Sunday, November 30, 2014

Prepping for Christmas

Now with Thanksgiving over, we're so ready to put up Christmas decorations.  Ashton screams with delight anytime I mention putting up Christmas decorations.  She's so excited to help.

This weekend's weather was perfect for hanging the lights outside.  Ashton loved it too!

But she was more excited about helping.  So, first we put on the lights on our glass Christmas trees.  I, on our, bigger green one that goes downstairs, and Ashton, on her little white one we got last year for her bedroom.  She was very careful and did her best not to have the same colored lights next to each other.  She did a great job!!  She was so proud of herself!!

As to what she's doing in this top photo, she loves to dance, hop, and spin about... this was a non-blurry moment of that, where she just looks funny and goofy and encompassing the silliness that is my daughter!!

She really wanted to get on the ladder to help put the branches up on the tree, but had to settle for handing them to her daddy.

We love our little helper and her enthusiasm about all the Christmas decorations.  It's going to be a wonderful Christmas this year.

Since we had a four-day weekend Ashton had begged to go to the Children's Museum... so on Sunday we obliged.  We went toy ice fishing, ice/sock skating, toy baking, rode the carousel, fed toy reindeer, went to "China" again, and went down the Yule slide!  Ashton loved it!  And this time with her signature photo in China, she wrapped her leg around the "dogs" as if to say "Mine!".

It's always fun to go to the Children's Museum.  We'll have to go again sometime soon as she spotted Santa there, and though we've met Santa already, she wants to do it again... and I see it as a strong possibility!
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks

It is Ashton's second Thanksgiving with us!  And it was a great one!  No toilet paper incident this year!

She wore her turkey dress and looked adorable!

My grandma usually doesn't have Thanksgiving with us.  She floats around to different houses, to usually the first who asks.  I happened to ask first again this year, so scored on having Grandma for 2 Thanksgivings in a row!  Ashton was very excited knowing Grandma and Lau Lau were coming for Thanksgiving!

And man, she couldn't wait to dive in.  As we were setting the table she grabbed a roll and dived in.  Everyone got our favorite Christmas plates for Thanksgiving, but Ashton got a special set all to herself.  It was a special China plate and cup with animals all on it that my Godmother gave to her.  She loved pointing out every animal on her cup and plate.

Usually, Ashton always is eager to say grace before eating.  however, with an audience she clammed up and couldn't speak.  So we said grace together.  Then we all said what we were thankful for... again, Ashton clammed up.  But it was okay.  She was happy and thankful to have good food and family.

We all then hung out together a bit and played The Christmas Game... a Thanksgiving and all December long tradition.  I've played it as long as I can remember.  Ashton was still a bit young, so rolled everyone's dice.  Grandma almost one, but my husband was the victor.  He always wins at games!  It's a bit infuriating.

Then was dessert.  Lau Lau brought a turkey cake just for Ashton... since we knew she wouldn't want pumpkin pie.

It was a big hit.  She especially loved all the icing!  Then I got in a few shots of the family!!

Amadeus wanted to sit with Grandma.  It was so sweet!  Dawson wanted her attention too.  She was popular.

It's been a struggle to get these two to look at the camera and smile at the same time and have Ashton not squirming... we finally after a year and a half have a winner!!!

Most are like this, but Lau Lau got in the picture and we got everyone at least smiling!

It was a great Thanksgiving!  We have much to be thankful for!
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Just a Normal Sunday

It was a beautiful 50 degrees out so Ashton begged to go outside and play.  So we let her.

She was so happy.  This girl loves the outdoors.

Came back in for lunch and it began to pour buckets outside.  Ashton was not happy.  Somehow, she got mud on her so time for a outfit change.

Luckily, after enough of us telling her it was raining and outside wasn't an option our cranky girl found others ways to amuse herself and us.

First we read one of her books to her and then she promptly wanted to read it to us!  It was great!!  Ashton "read" Dr. Seuss' "Fox in Socks" book.  It was very entertaining.

And then for the first time, without accompaniment, Ashton sang for us.  Yes, she was not as strong with her words as if she were singing with us, but we enjoyed hearing her solo so much more.  She was great!

We tried to introduce Ashton to "Finding Nemo"... but as usual, she wasn't interested in watching TV, and as there was no music... Sigh!!  Eventually, this girl will love watching movies.  One day!

Before bed, my hubby practiced with her for her violin performance for an upcoming Christmas concert in 2 weeks.  Ashton will play Twinkle variations and jingle some bells to "Jingle Bells".  We can't wait.  If she even just sits there and cries, she'll be the cutest thing ever!

Ashton just keeps blossoming before us and she has these amazing moments between the whining and struggling to get her to bed or sleep or other toddler meltdowns.  So worth it!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meeting Santa's Reindeer

Ashton loves animals.  Today was the lighting of the Christmas tree over in Carmel... so there was a big festivity going on.

Now I typically like to start Christmas celebrating right after Thanksgiving, but you go with the flow.

There were vendors selling foods and drinks, people selling soaps, bows, all sorts of things.  There were jugglers and a fire truck with a huge dog/dalmatian costume saying hello to all the kids.  And there was a long, long line for Santa!  Well, while in line we noticed that Silly Safaris brought 2 reindeer and some fun friends.

Ashton had been begging to meet real reindeer for awhile.  So we had to meet Noel and Clairese. We got out of the long line waiting for Santa and made our way over to the two reindeer! Ashton was thrilled.  Here she is petting Clairese!

She asked if she could ride them!  Silly girl!  Luckily we distracted her from our disappointing answer by having her meet more animals.

We first got to meet a ferret and a rabbit.  Ashton was startled by the rabbit, because when she went to pet him, he stood up.  But he was ever so soft!  Then she got to meet a baby owl and a skunk!  She loved it!!

Then she wanted to see Santa... but the line tripled since we got out.  It'd be a long wait and outside in the chill as well.  Yes, it warmed up to the 40s, and wasn't arctic 1 digit temps like it was the last couple weeks... however...

So we decided to ditch the lightening of the tree early... we saw the best part we thought already.  However, Ashton didn't want to miss Santa.  She was insistent!

So we told her to go home get in her Christmas dress and we'd go see Santa.  And we did, but went to another location... no line!!

Once she saw him she ran right to his lap and climb up all enamored.

He asked what she wanted for Christmas and didn't say a word.  So Dad helped out and would say, puzzles and she'd nod yes, then he'd say fox stuff, and she'd nod yes.  It was so cute.

So unlike last year, where it took her multiple visits to gain the courage to sort of sit near him as long as we were with her... she had none of that this year.

And here is the official photo.

So it looks like our holidays are off to a great start.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy, Spunky Girl is Back!

It's been a crazy, fun weekend.  Our sweet, laughable girl is coming back to us, and our sleep schedule is getting better - SLOWLY.  But there is so much to be thankful for.

This girl can't get enough of foxes... as you can plainly see.

The weekend was a lot of fun because we did a little Christmas shopping for us all and it just worked.  Ashton was loving running about and seeing all the Christmas decorations, and we just enjoyed seeing the wonder and excitement in her eyes.

But first when we got up for the day, I got her dressed and she looked so good in her new sassy boots that Lau Lau got her, so I took her picture, and at first I got the Wonder Woman look.

Then for breakfast after eating her cereal, she asked for pudding.  And we knew our girl was coming back, because of instead of a zombie or grumpy I don't want to eat girl, we got I'm being silly, and she purposefully put pudding on her face for a laugh.  And said one of her signature lines, "Funny!" and she says it in a sing-songy voice.

She loves to try to get a laugh out of anyone!

But the day was great, we found a Star Wars pop-up book which is great to introducing the characters to Ashton.  We were told a couple times we had the cutest kid, and she was hopping about, singing and excited.

There was a publicity stunt that one of the stores was doing, they had an inflatable snow globe for people to go inside and get their picture taken while wearing their fur coats.  What a trap for families with kids.  I saw a long line with kids wanting to get in the snow globe.  Our girl wanted to as well.  She was dying to get in the snow globe, but we told her no.  You'd thought we told her there was no Christmas.  She cried all the way back to the car.  But she quickly forgot about it once onto the next store.

We went to Michaels and she got to pick out her own 4 foot Christmas tree to have in her room.  We're doing Truth in the Tinsel this year.  And she's going to get to make her own ornaments for her own tree every day of December leading up to Christmas.  What's cool is it all coincides with passages from the Bible.  I'm very excited about this.  I'm crafty, but after work, I don't usually feel too crafty to do projects with Ashton.  But this I think I can handle.

When we first went, we thought we'd just find those little 2 footer trees for her room and she could pick out a green or all white, hopefully not all pink... But those were $25 a piece and for $19 she could have a 4 foot tree that came prelit.  We let her choose an all white light or multi lighted tree and she went multi light.  We then picked a ribbon to use at the top.  Since this tree is going to be in her room and we didn't want anything to break, we decided a ribbon was kid friendly and then as she gets older she can pick a star or angel if she wants.

We're hoping to decorate the tree every year with new ornaments and then her past ornaments can go to family or friends and they can have a "Ashton collection" of ornaments she worked on.  I think it could be really cool.

While at Michaels, we saw some small Thanksgiving projects for kids.  One was a little fox for under a buck.  So we bought it and will hopefully work on it the following weekend.

After Michaels, we stopped in for a bite to eat.  Ashton chowed down and wanted seconds.  She wasn't picking at it and she wanted more.  We knew our little girl was coming back from her terrible ordeal of not eating and it was a phase not a change!

It was a fun Saturday.  Sunday we got a lot done around the house.  We caught up on a lot of laundry and we got all the dust bunnies off the floors and even straightened up the closets.  Lau Lau visited and it was a nice day.  However, we had to drop Khaleesi off to the breeder's that night as they were going to drop her off at the vet's for us Monday morning.

You'd think we told Ashton we were giving up the dog.  She wailed and cried, she wanted her home with us.  We never told her Khaleesi was getting spayed.  We just told her that though we are her forever family, she wanted to see her birth mom, Ava the dalmatian because she missed her and that was okay.  It was awesome that Khaleesi had two mommies that loved her so much.  But we would never abandon her because we were her forever family.

I don't know if any of that sunk in her head or not, but I thought this may be a good way to plant the seed once Ashton becomes aware that she has 2 mothers.  I thought this was a good teaching tool.  I may never know, but I'm trying to lay the foundation in different ways.  I want to be sure she knows that families come in different ways and they're all wonderful.

Monday morning, Ashton still missed Khaleesi, but didn't fuss.  I told her that when she got home from the doctor that Khaleesi would be home waiting for her.

I took Ashton to the doctor, because she had to get a wart removed.  Ashton loves going to the doctor's office.  Which is strange.  Anytime she gets a tummy ache or feels badly, she asks me if she can go to the doctor.  Yet, when she's there she always tells them, "No band-aid", because she knows those come after getting a shot.

She was there, she didn't know what for, and was having fun passing the time counting the dots on their dominoes.

She opened the box on the floor and would take one out then put it on the back of the bench stacking them up just so.  Then when she ran out of dominoes from the box, she just moved the stacks around on the back of the bench.  She thought this game was great!

Then the Doctor came in and we had to freeze off the wart.  I had to hold one arm and both legs, a nurse held her other arm, while the doctor performed the freeze.  Ashton was hysterical, everyone in the building could hear her scream.  She kept screaming, "Done now!", "Done now!"  When they were she got to go to the toy chest, which is for all the kids, there are small plastic toys for the kids.  Ashton always picks out a car, usually a green car.  But this time I think the doctor felt very bad for Ashton's hysterics, so sent a nurse out with a little bean bag bear for Ashton to have.  It was a glittery pink bear, named Samantha, after the nurse who gave it to her.

Ashton promptly gave me the bear and car to hold for her, as she couldn't manage with her injured hand from the freeze, though she had a perfectly good, other hand.

On the ride home I told her I'd take her anywhere to eat she wanted.  She asked for Taco Bell.  So I took her to Taco Bell, though I just wanted to get home as it was snowing and dark and the wind was blowing so hard.  It was about 8 degrees or lower, and we ran screaming "Cold, cold, cold!" together running into Taco Bell.  There she ordered her side of rice with shredded chicken, and cinnamon twists.  She also got her tea/lemonade drink, a very rare treat.  She was bobbing her head side to side to all the music and sharing her food and asking to try mine and she all smiles.  It was the kind of time where you sit back and know you're having one of those precious moments with your child you don't want to forget.

After having a rough 2 weeks of a grumpy, sad child, to have her be smiling and dancing and singing and loving life, it's all that more precious and wonderful to witness.

We came home, and because of the terrible snow weather, my husband and Khaleesi weren't home yet.  So I gave Ashton a bath, and half way through pops Khaleesi's head to check in on us.  Ashton squealed with delight.  All was right with the family, now that she was home.  Ashton asked what was wrong with Khaleesi, and we explained she got a wart removed just like her.  Which was half true.  She got spayed and her dewclaws removed.  So wart... dewclaws... close enough.  Enough for Ashton to relate and give Khaleesi kisses and tell her she was going to be okay.

Ashton went down for the night, and didn't wake up until this morning.  It was the first night in forever it seems that she didn't wake at least 3 times or more through the night.  To not wake up once... miracle!

We're very excited to have Khaleesi back home and our little, happy girl, as well!  All is good.  Thank you, God!
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Settling into a New Normal

Okay, Miss Ashton... when people describe her it's happy-go lucky, active, smiles, spunky, follows rules, helper, sweet, loving... a typical toddler.  Now of course she can be whiny, difficult, disagreeable... but these are rare and usually when hungry or tired or just one of those moments.

All last week from Halloween, Friday October 31st to Friday, November 7th... our girl was gone.  Just gone.  All we had was a cranky girl.  In fact, on the 7th her daycare teacher was concerned saying all she did was sleep and sit in a corner not talking.  We would have loved not talking as we got the crying and whining side of it all.  However, that night she came home and conked out.

So not our girl.  She NEVER goes to bed early.  And she slept like the dead that night.

That weekend we had our girl back. :)  She was her usual chipper self.

However, since the week of terror she's never fully gone back to the same old self.  Little bits of things are now an everyday thing.

Her sleeping is back off... she is again waking up multiple times a night, complaining her stomach hurts... she has gas every night for some reason.  We now regularly give her gas drops before bed.  Also, she now has Pedialyte in her bed along with goldfish in case she didn't eat well.

Our girl who eats like a horse and eats everything, tries everything has become picky.  She usually doesn't want anything but candy.  It's hard to get her to eat anything, and she's fine not to, until bedtime when her stomach hurts.

So we and her daycare have been trying a combination of a lot of things.  No milk, no cheese, more water, more toast, shorter naps, longer naps, bed early, bed late, more snacking, less snacking... we're trying lots of combos to see what lets our girl not wake with gas pains.

It's been very exhausting.  On top of which both my husband and my jobs have been more demanding and we've been going in early or working late... which of course has been hard on the dogs, especially Khaleesi who still isn't crate trained yet and if we don't come home by noon for a break, she pees in her crate... and trust me it's the right sized crate.  She just can't hold it more than 5 hours.  So there's been lots of baths when we come home.

So hubby and I have basically passed out the moment Ashton does too.  We've accomplished nothing in the home or had fun time as we're battling trying to get Ashton to eat, practice her violin, give her a bath, and not harass the animals... then it's the battle for bed.  Usually she eats fine, slowly but fine and we can have a few more hours of play and fit in practice... now everything is more a battle she wants to eat nothing, so we are battling that for so long we can't wait until bedtime, even though that's a new battle.

Also, I think now that it's 20s-30s degrees outside, and too cold for Ashton to just play and ride her bike outside, she has all this pent up energy stored for these battle of wills.  It's hard for her not to play outside.  And not that we can't bundle her up... but after washing a dog and trying to feed her... it's so dark outside so early... it's just not feasible except on weekends.

So things are better, but still off.  Hopefully, this isn't the new normal.  We would love our care-free daughter back.  But she's still herself, just more difficult in the sleeping and eating departments.

But at least we solved the green plate mystery.  Last Friday, our daughter brought home her art projects from the week prior.

Other than the fish bowl not fitting in the Halloween theme crafts... Ashton did a great job!She is still mastering the coloring... it's all still scribbles for now, but her projects are still impressive!

She even has scarecrows up in her class.  Her's is the second from the top, under the number 9.  I think hers has the funniest mouth out of all of them.  It's like he has fangs!

Anyhow, Ashton is doing plenty of activities in class which is great.  I love seeing all the artwork.  I just hope she mellows out when coming home.  This Mama is sure tired!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Revenge of the Molars

I love this diagram.  It's hilarious.  Found it on a great website, How to be a Dad.

Ashton never went through teething.  I mean, she did, but we got her at 17 months, and I swear, she already got all her teeth in, no problem.  Now and then she said her teeth ached, and we put some Oralgel on it, no problem.  Ashton was happy.

But Halloween night - we had no idea that we'd turn into zombies and our daughter a life sucking, vampire banshee!

She became inconsolable.  Every hour she'd wake up and cry and cry, whale in fact.  I mean, she doesn't sleep through the night already, and gets up scared and light cry but I can get her back to sleep no about 90% of the time and get back to bed.  Only a few instances where she doesn't sleep at all and I have to sit up with her or get her to sleep in our room in a playpen.  (As she and I are both thrashers and co-sleeping in the same bed is just not an option).

But this night was awful.  She screamed and cried, we thought she ate too much Halloween candy or cut her tongue on a sucker.  We weren't sure what and Ashton was too upset to articulate anything!  We got no sleep and in fact our puppy, Khaleesi, started whimpering feeling for our little girl.  It was as if all were in on Ashton's misery.  We were dead Saturday morning.

I was very upset about being so tired, as this was the first weekend with no plans and I was excited about getting the house back together and spending a lazy weekend in with my family.  I was planning on taking photos of Ashton in her Halloween costume, a better photo shoot as Halloween it was too rushed, too bad of weather, just didn't happen.  NOPE!  Not even close.

But the worst part was, when day did arrive, Ashton was no better.  She was still not her carefree, happy self.  She was MISERABLE!  And we learned quickly she couldn't eat.  Everything hurt!

That's when we deduced that her molars were coming in.  She would put her fingers in to the back of her gums.  We got her more Oralgel.  It did little to console her.

She just wan't our girl, wouldn't sleep, would talk, just cry, whine, and scream.  There were moments of calm, maybe a smile for a second or two, but most of the time it was the stare of death.  She gave a good don't mess with me face.

It was terrible.  So our Saturday was spent taking turns with her while we power napped.  It sucked, but it was the only way to cope.  We just did it.

Saturday night, same problem.  Non-stop crying and whaling, no comfort, no solace.  It was a long night.  I called my mom asking what to do, she never had molar problems with us kids, try a heated cloth on her face.

There went our Sunday too.  We made it to grocery shopping as a family, but man, it was painful.  Ashton was so on edge and highly emotional and whiny.  She would whimper and found no fun in going out.  She usually loves going shopping with us.

We were spent.

Sunday night, same problem.  I was tired for work and getting Ashton ready for daycare.  She still wouldn't eat.  She was fussy.

Monday at daycare, I heard when she was there, she ate a bowl of cereal.  Then proceeded to throw it all up.  I'm assuming eating quickly on an empty stomach... her body couldn't take it.

But after that daycare said she did great.  She ate lunch, no problem.  She had a great nap.  She was happy and cheerful when I picked her up.

Who was this child before me?  I vaguely remember.  However, my husband and I had a meeting to get to after work so we had Lau Lau come over to babysit while we left.  Upon returning, we heard she ate half of Lau Lau's dinner and was a sweet as could be.  Was it really over?  Did our sweet daughter return to us?

We went to bed and slept until 4am.  She had a small relapse of pain.  I took a turn, then her Daddy, then me again, and she settled down about an hour and a half later.  But she got settled.  Yes, we are still tired and catching up on sleep, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Our vampire banshee is gone and our daughter reemerging.  We're very excited, and also not excited as we're too tired and longing for sleep!!

Not everything is roses, but even though the terrible nights this will be worth it!  I hope these molars are necessary!

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