playing with cups

Little One has her palate repair surgery on the horizon. It is a much bigger surgery medically speaking than the lip repair. We don’t have the surgery dates yet, but we know it is fast approaching so it is always lingering in the back of my mind. For those that have wondered about the next SnapShop dates, I won’t know those dates until I know surgery dates. It will be nice to have it behind us and have a few years before her next surgery. Her wonderful surgeon is in Dallas and I needed to send him some updated pictures of her palate….and because I can’t help myself I sent along this one.

Such a beauty. She’s also becoming quite a handful. Climbing on everything. The higher and more dangerous the better in her opinion. We’ve been playing with any and all types of cups a lot lately. She is not a fan of sippy cups. I think it is because no one else in the family uses them and she likes to do exactly what her siblings are doing. So, more liquid ends up on her than it does in her. However, she is putting something other than a bottle to her mouth so that is a huge deal. A messy huge deal.

She has also been taking markers to draw on herself. I can’t imagine where she learned that. FireCracker.

Photo tip: I used my 28-70mm lens for all of these photos. The ones above were shot around 70mm – which is great for portraits. The next two were shot at 28mm – a wide angle. Wide angles cause some distortion on people, but they can also make for fun shots. Pardon the water still coming out of her mouth.


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  • danielle - Adorable!

  • Necole@serioulsysassymama - I bet that doctor loved seeing a picture of your beautiful girl. She is very lucky to have found a family like yours!

  • Pamela - I love photos of kids hands – so cute. The rest of her is pretty cute too though.

  • Fran Luxton - gorgeous, cute and beautiful !!!! what more can I say xxxx

  • Jill - Such a sweetheart!! I have one that loves to marker all over herself too 🙂 And the couch :/ I will be praying for you all through the upcoming surgery.

  • Sarah - Super sweet!

  • Kara K - As a little girl who was adopted herself, I love that you are sharing your and “little one’s” story 🙂

  • Sharon @ Discovering Blog - She is just gorgeous. I can’t imagine how a looming surgery must weigh on you, but I’ll be a million dollars that the surgeon smiled when he saw that first picture. I know I did 🙂

  • Lucy - She is so very beautiful! My youngest also refuses to use a sippy cup because he wants to be just like the rest of us. I have had good luck with an Avent drinking cup that you drink out of just like a cup but it doesn’t spill as easily. I don’t know if your little one would go for it, but it might be worth a try. I’m sure the surgery will go great 🙂

  • Alice H - She is so pretty!! I am so jealous of her beautiful dark hair!!

    And I bet Firecracker is teaching her a lot of good things 🙂

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - Such cute photos of Little One. She has the best hair!

  • SayonadaT - I have a little one with a speech delay and her speech therapist is encouraging she drink from a straw. The only problem is she doesn’t want to drink from sippy cups with straws (I think because she wants to be like her big brother). I found cups with straws attached at Kroger, but I have also seen them at Target and Wal*Mart (not sure if you have Kroger in OK.)

    They are still messy b/c they easily spill, but she AND her big brother (and I) drink out of them all the time. Including our breakfast smoothies. I found them for less than a dollar each, and there is a small size (maybe 8 oz) and a large size (maybe 16 oz). (You can see them on Amazon, called: Sip – a – cup Cup with Built-in Straw. But they are way over-priced!) Just a thought for your little one when she gets to that point!

    (Also, my first issue of Parents Magazine came yesterday and I am so excited to see you featured. And feeling very lucky that my subscription began this month!!)

  • Jenny - I just have to say I’ve noticed lately in her pictures she looks so much more childlike than last year! She has a lightness about her and seems genuinely joyful!

  • Angie - She is lovely! Prayers for the upcoming surgery.

  • kimberly oyler - oh my goodness. she is so sweet.

  • angie webb - She is gorgeous!!!

  • Laura@Ms Smartie Pants - I live in Dallas, so if you need anything let me know I would love to help you!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - So proud of your girl! I’ve always said that summer is the best time to learn how to use a real cup- so they can just let it flow!

  • Amy - She is absolutely adorable!

  • SuzieN - She is truly beautiful. Don’t forget if you need recipes for blended foods or ideas for her comfort after the sugery, we can help you at the ok cleft support page or the cleftadvocate page as well. God Bless!

  • Molly - just gorgeous!

  • Robin C. - She is a beauty! Have you ever posted exactly why she doesn’t put food to her mouth or has such an aversion to it? Because of how she was trained in the orphanage or because of her palate? Curious but so happy to see her trying to use a cup! awesome.

  • Barny - cups are fun whether you spill them all over you or not 🙂 its the sensation of playing!

    Barnicles xxx

  • Jenny - Precious babe.

  • Laura J. - Little one is too cute, thank you for sharing! Her wanting to do what her sibs do will be her strength and help her make that jump to food. It will come! Your patience makes it safe for her to practice and pretend eat. I know she can’t provide suction, but could she do a squeeze type sports bottle? If she saw Firecracker and the boys using one….? Just ideas. Really, when I look at her, so what if she’s leaky-it looks like she’s having fun! Thank you for sharing your life!

  • Lauren Klouda - Such a pretty girl!

  • K - Oh my goodness! Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous. I adopted my daughter two years ago from Hangzhou, China. She is now 5 and is doing wonderful. So happy for you and your family. Enjoy every min and keep posting pics! Karen from MA –

  • amber - She is just too much! Such a sweetie…so glad she’s doing well. Hate that more surgery is on the horizon. But it means that she’s home. The best.

  • Missy - What an angel!

  • Tiffany - Love the marker story… I can sooo relate. I have a two year old that did that the other day….what did I do upon discovering what he was up to? Grabbed my camera and gave him another color…after taking my pictures, the additional colors bought me another 10 minutes to get stuff done…he was in his high chair so the experience was kind of controlled 🙂

  • kelli - She is precious! We live in Dallas, and would love to help out if y’all need anything while you are here. 🙂 Keep us posted, will be praying for all of you as the time for her surgery approaches!

  • Kara M - You have to stop posting such cute pictures of this gal! Makes my arms ache for my daughter…or son! 😀

  • Kathy - From an outsider you can see how much she has grown in confidence and feels like a part of the family. Congratulations on your blog award and getting in the magazine such a buzz for all of you and it’s great that the kids were excited about it as well. That needs to be framed and put up on the wall. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  • Amy - Ashley, you can ask a speech language person about good cups for her. I got one for Hannah just to help her learn to drink from a cup properly. It helps to teach proper tongue placement and swallowing. Drawback is she can turn it over and shake liquid out, but what is one more mess?

  • Natalie F. - She is SO beautiful! I love her little face.

  • Jody Carr - My oldest daughter is 14 and has a cleft, we tried many many cups, most were too hard for her to suck out of. We are leaving Sunday for her next surgery, keep us in your prayers. They will be taking a bone graft from her hip to do more repairs in her mouth.

  • Kimberly Dial - Such a beauty. Praying and believing all will be well with her next surgery 🙂

  • shannon conway - I take my daughter Khloe to the doctor tomorrow to schedule her cleft repair.

  • Helen - Dear Ashley,

    I live in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. I run a fosterhome and 2 years ago I received a little boy with a cleft lip/palate. I love reading your blogs about Little One, it expresses so much of what goes on in my heart and with my little boy. We are also waiting for his palate surgery, and then, I am am also happy to say, hopefully a few years before the next operation. We have 3 operations behind us already. The first one, when he was 4 months old, was the hardest on me. Seeing a tiny little boy, in a huge bed…so helpless.
    Thank you for writing! Would love to get in touch with you.
    Love, Helen

  • Katherine - She is a serious beauty!! It’s a joy seeing her grow. Prayers your way for her upcoming surgery!

  • Brandy - She is so angelic! Are you still doing the incubator project? I haven’t noticed any updates in a while

  • Jenn - She is adorable :).

  • Lisa Efaw - She made me smile. Thank you for opening your hearts and home to this beautiful creation!

  • kelleyn - How wonderful to see her drinking out of a cup! I hope her next surgery goes well.

  • Rochelle Plocek - What a precious little one! Thank you for sharing your lives and her development with all of us. I know both she and you will treasure these photos!

  • Sandi - Such a miracle!

  • Michelle W - Look at how she has blossomed with the love of your family :)Simply beautiful.

  • Elena ara - Hello, i’m a spanish mother.I follow your history of your little baby and when i read about it, i’m so happy for the opportunity that you give her.I think she is very,very happy, you have changed her life to better,all your family are adorables.sorry,my english is so bad.congratulations!

  • snappystreet - Oh! So adorable!

    I love all of these pictures, they really capture the fun mood 🙂