This week’s Meet a Mom is Ashley Dineen, a Darien native and mother of three girls. Ashley serves as VP of the Board of Directors for The Tiny Miracles Foundation. She got involved with the charity after her twins were born prematurely in 2004. In addition to her role with Tiny Miracles, Ashley is a veteran real estate agent who now works Compass. Read more about Ashley…

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have 3 girls. Hayley who is 19, and a freshman at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and
15 year-old twins. Colby is a sophomore and Reagan is a freshman at DHS.

What brought you to town?

I was born and raised in Darien, and moved back 20 years ago to start a family after living in NYC.

What’s the best part about raising your kids in the same town you grew up?

My mother graduated from DHS in 1966, and I graduated in 1988, and my sister in 1990. I didn’t realize how special it would be to see my children attend the same schools that my mother, sister and I did. Hayley’s 1st-grade classroom at Tokeneke was my 6th-grade classroom. My sister and I had teachers who taught our mother, which in hindsight is incredible, but if you had asked me as a student, I would have told you a different story! (especially in Spanish class) Now my children are experiencing this as well, and being able to share in school pride and honored traditions with them is priceless.

How did you get involved in Tiny Miracles?

Divine intervention. In 2004, my twins were born seven weeks early in Stamford Hospital. I had been on bed rest for a month and a half, and developed severe pre-eclampsia and had to have an emergency C-section. Forty-eight hours after the girls were born, Reagan suffered from critical life-threatening complications. She was transported to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC in the wee hours of the morning. The next afternoon I discovered an invitation to TTMF’s first “Carnival of Life” on my bed. I vividly remember walking into Wee Burn Beach Club wearing the girl’s hospital ID bands and seeing families laughing and playing on the beach. Meeting other parents of premature babies and talking to mentors helped me navigate through our journey in the NICU. Fast forward 14 years, and I currently serve as the Vice President of the Board of Directors. The Tiny Miracles Foundation provides one-on-one parent mentor support in each of our five partner hospitals, financial assistance of emergency funding for families who find themselves economically distressed by the premature birth of their child, and a series of resources for the journey after the NICU. We have a Director of Family Services who is a licensed social worker as well as a Lead Parent Mentor on staff who visit the hospitals weekly and are available to meet with families in person or by phone.

Are your kids able to volunteer with the charity?

Yes. They help make blanket covers for the isolettes, assist at special events, and have made gifts during the holidays for families in the NICUs.

Are there any upcoming Tiny Miracles events or ways for the community to help?

We are always looking for volunteers. The best way to find out is to check our website www.ttmf.org or contact Jennifer Johnson at 203-202-9714.

How long have you been in real estate?

It will be 19 years in January. Both my sister and I followed in our mother’s footsteps. We recently made a career decision, created a team, and the three of us moved to Compass in August. 

Best part about your job?

There are many aspects of my job that I find rewarding. Upon reflection though, I find myself returning to the moment that we find a family the perfect home. I can spend as long as two years with clients and that moment is priceless for many reasons. Not only do I love to sharing the community that has been my family’s home for generations, but also being a part of the process where my clients begin to establish their legacy is humbling.

What’s your favorite family activity in town?

There are many, but the Darien Sport Shop Christmas Tree Lighting is a favorite. And of course, the annual Turkey Bowl Football game! Go Blue Wave! Sorry Rams!

How do you unwind when you need some “me time”?

You can find me in my flower garden. I am always tweaking or adding different varieties of flowers. This year I added Dinner Plate Dahlias and am now scheming to find a way to just create a separate garden for Dahlias alone.

Any words to live by?

Two words. “Be Kind.” Each morning before I drop my children off at school I tell them to “Be Kind.” You never know what someone else is going through.

Do you have any hidden talents?

My friends like to tell me that I should have been a detective! For some reason, I can follow a dead-end trail to discovery. Maybe this is why I have become obsessed with ancestry! My kids roll their eyes when they see that I’m on ancestry.com.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?

My cousin told me to “pick my battles wisely” when I was complaining about my daughter’s bedroom looking like a war zone. She told me there were going to be greater obstacles on the horizon, and the messy bedroom was an easy one to solve. She was spot on.

Favorite band, book, tv show….

Band: Billy Joel. Book: Anything by Beatriz Williams TV Show: Newest obsession is the Jack Ryan series on Amazon Prime. 

We love supporting local businesses. Favorite places in Darien (or near town) to…

Have dinner with/without kids: Grey Barns http://tavernatgraybarns.com
Grab a drink with friends: 1020 Post https://www.tentwentypost.com, Scena https://scenawinebar.com
Have a date night: If Cesco’s didn’t close you would find us there. Aldo please open up another restaurant!
Spend time together as a family indoors/outdoors: Norwalk Maritime Aquarium http://www.maritimeaquarium.org / Or taking our 3 dogs for a walk around Pear Tree Point ( I should say attempting to take them for a walk!) http://www.darienct.gov/content/28025/28545/28831/40574/default.aspx
Shop for yourself/shop for your kids: Darien Sport Shop https://www.dariensport.com
Morley https://shopmorley.com & Tina Dragone https://tinadragone.com
Spa/salon (or anywhere you go to treat yourself): Best facials are with Nancianne at Peau Advanced SkinCare/ Dr. LaTrenta’s office
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Skin-Care-Service/Peau-Advanced-Skin-Care-1059488780742625/
Grab coffee: Neat https://neatcoffee.com or at Kirby & Co. and sneak in a little shopping! https://www.kirbyandcompany.com

Any hidden treasures or other favorites you want to share?

Four Forks. https://fourforks.net
It is the place for dinner on the go as well as catering. It is also where one can find friends having impromptu coffee while they pick up lunch to deliver to MMS or DHS, because they only want salads from Mrs. Ruppenstein!

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