Post Adoption: Month 15

Today, we celebrate 15 months since getting our sweet Ashby London!

I kind of feel silly thinking about it because it feels like we’ve had her forever.  It’s weird to me to think back to a time when it was just the four of us because it just seems wrong not to have had Ashby.  She is the perfect piece to our family’s puzzle.  She just fits.

Andrew and I were brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed the other night and talking about Ashby.  The one word that describes this girl best is JOY.  She is pure joy.  She has this infectious happiness all.the.time.  She wakes up grinning and goes to bed at night grinning too.  Occasionally, she’ll have a moment…but they are always so short lived, and she immediately goes back to her joyful self.

I would say that over the last month, Ashby has made the biggest strides in her vocabulary.  She really can start and carrying on a conversation and her pronunciation of words is getting to be much more clear.  She is still behind for her age (almost four), but she’s rapidly catching up.

Some funny words/phrases she says now are:

That’s so cool.
You’re a mess.
I am so tired. (She says this when she’s bored.)
That’s awesome.
He/she is so whiny at school (whoever is whiny that day, Ashby will rat them out at home.)

Ashby loves so many things.  Here are a few of her favorites right now:
riding her tricycle
anything Disney Princess related (from reading books to watching movies to playing with dolls…she’s OBSESSED!)
playing with her doll house
getting her nails polished
lipgloss/purses/pretend makeup/dress up clothes
playing with her stuffed animals
And of course…playing with her BFF Bowen :).

As for Ashby’s health…right now, we’re at a good place.  She’s still being closely monitored for blood clots and aneurysms, but she does not need to be medicated.  She is technically right-handed but has mastered using her left hand because her right hand just doesn’t function as well.  Whenever she can use her right hand, she will…but when it comes to writing, coloring, painting…she uses her left hand.  We are most likely going to begin some procedures in the fall.  The timing of them has to be just right and line up with the rest of her development…but as of now, that’s the plan.

Ashby starts swim lessons again this month and cannot wait!  She is just a little fish and LOVES swimming!  She also cannot wait to do ballet in the fall.  She talks about ballet and shows off her skills daily…this girl has dancing in her blood.

And for grins, here are a few little pieces of info about our girl Ashby 15 months post-placement:

Favorite color: pink
Favorite song: Let it Go
Favorite TV show: Peppa Pig
Favorite thing to eat: Mexican food
Favorite toy: her unicorn (pictured above)
Favorite Disney Princess: Cinderella
Favorite after school snack: Goldfish crackers
Favorite thing to do with Kensington: play dolls
Favorite thing to do with Smith: play on the swing set

Size wise, she’s on the tiny side.  She still wears a size 2T and a size 6 shoe (and she’s almost four).  At her last appointment she weighed 26 pounds which makes her small on a US scale but about average on a Chinese scale.  She is completely potty trained during the day but I’m betting she’s 35 before she stops sleeping in a Pull Up ;).  We are working on her numbers (she can count to 10 some days…but 8 is clearly her favorite number so she likes to sneak it in a few times: 1, 2, 3, 8, 4, 8, 5, 6, 8, 7, 8.  She has a hard time remembering colors, but she’s getting the hang of it.  She can always identify black, white, red, green and blue.  The other colors throw her off a little.  She has no clue about the alphabet but knows without a doubt that her name begins with an A.

Our big kids are adjusting remarkably well.  I think having them older when we adopted made a big difference.  They love her, she gets on their nerves, they can’t wait to see her after school, they want her to go away, she can play with them, she cannot play with them…it’s typical younger sibling stuff :).

When you sweet readers reflect on my blog…I always want you to think two things:

1. She has a heart for Jesus and she will share that with me if I ever need her to.  She loves the Lord.
2. She has a heart for orphans and adoption.  And she will encourage and share that with me as well…because a sweet little baby found abandoned on June 19, 2012 has changed her life more than she ever thought she could.

Next update at 18 months…and she’ll be four then!

To see our other posts on adoption:
Ashby’s Gotcha Day {First Anniversary}
Post Adoption: Month 11
Post Adoption: Month 10
Post Adoption: Month 9
Post Adoption: Month 8

Post Adoption: Month 7
Post Adoption: Month 6
Post Adoption: Month 5
Post Adoption: Month 4
Post Adoption: Month 3
Post Adoption: Month 2
Post Adoption: Month 1
Meeting Ashby for the first time: here
All of our China travel posts: here
All adoption posts: here

One last thing before I get to Meal Planning Monday…if you missed it on my Instagram yesterday, I will be cooking on The Today Show tomorrow with Kathie Lee & Hoda during their final hour.  What? What? YES!  Tune in to see me!  I’m in NYC today with Erika and super pumped about our week!

Here’s a peek at Meal Planning Monday

Click here to see all of the recipes from this week’s Meal Planning Monday.

Have a great day!

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  • Loren Lately April 4, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I love hearing about sweet Ashby! I listened to your podcast over the weekend and I truly felt so inspired by adoption.

  • Erika Slaughter April 4, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Ahhh!!! Sweet Ashby! Her vocabulary has shocked me this month. She has started using so many new words. I think "joy" is the perfect word to describe her and anyone who knows your heart definitely knows those two things! Love you friend!!! And am crazy excited about our adventure!!! XOXO

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} April 4, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Yes, this girl is PURE JOY! And this post just made me realize how much I miss seeing her!!!!!! Maybe next week we meet for lunch on a Monday or a Wednesday so I can get an Ashby fix?!?

  • Love on the Lake April 4, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Have fun in NYC – Husband and I are heading up there on Friday for a wedding and we're SO excited. A few restaurant recommendations that satisfy both the tourist and foodie sides from this Connecticut-native: Ollie's, Carnegie Deli, Carmine's. Elaine's for drinks. Any genuine Jewish deli for breakfast bagels/nova lox. Sadly the best pizza place I've ever ever had closed (Mendellos) but there's a crazy amazing margarita joint near Grand Central Station called Rio del Grande – I don't know what they put in them but they're out of this world but beware, at two you might forget your own name.
    ~ LOTL

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt April 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I love these updates!!! Ashby was definitely meant for your family! And it's so funny how she loves the number 8 and will add it in while she's counting haha! You need to add another video of Ashby so we can see how far along her vocabulary has come! Have fun in NYC!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  • Emma April 4, 2016 at 10:49 am

    She likes the number 8, hey?! 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture! And she's one lucky little lady!

  • Regine Karpel April 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Aww. Love

  • Narci April 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Love that precious girl, Ashby!! What a sweetie!! So thankful that you have a heart for adoption!! Xo

  • Janette - The2Seasons April 4, 2016 at 11:22 am

    My daughter who is also my blog partner at The 2 Seasons (www. will meet their Thai daughter on April 23. It's their first child and our first grandchild.

  • kimm atwood April 4, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Have a fabulous time in NyC

  • Aubrey April 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

    That Ashby! I cannot believe it's been 15 months! As for tomorrow, my DVR is set! So excited for you!!

  • Emily Preddy April 4, 2016 at 11:49 am

    This post is so sweet, and I love hearing the updates on Ashby. My daughter is 2, and her favorite number is also 8. Not really sure what it is about that number. When she gets to 8 she says it really load and with lots of excitement. Sometimes she just stops at 8, and she never makes it to 10. Can't wait to hear all about the next update on Ashby and her birthday party. I know the sign and the theme will be just adorable!

  • Darcy Sexson April 4, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What a fun update about Ashby – glad she's doing so well! And HOW COOL is it that you're on the Today show?!?! Have the best time!

  • Kristin Peddicord April 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    We've been home from China with our Sweet P for 9 months and her and Ashby remind me so much of each other! We just celebrated her 4th birthday, and the first one ever with us as a family. I cried! So many emotions around their birthdays. Sweet P is still so small and always will be bless her. It's just those Asian genes. She's also behind for her age but catching up quickly! These children are resilient. Even after open heart surgery she's doing so well. They are warriors! Thank you so much for this blog, you're an awesome mom! <3

  • Mackenzie April 4, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    It sounds like Ashby is doing so well in the Shull house! Also, so excited that you are on KLG and Hoda! How fun! Finally, I loved the ending of this post. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else acknowledge their heart for God and their willingness to share it with those who need it.

  • Leigh (Balancing By Faith) April 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Shay – I am 75% of the way through listening to your Jaime Ivey podcast and it is blessing my socks off!! I found myself listening, driving down the road, with tears streaming down my face over your adoption story. I LOVE that you needed a year to pray – and that Andrew broke down over the sight of a child needing love in the grocery store parking lot. Your infertility struggles and her adoption can point to one thing – God – isn't He amazing like that!?! I love watching you live out your faith in action and I am blessed to watch Ashby's story play out. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Katelyn Griffin April 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    My little stops at 8, too!! Your post brought me to tears! How blessed you are to have found each other!

  • Megan April 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I love Ashby updates!!! Such a sweetie!!! Girl I am so pumped to see you on the today show. It's my favorite show and I hope Jenna Bush Hager is there. I love love love her!!!!!

  • Tracy April 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Love your Ashby updates! She's precious!

    Enjoy NYC! Can't wait to see you on t.v. tomorrow morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Angela Pino April 4, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your sweet Ashby with us. I love seeing her progress! I giggled when I read that "You're a mess!" is one of her favorite phrases! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love that the word you used to describe her is joy. She reminds me so much of my little cousin Ella who was adopted from China; she, too, is always smiling no matter what!

  • Jessica April 4, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Such a sweet girlie you have!

    My daughter also struggled with nigh time potty training and we ended up taking her to a chiropractor. After the first adjustment we saw results and after sticking with it for about a year she was accident free at night.

  • CAR08CMR10 April 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    My most favorite posts of yours! What a neat little lady! Happy to hear that things are going so well!

  • Tara Smith April 4, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    I saw someone else told you in the comments that 8 is lucky in Chinese. It is superstitiously lucky there. So much so that when they held the olympics, the opening ceremonies were started on 8/8/2008 and 8:08. That may be a coincidence that she likes it, but it's definitely appropriate!!!
    Ps, I'm waiting on i800a approval and then my documents go to consulate! So so close to getting to China!!! My little love may be born already, I am not matched with her yet. But completely letting the Lord take the next steps in His hands!!!

  • Angie April 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Love this!!

  • Carley April 4, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Eight is considered a lucky number in China, so why not repeat it?

  • hannaschwee April 4, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    That is so funny that she likes the number 8! Im Chinese (but was born in Manhattan Kansas! Parents are Kstate alumni loud and proud) and 888 symbolizes luck. Most Chinese restaurants or Chinese stores will have "888" in their phone numbers!
    She is so sweet and I love your updates on her!!

  • Chasity Munn April 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I love Ashby updates! I can't believe it's already been 15 months since you brought her home! She always looks like such a happy little girl.

  • April Parrish April 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Ashby is adorable and I love that she's doing great!! Also way to go on the Today show!! I'll be praying for you! Have Fun!!!!

  • Scavenger Hunt Blog April 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    This is girl is just full of life. I know her smile just lights up any room that she walks into. God is so good….for this sweet blessing.
    And yay you!! Cooking on the Today Show….AMAZING!!
    Have fun in NYC!
    Lesley McFarland

  • Natalie Wika April 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    She is such a doll!

  • Tiffany Bagalini April 4, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say it feels like Ashby has always been with you! We feel the same way, I even catch myself inserting her into a story when we hadn't adopted her yet, haha. The Today Show? That is so awesome! Congratulations!!! I am setting my DVR now ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dana Ivy April 4, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    She's a real live doll! Such a girly girl!! You are lucky to have each other!!

    Xox Dana Ivy //

  • Angela Ellingson April 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Love your sweet Ashby! And I love the family picture. Kensington has both her arms around Ashby like a little second mama. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So sweet! Hoping to be able to find the clip of you on The Today Show! Not up yet that I could see. I usually read your blog first thing in the morning but didn't find time today till now so I didn't get it DVR'd… Have fun in NY!

    • Angela Ellingson April 5, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      I obviously overlooked the word tomorrow…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Jeanie April 4, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    She is so precious! Could you post your Today Show spot for those of us who will probably miss it?

  • Unknown April 4, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. So happy for you and your family – and proud of your success! Congrats on The Today Show!

  • Kristen April 5, 2016 at 2:59 am

    I'm a relatively new reader so I spent time reading a few of your older posts about the adoption process and I'm so happy you were able to add Ashby to your family! My husband and I have always been interested in adoption so I love reading about other families experience. Thanks for sharing!

  • Elizabeth April 6, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Ashby is adorable and I love reading about your experience with adoption. I'm not sure if you have seen this video from another couple who adopted, but it is so touching:) :

  • Robin April 6, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Ashby looks so sweet and happy!!! So much joy and excitement for your family! So funny that she loves the number 8 because that's a lucky number in Chinese culture!

  • Robin April 6, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Ashby looks so sweet and happy!!! So much joy and excitement for your family! So funny that she loves the number 8 because that's a lucky number in Chinese culture!

  • Lucy Judge April 6, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Just love hearing your stories about sweet Ashby. She seems like the sweetest little soul and it is wonderful to hear how she just fits in your family. What a blessing. Thanks for sharing her with us!

  • Edye Nicole April 6, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    What a cutie! I love reading these updates ๐Ÿ™‚

    Edye //

  • Jeanelle April 26, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I only found your blog a few weeks ago but you wanna know something? In all of my catch-up reading, I never noticed anything different about Ashby's hand – not once. All I ever saw was her smiling, light-filled, happy face. I'm so glad your family was able to give her a forever home -it's obvious she belongs exactly where she is. Love your blog – thanks for being such a bright spot in our world!

  • Anonymous May 4, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Shay – This is my first time posting on your blog, but I've been reading your posts for a year now. I feel so connected to you in regards to Ashby.

    I have a daughter who's a couple months younger than Ashby and she still wets her bed EVERY NIGHT!! Before your comment about Ashby, I hadn't known any other child wetting his/her bed at 3 1/2 years.

    My daughter is half Chinese and half White. She speaks both Chinese and English, so I can relate to the delayed speech.

    I don't know how you manage being a blogger, wife and mom and always be so tireless?!

    Thank you for sharing your life and connecting with parents like me.