Thursday, July 31, 2014

Returning Home

Returned home from my work conference out of state, and I got to pick Ashton up from daycare.  When she saw me, she asked, "Where's Daddy?"  Much better than last year when she wouldn't even look at me.

I forced a couple of hugs and kisses out of her and all was good.  We had dinner and I was ready for bed before Ashton's bed time.

I gave her a bath and she had fun - loves baths that one!  I put her in her backwards pajamas.  Then I went to rock her to sleep.  She didn't want to be rocked.  Just tucked in bed, with the instructions to keep the door open and hide the scroll over the mirror with a blanket.  

I then left and passed out in bed.   I woke around 9:45 pm to my husband coming home.  We chatted and talked plans for our new puppy arrival on Saturday.  Then by 11:30 pm, Ashton was awake and was brought in to me in bed.  I gave her some juice and we ate a few Pringles together.  She was all smiles!

That moment together made me feel so much better.  She truly did miss her mommy and wanted us to be together.  What a great memory!

It was so good to know I hadn't missed a beat with my daughter and all was fine.  She snuggled up with me for a bit and then off to bed again, no fuss.

Good to be home!
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Soccer, Birthday, Violin, and more

Yesterday was Lau Lau's birthday.  So she was coming over for hotdogs and birthday cupcakes.  Ashton was very upset that she wasn't home the moment she got home.  She didn't want to wait.

So we passed the time with a little soccer.  Daddy got out his soccer ball and started airing it up.  Then gave another soccer ball to Ashton.

Ashton played for a minute or two but was more interested in pumping up her ball.

Ami was in my lap watching on.  And was being so cute.  He doesn't know his world will be rocked with a puppy in a week's time!

Lau Lau arrived and Ashton gave her a present she made just for her.  She made it at her daycare for her!  Can you believe it?  Sad to know it's closing soon.

Ashton didn't want to eat her WHOLE hot dog, but we persisted so she could eat her cupcake.  And man, did she want that cupcake.  She was in Heaven when she stated eating it.

She even gave a performance or practice session for LauLau to see.  For those who've only seen pictures and no video of her playing, this is a tiny taste. 

She is going to start learning "Twinkle, Twinkle" very soon!  Maybe by the end of the year she can play it.  But we have good days of practice and not so good days where it feels like we're going backwards.  But she's still passionate about the violin as ever.

What's funny is the day before Ashton was begging if she could sing "Happy Birthday" to her.  Then day of, she was too shy to do it.  Just clammed up!  Maybe she'll be able to wish her Daddy a happy birthday next month.

All in all though, I think Lau Lau had a nice birthday sharing it with the family!
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Fear Rollercoaster

Yesterday, before it was close to bedtime, Ashton pointed to a dog toy (a turtle) and asked if it was scary.  I think she's going through a phase.  She's unsure of what to be afraid of, and can't vocalize why it scares her.

I dreaded rocking her for bed last night, curious if she would want more things out of her room.  So I decided the last hour before bed we would play up all her favorite things to do to keep her mood happy.

I gave her a bubble bath.  We read stories together.  We danced and sang.  And intermittently during this time, she would ask about things in her room, scary or not.  I then tried asking her if she'd let us return her mirror to her room, and I would let her have lots of lotion.  (She loves lotion like crazy!  Wants more and more all the time.)  She agreed.

So we brought in the mirror.  She seemed hesitant.  I let her touch it.  And she would touch the scroll at the top for only a second and ask again, "It not scary?"  We then lotioned her up to her hearts content.  I rocked her and when I put her to bed (she's never asleep) I gave her 2 blankets, two daisies (pillowcases to suck on), and a group of foxes to protect her.  She even asked to have Ace, her LARGE fox with her in her crib.

Of course I had to keep the door open.  It's not a big deal, except that means the cats can get in, and they usually want to jump into the crib with her which wakes her up and gives her a fright.

I promised to check in on her as I always do.  And she laid down.  Half an hour (not sleeping ever the entire time - I know because I checked in on her as I promised) later she was screaming.  I walked in and rocked her again, stroked her back, had Daddy do the same, and after another hour got her to bed.  Got her situated with all her protectors and left the room.

In 20 minutes, she was asleep.  I took a picture of her being peaceful and with her bodyguards.  

She goes to bed several hours earlier then we do.  (And that's the only time I get anything done around the house or have me time).  So luckily getting her to sleep didn't stop me from getting any sleep last night.

And boy have I needed it!  I've been working 10-12 hour days at work non-stop for a while.  I'm so brain fried!!

I leave for Iowa next week for our conference.  So this week has been hectic getting it all together (as well as the Indy conference the following week) and getting out a huge statewide RFP yesterday!  I think I'll start feeling more myself by the end of next week, just in time for our new puppy!!

However, with her new fears, leaving her for Iowa will be heart wrenching!  I am afraid for her, that she'll bond closer to daddy more than ever and not need me, and just all those little things.  But I'm sure it'll be fine.  I hope I get to skype with her while gone.

Last year, I only got to skype with her once.  And when I returned home, my little girl became a daddy's girl and wouldn't even acknowledge my existence for a few days!!  It was so hard!!

Hopefully, this year will be different.  I pray she will be brave and be ready for a kiss and hug when I come back!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


She looks peaceful, doesn't she?

However, lately it's been a fight getting her to this point.

I've mentioned on and off how there are times we can get her straight to be and nights where she just has to cry it out.

Well, usually if she's crying, we just let her until she falls asleep.  We know the real cry of fear and the cry I just don't want to go to sleep.

On and off there are nights when she wakes up from a nightmare of just disoriented and we go in.  Those are long nights.  She doesn't usually go back to sleep for hours.  She hates sleep.

Well, as of last weekend, things have shifted.  I hope it's a phase, but it's been very taxing on us and I'm sure on her.

I was rocking her per usual, singing, telling stories, she was all smiles.  Then I went to lay her down.  She would either - 

a) lay down ready to go to bed
b) ask for a book to "read" in bed, but ready for me to leave her with quiet time
c) cry, asking for me to come back and check on her after a time as she's not ready to go to bed.

This time it was D.

d) Wrap every part of her around me, clinging as if I were laying her onto fire, and scream.

I asked her what was wrong.

"I scary." she said.  Translation "I'm scared."

"Of what?"

She pointed to the corner left of her crib.  

"Of the mirror?" I asked. 


I pointed to each of the toys, she would reply no.  I picked her up and brought her close to the corner dresser and she got very fearful.

She pointed to the top of the mirror.

"This?" I touched the top scroll of the mirror.

"Yeah." she replied.

I threw a pair of pants of her over it to hide it.  "It's gone."

"It go away?" she asked.

"Yes."  But she was still scared.  I had to rock her more and let her scream it out.

Why she's afraid of the scroll on top of the mirror, I'll never know.

Next night, same problem, but more afraid.  This time we had to REMOVE the mirror from her room!  Along with more items she was afraid of, such as her China "It's a Small World!" doll, a pair of southern lions from China, her piggy bank, and her favorite music box - the nutcracker!  I so don't get it.  And she's still scared to go to bed.

The next night and since, we now have to leave her door open.  It's been awful.  My heart goes out to her, but I don't understand.  Why are the things that have no thought or that gave her joy, so scary now?

I truly hope this is a short phase.  I hate to see her so scared, and I'm afraid her room will be bare by the time it's all said and done.

I talked with her daycare, and nothing is different there.  So I have no idea where this got triggered from.  I can only hope it's a phase that all children go through.  She's been asking more and more "Is it scary?"  And I always reassure her that she loves it, or it's funny or safe.  I want my brave little girl that rides horses, and love dogs, and climbs as high as she can to come back.

I can't take all her fears away, but I hope I can reassure her that we wouldn't let harm come to her and that her room is a haven. 

We can only continue this ride with her and see where it goes, or when it ends.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Last Visit

Today was our last visit with our puppy before she comes home with us. 

We're still working on the name.  We have our list, but when we ask Ashton what does she want to name the puppy, she thinks for a second then says, "Dalmatian!"  

We all had a great time with "Dalmatian" today.  She had lots of energy and was chasing Ashton around for a good while!  Ashton loved it... she loves being chased.  Today was no snuggle time, just go...go..go...  Lots of spunk and running and playing tug on the new toys.  Ashton was very good with her and we get our new bundle of joy in 2 weeks!  So close, but so far!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Daycare Update

Just when you think your life can't get any crazier.

For Ashton, I'm sure everything is going normally.  No changes.  Last week, her day care provider was on vacation, so Ashton got time home with Daddy all week.  A little change, but nothing overwhelming.

As for this mommy, I've decided to take on a lot.  I don't know why.  I didn't intend to but I am.

This is always a hectic time for me as I have my company's conferences coming around the corner.  Again, I'll be gone to Iowa for a week and busy with one here in Indianapolis the following week.  The conferences, I plan about a year out, I know it comes with the job.

Then I decided to do Walk the Wall.  It is September 13th.  So no big worries.  It doesn't fall really in my way for the conferences.

Then I decided to help a friend out and help assistant direct a play.  I've been away from theater a long time.  I thought this may be a good way to may be get back in.  It opens the same weekend as Walk the Wall, but I can bow out there and know the ship can sail without me.  Auditions were this weekend.  And rehearsals start next week.  (So again, I can't commit during the conference weeks.)   So I am now busy with conference stuff during the day and theater at night.

Then in June, my company announced an acquisition of another company.  So my conference planning got put on hold for a month as I scrambled to do all the acquisition things (it happened a couple days before my North Carolina vacation!)  So I've been swamped catching up on conference stuff.

Then we decided we weren't busy enough, and decided to get a dog.  she joins our home August 2nd, right after I return from Iowa and before the Indianapolis conference.  Talk about timing.

So I've been burning the candle at both ends, and trying to fit in Ashton time.  I'm exhausted, and haven't even gotten to the conference yet.

That being said, I have been praying for calmness and clarity of thought and energy to get through it all.  

Well, Monday when I returned Ashton to her daycare, I asked the daycare provider how her vacation cruise was.  She got engaged.  That was great.  But also, she was told by her grandmother to move out of the house in the next couple months, so the daycare is closing down!  She was in tears telling me this.

She hopes to find a place big enough for the daycare, but with such little notice, she doesn't think it is possible.  Therefore, with the new school year looming ahead, I must find Ashton a new daycare.

I've been trying to figure out how to fit that in my already hectic schedule.  I hate the idea of uprooting Ashton, after she just got settled there... however, life doesn't work that way.

So now I have to find a new daycare, and fit in time to visit with them to see what will be best for Ashton.  On top of theater, the walk-a-thon, the conferences, the acquisition, the quality time to spend with my daughter, and planning/quality time I must spend with the new puppy.  It's a bit overwhelming!  But I'm doing my best to take it all in stride.

I'm sure this is all for the best, and when it's done I can say I was a rock star to get it all accomplished.  But right now, I want sleep.  Precious days of sleep.  No interruptions.  I can't even focus on house chores with all of this looming.  I've been working 10+ hours every workday for the last 3 weeks, and it's beginning to take its toll.

I just keep thinking if I can get through the Iowa conference, Indianapolis should be easy as I'll be home.  But with a new puppy, maybe not.  We'll see.  I'm just trying to focus on the closest goal.  But I hope that all this is worth it.  I want to give Ashton my all, and with the conferences, looking for a new daycare, planning for a puppy, talking to potential sponsors for Walk the Wall, regular chores, and theater... I wonder if I have anything left for her.

Was I wrong to go back to theater?  May be a puppy was wrong.  Perhaps I've bitten off too much with Walk the Wall.  I'm just exhausted, and I can't drop anything that's on my plate.  I just hope Ashton doesn't feel like I'm leaving her out.  I'm still with her, but feel more distracted.

She's one of the top priorities in my life, but I feel that things are getting cluttered.  I wonder how much she notices.  I just can't wait for stillness in my head.  There's too much fluttering about.  

And I want to be able to focus on finding her a great daycare.  We'll see what the upcoming weeks brings. I'm thankful that God has faith in me to give me only what I can handle, but I'd like a little less on my plate.
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Unexpected Craftsman

Getting a new puppy, we went to Lowes, yesterday, to see if they had any cylinder foam to wrap around table lets, to help prevent from chewing.  Upon doing so, we saw a bunch of kids in aprons and goggles building wooden projects.  Lowes has a 'Build and Grow' program for kids.  

Today's project was a racing snail that had wheel to zip around. They said Ashton could do one right now if she wanted.  And the best part, it's FREE!

Ashton was thrilled.  We loved the whole spontaneity of it all and decided Ashton could build one herself.

She was given a free apron, goggle, and kit.  I put the apron on her... she didn't care for the goggles one bit.  She kept saying they hurt, no matter how loose I made the straps.

Ashton loved hammering.  She kept asking if she could hammer more and more.  

My husband helped her hammer the pieces together while I helped her decorate it with stickers.  She was so cute about the entire process.

At the end she made her own racing snail.  She got a completion certificate and badge.  the badge can iron on the apron for which projects you complete!  It was such a cool experience.  We can't wait do do another one in the future.

Ashton liked it so much, she hated having to turn in her hammer at the end of the project.  So we pursued the store and found Ashton-sized hammer and screwdrivers for her to have of her very own.

We then went home for Ashton to change for Bastille Day. I loved her pillowcase dress; and she had the best occasion to wear it. 

While there she kept wanting to see the elephant.  I think the elephant is always there, but just dressed up for the occasion.

Some of our friends were there and Ashton enjoyed seeing them all.  But she got bored quickly and begged to go to a playground.  So we indulged her and she had a blast going up and down and running to her heart's content.

We never found our leg foam wraps, but it was a good day!
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