Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I'm not sure why, but Ashlyn has had a thing for hats lately.  Every time I turn around, she's wearing some sort of hat on her head.  Really, our house isn't that cold. ;-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This past year has been filled with challenges, especially the loss of Lynnea.  It was hard celebrating today without her, but today was not a day to dwell on what we don't have, but instead to look at how many things we have to be thankful for.  I am have an amazing husband, and daughter that make my life meaningful and special every day.  I have an extended family that has been loving and supportive my whole life, but especially over the past couple of years that have been particularly difficult.  I have a warm house, plenty of food to eat, and clothing to wear.  All of my needs are met, along with many of my wants.  I have also been blessed with many friends that we met along the way during Lynnea's journey that still mean a lot to us even though she is gone.  Indeed, this Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for.

We celebrated today with extended family.  Ashlyn enjoyed seeing how many people she could convince to read her stories, and she had fun trying to get everyone involved in playing "dress-up" with her, including Great-Grandpa.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ashlyn is Thankful...

I asked Ashlyn what she is thankful for, and this was her response: "I am thankful for my family, food, my tricycle, and rain and snow."

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Art Room

The big project for this week was turning the spare bedroom (previously used for storage) into an art room -- a place for both me and Ashlyn to work on our artistic endeavors.  Ashlyn was very excited about this, and loves her new space to create.  This has resulted in lots of artwork, including some to go with her stories on her blog.  It is really nice to have all of the art supplies in one place, nicely organized for easy use.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Snow

Ashlyn was very excited about the first snowfall of the season.  She enjoyed building a snowman (OK, so technically, I think it is a snowwoman) at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  She also thought it was great to splash through the sloppy puddles (I have no idea where she might have inherited that trait).  Even though I can't say that I'm particularly excited about the fact that winter seems to be here for real, it is a lot of fun to see her excitement about the snow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ashlyn's Visit

Today I took Ashlyn down to the hospital to visit some of our friends.  This was the first time she had been there since Lynnea died (I have been back a few times now).  I wasn't sure how she would react, but she said she wanted to go, so I figured it was about time to let her visit.  She was super excited to be there seeing all of the things that were so familiar to her, and getting to visit with some of the doctors and nurses that she had gotten to know during Lynnea's life.  She was a little bit disappointed that we didn't stop to play in the hospital playroom, and she didn't get to see Dr. St. Louis because he was in the OR, but she managed to handle these things well (she did get to see most of the people on her list that she had hoped to see).  Overall, I think that it was good for her to have the opportunity to go back and spend a little bit of time there because there were a lot of things that she really liked about the hospital when Lynnea was there, and she spent so much time there that it feels strange to her now to not go there all the time. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010


"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."  Psalm 139:13-16

One week ago we celebrated what would have been Lynnea's second birthday.  Today is Lynnea's baptismal birthday.  Even though her baptism, like all baptisms, was a joyous moment, it is a difficult day for me to think about.  She was baptized in the ER while fighting for her life.  Those moments are not happy memories, and I try not to dwell on them, but I think that it is worth remembering once in a while.  She was baptized in Princeton while we waited for the neonatal team from the NICU at the U of M to come up to transport her.  We arrived at the U in the middle of the night; they ran tests all night, and finally, around 6am a cardiologist came to talk to us about Lynnea's echocardiogram.  I remember the cardiologist drawing a picture and describing what a normal heart looks like, and then drawing a picture of Lynnea's heart.  She described all of the things that were wrong with Lynnea's cardiac anatomy -- the list seemed to go on forever, and by the time she was finished, I wondered if there was anything left that was "right" about Lynnea's heart.  I also remember looking at that list, and looking at the drawings, and I couldn't help but marvel at God's amazing handiwork.  I was impressed that Lynnea was alive at all, and amazed at the way that her little body had managed to compensate for an entire week even though it appeared that there was more wrong with her heart than right.  God's design was perfect in the beginning, and even this completely flawed version of anatomy was capable of so much, I couldn't help but be in awe. When God created Lynnea, He knew all of the intricacies of her entire anatomy, and He knew exactly how many days she would live here on this earth, and what each of those days would entail.  He had a plan from her, and that night in the ER when we had her baptized, we placed her in the palm of His hand, and we trusted that whatever He had planned for her, it was for the best.  Today in church, we celebrated All Saint's Day (even though, technically, All Saint's Day was last Monday), recognizing all of the faithful believers that God had called home to heaven.  Lynnea is one of those believers.  Knowing this allows us to grieve her passing with hope -- the hope that we will one day see her again in heaven.  Through her baptism, the faith that was necessary for her to get to spend eternity in heaven was placed in her.  So, even though most of my memories from that night are some of the most unpleasant memories that I have, it is worth remembering and celebrating that moment when Lynnea Hope was baptized.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stories by Ashlyn

Ashlyn is constantly telling me little stories, and she is also very interested in the things that I do on the computer like blogging and Facebook, so I decided to let her have her own blog.  We started it a week ago.  She typically posts at least one story each day (usually more than one because once she starts telling stories, she doesn't want to stop), and sometimes she includes artwork with her stories.  Today I also put a video of her telling one of her stories on it.  I type the stories for her, but she gets to type the titles (I tell her what letters to type, and she types them, though she is getting pretty good at figuring out what letters she will probably need to use in most of the words).  You can visit Ashlyn's blog at www.storiesbyashlyn.blogspot.com.  There is also a link to her blog on the side under the heading My Blog List.  Enjoy!