Oct 20, 2011

Ainsley, My Baby, Is 5!

What an eventful week. Sunday was Ainsley's 5th birthday party. About 30 of us, family and close friends, gathered at our house to celebrate. The past 5 years have been full of joy and tears. Ainsley is loved beyond all measure but it would be a lie to say these 5 years have been easy. They certainly haven't been easy on her. Sometimes if I think about the things she's been through it makes my heart ache and my eyes burn and sting. She SO deserved to have a big party. She is so easily pleased it is tempting not to make a fuss. But in our family we've been known to do some pretty fancy parties so we decided it was time that Ainsley had a special party and so a special party is what she got.  
Since it is October, my favorite month of the year, we had an owl and fall theme. I bought the owl graphics from AndersRuff, (click the link to drool over the most amazing parties you've ever seen) thinking that would save a lot of time, but in fact it fueled our creative demons. I about died when at 1am the night before I didn't have enough moss to finish the last side of my box (so I had to wash and dry more and bring out the hot glue the day of the party when I had plenty else to do), I was cursing my oldest daughter for suggesting we make an owl nest as a bowl for the party favors (now I have a whole new appreciation for the talent of birds), and if you'd seen the house an hour before the party you'd be pretty shocked it came together. But it did. Most importantly Ainsley had a blast. The other kids played Calico Critters with her, which is her favorite thing to do. She loved all the people and the fuss. She was even able to open the gifts herself and it was so wonderfully like any other kids' birthday.

There is no rest for the weary. The following day was her IEP. I'm glad to say it went really well. This IEP will last until 10/2012 which will be Ainsley's Kindergarten year. Her teacher had nothing but wonderful things to say about Ainsley: that she is very social, loves to participate in every way she can, and has a great attention span.  She's just the kind of kid they love to have in class. She is impressed with her abilities says Ainsley is one of the top kids in her class despite her limitations. She's higher functioning than many of the kids in the higher functioning preschool class (which we will be trying out to see how she does very soon). Of course we are so proud!

Then on the 18th, her real birthday, I took her to Farrel McWhirter Park to see the farm animals. It was the most beautiful October day you've ever seen. The light was gorgeous. In the sun it was warm so at first the animals were hiding but eventually they came out. We saw chicken, a turkey, a cow, ponies, a rooster, goats, sheep, a little pig and the biggest big you've ever seen! It's a very quiet, peaceful place. We had a picnic. Then we played in the leaves. There was a huge field and smack in the middle was the biggest maple tree you've ever seen and it had dropped its leaves everywhere. Ainsley still cannot stand but I was able to help walk her through the leaves and she got to feel them crunch underfoot for the first time. We were there just for her, with all the time in the world to linger. She bent over and picked up the leaves to inspect them, smell them and then throw them up in the air. She had so much fun! It was really wonderful! A day I won't forget. 
Then yesterday was Steve and my's 15 year wedding anniversary. We decided to go to the Matador. A restaurant and tequila bar in downtown Redmond. My sister Sheryl came over to watch all three kids. She has been doing trach training so she can provide respite (paid for by the state). She is the first person other than our nurses to care for Ainsley.  Steve and I can count the number of times we've been out without the kids in the last 5 years on one hand, usually to someones wedding. It's amazing when you consider the very high divorce rate for parents of kids with special needs that we've managed to stick together. So it was a real treat for us to go out. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and I could almost imagine we were on our honeymoon in Spain, 15 years ago. Just for fun I wore my wedding jewelry, a garnet and marcasite choker (I don't know how my poor baby can wear a trach tie around her neck I was so glad to get it off by the end of the night) and put in my contacts for the first time in several years.

It's funny but I think the only pictures I ever have of Steve and I are taken on our anniversary. 

Outside the Matador.

At our table. The food was delicious!!! Loved the giant mirrors and all the ironwork.

The bar and the three stain glass pieces were incredible!

We had a great time! We didn't have the Jose Cuervo 250th anniversary tequila. At $300 all I could say is WOW, I hope that was for a bottle but I think it's a shot. I got plenty of more affordable drinks.

And when we got home.....

...it was back to reality. Yes she was awake. She cracks me up!

It's been a fun, but tiring week. I'm hoping for a bit of a lull before Halloween. Of course we have soccer. LOL. Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. awww..she looks so happy. loved it. you'r an amazing mom..and offcourse amazing parents :) Belated Happy Birthday to Ainsley, take care sweetheart. love you:) (a secret blog reader & well wisher from India) (^.^)

  2. The happiest of birthdays to Ainsley and congrats to you and Steve too. I remember Jack's 5th birthday very well. I wrote his first birthday letter that year. It was about acceptance. I thought I had mastered the whole acceptance thing by his 5th birthday. Ha!

    It's so clear that you give your absolute best in all you do for your children and your family and they are very lucky to call you their mom and wife. Just don't forget to take care of Susan too.

    Love ya' - Ann

  3. Susan...it's Megan, "Caleb's Mom" from the trach forum! I follow Ainsley's blog. I just about cried over the picture of you all gathered around her as she sits at the table. I just felt the love and I think it's so awesome you made this birthday a big deal to celebrate her life and her amazing self. Also- congrats to you and your husband for enjoying some quality time together! It's tough with kids, especially one with a trach! best wishes.

  4. The party looked amazing, LOVE having Halloween themed parties. And you looked beautiful in all the photos, especially the anniversary pics. Congratulation's on Ainsley's birthday and your anniversary. Special time of year for sure!!!