Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My superheroes, and a winner!

So, I'm a little late posting about Halloween.  It was two days after Halloween that the Bad Sick sent us all into a tailspin. . .  remember:  survival mode.

Anyway, the kids had all planned to dress up as superheroes.  At the last minute, the teen girls all changed their minds.  Whatever.

not superheroes.

I'll just talk about the boys. . . .

Spider Man, Captain America and Iron Patriot, with Super Monster 
in the foreground, showing off his intense super-powers.

I bought their costumes at the thrift store for about $2 each.  I had planned to do face painting for their "masks," but fast-forward to November 1st (the day of our Halloween festival at church) and I had no means of face painting.  Fast-forward a bit more to 2 hours before the festival starts, and some little boys NEEDED masks, pronto!

I remembered seeing this adorable tutorial for felt superhero eye masks on Pinterest. . .

BUT.  For some reason, on that particular day, I couldn't load the damn tutorial on neither my phone nor my computer.  So I winged it.  I placed some paper over my sons' faces, made crude measurements, made cruder drawings, cut a template, and slapped some felt together.

Now that I can actually read her awesome tutorial, I made them pretty much the same way she did.  Except I used a sharpie on Spider Man's mask.  I wish I had sewn the webs like she did, but Owen hasn't complained, so. . . .

The masks took about 10 minutes each to make, start to finish, and I think the boys look handsomely adorable.

The funny thing is that the boys play with these ALL. THE. TIME.  Like, every day.  The colors and designs could easily be changed to suit any character, any gender!  And they're so cheap and easy to make.  Which has me thinking that I should make a few more, like for stocking stuffers. . . ?


Congratulations to Sarah Dela Cruz!  You're the lucky winner of this autumn bunting!

I hope you enjoy the bunting, and this brings a little excitement to your day!  ;)
And a big thanks to everyone who dropped by, commented and entered.

See you soon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gratefully surviving, and a GIVEAWAY!

~~~ The giveaway is now over.~~~

I'm sorry I've been absent here lately.  We've been in survival mode for the past few weeks.  About a week after Brendan returned home from the hospital, every single kid, and that includes the husband, was sick.  Bad Sick. Baby Henry had the Bad Sick plus ear infections, and is now on week 3 / round 2 of antibiotics to try to clear them up.  I think (and hope and pray) that everyone is now on the mend.  And for that, I'm so grateful.

Speaking of gratitude. . . .

In the midst of the coughing and sneezing and snotting, the kids reminded me about our annual Gratitude Tree.  (Here's our very first one.)

For the trunk, we usually use brown kraft packaging paper from Dollar Tree, and a few thumb tacks and/or packaging tape to hang it on the wall.  This year, I used some packaging filler from a delivery (thanks, Amazon!) which was perfect for this!  I love watching it grow!

We use construction paper and card stock for the leaves, and tape them to the wall with packing tape.  (We've never experienced any damage to the paint using the tape, but maybe we've just been lucky.)  I leave a box of leaves out all month long, with sharpies and tape, so anyone can add a gratitude leaf to our tree whenever the grateful mood strikes.

It's not too late to start one in your home this season!  Even hanging one up for Thanksgiving Day is a neat exercise in gratitude.  Plus, it's fun to see what the kiddos are thankful for. . . .

I hope you'll give it a try!

And did you notice the buntings next to our tree?

I whipped up three strands of flags in autumn colors for our dining room, and only used two.  So you know what that means. . . .


I am so very thankful for you guys.  No, I'm not just saying that.  You have traveled with me through new babies, losses, moves.  You've bought from me, sold to me.  You've cheered for me and pushed me forward.

You listened.

I truly appreciate you.

So I'd like to give this autumn bunting to one lucky reader.  It's not much, and in no way signifies how grateful I am for each of you, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.

14 pretty autumn flags, made from a blend of 
new, vintage, reclaimed and designer fabrics

TO ENTER, just leave a comment sharing something you're grateful for today.  I'll draw a random name from the comments tomorrow evening (Wednesday, the 19th,) and have it popped in the mail on Thursday, the 20th, hopefully arriving at the winner's in home time for Thanksgiving.  (not a guarantee, but I'll try my best....  International readers are more than welcome to enter, but the buntings will take much longer to arrive.)

And please feel free to share this post on facebook, twitter or pinterest, if you're so inclined.  There are some handy ShareThis buttons below. . . .

Talk to you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Settling in

Brendan was released on Saturday morning, much earlier than anticipated.  We're all so grateful for that, and to be home, settling in to our new Normal.

It's a little tricky, figuring this out -- how this situation fits into the family rhythm, as Brendan can't transition or move to any spot in the house without assistance.  He can't prepare his snacks, go watch tv, join us outside, or do anything that requires walking to that activity without help.  And I am now realizing just how much I depended on his help around the house every day!

For now, Brendan is spending his time resting, letting the CPM machine do its thing.  His pain is still well-managed, and he's in good spirits.  He'll be starting some light-duty school tomorrow. . . some math, light reading, maybe some history.

And we made it home just in time. . .

. . . for Henry's first birthday!  I cannot believe this little guy is one already!

Going away. . . 

Last night, we had a going-away bonfire, complete with sticky, messy s'mores, for my lovely sister, who took such great care of my Monkeys while we were away.

I cried a little today (OK... a lot) when she and my beautiful nephew left.  I miss them already.

So tomorrow, reality hits.  Back to jobs.  Back to (home)school.  Back to chores.  Back to normal, once we figure out how that works.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Real, quick update

Brendan is doing FABULOUSLY well.  Pain is well-managed, and all PT and OT goals and tests passed.  His new CPM machine was delivered this afternoon. . . .

This machine will be his constant companion for the next six weeks.  It will work his quads without him moving and working them.

The surgeon unwrapped and changed the dressing on the surgical incision.  The surgeon was pleased, and said it was beautiful.  Of course I had to look.  It wasn't as bad as I had imagined.  Just a 6" long, dark reddish black incision, covered in steri strips.  No picture here, though. . . only because my phone had died.


For the most part, we just sat around and waited.  We visited the teen room.  We ate lunch together in the cafeteria.  We painted pumpkins with some of the other patients.

some of the kids' and volunteers' pumpkins...
 and my ugly flowery one.

Brendan's raven pumpkin

And we waited some more. 

I don't want to complain, especially compared to my son's ordeal, but I have to state something here:  it is EXHAUSTING sitting in a hospital.  I don't understand it.  It is literally an energy-suck.  I have photographic proof of my statement.   It ain't pretty, but I promised to keep it real here, so. . . .

8 a.m.

8 p.m.

Seriously!  Did I age 10 years in 12 hours?! I almost wanted to laugh when I saw these pics, but I also wanted to cry.  But I was too tired to do either.

Don't get me wrong.  I've walked a little every day, giving me a small energy boost.  I'm still sleeping wonderfully (almost guiltily) at the Ronald McDonald House.  I'm also eating well (the food here is surprisingly good... too good.  Note to self: get back to the gym when we get home!)  I'm doing my best to take care of myself in the current circumstances.  I can't imagine how I'd feel if I wasn't doing that!  I learned the hard way, after many years of self-imposed martyrdom, that I can't take care of anyone else if I don't take care of myself first.  Sounds selfish, doesn't it?  But it isn't.  I can't give what I don't have, so I have to recharge, refill, and refresh so I can love my family better.

So now, we wait.  Brendan is rumored to be discharged very soon.  I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Into the storm and out... a quick post-op update

My son came through surgery safely, and the surgeons are cautiously pleased with the results.  They found more damage and complications than they had anticipated, but they were able to adapt and accomplish their main goals of lengthening the quadriceps and centering his kneecap on the right leg.  None of the anticipated bone procedures were done; the surgeons said they wouldn't have been helpful.  Now Brendan's very painful, very slow process of healing and rehab begins.

the oh-so-fun PCM machine.

He'll be hospitalized for another week, and then we'll hang around for an additional week, as the surgeons want Brendan nearby until his follow-up appointment.

This is my new home during this ordeal. . . .

my room, and B's birthday present.

How nice is this?  It's the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.  The folks that run it, the atmosphere, the volunteers. . . so warm, inviting, nurturing.

I arrived at the House late last night, after visiting hours were over at the hospital (only 1 parent is allowed to stay with the child overnight, and my sweet husband insists on overnight hospital duty.) As I stumbled up to the front desk, worn out, raw, clunking around with my ridiculously heavy, bulky vintage luggage, the volunteer greeted me with a smile, and said, "Aren't you Brendan's mom?  We have something for him."  She disappeared behind a wall, and returned with a birthday cake and a large gift bag, complete with a personalized birthday card.  I was puzzled.  I explained that his birthday was in September.  The volunteer said that the entire House had celebrated all of the October birthdays that night, and they were sorry they had missed Brendan's, so they were celebrating it that night.  You guys, it was ALL I COULD DO not to break down and sob right then and there.

There's something really special, spiritual, going on there, and here at the hospital.  I'll keep you posted. . . .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The calm before the storm

after pre-op, a relaxing evening stroll, enjoying the Texas sunset

THE SURGERY is tomorrow, and I think we're as ready as we humanly can be.  He's more ready than I am, but that's how it goes with moms, I think.  We met with a dozen different personnel and departments on Friday. . . .

We've been informed of every possible scenario and outcome, perhaps, and signed more consent forms than I could have imagined possible.  We're praying for less pain and more leg stability and functioning.  If that's the eventual outcome, then the surgery will be a success.

While waiting for Monday. . . .

We're staying with one of my sweet, gracious sisters while waiting for THE SURGERY.  Brendan is watching lots of football, resting his leg.  I got to visit one of my old thrift store haunts. . . .

this is where it all began. 

HEAVEN.  We don't have thrift stores like this out in west Texas.  Not. even. close.  Of course we found a few monstrosities, like this catty gem. . . .

BRRRREEOOW MEOW.  so ugly, it makes me smile.

But this. . . .

. . . this makes the digging SO worth it.  Three yards of new, pristine Amy Butler Lotus Morning Glory print, plus a couple of yards of new fleece (not shown,) bundled together for a paltry FOUR BUCKS.  Super-score!

And then there's this. . . .

many thanks to my other amazing sister, 
for sending me updates and reminders like this!

 I'm away, and they don't understand.  I've never been away from the home for an extended amount of time.  This is so hard on everyone.  But I'm so, so thankful for smart phones. . . .

This jumble of noise and confusion and smiles and squeals melts my heart, and makes this separation more bearable.  

Not easy, but bearable.  And hopefully, worth it.

Talk to you soon.