Friday, September 30, 2005

Joel and I are hanging in here just trying to appreciate each day to its fullest and trying to plan for a brighter future. We are getting ready to renovate our house which will be a big job but we are excited about planning out a new kitchen and bathroom, refurbishing the original hardwood floors and whatnot.

We feel so fortunate to have missed the wrath of Hurricane Rita. We evacuated our home in Galveston early Wednesday morning and thankfully missed the gridlock on the roadways so many people encountered.

Joel and I were really freaking out for a while when Rita's bullseye was Galveston Island! Many thanks to Levi and Nancy for putting up with us and our two dogs for four days. We appreciate the warm hospitality they gave to us during our stay.

We have a new grand-nephew! Our niece Amanda recently gave birth to a beautiful baby BOY who she named Ashlyn Isaiah Helmke. Mom and baby are healthy and doing well. Joel and I are so honored that Amanda named him in memory of Ashlyn.

Joel and I attended a dear friend Kasey's wedding recently in South Padre. It was a beautiful wedding on the beach followed by a very nice reception. The wedding was perfect and exactly what Joel and I believe Ashlyn would have wanted. Best wishes to Kasey and Ryan and our deepest appreciation to them for remembering Ashlyn at their wedding!

We have decided to travel for the holidays this year and are planning a trip to Costa Rica for Thanksgiving and New York for Christmas. We just don't want to be around for the holidays this year without Ashlyn .

We have ordered Ashlyn's memorial Marker (headstone) and it should arrive soon. It was a difficult order to place. Not only seeing our daughters name and born/death dates, but deciding on a design that we think she would like. We wanted it to be perfect's etched in stone so no re-do's.

I had a beautiful dream recently. The first part took place in our laundry room...yes I was doing laundry...lots of it....Ashlyn's laundry! Some of the dream seemed so familiar and so real. I'm guessing she'd just finished cleaning up her room just like when she was here and as always a huge, mountainous pile of laundry would appear in the utility room.

In my dream Ashlyn had so many cute new swimsuits all very colorful with neat patterns and cute new clothes too. I guess she's doing quite a bit more surfing now and she's probably got folks lined up for lessons.

After the wash was done we were outside hanging her clothes on a clothes line. It was a beautiful day, the sky was bright blue with white puffy clouds and there was a light breeze.

Ashlyn was smiling...and we were laughing together...and she was so happy.

Oh how I miss her and everything about her and I miss doing her laundry!

I miss being a Mom...I know that I'm still her Mom just as she is still my girl but it's different. I am learning to appreciate it though and I feel so blessed and I am thankful to have had her here for almost 15 years. She is still very much alive in my heart and I see her everyday in so many things and situations that I encounter every day.

One of Ashlyn's favorite quotes: At the end of the day, the King and the Pon go back in the same box.

(Photo by GScott Imaging)

Monday, September 12, 2005

The contest was a hit!

After a crazy week (another post), we met on the beach Saturday morning for the Ashlyn Would Go Grom Roundup. The weather looked ominous, but the kids were beaming. We had about 30 kids competing in an "everybody wins" contest. There were medals, goodie bags and shirts for all of the kids involved. A tremendous amount of effort from several folks in TGSA went into this..Charlie, Wes, Bob et al did a great job as evidenced by the stoked looks on the kids faces. Basic Flair did a jamup job on the medals and trophies, with a smiling image of Ash on each. The photo was our last trip as a family to Hanalei Bay.

Somehow, the weather parted above us all day long. There were showers on either side, but nothing from sunshine coming from the kids. Many friendships were born on that beach and I have a feeling that many of these kids will be seeing a lot of each other over the years at TGSA events.

I honestly felt Ash's presence that morning. She loved kids and would have enjoyed the looks on their faces.

I did see one porpoise jump completely out of the water, it was the only porpoise that I saw that day.

Maybe LuLu was giving us her stamp of approval.