Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holidays in full swing!

Wow! I keep promising myself to be a better blogger and then...I fail miserably. Maybe I will attempt to make that my New Year's Resolution. (That's a great idea Trish!)

Well, we have jumped from Halloween to 2 weeks before Christmas in a flash. Where did the time go? I guess my other resolution should be to stop being so busy all the time. It seems I do nothing, yet I never have any real "free" time. How does that happen?
So, on to Christmas cheer then. Ashlyn has been so very good the past few weeks. Not that she's a bad kid anyway, but she just seems to be caught up in the Christmas cheer that surrounds our home, family and friends this time of year.
We visited Santa last week and this year she wasn't scared at all. She ran right up and hugged him. He loaded her up with lots of toys, of which, she has chosen her favorite and it hasn't left her side since she got it. This is the first time she has really latched on to a toy, so I'm hopeful that it doesn't get lost in her journeys to school, to her Papa and Nana's or to her weekend visits to her dads.
Please enjoy the pictures below of my gorgeous little girl...and I PROMISE to try to post a few more times by years end. PROMISE!!

Visiting the best Santa EVER!

Holding her new toys from Santa.

(A bright yellow poodle, a princess mouse and a reindeer!)

My beautiful girl with her beautiful smile!!

She absolutely LOVES this dog!!

The fireplace awaits Santas arrival.

(Looks a little like E.T. doesn't it?)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

Ashlyn and I had a battle over costumes this year. She won of course, but I settled for 2nd place by getting her to wear my favorite costume on Saturday just for pictures. She was sooooo cute!! Well, she's always cute, but she really made this costume work. Here they are:

On Halloween she won the battle and made BOTH of us dress up as Pink Princesses. She absolutely LOVED this costume. However, finding an adult Princess costume that wasn't too revealing or too expensive left me wearing something that appeared to be more of a glorified nightgown than a costume. Oh well, it worked, and she was happy that I dressed up with her this year. I'm hoping for something a little more fun next year...and warmer too!

We had a great time at her Papa and Nana's (my dad and step-mother) trick or treating. There were a ton of kids out and about and she made most of the journey without complaint. As the night went on and the wind continued to pick up, Papa did have to carry her for the last leg of our journey. However, she perked right back up when we got back to their house and she got 400 pieces of candy in her.

Papa, Nana, Princess Ashlyn and Gizmo
I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween!!
If you need candy...we have PLENTY!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Updates and Halloween

We visited Children's Mercy Hospital on Monday and after a few tests we have been told that Ashlyn has an "innocent murmur". The doctor said it's so mild they wouldn't even track it. She doesn't have any restrictions or worries. She said it should not cause her any problems and it's possible she may even outgrow it. So THAT was terrific news!!!

Now on to the fun stuff....

We (my mom, Ashlyn and myself) visited a huge pumpkin patch on Saturday. We wandered around searching for 2 perfect pumpkins for carving. Ashlyn was more intrigued by the gourds with the weird bumpy things all over them. For $5.00 for 10 of them, I was okay with this as well, although I don't know what you do with 10 of them. She picked out 4 or 5. Then she picked out 2 small pumpkins for decorations and the search was back on for the perfect carving pumpkins.

We finally found the perfect pair and made our way back to pay for them when Ashlyn spotted a small hay bale tunnel she could crawl through. She started in but it was pretty dark in there and it was so short that there was no way I could walk through there without crawling on my hands and knees. I didn't really have the right clothes on for that little adventure. We paid for our pumpkins and headed back to the car when she gave the tunnel a 2nd thought. As we walked by another little boy walked by with his family and Ashlyn invited him to crawl through the tunnel with her. I should have taken a picture because he didn't hesitate and off they went. I could hear giggling in the tunnel but couldn't see a thing. Finally she popped out the other side and decided to go through the tunnel about 15 more times, even without the involvement of the little boy. She just needed some one to help her get brave. That's MY job! :)

So here are the pictures of our Jack-O-Lanterns. We had so much fun. She's such an awesome girl. How did I ever get so lucky???


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


When I got home from work yesterday my daughter, my mom and I were sitting on the front porch talking about work and the details of the day. My daughter, for some strange reason, has a fascination with breasts. She calls them "boobies"...I haven't a clue who taught her that because it sure wasn't me. *sigh* Anyway, she made several demands to have them right then and there. There was no talking her out of it, changing the subject, giving her something else to think about it. That's what she wanted and she wanted them RIGHT NOW!! Well, after we went inside and the begging continued she went to her closet to look for them. She was certain I was just hiding them from her. Unfortunately for her it just wasn't that simple. My mom says, "I don't know what you are going to do when she starts asking for an arm if she's this upset over boobies." I know that's right.

I let her cry it out a bit and then finally she let me change the subject with a movie and cookie. Good thinking mom! I had no idea what was in store later that evening though.

After bathtime, we discussed painting her nails. She then told me when she got older she would grow another hand and be able to paint both her hands. I told her, in my best happy but serious voice, that was not going to happen, but that she had a helper arm and she could use that. She continued to tell me that I had 2 hands, her grandma had 2 hands and therefore she knew she would also have 2 hands when she got older. (The older part comes from the previous body part desires above.)

Once again I explained that she wouldn't ever "grow" a hand, but that we could put her helper arm on and I thought the nails were already painted the same color she was requesting at the moment. To my GREAT surprise she wanted to wear it and requested to wear it. This is the first time EVER that she has made such a request. As with all things in her life, she'll do almost anything, it just has to be on her terms. So I fetched the arm, we talked about it and she was ready for action. She wore it for about 45 minutes and showed me all the things she could do with it. I was grinning like an idiot the whole time with tear filled eyes because I just saw her grow up AGAIN! God, I love that kid of mine!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good answer! (My smart little girl does it again!)

Ashlyn recently visited Science City with her daddy and her Grandma. They were overcome by a busload of older kids, but she handled herself well. As a group of kids went storming by one little boy stopped, looked at her for a minute and said, "Where's your arm?". She stood her ground and simply replied, "It's in the car." Hahahahahaha...I love that girl. Now she was saying this very matter of factly because her helper arm WAS in the car, but he didn't know that. He just accepted the answer and went out as did she.

This Saturday was spent at her cousin Jordyn's 8th birthday party. They haven't spent much time together for one reason or another, but you sure wouldn't have known that at the party. Ashlyn absolutely adores Jordyn, and the feeling is mutual. They ran and played all day together. Ashlyn was a bit bossy, but Jordyn (and her friends that were also around 8) just accepted it and did what Ashlyn wanted to do 99% of the time. So cute. I guess I really need to work on that "bossy" gene. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

3 Year Check Up - A little scary

Ashlyn is small for her age, I've always known that. It's in her blood. But when the nurse handed me a piece of paper with her assessment I was still kind of shocked. She is only in the 9th percentile for her height and 13th for her weight. Yep, she's going to be a petite girl. We don't have many petite people in my family. Actually, I'm the shortest in a long line of tall people. This includes grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and I am bar far the shortest and I'm 5'8.

Her appointment went well until I advised the Nurse Practioner (who we opted to see instead of a doctor to shorten our wait time) that the doctor we saw last week, due to an illness, had mentioned a heart murmur yet again. I've had other nurses and doctors mention this, but only when she was sick, not during any well visits and I just wanted it checked out while she was well to make sure there was nothing there again.

Unfortunately, she advised us that there IS a heart murmur and referred us to Children's Mercy. She stated that it is very faint and isn't an emergency by any means, but better safe than sorry. Now I know that many people have had these all of their lives. I know some children outgrow them as they get older. I know that I shouldn't be worried, but if you knew the kind of luck my family has then you'd know I will always worry. She is scheduled for an ECHO in mid-October. I'm working on getting a new appointment though as it was scheduled at the wrong facility at the wrong time. *sigh*

I won't jump to the worst case scenario here, but still, I'm her mom. I worry. Forever. So keep us in your thoughts while we wait and hopefully all will be fine in the next month or so. Thanks!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wow! 3 Already????

Yep, that's right. My little baby girl is now 3. This, of course, requires me to stop calling her a baby girl. She reminds me constantly that she is now a big girl. Which she is, truly. We celebrated her 3rd birthday with family and friends at a local park shelter. She was a busy little girl, between playing, visting and opening presents, she was exhausted by the end of the day. We had beautiful weather for it too. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. So many family members and friends. It was just awesome!! As you can see, it was Tinkerbell from beginning to end that day. *smiles*

I still can't believe it's already been 3 years and at the same time I can't believe it's ONLY been 3 years. Did I have a life before her? I suppose, but not much of one.

Happy Birthday to my BIG girl!!
(P.S. You'll ALWAYS be my baby girl!!)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Growing up...

My little girl is getting to be a big girl so fast that I fear blinking and missing something. She is a girl that knows what she wants and conquers whatever goal I set for her to get what she wants.

Not long after turning 2 I geared up for the big potty training adventures. I bought her new pretty underwear and let her know as soon as she started going on the big potty consistently she would be able to wear the pretty underwear and get rid of diapers forever. It took approximately 1 week for her to make the decision final and that was that. Now almost a year later and she has had 4 "accidents" and 2 of those were within the first month.

Now she is quickly coming up on 3 years old. She still had her "binky" (pacifier) and I was sure this was going to be an incredibly hard thing for her to give up. About a month ago I started telling her, "Your birthday is coming up and when you turn 3 you'll be a big girl and there won't be anymore binky...BUT we can get your ears pierced!" I would repeat this every time she made the request (a.k.a. demand) for her binky. One week ago Saturday she came home from her dad's house and looked in need of a nap. We were laying on my bed talking when she said, "I don't need this anymore", pulled her binky out, went to her room and threw it away. I was stunned but praised her for finally getting rid of it and reminded her that one week without it would result in her ears being pierced just like me.

She gave in to temptation a couple of times over the next couple of days, but spit each one in the trash for something else she wanted. Then, it was just done. Gone. Forgotten. The following Saturday she got her ears pierced and was the happiest girl alive. Since then, not even the mention of the binky.

In less than one short year she has gone from my tiny baby girl to my little girl. I still steal hugs and kisses every chance I get though.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fun Summer Days

Ashlyn and I haven't been doing too many terribly exciting things, but we've enjoyed the summer. She would play outside if it were 400 degrees. I, on the other hand, am not fond of the near 100 degrees we've recently been surviving. *sigh*

One of the fun new things we did this year, was to enjoy the fountains at my place of employment. This was many weeks ago, and yes, I've been a bad blogger. In my defense, summer makes my desire to sit infront of a computer a little less, well, desirable.

When we first got to the fountains she would slowly stick her arm or her hand in the fountain and giggle and quickly pull it back out. Eventually she was running through them and around them and was soaked from head to toe. As she ran the gauntlet of fountains she started to slow down a little more each time (this was after about 500 times of running the length of the fountains), she put her hand on her chest and exclaimed, "Mom! I lost 20 pounds!" Yes, I seriously thought about running as much as her to lose my own 20 pounds, but it was just too darn hot. The fountains covered her from head to toe, but since I'm about 3 1/2 feet taller than her, it wasn't going to have the same cooling effect on me. Darn it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

My poor girl. Sometimes she just won't give up even when she's super tired. She does everything she can to stay awake. This time, sleep won...right in the middle of one of her all time favorite movies, "Tinkerbell".

P.S. Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. As some of you know, I was gone for 9 days to a convention in Reno for work. It was a great learning and networking experience for me, and I called Ashlyn everyday. She chose not to speak to me most of the time but toward the end of my trip, she was ready for me to come home. Upon my return home, I went to pick her up at her Papa & Nana's house. She squealed with delight to see me and then went running the other direction claiming to be "Very mad at me." *sigh* Well, now I've been home a week and she's back to being my happy girl again. Thankfully I have no long trips planned for the near future!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Arm!

Well, we made the trip back to St. Louis on May 10th. We didn't do a whole lot while we were there. The weather wasn't really cooperative for a trip to the zoo as we had planned. It was quite windy and I don't think it made it over 60 degrees.

We arrived at Shriner's for our appointment and were quickly seen by the S.H.O.P. (Shriner's Hospital Orthodics and Prosthetics). Our first problem was the fact they had made her a right arm...and well...she already has one of those. *smile* That problem was quickly remedied and we got to try on the new arm. It's quite heavy and cumbersome, but she stood there like a champ while they adjusted all the straps. Once everything was adjusted she couldn't wait to take it off. LOL. So, they took it off to make some other adjustments for her petite size. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hospital and then went back to give it another shot.

After getting the arm back in place and showing her how it worked we headed upstairs for therapy. There were so many toys to play with that we quickly lost her to the world of toys. My mom and I talked to therapist and tried to get Ashlyn to interact with us with the new arm. Nope, wasn't going to happen. Soon enough she pulled her little arm out of the contraption and just let it hang there while she went about playing with all the toys using her little arm instead of her new helper arm. I was told that if she didn't want to wear, not to make her. Don't let it become a battle. Well, I don't know if you've met my girl, but if she doesn't want to do something, no matter how much you try to get her to do it...it's not going to happen. Stubborn little mule just like her mommy I guess.

So it's been a couple of days, and I've tried bribery to get her to wear it. That lasts about 5 minutes per session and then she is screaming and crying for me to take it off. It isn't exactly "comfortable" for her, so I'm going to keep messing with it and encouraging her to see if we can get this to work and show her the benefits it can hold IF she CHOOSES to use it. This, to me, is an OPTION not a REQUIREMENT...so time will tell. She is only 2 after all, and she's a girl, so she has years and years and years of changing her mind ahead of her.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ashlynisms - #2

Although my sarcastic 2 year old had many clever things to inform me of this week, I chose one that really stuck in my mind. Enjoy.

Ashlyn - Mommy, I found a baby for you.

Me - Really. Wow. Thank you.

Ashlyn - *hands me a very tiny imaginary baby...it fit in one hand*

Me - *put my hand to my mouth as if I were tossing back a handful of M&M's*

Ashlyn - MOMMY! *heavy sigh and hand on her hip* SPIT THAT OUT!! You don't eat the baby!

Me - *spitting out the imaginary baby* Sorry, I didn't know.

Ashlyn - You go TIME OUT!! *pointing to the corner with another heavy sigh and hand back on hip*

She's so darn cute!! :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back to St. Louis - Her new arm is READY!

Okay, so this picture doesn't really represent the subject matter of today's blog, but I like it and that's all that matters. *tee hee*

I received a call from Shriner's today and Ashlyn's new arm is ready. I'm so excited. I don't know why, but when they called my eyes just welled up with tears. I'm excited, but I'm nervous and scared too. I just think it's so amazing what Shriner's can do for children and how lucky Ashlyn and I are to have them as a resource in our lives.

So we are headed back in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping to make a stop by to see a fellow blogger's house to meet her daughter that has the same limb difference as Ashlyn.

I think this is going to be the coolest thing ever...I just hope she feels the same way. Wish us luck!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ashlynisms - Week 1

Ashlyn started talking before she was one. What was once language only understood by those that where with her a lot, has now turned into a very clear and audible non-stop chatterbox full of things that continually catch me off guard and make be double over in laughter. How does a 2 year old have such a wicked sense of humor. It's in her blood I guess. She knows when she's telling a joke, she knows when she's being funny and she seems to thoroughly enjoy being an entertainer.

My family has been using "Ashlynisms" since she first started talking. She called my brother "Uncle Beep Beep", and it caught on and is still around. Oh there are so many I just can't think of them right now. So, with that said I'm going to try to post weekly "Ashlynisms". Enjoy!

April 19-25, 2010

1.) While sitting on the big potty with me holding her hand so she doesn't fall in she leans really far back and says, "I'm gonna fall in the potty". I say, "Oh no baby don't do that." She says, "I'll fall in the potty and you just flush me down". I say, "Oh I wouldn't flush you down, I love you too much." She replies with her head tilted and her eyes sort of scrunched up, "Yeah, you flush me down and you get a new baby." I looked at her funny and then we both burst with laughter.

2.) Wednesday nights we go to my father and step-mother's house (Ashlyn's Papa and Nana). We have dinner, visit, play and just have a nice evening. Ash and I don't usually leave until her bedtime, so I make sure to change her into her PJ's before we leave on the off chance she will fall asleep on the way home, I don't have to wake her up to change her when we do get home.

We were leaving this past Wednesday and she wanted to walk to the car. She had on her PJ's with socks, no shoes. I told her that was fine as long as she stayed on the sidewalk or in the driveway. She agreed, but soon broke the deal by walking on the large flat rock around my dad's flower bed and fountain. I told her to stay off the rock and out of the grass. She responded by stepping right off the rocks into the grass and looking at me rather smugly. I headed towards her and she took off around the other side of the bushed and down the driveway to where Papa and Nana were standing. I yelled her name, so she stopped, grinned and stepped right into the grass again with the same smug expression. I told her she was about to get a spanking if she didn't stay out of the wet grass in her sock feet (which I rarely do more than threaten because she normally straightens up pretty quick). She walked back up the sidewalk, stood right in front of me, wiggled her bottom and said "My bum's right here!" She had us all laughing like crazy with that one.

Ah...my darling Ashlyn. How cute it is now...how scared I am when you get older. *smile and cringe*

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First Trip to the Movies

My entire life I have enjoyed cartoons. However, the ones I grew up don't hold a candle to the things they have today. Wow! Now I don't have to feel like a goofball going to see them as an adult, because now I have Ashlyn and she is my reason (and/or excuse) to see all the great new kid movies.

When we went to St. Louis a couple of weeks ago, we stopped by McDonalds. She got a Happy Meal that contained a two-headed dragon action figure from the movie "How to Train Your Dragon". Since then, everytime we saw a commercial she would say she wanted that movie. So we finally made it to the movies last night to see it.

We went to see the 3D version which is INCREDIBLE. To everyone, if you have not seen a 3D movie recently, I highly suggest going and doing just that. It's not the same as the old paper glasses with blue and red film over each eye. It's a whole new ball game. Even the previews were in 3D and it was fantastic. Ashlyn wore her glasses for about the first 30 minutes or so. Then she got tired of them. She watched the movie but (upon removing my glasses I saw this too) it was kind of blurry because it was meant to be watched with the glasses. I think she got bored with it because she didn't want to wear them, or the fact that she's only 2 1/2 may have had something to do with it.

The movie was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even with battling her to sit still and be quiet. She really did do great for her age though. At one point, she even screamed when the dragon's got a little nutty on the big screen. (Ha ha!) If you haven't seen this movie, I suggest you go see it...and make sure you see the 3D version. She was a little too young to catch the parts about the "prosthetic" usage, lol.

So, note to self. Ashlyn is a little young to go to the movies and sit quietly (unless it's Tinkerbell, then the rest of the world doesnt exist). Maybe we'll give it another shot in a year or so. We still had a good time. She had a new experience as did mom and I.

I'm hoping to go on our next adventure soon....to the ZOO!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Wonderful Easter

Ashlyn had a terrific Easter this year. She spent the first half of the day with her dad and his family. Then she got to spend the second half of the day with me and my family. She was all about the hunting of Easter eggs this year too. Isobella (her 2nd cousin) got to enjoy her first Easter egg hunting as well.

We colored eggs earlier in the week, but somehow they were still leaking colors onto our hands during the hunting festivities. It has all washed off, so there is another thing to be thankful for. *smiles*

I love this holiday. It marks the true beginning of Spring. The air is warmer, the grass is getting greener (by the hour it seems), the flowers are starting to blossom and it's just a great holiday.

Here are few pictures of our Easter day activities.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming Soon: New Arm

Dear maker of the portable DVD player. I love you!! You are a dream come true. How did parents travel with their children prior to this invention? I shudder at the very thought. I owe you much gratitude for your brilliant ideas and wisdom. Will you marry me?

The trip to St. Louis was a very nice trip. Thanks to my mom and the ever wonderful portable DVD player. We headed out in the early afternoon on Sunday. Monsters, Inc. was the in-car movie of choice (she’s only seen this about 1,000 times). I thought she would sleep soundly since we kept her up and hit the road close to her normal nap time. Nope, she stayed awake long enough to watch the entire movie. Once it was over, she was asleep in about 2.2 seconds. We made it to Kingdom City before making our first stop. Legs needed stretching, food, drink and just a break from driving. Ashlyn was sound asleep. Well, as soon as the door closed she was wide awake and ready for some McDonald’s. We all piled out of the car and grabbed a bite to eat and prepared for the next leg of our trip. Panic struck when the DVD player wouldn’t work. I thought it had run out of juice, turns out she had just kicked it and somehow hit it just right and turned the power off. Oh well, we made the last bit of our journey without the help of the DVD player and survived…somehow.

We arrived at out hotel just after 6 p.m. We got to our room and unloaded our belongings. Ashlyn has never stayed in a hotel to my knowledge, but when I asked if she had ever been to a hotel she replied, “Yeah, I stay here all the time,” and very matter-of-factly about it. Little knucklehead. Our room overlooked the pool, which of course is closed because it’s an outdoor pool and it’s still way too cold to be swimming outdoors. After unloading all of our things, we decided to get a trial run in to the hospital so we would know where we were going. Good thing too, because Google Maps gave us the run around. Had we not been there before and knew what the hospital looked like and the surrounding area, who knows where we would have ended up. Alas, we found it and it was going to be a fairly easy commute in the morning we hoped. We then set out to go shopping for a bit, just to get out of the car and wander around. I had hoped we would make it there long before we did so that we could visit the Magic House in Kirkwood, MO which looked like a ton of fun for all of us. It closed at 5:30 though and wasn’t open on Mondays. Just my luck. *sigh* We went to Walmart instead. Woo hoo. Do we know how to live it up or what? Eh, it was still shopping. Pretty much the entire town was closed by the time we got there except for all the stores that we have at home.

After shopping for a bit and buying nothing of any real value, we grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel. Have you ever stayed at a hotel with a 2 year old? Craziness I tell you. Complete craziness. It was probably from being cooped up in a car for 4+ hours, but she had energy to burn. She ran around the room, opening and closing doors, flushing the toilet 100 times, jumping on the bed, climbing in the chairs…it was as though she’d just been let out of a cage. Crazy girl. Needless to say, when bedtime came along she was just not ready to call it a night. We had a battle of wills, and eventually, I won.

The next morning we arrived at Shriner’s. I can’t say enough good things about this hospital. I wish it were closer to home, but other than that I do not have a single complaint. Our appointment was at 9 a.m. We arrived around 8:45. Ashlyn, upon entering the doors, received a beautiful handmade knitted blanket. She thought that was fantastic. When we got signed in at “The Shop” (this is what they call the prosthetic/orthotic making area of the hospital), she got a beanie baby puppy and promptly swiped one for me too. (No worries, I made sure it was okay before we took 2 puppies home). We were seen by 8:55. She was so incredibly good. She sat there while she was measured, marked, cast and measured some more and didn’t act up at all. I did leave the room at one point to go to the car to get her “baby arm” to return to them if they could re-use it, and she was a little worried while I was gone (my mom stayed with her), but other than that she was good as she could possibly be. She sat very still while all this was going on, making it much easier to get things done I’m sure. Then she got to pick out a fabric for her new arm. After much debate and a few “Uh, no” moments from me, we decided on a very pretty pastel colored butterfly pattern. I’m thinking she’s going to want to wear the arm just for the pretty material. She’s so much like me it’s scary. We were informed that this new arm will be a “functioning” arm. It will come equipped with hinges and all so that she will be able to open and close the arm. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but in 2-3 weeks we’ll be headed back to pick it up and learn all about it. I’m excited. I don’t think she has this all figured out either, so I’m eager to see her reaction and to see if she is excited, indifferent or total against the idea. It’s her call. I just hope she doesn’t discount it too quickly.

I had hoped that we would be able to go to the City Museum after our visit to the hospital, but that too was closed on Mondays. Maybe next time our trip will be during the time some of these things are open. *fingers crossed* We could have gone to the zoo or the botanical gardens, but it was still fairly chilly and pretty windy and I didn’t think we all needed to be out wandering around in that. So, after the hospital we stopped for brunch and then headed home. We took our time getting home because it was early and we had nothing set to do for the rest of the day. We made a few stops and even bought her a couple of shirts (because she’s spoiled that way) and then eventually stopped for ice cream in our home town and got home to sit on the deck and relax. Ahhh…it was good to be home.

She’s just such an amazing little girl. I can’t tell you how proud of her I am. Words just don’t describe it. Newly potty trained and logging 8+ hours in a car in two days and not even have the smallest of an accident. She acted up every now and then, but she’s 2, it’s to be expected. All in all it was a very good trip. It was kind of nice to get away for a little while and having her with us was just wonderful. I really don’t know what I would have done without my mom’s help and the assistance of the portable DVD player. I probably would have just gone with earplugs and driving at warp speed. *smiles*

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Potty Training Success

My girl has been working on this whole potty training thing. I hesitated to write sooner because I was afraid I would jinx it. I think I'm in the clear now.

So, about 6 weeks ago we started on this long journey of potty training. We had been doing a little bit here and there, but she was happy to run and hide somewhere and potty in her diaper and when you would take her to the bathroom she was kicking and screaming the whole way 90% of the time.

One evening Ashlyn joined me in the bathroom while I took a shower. She played with her toys and chatted with me while I showered and then she got quiet. Well, every one knows that a quiet kid isn't a good thing when they aren't in your direct line of sight. I yelled her name a couple of times and could see her blurry figure though the steam covered glass doors of the shower so I knew she wasn't hurt, but finally curiosity got the best of me so I stuck my head out the door and there she stood with my underwear on her head proudly proclaiming, "Look ma, I got your clothes on." I, of course laughed and told her those didn't belong and her head but when I was done I would show her how "big girls" go to wear underwear.

After finishing my shower, I did just that. She was very impressed with the fact that I didn't have to wear a diaper and she demanded underwear right then and there for herself. I was caught off guard because she had never really express much interest in underwear or become a full fledged potty-trained girl. I promised I would get her new underwear soon but that she had to start going potty on her chair and not her diapers. She agreed to do whatever I asked for the sake of underwear. Fair enough.

Once the underwear was purchased (SEVERAL PAIRS because I'm OCD like that) she was thrilled to bits that she was going to get to wear them. I was thrilled to bits that she WANTED to wear them. That weekend it seemed I had jumped the gun yet again. She would wet her pants and continue to play as though nothing were wrong. She would do the other and not care one bit. I was hoping she'd take to it like a fish in water, but that wasn't going to happen. It took about a week and then it started to sink in with her. She had done good at daycare all day and we went to my dads and she had an accident and was incredibly upset by it. She wanted underwear and she wanted CLEAN underwear at all times. That was over a month ago now and she has not had a single accident, not one. Not even at nap time or bedtime. She was just DONE WITH DIAPERS. I had, of course, just purchased a brand new pack of night-time pull-ups on the off chance she would need them, and she just proved me wrong yet again. (I'm sure this "proving me wrong" thing is bound to be repeated about a zillion-trillion times in my life.)

So, she is now 100% potty trained. She will even go into the bathroom by herself, undress herself (providing the clothes aren't too cumbersome - which I try to avoid), go potty in her potty chair, dump it into the big potty and flush. It was like it just clicked and she had grown up overnight.

I'm so proud of her. Again, proving to me that she can (and will) do anything she sets her mind to do...also proving that she is growing up just too darn fast. Speaking of growing, she's also going through a growth spurt. Where did my little helpless baby that needed me for everything go???

Monday, March 8, 2010

Appointment with Shriner's in St. Louis

I'm so excited to say that we have an appointment with Shriners in St. Louis on March 29th. My mom and I are going to head out the Sunday before so we aren't spending 8+ hours on the road in one day, since I'll be doing the driving. We used to take the Shriner's van and it would be a full day trip to and from and also the doctor's appointment. That was when she was little and would spend most of the trip sleeping. Now, however, at 2 1/2 she talks non-stop and I'm afraid they would kick us all off out of the van because no one would be able to sleep. :)

It will make a nice little get-away for the 3 of us also. We are going to leave on Sunday mid-afternoon early enough to arrive before dark. I'm sure Ashlyn is going to LOVE being in a hotel for the first time ever. We'll spend the evening there thinking of ways to entertain her, since she has the attention span of a...well, 2.5 year old. Her appointment is at 9:00 am on Monday.

This appointment will just be for a fitting for her new arm. I'm excited about this because this arm should be a more useful arm. It'll be a new "gadget" for her to explore and learn to use. She doesn't really "need" it because she has compensated for the lack of a left arm so well. I just don't want to limit her if she wants to become a super-user of the new arm.

She showed her first real signs of interest in getting a new arm a couple of weeks ago. She found her old arm in a desk in our entry hall. Although it didn't fit (since that was from our last trip at 9 months old) she stuck it on her little arm and waved it around saying "Hi!" to me and my mom. It was pretty darn cute. So I asked if she wanted to go get a new one. Of course she did, she wants anything NEW. Shoes, clothes, ponytail ties, dresses...yep...she's her momma's girl alright.

I'm sure I'll be posting more between now and then. In fact I KNOW I will because I now have potty-training bragging rights!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

She's not only extremely cute...she is super smart too!

I met with the School District this week to discuss what options are available for Ashlyn and what might be needed for the transition from daycare to kindergarten in a couple of years. We discussed her motor skills, her comprehension, her speech, her "education" level and pretty much everything that is required for kindergarten. We talked for about 30 minutes and the director was amazed at how much Ashlyn already knew. She knows her ABC's, she can count to 24, she knows her colors, she can sing songs with several words, she can can follow lengthy directions, she potty-trained...in short, there is nothing that she can't do.

Once the meeting was over, the director advised me that she had been working in this position for 10 years and had never told a parent this but, "She doesn't need any assistance. There is nothing we can do to advance her because she is already doing at 2 1/2 what we would hope for (and rarely see) with some of the kiddo's going on to kindergarten, with and without any disabilities." Wow!! That was a GREAT way to start my day.

We did discuss the fact that she still had almost 3 years before starting Kindergarten, so there was the possibility that she could start falling behind in some areas, and this meeting was not a final decision written in stone that she could never get assistance. It was just letting me know that Ashlyn is WAY ahead of children her age in so many areas that right now, well, she's just too smart. *smile*

I told the director that was kind of what I was expecting to hear, but just didn't want to miss any opportunities that may be out there for her. I mean, I KNOW she's smart, but it never hurts to hear it from people outside the family and friends circle.

So anyone that has a child with a limb difference or limb loss, just because they may be missing a limb certainly doesn't mean they will be falling behind in any area of their life. They will compensate and amaze you over and over and over again!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome to Ashlyn's World

Ashlyn was born in September of 2007. Prior to her arrival I had no idea that she was missing her left forearm and hand. When she finally made her way into the world (she is as stubborn now as she was then), I was told so many different things caused this. We went to Shriner's when she was about 4 months old and we were finally told they really don't have any idea what the real cause is. It is just a lack of development. More common in girls than boys. More common in the left arm than the right arm. This, at least, gave me the satisfaction of knowing that I didn't do anything wrong. That had always been one of my greatest fears, thinking that I had somehow caused this to happen. That, in fact, is not the case. I was very thankful to hear that.

During the first few months of her life I had times of disbelief and sadness. I was confused and scared of what life had in store for her in the future. People can be so rude and unbearable at times. How would I be able to shelter her? Ah yes, Finding Nemo comes to mind over and over again, even today. However I have incredible support from my family. I knew that with the love I had for this child of mine (even before I met her) and the love and support of my family and friends and extended family, we would conquer any obstacle that was presented to us, and boy have we ever!!!

I thought about blogging several times. I had another blog before she was born that was more about me and the things I was going through at the time just before her birth. I didn't feel that starting that blog over would do her justice and so I have started a new blog that will only pertain to Ashlyn. Her life, her successes, her stubbornness...all in all her WORLD!

Welcome to ASHLYN'S WORLD!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!