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


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

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


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

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


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