Monday, October 22, 2012

Worrying, Walking, Wondering

This is a random post, so sorry!!!


I have really been worried a lot lately. Worried about Archer's health (no reason, just being mom), worried about getting everything done that needs to get done, worried about Ava and how she will adjust to life with a baby brother, worried about how WE will adjust to having a newborn... I could go on and on. And I know I shouldn't worry. The Lord will take care of it all and I need to trust him. I was texting with Cole the other day while he was at work (don't worry, he wasn't flying!) and telling him how crazy it is that we are going to have a newborn in 59 days or less and how stressed it makes me feel... and he texted back Luke 12:25... "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" I needed that. Life is so precious and short to worry with things that I have no control over. Let go and let God. Amen!


We visited my mom at work today. They have a long hallway full of offices. She spent about 10 minutes walking up and down the hallway visiting with everyone, climbing in laps, stealing things off of desks... they just love her! And who can blame them! I finally grabbed my phone thinking as soon as I turned the camera on, she would want to sit and crawl. NOPE! She showed off BIG TIME! And she didn't even have on her good walking shoes! So incredibly proud of my sweet girl!!!

Here is the video I took...couldn't you just eat her up!?!?!

I am going to get in trouble by her PT for the Toms. But they are so cute and easy! For those that are wondering, her "good" walking shoes are her Nike tennis shoes. Her PT says that Nike has the best support for early walkers, so if you have a toddler just starting to walk, I highly suggest investing in a pair of Nikes for them!!! Her's also have inserts, but she does well without the inserts too. They just help keep her from turning her feet out so much.


We have a big weekend ahead! I have a hair appointment, baby shower, and we are going to be doing the board and batten in Archer's room. I have taken measurements and am working on figuring up how much wood we need. This is not my strong suit. At all. Thankfully Cole is MUCH better at this stuff than me, so I will have him check everything when he gets home. I am excited about doing the work. Cole has never used a chop saw before. I have, and feel very comfortable with that part. The part that worries me is the angles. I have never been good at figuring out angles, so it should be interesting! Those that have done board and batten treatments (and this is the wondering...), what was the hardest part to you???

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Year Later...Reflections

One year ago today, I got the call that would forever change our lives. I was talking to Cole about how much I was dreading today, and he reminded me that not every anniversary had to be remembered. But the truth is that, while I never wanted that phone call, having a diagnosis has been a blessing in so many ways. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't October 17th I was was October 16th.

The 16th. The day before. Because one year ago yesterday I was going about our lives, blissfully unaware of how the rug was about to be ripped from under my feet and the breath taken from me. Still living with the idea that she would catch up and grow out of it eventually. Still able to realistically dream of her typical future- one filled with college, career, marriage, family. Not knowing that in 24 hours or so, those dreams would forever be shattered and I would have to start picking up the pieces and putting together new goals and dreams for my baby girl.

Before Ava was born, I had put I Samuel 1:27 on her nursery wall. "For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me the desires of my heart." I have been thinking about how true those words really are. Because I prayed so hard for a baby girl. A girl with blonde hair and blue eyes like mommy. An easygoing and happy nature like daddy. A girl we would name Ava Faye- Ava because it means "to fly" and Faye after myself, my mom, and many great aunts. A girl that would touch and bless others and be a light in our lives. And that is exactly what we got! But what I didn't pray for, what I didn't desire in my heart, was to have to watch my child struggle. To watch my child be profoundly disabled and have to work ten times as hard to accomplish things that just come naturally for her peers. I didn't pray for that. I didn't want that. So does that mean that God made a mistake or that He didn't really answer my prayers?

No. Not at all. I believe the total opposite, actually. God knew our hearts. He knew how much we would love and cherish any child we were blessed with, and He didn't choose Ava for us- He chose us for her! I had no idea what the true desire of my heart was until he gave me Ava. And my desire is to love her and be her mother!

I wrote about getting the call that day, and my memories from that afternoon, in this post. I have talked before about some of the blessings that a diagnosis have brought, but not any specifically. It seems like, with every challenge we have faced since October 17th, 2011, we have also been equally as blessed. Like God is reminding us that, although we will face obstacles on this journey, He is still with us and will lead us through to brighter days.

So I wanted to, instead of focus on the heartache and pain that this day brought us last year, to focus on a few of the blessings that have been given to our family in the year since....

* This past year, both Cole and I have grown so much. Our marriage, our faith. In so many ways. We are both closer to the Lord and closer to each other. We had a strong marriage before, but having to face the diagnosis of AS has really brought us closer together and made us lean on each other for strength and courage. Cole has always been an amazing father, but watching him since Ava was diagnosed- he has really stepped up and become her protector and is just astounding with her. He is really my rock on days that I think I can't keep going, and knowing that he has my back is more comfort to me than he understands. An example of this- we had a GI appointment for Ava yesterday. Just a regular check-up, but I was really worried that I would have to fight her GI doctor to keep her on Nexium for reflux, and I told Cole as much. Now, normally at these appointments, I do the talking. But Cole was the first to speak up when the issue was brought up, and say that she needed to stay on the medicine, and explained why. I think the doctor didn't know how to take both of us insisting on it, so he agreed and there wasn't any resistance from him! I am so blessed with a husband who will do anything to protect his family, and who is my partner on this journey. He is an incredible man, and the AS has really brought us closer together than ever before.

* Cole's job and that journey. Since we were married, Cole has worked away from home. Either deployed or working in the gulf as an off shore pilot. He wanted to be closer to home, but helicopter jobs in Arkansas are few and far between, and usually go to someone with more experience than he had in the beginning. So we decided to buckle down, endure the schedule, and when jobs did come open (mostly at the guard) he would apply for them. For about three years, he kept getting passed over for positions in Arkansas, for one reason or another. It was frustrating and discouraging for us both- but we just kept praying that the right position would come his way when the time was right. In the meantime, he continued to further his career in the gulf, and eventually began flying S-92s. In the process of his S-92 position, he also obtained his Airline Transport Pilot license, or ATP. The ATP is a step up, or add-on, to a commercial license, and is something that he never would have gotten had he worked for the Army, since the Army doesn't require ATPs. Well, he was continuing to build his hours and experience in the gulf one year ago when we got the phone call about Ava. Not 30 minutes after hanging up from telling him what the doctor said, he was calling me back telling me that he was going to start putting in for Arkansas jobs again- something we had both agreed he wouldn't do for a while until he had more hours and had fulfilled his obligation to his current employer.

So as soon as he got home, he started preparing his application for a job as a maintenance test pilot for his unit. At the same time, he got a call from a friend telling him that Arkansas Children's Hospital (aka, our dream job) had an opening. Now we got the AS call on a Monday. Cole came home from work late that Thursday night. Early the next week he put in his application at ACH. He was called late that week and an interview set up for the following Tuesday. We spent that weekend praying, me drilling him on the history of ACH and Angel One (I even made him a little Angel One study guide! HA!) and preparing him for interviewing at ACH. That Tuesday, I sent him off to interview, and prayed the entire time he was gone. He came home feeling good about the day, and excited that he got to fly one of their 76s with the chief pilot. He already had a lot of experience in 76s, and felt really good about his performance. Early the next morning, he left to head back down to Louisiana for work. I got a call about 11 from him- he was on the road, but he was calling to tell me that he had just hung up with the Flight Director from ACH, who had offered him the position!!! I literally screamed. Ava thought I had lost my mind!!! Not three full weeks after getting a heartbreaking phone call, I was getting an AMAZING phone call! But he told me not to get too excited. He reminded me that he was still contractually obligated to his current company, PHI, and that they might not let him out of his contract, or they might require him to repay the money they spent on him to send him to the S92 transition and ATP course.

That night, I sat down on the phone with him, and wrote out his resignation letter, and the next day he talked quietly to some of the management about our situation and the offer on the table. In the letter, I simply explained Ava's diagnosis, and  if it wasn't for that, he would not be seeking employment closer to home. But that the strains and demands of a special needs child are such that being closer to home must be a priority. I think he was surprised when his bosses at PHI were completely supportive and understanding, and didn't give him any problems at all. They had spent a lot of money on his training, and I think he was expecting at least some resistance. I wasn't. I knew that they would be great about it. Because I knew that it was God opening these doors for Cole to be able to be home more often. And I knew that God wouldn't provide him with this amazing opportunity without providing a way for him to take it.

* In dealing with Ava's diagnosis, I have had to face the fact that there were some people in our lives that didn't belong there. Some friends. Some family. People that would tear me down and put my child down at every opportunity. They would constantly berate me, try to compare Ava and our family with their own child and family, were more worried about things like being my facebook friend than they were about the fact that I was dealing with what is likely the most difficult thing I would ever face in my life. And while my decision to cut these people from my life has caused some discomfort and conflict, it has been worth it to not have to deal with the anger and heartache that their presence in my life caused.

There are so many small blessings- new friends, amazing doctors, closer family- that AS has brought to our lives. But I guess my point is that, it is a blessing. As difficult as that is to understand, and as difficult as it is to accept, this is the path that God has chosen for our family and knowing that, I must always remind myself that the Lord granted me the desire of my heart. And He will teach me just how remarkable and amazing that desire is!!! The greatest things in life do not come easily, nor do they come without a price. The price for being Ava's mother is a lot of heartache, sleepless nights, and worry. But the gift is the most precious piece of Heaven- a true and pure and wonderful person made in His image- someone that will constantly remind me of how remarkable the Lord is. And that is priceless!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Differences and Drapes

I wanted to write down, for my own memory, some of the differences I have experienced with this pregnancy verses with Ava. I do not want anyone to think I am comparing Archer and Ava, saying one is better than the other. Not at all! But there are a lot of differences and I want to remember what it was like to have both of my precious babies inside of me! What a blessing it is to be able to have children, and there are so many women who struggle to experience this part of life. So I want to remember and cherish each thing! Both of my sweet babies look just alike in their 3D ultrasound pictures, and both yawn just alike in their ultrasounds. But that is about where the similarities end!

* Ava was CONSTANT movement! I don't think she ever slept...which now that she is almost three, she still hardly doesn't. So that makes sense! Archer, on the other hand, seems to have distinct periods of wake and sleep. He is pretty predictable in his movements as far as when and how rowdy!

* Ava sat very high, and Archer is super low!

* Ava enjoyed playing in my ribs. I could always picture her using them like monkey bars! Archer's preferred "toy" seems to be my bladder.

* Ava did have the hiccups some, but Archer gets them all the time!!! I am hoping that means he is busy practicing his sucking so he will breastfeed for me!!!

* Ava was seen chewing on her hand in her ultrasound, but we caught Archer actually sucking his thumb!

* Ava was constant movement during all of her ultrasounds- Archer had to be shaken to wake him up so he would move to a better position, and he went right back to sleep as soon as she stopped shaking him! I hope he is a snuggle bunny!!!

* When I was pregnant with Ava, you could push on my stomach, and she would kick or push back!!! With Archer, if he is kicking and you push there, he just stops and kicks somewhere else! I wonder if that is how his personality will be- laid back and go with the flow! Ava's habits were certainly a glimpse into what she would be like!

Back to Archer's room, I am struggling with his windows. This is a photo of the room prior to the nursery project starting, when it was still a guest room- I was indecisive on curtains then too!-

As you can see, there is a half moon transom, or "eyebrow" window above the center window. The previous owners had custom drapes made for all of the rooms (circa 1997, though) and this is what their person did:

I am trying to decide what I want to do about Archer's curtains. Really, just where to hang them. I really don't want to hang them all the way at the ceiling. I think I am going to use red ones, and I think that would be too much. In fact, that is really about the only thing I disliked about my favorite inspiration room- I didn't like the curtains all the way up. But I understood why she wanted to do it in that room...

They just feel too, I don't know, MASSIVE to me. So I have to decide- hang them above ALL of the windows so that they cover the transom when closed? Or hang them at the height the previous people had their "gone with the wind" drapes and maybe do a shade or shutter in the transom? Hmmm...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Board & Batten Design- A Poll

So the plan is to do a board and batten in Archer's room. The navy is on the walls, and while my photography skills (or lack thereof) prevents me from really getting a good picture of how AWESOME it looks, you will just have to trust me that, well, it looks AWESOME!

But I am stuck on what style board & batten I want to do on the bottom. I have narrowed it down to two different styles...

Style 1:

Style 2:


The only big difference in 1 and 2 is the second horizontal rail. I like the looks of 1 better but part of me (a big part) says I should keep it simple- especially since Cole and I are planning on this being a DIY (sans my dad) project. So I don't know...


Friday, October 12, 2012

Still Working....

Well, we have all but finished Ava's big girl room! Her bed is still being built- my dad had to bend the wood to make the front arch and ran into some timely and frustrating issues with that, but I saw it today, and- can I just say- my dad is AH-MAZING!!!! And Ava's bed is going to be spectacular!!! I was talking to my mom on the phone about it and just started bawling! I don't know if my sweet daddy will ever understand how much it means to me that he is putting so much into Ava's bed. Such a simple thing- a bed- but when you have to think of your baby girl sleeping in something that looks more like it is for a zoo animal than a little girl, just so that she will be safe, it breaks your heart. Of course, if we had sacrifice the aesthetics for the safety of her, we would in a heartbeat. But I am so thankful that my dad is able to make something for her that is both safe and beautiful!!!! I have a few pictures of it right now, but I honestly want to wait until it is finished! It is that good!

So while we are waiting for her bed to be built, we went ahead and moved the crib back into her room so that we could work on the nursery. Our plan isn't as simple as just slapping some paint on the wall in there, so we knew we would need about a month to get the actual walls done, because Cole's schedule and Ava's therapy schedule are all over the board these days! My mother-in-law has a great guy that they use, someone she works with who paints on the side, and he is back in Archer's room as I type getting the walls all nice and navy blue!!! We plan on working on the board and batten in about three weeks. If I can wait that long! HA! I might have to go ahead and paint the bottom white part in those three weeks. I just cannot *wait* for this room I have been planning to come together!

His bedding came yesterday! I had been waiting to order it hoping that Restoration Hardware would have a friend and family sale, and a week or so ago, they did! So we got his bumper and mobile for 20% off!!! I didn't order a quilt. Still torn on that decision. But we never, ever used Ava's, and I just felt like it would be a waste. So I decided that money could better be used elsewhere! See, I am thrifty. ;)

I have been busy busy working on things for his nursery while we wait for the actual room to be finished. My dining room looks more like a Hobby Lobby warehouse! I made the photo collage below on (aka my new favorite website!). I love that it kinda gives you a feel of his room!

The top right is a little table that was my sister's, then mine, when we were kids. It has had many different looks and has two little chairs that match. I painted the top with metallic spray paint, then put the army aviation symbol on it with Archer's Hangar in plaza font. I still have to paint the wings gold- Cole wants it to authentic- so gold it is! I also bought some paper mache letters at HobLob and spray painted them with the same metallic paint, then gave them a subtle metallic glaze (that you can't see in the photo) to make them look like zinc letters a la Athropologie. Mine were $2.50/ea. They charge about $18/ea. Score! I took a photo of the bumper because it has two sides to it, and I can't tell which I love more! Perfect for the feel I want! The aviation blueprint fabric (photo above the mobile) is the bedskirt fabric. The little chairs that match the table will also have that on their seats. I snagged the mobile photo from the RH website because I couldn't get a great picture of ours, but it is just like that one- and the cutest thing ever! The navy is the color of the top part of his room. It is actually a little darker in person, more like the navy on the bedding. It is Glidden's Rich Navy, and the only true, dark navy I was able to find. And of course the first thing I did for his room, the airplane panel PB knockoffs, are patiently waiting to be hung, calling my name! They are going above his closet and after the paint sets for a week or so I *might* just talk Cole into hanging them for me! We know where they are going and they won't get in the way of our board and batten project, so why not!!! Hehe!

I am so excited for his it has been keeping me very busy, for which I am thankful. We are rapidly approaching (next week) the anniversary of Ava's diagnosis. I don't know how I will feel on that day. I hope that I can look back on the past year and be satisfied with myself. I know I can look back and be proud of her. I will be writing a post that day for sure- probably a sappy one- so get ready. The last year has been a hard one in many ways, and a blessed one in many more. I think back to where I was a year ago. Blissfully unaware of how my life was about to change in just a matter of days. Now, a year later, I am working on a new baby's room and watching his big sister thrive and prove the "experts" wrong in so many ways. It was a hard year for me. But the Lord is still good and still faithful. And for that, I am most thankful!