Monday, August 31, 2015

Under Her Pillow

International China Concern (ICC) the organization that helped out with Ashton's SWI sent a postcard of our group reunion in St. Louis. The postcard came while we were gone on vacation and Ashton got it while I was still gone for my work conference. I didn't even know she had it for awhile.

Ashton found the postcard from my desk and took it. Her daddy never even showed it to her. She found it on her own.

Well since then, Ashton says that the photo is of her friends and her photo. So she sleeps with it under her pillow every night because she wants them to be near her. It's so sweet! I'm so excited that the trip meant so much to her!

I hope it gives her pleasant dreams.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Perking Up

Ashton draws a lot. But she'll casually say she's writing or other such things. This time she came running out of Sunday School very excited to share her artwork. If you can't tell this is her with Jesus in a rocket ship. They're going to the moon together! Ashton loves the moon.

On the Khaleesi front, she's doing a lot better. She wasn't eating and throwing up a lot. Now her appetite is back and she stopped throwing up as of yesterday! We're so happy! We all were very worried for her. We're so glad to have our dog snuggling and playing and eating! Now to get her to gain weight!

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Explorer

Today was Miss G's 3rd birthday party! Ashton was very excited to go.

Last night, she picked out her gift all by herself. She knew what she really wanted. And Miss G seemed to really like it! But of course Ashton wanted her to share it with her!

Miss G. had a 'Dora the Explorer' birthday party!

Ashton found Miss G's musical instruments and played music and entertained us most of the time. She really got into the maracas! There was a slide whistle she loved. A tiny piano she played. Luckily, there was only 1 cymbal. And there was a tambourine she jammed on. Boy, does this girl love her musical instruments!

Ashton loves being silly like this for almost all photos anymore. It's getting harder and harder to get her to take a photo with just a smile. There are always a lot of outtakes!

They've grown so much together! Miss G's first birthday... this picture cracks me up each time. Ashton tried to console Miss G when she started to cry.

Miss G's first birthday!
Miss G's second birthday!

Ashton asked for cake with green icing! She loved licking all the green icing. She didn't touch the cake.

They had really cute Dora cookies... and of course Ashton picked the green cookie!

Then the girls wanted to go and play outside. I thought this photo of them was precious. What I really adore is Ashton's shoes and delicate way she's standing on them. So girl-like, my tomboy! But she does love her Frozen shoes! You should have seen these two chase each other outside! They loved being silly. And Ashton actually didn't tumble and fall in those shoes.
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Friday, August 28, 2015


Our neighbor unexpectedly got 4 kittens from their cat. Ashton loved the one that looked like a baby Drusilla. I loved the black one with the white stripe down it's nose.

Luckily, we weren't moved by their cuteness. We are admiring them from afar. No new animals in this zoo! But that doesn't mean we won't get in tons of snuggling time while they're adorable!
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trying to Get Back Into the Groove

We had a long trek yesterday. We drove for 11 hours to get to Iowa. We stopped for the night at the hotel in which I will be running a conference for my work this week.

So last night, in the rain we ran to a pizzeria. We had a wonderful wood fire burned pizza and cheesesticks. Then we watched "Up" together. It was a nice night. Ashton was in good spirits. 

Then this morning I had to say goodbye to my family as I stayed at the hotel for work and they left for home.

It was really hard to say goodbye to my little girl for a few days. I kept trying to explain, but she didn't understand. Then when she was in the car and they pulled away, she got upset not understanding why daddy left mommy.

I know the drive was hard on my husband alone. He couldn't go to the restroom until he got home, which was another 8 hours away. Luckily, he could help her, and he did many frequent stops to change out her DVD player. But I know the ride was very difficult alone.

When they got home I heard that the pups were so very happy to see him. However, poor Khaleesi. She's been through the ringer. She's been to the vet's lately as there's been crystals in her urine. Though we'd watched her purines, her diet isn't good enough, because of her small stature. Her breed is typically 60 pounds, but our girl is about 37. She's a runt, so she's just small. But that means her diet is more sensitive. 

Because of the crystals, we've been doing lots of tests to check her kidneys. Luckily, all is well with her kidneys. No failure, no shunt needed. It looks like diet alone. So we changed her diet before we left, to a new very low purine diet than before. She is now on a pricier dog food. new brand and everything. We were going to slowly change it over time, but we were out right before we left, so the vet said just start with the new dog food.

Well, while we were gone we had a stay at home dog sitter. They took care of our huge brood. However, there was one misunderstanding. And that was with Khaleesi. With all the other dogs, we mentioned how many scoops of food. With Khaleesi, we said how many cups. And cups was mistaken for scoops. So instead of 3 cups of her high calorie, low purine diet, Khaleesi was feed about 1 cup of food a day.

Taken July 4th

So upon coming home, my husband noticed Khaleesi lifeless, not willing to eat, and loss of weight. On top of which, he found out later that she currently is having acid reflux. So upon calling the vet, there is tums in her water and he's trying to force feed her, all while taking care of the other animals, unpack, give Ashton a bath and get her to bed, and all the other things of arriving home - all by himself!

I feel so badly, not being able to help. But the conference I've been planning for work, I run the whole shindig and I have to be here. I don't get back home until late Wednesday night.

I can only pray that Ashton is being good for my husband and a help. I pray that my husband is able to help Khaleesi and that all will get better quickly. I know he is overwhelmed and tired, and just wants to sleep, but I'm afraid with Khaleesi's condition, getting Ashton to settle down from being in a car cooped up for 8 hours, and all he has to do before work tomorrow morning, it will be a late nighter.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Lily Lake, Boating, Stanley Hotel, and Elk

Last day in Estes Park. It's been a fast week. Vacation is never long enough. Especially when it's a good 2-day drive to and from where you are going.

We kept the last day pretty light. Sorta went with the flow. We thought we'd take in some easy sights, see the Stanley Hotel and maybe do something fun for Ashton.

First we went to Lily Lake. Not as impressive as Bear Lake, but still nice. Ashton would take her sunglasses, upside down and right side out and use them like binoculars to see the sights. It was so adorable! Wish I got a photo of her doing it.

We then did a little driving around and about before deciding to take Asthon paddle baoting. However, once there we decided it was too windy and too hard to take a toddler paddle boating, so we rented a pontoon boat for half and hour. Ashton was so excited! She loved that her life vest was green and that we'd be on a boat all together.

Of course the highlight for her was driving the boat. She was so proud to be "steering" the boat all over Estes Lake.

We then headed back to the cabin for Asthon's nap, while we adults played cards. Then passing by our window was a coyote! However, we didn't have our cameras and missed the opportunity!

We called in our reservation for the Stanley Hotel tour, only to find out then that they don't accept anyone younger than 5 years' old on the tour. So we decided that my husband and I would go on the hotel tour while Grammy and Grampy would take Ashton downtown to run about.

The Stanley Hotel is where Stephen King got his inspiration for "The Shining". There were two different tours. The history of the hotel and the ghost tour. We took the history tour.

This is room 217 where Mr. King stayed the night he came up with the plot for his book. Usually all the rooms are closed, you can't tour any rooms, as they're all in use. Well, a young couple just checked in their room while we were on tour. Their key wasn't working to let them in so our tour guide unlocked their door for them. They were very friendly. They invited our tour group to see inside, but our guide said it was against policy. Too bad! This is the best we got!

I don't remember this hallway looking endless, but it probably looked different with my tour group in the hallway blocking the big mirror. Regardless, the tour was really fun, and we even got to go into the basement where there is nothing but rock everywhere! Very interesting!

While we were at the hotel, Grammy and Grampy were having a blast with Ashton.

Of course she loved playing anything musical! 

They ended up taking her to a little soda pop place and were about to buy her a lemonade, when Ashton insisted she pick her own. She picked honey-lemonade and loved it! They said she was the perfect angel for them.

After they picked us up, we drove out to Estes Park at dusk to see if any animals would come out. We saw 3 elk, all male hanging out. They were very close! 

As we were driving on we saw a lone doe by herself. Even closer!

Then out in a meadow there were about 30+ elk! They were in 3 groups all eating and running about. It was really cool to see. They weren't close like the others we saw previously, but to see so many, it was really awesome! We must have watched a good half hour or so! Cars were pulled to the side of the road everywhere people were taking photos and video. 

It was a perfect end to our vacation. We had to go back to the cabin and pack up as we are to get up really early to drive back home! A long 2-day drive!
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chasm Falls, Trail Ridge, and Night Shoot

Today was my husband's birthday. For his birthday he got a hat and utility knife from the in-laws. He put the cap on to set out on the day. We knew we were going to go up to the highest peak where it was cold, so we bundled up.

Ashton looked super cute in her hat and hoodie. She wanted to take her new fox backpack as well.

We set off to Chasm Falls first. Unlike Alberta Falls this wasn't a walk to it, it was more of a drive and your there and while there it was more intense climbing. So, unfortunately Ashton couldn't really go with her daddy and I through the rough terrain. And if you don't believe me, check out the sign.

But the falls was beautiful.

We were able to enjoy it below, where Ashton and Grammy and Grampy had to stay above.

We then took the far less beaten path, which was one-way, up a dirt road to Trail Ridge.

We hoped to stop for wildlife along the way. But we stopped for picturesque views and a bulldozer clearing our path. At the top was Trail Ridge Store and Cafe. We went in to eat. We were famished. The food was disappointing, except for my chili. But we had a great table by the window where we had a fantastic view.

After lunch there were stairs that helped you climb to the highest peak. I was taking Asthon to the top with Grampy and my husband, when Ashton said she couldn't breathe anymore. The air was thin and the wind was whipping across fiercely. I had climbed half way up to the top, but Ashton couldn't do it. I knew it was more important to my husband to reach the top then me, so I turned around to take her back down. I was disappointed not to reach the top, but proud of Ashton knowing her limits, rather than waiting until too late, or whining.

My dad and my husband had a great view.

We then took the two-way, paved road back down. There were still incredible views. But Ashton had enough, and I stayed with her in the car where she ended up crashing.

Though we didn't see any wildlife in the mountains, we did see a deer while driving back to the cabin. It was only a couple cabins down from ours. I yelled stop, and everyone got their phones and cameras out. He just posed and didn't think anything of us.

Back in the cabin we played cards and then headed out for dinner to celebrate my husband's birthday. We ate outside where we could watch and listen to the river go by. We decided to have dessert back at the cabin before we finally headed off to our night shoot. With it being pitch black out in the Rockies, I have no pictures to share of our version of the shoot. We'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. I hope it was worth it! never did a night shoot before, much harder, especially with a toddler. It was rather chilly, but the stars were magnificent.

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