Saturday night sippy cup

Little One is healing up amazingly well. Crazy well. As in…it looks like she’s always had a closed palate (closed roof in her mouth). It is incredible the difference. The way her surgeon closed the cleft in her lip blew my mind. The palate – even more incredible. I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking about what exactly happened for the palate repair. I’m not going to post pictures, but I will try to explain it through a rough sketch and words.

Her palate was open from the gumline to the back of her throat. So, if you looked into her mouth the ‘roof’ of her mouth was open up into her nasal cavity. As you can imagine that makes for all kinds of difficulties with speech, eating, drinking, sucking, etc. To close her palate the doctor went along the inside of her gum line and cut the palate off both sides. He then brought the two sides together and stitched it down the middle. The cleft also split her uvula in half, so her uvula was stitched together too. The area between the gumline and the combined palate (where he cut) was left open. Within two weeks new flesh grew to fill in those gaps. Crazy! The way God made our bodies to heal is so incredible. So two weeks ago, she had all kinds of stitches and gaps of open flesh in her mouth…and a stitched together uvula. If you looked in her mouth today, you would have no idea of any of that.

Imagine you are looking at the roof of Little One’s mouth in these…use your imagination here!

Crazy, huh?!

She still isn’t sleeping much, but in every other way seems pretty much healed. Such a little warrior. She’s been teasing us a little like she is going to drink out of a sippy cup instead of her bottle. I’ll take the teasing because a little bit has actually made it in her mouth. And she is just really cute when she does it.

FireCracker is just a little affectionate with her cousin. Just a little.

My other niece is…..awesome.

When she’s not teasing us with sippy cups, she likes to wear her brothers’ shirts like this. She reminds me of an Ewok and a Teletubbie, but much cuter of course. If you pull the shirt down she gets mad. She wants it just like this…

And there is your random surgery, cousin mauling and Ewok post to get your week going! Our internet has been down for a week and SnapShop registration opens in 10 minutes. I am a nervous wreck in the back booth at Panera! I hope you have a great Monday!!

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  • terrie G - God is crazy awesome the way he designed our bodies!!
    And how he designed our world!
    Headed to Glacier Nat’l Park in a little while for the first time!
    Sure I will be in ah & wonder land!
    And…don’t be nervous.
    Just start planning your second phone SnapShop course…this one will fill up I’m sure!
    Praying all things technical go well for you this morning!

  • Alli - So happy to hear that Little One is healing! She is beautiful!

    I was actually wondering if you get nervous when your classes open up – mainly because I was nervous on that other side – nervous that I wouldn’t get a spot – haha! I was sitting at my computer hitting refresh and it brought me back to the day when I was waiting for my bar exam results. When I was anxiously awaiting my results, I hit refresh at the exact moment when the links loaded and they were actually linking to the last test results. My name wasn’t there, and I thought I didn’t pass. I dealt with that emotion for about 15 minutes, when I went to check again, and saw that I had passed – shew! I had never been so excited in my life. So here I was this morning, hitting refresh and an error kept comping up – ahhh! Luckily, after about 4 minutes, I got in! So excited about your course! Thank you for offering it.

  • Jacci - That is amazing. Our God us amazing. Little One is amazing! <3 Wow.

    I'll bet that class is full before lunchtime ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don't you fret.

  • Emma - Little One’s hair in those pigtails is seriously the cutest thing! I’m glad that she is healing well.

  • Kelly Clarke - What a miracle… so happy to hear she is doing so well. Good luck today with your SnapShop registrations!

  • Debbie C - So amazing! Yes, God made our bodies with incredible wisdom. So happy that LO is doing well, she looks so cute as an Ewok too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Corrina - It amazes me everyday how kids bounce back from things that we as adults would take SO much longer to heal from! My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Little One makes me smile every time I see a picture of her. Actually ALL of your photos make me smile! Keep healing Little One!

  • Martina - Thanks for the illustrations. I had done some online searching out of curiosity but this makes it much clearer. God is so good: the way He heals us, the way He puts families together, the way He gives us strength to overcome obstacles. I love reading updates on Little One.

  • Amber - So happy Little one is healing so well! Have been following your blog for years now and am so excited to take your Snapshop course for phones! I have a droid and am rather ignorant in regards to what it can do…looking forward to learning!

  • Tanya - Your daughter is amazing. I had a fairly major oral surgery last week and while I was hurting in early recovery I thought that if your 2-yr old can recover so well, so can I ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s an inspiration!
    Your class is going to be great. I loved your dslr class, so I can only imagine this phone course will be just as wonderful!

  • Donna - Your pictures and posts are always a delight to read and enjoy. I have never commented before, cuz I’m a bit of a chicken, but I wanted you to know that I have often wondered about cleft surgery. Your drawings are superb and helps me understand really well! I think I prefer this to pics of the inside of her mouth. Thank you! And God bless you and your family! You are such a shining example of strength in the face of reality and the challenges that come along. I appreciate that you are honest about not having it all together at times, but at the same time, your love for your family and God shine through, and that challenges me to become more like Christ. Take care!

  • Izzy - Wow! The way God made our bodies to heal is amazing. Such cute pictures of little one with her hair done cute too! And the last picture is so funny too : )
    Have a nice week…

  • Lex - THANK YOU for the description and the drawings. I’ve been wondering. I’ve seen pictures of children with cleft lips, but never known (or “known”) someone who went through it. Always wondered how it happened.

  • Haley - Yay for such a good recovery! Little One is so adorable with her pigtails. and I like how loving Firecracker is.

  • Jami C. - EWOK.


  • Regan - Her piggies are getting so much fuller now. She has lovely raven hair like my oldrest daughter. She looks like she is absolutely blossoming!

  • CarolineR - I was nervous this a.m. too- nervous I would not get in to the phone class! So excited to be a part of it, and hope to be able to join the next dslr version too…
    Love that Little One is doing so well- little warrior indeed, always had disarming smile.

  • Maureen - That look Little One has in the 3rd photo down looks So much like Firecracker it made us laugh. Strong girls you two have there! Hmmm, wonder where they got that….<=

  • Monica - I am so Happy Little One is doing great! Yes, the kids have an amazing recovery. My nephew years ago he had an open heart surgery when he was only 5 and he was fine so quick. God is amazing! I would like to get into your classes but I don’t have an iphone and the phone that I have doesn’t take good pictures. I hope so next time you have the class I have a good phone :). But for sure soon I would like to get into your classes. I love the way you take pictures. Because are not poses are real life and is what I am trying to have in mines. I should not worry if my daughter Bella make silly faces each time that I want to take her pictures. LOL. Have a wonderful day!

  • Gill - Thank you for the explanation of the palate repair – I have often wondered how they did it. My son has a submucous cleft palate and thankfully has never needed any treatment but I was told when he was born that he would need surgery and since then it has been something that has interested me.
    Little One looks amazing and it is great that she is getting close to using her sippy cup! Such a gorgeous and inspiring little girl.

  • Julie - How wonderful to live in a time when this is possible! And what a little trooper to go through all that!

  • Kristin S - Seriously, amazing.

    The mouth is the germiest place in our whole body, yet things heal there so fast. Even a tiny bit or sore seems to heal quickly. God’s hand and design for sure.

  • Jamie - Oh goodness Ashley she is absolutely stunning. I mean I’ve always thought her beautiful, but as she grows and has bonded to your family her lovely little soul is shining brighter and brighter. I could just eat her up!
    PS Nice illustrations, very educational.

  • Susan - Your children are beautiful! Love your blog and Instagram.


  • Venusia - God is good, that is so inspiring to read your journey with little one. Maybe one day we will be living the same thing …

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us !

  • Kimberly Dial - I do believe you adopted the most beautiful baby girl in all of China. Thanks for the sketches. I wondered how all that went. Firecracker is a gal after my own heart — at 51 I’m still likely to “maul” a cousin I haven’t seen in a while — hugs are the best! Good luck on SnapShop (but I have a feeling you’re not going to need it!)

  • Jessica - That absolutely blows me away. Incredible.

  • Nancy - Thank you for explaining the surgery. I had a gum graft a few years ago & the doctor covered the areas where the tissue was removed & where it was grafted to with something that looked sort of like grey chewing gum but it was WONDERFUL, because it kept the area so much more comfortable. It was the most pain free work I have ever had done to my mouth. I had wondered if LO had something like that but it sounds like she didn’t. She is one amazing little trooper! Thanks

  • Krystal - Hello Ashley Ann,

    I’m writing to you from New Zealand. I started following your blog 18 months ago for the awesome DIY tutorials you have shared, but have gained so much more along the way. Thank you for sharing and inspiring! I notice you homeschool – If you ever do a country study on New Zealand let me know and I’ll send some New Zealand goodies your way!

  • Christina Larsen - ewok definitely, but much cuter! so happy she is healing nicely!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - OH – I so wish I could stop by Panera! I would get you a refill, tell you to take one more potty break and breathe!

  • Jodi - Thank you for sharing the picture of the palate procedure. My daughter goes on the 8th for her palate surgery. It was a nice visual to what to expect. Your daughter is beautiful!