Monday, July 30, 2012

Ride a Little Horsey....

*** I was a bad mommy and forgot my camera, so no pictures. Sorry!***

I just wanted to write a quick post, mostly for myself so I can remember this day! Ava got to try Hippotherapy (Horseback Therapy) today for the first time, and she LOVED it! We had to leave home by 7:00 to get there for our session, but it was worth it! First, we met with the stable owner, Carol, and toured the indoor therapy room. Then we headed outside to meet the horses and let Ava get used to them. Well, Ava being Ava, she was not scared AT ALL of the horses, and was trying to jump into the stalls with the them! Thankfully, these horses are used to children with special needs and were either totally disinterested in her, or were very sweet and let her pet them. One was already out for grooming, so we let Ava check her out. Ava wanted to climb on her right then! She would pet her, then just squeal with excitement! It was so cute!

So we decided to let her try a ride. Getting the helmet on her, and making her keep the helmet on, was a challenge. She did NOT like the helmet at all! But as soon as they put her on the horse, she forgot all about the helmet and started laughing and clapping! She thought it was wonderful! I know horses are tough, but I was really scared for the horse because I knew Ava would be pulling her mane the whole time. But she did really well at being gentle with the horse! Her therapist, Autumn was on one side, and Carol, the stable owner was on the other. A volunteer was there to lead the horse around, and they went on a pretty good walk (I thought they would just do a small little circle). As soon as they took Ava off of the horse, she started screaming! I think she was mad because her time was up! We have a little cowgirl for sure!!!

It was so fun! This was just a trial session. We have some paperwork to do and our doctor has to do some paperwork as well, but we should be starting our sessions after Labor Day. Hopefully it will have cooled off by then and will be not as miserable! I promise to take pictures next time we go!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In 30 Years...

I can't believe that I am typing this, but next week I will turn the big 3-0!!! I am not sure where the time went, really. Although I will say that I feel like I have been in my twenties forever! HAHA! Cole says we can just call it 29 again. And I am okay with that!

I have been thinking a lot about my 30 years, especially the last year. It was, by far, the worst year of my life. But it was also the year that brought the biggest blessings, and brought me closer to the Lord in ways I didn't know were possible. I have yelled at God, asked "why" more times than I could count, praised Him more than ever... Definitely a roller coaster of a year! The last 12 months have brought the most difficult challenges I have ever faced, but each challenge has been followed by a huge blessing. And it is amazing to see God working in our family.

I think back a lot to the day that we got Ava's diagnosis. I have never blogged about that day, and I have wanted to, because, as dark as that day was, it was the dawning of a new day- a beginning of a life long journey, and I do want to remember it. You would think that day would be a blur. And in some ways, it is. Prior to that phone call at lunch, I really don't have a clue what we were doing. It was October 17th. My Nana's birthday. We had planned to go out that night for a big family dinner. I was feeding Ava lunch and the phone rang. The earth stopped. My world shattered. I don't really remember what all Dr. Burns said to me. I remember the words "seizure", "nonverbal", and "incapable of living independently." The world just kind of went dark in that moment. Ava sat there eating her lunch, happy as ever, and I just hung up the phone, collapsed on the kitchen floor and wept for about 30 minutes straight. I just couldn't move. When I finally felt like I could stand, I got Ava down for nap as quickly as I could, then I called Cole, who was in Louisiana at work. I thought I could keep it together, but I couldn't. I was crying so hard telling him that he thought she had some horrid disease that was going to shorten her life. When I finally got done telling him, I told him to call his parents, we hung up the phone, and I called my mom at work. She was in the middle of something and couldn't talk. She could tell from my voice something was really wrong, and promised to call me back as soon as she could. So I hung up with her and called my sister. She had had some medical tests done that day, and was sleeping off the anesthesia. I told my brother in law to have her call me as soon as she could. Then my mom called me back, and I told her. We both cried. She got off the phone with me and left work to get my dad and come to our house. Then I called my brother in law back and told him that it was very important and I needed Amber to wake up and talk to me. She got on the phone (still groggy) and I told her what was going on, and we cried. Then she said she was coming down.

After that, Cole called me back and told me that he was going to start looking again for a job close to home. I was against this at first, telling him that he was having a knee jerk reaction and we needed to just process this before we did anything. But he said something that was like a kick in the gut to me, and made me realize he was right. He said "Rachel, if our baby girl only says one word, and I miss it because I am in Louisiana at work when I could have been home at work, I would never forgive myself." I don't know what he did between the two phone calls. Cole doesn't show emotion much, and we don't really talk about emotional things (not on his part, anyway!). But I could tell that he was shaken to the core, and that broke my heart even more.
Not long after that call, my family arrived and we just sat around in silence together, stunned and shaken. My poor daddy cried more than anyone I think, which of course made me loose it even more. We just sat and sat, deciding what to do, where to go from there. And I guess this is where we have gone! The funny thing is that, through all that, Ava just took a nap. Her world hadn't changed. She was still Ava, she was still happy, and she was still loved.

I knew from reading about having a Special Needs Child (something I couldn't say for about three months) that I would be going through a mourning process. And I decided that I was ready to get to the acceptance phase as soon as possible. So I did everything I could to minimize the anger, denial, bargaining... One thing that I have not let myself do is think about what Ava's life would be like if she were typical. What Ava herself would be like if she were typical. Which is hard when we see other two year olds running everywhere. Simple outings to the park can bring up a lot of emotion in me, and I have to consciously not think about those things. Because the fact is that God wanted Ava to be special. He has a plan for her life and loves her just as He loves every other child- special or typical- and until I accept what her life IS, as opposed to what I had planned for it, I won't be able to embrace the Lord's plan and do all I can as her mother to give her the life He wants for her! That acceptance is a process. One that doesn't happen overnight or without great difficulty.

I am painting a canvas for her big girl room, and I was searching for a verse to put on it. I prayed about it, and then googled "special needs bible verse." Many websites and suggestions came up, but none felt right. Then I was reading an amazing article about a church in North Carolina with a large special needs ministry, and the pastor quoted Jeremiah 29:11. " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "  And I knew that was it. Because the Lord does have a plan for Ava's future, and it is full of hope! And as her mother, it is my job to help her reach that future.

Ava is a miraculous child. She has taught us so much about life and love and perseverance. She is a symbol of strength and love, and I am so thankful to be her mommy. Of all of the things I have done in my (almost) 30 years, she is my greatest accomplishment, and I am so, so blessed.

You can read about our journey to a diagnosis here. I wrote it the day after we got the call.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cast Your Vote!!!

I am so excited that we get to find out if Baby B #2 is a boy or a girl in just a few weeks (still not sure of the date, but it will be in August!). We are being sent for a level 2 ultrasound because of some medical issues in our family, and that requires us to wait until at least 20 weeks (probably closer to 22). For those that are wondering, there are not any AS markers that can be seen on an ultrasound, so that is not the reason.

I am currently 17w5d and have been really feeling the baby move a lot lately. Still just flutters, and not NEARLY as strong or often as I felt Ava at this point- which I am convinced is a good thing, because she nearly killed me before it was all said and done! HA! Being pregnant with an Angel is not easy!!!

So with the gender being revealed in 3-4 weeks, I thought it might be fun to take a poll! I know a lot of people think (and maybe it is just wishing) that this baby is a boy. Others are convinced it is a girl. I am not sure. Some days, I wake up knowing it is a boy. Others, I wake up knowing it is a girl. But most days, I have no idea!!! VERY different from with Ava! With her, I woke up about 10 weeks and I KNEW, 100%, that she was a girl!!!

Here are the answers to some old gender wives tales, just for fun!

1. I am carrying this baby pretty low I think: BOY
2. The heartbeat has been over 140: GIRL
3. I have been craving both salt and sugar, but mostly sugar: BOTH
4. Chinese Birth Chart: GIRL
5. Drano: Haven't tried it.
6. Mayan Even/Odd: BOY (because my age at conception was odd and the year is even)
7. Breaking Out: yes, so GIRL
8. Ring Test: GIRL
9. Morning Sickness: Not awful, so BOY (although it was not too bad with Ava either)

So you decide! What do you think? Boy or Girl???


Friday, July 13, 2012

Mantle and Built Ins

Today at Kelly's Korner, we are showing off our fireplace mantles! Which, mine is kinda boring because that is where we have our TV. So I thought I would also show my built-ins that we have on either side of the fireplace, along with what our mantle looks like at Christmas!

Here is our fireplace as it looks today- like 10 minutes ago! You can see the toy basket that I tried to shove out of the picture! HAHA!
Here is the best picture I have of the fireplace area before we moved in. We replaced the carpet, and replaced the tile around the fire place, as well as added tile in front of the back doors.

This is to the right of the fireplace. I got the horse, picture frame, and letters (C&R) at HobLob. The platter I bought from a Willow House party, and the plaque in front of it and the candle were gifts.

To the far right of the fireplace. Mostly pictures, with a few candles thrown in. The basket on the bottom shelf holds random things that don't otherwise have a home. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what is in there right now. The original idea was to keep our remotes in there, but that never happened.

To the left of the fireplace. The top photos used to hang in Ava's nursery at our old house- they are maternity photos. The candle holder in front of them is also from a Willow House party. The star and picture frame on the bottom are from HobLob, and the candles and candle sticks are Walmart!

More random stuff to the far left. From the top: Bowl from my Coy Fish Bowl that got broken in the move (sad). It has rocks and a candle in it, and always has as I can't keep a real fish alive! Next, there is a collage canvas from Ava's newborn photo shoot, then there is a vase with some dried flowery stuff in it, both Walmart. And Cole's trophy- his team won the survival games at the Angel One in service. Then there are my Willow Tree figures and a little scripture thing from HobLob. Then a photo of Cole getting "hosed" on his final day of training for ACH, and then at the bottom there is one of my favorite photos of Ava and a little chrome owl (can't remember where he came from- target or HobLob maybe?) that Ava LOVES to play with!

It looks SO much better now without the green granite surround. Changing the tile totally updated the whole room!

This is where we keep all of our electronics that control the TV and home stereo system. These doors pretty much stay open.

To the left, there is a place for an old school TV, but we keep our toy basket in there (I have now paired it down for a smaller one!)

Up close view of the tile. It is from Lowes, in stock. We laid it on the vertical. My dad and Cole thought I was crazy, but both agreed that the results are impressive! They just didn't see my vision! We used the same tile to accent the back splash in the kitchen.

I am pretty pleased with it. It changes often, and I have a feeling it will be an ever evolving process!

And here is what it looks like at Christmas! I can't wait to hang the new baby's stocking up there this year!

I had to throw this picture in because, after all, in Arkansas, the fireplace is pretty much just for Santa! HA!

Hope y'all enjoyed our fireplace and built in tour! See you next week!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Show Us Where You Live: Bathroom Edition

Welcome to the Brewer Family's home!!! Today on the home tour over at Kelly's Korner, we are peaking into people's bathrooms! FUN!!! I love seeing how everyone else lives! I am nosey like that! HAHA!

So here are our bathrooms! One we are pretty happy with, and the other really needs a total gut job! But that is a few  years down the road, so I haven't done really anything to it since we want to redo the whole thing anyway!

Here is our guest bathroom, which is also where we bathe Ava.

With the shower curtain closed. My mom made it for me. I got the idea of a zebra print one from my friend Whit, and decided to take mine up to the crown moulding for a little drama and to highlight our ceiling height. And I am so glad I did! I just love it!!!

We have changed all of the hardware in this room, and have also changed all of the fixtures. I painted (it was too peachy when we moved in) and that is about it. I am not a huge fan of the tile, but it is nice and I am in no hurry to take on such a project at this point!

Love this photo of Ava!!!

Another one of my Ava photos. This bathroom serves as her bathroom (and her baby brother/or sister's bathroom!) so I wanted to still have touches of her in here, but still have it be grown up for guests. That is the one thing I REALLY don't like about my house- no true guest bath. But oh well. I love the rest of it enough! One day, if we decide to add a bonus room onto the back of the house, I have some ideas on how we can also get a 1/2 bath in there! ;)

And welcome to the 90s! HA! This is our master bath!

Our GIANT tub! It is really too big for us, and we very rarely use it. We might bathe the baby here when he/she comes in December. We will just see what is easier.

Our shower door is really TINY, but the shower is actually really good sized. It was a custom built home and so there are some little quirky things like this here and there. But I think it makes it unique! I would like to take out the wall there by the vanity and put in glass so that it will make the shower feel more open. One day.....

Cole's thrown. :)

The light switches for our bathroom. Another quirky thing! We have the shower light, ceiling fan, shower vent fan, tub spotlights, and vanity lights. The water closet has it's own little lighting panel! LOL!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!!! Hope to see you next week!!! We will be taking a closer look at our mantle! I will also highlight our built in's then since our mantle isn't decorated- our TV is there! :)