The Trailer

AshleyOld School Circus12 Comments

Braking suddenly at the end of a dark dirt road, Mom almost slams into a cow. When the dust cloud clears, we see that not just a cow, but a whole herd of cows is surrounding our car, and ignoring this fact, Mom looks at us with a triumphant smile. “We’re here!” My sister and I peer fearfully out the … Read More

AshleyThe Trailer

Grandpa’s Wake: The First Time I Touched Death

AshleyOld School Circus44 Comments

I hadn’t even realized Grandpa was sick until I heard the noise in front of the house, the doorbell, the trudge of feet on the hardwood stairs as the white-uniformed men climbed to his room. Minutes later, they carried his massive frame down the curved staircase in our front hall and knocked off the newel post on their way out. … Read More

AshleyGrandpa’s Wake: The First Time I Touched Death

The Demise of Balboa

AshleyOld School Circus15 Comments

I was happily skipping down the hall after my alter-ego, Balboa, told Gina Palmeri, the beastly-basketball-playing-bully, where she could stick it. I just assumed that would be THAT, because in elementary school, all I’d had to do was mouth off to bullies to get them to leave me alone. Sadly, up in the high school big leagues, this wasn’t the … Read More

AshleyThe Demise of Balboa

Big Top Family Goes On Tour!

AshleyCirque du Today15 Comments

The talented and beautiful Jessica McNeill Azar of Herd Management asked me to join her on this Virtual Blog Tour, and I was afraid to turn her down – she’s 5’10” and she could totally kick my ass if she wanted to! Also, she was just published on The Huffington Post with her awesome Father’s Day essay about capable Dads, … Read More

AshleyBig Top Family Goes On Tour!

Abandoning Pretense Guest Posts: Roadside Furniture is the Voice of God, If You Listen Hard Enough

AshleyCirque du Today9 Comments

I’m ecstatic and honored to announce that Kristen Mae of the very popular, very honest, very funny Abandoning Pretense is guest-posting here today! She read all about my religious upbringing in Old School Circus and thought this post would fit perfectly. She’s right. This story resonated with me on so many different levels, and I know it’ll do the same for you.  … Read More

AshleyAbandoning Pretense Guest Posts: Roadside Furniture is the Voice of God, If You Listen Hard Enough

The Return of Balboa

AshleyOld School Circus20 Comments

When I was in elementary school, I was teased and bullied because of the car my parents drove, and because we didn’t have much money. I tried telling the teachers about it, but putting my trust in the authorities was wasted time and effort since they didn’t seem to care. And I went to a CATHOLIC school, which you’d think would … Read More

AshleyThe Return of Balboa

7 Reasons Mothers Are Like Mother Teresa

AshleyCirque du Today12 Comments

Every time I demonstrate my superhuman ability to remain patient and calm in the midst of one of my kids’ shit-storm meltdowns of whining, complaining, crying, or general pain-in-the-assing, my husband tells me I’m Mother Teresa. In case you’re wondering, I’m not. Mother Teresa died in 1997, and anyway, she’s a lot shorter than me. I always just shake my … Read More

Ashley7 Reasons Mothers Are Like Mother Teresa

The Night the Devil Chased My Mom

AshleyOld School Circus35 Comments

The night the Devil chased my Mom, I was six-and-a-half years old. We were living in a crumbling part of downtown Steubenville, Ohio, in a rickety two-story house with paint so peely I could pull it off in strands. The house had three bedrooms: one for my sister Alyson and I to share, one for my single mom, and one … Read More

AshleyThe Night the Devil Chased My Mom

Save Your Husband’s Life: Read I Just Want to Be Alone

AshleyCirque du Today14 Comments

“Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be this hard” croons Chris Martin in the Coldplay ballad “The Scientist.” In it, who effing knows what Chris Martin was really singing about . . . he could’ve been talking about changing baby daughter “Apple’s” crappy diaper for all we know. But I like to think he … Read More

AshleySave Your Husband’s Life: Read I Just Want to Be Alone

Survival of the Thickest

AshleyCirque du Today26 Comments

I was having a psychotic break just after being told I was going to be on mandatory Twin Bed Rest for two months. My husband and I were also in the process of building a house 45 minutes away and planning to move with our almost-3-year-old son. So in my last weeks of freedom, I waddled around hurriedly trying to … Read More

AshleySurvival of the Thickest