Ashley Rebecca Gardiner
Getting Ready - We Want Another Child Like Ryan
Mom: After having Ryan, we looked forward to having another child in the family. Ryan had been the model baby. We could take him camping, to movies, and church was a breeze. He was always happy, content and peaceful. I babysat some older children of two mothers in the ward who were having babies and began to yearn for another baby herself. We talked about conceiving another child in a few months when we thought our financial situation would be improved enough so that we could buy a larger home. We already had four children in our small three-bedroom home and didn't see how we could fit another one in.
But then, surprise! Surprise! The week following Memorial Day, just after we got home from camping in King's Canyon with the Beitlers, we conceived. For several months previous to this, I had been having some physical problems and worried about being able to have more children. One afternoon while taking a nap, I was awakened by a male authoritative voice saying very distinctly, "You will have two daughters". I was working in the stake Young Women Presidency at the time, and so really hoped that I would have a little girl. I went up to BYU, chairman of stake youth
Conference, sick to my stomach before and after the trip. Gradually over the months the physical ailments resolved themselves, but the morning sickness continued into the seventh month. I got the flu really bad at Christmas time, and a lingering cough that hurt so bad it felt like the baby would fall out the bottom every time she hacked away.
Ryan Is Potty Trained In the Nick of Time
Mom: February 8th was the Stake Young Women's Conference "Where is Heaven?" I had worked for months on it with a youth committee representative from every ward. It was a lovely spiritual day, topped off by Kent potty training Ryan while I was gone. The next two weeks were spent sorting through baby clothes, making lists of things to buy and do, and worrying about the smooth arrival of the baby, which was due Feb. 27, in the middle of a school week for the older children.
"Where can we have this baby?"
We were so far from the hospital Grandpa Doctor Brown used, and if we used non Pru-Net doctors or hospitals and there were complications, the costs could be astronomical. My sister Judy had Noelle Joy on Monday, Feb 17 and Grandma Brown went down to stay the week with her, with Grandpa planning to drive down to pick her up on Saturday the 22nd. I asked an ob/gyn doctor that had visited the summer before on other medical problems if he would be available on call for that Saturday only and he refused, because he had not charted my course all through the pregnancy. I
was very depressed, because subconsciously I knew that was the big day, and so I prayed that Heavenly Father would take care of me. I told everyone that I hoped the baby would come the weekend after that one so I could take the children to my folks and they wouldn't miss school and also so the baby's arrival wouldn't throw rain on Judy's parade and new baby. Then I made plans to go to the temple Friday night with the ward and to the Visitor's Center on Saturday night with the Chastine/Nippers, some friends and parents of a pupil of Kent’s.
A Special Manifestation
Friday morning I went to the hospital to time the travel and negotiate financial payment with the administrator, and to my dad's for a checkup. He told me I was "ripe", and the baby could come any time. That night at the temple, I was thrilled to be proxy for a woman named Rebecca, a name Kent and I had treasured for some time for our next girl, and also the name of my 3rd great grandmother whose temple work had recently been done. We felt that this was an "omen", as the last temple visit before Rachel’s birth I had been proxy for a Rachel Ann.
How Ashley Got Her Name
When discussing the name Rebecca two weeks before with the other children, some of them weren't sure if they liked it or not. Chad suggested the name Ashley, the name of a girl at school he had a crush on (but wouldn't admit). There was a darling little girl at Kent’s school named Ashley May, and so he said that if it was a girl, he might nickname her Ashley May. I didn't like the name May, it sounded too "southernbelleish". So Rachel compromised with the name Ashley Rebecca, and we all liked that. (A year later, Chad had a tiff with his girlfriend Ashley and developed a crush on an LDS girl in the ward named Rebecca Jones, and so the name Rebecca became very popular around here once again, but because of Ashley's disposition, I'm afraid Maybelle seems to appraise her personality best. Perhaps she can grow into Rebecca.)
A Special Dream
Every time I went to the temple when I was pregnant, I felt that I had to wrestle with the Lord in prayer for the welfare and safe arrival of my baby. Before leaving I put her name and "baby Gardiner" on the prayer roll. On the way home from the temple, I felt a dull pain in my abdomen and a sinking feeling, but I continued to try denying the eminence of the baby's birth. I did beg Kent to give me a husband's blessing before we went to bed, and felt more at peace afterwards. The next morning I dreamed I was at the Visitor's Center, which was interrupted, with another dream of a little baby, which I lovingly called "Ashley, Ashley". I also noticed something wrong the disposable diaper tapes were on her cheeks, and she couldn't remove them. I was awakened from this dream by a phone call from my father asking her if I was all right, telling me he was on his way to the temple for some sealings, and was going down to San Diego after that about l:00pm in the afternoon. I told him she thought I would be okay.
I got up to say goodbye to Kent who was going to travel around to look at property that was going to tax sale. Then I cleaned up and drove to the Sears catalog store to pick up an order of baby things, including a basinet lining and little yellow outfit to take the baby home from the hospital in. It was difficult to walk, and while driving and setting up the baby's bed, and taking a nap in the afternoon, I felt contractions about 20 minutes or more minutes apart, and felt mentally distracted and down, but I continued to hope that the baby would wait at least until after the Visitor's Center and her parents were home. I got up from my nap after Kent got home about 4:00pm and felt the distinct impression, "call dad now!" I reached him in San Diego, just as my father was lying down for a nap at Judy's, about 4:15pm, and told him I'd been in labor for a while and he probably ought to come back now please.
The Birth of Ashley
We deliberated about what to do. I couldn't make any decisions and so Kent took charge. He called the Chastine/Nippers and put off our VC date, and went and got the babysitter (Matt Summerhays) we had lined up for the evening a couple of hours early. We set dinner out for the kids, threw bags and cameras into the van, and took off for the hospital about 5:00 pm. We made a quick stop at Music Plus to drop off a videocassette and I timed my contractions while Kent drove. We didn't know whether to stop at the hospital or drive on to the Browns, but another contraction came on just before the freeway turn off and just five minutes after the last one so Kent went straight to the hospital. We checked in at 6:15, and I was 4 cm dilated, bag of waters bulging.
We were very nervous when we learned Grandpa didn't have OB privileges. Kent kept trying to call him while I lay on my right side to slow the contractions down. Kent finally got a hold of Grandpa at 12 min. to 7:00, just as he was walking in the door at home with Grandma. He got to the hospital at 7:05 pm. I sighed with relief and rolled on her left side, the baby could come soon. My dad checked me and broke the bag, helped give me a blessing, got permission through the ob chief (minor detail of protocol, since he was hospital chief of staff he could have just given himself permission) and got dressed. By 7:35 after a couple of hard contractions, I was 10 cm and being pushed into the delivery room. I barely had time to find out where everything was in the room when after one push Ashley Rebecca was born at 7:45pm, 21 inches long and 7lbs, 2oz. Heavenly Father had done a good job taking care of her birth.
A Casual Conversation After The Birth
We all marveled at some of these details afterwards together there in the delivery room while Ashley and mom were getting cleaned up. We called her our little miracle baby, because the circumstances surrounding her birth seemed miraculous the way they all fell into place. As I looked over at Ashley's little screwed up face, eyes swollen, big nose, bond hair and fair red complexion, she had a familiar look to her and I knew that Ashley was mine and belonged to her. I knew that I could see her with several other babies and I'd still recognize her as my baby. In fact, Ashley was the only little blond baby in the hospital at the time; there were about 14 other little babies of various ethnic backgrounds, mostly oriental and Mexican. But there was a bonding that went beyond that, a spiritual bonding, as if I knew this little baby from before. The first time they wheeled her into to me, that same rush of recognition and familiarity came back and I said, without checking the nametag, "that's her, that's my baby."
A Paragraph From Dad
Dad: Feb 22, 1986, I was working on buying at the tax sale auction today and was out looking at properties. I would call Suzanne every two hours. She said she was having contractions but not to worry. "I'm not going to have the baby in the next two hours," she said. About 2:00 I got worried and went home. At about 4:00pm she said she thought she would have the baby in the next 24 hours. We had an appointment to go to the visitor’s center with Bill and Mary Lu Nipper, which we really wanted to fulfill so we were torn. Finally, after Suzanne said, "Let's take the kids to my parents and wait." I went outside to wash the Van and calmly think. Thereafter we got a baby sitter, Matt Summerhays, and called Jim who was seeing Judy's baby in San Diego. He drove quickly up. He was just laying down fork a nap when Suzanne called. He got there at 7:10pm and the baby (Ashley was born at 7:48pm.
I got very excited when Ashley was born "It's a girl! Jim." All right! The night before we had gone to the temple and Suzanne went through for a woman named Rebecca. As I gave Suzanne a blessing I had an overwhelming confirmation of the spirit that all would be well and that the Lord's hand is in all good things.
Two pushes and Ashley was out. Although Suzanne was weak she was alert, healthy and I think it was the easiest of our five births. On Saturday morning Suzanne had a dream that a girl was born at the same time as us going to the visitors center. This may be the most spiritual of all our births. I wonder if the scripture reading that we are doing is paying off.
A Portent of Things To Come
I spent a rough night after her birth, hemorrhaging and not being able to sleep. I wished later that I'd had asked them to bring Ashley to me to nurse and coo over. When the staff did finally bring her in Ashley would sleep on my chest and shoulder while I dozed off too. On Sunday the 23rd, Kent and the kids came to visit Ashley and Me at the hospital, take pictures and all try out the buttons and positions of the hospital bed. Sunday night Kent and I had their special dinner together with Ashley, who began to really fuss until Kent changed her position. About 20 minutes after each feeding she began to really cry and scrunch up her legs. This was a portent of the misery that was to come in caring for this little sweetie.
The kids were staying at the Browns, and Kent went to the tax sale trying to make a good deal so the family could get into that larger house we needed, so on Monday, my friend Terry Bronson came and picked both of them up in her nice van. It was a warm day and Ashley looked like a little yellow pumpkin in her new playsuit mom bought the day she was born. I forgot to get the key to the house, so Terry took her to her house and the baby and
I took a nice long nap on Terry’s waterbed until Kent and the children came to pick us up that evening. Ryan still remembers that they picked us up then and brought Ashley home, and so when Ashley was real fussy he would say that he didn't want Ashley anymore and that we should take her back to Amy's house (Terry’s little daughter that is the same age as him).
Extra Help From Grandparents
Tuesday afternoon Grandpa and Grandma Gardiner came to help care for everyone and fix dinner, and on Wednesday, Grandpa Brown brought Grandma Brown to stay until he came back for her Saturday afternoon. Grandma brought two flower pictures that she had oil-painted and we hung them over the family room couch before she left. She slept on that couch those three nights she stayed with us. She was very feeble, in poor health generally and specifically from kidney stones, and not sleeping well because of her arthritis. She complained to Grandpa Brown on Wednesday that I wasn't feeding the baby enough, that was why Ashley cried when I set down to eat dinner and didn't pick her up right away. I worried as much over my mother as she did her own health and Ashley's. It was a very emotionally strenuous three and a half days. But Grandma adored little Ashley and enjoyed bathing and caring for her.
Ashley was a little jaundiced, so Grandpa recommended five-minute sunbathe for her once a day. She also began having these real fussy periods 3 times a day, after her morning feeding, in the evening, and in the middle of the night about 2am. Then two weeks after her birth she began this cycle of eating, sleeping for 20 minutes, then waking and screaming. Grandma Brown said to feed her mashed bananas, but I didn't think that was right. We tried everything: boiling peppermint sticks, mylicon syrup, Bental
Syrup, soft music, running the vacuum cleaner or the shower, the swing, sleeping on pillows and on hot water bottles and on her stomach, and finally swaddling and strapped snugly in the infant seat, which worked the best. But many times I would stand in the shower in the evening to drown out the noise and just sob to myself, and sometimes the children would come in the morning and say that they heard Ashley and I crying in the middle of the night.
Baby Ashley - Where Do We Return Her?
This all came at particularly frustrating time with financial and emotional strains, too small a house, and not enough sleep at night. At two months Ashley went to an LDS pediatrician, Dr. Barlow, who said that she was under weight (had gained less than two pounds) and suggested mom avoid wheat, or milk for awhile, then later pump her milk and try different formulas. Ashley seemed better for a short while (a day or two), and then would act the same, so mom went back to nursing her and eating regularly, except avoiding chocolate (which definitely did upset her). I began reading Louis Lamour novels while holding and nursing her, and then all the time I spent fussing with her seemed more bearable. But it was frustrating to get so little done that first year of her life. It seemed like every time I began to clean up the kitchen or help one of the other children, Ashley began to fuss. It was no wonder Ryan wanted to take her back where we picked her up. Sometimes we all wished we could take her someplace and leave her awhile. There were many times when Suzanne, on the advice of the pediatrician, just let her cry while carrying on mental arguments with herself to justify doing so.
When Ashley was about five weeks old she and the rest of the children came down with chicken pox (except for Chad who got his from a cousin when he was about 20 months old). She had about five poxes, including one big one on her forehead. Grandpa and Grandma Gardiner volunteered to come out and help with the children during this trying time, and although we did not ask them to come, their emotional support helped buoy up our feelings and made the emotional strain easier to bear.
Ashley was blessed April 13, 1986, Easter Sunday. Both Brown and Gardiner grandparents came, Great Grandma Breiten, Aunt Audrey, Uncle Mark and Karen Gardiner, Uncle John and Gayle Reese, and others. She was blessed the same day that another baby, Ashley Nicole Stewart, was blessed. This Ashley was the Granddaughter of Hank Whiffen, former Hacienda Heights stake presidency member and friend of Brown grandparents. So this special day was shared with another little girl who also shared the same first name. In Kent’s blessing, some of the things he blessed Ashley with were that the spirit would attend her and that she would feel comfortable and good, be blessed with health and strength, have patience and kindness in dealing with others, gain a feeling of peace and assurance when all was right, that her parents would be able to raise her by guidance of the Spirit and set a good example to her, and she in turn would be so to others, and that she would be able to understand the precepts of the gospel. I silently prayed a blessing for her too, that she would make righteous choices in life, marry in the temple to a faithful companion, and be a lovely mother in Zion. Her father bore a lovely testimony later in the service. He teased the Stewarts by saying that they picked a name we liked and that we had chosen the name way before them. He said that her crying during the blessing was ironic because that was all she had done during the first 6 weeks of her life. He said that I was a sweet gentle spirit in the home and everything he hoped for in a wife. He was grateful for the presence of the grandparents and family and for the wonderful gospel heritage we had. He recounted some of the spiritual experiences surrounding her birth that helped him to know that the gospel was true and he was very thankful for all of his children, the church, and his family and friends in attendance that day. Our next-door neighbor at the time, Marilyn Cox, videotaped some of the family get together after the service.
Determined not to let Ashley run the whole family all the time, we took her camping with us two or three times that Summer of `86, taking her up to Three Pines above Bishop and to Reds Meadow above Mammoth. It rained the first time and we nearly froze. Ashley cried at night unless she was in bed with me. The next time I did better about layering the clothes on her but she kept kicking the blankets off at night and her little ears, cheeks, and hands felt like ice. She developed a cough, and her new pediatrician, Dr. Altman had her sinuses x-rayed and discovered a sinus infection that cleared up in a couple of weeks.
She also had several ear infections and I just kept the eardrops on the windowsill above her bed to automatically deposit into her ears in the middle of the night whenever she didn't settle back to sleep. She was sleeping at this time strapped in the infant seat in our walk-in closet. At night when she fussed and wouldn't settle down to sleep, we just set the seat in the front room under the dining table in case there was an earthquake, and let her cry.
"What an adorable child!"
Whenever we took her somewhere, everyone admired her cute pixie looks, and commented how good and quiet she was. We just smiled and thought, "If they only knew". Her blond curls stuck out behind big ears. Her big blue eyes and lovely long lashes and pouty mouth caught everyone's attention. It was hard not to wonder what we were doing wrong at home. She cried and arched her back whenever anyone else held her, and was particularly bonded to her mother, who nursed her until 16 months.
For Christmas, Rachel gave her Snowball, her white fluffy bear that she got from Grandma Great the year before. This has always been a favorite of Ashley's, along with her blanket, another thing that used to belong to Rachel. It is a lavender flowered flannel blanket, yarn tied and ruffled with lavender organza, and was made by Grandma Brown for Rachel 8 years earlier. Ashley sleeps with both of these nightly. Rachel has always been very sweet to Ashley, and was quite jealous to hold her when she first
Came home from the hospital, telling her me that she wasn't going to let her hold her grandbabies when she got married because I never let her hold Ashley now. The first thing she said when she found out she had a new little sister was that her prayers had been answered.
An Animal of Any Kind
Ashley has always adored animals and stuffed animals and pictures of animals. She absolutely loved Moonshadow, our black and white cat that we got as a kitten when Ashley was about three weeks old. She would squeal with excitement and want to pull its tail or grab its hair. She liked to carry stuffed animals around the house and always wants to hug them whenever she sees them in a store.
For her first birthday, she had bowl of ice cream and got a car seat cover and Sesame Street Popup toy that mom used to entertain her while she shoveled food in her mouth. She became as persnickety about her food as she did everything else and would only eat cereal and strained fruit. She wants to be held most of the time she is up unless she is in her little denim seat that attached to the table.
Camping With The Southern Belle
That pop up toy and gerryseat even went camping with us Memorial Day weekend to Yosemite, where we bundled her up in so many clothes that when she walked around, if she got off balance, she would fall over and just lie there, unable to roll over and stand up. She screamed in the car all the way descending into that valley in the car unless she sat on mother's lap. She loved to pick up handfuls of dirt and toss them. She'd climb on camp fold up chairs which invariably toppled over and once she got a big shiner on her forehead when one she was standing on in a neighboring camp backsided and she bonked her head on the metal picnic table's leg. She screamed every time we put her in the tent and all the time we changed her for bed until I lay her next to me to nurse and then she frequently fell asleep within seconds from exhaustion, waking up in the night to nurse a few minutes and then back to sleep.
A Real Scare
We didn't know if we were going to be able to go on that camping trip because Ashley had a temperature for two nights previous to our leaving. Busy packing, we thought Ashley would just sleep it off. Suzanne noticed she jerked a little while nursing, and then Wednesday evening about 11 when she cried and Suzanne put her in bed between Kent and her to nurse, she lay still a moment then screamed in terror and went into a convulsion. For the longest two minutes of her parent's life they struggled to cool her down by stripping her pajamas off and dousing her. It was very frightening. We immediately gave her some Tylenol and Pediazole. Then at about 4 am. She began to yell and grunt and toss and turn like she was in pain. A phone call to Grandpa Brown convinced us to get her medical attention. We immediately took her down to Henry Mayo Hospital Emergency where they checked her and determined she had a sore throat but seemed to be fine otherwise. We decided to take the trip anyway with her medicine since the van was all packed, reservations were made and the other kids were hoping to miss two days of school and do their favorite activity of camping. In the end everything worked out well, and besides scaring her parents to death, Ashley survived just fine.
No Crib, No Bottle
Worrying about their planned trip to England in the fall, I worked at helping Ashley live a more ordinary existence, beginning with sleeping in a port-a-crib instead of the infant seat. I put rolled pads around her so that she still had the sensation of being cuddled or confined. This worked for gradually longer periods of time, until finally she could sleep without the pads, but she still screamed whenever it was bedtime, particularly when she was being weaned and Daddy would put her to bed. He used to lie down on the floor of the closet with her and breathe loudly and rhythmically until finally she lay down and went to sleep also. At 18 months, tired of fussing with her at bedtime and at the advice of Dr. Greenwald, we switched the children's beds around so that she could now sleep on Ryan's twin bed in the same room as Rachel. She still cried occasionally but was delighted to be a part of the group. Her bedtime ritual is to brush her teeth like the others, get a fluoride vitamin like them, climb into bed and have her blanket placed over her and her white teddy bear beside her. It looks so funny to see this little tiny person in this big bed. She's usually a little ball in the corner of it. We try to place a chair beside it so that she won't fall out like she has a couple of times.
Her favorite things to eat are popsicles, watermelon, bananas, hotdogs, milk, string cheese, graham crackers, cheerios, grapes, bread, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Nutter Butter Cookies, ice chips, and raisin bran cereal. She never really eats a meal; she just snacks all day long. She likes to eat something about every 45 minutes, in between looking at Golden Books and hitting you in the chest while grunting and pointing to the pictures of animals. She wants you to give the sounds that the animals give. This, and going for a ride in her stroller are her two favorite things to do. When she wants something, she comes up and hits you on the leg or points and grunts, lowers her eyebrows and frowns with her whole face when she doesn't get her own way, and rubs her eyes with her hands when you tell her no. She is rather difficult to resist. She is able to say quite a few words, like "thank you, ma, daddy, amen, ball, bus, meow, kitty cat" but she rarely used this language. Most of the time she just points and says "Tsshhh". She absolutely hates baths, and the mere mention of the subject is enough to send her shrieking from the room. Her father's dousing of her has her quite traumatized. She does like to put on her little swimsuit and play in the children's pool at the Association pool here. In fact she loves to drape over her head or around her neck any clothes she finds of her older siblings, and particularly likes some little white sandals she inherited from the Jim White family when they moved.
A Terrible Accident
One night (June 20) after dinner she went out to play in the back yard with the other kids to eat ice cream cones while Kent, Suzanne, and Chad went down to Scouts (Chad’s first court of honor) and Uncle Jim and Carol Brown were here with their kids. Kent got home about 7:30pm; a few minutes after I left and wiped the ice cream off her face. She had a little bit of red on the corners of her mouth. When I came home about 9pm Ashley seemed sort of weepy and mom noticed the red (like popsicle juice), which didn't wipe off and made her cry when she tried. Kent said he thought she just ran into the door. So we gave her a drink and put her to bed. She woke up in the night and cried and cried like something really bothered her and didn't settle down for some time. The next morning I was up early studying for her backyard swim instructor's course when about 7am Kent brought Ashley in with sores all around her mouth, mostly down the right side of her face in the crease beside her mouth. It looked like a burn, but we couldn't figure out what could have caused it until Kent remembered the mess kit he had put some Easy-Off on and set outside so the fumes wouldn't bother us. I dashed down to First Care with her, crying and praying all the way, but found that they didn't open until 8am. So we went to the Homers and got some Aloe Vera plant to rub on the sores, and then back down to First Care. There didn't seem to be any burns inside the mouth, and so we surmised that she just put the pan up to her mouth, but didn't ingest any of it. They put her on an antibiotic and told us to clean the wound several times a day and cover it with Neosporin to keep out infection. Kent gave her a blessing and we all prayed that it wouldn't scar. We even put consecrated oil and vitamin E oil on it. Now, two and a half months later, you cannot see anything except faint pink lines in the crease, which will probably fade away completely. This was a terrible emotional experience for us as parents.
Bumps, bruises, and scars
For all her knocks and bruises, she still has one little scar on her forehead, a raised, white bump where she took a header at the Browns after a Brown cousins Easter egg hunt. We were sitting on the living room porch and she fell over sideways on the stepping-stones and hit her head. It is about in the same spot her big chicken pox was and where she got her shiner from the picnic table at Yosemite. If that is the only war wound she carries with her in life, she is a very lucky girl. And a very darling one with her pixie face, big blue eyes, and golden curls sticking out all over her head, like a Cubie Doll. For all the pain and anguish this little mite of a girl has caused us, we wouldn't trade her in for a more peaceful existence for anything in the world.
Getting Used to the Nursery
Now at 18 months she has been going into the Nursery Sunday mornings. Surprisingly, she doesn't cry at all. She stands quite still in the middle of the room with her finger up her nose, surveying all the commotion around her. She loves to have Sunday cereal in the afternoon just like the other children. When we scripture read every morning, she must have her own book too, and during prayers she folds her arms and smiles proudly at everyone.
Dad: For all of the pain and anguish we have gone through with this little cutie, she is now a pleasure to be around and care for. When she wants a cookie or a book or a drink she stands and waves for you to come and says, "Come here." She loves books. We recently got some Disney books and she gets very excited about them. When she gets a cookie or you invite her to dance or tell her she can watch a cartoon; she raises her eyebrows, opens her mouth wide and says "oooooh." It is really cute. She sleeps in Rachel's bedroom on a regular size bed. With her are usually assorted books, toys, her regular blanket and her carry around blanket. There is barely room enough for her.
Doggies and Kitties
Dad: Dogs and cats are like gold to her. She enjoys seeing them on TV. She likes books about them. Whenever she can she drags us outside to hold her up so she can see the assorted dogs next door. She then points and talks a mile a minute, all the time watching the barking and wincing when they jump at her.
Dad: About once a day I get the urge to put on some good old-fashioned rock and roll. When I do, I turn it up and Ashley loves to jump up in my arms, hold one hand and dance around the room. One Sunday I put the "Poet and the Peasant" on and she screamed in utter ecstasy. We wheeled, turned, twisted, jumped and just enjoyed each other. She really seems to love the show and the fast beat of the music. This is a lot of fun for a father who enjoys his daughter.
Oftentimes, Rachel takes time out to sit with Ashley and fix her hair. She will put lip-gloss on her or she'll dress her up in an interesting way. It is nice to see that real caring between them. Rachel has been a wonderful help with Ashley. She is kind, sensitive as well as understand and patient with a young sister who needs these attributes.
Dad: Christmas 1987, For Christmas Ashley got a little Fisher Price Telephone that she dearly loves. She drags it around, which then emits a sound or she will sit with it and hold a conversation with the receiver to her ear. She also got a popcorn popper that you push around, and she lugs it all over the house, to our despair.
Kent Writes Ashley's First Poem
Ashley: From her daddy on her 2nd birthday, February 22, 1988
The tousled little blond-haired imp-dashes around the room in circles
With only a diaper covering
The cherub-like body that runs to and fro.
"SOP (stop) daddy", "sop,"
She coos as I reach out to halt her progress.
Giggling laughter and hilarious contortions,
Like a cherubic, wriggling, tickle bunny
Tackled on the 1-yard line she squirms
Then running free, she circles back for more."
2 Year Old Update
Suzanne: Sunday in Stake conference it was so warm and stuffy, and Ashley's cheeks got so bright pink that Kent took her dress and shoes and stockings off and held and played with her in just her diaper. She giggled so as his hands touched her ticklish body. She is just like what you imagine a cherub to look like in a painting by one of the old masters. She has blond waspish hair (Kent says he'll cry if it ever gets cut) very blue sparkling eyes, and rosy cheeks. She makes the most wonderful expressions-like opening her eyes and her mouth and raising her eyebrows when she is surprised or mimicking that, or bowing her head and glowering at me under lowered eyebrows and trying to keep her pouting lower lip from turning into a smile. At other times she raises her little face, sticks her chin out at you, and gives you the raspberry with her tongue. I love to kiss her little cheeks and forehead with its white spotted scar from where she picked at a mosquito bite and it got infected. When her little arms go around your neck and she hugs you with gay abandon, it is piece d'resistance.
As soon as she gets up in the morning, she comes in to find me, dragging her "Blankie" and smiling and wanting to be held and cuddled for a few minutes. She lays her head on my chest and lies very still for several minutes, until I woo her with the promise of a glass of milk. During scripture reading she usually wants to sit on my lap at the beginning, holding a book herself, or else she wants to "Da" (draw) with a pencil and some "pae" (paper). She loves to doodle fine scribbles and circular designs and be like the other children who like to draw. At breakfast she climbs up in her chair and wants a little bowl of cereal like the other children. She must have her half vitamin in the morning, too. When she's done, she wants to watch "Pooh Bear" or "Da Duck" (Disney's Donald Duck cartoons we have on tape). When I don't let her because the other children are not ready for school, she has a little fit until I can get her interested in something else, like the Disney books I've been buying at Lucky's. Her favorite one is Volume 19 "Road to Reading" (for parents only) because it has a picture of Daisy Duck reading a book to Donald, Huey, Duey, and Luey. She always wants someone, especially me, to "se dow" on the couch and "ree book" to her.
Alone with Mommy
After the other children leave and I am trying to do my scripture study and exorcises she is always interrupting me with "'m'here", waving her hand towards her. While she says her own name "Agshlee" quite clearly, and speaks quite well for a two-year old, often we have to guess what she wants by saying it back to her. If we guessed right, she says "Nnyas". She wants milk, or her toys, or her shoes, or her books, or to go see the doggies over the wall in the back yard, or anything. Houses on both sides, and two in the back have dogs that she loves to look at. One on the southeast side is a particularly friendly pup, and she and Ryan have rigged the gray crates so that they can stand up on them and look at the dog. This is a favorite activity especially if Kent or I are holding her too. When we take her for walks in the stroller, which she craves, she will shy away from other adults, but go crazy with delight whenever she sees a dog. She doesn't mind when they lick her face, she just loves to go up to them and touch them and giggle.
When she is not looking at doggies or playing outside with Ryan (she is his little shadow) or watching Donald Duck or Winnie the Pooh, or "Duck Tales", she likes to get the little Tuff Stuff shopping cart and load it up with toys and all of her favorite books and push it around the house. Sometimes when it is very quiet in the house I can find her in the bedroom with the door shut, getting into Rachel's stuff. And when she is not doing that she likes to bother me. I can hardly go to the bathroom without her wanting to come in there too and have me "'m'here" or hold her. She wants to put on my lipstick or other makeup when she sees me putting some on, and heaven forbid that I should ever leave the house without taking her along too. She LOVES to "go car". Her favorite place to go is Lucky's, because I let her ride Donald Duck in front of the store for $.25 and get a cookie in the bakery department. She also likes the Dry Cleaning store because they have suckers.
Having a Fit
Sometimes when she is having a fit wanting me to hold her or come with her and I don't want to because I am in the middle of something I have to do and I can't seem to put her off, and I finally do pick her up she just puts her head on my shoulder and pouts, or gives a little sob, avoiding my eyes. I think that she knows that she is being a brat, but she just wants me to hold her a little. And after I do, then she's fine for a little bit longer. To distract her while I fix dinner, Kent will dance with her in the front room many times to rock music. This is a favorite activity of hers. It is a lovely sight to see him holding her in one arm, his hand holding her little fist in the other, her hair bouncing up and down and her face in an ear-to-ear smile of pure delight as they circle around the room. Her favorite family home evening activity is "Freeze dance", and she just runs around falling on the ground and laughing so happy. She sways her hips back and forth to the music and has a natural sense of rhythm.
Lately she has enjoyed eating peeled apples, which has helped some of her occasional runny bowels. She also likes to eat string cheese, and crackers while watching TV In fact she would like to eat all of her meals in front of the TV set. She also likes "po'scles" and "ie ceam". For lunch she'll eat the center out of a half sandwich that's been quartered. I can tell when she is ready for her nap because she starts stacking her books around on the floor, couch, or play cart.
At naptime, I cover the window with a dark blue tablecloth so that the sun won't shine in on her in her bed. Then I cover her with her "blankie" and we lie down together with our heads on the pillow and "read" a book. Her favorites these days are the Disney books, especially if they have Donald Duck on them, or the Winnie the Pooh Golden Book. She still likes the animal books too, and points to them continually saying, "Wha's tha?” The Golden Book of Sounds is a particular favorite, especially at the end where the little girl puts her finger to her lips and says "Shhhh", and then "pra'ers". She then bows her head, squints her eyes, and folds her arms. She must have learned that in the nursery in Primary, and so now always associates the two actions. She mumbles a little bit, then says "AME'". When I try to get up she shouts "PRA'ERS" again, and immediately starts over again in order to detain me a little bit longer. Then I get up and try to leave. She always wants one more drink of milk, which I bring to her, and then she lies down, wants to be covered by her “blankie”, and goes to sleep.
She gets up from her nap after the older children get home from school just after 3:00. She snacks and watches TV all afternoon except when I transport kids around, then of course she has to go with me. She loves a "baf" each night, and loves to sit in the tub with Ryan and a glass and play until her father wants to dowse her (she doesn't like that part). Then she wants me to cuddle her in a towel until she's dressed because she's "co'". She doesn't eat any dinner, but always wants a bowl of cereal before "Nini" about 9:00. Because she takes a nap, she won't go to bed any earlier. She loves being up with just Kent and I and likes to run around and laugh or bother us until we've had it and put her to bed, after lots of drinks of milk and kisses goodnight. Her kisses are usually open-mouthed placing her lips or teeth up for you to press with your "muf" or cheek.
She is a winsome lass, no doubt about it. We love her dearly. For her birthday celebration we had chocolate ripple ice cream, a favorite. But first we wanted her to eat a single pea and carrot (she'd only had a couple of bites of chicken at dinner). After some persuading, she popped them in her mouth. We all clapped, and then she screwed up her face and spat them out again. We COULD NOT persuade her again. She kept giving us "the hand" or shoving her elbow out at us, brushing them away and pouting.
Finally Kent forced one green pea in her mouth but it didn't stay long with her thrusting tongue. Then she ate a little ice cream on a cone until she saw her daddy pass to me a bowl heaped with ice cream and topped with two burning candles. She dropped part of her cone, handed me the rest, and curled up on my lap while we sang to her. She didn't know what to do at the end, so I wished for her that she would live to a ripe old age, the mother of many sons and daughters in Zion. Then we helped her blow the two
College Recommendation Letter Information
Name: Ashley Gardiner
Address: 25481 Cariz Drive
Telephone number: (661) 255-0949
1. Describe the biggest challenge you have faced in high school.
§ My biggest challenge has been trying to manage my time into being able to do many things at once. It has been difficult balancing school, show choir, work, church youth group, and seminary, and being able to excel at each one. I would often have to do all of those things in one day and then do it again the next day on less than a couple hours of sleep. However it has been worth it because I have really enjoyed each activity, learned a lot, and become a better person through each experience.
2. What subjects do you find interesting and enjoyable? Why
§ There are many subjects I really enjoy. I particularly like English because I like reading and writing and expressing myself. I enjoy math because I like problem solving and figuring things out.
§ 3. What do you plan to major in college? What is your career goal and why? I am not positive about what I would like my career to be however some strong interests I have include psychology and sociology. I really enjoy learning about people, working with them and helping them. However it is difficult to find a career in these fields that is profitable so I plan to learn what I can and then decide what is best.
4. Sometimes we need to talk to a teacher about you. Name three teachers you would select to “sing your praises.” I would select Mrs. Stubblefield, Mr. Burns, and Mrs. Wilson. They are all wonderful teachers with whom I have had good experiences.
5. Are there any particular circumstances, school experiences, or persons influencing your preparation or motivation to attend college?
My parents are helping me a lot in my preparation for college and I have also had many great examples from my siblings and friends that provide good motivation. However I think that most motivation and preparation comes from my own desire to succeed and become the person I want to be.
My parents are helping me a lot in my preparation for college and I have also had many great examples from my siblings and friends that provide good motivation. However I think that most motivation and preparation comes from my own desire to succeed and become the person I want to be.
6. Are there any particular circumstances, school experiences, or persons who have influenced your life in any way?
§ My family life has had an enormous effect on my life. I have great examples in my family that help me and teach me to do the right thing. In my family I have had many trials and conflicts that have taught me so much and strengthened me tremendously. Specific examples include the loss of a family member, dealing with relationships in a mixed family, problems with debt, drugs, and more. Because of these problems our family of seven kids plus parents have become very strong and influenced my life.
7. Discuss whether your grades and/or test scores in high school reflect your academic potential.
§ My grades do reflect what I have done and much of my potential. However I do not believe they reflect my full potential. Without the factors of stress caused from non-school related issues and if I had pushed myself beyond the limit I think I could have done better however it is important to deal with what I have and what I have done.
8. List your three most distinguishing, most remarkable traits. Explain each with several sentences. Think about what aspects of yourself you would like to have stressed to colleges.
§ One character trait that I possess is reliability. For example, I have worked for the same job for ten months and though there are many days I am not feeling well or it is hard to work, or there are other places for me to be, I have never missed a single day of work. Being reliable is very important to me because I want people to know they can always depend on me. Another quality that I posses is having good focus. This has proven to be important because there are many distractions at times when I need to get things done. It also helps me to get my priorities in the right order. I think it will be an important attribute when I attend college as well as helping me to do better academically. I also have a very calm, even temperament. I do not get mad easily or let my emotions control me irrationally. This is an important quality when dealing with other people; it has helped me to get along with everyone without having personality conflicts and issues.
9. What do you believe to be your weakest qualities? One of my weakest qualities is lack of speed. I like to be thorough with everything that I do however because of this I am very slow at doing things. I am slow at taking tests, doing the dishes, cleaning my room, getting things accomplished. In some ways this weakness has helped me because since I am meticulous about doing things I get them done right and the way I want them. However it has had some very negative consequences in terms of being extremely slow at taking tests and slow getting ready to go to important places and slow to do things that need to be done.
§ 10. Are there any special circumstances that could prevent you from attending college? I would like to answer that there are no circumstances whatsoever that could come between me and my college dream. However the only thing that could possibly get in my way is lack of money. My father is an elementary school teacher and it is difficult raising seven kids off of this income, and to also pay for college, marriages, missions, and so forth. I have been saving what I can but it is difficult to save when there are so many other expenses I must pay for so I will try to work out some sort of financial plan.
§ 11. Describe and explain your pride in one academic accomplishment.
A few years ago I wrote a paper in my English class about someone I admire. I worked very hard on it and really put all of my feelings and emotions down on that paper, sharing things I hadn’t told before. I entered it into a contest and my paper was selected when there were only two winners per school. I won a $100 savings bond and got to go to a special luncheon. It made me proud because it was difficult writing about how I felt but I was able to put as many of my emotions into that paper as I could so I was proud of my work, perched on her stomach, shoving big spoonfuls of the ice cream in her mouth. She stayed at it about ten minutes, and then she shoved the bowl at me and wanted her hands washed so that she could go in the living room with her daddy for family home evening. Afterwards she ran giggling away from me when I wanted to change her messy diaper. Then she "helped" take care of the clean clothes by stuffing them all (kitchen towels, my underwear,
Kent's socks, etc. into Ryan's drawer. She was very upset when I took the unnecessary items out and put them in their rightful places. She screamed "NO!" at me very intensely. I think Rachel's teasing distracted her from this temper.
English, period 5
September 1, 1999
I have really enjoyed being your primary teacher twice. It makes it all the more fun to teach primary when I have my own daughter in the class. It is wonderful to see you sitting u straight in class with your scriptures ready to go. Your bright smile lights up my day. I often look at you and see your mother’s influence and goodness in you.
What a wonderful person you are. When there is a particularly difficult question to answer I look over and see you there with your hand up and a bright intelligent look on your face.
You are very pretty and take good care of yourself.
A Closer Look
Anyone else would have thought it was a regular muddy old rock. However, I did not think so. It was a rock I found while camping up in Utah. Anyone else would see it at first glance that it was just a dirty rock. However, I looked closer.
A few years ago my family and I were camping in Zion’s Park with it’s beautiful mountains. We were wading in a fresh cool stream with large overhanging trees providing shade. My brothers and I were competing over who could skip rocks across the water the most times. I reached into the stream and picked up my rock.
My first thought was that this was a plain brown rock. I turned it slowly and held it in the light. I needed to take a closer look. The sunshine danced over the rock, making it glitter and sparkle: gold, red, sapphire, sea green and violet. It was magnificent, like the sunshine transforming a plain brown rock into a rainbow. It is amazing how a bit of sunshine can bring out the beauty of something. My rock was an ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan.
I touched the rock, feeling it’s smooth surface. It slipped and slid like glass in my hands. The rock tumbled in my hands, smoothed by a thousand years of water bearing down on it, caressing it, kicking off all the rough edges.
This rock was small enough to be held on the tips of two fingers. I clenched it in my fist and felt its curved round shape.
I raised the rock to my face. It smelled like the fresh mountain air, cool breeze and babbling stream that had carried it to its destination. I could almost smell the little fish that swam by my rock, brushing against it with its sleek gills.
It is amazing what you learn from picking up a rock. I left my rock next to that stream, so someone else could discover its magical wonders. Hopefully, they will not first see it as just plain brown rock, but they will shine a little light on it and take a closer look.
I Remember My Mother
I remembers my mother, for her spirit is with me still. I remember every night, curling up near her as she read us Hans Christian Anderson stories. Her voice was full of love and kindness. Her voice was music surrounding me, protecting me from worldly evils. It was all her emotions spread out before me and smothering me with love. I remember her head next to mine, her warm breath on my cheek as she lies next to me. Lying there with me, just the two of us, surrounded with feelings for each other. Sometimes I hide my head in her lap sobbing, though I didn’t know why. Now I know. I cried tears of joy and relief for having her there. Now I cry too sometimes. I thought I cried because I missed her. Now I know it was the same reason I cried before. I cry tears of joy and relief for having her there, for she is with me still. I still cry though her lap isn’t here anymore, thought I remember it. I also remember other things. I remember kissing her goodnight, then giving a hug. I squeezed as hard as I could in that hug, never wanting to let go, but I had to. I had to. I had to go to bed, and she had to fight a constant battle in her body until it was over. It is still the same. I didn’t want to let her go, to let her die, but I had to, I had to. I have to live my life and she has to help me through it. I remember her fingers gently stroking my hair. It felt as if all the love and pure goodness in the world sprung out of the fingertips as she gently ran her fingers over my face. I remember falling and not wanting to get up again. I just huddled there, my body shaking with fright until two arms are around me. I press my face in my mother’s shoulder. The entire world slips away as she whispers soothing words in my ear and holds me close. Frightened tears turn into those of happiness. I remember her radiant warm smile could turn stone to gold. Her gentile warm eyes made the cold night turn to a brilliant sunlight. Her soft dark, curly hair made me wants to stuff my face in there and cuddle with her forever. But I can’t. She still lies with me and picks me up. She still soothes me and allows my world to go on. I can wake up everyday knowing the Lord is in my heart and she is all around. I go on with my life holding onto hope because I cannot hold onto her right now. I hold on to the hope and knowledge one day soon I will see her again. One day soon this will all happen over again. One day soon I will hold her close, but for now, I hold her in my heart. Love, Ashley Gardiner.
Greater Reward Than a Paycheck
There is a certain time of day that most people hate; however I look forward to it with anticipation. It is the time to go to work. It boosts my self-confidence and enthusiasm. I love my job because I enjoy the thrill of meeting new people and getting to know them better on a daily basis. I am employed at the Santa Clarita Athletic Club, a large fitness gym. I work at a desk just inside the entrance, where I greet customers, scan them in, and help them with any needs or questions.
I remember the day I came to a full appreciation of my job. I was driving home from school, preparing myself for the race that would occur when I arrived home. I only had a few necessary minutes when I got home in order to change into my work clothes, make a quick lunch, brush my teeth, and rush out the door to work. As I was thinking about this, I also became overwhelmed with the many events going on in my life. I thought about conflicts going on with my parents and dealing with the pressures of a mixed family I thought about some issues my friends were going through that seemed so hopeless I thought about the schoolwork I never seemed to have time for like AP Calculus tests, my online class, ACT preparation; and I thought about financial difficulty I was having in paying for insurance, gas, and so many other necessities. I felt alone, as though I was drowning in my problems and felt frustrated at my inability to grasp any sort of solution or help.
While having these thoughts, the idea of rushing to work to stand at a desk for five hours, like I did almost every day, did not seem that appealing. However, I arrived and put on my work smile almost as routinely as I had put on my work shirt and began greeting and talking to the members I was scanning into the club. Before I knew it, I no longer had a “work smile” on that was difficult to force. Soon I could hardly stop from smiling and laughing constantly. With every new person that walked in, my dreary mood improved dramatically. I said hello to everyone and many people stopped to ask me how I was doing with everything, give me a few friendly compliments, and share a few jokes about different things.
Working, talking, and being with wonderful people easily caused me to no longer be concerned about my burdens that seemed to overwhelm me, but instead to just keep a great positive and cheerful attitude and know that everything would turn out alright. I love my job and I love people and learning about the diversity between them and learning from others how to be the most positive, energetic, and enthusiastic person I can by not thinking about myself, but by seeing the great attributes that lie in other people. This experience has helped me to improve every day of my life. By simply having a wonderful attitude no matter what, and staying enthusiastic and friendly, I can get through anything. I enjoy improving my life and that of those around me with a smile.
25481 Cariz Drive, Valencia, CA 91355
Entry level position in an office to learn basic business skills.
Front Desk/Back Desk Receptionist & Childcare
Santa Clarita Athletic Club, Valencia, CA
July, 2003 to August, 2004
§ Handled all money transactions as cashier
§ Greeted each member as they entered and addressed their problems and concerns
§ Answered phones and questions
§ Responsible for overseeing and taking care of children ages 3 months-14 years old
Fatburger, Valencia, CA
July, 2002 to July, 2003
§ Money transactions
§ Food service
§ Learned excellent customer service skills
Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
August, 2004 to April, 2005
§ General education program
§ National Society of Collegiate Scholars/Honors Society
Hart High School, Newhall, CA, GPA 4.2
§ Enjoy meeting and working with people
§ Laurel President, Young Women’s Organization
§ Show Choir, Hart High School, 2000-2003
§ Treasurer, Hart High School Show Choir
Available Upon Request
MY QUALITIES AND TALENTS
* Playing the piano
* Playing soccer
* Good study skills and work habits
* Work well with others
* Good with little children(baby-sitting)
* Can speak well in front of a group
* Cheerful and positive
* Friendly and social with people
* Love to read and write
* Takes good care of animals
* Good listener
OUR QUALITES AND TALENTS
We all have qualities and talents. Fortunately, we all have different ones that help make us who we are. There are some qualities and talents I have, too. I enjoy playing soccer, playing the piano, and I love reading and writing.
I love being in the game. It is soccer, my favorite sport. I have played it for four years. It is hard to describe the feeling, of digging your cleats in the grass, the sunlight in your hair, the wind against your cheek. Yet, your main focal point is the ball, then the smack of your shoe against the ball. The satisfaction of seeing it fly across the field passed amazed onlookers. I think I started playing soccer because I love to kick the ball with all my strength. I love the game!
I also like the piano. I place my hands on the keys, and my fingertips glide up and down the piano, from octave to octave. Somehow, beautiful music springs out of those fingertips. It can be soft and peaceful, like a lullaby. Sometimes the music will ring out loud bouncy melodies, the kind you tap your foot to, and bounce your head. I usually must struggle a while through a song, because everything takes a lot of practice. However, after a few months, I have a recital. If I have practiced enough, I usually have the notes right, and pound on the piano without too many embarrassing mistakes. It all takes practice.
I love soccer and piano, but my two favorite things are reading and writing. In my spare time, I sit and read for hours, totally absorbed in a book, oblivious to anything else in the world. I live the characters, feel the characters, and in my mind I see the characters, laughing, crying, and shouting right along with them. I cannot put down the book until it is finished. I enjoy writing, also. I feel the sudden rush of feelings and emotions, and then try putting them on paper. It is not easy, but I enjoy doing it.
We all have characteristics and talents. Some are similar, some are different. That is what makes so many different people with their own ideas. I am the only person with all my attributes, gifts, and ideas. I must practice them, improve them, and discover more.
Notes from Reading
Squeaky is an independent kid. She thinks for herself, and does not need help from anybody.
I think Squeaky is a good sister. She is kind to her brother, she sticks up for him, and she brings him along where ever she goes.
I have five brothers (including one step-brother who is the youngest). Three brothers are older, and two are younger. I do not think I am as good of a sister to any of them as Squeaky is to her brother. I would stick up for them, and most of the time I am nice to them. I do not know if I would want to take them wherever I go, and have to always watch them. I t would be hard.
My youngest brother, my stepbrother, has a few problems too. He’s not mentally ill, but he is really hyper and has ADD. Sometimes he is hard to handle and hard to watch (he is the kind of boy who is a baby-sitter’s nightmare. I am usually his baby-sitter, too). I love him, but I do not really do the same thing for him, that Squeaky does for her brother.
At first, Squeaky did not like Gretchen. She may have judged her as a threat. A threat to her brother, a threat to her running championship, and a threat to her life. This could be why she acts tough toward her. Squeaky may have wanted to threaten Gretchen, before it became vise versa.
However, Squeaky was wrong in her judgments because she was judging by the way Gretchen looked and talked. Squeaky made assumptions on that. In the end, Squeaky realized Gretchen just wanted to be her friend.
She must have realized the meaning of the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”
1985 The Week following Memorial Day, Ashley was conceived
1986 Birth, Feb. 22, 7:45, 21 inches, 7 lb. 2 oz
Due date is Feb. 29
Blessing, April 13
Cries for first six months of life
Camping, Summer to Reds Meadow, Bishop
1 Birthday, got pop up toy, seat cover
Christmas, Rachel gives her "Snowball" bear
1987 Burned by Easy Off, June 20
Left with grandma for 2 weeks (we go to England)
Christmas, got Telephone, popcorn popper