flinging Mr. Tinkerbell Poopsalot

Today is December 21st ~ how did that happen?

My mind can’t wrap around that Christmas is only a few days away.

My heart can’t take that two weeks from today I will have to say goodbye to Little One’s clefty smile.

How is it already December 21st?

Little One has not been sleeping very well. A combination of a ton of things we have parenting experience with and a ton of things that are new to us. Lots of coffee. Lots of tears (from all of us) and lots of morning sunrises coming faster than normal. Despite the lack of sleep and all that comes with it – we know we are abundantly blessed. We get to get up with our daughter a million times a night. We get to hold her while she cries. The exhaustion is a gift. So is coffee.

We’ve been doing all our normal Christmas traditions and even added a few this year.  I still have Christmas shopping to do. I’ve only wrapped a handful of presents. Though I am still in denial a bit that it is already December 21st, my kids are not. I’ve put off a lot, but I haven’t put off time with them. I’ve even played a little Rockband. I only play with my kids. If you’ve seen Baby Mama…the Tina Fey character playing that game, totally me. We’ve made a ridiculous amount of salt dough ornaments that all need to be painted this weekend.

Our Elf, Mr. Tinkles Poopsalot, is back (here is the post about him getting his name). FireCracker calls him Mr. Tinkerbell Poopsalot ~ it makes me smile every time I hear her say it. I don’t know how parents do all those creative things with their elves. I have to set a alarm on my phone just to remind me to move him. I’ve even bolted out a bed a few times, grabbed Mr. Tinkles and flung him across the room hoping he lands before the feet coming down the stairs see him. The days have been slow and good. In the midst of the off-key singing, too much coffee, and elf flinging normal life is still going on. Still sweeping floors countless times a day. Still loading and unloading the washing machine. Still finding shoes left randomly all over the house.

In the mundane and the special, it is still December 21st. And in 2 weeks it will be January 4th – a day I am dreading. Next week, I get to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with my family. I’m trying hard to focus on the joy of that. The sweetness of Christmas. The gift of family. The priceless gift of having my children home. I am going to soak up the smiles and thrills of delight of my kids. I am going to breath it all in – and thank God with every ounce in me that we’ve had four precious months with Little One before her first surgery. That I get celebrate this year with my 5 priceless gifts. That I get one Christmas with Little One’s first smile. Christmas is coming…I choose joy.

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  • Sharron - Our daughter had night terrors for a while. It was exhausting and so sad, and exhausting! Someone mentioned to me something about spiritual warfare and I started praying a little more specifically for that type of thing. It’s been a long time ago and I’m sure it wasn’t like they stopped immediately, but I do know they didn’t last long. Also, she slept with us A LOT. In fact there were many months, not even at first but later, where she would only sleep on top of me. She’s almost seven now. Seems like yesterday.

  • Jessica - Praying for strength for you, Ashley. Merry Christmas!

  • Abbie - I just spit my coffee out when I read the part about flinging your elf across the room! That is hysterical!! I have had to come up with a few creative reasons for ours staying put for more than one day, not an easy thing!
    Happy holidays!
    :) Abbie

  • Jamie - Literally laughed out loud at the thought of you (then any parent) flinging the elf across the room! Needed that laugh to start off my busy day and weekend.

    I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas.

    Thanks for starting my mornings off with a smile, a feeling of hope and a spark of creativity throughout the year!

  • Lori - Oh, Ashley. I can read your pain and joy!! We sing “Merry Christmas, Jesus”!!!! around here a lot. It’s a little song they sing in preschool. Usually, at the top of our lungs. I will pray for Little One and actually everyOne…losing sleep affects everyone.
    Our Elf is Buddy. He is very funny. Sometimes, he just changes poses and sometimes he is very creative. (I added 18 gauge wire in his arms and legs so he is bendable and posable).
    hugs. Little One’s smile is changing and so is her heart. Her heart is getting bigger and bigger with love and receiving the wonderous innocence of a new, great life. Bless you. “MERRY CHRISTMAS, JESUS” that was loud! Just for YOU!!!!

  • Janice - Ashley – Let me take this opportunity to wish you and your beautiful family a joyous Christmas. And to thank you for sharing your lives with us. It is a privilege to follow along and share in your family’s journey. You are an inspiration, and your family is fortunate to have your as their own.
    Happiest of holidays to you all,
    Janice, in New Brunswick, Canada

  • emily h - with all of the sleep deprivation and craziness of the christmas season, i know you may not have time to read all of these comments, but just in case you do…. our oldest (now 9) was born with a cleft lip and palate just like your daughter. we also loved that “widesmile.” to me, it was his sweet face, who he was. he had his lip repair at 6 months. i made sure to have him baptized beore his repair so i could get the pictures i wanted of him in his gown.
    he handled the surgery really well. as he woke up from the anesthesia, he started to make little noises…new noises! he made the noise “mmmm” for the first time. now he can make the sound to say “mom!”
    i know it is hard to imagine little one changing, but these are good changes. this is just the next step in her story.
    i hope that encourages you a little bit :)

  • Barnicles - happy christmas!

    beautiful post :)

  • victoria g - Merry Christmas Ashley. Thank you for the joy you bring us on your blog :)

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Sometimes it is a choice isn’t it? Choosing to see the goodness of God… Merry Christmas to you guys!

  • Lynn - Merry Christmas Ashley………enjoy this wonderful time with your beautiful family!!!

  • Alicia Millis - Love this post. Love little ones smile. Love your heart. Love your family.

    Merry Christmas to you, I will be sending prayers and thoughts to your family near and on the 4th.

  • Emily - man, i needed this perspective this morning. and ftr: i’ve only got two kids and I marvel at how much you accomplish!

  • Rachel - Ashley, you make me feel so much more normal!! ( insert picture of house that looks like a tornado whipped through it ) I feel a little like you are my kindred spirit at the other end of the continent! Please know that I love reading your blog because you make me feel good…i love that it can make me laugh, cry, have a lump in my throat, empathize, reflect, and feel like we are in this life so lets live it! You are a gracious woman. Your family is blessed to have you. Merry Christmas!

  • Moriah - Love this post. Thanks for the smiles and Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. Enjoy!

  • Susannah - It’s such a blessing to read about your heart for Little One’s smile. I’m sure her new smile will be just as precious to you. :-) My little sister was also adopted from China with a cleft palate and her surgeries helped her so much in eating, speaking, and, unfortunately, fitting in. It’s such a blessing that she’s in a place where she can have the medical help to make life so much easier for her but it’s also a blessing that she’s in a family that doesn’t feel as though this surgery is “fixing” her. She’s gorgeous the way she is. :-)

  • Heidi L. - oh, my word, – you’ve got to see this elf on the shelf pic a friend of my shared with me the other day!

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=514292148593009&set=pb.201508409871386.-2207520000.1356109990&type=3&theater

    happy christmas to you and you’re sweet crew!

  • jennie - i just lol about flinging the elf across the room! i do the same thing :-) happy holidays to your sweet family

  • Carrie - I sympathize with your dread of January 4th. Our baby girl had surgery when she was five months old. She will have to have surgery again after she turns two – next year. I am having a hard time saying goodbye to this year knowing what next year will hold. It is good to slow time by soaking in the moments and knowing that when the time comes, God will provide. In her first surgery he provided a nurse from our church – such a surprise – and then another nurse who slipped a verse from Jeremiah into my hands just as my baby was wheeled out of my sight. I clung to it and didn’t even remember to read it until half way through the ordeal – just the right moment. God is good….all the time!

  • stephany - I have not committed to and “elf on the shelf” for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I am sure there would be a lot of elf flinging at our house.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Crystal - It’s funny how just hearing someone else say they “sweep the floor countless times a day” is so comforting. Your heart and attitude are encouraging to read. :) Praying for strength and endurance during these tiring times for you, knowing that Jesus is just drawing you close to Him. Isaiah 40:28-31

  • giozi - Ohh I hope your little one sleep better next nights.

    I like your Mr. Tinkerbell. A few days ago I put the same hut to my son and he looklike your doll :D

  • merideth a - i love your family!! and your blog is such a bright spot/ a warm and fuzzy in my day. merry Christmas ashley!

  • Becky F - I love your honesty and your outlook. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Leah - Your story amazes me. Bless.

  • tracie - Did you make the collage or did you get it from a website? I love the circles.

  • Heather L. - I seem to often find myself both crying and laughing when reading your posts! Oh, how I can relate … Nora has her surgery two weeks from today as well, and I’m struggling knowing that the last kiss of her sweet cleft is nearing so quickly. Since coming home I would say our biggest struggle has been and continues to be sleep. How I wish we were closer and we could “compare notes” over a real cup of coffee!!! And, not sure if it will make you feel better, but I love seeing all the pinterest boards of how creative people are with their Elf … our Elf, Pepper McTwist sometimes is in the same place two nights in a row … GASP! The kiddos think he must really like the spot he’s in … I haven’t tried the flinging … yet :)

  • tracy a - You know, I’ve cried with you a lot over the past year. Today, however, I was laughing out loud. I can totally picture a pajama-clad dash to grab the elf, then a hasty hand flick to swing him wildly across the room, followed by a look that says, “what? nothing going on here!” Classic!

  • malea - The way you see a positive in every situation is like a breath of fresh! Merry Christmas to you & your lucky family. x

  • Sophi Belle - I understand you so! I’ve been there with my oldest little girl. I thought it will never ever get better but here we are. Stay strong and remember that it WILL pass. God bless you and all your family!!!!

  • Cathy S. - Ashleigh our oldest daughter came home at 11 months and we experienced night terrors for a while when she started walking and becoming more active. Also when we would go to a certain friends house who had large dogs we would have them. We also noticed it was pretty much just a bed time thing never had them during naps. According to info you are not supposed to pick them up just be there to comfort them and make sure the don’t hurt themselves. I found that very hard to do, cause when my baby was crying I wanted her in my arms. Sometimes it was hard to hold her because she would try to “escape”, in hindsight probably the reason they recommend not picking them up. It’s very tough to watch them go thru this. I hope your time with this phase is short and becomes more infrequent and ends as quickly as it started. Best of luck in the coming weeks.

  • Kimberly Dial - Praying your sweet Little One sleeps well in Jesus name. Bless her precious heart. Praying you feel well rested ASAP & that you have a burst of energy to accomplish all the things a busy momma of five has got to do three days before Christmas. Having raised two sons, the whole “Poopsalot” thing makes me laugh every time I “hear” his name. Merry Christmas!

  • Jen - I’ve btdt so I know its impossible for you not to worry but this is going to be ok.

    Over the years I have come to view each cleft surgery as a new opportunity for my dd. I’ve gained clarity and confidence in the process after five surgeries. Each surgery has brought improvements in my dd’s ability to eat, suck a straw, speak, and then speak clearly. The cosmetic bits that have changed her appearance are difficult to accept but so critical to her vision of herself.

    You two will be in my thoughts and prayers in the New Year.

  • karla f - Hi Ashley Ann,
    I wanted you to know that we recently were in China adopting our little girl. Because of you, we worked our way AWAY from the “Americanized Chinese” restaurants and into the side-street, back alley, family-owned restaurants, and those restaurants were SO much better and less expensive, and the family at our favorite was so nice and fun to watch as they worked together. Thanks for your blog. Love reading about Little One and your family. We wouldn’t have known to look for those; to explore some; if ithadn’t been for you. :) (By the way, I might have posted this twice….I thought I posted already, but I couldn’t find my comment, so I am posting again! :) Here is the link to my post about our favorite restaurant….thought you might enjoy reliving some of your trip in China. http://ourgirlthegift.blogspot.com/2012/12/we-are-finally-to-end-of-this-long-long.html

  • Kerry - Your blog is one of a very few where I read every word…because your words ooze with hope and truth. Thanks for reflecting God’s goodness consistently.

  • Natalie - Your elf story cracked me up and is so real. One morning I heard my three year old daughter’s door open bright and early and immediately thought “The elf!” I forgot to move him! Within one minute she comes to me fighting back the tears telling me what I already knew. The elf hadn’t moved. I immediately thought “Please God, let my creativity work at its best. What do I do?” And then with every dramatic flare I could I said “You didn’t hear about the biggest snow storm ever that hit the North Pole?” Then went on about how Santa didn’t want his elves flying in such a snow storm and asked them all to stay at their houses… it went over well enough, but I didn’t forget again! Geeze.

  • Megan - I just found your blog about a week ago – I am in awe. As I was still crying about babies in metal/wood cribs – I read bolted out of bed and flung him and really LOL’ed! Thanks for keeping it real.

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