Monday, January 31, 2011

6 years cancer free!!!

Today's the day.  Cole is 6 years cancer free today.  Here's a link to last years post about what all we went through leading up to Cole's surgery - Happy 5 Years Cancer Free

I'm so thankful that Cole is well.  Right now (I actually typed this Sunday night - the night before our big anniversary) he's playing Toy Story 3 on the PS3 and enjoying just being a kid.  We're sitting around - Jason on his phone, me on the computer.  Like it's a regular old night.

Six years ago there was nothing regular about this night.  I don't remember exactly what happened the night before.  I remember we had lots of visitors that day and the next morning.  I remember how great our nurses were - they were so sweet to Cole and us.  I remember the hospital gave us a room - a large room, one with three hospital beds in it.  We had space to wait and spread out with all the family.  We'd outgrown the waiting room the first night. 

I remember having crayons and paper with us - for Cole - but I know I sat in the floor in the room while we waited to hear about surgery and I colored pictures for Cole - to cheer him up.  I remember being sick to my stomach.  I remember not really eating anything.  I remember a lot of silence.  Just sitting and waiting.

When we got to go back to see Cole after surgery - he just wanted Jason (which was usual during the hospital time for some reason).  I remember his eyes weren't really able to focus at all.  He couldn't move much at all.  When they got him settled in PICU we knew he was struggling.  He couldn't turn his head to the left.  His left side was really weak.  The left side of his face almost paralyzed.  It was rough. 

He still wanted to hear his favorite cartoon - Blue's Clues - even though he couldn't turn his head in that direction to see the TV.  I remember us trying to move him later and him crying so bad.  I'm thinking he must have had the worst crick in his neck ever known to man.  Poor baby.  We laughed several times because all my mom ever really said was 'bless his heart'.  That's just about all you could say, really.

His sweet personality was back in no time though.  He was a bit grumpy from time to time - thanks to the steroids and pain, I'm sure.  It was such a long ordeal - it felt like we were in the hospital for years.  It was really just 9 days.  They sent us home the Sunday after his surgery.  He did okay Monday but had a fever Tuesday.  Wednesday morning (Ash Wednesday) he was burning up. We ended up back in the ER bright and early that morning.  Cole had a fever around 105 when we got there. They did a lumbar puncture without even sedating him.  He didn't even flinch a tiny bit.  He was so very sick. 

We ended up back in the hospital for about two weeks.  He had a serious infection and had to receive heavy duty antibiotics.  It's funny now - when we watch House we hear all these drug names - chemo drugs and stuff - we know too many of them by Cole's experience. 

The time in the hospital was really long - filled with questions and no answers.  I'm so thankful we ended up in Memphis at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

They helped save his life.

They took the burden of his care off our shoulders and just said 'we've got this' and they did!

We head back in a little less than three weeks for his 6 year check up.  Usually this is really long with loads of testing.  We've finally reached the point where all the tests aren't necessary for their research.  So, it's not too bad of a check up.  I'll still be nervous, even though I know he's okay.  I'll still worry until Dr. Gajjar gives me the thumbs up.  After 6 years, that stress hasn't gotten much better.

But, today (ok - tomorrow) he's happy, healthy, a little spoiled and all ours!!!  I'm so proud of him!!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentine's stuff

I spent a little bit of time today making my home all 'valentiney'.  I know that's not a word, but ya know........

Anyway, I have this fabulous room divider that came from a hospital - back before curtains were hung from the ceiling.  I love it.  I got a wild hair in the late 90's and painted sunflowers on one side.  Thank goodness I didn't do both sides!!!  So this is the 'good' side - sans sunflowers!!

I have four different layouts hanging on it and usually switch them out pretty often.  Right now the ones hanging are either in the valentiney colors, or about love, or from Valentine's Day.  I made a little heart garland to hang across the screen, too!

 Here's a close up of last years Valentine's layout and a shot of the garland.


Here's a few other things:

I need to move that picture over a bit, don't I? 

Cardboard, giant cupcake wrappers, a glue gun and a glittery word! Love it!

Lighting wasn't as good as I thought - here's a little letter, a candle, a little ruffly tree and there's a little mailbox, too!

That ^^ up there - is my favorite thing.  Took a whole roll of crepe paper practically and a small styrofoam ball with some ribbon.  I would like to make a million of these!!

And then I played around and took a picture of myself:

Not great, but ya know................

Linking up:

 Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Baby you're a STAR Volume 3

I totally have dropped the ball on sharing my 'stars' from the previous week.  I think I just 'starred' so many things through the holidays that I just couldn't remember to share them here.

So, I'm back at it.  Here's this past week's STARS!!

These little boxes are so so cute.  I'm not sure I would fill them with real fortune cookies, but maybe some paper cookies with cute fortunes inside!! This was posted by eighteen25 and you can find the details HERE!

Isn't this fantastic?  I love it.  Also posted over at eighteen25 and details are on this post.  These aren't just regular hearts - it's little photo strips.  I love love love it.  My printer is out of ink though, so if I manage to make this - it'll just be paper strips.  Wonder if I can find film really cheap and use a few strips of film? hmmm...

OH How I love this!! I would love to make it for Valentines, but also think it would be cute to do a countdown to a birthday.  Still kicking that idea around in my head.  Cole's b'day is right before Valentine's Day so I'm wondering if I can combine the two somehow - some kind of countdown with a special treat on his b'day then continue counting down to the 14th?? I don't know - any suggestions??

Here's the original post from Infarrantly Creative - if you don't follow her, you should - her blog is fabulous!!

And I really want to do Subway Art in a massive way.  I love this Valentine Subway Art.  She's also done Halloween, too.  Go over to Tatertots and Jello and check out all the awesome stuff.  I really love her blog and 'star' her a ton!!!  Details on the above is here.

That's it for the past week.  Can you see a trend?  Valentine's is one of my favorite holidays.  Not sure why since Jason isn't really big on it - another made up holiday so people have to buy stuff.  But I love the idea of telling people you love them.  Who's not happy to hear that??

So, hope you are getting ready to share the love!!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Being introspective

I had a quick thought last night, something I'd been thinking about for a week or so.  Something that frustrated me to no end.  Something I have a hard time dealing with.  I typed my Facebook status and was over the allowed amount of characters.  Facebook sent me to a NOTE instead - so I typed away and had this long post about this and then Facebook lost it before it could post.  I was bummed.

I'm trying again and just blogging it instead.  And it's long - just so you know!!

I tend to get frustrated with people easily if they are just takers, always taking from you and never giving, never helping you when you reach out to them.  I get frustrated when people can't see the good in their lives, only the bad.  I get aggravated when people dwell in the bad parts, soak up all the sadness and bad things and take advantage of their situation.  I get really sad when people can't see how lucky they are.

I had a conversation with someone at work yesterday about movies and books and just what she's been reading lately and really enjoying.  We were talking about The Pursuit of Happyness.  She read the book and said it was great.  It's on my list now.  One of the things pointed out in the book was how you choose your own happyness.  (yes I know I'm spelling it wrong, but that's how it's spelled for the movie!!) 


You do it.  You have the ability to make a choice, based on the knowledge you have (however little or large that knowledge is).  Normally, no one holds a gun to your head while you choose between being in a good mood or a bad mood.  Or when you decide how to treat someone.  Or when you decide how to be treated.  Or when you decide to take advantage of your situation instead of rising above it and learning from it.

I really want to remember that I choose to be happy.  I shouldn't let someone steal my happiness and sour a good mood.  But, let's face it - it happens, probably a lot more than we want it to.  For the most part, even if I don't feel well, have a headache, am tired - whatever - I'm a happy person. 

I'm happy with what I have in my life.  Sure, I'd like more.  A dishwasher that works.  A full size oven with a better stove top than I have.  Less spider webs in my garage.  A different car.  The list is never ending.  But here's the thing:  none of those things would really make me happier (less dishpan hands though).  I'm responsible for that.  I'm responsible for my life.

Too many people blame other things for their life - well that happened, so I'm this way or if things were different for me, I'd be different.  Here's the thing - no matter your situation, can't we make the best of it?

Six years ago this month, our world was turned upside down.  Cole was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  WHAT?  We didn't even know which way was up for a while.  We were down and sad and worried and scared and all that stuff.  BUT, we had this little amazing three year old and we couldn't let him down.  We had to still play and make him smile and let him know how fabulous he was.  It wasn't fake either.  We didn't just pretend to be happy in front of him and then be terrible as soon as he was out of the room.  We just found the best in each day, each moment - not knowing what would be the end result.  Would he be ok? Would we be ok?  I will never forget those feelings.  I remember wondering if he would know us the same way - I mean, seriously, they are cutting into his brain and taking something out.  Would he still be able to function?  We just didn't know.  We had tons of questions with few answers.  We just made the best of what we had though.  We decorated his hospital room.  We brought toys to him from home.  We made sure he had his favorite Krispy Kreme donuts all the time.  We kept him happy.  Making him happy, kept us happy.

The entire time we went through his treatments, we stayed positive.  There were certainly days where we were sitting in the cafe at the hospital, waiting for him to finish his radiation.  I would be worried, sad, watching the clock so we didn't miss the page that he was waking up.  Another mom would see me, know it was hard, hug me and tell me it was all going to be okay!!  But honestly, those days were few and far between.  Most days, we were happy.  As weird as it sounds, those days in Memphis, away from home, away from family, away from our life - were some of the best days of our lives.  Why?  Because our focus was just on Cole.  We had the ability to just take all that was in us and use it to make him happy.  We were all happy.  We didn't dwell in it.  And let's face it, your kid having cancer is a pretty good reason for you to check out of life.  Check out of being happy.  Check out of caring for others.  Check INTO a pity party to end all pity parties.  Check INTO being the victim.

That's not who I am.

Sure, we all get in that mood, but I try as hard as I can to not live there for very long.

There are people I know that take from others and never give.  They cover up their real feelings with their fake, happy attitude.  But when those walls come down, they aren't happy.  That seems to take so much effort.  Being fake.  Pretending.

Why not put that much effort into being happy.  Try just as hard to actually BE happy instead of pretending to be happy.

We make the choices in life.  God would be much more pleased if we were all happy.  He doesn't want us to be sad and wallow in our own self pity.  That's not His plan for us.  I give Him all the credit for carrying us through that journey with Cole.  It wasn't us at all.  It was HIM all the way.  I leaned on Him.  I didn't expect for Him to take the job and do it so well.  I didn't even think I was worthy of Him doing that for me.  I was wrong.

I'm not special though.  Neither is anyone else in the world.  We are all here together.  We are all here, making choices.  Make sure YOU choose happiness.  And don't be a taker - give to people - it'll make you happy. 

As much as I like to give and do for others, I've just realized that there are some people who don't appreciate what you give, it's not enough, it's not good enough, it's not just exactly what they need.  They don't see your heart in it, even though it's there.  There are some who will take until you have nothing else to give.  They'll empty you but never offer to add a little to you.  They'll never think that you are worthy of them giving to.  There are times I think 'well, I'm done giving to you then'.  But, I know I'm not.  I may not bend over backwards, but I'll keep giving.  I'll keep giving and keep hoping that those people that take and take and take will wake up one day and realize how much better it is to give.  I don't give of my time, or ideas, or whatever, just to be paid back either.  I don't look at what's in it for me.  I hate that!!!!  I just do it.  I over commit.  I offer too much.  Sure, I'd like a Thank You occasionally.  But, it's not always there.  It's rarely there in some places. 

That's okay because someone thanking me isn't going to make me happy or not happy. 
Someone giving back to me, helping me just because makes me happy, sure - but in the end, it's all up to me.

Buying all the things I want, or buying things just because someone else has it and I NEED it, too - that's not going to make me happy.

I'm just simply choosing it!!

That's all!!

Living life as fully as I can - or at least as fully as I feel is necessary for me and my family. 
It works.
It fits.

We're happy!


Monday, January 17, 2011

It's no where near spring but......

I feel as though I've been spring cleaning lately.  Last week, I finally took the plunge into the guestroom/scraproom/laundry-station/everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-room.  It's been a disaster for a while.  I can't really remember how it started.  I haven't done much creating this year for myself or our home.  I did lots of showers (baby and bridal) and a wedding and lots of gifts, but nothing just for me and for FUN.  I think I just got so tired of making things (I procrastinate so I'm usually in a time crunch) that the room became just a dumping ground of sorts.  Thankfully, we've had no sleep over guests who needed the room.

Anyway, I just got tired of it.

So, last week I started really cleaning out and up and all that jazz.  We were pretty much shut down for several days due to an ice storm.  What better time than then to jump in and get going?  I found several projects that I had started and failed to finish, several I had gathered supplies for and failed to start, and some things I must have just given up on!!

Here's the start of one project:

This cereal is seriously delicious but sadly, no longer on my current diet plan.  I ate it for a while - I saved the boxes.  The weren't your typical cereal box - they were harder cardboard - similar to what baby formula comes in and had cute lids, too.  I thought they would be the perfect size containers to hold sheets of stickers - letter stickers, to be more specific.  I covered four of them in just plain craft paper, added a patterned paper trim to the top and filled them up!!  I then covered another container, made out of the same material, the same way.  They all coordinate so nicely.  I opened a Crystal Light container today and those folks must have caught on to the fact that craft girls like to cover their containers with paper because the plastic wrapper just slides right off.  No scrapping of labels or anything.

I also had a few boxes laying around that I had for shipping.  I cut one in half and made two magazine holders.  I covered them in the same manner as the cereal boxes and now have a complete set.  The bad news is I used all my patterned paper, so no more matching containers.  I'll have to come up with something else!!

Here's a look at the sticker holders and a pencil cup:

 and here are the magazine holders - not perfect, but free:
 a close up, just because:
Now here's the rest of my organization - none of this worked before in the set up I had. Now, I love it!!

In the closet - these drawers have things organized by colors, haven't labeled yet, but I will (remember I'm a procrastinator):
 These are almost all full of punches - one basket is sewing supplies, one is scissors, one is adhesive - the rest: punches!!
 Fabric, tissue paper and vinyl:
 I have two of these and they were full of mismatched chipboard, plastic, etc - letters.  I never dug through them, so I dumped them in the trash.  Drastic? Maybe.  Necessary? Absolutely!!  I need something specific to put in the other.
 This is what happens when your supplies are organized:
You can be creative again!!

Linking up to this:



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just a little love going on

I love to make crafty things for holidays.  For some reason this past year, I didn't make anything Christmasy. So, I feel like I have to kick it up a notch for Valentine's Day.  So, here's the first thing I came up with:
I have an abundance of Bingo Cards by Jenni Bowlin.  I have a really hard time using them.  I LOVE them and don't want to cut them up!!  Crazy, right?  So I pulled out my stash of cards and found the MINE and LOVE and then added the LUCKY in the middle.  LUCKY seemed to fit appropriately.  I mean, if you have a great love, you are pretty lucky, right?  I am, for certain!!

Anyway, I have recently gone through all my scrap stuff and reorganized, so it was really easy to open my drawer of red things, black things and white and pick out what I needed.  Here's a close up of each card:

Just simple and sweet.  The first card has a J for my husband.  The middle card looks like it has an envelope attached, but it's actually the bottom of a red paper bag.  And the last tag has the top of the bag with a tag poking out listing all the things we need to remember to do (like love, snuggle, hug and kiss - all 'love' words), topped with a heart doily - those just scream old fashioned Valentine's to me.  I remember always gluing one on red paper in elementary school, adding the to: and from: and taking it home to show mom and dad.

I made this last year and I think it's one of my favorite things ever!!! I'm a really 'letter sticker snob'.  I love Thickers the most, and all the cardstock letter stickers, too.  I wasn't really willing to give up a whole set of alphabets for this project, though.  I was going through the Valentine stuff at WalMart and found these glittery letters and they were perfect.  I used Thickers for the i, o and u - so they would stand out a bit more.  I love how it turned out.
I have both projects, along with three recent favorite layouts, hung on my old room divider.  It was my great aunts and it was used in hospitals way back in the day - to divide the rooms.  I LOVE IT!!

Thanks for looking!!

oh yes - linking up to:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year - a few days late

Well, I hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  We headed to Mobile and had a little late Christmas with Jason's family.  The rain was horrible on the way there, but by the time we were ready to get out again it had cleared up and cooled off.  The rest of the weekend was nice - cold, but nice. 

I've been thinking about my word for 2011 (FOCUS) and how I need to apply it to me life.  What specifically I want to really focus on.  How I'm going to tackle focusing!!  I have lots of things I feel are issues for me that I need to focus on dealing with - making peace with a few things, just plan getting over some things.  We all have issues, right?

Anyway, we are back in the swing of things here - school, work and homework and chores.  I really dislike Tuesday's and Thursday's.  I don't mind the work part of the day - it's the 40-45 minute drive to work and getting home at 6 or later.  It's the dishes in the sink, the laundry that's not finished, the homework, the dinner that needs to be cooked.  UGH.  It's hard.  I need to focus on a better way to tackle those things.  My parents help Cole with homework, so that's not always an issue - but the household chores are!!  I need to get a system down and make it work for me - and I need to work at it.  Focusing on my home and keeping it in order is important to me. 

Things would be better if I was teaching - in my own classroom - I'd be home earlier most of the time.  Work would be consistent, and it isn't always now.  Our income would change and I would feel like my contribution to our household would be appreciated more.  Plus, I would be doing what I feel I'm here to do.  Why do I have no confidence in myself though?  Why am I not running after that job?  About two months ago, I heard this at church - "I want you to get out there and walk -- better yet, run! -- on the road God called you to travel.  I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands.  I don't want anyone strolling off down some path that goes nowhere." (Ephesians 4:1 MSG)

I don't think I'm sitting on my hands, but I'm not running.  Not really even walking at a brisk pace.  I did run.  I ran a lot - I put faith in my efforts and they didn't pan out.  I felt defeated, so I guess I stopped running.  I need to focus on that - I need to run after what I want, what I need and feel like I'm meant to do.  Maybe that focus should be on Cole and teaching his as much as I can at home.  Helping his as much as I can.  Maybe I was running in the wrong direction?  I don't know.

In 2007, I lost almost 50 pounds - that's roughly a seven year old boy.  That's a lot of weight.  In 2008, we went to Disney World and enjoyed the dining plan.  I gained a little back.  In 2009 I thought I could eat whatever I wanted again.  I gained a little more back.  In 2010 I had a beautiful bridesmaids dress to get into.  I lost 20 pounds and finally reached my original goal from 2007.  Then Disney World happened again.  A few pounds creeped back into my life.  This year I'm focusing on a new goal.  I'll reach it, too.  In 2012, I'm not going to have to focus on this again because I won't let ice cream rule my life!! :D

See, I have so much to focus on and this is just about half of what I've been thinking about!  Only half!! WOW.  I need to focus on focusing and get my priorities in order.  This week I will focus on making a list.  A list of what I want to focus on.  Then a list of how I plan to tackle those things. 

Who knows what will happen next week.  I just hope I can keep my focus!!!



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