Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Aaron's bedroom redo

Spring 2016: Ben called to say I was inited to lunch with the Vivint Gives Back team that was up helping arrange the next fall's charity project. We'd met the year before when we had the privilege to help renovate a charter school for kids with Autism in Calgary. We'd been emailing about possible projects in the Lethbridge area and we'd helped them get in contact with the Nicholas Sheran school special needs staff. I scrambled to arrange child care and drove down to the restaurant thinking what a treat it was to have a midday break. 

We chatted about how things were going with plans at the school and then Holly (one of the most genuine and generous spirits I know) paused, gave me one of her warm smiles, and said she had a questions for us. "How would you feel about Vivint doing a sensory room for Aaron?" Mike and Holly orchestrate, life changing, heart warming projects for a living, so may be they weren't surprised by my response. But i was. 

I burst into tears and could barley speak. 

What they didn't realize was Aaron was currently sleeping on a mattress in the middle of our down stairs playroom because he had broken bed after bed. His clothes were in a broken dresser that he routinely knocked over and pulled all the drawers out of. He had somehow got the idea that the upstairs bathroom was just to inconvenient and had started randomly peeing on the carpet, which we only discovered via a wet step or the awful smell. He was waking regularly in the middle of the night and wandering the house waking the rest of the family. It was a situation that was NOT working. At all. I was expecting our 5th child and was stressed out about adding another child in to our already unsustainable sleeping arrangements. We'd talked about reno solutions, but with Ben's work schedule felt completely overwhelmed by the prospect. We honestly had no idea what or when we would be able to do something to make it better. 

So in that moment when  Holly asked if they could do a sensory room for Aaron-- it was more than a kind offer-- it was and will remain a moment in my life where I had no doubt God knew me and my family and was determined to prove He would provide for us-- even if it meant inspiring two incredible organizers to devote time and energy to bring in a bunch of Vivint employees to transform our basement into the perfect space for our special son. 

As much of an answered pray as it was, we did feel awkward about it. Ben is the regional tech for Canada and is well compensated for his hard work. He especially thought it might be weird for his techs and co-workers to offer such service. He voiced his concerns in that very first lunch meeting but Mike and Holly continued to reassure us that Ben's position in the company, his association with those that would be donating their time would make the project only that much more special. Ben insisted on finically backing the majority of the renos, but the time and man power was whole-heartedly welcomed. It was the answer we didn't even know we'd been praying for. 

Vivint Gives Back is an incredible organization the has carried-out so many incredible projects, many specifically focused on helping individuals with special needs and their families. And because I'd already seen things they'd accomplished, I walked away from the meeting, knowing that incredible things were going to happen in the fall. I was anxious to start planning and preparing. There was a lot to be done. 

I was so extremely grateful for the countless emails that followed along with pinterest boards and continual questions, as Mike and Holly tried to clarify what Aaron's greatness needs were and determine what exactly would best help him. It was more than a fancy, reno reveal, it was a sincere effort to understand the struggles in our particular family, so that they could produce a space that would suit Aaron specifically. 

Our friend JD came in a worked tirelessly getting the
 framing complete (up until the night before Vivint came in!)
There was more work than could be completed in the allotted 2 days of the project, but with a deadline in place we were able to act on decisions we'd been back-burnering for years. 
The plumber didn't realize leaving buckets
of concrete was going to be far to tempting
for Aaron not to dump!

We knew we were in good hands with Ben's co-regional Trevor in charge of the project.
Trevor is one of the most precise and thorough people we know.
No corners were gonna get cut with him there. 
We'd redone our flooring upstairs already, realizing that with Aaron (and my other kids) carpet just was not conducive to my sanity. Wipeable surfaces are my friend.
The exact same flooring was out of stock in Lethbridge but we tracked enough down in Red Deer, so Ben drove up and brought back enough to do downstairs too. 
It made such a difference!!!! My dad had come and repainted (same grey I love in my upstairs) after I'd done the fireplace (I could put fake brick EVERYWHERE! I love it)

Removing the gross carpets, and knowing that any future accidents/on purpose-ents would be easily cleaned up, helped my homemaking heart breath a sigh of relief. 

Because so many of Ben's siblings also work for Vivint, it was special to have so many family members participate in the project.

When there wasn't enough other room of work, the amazing Vivint crew took the incentive to take on extra task, which just shows what a labor of love it was. 

Speaking of labours of love. To go with the Pixar theme, the did a cloud wall like Andy's room in one of Aaron's u movie Toy Story. It is by far my favourite element of the whole room! But my sisters-in- law let me know it was no easy task. Even now when I looks at those perfect painted clouds, I'm reminded that people care enough about Aaron and our family to go the extra mile.

Yup he lives toys Story, which means HE LOVED his new bathroom!
And the new toy storage area that replaced the way to big playroom.

We went and saw all the hard work the Vivint crew had done at the school.
We'd stayed at a hotel in town. Ben was helping run the simultaneous service project at 

We had to stay at the hotel in townNicholas Sheran and I was trying not to go into labor before the big reveal. 

And what a reveal it was....

The concept of the loft bed was that he'd be close enough to the ceiling that he couldn't really jump...Ben reinforced it with porch materials after and it's held up remarkably well.

I remember thinking I didn't say thank you enough, that I didn't really let everyone know just how much it meant to us. It was so overwhelming. We had Aaron "say" thank you on his iPad, but he isn't one to show his emotions, and I have never felt fully satisfied with how I communicated (or failed to communicate) just how much it meant to us. I still feel like I can't fully express the gratitude I felt.

That night when I tucked him in bed, and every night since, every time I wipe up a mess without having to use a carpet cleaner, each time I put away his clothes, or hear him use the bathroom downstairs, or look at the cloud wall, I'm so profoundly grateful and pretty humbled that we would be the recipients of such generosity. In just over a year now, it hasn't become common place, it is still a reminder of the outpouring of kindness our family was shown.

 And I think Aaron likes it too.

 Thanks Vivint. 

Here's the video of both Lethbridge projects