Ansley's 11th birthday was on the 12th and we celebrated again with family and her two BFF's across the street.
|The birthday girl and her homies:)|
|We are two blessed parents to have this precious girl. She is the SWEETEST thing!|
|I just can not believe what a year brings about in the life of a child. She has grown so much...|
Ashlyn's 14th birthday was on the 18th and we did the same for her.
|Ashlyn and her wild and crazy crew:)|
|How we have WAITED and waited for this day!|
|Don't you just love her smile?|
|Hard to believe she's 14...|
|Opening up her little treasures... She got some perfume, earrings, a necklace, an outfit, and some money:)|
|Ashlyn and her BFF, Peyton. BTW, Peyton (15 yrs. old) is on her knees in this picture;) They are the sweetest of friends.|
The morning of Ashlyn's birthday we all went to the grocery strore to purchase her cake, balloons, and food for her birthday lunch. (Couldn't do the party that night because of sports events for the boys.) I sent Ansley and Ashlyn off by themselves to get the drinks. When they came back Ashlyn was showing me her new shoe with the bow missing from the top, and pointing to Ansley. Ansley said, "She keeps searching me and I don't know what she wants." It turns out (from what I could decipher through the translator) that the bow was missing and Ashlyn was blaming Ansley. I asked Ansley what happened and she was clueless. I asked her if maybe she accidentally bumped the bow off while reaching for the soda and she said, "No, I have no idea... Ashlyn was nowhere near me." So I told Ashlyn that we'd all go look for it together. Instead she stomped off alone. So I let her go. I told Ansley & Aidan to let her go alone and I prayed that she wouldn't wander off and get lost. We found her a few minutes later with the bow in her hand and a very somber/angry/tearful look on her face. She was clearly annoyed with Ansley. She had found the bow on the floor in the isle that it went missing. She had big tears in her eyes so I hugged her close and told her not to worry about it, that we'd fix it... It was obvious that she was not going to let it go. She pouted and cried the entire rest of the way through the store, while I prayed for peace and that it would all get resolved in the hour that I had left to get home and prepare lunch for family and friends. By this time, I had spent most of my shopping time trying to reason with her and she wasn't giving in... I thought for sure we'd get home and she'd head up to her room, and bury herself in tears for the rest of the day... How would I explain this to the family and friends???
When we got home, she helped bring in the groceries as usual, but she was clearly still really upset. So I took her and Ansley into the dining room and sat them down in front of each other. I told Ashlyn that Ansley did not take her bow, that it was an honest mistake that it somehow came off, but that she owed Ansley an apology for accusing her and being mad at her for nothing. She refused. So I reminded her of the evening where we had to resolve an issue where Ansley had been wrong and we made her apologize to Ashlyn. She still said, "No." So, I decided try to reason with her...
I said, "Ashlyn, Li Hui, look me in the eyes... No one is right ALL of the time. It is ok to be wrong. I am wrong sometimes, dad is wrong sometimes, and our children are wrong sometimes. But we all must say we are sorry of we are going to resolve it and get along." So she looked at Ansley and said, "Sorry." But it was the kind that you know is not heartfelt... Know what I mean? ;)
So I said, "Nope. Try again."
She said it again quickly and then stubbornly looked away.
I said, "Nope." Then I repeated it back in her voice and then again in my voice. She thought that was funny. So I told her, "you must say it like you mean it." She caved and Ansley cheerfully accepted. Still, she wasn't going to be friendly with Ansley, so she stomped up to her room and shut the door.
The party started 15 minutes later. Her new BFF (Peyton) went up and got her and she came down, acting like nothing had happened, happy as a lark... Go figure...
It was really sweet watching her while we sang to her and seeing her face light up while she opened gifts and thanked everyone.
I took her and Ansley to Targ*t a couple of nights ago to spend their birthday money. They both decided on new bikes. She also bought herself a new wallet like Ansley and Aidan's and she was beyond thrilled. As we walked out she was really happy and she thanked me. I asked her if she loved her family and she said, "Yes, I love you mom." I pointed to the other 4 kids that were with me and asked her if she loved them too. She agreed to everyone but Ansley. I jokingly popped her on the bottom and said, "That's not good. You DO love Ansley. And she loves you. We are family." She smiled and said, "OK."
Tuesday morning Ashlyn woke up in a complete funk. On Monday when her buddy Peyton left the party, she was totally depressed. So I called up Peyton's mom Tuesday morning and we surprised Ashlyn with a playdate. (Thank the Lord, Peyton is homeschooled!) They watched a movie (Peyton is on crutches for a torn ligament), played games, pollished nails, played ping-pong, played "Just Dance" in her room, and learned how to write names in Chinese with sidewalk chalk. (Ansley was with my mom for the day.) It was so therapuetical for her. She just loves Peyton, and Peyton is about the best friend I could ever hope for for my sweet girl.
By the end of the afternoon, I took Peyton home and Ansley returned from her day with Gran. Ashlyn hung out with Ansley and the neighbor girls for the first time in a while and seemed to be back to her happy self.
Ashlyn has had some rough days lately... Very moody... Granted, her "monthly friend" came for a visit this past week, but I think reality has started to sink in and the honeymoon phase is slowly coming to an end. There is an unspoken tension between her and Ansley lately... Not sure how to best handle it... But I've tried to just let it be. I told Ansley to stop "helping" Ashlyn. I think it bothers Ashlyn that Ansley always seems to be "in the know" about everything. Ansley seems to be feeling a bit threatened by Ashlyn too. All of this is unspoken, mind you, but sometimes the words left unsaid are the loudest ones... One thing I am thankful for that I know for sure, Ansley adores Ashlyn. I heard her telling her "I love you" tonight and Ashlyn gave her a hug.
I went to the Karyn Purvis, "Empowered To Connect" conference at our former church last weekend.
I am still trying to digest all that I heard. It was an intense 2 whole days of attachment and healing talk...
|And not to brag or nothin', but look who I bumped into!!! Sonia, from "His Hands, His Feet"! I just love this lady!!!|
Thankfully, our FCC group is going to get together to mull it over. We are all a bit overwhelmed by our lack of understanding. I learned so much and was reminded of SO MUCH... Even as it relates to my biological children.
Karyn's concept is "trust-based parenting". She is so much like the dog whisperer. She just has a gift for getting to the root of behavioral issues and bringing about healing for a child from hard places. It's unbelievable... I would give anything to spend an afternoon with her.
Last night (Wednesday) was church night. Ashlyn volunteers in Abby & Averleigh's ""Puggles" class (with Peyton) while Ansley & Aidan do their AWANA thing. Alex long boards outside with his church buddies. Matt & I are usually in our small group... But last night we decided to play hookie and we went to McD's to spend some alone time together, discussing my conference notes. It was really nice.
|A blessed hour and a half of uninterupted time alone while our kiddos were in great hands... AKA: Heaven on Earth!|
We are a work in progress... Every day is a new day. I am thankful for the blessings in my life...
...Thankful that I have such a wonderful Heavenly Father who gives me grace and strength to keep on keepin' on:)
Loving the journey,