Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


A Wish Your Heart Makes

Dreams do come true. They may not always be exactly what you thought you were dreaming of, but it does happen. At least for us it did. I dreamt of Ashley Kate for years. I loved her long before she was conceived. For so long I had pictured this baby that would be in our arms, and then once she was I realized that she wasn't exactly what I had been dreaming of. She was so much MORE. More than I could have ever wished for. More than I had asked for.

Our trip to the "castle" began as a dream in the heart of Allison Brooke. Since Ash was born she has dreamed of taking her to the castle. I wasn't sure if we would ever really take her and then one day this fall we decided we wanted to have no regrets. We planned our trip, paid for it, and then began to count down the days. When she became sick the first week of October I thought the dream had ended. With a broken heart I kind of gave up on the dream. As we peeked into our stockings Christmas morning I realized that Dave had not given it up. He had chosen a gift for Ash and myself that told me he believed all along that she would make it there. Our princess would go to the castle we had all dreamed of taking her to. I am now wearing a tiny silver tiara on a chain around my neck as a reminder that dreams really do come true.

For most of the trip Ashley Kate sat wide eyed in amazement of all that she saw and heard. The park was covered in beautiful holiday decorations and lights and you could hear Christmas carols playing along main street. It was the perfect time to take her there.

After lunch and her nap we took her on her favorite ride of the entire trip. The many adventure of Winnie the Pooh. She loved this ride and we loved watching her on it. Her eyes were busy scanning from side to side as we rode through the scenes of the story book. I think Dave's favorite part of this vacation was seeing Ash be a normal kid and ride the rides. A kid at Disney World riding rides, watching parades, and having photos taken with characters. It felt so good to have her out there during such a normal family activity.

This was the face we saw once we got off the ride. She was one happy girl traveling through the pages of that giant story book!

When it came down to actually meeting the characters face to face her smiles become a little less enthusiastic. It was one thing to marvel at them in the parades and shows from a safe distance, but sit her next to a giant mouse and ask her to smile was going a little too far. I took the pictures anyway because I wanted to have them to share with her one day, but I warn you she looks a little worried in most of them. She ended up meeting Mickey and Minnie(twice. Once early in the day and again at dinner that night in the Wilderness Lodge.), Goofy, and Scrooge McDuck. We didn't wait in any long lines with her for her safety and also because I knew that we had a Princess Storybook dinner scheduled for Monday evening where I would have the opportunity to have pictures made with them all. I'm kicking myself now because I had no idea we would no longer be there to make it to that dinner. So she has NO other character pictures and NO pictures with the princesses. I am really disappointed about that part of our trip.

She just didn't trust that mouse! He was so great with her though. He didn't push. Once he realized how unsure she was he stepped back and got down on her level so she could see he wasn't going to touch her. She has no idea how close Minnie actually was to her because she didn't take her eyes off of Mickey.

Their second meeting went a little better. By that evening she had adjusted to visiting with giant animals on a more personal basis. The photos of her with Goofy on our last day there with her are the best of all of them. She gave him "five" and has the cutest look on her face as she stares up at him.

Christmas Day at the Magic Kingdom was really a dream come true. The feeling was absolute magic. The lights on the castle were the one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Ashley loved watching them change colors. It was so pretty.

After dinner Dave and Blake took Ash back to our room and Allison Brooke and I headed back to the Magic Kingdom. We just weren't ready for the day to end. How grateful I am for making that decision tonight as I sit 700 miles away from that beautiful little girl. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. We did some window shopping along main street as the holiday music played. We rode the tea cups together and giggled out how sick I got once we were off of them. We laughed and ran through the streets from ride to ride like we were both little kids. We watched the show on the castle stage together and sang along. That night as the park was closing we made our way down main street and out of no where the snow began to fall. We walked hand in hand, smiles wide on our faces and our hearts, and she said to me, "Mommy, dreams still come true don't they." I nodded my head in agreement and soaked up the sights of all that surrounded us. It was a perfect end to a perfect day. I am so grateful. So very grateful.


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