Thursday, March 29, 2012

Angel Words: Volume 8

Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday. I folded clothes instead. I made the right choice- trust me! Clean laundry was about to take over our house! HA!

First, I would just like to say thank you for all of the sweet comments here and on Facebook about Cole's new job! He loves it there and we love having him home! There is really a sense of family and team at Angel One Transport, and I love that! I think they like me because I always send cookies and sweets! :)

Monday was a LONG day for us. Ava had an esophageal scope and biopsy done to make sure that there isn't any damage from her continued reflux and spit up, and to check for a condition that could cause the reflux to be continuing. Thankfully, everything looked perfectly healthy and normal! We should have the biopsy results next week, so that will confirm everything. But the pictures looked perfect! Praise the Lord!

Ava had to be under anesthesia for the procedure, and it wasn't scheduled until noon! She couldn't eat anything after midnight and was only allowed 8oz of clear liquids that morning. This was the longest she has ever had to go without food and I was really nervous that she would be inconsolable. But she surprised me and was her happy little self!!! She was laughing and smiling and "talking" to everyone before the procedure! They ended up running behind and didn't get started until after 1:00. The scope only took about 15 minutes to do (anesthesia included) so I opted not to do the pre-op "goofy juice" that she had for her MRI. That might have been a mistake. Because as happy as she was before, she woke up MAD!!!! She was just ready to get out of there! I think she was hungry and was really irritated that they had an IV in her and had her all hooked up to monitors. She *hates* stuff like that on her. It is hard enough just getting her to leave a bow in her hair!!!

I had a few other surprises that day, and it made me realize just how much she does SURPRISE me! All the time, I am surprised. Like when one of the doctors came in to discuss the breathing tube with us, she shook my hand and my mom's hand, and then Ava waited for a second, and when it was clear that the doctor wasn't going to shake her hand, Ava reached out her hand to the doctor like "excuse me?! I am the patient here. Don't I get a handshake?" It.Was.Adorable!!!!

Another surprise came as we were waiting for the procedure to start. Ava is very wiggly. VERY. And she was wearing my mom and I out! The bed they had there would not hold her, so we sat her in her stroller for a much needed rest. My mom was getting something out of her bag, and I was sitting in the chair. We didn't strap Ava in since we figured she would be getting out soon anyway, and was doing fine sitting there without being buckled. Well Ava leaned back and sneezed really, really hard! She sneezed so hard she slipped down out of her stroller and was hanging on by the tray- her eyes wide like "whoa! What happened!?" Most kids would have been scared. We of course immediately- despite our laughter- picked her up and put her back in her seat. She just laughed too! She thought it was as funny as we did! Not many two year olds would react that way! But my girl did!

Sweet girl patiently waiting for them to come get her!

She really enjoyed jumping on the hospital bed with Grammy!

Back at home, she couldn't WAIT to get into some food! HA! This actually happened Sunday I think. She has learned that she can kind of stand in her high chair and reach for things on the table. She also learned how to open lids.
Dangerous combo!

 One surprising thing (unrelated to Ava) that happened at the hospital was Daddy got to visit while we were still waiting to go back! He had just gotten back from a flight and came to visit before having to rush off for another flight. He said that people stare at him in his flight suit. I didn't really think anything of it, since people sort of do that when he is in his military uniform, and I never really thought it was a big deal. But I realized that day that the Angel One flight suit is certainly an attention getter! He walked in and everyone (probably about 100 people in the waiting area- it was a busy day!) all kind of got hushed and watched him walk over to us, then many just all out stared at us while we sat and visited. Even after he left, there were a few people that just gawked at Ava, my mom, and I as we continued to wait. It was a little awkward, honestly! But kind of funny too! Now I understand why he protests every time I ask him to stop somewhere on his way home from work!

We have been spending a lot of time outside these days, taking walks, relaxing on the deck, or jumping on the trampoline! The weather has been just BEAUTIFUL and I hope it continues! Just lovely! Although we have had near record highs, so I am a little worried that we are going to have another awful summer. After last summer and the 115 degree heat (and we moved last summer!) I think we are due for a nice, mild summer. We will see....

Cole and I enjoyed the deck yesterday while Ava napped. We sat and talked and read our books. It was so nice. Then I about choked to death on a sunflower seed. (kidding...sort of...)

Crazy Trampoline Hair!!!
We have a big and busy weekend ahead! Should make for some fun blog posts next week!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long Overdue Announcement!

To answer the question that has come to just about every one's mind- NO, I am not pregnant! :) But I do have some UBER exciting news to share with everyone!

As many of you know, Cole has worked as an off-shore helicopter pilot in the Gulf of Mexico for the past three years. His career was going very well there, and with the exception of having to spend two weeks a month away from home, he was really enjoying his job.

Then came October 18, 2011. The day that rocked our world, and not in a good way. That was the day that we found out that Ava was an angel. With the diagnosis, and the prognosis of AS, along with the issues we will likely face in the near future like seizures, Cole decided almost immediately to begin searching diligently for a job closer to home. I had been praying that, when the time was right, he would be able to have a job closer to home anyway. But we really kicked those prayers into high gear after that day!

Well, the Lord has just opened door after door, and placed people in our path that have turned out to be instrumental in our journey. I am so thankful for those people, and I am SO excited, thankful, and proud to announce that my husband is now....


Ahhh! I still can't believe that it I just typed that!!! So surreal to me! They are one of the best in the nation, state of the art for both aviation and medical technology, and their mission is SO special and important. And I think Cole understands the importance of the program from both a pilot's standpoint as well as a parent's.

If you google "Arkansas Children's Hospital Angel One", you will see that the program has been featured by several online aviation publications. Because it is one of the BEST! And now they have, in my opinion anyway, one of the BEST and MOST DEDICATED pilots around! Our lives have changed so much (for the better) now that Cole is working so close to home and even gets to sleep in his own bed every night (or day, since he will be flying some nights). He has actually unpacked his suitcase and doesn't keep his toiletries in a "go bag" anymore! It is awesome!  

But most of all, he gets to spend more time with his daughter when she needs him the most, and more time with me when I need him the most. The LORD has just opened door after door for him and I know that He has great things in store for Cole. And I am so proud of Cole and proud for him to be a part of such an amazing team that does incredible work for the children of Arkansas and surrounding states. Arkansas Children's Hospital is a world class hospital, and we are so proud and blessed to be an ACH family!

These pictures were taken after he finished his last training flight. They celebrated with a surprise "hose down" on the helipad, and Ava and I got to join in the fun! And it was SO much fun!!! Even when he hugged me and got me drenched too!
Ava and I were hiding while Daddy landed his helicopter. Everyone was hidden all over the helipad entrances so he really had NO idea what was coming. Thankfully his fellow pilot was able to get his phone from him before they landed!

I would also just like to say that we have raised our girl right- she is NOT scared of helicopters, even when they are landing 20 feet away! Of course, I did have her sitting in a Blackhawk before she was 4 months old. That could be why!

Round one of the water!

Round two...

Round three (notice the hose being brought out!)

Finale! He was SOAKED!!!! They got him good!

Pausing for his applause and speech! Bless his heart, he was so embarrassed!

I think this was at the point his boss was congratulating him and welcoming him to the team.

And this was the point where his boss mentioned that I was in on it since yesterday...


FYI: Flight suits weigh about 100lbs when soaking wet.

He gave me a big soppy hug...

Then he gave Ava one! Of course, she enjoyed "Wet Daddy" more than me! HAHA!

If you would like to learn more about the team that Cole is now a proud part of, check out their pages here on the ACH website!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Front Door and Rachel's Painting Tips

So, remember the list I posted a while back about the projects I wanted to get done around the house? Well, this one wasn't on that list. Mostly because it took less than one day to complete. I don't really count those as projects. More like whims. HA! Anyway, my friend Beth posted some beautiful pictures on Facebook yesterday of her front door. She had just painted her tired, worn front door and made it beautiful with a coat of turquoise glazed with chocolate. Lovely, I tell ya! Just lovely!
So my train of thought went like this (warning- this *might* blow your mind...): Hey, I love that! * I remember when I painted my tired, sad front door! * I really like my front door * I wish I would have painted the inside the same color like all of the beautiful doors I see on blogs * I do have everything I need to do that. Hmmmm... * I do have two hours before Ava wakes up from nap * Maybe I should ask Cole. * Naaaa, he won't care. I hope. * Yup. That's what I am going to do!

And that is what I did.

So first, lets take a quick look back at my front door when we first moved in...

As you can see, it was a hot mess of a very unattractive red (made even worse by the fact that it clashed with the brick) and brass hardware. But I actually really like the window panes in the door.

Notice the nasty glue that is running down the door. That had to be removed with goo be gone. I am guessing that since the house was vacant, and the front doors remained shut so long in the heat, that the space between the storm door and the front door acted like a greenhouse and got hot enough to melt the glue that was used to install the window panes.

I finally settled on a color- Iron Mountain by Benjamin Moore. But I used Valspar. More on that in a bit... I painted the outside of it,

But I left the inside white. I don't know why. Time. Energy. Fear. Whatever. It was boring white. (excuse the pile of junk mail on the entry table. Keeping it real, peeps.)

So yesterday, while Ava napped, I painted the inside of the door the same color! and I love it! Even Cole was impressed. Which is pretty hard to do, people!

I really like the way it looks in the room. It really compliments the foyer/dining room!

I also painted the side of the door. It was white with little brushstrokes of the Iron Mountain on it. Now it is consistent and doesn't look bad when we have the front door standing open!

I am really pleased with how it turned out! I paint a lot. Like, a lot. I don't claim to be an expert, but I do get calls and emails almost every week from friends and acquaintances asking for painting help. So here are my best painting tips. Hope they help you!

*If you find a color (like I did with the door) that is in a brand that you don't like or don't have access to, check with your local big box paint counter. In my case, I don't have a store close that sells Benjamin Moore. But I knew I could ask Lowes to look up the formula and mix the same color in Valspar (their brand).

*99% of the time, I think priming is a waste of time. I know. Painting sin. But, unless you are trying to cover a dark color with a light color, usually two coats or so of the color will do it. Now I do suggest priming if you are concerned about your painting surface. Like painting on metal or plastic.

*Thick paint is good. As long as it's not gloppy. Like Behr. For me, Behr is the worst paint ever. Some people swear by it. Finding "your" brand is important to me, also. For me, I like Valspar and Benjamin Moore (when I can find it).

*There is a trick going around to cover your door handles with aluminum foil when painting. Well foil is metal, and can scratch the handle. Use cling wrap instead. Same result, and no scratches. Plus, it stays on better.

*Foam rollers for furniture, doors, and cabinets. Repeat it with me: FOAM ROLLERS.

*Contrary to popular belief, spray paint doesn't work on everything. Just most everything.

*Prep work is key. It takes some time, and it is a hassle. But it makes clean up easy and painting look professional.

*Get a good edging brush. And clean it out well between each use.

*Put paint trays, rollers, and brushes in plastic bags between coats to keep them from getting nasty. I use a small garbage bag for the tray and roller. You can also put them in the fridge if you need to let something dry overnight.

*Don't paint over wet paint. All you will do is pull the tacky paint off.

*Don't wait for your paint to dry all the way before pulling your tape off. If you do, you will need to use an exacto knife to score the paint so the tape doesn't pull off your paint.

*Paint tape isn't a license to get sloppy with your lines. It helps, but doesn't always keep bleeds from happening.

*When painting something like stripes, put your tape on and then paint the edges with your background color, before painting your stripe color on. This way, the background color seals the edges and ensures a perfect line. Takes a little time, but it makes a huge difference! Trust me!!!

Hope these help you and maybe just inspire you to paint something around your house that has been bothering you, the way Beth inspired me!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Angel Words, Volume 7

***Warning: this post contains my opinions about abortion. If you don't like what I have to say, then you can write your own blog post!!!

Well, I don't know about where you live, but here in central Arkansas, it is POURING down rain, and has been since last night. I have been so spoiled by the nice weather we have had since the beginning of March, and although I know we needed the rain, I am ready for it to end and the sun to return!

Ava has been doing really, really well in therapy recently. Especially PT and OT. She seems to just make progress and learn every time we go! It is amazing to watch, and I am so thankful she will work while I am there so that I can watch her! I just know that she will take her first "real" steps at therapy with Angela (our PT) so I really hate having to leave for errands during PT especially! I don't want to miss it! I might start packing our camera just in case. I know they are coming!!!!

Recently I have had some friends on my heart that are struggling with infertility. There are several reasons why they are on my heart, but I have been praying for them daily (you know who you are ladies!). And every time I feel sad about our "lot in life", with Ava having Angelman Syndrome, I think of them and realize that, although she has special needs, Ava is a MIRACLE! As all children are! And despite our challenges in life, we also get to experience great joy and celebration when those challenges are overcome!

I don't really talk a lot about political or social issues on my blog. Although I am pretty open about how I feel on those topics, I just have never felt the need to discuss them here. But today happens to be World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. I have three friends with children with Down Syndrome. Two of those children were adopted. And after reading more about DS and learning more about the statistics, I am just overwhelmed that so many babies that test positive for Down Syndrome in prenatal testing never get the chance at life. That is, they are aborted. That just breaks my heart so much. Conservative estimates place the abortion rate for Down Syndrome babies at 90%! That is just unfathomable to me! Not to mention all of the false positives- which would have been perfectly healthy, typical babies, that were aborted.

First I would like to say that I judge no one. That is not my place. Secondly, I would like to say that I am pro-choice. Before my close friends fall on the floor, gasping for air, let me explain. I believe that a woman has a choice to have sex (except in cases of rape and incest, I know. That is a whole 'nother thing!). I believe that they have a choice to protect themselves against pregnancy. Those are their choices. But after a baby is made, the choices are (in my opinion) over. A new life has been created. You don't have to raise that life, but there are other options. My life is literally FULL of people that could have been aborted, but a mother chose life. And I am so thankful that they did! Babies are *never* mistakes. Each life is precious, each life is a miracle. Regardless of the circumstances. Regardless of how the chromosomes stack up! I know that is easy for me to say. I know that some women feel that they have no choice. Again, I judge no one. But I do pray that anyone considering abortion reconsider. Especially if they are considering it because of the possibility of having a special needs child.

As a parent of a special needs child, I totally understand the panic you feel when you get the news that your child isn't typical. The concerns you face. The questions you have about life and the future. But I also know the love, the fulfillment, and the satisfaction that a special needs child can bring to your life. Is it always easy? Not at all. But when it is your child, you don't really think about that. You just work for each smile, each milestone, each "good" day, whatever that might be for your child.

I was once asked by a total stranger if I would have aborted Ava if I had known that she had AS before she was born. I was dumbfounded. First of all, I couldn't believe that a lady in the craft store was asking me this in front of my child. But I was also shocked that someone could look at my daughter- her beautiful deep blue eyes, her ever present smile, her creamy light skin, her halo of platinum hair- and ask me that!!!! What was her problem?!?! Could she not see the love that I have for my child and the love that my child has for the world? Could she not see the miracle that Ava is? Could she not see what a blessing and light Ava is to me and this world? No. All she could see is the disability. Sadly, that is all a lot of people see when they see a special needs child. They see the "needs" but not the "special." And I have determined that those are the people that have never had the privilege of spending time with a child like Ava.

And that makes me so sad. Because I don't know that my life was really much of a life before Ava.

If you want to learn more about Down Syndrome, start here, with a blog post that my friend Beth (who has a three month old with DS) posted today.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Cole and I (okay...mostly me) have really been itching to get our yard back in shape. When we bought this house last summer, we knew that the landscaping was going to be a challenge for us to keep looking nice. Neither of us have what one would call a green thumb, and with 5 (and after today, 6) Japanese Maple trees, 97 shrubs, an ornamental cherry tree, four crepe mertyls, lots of lilies, and a few dozen rose bushes to take care of, we have our work cut out for us! The leaves seem to be our biggest challenge. But with the addition of a leaf blower/vac and a riding lawn mower that also bags and mulches leaves, that aspect seems to be under control. The lawn people came out today and started mulching the beds. They got almost all of them done, but they still have to do the ones on the side of the yard, so they will be back Monday. I am excited. It is amazing what a difference just cleaning out the beds and remulching makes!!! I made Cole go around the block on our walk just so we could walk by the front of our house! Makes me happy! Especially since he agreed to just pay someone to do it instead of breaking our backs to do it ourselves! We would still be in the cleaning out process if we were doing it! HA!

This morning my mom and I went to a place a couple of towns over (The Plant Depot in Conway for you local readers) and I got a plants for my 7 pots I have around the front of the house. Cole and I planted some jalapeno and cilantro in my biggest pot yesterday, so it is now growing salsa supplies on the back deck. :)

I am really pleased with how the pots turned out, and wanted to share! Especially since they will likely die at some point in the next 6 months (they always do...) so this way, I can always remember what they looked like! 

One of my mixed pots for beside the front door. I love all of the texture in these! I used a fern, caladium, and white licorice. They are all partial sun/shade plants since the front of our house only gets morning sun.

Front door pot #2.

A bit further out picture. The planters were just solid black (they are made of tin). I got them at garden ridge last October- I think it was October- and painted the polka dots on them. One of my first and favorite pinterest projects. Adds just a touch of whimsy to our entry.

African Daises. We took out a large and very dead group of evergreen bushes that had been dead the entire time we had lived here. So I planted these in the corner. They are an annual and I didn't want anything permanent until we saw how their neighbor would do. Plus they are supposed to get nice and big and really bloom out, so they won't look so small and sparse. I hope.

Our newest Japanese Maple. This makes six for our property. We have a huge, gorgeous one in the back, and four other nice sized ones in the front. They say they like partial sun, but the biggest and prettiest one we have is in our backyard, where it is all sun, all day. So who knows. It is a weeping Japanese Maple, and I am so excited! I hope it lives and thrives! They are SO pretty! This is where the dead bushes were.
We are getting a real stake for it- promise! We won't leave it tied to the sprinkler head! HAHA!

Fiber Optic Grass (coolest grass ever) and lilies. These pots are kinda homeless. So I just sort of move them around. But I am thinking they are going to end up on the back deck.

I cannot remember what this is called. But it is a vine that gets these long, pretty purple flowers. Love it!

Also don't know what this one is called! But I love it!

Mixed pot of sweet potato vine. This will look awesome when the vine grows out. See the bed around the pot? That is what they all looked like before the mulch. YIKES!

Our ornamental cherry tree. So pretty!!! It is about to explode with blooms! I will have to add a picture when it does. Love it!

Up close!

We have a LOT of bushes.

LOT of bushes.

My lilies are really happy this year! They are SO BIG!!! I don't think they were this big last year!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

30 Things...

I have been thinking a lot lately, as my 30th birthday rapidly approaches, about the things that I have learned as an adult, as a wife, and as a mother. So I just wanted to chronicle them- for myself- and if others happen to enjoy, then that's great!

30 Things I Have Learned Before 30:

1. Money doesn't grow on trees, and you can never have too much of it. At least not that I have found... I think you tend to "grow" into whatever salary or money you make in life.

2. Sprinklers may still be really awesome and fun, but they cost a lot of money to run every day.

3. There will always be someone who has to put you down or say something cruel to you, in order to make themselves feel better. The best way (but hardly ever the easiest way) to deal with such people is just ignore them.

4. Jealousy exists even when you don't think there is really anything to be jealous about.

5. Just because someone shares the same DNA as you doesn't mean they love you and have your best interests at heart.

6. Being a good mom means WAY more than cutting the crusts off of sandwiches and kissing scraped elbows. WAY.MORE.

7. There is always someone who has it harder or worse than you, and always someone who (at least seems) to have it easier than you. So you just have to learn to be content with your lot in life and be thankful for the positives you have.

8. Being a teenager wasn't all that hard. It really was just preparing you for what life is like.

9. Cooking isn't as easy as my mom made it seem.

10. Marriage is hard. But worth it. If you married the right person.

11. Having a spouse, sibling, and/or good friend in life's darkest days makes them a little brighter.

12. Three bags of black eyed peas is too many for one family to eat at a time. TOO MANY.

13. Dogs can snore louder than husbands.

14. Personal Property Taxes are the most unfair tax in the world. They make me want to dump tea in the river.

15. I do not have a green thumb, and chances are I never will.

16. I like my house to be clean. That doesn't mean that it always is. But I like it that way.

17. Keeping a house clean on a daily basis is much harder than I ever thought.

18. Having a special needs child was never something I could have imagined for my life, and still can't most days. But trying to imagine my life without Ava is like imagining it without air. Just doesn't work.

19. There really needs to be a word for people that are more than acquaintances and less than friends.

20. Never, ever, would I have thought I would be married to a helicopter pilot. Ever.

21. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being in real estate. I still do.

22. As a kid, I always thought that having gutters meant you were rich. Now I have gutters. And I am not rich. Lesson learned.

23. People that have to casually mention how big their house is, how nice their car is, or how much something cost at ever possible moment are working WAY too hard to be liked.

24. Talking to another special needs mom is the best therapy in the world for me. Hearing "I get that" (and knowing they really do) is an amazing feeling. Like a warm hug to my heart.

25. Sitting outside on a nice day with my family really is the best thing ever.

26. I still don't get those "stupid funny" movies. I'd much rather watch Indiana Jones for the billionth time.

27. I am awful at grammar. And I have given up ever being good at it. I just write how I think.

28. I used to think that the things that annoyed my mom about my dad were just them. Now, I know that those are just the things that annoy women about men.

29. I really like country music. More than I ever dreamed. And I like that I can let Ava listen to (most of) it without worrying about it.

30. I like myself. I like my quirks. And I like that I like myself.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Angel Words, Volume 6, Late

WARNING: This Angel Word is maybe a little bit different than the others have been...

Yes, I know. This post comes a couple of days late. But Tuesday was a SUPER busy day (three therapy sessions and a GI clinic appointment- ugh!) and so we just did what we had to do on Wednesday! Yesterday, well...yesterday I have no excuse. I was just lazy! HAHA!

So here is my angel word for this week- TOUGH. Yes, angels are tough. We know that. But angel parents are also tough. In fact, I would venture to guess that ALL special needs parents are pretty rough and tumble! They have to be! I was recently on facebook, and saw an article about how the Iowa legislature has taken the step of removing any reference to "mental retardation" in the law books, and replacing it with "mental disability"- a move I applaud! Because not only is it less offensive, but it is also more accurate.

Several of the commenters on the story pointed out that someone is always offended over something, and that the special needs community is too sensitive on this issue. I just had to laugh. Sensitive?!?! They think we are sensitive!?!?! Truly, that is laughable to me. We are anything BUT! So I decided that I will share a list of ways that I, and I am sure other special needs families, are tough- probably more so than we will ever get credit for...

We are tough because-

*we have survived one of the hardest things that can ever happen to a person. We have survived being told that our child is not "normal" and will never grow up to have the life and the future that we anticipated and dreamed of for her. That is a deep heartbreak that I will live with for the rest of my life.

*we have to fight, on a near daily basis, just so that Ava can have as normal of a life as possible. We fight doctors, specialists, therapists, governmental agencies, school districts (already), social norms, family members...all while maintaining as excellent a level of care and life for our child as possible.

*we have to watch as our child is poked, prodded, suffers seizures, put through uncomfortable tests, all while reassuring ourselves we are doing everything we can for her.

*we endure stares, bad looks, rude comments, prying questions, and sometimes down right meanness- just for going to the grocery store or out to eat with our child in tow.

*we have to learn the lingo of complicated medical fields like genetics so that we can explain our child's condition to your average doctor.

*we spend endless hours at Arkansas Children's Hospital specialty clinics and offices. On a near weekly basis.

*we have had to make difficult decisions on who to allow to continue to be a part of our child's life, and have had to endure ridicule for those decisions.

I say all of this not to "toot my own horn" but to point out that any sensitivity we have is appropriate, and perhaps even earned in a way. The "R" word is certainly a hot point in our special needs community, and it is so because of the way society has chosen to use it. I was recently with someone that is sort of a friend of a friend- a person that knows about Ava but I don't know well- was talking about someone who was, as she put it, "ummm...'special.' " She didn't use the "R" word verbally, but she did with her tone and her attitude, and went on to make fun of the person. The word "retarded" isn't the issue- the attitude is! I was hurt and offended and I am still kicking myself for not saying something right then. I believe that anyone put in this position would become passionate about this issue. Anyway, that is another post for another time....

Shortly after Ava was diagnosed, my sister and I were talking about some things, and she said that she feels like there is a lot of sensitivity in the special needs community. I guess I could see how one could think that. I think some of that is honestly, inherited from one generation of special needs parents to the next. Because for so long, parents had to fight even harder than they do now. My goodness, 50 years ago, Cole and I would have been shunned for not putting Ava in an institution! As a special needs parent, each child's condition and how they are able to function with that condition is SO different, that there is absolutely no way that one piece of advice can be valid for every child, or even every child with that condition. So when someone- trying to be helpful or not- tries to tell me how to help my child when they don't know my child, I do get a little touchy!

Let me give you an example: We love most of the pediatricians at our clinic. Most, but not all. There is one doctor in particular- an older lady- who I absolutely refuse to see unless I just have no other option. Because every.single.time we see her, I get bombarded with questions like "Why is she not in a special school?", "Don't you think a school could do more for her than you are doing?", "Do you really think you are doing what's best for her? Because I think a school setting would be better." This lady knows nothing about my child other than what she reads in a chart. She has spent *maybe* 10 minutes with her throughout Ava's entire life, all during sick visits. And she has the nerve to tell me that I am not doing what is best for my child because she read about AS online and read Ava's chart?!?!

So yes, maybe I am sensitive. Because I have to put up with a lot of things from a lot of different sides. But I am pretty thick skinned too. If I wasn't, I would have lost it long ago! So here's to keeping it together- most days!  :)