Sunday, December 12, 2010

All About Ava

So way back in October, I was contemplating how to celebrate Ava's birthday--I was thinking of making some baby dresses and things and donating them to the hospital. But I was thinking small. Dinky. My sister Jen suggested doing a tree for Festival of Trees. Festival of Trees is a large scale fundraiser for Primary Children's Hospital. Ava was life-flighted to Primary Children's and died there. All of us were so taken care of there, and it is a special place for us. Anyone can donate, and the donations do not have to be large and invovled--check out for more details.

So thanks to my ever helpful and loving sister, I decided to just go for it. Go big or go home, right? Thus was "All About Ava" brought about. "All About Ava" was all pink and white, and only contained items which could be used by little girls--the idea was to be practical and helpful to other struggling little girls and their families, while still being ovewhelmingly girly.

I had people that I dont even know donate things. Cute things. Handmade things. Dear friends made burp cloths, and helped decorate the final product. My ward Relief Society made quilts for the tree skirt, baby bracelets, beanies, dresses. Aunts gave pacifiers, other quilts, onesies with frilly bums (love frilly bums!)and pink sequined santa hats! One great grandma donated money, while another crocheted the most gorgeous dresses, burp cloths, booties, and sweaters.

Wade wanted to do something to help, but not being so literate in sewing, he bought a doll house kit. He worked for hours staining each roof shingle, cutting it to size. He painted every inch of it, and even hung tiny wreaths with pink bows in each of the windows.

The whole process was so exciting, and so emotional. There is something so beautiful about the countless gifts my blind-deaf angel gave to me that inspires me to want to give something, anything to other little girls.

Well, enough jibber jabber. Might start crying if I keep on like this. So here are some pictures of the whole thing:

--Men's Work--

--Who doesn't need a pink feather boa?--

--Helping Heatha, and you said you weren't creative!--
(Sorry Ash, we forgot to take picture with you and B!)
--Pink tutu from Michelle, shoes from Denise, bows from Jill, and shirt from Jaimee!--
--Grandma Stewart's handiwork--
--And some more from Grandma Stewart--
--Ava's onsies and hairbow--
--All donated by family, friends and ward members!--

-- Dollhouse and bench by Wade and I, Carseat Cover by Erin and her mom--
--Books from Nat and Nita--
--The finished product--

The feeling at this Festival was so cheerful and giving; I was really touched by the number of people that were doing trees in memory of their loved ones too. There were so many trees dedicated to little babies. There is something about losing a tiny innocent baby--something about dreams and aspirations for your child that inspires this urge to help their un-lived legacy be known a little more, to stay with us a little longer.

It was so surreal to have hoards of complete strangers file past the tree commenting on this or that, and read the story card that went along with the tree. These people were, in a small way, getting to know my sweet baby that they would never meet. It was very touching. It somehow validated her life. That may sound weird, but to share the reality of her life with others made it somehow more real than my private thoughts and memories of her that are constantly playing themselves in my mind.

Our tree was also highlighted very briefly by a kinda goofy guy on the local channel 4 news:

On the story card I wrote that in her life Ava brought families, communities and strangers together in love and concern for one another, and she continues to do so. This tree was only brought about through the kindness and thoughtfulness of family, friends, ward members, a mother who lost her own blind-deaf daughter, and strangers that only heard about Ava. When people care enough about other people to help, to act, that is beautiful to me. That is love. And I see that in people everyday. Thank you for showing me what Christmas is about.


  1. What a special gift! I admire your strength and optimism so much. It makes me really appreciate my family and be grateful for the "little" trials in my life. Thank you for sharing Ava's story and your emotions with us. You are such a wonderful couple! -Destry

  2. Wow it turned out so great! I was so sad that I did not get to see it in person! It was so much fun getting to make the bows for the tree, it really helped my remember the true meaning of christmas and to get into the christmas sprit!

  3. We are so proud of your little family! You have been blessed in so many ways. The three of you have influenced and touched thousands of people's lives. Thanks for being examples of positive, loving, capable parents! We continue to be impressed at all the things you do that are life changing and touching to all those who know you and even many who don't. Wow! We get to be your parents!

  4. Wow. Jessee this is so beautiful! I think my favorite part is the beautiful dollhouse your hubby made. What a neat project. I wish I were in Utah so I could have seen it at Christmas. But the pics are wonderful. Congrats for your family and remembrance of sweet Ava.

  5. I demand some kind of blog update!