Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ava Grace's Re-Birthday (1st)

Well today was the day that I have been stressing and crying over for the past month. My sweet little angel girl turned 1, so in honor of my ladybug we decided to give her a re-birthday party. I have planned and planned what I would do to honor her. I literally burned pinterest up on my phone. Not too sure my husband doesn't think that me and pinterest are in a love affair. Looking for ideas for a angels birthday party is hectic. There are absolutely no ideas of others. We spent most of the morning cleaning the house and then out to the graveside. We cleaned there as well. Bryan cut the grass, while me, Landon, Trace and M.I.L. cleaned and organized. All of Ava's and Mary's angels were really dirty from the last storm and their bench was dirty too. Once everything was tidy, we all just stood around Ava's grave and a silent prayer was said in hopes that it would reach my baby girl. Many, many tears have fallen over the past few days. Emptiness had taken over my heart and turned my stomach inside out. I don't know how my feelings have been so repressed for so long, but the one thing I can tell you is that they have surfaced. I miss her. I miss her so much. God has blessed me with friends and family that accepts me for the pain in the butt that I am and still loves me through it. Lord only knows what has gone through my husband's head lately. I don't even want to know honestly. I would never wish the pain of loosing a child on my worst enemy. She is my daughter. My one true mini me. I may not have her by my side, but I have her in my heart.

We decided that it would do us all good to take a few steps away and go swimming with the boys. Trace mastered the waterslide all by himself today. Wow, huge step. We spent a couple of hours there before flying off to visit some of the sweetest people I have had the pleasure of encountering. If you have never been to The Sweetery in Cleveland, you MUST go there. Their cakes are fantastic and their personality surpass that. Did I mention that they made Ava's cake for her re-birthday party? Did I mention for free!? They are Godsent! Lauren is such an amazing person. They too had a loss of a young loved one and know the heartache. Lauren puts her heart and soul into making people smile through a tragedy, such as AG's cake today. This cake was amazing (you will see). This cake would have easily fed 50+ people and it was ate by 23 people with very little left. **So much for my diet today** :) I totally understand why transporting a cake to a location is so stressful. Running 30 minutes behind and having my 10 year old hold my cake and telling him a bazillion times to "hold on to the cake", "Don't let the cake fall", "Don't stick your fingers in the cake". My poor child was finally like "I've got this, geez". haha got to love him.

I did mention that I have great friends and husband right? Well bless their heart, by the time I got home, Bryan had finished the last few chores at the house that I was stressing over. Jason went and got the food and also set it up. Gretchen got the last minute things that I forgot. I am a very organized person and am a big  planner, so for me to forget stuff for this is abnormal. I believe religiously in a Excel spread sheet for organization purposes. The house looked good, the food smelled good and once I got the cake in and set up, it was precious!!!! All of AG's ladybug decorations were in place. Finally when everyone arrived and ate (way too much per them), it was time to paint AG's stone gifts. We told everyone that PRESENTS were not required,  only their PRESENCE was. I could list all my fantastic family and friends that attended, but they are in the pictures :). All of the kids and some adults painted their own stone to go in Ava's flower garden as presents to her. They did so great. I am so proud of them. Then we planted Ava's tree. Explination: Amy Guidry Oakes gave me a tree seed with a sweet little poem on it when we received the diagnosis of Ava. It is a "memory tree and as it grows, you think of me". We never planted it before because we knew that the house we used to live in was temporary and did not want to have to worry about transplanting. Well tonight was perfect. Bryan and I planted her seed,  just as her memory is planted in us and grows daily. We had a ton of lit Princess balloons that was hot pink and glowed in the dark. It was heartwarming for all of our friends and family to be present to release them with us. No sooner than we released them, the sky became brilliantly pink. I absolutely DO believe that this was a sign from AG. She was telling us thank you for the re-birthday party, balloons and still remembering her with love. She is my lit sky, my spunky peanut, my ladybug and above all my heart. Her tiny hands and miniature feet have left a huge print on my heart. I will not lie to you, I hurt. Bryan hurts. My children hurt. It is beyond any pain that I have ever encountered. Sometimes I feel like she is laying in my lap swaddled in her pink, satin blankie and looking at me like "mommy, I love you". She had these beautiful eyes that looked into my soul. She communicated with those eyes. Her older cousin saw an owl and said that "the owl reminds her of Ava Gayce". I never thought of it until it was pointed out, that the owl reminded her of AG because of her big eyes. So wise, so small. Ava Grace loved her family. That was present from day 1. We received many gifts today: a willow tree angel that had  a metal balloon that said "birthday girl", flowers, balloons, cake and a personalized photo album of Ava Grace. It is so beautiful and made me smile so big. It was perfect.

My little girl changed many lives. I received a text today that said that AG's story and our love for her and the Lord, led her to the Lord. I was stunned. I knew that people have said their life was forever changed by AG and that she is/was a positive influence in their outlook on life, but never that she led them to the Lord. That was it! That was the Lord's purpose of giving us a angel temporarily. If only one person was led to him, then that was all worth it to Him. I am not a "bible thumper" (as a friend of mine says), but I am a true believer that the Lord will bring all of His believers back together some day. Until that day comes, I will be holding on to the temporary physical presence of my little angel girl and all her physical features and love. She taught me a lot. I have spent more time and taken less for granted since she was here. Everyday with my loved ones are a miracle, not just a gift. "One has to experience the pain of death and loss, in  order to appreciate life and feel love within." My family and friends made tonight the happiest that I've been in a while. Thank you all. Everyone changing their profile pic to AG, made me cry tears of joy all day long. I seriously can not thank you enough. My BIGGEST fear is that Ava Grace will eventually be a memory that is shoved to the back of the brain and never thought of again. This will not happen in our house and I pray that it doesn't happen in yours. Thank you all for the support and love. You all made my day less painful.

In honor of Ava Grace, I am renaming my online store "The Spunky Peanut". :) She will then be worldwide. wink wink.
Little gifts for my sweetheart

Pink balloons fly high over both car lots in honor of my sweet girl's birthday.

The sod is not down yet, but her flowers were perfect for the occasion and the wreath matched her perfect.
A little swimming to lift my babies spirits

Such a perfect cake.  Sure my ladybug would be jealous of not being able to taste this cake:) 

Everyone blowing up balloons to prepare

What a beautiful sunset that came right after we let all the princess balloons go

Love my girls!!!!

The kids are painting their stones for Ava's flower garden.

Landon painted the ladybug. Every time he's sees a ladybug he screams for me and Bryan. He says its his sister. Of course trace looks at them like "that's not my sissy". 
Painting must be hard work :) 
Landon and Meg did fantastic work! The kids were so proud of their gifts of art to Ava Grace and so were we.

My re-birthday girl's birthday girl willowtree angel.
Our personalized photo album gift from my M.I.L. It's filled with memories of Ava Grace. Here are a few:
Ava Grace loved riding. The last one was her first trip home from the hospital. Just she and I. Nerves of steel must have kicked in because I don't remember looking at anything but her during that trip home. I remember walking into the house for the first time in two months with my little girl in her cars eat. I honestly don't think that anything will EVER feel better than that moment. It was like all my worries were gone. Everyone rushed to our side to see her, including her brothers who had only seen her under tons of blankets. It was a miracle in our home. She was the miracle. She still is the miracle in me. As I dry my eyes to see the screen, I want to thank everyone again for all of your love and support. It's amazing how the small community can make someone feel like a queen to the princess during the rough times. I love y'all! A special thanks to my closest friends, Stancey, Gretchen and Landry. 

Forgot this photo in original blog. This is of Bryan and I planting an "angel tree" that was given to us by Amy when we received Ava's diagnosis. 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV) ❤😘