It happened on a Wednesday afternoon. I was allowing myself to feel a good sense of accomplishment after a successful first outing with both girls in tow, even stopped to get Emma & I a small McFlurry on the way home to celebrate our success. Little did I know that a few hours later that McFlurry would end up all over me (in the form of little Emma’s throw up). Yep…mommy had to throw away a shirt and a sweater that day (mine not Emma’s)….there was just way to much “yuck” to get out. It came out of nowhere, poor little Emma. :( That was Wednesday, Eric caught it Thursday and by Friday morning I had caught it as well. Thankfully little Ella (only 3 weeks old at this point) did not catch it and by Sunday this little Durso family was back to full health, phew!

Emma very happy to be eating her Mcflurry….which I had no clue would be all over me in a very different form in just a couple short hours.

Once March rolled around things had somewhat settled down for our new little family of four. My sister had her second little boy on March 1st and we went down to meet him a week later. So fun having the cousins so close together!

Holding my sister’s 1 week old little boy, Cooper, while she holds little 4 week old Ella!

Then as we slowly got into a new groove with two little ones yet another exciting new transition phase for our family began as Eric accepted a position as the Youth Pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Simi Valley and we got ready to say goodbye to our current church and hello to a new church family.

Our little family just enjoying our crazy first month together!

Yep, we like to cram as much change into a few months as we possibly can…more about our recent church transition in my next post!

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Ella Faith has Arrived!

In case you haven’t heard the wonderful news(or guessed it from my recent absence from the blog as a busy mommy of TWO – under the age of 2 – now)….little Ella Faith Durso has arrived!!!

Our sweet little Ella Faith on her birthday!

Ella arrived on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012, weighing in at 7lbs. 12oz. and 20.5in. long. She is beautiful and healthy and we are overjoyed to have her in our family, so thankful to God for another huge blessing in such a tiny little package! She has been very busy growing weighing in at 9lbs. 10oz. and 21.25in long at her 3 week check-up, surprising even the doctor with her quick growth spurt, yay, good job Ella! Curious to see her recent growth at her two month (well make that almost 3 months now) check-up soon!

So happy to finally meet our little Ella face to face and hold her in our arms!

Quick rundown of the labor story (for those of you interested): I went in for my usual weekly check-up at 9AM, found out I was dilated to 4cm (I had had two nights of pretty decent contractions the two weeks prior and was happy to hear that morning that they had made some progress for little Ella’s arrival). Because 4cm is considered active labor my doctor asked…”ready to have this baby today?” Ella had dropped and the doctor was convinced once labor started it was gonna go fast, making it safer that we just go to the hospital while things were still not in full swing. So, I called Eric and about 3 hours later Emma was at Grammy & Papi’s  house and we were checking into the hospital!

Last belly picture with Ella Faith...just about to leave for the hospital!

The doctor broke my water around 3PM, started me on the very lowest dose of pitocin around 5:30PM (after which they thought it would take a while to kick in, so they had the epidural lady stall a little by explaining to me – for what seemed like forever – all the ins and outs of the epidural…let me just say, it did not take long at all for the pitocin to start working hard and by the time I had the epidural they later realized it may have been just a little bit late…I’m sure it took a bit of the edge off but still, no stalling next time people!?!?). Anyway, just 5 short hours of real labor and only 10 minutes of pushing, Ella Faith Durso arrived safely at exactly 8:15PM. I cried, so thankful for yet another beautiful precious gift from God, another little girl…precious.

Eric holding Ella for the first time!

Now, just a quick sidenote…I have to say one of my favorite parts of labor (besides the obvious ending of meeting your new little one at last!) is the teamwork and support I get from my other half, my hubby! Eric is right by my side the whole time, doing all he can to just be there for me and help me.

Eric and I. :)

Then seeing his face when he meets our baby for the first time and catching his eye with that “I am so proud and impressed by you baby” look that he gives to just me….it’s priceless and I am absolutely speechless at that moment at God’s goodness to me (with both deliveries) as I cherish the loving/adoring look from my hubby and hold our new baby in my arms, there are no words.

Sitting there enjoying God's goodness, watching my hubby and our new little Ella!

Ella is a little dream baby, rarely cries. When she actually does cry we know something is wrong, and generally it is just a quick feeding or diaper change needed and she is right back to her laid back little self. She is also quite the little smiler and talker! She shares tons of smile throughout the day with us and is very eager to be a part of family conversation with her adorable little coos, we love it!

Our sweet little smiley Ella!

Some of our favorite smiles to see are when she is smiling back at little Emma, who just loves talking with her new baby sister and making her smile by quite consistently saying “mamamamamama…” to Ella! So fun watching the girls interact already! The latest, just this week Ella did her first rollover, very exciting and crazy how quickly she is growing!

Emma holding Ella for the first time!

I must say, our first few months as a family of four was a little busier and a tad bit more unorganized than this organized momma had originally anticipated! Nonetheless, having two little ones now and watching our little family adjust has been even more of a blessing than I had originally anticipated as well! God is so good and these first few months of learning and growing as a mommy of two (the lessons are unending I am sure of it!) have been eternally profitable in my relationship with my Savior, no joke! I am more than 100% convinced now (just in case I hadn’t been fully convinced before) that I could not make it through one day without His grace and joy sustaining me. But thankfully because I do have His unending grace and joy sustaining me, I really cannot get enough of the daily ins and outs of being Eric’s wife and Emma & Ella’s mommy, I love it, craziness and all!

Our little family of four!

And let me tell you there have been some serious crazy moments in our first few months as four….I’ll let the next couple blogs fill you in! For now just know that Ella is here and we are so thankful and happy to be a little family of four!

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Officially becoming “Eric & Ashley”.

Six years ago today Eric Durso officially asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes…..a decision I have never once doubted or regretted even for one second! We both agree it was by far one of the best decisions we ever made and we have very happily been together ever since! Here are some of the fun details leading up to the big question/event six years ago for those of you who may be curious… always fun to hear bits of a good love story, right?

Just remember this is just a very small bit of the whole story…I am sure I will fill in with other parts of our love story in many posts to come…for today, here is just a basic gist of how we became official girlfriend and boyfriend!

Eric and I met on the second day of orientation week as freshmen in college, we were in line for a financial aid meeting and began talking. We went on our first date September 11, 2004 (movie and coffee afterwards). The date was fun and I of course thought Eric was super super cute (sidenote: Eric is such a hottie and as the new freshmen on the basketball team I figured – and knew from word around campus – that he probably had enough girls interested in him, so anywho I guess I became a bit determined to play a little hard to get…to which he stepped up and got me one year later, head over heels forever baby!) but for that first year we just continued as friends, hanging out in the same group of good friends and enjoying each others company (while still obviously being quite observant of one another that whole year too!).

This first year of good friendship was great in the long run for our relationship because by the time we started dating a year later, we had a pretty good idea of who we really were and never tried to fake “impress” each other. This year of friendship also paid off when it came to Eric knowing that we would not ever just “become” boyfriend/girlfriend…he had to ask me officially. Somehow in one of our many friend conversations that had come up and he had never forgotten it.

You see, Eric was my first and only boyfriend ever (along with my very first kiss…another story for another time)! I guess you could say us Smith (my maiden name) girls had been raised to be very picky with very high standards and not just any boy was good enough to be our boyfriends (thank you dad for instilling this in us girls!). These being the reasons I had stated in some passing conversation at some point in our friendship that my guy would have to ask me to be his girlfriend, he couldn’t just assume.

Eric & I, November 22, 2005...the night he asked me to be his girlriend...this pic was taken when we stopped by his parents house that night with the good news on our way back from the beach!!!

And so, six years ago today Eric Durso took me out to a very nice restaurant in Malibu, took me to the beach afterwards and there asked me to officially be his girlfriend…to which I immediately answered YES…and I have very proudly been his girlfriend ever since and will continue to be for the rest of my life!

What a lucky lady I am and I really do thank God everyday for bringing us together and making us “Eric & Ashley”!!! It has been a wonderful six years together and I look forward to many many many more! Thank you for asking me to be your girlfriend my love. :)

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Our “Go” Mode.

Eric and I have come up with the “go mode” term to get ourselves amped up for certain weeks that seem to just have everything falling into them. These past two weeks seminary projects and papers, church planning meetings for Eric, continuing to settle things into our new home and just the everyday happenings of being about 7 months pregnant with a little one at home (an adorable little one, I might add) culminated and put us into “go mode.”

Luckily my husband was aware enough and kind enough to warn me ahead of time that we needed to gear up into “go mode” before these past two weeks snuck up on us. “Go mode” simply means…

  1. Do not miss your daily quiet time with God because you will get tired but God will sustain us,  He is the only way we will get through the busy time and still be able to honor Him in all we do in our actions and attitude.
  2. There are gonna be some late nights of work for Eric (meaning Ashley….be ready to have some long days at home).
  3. Be on the lookout for ways to fit some fun family time into the busy schedule these next couple weeks no matter how busy it gets as well as being on the lookout for ways I can encourage and support Eric through the crazy busy weeks ahead.

    A fun little family picnic we worked in during our "go mode" weeks one Sunday afternoon after church and before a meeting Eric had to be back at church for later that afternoon..always on the lookout for some fun family time, never too busy for that!

This morning I got to hear Eric speak at two high school chapels, which is always a blessing to me to hear my man speak and be used by God and I always walk away encouraged and challenged by what God says through Eric’s message (thank you baby!). And then………we got to out on a brunch date!!! We planned the brunch date about a week ago and have been looking forward to it all week…our celebration brunch together for getting through the crazy busy past two weeks of “go mode”!!! We are a team that God has brought together and we love every moment of going through life together being married to one another…”go mode” weeks and all, it is an unexplainable joy and blessing to share life together!

Plus to top it all off…today is exactly two years to the day that we found out I was pregnant with little Emma!!! Just another reason to enjoy talking, laughing and relaxing together this morning over brunch as we thanked God for all His many blessings to us!

Eric & I two years ago today...moments after we found out I was pregnant with little Emma...it was very early in the morning, hence the crazy hair!

“Go Mode” weeks don’t happen all that often but when they do we like to have a celebration at the end, reminds you to thank God for the strength He gives and the blessings He brings! These kind of weeks just make the celebration time that much more sweet and exciting! And now this little Durso family is sooo looking forward to some serious family time over this next week of Thanksgiving!

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My Husband.

Today is Eric’s 26th birthday!!! I cannot tell you how thankful I am that this man was born 26 years ago and here is just a small handful of the many unending reasons why.

Eric Durso knows how to lovingly lead. He leads our family well, he is the head of our household, no doubt about it, and I love that. I thoroughly enjoy following, supporting and encouraging him because I trust him. I know with each decision Eric makes, he has mine and our families best interest in mind. It is truly a privilege to walk through life by this man’s side.

Emma laughing hard at her funny & fabulous daddy!!!! :)

Eric Durso is an amazing father. True, he has only been at it for a little over a year, but our little daughter could not be more loved by her daddy…and she knows it. Emma can run up to her daddy anytime she wants and she knows he will pick her up, hold her, hug her, play with her, read her a book, sing her a song, you name it…I have never seen Eric turn Emma away, he is never to busy for his baby girl. Daddy takes Emma on such fun adventures to the park, teaches her to not be as afraid of bugs as mommy is, and can even give Emma a super high view that mommy can never seem to give her (Eric is 6’5″ and I am 5’4″).  Their daddy/daughter bond is precious to watch and it thrills my heart daily as I watch them together!

Eric Durso is a passionate prayer warrior. Every morning I wake up to the sound of my husbands alarm early in the morning, set early strictly for the purpose of being able to spend quality one on one time with God each morning, in the Bible and in prayer. I am blessed to have the prayers of such a godly man on my side each morning before I am even out of bed. His love and desire for God is truly contagious and for that I am so thankful because as his wife, it rubs off on me continually and I know I have grown in my own walk with God as a result of watching this man constantly yearn for and love the Lord…a priceless gift.

Admiring my amazing man that I love and appreciate so much! He is one of my greatest gifts from God for sure!!

Eric Durso is…funny (makes me laugh daily), laid-back (never gets uptight about anything, takes it all in stride), athletic (love that my man is an athlete, so attractive to me!), adventurous (loves discovering new things and taking our family on fun little adventures together). I never think twice about holding his hand in public or hugging him or giving him a quick kiss in front of people, he doesn’t ever mind. He leads family devotions for our little family each night (but doesn’t mind when Emma decides we should go outside and look at the squirrels for a little mid-family devotions intermission). He laughs at me and with me. He protects our family.

He loves God first and our family second….everything else falls after that, he has his priorities straight and he lives that out in all he does.

He amazes me daily, and that’s that. I love you Eric, happy birthday my love! :)

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Snapshots of Our Sensational Summer.

Yes, it’s true! I’m back on the blog, new pictures, header and all (thanks to J.Costea photography and my hubby putting the header together)! As you can so clearly see (from the date of my last post) about halfway through July, I came to my senses and realized…”yeah right there is no way I can keep up with the blog over the summer” and I gave myself the rest of the summer “off” from the blog, which, I must say, was a good decision. So here in a very small snapshot are some of the happenings of our family’s summer!

Revealing the exciting Baby #2 news to the family!

June: We found out BABY DURSO #2 was on it’s way!!!! We announced the wonderful news to our family and friends!!! Eric & I celebrated our 3rd Anniversary with an entire date day out in Old Town Pasadena! We went on vacation to Northern California – got to hang out with good friends from college in a cute little vacation home in Carmel, got to visit one of my best friends from high school up near San Fransisco, then our little family visited downtown San Fransisco and Sacramento, and Emma was a superstar baby traveler on our 7 hour drive back from Sacramento on our last day of our June vacation!

Our little family at Emma's first birthday party!!!

July: Started with more wonderful news…we found out my sister is pregnant with Baby #2 as well, due just about four weeks after Baby Durso #2!!!! We had a fun picnic and fireworks in the park with Eric’s side of the family for 4th of July. 3 days later we left on a youth group trip with a group of about 7 highschool/jr. high students (plus our little family of three), took them to my parents for a pool party/bbq/movie night, down to Oceanside beach the next day, headed to Fallbrook (our old stomping grounds) where our previous pastor and his wife graciously hosted us and our entourage of students, Eric took the students down to a youth conference at a large church in San Diego, visited our old church (fun fun!), then a quick stop at In ‘n Out before heading back up home by Sunday afternoon, whew, quite a trip! Emma then took her FIRST STEPS right before bedtime the night we got home from our youth trip, Eric and I were both there to see it, super special! :) Emma’s first birthday was just a few days after we returned from the trip and her party was the day after her actual birthday, so I got straight to finishing up all the birthday preparations! Family came to celebrate Emma’s first birthday, Emma devoured her little lamb cake (we were very proud!) and then her bigger birthday party the next day went wonderfully as well (pics and details in a separate post later, promise!)! We redid the youth room with the youth group over the next couple weeks, including one giant Ikea trip for our little family of 3 (fun, bu can get a little long when trying to keep a little one entertained for 2 to 3 hours in Ikea) and two workdays with the students in the youth room. Took a beach day trip with the youth group. And of course threw in some frozen yogurt and swimming “family dates” on some of these summer nights! :)

With my whole side of the family in Lake Tahoe!

August: Yep…there’s still more to our summer! VBS at church the first week. Family vacation to Lake Tahoe with my side of the Family the second week…sooo much fun, Emma had her first real hike, we got ice cream with the babies (although they were in the end more interested in playing in the dirt and sticks than eating the ice cream, we enjoyed the ice cream though!), Eric got in lots of tennis and racquetball time with my dad, bro, and bro-in-law at the resort we stay at, had lots of fun board games, conversations, laughing, good dinners (we each took a night to cook dinner for everyone), it was a fabulous family vacation! My 25th birthday was days after returning from Tahoe, for which Eric took Emma and I to the Glendale Galleria/Americana shopping area to meet up with my parents and little bro for dinner and some fun shopping with my mom, ending with fun watching Emma be fascinated by the fountains in the pretty outdoor courtyard they have there, great birthday! Sadly after my birthday both Emma and Eric got sick and both had a virus for a good ten days…baby #2 and I thankfully stayed healthy (tired but healthy). We ended August with a fun day visiting Eric’s parents, sister and her two boys while they camped at a beach in Ventura, a great way to spend one of the last official days of summer!

Emma getting a fun ride from Grandpa during our Labor Day walk to the park!

September: I know, not technically a summer month….but I feel like the first week of September really wrapped up our summer so here it is! Eric and I attended a conference at Grace Community church, while Emma had her very first overnight (technically 3 nights) away from us at my parents, so she was safe and sound and very happy! We missed her oh so much but also enjoyed the time being alone, while also hearing some great speaking on God’s Word that weekend! We ended the labor day weekend by joining our little Emma out at my parents, along with my sisters ad some other good family friends for some fun in the pool, at the park, a little shopping for some prego clothes with my mom and sis, and of course some great bbq! Getting back late Monday night  on Labor Day (happy to have little Emma back with us), we got ready for Fall to officially enter our calendar. Eric was up and out the door early for seminary the next day and we are happily falling back into a schedule now as September progresses!

Our little family enjoying the very cold Lake Tahoe water!

Whew! And that in a nutshell (or as much as a nutshell as I could keep it in) was our super crazy, sunny, and sensational summer!!!

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Baby Durso #2: The Exciting Discovery.

Moments after the exciting discovery of Baby #2!

So, my grandparents were out to visit from Illinois. We had spent the day with them just a couple days earlier and my mom had called to see if we would be able to maybe surprise them on their last day out here and meet up at my sister’s house (that way they could see Emma and Jackson, my sister’s little boy, interact…cause it is pretty cute to watch them together!).

Anywho, we had had a pretty full schedule the few weeks prior and had been planning a nice quiet day with our little family of three on Eric’s first day off in a while…so we had tentatively told my mom it didn’t look like we would be able to make it down to my sister’s that day.

Then, totally out of the blue, I said to Eric…”well how about we make one exception to our decision of not going tomorrow?” Eric was open to the suggestion and looked at me wondering what this “exception” would be. I went on, “why don’t we pick up a pregnancy test on our way home from church tonight, I’ll take the test in the morning and if I am pregnant we will go down tomorrow…it’d be the perfect time to tell everybody!” Eric thought this was an excellent “exception” and agreed to the deal, we would go down to see the family tomorrow if in the morning we discovered that a new baby was indeed on it’s way!

The week prior there had really only been a few “hmmm..that’s interesting” signs. First, of course, was an extra dose of tiredness for me. Second, was one night while going to bed, I cuddled close to Eric and he said…”you are super hot (as in body temperature)…are you pregnant?” Third, I got a small pimple on my neck (cannotbelieve I just wrote that on here for you all to read), which never happens to me, except for a small breakout during my pregnancy with Emma. So, those three little moments (along with middle of the night trips to the bathroom beginning to pop up once again) got me wondering.

Emma very proudly showing everyone her new little brother or sister is on the way!

Then came early Monday morning…I of course woke up early having to use the restroom. Quietly went about opening the test and watched it turned positive almost immediately! My reaction was the same as seeing that positive sign the day we found out Emma was on her way. Tears came into my eyes, I started to shake with excitement, a smile was plastered across my face and I ran out of the bathroom waking Eric up with “Eric, I’m pregnant!!!!!! We’re having another baby!!!!!!!!” And then looking at the test over and over to really make sure it was true!

Shortly after I had woken Eric up we heard little Emma start talking in her room, informing us she was awake. We rushed in to tell her the wonderful news! She was excited…mostly just cause she could see mommy and daddy were so excited! We then sat down as our little family and took the pictures you see here. Then we prayed, thanking God for another little baby blessing, asking for a healthy baby and pregnancy, and wisdom to raise this new one He has chosen to bless us with!

More on how we revealed the exciting news to our families later this week!!! :)

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