June 4th will always hold a special place in our little family's hearts.
This date was the date Aria was discharged from the NICU in 2015, after spending the first 138 days of her life there. The day we knew we were going to be discharged, is when the real reality of parenthood hit us. We hadn't had to take care of a "normal" child yet, yet we were bringing home a 4 month of child.
The night before we stayed the night at the hospital with Aria in our room and in our 100% care. Nurses were there if we needed, but it was our trial night to make sure we could handle taking a baby home on oxygen and the other special needs Aria required.
The hospital rooms aren't mean to sleep three people, lets just start there. I spent most of the night in the chair dozing in and out when I could. Neither of us could sleep much, as the paranoia of a baby with multiple cords attached to her, kept us from truly relaxing. Needless to say, we made it through the night.
June 4th around 2:30 pm, on a beautiful day, Aria breathed her first breathe of the outdoors. This moment was a truly special one for our family. We had waited for months for the day we could put Aria in her carseat, place that seat in the back of our car, and drive home together as a family. for 138 nights prior, we had driven home without our little girl. That was no longer going to be the case.
The date June 4th also holds significance the following year. In 2016, Aria was discharged from her in home physical therapy she had been enrolled in ever since we NICU discharge. Her amazing therapist took Aria from the NICU vegetable, and helped her learn how to roll over, sit up and finally to walking. It was a bitter sweet day, as yet again, we as parents were taking all the responsibility of teaching Aria these methods we'd been trained on for a year, and implementing them without a return visit. Again, Aria blossomed.
Now, in 2017, we are so happy to celebrate this day with a huge campaign to give back to all those who helped Aria.
We are launching the Aria Hope campaign. This campaign will donate part of the proceeds for all Hope branded purchases, to an organization that helped us during our NICU journey.
This last week was a full week of business for Stay At Home Rustics, and of course Aria and I.
The week started with finishing a baby gate installation that I had started on the weekend, but the hardware I had purchased wasn't long enough for the opening/closing latch. So on Monday, we finished that up at some friends house with Aria tagging along.
On Wednesday we went to another customers house where I installed an unfinished fireplace mantle. The mantle is a larger version of some of the floating shelves I've previously made, and of course placed over a fireplace.
One thing I love doing is allowing my customers to finish the pieces themselves. This allows for customers to truly customize what they're getting in order to match their current home furnishings. And the neat part about the floating shelves is, just taking out a few screws allows for them to slide off their cleats for easy finishing. Works out really well for customers.
On Thursday, I had a really fun opportunity in the community. I was asked by a high school business teacher (friend from our church) to take part in a "Shark Tank" like presentation for her freshman business class. Each student had to create business plans for a product they invented. The business plans were thorough, with marketing plans, financial outlooks as well as distribution methods. The students then gave short presentations of their plans to the "Sharks" who then asked questions on their business plan.
It was a fun opportunity to see the influence of the great entrepreneurial show on our young people. Business sounds easy, but it is also so competitive. Understanding how to get the edge is what every business is looking for. An edge could be price, it could be customer service, it could be a completely new product. Either way, It was very interesting to see how these students interpreted competitive advantage and how they'd target their respective target markets.
I will be going back next week to judge some more students, and am really excited to see the next batch of ideas. Fantastic idea for young students.
Being a stay at home dad, as well as a builder creates unique challenges. Many stay at home parents face the same things as I do, especially those with work-from-home jobs, or even part time jobs. Balancing the parenting part with building an ever growing list of projects, is a tough one.
I try and utilize Aria's nap time for my productivity during the day. I put her down between 12-1:30, depending on her perceived fatigue, and then head out into the garage to get some work done. Lately however, she's been a little stinker and not been taking naps. This makes it very difficult to get things done, especially with the pressure of deadlines now.
One thing I've found to be insanely handy for me, is our baby camera set up in her room. This allows me to spy on Aria while I get work done. That way I can gauge if she's drowsy and maybe going to fall asleep, or if she's just going bonkers in her crib asking to get out. Yesterday, was the latter, and I was only able to spend about 30 minutes in the garage during "nap time." I was able to get some sanding done though, so that is at least a little positive.
After Jennifer got home from work, it was still 85+ degrees outside (gotta love south Texas weather), so we decided to see Aria's interest in the sprinkler. She tested out the boundaries for a few minutes, but never fully plunged into the fun. It was her first time, so I anticipate it was an exploratory venture for her. I'm sure by the end of the summer, she'll be running through that sprinkler with reckless abandon.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Its sometimes thankless and often times grueling. Woodworking is quickly becoming a passion of mine that I'm able to make a little money off of. But I will always put my family before my business. If that means deadlines need to be extended because I can't get much work done during the day due to no naps, then so be it. I will no sacrifice my daughters childhood for money. I love that dang little girl with every fiber of my being. Even if she frustrates me to whits end at times. Thats what toddlers are supposed to do though, right?
Aaron finished this gorgeous Dining room table and matching benches. It's a fun farmhouse look with pipe accents. The clients want to finish it themselves! I can't wait to see what it looks like all finished. The wood grain on the top of the table is just gorgeous! I'll definitely update when we get a picture of it done!