Photos of the Day: Beauty Parlor and OX Pumpkins

Hope everyone had a great weekend! My sister Perry and Boo painted all our extra pumpkins to look like OX Boo’s favorite ugly doll. Boo made a “girly” OX on the right adding lipstick and eyeshadow:


My mom took Boo to church this morning and my sister Perry dried and curled my hair. It was perfect because we had a bunch of company visiting off and on today.


Our friends Ben and Staci brought us a gazillion “Choose Joy” bracelets they had made! Love them. Now I just have to figure out how to distribute them!



Thanks for all the prayers for Cole last night from Facebook. He’s my mother-in-law’s nephew and was in a car accident Thursday night and is in a coma. I just know he’ll pull through….if anyone can Cole can…..he’s so young and full of life. I will keep you posted.



Tomorrow we’ll wake up bright and early to head to Loma Linda for my post op and chemotherapy. I’m excited to get my staples out!

Photo of the Day: Girl Time

I love having my mom and sister here. We spent all afternoon in my bed watching Bridesmaids……holy hilarious. Mr. LBB spent the day planting some new flowers in the front….it was a beautiful 89 degrees here today!

Note to self: need to straighten pictures above the bed…..was there an earthquake recently in SoCal?


Hope everyone is having a fabulous Saturday!

A Strawberry Shortcake Dress (A Tutorial)

Silhouette just released their new 12″ cutting machine the CAMEO! Here’s my first project with it:


I purchased a simple 99 cent strawberry image from the Silhouette online store and had the machine cut it out onto vinyl shelf paper.



Many of you know that I haven’t been feeling well so I had a TON of help with this tutorial. Gicela brought fabric samples of scraps we had and I picked them out and she cut out the dress pieces and made them into a t-shirt dress style. You can use my Sienna Dress Pattern as a starting point.

Lisa used my strawberry cutout to make a contact paper silk screen (you can see the full contact paper silk screen tutorial here):


Basically the contact paper adheres to the screen (I use 110 mesh YUDU screens (without the machine) because they are flat and easy to store)……


……and you pull the ink (Versatex Ink) across the screen to push the ink through for your image:



Lisa also printed some polka dots onto some pink fabric and used my free beret pattern to make the hat. We already had the leggings but you could use my li’l leggings pattern to make a pair with a ruffle at the bottom too.


Boo loves it so it made my day! Here she is at school today with my mom:




Use the discount code LILBLUEBOO through October 31st you’ll get:

The brand-new CAMEO and your choice of a starter kit (Fabric Ink, Vinyl, Heat Transfer, Rhinestone) for $299. There are a limited number of Cameos for this promotion and they will sell out so if you want one don’t wait!

The Silhouette CAMEO™ is an electronic cutting tool that connects to your computer allowing you to cut fonts and images in cardstock, vinyl, heat transfer material, etc.

Guard Dog

Take away the 8 inch incision, hysterectomy, chemo, cancer, pain and nausea…….and it looks like I could be on holiday.

Until a week ago, our dog Diesel thought I was chopped liver….this week he won’t leave my side. He wants to sleep with me, accompanies me into the bathroom, and follows me everywhere. Go figure.



Nothing is worse than not feeling like yourself. But I’m on a mission to make myself get up everyday and work through it. My sweet hubby does so much for me right now……adjusting my covers at night and putting lotion on my legs since I can’t reach them. He even brushes my hair:



Last night I figured out how to sleep on my side a little… involved about 14 pillows and it was like heaven for 45 minutes. I had really weird dreams about Project Runway.

Monday we go back to Loma Linda for a post op appointment and chemotherapy…..they should know by then if my current chemotherapy is working and we’ll hear the pathology results from the tumor they removed. Pray that the chemotherapy is working….that would be a miracle and I wouldn’t have to go to a stronger version of it.

Emotionally I feel great today. Physically not so much…..I can’t tell what are effects from surgery and what is from chemo:
I’m still bruised all over my body. There is bruising covering my entire buttocks area and I don’t even now what it’s from…..maybe from the operating table? Can you bruise from pooping?
The pooping situation has gone the other way and now I can’t stop. My poor insides feel like they are on fire.
I have zero appetite and the nausea medicine at least keeps me from vomiting. The only thing I can really stomach right now is McDonald’s sweet tea… I’m surviving on sugar. Better than nothing right?

I made it to Sienna’s “Trunk or Treat” at school for an hour today. Everyone was so nice and Lisa’s husband made sure I had a chair to sit in. Gicela and Lisa pitched in to make Sienna’s costume….they did a great job and I’ll share pics later today.


Playing Card Favor Bags (A Tutorial)

Circus playing card muslin party favor bag tutorial via


Part of Miss Elle’s Circus Party! I helped Lisa make these cute party favor bags using some old vintage playing cards I found at my Mom’s house this summer.


Circus playing card muslin party favor bag via


Vintage circus playing cards are by Whitman.


Vintage Circus Playing Cards via


Each card has a different circus image on it and I scanned a few into my computer so I could print the images onto transfer paper. I’ve seen some great vintage circus images at Silver Crow Creations if you can’t find playing cards. 30-One on Etsy has some fun sets of playing cards too including the circus ones.


Vintage Circus Playing Cards via


I was able to print 8 card images onto each piece of transfer paper. I used super soft transfer paper from Dharma Trading and Lisa ordered muslin party favor bags from Spice Shoppe.


How to make favor bags with any image via


Transfer paper makes an easy iron on:


How to make favor bags with any image tutorial via


Cut out the transfer and place face down onto the bag. The trick is NOT to use an ironing board… should use a hard surface like a table or the floor and place protective brown paper or an old t-shirt on your surface to protect it. Follow the directions of the specific transfer paper you are using. Then you peel the backing off of the paper and the bags are done:


 Favor bag tutorial via


A cute circus themed treat bag for your guests!


 Circus theme favor bag tutorial via


More printables and tutorials to come! Click below to see all the posts related to the circus party so far!


Circus Party via

Photo of the Day: Tick Marks

One thing I really love about Loma Linda is how quickly they encourage you to recover. The same day I was moved from ICU the nurse said to me “just so you know, you need to get up and walk at least 4 times today.” Huh!? Are you serious?! Of course it’s scary the first time….but after that I’d get help out of bed and baby step around…..catheter, IVs and all… shame in my gown flapping open accidentally. No wallowing in pain or self pity allowed. Like with my c-section I’ve learned little tricks to help me get up… bending one leg and using that to pull my body upright.

Each day I try to do the same thing….get up and walk a bit. Today I walked around our pool 15 times….the safety fence is the perfect hand rail. 5 times around and then I’d rest on the lounge chair in the nice weather until the next 5 laps. You’d think I was on vacation or something! Ha! You can see Diesel following me from a distance in the background under the lounge chair:


Lisa said this needed to be the photo of the day……to show my OCD with numbers. I carried a big piece of chalk and each time I walked by I made a tick mark on Boo’s easel chalkboard. I had to end in a multiple of 5 and I kept having anxiety that maybe I’d missed a lap and it would only be 14 laps…..wouldn’t that just be the end of the world?!



Listening to music as I walked I started making up funny names to tag my posts with like: Mission Kick It’s A@# and Operation No Compromise (from Whale Wars). It’s just another adventure right?  That’s how I’ll treat it right now….like a mission…..maybe that will resonate with Boo better. We are on a big “mission” to help mommy recover. Any name suggestions out there?

P.S. It’s kind of fun having  photographer around to help me remember these things…..laying in the sun soaking up some Vitamin D and listening to my iPod, I opened my eyes to see Lisa on the ground with her camera shooting Diesel and my little nap. Sneaky but funny.

I’ve linked all the posts about my recent health “adventure” and the loss of my father here. Thanks for reading…..I hope my stories will help others that might be going through similar experiences.

Photo Of The Day: Everyone Poops

Warning: This post is about poop.
Sorry…..but it was the topic of the day and so it’s the only thing I have to write about! Nothing is sacred anymore…maybe all of you would sign non-disclosure agreements? Ha. Lisa brought me this book today. I stayed in bed all day not feeling great and was pretty sure I wouldn’t have a bowel movement….it’s been almost 2 weeks. I’ve been on pain killers for so long I was horribly constipated even before my surgery! I felt like I was about to die. I couldn’t eat either. The doctor said if it didn’t happen today I would have to go back in the hospital tomorrow. Guess what? I pooped. It was the scariest hour of my life, I cried and cried and I hope to never go through anything like it again. I called my mom (she was at Target) and she yelled in excitement to the entire store: She pooped! She POOPED!!


The silver lining? It made me feel so great I was able to get up and shower. I put on a little makeup and I rode with my mom to Boo’s school (only a 1/4 mile) to pick her up. I wanted Boo to see me looking normal for once. The second I got to the playground Boo and all her friends gathered around wanting to see my “Frankenstein” costume (that’s what I told Boo my stomach was and I guess she talks about it a lot).

I’m trying to get back to blogging more often…’s just really awkward to avoid my stomach. I can see things getting back to “normal” soon! Lisa and the gals have kept everything at LBB moving forward and my friends and family have taken care of everything else. All of you have kept me so uplifted and I promise I read each and every comment! Thank you! Love to you all!

What the……

Warning: this post contains some graphic post surgery images.

Seriously, what the (*@# happened? I’m not sure quite how I got here today…… I don’t remember much of the last few days. If you missed Brett’s post about my surgery you can read it here. I’m so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support of love I’m kind of in a place of shock. Yes I have a very public blog, but it’s not meant to be “spotlight on Ashley”…..and that I have a hard time with. Thank you all so much for the encouragement and prayers…..especially for my family. I was unconscious and sedated….my family are the ones that had to go through the trauma of wondering whether I’d make it out of the operating room and an emergency hysterectomy decision.


Anyways, I want to be clear that this story isn’t about me…..I’m not looking for sympathy. This story is for everyone that’s ever been through a traumatic, unexpected surgery or may have one at some point in their life. This story is about relinquishing fear and letting go of anger. My surgery on Friday was supposed to be pretty short and straight forward….and now I kind of look like I went through a blender.

My hands and wrists are bruised from needles and transfusions:




I’ve got an 8 inch scar running straight up and down my swollen abdomen now. The worst part? This is going to sound silly, but I have this issue with belly buttons. I can’t stand them……and they sewed right through mine, it’s all I can think about!


All I remember is going into surgery thinking: I’ll be out in an hour and on my way home. The next thing I remember is waking up in a dark room with a tube in my mouth unable to talk. That was the next morning….and I knew something was wrong. No one had to tell me I had a hysterectomy….I overheard the nurses while I was still under sedation. My family all came in looking scared and relieved at the same time.

I had it easy….I had no idea what my family went through. My father-in-law wrote out the entire sequence of events so I would know the whole story:

At 3pm, I was all ready for surgery. The resident doctors and anesthesiologists did their final reviews and they repeated a blood test for my blood type.

3:15pm: Dr. R came in and discussed that they were going to do a laparoscopy procedure to look at the uterus, fluid in the abdomen and then the decision would be made whether or not a D&C could be performed. I remember asking if they might have to take my uterus out again….and he like the other doctors said it would be like a 0.1% chance of that happening. I don’t know why I kept asking this…..I think I had kind of a premonition that I wasn’t coming out of the surgery fully intact.

At 3:30pm, I went into surgery….and the last thing I remember is laughing and joking with the anesthesiologists. At 3:49pm, Brett got a text from the OR that surgery was starting as expected. So far so good.

Then things went horrible wrong: at 4:15pm Brett got a call from the OR from the doctor saying that I was bleeding in the abdomen and they had no choice but to do a hysterectomy. He had to have the same conversation with 2 other nurses to confirm that he understood what was happening.

Then, there was no word for 2 hours. Brett called my mother and told her she needed to drive into Loma Linda because it was serious. She rode in with Todd (one of my husband’s partners) and Lisa. At 6:30pm,  a resident took my mom, Brett and my father-in-law in to explain the surgery. There were 11 units of blood product transferred.

The surgery was finished at 8:30pm and they transferred me to Loma Linda ICU.

At 9pm, Dr. R met with my family and explained that when they had gone into my abdomen the first thing they saw was clotted blood and fresh blood behind the uterus. He tried to remove the blood but as soon as he suctioned it, the blood would immediately refill the abdomen. He tried to control the bleeding but because the uterus thought it was pregnant the bleeding couldn’t be controlled hence the emergency hysterectomy. They removed  4″ x 6″ tumor with my uterus.

There was a team of 15 people in the OR including three faculty gynecologists (one a cancer specialist) and a trauma surgeon. And they all keep saying it’s a miracle that I’m alive….because my body decided to bleed the second I was on the operating room table. Thank you God for having my bleeding start on the table and not at home.

Yep, that’s my bum…..right after chemo shots…nothing hurts quite like a butt shot. And now there’s a picture of my bum in cyberspace…’s that to lighten the mood! They decided to give me chemo shots last night when they released me from the hospital. My HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were 153,000 before the surgery…..and 17,000 after surgery. Next Monday if the levels are below 17,000 they’ll know that this kind of chemo will work and if not they’ll shift to another.


I’m so glad I’m home right now. I would have come home last night regardless of being discharged…..I couldn’t be in that hospital one more second. I had some of the most amazing nurses. The doctors at Loma Linda were amazing and so knowledgeable. Oh yeah, and they saved my life. All throughout the weekend a different doctor would stop by here and there just to say hi….so I got to meet them all and talk about what happened.

It’s taking a while to get back to normal. It takes me a long time to get up and I can’t walk around much.  I can only eat about a 1/4 cup of food……oh and did I mention I haven’t had a bowel movement in over a week? TMI….I know…..but it’s all anyone talks about here.

The hardest part of the whole thing was Boo seeing me in the hospital. She was wide-eyed and scared even though I had tried to cover up all my tubes and needles with wraps.  I know we’ll get through all of this stronger than we were before. I’m trying to walk everyday a little more so I get stronger and be as self sufficient as I can. That’s all I can do. I’ve got amazing family and friends surrounding me. Talking to the hospital case worker I was heartbroken to hear that some people go home to no one… one to pick them up, no one to take care of them when they get home… one. How can someone have no one? That opened my eyes immediately to how lucky I am. I survived, I’ll be back soon, and life will go on.

Honestly, I’m heartbroken over my hysterectomy. I don’t want people to think I’m some “steel hearted” woman who moves on too quickly. I know it seems like I moved on from my dad’s death quickly but I’ve thought about 100 times “I need to call dad about my surgery” and then I remember that he isn’t here with us anymore. It comes in waves….but I also realize that what I think might have been my path in life is not necessarily the path that has been set out for me.

I watched the Joy Luck Club twice tonight….and I shouldn’t have because I cried more often than I can count and strained a few staples. This movie always makes me cry. I love this quote:

This one moment would decide for my whole life whether fear would rule or I would. I decided. Underneath I knew who I was. I promised myself never to forget.

All I can do is work to get through today. And then I’ll work on getting through tomorrow. Next, I’ll work on getting through to next Monday when they’ll determine my chemotherapy treatment and that will dictate the next few days. It’s a step by step process. But I’ve chosen not to let fear rule.

Good night! Love to you all!



The Cancer Chronicles via