Sunday, August 28, 2016

Families

Today at church was very interesting. My pastor had set me aside a week earlier, saying that this coming Sunday was about "Being Family". Not just a church family, but adoption, foster, the whole thing. And  he was curious about my thoughts on how we might introduce the topic of adoption and foster care to our church family. He also asked that I attend bother services so that people could connect with me following the service if there were any questions.

The first service was normal service and he spoke about being adopted into God's family and how we needed to be neighbors to those around us and adopt others so to speak. Then the Director of Children's Ministries came up and shared her personal story of adoption. After the service I had a few people come up to me interested in my story, but none interested for themselves. But this is a first good step. Awareness!

The next service was a children's service. We have them about once a quarter. At this service the same focus, but Silly Safaris came in with animals for the kids. All the kids went up front, my daughter wouldn't move up front without me. So we were up front together dancing and listening how animals are family and God's creatures and adopted into our families as well. A more simple version for the kids to digest and enjoy.

Afterwards, I was available again. Again, more interested in my story than their own, but I was able to talk about Walk the Wall, and maybe drum up some interest or possible donations.

Afterwards, the children were able to pet the fun animals. Ashton was very taken with the screaming hairy armadillo. Oh, he was so cute! His name was Ruffles, because he has ridges.



Ashton also really liked Owlbert. He was a sweet little owl. She got to pet him, much to her delight. There was milk snake (the one that looks similar to the coral snake). And his tongue kept flickering, so she kept sticking her tongue out at him, saying they were talking to each other.



Ashton was dismayed that she didn't get to pet the baby alligator they brought this time. She remembered petting one about a year ago.

I'm going to have to take Ashton to some kind of sanctuary or petting zoo that is very involved. She just loves animals of all kinds and I want to keep nurturing that.
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

2 Weeks Away is Walk the Wall!


Had a photo session with my little lady. Wanting to promote Walk the Wall. It's exactly 2 weeks away. If this blog or my daughter has touched your heart in some small way, please pay it forward and donate to this great cause! You'll be making a difference in a child's life, just like ICC did for my daughter!








Thank you ICC!
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Go Dawgs!

One of my favorite photos of my daughter is of her in a Butler bulldogs cheerleader dress after only having her a few short moths. She just looked perfect! I keep meaning to play with the background and make her shoes blue or something. But both my husband and I got her our college outfits. But because I dress her she wore her Butler outfit more than her Purdue one.


Anyhow, during college basketball, Ashton has seen us route on for our teams. The Boilermakers aren't as cute as a bulldog. So she's always been pro Butler! And when driving around town she always points out the billboard signs that promote Butler.

I keep telling her I'll take her to the campus one day. And she's long outgrown her cheerleader outfit.

Anyhow, this morning on the way to daycare, Ashton drew Trip, the mascot for Butler.


Doesn't it look just like him. She was so proud! I'm going to have to take her to the campus and Bookstore to get some of her own swag soon! Go Dawgs!

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bubble Mania


When Ashton turned three, we got her a bike. And we didn't get her just any ordinary bike. We got her a bike that blew bubbles. That it had the Little Mermaid on it didn't matter. She has nothing against Ariel, but doesn't cherish her either. She's not into Disney princesses. But she is into bubbles. So it was the bike we got her.

Flash forward almost 2 years later, she still loves her bike. Her streamers have now all fallen off. In fact, she asks for a new, bigger bike all the time. The girl loves wheels.

But her bubble maker hasn't been used in quite some time. It has scratches on it now and when I took it off to examine it, there was sawdust all over the opening and in the cradle. I wasn't sure if it would come back to life.



I rinsed it off and put in new bubble mix and turned it on. And it actually worked. Ashton rode around with the bubbles trailing about for some time. Then just sat on her bike popping bubbles. She was in Heaven!










She had a blast! She was popping bubbles and chasing them until the bubble mix went out! You'd think she never saw bubbles before. But my girl just happens to be a bubble junkie. Even two years later after we got the bike for our bubble lover.


I just loved watching her with her pure joy over something so simple.

Then later she drew with chalk on our driveway, and started to get silly. She started singing, "Pirate Piggie" I think it was a "song" she made up. She loves the movie "Angry Birds", and so that is where this song derived.




There's this scene where Ashton just cracks up where the evil pig slaps his own butt. And of course I may have accidentally encouraged her in the video. So it goes from drawing, to singing, to slapping her rear. And what's funny, is this is a great summary of my daughter! Her personality. Messy, creative, happy, silly, and endearing!

It was miserably muggy and hot outside. But bubbles and drawings and all of it, through Ashton's eyes was worth it!


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Vet Appointment

Ashton accompanied me as we took Kaida for her vet follow up appointment. She is now all caught up on her shots.
Kiara, Kaida, Ashton, and Khaleesi
Ashton was being so adorable. We both sat on the floor to keep Kaida calm. She was shaking knowing that things were up to no good. So Ashton "read" to her to keep her calm. I didn't think about recording it until the last bit right before the vet came in. But it was so adorable. I held Kaida while Ashton read and showed her photos in the magazine.

I even let Ashton hold her while I paid the bill. She was very sweet and calm and talked gently to her telling her it was all over and how brave she was being.


Sometime Ashton can be so sweet and mothering. I loved seeing this neutering side to her today.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Raising a Daughter

So when I was asked about Ashton's milestones, I made sure to do lots of clarification. I spoke how I thought she was on track, how I didn't see any delays, etc. And that still holds true.

However, I believe when anyone points something out, you do give a second look. It'd be wrong of me not to, as I don't want to ignore anything if there were "signs" I was missing. I want to be sure to give my daughter every opportunity to thrive, and I don't want to stifle her in someway by not recognizing anything early.

So of course after that email, I asked my husband again if he noticed anything. He said no. Then I was going to ask her daycare teacher, Monday after the weekend, to make sure I didn't miss anything. She has been a daycare provider for 30 years and has a degree in elementary education, so if anyone would recognize her capabilities, she would. However, I didn't realize she had already read the blog and she responded to me before I even asked. What she told me was,

I feel she has actually achieved more than the "average" student her age. As fun as it is to sing the words to many songs, which Ashton does well, I find it exceptional that she can also show her creativity by making up words to her own songs. Ashton has shown no signs of dyslexia as far as I can tell. I, too, know many of the signs of dyslexia as my own daughter struggles with it. 
So that made me feel good that I wasn't being a neglectful mother and just saying my daughter was fine and ignoring signs of anything.

Now I believe as a mother you shouldn't second guess how your raising your kids. You know what's best, most of the time. But it'd be wrong do just do so and not stop and take a second look to be sure you're still on track. It's easy to get distracted and miss signs sometimes. I have no problems reevaluating. It's my daughter's future I'm trying to mold and it needs plenty of self checks along the way.

It's easy to think you're not doing your best or that things are just okay You get caught up in the day to day stuff it's easy to overlook a detail or just see all the things "you didn't do". But by reevaluating, I was able to know, yes, I'm human, I do err. But overall, my daughter is a good kid, and she is on track, she's polite and respectful, she loves going to church and has compassion for animals, she may have troubles sleeping, and she may go limp and fuss when she doesn't get her way, but overall, she's amazing!

Yeah, one day she'll come to me and say why didn't I do this or why did I push this, but for now, it's all good. I love raising my daughter and I love the little lady she is and the person I see her blossoming into. And I'd love her if she was full of delays or not. Either way, I'm glad I feel like I'm still in tune to her!

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cake Help

Today is my hubby's birthday. So Ashton and I sat down and I wrote out "Happy Birthday Daddy, Love Ashton" and Ashton did her best to copy it on the lines below.

Then Ashton was finally relieved that we were making his birthday cake. She had wanted to help make it for a week!


She loved measuring all the ingredients out and pouring them into the bowl. She wasn't too keen that I did the eggs, but last time she helped we got too much shell added.

Then she wanted to stir it all up herself. So I showed her how to use the spatula to clean the edges while stirring vigorously. She loved stirring fast. She didn't care about pouring it in the pan or making the fudge part. That was enough for her.

She spent the rest of the time licking off the spatula. She was very thorough.


Ashton helped sing happy birthday to her daddy. She was so cute about it. We then played games, had pizza, and watched a family movie together. It was a nice relaxing time.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Email

I blog for many reasons. But mainly I do it for my daughter. If she asks this ever to be taken off line, I will. As I guard her privacy and how "open" I am about her. As I know this is a public forum. However, this is also a place for those thinking about adoption, or may be for those that never did and will consider. Hopefully, this is a testament to how wonderful it is and brings light to its challenges.

That all being said, I know none of my friends read this blog. They just don't. We call or talk about life, so sometimes they don't see all these photos or know all these details, or sometimes the know about details I never even address here. I know that some long distance family pop on here time to time and this is a great way for them to see her grow up. And I know that a circle of adoption families that I've met along the way in this journey read this time to time as I do theirs.

So I'm always surprised when I get an email from a reader. It's usually spam mail, but time to time is someone I don't know with a question about adoption or a process, or just thanking me for putting this information out there as it's helped them.

Well, today I got an interesting email from no one I know. And I thought it'd be good to set the record straight on a few things, just in case. Their email read:
Ashton is so smart, creative,animated and  stinking cute that I follow your blog with enormous enjoyment. While it is pure speculation on my part based on piecemeal information from your blog and youtube videos, I paid attention to what appears to be Ashton's challenges in singing, writing, and sleep. I hope you don't mind my asking questions which you don't need to answer.
Ashton is still young and some toddlers take their time to develop a full set of language skills. If speech, writing and reading skills are going to be delayed much much longer than expected in the future, would a clinical evaluation of dyslexia be an option?

Many dyslexic children have ADHD which is often associated with a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, leading to tiredness in the morning. 
http://blog.dyslexia.com/adhd-or-sleep-deprivation/

Sleep apnea has a very interesting relationship with ADHD in children. It can be a cause of ADHD or it can be a symptom.  A completely different treatment protocol is required for sleep apnea being a cause, rather than a symptom of ADHD. A clinical sleep evaluation, if Ashton can tolerate it, may offer helpful direction.
So my response to this is, thank you for finding enjoyment from the blog. It's a testament for her and to help others on their path or questions about adoption.

I don't think Ashton has any challenges in singing or writing. It actually surprised me to hear you say so.

Ashton loves to sing and makes up words all the time to her own songs. I think she actually has a gift. But every time I video her "on the spot" she gets nervous and all the things I see don't happen on video. I get a small fragment. Totally understandable, "she's on the spot". She doesn't do well on the spot. Same goes with her violin recitals. She does great at practice, but when "performing" she doesn't show anything. My girl gets "stage fright" in a sense. Totally acceptable at her age. She gets shy too when we go to new places. It takes her about 30 minutes to warm up and be her delightful self. So I video what I can for my family and friends to delight in and know it's not as good as when she's not on camera. And that's okay. But for those that done't know her, and only seeing her sturggle to sing while on the spot, that makes sense. But I never thought of it that way until this was pointed out.

As for writing... I'm really not sure where that came from at all. She is doing very well. I've taken a few photos of her writing her name, but I don't remember what would allude to her being behind in this instance. And her daycare provider who teaches her to write, thinks she does very well. She is very good and letting me know her strength and weaknesses. Every kid has them and she doesn't have to exceed all expectations in all things. Her worst problem is staying seated. Again normal for a 4 year old, especially this one who has NEVER like to sit still in a car, at the table, she loves to move. Nothing wrong with that. Growing up and maturity will help with this I am sure.

Ashton has no delays and is exceptionally smart. (She was evaluated by IStep, and they reported her to be on course with no delays.) She doesn't start Kindergarten until next year, and she is actually ahead in many skills. I am not going to list and do a comparison of what she does and where she ranks. I don't believe her "achievements" or "expectations" need to be listed for everyone to judge her on an open forum. But from time to time like any normal mother, I will boast about her achievements because that is what parents do. But for the record, I don't think she has dyslexia or is behind on her reading. I know a lot about dyslexia as her father has it. He is very sensitive to the issues and challenges of dyslexia and it's never crossed his mind or mine that she would have this. Again, she's so young and learning to read, so until her skills are more developed or not, we're not going to worry as her teacher hasn't said anything about any red flags in this area when she's learning with the other children. And I don't see any when she is with me.

As for sleeping, she just doesn't like to sleep alone. She grew up at a SWI where there were many children and nannies. So being alone is a challenge for her. So there are days she does great, other ones, not so much. Sometimes she struggles through the night and others she sleeps with us and sleeps fine. I have gotten much advise on this and read much. I truly don't think she has sleep apnea. I have family with ADHD, so again I'm familiar with this.

So unless this becomes more of a problem later in life, I just go with it and blog about it because I believe this is one of her challenges from adoption, her former life that she's carried over. I don't blame her. I don'' seek help. I'm letting it run it's coarse to see how it works it self out. Again, if things get worse, I may seek help at that point. But we've put lots of trial and errors in place to help her like any parent, and sometimes it works, and sometimes not. Sleeping is a struggle, but there are months that goes by great and some not so. And every parent with their unique kid have unique ways of dealing. We don't have 1 way. Each night is different and we handle it differently. We're not perfect, but we adapt each situation to what we think is best at the time.

That being said, I love being emailed and asked questions. I have no idea how my blogging comes across sometimes. I try to be inviting and open without being trolled. I welcome such emails and as I don't know this person, it's easy to see how there can be "communication" problems on my part on how I describe a situation or allude to it, not realizing how it comes across.

I've been very fortunate that I've found lots of encouragement and genuine interest in adoption or the health of my child through this blog. I do believe that God is helping me be a touchstone to others and they are for me.
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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Alien


I'm not looking forward to this week at all. It's a busy time for me at work with conferences and proposals due. I so wish we had more weekend time. It flew by fast, though nothing happened. Just cleaning the house and trying to do NOTHING but veg. The family needed some serious down time.

So as the weekend comes to a close, Ashton wanted me to share her alien. He's adorable. She's always building something, usually a boat, a car, or a house. She begged for me to build with her. I usually fiddle, but don't build. I'm not good off-book. But I did my best this time and made a dog. Ashton was tickled! She actually helped me with the eyes and showed me a piece that would allow my pup to see. just like her alien. She's so smart.


Ashton is going through a super hero phase.So she named her alien Harley Quin and my pup, she named her Poison Ivy. Why not? I love spending down time with her and just seeing what she creates.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Bubble Time


So glad, looking forward to a lazy (just up-keeping with the house) weekend! Starting our weekend off enjoying the weather and watching our girl blow bubbles. It's the simple things really that sometimes bring the most joy!

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cleaning your Playroom with a Shovel

Ashton HATES cleaning up her playroom. It's hard to wonder why. She always has to after playing. And in reality, all she has to do is drop things inside bins. Really easy. But it's a chore for her. She gets very over dramatic asking for help or sighing when she has to clean. Well this time, Ashton said it was easier to shovel everything. It slowed her down, but it it made cleaning fun, why not. It tickled me to see her clean with a small shovel.




Ashton just discovered Tiny Toons. She's been singing their songs lately. Of course it's always condensed when you're trying to capture it on video. But you get the point.




It's been very busy at work, and most of our days are just exhausted at home or building Lego sets together. But here were a few moments that stood out.

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Party and Backpack


Today was Miss E's 2nd birthday. Miss E and her sister Miss N are 7 moths apart. It's been a busy year for this family learning to adjust to two toddlers in the house.


Miss N is borrowing Ashton's old high chair. Ashton recognized it right away and ran to it and hugged it and said, "I miss you high chair!"



The party was fun, but the kids had more fun just playing with toys than much else. Though Ashton was excited about the cake and ice cream.

Later we stopped by do get a few items when Ashton begged to go down the backpack isle. She's been wanting a backpack all summer. She sees fliers in the mail showing backpacks and lunchboxes and she shows me her favorites. It's either Star Wars, Paw Patrol, or something similar. She keeps asking if we can go. But she doesn't start kindergarten until next year. So there hasn't been a need. But in the store, I let her go down the isle to look. 

There she spots the last Wonder Woman backpack. It has a cape over it that can be attached or unattached by Velcro. The backpack itself lights up when you walk or jostle it. Ashton was in Heaven. She kept running down the isle wearing it letting the cape flutter. (Which is funny because she chose to wear her Supergirl dress today, and it already has a cape.) Anyhow, she asked for the backpack for school next year. And as this was the last one, we had to get it.

I caved. I bought her the backpack. She was so proud. She wore it back to the car. It was cute as her ensemble matched the backpack very well. And as she loves DC Superhero Girls on YouTube. She watches the short episodes quite often.



So my little superhero got a backpack. I'm sure we'll figure out something to use it for.

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