Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart



Our hearts have been encouraged. Just when it seems that we have been through some really tough emotional days as we have discussed and tried to figure out where we should go with Ash's future. The conversations between her daddy and I are some of the toughest we have ever had. Lots of tears fall from my eyes and I see his broken heart through his as we face the hard facts of where she is and where she needs to be. I want to live in the land of daisies and rainbows and just continue to be nothing but happy when it comes to Ashley Kate, but we have to be responsible as well and part of that responsibility is being aware of her delays and making plans to help her achieve her full potential.

This past week God has blown us away. He has encouraged our hearts and shown us more progress in Ashley Kate's abilities in the last week than we had seen her make in the last year. Each day our excitement grows as we watch her go farther and farther and for the first time I truly feel as though standing and walking may actually be in her future. She has worked so hard and come so far!

I realize that when you see these pictures you may wonder why we are so excited about such little things, but if you only knew how hard we have worked and she has worked to get to this place then you would understand our encouraged hears. Blake and Allie wake every day ready to work with Ash and help her practice her new skills more and more. I wish you could peek inside of our home and hear the applause, the praise, and the encouragement that comes from her big brother and big sister's hearts.

This is huge! It takes lots of strength for Ash to hold herself here and this is where she was just a few days ago. This was as far as she could go. She has worked so hard at learning to sit on her knees. I was so proud to see her do this. You can see how determined she is and how hard she has to grit her teeth to keep from falling flat. Her little arms get so tired and they shake and shake, but she keeps holding herself up. This little accomplishment led to a huge accomplishment today. You'll see it in just a moment.

Oh what joy we felt as she straightened out her little legs and put those tiny feet on the floor! Usually she keeps her legs tightly curled as we lay her across the ball and I have to pry them down and force her to straighten them. Yesterday morning she did this all on her own and we were thrilled! Blake and I were the only ones home working with her at this time so we had to snap a few pictures to prove it to everyone else. Hours after we stopped working with her we were both still smiling ear to ear each time we looked at each other. We couldn't believe it! She's going to be a stander someday we just know it! Blake so desperately wants to help her accomplish this. He understands hard work better than any of us and he encourages Ash over and over again. He is so good and so patient with her. I love to watch him interact with her during this time.

Remember the picture of Ash on the red wedge mat? This is what she learned to do by working on that wedge. She can now sit in this position on her own. Position change has been one of the most difficult areas of progressing for Ashley Kate. She is terrified of new positions. Getting her to balance in this one took days and days of practice with that red mat, but look at what she did today! It took 2o minutes of holding herself up on the wedge this afternoon before she trusted herself enough to sit all the way up and then let go of it. She's not happy, but she learned that she can do it. I just love that pouty lip! This skill is so important. Its going to lead to more and more things for her and I am so proud of her.

I saved the best for last. Look at what she can do! Do you see her standing? With very little assistance? This was once her daddy made it home, but before this, before she got tired she was standing up straight on her own legs with only my fingers balancing on her hips in case she took a tumble. Blake and I couldn't even speak to each other while she was doing it because we were afraid she would give up if she heard us talking. We were so still and so quiet while she STOOD UP on her own. There was no way to get a picture this time so we waited for her daddy to come home and by then she was a little tired.

I have only cried tears of joy this week as I have watched God reach down into our home and encourage a very tired and hurting mommy in the biggest way. He has shown me that He is still at work in her life, still healing her body, still making miracles happen inside of her body. He is still God even when I struggle with the everyday hurts, heartaches, and disappointments. Ash is doing so much this week that I am overwhelmed with her progress. She is eating a full serving of vegetables each day for lunch. She is turning herself in circles on the floor as she plays with all the toys surrounding her. She is pushing herself from room to room in her gait trainer. She is standing for 45 minutes at a time in her stander. She gives her workout a full 2-3 hours at a time. She goes from working in the floor on her mats, to her stander, to her gait trainer and then takes a good 2 hour nap and then wakes and is ready to go again.

She blesses me each day. Her pouty lip, her twinkling eyes, her attitude(not always a sweet one), her zest for living each day to the fullest continue to touch my heart. I love this child so very much and to see her learning and making progress, feeling good and being happy is such an answer to prayer. I am overwhelmed this week with thanksgiving. When I pray all I can do is say thank you over and over again. If you only knew how much our hearts have hurt lately and then to see what God has given to her in just a matter of days. I am encouraged.

I know I have rambled on and on and I have shared picture after picture this week, but so much has happened and I just wanted to share it with you. I continue to be touched by those of you who still pray for our baby and for our family. I have no idea how we would have made it over that last few years if you hadn't been lifting us up in prayers. I appreciate you so very much. Thank you for still wanting to be a part of Ash's life. You are loved. I'm going to close now because Dave has been calling me for a while now. I suppose he would like a little help with putting our baby pickle to bed. Hope you had a good day and you week is going well. Good night. Trish


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