Thursday, May 2, 2013

Everybody Hurts

Ash decided to sing along this morning.  Apparently Michael Stipe likes Dora?


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Ashlinn-ism

Okay, so today is a day of Ashlinn-isms.  I had to share one more from my sweet 3 1/2 year old.  Ryan and I took Ashlinn to the library today, and while the librarian was looking over our shoulder at an animal puzzle we were putting together, I wanted to show off the little girl's smarts just a bit and asked Ashlinn to name all of the animals (there were some tricky ones on there I knew she'd know).  Without a second's hesitation, Ashlinn points to each animal one at a time and quickly says:

George
Percy
Braiden
Suzy
Frida
& Frank!

Hahahahaha - that was WAY more impressive than accessing the ol' route memorizations! 

Growing Pains

In response to Ryan saying, "Ashlinn, I'm not ready for your to grow up!" the 3-year-old says, 
"Daddy, I have to grow up so I can eat my healthy foods and grow big and strong. Don't worry though, because I will always be in your heart when you miss me. If you touch your chest and feel something in your heart or hear someone saying, 'Daddy, I'm in here!', don't worry because it's just Ashlinn in there keeping you company. When I'm really big, though, know that I will leave your heart for 20 minutes 'a time' because I have to explore other places, but then I'll come back to your heart and try not to scare you again there. Someday you will live in my heart too but I won't be scared..." 
The conversation about residing in one's heart continued at a fast pace for another 10 minutes from there. Uh, she takes a very literal approach to love, I suppose.
 Haha!  I love my funny, brilliant, clever, literal girl and her silly stories!!!  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My little "Medical Professional's" Words of Wisdom

I asked the 3-year-old why she thinks she wants to be a doctor (she's been telling me that since she was 18 months old). She replied, very matter of factly, "Because I want to be a medical professional and use medical supplies to help make people feel better."

I was like, "Uh... okay Little Miss Smarty Pants, do you have any medical advice for me as a future 'medical professional'?"

Ashlinn: "Yes, don't choke." Bahahahaha! Cracked me up! Who is this child?!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ashlinn's 1st Day of Preschool

Photobucket All in all Ashlinn's 1st day of preschool went really well. She was understandably nervous at first, but after just a few minutes, told me I could leave for class and told Ryan he could leave shortly after. We checked on her later and her teachers commented on how friendly she was, giving them random hugs and asking any newcomer, including parents, what their name was. When I picked her up at the end of the day, she was excited to see me but a little disappointed that I had interrupted her story circle time.
 
Ashlinn was exuberant over the events of the day and took me over to show me her new cubby. There was a necklace in there that didn't belong to her so I watched her travel around to different children, addressing most by name, inquiring each about the necklace's potential owner. She then explained what a great sharer she was with all of her new friends.
 
It was a bittersweet day showcasing just how grown up Ashlinn is becoming. She not only looks less and less like a toddler with each passing day but acts less like one too. My baby girl is growing up and is ready to tackle the world one momentous milestone at a time. I came across the poem below and although a bit cheesy, I feel it sums up this day quite well:


“I wonder what you’re doing right now,
And if everyone is treating you kind.
I hope there is a special person,
A nice friend that you can find.
 
I wonder if the teacher knows
Just how special you are to me.
And if the brightness of your heart,
Is something she can see.
 
I wonder if you are thinking about me,
Or if you need a hug.
I already miss the sound of your voice
And how you often give my leg a tug.
 
I wonder if you could possibly understand
How hard it is for me to let you grow.
On this day know that my heart breaks,
For this is the first step in letting my baby go.”

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Brown Reunion - 2012

We went to the Brown Reunion last weekend which was fantastic, because I'm only able to visit with that part of the family (maternal) every 5 - 10 years or so.   After, Mom, Brandon, Ashlinn, Ryan, and I went for a quick hike up at Hyalite.  Ashlinn is still terrified of water after being "flipped over like a pancake" in the ocean, so she was apprehensive seeing Hyalite Reservoir, but it was nice to get away nonetheless. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

A refined palette

Two-year-old Ashlinn to the waitress: "What did you put in this soup to make it taste so good?"

The waitress, visibly taken aback: "Um... potatoes, pancetta, salt... Did all of those ingredients make it taste yummy?"

Ashlinn responding in an oh so dignified manner: "Yes, but it could have used a little bit of fetta."

It's funny because upon hearing this story from the waitress, the chef laughed hysterically and wanted Ashlinn to know that his secret ingredient was "passion". Do we have a future chef on our hands? :D


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ashlinn's Big Girl Room

Ashlinn's room has been a labor of love from the moment we discovered we were expecting. We sprayed in a good bit of extra "green" insulation above the room when I was about 2 months pregnant, ripped out the dirtied white carpet and replaced with wood flooring when I was about 6 months pregnant, stripped the deck and rebuilt the guards around it outside of her room not long after that, and filled the room with bits of nursery furniture and safari-themed items. For as much work as this all was and for as much as I loved that boutique crib and matching changing table (yes, you want everything high end and perfect for the first one!), I'd assumed I'd have more of a difficult time parting with her nursery garb, but Ashlinn was beyond words ecstatic about every little bit of change, especially her big girl bed, so the transition was fairly easy and even a bit exciting for me.

Gone are the days of 2am feedings and diaper changes, 4am wake up calls, and red-rimmed zombie parents frantically trying to pull it together for work. As much as I have loved watching Ashlinn develop and fly through every stage, I know we have so much more to look forward to. Her baby days were a necessary step to forming the foundation that will create her life from this moment on (and gear us up for parenting), but it's time to focus on the future. We're in the big girl stage now, and we're loving every minute of it! Her 2nd year has not been without its challenges, but wow has it been fun! It's the perfect mixture of just enough independence to give Mom and Dad an occasional break, but enough dependence on us to allow for lots of hugs, kisses, and cuddle-time (often times with us needing these embraces more than she!). She's our little sweet heart and we're most definitely keeping her.

Anyway, onto the big girl room. We sold off her baby furniture to a lovely first-time parent lawyer couple for about the same amount we purchased it for, and picked up a great Ikea bed that when placed upside-down, converts to a bunk bed. What will they think of next?! I also spotted some really fun bookshelves on Pinterest made of vinyl rain gutters. While I come up with many of the ideas for decorating around our very first house, Ryan is the one who implements them with his labor and power tools. He spent a good amount of time putting together her bed, weather-proofing her door (the one that leads to the outside deck), and installing the rain gutter bookshelves. Without further ado, here is the little lady's new room:

"Thanks, Daddy, for my new rain gutter bookshelves! Now I can see all of my books proudly displayed!"


"Good Night, Gorilla"


"Yaaaaaay! I love my new big girl room!"


Ryan installed the vinyl gutter bookshelves on the opposite wall as well. We'd need about 10 more of these to actually house all of her books, but we can rotate them out as time goes on




Here is the Ikea bed that, when flipped upside down, turns into a bunk bed. FUN! I see many sleepovers "under the stars" in our little girl's future!


Right at her level


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Grandma


Ashlinn sings a very wiggly rendition of "Happy Birthday" to grandma.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ashlinn Misses Santa Claus!



Yeah - I know it's been forever since I've posted. Here's a cute video of Ashlinn just after her first visit to Santa. I was terrified that she'd be terrified like so many parents warned me, but it was quite the contrary! As soon as she saw him, she ran 10 feet across the room to give him a giant hug. It was the leaving that was the real issue... There was a long line of anxious kids wanting to get their wishlist to Santa so I told Ash it was time to leave. She cried - not like the throw a fit, get my way, tantrum kind of a cry, but real, honest tears of heartache knowing it would be an entire year before getting to see her precious St. Nick again. She was quite sad. The first video we shot was much better, showing this true emotion, only to discover Ryan had forgotten to actually press the record button, so the second shot, shown here, was a little more forced, but you get the idea! :) Ashlinn still speaks fondly of seeing Santa again often. Lucky for her she has no real concept of just how long a year is.




Here's another oldie but goodie from the Christmas before last when our little musical talent was about 7 months old. She's always had a knack for mimicking songs. Sorry be stuck on a Christmas theme...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Silly Ashlinn'isms

Here are a few of Ashlinn's little silly-isms that we've kept track of. There are plenty that we have unfortunately forgotten because we didn't write them down. These ones stuck with us:

17 months old:
Mommy while pointing to a picture of Sasquatch on Ashlinn's shirt: "What's on your shirt, Ashlinn?"
Ashlinn: "NOT crocodile!"

17.5 months old:
Mommy: "Ashlinn, you must love the ABC's because this is your 5th time singing it!"
Ashlinn, ever so proper, "No Mama. Ash-rinn love singin' da alphabet song. Not call ABC's"

18 months old:
Susan (Ashlinn's childcare provider): "Do you want another bite?"
Ashlinn: "No, scared of Mike!!!"

(Mike is Susan's partner who we've dubbed as Ashlinn's boyfriend since she is so obsessed with him.)

21 months old:
Ashlinn, while hugging our orange tabby: "Oh Liam. I LOVE you. You're my little baby doll!"

22 months old:
Daddy: "Ashlinn, I love you. Do you love Daddy?"
Ashlinn: "No, Daddy, Ashlinn love da letter 'W'." (one of my favorites!)

23 months old:
While scoping out the amazing desserts at Ikea...
Grandma: "Ashlinn, do you see that yummy chocolate cake? Doesn't it look wonderful!?!"
Daddy, playfully: "I don't know, Grandma. Ashlinn doesn't like that kind of garbage normally."
Ashlinn: "No no no, Daddy! Ashlinn LOVES cha-co-rit! Please?"

23.5 months old:
Daddy: "Ash, what're you doing?"
Ashlinn: "Driving Mommy nuts!" (she says it like it is!)

23.75 months old:
Ashlinn: "Gramma, what that noise?"
Grandma: "Those are cars driving by, Honey."
Ashlinn: "No GRAMMA! Dose are tires on the road!"

24 months old:
Mommy: "Ashlinn, what's your favorite toy?"
Ashlinn: "Uncle Brandon!"

24 months old:
Mommy and Daddy were finishing up the last 5 minutes of a show whereby women are programmed to kick some major butt (better than it sounds....) when Ashlinn woke up from her nap. We really wanted to finish it so we continued watching it while Ashlinn curled up with me. She was still tired and a bit out of it so I assumed she wasn't even paying attention. Then, Ashlinn looks up at me and asks,

"Why is Daddy hitting Mommy?" Whoops! Guess she's more aware than we think!!!

Ashlinn weird-isms:

24 Months:
We were walking around downtown Bozeman and about 1/2 block away from the explosion site. We had never discussed that area with Ashlinn before and I know no one else had taken her there. She stops, dead in her tracks, and looks up at me, a look of worry in her eyes. I ask her what's wrong and she says, "Mommy, I scared. There was loud fire here." That one freaked me out!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I asked Ashlinn what she dreampt about and without hesitation she said, "Ashlinn dream on Daddy and cwouds". Me: "You dreamt about Daddy in the clouds?" "Um, yup! Daddy FWY-IN (flying) in da cwouds!" How fitting that she dreams her dad is Superman on Father's Day. Thanks for being our Superman these past 23 months as a father. WE LOVE YOU!!! Happy Father's Day to Ryan and all of the Supermen out there!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dances with Horse


Our good friend, Haley, moved back to the Gallatin Valley from Colorado and just HAD to meet our little one. We went out to her wee farm so Ashlinn could meet her horses, cat, dog, and chickens, and had a blast. Of course it helped that Haley is, hands down, the World's Best Photographer and out of only a small handful of candid, impromptu shots, got some amazing gems of the babe. Be sure to check them out, and please check out her other photographs and keep Ms. Poulos in mind for all of your photography needs. She not only takes the most beautifully vivid wedding photographs I've ever seen (it's like her camera lens can stare directly into her subjects' souls and capture the moment without interruption!), but takes some pretty great general event (new baby, cattle auction, senior pics, etc.) and every day ones as well.




http://www.haleypoulosblog.com/2010/11/ashlinn.html (here's Ashlinn)
http://haleypoulos.com/ (Haley's photography page)

Thanks for the great shots, Haley, and keep on truckin'!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ashlinn says "hi" on our Oregon trip

I love this video. I spent 5 hours trying to figure out a new, super deluxe video editing program to cut this clip out, but it was worth it. Every time I watch it, I want to laugh and cry at the same time because my girl is being oh so cute.


video

Monday, October 4, 2010

Current photos

Jen already posted these on Facebook...I haven't figured out a way to show a FB album on our website (maybe it can't be done). Regardless...here is the little girl!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A few older pictures

Since Jen was going through some of Ashlinn's old clothes, I thought it might be appropriate to put up a few pictures that we haven't posted before (Ashlinn was much younger).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Latest Update

It's been far too long since I've posted anything on Ashlinn's blog, so I thought I'd try and write up an update (knowing me, it'll probably go on for paragraphs!!!).

Ashlinn is continuing to develop leaps and bounds. She is such a smart little cookie, and can follow along on several songs, singing along for parts of it. When I sing the ABCs, she will mouth several of the letters with me, and will shout some out at the perfect moment, proudly saying the letter "h" and the letter "y" at the correct point in the song. She is a happy, happy girl, and we try to live by her latest motto where she'll continually exclaim, "Be Happy, Be Happy, Be Happy, Be Happy". I have no idea where she picks these things up sometimes.

Ashlinn is a chatterbox and can say more complex words, such as "thank you" and "butterfly". She is polite most of the time, saying "please", and of course "thank you" when I give her something she really wants such as snack or a fun object to play with. She has mostly gotten over the hitting phase and regardless of her wrongdoing, time-outs are highly effective and she's pretty easy to reason with. We try to use every faux pas as a teachable moment. When she hits me out of frustration, I never lose my temper but instead, try and put myself in her shoes which must be a challenging role. If the outburst requires a timeout, I place her in a designated area and act very stern with her. At the end of the minute, I get down at her level and explain why what she did was wrong and how it hurts mommy, etc., and we always end with a hug and a kiss and the world is well again. I love watching her expressions as you can tell what you are saying is sinking in and she's giving thought to the issue at hand. You can telll she genuinely feels bad and never meant to hurt anyone, but her emotions at this young age often dominate any sense of reason.

At the moment, she loves carrying around odd objects such as the dustpan, her super heavy activity block, and nasal spray. Ash is great at listening too. The other day, unbeknownst to me, Daddy was in the back room and asked Ashlinn to bring me his shoes so they'd go out in the living room where they belonged. Sure enough, here comes my little toddler carrying Daddy's heavy shoes and placing them nicely on my lap. He came out a couple of minutes later, surprised and elated that she had followed through and I had to laugh when I realized the task she'd completed. If I ask her to go and find her ball and bring it to me, even with the ball or other misc. object out of sight, she'll find it every time and bring it to me (unless of course she is distracted by something bigger and better).

Although Ashlinn has her favorite toys, she, above all else, LOVES her books. She constantly finds all of her books and brings them to me, wanting to sit on my lap and read with me. She's patient most of the time and will sit with me for quite some time looking over her "boots" (books) in excitement and in anticipation for the next page. I so love that she loves books. Books can open up a whole world of excitement, wonder, and knowlege for that little girl of mine and I very much look forward to reading longer and more complex texts with her as she gets a little older. Ryan probably has high hopes of starting the "Lord of the Rings" series with her, but I have a feeling he might have wait longer than he thinks before she'll be as excited about them as he is. :)

I'm not sure if I have posted anything about it yet, but Ashlinn started walking almost exactly a month after her 1st birthday on August 15th. We were thrilled and I believe she is happier than ever because of it. Both Susan (the wonderful gal who watches Ashlinn while we're at work) and I agree that she has been wanting to become mobile since she was a month old, and although crawling opened up new avenues for her, it was walking that really allowed her the mobility she'd been craving. She now walks around in patterns each evening, from the living room to the kitchen, picking up objects along the way to share with us, often exclaiming "Wow!" in amazement.

I had a conversation with Ryan the other day about what it was that was truly amazing with having kids, and one the ones that really stuck out to us was the fact that Ashlinn allows for our inner child to escape and explore the world all over again through her eyes. Suddenly an ordinary broomstick becomes something amazing with prickly bristles and a long handle that can move objects from far away, and a cluttered pursed becomes a bag of wonderful and curious objects, giving Ashlinn ample opportunity to pull out one objects at a time, inspect it and question what incredible purpose it must serve, before neatly placing it in an organized pile with everything else.

I have several friends and acquaintances pondering whether or not they should join us in the ranks of parenthood, and being in their shoes at one time, I can say that yes, it not for everyone, but I have to highly recommend it. It is truly the toughest job that I can think of and deserves to far surpass any of Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs" for a number of reasons, but it is the most incredible journey I have ever ventured to take. I can't say that I love every aspect of being a mother, but the amazing things I get to experience everyday with my beautiful baby girl far exceed even the worst of the negative ones. She brings me more joy in one afternoon of playing peek-a-boo, reading, playing the "What's that" game for hours, etc., than any of the best books I have read, vacations I have been on, etc.

I swore I would never be one of "those" parents who couldn't bring anything else to adult conversation beyond their kids, but both Ryan and I proudly lay stakes to that claim and talk about our little miracle to anyone willing to listen. She is our favorite topic, especially with each other, and can easily bring a tear to our eyes with the simple recall of silly memory from that day, or reminiscing about how tiny she used to be, etc.

We love that little girl more than anything, and are so happy to have her in our lives. Until next time...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fun outdoors

Here are some photos taken outdoors, showing Ashlinn romping around with the kitties, riding horseback with Auntie Mindy and her horses, exploring the backyard, and her first trip swimming.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ashlinn!



I apologize for the unevenness of sound. Adobe Premier was being flaky so I resorted to a much less powerful program that did not allow me to edit sound.

The first part just past the intro is normal volume, but the rest requires you to crank up the volume (if you actually care to hear). And I know it's cheesy, but those of you who know me know I'm about as cheesy as they come.

Happy birthday to the most beautiful little girl I know.

Scattered thoughts on Ashlinn's 1st birthday... Forever my baby girl

Ashlinn turns one year old today. Happy first birthday, Baby Girl!!! When others are generally elated with their child's first and subsequent birthdays, if for nothing else than to proclaim both they and their child survived a year of firsts, I find myself conflicted and more melancholy than anything. Yes, I feel blessed to have a happy, healthy, bright child, etc., etc., etc., but I feel like with the start of her first whole year, I'm leaving something behind. My baby is growing into a beautiful little girl, and I should be on cloud nine thinking of everything she has learned and accomplished, but it's not as simple as that. Nothing is ever simple as a mother. We think way too much, and often error towards the side of pessimism. What is it about wanting to make everything perfect for your child that often brings about so much imperfection?

I have worked so incredibly hard to make everything right, and the more things that I can't perfect, the harder I try to perfect what I do have control over. I read all of the books, did all of the research to figure out what was best in every circumstance; I breastfed (still am), make all of her food from scratch, have tried to cut out as many chemicals and preservatives as possible, try my darnedest never to yell or lose my temper in front of her (I've failed there once or twice...), mostly cut out television and all that other stuff "They" swear rots your children's brains, taught myself a number of signs (ASL) to communicate with Ashlinn; I cloth diaper her, sew, mend, read to her, sing to her, work on her vocabulary by constantly communicating, I put her to bed every night, and check on her every night before I go to bed. I am a very dedicated mother, but feel as though I'm lacking somehow maternally, perhaps because of the extreme guilt I feel over not being able to stay home with her more, or perhaps it just goes with the territory.

This morning I was dissapointed with myself because I had a super cute wrap dress that I had grand plans of finishing in time for her birthday, but to look at it now would be to see a pile of rags. Is this representative of my life as a mother? An unfinished work in progress? Yes, I'm sure it is in a way. Mothers are continually evolving in an attempt to keep up with their children, and just as they grow comfortable with one era in their life, a new one begins. I feel like as hard as I work during the day, and a hard as I work to make things at least a step closer to that unattainable perfection at home, things will always be in a slight to modest state of disarray. I'm am learning to accept this, though it is a hard pill to swallow, and am trying to rely on Ryan more for help, trampling on the myth of fictional character, Super Mom (created by evil doers everywhere!). Super Mom exists purely to serve her family and the world, getting everything on her list crossed off, having a never-ending supply of energy, and doing it all with a smile on her face, a gleaming reflection from all of the clean hard surfaces in her home, and with a happy, thankful family by her side always. Real people cannot get everything they want accomplished to perfection without 12 hands, continuous pill-popping, chain smoking, a few cocktails, 32 hours in a day, no sleep, and all while crying heavily on the inside, and who wants to achieve that version of "perfection"? The act of growing 10 extra hands alone sounds daunting. Wow, I'm realizing I'm letting my inner wordy self escape again and go off on a tangent. Back wordy self, back! You're hindering my progress.

Anyway, I'm still finding it difficult to accept that Ashlinn is 1 already, but am trying to find peace in what should be a very joyous, celebratory event. Last night after I laid her in her crib, when going through the usual list of songs to sing to her ("Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Baby of Mine", "Baby Love", "Smile", etc.), for whatever reason I chose to sing her "You are My Sunshine", except I replaced the word "sunshine" with "Ashlinn". When worrying about losing your baby to time, singing about holding your sweet love in your arms, only to awake to reality is probably not the wisest choice of song.

Then, to end the bedtime routine, I transferred a kiss to my hand, and then massaged it in her temple for safekeeping as I always do, and then she did something she'd never done before. She waived "bye-bye" while staring intensely into my eyes. At first I wanted to cry all over again, looking at it symbolically, as though she were saying good-bye to babyhood, childhood, innocence, and beyond, and saying hello to tricycles, then boys, her first kiss, a driver's license, and finally cutting the cord completely and embracing freedom and adulthood. I then realized something. So many parents tell you to treasure every moment because it all goes by so incredibly fast. I knew those things truly were just around the corner, but was that so bad?

Our ultimate job as a parent is to establish a sense of independence, and with each new stage comes more and more autonomy. It is difficult to watch your child grow, leaving one stage you've just barely begun to grow accustomed to for another, unfamiliar, sometimes scary yet overall rewarding one. Yes, yesterday is in the past and will never be again, but who's to say that tomorrow won't be just as fulfilling, if not more so and come with it new firsts and memories, eventually becoming tomorrow's new yesterday perpetuating the cycle. I am so thrilled to witness what is in store for my precious little girl. Plus, I suppose you're supposed to miss the early days at at least a little bit. This is nature's way of encouraging further procreation, right?

No matter what anyone else says including her, Ashlinn will forever and always be, my baby girl.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ash_walk

We decided to test out the new Kelty baby pack by going for a long walk around the subdivision and trekking around the subdivision pond. Ashlinn loved it!!! It was so beautiful, and despite a little rain, we had a wonderful time. We'll try to make it more of a ritual every weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Playing with friends & Grandma Visit

A few more pictures: First, playing with buddy, Shelby, and the second bunch are at Grandma's house in Billings.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy 9 months!

Ashlinn recently had her 9-month checkup and passed with flying colors. Our tall, skinny girl was in the 90th percentile for height, but only the 20th for weight, meaning fewer than 10% of babies are taller than her at her age, and about 80% of her peers are heavier than her regardless of their height. Here are a few accomplishments we haven't gotten around to posting until now.

Communication:

Speaking:
Since she was about two-months-old, Ashlinn has shown an interest in mimicking sounds, especially those coming from us, her parents. We even have a video of her at 8 weeks old watching me say "Agua" (Spanish for "water") and saying it herself. She has been very keen on studying the way our lips part and jaw moves, etc., putting together sounds that form words. She isn't completely comfortable speaking a whole lot just yet, but will often mouth the movements to words as she watches us talk. It's very cute.

Although she doesn't say a lot just yet, Ashlinn did begin speaking a few words just before her 9th month. They are as follows and in chronological order:

*"Hi"/"Hey" - whenever we'd go to pick her up from Susan (the gal who watches Ashlinn), she'd do a sort of wave and exclaim "Hey!!!". We figured that counted as her first word since she did it repeatedly and seemed to know what it was she was saying.

*"Mama" & "Dada" tied for second. She technically said "Mama" first, but had been putting "Da-Da" sounds together prior to that, without actually knowing what she was saying

*"Uh-Oh" - Yes, considering that was one her first words, I'm sure she's warning us that we're in a world of trouble as she gets older. :o) The first time she said this, I was laying on the couch with her and she was playing with my cell phone. She dropped it on the floor, pointed to it, looked at me and said, "Uh-oh!!!". It was precious.

*"That" - She often points to things she wants or is curious about, squeezes her fingers together as though to grab it, and says, "that!"

She says other partial words and has said things like "Key-ee" (kitty) when pointing at the cat, but I haven't had a lot of luck getting her to repeat it so I haven't officially counted the extra words just yet.

Baby Signs:

I began teaching Ashlinn basic baby signs around 5 months old. At 6 months old, she started making the sign for "milk" (squeezing fingers together as though you're milking a cow). It scared the bejabbers out of me, mainly because I knew this was her first real attempt and comprehensible communication, and the fact that my baby was able to tell me what she wanted/needed at 6 months old was a little scary. She now knows hungry/eat, and is working on "all done" and a few others like kitty.

Spanish:
When naming objects, I try my best to remember their Spanish counterpart and say both. She seems to understand the following:

Gato - Cat
Leche - Milk
Cama - Bed
Toca la guitara - play the guitar
Mano - Hand
Frio/Hace Frio - cold/brrrrrrr / it's cold!
Come - eat
The rest are alluding me right now, but I've probably communicated about 150+ Spanish words and phrases with her on a regular basis. It's amazing to me how much Spanish is coming back to me from my high school days.


Gross Motor Skills (as in movements utilizing her larger muscle groups - not "icky" motor skills):

Ashlinn was born a very strong baby. I was pretty sure she would be as she was a very active baby in utero, constantly stretching out (making me almost pass out when she'd push against my diaphragm and lungs), using my ribs like a xylophone, and trying to kick her way right out of me. She started preferring to stand much of the time over sitting or being held at around 6 weeks. Here are a few things she's done since.

Crawling:
Ashlinn began what we call "scooting" around 6 months. She'd essentially lay flat on her belly, and use her arms and legs to push herself across the floor. She resembles soldier, making his/her way through the brush incognito style, using mainly elbows and knees on the ground to shimmy on by. She'd stealthily get from point A to point B with seemingly no obstacles. Because she started this fairly early on, Ryan and I were convinced "real" crawling would be right around the corner. At nearly 10 months old, she still mostly scoots, but does get on her knees and do a few crawling moves, before resorting to what she knows and is comfortable with.

Walking:
Ashlinn is so close to walking on her own it's scary. She's been able to walk across the floor pretty quickly while holding onto our hands since she was about 5 1/2 months old. Then at about 8 months old, if we stood her up, she was easily able to use furniture as a crutch to stand and maneuver herself around the room. At about 9 months old, she began pulling herself up with no problem and needs less of a crutch than before, now able to use things like the wall, etc., to lean against rather than requiring something tangible and 3-D to hold onto. She can stand without holding onto anything, but upon realizing what she is doing after a few seconds, she gets scared and starts to panic, reaching out for anything close by or opting to fall to the safety of the ground.


Personality:

There are a number of things that make our little girl stand out. Her beautiful smile and contagious laugh, her sparkling blue eyes she used to "smile" (prior to smiling, she seemed to smile with her eyes), her intellect, her precious little sounds and cooing, her expressions, but the attribute that so many comment on above all others is her personality. Oh yeah, she's got one!!! She (we all!) suffered with colic for just over the first three months of her life. After that, she seemed to be a fairly happy-go-lucky kid.

She has few fears, and lights up whenever anyone, especially strangers, pay her any attention. On the flip side, she gets a little irritated when people don't notice her, and does whatever she can to grab their attention, "turning on the charm" as Ryan and I describe it. She waves and makes noise and acts totally silly when others are around. She hasn't had many problems with separation or stranger anxiety except when she's exhausted.

Ashlinn is an utter joy to be around and I now know that it's true what "they" say - that children give their parents wrinkles. Laughter wrinkles! She cracks us up on a constant basis. Her absolutely inquisitive nature that often gets her into trouble is also one of her most endearing qualities. I remember at her one-month checkup, Dr. Fairbanks was trying to listen to her heartbeat but was having difficulty because Ashlinn kept grabbing her stethoscope and bringing it close to her face for a closer inspection. The other day, Ashlinn discovered where we keep her toy bin and was bent way over the side of the couch (I was holding onto her ankle), and picking up toys, excitedly showing each one to me yelling "That!" or "Di-Di!" each time she'd find a new one. She loves to share her findings with anyone willing to participate, holding out pacifiers, toys, and food to the person sitting next to her as though to say, "Look! Isn't this the most amazing thing you've ever seen/smelled/tasted/experienced?! I want to share it with you because I just can't contain my excitement and want you to feel it too!".

Our little girl amazes us each day and Ryan and I both agree that one of the saddest times nowadays is about 8:00pm, when everything has calmed down - baby is fed and in bed, we are fed and winding down, and while we could watch television, read a book, start a project, enjoy our alone time, etc., we miss out little monkey girl and want to play with her. Parenthood is a true adventure and indescribable to anyone who has not yet experienced one of life's truly miraculous wonders.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Testing the new Camera

While Ash is doing Jingle Bells

A actually decided to link to the video since it is widescreen (the blogger template didn't like it).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAcXKGhWOkw

Friday, April 2, 2010

BUNNIES!!!

Long story short, Aunti Mindy went to adopt another rabbit and ended up with nine (procreation is a beautiful thing?). Since it is nearing Easter, she invited us, Sarah, and little Adeline along as well. Normally Ashlinn is all about animals, but she's even more into small children and was quite smitten with 2-year-old Adeline.

It was cute because Adeline is becoming very assertive and autonomous, and kept trying to boss Ashlinn around, while Ashlinn just stared at her in amazement. Adeline didn't realize that Ashlinn was a bit too young to follow direction. It was a fun time, and when we returned home, Grandma and Grandpa Storment were waiting to see Ashlinn. Yay for Easter, bunnies, and wonderful people!!!

(p.s. - As I write this Ashlinn is trying to teach Liam Kitty how to clap, and seems disappointed that he doesn't quite grasp it.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

While Daddy was away on a business trip to Denver (sounds so weird to be saying that!), I got bored and went a little crazy with the camera. This is probably only 21 pictures of about 800 I took with the Nikon! The last bunch on the bench are my favorites because Ashlinn looks so angelic. Eat up the pictures now, because now that we're getting back into the swing of things and don't really have any holidays off from work in the coming months, we'll likely be bad with posting again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

December '09 - February '10

More pictures of our little sweetheart.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another close call

Ashlinn's first illness was fairly memorable to say the least. We have been blessed with a healthy little girl who never been the slightest bit sick until now. She starting displaying symptoms of the flu Friday, acting as though she just couldn't get enough sleep and was somewhat lethargic. By Saturday morning, while at Target, she began vomiting anything and everything that entered her tummy. We got her home pretty quickly, and as soon as we entered the house and set her car seat down, she made a very slight but eerie gasping noise. I peered down at her to see an odd sort of look on her face. She was staring straight ahead, not moving, and her eyes seemed completely empty. I told myself she was just really exhausted from running errands, but I knew something was wrong.

My suspicion was confirmed upon removing her from her car seat. She was completely limp and starting to turn blue. I yelled for Ryan to grab the nasal bulb aspirator (that plunger-looking device you get from the hospital for newborns for sucking out excess mucous, etc.). I began pounding her on the back to try and loosen up whatever it was. Ryan returned quickly with the aspirator and we began sucking out the vomit she'd aspirated into her lungs.

After about 10 seconds pounding on her, cleaning out her airway, etc., she began to respond, trying desperately to cry. She's let out quiet, quick gasps but then would stop breathing again. She was turning more and more blue. We kept at it, reaching our fingers in to clear her throat out a bit, and kept sucking more and more out of her throat and lungs. Finally more signs of life as she'd cry for about 5 seconds at a time and her face and limbs went from blue to purple to red. She was back.

After she was stabilized and breathing normally again, we ran her to Urgent Care where we were quickly sent to the ER. Everything checked out okay, including her chest x-rays, and she even had a blood oxygen rate ranging from 95 - 100 (percentage of oxygen in blood). We were kept there for about 4 hours, we assumed, to make sure she wouldn't take a turn for the worse. The doctor explained that negative aspiration side-effects can take about 6 hours to really show up and in children as young as Ashlinn, can quickly manifest into something serious and deadly.

Ashlinn still wasn't able to keep anything down at this point but I kept nursing her often, hoping she'd at least receive some benefit. The nurse eventually started her on Pedialite to help counteract dehydration and restore some electrolytes, and she started improving quite a bit after that. We were all exhausted at that point, and neither Ryan nor myself had eaten anything for nearly 8 hours, so we were ecstatic when they gave us the go ahead to leave and keep a close eye on our little one. Needless to say, we didn't leave her by herself for even a second the rest of the day, night, and into the next day.

We are truly grateful that our baby girl is such a fighter and is as stubborn as her mama. I am scared to think what would/could have happened if I didn't hear that first little warning sign, or if Ryan wouldn't have been able to find the aspirator, etc. Ashlinn has changed our lives forever and I don't know how we could ever function if we lost her.

In the midst of drama, I try and think of the positives that I can take out of the situation. Here are some I thought of while waiting at the hospital:
(1) We realized once again that we are capable parents and able to do what is necessary in an emergency
(2) We are able to realize all over again just how much we love our baby girl and appreciate everything about her (we'll take the good with the bad!)
(3) Seeing all of the ill people in and out of the ER that day (including a sickly teeny tiny preemie baby) made us truly appreciate our health
(4) Thank God for health insurance and flexible spending accounts!!!
(5) Ryan and I had a great excuse to eat junk food after the whole ordeal - we only eat at unhealthy fast food restaurants once or twice a year, and rarely eat red meat, but we needed quick calories and what better choice than Wendy's?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Merry Christmas 2009


Guess that Photoshop class is still coming in handy. To all of you receiving a card (soon), sorry I was so late this year!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ashlinn and "El Senor Tigre" aka, Mr. Tiger

Sorry for the low video quality... We did this using Ryan's horrible cell phone. Anyway, Ashlinn sure does love her new baby tiger. Daddy gave it to mommy a long time ago when they were dating, and just found it in a box a few days ago. As soon as Ashlinn got it, she began making "baby tiger" noises and it was just too cute for words.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Randomness

Wow, I haven’t posted anything since returning to work so I thought I’d
give a quick update. Ashlinn is now five months old and I feel like
Ryan and I are finally getting this parenting thing down. The first
couple of months were long, and beyond difficult, but our baby girl has
outgrown her colic and now gives us lots of smiles and giggles. She is
still an “unsettled” child meaning she hasn’t quite adjusted to the
outside world as of yet, but it is by no means a permanent label and
will be something she outgrows soon (we hope!!!).

Ashlinn is still a very strong and highly intelligent child for her
age. With very little support, she can walk around between mommy and
daddy, talks up a storm (can’t understand it just yet of course!), and
always has a look of deep thought when faced with a new situation or
individual. It seems as though he brain is always working overtime.
Unfortunately this works against us when it comes to sleep, especially
naps. Ash often fights naps, and it looks almost as though she’s
worried that something wonderful is going to happen while she’s
sleeping, and therefore, wants to make sure she doesn’t miss it. I am
constantly working with her trying to establish healthier sleep habits.
We may go with more drastic measures very soon (cry-out method or
something similar) because all three of us and the cats are very sleep
deprived.

Not surprisingly, Ashlinn started teething very early – around 2 months
in fact. This makes for a cranky child at times. There have been times
she’s awoken in the middle of the night, screaming bloody murder while
desperately grabbing at her gums. It breaks my heart to see her in
pain. We have gotten Baby Orajel for her which takes the edge off, but
it’s not her favorite thing so we try to limit usage. I’m not sure if
it’s the taste or the numbing effect, but she has a horrible looking
scowl on her face for a while after we apply it.

Ashlinn has become the joy of our lives and we always look forward to
spending time with her; that does NOT necessarily mean we’d be opposed
to having someone babysit who needs their baby fix. Breaks from her are
few and far between and always welcomed.

In other news, both Ashlinn and Mommy are very proud of Daddy and his
new Assistant Director to College Seminar (University Studies) job. He
worked hard on preparing a presentation in addition to preparing for the
all-day interview, and it paid off. I think the thing that put him over
the edge was Ashlinn’s critiquing of his speech. She’d scowl and talk
angrily when it didn’t sound quite right, and coo and smile when it was
just about perfect. Crazy baby.

Unfortunately, starting in January, Ryan will not be able to spend his
normal Tuesdays and Thursdays at home with Ashlinn, so she’ll need to be
in daycare almost full-time. We’ve worked out a great situation with a
friend who watches her Mondays and Wednesdays now, but she may be
returning to the workforce and unable to care for Ashlinn in the
upcoming months, so if anyone has any good recommendations for
childcare, I’d love to hear them. Luckily I’ll have Fridays at home
with her and may still be able to work out something else with my job.
We’ll see.

Sorry I wasn’t feeling more creative or inspired to recant a fun story.
I can’t think of one at the moment. Maybe next time, after a good
night’s sleep! Until then…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween 2009

It is a little early, but we wanted to take advantage of the nice weather.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sept and October Picks

Ashlinn at three months old!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Testing, 1...2...3...

In the last 48 hours I've been tested heavily as a mother. Mommy test #1 started when Ashlinn went in for her first shots. She gave Dr. Fairbanks some lovely smiles just before Nurse Ratchett came in with the needles(okay, I LOVE Nurse Raelynn but Ashlinn wasn't a fan that day). Not only were three shots administered but I had to hold down my baby girl's legs during the horrible deed. Band-aids and infant Tylenol just didn't cut it, and mommy kisses only went so far. She screamed bloody murder, calmed down a bit after nursing, and then proceeded to continue screaming in protest much of that evening and at bedtime. She kept me up all night, which wouldn't have been as bad except the following day I started back at my first day of work (mommy test #2). All went well since Daddy watched her and I really like my new colleague, but dread next week as Monday will be her first day at daycare (mommy test #3).

In a perfect world, Ryan and I could have coordinated work schedules to elminate the need for daycare. At least she will only be going twice a week. It is a selfish and somewhat conceited thought, but I know no one can care for my baby like her mommy can. I know her cries, her likes and dislikes, the way she likes to be held for varying activities, and the fact that I can always kiss her tears away. Of course Daddy is wonderful too - I was referring more to the fact that I worry about how strangers will handle her. I know it will all work out and I'm sure I'll eventually welcome the break and the return to semi-normal schedule. As Mindy suggested, my initial worries and desire to be at Ashlinn's side at all times, calling the daycare every 5 minutes to assure myself that she is still breathing will eventually turn into calling the daycare to coordinate a longer stay so I can go shopping, etc., without baby in tow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ashlinn's 2 month old photos

Below are some pictures spanning from about 6 weeks old to just over 2 months old. They include some of Ashlinn's Billings baby shower photos (hosted by super awesome Auntie Tiffany!), babysitting with Auntie Mindy, and recent visits with Grandpa Storment and Grandma Barrick.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hopefully someone is sleeping

After a couple of days of sleeping somewhat regularly, it appears as if Ashlinn is back to keeping us (especially Jen) awake at night. I'm hoping that this is just temporary and tonight will be much better. It may be that we just need to revisit the little things that may have helped her at the end of last week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pretty Girl

One more post for today... I just thought these pictures were cute, and Ashlinn was actually cooperating really well.


Okay Aila - Now when I dig my heels into your sides, run like the wind just like they did in that Sea Biscuit movie!

I may have Daddy's nose and lips, but I definitely don't have this super fun fuzzy stuff to grab hold of on my chest!



Mommy, aren't I just the prettiest thing you've ever seen?!






Bad Idea

So in the midst of changing Ashlinn's diaper this morning, I went to her closet to see if I could find an outfit that would actually fit her (still in size newborn), and then came across a handprint/footprint kit I'd received at her Billings baby shower. I loved the gift with its cute engravable picture frame and pink, baby-safe ink. I decided to hold off on the diaper and wrap her in a towel so I could dip her hand and foot in ink and then give her a bath to wash everything off. I was actually excited at that moment at the thought of recording memories we could physically look back on and compare for years to come, and thought my biggest issue would be, "where can I hang these frames in the nursery?". Wrong.

I decided I would nurse her to keep her content and then do the deed. I got her foot done with no issues. Then came the hand. I was stumped on the proper procedure to do her hand as she always has it curled up in a fist. I decided to be an informed adult and refer to the directions. "Press hand and foot firmly on ink pad, then press firmly on designated paper. Wait for ink to dry and place in picture frames. Hang, and enjoy!" Sounds so easy, if only. I kept trying to pry her fingers apart and as I was successful with one digit, the prior would snap closed. I tried this little song and dance for about 5 minutes when Ashlinn decided she was done playing along and began to fuss. As if to reason with a 6-week old, I cried out, "But I have to record how tiny your hands were at this age. Don't you want to be able to look back and see how precious you were?!". She responded by wailing.

Luckily for me, or so I thought, her arms were now outstretched in anger, fingers included, and I knew I had to seize the opportunity. I quickly pressed her hand in the ink pad, waited for her to spread her fingers again, and went to press it, firmly as the directions suggested, onto the piece of paper. I'd forgotten about a few millennia of reflexes baby have at this age whereby the instant pressure is applied to the palm of their hand, they curl their fingers into a tight fist. I'd read somewhere that this is a useless reflex leftover from our days as apes where, if a baby ape fell from his mother's back or arms up high in a tree, a branch would eventually trigger his reflex and he'd be able to hold on for dear life until Mommy came to the rescue. Creationists, fret not - I have not decided where I stand on the whole humans are decedents of apes theory. Anyway, instead of this looking like baby's first handprint, it looks more like baby's first finger painting lesson. Smears of pink ink cover the paper, and by now, Ashlinn is fuming.

She's ripped the towel away from under her, I now realize as a part of her master plan. She proceeds to relieve herself on my pant leg, and just as she finishes with number 1, she decides to go for number 2 in the same spot. In all of the excitement, Ashlinn reminds me of her age-old philosophy in that, in the absence of burping, what goes down must come up. I'm quickly reminded as I'm trying to clean my pant leg and her off, and Ashlinn projectile vomits all over my shirt.

Still screaming, I rush her to the bath I'd drawn before the whole mess started and start to hose her off under the faucet because I do not want her bathing in a bathtub full of body fluids. I forgot that our water temperature likes to change dramatically downstairs and upset this already screaming baby by holding her under a stream of ice cold water. I finally get her in the tub, try my best to bathe her, and then wrap her up in her towel and blanket and try to soothe her. I nurse her a few minutes later and the entire time she is staring at me, with a horrible looking scowl on her face. Mothers love to record moments of firsts like the baby's first smile, first steps, first words, etc., and I realized then that, had Ashlinn had a cellphone or even a computer to use, she would have texted me baby's first "WTF?!".

Another fun memory in the adventures of babyhood.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quick update

Well, things didn't work out as wonderfully as we thought, but it is still helping cover some things. We had a doctor's appointment on Friday and Ashlinn is now 9 lbs 15 oz and she has grown 1/2 inch. The doctor said that she probably has a "touch of colic." That didn't surprise Jen one bit. I have some pictures I'll post soon from our latest trip to Billings. Ashlinn slept at Grandma's!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Child Abuse

Dad decided to take a few images while styling my hair. He was a little too close. It didn't stop there, mommy decided to flair out my ears in the last few photos.

Happy One Month, Baby Girl!

(I apologize in advance for always being so wordy!)

Ashlinn is one month old today. It is hard to believe in two ways - (1) Wow... she's a month old already?!!! and (2) God, it's only been a month?!!! (when you spend 24 hours a day with someone who is helpless and completely reliant upon you and someone who can cry for hours a day, the days tend to pass slowly). It's been a rocky month as most new parents will tell you. Our days involve consistent trial and error as babies truly do not come with custom manuals and you have to figure out how each one ticks. Ryan and I consistently question ourselves and looking back at the early days, we laugh at some of the solutions we tried that desperately failed. It does get better with time as every single parent has told us, and we greatly look forward real smiles and playful interactions, first haircuts, steps, words, etc. Right now when we'll try and entertain Ashlinn, she simply looks at us with huge eyes of concern and we have no idea what she's thinking. We'll have to post a picture of this look soon. It cracks us up.

Thinking back over the month, there have been a couple of memorable events that stick out above the others... The first happened about a week and a half ago when, dare I say it, we could have lost her. Ryan and I were going through our usual nightly struggle of trying to put Ashlinn down for the night - okay, let be honest, down for about an hour or two if we're lucky. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to the entire night depending on her cooperation. I had been trying that entire week to get her to sleep in her crib with little success. After hearing horror stories of 5 year olds still sleeping in their parents' beds, I was motivated and yes, EXTREMELY sleep deprived from staying up much of the night trying to ease her to sleep in her crib. I had read that giving formula at night as a supplement sometimes helped babies sleep easier and longer during the night, and because this was about the time we were supposed to introduce a bottle for best results, we gave her a bottle of formula. She took it nicely along with a great deal of air, so Ryan and I both tried unsuccessfully to burp her for a good 20 minutes each and finally gave up out of sheer fatigue and frustration and laid her down.

After a bit of consoling, she was out. I quietly looked over her for a while assuming she would stir, but was sound asleep. I was so relieved and somewhat hopefully that "tonight would be the night!" I crept back into our bedroom and turned on the receiving end of the monitor and listened to her for a while before falling asleep. I was awoken by a quiet rustling noise coming from the monitor. It was an odd sound and although I couldn't place it, I had a horribly uneasy feeling. Seconds later Ryan and I ran into her bedroom after hearing a high pitched, quick wail followed by silence. I saw that the area around her head was soaked and realized that she had spit up. At first I assumed she was just startled from spitting up - hence the quick wail. Then my eyes adjusted a bit more, and I realized something was wrong.

She was moving strangely. Ryan noticed it too and turned on the lights. She was starting to turn purple, her eyes were completely bloodshot red and almost appeared to be bulging slightly, and she had lifted up her head at a funny angle and kept it there. I immediately realized she had aspirated on her vomit and was no longer breathing. A funny thing happened then - it was like I stepped out of my body and a complete calm, knowing entity took over. I told Ryan to grab her nasal aspirator bulb and told him exactly which cupboard and shelf it was on. I told him to hurry. I think he ran so fast he actually fell down the last couple of stairs, but returned within seconds with the bulb. I proceeded to suck about 5 tablespoons of spit up from her nostrils and lungs, pausing every few sucks to pound on her back trying to loosen up the material and also to startle her into crying. Occasionally she let out a panicky wail which was extremely reassuring. After about 45 minutes of this, she was finally breathing normally and although quite shaken, seemed okay. After that I relented and brought her back in our bed and watched over her the remainder of the night. The transition to the crib is temporarily on hold. Poor Ryan had to go to work the next morning tired and still recovering the previous night's events. I'm just so relieved she is okay. Since this happened, I have heard that two friends' babies, both seemingly healthy and around Ashlinn's age passed away very recently and it really makes you realize how precious your little bundle is. As frustrated with her as I can be at times, I don't think I could cope if I lost her.

The second event spanning a few days was not scary like the aforementioned and didn't directly involve Ashlinn. As Ryan just posted, I developed mastitis over the weekend and have NEVER been in more pain in my life. I originally thought childbirth was the most painful thing I'd ever experience, then realized it was breastfeeding (not as intense as childbirth but the pain was constant throughout the day and would continually worsen with each feeding, day after day), and now realized it's mastitis. Not only is the breast tissue indescribably inflamed with intense shooting pains and swelling, but the high fever I had for 4 nights caused every single joint in my body as well as my entire head to be inflamed as well as also in indescribable pain. Remedy? Baby-safe antibiotics, rest, fluids, and aw yes - nursing through the pain (the baby's tummy kills any bacteria ingested from the breast milk).

I have to say, Ryan really stepped up to the plate. I was completely disoriented from the mind-bending pain and the high fever and could not care for a newborn for more than a few minutes at a time. Ryan recognized this and Saturday night when the symptoms were at their most unbearable and I was far from being myself, he slept with Ashlinn downstairs to allow me to rest (meaning he didn't actually sleep in hopes that I would). I'm almost back to normal now and grateful for the assistance of my trusty assistant. When you don't have a village to raise your baby, it's at least helpful to have a partner in crime.

Anyway, I'm realizing I'm being my overly wordy self again so I'll end it here. If you're asleep after reading this, count yourself lucky and know that I'm jealous! :o)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Long weekend

I managed to take an extra day off this week to try to help take some pressure off of Jen. I was actually hoping that she'd benefit from some extra rest. It turns out Jen started to get sick Friday night. She has mastitus and a fever that is accompanying it. We managed to hit the doctor this afternoon so hopefully she'll start feeling better. Right now she still has the fever and a very bad headache. The good news is that it isn't anything Ashlinn and I can get, but we did sleep downstairs to give mom a break last night. If Jen is still feeling crummy this evening/tomorrow morning, I'll probably stay home and help out.

Next weekend we'll be going Billings for a visit and I think Grandma may be coming up at the end of the month. Hopefully we'll have some more pictures (and a video) up soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Days!!!

(update added 8/29/09): I thought I'd quickly update this post just in case anyone reading it is thinking about enrolling in the Well Baby program... It turns out there was a misunderstanding and not everything we thought would be covered, was. Only in-network doctor costs are covered - in other words, any costs from the hospital are not covered unless directly associated with the doctor. No worries though - we're still extremely grateful to have our doctor's costs covered which ended up saving up a pretty penny. The rest will mostly be covered by my flexible spending health account - something I'd highly recommend to everyone whose employer offers it. It is a huge tax savings.

* * * * * * *
This is my first post since being thrown into the challenging world of Mommywood. I just received some very happy news, so I'll begin by going over the background. A little over a year ago, I enrolled in MUS's Well Awards program (program offered through our university system's insurance plan). Basically, by partaking in specific, healthy choices and programs I would receive a certain amount of points as a reward. Once I accumulated something like 14 points, I would then be eligible to receive $100.00. One of the programs they offered that would give me a couple of points was called Star Baby which was a maternity program offering information and support during pregnancy. The description was pretty sparse, but basically I knew it'd get me closer to my $100.00 so I didn't care that much about the actual program. It wasn't until I started going to my prenatal visits that I realized the program actually paid all of my co-pays, so the appointments were free. I was beyond thrilled.

I assumed the benefits of the program would stop once the baby was born, but received a letter asking me to re-enroll for fiscal year 2010 starting July 1st. I figured I would because the last appointment wasn't covered and thought that might be a way to get it paid for. I called to re-enroll and the gal in charge of the program informed me that Star Baby, now Well Baby, had changed their coverage. I wasn't sure what that would mean at first. Then she explained that all of Ashlinn's well-baby checks would be covered, she'd receive a $50.00 savings bond, I'd get some super high quality, expensive prenatal vitamins for nursing, AND.... the costs associated with delivery would be covered. I couldn't believe it. I'd heard horror stories from friends about how much they had to pay for delivery and associated doctor's appointments even with premium insurance, and had no idea what kind of bill to expect.

Thus far, the pregnancy appointments and delivery have cost me a grand total of $60.00, and that amount was to cover our second, "emergency" ultrasound that wasn't covered by Star Baby. What a relief!!! Now all of the money I've put into my flexible spending account can go towards other medical costs such as dental visits, sick baby visits, etc. And to think, I only enrolled to get my $100 Well-Award bonus and it's saved us hundreds if not thousands.

It's just neat to see how, ever since Ryan and I have been together, problems always seem to work themselves out in the end whether it was the way we thought they would turn out or not. We work off one another's energy and strengths and do our best to stay positive, and somehow everything turns out wonderfully.

As for baby stuff... Having and caring for an infant is SO much more difficult than I could have ever anticipated. I can't tell you how many times I've questioned myself as a mother. You always hear how "the day ______ was born was the happiest day of my life", so to experience anything contrary to that belief can make you feel like a horrible person and mother. Looking back, I actually somewhat enjoyed the labor and delivery process, but I have to admit it wasn't love at first sight when Ashlinn was born and placed on my tummy. I was relieved that that extreme pain and pressure was over, and happy that everyone came through it healthy, but had no emotions when looking at my baby. Everything happened so incredibly fast that day that it was all a blur. I was somewhat apathetic and confused and didn't know what to think. I worried I would never bond with this little one and that I would have to fake my way through being a mother. Luckily things improved with rest and having time to take it all in and spend time with my baby. I now look at her and think she is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and try to remember that during her bouts of extreme fussiness and when I want to scream in agony each time she nurses - yes, it is THAT painful! :o)

I know we have a long, tough road ahead of us but things always seem to work out as long as we rely on the strengths we collectively posess as a family. It should be quite the adventure. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exhausted

It was a nice day yesterday, but we had a bunch of visitors. Jen is sort of working on a schedule with Ashlinn and it seems to be working out well. One trick is to make sure that after nursing, Ashlinn stays awake for about 15 minutes. That said, last night was a rough one. My last memory was Jen at 5am with Ashlinn. I'm hoping they got more sleep this morning. We'll have a few pictures up in the next day or so with Uncle Brandon as well as Grandma and Grandpa Storment. I think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Her official hospital picture

http://www.bozemandeaconess.org/baby_detail.php?id=4296&dateRange=2009-07

We just checked and Ashlinn's picture is up on the Bozeman Deaconess website.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If you don't produce, they may induce.

Here is a quick rundown of what 'went down' on Tuesday.

Jen originally had an appointment with her doctor at 4:20 on Tuesday afternoon. This was going to be her first day off and so she was going to sleep in. The doctor's office called and asked that we come in during the morning just in case they needed to check fluid levels, etc.

We made it in and the appointment went fairly well. Tracy wasn't quite sure why the baby hadn't come yet (she thought she'd be early). Jen was measuring 3cm (6cm – outer cervix). So the plan was to have Jen be induced on Thursday. By the time we made it home, the doctor had called and asked if we wanted to go Tuesday. This was a surprise, but we thought it would be best and it would give us more time as a family.

By 2:30 they had given Jen pitocin, at 3:30 Jen's water was broken. It was somewhat slow for awhile. At 6:30pm Jen was measuring 6cm. When the nurse was leaving for the day (7:30) she said Jen was at 8cm. I was amazed, after all that was 2 cm in one hour.

I chatted with Jean for a few minutes and then went in to check on Jen. She said that she had quite a bit of pain and thought the epidural wasn't working anymore. I asked the nurse to come in for just a moment. By the time we walked back in the room, Jen was ready to go and had started her breathing. The nurse called the doctor and she appeared someone surprised. The doctor thought it would be another two hours at least!

That wasn't in the plan. Basically there were three major contractions and Jen pushed six times. The baby was out within five minutes.

Everyone seemed very impressed with Jen's performance and they were very surprised that it was Jen's first baby.

I am very amazed with Jen at this point. No complaining and when the baby and Jen were ready, she looked like superwomen.

Needless to say, with the transition from work to hospital, scheduled inducing for Thursday to Tuesday, and such a quick birth, Jen has been a little overwhelmed. Quite frankly, she hasn't had much time to process everything.

I'm at home tonight (Weds) and Jen and Ashlinn are at the hospital. The hope is that she can recover and get some much needed rest. We'll be bringing everyone home tomorrow.

Expect more photos!

First Photos

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Introducting....

Ashlinn Ciara
Arrival weight: 7 lbs 13 oz
Arrival length: 21.5 inches long
Arrival date: 7/14/09
Arrival time: 7:58pm
Arrival hair: Not red, brown