Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Emancipator's Wife

I finished reading this novel about Mary Todd Lincoln a couple of days ago, and found it interesting. I didn't find myself enthralled with the book (it took several days to read through) but I did find myself compelled by how Mrs. Lincoln came to be judged insane. I don't often read many Civil War era books, and although I knew a lot about President Lincoln's politics I really didn't know much about his family. My heart just went out to Mary as I was reading. I can't fathom the agony of losing three of my four sons to illnesses (and having four sons myself I can only imagine what an emptiness that must bring), but to also have to be at my husband's side if he was assassinated... I can see how Mary would break down, particularly since she apparently had mental disorders that excasperated the problems in her life.

I find it very sad how the medical profession and the Spiritualists preyed on her vulnerability. (Very interesting that it was the same type of predatory behavior that set Sarah Winchester off to California to live a life building a never-ending house on the advice of a spiritualist in the same time period) I know the medical care wasn't great for the men either, but at least their ailments weren't all blamed on "female vapors" and "nervous dispositions" after their medical treatments left them addicted to drugs such as opium.. the main ingredient in the popular female medicines of the day.

This is very much a novel in that most of the conversational storylines have been made up, but the author did stay true to timelines and did a good job researching the background information.

I have a list of people I would like to sit and visit with in Heaven someday... Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Fathers, Oskar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, relatives, etc, (I figure there will be a lot of time to visit, so I just keep my list and don't worry about how long it gets) and I have added Mary Todd Lincoln to that list. There are so many things about the life of the Lincolns that I would love to hear about, and I have a feeling that only she and the President can really answer most of them!

Special Holiday

Today is Make Kyle Feel Special Day. We are all finding little things to do to make Kyle feel special just because, and it really is a fun thing to do. (His face just lit up when I told him what we were doing today!) Chet is letting him play with his Nintendo DS right now. I made a big deal of getting pictures of just him this morning, and he gets his favorite lunch, macaroni and cheese, today. Our goal is to find a ton of little ways throughout the day to let him know we love him, so if you would like to join in please feel free to leave some comments here that he can see after school!

This is a self-portrait that he drew a few days ago.... I thought the angel wings were a very nice touch!

I also suprised him with the banner all about him. I found the tool brushes online, and they were perfect for this because he is such a good woodworker and handyman already! One of the things I love about him is that he takes care of his tools (he has his own set of real wrenches, screwdrivers, tape measure, drill and hammer) and if I need something nailed or unscrewed, he knows exactly what tool the task requires and he takes care of it for me. I have a little set of shelves that he put together all by himself just by looking at the directions when he was four, and I love that one of the shelves is upside down. I just think it is so cool to have a son that loves to build and fix things!

Enjoy your special just because day, Kyle! Love ya!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Just another manic Monday! whoa-oh-oh

I got home from San Jose yesterday and spent the afternoon with the kids. I took this picture as I was getting out of the car when they dropped me off at the airport on Wednesday. As you can tell, most of them aren't too thrilled about me leaving on show weeks.

This weekend I was traveling with Katherine and Gayle, and those are the funnest trips for me. Before set-up on Thursday, we went to the Winchester Mystery House and that was fun. I don't mind going back to places like this, and it was Katherine's and Gayle's and Sharla's first time there. Katherine has much better pictures that she will probably post on her blog, but I caught this one of Gayle that we really liked.

On the first day of the show, I heard "Hey lady, I love your boots" and turned around to find my friend Kathy there. I was so glad she and Kimberly got to come by and say hi, and we all had lunch together. A trip to Northern CA doesn't feel right if I don't get to see her. I never got to catch up with my in-laws while I was there because I forgot my computer in the car and didn't have any numbers with me. We'll all be up there soon, though, so we can catch up that way!

I had to play with this shot to make it light enough to see, so it also looks a bit fuzzy now, but I thought it was funny. Todd and Kyle were making faces at each other all the way home from dropping Jack off at work yesterday.

I came home so tired yesterday. I was up late with Katherine and Gayle (loved just hanging out and chatting!), then up really early so Sharla and I could catch our flights home. Sharla probably thought I was a nutcase yesterday morning because I was so gabby... LOL. I think it is all nerves. There is so much to do this week to get ready for Arkansas, and my stomach is in knots with all the uncertainties about what might happen next week. We can't wait to see Jessica, but I am anxious about other things. Please just say a little prayer for us that everything will go smoothly, no matter what happens.

Today I have to get some grocery shopping done, run some errands, and then I am working on Jessica's album. I bought a gatefold album for this project, and I am so excited to get started on it. I will post it when I am done with it, tearstains and all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

San Jose

I am on the way to San Jose tonight. I love going to visit the Bay Area, and I am hoping we will have time to go see some of my favorite places up there. I might get to meet up with my in-laws while I am up there as well if we can all work the schedules out!

I took Faith and we got our haircuts yesterday. She cut about 6 inches off her length, and although it looks cute I am sad to see the length gone! I know it will grow back, and it really isn't short just shorter than normal. Mine looks more like the picture in my avatar again. I haven't styled it yet, but I will get to that after I am done packing my bags.

We took the kids out to get new shoes last night, and this morning has been spent with Todd racing to me to show me how fast his new shoes are. He is running around with his Spiderman clothes, his Spidey underwear, Spidey socks and shoes and sunglasses, and carrying his Spidey backpack full of his Spidey pencils and notepads. He cracks me up. Chet did this same type of thing when he was younger, only his superhero was Batman.

I have to run some errands before I go and finish getting packed. See you on the road!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Return and report

I got home this morning from OC, and spent the day catching up with the kids. We went to Costco and did some grocery shopping and enjoyed lunch together. I need to take some pictures of all the notes that Faith and Todd carefully wrote for me to "walk come" me home today... they were so sweet!

The show was a lot of work. It was the first show of the year, and a three day show to boot, so I am tired. I was so happy to see some of the ladies who come back every year for classes, and I even had some of my TA's return this year... it was so good to see all of you!

I also got to meet up with Lisa and Arlyn from Scrap Village. It is always fun to meet villagers! Lisa and I went out to dinner on Saturday and spent hours chatting... I loved meeting you, Lisa!

It isn't always easy to get good photos from a plane window. The time of day and my spot in the plane has to be just right or I get light-streaked shots through the window glass. I did get these two this morning as we were flying past the rising sun over the Pacific Ocean and then over the snow-dusted mountains between Southern California and Nevada on the way home.

I am leaving again on Wednesday to head to San Jose. I am really looking forward to seeing Katherine, and meeting up with friends and family in the area. I am demoing in the booth this weekend, so if you are at the show please stop by and say hi!

I happened to catch this shot of Matt today, and it is hard to get shots of him that I really like. Someday I want jsut one of him with a genuine smile, but at least this one is showing a bit of his personality!

Tomorrow Jack and I are going to go buy the wood and hardware to build the kids their loft beds. I am working on scanning and printing photos for an album I am making for Jessica before I leave for San Jose as well. The next couple of days are going to be busy, but it is good to be home!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

See ya soon!

Yesterday morning the kids cut and signed 60 valentines to pass out in class. Thank goodness for the last minute!! :0)They all had so much fun with their parties. There is a girl in Chet's class named Jackie, and Chet has a crush on her. He brought home her valentine to him and put it in his special box... awww! Kyle cut great bug huge hearts to give away... I don't know how I missed getting a photo of those!

Todd loved the whole idea of cutting and signing hearts, so that is what he did all afternoon. He kept "borrowing" my double stick tape and telling me he was working on a surprise. He covered the whole living room in paper hearts that were signed "Todd." The one he is standing by is the ladybug heart he made just for me. I thought that was incredibly sweet!

Jack and I didn't exchange gifts because we are saving our pennies for the big trip in two weeks. I did make dinner, though, and then we watched American Idol. Aren't we crazy romantics??? :0)

When I went in last night to check on the kids and make sure they were all covered, I found that Beth had snuck out of her bed and crawled in bed with Faith. The big doll head is Beth's favorite doll. She doesn't play wiht its hair or give it a makeover, but she talks to it, and dances with it, and takes it to bed. Apparently, they were all three having a midnight slumber party... :0)

I am on the way out to OC now. I will be back in a few days. I might be able to post from the road, but either way you will hear from me by Monday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!!


Have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Show season begins

So technically, there really isn't a show season... conventions run from February through November, but that is how I think of it. And it starts this week. I am getting ready to leave on Wednesday for Orange County. Today I finished putting together my sample classpacks so I knew what order to teach the project segment on each class in. I had to go get a new suitcase... the airports murdered two of them last year! I love this one... it has four spinning wheels on it so instead of dragging it I can steer it... woohoo! I also like that it is bright blue and will be easy to see it coming down the luggage carousel. I have new clothes to wear, and they are so cute! I am wearing skirts this week with my new Christmas boots, and I am looking forward to feeling dressed up a little and sassy. I went and bought my second set of make-up, shampoo, hairbrushes etc (I just keep one set packed in the suitcase so I don't have to repack it every other week or so) and I tracked down my extension cord. (Katherine shared that tip with me last year and it is a lifesaver to have in the hotel rooms that skimp on electrical outlets or don't put them anywhere near the mirrors!)I have my book for the plane, my computer is charged, and tomorrow I am getting a haircut. The first show of the year is the hardest, so it feels good to know I have the temporal stuff taken care of!

I sent Faith in after school to pick up her part of the room yesterday and she literally fell asleep on the job.

Kyle decided to make his own homework yesterday. He wrote out all of his numbers and the alphabet, and then he wrote his full name. I kept the paper so I can make a page with the picture soon.

The kids are enjoying having custom made closet spaces. We made Kyle and Todd's lower to the ground so they could easily reach their clothes. Kyle thought it was funny to get dressed without taking the hanger off the shirt or the rack. I was folding laundry in my room when I heard "Mommy... come take my picture of me being put away!" I don't know that putting one's self away in one's own closet is normal behavior, but I did agree that he looked pretty funny!

Friday, February 10, 2006

50,000 Platelets

When Chet was first diagnosed at 2.5 years old, I took all of the photos, paperwork, memorabilia, news clippings, wish trip stuff...everything relating to the disease and treatments, and put it away until I could emotionally deal with scrapping it. Two years ago I pulled all of that out and made a huge album with all of those materials. I made the colossal mistake of submitting it to the Make It Meaningful contest...never again will I enter a contest with work that is so emotionally raw for me. Then I put the album on the shelf and I almost never look at it. To this day it is the only project I have worked on that Jack has never read. I am sure it means something that this is the first time I have ever just scrapped a random page about Chet's aplastic anemia, but I prefer to not delve into that particular pool of psychological pondering tonight... LOL

Journaling reads:We were both so nervous when we got to the doctor’s office last week. You were a bit afraid of the needle they needed to use to draw blood, and my stomach was in knots from worrying about what the numbers would be.
Seeing your counts come back always reminds me that everything in life is a matter of perspective. If your brother only had 50,000 platelets it would be a major cause for concern, but when you have that many we breathe a sigh of relief and smile knowing that they haven’t plunged again. They are down a little from last time, and your white cells and red cells have fallen under the low end of the normal range again, but we have been here before and we know what to do. Healthy habits, good nutrition, extra vitamins, and lots of rest for you, and a whole lot of
reminding myself to breathe until the next round of counts. Let’s hope that by then the reds and whites are back in the normal range, and the platelets have gone back up to 60K. I know it wasn’t easy for you, but I am so proud of how brave you were when they stuck you. Be well, Chet, that is all you need to focus on...being well. I love you.

I used 7 Gypsies paper (red), Rusty Pickle paper (measuring tapes), Sandylion paper, (I think it is really part of a Disney line, but it looks like blood cells to me), Chatterbox photo corners, 7 Gypsies arrow turns, Creative Imaginations embossed stickers (50,000), SEI stickers (platelets), KI Icicle, and I can't remember who makes the Awesome Kid tag. I also included the results of Chet's counts from last week, and the arrows are specifically pointing to the platelet levels. There is probably a little glare from the transparency I journaled on.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Princess Birthday

I was working on this for an assignment for Scrap Village, and then when I went to post it I realized that none of the products I used are available on the site anymore. (They were there not too long ago, but apparently they have sold out and I am behind the times... LOL)

So I am starting over tomorrow with a new layout using products I have double-checked to make sure are in the store, and posting this one here now.

I used a lot of things on here... FancyPants papers, Basic Grey girl rub-ons and undressed chipboard (the bosher type things), ribbon and tag, photo corners, 7 Gypsies paper clips, American Crafts letters stickers, and the new Pressed Petals Chip Chatter letters that I completely adore. There is some stitching around the blue paper as well... I don't know if you can really see it though. These are some pictures of her 8th birthday presents.. she wanted everything to be princess related, and the crown was her pride and joy. I have no idea why the pictures look so green in the scan... if you have met her you know that Faith really looks like a healthy non-alien type person.... :0)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I started this page with the intention of making it a clean and simple page.... hahahah... you can see how far I got with that plan!! I started with a white background and a simple sticker title... I thought I would play with some blank spaces, I ended up being true to the styles I love the most, though, and switched to a lavendar background and added the patterned paper from Paper Heart Studios. The black stickers are MAMBI and Doodlebug (The only products not from my designer dinner goody bag.) The colored stickers are from Sonburn, and I stained them with some Fiber Scraps Tintz, and edged them with some black paint to stand out a little better. The brads, flowers, and photo turns are from the Queen and Co make-up bag. The green ric-rac is from Maya Road, and the I Love You strip was made with the Around the Block rub-on dispenser. I brushed the photo and papers with some black and white paints as well. This looks a lot bluer than it is in real life.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

IEPs and paperwork... ugh

I must admit... I hate doing IEPs and paperwork. I don't like the IEPs for a selfish reason. By law they have to read everything on the forms out loud to me every single time, but I am a smart person who reads really fast, so I have the whole darn thing read by the time they get through the first paragraph. I feel like it is such a waste of time to sit there and be read to... LOL

It went well, though, which is good because I had some concerns. Chet has finally been exempted from recess and PE for his own safety. They weren't having him participate in anything that could hurt him, but he was getting left on the sidelines to just watch everybody else do what he wanted to do too. Poor guy. Now he gets an extra art class twice a week with a different art teacher than his regular one (who would want to take the same art class three times a week... LOL) and he gets to go inside and play computer games, board games, card games etc with a friend during the big recess break. His small class has a private recess which is fine for him... only ten kids on the playground and his classmates are so awesome about being careful to not bump into him on the slides etc. Some of the school officials and policies drive me a little crazy (I resent being told my word isn't good enough when it comes to my own child's well-being.. of course it is good enough! I don't mind getting the documentation they need to verify medical conditions, but they better listen to me when I am the one who sees him everyday and can provide the most accurate information about his daily routines and struggles!) but I think his teacher and counselor are incredible. There are a lot of people there who genuinely care about his well-being, and everybody who works with him can't help raving about what a good kid he is. He really is... I am so proud of him!

So there we have it.. one IEP down, two to go. Matt's final IEP should be done this month, and we need to do one for Kyle to get him into speech services during school. Matt got his report card today too. Mostly A's (he is just beaming with pride) and several of his teachers gave him glowing reports about being a good kid too. It was a proud mom day!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Spirit of Yum

This isn't the layout I was planning on making, but I had the photos printed out so I went ahead and put it together. I don't hate it, but it isn't my favorite either. I took the photos the other night when I made ice cream cookies for Chet to help try to cheer him up. This is his favorite dessert!

I planned it with my Pages by Design templates, used the Paper House paper and rub-ons, the Pressed Petals Monday's Metals, and the Creative Impressions paperturns and brads from my goody bag, and added some Deluxe Designs and Autumn Leaves papers with Pressed Petals Chip Chatter letters, Pebbles and 7Gypsies stickers, and Autumn Leaves date rub-ons. I stitched around the big photo and added a lot of robin egg blue paint to sort of fill in some of the gaps that were bugging me!

Sunday, February 05, 2006


There was so much catch-up type stuff to do this week. The house really needed a good cleaning now that all the goody bag stuff was gone. Yesterday Jack and I went and bought some closet storage system things to organize all the kids' clothes better. Faith is having so much fun pretending to "shop" on her set that she keeps asking me if another load of laundry is done yet so she can hang more stuff up. I need to go by more hangers... there aren't any left and we haven't gotten to the jeans yet!

I went and checked on my HOF entry at the USPS site and got this message. I guess that means I am officially entered into the contest now, unless they have DQed my entry already... LOL

Your item was delivered at 1:07 pm on February 01, 2006 in RIVERTON, UT 84065. The item was signed for by S MUES.

After three weeks of waiting while three repair guys kept coming by just to tell us they needed to order more parts, the new washing machine is fixed. Six kids and three weeks without a washing machine... well you do the math of how much laundry that is! Being able to wash clothes again meant a run to Costco to pick up laundry detergent and fabric softener, and while we were there Todd and Beth engaged in a fun round of monkey see monkey do!

I brought home some kind of heavy cold from CHA. It isn't a serious issue like bronchitis, just enough stuffiness and coughing to make me feel like I am dragging my feet everywhere. I suppose with all the running I was doing in the last few weeks that I should have seen it coming. I think Chris even warned me about it at some point... LOL... so here it is. I know better than to go into crowds that big without some Airborne in my system!
Since today was the Superbowl, Jack and the kids watched the game together and snacked down on their favorite football foods. (cheese and pepperoni) I was going to scrap, but I ended up getting our taxes done and sent off instead. There are lots of reasons I like having six kids, and filling all their names in those little dependant rows is one of them... LOL.

I took Chet in for counts on Thursday. He looks so healthy. I know that. I know it is hard for people to look at him and know he isn't 100%. It really took me by surprise, though, to see the doctor just take a look at him and think all was well. The hardest thing about having aplastic anemia for Chet is that he can't play sports, and there isn't anything he wants to do more. At the beginning of the appointment I told Dr B that we needed a note for the school nurse (which is a whole other story I am not too thrilled about) to get Chet excused from PE. He looked at Chet and said "why?" I was a little surprised and said, "because he has aplastic anemia, low platelets, and has to avoid contact sports." He said he looked great, and did I want him to play sports. Chet just lit up... completely lit up. He thought his favorite dreams were coming true. I just asked the doctor to wait until we had a platelet count before any decisions were made. Fifteen minutes later he came back feeling so bad for saying anything because Chet's platelets are at 50,000. (the lowest end of the "normal" spectrum is 150,000) That is way too low to risk any contact sports. Chet is physically fine... he has been between 50,000 and 75,000 for five years now, but emotionally he was heartbroken. This is my sweet boy who does anything I ask him to do with a smile, he wouldn't hurt a flea, and all he wants to do is play some sports. Right now his PE teacher has him standing on the sidelines watching the other kids play all the things he wants to play (another very touchy story for me right now), and after the doctor left the room to get the note and take care of a prescription for Chet's dental visit next week, Chet just broke down and cried. I knew it was coming... I saw how happy he was when he thought he was cleared to play, and I knew those counts weren't nearly as high as the doctor thought they would be (he is an excellent doctor... I just know when Chet's counts are down a bit by observing his behavior and seeing how dark the rings under his eyes are.) I don't know that anything has ever made me feel such sad anguish as that moment did when I knew there was nothing I could say or do to make it better for him. This has been weighing heavy on my heart all weekend. We have always offered plenty of substitutes for sports, but I think this just brought home to him how much he is missing out on, and I wasn't prepared to see him ride that swell of hope and crash in misery in a matter of moments.

I don't want to end on such a somber note, so for a little levity I am posting this photo that I found on my camera when I downloaded the card tonight. Todd has been practicing some self-photography apparently, and I thought the nose shot was a bit funny!

I plan on getting some scrapping done tomorrow. I have a layout I want to get done about Chet and the issues going on with the school nurse and PE teacher right now, and I know I won't get anything else creative done until I get that idea onto paper so it isn't bouncing around my brain anymore! I have some assignments and my DS article to get done before I leave next week, so I better get to work!


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What a weekend!! I feel like I haven't stopped to catch a breath since Friday!

Saturday was spent finishing up stuffing bags for the dinner.

On Sunday, I was late to a Pukester friend's renewal of vows ceremony at the Elvis wedding chapel, but I did manage to make it in time to see Nic and Paul come out of the chapel!

I headed over to CHA (the big craft and hobby trade show which was held here in Vegas) afterwards to pick up some of the doorprizes for the dinner. There I ran into another Pukester pal, Sharon.

For the first time ever I got to walk the floor after the show opened on Monday instead of working a booth. That was fun! I found Katherine and Jolleen and Amanda for long enough to say hi. I actually didn't see very many products because I spent the majority if my time talking to people, but I did manage to fall in love with the new Chip Chatter letters and shapes from Pressed Petals (I LOVE the colors!)

as well as the new Pressed Petals rub-ons

and the Chatterbox transparency letters (and their new rub-ons)

I didn't get any pictures of them, but I also adore the new Big Board Chipboard pieces from Fancy Pants, and I have to give them a lot of credit because they have come a long way in a few months! Their booth and products were fantastic!

I also spent some time adoring the bead booths and finding jewelry pieces that inspire me.

After the show on Monday night I went to dinner with Leah and Tracey who are fellow City Planners on the Scrap Village design team.

After dinner with Leah and Tracey, I spent some time visiting with a couple more Pukester pals, Kim and Carol.
Then I came home and did some more work for the dinner.Much to my dismay, 13 more boxes had arrived that needed to be sorted and stuffed into goody bags.

Tuesday morning I got up and finished stuffing the bags again, got dressed, and then Kim and Carol and Chris all came over to help get the bags to the show. This was only about half of them, taken at the Hilton while we waited for the bellhops and their carts to get it all inside. Jack brought the car that was stuffed to the gills with doorprizes and met us there.

Then we went inside and put on a dinner party for the 350 people that showed up!
I "heart" Sarah
and I "heart" Chris. There were so many others there helping too, but I don't have any other photos! My friend Sarah Kelly came too, and it made me sad that I didn't get to spend much time with her at all while she was here in town. The good news is that she will be at some of the shows this year, so we will catch up again there.

I even managed to get a new headshot taken for my bio over at Scrap Village in the new City PLanner section that is going up.

I am tired, very very tired, but it was a productive weekend, the dinner was successful, and I got to see good friends. Today I am getting the house picked up again, and waiting for the service repair guy to come fix the washing machine, but mostly I am just relaxing and hanging out with the kids. I think I will catch up with some of my shows that are TIVOd. I had my class kit samples show up today, so tomorrow I will put those together to get ready for the upcoming shows. Katherine made some gorgeous pages for classes, so if you are coming to any of the conventions you will want to check out the Deluxe Designs classes!

Be back soon!

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