Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating Ashlyn's Birthday

Four years ago today, at 1:04pm, Ashlyn Grace entered this world, and I held her in my arms for the first time.  She was beautiful; she was perfect.  She's still beautiful, and she's still perfect. 
On Saturday we began her birthday celebration with a birthday party with some of her friends and family.  She had a great time playing with her friends and blowing out the candles on her Hello Kitty birthday cake that her Aunt Megan was kind enough to make for her.  Today we celebrated by going to McDonald's for lunch and letting her play in the play place for a while.  We don't do this very often, so this was a special treat for her.  This afternoon she had another birthday party with family members that couldn't make it to the party on Saturday.  She requested that we have "birthday soup" so that's what we had for dinner at her party (and some hotdogs to go along with it...she ate the hotdog and only tasted the soup).  We had icecream cake and she again got to blow out her candle (this was a bit of a novelty considering that the past two years her birthdays were spent at the hospital with Lynnea and we weren't allowed to light candles in the family room for her).  She had a lot of fun.  She received many gifts, including a cowgirl outfit (various pieces given by different people...I'm impressed at how coordinated it is) that looks adorable on her.  Here are some pictures from her parties, and her in her cowgirl outfit.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When I Grow Up...

Ashlyn has been very opinionated lately about what she wants to be when she grows up (which, according to her, is when she is 10 years old).  For a while she wanted to be a doctor or a nurse, and then she wanted to be a firefighter and an artist.  Lately, she has decided that she wants to be a Mommy and a Chef at Denny's.  She is determined that being a Chef at Denny's would be wonderful because then she would get to cook scrambled eggs, and she wants to be a Mommy because then she would be in charge of her babies and they would have to follow her rules.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interesting Grammar

As Ashlyn's language development continues, I've noticed that she comes up with some interesting verb conjugations.  (Leave it to me, the English major, to notice things like this...)  She handles regular verbs just fine, easily using the correct verb tense in pretty much every situation, but the irregular verbs still throw her off a bit most of the time.  My favorite word that she uses all the time lately is "sawn" which seems to be a form of the verb "to see."  I think it is a combination between the past tense, "saw," and the past perfect tense, "have seen."  She uses it in sentences all the time, sometimes as "sawn" and sometimes "have sawn."  For example, "Mommy, I sawn your book before -- it was on the couch."  Or, "I have sawn this episode of Word World before."  Obviously, I can't resist correcting her every time with the hope that eventually she'll understand that "sawn" isn't really a word...for now, when I correct her, she usually just gives me a completely confused look and continues talking about whatever it was that she was saying before I interrupted her to try give her a lesson in grammar that she's not interested in.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

8 Months

Today marks eight months since Lynnea died, though my thoughts today have been on other moments.  Three years ago at some point during the first week in March (I don't remember the exact date), we learned that Lynnea would enter our lives.  Of course, we didn't know anything about her yet at the time -- we only knew that a baby was coming in about nine months, and that the baby would be a blessing in our lives.  And, every moment with her was a blessing.

Two years ago, on March 5, 2009, Lynnea coded.  I remember sitting in a rocking chair in the hallway in the PICU outside the door to Lynnea's room with Ashlyn sitting on my lap while Lynnea went into cardiac arrest, and Ashlyn proceeded to throw up all over me.  As a parent, I have never felt more helpless than I did in that moment: helpless as my baby fought for her life; helpless as my toddler puked all over me.

Last year, on March 5, Lynnea was still in the PICU after having heart surgery on Feb. 8.  She was still on the ventilator, still running fevers, still not doing well at all.  As hard as it was to sit there and watch her suffer that day, my heart was breaking for Riley's family because they had lost their son only four days earlier, and the PICU was not the same without him.  It also served as a harsh reminder that not all children get to go home from the PICU -- sometimes children die, and the reality hit me that, if it could happen to Riley, it could just as easily happen to Lynnea.

I am grateful that this year I did not spend March 5th sitting in the PICU watching my baby suffer.  Yes, I wish that she were still here with me.  Yes, I miss her in a way that words cannot even begin to describe.  Yes, the tears still fall often when I think about how quiet my house is without her here.  But there is also a tremendous amount of relief knowing that she is pain-free in heaven, and that my days of sitting by helplessly as I watch her suffer are over.