Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Holiday "Happies" in our Home

We love the holidays and make no secret about it. I think I may have told you guys a few hundred times over the years how very much I love Christmas. We don't really decorate our home with Santa, or Snowmen, or any of that type of thing. I like theme trees, but really our focus is on Christ and family and not all the other stuff. I use a lot of pine cones, berries, branches, and ever green in our home. I like to add grapevine, wood, and metals to the decor as well. I'm not sure what you would call my "style", but I like to think of it as traditional minus the whole man in the red suit thing.

We have a total of four large trees this year and two smaller trees inside the house. We also have a small tree out back on the patio and two smaller trees that sit on each side of the front door welcoming those who stop by and ring the bell for a visit.

The tree's in tonight's post are my absolute favorites. I'm going to start the holiday decor "tour" with the happiest rooms in our home this season. I can't help but smile and get excited about Christmas when I enter either of Ashley Kate's rooms. They are just SO fun!

So lets peek into her bedroom.

This is what I came up with for her room. I used some of the decorations from her 3rd birthday party and created a Lollipop tree. The window and picket fence garden are always there, but I attached a couple of lollipops to the fence and hung candy garlands from the ceiling. I absolutely adore it. She does too. She loves to lie on her bed and look at books, watch the candy garlands twirl, and listen to Christmas music. Its a really, really happy place to be.

This a little closer look. The lollipops are made out of paper plates, wooden dowels, colored plastic, and ribbon. Add a little glitter swirl and there you have a lollipop. There are a few snowflake lights(taken from our red neck Christmas decor from last year) and some glittery snowflakes. The pieces of candy were created using foam discs and plastic wrap tied with fishing line.

It wasn't as full as I wanted it to be and I really didn't want to spend any money on more holiday decorations this year so I added some pieces of red tissue paper and tucked them in the empty places. First time I've ever done this and I LOVE the way it looks. Totally did the trick.

This is Ashley Kate's play room. Simply put "the happiest place" in our home. We spend a huge part of our day in this room. Every morning she is thrilled to find the snow flakes hanging from above and reminds me to plug in her lights. We stay busy watching lots of Christmas movies, playing with puzzles, emptying out toy bins, and reading books. I always love this room, but during the holidays it takes on a whole new feel and I REALLY love it.

The snowflakes are huge. We hung 9 of them from the ceiling(always work with odd numbers when decorating:) a lesson that has served me well over the years). I so love them. I found them last year and I bought them in preparation for the hospital in case we ended up back there for the holidays. It broke my heart to spend time planning to make her Christmas special last year "just in case". This is one of those things that hurt so deeply to purchase during those scary days last winter, but at the same time made me so happy to find the perfect thing to hang above her bed. Crazy mix of emotions I was experiencing during these days a year ago. Anyway, they are clear plastic and Dave and I took a couple hours one afternoon and painted the tips of them blue, pink and green. I'm so pleased with how they turned out. Ash sure does love them.

This is a closer look at her tree. I have a love/hate relationship with this netting type stuff. It looks so great in the stores and then you get it home and this is what it looks like. Oh, well...I like it enough to leave it one there and work around it. This tree houses all of her ornaments. Each year I purchase one ornament for each of the kids that represents their interests that year, who they were, what they loved. Not sure if you can see it or not, but I chose a dinosaur for Ash this year. One day she may look at it and think "what was she thinking with this one" and then I will pull out all the pictures of her with that blue and purple "dinosaur" that she loved so well. This tree is girly and sparkly and fun. It sparkles and glows so beautifully each night. Ash enjoys lying under it with her pink puppy pillow for her naps. I love to peek in on her and see her reaching and pointing at different things she finds on her tree.

Christmas this year is the same as last, but yet so different. Ashley Kate is still in need of a triple organ transplant. She still has a piece of plastic inserted into her chest that keeps her alive. Her future is still so uncertain and they all tell us her childhood will be shortened. So its all the same. Except for the fact that I don't spend my days in fear. I don't cry every day all day. Just occasionally now. I try not to dwell on what I don't have any control over. I don't agonize over the decisions anymore. Instead I just keep waking up being thankful we made it through another night at home with her and that we are being blessed with one more day. I love her like crazy. Completely. Unconditionally. I don't allow myself to wonder about tomorrow that much anymore. I just stay absorbed in the minutes that make up each moment and do my best to fill them with all the little, every day things that make this life SO special. We laugh more than we cry. We ignore more than we discuss. We concentrate on living more than we plan on her dying.

Its a new and different place this holiday season, yet still familiar. Living with the knowledge that it may very well be her last, but not waiting any longer for the bottom to drop out from underneath me.

Grasping, holding, and treasuring all the holiday "happies" in our home. In her home. Even if they are as silly as lollipops and snow flakes.


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